Pre-play Discussion

Okay, just so I understand where we're starting from on this whole cockamamie might-stripper thing.

Under the rules as written, being with Might do not have any soak against spells such as Demon's Eternal Oblivion and Lay to Rest the Unruly Spirit. So, any spell that gets past their Magic Resistance (which equals their Might Score) reduces their Might Pool until it reaches zero, then their Might Score until it reaches zero, at which point the being is destroyed. Is this right? (I'm not trying to be stupid, but this has never come up in any game I've ever played in beyond the theoretical).

The problem with this method, as I understand it, is that it makes beings too weak, too vulnerable. Too wimpy.

If we take the example of the demon Michael (ArM5, p. 196), who has an Infernal Might of 10. Halia has a Level 5 DEO (she's the only one so far who has it, as near as I can tell), with a Casting Total of Pe 5 + Vi 12 + Sta 1 = 18 + stress die (I'm not going to worry about Aura for this example). On a die roll of 5, her DEO score is 23. She exceeds her Spell Level by 18, and has a Penetration of 1, so she has a Penetration Total of 19.

Michael has Magic Resistance of 10, which is less than Halia's Penetration, so Michael takes 5 points of obliviation from the spell, reducing his Might Pool to 5.

Next round (yes, Michael is jobbing for this example), Halia rolls an 8 for a CT of 26, Penetration 22, so Michael takes five more points of "Damage," reducing his Might Pool to 0.

Third round: Halia rolls another 8, blah blah blah, Michael has no Might Pool, so his Might Score is reduced by 5 to 5.

Fourth round: Halia rolls 1*4, but Michael's Might Score is currently 5. He only has 5 MR, and winds up being utterly destroyed without a trace.

Granted, Halia's DEO is about the lowest level you can have, but still.

If we go with the Might Soak equal to (Might Score)/2 that I threw out, then it would look something like this, if I understand correctly:

  • Round 1: Halia hits with her DEO. Michael has a Soak of 10÷2 = 5. He blows off Halia's DEO, makes some cheesy taunt and proceeds to totally scupper her up.

This is with the weakest demon in the core book, which is the one I happen to have on my desk atm.

So, am I understanding how this whole might-stripping thing works?

And, under RAW if it was mastered with an ability score of 4, with one selection of multiple casting, it would be gone in one round.

Exactly so with the caveat that

  1. demon can't be detected if it doesn't want to be
  2. might stripping removed any vis that would be gained from corpse (infernal vis is a bad thing anyways so no real loss)

Now if she went to a level 10 might stripper, her penetration would only be 13 so round 1, she would remove all his might points, round 2 destroy him. Add in the soak and level 10 spell does 5 pts damage so 4 rounds to destroy.

Against a level 15 demon though, her level 5 spell would still get through for 5 points round 1, 2, and 3 for killing points and 4-6 for might and it is gone. A level 10 spell would not penetrate.

Now, add in multicasting (just 5 xp for one level). Demon of might 10 without soak is destroyed in 2 rounds (2 rounds of 2 spells) for level 5 spell, a single round for level 10. Add in the soak and it is immune to level 5 still, 2 rounds for the level 10 spell. Level 15 is still mostly immune to the average roll for lack of penetration.

I wonder if folks would be happier with Multiple Casting (capped by Mastery Score as RAW) if each casting tacked on a subsequent -5 to the CT.

Thus a single Bjornaer could drop Eyes of the Cat on a whole party in one round, but the Flambeau would have a much harder time cranking out effective BoAFs.

On the other hand, Michael has 0 soak and almost no defense that a strong invisible sling of Vilano or a cople grogs with pole axes could take him down in a round or two.

Okay. So, let's look at Hiems (from Phoenix/Shores of Albion). He has DEO 10, CT +23, and one level of Mastery (Multi-casting), which allows him to unleash two DEO per turn, with a Penetration of 3(Perdo), or 4.

Against Michael, first round, he rolls a 4 for a CT of 27 in the first volley. His Penetration is 27-10+4=21, easily beating Michael's MR of 10, and erases Michael's Might Pool. Second shot in the first round, he rolls a 1*8 for a CT of 39, and a Penetration of 29. His DEO of 10 reduces Michael's Might Score to 0, and poof.

With the Soak house-rule of Soak = Might÷2 in effect, in the first round Michael has a Soak of 5, so reduces his Might Pool to 5, and his second shot reduces Michael's Might Pool to 0, and a Might Score of 10. So Hiems actually has to cast it again. This time, his first shot rolls a 7, for a CT of 30-10=20, and a Penetration of 24, again blowing past Michael's MR. Michael's Soak of 10÷2=5 absorbs half of the DEO's destruction, and the spell lowers his Might Score to 5. The second shot in the round, Hiems rolls a 3, for a CT of 26, and a Penetration of 20. Michael now has a Might Score of 5÷2=3 (with rounding), so the DEO does 7 points of might-stripping to him; he only has 5 Might left, so he's destroyed.

With the Might Soak, it took two turns (and four shots) to destroy Michael instead of one.

Nestor, from A New Home, has DEO 15 with no Mastery. CT +19 and Penetration 0. So:

  • Round 1: Die roll of 3 gives him a CT 22 and Penetration 7, which doesn't get past Michael's MR.
  • Round 2: Die roll of 9 gives him a CT 28 and Penetration 13, which destroys Michael's Might Pool and reduces his Might to 5.
  • Round 3: Die roll of 1*5 gives him a CT 29 and Penetration 14, which destroys Michael's Might Score.

With the Might÷2 Soak rule, it goes something like:

  • Round 1: Nestor's DEO still doesn't penetrate.
  • Round 2: Michael has a Might Soak of 5, which reduces the DEO to basically 10, so Michael's Might Pool is reduced to 0, but his Might Score is untouched.
  • Round 3: Michael's Might Score is destroyed by Nestor's DEO.

Destroyed in 3 rounds, vs. destroyed in 3 rounds.

Xavier Francis of Bonisagus has DEO 20, with 4 levels of mastery including one Multi-Cast, so under the raw he can get off five shots a turn. But, he only has a CT of +20 and a Penetration (Perdo) of 3. So:

  • Round 1: die roll of 8 gives him a CT of 28, and a Penetration of 12, which just ekes past Michael's MR of 10. His DEO of 20 destroys Michael in one shot.

With the Might÷2 Soak rule, it plays out like this:

  • Round 1: His DEO of 20 is reduced to 15 by Michael's Soak, so his Might Pool is destroyed and his Might Score is reduced to 5.
  • Round 2: Xavier rolls a 4, for a CT of 24 and a Penetration of 8. Michael's reduced Might Score of 5 gives him a MR of 5, so the DEO penetrates, and Michael is destroyed again, and decides to take up a life as a carpet salesman.

Titus of Flambeau (from Light of Andorra) has an AC DEO 50, and this is the only other person I can find in any of the campaigns (active or retired) on the forums aside from Xavier with a DEO of higher than 15.

So. Of the four examples I've used, all using DEO of characters in play on the forums, with Halia she either destroys the demon in four shots or is destroyed herself. With Hiems it's destroy the demon in one round (w/o Soak) or two (w/Soak). With Nestor, Soak or No Soak makes no difference. And Xavier Francis destroys Michael in one round w/o Soak, or two rounds w/Soak.

I don't get the whole torch-and-pitchfork thing I'm seeing with the Soak question, I really don't.

Well, if Might Soak only makes it slightly more difficult for Perdo specialists to wipe out creatures with Might, and it makes it impossible for non-specialists to overcome them, Fixer's proposed house rule doesn't seem to have much to recommend it.

My real problem with his proposal is that it necessitates having grossly overspecialized characters to overcome middling difficulty creatures. And I've always been somewhat biased against grossly overspecialized characters.

Actually, Xavier frances with standard mastery 4, one is multi cast is getting 5 castings of the spell and likely to get 2 shots through.

Now lets look at case of demon of might 15.

Heims hits with CT 27 becomes 13+4=17 penetrating, he does 10, second shot of spell does the same so does 5 more to might and to might. Leaves demon with might of 10. Next round he finishes it off. Add soak of 8 (we will round up). First round two spells get through for net of 2 pts each or 4 points. This means 4 rounds to remove might, 4 more rounds to kill or 8 rounds.

Now we go to poor Nester
Die roll 1-3 doesn't penetrate so demon isn't harmed.

Assuming a miracle and her gets 2 spells through, the demon is destroyed. With soak, he needs 4 very high rolls insted of 2.

Now we go to poor Xavier who has 5 shots a turn. He needs 12 on the roll to penetrate. If he penetrates: it is 2 spells without soak, 3 with soak.

Now lets go back to poor halia with her deo 5 and give her mastery 2 (multicast). She is 18+stress die and penetration of 1. Let's say she rolls a 2. This becomes a 20 Ct - 5 = 15 + penetratin 1 = 16. It penetrates. 5 pts might gone. both of her other spells go off (90% chance of 2+ each casting). so 15 might is gone, might pool is gone round one, it dies round 2. With the soak of might/2. Spell does 5, soak is 8, She can't touch it.

This is the effect of the soak. The weak spells that can be multicast a lot with the biggest penetration totals are negated. So instead of low level spells cast a lot which are useless and high level cast a few times (blocked for mr), you shift the focus to medium level spells with balance of damage and pentration.

The real problem was the multi-casting to do the harm so fast that foe couldn't cause harm and perhaps wound penalties to actions (thus reducing casting totals) or fleeing back to invisible/incorporeal.

A lot of this is fixed by the house rule of casting a copy for each level of multicast you take. Makes it harder to get lots of copies with lots of pentration. Not a cure though sicne eventually you can get up there.

The practical upshot of this is to discourage me from the idea of playing a Lineage of Pralix Ex Misc, because they get mastery abilities relating to perdo vim and muto vim - if I played one, I'd want to be a vim specialist and look at spell mastery, maybe flawless magic or maybe just mastered magic to get a few at the start. The problem is, after the inital focus on countering other magi's spells, I'd then want to take some might strippers...and run into the house rules of controversy.

Therefore, I'm just going to steer clear of might stripping to begin with.

Might stripping isn't bad, it's just overpowered, so it's toned down a bit.

A Pralician with Flawless Magic and Mastered spells (effectively 100 XP for spell Mastery) could still easily take multiple castingx3 for a cost of only 15 xp!

IMO, this forcuses a PeVi might stripper specialist to be a might stripper specialist. and makes him less generalized.

Okay, I've made a poll question over yonder; let's move the Might Stripper discussion there.

Also, note that I posted my Spell Mastery house rules, which will make a difference with how powerful (or wimpy) Might Strippers are.

Mastery normally subtracts from botch dice, period, but you're making an exception for the case of fast casting?
I really don't like this kind of distinction, especially since fast casting is done in an effort to preserve oneself.

Yeah, that's probably poorly phrased, and I had written and saved this over the weekend, just not gotten it posted yet. Basically, since Fast Casting adds two botch dice, you can take Fast Casting twice to nullify the two additional botch dice from Fast Casting. Due to subsequent discussion, I realized it was a distinction that made no difference and just forgot to remove it.

Okaaay... First thing, I'm not trying, especially as I'm the only one having quoted the rulebook.

You're the one trying to argue that these 2 spells:

  • Range: Voice, Duration: Diameter, Target: Individual
  • Range: Voice, Duration: Diameter, Target: Individual, +1 extra size, +1 complexity
    actually have different Targets.
    The size modifier alters the Target's size. It doesn't change the Target.

The Target is the class of thing you're trying to affect.
A part of something is a part, whatever its size. A structure a structure, a room a room, whatever their size.
Until you can point me to a reference speaking of target: "Big individual", Target:"Bigger Individual" and Target:"Even Bigger Individual", you'll be the one trying.

FFM can make a sight spell voice or arcane range. Or make a duration Sun spell Diameter or Moon. Or make a Part target spell either Individual or Group. That's already a lot of possible combinations, and you should tailor your created spells around this, in order to take full advantage of your virtue.



Well, I didn't see the soak as decreasing with the score.
Yet I agree, it changes little for the weaker creatures. For your exemple, it'd add about 1 turn at most.

But it does make the stronger ones harder and harder to affect, meaning that Magi will have to learn more powerful might strippers and use arcane and sympathetic connections.

If only you had taken the time to read my simple exemples, like the one with Wirth (PeVi of 15 at 5 years PG), those by peregrine, or run simple numbers yourself you'd know your affirmation to be just false.

I'll bother one last time by provinding yet another exemple you won't read.
By the RAW, a Might 20 creature is supposed to be "a lot of trouble to affect" for starting magi.
DEO 05. Perdo 05, Vim 05, Stamina 02, Penetration 02. That's a specialist if I've ever seen one.
Take ONE season to learn mastery 01. Given an average die roll of 05, your penetration is 15. Without any more preparation whatsoever. With arcane and sympathetic connections, you can easily get to 21-23. By the raw, it's dead in 4 turns.

Now, if it gets Might Soak 10.
Without my multicast fix, your "specialist" needs DEO 15, which means he's in trouble. His penetration, even with *5 multiplier, is only, on average, 13.
So, instead of blasting the creature, he needs to negociate, spend a little time to improve, or just use raw vis (4 pawns for 4 rounds). Yes, this is "a lot of trouble", just like the corebook says. Wooot! But this ain't a specialist, despite your claims to the contrary.
With my multicast fix, it's mostly the same, but, as the creature is more powerful than him, this actually makes it easier: He just needs DEO 10 to have, with the muiltipliers, a penetration of 18. Near enough. But he'll destroy the creatures in 8 rounds. 4 if going as above for DEO 15.

Read back my exemples.
IIRC, for most of the "might soak" ones, I've deliberately used only Mastery 01, only 2 copies per round.

But let's take what you mean. For damage dealing spells, the other abilities are seldom useful. + 1 penetration or yet another copy? No problem!
If forcing people to take more multicast, they'll do it. It'll change very little.

I generally agree with this assessment. I've been silent on this issue because I've been battling my own character for a while. I still have a skirmish here and there to deal with, what little time I have had beyond that has been focused on the Spell Mastery thread in the Ars forum.

I read all your examples, Fixer, and PB's as well. I just don't share your opinion that they support your argument.

Flexible Formulaic Magic allows you to "raise or lower the casting level of a spell to raise or lower one (only) of Range, Duration, and Target by one step, as long as this does not violate any of the normal limits on formulaic magic."

I think we can both agree on this.

But, I haven't seen anyone refer to the Targets and Sizes inset on p. 113, to wit: "A pebble and one of the stones at Stonehenge are both Individuals, and the inside of a tiny hut and the nave of a cathedral are both Rooms."

Thus, although increasing the target Size does raise the casting level of a spell, it does not do so by raising Target by one step.

Locutus sum.

(Also...I made the poll thread specifically for the argument about might-soaking. Hint.)

Yes, I am saying that:

  • Range: Voice, Duration: Diameter, Target: Individual
  • Range: Voice, Duration: Diameter, Target: Individual, +1 extra size

actually have different Targets.

Those are different targets: I would say that if you go to group +1 for a group of 100 people, that is a change of target.

Another problem, Fixer, is your arguments are not very sound. I have assumed that perhaps you're not conveying what you're intending, but I didn't want to mention it because I thought it would be easy to take the wrong way.

Exactly. More powerful might strippers, with which they must also penetrate. You seem not to understand that your proposal causes might to increase a creature's power exponentially, Instead of linearly as per the RAW.

No. Scores of 5 do not constitute a Specialist. But I don't see how that would be relevant.

No, it's not even harmed in the slightest. It has 20 Might, so the spell cast with Penetration of 14 doesn't affect it at all.

I fail to see how this is a problem, let alone how this example in any way supports the idea of making your Might 20 demon more powerful than it already is.

i don't know what you mean by "even with *5 multiplier." But yes, if your Might 20 demon has 10 Soak vs. PeVi, then it requires a minimum of DEO15 to affect it at all, which must be cast with a casting total of 45 in order to penetrate. Which represents YEARS of focused study and improvement, with a singular goal in mind. Which is not balanced.

Do you honestly not see how making Might increase its power exponentially creates balance issues?

I don't have a problem with the multicast fix. I have a problem with your Might Soak proposal. I'm ambivalent on multicasting nerfs.

In any case, no, your math is wrong here. Penetration 18 is, again, insufficient to affect a creature with 20 Might, regardless of how many times it's cast per round.

So forcing people to specialize in PeVi is okay? I do not understand your logic.