Really Quick Fast Casting Questions (like lightning)

I have to say I have always read it Flamel's way. However, you have a good point I hadn't considered. I don't think the context sheds a lot of light on the situation (although I think I see where you are going). Multiple fast casts could be difficult for the same reason they would be difficult by your reading--because they are truncated and cast quickly.

I could make two argument in terms of mechanics and balance: allowing both a fast-cast counter and a normal spell allows some interesting give and take in a magical combat.

First, I think allowing only a fast cast spell or a normal spell could unfairly penalize a character with a high initiative. Consider a wizard with a high initiative number who would like to create a magical defense based on something that happens "after" he or she has cast a spell that round. That wizard should have initiative and not be caught so defenseless. After all, this wizard's spell has already been cast--why couldn't he or she cast a defensive spell? This issue is the more important one for me.

On a related note, (and a lesser issue) not allowing fast cast counters and a standard spell could be unfair for someone who happens to roll low on initiative. I see initiative as a very volatile roll best reserved for nuanced bonuses, but not huge ones. Initiative should even out over a long fight. However, in a magical combat the looser of initiative would have to choose every round between:
a) relying on a static number for defense, and if it holds getting of an attack, and
b) attempting a magical counter that may or may not work and forfeiting an attack

Certainly, there are times where b) would be the better choice, but it wouldn't be usual. However, I think combat is more interesting in general if a magical combatant has an opportunity for a more active defense.

In any case, it's not as unequivocal as we want.

I never realized how complicated this could seem! To my understanding, it works like this: imagine we have two magi, Magus A and Magus B. Both want to cast a spell at the other, so they have rolled initiative.

Magus A goes first. He casts a Ball of Abysmal Flame at Magus B. Magus B is casting Clenching Grasp of the Crushed Heart at Magus A. He can either continue casting it and hope to resist the effects of the Ball of Flame, or he can stop casting it and try to fast-cast a spontaneous spell before the fireball reaches him. If he goes for the former option and it damages him, he may have to make a Concentration roll to maintain his spell. If he opts for the latter option, he gets a sort of mini-Initiative roll to see if his spell lands before Magus A's. If he fails at this, he cannot cast any further spells that combat round, though he can still allow his fast-cast spell to go off. If he succeeds, he casts the fast-cast spell, and he can also fast-cast more spells that round, but with a cumulative penalty.

Let's say Magus B is an expert at countermagic, and this time he wins initiative. He can cast his Clenching Grasp spell, which Magus A ignores because his Parma will stop it, and casts his fireball spell at Magus B. Magus B can respond to this spell with another fast-cast spell, if he beats his Initiative Total on the roll. I would rule that Magus B gets a -6 penalty on this, though, because he has already cast one spell this round. Assuming he does, he can counter the spell. He can also try to counter a spell cast by Magus C, too. :slight_smile:

I don’t think that we can come to an agreement.

What do we need to clarify the rules?
An input from David, or another Altas staff?

What is the best way to contact them, pm or Mail?

Thanks for offering your insight. I have a question, though.

In your second example, did magus B fast cast his initial spell? If not, why would (according to the rules or your interpretation of them :slight_smile:) Magus B get a fast cast and a normal spell in example 2 and not in example 1?

It's a bit of a riddle to be sure.

On a very side note, can your next example feature a maga vs. a magus--as the pronouns sometimes hurt my brain.

For me, email has worked as a way to contact David.

Alice and Bob? :stuck_out_tongue:

Imho; Magus Bob should be able to cast both the original spell and the fast-cast counterspell, as long as he can successfully make a concentration roll for both of them (against casting another spell - which I think is 15+). Failing either one is trouble...

No problem. :slight_smile:

No, he didn't fast-cast his first spell, because he cast it as his normal action that round. He then followed up with a fast-cast spell in response to a later event, though this was only a couple of seconds later. This is like a grog swinging his axe at another grog, and then parrying his opponent's swing later in the round. Grogs and magi can block any number of attacks in a round, but magi have to check their casting speed when they do, and if they haven't finished casting their regular spell, they have to interrupt it.

It may seem unfair that Magus B gets to cast two spells, but he has to manage to cast the the second one in the tiny window of time between his spell going off and Magus A's spell going off. He has to make a roll to do this, and he also gets a -10 penalty to his casting total. His Init total doesn't affect his chances of doing this, so being able to fast-cast a response without losing the option of normal-casting a formulaic spell is really the only advantage of a magus acting first in a round.

Sure. Hmm, maybe another example with more detail would help. How about this: Magus A is Flavius of Flambeau, and Magus B is Mari of Merinita. Magus C is Verdius of Verditius. Flavius's Quickness is 0, Mari's is +3, and Verdius's is -3. All of them have Finesse 3, Mari has Fast Caster, and Verdius has Slow Caster.

At the beginning of the conflict, they all roll for initiative. They are all casting formulaic spells, so their Initiative totals are all Quickness + a stress die. By some chance, they all roll a 6. Mari will go first with an Init of 12, Flavius second with 6, and Verdius last with 3.

Mari casts Clutching Grasp of the Crushed Heart at Flavius. Flavius may try to fast-cast a spontaneous spell in response, or he can hope that his Parma will protect him. To fast-cast a spell, he must either stop casting his formulaic spell, or make a Concentration roll against Ease Factor 15 to cast two spells at once. He will also need to beat a 12 on his Fast Casting Speed roll. Let's say Flavius just keeps casting his formulaic spell. Mari's spell goes off, but fails to penetrate. Mari's combat action is done.

Flavius's action is next to resolve. He finishes casting Ball of Abysmal Flame, targeting Mari. Mari sees the fireball coming her way and suspects that Flavius has it mastered for Penetration. She decides to fast-cast a spontaneous PeVi spell in response. She needs to beat an Ease Factor of 12 on the Fast Casting Speed roll -- 6 for Flavius's Init + 6 for a second spell this round -- and she rolls a 6. This plus her Quickness and her Finesse (no bonus for Fast Caster) gives her just enough to succeed. The fast-cast spell goes off before Flavius's spell hits. She easily counters it (she has a Minor Magical Focus in countermagic). Flavius's action is done.

Verdius has Slow Caster, which means his spell does not resolve this round. His action is taken up with shouting and making sweeping gestures with his casting tools at Flavius. Flavius attempts to recognize what spell Verdius is casting with a Perception + Awareness check. He thinks it is a Pit of the Gaping Earth. Making this realization, he decides to try and fast-cast a spell in response. (The storyguide rules this is a significant enough discovery for him to have a chance to react.) This will have an Ease Factor of 3 (Verdius's Init) + 6 (because Flavius has already cast a spell this round). These aren't bad odds, so he goes for it. He rolls a 6. Success!

Flavius fast-casts Pilum of Fire, which he has mastered at 3 for fast-casting, multiple casting, and penetration. This means he has a -10 to his casting total, and must roll for four copies of the spell, but it's all good: he rolls a 6 for each one, and decides to send the three copies of the spell at Mari, while pointing the original at Verdius.

Mari gulps. She can try to fast-cast another spell in response, but she will have to get a Fast Casting Speed of at least 15 (3 for the Init + 12 for two spells cast this round). What else can she do, though? She goes for it, and rolls a 6. Alas, this is not enough, and Flavius's spells hit her before she finishes casting. They penetrate, and she takes three Heavy wounds. Mari would have to roll three times to keep casting her spontaneous spell, but it isn't going to go off in time anyway, so she drops it.

Verdius can't interrupt his spell or he'll lose it, and he can't fast-cast a response because even his fast-cast spells take a whole round. Fortunately he has a super-high Form bonus and a really good Parma, and he barely resists. He doesn't take any damage.

With Flavius's fast-cast response resolved, Verdius's turn is now over. That's the end of the combat round.

Now it's round two. Mari is seriously injured and has lost a Fatigue level for her spontaneous spell. She has a -15 to her casting total for her wounds. Probably the best thing for her to do is to try to get out of the range of Flavius's voice, but she's headstrong and decides to try another formulaic spell. Flavius also casts a formulaic spell, and Verdius is still trying to finish the spell he started last round.

Mari goes first. She casts Touch of the Goose Feather at Flavius. Thinking that there is no way someone as injured as she can penetrate his Parma, Flavius does not attempt a defense. The spell does penetrate, though, because it's such a cheap spell. Flavius sneezes, and must beat an Ease Factor of 12 to avoid losing his concentration, and he does not succeed. Mari sticks her tongue out at Flavius (and grimaces at the pain).

It's Flavius's turn. He has lost the formulaic spell he was casting, but he could still try to fast-cast his Pilum again. He needs a Casting Speed Total of 6 (6 Init, no penalty for additional spells), which he gets. Verdius still can't fast-cast a defense, and Mari is so injured that she can't fatigue herself, so he rolls for the spells, and all four go off: Mari takes three more Heavy Wounds and again the Verditius magus shrugs it off. Flavius's turn is over.

Finally, Verdius's spell goes off. It is indeed Pit of the Gaping Earth. Flavius tries to fast-cast a defense; he needs a 9 (3 Init, +6 for an additional spell). Flavius rolls a 6, so and invents a spontaneous CrTe response, a pile of dirt to fill the pit before he falls in it. He spends a fatigue level and gets a Level 4 effect (-10 on the roll, plus nothing in Terram), which creates some dirt, but not enough to prevent him from falling. Verdius easily makes his targeting roll, and Flavius falls down into the pit, suffering a Light wound from the impact. This is the end of Flavius's turn, and the end of the round.

About twelve seconds have passed, and quite a lot has happened. Flavius and Mari decide to take this opportunity to escape while Flavius tries to come up with a way to climb out.

How's that for an example? :slight_smile:

I agree. As a storyguide, I think I'd enjoy the trouble part most. :slight_smile: "Sure, go ahead, roll as many times as you want..."

That's an excellent example of the - "Thus, a magus cannot cast more than either one normal spell, or a fast cast and a normal spell in the same round...." interpretation.

But providing examples does nothing to address the question of which interpretation was intended by the text. A matter of importance only as far as future publications go and not particularily relevant to any of our games, but it was the matter that we were discussing before you offered your examples.

Hmm, maybe I don't understand the difference. How would things work in an opposing view? Do the players in favor of a different interpretation think Flavius should be able to fast-cast a response in the first round without interrupting his normal casting? Like, his normal casting time starts after Mari's action is finished? I don't think that's unreasonable, but what happens with spells like Touch of the Goose Feather in that case? Does Mari have to wait and fast-cast it to interrupt Flavius's spell, since he hasn't started casting it during her turn?

I haven't developed a preference as of yet, but I think that the passage says that one can not ever cast both a spont and a normal spell in the same round.

Ah, I see. That would ensure that a lot less happens in a given round, and that's not a bad thing at all, I admit. However, it seem to me that would also mean that a slower magus has an enormous tactical advantage, because no one could respond to his spells. Characters who specialize in fast-casting would really want to go last, so that they would have a chance to respond to all of the other actions in that round before they commit to a normal spell.

There is value in what you're saying but there is also something to be said for doing unto others before they have the opportunity to do unto you.

I took another look at the rule being quoted here, from page 174:

I read this as saying that a magus cannot cast more than one normal spell in a round, and also cannot cast a normal spell if he has already fast-cast a spell that round. The next bit seems to continue this line of thought, by specifying that a magus who has already fast-cast a spell that round may be able to fast-cast another spell. I don't see where it says that a magus cannot fast-cast a spell if he has already cast a normal spell that round, though. The point of the section is that a normal spell takes approximately one combat round, so it can't be done after the character has taken another action, but magi can always respond to an attack or another surprising event with a fast-cast spell; at least that's I read the bit on page 83:

and also the earlier part of 174:

That seems to me to say that these rules for magic in combat don't apply to fast-cast spells, which always happen as a response to something else.

I get that, it is a sensible interpetation but it isn't the only one. The coversation has already been here and we've already posted that paticular quote twice.

The sentence

"Thus, a magus can not cast more than one normal
spell, or a fast cast and a normal spell in the same

can be interpreted

Thus, a magus can not cast more than:
A) one normal spell,
B) a fast cast and a normal spell in the same round.

or it could be interpreted

Thus, a magus can not cast:
A) more than one normal spell,
B) a fast cast and a normal spell in the same round.

Same words, same order, different meanings. (Kinda cool really)

Hmm. The first interpretation seems to say the magus can cast no more than one normal spell, or no more than one fast-cast spell and one normal spell. Is that characterized correctly? But this is not the case, as the next sentence makes clear; a very fast magus can fast-cast more than one spell in a round.

Some games have players declare actions in reverse order of initiative and then resolve them in normal order.

That's very clever, I like that! :slight_smile:

It wouldn't fix this problem, though, because the fast-caster would still want to go last. I might learn that all the other magi are casting formulaic spells, but unless I know what they are, whether they affect me, and whether or not they are successfully cast, I wouldn't want to risk casting a formulaic spell if it meant I couldn't do anything to counter it.

Someone in this thread performed the Rite of Ashk'Ente.

The intent was that a magus could not cast a fast cast and a normal spell in the same round.

However, I take the point that everyone would want to go last, so I suggest treating each character's round as starting immediately after their normal initiative point, when it matters. Thus, if you've cast a normal spell, and your turn has passed, you can cast a fast-cast spell, but you can't then cast a normal spell in the next round. Essentially, you start casting your next normal spell as soon as the last one goes off, but you can abandon it to fast cast.

Actually, it could also be interpreted as:

"Thus, a magus can not cast more than
A) one normal spell, or a fast cast
B) a normal spell
in the same round."

... which would mean that a magus could definitely case two spells in a round, but only one of them could be a fast-cast spell.

I'm confident that this third meaning is not the way that the writer intended the passage to be read, but it does show very clearly how careless wording can lead to ambiguity.