Triggers and rules

I'm not sure what would be allowed be the rules about triggers.

Our esteemed colleague Fury talked about the idea in another thread ("enchanting"):

Can you activate two items in one round ?
In "Using Enchanted Devices" AM5 p.100 :
"You can use one effect from one item each round (...)"
This is game balanced.

The problem comes from the "not so perfect" combat rules, I think. We would need Action Rules, where there is only Combat Rule.

But it you have two "Wand of Pilum of fire" with the same trigger, (Exemple: uttering "fire" ) wouldn't be logical that the two wands are triggered ?

What if you put Pilum of Fire (PoF) TWO time in the same object (w/same trigger)?

More of a problem: what if I link the second PoF to be launched when the first spell is launched (triggered effect 99) ?
What if I link ten (10) PoF each triggered to each other... :open_mouth:

Same case, other exemple:
I'm not about to do the PoF (killing is so useless) but maybe I would build such an object:

Two effects in the object:

InVi "Detect magic and sigil on wearer"
Base 5 detect any magic
Tch +1
Sun +2
Detect sigil +1
Permanent +4 level

Total Level 29

And some Perdo Vim spell to dispell any spell active on wearer. That last spell is triggered when the first spell (InVI) detect spells that are not of the same sigil as the one in the object.
This would dispel any magic of duration longer than momentary. The spells dispelled still take effect for (let say) a few seconds (maybe a whole round...)

Would the wearer be able to do another action (ex.: cast a spell) on the same round that the magic item is activated ?

What about a mimilar magic item, but that teleport the wearer 50 paces away each time he cast a spell ? Wouldn't that item be too powerfull (in danger situation)? What does the rules say about this?

I would like to know what the rules say on this. I'm not sure I found it all. I think that it depend on the interpretation of each player/troupe, but it could lead to abuse. That's why I'm asking you. :slight_smile:

We had a conversation about this before...I think it all came down to...

One action can trigger one effect.

This is a RAW question and I'm under an hospitalar parma, but I'm thinking that you could build complicated devices if you so desired.

The "You can use one effect from one item each round (...)" rule applies, IMO, to actually activating an item. You really have only one main action per round, and may use it to activate an item, setting it off. Once it's activated, however, the item can do whatever it does!

You can't hold two wands of pilum of fire and activate both by yelling "fire!". That's using more than one effect from one item each round, that's activating two items in a round, that's a no-no.

You can set up elaborate networks of lesser enchanted devices that will activate each other. If you spread a fire down a hallway covered with balls that will explode upon being exposed to magical flame, all balls blow up. You only activated one item (firing a wand of pilum of fire down the hall), the other items did their own thing. They must do their own thing, though - you can't direct them, for example, they just react as designed.

Where I am unclear on is invested devices. Is it possible for several effects to feed off the same trigger? I suspect that it is possible, and that indeed such items are in cannon. The only book I have with me is GotF; in it on p. 60 The Wizard's Bridle activates two effects simultanously upon being attached to the poor victim. I don't see why you couldn't extend that to any number of effects and activations, in principle, to create a multitude of effects. Like ten pilum of fires.

However, I don't like it. It's extremely abusive. Even if it is the rule, then, I suggest keeping with the "one trigger, one effect" rule. So to activate an effect such as the bridle, you'd need to attach it in parts for example.

In the case of linked triggers, each intended effect should hence have its own trigger effect. What if the two triggers are identical, going off at the same time? I can't see a way to say the two intended effects won't go off together, it seems to be a way to have lots of spells going off together again. (You're still not directing the item yourself, though, it still does what it's designed to do.)

About triggers and activation; These should be regulated very delicately, and strictly, otherwise items are abused.
One item, one trigger once per round is fine. This avoids letting a device-magus activate all his booster and protection effects at first instance of danger.
The activation must be physical (unless the item can read minds) and need be either with little risk of accident - or a high frequency of these (that'll teach the foul-mouthed Flambeau from making a wand of flaming death activated by cursing!). Some combination of voice and gesture seems right, altough emergency items must be simpel in activation (if you're hogtied for instance, you'd hate to have t wate the item around)
Effects can be linked, at some increase of Lab Total needed, but does this happen at once, or little by little? Does the first effect - the one you activate yourself - set off the second one, but in the following round?
But setting off an item ine round, with a continuous efect, it will - of course - keep on going, even while you activate something else the next round.

Effects that require activation (rather than relying on an intellego spell), usually requires that the person activating the item concentrates on it. I would assume this originally came about as a safety measure, but few (if any) magi would know that it is possible to make them in any other manner...

Effects that trigger as a result of a spell (say a InIm spell to hear voices, that triggers on a single word or phrase), trigger independantly of the actions of whomever triggers them...
Designing, and living near such an item would be dangerous however...

I would allow linked effects where a single item can do multiple thing, or have multiple effects happen with the same trigger, and do the fllowing to keep game balance

have each effect happen on a different round.
1st round-trigger 5 pillum of fire, wand cast #1. it has done it's action and cant do more this round.
2nd round- wand cast pof #2
3rd round- wand cast pof #3

5 different wands each with POF and the same trigger doesn't work because you need to direct each spell. With no individual direction they may misfire and blow up the user.
If the item is specifically designed so that directions are given to the spell (increasing effect level) then I MAY allow them to all go off at once. the only real situations where the directions are exact enough to be useful are when the magus has had time to prepare and should be rewarded for planning ahead.

...but I'd much prefer to avoid any "gatling gun pilum of fire wands"...

The real question to be asked is: What is a legal trigger, how well can the item sense it?
Apparently saying a word/sentence and/or making a motion with it is ok, but why? Can the item hear or feel? Is there some sort of magic or concentration required by the wielder? How can mundanes then use it? How do you direct magical effects, that require a specific target at some distance (e.g. the missile spell wands)?

I don't think i'd have any problem with multiple effects being triggered by one action, but i'd limit the targets. Gatling wand of PoF, but only on 1 target. Every ward cast simultaneously, but all one character. If 1 item does both of these, then the 1 target gets every kind of ward, and blasted with PoF's (unless the wards can only be used on the character who triggered, then 2 targets possible)
Anyone who can make such an item, and spends the time to do so, probably doesn't need it anyway. They could manage very well without it, so let them have it, no harm done. All they created was an item they now need to protect from being stolen :smiling_imp:

Indeed. But at the same time, I like the idea of complicated devices: it permit to do things otherwise impossible with formulaïc spells.
Maybe there is no, explicit, RAW on this ?
Anyway, I appreciated all of your answers: thanks much :slight_smile:
I'll recall those idea if the need to maintain game balance arise. (even if i'm not SG anymore...W?)

Ultraviolet asked the good questions: in particular, what is a legal trigger ?

I'll give my try.

Formulaïc spells usually need gestures and words to be casted. I pretend that those gestures and words reassemble the magical energy then shape it into a "spell" for a magical effect. It's still possible to do it with sheer willpower, this would explain why it's more difficult to cast a spell without words or gesture.

We could understand that enchanted items does the same as some gestures or words, implemented into the device. But some gesture or words are missing, and that activate some power in it. The link between the missing gestures/words and the objet's power is mystical, and have to have something to do with the power. The maker of the item intentionnaly removed a vital part of the enchantement, a part that is filled with the gesture/words that activate the item.

This mean that the trigger is itself a "mystical" gesture or mystical "words". The enchanted item supply most/all of the magical might, direct the flow of energy and shape it into a particular spell. The trigger is like the first part of this chain of events.

The item cannot hear of feel, but it is sensible to gesture and words that have a mystical significance.

It could be difficult for them to learn the right gesture and the right words. Think about Call of Cthulhu spells, etc..

This is a difficult one. This may lead you to ask for aiming rolls, because if the item can't read your thoughts. This wouldn't be like the RAW, use as you will.
Maybe a better idea, you could explain it with concentrating on the target enough to confer some mystical link between the target and the enchanted item. (Law of Sympathy: as with Plato, the image of something is linked to that sensible thing.) So you have to be able to visualise the one you are targetting, as well to be able to sense him in some way. (You have to know where the target is, otherwise you need an arcane connection: it's a limit of hermetic magic.)

For complicated devices, I would allow the SG to reason the linking together as he see fit for game balance.
Exemple: The Gatling Pilum will launch one PoF per round.

Can a single effect have two triggers ?
Let say I have an enchanted item that detect incoming weapon/metal (InTe), linked to a Ward against metal. Could I summon up my Ward against metal when I want ?

In fact, I didn't wanted to put 10 PoF in an object, but was thinking about many wards, linked each to another.
I'm thinking that ALL of them would be linked to another, thus forming a "ring" of linked effect. I would like to be able to begin the "chain" of effects with the ward I choose, depending on situation.

What if (yes I know, I have a lot of questions) I have an enchanted item with a Ward against feary, with two Muto Vim effects. I would like to activate the object that way:
"Shield " -> activate the Ward alone
"Blue Shield" -> activate the Ward with a Wizard boost (vim)
"Red Shield" -> activate the Ward with a MuVi that boost penetration. (if you allow it such a spell.)

Very good points about the legal triggers, very much along what I've always thought.

About the linked triggers with multiple activations...Perhaps this should just cost a few levels of effect (+3? +5? more?). I can easily see that you'd want to voluntarily activate an effect, that would otherwise be activated by link from another spell.

Well, for game balance I would allow one person to activate only a single effect of just one item per round.
However, items that are activated by an environmantal trigger can go off all at the same time. Just think about all those permanently working items that trigger at sunrise/sundown. I would also rule that two effects in a single item can be activated simultaniously if they demand the same trigger. Thus, you can make an item with two permanent effects or use an In-spell to trigger another spell in the same round.
As for trigger actions I would rule any spoken words or movement of the item or a combination of them are valid. To sense an incoming weapon, I would request an InTe spell to detect it first, then activating the ward. However, "getting hit" is a valid trigger IMO, as this results an a (passive) movement of the item.

To the gatling gun I say:
It is instilled vs. enchanted -> this brings about an extra season of work, limits to the material and shape used (because it has to be openend in 1 season, but still hold enough Vis for multiple PoF's). And of course the Vis costs are doubled (Vim is also required, next to Cr/Ig).
One device vs. many -> sometimes a boon, but usually you would like multiple grogs to walk around with boomsticks.
Disenchant -> 1 casting will ruin 1 item, so multiple items last longer against other magi.
Linked trigger -> this costs 6 penetration
Always works -> this might sound nice, but a PoF gatling will create the most spectacular fireworks, enough to tell stories about for the next century.

Having a semi-automatic PoF rifle with a penetration of around 50 in your direct vecinity is not the most comforting thought. So you either have to make darn sure you're never on the receiving end or lower the penetration to below your parma (which renders it useless to many other magi/magical creatures also)

Anyone who desperately wants a PoF-gatling gun may spend some thoughts on a magical conduit to hold spells (I think the spell is called Watching Ward). Once researched you may imbue one per round into any item giving them all the same release option. This can be done just a few hours before using it. This way you may release almost any number of PoF in a single round... :smiling_imp:

Here's the thought process that lead me to the tentative position that I should discard the "a person can only activate one item per action" restriction.

Bob the wand builder has an enchanted device that shoots pillum of fire.
Bob then creates a second enchanted device that shoots pillum of fire with the environmental trigger "shoot a pillum of fire when ever a pillum of fire shoots from a wand that is touching this one". Bob then uses a few seasons and his lab notes to create a big fat bundle of twenty-barreled PoF blasty-ness

Alternately Bob could be wearing an item with two effects the first one is a mind reading effect. The second one is a linked trigger target group (+1 size) rego vim effect that triggers a collection of 100 separate enchanted devices of mass destruction/protection/intelligence retrieval/and so on, each with its triggering action set to go off when twigged by the rego vim spell.

The rule doesn't effectively control the power of magi.

On the other hand simply having the player describe the actions of his character and leaving the question of whether the actions trigger the activation of one or two or twenty enchanted devices up to the story guide and common sense is easier to adjudicate and less artificial.

Why not make something like +3 per effect sharing the same trigger directly or not? (ie something triggers x spells, or spell A triggers spell B triggers spell C...)?

This might be explained by the increasing complexity of such a network of spells.

Maxima mea culpa!
Waiting Ward is a ritual so this would be quite costly to do so. Didn't realize this until I checked my RAW last night. Sorry.

Watching ward is a ritual. It can last indefinitely before being discharged. The question of whether a duration moon or until triggered watching ward would be a ritual or not has not been addressed in the published material to date.

Very true.

Hmm, upon reflection, I am forced to agree. My main reasoning is that the RAW does explicitly state that multiple effects can be set off by the same linked trigger, and IMO strongly implies that each effect has its trigger set independently so they can be the same. Applying a rule that says otherwise would create strange circumstances where, for example, two effects may be set off by an enviromental trigger or a mind-reading effect, but not by a command word.... obviously, this doesn't really limit the power of magi (as you say).

I still don't like the idea of having multiple pilums and so on. But I can't see a way to restrict it by rules without limiting very benign and reasonable implementations, like a ring investing a wearer with several effects and so on. Common sense and troupe decisions should prevail, not rules.

I would have thought that, in the case of multiple PoF, all should be at the same target. If you can afford such an item, they you an also afford a more powerful effect?

One suggestion (which I think is in full keeping with the spirit and letter of rules, although I might be wrong) would be to simply require the effects to have a specific target worked into them or else they go off but fire indiscriminately and likely miss more often than not.

Unless the maker had worked in an arcane connection to the one or more specific targets he/she intended to hit (which would make the enchantments very costly at AC range) or was holding the devices when activating them, the devices themselves should only fire where pointed (wands at any rate). This gives lots of room for SGs to say "The guy dodged the PoF" or "It went over his head, too bad".

For what its worth anyways.