Sunday, December 30, 2012

T&T Magic - Fire Spells

If you have ever played my AD&D game, you would know that I have had a house rule in my game since I started playing with a group in Cleveland back in the early 1990's. We have always used a spell point system for magic users because we have always thought the 'x times a day' spell casting was just too limiting.

That is the first thing that I love about T&T magic. WIZ points are used to cast spells. If you have WIZ, you can cast spells. If you are out of WIZ, you cannot cast spells. Easy and makes sense.


One issue I do have with T&T has always been an inconsistency in the spells that are available. In my mind, spells that are lower level should be potentially weaker while spells of higher level should be potentially more formidable. All too often in T&T, there is not much use to cast anything other than TTYF as an offensive spell choice since there is not much else that is as effective.

I looked at the Fire based spells I could find in the T&T 7.5 rule book:
  • Call Flame (1st Level - Conjuring)
    • WIZ Cost: 7
    • Range: Touch
    • Duration: Instant
    • Damage: 1d6 
    • Power up? - Yes/+1d6 for each level increase
  • Blasting Power (3rd Level - Combat)
    • WIZ Cost: 9
    • Range: 70 Feet
    • Duration: Instant
    • Damage: d6 equal to caster level + Combat Adds
    • Power up? - Yes/double damage dice for each level increase
  • Fire at Will (3rd Level - Combat)
    • WIZ Cost: 10
    • Range: 10 Feet
    • Duration: 1 combat turn/level
    • Damage: equal to level of the spell
    • Power up? - Yes/double duration for each level increase
By way of comparison, here is the standard TTYF spell
  • Take That You Fiend! (1st Level - Combat)
    • WIZ Cost: 6
    • Range: 100 Feet/Line of sight
    • Duration: Instant
    • Damage: Equal to INT Attribute of Caster (Double previous amount with each level increase)
    • Power up? - Yes/double previous damage with each level increase
Here is an example for a wizard casting each spell at 3rd level:

Jherrrii the Great Wizard (3rd Level Wizard)
INT: 20
WIZ: 33
Combat Adds: +10
  • Call Flame - powered up to 3rd Level - 3d6 (21 WIZ - up to 18 damage)
  • Blasting Power - 3d6 +10 (9 WIZ - up to 28 damage)
  • Fire at Will - 3 damage for 3 rounds (10 WIZ - up to 9 damage)
  • TTYF! - powered up to 3rd Level - 80 damage (18 WIZ - 80 damage)
*     *     *     *
There is no doubt that TTYF! is so powerful at any level that you cast it, it will always be the offensive spell of choice. For a spell that is available at 1st Level, it increases perhaps a bit too much, making it very unlikely a spell caster would use anything else if you are targeting another combatant.

Looking at the 3 'Fire' Spells:

Call Flame
I think Call Flame is good as a first level spell. It presents an opportunity to deal some decent damage at a low level. It also does not get overly powerful as you level up. You would more than likely use this spell in situations where you would want to save on WIZ points when fighting a weaker foe. I think the WIZ cost is a bit high though. Compared to TTYF (6 WIZ), it does not make sense that something would cost more to do less damage.
  • I would keep Call Flame a 1st Level spell, but reduce the WIZ cost to 3.
Blasting Power
This spell will be as powerful as your combat adds, which would vary based on the wizard. I think it is odd to have a spell that uses combat adds. The fact that the power up will double the dice rolled, it makes it a very powerful spell to use by a more accomplished wizard. The WIZ cost seems to be fine at 9.
  • The only change I would think about for this one is to either keep it a 3rd level spell and limit the power up ability to one additional d6 per power up, or increase the level to a 4th or 5th level spell.
Fire at Will
It would make sense to me that 'Fire at Will' should be a 1st level spell. The WIZ cost is way too high for what it does and the damage is just not going to make a spell that would be used very frequently as you get higher in level. It may make sense to use it at lower levels until you get a chance to cast a better spell, but why would you even cast this if you have TTYF at your disposal? If you were to power up this spell, it does increase the damage for each power up by 1 and extends the duration by double. This does make it a bit more formidable. Also, I guess if you could cast other spells while this ball of fire is able to fire at will and change targets, then there could be something there.
  • I would make this a 1st Level spell and reduce the WIZ cost to 3. I do not see a reason to use this spell as a 3rd level spell that costs 10 WIZ. As a lower level spell that could be powered up to be a bit more effective, I could see using it

3 comments:

  1. Good points Jherrrii. I think that these kinds of imbalances are common in most RPGs. I think a lot of it has to do with role playing than the mechanics. The different weapons have similar issues; some weapons have fewer dice and adds than other but cost and weigh more. Choosing to use one of these less efficient weapons can simply be a choice of role playing; that weapon simply fits the character better. The same an be said for the different spells. Perhaps you want a wizard that specializes in fire-based spells, then he's more likely to use blasting power or fire at will.

    There are also other advantages of spells like Call Flame that go beyond simple damage. You can start fires with these spells. Direct the flame at your targets clothing and it will have bigger problems than a 1 shot spell. The same is true for the other fire spells. In a GM based game at least you should consider the side effects of throwing fire around.

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  2. Regarding 'Call Flame', I would liken that to using a blow torch to start a campfire as opposed to a match. In AD&D/D&D terms, I would think simple cantrips could produce a stream of fire to light a torch or a campfire.

    Agreed though...there are many more uses for Call Flame than just using as an offensive Combat spell. Thanks Dan!

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  3. Good analysis of certain combat spells in T&T. Another thought for you: What if certain monsters had immunities to certain spells? I'm not talking kremm resistance, but specific spell resistance. If TTYF is so commonly cast in a world, maybe it would also be the case that more monsters would more easily develop resistance or immunity to it than to other spells. Just a thought to help balance the magic system without changing the spells.

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