EvilCat wrote:I had an issue with magic resistance too.
Imagine a character with Arcanum d8 > Mystic study d4 > Pyromancer d4 and Arcanum > Psychogenic d8 > Mentalist d8. He's better at psi than at wizardy, and both Influence and Harm effects first deplete Resilience... So, he's better off bombarding a foe with weak Influence mantras, any mantras, even simple Distracts, and _then_, when foe's Resilience hits zero, switching to fireballs. This tactics enables him to eliminate his foe much faster - and sometimes you just have to. As they say, you can't roleplay when you're dead.
The fireballs would do 3 to 16 damage, not too bad, bypassing armor. However, I don’t know that the tactic really allows the caster to eliminate foes that much faster, because as you say, sometimes those Resilience scores are fairly high, and Harm spells deplete that first. Once the target is depleted of Resilience, it may actually be faster to fell him with an “incapacitate” Influence sub-Effect. Or make the target practically incapable of inflicting harm with a Curse spell that reduces all Potential-Harm up to 16 points per round.
Also think of skillful mage who has greatest poison, disease and climate resistance in the party - because whole Arcanum tree adds to Resilience defense.
Yes, I’ve thought about making that an optional rule, or shifting the ability to add the whole Arcanum tree to a unique advantage. I liked it because it allowed magic users to drop magic “bombs” at their own feet, walking through the effects unscathed, which was sort of cool and scary to the opposition. But it does make some awfully resistant to non-standard types of damage once they get deep into a focus in the arcane.
If the GM assumes special laws of magic for the setting and explains them to players, then it's ok, it even allows for some crafty squad tactics. But this concept is not what player expect in the first place. It's artificial (on the contrary to active defenses, which are natural as hell, and that's what makes 'em so great %) .
It was actually a campaign consideration, which is why I've considered "officially" making adding the Arcanum tree to the Resilience DP optional.
I thought of some houserules to fix that, albeit I don't know yet which I will use (probably 1+3 to preserve backward-compatibility):
- Spells that do Harm by means of matter do half of that harm straight to Toughness (for energy-based spells, such as fireball) or even 100% of harm to Toughness (for physical spells, such as earth grip, icicle shower; armor applies).
Half the harm by means of “matter based” spell effects may be more difficult than the current rules for spell casters, and 100% basically makes Harm Effects the equivalent of an attack that bypasses active defense and armor every time, but costs only 2 CPs more to purchase. Dieter Zimmerman suggested allowing Active Defenses against Harm Effects, like Evade or Dodge, when it makes sense. The only drawback to that is it relies more on DM fiat and circumstance, which some GMs really don’t like. So, in all, I think the answer may be to scale back how Resilience is calculated before canceling it out. It really is a simple mechanic. However, I do see the “frustration factor” with mages trying to cast “control mind” spells at a creature that still has plenty of Resilience left. There is a bit of “built in” failure for a time with such spells, even though the points DO deplete a Defense Score, and therefore is productive.
[*]Magic resistance is separate passive defense pool called Antimagic. With that houserule, Resilience would be sum of Resistance tree (except Magic branch) + Willpower tree MRVs, and Antimagic = Arcanum tree + basic Resistance + Resistance's Magic branch MRVs. Magical effects would require Antimagic mowed down to zero, and mundane would have to deal with Resilience.
That makes sense, though I wonder how the average player would appreciate the addition of another DP. I’ve been leaning toward reducing the number of DPs in play (mostly collapsing evade and dodge together, because most don’t seem to care about the semantic differences between them).
[*]When Resilience reaches zero, negative effects still require an opposed roll to affect the target, such as Resistance > Magic > School for magic resistance and Resistance > Poison for poison resistance. Roll is made against spell result or effect's die-rank.
I’d allow that if the spell is maintained into a second round.
[*]Spell resistance works like armor to Toughness harm: resistance roll reduce threat points before they deplete Resilience. This roll can be basic Arcanum, Magic branch of Resistance (excluding basic ranks), Willpower for mind-affecting spells...[/list]
Another good house rule, except that I’d allow a maximum of one die rolled as an ‘armor’ type damage reducer, like maybe the power source tier if it matches the originator’s spell type.
Still, what I’m leaning toward is this:
Eliminate the Arcanum Tree from Resilience (also, increase base spell points for casters to x 1.5 of ability tree MRV). Calculate Resilience as Resistance basic x2, but don’t double the MRV of specializations or masteries in that Ability. So, for example
Resistance basic D8 x2 plus specializatin in "whatever" D4 MRV
Willpower basic D4
= 24 Resilience Points.
Resilience DP would still subsume magic resistance in general, but introduce “Spell Resistance” as an optional advantage, purchased for 2 CPs per die-rank in a specific power source (which must match a power source already known). That would be your “Armor” like roll to resist magic, but it comes at a price.
I resist the idea of arcanists being able to bypass resilience for any Effect with a simple opposed roll, because the results are more powerful than it may first appear. I play-tested the system once without calculating Resilience at x2 Resistance (just Resistance tree MRV alone), and characters dropped like flies from area-effect Harm spells. A slight change can really affect gameplay with this part of the rules.
Don’t forget about the “Eldritch Focus” advantage either.:
Optional Advantage: Eldritch Focus (2 points per die-rank, up to 3D12). Must possess Arcanum basic Skill to purchase, and no die-rank may exceed Basic Arcanum. Each instance of Eldritch Focus must be in a single power source. So an arcanist with D8 Arcanum and D4 Supernatural and D6 in Mystic can purchase an Eldritch Focus of up to D8+D4 (8 CPs) in Supernatural, or D8+D6 (10 CPs) in Mystic. In combat, penetrating a target’s Resilience can take more than a few rounds, especially frustrating enchanters and psychics.
With Eldritch Focus advantage, the arcanist adds one or more die-ranks, rolling the extra dice after the first ability check. Add up the results and compare against the target’s remaining Resilience, without actually inflicting Potential-Harm. If the result exceeds the target’s score, the magic spell takes full effect (as if the victim’s Resilience score were at zero). The drawback is that every use of this advantage depletes the caster’s own Resilience score, which gets dangerous