Let's Talk About Spellburn

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Vanguard
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Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Vanguard »

I've been playing DCC RPG on and off since it was released. I've played long campaigns, modules, one-shots, etc. No matter the arrangement, I've found one thing to be true: Wizards break the game.

This isn't a unique problem to DCC. In every edition of D&D I've played Wizards eventually become disproportionately powerful. In DCC, the problem is maybe the worst it's ever been because, IMO, DCC Wizards are the most Wizard Wizards to ever Wizard within the universe of fantasy games.

I'm also not the first person to bring up this issue. It's appeared online, there are threads on this board dedicated to it, and it's something my group has discussed on more than one occasion. We've tried to introduce potential solutions to the problem like making all spellburn permanent or capping the amount a character can burn on a single casting. All of those solutions have felt inadequate. They either shortened Wizard lifespans, exacerbated other problems (ie, the Wizard holding back until the big bad), or worse, made the class less fun.

I'm proposing a few changes to address this that aren't totally arbitrary and also maintain the DCC flavor.

Spellburn cannot be done at the time of casting. Being able to funnel all of your vitality into a single spell at will is part of why they break the game so easily. In a large party, or with a player that uses restraint, it is very easy for them to hold back and unleash on the boss. More importantly, the act of spellburning does not make sense rules as written. Using table 5-1, some of these actions would take far longer than a round or turn would allow (see: sacrificing a pound of flesh, branding themselves with a hot iron, tattooing themselves, removing a fingernail and burning it).

All spellburn must be done in advance. The ritualistic nature of these actions imply downtime. Before the Wizard sets out for the day, they may commune with supernatural powers of the universe, trading flesh, blood, and soul to those entities. At the time, the Wizard must choose how much to sacrifice. The Wizard loses those stats instantly, and notes the amount of power they've banked for the day.

The act of spellburning is not simply mechanical, but part of your character's story. This is to say that as the GM, they must introduce the supernatural beings you are bartering your vitality with. No Wizard may Patron bond without first establishing contact and proving themselves worthy with that Patrons underlings. Only once they have shown themselves capable of wielding great power will the patron be open to longer term arrangements. GMs are encourage have a table handy for determining who answers these calls. It might be different every time.

Extreme acts of spellburn automatically trigger a debt to a Patron. Being able to pull a critical hit out of your hat is extremely powerful. Creatures do not lend this much power lightly and demand more than just the barter of blood and flesh. Wealth, a deed, or something similar is required. Characters who fail to pay may find their Patrons less amicable the next time they ask for a favor.

Thoughts?
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by GnomeBoy »

For myself, I'd go a simpler route and suggest that the bigger the spellburn, the more attention you draw. I created the Anti-Matternaut in the first run of the GFA as an example of that. Maybe there are a multitude of creatures that are drawn in various ways by the fluctuations in the phlogiston when spellcasting happens, and the bigger the spellburn, the bigger the fluctuation.

I think what you've got could make an interesting aspect of a campaign world, though. It's especially nice how the 'burn coming at the start of the day avoids the consequence-less act of "I'll burn a ton now, at the end of the adventure -- it's just a one-shot afterall!"
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Vanguard »

GnomeBoy wrote:For myself, I'd go a simpler route and suggest that the bigger the spellburn, the more attention you draw. I created the Anti-Matternaut in the first run of the GFA as an example of that. Maybe there are a multitude of creatures that are drawn in various ways by the fluctuations in the phlogiston when spellcasting happens, and the bigger the spellburn, the bigger the fluctuation.

I think what you've got could make an interesting aspect of a campaign world, though. It's especially nice how the 'burn coming at the start of the day avoids the consequence-less act of "I'll burn a ton now, at the end of the adventure -- it's just a one-shot afterall!"
That's one of the big things I'm trying to solve for since smart players can easily keep a reserve for the big bad. Forcing the Wizard to gamble a bit and decide how much to weaken themselves introduces an element of uncertainty, which not only fits magic thematically but also gets at one of the core design features of DCC. I also suspect that Wizards will be more willing to drop a few points into each of their spells with the upfront expenditure since they've already made the investment.

Mechanically, it also does something interesting where losing spells becomes much more serious. Even Wizards who feel relatively safe will probably burn a small amount in case their rolls go poorly.

These changes definitely imply a particular kind of world which might now be the right tone for every group. It adds a level of grittiness and resource management that I'm drawn to in any kind of dungeon crawl situation.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by GnomeBoy »

So up til now, has massive Spellburn had no consequence?

Okay, so they save it up for the so-called "Big Bad".... Does nothing then happen for a week or two after that's done, allowing them to heal it all back?

I've always figured that the action should be unpredictable, so that sometimes they should have time to heal up mostly or completely, but other times they get whisked right into another adventure, or face some huge obstacle on the way home....
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Jim Skach »

GnomeBoy wrote:So up til now, has massive Spellburn had no consequence?

Okay, so they save it up for the so-called "Big Bad".... Does nothing then happen for a week or two after that's done, allowing them to heal it all back?

I've always figured that the action should be unpredictable, so that sometimes they should have time to heal up mostly or completely, but other times they get whisked right into another adventure, or face some huge obstacle on the way home....
I wonder the same.

I know in our campaign, the only time it has been an issue is when, right after the end of an adventure where they were in a relatively safe place, the wizard found the Find Familiar spell, spell burned a ton, and then waited a while to let the burn heal naturally. Even then, things were occurring that caused some consternation. In regular play, once she burned there were always repercussions later just through normal game play (lowered HP, AC, Melee Attack, etc.).

Similar to Luck in many respects...
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Ozerulz »

I have a suggestion that you’ll probably think won’t work but I’d try introducing a d30 roll for spellcasting. I think you’ll find it changes things quite a bit.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Fenris Ulfhamr »

With the nature of some adventures being things that happen to or around the characters (as opposed to the quests they initiate) I often roll a die to see how much downtime occurred between just for this purpose. Burn all ya like, but the monsters won't wait till your 100% to come callin! :twisted:

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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Vanguard »

They have definitely encountered something after an adventure "ends" that was a challenge and where a Wizard would have been helpful. I don't also know that it's a solution to throw curveballs at them all the time after a boss. All campaigns have downtime and there are only so many times you could do that before it becomes tired and predictable. (A good example of consequences is when the Wizard burned themselves down and couldn't help in a situation where a spell trap went off and their familiar got killed because they couldn't determine if the door was magical and the Thief failed their check to find traps).

I've also done the thing where large burns attract the attention of supernatural beings. It's a good plot point and probably something GMs should be ready for, but it's not a solution. So a supernatural being shows up and. . .what? Want a spell duel? Wants to employ the Wizard as a thrall in their designs?

A D30 is absolutely going to make things worse (the Wizard in our current campaign currently casts on a D24).

My thinking on this has moved from "this would be neat" to "I'm definitely doing this," so more interested in feedback on the idea/potential issues it introduces as the experience I'm describing is well documented in my group as well as others.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Ozerulz »

How does a d30 make things worse?

I bought DCC over a year ago and was thinking of using it to start my new campaign. After reading through it I loved the hell out of it but it had a number of holes IMO. What you’ve been describing was one of them. It presents itself has far more deadly yet there’s lots of ways to escape death. Spellburn Luck etc

It took about a year to come up with some ways to power down magic users. Not enough time to devote to gaming I’m afraid.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Raven_Crowking »

Remember that every "1" means that a point of Spellburn is permanently lost.

In addition, there is a table of Spellburn actions that you can use to complicate things.
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Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Vanguard »

Ozerulz wrote:How does a d30 make things worse?

I bought DCC over a year ago and was thinking of using it to start my new campaign. After reading through it I loved the hell out of it but it had a number of holes IMO. What you’ve been describing was one of them. It presents itself has far more deadly yet there’s lots of ways to escape death. Spellburn Luck etc

It took about a year to come up with some ways to power down magic users. Not enough time to devote to gaming I’m afraid.
Roller higher on the die chain gives the player access to a range of results that are normally only achievable through the use of spellburn. While certainly no guarantee they'll roll in the mid 20s or higher, it just leads to the potential for more powerful spell effects with and without spellburn.
Raven_Crowking wrote:Remember that every "1" means that a point of Spellburn is permanently lost.

In addition, there is a table of Spellburn actions that you can use to complicate things.
I don't know if my players have gotten extremely lucky, but I don't think this has happened a single time in a year of play. They've definitely rolled 1 on spellcasting and gotten corruption from it, but not the combo of spellburn + critically failing. It's a good rule for sure, just not one that addresses the issues I'm talking about.

And to that spellburn action table, that's one of the things I called out in my post as not really making sense using the in game time economy as written. There is no way that branding yourself with a hot iron, for example, happens in the same round in which one casts a spell, unless the character was actively heating an iron prior to this. I like the ritualistic nature of it, but I think this is why treating it as something the Wizard or Elf does ahead of time makes more sense.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Raven_Crowking »

Vanguard wrote:
Raven_Crowking wrote:Remember that every "1" means that a point of Spellburn is permanently lost.

In addition, there is a table of Spellburn actions that you can use to complicate things.
I don't know if my players have gotten extremely lucky, but I don't think this has happened a single time in a year of play. They've definitely rolled 1 on spellcasting and gotten corruption from it, but not the combo of spellburn + critically failing. It's a good rule for sure, just not one that addresses the issues I'm talking about.

And to that spellburn action table, that's one of the things I called out in my post as not really making sense using the in game time economy as written. There is no way that branding yourself with a hot iron, for example, happens in the same round in which one casts a spell, unless the character was actively heating an iron prior to this. I like the ritualistic nature of it, but I think this is why treating it as something the Wizard or Elf does ahead of time makes more sense.
Within the confines of the rules, Magic Here and Magic There on page 358 might help with over-reliance on spells, although it doesn't address Spellburn specifically. Magic should not seem reliable within the game milieu.

As a judge, you might rule that some Spellburn actions take longer than a round to complete....but I hear you on this. Some of the results don't even necessarily equate to stat loss.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Vanguard »

Raven_Crowking wrote:
Vanguard wrote:
Raven_Crowking wrote:Remember that every "1" means that a point of Spellburn is permanently lost.

In addition, there is a table of Spellburn actions that you can use to complicate things.
I don't know if my players have gotten extremely lucky, but I don't think this has happened a single time in a year of play. They've definitely rolled 1 on spellcasting and gotten corruption from it, but not the combo of spellburn + critically failing. It's a good rule for sure, just not one that addresses the issues I'm talking about.

And to that spellburn action table, that's one of the things I called out in my post as not really making sense using the in game time economy as written. There is no way that branding yourself with a hot iron, for example, happens in the same round in which one casts a spell, unless the character was actively heating an iron prior to this. I like the ritualistic nature of it, but I think this is why treating it as something the Wizard or Elf does ahead of time makes more sense.
Within the confines of the rules, Magic Here and Magic There on page 358 might help with over-reliance on spells, although it doesn't address Spellburn specifically. Magic should not seem reliable within the game milieu.

As a judge, you might rule that some Spellburn actions take longer than a round to complete....but I hear you on this. Some of the results don't even necessarily equate to stat loss.

My players have definitely run into some fun things that impacted magic. Areas where casting is muted, enemies that ignore the effects of spells, unique functions of spells that help or hinder. Similar to introducing post-boss twists, these are good in moderation I’ve found.

My initial post on this is, I think, a good starting place for this but probably needs to be fleshed out. I want to expand that Spellburn table to account for specific rituals as a kind of secret GM table on who the Wizard is asking for. I’m thinking effects tied to what kind of action could influence the outcome (ie using fire might invoke a creature associated with the at element, rituals involving blood would be demonic etc). I’m going to sketch something up this weekend and will share it.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Ozerulz »

to minimize wizard dominance I restricted spellburn to stamina only and a system shock check when doing so.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by herecomethejudge »

Vanguard wrote: And to that spellburn action table, that's one of the things I called out in my post as not really making sense using the in game time economy as written. There is no way that branding yourself with a hot iron, for example, happens in the same round in which one casts a spell, unless the character was actively heating an iron prior to this. I like the ritualistic nature of it, but I think this is why treating it as something the Wizard or Elf does ahead of time makes more sense.
Like anything else in DCC, use common sense in terms of the storytelling. There are also magic boosts like Circle of Mages which explicitly state they take a long time to perform, so they can't be used within combat. Some spellburn methods could be done on the spot (cutting and pouring out blood, for example), while a day-long fast obviously takes a day.

For my money, spellburn doesn't give *enough* of a bonus, particularly for characters that are already weak, but that's me.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Raven_Crowking »

herecomethejudge wrote:For my money, spellburn doesn't give *enough* of a bonus, particularly for characters that are already weak, but that's me.
In most of the games I run, players are very very reluctant to spellburn...and even when they do, they do not spellburn much...so I haven't had huge issues with it.

And, even then, I have also had casters definitely "feel" weakened by what spellburning they have done, when it comes to crossing a chasm or fording a raging torrent. Or having to make a Fort or Ref save.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Gizrond »

Raven_Crowking wrote:
herecomethejudge wrote:For my money, spellburn doesn't give *enough* of a bonus, particularly for characters that are already weak, but that's me.
In most of the games I run, players are very very reluctant to spellburn...and even when they do, they do not spellburn much...so I haven't had huge issues with it.

And, even then, I have also had casters definitely "feel" weakened by what spellburning they have done, when it comes to crossing a chasm or fording a raging torrent. Or having to make a Fort or Ref save.
A few years ago in one of my games the wizard held out until the big fight at the end of the adventure and then pumped 20 points into an epic Enlarge. It kinda broke the final battle and he was pretty much an invalid for weeks after, but the group still talks about that moment to this day.

I wouldn't change that for anything.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by GnomeBoy »

Is anybody doling out less or no XP for these scenes of massive Spellburn, since they make those encounters so easy?

On the one hand, it's resources used up in a big way, which should be worth higher XP.

But just the idea of "I saved up to stomp the evil Duke and his Mage all at once" seems counter to the spirit of things and feels like it should be worth little-to-no XP... "You engineered this win by pure metagaming, so..."
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by CapnZapp »

My players often save their massive spellburn for when they acquire spells where rolling really well grant permanent (or near-permanent) benefits.

For example, one of my players just learned Invisible Companion. After an adventure where he was reasonably certain there would be a few weeks of "downtime", he cast the spell with a spellburn bonus that pretty much ensured the 34+ result.

Somehow I doubt it was the intention of the writer designing the spell that, pretty much regardless of level, the caster should be given the ability to introduce a servant warrior massively overpowered for the level of the party with significant reliability, and have that servant remain for a length of time that for all intents and purposes is "throughout the rest of the campaign".

There definitely is a piece of the puzzle lacking here. I have a hard time seeing nobody in the dev team nor any of the game's playtesters brought up the fact that spellburn means that pretty much every long-term spell (that you can cast equally well between scenarios than in them) WILL be cast between scenarios, and for a level of effect that by any reasonable standard should have been reserved for high level heroes...

The only way I can make heads of tails of this, is if the dev team used a gentleman's agreement not to perform this obvious minmax but forgot to discuss this with the reader of the rulebook.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Bobjester »

CapnZapp wrote: Sun May 08, 2022 12:08 pm Somehow I doubt it was the intention of the writer designing the spell that, pretty much regardless of level, the caster should be given the ability to introduce a servant warrior massively overpowered for the level of the party with significant reliability, and have that servant remain for a length of time that for all intents and purposes is "throughout the rest of the campaign".
I agree that players metagaming results to skew balance wildly in their favor can disrupt the game, and should be heavily frowned upon.
GnomeBoy wrote: Sat May 18, 2019 9:11 pm Is anybody doling out less or no XP for these scenes of massive Spellburn, since they make those encounters so easy?

On the one hand, it's resources used up in a big way, which should be worth higher XP.

But just the idea of "I saved up to stomp the evil Duke and his Mage all at once" seems counter to the spirit of things and feels like it should be worth little-to-no XP... "You engineered this win by pure metagaming, so..."
Your player could conceivably conjure up a powerful companion, or even rule an army at lower than intended levels simply by finding a loophole in the written rules, but the bottom line is that when encounters become so easily handled, there is not much experience being won.

I've always felt that the definition of "experience" is centered around a challenge. Difficult, but manageable. Etc.

Just have to have the nous as the Judge to award as little XP as possible.

Now that is not to say that clever players who think of a one-time solution should not be rewarded for their cleverness (they should be!), I am addressing metagaming the rules that will tank any encounter henceforth.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by CapnZapp »

If you are suggesting that I (as the Judge) should "solve" this by witholding XP from future encounters, then I am not sure what to say.

That feels needlessly punishing and vindictive. I really feel this reasoning to be entirely backwards.

Why give the players powerful options, only to - if they use them - say "nah now you've made things too simple for yourselves, now you won't get any rewards".

That just fuels player resentment: "why give me rules which, if used correctly, gets me punished later??"

Wouldn't it be FAR preferable if the spellburn rules included some mechanism that actually tried to curtail cheese?

During an adventure, the spellburn rules are perhaps generous, but not broken. Even if a Wizard ends the bad guy with a single spell, he will be out of commission for several weeks thereafter - just make sure there always is a chance/risk of the next adventure starting only days later, and there is adequate checks and balances in the game.

But when you spellburn between adventures? Springing a new adventure at the characters despite the wizard first making sure everybody is on-board with chilling out for the next month feels like you do this for only one reason: to spite the spellburning wizard.

I greatly dislike that kind of design philosophy. I would MUCH rather the game didn't allow sequences of actions it knows are disruptive, than allow them, and dump the responsibility of keeping them balanced squarely in the Judge's lap.
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Bobjester »

CapnZapp wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 12:47 am If you are suggesting that I (as the Judge) should "solve" this by witholding XP from future encounters, then I am not sure what to say.

That feels needlessly punishing and vindictive. I really feel this reasoning to be entirely backwards.
Bobjester wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 9:58 pmYour player could conceivably conjure up a powerful companion, or even rule an army at lower than intended levels simply by finding a loophole in the written rules, but the bottom line is that when encounters become so easily handled, there is not much experience being won.

I've always felt that the definition of "experience" is centered around a challenge. Difficult, but manageable. Etc.

Just have to have the nous as the Judge to award as little XP as possible.
CapnZapp wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 12:47 amWhy give the players powerful options, only to - if they use them - say "nah now you've made things too simple for yourselves, now you won't get any rewards".
Bobjester wrote:Now that is not to say that clever players who think of a one-time solution should not be rewarded for their cleverness (they should be!), I am addressing metagaming the rules that will tank any encounter henceforth.
CapnZapp wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 12:47 amThat just fuels player resentment: "why give me rules which, if used correctly, gets me punished later??"
Taking a rule, or several disconnected rules to create a loophole that takes far more advantage on the game than intended is not the same as 'giving me rules which if used correctly gets me punished later'.

The point is that in the example above that a player used spellburn to max out a spell effect making it permanent and would therefore affect all future game play.
Maybe that example is worth a level worth of XP at the moment that the player accomplished it, but that character should be going up against comparable encounters in order to gain the normal levels of XP from that point going forward.
CapnZapp wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 12:47 amWouldn't it be FAR preferable if the spellburn rules included some mechanism that actually tried to curtail cheese?
Sure. The rulebook could handle another page or two of rules. ;)
Or the Judge can create in-campaign caveats on-the-fly as the situation dictates, and even collaborate online to come up with a list or table of said caveats.

Not every Judge will need fully fleshed out rules, as some players are very reluctant to use spellburn at all.
The rules as written have enough jumping off points for on-the-fly rulings and campaign building moments.

But I am not at all suggesting that threads like this one is useless or unneeded.
I love the ideas presented by the OP, and I look forward to bending these ideas to fit my own campaign.
But I am also not tossing away every idea I don't like - I simply apply my own measuring device to it to see how it fits into my game.
CapnZapp wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 12:47 amDuring an adventure, the spellburn rules are perhaps generous, but not broken. Even if a Wizard ends the bad guy with a single spell, he will be out of commission for several weeks thereafter - just make sure there always is a chance/risk of the next adventure starting only days later, and there is adequate checks and balances in the game.
Rendering one's own self out of commission for weeks of downtime seems punishment enough, or rather - the price paid for using such power.
CapnZapp wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 12:47 amBut when you spellburn between adventures? Springing a new adventure at the characters despite the wizard first making sure everybody is on-board with chilling out for the next month feels like you do this for only one reason: to spite the spellburning wizard.
I apply real-time to in-campaign time away from adventuring just so players don't feel like their characters aren't cheated out of any downtime that they need to heal up and get things paid for & built.
CapnZapp wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 12:47 amI greatly dislike that kind of design philosophy. I would MUCH rather the game didn't allow sequences of actions it knows are disruptive, than allow them, and dump the responsibility of keeping them balanced squarely in the Judge's lap.
My players aren't fans of this philosophy either.
I apply some events that disrupt downtime only during game-play - as part of an ongoing campaign.

Between adventures - between sessions - may take days or weeks depending on when the next game session is scheduled. Weekly games - there will always be 7 days of uninterrupted downtime for the characters.
Bi-weekly games - 2 weeks downtime, etc.
Quarterly - 3-4 months downtime, and etc.

Unless the characters are stuck in a dungeon when the session ends, in which case the next session picks up right where the last session left off.

Also realize that real-time = campaign downtime will have the characters pay for weekly upkeep and daily expenses out of their pouches & coffers.
Have the players subtract x amount of GP from their character sheets.
Wizards who were counting on the borderline amounts of wealth stored up after the last session to fund both their weekly upkeep, daily expenses AND their spellburn/spell research may find that they don't have enough gold to do it all and must wait until the next adventures net treasure division is enough to fund their research.
“The wounds received in battle bestow honor, they do not take it away...”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
CapnZapp
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by CapnZapp »

Just like it is better to not allow Detect Evil, realize it ruins investigation adventures, and then supply every evil guy with a Hat of Non-Detection...

...it is better if the rules doesn't simply allow casters to spend 30 points on spellburn, realize there's no real cost unless you're in the middle of something, and then require the Judge to always rush the campaign along by starting the next adventure right after the previous one ended.

It's just so sloppy rules design, like as if we learned nothing from fifty years of writing better rpg rules. We deserved better back in 2012 when DCC was first published, and we certainly deserve better now, when the game is in its 8th (9th?) printing, and there is STILL complete silence from the publisher on this issue (and, sadly, many others).
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by Father Goose »

CapnZapp wrote: Mon May 16, 2022 3:31 am Just like it is better to not allow Detect Evil, realize it ruins investigation adventures, and then supply every evil guy with a Hat of Non-Detection...

...it is better if the rules doesn't simply allow casters to spend 30 points on spellburn, realize there's no real cost unless you're in the middle of something, and then require the Judge to always rush the campaign along by starting the next adventure right after the previous one ended.

It's just so sloppy rules design, like as if we learned nothing from fifty years of writing better rpg rules. We deserved better back in 2012 when DCC was first published, and we certainly deserve better now, when the game is in its 8th (9th?) printing, and there is STILL complete silence from the publisher on this issue (and, sadly, many others).
DCC rules assume that a Judge is smart enough to figure out what works best for his table and then empowers him to do so.
Insisting that not having a specific rule for everything you think is a problem is sloppy design just shows that you missed the best part of DCC.
CapnZapp
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Re: Let's Talk About Spellburn

Post by CapnZapp »

Father Goose wrote: Thu May 19, 2022 10:29 am DCC rules assume that a Judge is smart enough to figure out what works best for his table and then empowers him to do so.
Insisting that not having a specific rule for everything you think is a problem is sloppy design just shows that you missed the best part of DCC.
I am sure you're simply trying to defend the rules designers for not bothering with an issue you didn't find problematic.

More in general, however, this is incredibly dismissive of what rules are supposed to help GMs with.

Let me repeat my earlier example:
CapnZapp wrote: Mon May 16, 2022 3:31 am Just like it is better to not allow Detect Evil, realize it ruins investigation adventures, and then supply every evil guy with a Hat of Non-Detection...
If I got a dollar for every old-school aficionado that would defend the old-school way of doing things, I would be a millionaire today.

That does not change the fact that introducing problematic features into your game and shoveling the responsibility into the lap of the GM makes for a much worse game experience, than if the designers went the extra mile, and considered the consequences of their features, and then did something about that.

Just like D&D is much better off without a spell that can instantly detect people pretending to be a friend when they really are your enemy, requiring an increasingly ridiculous set of countermeasures, DCC would have been much better off not first granting Wizards a way to pretty much ensure getting a maximized spell result (except when rolling a 1) and then answering the follow-up questions with deafening silence.

The fact you might never had any issues with alignment and divination spells because you always played in dungeons and "NPCs were there to be killed" does not change this fact.

But this discussion isn't helped by people defending lofty principles. Let's return to the specific issue at hand:

Why couldn't they at least bring up the subject? Why not spend a sentence or three on the issue of spellburning right before downtime, and offer alternative costs that doesn't become trivial if you have a week or three to spare? If they did that, maybe they would have concluded that spellburn needs a cost that works also outside the dungeon, in between adventures.

Allowing even low-level casters to reach awesome 30+ results is fine, but DCC lets us Judges down by not thinking this through properly.

Asking this low-level caster to pay with all his ability score points (pretty much) inside a dungeon is fine. But paying that same cost becomes trivial if you can just say "I spend the next five weeks in bed."

And suggesting that Judges should stress out his players by having the next adventure right around the corner is a poor solution, directly equivalent to "just have every BBEG wear a Hat of Non-Detection" in my mind. Lots of campaigns become richer and better if the GM can say "during the harsh winter you all huddle inside, thankful you don't have to adventure" or similar. Having to pay the price of "during this winter I cast three spells, all with +30 to my rolls, since I have plenty of time to recuperate" is a large drawback.

And a completely unnecessary one, since we should have learned to do better by now. What passed for decent rules design in the 1970s does not meet expectations in the 2010s.

Insinuating the problem here is only that I'm not smart enough as a Judge and GM really only reflects poorly on you.
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