Frequency of Mercurial Magic

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DivineWannabe
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Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by DivineWannabe » Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:48 pm

I get that magic is unstable and dangerous. But it seems like the range of "normal" results on the Mercurial Magic table is very slim.
My thoughts would be this . . .

Roll a d10. If the result of the roll is equal to or less than the level of the spell being learned, it incurs a Mercurial Magic result. So, the higher level of the spell, the higher the likelihood of having a Mercurial Magic effect.
Thus, 1st level spells will rarely have Mercurial Magic. But, a 10th level spell will ALWAYS have Mercurial Magic.

Additionally, every time that spell is spellburned, a new d10 roll is invoked, with a new chance of Mercurial Magic occurring.

I know this conflicts with the rulebook. I am not looking for confirmation of the rules (unless I have clearly misinterpreted the rules in the book).
I am looking for community feedback/opinion on my idea.
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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by GnomeBoy » Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:46 pm

Absolutely correct me if I've got it wrong, but it sounds like you're rolling Mercurial effects anew with each casting...

The intent is to "define" a Mercurial effect when the spell is gained, and it is then fixed. Your version of Magic Missile is different from my version of Magic Missile, because errors crept into the 'code' along the way -- magical formulae are complex. We can learn each others' versions and each have two Magic Missile spells that work in slightly different ways. I might even cast one in order to specifically get the Mercurial effect (say, 1d7 duplicates of myself) without any particular interest in the spell I'm casting (sending the missiles into a rock or other inert object), "okay, now the 6 of me walk into town to baffle the magistrate..." :mrgreen:

I'll circle back if I've interpreted things wrongly.
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DivineWannabe
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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by DivineWannabe » Sun Feb 23, 2020 7:29 pm

No, not with each casting.
I know you are supposed to roll on the table each time a new spell is learned.
I am saying that with a result of 41-60, it is a very small margin for someone to learn a spell with no extra MM effects.
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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by Jim Skach » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:57 am

DivineWannabe wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 7:29 pm
I am saying that with a result of 41-60, it is a very small margin for someone to learn a spell with no extra MM effects.
Yes...yes it is.

By intention.

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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by GnomeBoy » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:05 pm

Yeah, magic is meant to be weird and scary. Mercurial Magic is part of what gets things there.

It also makes DCC not a D&D clone.

If you don't like how it changes spells, it's easily dropped or changed. But as it is, it provides a lot of interesting possibilities, not the least of which to motivation for Wizards to seek more spells...
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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by Jim Skach » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:13 am

One of the interesting things about DCC is about how at its core it is an embodiment of conflicting concepts. What this does is create a game a that can go in a thousand directions at once, and hold up. For example, it is at once simple and complex.

Mercurial Magic is a great example. On its surface, it seems like a simple addition to the rules that adds variety. It appears to be something that can be dropped without much thought or impact. But dig deeper - it's one of a few things that counterbalance or interact with the possibilities of unlimited casting in DCC.

So I agree with Gnome that it can be dropped without much direct impact. But you might want to consider alternative ways to impact the possibilities of unlimited casting.

YMMV, etc.

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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by DivineWannabe » Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:36 pm

I agree with both of you.

I agree that MM is one of the awesomely unique things about DCC.

As is often said about DCC, it's about RULINGS, not RULES.
I have just found that, playing the MM rules as written, a wizard may find himself with a lot of spells he really doesn't want to use, due to all of the MM effects (mostly bad effects, for this particular character.)

With my idea, a first level wizard is not left with a bunch of spells that he is afraid to cast, thus rendering him nearly useless to the party.
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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by Jim Skach » Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:14 pm

DivineWannabe wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:36 pm
I agree with both of you.

I agree that MM is one of the awesomely unique things about DCC.

As is often said about DCC, it's about RULINGS, not RULES.
I have just found that, playing the MM rules as written, a wizard may find himself with a lot of spells he really doesn't want to use, due to all of the MM effects (mostly bad effects, for this particular character.)

With my idea, a first level wizard is not left with a bunch of spells that he is afraid to cast, thus rendering him nearly useless to the party.
This is where I don't disagree cause it is your game, but disagree because you're patently and obviously wrong :D

In all seriousness - if it is a concern, perhaps provide a path to clean one or more of the spells up - a Quest as it were; to either find different versions of the spell or a method to remove the curse or whatever you want. I guess part of the issue for me is that I'm just opposed to outright giving things to players.

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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by DivineWannabe » Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:00 pm

You bring up an excellent point. That may be a direction I will consider.

On another note, Jim, I see we are practically neighbors. You are in Crystal Lake. I am in Round Lake.
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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by GnomeBoy » Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:56 am

I ran a couple games once for a group, and one guy playing a Wizard was very disappointed in his spells, primarily because of MM.

Then in the first encounter, he realized he could cast the force wall thingy and get a shower of frogs (centered on himself) that fell so hard they did damage.... When he cast the barriers horizontally in sequence so climbing the tower would be easier for everyone, and that the barriers protected the party from the frog-rain, and completely pounded the guards at the top of the tower to death with frogs, he began to see things differently.

Part and parcel of the game is pushing the players to be creative to make the best of a bad lot. Sometimes, they come up with genius ideas that other games would not have inspired them to create. That's what makes DCC fun.
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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by Jim Skach » Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:47 am

GnomeBoy wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:56 am
I ran a couple games once for a group, and one guy playing a Wizard was very disappointed in his spells, primarily because of MM.

Then in the first encounter, he realized he could cast the force wall thingy and get a shower of frogs (centered on himself) that fell so hard they did damage.... When he cast the barriers horizontally in sequence so climbing the tower would be easier for everyone, and that the barriers protected the party from the frog-rain, and completely pounded the guards at the top of the tower to death with frogs, he began to see things differently.

Part and parcel of the game is pushing the players to be creative to make the best of a bad lot. Sometimes, they come up with genius ideas that other games would not have inspired them to create. That's what makes DCC fun.
god I love this story.

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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by Judge_Yossarian » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:12 am

If you want to do this there's an easier way. It seems like most people ignore this rule, but in the judges' section on magic, it describes how characters have to prepare a week and then make a spell check against DC10+spell level any time they attempt to learn any spell, including their starting spells. I like this rule a lot and it worked in my campaign, really making my wizards value the few spells they have (no spell is useless. They just require creativity, and the player will find ways to use a spell if it's all they have).

Anyway, for your purposes, you could just change the mercurial percentage based on how characters roll against that DC to learn the spell. Roll a may 20? Congrats, clean spell. Roll a 3? You can still learn it but you have to roll 3 mercurial effects. This method would be story-consistent and take into account INT and LUCK mods.

Each level, you could give characters a chance to re-learn an existing spell without mercurial (or with different effects) by prepping a week and trying for a higher roll.
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Re: Frequency of Mercurial Magic

Post by DivineWannabe » Sat Feb 29, 2020 2:48 pm

Judge_Yossarian wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:12 am
If you want to do this there's an easier way. It seems like most people ignore this rule, but in the judges' section on magic, it describes how characters have to prepare a week and then make a spell check against DC10+spell level any time they attempt to learn any spell, including their starting spells. I like this rule a lot and it worked in my campaign, really making my wizards value the few spells they have (no spell is useless. They just require creativity, and the player will find ways to use a spell if it's all they have).

Anyway, for your purposes, you could just change the mercurial percentage based on how characters roll against that DC to learn the spell. Roll a may 20? Congrats, clean spell. Roll a 3? You can still learn it but you have to roll 3 mercurial effects. This method would be story-consistent and take into account INT and LUCK mods.

Each level, you could give characters a chance to re-learn an existing spell without mercurial (or with different effects) by prepping a week and trying for a higher roll.
That's an excellent idea as well.
This is why I posted this here on the forum, to get feedback and ideas.
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