some possibly obvious questions before my first session

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thekidxp
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some possibly obvious questions before my first session

Post by thekidxp »

Alright, so I just have a couple of questions. I'm about to run my first session in a couple of weeks and want to be prepared.
I don't quite get how the magic system works. I know about the random casting and those things but how clerics and wizards actually acquire spells is a bit of a mystery to me. Do they roll randomly unless they have a scroll or tome? Do they have to wait to find the spells? Does that only apply to wizards since clerics get theirs from their gods? Also does the mercurial magic apply to only wizards?
How do you handle equipment? I plan on playing a whole campaign with these characters and I know that magic items are supposed to be rare but is there a middle ground for not true magic items but things that still provide some smaller boost to keep rewarding players with small upgrades?

Are there some better rules for making sure that things are fairly well balanced? I know it's a little out of the spirit of the system and I'm all for letting my players <b>f*ck</b> up and get themselves killed but I'd like to know that I put a challenge in front of them is beatable. Or at the very least when something should be way too easy or way too hard.

Along with the last point. Does this system work in an extended campaign? Basically everything I find is for the funnel and levels like 1 and 2. I'm alright with creating my own stuff and improvising when I need to and I'll create my own dungeons but it's nice to have a starting point of here's about how things should run.

I keep reading that it's up to me as the judge and that's fine with me but I'm curious how other people have handled these things. I created a mini funnel for my girlfriend just to test things out and things ended up about the right difficulty with her not being able to see the whole dungeon and two of her four characters escaping after completing their mission with 1hp but it required a bit of on the fly adjustment from me. I didn't hold back or fudge numbers but I did adjust some encounters on the fly to make sure it was in the right difficulty.
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Raven_Crowking
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Re: some possibly obvious questions before my first session

Post by Raven_Crowking »

thekidxp wrote:Alright, so I just have a couple of questions. I'm about to run my first session in a couple of weeks and want to be prepared.
Cool. I'm going to give you my answer to your questions, but be aware that the system encourages you to do things the way that you like best. The judge is always right.

I highly recommend starting with a 0-level funnel, which allows you to layer on complexity as you go.
I don't quite get how the magic system works. I know about the random casting and those things but how clerics and wizards actually acquire spells is a bit of a mystery to me. Do they roll randomly unless they have a scroll or tome? Do they have to wait to find the spells? Does that only apply to wizards since clerics get theirs from their gods? Also does the mercurial magic apply to only wizards?
In my games, wizards (and elves) learn spells - it requires 1 week per spell level, plus a DC 10 + spell level Intelligence Check. Add your level to the check.

Clerics gain their spells through divine election. I.e., it is the god that supplies the spell, not the cleric. Researching religious texts may alter this, though.

Both spells are random. In the case of wizards and elves, it is random in terms of what they may learn. They are welcome to seek out new spells, or wait to fill those slots with higher-level spells.

Mercurial magic applies to wizards and elves.
How do you handle equipment? I plan on playing a whole campaign with these characters and I know that magic items are supposed to be rare but is there a middle ground for not true magic items but things that still provide some smaller boost to keep rewarding players with small upgrades?
What they can buy, they can buy. Otherwise, they have to adventure for it, and recover what they can out of the blistering ruins. It is perfectly acceptable to have a well-made non-magical weapon that does damage at 1 bump up the dice chain (1d7 for a short sword, for instance), or a poor weapon that does damage 1 bump lower (1d5 for a short sword). You can grant whatever bonuses or penalties you wish without invoking magic.
Are there some better rules for making sure that things are fairly well balanced? I know it's a little out of the spirit of the system and I'm all for letting my players <b>f*ck</b> up and get themselves killed but I'd like to know that I put a challenge in front of them is beatable. Or at the very least when something should be way too easy or way too hard.
There is no formula for this, as far as I know. You can use the published modules as a rough guide. Again, if you start from a funnel, you layer complexity as you go, and it helps to gauge what works and what does not.
Along with the last point. Does this system work in an extended campaign? Basically everything I find is for the funnel and levels like 1 and 2. I'm alright with creating my own stuff and improvising when I need to and I'll create my own dungeons but it's nice to have a starting point of here's about how things should run.
This system is brilliant for extended campaigns. For a product list, see http://ravencrowking.blogspot.ca/2015/0 ... -list.html
I keep reading that it's up to me as the judge and that's fine with me but I'm curious how other people have handled these things. I created a mini funnel for my girlfriend just to test things out and things ended up about the right difficulty with her not being able to see the whole dungeon and two of her four characters escaping after completing their mission with 1hp but it required a bit of on the fly adjustment from me. I didn't hold back or fudge numbers but I did adjust some encounters on the fly to make sure it was in the right difficulty.
Cool. Keep it up!
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.
thekidxp
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Re: some possibly obvious questions before my first session

Post by thekidxp »

Thanks for the advice. That's what I'm gathering from seeing how other people handle things I think it took a bit to really click how things work. I do appreciate hearing how other judges are handling spells and items and it's given me some good baselines to work around.
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GnomeBoy
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Re: some possibly obvious questions before my first session

Post by GnomeBoy »

thekidxp wrote:Alright, so I just have a couple of questions. I'm about to run my first session in a couple of weeks and want to be prepared.
Let's see if I have anything different to add or say than Mr. Crowking did...

I don't quite get how the magic system works. I know about the random casting and those things but how clerics and wizards actually acquire spells is a bit of a mystery to me. Do they roll randomly unless they have a scroll or tome? Do they have to wait to find the spells? Does that only apply to wizards since clerics get theirs from their gods? Also does the mercurial magic apply to only wizards?
Acquiring spells is a question of expedience... The Zeroes level up: the Warrior can immediately do Warrior stuff! ...but the Wizard can't to Wizard stuff? If your 1st Level adventure is following straight on from the Funnel, that kinda sucks. But then some players may like that kind of challenge (me). There's always the old fall-back of "You've been studying all along, and that crazy stuff you just saw (in the Funnel) put some of what you've learned into perspective -- you may now start casting spells..."

What I'm trying to say is, if weeks of study or what-have-you works for you and your players, go with it. If it doesn't, hash out a reasonable solution to keep the game going.

How do you handle equipment? I plan on playing a whole campaign with these characters and I know that magic items are supposed to be rare but is there a middle ground for not true magic items but things that still provide some smaller boost to keep rewarding players with small upgrades?
There are certainly ways you can introduce unique and valuable items that are not magical. Mess around with all the switches and knobs, as Raven suggests. A bump up the Dice Chain for damage... a weapon that has a better chance to crit... Armor with a better-than-usual bonus to start with, but it's ablative... rope that simply can't be cut (for good or ill)... Just start messing around, and new ways to mess around will occur to you.

Are there some better rules for making sure that things are fairly well balanced? I know it's a little out of the spirit of the system and I'm all for letting my players <b>f*ck</b> up and get themselves killed but I'd like to know that I put a challenge in front of them is beatable. Or at the very least when something should be way too easy or way too hard.
Accept that sometimes even things you thought would be beatable won't be beatable. The dice will swing a certain way and what you thought would happen, won't happen. Just design a mix of encounters and let them play out. If the characters have to run for their lives from what should have been wimps, so be it. If they take down a mighty dragon with a couple mind-boggling die rolls all in the first round, so be it. Don't tell a story; enable a happening.

Along with the last point. Does this system work in an extended campaign? Basically everything I find is for the funnel and levels like 1 and 2. I'm alright with creating my own stuff and improvising when I need to and I'll create my own dungeons but it's nice to have a starting point of here's about how things should run.
I am intensely jealous of those who have been able to run or play in campaigns. I've been very happy with the one-off type of things I've been able to do, and can really see the potential of tremendous fun in a campaign...

I keep reading that it's up to me as the judge and that's fine with me but I'm curious how other people have handled these things. I created a mini funnel for my girlfriend just to test things out and things ended up about the right difficulty with her not being able to see the whole dungeon and two of her four characters escaping after completing their mission with 1hp but it required a bit of on the fly adjustment from me. I didn't hold back or fudge numbers but I did adjust some encounters on the fly to make sure it was in the right difficulty.
"Cool. Keep it up!" <---- seconded
...
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Raven_Crowking
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Re: some possibly obvious questions before my first session

Post by Raven_Crowking »

GnomeBoy wrote:Acquiring spells is a question of expedience... The Zeroes level up: the Warrior can immediately do Warrior stuff! ...but the Wizard can't to Wizard stuff? If your 1st Level adventure is following straight on from the Funnel, that kinda sucks. But then some players may like that kind of challenge (me). There's always the old fall-back of "You've been studying all along, and that crazy stuff you just saw (in the Funnel) put some of what you've learned into perspective -- you may now start casting spells..."
That is one way of looking at things. The other is that the study time balances their Phenomenal Cosmic Powers.

You can also structure and adventure so that the wizard can do wizard stuff right away, because a magic item grants a certain number of spells per day. Harley Stroh's Sailors on the Starless Sea has an item like this, for instance, and may be taken as inspiration.
What I'm trying to say is, if weeks of study or what-have-you works for you and your players, go with it. If it doesn't, hash out a reasonable solution to keep the game going.
This.

Just be aware that the solution need not be granting spells; you can always grant a finite wizardy resource until the poor schmucks get some downtime. Read the part about wizards in the judge's section of the rulebook, and you will realize that the need for study is built into the Quest For It mechanic......To learn the spell, you must first....go on this adventure! I usually reserve the "go on this adventure" part for spells of level 2+.

YMMV, and if it does, do whatever works for you!
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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