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  1. #1

    Spellcasting and Concentration

    Many of you were asking us what mechanics exactly we will change with the conversion from turn based system to real-time with pause. So today I will tell you about one such example – spellcasting and concentration.

    In our current implementation of our combat system a round lasts 6 seconds, just like canonical rules define it. Most standard and move actions take 3 seconds (and the only one can be done in 6 second time), and full round actions take 6 seconds. So, casting Mirror Image will take three seconds and casting Summon Moster will take six. Not a lot of changes here.

    Just like in tabletop, in our combat implementation spells with a casting time of one round can be interrupted by nearly all damage, not only continuous damage and AoOs. But during our playtests, we have noticed that it just looks strange that spells that take 3 seconds to cast are not interrupted. We have stated numerous times that one of the games that inspire us heavily is Baldurs Gate, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that we have a lot of Baldurs Gate fans among us. And in this game it was possible to interrupt pretty much all spells with damage during their casting. And a lot of people like this facet of gameplay. So one of our recent changes has been that they can be interrupted by the formula similar to continuous damage, with a concentration DC = 10 + half of damage dealt (rounded down) + spell level. This check is not that easy to fail against mundane attacks and makes you more aware of non-mundane ones and the positioning of your spellcasters on the battlefield.

    This makes spellcasting in melee more dangerous, so to ease the burden on melee spellcasters we changed the policy with AoO on casting. In a tabletop, you decide what to do (to provoke an AoO, cast defensively, move away and so on) on a case-by-case basis. We decided to simplify this bit by making you always roll a concentration check with DC = 10 + 2 * Spell Level to avoid provoking attacks of opportunity. By canon tabletop rules this would make you not provoke an AoO but will make you lose your spell if you fail your concentration check – not something you want to do against, for example, opponents that you know will fail to hit your AC. Instead, failing your concentration there only provokes an AoO instead of losing the spell.

    The option to cast defensively remains as a separate toggle. But this toggle is now responsible for not only avoiding attacks of opportunity against your spells (which is the default behavior now) but also to avoid your spells being interrupted by enemy attacks (as described above). I.e., if you cast defensively – you only roll against DC = 15 + 2 * Spell Level at the beginning of the cast, and if you fail the roll the spell fizzles, but if you succeed then attacks against you will not interrupt the spell.

    To summarize:
    - Spells that have casting time of Standard Action take 3 seconds to cast
    - Spells with casting time of Round take 6 seconds to cast
    - Both can be interrupted by any damage you take when you cast them unless you succeed on a Concentration Check with DC = 10 + half of damage dealt (rounded down) + Spell Level
    - If you are within enemy reach and are aware of this enemy – you will make a concentration check with DC 10 + 2 * Spell Level to avoid provoking an attack of opportunity
    - You can Cast Defensively to avoid not only an attack of opportunity for sure but also avoid your spells being interrupted by damage. That increases the DC of your check when casting the spell to DС =15 + 2 * Spell Level and makes you lose the spell entirely if you fail this check.


    This will be one of the experimental changes that will be tested extensively in Alpha. But even before that, we want to know what you think about this change. And also, which mechanics would you like to hear about next?
    Last edited by Perpetual Nothing; 09-09-2017 at 12:59 AM.

  2. #2
    If i understand correctly then Casting Defensively is useful when you are expecting to take several hits a round.

    But it feels weird for the concentration check to happen immediately after starting to cast the spell while Casting Defensively is turned on.
    Maybe it would look better visually to do it when the first attack roll is made against you?
    I'm trying to imagine what would look less confusing to a player that doesn't know what the toggle even does.
    I would find it weird if my spells suddenly starter fizzling right after clicking on them and i wouldn't know what was causing it.
    (or maybe i just misunderstood how this will work)
    Last edited by Titan; 09-08-2017 at 07:17 PM.

  3. #3
    Member Yesterday's Hero's Avatar
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    Spellcasters are pretty OP as they are, so anything that makes them more powerfull is IMHO a bad idea. In BG ANY amount of damage fizzled your spell and they still were more powerfull than non-spellcasters... I don't know about these changes, but I'm no game designer.

  4. #4
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    If I read it right, then Casting Defensively in melee will actually result in being less likely to avoid AOO? That sounds a bit counterintuitive to me.
    Why not make it so that the toggle retains the Concentration roll to avoid AOOs but gives AC bonus and/or DR against them at the risk of losing the spell? And Titan had a good idea that the toggle shouldn't do anything when you are not threatened.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pathfinder's Avatar
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    IF I understand it right he mean:
    IF someone is trying to cast a spell AND if something is making damage against that person roll will be done.

    So if I have leve 6 wizard and I daily cast light spell I do not have daily do any rolls. BUT if in one day some random evil (or even good) minion happen to attack me during that spell I have to make that roll IF that minion happen to hit me. Now when I am rightfully angry from such attack and try to use magic missle for that little vermin I choose to cast if defensively. IF he manage to make some damage for me I roll again, getting some bonuses and so on.

    Anyway, I like the idea he wrote. After all it is not so hard for let's say read aloud what I have written this far. No roll needed. But try to read this all while walking bare feet in floor full of D4 dice scattered around without looking down.. ..now that need some rolling. (Kids do not try this at home)

    BTW I assume using magic wand or so do not need any rolls (if you can use it in first place) but you can get interrupted same way if you try to cast a spell from scroll. I would really like to know if we get catrops in the game.. ..and if we get Ranger Falconer.. ..well I would love to see what his companion can do against enemy spellcasters.
    "Road to the man's heart go through the chest"

  6. #6
    Senior Member HenriHakl's Avatar
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    @Perpetual Nothing:

    How are you planning to interact with the fighter feats Disruptive and Spellbreaker?

    Both are part of the few feats that are "fighter only" (which really only means its harder to get for other classes).

    Both should be good feats in the magic-vs-melee system you describe - though it isn't necessarily clear how they'd interact.

  7. #7
    To Titan: Currently, it does this roll at the start of the casting, but learning whether that feels right or doesn’t is one of the purposes of testing it. Toggle will be switched on by default and will have a tooltip on it. If someone switches toggles without reading their description – fizzling spells may end up the least of their problems.

    To ramaster: Baldurs Gate was made based on another system entirely. In Pathfinder, not all damage fizzles spells and you usually cannot interrupt standard action spells by normal attacks at all, so this system will hardly make spellcasters more powerful.

    To CyberMephit: My bad. Yeah, you will not get an AoO either way when casting on the defensive. I just meant that the roll is similar, but became somewhat confused when writing the summary. Edited the post to clarify that.

    To Pathfinder: If you are not close to any enemies and are not taking any damage (or suffering from other conditions requiring concentration – such as entangle) – you will not be making any concentration rolls, and the spell will succeed. Magic wands will not require concentration checks, and scrolls will require them in the same way spells do. Can’t promise anything on caltrops and Falconer, time for choosing the archetypes for Ranger is yet to come.

    To HenriHakl: I was thinking about Disruptive increasing DC of all the concentration checks against your attacks, in addition to concentration DC for casting defensively near you. Spellbreaker will probably just give you an attack of opportunity on someone who fails a concentration check near you – since interrupting spells is no longer limited to making them fail to cast on the defensive.

  8. #8
    I'm not sure I'd ever cast defensively given that system, the added risk of the spell fizzling when I can just roll the dice and pray I avoid an AoO without doing it means it seems like a greater risk to cast defensively than not.

    I'd have to see it in play though to really figure out how it feels.

  9. #9
    Does Stoneskin affect the DC check when not Casting Defensively with it's damage reduction?

  10. #10
    Senior Member HenriHakl's Avatar
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    @Perpetual Nothing:

    Perhaps Spellbreaker could grant an AOO against casters even when they actively cast defensively (and fail the check).

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