Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wizard Duels

Ah, the crackle of arcane energies. Two wizards of great power face off against each other, wands and staves at the ready. Then...Check your WIZ and "You've Got a Bad Feeling."? Seems a bit anti-climactic doesn't it?

That is the view of Wizards' duels under T&T 7.5 that seem sto have become wide spread. I think it is wrong. We may not see battles like Gandalf putting the smackdown on Saruman in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy shouting "Expelliamous!" while wands go flying, but 7.5e Wiazards' duels need not be boring either.

Single combat duels, especially between evenly matched oponents, are often actually quite boring to play out in RPGs. They consist of both opponents rolling to strike, calculating damage inflicted (if any), adjusting character sheets, lather, rinse, repeat. Rules to add stunts, tricks and detail to combat often get complex and slow down play. The result is that duels are either fairly quick, but bland and devoid of detail, or detailed but slow. T&T's Saving Roll rules and freeform combat system strike a middle ground. Either combatant can at any time declare a special tactic, and make an apropriate SR to see if they succeed or fail. Works great for armed combat. But what about Wizards?

According to many Wizards are completely nerfed by the 7th edition magic rules. They have to maka an INT SR equal to the level of the spell just to cast it properly, and they can't directly affect anyone with a higher current WIZ.

Let's look at these two points in detail.

First the INT SR. Looking at the maths, and don't worry I am not going to post lots of formulae here, after the INT and DEX to cast 9th level spells is aquired the Wizard will always fail his INT SR only on a roll of 3. For lower level mages the required INT to cast successfuly except on a 3 is higher, but still well within reach, starting at 15 for 1st level spells, and progressing up to 47 for 8th level spells. Considering that a minimum INT of 45 is required to cast those 8th level spells it is hardly burdensome. A Wizard with an INT of 30 will fail only on a roll of 3 to cast any spell of 4th level and below. To cast spells of level 6, the highest he can cast, he will need to roll a 12. So a Wizard should be fairly confident of getting his spells off.

Second the Kremm Resistance. The rules state that "a character with a lower Wizardry score can’t normally cast spells directly upon beings with higher Wizardry scores." That is the rule. Not, as many seem to think, "cannot effect beings with higher Kremm with a spell". This is the key to Wizard Dueling. If your target has a higher WIZ do not target him directly.

How do I use indirect targeting? Don't use Call Flame in an attempt to sear your enemy, use it to set his robes on fire instead. Cast Slush-Yuck on the ground beneeth his feet. Followed up with Hard Stuff this is particularly debilitating. Upsidaisy can be used to levitate a large, heavy object, say a boulder and whack your opponent with it for damage.

There are a few tricks to give better odds in all out assault as well. Cast Doublke Double on your self and boost your WIZ score... Then let fly with TTYF or Death Spell #9.

Any of the defensive spells will protect in magical as well as mundane combat.

Summonings can be effective.

In short unless you are very high level, think subtltey instead of force in spell combat.

I will be writing up a longer and more detailed version of this article, including a blow-by-blow, or should that be Spell-by-Spell account of a Wizards' Duel for Trollzine.

1 comment: