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  1. #1
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    We need to have some real discussions on how realm and battle magic work and relate to each other. IMO we need to define some of these at least at the conceptual level since they affect both the war and domain chapters as well as the magic chapters.

    This is my take (opinion) on these topics put out for discussion.


    Battle magic:

    Battle magic should be limited to spells that affect the battlefield or individual unit(s).

    Duration should be in terms of battle rounds, singular or multiple.

    Any spellcaster should be able to cast battle spells. They should not have to be blooded to do so.

    Battle magic should be a variation of the standard magic system. That is battle spells should be an application of standard spells. We can create some new ones if necessary, but IMO we should make every attempt to keep to standard spells. If not then we need to include battle magic in the number of spells a spellcaster can know (e.g., sorcerers and bards) or learn automatically at each level and then deal with the number of spells he can cast in a day. Although I don’t think this latter one is that big a deal due to the time period, battles take place over days and weeks vice a normal combat round. This is something we have to work in the war section that will have an affect here.

    The various mass spells in the PHB should be addressed as to how (and if) they have an effect on units. IMO most of them do or readily can.

    IMO the application of the battle caster feat is as follows. A caster with this feat can target spells on a battlefield such that they gain the most effect from them. The caster has such control over his spells that he can distinguish between a friendly and opponent unit.

    The various mass spells can work outside of the battle itself without application of the battle caster feat. For example cure moderate wounds, mass would enable a caster to heal the damage a unit took if cast outside of battle. To heal a friendly unit inside of battle requires use of the battle caster feat.

    Realm magic:

    Realm magic affects provinces and areas larger than a battlefield.

    Realm magic may have durations longer than battle rounds, usually in terms of months or seasons.

    Only blooded spellcasters can cast realm magic.

    Realm spells are only researched not learned automatically with level or from spellbooks.

    The maximum number of realm spells a character can know is limited by his ranks in spellcraft. (exact detail can be worked out).

    Researching a realm spell takes domain actions (length of time depends on the ‘level’ of the spell).

    A character makes a spellcraft check to see if his research is successful.

    Casting a realm spells requires access to a source or temple holding and expenditure of RP and usually GB.

    Casting time of a realm spell is a domain action.

    Realm spells are not contained in spellbooks they are intimately known by the caster.

    Realm spells are all unique and even if 2 casters know spells that have the same effects they are both unique spells.



    Things that need to worked on:

    What type of effect battle spells have. Should we continue down the path of the playtest and keep the results relatively simplified or list every spell and how it can have an effect on the battle? Or should we keep it simple (e.g., like the playtest) and only specifically address the effects of the mass spells?

    How should we levelize realm spells? By caster level, by holding level, by a combination?

    What type of saving throw system should we use for battle spells?

    What type of saving throw system should we use for realm spells?

    How many casters does it take to cast a battle spell?

    How many does it take to cast a realm spell?

    How many editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    Duane Eggert

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    Regarding most of the Mass type spells, most only effect 1 creature/level. Under the guidelines for using spells on the battlefield that were in the 2E rulebook they would need to affect more than 25 people to be an effective spell on the battlefield.

    Cry Havok takes a look at most of the spells in the Player's Handbook and lists their battle effects. Their units are generally only around 10 creatures, but you could use that as a guide.

    The easiest way to handle battle spells would be something similar, have a list of spells from the player's handbook with a standard effect + a battle magic effect.

    For example, you could use something like this.

    Fireball
    Range: 2 battle squares
    Duration: Instantaneous

    Standard Effect: 1 hit of damage to unit. Unit may make a reflex save vs. the spells DC to reduce this to no damage. (If unit commander sees wizard he can order unit to spread out, hence no damage)

    Battle Magic Effect: 2 hits of damage to unit. Unit may make a reflex save vs. the spell DC to reduce this to 1 hit.

    How should we levelize realm spells? By caster level, by holding level, by a combination?

    What do you mean by levelize? If you mean by making Alchemy a level 1 realm spell that already is linked to caster level. Otherwise I'd say both. There are some realm spells that wizard's just shouldn't get at low levels. The souce level is already a limiting factor as well.

    What type of saving throw system should we use for battle spells?

    If you are going to base normal spells as battle spells then I'd say simply give units saving throws.

    What type of saving throw system should we use for realm spells?

    None, you can't save against realm spells, and given the cost of the spells it is a good thing too.

    How many casters does it take to cast a battle spell?

    One, simply because there aren't that many wizards around. I'd say for battle spells though the caster would need a war wagon loaded up with all the components etc that are needed to cast a battlespell.

    For priests casting battle spells, well then I'd say they need more than 1 though and instead of the war wagon they have a special unit of priests to cast battle spells.

    How many does it take to cast a realm spell?

    One caster!!

    How many editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Um, lost me there.
    Let me claim your Birthright!!

  3. #3
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    Another way that it could be done is to create a new series of spells with the prefix of 'War'. These would be the battlefield versions of the spells, much as 'Mass' spells do for skirmish-level conflict. I would place them as being about 2 levels above the standard versions of the spells, much as the 'Mass' spells are on average one level above their regular counterparts.
    "It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion -- and usually easier."

    - R. A. Heinlien, from The Collected works of Lazarus Long

  4. #4
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    What type of effect battle spells have. Should we continue down the path of the playtest and keep the results relatively simplified or list every spell and how it can have an effect on the battle? Or should we keep it simple (e.g., like the playtest) and only specifically address the effects of the mass spells?

    Battle spells should simply be based on pre-existing personal spells for the most part. The only real differences between "normal" spells and battle spells area of effect, casting time, and components. A "battle" version should affect at least one unit or one space on the battlefield. It should take a full war turn to cast and require all the components of the base AND great quantities of Material supplies, even when the orignal does not. For instance, I'd say Battle Magic Missile would require say two hundred specially prepared arrows costing around one GB. (It's my personal opinion that no battle spell should cost less than 1 GB, as it is a good way to inhibit overuse of battle spells in the field.)

    How should we levelize realm spells? By caster level, by holding level, by a combination?

    Realm spells should be leveled by holding level only. Judge a spell based on what it can do to deteremine how much mystic (whether from a source or from faith) energy would be required to cast it. The efficiency of the spell would be based upon how string the caster is.

    Example One: Alchemy would be a simple Realm Spell Level 1. (Unlike the orginal game designer, I find that just having 1 level of a source or temple should be sufficient for such a basic spell.) The level of the caster would determine how many GB's the caster could create. In this case, maybe 1GB plus 1GB per every 3 caster levels. So, essentially, until 3rd level alchemy is worthless, as it takes 1 GB to cast as well as taking RP. But at level 3 you could make 2 GB and have a net gain of 1 GB, level 6 is net gain 2 GB, level 9 is net gain 3 GB, etc.

    Example TwoNow for a higher end example, Stronghold. It takes a level 7 hoding to create. The caster level would come in when considering duration and maximum effect. I would place a cap of 2 RP per caster level to be spent and a duration of 1 month per caster level. With these in place, it would require a caster of 4th level to make a Level 1 castle and it would last 4 months.

    While this sort of fits a combination approach, the main reason I do not advocate requiring caster levels for realm spells is because I see no reason to deny a lower level caster to begin researching a potent spell before its casting would benefit him.

    What type of saving throw system should we use for battle spells?

    I would assign standard saves to each unit (FORT, REF, WILL) and would base the save type off of the base spell. Further, I would add a save to ALL battle spells, even if the original had no save. It's simply a matter that what is unavoidable for an individual is not necessarily so for a caster targeting hundreds and casting an unbelievably grueling battlefield spell.

    What type of saving throw system should we use for realm spells?

    ... you know, I&#39;m not sure. <_<

    How many casters does it take to cast a battle spell?

    Arcane: One arcane caster with three assistants per battle spell level. The assistants can be commoners; they are only there to help manipulate the great quantities of material components.

    Divine: One divine caster with two assistants per battle spell level. At least half the assistants should have ranks in Knowledge (Religion) as the spells are a form of ritual requiring proper procedures, based on religious tracts.

    How many does it take to cast a realm spell?

    Just the primary caster, although most will require at least one assistant just to keep the caster fed, as all of the caster&#39;s focus will be on the spell, both day and night. So, a wise caster has assistants to help, but they are not necessary from a purely rules point of view.

    How many editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Just one - he&#39;ll tell the intern to do it. :blink:
    Artemel of Roesone

  5. #5
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Let&#39;s do a comparison of 2 spells that may have an effect on the battlefield.

    Fireball
    3rd level spell
    Area of effect 20 ft radius
    damage 1d6/level max of 10d6
    Minimum caster 5th level

    Cure light wounds, mass
    5th level (cleric), 6th level (druid)
    Area of effect 1 creature per level no 2 of which can be more than 30 ft apart.
    Effect 1d8 +1 per level of caster (max +25)
    Minimum caster level 9th.

    How many creatures can fit into a 20 ft radius area – that is roughly 314 sq ft and 1 person fits into a 5 ft sq (25 sq ft) so that would be approximately 12.5 (say 13) man size creatures.

    Assuming minimum level to cast a 5th level wizard casting a fireball can affect 13 people and do damage from 5 to 30 hit points to each. Rough total damage would be 65 to 390.

    Compare this to the Cure light wounds, mass and the area being affected of the cure spell is a radius with a circumference of 270 ft (radius of 42 ft). 9 people at 30 ft apart. It can restore from 10 to 17 hit points each. Rough total healing would be 90 to 153.

    One question is, are these spells comparable on the battlefield?

    They seem to affect roughly the same number of people (13 for the fireball and 9 for the cure spell, the range of effects are different with the fireball having a wider variable but the cure spell on average doing more (could use a statistical analysis here – hint, hint). Looks like an average 5th level fireball does 3 per die times 5 equals 15 points multiplied by total number affected (13) equals 196 points. The cure spell does 4 (average of 1d8) plus 9 equals 13 times total number affected (9) equals 117. The fireball allows a save for half damage so the variation is even more and the cure spell is selective in that the caster can choose those to affect (i.e., the ones most hurt or valuable {leaders}).

    Seems pretty even to me accounting for variations.

    Another question is, are these areas of effect suitable to have an affect on a group of 200 individuals?

    This one is really subjective. Since we have narrowed the number down to affecting between 9 and 13 individuals, that is a real small number.

    The comparison comes down to effect. A fireball has a visual affect and can yield ancillary effects on those around (e.g., the sight and sound of an exploding fireball in the middle of a unit). While the cure spell can have a morale effect (those who could barely walk can now get up and continue to fight or more significant the leader can now stand back up and take charge).

    Arguments could be made either way on this one since it is subjective.
    Duane Eggert

  6. #6
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    O marks where the fireball hits, the X are those hit. We must assume that a unit is moving in formation, which means they are each occupying a 5 feet square. If my calculations are right, then 41 soldiers are hit by the fireball, which is more or less 1/4 of the unit. A wizard with level 6 spells can cast a Widened fireball, meaning that the blast radius is 40 feet. I don&#39;t even want to attempt to calculate those casualties, but it&#39;s a lot.

  7. #7
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    Given the flavor of the campaign and some common sense, then most of the armies would be marching in formation. However, fireballs won&#39;t be an army&#39;s first concern. Using some notes of the thread on Cerilian population, there are only 800-some true wizards, and even then, not all of those would be able to cast fireball. On the other hand, clerics are a lot more common in most BR campaigns. [Not in mine, but that&#39;s only because priest does not have to equal cleric. A priest in mine could be an Expert with appropriate skills. The gods do not dole out there divine blessings on every priest now. ]

    So... I&#39;d have to say that irdeggman&#39;s point on Fireball v. Mass cure light wounds is valid, but in my campaign neither are a major influence. Non-spellcasting healers are a lot more common than a 9th level Cleric. And even that 9th level Cleric is more common than a 5th level Wizard.

    So... Regents, be chary of your footmen, as they are the backbone of your army.

    Or... something like that.

    :unsure:
    Artemel of Roesone

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by Artemel@Feb 16 2005, 11:26 AM
    Given the flavor of the campaign and some common sense, then most of the armies would be marching in formation. However, fireballs won&#39;t be an army&#39;s first concern. Using some notes of the thread on Cerilian population, there are only 800-some true wizards, and even then, not all of those would be able to cast fireball. On the other hand, clerics are a lot more common in most BR campaigns. [Not in mine, but that&#39;s only because priest does not have to equal cleric. A priest in mine could be an Expert with appropriate skills. The gods do not dole out there divine blessings on every priest now. ]

    So... I&#39;d have to say that irdeggman&#39;s point on Fireball v. Mass cure light wounds is valid, but in my campaign neither are a major influence. Non-spellcasting healers are a lot more common than a 9th level Cleric. And even that 9th level Cleric is more common than a 5th level Wizard.

    So... Regents, be chary of your footmen, as they are the backbone of your army.

    Or... something like that.

    :unsure:
    True, but Avanil, Boeruine, Ghoere, Mhoried, Talinie, Dhoesone, Ilien all elven realms and and a couple others all have pet mages. And one can&#39;t forget the Gorgon. So at least in Anuire the majority of wars will involve a realm with a pet mage. I beleive all of them can cast fireball.
    Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a night. Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

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    Originally posted by irdeggman@Feb 16 2005, 06:43 AM
    How many creatures can fit into a 20 ft radius area – that is roughly 314 sq ft and 1 person fits into a 5 ft sq (25 sq ft) so that would be approximately 12.5 (say 13) man size creatures.
    Sorry to bring this up Duane, but there is an error in your math. The area of a 20&#39; radius circle is calculated by the formula [Pi](R^2). if R= 20&#39;, that means that the area is 3.14*400, or 1256 square feet.

    Just counting squares from the 3.5 DMG template in the back, it covers 44 squares.

    A widened Fireball (40&#39; radius) covers 152 squares.

    The point is not lost, however, on the effects of fireballs on tightly packed formations.

    One question I have is what if the unti was an irregular unit like Scouts? They don&#39;t fight is tightly packed and regimented lines, and in fact are deemed to be much more spread out. Should they get a reduction to the number of hits they take from Battle Magic?

    I honestly think that Battlefield spells should be a seperate class of spells with the War descriptor attached to them. That way we can rite them up as if they were seperate spells, give them an effect based on likely projections of damage vs. formations and call this section done.
    "It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion -- and usually easier."

    - R. A. Heinlien, from The Collected works of Lazarus Long

  10. #10
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    This is my take (opinion) on these topics put out for discussion.
    Battle magic:
    Battle magic should be limited to spells that affect the battlefield or individual
    unit(s).
    Duration should be in terms of battle rounds, singular or multiple.
    Any spellcaster should be able to cast battle spells. They should not have to be blooded to do so.
    Agreed.

    Battle magic should be a variation of the standard magic system. That is battle spells should be an application of standard spells. We can create some new ones if necessary, but IMO we should make every attempt to keep to standard spells. If not then we need to include battle magic in the number of spells a spellcaster can know (e.g., sorcerers and bards) or learn automatically at each level and then deal with the number of spells he can cast in a day. Although I don’t think this latter one is that big a deal due to the time period, battles take place over days and weeks vice a normal combat round. This is something we have to work in the war section that will have an affect here.
    Battles take place in battle turns - 15 minutes is probably an appropriate amount of time (4 turns per hour, about 32 battle turns for an 8-hour battle - the reasonable limit for a full day of battle). A battle that couldn&#39;t be resolved in this amount of time would be extremely rare.

    I agree that battle spells should be direct conversions of personal spells. I think the Battle magic feat should represent a distinct sort of metamagic feat, one that uses ritual casting and large quantities of expensive components to multiply the area of effect, range, and duration of personal spells. I don&#39;t believe this should require a spell level adjustment, though every battle spell should require preparation, even for bards and sorcerers, using up a normal spell slot for the day. Preparation would also include having the proper material components on hand, thus any prepared battle spells require the purchase and transportation of components before the actual battle.

    The various mass spells in the PHB should be addressed as to how (and if) they have an effect on units. IMO most of them do or readily can.
    Any area spells need to be addressed this way - I proposed some standards for such effects in the Battle Magic area of effect thread.

    IMO the application of the battle caster feat is as follows. A caster with this feat can target spells on a battlefield such that they gain the most effect from them. The caster has such control over his spells that he can distinguish between a friendly and opponent unit.
    IMO this is where any mage should be able to apply the Warcraft skill, with or without the feat. A simple check (DC 10) might suffice for knowing where best to place a fireball against an unengaged unit, while this might go up to DC 20 to place one against an engaged unit without scorching your allies.

    I don&#39;t know if this detail got included in Ch 1, but Warcraft should be a skill that may be used untrained. Good tactics and strategies can certainly be reasoned out with some basic application of knowledge and logic - at least to a limited extent. As with any skill, of course, there&#39;s no replacement for a sound education, training, and experience (i.e., skill ranks).

    In combination with this, I think a very cool addition to the Battle Caster feat would be to grant the character Warcraft as a class skill. Rather than requiring ranks in Warcraft to gain the skill, let the feat represent the specialized training that a Battle Mage undergoes to gain insight into magical warfare.

    One could instead require one or more metamagic feats as prerequisites: Widen Spell, Extend Spell, and Enlarge Spell being the 3 most applicable here. Perhaps any one of those 3 would be sufficient?

    The various mass spells can work outside of the battle itself without application of the battle caster feat. For example cure moderate wounds, mass would enable a caster to heal the damage a unit took if cast outside of battle. To heal a friendly unit inside of battle requires use of the battle caster feat.
    I disagree with this. A normal caster knows the exact effects of their spells - it doesn&#39;t take a genius to know how to optimize their effects, especially on an unengaged friendly unit. I don&#39;t think the feat would change this by itself.

    However, almost any Mass spell is limited to 1 target per caster level. Casting this once on a unit is almost guaranteed to have a negligible effect - it simply cannot affect enough troops. Cure spells in particular would be very limited without some sort of enhancement.

    Unlike with characters in the adventure scale of combat, damage to a unit represents casualties of all sorts: dead, wounded, and missing. A mass cure spell will only heal [caster level] number of wounded soldiers - it won&#39;t bring back the dead or missing.

    An average regular unit has 2 hits and 200 soldiers. Thus, 1 hit on a unit should equal about 100 casualties, of which only a third or so would be wounded, the rest dead or missing. This isn&#39;t absolute, but a reasonable mean result for our purposes here.

    Could any cure spell, even an enhanced Battle Magic mass cure, really restore even 1 hit to such a unit?

    Veteran or tough units have 3 hits - with 200 men, this means that each veteran soldier has about 1.5 times as many HP as a regular soldier. If we also assume that veteran units are often smaller in number than a regular company (c. 150 men), we could raise this to about 2x avg. HP per soldier (average veteran soldiers would then be 2nd-3rd level warriors, rather than 1st as the default for regulars).

    All that being said, if a veteran unit took 2 hits, it is reasonable to assume that enough healing magic spread out over the surviving company might be enough to restore 1 hit, representing all the wounded regaining full health. Such an effect would require healing app. 50 or more men - definitely outside the scope of a single mass cure spell regardless of caster level. However, I think this is an ideal application of a Battle Magic mass cure spell (Mass Cure Light Wounds from a 9th level caster would heal 1d8+9 hp per soldier, or 10-17 hp: easily enough to restore most wounded 2nd or 3rd level warriors to full health).

    Outside of a battle, however, multiple castings of any cure spell would dramatically enhance the healing of a unit&#39;s injured soldiers. But the dead and missing will only be replaced by new recruits, something that is guaranteed to take more time, and recruiting facilities.

    This ties into Ch. 6 (War), but I would like to propose a flat reality rule concerning the healing of units:

    A unit can only heal 1/2 the number of hits taken in a battle (round down) due to magical or natural healing. The remaining damage represents permanent casualties that must be replaced through recruiting or combining existing units.

    Recruiting: In order for a damaged unit to recruit and train new members to replace its losses, it must be garrisoned in a province where the regent has a holding of high enough level to muster an equivalent unit. Once garrisoned here (requires one month), the unit may regain 1 hit per month of recruitement, costing 1 GB per hit regained.

    Combining damaged units: Damaged units of the same type (ex.: 2 medium infantry each with 1 hit remaining) can be combined to quickly replace casualties. This requires 1 GB in expenses and 1 week (war move) to complete. The recieving unit (the one being added to) may not move during this period.

    Sorry for the battle rules diversion, it&#39;s something that I put out there for the sake of having a more holistic view of unit healing in general.

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