I'll admit that playing a magic user is a rarity for me. So, I am always weak in understanding strengths and weaknesses of a game's magic system. Because of that, I read over LA's magic and think it is ok. However
Treebore wrote:I actually like the system until the magic. I never could buy into how he has magic work. I mean, it seemed to fit the "power scale" of the game, but I just never became a fan of it. I do love playing warriors in it.
That makes me wonder, why. What is the issue, is the system completely broken & I just don't see it? Does it need a rework but is structurally sound? Does it need just a touch of tinkering?
What would you (all) suggest?
I think the #1 thing that gets people upset is that there are no restrictions against using the highest grade powers, even for starting Avatars. You could roll up a mage, choose Hearts Desire--which is basically akin to Wish in D&D, and activate it as your very first action when you play for the first time.
There are some restrictions. Not for Mages. But if you have Theurgy, for instance, unless you are in the Ecclesiastic Order (or perhaps some other Order of Theurgy if you're using the Orders from Canting Crew), you can only use general powers. Not the Glorification & Hallowing or Service & Care powers.
But in general, as far as how the system works, the main constraints are time and AEPs.
Time is probably the more obvious constraint. The aforementioned Hearts Desire takes 20 seconds to complete. And that's if you succeed at it on the first try. In a game where each turn around the table in combat is only 3 seconds, that kind of activation time seems like an eternity. And it will almost certainly be interrupted since if you take any harm during that activation period, there is a 100-point penalty to your check!
AEPs are less obvious because you seem to have so many of them. But they run out really fast, especially when you do the big stuff.
One of the other things that may upset people is that, you really don't have a fireball equivalent--that one power where you just accumulate extra d6's of damage indefinitely. You could do Flame Inferno. It's an area effect. A much smaller area than fireball. And it does 17-20 harm--usually ignoring armor--and that's it. It doesn't increase as you get more powerful. You can't pump extra AEPs into it. That's a good amount of harm to be ignoring armor. And it might even be enough to kill an ordinary human. But other than that, it's going to be something that hurts, maybe even something that lights a few things on fire. It's not really going to kill much in the way of baddies by itself.
So here's some insight that might be helpful. For attack powers, usually the activation time will be counterbalancing the range of the power. And AEP cost will be counterbalancing the harm. You can see this most plainly in a lot of the Geourgy attack powers--earth sling, ice arrow, wind lasso, etc. The idea is, the further away your enemy is, the more time you have before they can close to striking distance. And that is how the magic system scales. The more powerful attack spells are generally going to be for grander scale combat.
Something like Blast of Air (Extreme power, 20 second activation time) has a maximum range of 880 feet and will cause 1-20+10 harm, disregarding armor, plus possibly another 13-16 if the individuals affected are down-wind of any debris. You're not going to kill anything as tough as an Avatar with that, but you will likely kill ordinary soldiers. At 880 feet, you have time to activate it. And with a 20' wide path, up to 880 feet, that could be a LOT of soldiers you take out. Not to mention toppling over some catapults.
A power like Shadow Bolts is the opposite end of the spectrum. It's range is limited to 20 feet. It's very minimal grade, just 1 second to activate. But if you really want it to do anything worthwhile, you have to invest a LOT of extra AEPs into it. The harm alone isn't super impressive. The fact that it can cause Harm to Speed BR, though, is huge. You have to spend an extra 20 AEPs to ensure it will do harm to Speed. Maxed out, you can surely immobilize any Avatar provided they don't have any preternatural armor protection. And there's a good chance it can take out two Avatars. Maybe even 3 or more if they have really lower Speed like Oafs or Orcs. But that's a total AEP cost of 22 per attempt. A starting Avatar will have around a 60% chance for success. So if you have to do it twice before it works, that's 44 AEPs gone. Out of what? 60-70 you started with? In this case, your power scales up by, first, succeeding the first time more often, and second, spending Merits to increase Speed BR to keep your AEP pool growing.