[.11] Three Thoughts on Celestial Magic

Chad Schaffer

Newbie
South Michigan Staff
I would like to begin this post by making it clear that I greatly appreciate the 2.0 rules and what they have done to create more options for every class, specifically (non-golem) Celestial Adepts and Spellswords; It's a huge step in a fantastic direction!

That being said, I feel that the disparity between basic Earth and Celestial magics is ridiculous and would like to make some suggestions on closing the gap and making each school viable and fun to play, while being balanced, to facilitate a the choice between school as a play style choice instead of a decision that has a right and wrong answer.

I have some complicated and bold suggestions for how to make this happen, but would just like to start with three basic suggestions to nudge 2.0 further down the right path in this regard.

#1 Stun limb should be 6th level.

As of right now, I probably won't memorize the new stun limb. At 8th level, competing with confine, that effectively stuns ALL an opponents limbs, it's a pretty hard sell.

Competing with sleep, which is a true take out for many creatures, but has resistance built in to even some PC races, it is a tactical choice to make; Stun limb having a MUCH wider target range, but much lessened effect.

People may say: "what about things that rip out, or are immune"
I say: these should be in the minority, and if this is not the case, we shouldn't be making national level rules based on individual plot team choices.

Even still, I propose the three seconds of immobility beats five minutes of one missing limb in many of the tactical cases where this may be the case.

As for non-corporeal creatures: its not worth losing a confine to one-quarter handle one of these creatures on the off chance they show up.

#2 More of the new rituals need to be Celestial only. Conversely make all rituals General.

Mind you, I like the former better, but will take the latter over our current situation:

New 2.0 rituals
Number of Earth only rituals: 10 (not counting only necro)
Number of Celestial only rituals: 4


To top this off there have been conversations on this forum in which people have requested that two of the four become general!

The reason: Biata and Oathsworn.

Either they are designed to have this as a negative, or they shouldn't have it. Giving these races a negative and then watering down a whole school of magic to get rid of it is ridiculous.

In a perfect world Biata and Oathsworn get updated to not have this aversion so we can have two distinct schools of magic, but I suspect this is not popular (though I can't imagine why).

Barring that, either make their negative a negative or make all rituals general.

#3 Give a "Rebirth level" high magic to Celestial

Rebirth is amazing, and should be distinctly Earth, but Celestial has nothing remotely as good in high magic. Celestial Armor (even with the giant improvement) can be duplicated with a magic item; Channel is good for spell swords (great thanks to 2.0); but nothing distinctly great for Celestial scholars exists.

I suggest: An effect where you lock in a spell, just like Rebirth and get special effect from it. Voice Radius comes to mind, but sounds OP and clunky. Maybe "Fork" where the scholar can "storm" the spell (burning both a storm from memory and the spell). I don't know what it should be in the end, but Celestial scholars need some high magic love.

I want to be clear, I'm open to discussion about all of this. Fundamentally I'm interested in Alliance being a balanced game where the choices are merely about play style and every class is a real contender. I think 2.0 has pushed the game that direction in a big way and I love it.

I'm really looking forward to SoMI's play test, and want to go in looking for the right things.

Cheers.
 

Mark of Chaos

Artisan
Denver Staff
For those of us that have different play experiences and play time with the current rules, can you elaborate a bit more on what you see to be the disparity between earth and celestial?
 

Mulgrum

Newbie
#1 Stun limb should be 6th level.

As of right now, I probably won't memorize the new stun limb. At 8th level, competing with confine, that effectively stuns ALL an opponents limbs, it's a pretty hard sell.
Stun Limb at 8th doesn't actually compete with Confine at 7th, but honestly that's whatever. Stun Limb would be fine at sixth.

#2 More of the new rituals need to be Celestial only. Conversely make all rituals General.
Either or would be fine with me honestly. Its pretty dumb that the only way to make an undead slayer weapon is to find a celestialist, so maybe making most magic item rituals general wouldn't be the worst idea.

#3 Give a "Rebirth level" high magic to Celestial
This isn't a bad idea so lets workshop something out. Rebirth allows me to store a life spell for myself to use in my time of most need, following that theme how does this sound? "Prescience: 5 High magic Set aside a prison in memory. When you would be reduced to less than one body you may instead gain the effect of that prison cast upon yourself and your hp remains at 1." Similar effect, but distinctly celestial.
 

DiscOH

Artisan
#3 Give a "Rebirth level" high magic to Celestial
Emergency Force:
This provides a personal Prison spell for the caster in extreme emergencies. A celestial caster sets aside a Prison spell from his or her memory at Logistics. This Prison spell can no longer be used except for use with the Emergency Force skill and must be stapled to the Emergency Force tag. The caster may activate the Prison spell on themselves (as if it had been touchcast and accepted) in response to any packet, weapon, or area effect as a Smart Guard. The triggering effect then is applied as if it's target had been in a prison at the time of delivery. The proper call for using Emergency Force is “Magic Emergency Force.”​
 

Manflesh

Artisan
To top this off there have been conversations on this forum in which people have requested that two of the four become general!

The reason: Biata and Oathsworn.

Either they are designed to have this as a negative, or they shouldn't have it. Giving these races a negative and then watering down a whole school of magic to get rid of it is ridiculous.

In a perfect world Biata and Oathsworn get updated to not have this aversion so we can have two distinct schools of magic, but I suspect this is not popular (though I can't imagine why).

Barring that, either make their negative a negative or make all rituals general.
My question is what benefits balances out such a consequential flaw? Biata I get it, they have mind powers, and unlike Stone Elves don't have to be covered in makeup and be an emotional wet blanket to have them. But what equally ranked benefits do Oathborn get to offset the aversion to sky magic? Their makeup requirements have just increased too. Is Resist Necromancy considered on par with mind powers?
 

Feldor

Adept
Marshal
All races are not equal. They do not need to be balanced. Some are better for some things. Choices are interesting.
 

Bruvah M.

Newbie
All races are not equal. They do not need to be balanced. Some are better for some things. Choices are interesting.
Severe imbalances do not make for interesting choices. A small, well crafted, imbalance is good for a game. But a major racial imbalance will result in one race being drastically more favored than another.

The races should be, at least, semi-balanced. A primary decision any player makes when it comes to choosing a race should be their backstory/lore/culture. They shouldn’t be mechanically punished because the race is imbalanced. They should be mechanically rewarded for going through the motions of roleplaying the race, or helping other players immerse themselves by wearing make up suitable for their race.
 
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Chad Schaffer

Newbie
South Michigan Staff
Stun Limb at 8th doesn't actually compete with Confine at 7th, but honestly that's whatever. Stun Limb would be fine at sixth
Apologies, having flashbacks to different rule sets.

But the point is still valid in that stun limb is on par with sleep and certainly not better than confine.

Thank you for the leeway!
 

Alkalin3

Administrator
Chief Technology Officer
South Michigan Staff
Marshal
But what equally ranked benefits do Oathborn get to offset the aversion to sky magic? Their makeup requirements have just increased too. Is Resist Necromancy considered on par with mind powers?
High Ogres have their whole undead thing. Resist Necromancy, I believe, is going to be really really good. Corrupt is huge. Chaos has more teeth. Especially as a high armor fighter, those damage spells can really eat through you, in addition to the status effects. With not being able to have magic item cloaks, yeah. I think it's a really good power.
 

Alkalin3

Administrator
Chief Technology Officer
South Michigan Staff
Marshal
Stun Limb at 8th doesn't actually compete with Confine at 7th, but honestly that's whatever. Stun Limb would be fine at sixth.
I'm going to be a bit of a wild card and suggest it be 3 or 4th level. I think it competes with bind nicely. Bind can be a pretty hard take out if you are positioned poorly. Stun Limb can also be a pretty hard take out if you can't fix yourself. Both let you walk away, stun lets you run (assuming you don't take a foot). It more or less can be used as a higher level slow (which is 2). Bind is line of sight vs 10 minutes. You can mettle out of bind but, bind has the potential to be a much harder take out.

It has a bit of a different use case then shun but, is equally useful. I feel like it was placed at 8th so that 7/8 don't look so barren.

Celestial has 41 spells vs Earth's 44. If we popped 2 more spells on 7/8 that's pretty close to parody. (Even if I don't think pure evocation is going to be very good with such high armor numbers).
 

Polare

Administrator
Alliance Chairperson
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
FWIW, Stun Limb at 8th has some specific balancing motivations based on its Eldritch Force school.

Keep in mind that *all* lower level takeouts have relatively common Monster DB counters. Command doesn't affect Undead or Constructs or Elementals. Binding (other than Repel and Slow) can be ripped out from based on monster strength, and the likelihood of this goes up as a character fights higher and higher APL monsters.

Eldritch Force is a school which explicitly has very few "native resistances". Prison is amazing as an offensive spell because almost nothing can resist it; otherwise it'd just be a glorified Confine / Paralysis. The same goes for Stun Limb - its spell level is determined in large part by the fact that it works on ANYTHING. Undead? Construct? PC? Monstrous race? Incredibly strong troll beastie? Weird floaty spectral thing? I'd expect it to work on all of those. Universal value is worth a LOT in our spell system, when so many spells are predicated on specific conditions being met.

The Alliance spell chart is built so that you are strongly rewarded for "memorizing right". If you know you're going up against Elementals, you're rewarded for memorizing Banishes. If you know you're going up against Humans, you're rewarded for memorizing Sleeps. If you know you're going up against creatures swinging nasty carriers, you're rewarded for memorizing Weaknesses. If you know you're going up against Undead, you're rewarded for memorizing anti-Undead spells.

A spell that works against anything gets around that system, and thus is valued very highly in "spell level".
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
All races are not equal. They do not need to be balanced. Some are better for some things. Choices are interesting.
This is true for theatre LARPs with extremely basic rule sets that can easily understood by players of all experience types. This isn’t true for incredibly deep rulesets where newest players won’t understand the consequences of their actions until a year or so after it’s been made.

You have no idea how many Biata players regret their choice, do you?
 

Seabass

Scholar
South Michigan Staff
You have no idea how many Biata players regret their choice, do you?
They are not permanently locked into said race.

Beyond that point if so many regret their choices then this is the exact argument to make against the intolerance of celestial by select races at least being optional if not removed entirely. If this simply isn't fun for players then we should stop doing it (giving others the option to maintain what they love to do perhaps), and resist any temptation to water down whole sections of the game for select instances that were surprises for no one. Just bad realizations much later.


High Magic As for the rebirth idea I don't think celestial emulating earth effects is the way to go. I think that a standalone effect that is uniquely celestial is a better idea. Here are a few:

#1) Eye of the Storm: I do really like the 5 rituals to combine a spell and a spell storm. Five high magic slots and two (likely) major spells to throw 8 to 15 effects? I think that's wild and amazing.

#2) Evocation Recall: Another idea I had was a 5 high magic slot that lets a celestial user meditate back any spent spell slot (no matter how it was spent) into a evocation signature spell as per flex casting. So for any spells you have already used, per spell you can meditate back a evocation spell one level lower than the spell you are meditating back.

#3) Channeled Destruction: 5 levels of high magic, all directly memorized evocation spells are base 10 instead of 5.
 

Ardos

Artisan
South Michigan Staff
A spell that works against anything gets around that system, and thus is valued very highly in "spell level".
not to be the negative one here, but part of the reason I don't think these changes are to the benefit of celestial are the wonderful new ways a fighter can avoid it. Simply being a high armor fighter invalidates a significant chunk of their "burst damage" as to break my armor and drop me for a 4 column caster, its costing them a total of 18 spell levels of damage. That's not including anything besides a basic 30 body and 60 armor which is very easily doable in the new system. If they try to use takeouts I have mettle to avoid that, though take outs on fighters will certainly land more without cloaks. mettle and resolute are the great equalizers for low vs high level melee fighters, but absolutely wrecks any celestial casters time. I'm not opposed to a mid range level for a less resistible spell but 8 seems a bit much.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
They are not permanently locked into said race.

Beyond that point if so many regret their choices then this is the exact argument to make against the intolerance of celestial by select races at least being optional if not removed entirely. If this simply isn't fun for players then we should stop doing it (giving others the option to maintain what they love to do perhaps), and resist any temptation to water down whole sections of the game for select instances that were surprises for no one. Just bad realizations much later.
I am absolutely on board with any modifications that would remove Celestial intolerances from select races.
 

Feldor

Adept
Marshal
I am absolutely on board with any modifications that would remove Celestial intolerances from select races.
I think you could do something interesting where those races lost access to (some) racial abilities on days they used Celestial magic. So its a choice each character has to make. In a pinch, a Biata in all Biata group could use the critical celestial item so that no one else in their group had to; as the rest looked on in disgust|disdain|pity. (This model would also make sense to extend to the sylvanborn -- use a command effect & lose access to resist command.)
 

Feldor

Adept
Marshal
This is true for theatre LARPs with extremely basic rule sets that can easily understood by players of all experience types. This isn’t true for incredibly deep rulesets where newest players won’t understand the consequences of their actions until a year or so after it’s been made.

You have no idea how many Biata players regret their choice, do you?
I'm not a theatre LARPer, so I'll have to take your word on it. I've staffed or played a bunch of different of 'new england sport' larps (as larps like alliance are called), and in many of them (including alliance), there are races that are better and worst at some things than others. If you want to be a fighter, don't be a sylvanborn -- you'll have less body and need to devote a bunch of early build to buying an income skill; if you want to be a blacksmith be a dwarf. Not being a biata because I didn't want to be cut off from celestial magic seemed pretty clear to me -- the rulebook spends a lot of space on the things you are being cut off from.

If they regret their choice, race changing seems to be common. But I've not really met any Biata who mentioned regretting their choice to be one. It does sound like you were probably one though. So if we end up in the same place, maybe I owe you a beer and an ear so I can hear your story. I have seen multiple Biata get a good bit of roleplay out of being one.

With that said, I think choices at larp are interesting and fun and its best if they have consequences.
 

MondayMcGee

Scholar
San Francisco Staff
I think you could do something interesting where those races lost access to (some) racial abilities on days they used Celestial magic. So its a choice each character has to make. In a pinch, a Biata in all Biata group could use the critical celestial item so that no one else in their group had to; as the rest looked on in disgust|disdain|pity. (This model would also make sense to extend to the sylvanborn -- use a command effect & lose access to resist command.)
This is already in the racial packet to a certain extent, though the implication is that it takes pretty extreme Celestial usage for there to be social or mental consequences.

To be honest, this suggested fix makes the problem worse in my personal reckoning. The mental roleplay is the only thing that makes the pain of no Celestial worth enduring. If that can be taken away, just because I needed to borrow a sword or get an aura cast on me to be able to participate in a fight, it ceases to be worth it.
 

Feldor

Adept
Marshal
This is already in the racial packet to a certain extent, though the implication is that it takes pretty extreme Celestial usage for there to be social or mental consequences.

To be honest, this suggested fix makes the problem worse in my personal reckoning. The mental roleplay is the only thing that makes the pain of no Celestial worth enduring. If that can be taken away, just because I needed to borrow a sword or get an aura cast on me to be able to participate in a fight, it ceases to be worth it.
You know, you are right. I've seen something like this work well when there was a long term consequence; but doing it on a per-logistics/event just doesn't have the right sort of impact.
 

Seabass

Scholar
South Michigan Staff
I think the simplest answer was suggested by a friend of mine. CASTING (or activating) moves the celestial magic through the minds of those that can’t handle it (and isn’t allowed). They can interact with celestial magic in other ways that are not detrimental to their well being.

Those are the hard rules. Players are then free to do what they will with their characters personal tolerance for celestial after that individually.
 
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