Sorcery

Random discussion, related to the game, but not really of a rules nature.
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Wyvern
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Sorcery

Post by Wyvern » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:53 pm

A thread for posting useful spells, relevant lynchpins, and general thoughts on how to play an effective sorcerer. For the moment, these thoughts are unorganized; a more organized version of this thread may turn up in rules & resources at some point.

Lynchpin: Local magic.
This one's the obvious one, and I won't bother listing it for every spell. That said, there are times when you won't include this lynchpin; if you expect to be mostly in Amber, for example, then you might prepare most of your spells to work with "Magic of Amber", and be able to skip this lynchpin when casting. Or if you own a personal shadow, you might prepare some of your spells to work there. Etcetera.

Casting time:
One lynchpin is roughly equivalent in time to drawing and throwing a dagger.* This means zero and one lynchpin spells are very good in combat; two lynchpin spells are complex maneuvers more akin to loading and firing a light crossbow, and three lynchpin or greater spells will usually not be that useful without someone to cover for you (or really good armor - such as, perhaps, that provided by a one lynchpin self-targeting empowerment...)

Psyche & Warfare & Spell Preparation:
Warfare lets you predict what you might need. Psyche gives you intuition and spider sense. Both can be used to declare "Well, of course I prepared a water breathing spell before attending the ball in Rebma!" - this particular example, requiring minimal foresight, would probably only require chaos rank in either to make such a declaration retroactively. In general, you should not actually specify what spells you have in advance; your character has much higher stats than you do, and a correspondingly better ability to plan for the unexpected. Unless you're playing a sorcerer with human warfare and psyche... in which case, I really have to ask WTF?

_____
* This value is based on information from page 23 of the rulebook. Benedict, the master of Warfare, is listed as being able to interrupt a one-lynchpin spell as long as the target is within range. Which I interpret to mean, trying to interrupt a one-lynchpin spell is a matter of warfare - and someone who isn't a master of warfare, against a higher-warfare sorcerer, is unlikely to interrupt a one-lynchpin spell. (Edit: Josh suggests that this is also an example where the caster might be able to use psyche instead of warfare - using their superior force of will to get the spell off quickly enough to avoid interruption.)

Wyvern
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Re: Sorcery

Post by Wyvern » Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:18 pm

Sorcery vs. Lesser Empowerment (aka Conjure Shadow Shape) vs. Conjuration:

Sorcery is manipulation of energy. A sorcery spell can deflect arrows or blades (wind wall, force shield, etc), teleport a weapon to your hand from anywhere in range (up to a few shadows away if you know exactly where to pull it from), call down fire and lightning, sense or rip apart other magical effects, and so on and so forth. In D&D terms, it's mostly evocation, with some abjuration and divination, as well as conjuration spells that involve moving rather than creating. (Aside: if you're actually in a D&D setting, with local magic providing "positive energy" as a thing that exists, healing magics become quite doable with just base sorcery. But such healing is a local shadow effect, will fade if you start wandering around to other shadows, and - worse - isn't universal; a spell racked that relies on "positive energy" will simply fail in most places.)

Empowerment is changing physical things, rather than forces. This is the domain of most healing spells (transforming a target into a healed state and/or granting regeneration), water breathing, shapeshifting, strengthening the material of a door (rather than reinforcing it with a force effect), weakening walls or manacles, and so on and so forth. Note that Amberites are resistant to this sort of thing - sometimes this is a good thing (baleful polymorph), sometimes not so good (healing magics). In particular, calling pattern to mind will tend to wipe out active spells; travelling through or manipulating shadow without activating pattern defense is a bit less destructive, but will still erode such effects relatively quickly. (Edit: and "active spell" includes even, for example, D&D spells with duration: instantaneous. Such effects may not be undoable via local magic counterspells, but sorcery and pattern can still unravel them.)

Conjuration is creating physical things. I think this one is relatively self-explanatory? May be needed for extreme forms of healing - replacing a damaged limb or organ, for example.
Edit: The biggest source of confusion about "conjuration" is likely to be the name. In the base rulebook, Conjuration is a 20 point power that includes both conjuration-in-the-sense-of-conjuring/creating-items, as well as empowerment. And then there's the "conjure shadow shape" that's actually the lower level of empowerment. For purposes of this thread, I will only be using "conjuration" to refer to, specifically, the creating-things path of the original 20-point Conjuration power. I.E. the sub-powers listed in the main powers list as "basic conjuration" and "complex conjuration". By contrast, I will use "empowerment" to refer to both "conjure shadow shape" and "empowerment", and if I need a term to include both conjuration and empowerment, I'm likely to refer to them as "advanced magic paths" - a term that includes compelling, as well.

Wyvern
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Re: Sorcery

Post by Wyvern » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:03 pm

Lynchpin: Target.
A lot of spells require a target. In many cases, you can usefully prepare a spell to target yourself, thus saving the casting time of this lynchpin. Others, such as blasting someone with lightning, that might not work so well.
There's a second option for leaving out a target, though: locking the lynchpin in as "target touched". This is generally only useful for spells that would otherwise involve several lynchpins, or spells that you usually expect to cast on yourself. Since, reaching out and touching someone else with a zero lynchpin spell, is no faster or easier than targeting them with one lynchpin. However, if you can get a two or three lynchpin spell down to one or two, that might be combat useful: trading off range for making the spell harder to interrupt.

Example Spell: Establish Psychic Contact
Normally, psychic contact requires time (a significant fraction of a minute) and physical contact. This spell makes it faster - only a few seconds - and works at range. Requires a lynchpin of target. Optionally, can take a second target, and establish contact between two people that aren't the caster. More complex versions can establish contact between more than two people at a time, target anyone in an area, etcetera.

Wyvern
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Re: Sorcery

Post by Wyvern » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:19 pm

Healing Spell: Requires at least basic empowerment (i.e. "conjure shadow shape"). Lynchpins are target, creature type, and wounds-to-be-healed. (So, for example, a spell to heal yourself in Amber would require only one lynchpin left open: type of injury.) This spell functions by transforming the target into a healed state, and granting regeneration; essentially, it both masks the damage and accelerates actual recovery. Works very well on creatures of shadow; less well on amberites (while it can still mask the injury, it offers little benefit over ranked endurance for speed of recovery), and rather poorly on shapeshifters - though a more complicated version might include multiple lynchpins worth of "creature type" and thus allow some degree of shapeshifting to be used without breaking the effect.

Breath Weapon: One of many possible one-lynchpin attack spells. Variations include "Explosion thirty feet away in the direction indicated by my index finger", "Scour all the ground within ten feet of me with lightning, excluding myself", "Freeze target touched", etc. Prepared with local magic set, and these sorts of things are down to zero lynchpins - which makes them an excellent choice for someone with only Sorcery Apprentice, since doubled casting time isn't a big deal when the casting time is negligible to start with.
Note that while the raw power of an attack spell is governed by the psyche of the caster, the ability to aim and make combat-effective use of it is still governed by warfare; someone with high psyche and lower warfare would generally prefer a slightly more complicated attack spell that didn't have the "target" lynchpin baked in, while someone with low psyche and high warfare can get, in D&D terms, a significant amount of precision damage added to an otherwise unimpressive attack spell.

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Joshua
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Re: Sorcery

Post by Joshua » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:14 am

Healing Spelll (Shadow): In a shadow which has 'positive energy' or similar, you can simply use sorcery to channel a large burst of positive energy what will heal you. Amber does not have this energy, and it's not all that common. Oddly, both D&D and Star Trek have this (It's how the borg heal themselves).

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