Merlin, from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)Image via WikipediaHey all…

Ok, so I’ve been working on some different things on paper, including the difficulties of a Reality Check vs. a Skilled Opponent (i.e. someone skilled in Magic Defense or a School of Wizardry).

Let’s take an example from historical fiction… Myrddin (Merlin) the Wizard.

He has a couple of magic skills and some spells.

  • Skill: Transformation Magic (Per/Con)Spells: Transform to Fish, Transform to Hawk, Transform to Ant, Transform to Owl, Transform to Goose, Transform to Badger
  • Skill: Prescient Magic (Per/Wis)Spell(s): Clairaudience, Claircognizance, Clairsentience

Let’s walk through some different situations…

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Situation 1: Myrddin casts “Transform to Fish” on self

Basic setup is d12 + skill level – challenge rating = qualified roll

The challenge rating would vary on size of fish. The closer to human size, the easier the transformation. So going from human to Dolphin (for example, and yes I know a dolphin isn’t a fish) would be simpler than from human to Blue Whale or to a Goldfish. The higher the difficulty, the higher the Challenge Rating.

In this case, let’s say he’s transforming into a Bass. A good sized Bass is 5 pounds, and if Myrddin weighs roughly 125, that’s 1/25 his size, which wouldn’t be trivial. As a GM, I’d employ a scale something like 0 – 10… 0 meaning it’s a piece of cake and 10 meaning it’s pretty much impossible, and a 5 meaning moderately difficult.

As a GM, I’d rate this based on the experience of the wizard (we’re talking Merlin here) and the difficulty of shifting into a body 1/25 his size and give it a moderately difficult rating of 6.

If Myrddin’s “Transformation Magic” skill is at level 8, and the player rolls a 6 on a d12, you’re looking at [d12]6 + [skill]8 – [challenge]6 = 8.

No contest. It goes off without a hitch. Anything over a 1 would be a success.

Situation 2: Myrddin casts “Transform to Ant” on an Unwilling Target

Basic setup is d12 + skill level vs. opposed skill roll.

S2, Variation 1: Unskilled Opponent Is Partially Lucky

If Myrddin’s “Transformation Magic” skill is at level 8, and the player rolls a 6 on a d12, you’re looking at [d12]6 + [skill]8 = 14.

Let’s say the opponent’s RC is a 5. The player rolls a 3 on a d20, making his RC roll. He then decides to Dodge, and has Gymnastics at level 4. He rolls an 8 on a d12, so he’s looking at [d12]8 + [skill]4 = 12.

Myrddin has a 14, his opponent has a 12. Myrddin wins and his opponent turns into an ant for the duration of the spell.

S2, Variation 2: Unskilled Opponent Is Very Unlucky

If Myrddin’s “Transformation Magic” skill is at level 8, and the player rolls a 6 on a d12, you’re looking at [d12]6 + [skill]8 = 14.

Let’s say the opponent’s RC is a 5. The player rolls a 10 on a d20, not making his RC roll.

With Myrddin’s successful roll (i.e. not a 1), Myrddin wins and his opponent turns into an ant for the duration of the spell.

S2, Variation 3: Unskilled Opponent is Very Lucky

If Myrddin’s “Transformation Magic” skill is at level 8, and the player rolls a 6 on a d12, you’re looking at [d12]6 + [skill]8 = 14.

Let’s say the opponent’s RC is a 5. The player rolls a 3 on a d20, making his RC roll. He then decides to Dodge, and has Gymnastics at level 4. He rolls a 12 on a d12, so he’s looking at [d12]12 + [skill]4 = 16.

The opponent’s roll is a 16 and Myrddin’s roll is 14. The opponent deftly dodges far enough out of the way of the spell to make it miss him.

S2, Variation 4: Opponent skilled in Magic Defense

If Myrddin’s “Transformation Magic” skill is at level 8, and the player rolls a 6 on a d12, you’re looking at [d12]6 + [skill]8 = 14.

Let’s say the opponent’s Magic Defense skill is at level 5. He rolls a 10 on a d12, so he’s looking at [d12]10 + [skill]4 = 14.

The opponent’s roll is a 14 and Myrddin’s roll is 14. Tie goes to the target (always), so he successfully avoids being turned into an insect.

Notes

This implies a few things here… 1) Concentration of the wizard can be broken if the target moves in some cases. I think this is a good assumption. 2) The unskilled opponent still has a chance of beating a spell. 3) The skilled opponent has a better chance of defeating a spell. 4) Simply by casting a spell on an opponent, does the Challenge Rating come into play, or is the aspect of the opposed roll enough without introducing it?

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Input? Comments? Thoughts? Criticism?

–Fitz

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