Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Magic Spells - Healing Spell(s)

This is a situation where I'm currently working from the premise that for SoG there is only a single damage-healing spell (instead of multiple healing spells at different levels). Likely this same situation will also come into play with the "Monster Summoning" spells--there will only be a single spell, and the Margin of success of the casting will determine the strength of the spell.

Healing Spell (+1 Difficulty)

Benefits (+3 to Difficulty)

  • Improvement: Alternate Useage (Use Magic-related Skill for Physik) (+1)
  • Improvement: Alternate Useage (Make effect more "magical") (+1)
    This improvement means the following change in the use of the magically-generated Physik Skill effect with respect to Medical Attention. With the use of this spell, a target can be the target of more than one healing action in an exchange.
  • Improvement: Alternate Useage (Make effect even more "magical") (+1)
    This improvement means the following change in the use of the magically-generated Physik Skill effect with respect to Medical Attention. When used against Consequences, the caster does not take the entire scene to help the target, and multiple attempts can be made.
Requirements (-2 to Difficulty)

  • Requirement: Verbal Component (-1)
  • Requirement: Somatic Component (-1)

Spell Mechanics:
Before rolling the dice on the spell, the Caster decides on one of two possible uses for the Healing Spell:

  • Heal a Target's Stress
  • Heal a Target's Consequences

Healing Option 1: Heal a Target's Stress

RULES NOTE: This is a slight modification to the Physick skill's "mundane" listing, to remain consistent with the Magic dice-rolling mechanic.)

GAMEPLAY NOTE: There are opinions by players that using a spell to cure Stress might be considered something of a wasted effort given the fact that it's really just "combat fatigue", not so much as considered damage. However it will be left here for now, as it's consistent with the skill's listing in the SotC source material.


When healing stress, roll against the skill level of the spell. If the spell is successfully cast (Caster equals the spell's difficulty), then the subject may remove a checkmark in his one-stress box on his physical stress track. Every two shifts beyond the first improves this effect by one; for example, with four shifts, a character can remove a checkmark in his target’s three-stress box. The list below shows the full progression.

Healing Success Effects
  • 0 shifts (equal): Clear the one-stress box
  • 1 shift: Clear the one-stress box, roll up
  • 2 shifts: Clear the two-stress box, roll down
  • 3 shifts: Clear the two-stress box, roll up
  • 4 shifts: Clear the three-stress box, roll down
  • 5 shifts: Clear the three-stress box, roll up
  • 6 shifts: Clear the four-stress box, roll down
  • 7 shifts: Clear the four-stress box, roll up
  • 8 shifts: Clear the five-stress box, roll down
  • 9 shifts: Clear the five-stress box, roll up

The "roll up", "roll down" notation refers to the fact that if the target box is already clear, then the effect rolls and clears the next available box in a particular direction. For example, if the spell's success was "4 shifts" and allowed the three-stress box to be cleared, but only the one-stress box was checked, then clear that one instead.

ACTION ITEM: Review if this scenario works or not: If there is nothing left in the direction indicated, then just look for the lowest stress box, and then redefine that having been downgraded by one stress. Note that the downgrade only occurs if there were no stress boxes available to clear, as described according to the shifts above.

Example: Conman the Barbarian had the following physical stress: ( )( )(X)( ) ( ), and a caster scored "2 shifts (roll down)" on a healing. Conman noted that his 2-stress box was clear and there no lower-stress boxes to clear. What would happen then is that the 2-stress box would be "downgraded". In other words, the 3-stress box would be cleared, but the 2-stress box was now checked, for a final effect of: ( )(X)( )( ) ( ). This way no healing was "wasted", consistent to the source material.

NOTE: The goal of all this crunch was that the source material's magical healing mechanic allows for the ability of a number of small healing spells would eventually return a high HP character to full capacity. In other words, unless the "tank is topped off", healing doesn't go to waste.

Healing Option 2: Heal a Target's Consequences
TRANSLATION NOTE: This one gave me a lot of headaches. Ultimately this effect ended coming almost directly from the source material. Reviewing the clerical healing spells in the source material and what level they are...

  • Cure Light Wounds: 1st Level spell
  • Cure Serious Wounds: 4th Level spell
  • Cure Critical Wounds: 5th Level spell
  • Heal: 6th Level spell

...Taking the spell terminology literally, you might then end up with the following expectation...

  1. The "Cure Light Wounds" effect allows the caster to clear a single Mild Consequence at Average (+1) difficulty.
  2. The "Cure Serious Wounds" effect allows the caster to clear a single Moderate Consequence at Great (+4) difficulty.
  3. The "Cure Critical Wounds" effect allows the caster to clear a single Severe Consequence at Superb (+5) difficulty
  4. The "Heal" effect allows the caster to clear all Consequences at Fantastic (+6) difficulty.

Now we have a convenient link between the power of a healing spell and the severity of the consequence.

Based upon the source material, we already know that a lot of high-level fighters can absorb multiple "Critical" wounds. In other words, the AD&D spell "Cure Critical Wounds" will often leave high-powered PCs still short of their maximum HP. So this should be consistent with the Endurance-related stunts of allowing extra consequences over the normal 3.

What should the benefit be to someone with ONLY a single Severe Consequence, if they are the recipient of only an Average (+1) difficulty Healing Spell against that consequence? My current sense is that "failing" to clear a consequence should at least allow for a downgrade of one level. The caster determines what gets downgraded.

Example: An Average (+1) healing spell is cast against a target who has Mild, Moderate and Severe Consequences. The caster of the spell can choose one of the following:

  1. Clear the Mild Consequence
  2. Downgrade the Moderate Consequence to an additional Mild Consequence
  3. Downgrade the Severe Consequence to an additional Moderate Consequence

It might make sense to tweak the difficulties a bit to avoid that uneven progression (+1, then +4, +5, +6), but I think that even given the subjective nature of FATE's consequences, there's a relatively big gap between what constitutes a Mild consequence versus a Moderate consequence. Or even Severe consequences for that matter. So it probably all evens out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"only a single damage-healing spell"

I have come to a similar conclusion about spells in general. D&D's level advancement creates an arms race of sorts. A lot of spells had different versions because those spells didn't scale with the caster's level, 4e has improved that situation somewhat.

Here are some more headaches for you. Not all consequences are health related. They could be social or psychological as well - and Diaspora has stress/consequences for wealth too. Also, how the spell works will need mesh with how healing in general works in a setting. There are a lot of rule variations out there, the original stress rules, stress as HP, 1/2/4, 2/4/6, 2/4/6/8...