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Stacking and magical effects

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Mongolia Jones

Joined: 16 Apr 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:15 pm    Post subject: Stacking and magical effects Reply with quote

I understand that in more recent rpg games that "stacking" is typically addressed due to the sheer number of options available to players. Old school gaming "stacking" wasn't even a term used at all. Wayfarers seems a mix of old school, primarily and new school, secondarily.

I can remember gaming back in '79, stacking wasn't an issue (except for maybe for a certain pair of gauntlets, a certain belt, and a particular hammer) mostly due to there being less in game options available to players.

In Wayfarers there are more options available to players than in old school dnd. There are some spells that have an exact match in magic items which are obvious that they should not stack, but then there are spells that are very similar to other spells and/or items and it becomes unclear how they would work together.

Take for example:
1. the ring of swiftness
2. the spell 2nd circle spell swiftness
3. the 1st circle spell quicken

All three above are similar but not exactly the same. They are all the same in that they allow a character to act/react more swiftly and give bonuses to the same stats (i.e. initiative, dodge and move rate) but they are all different in that one gives more initiative bonus and the other more base move rate.

So how would they work together, are they additive, or do I take the best stat increase from each effect?

This especially becomes important with stats like dodge as there are many spells/items that effect it but in different ways, such as ion stones, magic bracers, magic robes, multiple spells (blink, shimmering armor etc.)

Even in low magic campaigns where a typical 9th level character has only 3 minor/moderate strength magic items with the right spell can achieve a dodge score of 24+. Considering only the toughest monsters have a +5 or +6 to hit, such characters will become practically untouchable.
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YOGC Staff

Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 1390
Location: Torsche

PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where were you in play-testing MJ?! Wink

Short answer: Effects are meant to stack unless stated otherwise.

However, there's a few long answers to your question. One honest answer is that high-level play hasn't been tested nearly as much as lower-level play. It has been tested in various forms, but as far as the final Wayfarers format that you have in your hands, upper-level play could simply use more players with more styles, playing the game more. It's one thing to make high level characters and run a session, it's another to advance characters to that point and play them.

Even so, I do think aside from some solid proprietary spell casting, a dodge of 24+ is a bit more difficult to achieve than you might suspect, even at 9th level. At least for a majority of PCs. Dodge is a bit different than the AC you might be used to.

But that aside, there are ways to address the problem should it arise. There's a paragraph in the Creature Catalog section that should really be taken to heart:
Those creatures provided in this section represent only average individuals of a particular race/species. Furthermore, only a generalization of their behavior is given. Deviation from these descriptions is encouraged, and the innovative Game Master will use these examples as a palette only.

In short, make your monsters work for your campaign. If you find your PCs constantly evading monsters, beef the examples up. If you like, you might give a monster more attacks, weapon mastery, calculated strike, pause & study. Whatever works for you. For example, a typical cyclops might attack once with a weapon with +4/+6. However, the cyclops chieftain might attack twice with +6/+6. Also, use their intellect score. Make the Ifrit cast Invisibility on his golem buddy. Have him fly up and lay a Wall of Fire under the PCs. Give the Jotun Ritual Magic. Monsters are people too. Make them wily, difficult and varied. I just suggest you aim for consistency. Once a creature is created, let it stand or fall on its own merits.

One thing about Wayfarers, which you have guessed correctly, is that it does primarily tale the old school approach of home-brewing the heck out of it. In a very real sense, the game is a starting point. We expect people to take it different directions, and find different solutions, and I hope I stressed that enough in the book.

Definitely do not let your players treat the Creature Catalog as a field guide. Those stats are there just to make the GM's job easier. They are not set in stone. More of a putty. Not too runny. Easy to mold. Not too chalky either. Smells like Play-Do. -Sorry, it's late and I am tired. Smile But you get my point. If you need a demon with a +10 to-hit. Have a demon with a +10 to-hit.

That said, the best way to play-test a game is to have a large number of gaming groups playing it over an extended period. We had a smaller pool of mostly like-minded individuals. We are just not that big.

A good game ought to get out of the way and let you change it when you need it. Still, that's not to say a game shouldn't work 'as is'. In making Wayfarers, we tried to push both functionality and flexibility. I think we've come close, but of course we can always do better. That's one reason we have the Wayfarers Guild Journal. We want the game to be a living thing. As more people play it and share their ideas/experiences, the more we can use Wayfarers better, and most likely, evolve the game itself.

We aren't searching for balance. But we are searching for good games. Of course, no two groups play the same. However, they might find the same game equally useful. That's the goal.

Anyway, that was long-winded. I appreciate you raising the concern. Let me know if the problem does bear out. Unfortunately, I don't think there's many people playing high-level Wayfarers at the moment to offer you out-of-house advice.
Take a page out of the Unicorn Bible and dance all night by the Light of the Dragon's flame. -Champions of Breakfast
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