Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sorcery: Homing Soulmass

I really really like this spell
Sorcery developed by Big Hat Logan. Fire homing soulmass. Life originates in the soul; no wonder the soulmass draws toward it. This sorcery is a window into seeker Logan's methods.
 A lot of the spells and magic effects in Dark Souls are pretty straight forward because of the type of game it is: brutal combat and exploration. Subtleties like social intrigue rarely enter into the equation. That said, I decided to model the most mechanically challenging spells first, trusting that if anyone cared to know how to calculate soul arrow, it would be nearly self-evident that it is nothing but Innate Attack. Homing Soulmass on the other hand has a bunch of complicated nuances that make it a little less straightforward. Let's see if we can put that one together.

Putting It Together

Mechanically, when cast, the spell creates orbs that hover around the player. These orbs do not do anything until an enemy is in range. At this point they will all charge in a straight line forward. The player is free to do anything while this happens, like changing weapons or casting other spells. GURPS Sorcery being based on alternate abilities expressly forbids casting other spells, but would be fine with other non-magical activities (or one could pay the full power cost for the option to use it simultaneously with other spells.)
So this to me sounds like a High Rate Of Fire (at least 5), it sounds like Homing, but with one pass only, and delay with a specific trigger (enemy detected)
As for the drawbacks, the spell has a fairly limited range in terms of detection and firing distance, and it has a nuisance side effect. The projectiles array themselves around the player with the tendency to accidentally hit obstacles in narrow passages.
To me, the limited range is simple, but the effect of not working in narrow spaces sounds like the Environmental, Occasional limitation. In some situations it might be common, but Dark Souls does have a lot of narrow inconvenient passageways, doorways, and twisting caves. Another possibility is to call it a nuisance effect, requiring a DX roll to get through narrow passageways without disabling the ability. I think for accuracy sake, that feels better.
Taking that all into consideration:
Homing Soulmass (+170%): Piercing Innate Attack 1 (Sorcery -15%; Homing, Detect (Enemies, Precise) +90%; Rapid Fire, 5, +70%; Reduced Range, 10 Yards, -30%; Increased 1/2D, +15%; Nuisance, Obvious, Difficult to Navigate Tight Areas, -10%; Delay, Triggered, When Enemies Detected by Homing Modifier, +50%) [14]

All of these modifiers come from Basic Set - Characters (besides Sorcery, which comes from Sorcery). This ability is 13.5 points a level. Because the attack is Homing, instead of rolling against an innate attack skill, one rolls against 10 + Accuracy + Talent, or 13 + Talent in this case. In addition, if Rate of Fire remains above 4, a bonus +1 is also added to the rate, so nominally, this ability is a roll of 14 + TalentMargin Of Success projectiles can potentially hit the opponent. The opponent using an active defense can resist, dodge, or parry projectiles in turn according to his or her margin of success on the defense roll. Each hit is a single 1d attack, meaning DR protects against each as if they were all separate attacks. As for the nuisance of being difficult to navigate tight areas, roll against DX when going through any area more narrow than 2 yards, like a door frame, or when hugging a wall. A success means penalties are averted as you navigate carefully; failure lowers Rate Of Fire by the margin of failure for the number of projectiles burned out.

Other Notes

Crystal Soul Spear can be implemented simply by changing piercing damage to impaling damage. This makes each level 21.6 points. Increasing the Rate Of Fire from 5 to 7 is also free for either version, but I left it at 5 because that's how it works in Dark Souls. I couldn't think of a good way to cost out the nuisance of the attack not firing immediately. It could potentially be worth half the value of Takes Extra Time because while it does take extra time, it doesn't stop the caster from acting during this startup. I'd say it takes 2 seconds, for maybe a 10% discount, which would lower the value of Homing Soulmass to 13/level and Homing Crystal Soulmass to 20.8/level. The range is slightly restrictive, and might be worth toning down a bit as well, but it is also part of the flavor of the ability, so I do recommend that it is not expanded much more than a single level.

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