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Wizard Combat Question 2: Opposed Roll?

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:08 am
by John.F
In a combat round, a Wizard is attacked by an opponent, either with missile or hand-to-hand weaponry (doesn't matter).

The Wizard is casting, so she makes an unopposed roll to test for success.

The attacker makes an opposed roll...but opposed to what?

Should the spellcasting Wizard in combat make TWO rolls, one for the spell being cast and one vs. the attacker?

Re: Wizard Combat Question 2: Opposed Roll?

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:12 am
by Skyrock
John.F wrote:Should the spellcasting Wizard in combat make TWO rolls, one for the spell being cast and one vs. the attacker?
That's how I understand it. Also note that it must be separate rolls, as magic employs MAGIC for casting/counterspelling and LUCK for resistance, while melee employs solely SKILL.

And don't forget to apply the penalty to the casting check for being subject to a melee attack.

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:32 am
by John.F
Actually, the more I'm thinking about this, the more I'm inclined to consider the spellcasting Wizard as too preoccupied to ALSO make a combat roll and should be considered vulnerable (essentially having rolled a 0 for the sake of an oppositional value). After all, the spell will resolve first and possibly save him from harm against a melee attack. Missiles, however...

Too extreme? Am I missing something from the rulebook?

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:08 pm
by torus
I think that's a bit hard on the spellcaster. After all the target of his/her spell gets a chance to resist it as well as attack, without penalty.

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:51 pm
by cragglerock
I've ruled it that the wizard has already used their "Attacks" so just rolls normally for a defensive SKILL check, just as the fighter concentrating on the ogre would against an orc rushing him from behind.

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:38 pm
by John.F
Thanks, guys. It's an interesting issue and one I'll need to really think over before my first game, which will be happening soon :D !

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:47 pm
by torus
The way I tend to think of it is that everybody gets one SKILL roll per round, and that covers all their actions: attack, parry, dodge etc, in opposition to their opponents' rolls. MAGIC and LUCK rolls are separate. Not sure if that's strictly true in all situations but it seems to be the way it mostly works out.

Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:09 am
by John.F
I think I've worked out an efficient solution that suits my gaming.

Since I'm using in my game the Alternative Unopposed Tests rule (pg. 156, though with a target value of 14 thanks to folks on this board), a spell-casting attempt would already be a roll-high event. So, that value rolled will perform double duty and will be used as a comparison to an attacker's combat roll.

Thus, a Wizard's casting in combat becomes a complete combat event and even includes the possibility that the spell is successfully cast, but the Wizard is hit anyway.

I need to see this in action, though, to be sure it's right before the campaign starts.

Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:46 am
by torus
John.F wrote:I think
Thus, a Wizard's casting in combat becomes a complete combat event and even includes the possibility that the spell is successfully cast, but the Wizard is hit anyway.

I need to see this in action, though, to be sure it's right before the campaign starts.
Sounds reasonable, though under that system, a round in which both the spell succeeds and the attack hits will be less likely. Probably not a big deal.

To be clear, I assume you mean the dice roll itself is re-used, so that you add the caster's MAGIC when checking for spell success and SKILL when avoiding the attack.

Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:30 pm
by Skyrock
I'd use separate rolls for several reasons:

1.) Critical success/failure: If you re-use the roll when the wizard rolls a double-6 or double-1, you introduce the concept "when it rains, it pours". Can be especially awkward when you don't use the Alternative Unopposed Roll system, as in that case a fumble with a spell becomes a critical hit in melee and vice versa.

2.) Test your LUCK: Test your luck can be invoked to perform a different trait test with it. If it is just one roll, the wizard gets to fuel two different actions with Test your LUCK while just sacrificing a single LUCK point.

Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:32 pm
by John.F
torus wrote:To be clear, I assume you mean the dice roll itself is re-used, so that you add the caster's MAGIC when checking for spell success and SKILL when avoiding the attack.
Nope. Just the MAGIC total.

And to address Skyrock's valid concerns, there'd be no double jeopardy involved. The Wizard's MAGIC roll result would merely be a comparative to the attacker's combat roll. Personal effects of success, failure, or crits would only be applied as per spell-casting rules.

For example, in a combat round:

Wizard's MAGIC roll: 14
Attacker's SKILL roll: 13
Result: The Wizard successfully casts and is not hit.

Wizard's MAGIC roll: 14
Attacker's SKILL roll: 16
Result: The Wizard successfully casts and is also hit, but if the Wizard had targeted the attacker and the attack was melee, there is a chance that the Wizard will actually not be hit since magic resolves before melee and, thus, the attacker may be impeded or killed before completing the strike (director's choice).

Wizard's MAGIC roll: Double 1's
Attacker's SKILL roll: Anything better than Double 1's
Result: The Wizard Rolls an Oops, not a Fumble. The attack hits.

Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:51 pm
by torus
John.F wrote:
torus wrote:To be clear, I assume you mean the dice roll itself is re-used, so that you add the caster's MAGIC when checking for spell success and SKILL when avoiding the attack.
Nope. Just the MAGIC total.
Hmm. That does mean any spellcaster with higher MAGIC than SKILL would actually be harder to hit when casting a spell - regardless of the spell's success or effects.

Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:43 pm
by John.F
torus wrote:
John.F wrote:
torus wrote:To be clear, I assume you mean the dice roll itself is re-used, so that you add the caster's MAGIC when checking for spell success and SKILL when avoiding the attack.
Nope. Just the MAGIC total.
Hmm. That does mean any spellcaster with higher MAGIC than SKILL would actually be harder to hit when casting a spell - regardless of the spell's success or effects.
Yes and, so far, I'm personally satisfied with the explanation that, within the abstraction that is AFF's combat round, the Wizard's act of being wizardly makes him a more competent participant in the action than when he is trying to do something outside of his area of expertise.

Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:37 pm
by Skyrock
That would make casting cantrips a better defense maneuvre than the actual defense maneuvre (as MAGIC+Magic-Minor is probably much stronger than SKILL+Weapon), and that at virtually no costs.

Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:26 pm
by John.F
Skyrock wrote:That would make casting cantrips a better defense maneuvre than the actual defense maneuvre (as MAGIC+Magic-Minor is probably much stronger than SKILL+Weapon), and that at virtually no costs.
Absolutely, but just how many cantrips are practical to cast in the heat of battle?

If one of my players wants to meet the onslaught of a flock of enraged Bird Men by "Ripening" an apple on the ground or "Entertaining" himself just to gain the defensive benefit of making a higher roll, I, as the Director, just won't allow it. However, if a player can sincerely devise a creative combat application for a cantrip, I say let the extra oomph in the roll be a reward!

EDIT: And, let's not forget that in combat casting situations, there are negative modifiers on the MAGIC roll when the caster is the target of a missile or melee attack (pg. 69).