Crowd Control

27th Feb 2023, 12:00 AM in Earth's Greatest Un-Team
Crowd Control
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Author Notes:

27th Feb 2023, 12:00 AM
Loki's really getting some mileage out of lower-level spells.

Comments:

27th Feb 2023, 10:47 AM
Otaku
Oh, it's Storytime! Tell of a time when you made use of lower level Spells, or similar facets of your character!

As an example, and because I like to share these kinds of things anyway:

This is from a pseudo medieval/fantasy setting, run using GURPS Third Edition (Revised), as that was the latest version of GURPS at the time. Yep, another story from my old high school gaming group. The short version is... still long. I had retired my previous character, and was bringing a new one into the group, only the GM knew who and what this character was like, and that I pushed my min-maxing skills to the limit. That last thing was aided by

1) The normal cap on how many Disadvantages you can take being waived; Disadvantages are like Flaws, but ones taken while building your character give you Character Points to spend elsewhere.

2) GURPS default Magic System.

Ask if you need to know more, but the minimum the story requires I explain is that GURPS handles Spells like "Skills". You don't have Spell levels or a cap of X Spells per day or anything like that. Spells require Energy, which is usually marked off of your FP (Fatigue Points). FP is also used for mundane exertion as well, like heavy labor. High Skill levels for Spells in GURPS comes with a bunch of nice bonuses; lower Energy costs, lower casting times, and there's normally a penalty of -1 per Spell for casting a second (and third, and fourth, etc.) Spell while you are maintaining another one. You cannot cast two Spells in the same turn, though; just cast a Spell, and if you're maintaining it, you can still cast another with the above penalty.

My mage was a bit paranoid, and with his Dependent siblings. You better believe that, when the party got near, he was worried they'd attack - not like he knew he was "supposed" to join them - so he hid. The GM and I decided that it would be fun if he tried to scare the party away. So instead of me doing things directly, the GM had my character execute the plan, and the GM even made the necessary rolls. I no longer remember all the specifics, but I think we began by having my character cast Invisible Wizard Eye, Invisible Wizard Ear, and Invisible Wizard Mouth. These are not the equivalent of low Level Spells, but explain how I did the rest of what I did. I knew them well enough to cast them one after the other, only taking a turn each (one second in GURPS!), and while it cost me some Fatigue Points to do so, I knew them all at a high enough level that maintaining them cost me no further Energy (Fatigue Points). If someone needs a detailed explanation for them, ask, but just understand they let me hide in the cave but hear and see what was happening on front of the cave, as well as cast Spells, as if I was up front.

At some point, I used a spell to amplify my voice, giving it a booming quality, and spoke through the Invisible Wizard Mouth. Now, if someone would have had rolled well enough on their Perception, they could have figured out where the Invisible Wizard Eye/Ear/Mouth was, they could have attacked and (with a lucky shot) destroyed it. No one rolled well enough, and as I later learned, they never even realized it could be those Spells. Either shortly before or after the voice stuff, I used Create Darkness to... uh, create darkness. A little more specifically, the spell lets you create darkness that normal light sources won't penetrate, and without an obvious source of said darkness. A second later, I used Shape Darkness to give it a thin, vaguely humanoid form. So to them, the strange shadow figure was speaking with a booming, disembodied voice is... and that's not that strange for most fantasy RPGs. Not long after, the party engaged my "creation" in battle. Which did nothing, since it was just a magically generated absence of light; it would be like attacking someone's shadow with regular weapons and no chance of hitting what was casting the shadow.

Still, this was enough to justify my mage escalating, so the next part of the plan unfolded. Taking my time, I used Create Fire to make a magical hex of fire. A second (and turn) later, while maintaining everything else (and soaking a -8 penalty!) I used Shape Fire on it the next turn, giving the fire a bat-like shape and having it (relatively slowly) chase some of the party members. Once again, the rest of the group thought it was just a challenging encounter, and weren't sure why their attacks weren't working. I don't think we had have another mage. Eventually, we took a break, and the GM and I excused ourselves to the restroom. I don't remember if no one else had to go right then, or if the timing was just right so that only we two were in the same restroom at the same time, but either way we had an impromptu meeting to discuss our progress. We figured that the others had to be catching on by now, so we came revealed the ruse outside of the game.

Nope! No one had figured it out! We let them use their player knowledge a little. It was a little out of character, but one playing an Ellylon (fairies but as magical, mortal beings) decided to dive into the darkness to "see what happens". She safely emerged through the other side, and that was enough to justify the in-game characters realizing the big bad... wasn't. XP Then they found me, we talked, and I joined the party. Yes, I did use the equivalent of high level spells as part of the set, but stuff like Create Fire and Shape Fire are commonly known because you need to know both to learn Fireball. The same for Create Darkness and Shape Darkness, but I think they were prerequisites for Invisibility.
28th Feb 2023, 8:54 AM
Only stories I have that really come to mind are 5E, and that's just because damaging cantrips were more widespread. My Sun Elf Artificer got a lot of use out of Ray of Frost.

In itself, this wouldn't be too notable, but at the time I was putting the character together, the source I was using said that you'd need tools to cast spells, but either didn't actually provide any as starting equipment or put a gold limit on it or something like that. So I went through the list and the cheapest set of tools I could find were cooks' utensils. This really hit my funny bone, so I worked it into the character that his spells were built into various bits and bobs of cooking equipment (like a soup ladle that shot Grease, a large cooking pot of Resistance, etc.)

Ray of Frost became the go-to because not only was it a damage-dealing spell, but it was built into a whisk that my Artificer affectionately and INSISTENTLY called "The Hwisk of Hwinter" (and yes, it had be pronounced as such).
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