Does the Armor Spell stack with physical armor?

Ayaron
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Does the Armor Spell stack with physical armor?

Postby Ayaron » Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:29 pm

I have always been assuming yes but...

Core pg 186
If a character is affected by more than one
enhancement or reduction that changes a skill or
attribute—technology, miracles, etc.—the effects
don’t stack. The target gets the strongest of the
effects, however.

It lists Technology in there. So if an Mage is wearing Elven Chain (+3) there would be little point ever casting this spell on themselves.

The spell description says "Armor infuses the caster’s skin" and I've seen elsewhere on this forum that armor does stack with cyber dermal implants. So you could argue that Armor gives you the equivalent 'natural' armor that will stack.

But I'm curious what the consensus and official ruling on this is.

So, does it stack?

(note, spelling Armour as Armor has hurt my British pride, but I wanted people to be able to search for this post in the future ;) )

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Atama
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Re: Does the Armor Spell stack with physical armor?

Postby Atama » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:19 pm

Armor does not stack with dermal implants, the descriptions of the implants themselves state that clearly (both Cyberware and Occultech versions).

Generally, Armor values don’t stack unless there’s an exception made, as it does in the Cover rules where it says that the bonus from cover indeed stacks with personal armor.

The way the spell is worded, you’re gaining a personal Armor bonus just as you would with physical armor. With no exceptions listed I’d assume it falls under the same rules as other armors. It reads to me like it gives mages a way to armor themselves without running around in literal armor. It’s not meant to stack with plate mail and turn them into behemoths that everything bounces off of.

EDIT: Natural armor like Edeinos “Stone Skin” also explicitly states it doesn’t stack with other kinds of armor.
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Ayaron
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Re: Does the Armor Spell stack with physical armor?

Postby Ayaron » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:57 pm

Atama wrote:Armor does not stack with dermal implants, the descriptions of the implants themselves state that clearly (both Cyberware and Occultech versions).


Yes. You're right. I went back and re-read the thread about stacking internal and external armour. I remembered reading it all, but my brain kindly reversed the info in my head. Thanks brain!

I'll pass this on to my mage player and offer to let them change out the spell for something else.

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Spatula
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Re: Does the Armor Spell stack with physical armor?

Postby Spatula » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:59 pm

Also, while a mage with Elven Chain couldn't improve their Armor bonus with the spell, they could have armor on more than just their torso. Probably not worth wasting a spell on, but it's there.

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Re: Does the Armor Spell stack with physical armor?

Postby ZorValachan » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:01 pm

Also the spell doesn't have a max dex of 10, like elven chain does
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Re: Does the Armor Spell stack with physical armor?

Postby Wotan » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:57 pm

The Armour spell counting as Full Body, not having a Max Dex, and being always available once learnt, are certainly advantages but, to my mind Elven Chain, still looks look like the better choice.

Firstly, for $500 the mage is freeing up a spell pick, which feels like a good deal to me.
More significantly though, IMHO, is the fact that, as written, Armour is a Concentration spell. Which means the mage is at -2 to other Magic tests while it's active, and risks their armour disappearing if they take damage, or even if they're affected by an Interaction Attack.

The same downsides apply to the Shield spell as well. In Aysle Day 1 the Mage's player in my group just wasn't using Shield because he felt these downsides made it a waste of a round which could be used for an offensive spell instead. I've ruled that Aysle's Magic Axiom is high enough that an alternate version of Shield, with a fixed duration of 3 rounds (6 rds on an Outstanding casting), exists, and would be inclined to say the same's true of the Armour spell.
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Re: Does the Armor Spell stack with physical armor?

Postby TorgHacker » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:14 pm

Just for the record, doesn't stack.
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Re: Does the Armor Spell stack with physical armor?

Postby utsukushi » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:06 am

That Concentration aspect is important there. I mean, Elven Chain is Torso, so it's only a -2 for enemies to avoid - but since Armor puts a mage at a -2, you're basically just choosing who to Stymie.

I think Armor, despite its description, isn't really intended for dedicated mages, who do indeed seem better off with another spell pick and either Elven Chain (if they want their enemies attacking at -2) or Leather Armor (if they just want a more reliable +1 Armor). The lack of a Max Dex doesn't matter to a pure mage because they're not using their Dex for much anyway, and almost certainly don't have it higher than a 10.

But I think it's a solid choice for a battle mage - like, a decent Mind and Dex score, and a couple points each in Melee Weapons and Alteration, then one Perk for Spellcaster and one for, perhaps, Elven Sorcerer, or maybe something like Trademark Weapon or Whirlwind if for some inexplicable reason you're not an elf. Then you cast Armor, using a Possibility if necessary to get your +3 Armor, outside of combat, and just maintain it with Concentration. Other spell picks might be Haste and Enhance. First round of combat you cast Haste. Second round, you Multi-Action with no penalty, cast Enhance on your Dexterity (which is not limited by your Armor), and then go to stabby town, continuing to use the Multi-Action bonus from Haste to re-cast Haste and Enhance as the battle continues, or re-applying Armor if it goes down. You should actually have some `spare' rounds in there that you could Enhance your Strength to improve your damage, or buff up your Mind to counter that penalty or your Spirit to buff up those Concentration checks.

It's probably not optimal for a starting character, but I think it's viable, and thematically fun. And after a couple adventures when you can start to eat those penalties better, you may not even have to miss your first round attacking anymore.

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Re: Does the Armor Spell stack with physical armor?

Postby Wotan » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:15 am

utsukushi wrote:That Concentration aspect is important there. I mean, Elven Chain is Torso, so it's only a -2 for enemies to avoid - but since Armor puts a mage at a -2, you're basically just choosing who to Stymie.

My mooks don't tend to go for Called Shots, they're more concerned with just landing a hit, so that's a weakness of Elven Chain which (in my game) is only likely to come out vs significant foes. In fairness though, concentration checks only apply in some circumstances too, so it's not quite as simple as choosing which side to Stymie. *shrug*

But I think it's a solid choice for a battle mage - like, a decent Mind and Dex score, and a couple points each in Melee Weapons and Alteration, then one Perk for Spellcaster and one for, perhaps, Elven Sorcerer, or maybe something like Trademark Weapon or Whirlwind if for some inexplicable reason you're not an elf.

I can see a Battle Mage being viable as an entertaining build, & Enhance & Haste look like solid picks, but I'm still not convinced that Armour is a good initial spell pick over other options & real armour, Portal would be a handy alternate pick IMO- stab your enemies without even being close to them.

Battlemage builds feel like they would want to dump Charisma, as it probably calls for at least average scores in the other 4 stats. This opens up a vulnerability to Taunts which, apart from being a pain itself, also means the mage can be easily forced to make Concentration checks. Dice being what they are some of these are going to fail at bad times, which puts the mage in the position of either losing their armour mid-fight or having to spend possibilities to keep it running.

Then you cast Armor, using a Possibility if necessary to get your +3 Armor, outside of combat, and just maintain it with Concentration.

This seems like a totally viable tactic, and the potential for pre-buffing seems like a big upside of powers sustained through Concentration. My concern is players saving their possibilities and just re-casting the spell until they get Outstanding results.

In theory it's totally legitimate, but it feels like it borders on cheesy power-gaming. I'm wondering if it's RAI that characters can have their concentration powers pre-cast at Outstanding level, ready for when the poop hits the fan?
My feeling is that this isn't intended, and, as a GM, I'd be inclined to tell players to just make one attempt at pre-casting it, to determine how powerful the effect is at the point it becomes mechanically relevant. As a player I might feel that's a bit harsh though. If there's no time pressure in the scene, what's to stop repeated castings until an Outstanding's achieved? At that point the game stops for how ever long it takes the player to roll the required total, which doesn't make for exciting gaming!
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Re: Does the Armor Spell stack with physical armor?

Postby Kuildeous » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:48 pm

Wotan wrote:
Then you cast Armor, using a Possibility if necessary to get your +3 Armor, outside of combat, and just maintain it with Concentration.

This seems like a totally viable tactic, and the potential for pre-buffing seems like a big upside of powers sustained through Concentration. My concern is players saving their possibilities and just re-casting the spell until they get Outstanding results.

In theory it's totally legitimate, but it feels like it borders on cheesy power-gaming. I'm wondering if it's RAI that characters can have their concentration powers pre-cast at Outstanding level, ready for when the poop hits the fan?
My feeling is that this isn't intended, and, as a GM, I'd be inclined to tell players to just make one attempt at pre-casting it, to determine how powerful the effect is at the point it becomes mechanically relevant. As a player I might feel that's a bit harsh though. If there's no time pressure in the scene, what's to stop repeated castings until an Outstanding's achieved? At that point the game stops for how ever long it takes the player to roll the required total, which doesn't make for exciting gaming!


Valid concern. I'm in favor of not rolling dice unless it makes the scene exciting, but in a game with unlimited spellcasting, this scenario seems likely to happen.

I am employing the same concept as disconnection to concentration. When you're not in rounds, things just happen. You might disconnect briefly and then reconnect. You don't notice it because you weren't using a computer at the time. Likewise, a mage might daydream a bit and lose his concentration. Maybe he is sucking in his gut while passing someone in a narrow aisle. Things happen that take your mind off of the concentration.

After all, try going all day while envisioning Homer Simpson eating a doughnut. You can do it for a while, but you'll get bored of it and let that image drop. Now if you are being shot at and that image of Homer is what could keep you alive, then you have this laser-like focus to not get that image out of your head. You can keep that going for a good solid minute. You might even keep it up even while gritting your teeth in pain after you got stabbed in the shoulder. But all the time without a pressing need? It's going to lapse.

So my default stance for unexpected combats is that everybody starts off connected and no spells/miracles/psionics are running. Exceptions are made for abilities that are being used for a current task, such as invisibility for sneaking or fly for circumventing.
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