Invoking Miracles

Rocketeer
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Invoking Miracles

Postby Rocketeer » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:02 pm

The requirement for a person to be able to move his hands in order to invoke a miracle seems a bit strange. Especially for some of the miracles that are described as being invoked through prayer. I can understand if this is purely a mechanism of the game, maybe for play balance reasons, but it still seems a bit odd.

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TorgHacker
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Re: Invoking Miracles

Postby TorgHacker » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:48 pm

I'm pretty sure I see Catholics crossing themselves while praying.

Muslims are bowing repeatedly.

And those are just prayers. They're not invoking miracles. Who knows what that would actually entail. Apparently hand motions though. :-)
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Re: Invoking Miracles

Postby utsukushi » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:23 am

That's an interesting note. As far as I can tell, that really is the only difference between the three: Psionics don't require voice or gestures.

They otherwise are gained the same and advance the same, they have the same 2 Shock on a fail/Stymie on a mishap. Maintaining any of the three gives you a -2 to Concentration or casting/invoking/ -- um.. psionic-ing. When I desperately wanted to argue that you should have more Spells than Psionics, I had to admit that the Spells are too powerful for that; they are, for the most part, clearly balanced with the expectation of working just like Miracles and Psionics.

But Psionics don't need voice or gestures, meaning a) they're the only one of the three that you can use when, say, gagged and tied up*, and b) they're the only set you can use without giving away that you're the one doing it.

Am I not seeing some advantages built in to Spells and Miracles that balances that?


*--We won't go into why you might be those things, but to each their own.

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PrinceEarwig
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Re: Invoking Miracles

Postby PrinceEarwig » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:00 am

utsukushi wrote:and b) they're the only set you can use without giving away that you're the one doing it.

Just because your not hollering and waving your arms around doesn't mean its not clear the power is coming from you.
This might be the old Champions player in me but if you haven't bought Invisible Power effect then there is some kind of clear indication it's you what done it!!
Giant ethereal hand formed of ectoplasm that is literally coming out of your head :D

I am sure this "isn't" the case but one should never assume :D

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Re: Invoking Miracles

Postby Hobbes » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:20 am

PrinceEarwig wrote:
utsukushi wrote:and b) they're the only set you can use without giving away that you're the one doing it.

Just because your not hollering and waving your arms around doesn't mean its not clear the power is coming from you.
This might be the old Champions player in me but if you haven't bought Invisible Power effect then there is some kind of clear indication it's you what done it!!
Giant ethereal hand formed of ectoplasm that is literally coming out of your head :D

I am sure this "isn't" the case but one should never assume :D


Torg specifically states that mechanics are transparent so, Psionics are obvious. However, Psionics can be used when Spells, Miracles, Alchemy, or Bulletsmithing can't be. There are no gear, gesture, vocal or other Narrative requirements on Psionics.

The Miracle limitation kinda irks me as the assorted Edeinos or Alysish Paladins are now picking up/putting down weapons and shields constantly...easily ignored though.

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Re: Invoking Miracles

Postby utsukushi » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:09 pm

PrinceEarwig wrote:
utsukushi wrote:and b) they're the only set you can use without giving away that you're the one doing it.

Just because your not hollering and waving your arms around doesn't mean its not clear the power is coming from you.
This might be the old Champions player in me but if you haven't bought Invisible Power effect then there is some kind of clear indication it's you what done it!!
Giant ethereal hand formed of ectoplasm that is literally coming out of your head :D

I am sure this "isn't" the case but one should never assume :D


If they fail, they're likely to get a nosebleed (or from the eyes or ears); "a telltale sign of psionic usage for those who know what to look for." As long as they succeed, there's nothing to look for.

Transparent mechanics is a meta rule, because Torg is, in many ways, an unabashedly meta game - the system isn't just an arbitrary framework to decide when you succeed or fail. There's a whole lot of literally gaming the system that is the game. And that's where transparent mechanics falls. If an NPC Psi is using Cloud Mind to sneak into the PCs camp and steal, let's say, their map (the one that shows where the Cyclopean Horror hangs out), the GM doesn't have to reveal that, because that would actually spoil something important.

The Miracle limitation kinda irks me as the assorted Edeinos or Alysish Paladins are now picking up/putting down weapons and shields constantly...easily ignored though.

Although, I mean, much as it supports my position to say Psi has too big an advantage here, I'm not sure it goes that far. It doesn't say your hands have to be empty, just that you have to be able to move them. So a Paladin casting Lightning Strike can shout "Shali smite thee!" and point dramatically at her target with her sword just as easily as with a finger -- at least, as I read it. She just can't be tied up or paralyzed.

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Re: Invoking Miracles

Postby Hobbes » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:36 pm

"...hands free..." is at least somewhat subjective and is a mostly narrative rather than mechanical limitation. Some games (D&D for example) get real ticky-tacky on what qualifies for the assorted spellcasting requirements. From what I've seen there isn't anything that specifically prevents Spellcasting, Miracles, Alchemy, or Bulletsmithing, its a GM call if you can wiggle enough to accomplish the task.

The classic "Net Trap" that pulls the group of heroes up into a tangled mess dangling from a tree is the best illustration I can think of. Can you reach your Holy Symbol/Potion/Spell components/whatever? The trap itself probably doesn't specifically state you can't, but Narratively it makes sense that it's a struggle of some kind. So the GM makes a call and play carries on. My point is it's mechanically non-specific and will be a GM call. Unlike D&D 5th edition which has specific mechanical conditions that prevent Spellcasting.

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Atama
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Re: Invoking Miracles

Postby Atama » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:17 pm

utsukushi wrote:Am I not seeing some advantages built in to Spells and Miracles that balances that?

Miracles only require having one good stat (Spirit) and one skill (Faith). Put a +3 in one and a 13 in the other and your character is going to be awesome with any Miracle right from the start.

Magic requires 4 skills and 2 stats (Spirit and Mind).

Psionics require 3 skills but each uses a different stat.

So that's a significant difference right there. A psionic character is probably going to probably not have enough points to be very good at one of the three kinds of powers, if he wants to excel at the others.

A Mage can put a bunch of points in Mind and Spirit, put plenty of skill points in the 4 skills, and be great at any magic.

As mentioned before, you can be great at Miracles and have plenty of points to diversify into other things.

One other difference... Psionic characters only come from 3 cosms. Magic characters can be from 6 cosms, and characters who can do Miracles also come from 6 cosms. That's a major limitation there.
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Re: Invoking Miracles

Postby utsukushi » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:08 pm

This just came up simultaneously in two threads, but this seems more relevant here;

Honestly? The stat aspect would be significant if it were otherwise built for Magic users to branch out. With all three powers being limited to the same slow progression of one-new-ability-per-Perk... that's not so relevant. You're better off specializing anyway, because -- well, say you're running a Magician and you buy all four Spell Skills. You're only going to have a couple of spells for each, tops, if that really is all you're doing. That's an awful lot of XP to support maybe two spells, when you could narrow your focus and have either more spells in two fields, or the same solid grounding in two fields and also do something else.

Within the current rules, you're never going to have enough spells to justify spending on all four spell skills.

The Cosm limit? Is a definition, not a limitation. There are tons of things that are only allowed in single Cosms -- that's just Torg. All it means is that if you want to play... anything that is limited by Cosm, you have to be from (one of) the Cosm(s) that allows it. It doesn't change the balance for it.

Now, as is kind of being discussed from the other direction in the "Faith and Ward Enemy" thread -- if Miracles was meant to give three Miracles and Ward Enemy, rather than three Miracles that are required to include Ward Enemy, then that, combined with its focus on a single Skill and Stat, may at least have an argument for it.

But either Spells (with four Skills on two Stats and no particular benefits, with everything else mechanically identical) are definitely running behind Faith (one Skill, one Stat, and a sort of bonus Miracle) and Psionics (three Skills on three Stats, but what amounts to two free Perks: Voiceless and Hands-Free).

OR Psionics is way ahead of both of them, if the Miracles Perk is giving you two Miracles plus one that already came free with the base Skill.

Now, to be clear, I think it makes sense for Psionics to not need those things, and for Spells and Miracles to use them. But I think it's a significant advantage and, with their mechanics being deadly-dull-identical, it has to balance out.

Given that the Ward Enemy thing is an outright contradiction in the rules (does it come always with Miracles? Or do you already have it from Faith?), that just needs to be decided and fixed, and if the decision is that you already have it from Faith and Miracles should grant three more on top of that, that works well enough.

Spells... there's just nothing for, as it stands. If it were me, I'd take Backlash out from Miracles and Psionics entirely - which, I know, puts Spellcasting even further `behind' - but that's far enough behind that you can then balance it out by actually giving them more Spells; say, four with the initial Perk, and two for each additional, encouraging Spellcasters to diversify and making it worth investing in all four of those Skills. That would actually put a little bit of `difference' between the three, even.

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Hobbes
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Re: Invoking Miracles

Postby Hobbes » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:07 pm

Atama wrote:
Magic requires 4 skills and 2 stats (Spirit and Mind).

Psionics require 3 skills but each uses a different stat.


Most Cosms Spell, Miracle and Psi Power lists can put together three picks with a single stat/skill combo. Core Earth has a crappy spell list... but the rest can pick three good spells or Psi Powers from a single skill/stat combo easily enough. Once the assorted Cosm books are out and the number of Spells and Psi powers are doubled or tripped it'll be even easier.

The real challenge is getting six decent spells/powers/miracles from the same stat. Their is a definite attempt to keep the spells and powers for a each stat similar.


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