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Avlis policy on: "Visible" Spell Effects (old)

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Avlis policy on: "Visible" Spell Effects (old)

PostAuthor: eNTrOpY » Wed May 21, 2003 8:13 pm

Not all the floating shit around a person that indicates spell effects is actually "visible" to a character.

Examples of visual effects done by the NWN engine that should not be considered "visible" to your characters:

See Invisibilty
True Seeing
Spell Resistance
Freedom of Movement

Examples of visual effects that ARE seen by your character:

Stoneskin
Greater Stoneskin
Elemental Shield

As a rule, use a little bit of common sense and consider the spell descriptions.

example: Premonition. This spell is a damage reduction spell. BUT unlike the similar stoneskin and greater stoneskin, this isn't accomplished through a physical "skin" around the caster that can be seen. It is accomplished by the caster being able to see into the very near future to avoid blows. Therefore, conclude that you cannot see this spell effect as there is no physical "skin" to be seen

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PostAuthor: Pharik » Wed May 21, 2003 9:56 pm

Regarding defensive spells:

Non-MU's wouldnt in most cases know what the auras signify whether or not they are visible. MU's on the other hand would recognise protections with or without aura's.

Just my opinion, but im sick of hearing how Joe Bloggs the Fighter has been around mages long enough to know what these things signify. BS..Mages guard their knowledge with a vengeance..if its a caster only spell then I say non-MU's havent a clue. Anything else has probably been cast on them a time or two so im happy to let those go as long as they are around to hear the incantation.


PS Floating shit = Auras :)

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PostAuthor: Starslayer_D » Thu May 22, 2003 10:58 am

There is a skill wich very nicely plays up to one's skill in recognising spells beign cast or in effect:
(now if I remembered the correct name without game/manual)
Spell recognition, spell knowledge.. something like that.

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PostAuthor: j5hale3 » Thu May 22, 2003 12:18 pm

Yes, I've noticed in the "mechanics" chat window that sometimes you know what spell some else is casting and sometimes you don't.

As for mages guarding their knowledge... that's a sweeping generalization that may or may not hold true... Your mage might, mine might not....
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PostAuthor: Sylvan Phoenix » Thu May 22, 2003 1:47 pm

I'm curious about protection from elements. Would that be visible as well? I'm assuming you can add the barkskin effects to the visible list, right?

Thanks for clarifying this.

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PostAuthor: Pharik » Thu May 22, 2003 6:19 pm

The skill is called spellcraft.

Many of the more powerful defensive spells are Caster Only; shadowshield, premonition AND elemental shield are all examples.

You'd need an awful lot of points in spellcraft to have any knowledge of these spells. A non-magic user would never have enough.

My major gripe in a previous world was seeing barb/fighters summoning elementals and casting shadow on themselves as a result of custom items. To me it made a mockery of magic - I like to play pure.

*Caster only* to me means if I am unable to cast a spell on anyone other than myself then how in 9 hells can I imbue an inanimate object with that spell.

And no I dont think PFE would be visible..but then I dont think Stoneskin would be either..bite me!

EDIT: Actually unless it is some kind of shapeshift/polymorph I dont think there would be any clue/aura/floating shit. IMO these effects are included for the graphical enjoyment of the SP game and serve no purpose in MP. One wonders what we'd see if we were able to examine Gandalf for example. I bet he's tanked up to the eyeballs in protections but there are no visual signs.

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PostAuthor: Vanor » Thu May 22, 2003 6:35 pm

Pharik wrote:You'd need an awful lot of points in spellcraft to have any knowledge of these spells. A non-magic user would never have enough.


Wrong. A 9th level spell has a DC of 24, that means even a 10th level fighter could put enough skill points into spellcraft to make the check 50% of the time.

The skill doesn't help against spells already cast, but with spells being cast. Anyone can learn to reconize the spell being cast based on what the mage does to cast it. They may not know how it works, but they would know what it is, and what it does.

*Caster only* to me means if I am unable to cast a spell on anyone other than myself then how in 9 hells can I imbue an inanimate object with that spell.


That's not true at all... If it were, then there could be no scrolls for that spell, which means you wouldn't know it.

One wonders what we'd see if we were able to examine Gandalf for example. I bet he's tanked up to the eyeballs in protections but there are no visual signs.


That assumes he actualy used his magic in this way. Which according to many he didn't. Gandalf wasn't alowed to use any more magic then was abosultly nesicary so he wouldn't be bluffing himself.

But then again, the magic in LotR does not apply here. The only thing that does is D&D magic, and in FR fiction, there are plenty of times that visable spell effects are mentioned.
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PostAuthor: eNTrOpY » Thu May 22, 2003 7:15 pm

Vanor wrote:But then again, the magic in LotR does not apply here. The only thing that does is D&D magic, and in FR fiction, there are plenty of times that visable spell effects are mentioned.


Yep, elemental shield (rather fire shield as called in AD&D) was said to be visible in one of the Drizzt Books

Hmm come to think of it, Stoneskin was said to be invisible in the same book

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PostAuthor: Pharik » Thu May 22, 2003 7:51 pm

Wrong. A 9th level spell has a DC of 24, that means even a 10th level fighter could put enough skill points into spellcraft to make the check 50% of the time


As i said I like to play pure. i cant see why a fighter would waste precious learning ability on something thats going to be of little use to him.

The skill doesn't help against spells already cast, but with spells being cast. Anyone can learn to reconize the spell being cast based on what the mage does to cast it. They may not know how it works, but they would know what it is, and what it does.


Thanks. i know how the skill works. The bolded type doesnt make sense to me. If they know what it is and what it does then they know how it works. And they can only know what it is through the spellcraft skill.

But then again, the magic in LotR does not apply here. The only thing that does is D&D magic, and in FR fiction, there are plenty of times that visable spell effects are mentioned


It doesnt matter what was mentioned in a FR story..artistic licence is allowed after all. I just think all aura's should be ignored unless - and this goes with your rule about DnD magic holding sway here - the handbook specifically mentions one.

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PostAuthor: Vanor » Thu May 22, 2003 8:04 pm

Pharik wrote:As i said I like to play pure. i cant see why a fighter would waste precious learning ability on something thats going to be of little use to him.


Given the list of skills a fighter has... Putting a point into spellcraft makes as much sense as most everything else. It's also could be quite handy in terms of knowing what a mage is casting so you know what to expect.

Know your enemy and all that...

If they know what it is and what it does then they know how it works. And they can only know what it is through the spellcraft skill.

My son knows what a car is, and knows what it does, that doesn't mean he understands the theory behind internal combustion engines. I don't have to know why speaking those words, and making those gestures lets you cast a fireball. But I could know that if you do make those gestures, and speak those words you are about to cast a fireball.

It doesnt matter what was mentioned in a FR story..artistic licence is allowed after all. I just think all aura's should be ignored unless - and this goes with your rule about DnD magic holding sway here - the handbook specifically mentions one.


Actualy the only thing that matters here, like any other PnP game, is what the DM says. If Entropy who is a senor DM, and able to make these calls, says that stone skin is a visable effect, it's a vissable effect.
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PostAuthor: Pharik » Fri May 23, 2003 6:32 am

Actualy the only thing that matters here, like any other PnP game, is what the DM says. If Entropy who is a senor DM, and able to make these calls, says that stone skin is a visable effect, it's a vissable effect


I agree.

However his list was far from exhaustive and could be confusing. As we were left to use our commonsense then I have to tell you that of the 3 spells mentioned as visible only elemental shield is described as having an aura according to the PHB and the NWN manual.

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PostAuthor: Heronimous Fox » Wed Jun 04, 2003 7:31 am

Could someone post some examples of what were not supposed to see so when we see it we know we don't see it and we have too play that we dont see it even if were seeing it. Not completely certain as to what these effects look like that you refer to.

The problem is complicated by mages sometimes looking like a special effects slot at a concert with layered lights, colours and swirly bits, effect this and defect that, dangly glows and spinnig swirls, very confusing for us simple folks. My 2p would be these effects were the residue of the magik used and should be rp'd out....the downside of using them.

Likewise can you show what were allowed to see so we know when we see it we really can see it and we dont have to not see it even if we're seeing it.

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PostAuthor: The Sveg » Wed Jun 04, 2003 8:07 am

IMHO I believe we should not go through the this-effect-can-be-seen-but-this-effect-cannot-be-seen trouble.
Live with what the NWN engine shows and does. Leave pnp and book rules out of it. It is not pnp.
Anything we see on a character is there and our character sees it as well.
Otherwise it will be very confusing trying to remember the spells that are supposed to be visible and the ones that aren't.

The invisibilty and improved invisibility rules were simple enough and very clear.
One thing we will need to clear out as well is whether a character under the stoneskin, shadowshield and similar spells is identifiable to other characters.
Since the NWN engine shows these spells as well and it has them covering the entire character, it seems right to accept that the features of the character are also concealed, thus making him unidentifiable.
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PostAuthor: jadeia » Wed Jun 04, 2003 8:25 am

The Sveg wrote:IMHO I believe we should not go through the this-effect-can-be-seen-but-this-effect-cannot-be-seen trouble.
Live with what the NWN engine shows and does. Leave pnp and book rules out of it. It is not pnp.
Anything we see on a character is there and our character sees it as well.
Otherwise it will be very confusing trying to remember the spells that are supposed to be visible and the ones that aren't.

The invisibilty and improved invisibility rules were simple enough and very clear.
One thing we will need to clear out as well is whether a character under the stoneskin, shadowshield and similar spells is identifiable to other characters.
Since the NWN engine shows these spells as well and it has them covering the entire character, it seems right to accept that the features of the character are also concealed, thus making him unidentifiable.


Personally, not on behalf of the team, I have to agree with this logic. I wish the floaty names would turn off during such instances (invis, stoneskin, stealth) so that they cant be identified. Then Id be happy to accept NWN's engine completely.
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PostAuthor: ashzz » Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:47 am

This is becoming a problem, and will become more of one. I do not believe it is in the best interests of Avlis to say, these you can identify, and these you cannot. It leads to too many problems and confusion.

The other day im invisible and someone caught me off the listen check and looked straight at me and said hello, then sends a tell oh sorry. Now, the moments gone. I had to explain to my roommate that listen checks dont make yu visible, even though you can be seen ingame, and then thoroughly show him as he didnt believe me that half see through aint the same as full see through. NWN puts floaty eyes over my head, everyone knnows floaty eyes is either ultravision or true seeing. It sucks, but I think it will lead to more ''HEY, YOU CANT TELL I GOT TRUE SEEING ON'' debates over tells or ooc talking, and will hinder more than help.

Also, I would seriously recommend drafting this stuff up and making a rules page on the Avlis website. If the team wants help with this ill gladly offer my services. there should be a distinct page that clarifies this stuff, not forum hunting.
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PostAuthor: j5hale3 » Wed Jun 04, 2003 11:50 am

I tend to agree with the philosply of wysiwyg. "what you see is what you get" (just in case)

As I just wrote up in the poll about the floaty names debate. I think we are pushing the NWN engine beyond its intended use. Most PnP and other computer adventures are intended to be co-operative games. The players against either the DM's NPC or the Games NPC AI. And NOT designed for all the aspects of PvP/CvC. This is, I believe the root of all these types of problems.

Also, I believe in the KISS rule, (Keep it Simple Stupid). I play along with the rules that I can remember but this one will give me problems.

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PostAuthor: Ishamael » Wed Jun 04, 2003 12:02 pm

j5hale3 wrote: Most PnP and other computer adventures are intended to be co-operative games. The players against either the DM's NPC or the Games NPC AI. And NOT designed for all the aspects of PvP/CvC. This is, I believe the root of all these types of problems.


Indeed it is, but IMHO it is also a very important aspect of the Avlis addiction. Imagine a world where only heroes existed and all they did was fight evil monsters... boring...

My first character here was a chaotic good half orc and I was amazed by the danger that I could meet the dreaded Jack... I kept logging back and back, I still do!
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PostAuthor: j5hale3 » Wed Jun 04, 2003 12:12 pm

Yes, I totally agree with you Ishamael. It is one of the major draws of the game and helps balance out the Heros/villians ratio. And I feel sorry that the engine was not designed for it. It is very tough to be a PC villian.

I miss Jack. (who first taught me to ignore the "floaty name" thing)
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PostAuthor: Spell Singer » Wed Jun 04, 2003 12:32 pm

I realy think that we have to go with what you see is what you know. I do not myself know what all the wierd effects mean so I am not at all sure I could work to a list that says you know x but not y.

In terms of invisiblity and the floating name. Is it realy so hard not to use the name you see? Or better yet just do not move your mouse over the icon that you can half see. This is what I am trying to do now. If I do see the name I ignore it. I know a person is there but that is all. It is far more important for the invisible people to realize that they are not unsmellable, or inaudible.

I have been doing this for months. The only possible goof I have made is when I ran into LaBlack in the quarters. I even ignored the one time he attacked me with horrid whilting as I had my back to the road and by the time I was finished healing Marighad he was invisible. Even though I could see this message "Costas LaBlack casts..."

I do the same thing with polymorphed creatures and those in were form, I ignore the floating name.

You can not play the game without that name. It is as Vanor pointed out impossible to tell which character is which in some cases.

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PostAuthor: SpeelSpel » Wed Jun 04, 2003 12:34 pm

I totally agree with the stoneskin idea. If you use common sense you can't id someone who is wrapped in 2 layers of stone and a shadowshield.

I don't mind if someone come's up and sais 'hi Xal'. After a while the ' hi, who are you?' with chars you met often gets a bit boring. But for the CvC this should not be used! There is already so much ooc info giving you away, and people who fall prey to a villain sometimes they can be VERY creative (they know it's you ooc, so sometimes they start 'bending' the rules until they have something that will 'give you away' ic).

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PostAuthor: Glocknal » Wed Jun 04, 2003 12:50 pm

I have a few issues with the visible spell effects. First of all, Stoneskin and shadowshield are skin tight coverings that only change the texture and color of your skin and clothes. If you commonly wear the same equipemnt ie. helms , armor, weapons and such it will become easy for someone to ID you over time. I dont ascribe to the notion if a mage has one of these spells or even all of them, he/she cannot be identified. These spells can help muddle a positive ID, but not stop one entirely. Now the issue really is improved invisiblity. This spell is potentally unbalancing. The extremely lond duration of it prevents anyone for making a positive ID on the character. In the old version the duration was 1/rd a level. Now the duration is a turn a level, combined with the liberal rest restrictions makes it easy for a mage to stay in this state for the rest of his waking life. Now after attack the mage with Imp. Invis. is visible to us through the game engine. After the mage sheds his cloak of inivisiblity by attacking, he should be able to seen. Now the image people will see will be a shimmering fleeting image of the mage, not a detailed accurate one. Only basic attributes should be identified, probable race, weapons, armor type, helms, hair color if exposed, pronounced phyiscal attributes such as large horns, obesity and so on. If the current prevailing attitudes stand, mages will be able to murder and pillage without contest, as long as they stay clear of clerics and mages with true seeing.

Now that being said there are many ways a mage can kill a person without giving his identity, and none of them need him to hide behind layers of visible spell effects. Im not going to tell them, but their out there.

Playing a character who has to invesitgate murders and try to apprehend the guitly, it is frustrating for me to constantly be told that I didnt see anything, or that i couldnt possible ID someone. I take care to not use OOC info to the best of my ablity. I have in somecases if have helped adjust other peoples descriptions to follow a stricter IC criteria.

I am for PC villians, without them my character would have little to do. But to give villains, notably mages such a easy and effortless way to disguise thier identity makes my PC's job impossible.


Glok

Edit: I should really read the teams rules before posting...edited some dumb comments my me...
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PostAuthor: Emprod » Wed Jun 04, 2003 1:09 pm

If the current prevailing attitudes stand, mages will be able to murder and pillage without contest, as long as they stay clear of clerics and mages with true seeing.


Drink a potion of sight unseen. It's not class specific.

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PostAuthor: Glocknal » Wed Jun 04, 2003 1:36 pm

The sight Unseen potions do work but they are expensive, difficult to obtain for many characters, and there duration is zilch. Plus they dont help in the area of visible spell effects and such. I am more concerned with characters who think because they have a couple spells on think they cannot be ID'ed.



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PostAuthor: Emprod » Wed Jun 04, 2003 2:33 pm

I see no reason for you to go after mages. Anyone can slap a helmet on and say "you don't know me , my name is Bob".

Obviously, if a mage has a stoneskin or whatnot on, they still retain shape, and if they want to be anonymous, they should try a little harder than that, I agree.

But it's just as easy for anyone else to go anonymous too.

**

To add to the point of the thread, visible spell effects like stoneskin and shadowshield don't alter shape, so if you're actually making an honest attempt to be unrecognizable, take it a step further and change other outward appearances as well. It'll give the nitpickers less to work with.
Last edited by Emprod on Wed Jun 04, 2003 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostAuthor: Heronimous Fox » Wed Jun 04, 2003 2:34 pm

Two further points

I have only seen invisible people when they have come tooooo close to my character, that is just their bad luck, they should nt have taken that chance and walked near to someone if trying to remain unseen. This is just bad RP, and seems to me that they are reliant on the protection of the world rules rather than good RP. If you want to be un noticed then you dont stand next to someone, even if invis.

And from that, providing the person has the IC information then they should be identifiable. If an invisible person is wearing and using the same equipment they use when wandering around visible, again then thats their bad rp.

I agree with the above comment about supplimentary rules for spell effects, I think having rules for seeing this and not seeing that is overcomplicating things.

It would also be nice not to have names on mouse over etc, but from what i understand of the above that is not technically feasible for similar reasons at the moment.

If not easily implemented without interpretation then we should just make do until a solution is found and not have to rely on debatable work arounds.

I also agree with the comment about improved invisibillity, surely the more intense version of somehting should last a shorter time.

Oops, sorry should learn to count, that was more than two.

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