Thursday, August 28, 2014

Revised GURPS Magic: Daze, Sleep, and Awaken, Take II

Speaking of revising GURPS Magic, I was re-examining one of the revisions I made back in January on Sleep, Daze, and Awaken.

In it, I mentioned allowing Awaken to specifically counter Sleep and Daze.

But as I re-wrote it for my house rules printout, I got to thinking - why not handle it as any other spell vs. spell situation?

Instead of:

"Sleeping or unconscious subjects, including those under Daze or Sleep spells, get a HT roll to awaken, at a bonus equal to the caster's margin of success."

I'm thinking:

"Daze or Sleep spells resist Awaken with an effective skill equal to the original caster's; Morpheus elixirs gives a -4 penalty instead."

(That last bit is so Morpheus, which is HT-4 to resist, is consistent in effect without needing to assign it a skill to roll against.)

After all, I figured, that's how Counterspelling Daze or Sleep would work, and allowing Awaken to work as a counterspell as well as a wake to wake people from mundane sleep or from injury-induced unconsciousness seems fair. They overlap in the Venn diagram of counters to Sleep and Daze.

This does make it clear, too, that if you take person with Sleep on them into a No Mana Zone that they'll either wake up (as the spell ends) or just be in normal sleep. I will run it at the latter - you revert to normal sleep. Obviously, an NMZ just wipes out Daze because the spell ends. It also makes it clear that I stick Sleep onto the side of the dividing line between "spell that has a lasting effect" and "ongoing spell." So while, say, Fireball does some damage or Flesh to Stone petrifies you and that's that (and thus they don't resist spells to put out the fire or un-petify you), Sleep is akin to Daze where it is an ongoing spell.

I can easily see ruling the other way - saying Sleep hits you, has its effect, and then the spell is over but the effect lasts, but I think I like the campaign effects of saying it's ongoing, but doesn't count as a spell "on" - much like Create Object doesn't.

Otherwise, everything is as written in my previous post. I think this makes Sleep a little more potent, brings Awaken's effects in line with any other spell vs. spell situation, and clarifies an edge case with NMZs.

I'm still thinking about this one, but I think I want to give it a try. Any implications I'm missing here?


  1. As written, Awaken is a bit wonky to me anyway. It should just wake subjects up without needing a HT roll. A penalty to the spell roll or higher energy cost for worse conditions (Stun to Daze to Sleep all the way up to Coma,) sure, but the HT roll is just another unnecessary die roll.

    1. That's a roll that could be eliminated, for sure, but it's a substantive change. You'd have one roll as a cascade of penalties versus your margin of success, if, say, you hit an area with a guy unconscious from wounds, a guy just asleep, a guy at -HP, etc. Plus, everyone is as likely to get up as everyone else. So it's not like you've sped up play, because instead of a bunch of pass/fail rolls, you have a bunch of comparisons of margin of success versus situations.

      I'll admit part of the reason I like it as-is is that it's tense watching people try the HT roll with their myriad of penalties during combats. Awaken is an extremely high-use spell in my games, and many of my player's PCs have a stash of Awaken spell stones ready to go to revive fallen fighters. Changing its interaction with Sleep and Daze is one thing, changing its interaction overall . . . that would potentially and possibly rightly be seen as taking the nerf hammer to it.

    2. Fair enough. I find margin of successes quicker than extra die rolls, but that may be because I like reducing what I regard as extra die rolls anyway. I agree about the necessity of it, as Awaken is probably second only to Major Healing in the number of times it gets cast in my games.

    3. I tend to excise extra die rolls when I can, but since this one is a subject-based roll, substituting it for a caster-based roll doesn't seem like a one-to-one equivalency. That is enough right there to make me hesitate. If you try it that way, though, I'd like to hear how it plays out.


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