Wednesday, August 13, 2014

DF Limited Power Enchantment idea

The other day over on Don't Forget Your Boots, the subject of the extreme cost (and broad utility) of the Power enchantment came up.

There is a good idea on that blog, but I thought of another solution.

One way to deal with this is a limited version of the Power spell.

To do this more-or-less by the rules as written, you can tweak and use the Attune enchantment, which functions as a category limiter. Amusingly, you have to pay for the Attune spell, too.

Power and Attune

The Attune enchantment can be used to limit the number of spells covered by an item's Power or Speed enchantments.

One Spell: 20% cost
2-3 Spells: 40% cost
4 or more spells: 100% cost

You can also limit it by college:
One Specific College: 60% cost (same as a one-college powerstone)
Two or more colleges: 100% cost

Importantly, the floor on enchantment costs here is 100 energy. Like the Deflect enchantment, this one falls onto the $20/point of energy cost side of the cost divide. So even Power 1 (One Spell) is still 100 energy and thus $2000. Equally, Attune should cost $2000, too.

Some examples:

For example, a Ring of Dark Vision with Power 5 costs:

Dark Vision: 400 energy
Attune: 100 energy
Power 5 (One Spell): 1600 energy
Total: 2100 energy x $20 = $42,000 plus the cost of the underlying item.

$42K isn't cheap, but you're getting Dark Vision, always on, no cost to cast or maintain, no need to activate it.

However, this does make certain items very cheap.

Iron Arm: 600 energy
Attune: 100 energy
Power 1 (One Spell): 100 energy
Total: 800 energy x $20 = $16,000 + the cost of the underlying item.

$16K is peanuts for a free automatic sword parry every turn in DF. Currently, it's 1100 energy and thus $22K, which is still cheap for its value.

Optionally: This covers cost to cast and maintain; if you only do one of those, its only 75% cost. Figure the cost for the highest level of the Power needed for both casting and maintenance. Figure the difference between any additional levels of casting-only or maintaining-only Power, and then apply the discount to the difference. Blocking spells cannot use this limitation, and must pay full cost for Power in order to take advantage of it.

For example:

Power 5 (One Spell) is 8000 x 20% = 1600 energy. Only to cast = 800 energy.

In combination, it gets trickier:
Power 3 (One Spell) is 2000 x 20% = 400 energy. If it also has Power 5 (One Spell, Casting Only), the additional cost is 8000 (Power 5) - 2000 (Power 3) = 6000 x 20% x 75% = 800 energy. Total cost for this item is 1200 energy for 5 Power for casting one spell, 3 power for maintain that same one spell. For the Dark Vision item above, it'll be 1800 energy or $36K plus the underlying item.

Notes: I haven't tried this one yet at all. I'd love to have people try to find abusive uses of it so I can settle on a fair cost. The "casting only" cost might be really abusive, and makes Missile spell items really cheap (and since many spells don't really need to be maintained, not terribly limiting - take a look at, say, Watchdog) On the other hand, it does make spells with an equal cost to cast and maintain a much more expensive item to make free to cast and maintain.

Don't forget, though, that items can have their own power reserves - check Dungeon Fantasy 8, p. 48.

Again, this isn't a tested rules suggestion. It's purely an idea at this point, and it desperately needs people to hammer on it.


  1. Blocking spells don't get a reduction in cost from high skill, so they really shouldn't get a reduction from Power either.

    1. By RAW magic items explicitly don't provide a reduction of cost with high skill and a Power enchantment does not increase item skill. As a house rule that could be a really good one.

    2. I really thought Power had an explicit line about not reducing the cost of spells that don't get a reduction from high skill. Never mind, my mistake.

    3. It's an easy confusion to make - using "Power" for the self-power enchantment and "Power" for the effective skill of a magic item wasn't a great choice.

      Magic 4e doesn't make it clear if the ruling on Blocking spells never gaining any free points from high skill is supposed to extend to the Power enchantment or not. Since it doesn't say it does, it logically shouldn't extend. Especially since the Speed enchantment carries explicit wording that ties it to the existing rules about halving casting speed, and Power carries no wording tying to the cost-reducing effects of high skill. So either it was left off on purpose or by accident, and generally I assume "on purpose" unless shown otherwise.

    4. Thinking about it further, for me, it's a bad idea not to apply that limitation. Otherwise, Lend Energy for 100 and Power 1 for 500 gets you 1 FP back each turn; this is bad. You also get a free, automatically successful Parry each turn with Iron Arm and Power, and this is also something I'd say should be avoided.

    5. Well, "Free" as in "$22,000" by the RAW - that's 22x the starting wealth of a PC. Someone with Filthy Rich can afford one, barely, and someone with Very Wealthy can't. Plus, it's one Parry. Back in our 3e days, when Blocking spells absolutely could and did take advantage of the energy cost break, we joked that Dual-Weapon Attack was the wizard killer. You Feint, then the next turn you do DWA. The wizard gets a free, automatically successful defense, and then dies trying to Parry or Dodge the second attack. Tacking a FP cost on the first success wouldn't balance anything IME.

      Lend Energy needs better wording in any case - back in the 1e/2e days, it was clear it was a way to hand ST (aka FP, based on ST back then) from one person to another, not a spell that turned energy from whatever source into FP. So Power didn't make sense in any way for it, because Power didn't give you ST to hand over. And actually in 1st edition, you couldn't even learn Lend ST at a skill over 14!

      But yes, you're correct, it would be fairly simple to say that Power doesn't work on spells that don't get to take advantage of high skill cost reductions. I've already allowed it to work on Blocking spells in my DF game, because honestly, Blocking spells are so highly limited they aren't sufficient to keep a wizard alive without significant boosting. The only time I find them overpowering is in Featureless Plain duels, not in fights like the confused melees in my DF game. The only reason I haven't changed the rules back to 3e's approach to blocking spells is inertia, not because Blocking spells are overwhelming.

    6. Fair enough, a Wizard with a free, no-fail Iron Arm isn't unbeatable; it takes all of two spearmen in his face and not just one. I agree a primary caster with even a mediocre warrior in his face is in a world of hurt already, Blocking spells or no.

  2. By RAW you've been doing "up to 100" wrong. It's inclusive, as on DF1:30 "Lighten -25% from weight Armor/Shield $100 Light of Lightness". Personally, I wouldn't allow Q&D at all.

    I think your proposal is probably OK. I don't really trust it but, given how you can abuse Power 1 and mess of little enchantments (e.g. Lend Energy, Lend Vitality, Mage Light, Awaken, Dispel Illusion, casting a trail of Glow hexes, maintaining Infravision, etc.), I don't think it's worse and at least a focused Rod of Tickle is more awesome then a mess of utility spells.

    1. Not so - by the RAW, some items that cost $100 are $1/point (for example, Lighten 25%), some are $20/point (for example, Deflect). It's on DF1 p. 30, right there on the chart for Deflect.

      In this case, the power boost you get from the Power spell is enough to be worth erring on the upside.

      If it wasn't for this breakpoint, I'd make One Spell 25% cost, not 20% cost, to ensure it was $20/point for enchantment. But DF allows for deciding where that line break at 100 occurs for specific spells, so I took advantage of it.


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