Thursday, March 30, 2017

Musing on a fairly-costed Wall of Stone spell for DF

So one thing that GURPS Magic lacks is a good-old Wall of Stone spell. Oh, sure, you can use Create Earth to create some dirt, then use Earth to Stone to turn it to rock.

But what about a single spell that skips straight to the rock?

Let's look at some costs.

Create Earth: 1 second to cast, costs 2 per cubic yard.

A 9' x 9' x 1' wall would be 3 cubic yards. 10' x 12' x 1' (most generic 10' Felltower tunnel dimensions are 10' x 12') would be a bit more than 4 cubic yards, but you could probably round it down and assume it's a little less than a foot thick. So those are 6 and 8 respectively.

Earth to Stone: 1 second to cast, costs 3 per cubic yard. Turning the above to stone would be 9 and 12 respectively.

Total time is 2 seconds, total cost is 6 + 9 = 15 (13 with skill 15 in both, 11 with skill 20 in both) or 8 + 12 = 20 (18, 16).

Fast, effective as a barrier, but pricey. It's also two spells to get off, and a foot of earth isn't necessarily a strong barrier against some forces.

So how to build a combination spell?

You could just make a "Create Stone" spell to simplify it, and because you might not always want a wall.

Making it take a little longer (say, 3 seconds instead of 2) and cost a little less (4 per cubic yard, instead of 2 + 3 per cubic yard) doesn't sound crazy as mutual tradeoffs. Neither does eliminating the "metal" option from Earth to Stone. You essentially combine the steps, spend a little longer at it, and get a cheaper wall. I'd make it Very Hard just because it's a combination of two useful effects.

Create Stone (VH)

As Create Earth, but creates stone instead.

Duration: 24 hours (DF limits creation to 24 hours)
Time to Cast: 3 seconds
Cost: 4 per cubic yard, minimum 8.
Prerequisites: Magery 2, Create Earth, and Earth to Stone.

Or you can go for a more limited, literally Wall-type spell.

Wall of Stone

Creates a 1' thick slab of stone up to 4 yards tall (excess is lost if blocked by a ceiling, roof, etc.) around the area. Must be created in contact with the ground.

Duration: 1 minute
Time to Cast: 2 seconds
Cost: 4, same to maintain.

That's more like a "circle of stone." But it's shorter.

If you wanted a really flat wall, you could look to the 3e Grimoire and Force Wall and Utter Wall for ideas. Both are per-hex costed and 2/3 cost of the dome version. That would suggest cost 2-3 per hex, say 2, for a Wall of Stone that lasts 10 minutes.

Any thoughts on this? I'm not sure I'll use it, I'm just thinking about allowing what's becoming a regular tactic (create earth, turn it to stone) into dedicated spell for people who want to hurry the process along. I'm not really sure I'm satisfied about the costs and details. But I kind of stall out with those, so I figured I'd post them and let people see what I was thinking up until now.


  1. I like Create Stone, maybe 3x for metal.
    Good for filling in cracks and plugging holes (with minuses for difficulty, obvs) as well.
    If you wanted to create a crude statue you could cast it, use Shape Stone and Artist skill, etc.

    1. I'm not sure I'd want it to double as an ersatz stone-only Rejoin or Repair spell. I really think allowing metal - even expensively - should be something that Earth spells only do with the proper Metal spells as prereqs. Those spells didn't exist when most of the prereqs were written, which is why you can turn people to metal statues with Flesh to Stone and there is no Flesh to Metal spell.

  2. Honestly I'd just upgrade Create Earth to allowing for it to create stone as well for 3 times the cost.

    1. I thought about that, but it feels like it will simultaneously undercut Earth to Stone as a useful spell, yet make it a cheaper and slower way to do the same thing. I'm not sure I want to do that.

  3. Earth to Stone is still there for being cheaper to cast when you have earth laying about.

    But it seems to me you're making the set-up slightly worse.

    BY RAW there are three resources being expended, Time, FP, and character points. The most precious of these in most "NEED WALL NOW" situations is Time.

    Your first solution makes this worse, now it takes 3 seconds to get a Stone Wall instead of two (Time becomes worse or at best the same, unless the skill is very high 25+) and requires a third spell (character point expenditure is higher), but it does save FP.

    Your second solution takes no more Time (and is actually faster at 'high' starting skill levels, 20+), costs about the same FP (slightly less but not that much less), but still incurs the extra character point cost.

    IF you offer both of these, Earth to Stone will be undercut by Wall of Stone //every time//.

    If you go with only your first solution, the old way will win when the PCs "NEED WALL NOW!" (unless they have the spell at 25+) but will lose when they have a few leisurely seconds to get the job the done in (or have the spell at 25+)... meaning the old way will always lose when the group gets somewhat advanced in character points.

    My version is a terrible, terrible FP cost, but is always faster. This leaves the PCs the choice, 2 seconds at a lower cost or "NEED WALL NOW!" at a high cost. Spell level has no real influence on this unless they 'Johnny Few Spell' themselves and aren't a "full" Wizard.

    1. That's a helpful analysis, thanks.

    2. The other reason I preferred my version is it fits with how Shape Earth works, which has the extra cost for stone baked in.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...