Thursday, December 21, 2017

DFRPG: Good Magery 0 spell choices?

I've been discussing some good Magery 0 spell choices with one of my players, who is working on a elven character for our DFRPG/DF game.

It's surprising how many spells there are that need little more than Magery 0.

Here are a few standouts to me:

Dark Vision - an easy path exists through Night Vision and then only Keen Eyes, and a longer path through 5 L&D spells. But it's Magery 0.

The downsides to this is cost - it's an expensive spell and someone with Magery 0 probably lacks the 15 to discount the energy demands. But it dramatically increases the usefulness of the character with it.

Continual Light is also useful, because it can be cast ahead of time for light sources. Handy when the other casters are busy or down, or too lazy to make you a glowing rock.

Hush is a great spell for scouting, and also seems doable without Magery. Mage Stealth is even better.

Ignite Fire is good from a survival perspective. Purify Water is as well - and it requires Seek Water.

Any other ones that seem like good choices? Remember Magery 0. Levitation would be useful, so would Missile Shield or Lend Energy, but they require higher Magery.

We're using Spells and GURPS Magic subject to the DF prereq rules here, if that helps.

As I mentioned, though, skill level will hamper you here. Magery 0 and, say, an IQ 10-12 caster means skill 8-10 for 1 point. Nothing that requires resistance, casting at a penalty, or works best on multiple subjects is going to work here.


  1. Shape Air requires Purify Air and Create Air, and Purify Air's only requirement is Magery 0. Having several dice of knockback (or swarm-dispersing wind) available on short notice is pretty handy.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions. I think with skills in 8-10 range mean "on short notice" is an iffy prospect. But the prereqs are useful and for dealing with swarms it's handy to have.

  2. If you go up to Continual Light, might as well get Flash. Even at Skill 10, it's a great combat debuff spell (you don't really need to cast it at much range, given the massive area effect). Not too pricey FP wise either. Needs coordination with the group though.

    Blur is a little farther down the pre-req chain, but man is that a nice combat buff.

    Haste is, I think, the only other super useful self buff available at Magery 0. Might and Vigor are gated by Lend Energy, Grace is... expensive, so failures at skill 10 are going to be painful, but it is available.

    1. Well, failure only costs you 1 energy point, so it doesn't matter how expensive success would be. But at a 10 skill, you should expect to pay that 1 energy point cost half the time!

  3. It has been my experience GM'ing pure rules-as-written Dungeon Fantasy for three years that Glue is the most reliably efficient & effective crowd-control spell in Magic, bar none. In the hands of a PC, it is able to take out groups of monsters with ease and for little cost. Against the PC's, it's a total party kill waiting to happen.

    Glue stops and persistently holds (-2 to melee combat skills and half Dodge) all creatures in its area for 10 minutes. Quick contests of the victims' ST vs. the spell's means that only Barbarians, cave bears, and the like will manage to slog through it. All the goblins and orcs and such will be stuck. So will the Scout, Swashbuckler, Cleric, and often the Knight—often all at once. Those stuck in a Glue spell are wheat to the scythe.

    Same concept with Blackout when Dark Vision (both seem to be Magery 0) is cast on the damage dealers (e.g., Knight/Scout), but that takes longer and costs more. However, it works on a different crew (e.g., those cave bears, the four ogre guards, the giant cyclops, etc.). Give it to an undead wizard and his skeletons suddenly become a scary threat! How fast and how often can the PC mage cast Dark Vision?

    Stench often makes my short list as well. Combat (without a turn to prepare, as in the case with Stench) allows for half-HT turns of holding breath before it costs 1 FP each turn to do so. That's usually 5 or 6 turns, a long time. But, like with Create Fire (plus Fast Fire in DF), it's not meant to kill; it's about battlefield control. It's basically fantasy tear gas—and it works very well against groups of PC's or NPC's in actual game play. Watch them scatter and take maneuvers to get out of the brimstone fumes.

    I hate to mention it, but another Magery 0 spell, Flash, is the fantasy version of a stun grenade. It's also one of the most flawed spells in the Magic book, and that's really saying something. **NO RESISTANCE against an automatic -3 to DX to all who see it.** It's not even an area spell, but it will take out a room full of monsters.

    In the hands of PC's, it becomes SOP to open the door, cast Flash, then run in and slaughter all the monsters, most of whom are blind. The spell is totally unbalanced and well into over-powered territory. Thankfully, it was removed in DF RPG, but I really wish Kromm's patch for it on the forums* would have made the cut. We used it for years and it was well balanced and effective.


    1. Thanks for the in-depth comments.

      We use the modified version of Flash. In any case, my players have learned that Flash isn't a "killer spell" in DF - too many monsters sense and target by Detect, Vibration Sense, hearing, smell. Meanwhile, all of the PCs depend on sight, with few exceptions, and it's hard to coordinate "open the door the moment I'm ready to cast, everyone look away, and I'll cast inside even though I don't know the size/shape of the room." Like Invisibility, it's useful, but not a game-breaker. Blackout, same thing - too many monsters ignore it, and wizards who can put Dark Vision on things tend to have it on a few major fighters anyway.

      Glue as written might be a game-breaker. It really hasn't come up - too many ground-based PC fighters and flight-based monsters. It's something I do need to settle on - I don't like the mechanism of per-turn ST rolls (fatal vs. the weak, even if they're proportionally strong, near-useless rolls against almost everything else.) but making it purely CP is an issue as well.

      A lot of the spells suggested (by you and others) have been offensive or need to be timely. That brings up an issue - something I'll put up in a post tomorrow.


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