PDA

View Full Version : [4e] Making Rituals Accessible



kieza
2010-08-04, 12:49 PM
I've been DM'ing 4e since its release, and I have yet to see anyone use rituals except for a few uses of Enchant Magic Item or Linked Portal. What people usually say is that it costs too much or takes too long to use. So, here's an idea for how to make them more useful:

(1) Most rituals should be free to use. With the exception of stuff like Enchant Magic Item and extremely powerful rituals like Raise Dead, there really isn't any point to making rituals cost money. It just discourages ritual casters from actually using the ritual that lets them see in the dark, or creates a magical lift, or walls off a corridor. So, no component costs for most rituals.

(2) Most rituals should be quicker to use. Most of the combats I've run have been less than a minute (10 rounds) long. You could decrease the casting time on a ritual to 10 rounds or so without having the problem of casters using them in combat. The same exceptions as above (Enchant Magic Item, Raise Dead, maybe the Healing rituals) apply here as well.

Now, I'm going to be cautious with houseruling this stuff: I don't want to make rituals both fast and free right off the bat in case I've misjudged the balance effects. So, what I'm going to try in my next campaign is this: Rituals can be either fast or free. You can cast a ritual in the normal amount of time for free, or you can spend the normal component cost to create a scroll ahead of time, which you can use in 10 rounds. (This also has the benefit of making scrolls useful. I haven't seen any created or bought in any of my games, and I hope this changes that.)

Any thoughts? My campaign ought to be starting soon, I'll post any feedback I get.

Townopolis
2010-08-04, 01:00 PM
This thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161223) contains our last discussion of 4e rituals. It's worth a look, just don't post in it because that would be necromancy.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-04, 01:08 PM
Time & Money are all that keep Rituals from being used to recreate the "Magic Solves Everything" paradigm of 3.5.

See this podcast (http://www.writingexcuses.com/2008/05/12/writing-excuses-episode-14-magic-systems-and-their-rules/) for a fuller explanation.

If you want to increase Ritual use, I recommend the following:
(1) Give each Ritual Caster class a 1/day free Ritual
This gives them a little extra utility, which is why many of the PHB 2 classes come with this feature. I initially went with Tenser's Floating Disc for Wizards, but there's probably a better choice.

(2) Make them quicker to learn
Make it take a single Extended Rest to copy & learn a Ritual instead of the RAW. This makes them easier to pick up while adventuring.

(3) Pick a couple of Rituals you'd like to see more of, and halve their cost
While not free, at least they're more likely to be used.
I wouldn't mess with the casting time at all; barring a few Rituals, the time is just long enough to make Rituals less useful than doing the thing manually. You should only use Rituals when magic is called for - not just when you're feeling lazy.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-04, 02:09 PM
the time is just long enough to make Rituals less useful than doing the thing manually.
Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Since rituals are less useful than doing the thing manually, most players respond by, you know, doing the thing manually. Incidentally doing so also saves them money.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-04, 02:45 PM
Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Since rituals are less useful than doing the thing manually, most players respond by, you know, doing the thing manually. Incidentally doing so also saves them money.
Which is how it should be!

If magic is always the better way of doing things, then why would anyone bother going the mundane route? Ideally you want magic to be a "sometimes" way of resolving problems - that means making it too costly to use most of the time, but perfectly acceptable to use in some situations. By and large, 4E Rituals accomplish this - but they often err on the side of "too costly."

This is particularly true when trying to use equal-level Rituals, but the problem largely goes away when using Rituals 2-3 levels below you. Casting Phantom Steed with the wealth of a LV 10 PC isn't a problem, but casting it as a LV 5(?) PC is. However, at low levels Rituals are just too darned expensive to ever be used - which is a flaw in the system. Giving people a "free" Ritual per day gets them in the habit of using it, while making them cheaper overall will increase their use.

Make them free and you find a world where everyone has Arcane Locks on their doors and Tenser's Floating Disks instead of carts.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-04, 02:55 PM
If magic is always the better way of doing things, then why would anyone bother going the mundane route?
Conversely, is magic is never the better way...

The price isn't even relevant. As Saph pointed out, supposing you want to speak to a bunch of orcs at heroic tier, which is more likely: (a) finding an interpreter willing to accompany you, or (b) getting a +25 on your arcana check? Because the Comprehend Languages ritual requires a DC 35 check to actually speak or write the language (as opposed to passively understanding it).


Make them free and you find a world where everyone has Arcane Locks on their doors and Tenser's Floating Disks instead of carts.
PCs are the heroes, and are special. Just because they can do something, doesn't mean that everyone can do that.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-04, 03:12 PM
Conversely, is magic is never the better way...

The price isn't even relevant. As Saph pointed out, supposing you want to speak to a bunch of orcs at heroic tier, which is more likely: (a) finding an interpreter willing to accompany you, or (b) getting a +25 on your arcana check? Because the Comprehend Languages ritual requires a DC 35 check to actually speak or write the language (as opposed to passively understanding it).
Price is extremely relevant! Consider our "favorite" ritual Arcane Lock.

As is, it is Costly and Time-Consuming. If you need to lock a door in a hurry, it's faster to bar it with heavy furniture. If you need get a lock for a door, it's cheaper to buy a lock. If you have a little time (10 minutes) and want to lock a door that isn't yours (but still have access for your friends and allies) then Arcane Lock is a good choice.

If Free but Time-Consuming, you'll still probably use heavy furniture for quick locks, but why buy a DC 20 lock when any 3rd level Ritualist can make you a DC 22 (and then some) you don't even need to remember to lock? Sure it might take them a few tries, but it seems like a good way for a Ritualist to kill an afternoon.

If Costly but Quick, then only the rich will have Perfect Locks, but all their locks will be Perfect.

If Free and Quick, then why invent locks in the first place?


PCs are the heroes, and are special. Just because they can do something, doesn't mean that everyone can do that.
So, are you saying nobody else can use Rituals or that nobody else can use Rituals for free? :smallconfused:

Caphi
2010-08-04, 03:15 PM
So, are you saying nobody else can use Rituals or that nobody else can use Rituals for free? :smallconfused:

I think he's saying D&D4 assumes the rules only describe things the PCs can do, and that the rest of the world has nothing to do with the PHB but is restricted or powered by the GM's whim.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-04, 03:18 PM
I think he's saying D&D4 assumes the rules only describe things the PCs can do, and that the rest of the world has nothing to do with the PHB but is restricted or powered by the GM's whim.
I do not think that's the case for Rituals, since each Ritual has a "Market Price" which is explictly what it costs to purchase a casting of the Ritual on the open market.

kieza
2010-08-04, 03:18 PM
Make them free and you find a world where everyone has Arcane Locks on their doors and Tenser's Floating Disks instead of carts.


PCs are the heroes, and are special. Just because they can do something, doesn't mean that everyone can do that.

Not everyone can use rituals, so you aren't going to have peasants casting Floating Disk every morning before work. And those who can cast have better things to do with their time than make a few cp by hiring out to peasants. They're going to be researching new rituals that they can sell for a few hundred gold to other casters (for example).

I'm less concerned with effects on the world than effects on balance. My world isn't one where everyone has the chance to learn magic: some kinds of magic take schooling that not everyone has the opportunity to get, some kinds take inborn talent. The number of people who can use magic is small as a portion of the whole populace, and the effects of making magic more accessible are small as a result.

Besides, the way I see it (which is based on how my group plays; YMMV), a group isn't going to spend 10 minutes or a pile of gold every time they need something done. As an example, if my group wanted to lock a door in a dungeon, they'd look for a key, or put a knife in the doorjamb, or pile stuff in front of it. They'll only use magic if they really need it to be solid, or they need it done fast, or they're going to be there for a while and they have time. Most of the players in any given group can't use rituals, so they think in terms of mundane solutions, and move on.


If Free but Time-Consuming, you'll still probably use heavy furniture for quick locks, but why buy a DC 20 lock when any 3rd level Ritualist can make you a DC 22 (and then some) you don't even need to remember to lock? Sure it might take them a few tries, but it seems like a good way for a Ritualist to kill an afternoon.

If you are a ritualist, sure. Most people aren't. That doesn't even take into account that no ritualist is going to sell services free: he has to spend time, and his time is valuable. You're still only going to get Arcane Locks on important doors. And if it's costly but quick, you're spending a few hundred gp (or so) to get your perfect lock. Not even a rich person will put an Arcane Lock on every door they own.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-04, 03:30 PM
Besides, the way I see it (which is based on how my group plays; YMMV), a group isn't going to spend 10 minutes or a pile of gold every time they need something done. As an example, if my group wanted to lock a door in a dungeon, they'd look for a key, or put a knife in the doorjamb, or pile stuff in front of it. They'll only use magic if they really need it to be solid, or they need it done fast, or they're going to be there for a while and they have time. Most of the players in any given group can't use rituals, so they think in terms of mundane solutions, and move on.
Or everyone who is anyone can use Rituals - see 3.5 and Casters :smallyuk:

If you make Rituals free and quick, I can guarantee you that Skills will go out of style. Pick Lock as a Standard Action? Nah, I'll just Knock as a Standard Action - it's like Picking Locks, but I get a +5 to the check! Looking for secret doors? Nah, I'll just Detect Secret Doors - it's like making a Perception check, but I get a +5 bonus! If they remain quick & costly, then they may not see much more use (if your PCs are very money-sensitive) in which case you've changed nothing. If they are time-consuming & free then people willl use Rituals like Take 20 in 3.5; it slows down the game and turns challenges into auto-pass and auto-fail situations.

As for "not everyone is a PC" - true, but then it becomes very hard for PCs to learn Rituals. Either nobody can cast them (so who develops them) or they're very expensive for everyone else do to (which means retired adventurers make a killing) or your PCs are going to make more money as hired help (making Perfect Locks and so on) instead of looting hidden treasure troves. If you want self-consistency (or, heaven-forbid, verisimilitude) you're going to need to explain this particular loophole in the larger world.

It's one thing for the PCs to be bigger and tougher than most people but it's another thing for them to be better handymen than everyone else. In one case their talents lead them on exciting adventures; in the other it leads them onto lucrative careers as handymen.

Evard
2010-08-04, 03:32 PM
I thought anyone could use them (depends on their money and their check) its that some classes get the ability to use them for free... Say a peasant wanted to use a ritual, they would go out and buy a "rituals for dummies" book then go out and buy the material cost and BLAMO there is your peasant casting Floating Disk or something... hmmm

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-04, 03:35 PM
I thought anyone could use them (depends on their money and their check) its that some classes get the ability to use them for free... Say a peasant wanted to use a ritual, they would go out and buy a "rituals for dummies" book then go out and buy the material cost and BLAMO there is your peasant casting Floating Disk or something... hmmm
No.

In standard D&D4, anyone can use Ritual Scrolls - but they're very expensive, one-use-only, and if you're not trained in a relevant skill many of the Rituals are either useless or dangerous. Being a Ritual Caster means that you can cast scrolls "at-will" (with a long casting time and costly components). Some classes (e.g. Invoker, Psion) get instead the ability to cast a particular Ritual 1/day for free. The Bard is exceptional in that he can both cast a Ritual 1/day for free and he can act as a regular Ritual Caster.

valadil
2010-08-04, 03:37 PM
Or everyone who is anyone can use Rituals - see 3.5 and Casters :smallyuk:

If you make Rituals free and quick, I can guarantee you that Skills will go out of style. Pick Lock as a Standard Action? Nah, I'll just Knock as a Standard Action - it's like Picking Locks, but I get a +5 to the check!

Eliminating casting time is clearly a bad thing. How would you feel if the casting time was quicker than it is now, but still too slow for combat? Reduce everything by a factor of 10 and knock ends up taking 1 minute. Perfectly reasonable out of combat, but not gonna happen when someone's cutting you.

kieza
2010-08-04, 03:47 PM
If you make Rituals free and quick, I can guarantee you that Skills will go out of style. Pick Lock as a Standard Action? Nah, I'll just Knock as a Standard Action - it's like Picking Locks, but I get a +5 to the check! Looking for secret doors? Nah, I'll just Detect Secret Doors - it's like making a Perception check, but I get a +5 bonus! If they remain quick & costly, then they may not see much more use (if your PCs are very money-sensitive) in which case you've changed nothing. If they are time-consuming & free then people willl use Rituals like Take 20 in 3.5; it slows down the game and turns challenges into auto-pass and auto-fail situations.

I never said anything about Standard Actions. Given a choice between a standard action or 10 minutes with a +5 bonus, I think most players will take the standard action, at least at first. I'm not removing the cost of learning rituals, either, which makes it harder to have a ritual for everything. And of course, it still takes a feat (sometimes two) to learn to use Rituals. You won't see an entire group taking the feats to do that when they'd be just as good with one person doing so. Sure, in a world where players always have as much time as they want and they always think exactly the same way, you'll have people using rituals for everything. But in practice, where players know that the monsters might wander in while they're casting Knock, and where someone in the party is going to jump the gun and try the mundane solution first, rituals remain a useful tool that gets broken out when needed.

Mark Hall
2010-08-04, 03:51 PM
One suggestion I saw given on RPG.net, in addition to reducing time, was to make non-expensive rituals cost a Healing Surge. It provides a concrete cost that people may or may not want to pay (and prevents a degree of cheese), but it allows rituals to be more a part of the game.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-04, 03:55 PM
If you make Rituals free and quick, I can guarantee you that Skills will go out of style.
See, this strikes me as a false dilemma. It is easy to consider a middle ground between having rituals slow and expensive and pretty much always inferior to skills, and having rituals take one standard action for free and being pretty much always superior to skills.

The thievery skill has a dozen uses besides lockpicking, and the perception skill has many uses besides locating secret doors. Also, in most campaigns (i.e. every campaign I have ever heard of) neither locked nor secret doors are common or a big deal. So what if a prepared ritual caster can open doors with an arcana check? After all, an unprepared barbarian can likely open them with an athletics check, too. Neither ability is upstaging the rogue.


As for "not everyone is a PC" - true, but then it becomes very hard for PCs to learn Rituals
This strikes me as another false dilemma. If rituals are readily available, it still does not follow that every NPC can understand them, or even that every NPC is literate in the first place. Heck, in the real world, spare computer parts are readily available in any city; that doesn't mean that everyone and their grandma can build a functional computer from those.

PCs are supposed to have ready access to any number of magical items, and can rapidly increase in power by chasing some goblins around; that doesn't mean that joe farmer is going to level up regardless how many goblins he kills, or that he will find a Vorpal Hoe of Cornsbane +3 any time soon.

Quellian-dyrae
2010-08-04, 03:59 PM
What if rather than using gold, you used healing surges? Specifically, I'm thinking have the cost in surges be rather high for powerful rituals (my 4e knowledge isn't great, but say something along the lines of like 2 surges per level of the ritual). Then let other people provide surges to help. Particularly powerful rituals may even cost extended rests (you take the rest performing the ritual, and don't gain any of the normal benefits of the rest).

This should make the rituals more immediately costly and impose a sharper limit on even the number of low-level rituals you can use in a day, without having to take a permanent hit to your character's resources just to, say, scry on the BBEG for a whopping thirty seconds. Since I seem to recall only PCs get high numbers of healing surges, this also means that for the rest of the world rituals are more elaborate affairs requiring lots of casters and such.

Obviously Enchant Magic Item and similar things would still cost gold, as might rituals that have more permanent impacts on the game (such as Raise Dead). The idea would need refinement, but it might work.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-04, 04:03 PM
I never said anything about Standard Actions. Given a choice between a standard action or 10 minutes with a +5 bonus, I think most players will take the standard action,
Correct. For most skills, they can try again the next round, too. Rolling a skill check ten or twenty or 100 times is highly likely to give better results than rolling once with a +5 bonus.

If we must stick to Knock as an example, the ritual is perfectly reasonable if it requires one round and some gold, OR one round and a healing surge, OR ten rounds and no other cost; in none of these cases does it overshadow the Thievery skill. On the other hand, the ritual becomes pointless if it requires some gold AND a surge AND a hundred rounds.

Heck, making rituals usable in combat would add a perfectly valid plot device. Suppose that Linked Portal requires five standard actions to cast, then that gives the rest of the party the job of holding off the monsters while the wizard chants.

kieza
2010-08-04, 04:14 PM
Heck, making rituals usable in combat would add a perfectly valid plot device. Suppose that Linked Portal requires five standard actions to cast, then that gives the rest of the party the job of holding off the monsters while the wizard chants.

As an aside, this is one of the things I hope will happen. I ran a fight a while back in which the party was ambushed while trying to escape through a Linked Portal. The wizard was a minute from being done, and the other four players had to defend him for ten rounds against a bunch of troops, a couple of Swordmage monsters, and a few heavy soldiers that dropped in from hippogryphs. It was epic (hence why I want to do something similar again), as the party was entirely out of healing surges, dailies, encounters, item uses, and in one case, weapons, by the end, and they retreated through the portal with half the party unconscious and half on fire.

I can see doing similar things with whatever the ritual is that makes a wall of force, or the one that makes a lift, or any of a number of rituals.

Mark Hall
2010-08-04, 04:27 PM
As an aside, this is one of the things I hope will happen. I ran a fight a while back in which the party was ambushed while trying to escape through a Linked Portal. The wizard was a minute from being done, and the other four players had to defend him for ten rounds against a bunch of troops, a couple of Swordmage monsters, and a few heavy soldiers that dropped in from hippogryphs. It was epic (hence why I want to do something similar again), as the party was entirely out of healing surges, dailies, encounters, item uses, and in one case, weapons, by the end, and they retreated through the portal with half the party unconscious and half on fire.


Pleasepleaseplease PM me that story. That just sounds epic.

TheEmerged
2010-08-04, 04:29 PM
What I've ended up doing in my campaign, in my campaign world, with my players. Your Mileage May Vary(tm) and all relevant disclaimers.

I'm running an RPG, not an accounting simulation. It is understood that rituals aren't "free" but since players aren't keeping running gold totals (and I'm not rewarding gold from encounters) the effect might as well be. If I think a door needs a DC 30 Arcana check, I don't even bother to look at the Arcane Lock rules. This is consistent with my rules for experience ("There are no experience points. The party goes up in level when I decide it's time to go up in level.") and equipment ("After first level, don't worry too much about equipment/rations/etc. If it starts to matter, I'll let you know.")

Also, I'm very funny about allowing magic to bypass something the characters should be able to do without it. So I'm not allowing any rituals that invalidates a skill check. You need a ritual to breathe underwater? Fine. You want a ritual to disarm non-magical traps? Ain't happening. Similarly, I'm not allowing rituals that bypass anything that could become a plot point; since a famine/crop blight figures into the plot's immedate future, there's a ritual that could bypass this I've made a no-no (can't remember the name right now).

Of course, that's not going to work for everyone's situation. My players are a little more self-motivated than normal, I think.

jiriku
2010-08-04, 04:43 PM
Pleasepleaseplease PM me that story. That just sounds epic.

Forget PM, start a thread and share! That does sound epic.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-04, 04:47 PM
Responses
I'm not going to get into "false dilemma" discussion because it's a distraction. Please read my posts again, wherein I break down the simply-stated "dilemma" into its constitutent parts. Nor am I going to repeat my breakdown of "the donkey problem" as the aforelinked podcast describes it - the podcast does a much better job at describing it than I can, and if you still don't think it's a problem, I can't convince you.
That said, I'm fine with reducing the times but unless you reduce to down to the order of rounds (as you suggest) it's not going to matter. If a PC can spare 5 minutes, they probably can spare 10. After all, 50 rounds is already an eternity in "combat time;" what difference does a second eternity matter?

Reducing it to a matter of rounds replaces one of the major "costs" of using a Ritual - skills generally only take a single round to operate. Considering the advantages of using magic over mundane (better checks, additional perks) removing this important cost can be a large step towards the replacement of skills; if a PC can wait 1 round for a chance to succeed, he'll probably be willing to wait 5 for guaranteed success.

I support replacing GP costs with Surge costs as a general proposition - though that means that Barbarians & Wardens with Ritual Casting are going to make a killing :smalltongue:

One last thing to note - when it matters, PCs are going to try whatever gives them the best shot at succeeding. If failing a check (or a Skill Challenge) imposes a big cost, the PCs will use Magic if it gives a better chance of success and has a trivial cost. This is what happened in 3.5 - whenever something important was going on, everyone pulled out Magic if they could. This trivializes mundane skills since, when it really matters, nobody is willing to rely on them. Consider this when fiddling with Rituals.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-04, 04:52 PM
Considering the advantages of using magic over mundane (better checks, additional perks)
As pointed out above, it's skills that have additional perks over rituals, not the other way around. For instance, Perception can do any number of things that Detect Secret Doors cannot.

As also pointed out above, rolling five times almost always gives better results than rolling once with a +5 bonus, even aside from the fact that the latter takes 100 rounds and the former takes five.

kieza
2010-08-04, 05:30 PM
Rituals are all well and good when they apply, but they have very narrow uses. Knock is great for opening a door if you have a lot of time, but not if you need to get through the door before the dragon catches up with you. It also won't help if you need to disarm a trap: I don't know of a ritual that would, and even if there were one, it would take several rounds while standing (presumably) in the trap's line of fire. Knock won't help you pickpocket someone or palm a coin, either.

Detect Secret Doors will help...Detect Secret Doors. It won't help spot an orc in the brush (and no ritual would, really, if you don't know it's there), it won't help find the papers stashed in the wardrobe, and it won't help identify the riders you spot in the distance at sunset.

Using a ritual to replace a skill requires several things:
1) Know the ritual
2) Know that you'll need the ritual ahead of time (a ritual that gives +5 to Perception won't help against an ambush that you can't plan for)
3) Have the time to use the ritual (again, no help against an ambush, or to boost Diplomacy in the middle of a conversation)

And a ritual only has a point if
4) The chance of being successful with the ritual is greater than the chance of being successful while trying the best mundane alternative for the casting time of the ritual. In the case of Knock, you're more likely to succeed by using Thievery 10 times than casting Knock once. It's only a better option if you would never succeed without it, or you would succeed on a 16+ without it (and in that case, the difference is about .0001%, since you're almost guaranteed to succeed otherwise).

To continue with the example of Knock, it's a great ritual if you need to open a lock on the first try (if it's trapped, for instance), if you want to dispel Arcane Lock, if you're a wizard without training in Thievery or a rogue to help you, or if you don't have the tools handy. For the vast majority of situations, Thievery is better.

Leolo
2010-08-08, 11:30 AM
The Problem with rituals is not that they are not powerful, cheap or fast enough. Because they can be it without any rule change. There have been lists of useful rituals in all this discussions - but it does not matter.

The problem is that in many campaigns they are not assumed as neccessary. A simple example is traveling. Rituals can let you travel multiple as fast. If you need to travel fast from one point to another rituals that provide this are as useful as they should be. And they are not expensive if you consider that you could reach the city before the orc army has invaded it instead after this event. The problem is that in most campaigns it is irrelevant if you are tomorrow where the next monster group wait or in 5 days.

Same example, other ritual(s): Rituals can let you find persons or things faster and with less ressources than with mundane searching. You can find a person anywhere arround in miles within 10 minutes - and nothing mundane can provide you this out of simple luck or DMs railroading.

The problem is: You are part of an adventuring group. You will find the villians regardless what you do, because it is part of the game. Maybe some NPC are dead because it took you longer than neccessary. Maybe you had to fight more than neccessary. But you will be where you have to be in the most cases.

And this is the only way to make rituals more used. You will have to find ways to create campaigns where it is not irrelevant how long it takes to find the villian or the NPC that has been taken ransom. Rituals could be fast as lightning and cast without ressources spend (in fact sometimes they are). No one would use them. As long as they do not make any difference in your game.

It is like saying area effects are irrelevant because there are no fights with multiple foes in your campaign world, or saying flying mounts are irrelevant because no one has the ability to fly. It is true in this context. But it is not true because area effects can not harm someone in general or because flying is a weak ability. It simple depends on your campaign. As easy it is to bring in encounters with minions or flying critters it is easy to make campaigns where time does matter. Or where it matters if you are able to find something without searching every room in the dungeon.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-08, 11:33 AM
The Problem with rituals is not that they are not powerful, cheap or fast enough. Because they can be it without any rule change. There have been lists of useful rituals in all this discussions

[ citation needed ]

Asserting that earlier discussions have proven you right is not a very useful statement without a link (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7860326&postcount=46).

Tiki Snakes
2010-08-08, 11:37 AM
I personally favour making rituals free but leaving the time entirely unchanged. This removes the mental block on using them at all but doesn't actually affect whether they can be used to solve any particular situation (If the ritual could screw things up it then it already could in any individual case, it would just cost money in addition).

Even with having done this, it's basically only one pc at my table who uses them, but it she gets a kick out of things like having the you don't get dirty, no not even then ritual up religiously at all times, and so on. The various tensers rituals came in handy once or twice, too, but nothing terrible.

Saph
2010-08-08, 12:13 PM
I personally favour making rituals free but leaving the time entirely unchanged. This removes the mental block on using them at all but doesn't actually affect whether they can be used to solve any particular situation (If the ritual could screw things up it then it already could in any individual case, it would just cost money in addition).

I think this is the best solution. Most rituals except for the half-dozen "plot rituals" (Linked Portal, Raise Dead, etc) already have so many limitations on them that they're usually not worth the effort even without the gold cost. Putting a price on them as well is a killer, because gold equals magical items and magical items equal power. This means that spending money on one-off effects makes your character weaker, so unsurprisingly players avoid it unless the effects are really really good.

Making rituals free makes them a lot more attractive. The problem with rituals as is is that you have to do the out-of-game work to learn what the ritual does, then the in-game work to scribe the thing, then wait for the right situation to come up, then after all that you're still usually better off not using the damn thing anyway. If you didn't have to spend money you'd see a lot more people thinking up ways to use them.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-08, 12:32 PM
gets a kick out of things like having the you don't get dirty, no not even then ritual up religiously at all times
This is a nice touch, and easily affordable even without the ritual caster feat.


Putting a price on them as well is a killer, because gold equals magical items and magical items equal power. This means that spending money on one-off effects makes your character weaker, so unsurprisingly players avoid it unless the effects are really really good.
This seems to be a problem with consumable items in general. Apart from the ubiquitous 50gp healing potions that everybody and their grandma carries as a safety measure, I don't think I've seen any 4E character use consumables or alchemy more than once in a blue moon.

Leolo
2010-08-08, 01:10 PM
[ citation needed ]

Asserting that earlier discussions have proven you right is not a very useful statement without a link (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7860326&postcount=46).

Sure the earlier discussions are worth reading. This one (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8980715#post8980715), too.

But obviously the discussions where not sufficient to clearify all questions. ;-)

I do not think that it is possible to do this, because everyone judges things different. As mentioned in the example from earlier threads: If it is important to save the little girl named kitty before it is killed by the slaughter of a funny little city then 10 minutes "to know where she is" is as precious as it could be.

And i know that it would be important in my games. My good chars would do all they can to save her. My evil chars would do all they can to avoid being catched for hurting her.

In fact, while all my chars have use for rituals this is no general truth. Many campaigns work fine if kitty is slaughtered by the slaughter. As long as they can kill him after this. Many campaigns work fine when the city is already invaded by the orcs. You do not have to prevent it by traveling faster to the city and doing some hero work. It is just what my characters would try.

kieza
2010-08-08, 04:39 PM
It is like saying area effects are irrelevant because there are no fights with multiple foes in your campaign world, or saying flying mounts are irrelevant because no one has the ability to fly. It is true in this context. But it is not true because area effects can not harm someone in general or because flying is a weak ability. It simple depends on your campaign. As easy it is to bring in encounters with minions or flying critters it is easy to make campaigns where time does matter. Or where it matters if you are able to find something without searching every room in the dungeon.

See, this is how I already run campaigns. If the party teleports rather than riding or walking to get to a destination, things that would otherwise have occurred haven't taken place yet. As an example, a while back the party was trying to track down some stolen goods, and they figured out where they were being taken. If they had gotten some horses and set out by road, they would have caught up to the thieves after they delivered the goods to the buyer, and they would have had to fight or sneak into the buyer's mansion to get them back. Instead, the wizard pulled out Linked Portal and teleported them ahead of the thieves. Then, they did some investigating, and figured out that they could take down the thieves and the buyer at the same time during the meet. But, in order to get the rest of the group to go along with using Linked Portal, the wizard had to spend 10 minutes (Out of game) to convince them that it was worth the component cost.

The problem I have is not that rituals are useless. I've seen a fair number of times where they were used, but they were always things like Linked Portal or Enchant Magic Item, which do things that can't otherwise be done. The problem I have is that whenever a caster offers to use a ritual, most of the group asks "Do we really have to? It's so expensive" or "Do we really have to? It's faster if we don't bother." I'm just trying to make it so that rituals aren't the last recourse. In 3.5, people used magic whenever they wanted, and the DM had to go out of his way to give other characters (like the rogue with Open Lock) a chance to shine. In 4e, you have to go out of your way to give the ritualists a chance to shine, and I don't like that any better.

mobdrazhar
2010-08-08, 04:52 PM
What if rather than using gold, you used healing surges?

There already is something like that in MP2. It's basically Ritual catsing for Martial PCs

Leolo
2010-08-08, 05:29 PM
I think one point is that players tend to do not see preparation costs as necessary as long as they do not see the benefit (in general, not only referring to rituals). That means: Healing Surges, daily item uses or daily powers have no price shield. They are not easy to compare to preparation cost, even if everyone accept that a good preparation could save you some of them.

But some rituals have also ridiculous low costs if you reach higher levels. Maybe your players have a hard time investing 1000 GP at level 8. But do they discuss over 70 gp? This could also multiply your traveling speed. (in fact not only your traveling speed)

At higher level this is also true for a higher amount of gold. At level 20 most of the rituals are cheap to your character to the point that even casting multiple of them can be done with only the treasure from your next encounter.

But this is a cold comfort, because players want to use the most powerful rituals they have now and not at 3 levels higher. Obviously there have to be some kind of balancing. And you can show your players that it can be worth using expensive rituals. The best way to show it to them is let the opponents use rituals.

The headhunter finds the group where no one would expect them?

Some guardian is corrupted by fools gold so that the villain could steal something precious that was well hidden at a secret place guarded with a thief safe lock?

It is not only a possible adventure hook - it could also show your players the ability of rituals. The villain might escape via teleport after you have activated his magical alarm? This could not only encourage your players to take less short rests to catch him before the ritual is finished (assuming they do know he is capable of doing it). It could also let them try to avoid this situation the next time. Maybe by a simple hand of fate, telling them if there is an alarm or not. Or use this things for their own tasks if they do need an alarm.

As you have said: In former editions spells where used very frequently. And this also includes the villains that produce the necessity for these spells.

Saph
2010-08-08, 06:20 PM
But this is a cold comfort, because players want to use the most powerful rituals they have now and not at 3 levels higher. Obviously there have to be some kind of balancing. And you can show your players that it can be worth using expensive rituals. The best way to show it to them is let the opponents use rituals.

Sure, that's one option. You can set things up to try to make rituals appear more useful. Or you could just make rituals more effective, so that they actually are more useful. The second is easier and more effective.

Players aren't stupid. If the majority of of them over a long period of time find that rituals aren't very useful in their games, then it probably means that rituals aren't very useful in their games. Your advice basically comes down to "well, you should change the games", despite the fact that changing the games is way more work.

Leolo
2010-08-08, 06:33 PM
No, they are already useful. My point was that villains could use them because they are useful.

For example a flying villain presents a bigger thread to the party and rituals can let you fly. You do not have to change the game to make flight useful. You just have to use it as an option. The same is true for other rituals. You do not have to change the game to make it useful to find a person, neither for an Villain or an PC (depending on who is using the ritual).

This is already part of the game. The only difference is that your PC and / or your villains use this options or not. You will also find out that if your foes fight tactical it leads to: your players fight more tactical. It is the same pattern. Preparation by team evil leads to preparation by team good.

I would nevertheless do not say that using monsters that fight intelligent does "change the game". It is part of the game.

Saph
2010-08-08, 06:51 PM
No, they are already useful. My point was that villains could use them because they are useful.

You've said so before, and you can keep on saying it as many times as you like; it still won't make any difference. If players don't find rituals useful, it doesn't matter how useful you keep on telling them they SHOULD be. "Should" and "is" are different things.

Look, all people are saying is that rituals are found to be underpowered and could use a buff. You think that rituals are fine as they are in your games; that's great. But since hardly anybody else finds them useful, what's wrong with powering them up a bit?

Coidzor
2010-08-08, 06:53 PM
Which is how it should be!

...Then why do they exist if no one uses them? :smallconfused:

Leolo
2010-08-08, 07:12 PM
But since hardly anybody else finds them useful, what's wrong with powering them up a bit?

Nothing is wrong with it - hey, it is your game. The same is true if you think the ranger does too less damage or if you think that the warlord does not enable enough attacks.

You can double the damage of the ranger and be fine. It is your game.

But do you think it is a good idea? If you do not than maybe there is an argument against this like: "The ranger is already doing enough damage"

Discussions are build around arguments. My argument was that rituals can let you things faster or better. Things that are frequent in adventuring campaigns like finding something or someone, traveling from one adventure to another or exploring dangerous places.

And i have shown examples for this, both for villains and player characters. This is no way to "convert you to the elite club of ritual lovers".

This is just a way to discuss. Show examples. Bring in arguments. You do not like them? There is nothing wrong with this. Maybe bring your own examples, like "No it is not useful to find a person within minutes because..."

Saph
2010-08-08, 07:17 PM
...Then why do they exist if no one uses them? :smallconfused:

As far as I can see, the rituals in 4e were designed to fall into one of two categories:

Plot rituals: These exist to fulfil a metagame need. Linked Portal is there so that players can go to a location the DM gives them the co-ordinates for; Raise Dead is there so that death doesn't stop you from playing your character; Enchant/Disenchant Item are there to fit in with the 4e treasure/wealth system. These rituals are all amazingly good and very cheap for what they do.
Mundane rituals: These exist to fulfil jobs you could accomplish another way. They're almost always slower and more expensive than doing the job the nonmagical way, and they've often got extra restrictions that make them very frustrating to use (e.g., Comprehend Languages lets you speak and understand a language . . . but only if you've heard it within the past 24 hours, and you need a DC 35 Arcana check to do the "speak" part). These rituals are generally underwhelming and you have to go out of your way to create situations in which they're significantly useful.
The nerfing of mundane rituals seems to have been a deliberate design decision, probably as an overreaction to the perceived overpoweredness of utility magic in D&D 3.5. The design was successful - most 4e parties rely on skill checks for noncombat encounters and ignore rituals 95% of the time - but it leaves open the question of why they even bothered to keep the damn things around at all.

My best guess is that they're just an artifact of earlier editions. Every version of D&D has had a Knock spell, so 4e has also got a Knock spell; it's just that Knock is a moderately powered niche utility spell in 2e/3e and a largely useless niche utility ritual in 4e. Everything they couldn't fit in as a power, they turned into a ritual, more for the sake of continuity than because they wanted them to be effective.


And i have shown examples for this, both for villains and player characters. This is no way to "convert you to the elite club of ritual lovers".

This is just a way to discuss. Show examples. Bring in arguments. You do not like them? There is nothing wrong with this. Maybe bring your own examples, like "No it is not useful to find a person within minutes because..."

*shrug* I've already explained why the majority of the PHB rituals aren't useful in our games, and I've gone into detail as to why several of the rituals (Knock, Comprehend Languages) are a waste of time. I think it'd be beating a dead horse to keep arguing about it, and I haven't the time or inclination to give the point-by-point treatment to every ritual in the PHB.

Leolo
2010-08-08, 07:43 PM
*shrug* I've already explained why the majority of the PHB rituals aren't useful in our games, and I've gone into detail as to why several of the rituals (Knock, Comprehend Languages) are a waste of time. I think it'd be beating a dead horse to keep arguing about it, and I haven't the time or inclination to give the point-by-point treatment to every ritual in the PHB.

And there are rituals that are specific to a problem that is not regular. Knock is a good example. There are locks that a rogue can not open but the main (and not really impressive) reason for it is that you can not assume that there will always be someone who has a thievery skill. A fallback.

But if we talk about making rituals cheaper (like "let every caster do one ritual per day without cost") this means: Free flight for all. Free "you find every villain". Free teleport.

It does not seem to be a good idea. Rituals have cost for balancing reasons.

Saph
2010-08-08, 07:50 PM
And there are rituals that are specific to a problem that is not regular. Knock is a good example. There are locks that a rogue can not open but the main (and not really impressive) reason for it is that you can not assume that there will always be someone who has a thievery skill. A fallback.

You like to keep on saying that you've "shown" how useful rituals are. Well, I explained in the last couple threads why Knock was useless, and did it in painstaking detail. I don't think there's any point in going through it all again.

Tiki Snakes
2010-08-08, 07:55 PM
And there are rituals that are specific to a problem that is not regular. Knock is a good example. There are locks that a rogue can not open but the main (and not really impressive) reason for it is that you can not assume that there will always be someone who has a thievery skill. A fallback.

But if we talk about making rituals cheaper (like "let every caster do one ritual per day without cost") this means: Free flight for all. Free "you find every villain". Free teleport.

It does not seem to be a good idea. Rituals have cost for balancing reasons.

Thing is, there is by that logic already a Flight for All, Find Every Villain, etc situation. They have a cost for balancing reasons, sure. But really, all that means is that they could do exactly the same as if they were free and just not be as pointlessly rich. The cost doesn't actually stop anything from happening, really.

All it really does is add in what a lot of people could consider to be unwanted resource management stuff.

Though, with a player who thinks with Rituals, (free or otherwise), the DM does I have found have to be a little more careful in their planning to avoid being caught completely flat-footed.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-08, 08:01 PM
...Then why do they exist if no one uses them? :smallconfused:
It's not that nobody uses them - it's just that people don't use them unless they need them.
For example, not everyone needs an Arcane Lock for their door. With the current costs, normal people don't spend 150 GP to lock a door, and even Ritualists only shell out the 25 GP in component costs for important doors - a mundane lock is cheaper. At worst, a Paragon level individual might get Arcane Lock on every door in his keep "just to be safe;" it's not that expensive, but at 10 minutes per casting it could take a lot of time.

Now, take away the cost component. Which are you going to get for your door - a mundane lock that requires a key and a DC 20 Thievery check to open, or a magic lock that opens to specific individuals (or a password) and is probably harder to pick than any mundane lock available? A Ritualist could still charge a good fee for setting up the lock, but without any marginal cost there's no reason for a Ritualist to charge slightly more than a mundane locksmith charges and do up every lock in town. The Ritualist himself is going to lock all his doors with nigh-unbreakable locks when he has a slow afternoon.

Take away the time component too, and you're now in a world where everyone has Arcane Locks - why wouldn't you?

Now take our adventurers. They're not installing locks themselves, but they probably would care whether every lock in the world is magical and unpickable. Beyond that, they might like to use Arcane Lock to seal off enemy gates on occasion. With the current costs, they'll only use it if they have the time and the ability to open & close it at will is worth more to them than 25 GP. Most of the time they'll set up a barricade or abandon the gate to make a more defensible position - but sometimes they'll find it helpful.

Now take away the component cost. If the PCs have 10 minutes, they're casting Arcane Lock. No need to gather up components for the barricade, or consider greater tactical options - why not spend 10 minutes locking every gateway you go through? Reduce the time and that decision becomes easier and easier to make.

The "Writing Excuses" Podcast refers to this as "The Law of the Mule" - never make it easier to do something by magic than mundane means or nobody will use the mundane method. Their example is based in agriculture: if it is easier to lift a block of stone with magic than having it dragged by a mule with a cart, why ever have a mule & cart?

At it's root this is a problem of self-consistency (and dare I say, verisimilitude?); once you start making magic the strictly easier way of doing things there is no reason for anyone to use mundane means. You can only get so far with the "Magic Users are Scare" argument - if the PCs expect to use magic then someone else has to be there to create the magic they find and teach them to use magic themselves. At the very least, some wealthy kingdom is going to have retained a Ritualist to fix these things up right - if for no other reason than the savings involved.

On a more dramatic level, the more often a situation can be solved by someone saying "I roll a dice" the less often Players are provoked into creating innovative responses - except for magic users, who get a larger share of the spotlight.
I've made this rant (and ones like it) several times, but really the "Writing Excuses" podcast says it about as well as can be said.

Tiki Snakes
2010-08-08, 08:22 PM
You like to keep on saying that you've "shown" how useful rituals are. Well, I explained in the last couple threads why Knock was useless, and did it in painstaking detail. I don't think there's any point in going through it all again.

Okay, how about these?
Tenser's Lift

Players used to air-lift themselves above swampy tree cover in order to find and get back to their Planar Drommond with a full length mirror. Otherwise it was a case of climbing the nearest small mountain.

Tenser's Floating Disc
Transporting said mirror cross country in the first place, so as to avoid the generally clumsy PC's from damaging it.

Leomund's Secret Chest
Player I mentioned previously uses the chest to communicate with the NPC who looks after her Bar in Sigil while she is away with the Party adventuring / Trading / etc, so that she can keep an eye on the business and access goods and services she basically couldn't otherwise. She's also discussed trying to use it as an escape method if certain members of the party take certain near-suicidal actions. Cast ritual, climb in, start knocking loudly so that the deputy manager can let you back out.

Tensers Binding
Binds and imprisons a target with an escape DC equal to the Arcana check +5. Get a few people assisting your pimped out wizard and that check is going to be immense. It can also be maintained by anyone who can do ritual magic, so you capture the big bad, lock him up and he's going no-where for a very long time, as any-old mystic npc can be left in charge. For less Big Bads, or important mooks / Second in Charges etc, it flat out prevents teleporting unless they are higher level than the original caster.

Eye of Alarm
Lets you set up alarms that will last from a full day to indefinately if you use a focus. They can be programmed to give any kind of audio alarm you like, from an animal noise to a short phrase. They can be keyed to recognise individuals, and / or descriptions (ie, trigger if anyone shorter than 3 foot passes)

Oh, here's a fun one along similar lines;
Skull Watch
Works similarly to the Eyes of Alarm, only it lets you know there's an intruder mentally as long as you are within a mile. You can also, at any point during the duration, look through the skulls eyes. And it can be moved about as much as you like.
Doesn't last as long, though.

How about Affect Normal Fire?
Lets you brighten or darken fire within 10 squares of you as a minor action for 8 hours. You can also put 1 square of fire out as a minor action.


Really, with 204 rituals showing up purely on a search for 'Arcana', If you can't find half a dozen incredibly fun and useful rituals to give your ritualist, if you honestly can't find any that would allow you to do some real thinking-outside-the-box stuff, then you're just not trying hard enough.

There are a lot of rituals that are not Knock, and that are not Linked Portal either.

Leolo
2010-08-08, 08:43 PM
You like to keep on saying that you've "shown" how useful rituals are. Well, I explained in the last couple threads why Knock was useless, and did it in painstaking detail. I don't think there's any point in going through it all again.

I did not said that all rituals are useful all the time. Knock is a fallback if no rogue is available. Does this make things like flight or teleport less powerful?

@Tiki: Yes it is, at least to a little amount. Take familiar mount. For the cost of 25gp and 5 minutes casting time you could use your familiars movement type. It is a level 4 ritual and it let you fly for 12 hours. No player who uses this option would ever complain about 25gp. It is irrelevant if you remove the component cost. (If you do not like familiar mount, the next ritual that grant flight is not far away and not much more "expensive")

But there are rituals where the component and casting time is a true balancing factor. And that might be the point where characters might feel a little stepped on their feet if those balancing factors are removed.

kieza
2010-08-08, 11:11 PM
But there are rituals where the component and casting time is a true balancing factor. And that might be the point where characters might feel a little stepped on their feet if those balancing factors are removed.

Yes. Exactly. Which is why those (I presume you refer to things like Raise Dead, Enchant Magic Item, Remove Affliction, etc.) shouldn't be free; but those are exceptions I mentioned in the OP.

And like you said, 25 gp is a negligible cost at level 4, when looked at rationally. The same applies to a lot of rituals. But the perception is that it's not negligible. Players look at the cost and, because it cuts into their magic item fund, choose not to use the ritual even though it's not a big cut.

Digression: my theory as to why players think like this goes as follows: the players are not the characters. When the character has to cross miles of desert or mountains, all that means to the player is that the DM will probably toss in a random encounter or two while narrating the journey. The player doesn't really mind having the character spend weeks crossing inhospitable terrain, because the player isn't actually inconvenienced. So, they're not willing to spend the money so that the character doesn't have to suffer. My solution? Whenever a character crosses the mountains, the DM should go to the freezer, pull out the ice cube tray, and empty it over the player. (/joke)

Kurald Galain
2010-08-09, 03:26 AM
If your point is that some rituals exist that are in fact useful, then I'd say we're in agreement on that. That doesn't change my point that most of them really aren't.

It strikes me that
(1) whenever people point out how great rituals are, they tend to give the same four or five examples, out of hundreds of rituals; that's a pretty good indication of what percentage of rituals is useful.
(2) when I google some ritual names, this thread here comes up on the first page; this indicates that there isn't all that much discussion ongoing about rituals, which suggests that many people don't use them.
(3) similarly, the WOTC forum about items and rituals has a lot of discussion about items, and very little about rituals, which again suggests that many people don't use them.
(4) we get quite frequent threads of people complaining about rituals being overcosted, underpowered, or simply unused.

Overall this underlines Saph's point, that "most 4e parties rely on skill checks for noncombat encounters and ignore rituals 95% of the time - but it leaves open the question of why they even bothered to keep the damn things around at all."


Okay, how about these?
Tenser's Floating Disc is a very good ritual, no argument there.

It was pointed out early after 4E's release that Secret Chest could be used as a cheap and safe Tippyverse-style teleportation method, although it strikes me from the text ("You can remove or add objects to the chest") that this really isn't RAI. It's nice if your DM allows it, even moreso since there's no size limit to the chest, but your DM may just as easily veto this loophole. For most other uses, it is simply trumped by a bag of holding, and the fact that a 4E party usually doesn't need supplies.

Eye of Alarm strikes me as inferior to actually setting a watch, particularly because the eye cannot hear anything, and because there's plenty of races in the game that don't need to sleep. Skull Watch I'm not familiar with.

Tenser's Binding suffers from three problems. First, you must ensure your arcana result is at least 21 points over the enemy's escape skill, because he can keep retrying escape checks indefinitely and will eventually roll a 20. Second, the ritual only works on someone you've already defeated. It is pretty rare, in my experience, to have to capture a bad guy as opposed to just killing him. And third, teleportation requires line of sight, and is thus blocked by a simple blindfold.

Affect Normal Fires is a nice thing to cast every morning, once you can afford that. It will go unused most days, but it's cheap, and cool when it works. The same applies to e.g. Fastidiousness. They're mostly fluff, though.

(edit) and since Leolo keeps talking about Magic Map - yes, it is useful to find a person within minutes. However, the problem is that Magic Map in most cases will not let you do that, because it requires that (A) you have a detailed map, (B) the person you're looking for is within the bounds of said map, (C) you have an item belonging to that person, and (D) you have anticipated this need and invested a lot of money in it beforehand.
It's a decent ritual but highly situational. Also, finding missing people is a quest for low-heroic characters; paragon characters are generally assumed to have more important, kingdom-affecting quests instead. It is then unfortunate that this ritual is only affordable to paragon characters.

Leolo
2010-08-09, 04:00 AM
If your point is that some rituals exist that are in fact useful, then I'd say we're in agreement on that. That doesn't change my point that most of them really aren't.

It strikes me that
(1) whenever people point out how great rituals are, they tend to give the same four or five examples, out of hundreds of rituals; that's a pretty good indication of what percentage of rituals is useful.


I think we are not that far away from each others opinion. Of course many rituals do not have much use. Hey - there are some that only exist for coolness reasons like undead servitor of fastitudeness. There is no real need for having a undead servitor. It just gave evil villains more flair. Other rituals are actually useful - but situational. Knock is useful if no character with a thievery skill is available or the lock could not be opened by him. Last vision sight can be powerful enough to find out who is the BBEG without even playing the adventure if the DM is not prepared for something like this. But it is only useful if you are in a situation where a corpse could tell you some useful information.

I would say that about 30-40 rituals have significant influence on the game and some of them are redundand. (Familiar mount can let you fly - so do 4-5 other rituals)

That is still a low amount compared to the amount of published rituals. I would not say that the rest of it are crap. But you can play a ritual caster and be fine with 10 to 15 rituals.

But the problem is that if you say only 4 or 5 are useful we are on a discussion base where many very good rituals are simple ignored. Your tensers floating disc example is a good one. You consider tensers floating disc a good ritual? All it does is carry some stuff - and let you avoid pressure plates (which not all traps rely on). That is fine. But compare it to other heroic rituals that can let you fly, communicate with far places or teleport to them. You could also simple ask your hand of fate if it is a good idea to walk down this corridor. And because perception is far more common than thievery you can bring in the same arguments as against knock. You will have a character who is able to find traps within your group in most cases.

On my list of 30 useful rituals the disc might not even exist, because it is simple not useful enough compared with other options (Maybe...in fact i did not tried to do this list but in the threads mentioned before there actually are lists with many useful rituals)

This does not mean it is not good enough. In fact you prove this right by judging it useful. It does only mean there are more powerfull options. Even the rituals not on these lists might be still good enough to be used.

Leolo
2010-08-09, 04:21 AM
Yes. Exactly. Which is why those (I presume you refer to things like Raise Dead, Enchant Magic Item, Remove Affliction, etc.) shouldn't be free; but those are exceptions I mentioned in the OP.

And like you said, 25 gp is a negligible cost at level 4, when looked at rationally. The same applies to a lot of rituals. But the perception is that it's not negligible. Players look at the cost and, because it cuts into their magic item fund, choose not to use the ritual even though it's not a big cut.

Digression: my theory as to why players think like this goes as follows: the players are not the characters. When the character has to cross miles of desert or mountains, all that means to the player is that the DM will probably toss in a random encounter or two while narrating the journey. The player doesn't really mind having the character spend weeks crossing inhospitable terrain, because the player isn't actually inconvenienced. So, they're not willing to spend the money so that the character doesn't have to suffer. My solution? Whenever a character crosses the mountains, the DM should go to the freezer, pull out the ice cube tray, and empty it over the player. (/joke)

In fact i like your solution. :smallsmile:

The adventure does not have to end there, though - the players could also awake being captured by some monsters who had found them in the snow. And they will still try to avoid this situation in the future, or not?

Your argument about the players and their characters is obviously true. But does not the same argument would mean that players do not bother with magical armor?

They do not feel the hit. They just see less success without the armor than with it. The same would be true for rituals that provide you faster or less dangerous reached success. For example a player character in one of my campaigns bought an ellusive armor +3. It costs 4000 gp more than a normal +3 armor. And all it does is to avoid immobilisation once per day. You could blow whole stories up with this amount of ritual components.

The reason why magical armor is not discussed the same way rituals are, is that people see it more often used on their game table and actually see the difference. That is also possible for rituals if you have either a player who uses them often or use them as a DM. No one would say that 12 hours flight are not powerful enough or that a magical map, pointing out the place where the people taken ransom are does is not able to make a difference that is higher than "you can end the immobile condition once per day".

Kurald Galain
2010-08-09, 04:22 AM
Your tensers floating disc example is a good one. You consider tensers floating disc a good ritual? All it does is carry some stuff - and let you avoid pressure plates (which not all traps rely on). That is fine. But compare it to other heroic rituals that can let you fly, communicate with far places or teleport to them.
The difference appears to be that you are talking about what rituals may seem useful in theory, whereas I am talking about what rituals have proven useful in practice.

This is more-or-less Saph's point, again. You can make up a hypothetical situation in which e.g. Knock is a good choice; however, this situation is so unlikely altogether that it doesn't occur in practice.

Incidentally, TFD has the advantages of being much cheaper, faster, longer-lasting, and available much earlier than those flight rituals. Familiar Mount has the disadvantages of requiring a feat, requiring an arcane (multi)class, disappearing when hit, and being mutually exclusive with the highly popular disembodied hand.



The reason why magical armor is not discussed the same way rituals are, is that people see it more often used on their game table and actually see the difference.
Actually, most magical armors are also underpowered and overpriced. People generally pick the armors that are good, and ignore the rest. Most armors aren't discussed, in the same way that most rituals aren't discussed: because players aren't interested in them.

Leolo
2010-08-09, 04:34 AM
Sure, but it has the disadvantage that you do not fly. You hover some inches over the ground. (You could also walk as you will not be safe from traps with it anyway)

As said above. It is a nice little ritual with low costs. Not even one of the best rituals within the first 5 levels.

But you have said there are only 4 to 5 useful rituals at all. And that TFD is a very good one. So is it on your list? How on earth should it be better than things that let you fly, teleport, know things no one could know, ressurrect people or create things (and if it is only gold) from nothing?

It is only hovering a few inches above the ground.

And why exactly should the examples above be only good "in theory"? Because you do not need to find people taken ransom as an adventuring group? Do not have to find out who killed people? Does not have a use for fly?

Kurald Galain
2010-08-09, 06:01 AM
But you have said there are only 4 to 5 useful rituals at all. And that TFD is a very good one. So is it on your list?
I said few of them; I did not specify an exact number. But for reference: the wizard I've played for two years has about two dozen rituals in his book. For this wizard, and every other character I've seen played since 4E came out in my region and on conventions, the only rituals I've seen used are:
TFD, Hand of Fate, Amanuensis, Comrade's Succor, Make Whole, Undead Servitor, Transfer Enchantment, and Raise Dead.
Also, I've seen Fastidiousness, Unseen Servant, and Familiar Mount used for fluff only, and I've seen Speak With Dead and Detect Secret Doors used, but not revealing anything useful. The situation for Linked Portal or Remove Affliction has simply never come up. (Dis)Enchant Magic Item would be useful, but all DMs here allow us to simply buy and sell stuff instead.
That's not a good score out of hundreds of rituals printed. You can keep claiming that people should use rituals, but point of fact is that most players simply don't.


How on earth should it be better than things that let you fly, teleport, know things no one could know, ressurrect people or create things (and if it is only gold or magic item enchantment) from nothing?
Resurrection is rarely needed because characters in our group tend not to die a lot. If you want to fly, buy a gryphon. If you want to know things, roll history or arcana. If you need to find people, roll streetwise.

Yes, making the entire party fly is more powerful than TFD. However, the choice is never "should we fly or use TFD?" The choice is simply "we cannot fly period; can we do something with TFD here?". This is because most campaigns play (or at least start) at heroic tier, where group flight is simply not an option.


And why exactly should the examples above be only good "in theory"?
Because you're making up hypothetical situations where they are used, without considering (1) how unlikely those hypothetical situations are, or (2) in what other ways they can be resolved, or (3) what the RAW restrictions are on a ritual with cool fluff.

This link (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20091019) shows that a simple, mundane solution is generally better than a complicated, time-consuming magical one.

Saph
2010-08-09, 06:58 AM
*full rant snipped*

I've made this rant (and ones like it) several times, but really the "Writing Excuses" podcast says it about as well as can be said.

The problem that you never really address, though, is that 4e goes to the opposite extreme - instead of making rituals almost always the best solution, it makes them almost never the best solution. So players hardly ever use them.

Now, you're obviously happy with this, but reading your posts, it seems to be because you see the general uselessness of utility magic as a good thing. I'm not going to tell you that there's something wrong with how to play your games, but in my games I find it just a bit frustrating that I've been playing ritualist characters for years and never had a ritual make any real difference.

I think at a fundamental level, the issue here is that you think it's a bad thing for people to use utility magic all the time, and I don't care. In our 3.5 games utility magic and class features get used all the time, because they're good. Skills also get used all the time, because they're good. In our 4e games, utility at-will/encounter powers and skills get used all the time, because they're good, and rituals don't get used because they're not worth it. I guess from your point of view this is a good thing, but I'd prefer to see rituals represented a bit more.


Okay, how about these?

Okay, I'll bite. I'll stick to PHB rituals for simplicity purposes, since I don't feel like digging out every book in the library.


Tenser's Floating Disc
Transporting said mirror cross country in the first place, so as to avoid the generally clumsy PC's from damaging it.

Could you give me a page reference on the rules for PCs damaging an item they're carrying? As far as I know, they don't exist; an item doesn't get broken because the PCs are carrying it for a long time, making this a fluff/DM fiat use (you're basically using it for fun).

It's still not a bad ritual for transportation, although it runs into the issue that I've never actually been in a game where we found more loot than we could carry. Verdict: highly situational, probably worth putting into the ritual book more due to its cheapness than its usefulness.


Leomund's Secret Chest
Player I mentioned previously uses the chest to communicate with the NPC who looks after her Bar in Sigil while she is away with the Party adventuring / Trading / etc, so that she can keep an eye on the business and access goods and services she basically couldn't otherwise. She's also discussed trying to use it as an escape method if certain members of the party take certain near-suicidal actions. Cast ritual, climb in, start knocking loudly so that the deputy manager can let you back out.

The communication aspect could theoretically be useful, although it's highly limited. The escape method would be basically useless in our games due to the 10 minute casting time (which is a persistent problem with rituals) - in general, if there's a situation dire enough that you're willing to abandon the rest of the party, you need an escape RIGHT NOW, not in ten minutes. Certain more self-centred characters may see things differently, I suppose. Verdict: situationally mildy useful, debateable whether it's worth the time/money investment.


Eye of Alarm
Lets you set up alarms that will last from a full day to indefinately if you use a focus. They can be programmed to give any kind of audio alarm you like, from an animal noise to a short phrase. They can be keyed to recognise individuals, and / or descriptions (ie, trigger if anyone shorter than 3 foot passes)

This runs into the standard problem with rituals: You're spending money to do something which anyone can do with a Perception check. The most common situation in which you want an alarm effect is setting watch at night, and this is a pretty costly way of doing it - sure, it's not much money, but if you're planning to use this every single night, it's going to mount up. The 30 minute casting time is also annoying, as is the loud warning (note that a sentry can use their own judgement whether to be subtle about raising the alarm, whereas the eye can't). Oh, and the eyes have no sense of hearing. Verdict: largely worthless, would rather do it the nonmagical way.


If you can't find half a dozen incredibly fun and useful rituals to give your ritualist, if you honestly can't find any that would allow you to do some real thinking-outside-the-box stuff, then you're just not trying hard enough.

The above three rituals aren't incredibly fun and useful, so apparently someone's not trying hard enough. Whether that's me or you I'll leave unanswered. :smalltongue:

Look, it's not that rituals are utterly worthless. You can always come up with a situation in which they're useful if you try hard enough. The problem is that the situations in which they're useful come up so rarely that they're just not worth the time/money investment. It takes effort to learn a bunch of rituals and remember the details of how to use them, and in practice I've found the effort doesn't pay off.

Leolo
2010-08-09, 07:21 AM
Because you're making up hypothetical situations where they are used, without considering (1) how unlikely those hypothetical situations are, or (2) in what other ways they can be resolved, or (3) what the RAW restrictions are on a ritual with cool fluff.

And what exactly is unlikely on the situation that you have to find someone? Hey, this is an adventuring game. The task comes up every 4 to 5 adventures.

Nothing on it is hypothetical. If i would ask what kind of adventures players have solved the theme: "Find a evil guy who has done / will do some evil things to good people" would not be very uncommon.

What strikes me is: You call my examples theoretical but at the same time explain that you have never seen them in action because you have only seen a few used. While the examples where from actual gameplay even if they are simplified.

For example:

If you want to know things, roll history or arcana.

It sounds good in theorie but in practise there is no way you can just roll history or arcana and know who has killed the NPC. But you could see his last moments alive with a ritual. And this can provide you this knowledge.

Or take streetwise checks. In practise those are dangerous. There are even examples in the book for streetwise skill challenges involving combat encounters if you investigate too obviously. Don't you ever been in a tavern at the docks asking for some underground topic? And it take time. Time you might not have.

It is of course always depending on your campaign. You have brought examples by your own. If you do not need to be anywhere fast rituals that provide this are less useful. If you do not die, rituals that ressurrect are irrelevant. If you can find everything with skill checks fast and safe enough there is no need to find it faster or less dangerous. So...it is still your game experience, although i would be curious what exactly you do in your campaigns that no other situations come up where rituals are useful.

But look at the thread title. The topic is explicitly to talk about how rituals could be more used. And the first point for this is: Players need to be encouraged by results of their actions. It have to be a difference if you use an option or not. Making rituals cheaper would change nothing if - as you said - the situations never come up. (but it would cause problems for players actually using the rituals already because it would cause some balancing problems)

Take speak with dead or last sight. Yes there could be dungeon masters that gave you no useful information out of it. A giant "you can't use this option" stop shield. But it is bad dungeon mastering, not bad rituals.

The rituals are supposed to gave you some useful information.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-09, 08:07 AM
And what exactly is unlikely on the situation that you have to find someone? Hey, this is an adventuring game. The task comes up every 4 to 5 adventures.
Yes, finding people is a common task. However, it is clear that by RAW, this ritual is not usually going to solve it for you. Let me make you a checklist.

Are you level 9 or above?
Have you previously invested 800gp in this, instead of e.g. buying a permanent magical item?
Are you willing to forfeit your monetary rewards for this adventure, because that's basically what the component cost is? Yes, the cost is trivial if you're epic tier, but at epic tier you generally have more important missions than finding missing persons.
Do you have enough reagents available right now (instead of having to go shopping first)?
Do you have a detailed map of the area you're in?
Do you know for sure that the guy you're looking for is actually in this area?
Do you have a personal item belonging to the guy you're looking for?
Are you in a safe spot?
Is your group willing to wait for you (instead of going out and making skill checks while you chant)?

If the answer to any of these questions is "no", then you cannot use the ritual, and must rely on e.g. streetwise checks instead. That is why the ritual is very circumstantial, and its usage very hypothetical - and this is one of the better rituals printed!


the examples where from actual gameplay even if they are simplified.
Well, that wasn't clear from your earlier posts. It strikes me, then, that your DM tends to play rituals by their fluff text, and tends to handwave the restrictions in their rules text. This is good DM'ing and I wholeheartedly endorse it. It is also an Oberoni fallacy: that a DM can fix or ignore a bad rule doesn't make it any less a bad rule.


It sounds good in theorie but in practise there is no way you can just roll history or arcana and know who has killed the NPC.
No, but you could roll heal (for an autopsy), perception (for clues), or insight (when interrogating people). Each of those is (1) faster, (2) free, and (3) also works if the victim was backstabbed, poisoned, or otherwise hasn't actually seen his killer.

That is the point: no, skills aren't guaranteed to work, but neither is the ritual. Skills don't cost time and money, and the ritual does.



Or take streetwise checks. In practise those are dangerous
Not as dangerous as standing still in a dungeon for ten minutes while you chant a ritual to block a passage or find out what is in the next room.


And it take time. Time you might not have.
Well, see, you keep claiming that rituals are faster and cheaper than skills. But from RAW, it is obvious that the opposite is the case: rituals, without exception, takes minutes to hours to cast, and without exception cost up to thousands of gold pieces per use. Skills, by default, cost a few standard actions, and are free.


Take speak with dead or last sight. Yes there could be dungeon masters that gave you no useful information out of it. A giant "you can't use this option" stop shield. But it is bad dungeon mastering, not bad rituals.
Conversely, take skills. Yes, there could be DMs that give you no useful information out of all those skils your entire party have. That, again, is bad DM'ing.

BUT. If the DM is not arbitrarily forbidding skills, nor arbitrarily forbidding rituals, then the skills are better because they're (1) faster, (2) more versatile, and (3) free. Most rituals only become good if your DM arbitrarily forbids skills, and as you correctly point out, that is bad DM'ing.

Coidzor
2010-08-09, 08:18 AM
Oracle Hunter: So, why then? If utility magic should never be useful, why have it at all?


Currently Saph has the best explanation of why rituals exist at all, but that just makes the designers look like cowardly putzes who wanted to break with the old by... including its dessicated carcass as a conversation piece on the coffee table. I mean, occasionally someone finds some part of it can be taken off and used for something, but it mostly just sits there and makes it so you can't enjoy your coffee due to not having a place to set it down.

:smallconfused: Is just... wiggy.

Tiki Snakes
2010-08-09, 08:35 AM
Kurald - Just to say that I'm not suprised google pointed you here. I find that pretty much most DnD related searches tend to lead back here actually. the forums just ping really high with Google, for some reason.

Saph - You honestly can't see the benefit of spending 30 mins and a 100gp focus to permenantly ward your base with whatever series of alarms you like set to trigger depending on whatever visual input you like?

As for the Tensers Floating Disc issue... you're really going with 'There are no Rules for that!' as your big thing? This was an example from actual play, they were trying to get a Huge, (allegedly mundane) but plot centric mirror through a Swamp and potentially up an enourmous tree. The mirror was large enough that it took several people to carry. You seriously saying you'd let your PC's auto-succeed on such a task without a simple roll just because there isn't a carrying-a-mirror rule in the books?

There's also the Tenser's Floating Tank tactic I read about here once. You load the thing up with an armoured framework, and pop the wizard/sorcerer/etc inside. He works as the turret, Avatar style. (admittedly, I think you'd need a light hearted game to pull this off without getting books thrown at you).

In a sense, you're right, I didn't try that hard to find the rituals I listed, just scanned the Compendium very breifly, and still found a list of rituals that I can conceive of using to great effect during the games I may find myself in. The majority of which aren't even high level rituals.

If you applied the same kind of inventiveness to rituals that people apply in most 3.5 wizard threads and so on, then I'm sure you'd get a lot more out of them.

Leolo
2010-08-09, 08:50 AM
Well, that wasn't clear from your earlier posts. It strikes me, then, that your DM tends to play rituals by their fluff text, and tends to handwave the restrictions in their rules text. This is good DM'ing and I wholeheartedly endorse it. It is also an Oberoni fallacy: that a DM can fix or ignore a bad rule doesn't make it any less a bad rule.

I am the DM, at least the most time. And no - i don't handwave restrictions. Neither do my DMs if i play a ritual caster.

Not that you are wrong...handweaving restrictions can be useful. But if i would talk about houseruled rituals i would have told it. The reason why i simplified the examples in the first place was to create examples that are not specific tied to my campaigns or need to much explanation. (For example "Tammy the little girl" was in fact a priestress and there was some kind of religious investigation involved - but this is not really relevant)


Yes, finding people is a common task. However, it is clear that by RAW, this ritual is not usually going to solve it for you. Let me make you a checklist.

Are you level 9 or above?
Have you previously invested 800gp in this, instead of e.g. buying a permanent magical item?
Are you willing to forfeit your monetary rewards for this adventure, because that's basically what the component cost is? Yes, the cost is trivial if you're epic tier, but at epic tier you generally have more important missions than finding missing persons.
Do you have enough reagents available right now (instead of having to go shopping first)?
Do you have a detailed map of the area you're in?
Do you know for sure that the guy you're looking for is actually in this area?
Do you have a personal item belonging to the guy you're looking for?
Are you in a safe spot?
Is your group willing to wait for you (instead of going out and making skill checks while you chant)?

If the answer to any of these questions is "no", then you cannot use the ritual, and must rely on e.g. streetwise checks instead. That is why the ritual is very circumstantial, and its usage very hypothetical - and this is one of the better rituals printed!

Obviously the answer to all this questions is yes (as i have already used the ritual), but that does not make your checklist irrelevant. (Out of the last point, because the group could search without my wizard)

Yes there are restrictions, and it would be pointless to create the adventure if there are none. But some of the points on your checklist are very easy to fulfill. For example "are you in a safe spot?". To be in a safe spot for 10 minutes is not that hard to accomplish. The whole combat system is based on the assumption that you have a safe spot to rest for some minutes. And in this situation (you are in a city, someone asks you for your help) you are in a safe spot per definition. Or the "detailled" map that is not mentioned in the rituals description. Any map will be sufficient although detailed will be better, of course.

And the same is true for "the players have to wait". The only reason why my players would wait is that it took as long to walk to the tavern and order a beer as to wait the 10 In game minutes till the ritual is solved. And because the barmaid would not tell them the place where the slaughterer has his secret lair anyway.

But the point is another, because this example was not about magic map beeing a good ritual. It was about creating differences between options. The players will find the evil guy anyway in the most cases. It is part of the adventure. And i had brought in magic map as an "useless" ritual example if the DM did not calculate this options in. I brought in the example because it shows how you can encourage players for trying to use rituals.

Yes the players might find the evil guy by using skill checks anyway. But if they find him faster they could get some benefit. Like: The little girl is still alive and her daddy spends you 500gp as an extra reward.


Well, see, you keep claiming that rituals are faster and cheaper than skills. But from RAW, it is obvious that the opposite is the case: rituals, without exception, takes minutes to hours to cast, and without exception cost up to thousands of gold pieces per use. Skills, by default, cost a few standard actions, and are free.

A streetwise check does take at least one hour and would not bring you the same result (you will need multiple checks to get equivalent knowledge), so maybe this is a bad example.

And there are many other skills that take much more than a standard action to accomplish the same results. But yes - skills may be faster than rituals, at least if you do not had time for preparation and the task is not to difficult. (a phantom steed riding over the river is much faster than a swimming character, but casting it when you reach the river will take more time)

Kurald Galain
2010-08-09, 08:53 AM
Saph - You honestly can't see the benefit of spending 30 mins and a 100gp focus to permenantly ward your base
I find that PCs usually don't have a base, so I'd say that's pretty situational. For the more obvious purpose of guarding your nightly camp, a mundane sentry is more effective.


If you applied the same kind of inventiveness to rituals that people apply in most 3.5 wizard threads and so on, then I'm sure you'd get a lot more out of them.
The thing is that many rituals contain rules text precisely to prevent this kind of inventiveness. So yes, if you have a DM willing to ignore that and play them by the fluff text, they can be very useful.

For example, take those hallucinatory rituals. Illusions are fun, and versatile, yes? Oh wait, the enemy gets a free insight check when they first see the hallucination. And one more when they first interact with it. And one more every subsequent time they interact. And an automatic disbelieve when they touch. And if there are more enemies, then each of them gets to make all these checks. Was it really necessary to have so many restrictions in there? Sure, a good DM will let you do cool stuff with it like distract a horde of trolls or whatever. But by RAW, the ritual doesn't do that.

Comprehend Languages to speak to a group of orcs you see? Sorry, the ritual doesn't do that. Commune With Nature to find shelter, like its fluff text suggests? Oops, the ritual doesn't do that either. The list goes on.

Saph
2010-08-09, 09:00 AM
Saph - You honestly can't see the benefit of spending 30 mins and a 100gp focus to permenantly ward your base with whatever series of alarms you like set to trigger depending on whatever visual input you like?

What base?


As for the Tensers Floating Disc issue... you're really going with 'There are no Rules for that!' as your big thing? This was an example from actual play, they were trying to get a Huge, (allegedly mundane) but plot centric mirror through a Swamp and potentially up an enourmous tree. The mirror was large enough that it took several people to carry. You seriously saying you'd let your PC's auto-succeed on such a task without a simple roll just because there isn't a carrying-a-mirror rule in the books?

I'm saying that I'm dubious about the utility of anything that protects you against a negative consequence which isn't in the books in the first place, meaning that its effectiveness is up to the whim of the DM. In a situation like this the players would probably come up with some mundane method of carrying the thing safely, or would use the ritual, and both would be about as likely to succeed.

Consider this: why is the disk better at carrying the mirror than a team of people? Can you point me to a rule stating that it's better? You can't. It's basically a DM call - you're ruling that a ritual is better because that makes sense to you. Another DM might rule that the ritual is worse, for any number of reasons (I could come up with several, if you're interested). And neither of you would be wrong or right, because there are no rules for carrying things without breaking them.

This is an example of what Kurald is saying: you're claiming that the ritual is amazing, but if you look more closely, it's an example of the DM making it work. Which is completely fine, but does not in any way prove that rituals are effective.


If you applied the same kind of inventiveness to rituals that people apply in most 3.5 wizard threads and so on, then I'm sure you'd get a lot more out of them.

You're dead wrong here, I'm afraid. The reason that people spend a lot of time coming up with creative uses for 3.5 utility spells is that 3.5 utility spells work. They're fast, powerful, flexible, and renewable. 4e mundane rituals are slow, weak, highly situational, and costly.

I've spent a while coming up with uses for 3.5 spells, and it's generally productive - I can come up with fun and useful ways to solve problems, and I've significantly helped the party with them. I've spent a while trying to come up with uses for 4e rituals, and invariably the result is something like "Well, I guess I could use this ritual in this very specific situation to solve this very specific problem." Then the problem and situation never come up simultaneously, and the ritual gathers dust.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-09, 09:05 AM
Hm, I'm surprised to read that the Streetwise skill requires an hour to use. Well, that makes it a pretty useless skill, and I should replace it in my example with e.g. Bluff, Diplomacy, or History. Of course, just like it's good DM'ing to handwave restrictions on e.g. Comprehend Languages, it's also good DM'ing to handwave the silly time requirement on Streetwise.

Point remains that most players in my area will e.g. give the local bartender a few silver pieces, ask him if he's seen the missing infant, and request a social skill check.



But the point is another, because this example was not about magic map beeing a good ritual. It was about creating differences between options. The players will find the evil guy anyway in the most cases. It is part of the adventure.
Well, that's the issue right there. If the players realize that they will find the evil guy anyway, and they have a choice between one option that costs 325 gp and one that does not, guess which one they're going to pick?

Leolo
2010-08-09, 09:16 AM
In fact it is not that silly, because it includes that you have to find someone to talk to who actually know something. Diplomacy or bluff will not be faster for the same reason. You could convince any npc in the town to help you. But if you do not know which NPC is the one that _could_ help you this is pointless.

It simple takes time.



Well, that's the issue right there. If the players realize that they will find the evil guy anyway, and they have a choice between one option that costs 325 gp and one that does not, guess which one they're going to pick?

Yes. But if they realize that the 325gp will save someones life, or let them earn 1000gp this might be a harder decission.

Thats the point of the example. If you do create adventures as a DM that could be solved faster (but with higher efford) you should reward this. Same is true for creative solutions. You should reward players for not using the standard solution. At least if its results are better. And in fact a better reward for doing better work is not that uncommon. If you think about it: The guy who is searching the NPC does not talk to the wizard pleading for searching her to see that all the same wizard will do is "i ask the local barmaid at my favourite tavern". :smallbiggrin:

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-09, 09:33 AM
@Coidzor - Please re-read my last post. It's not that magic should never be used, but rather that it should never be easy to use. Hopefully this restatement helps a bit.

@Saph

Now, you're obviously happy with this, but reading your posts, it seems to be because you see the general uselessness of utility magic as a good thing. I'm not going to tell you that there's something wrong with how to play your games, but in my games I find it just a bit frustrating that I've been playing ritualist characters for years and never had a ritual make any real difference.

I think at a fundamental level, the issue here is that you think it's a bad thing for people to use utility magic all the time, and I don't care. In our 3.5 games utility magic and class features get used all the time, because they're good. Skills also get used all the time, because they're good. In our 4e games, utility at-will/encounter powers and skills get used all the time, because they're good, and rituals don't get used because they're not worth it. I guess from your point of view this is a good thing, but I'd prefer to see rituals represented a bit more.
Aside from the self-consistency issues I've raised above (which nobody seems to worry about - fine) I'm coming from a 2E mindset when it comes to magic, not a 3.5E one.

In 2E Utility Magic was as flexible as 3.5E but it just wasn't used on a regular basis. Why? Because it was very costly to use:

(1) Sunk Costs
There was no spontaneous casting in 2E. If you memorized a utility spell, it was at the cost of a combat or healing spell - spells you almost certainly would need to use. With a paucity of magic items available, casters were the primary source of magical support, and the lethality of combat meant that having a fireball in your holster rather than some utility spell might be the differece between life and death.

(2) Risk
Trying to use a spell in combat was always dangerous - a single rock to the head could spoil one of your precious spell slots. And most (all?) spells were sufficiently slow that there was a good chance that a smart enemy would have a chance to target you after your casting was begun. And that doesn't even address System Shock rolls needed for casting some of the more potent spells - Polymorph being a classic.

(3) Costly
Spell component costs were non-trivial. Practically every spell required something - and no "eschew components" or "spell component pouches" to handwave that requirement. The more powerful spells required the use of hundreds of gold worth of gemstones per casting, not to mention the time it took to actually cast the spell.
I never liked the 3.5 Paradigm as a DM, though I loved it as a player - when I played a caster. My 3.5 Rogue never even invested in trap-finding because the summoner cleric was able to just fire off a celestial monkey whenever we found a trap. On my most successful Rogue-mission, it was only due to Wind Walk and Invisibilty that I was able to do my job - and when they were dispelled, I was toast.

On the other hand, my PF Cleric enjoyed using Mending to smash & repair locks in lieu of having a Rogue and my 4E Ritualists loved having free Rituals (until the DM called it abusive) and then neatly solved most of the party's problems with a single roll afterwards. Why? Because I was using low-Heroic Rituals in a high-Heroic game and the costs were trivial while the rewards were great.

I know that it's fun playing a Ritualist, but when magic is too easy it becomes a crutch for the players and a barb in the DM's hide. Parties don't need to work together to solve a problem when a single caster can trivialize the problem with a single spell - and cooperative problem-solving is where I find parties having the most fun.
N.B. I agree that Ritual Magic is currently too costly; I merely disagree with how costly it should be. ATM I'm toying with the "Blood Sacrifice" (Healing Surge) variant cost, and I'm trying to figure out a good balance there. On one hand, most Ritualists have low amounts of Surges and Surges remain a "visible" cost - which is good; on the other hand, high-Surge characters might decide to become Ritual Generators and throw off highly useful Rituals at trivial costs. To mitigate this, I'm thinking of making Blood Rituals impermanent by default, and each Surge being worth a fixed amount of Reagent (say, 50 GP / Surge). This will prevent the abusive practice of creating permanent effects with renewable resources and make sure that Blood Rituals aren't always the default method for casting.

Still trying to think of a way to fix Illusion Rituals, but truth-be-told, Illusions are just hard to balance; an Illusion that cannot be detected might as well be the real thing. IMHO, the "illusion" Utility & Attack Powers probably cover the traditional Illusions sufficiently well, but I'm not quite settled on this end yet either.

hamishspence
2010-08-09, 09:55 AM
Manual of the Planes had an interesting approach to creating permanent teleportation circles- do the ritual, then spend 1 surge every day, for a year and a day, and you have a permanent circle.

Might work for some other rituals.

Leolo
2010-08-09, 10:07 AM
Consider this: why is the disk better at carrying the mirror than a team of people? Can you point me to a rule stating that it's better? You can't.


Maybe i can? Carrying things requires you to use your hand. Your hands are already required to carry other things. Like swords, wands or something other important stuff.

So the rule you are missing might be: Draw a weapon. It takes an action or a feat.

Other rules might be rules for heavy load or rules for endurance. It is not only obvious that it is better to find someone or something to carry your things - it's in the rules.

(Not that this makes TFD a top class ritual...after all it is only carrying.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-09, 10:10 AM
You should reward players for not using the standard
solution.
Sure, but that doesn't fit well in the 4E framework, and it's not what happens in printed adventures, much. I could argue that using an explicitly-written-out ritual is more of a standard solution than a versatile fill-in-the-details-yourself skill is.

Generally, players have no way of knowing in advance that they will get a bigger reward if they solve an encounter with a ritual instead of with skill checks. I think 2E was the last edition that explicitly gave XP for clever ideas or good roleplaying.


@Coidzor - Please re-read my last post. It's not that magic should never be used, but rather that it should never be easy to use.
Assuming magic is never easy to use, then for those tasks for which an alternative exists (i.e. skills), it follows that magic will never be used.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-09, 10:33 AM
Assuming magic is never easy to use, then for those tasks for which an alternative exists (i.e. skills), it follows that magic will never be used.
This is a misstatement. Using magic does not accomplish the same feat a skill would - it does it better. This has always been the case with magic in D&D: Knock can unbar doors, Arcane Lock can seal a gate which has no lock, and so on.

So now we have two alternatives to any problem. A simple cost-benefit analysis shows that magic > skill on the benefits side, so the only thing that prevents magic from being used all the time is the cost. A more complicated cost-benefit analysis will note that, some times, the "extras" that magic provides are worth more than normal - when protecting your rear by barring a door, it may be extremely helpful to be able to "unbar" it at a moment's notice; Arcane Lock is therefore much better than its mundane counterpart. Other times, the extra benefits granted by magic may make it no better (but never worse) than using the mundane method - unlocking a DC 20 Lock with no pressure is at least as easy for a 10th level Rogue as it would be for a 10th level Wizard with Knock.

However, the marginal utility granted by the use of magic means that, all costs being equal, magic will always be used instead of skills. The lower you make the costs of using magic, the more often this will be the case - this is the Rule of the Mule and a basic application of economic reasoning you can see whenever technology is introduced to a new field.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-09, 10:41 AM
This is a misstatement. Using magic does not accomplish the same feat a skill would - it does it better.
Because of the restrictions on rituals, and their casting time, I do not think this is generally true. With a few notable examples, using magic does a worse job than using a skill would.

For a simple example, Comprehend Languages will not let you speak to the creatures in question (well, except if you can make a DC 35 arcana check), whereas using e.g. Bluff or Diplomacy to improvise a sign language will.

Or, as noted earlier in this thread, setting a watch at your camp is actually more effective than using the Eye of Alarm ritual, and Discern Lies is generally worse than making an insight check.

Doug Lampert
2010-08-09, 10:46 AM
As also pointed out above, rolling five times almost always gives better results than rolling once with a +5 bonus, even aside from the fact that the latter takes 100 rounds and the former takes five.

Eh? Rolling an INFINITE number of times won't be better than once with a +5 a full 30% of the time, but if I only do it five times it's "almost always" better.

Interesting definition of almost always.

Is this anything like how spending hours to gather information is better than spending 10 minutes to use a ritual because out of combat time doesn't matter. But spending 10 minutes to use a ritual rather than 1 round to use a skill is utterly crippling because out of combat time is so vital that you can't waste 10 minutes of it?

Doug Lampert
2010-08-09, 10:52 AM
Or, as noted earlier in this thread, setting a watch at your camp is actually more effective than using the Eye of Alarm ritual, and Discern Lies is generally worse than making an insight check.

Huh? Discern lies, which basically makes your cleric's insight check autosucceed by giving it a HUGE bonus is worse than the insight check.

You can't have actually READ the ritual and not have noticed that it ADDS to your insight check since they specifically mention that the same person can't assist you with both checks.

Discern lies with take 10 on the insight check will fairly reliably beat any possible roll for insight without the ritual.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-09, 10:56 AM
Eh? Rolling an INFINITE number of times won't be better than once with a +5 a full 30% of the time, but if I only do it five times it's "almost always" better.
Your math is backwards. The question is not "how high will you roll", the question is "will you pass the DC". Assuming that the DC is something you could reach without that +5 bonus, the odds of reaching it with a bunch of rerolls are better than the odds of reaching it with a +5.

This is easy to demonstrate: suppose you have +0 in a skill, then hitting DC 20 has a 5% chance. With a +5 bonus, you now have a 30% chance. Rolling eight times gives you a 34% chance, which is better.

And given how the game and DCs are designed, it's much more likely that you have a 25% chance to succeed on a roll. In which case the roll with +5 gives you 50%, and rolling three times already gives you 58%.

So yes, in practice, rolling five times is better than rolling once at +5, QED.

Reverent-One
2010-08-09, 11:02 AM
For a simple example, Comprehend Languages will not let you speak to the creatures in question (well, except if you can make a DC 35 arcana check), whereas using e.g. Bluff or Diplomacy to improvise a sign language will.


Wait, where does it say in the Bluff or Diplomacy descriptions that you can create a sign language with them? I'm away from books, so maybe either one or both does say something along those lines, but that sounds like handwaving on the DM's part to me.

kieza
2010-08-09, 11:05 AM
Eh? Rolling an INFINITE number of times won't be better than once with a +5 a full 30% of the time, but if I only do it five times it's "almost always" better.

I'm not saying 30% of the time as in for 30% of DC's. Very high and very low DCs don't crop up often, in my experience; most skill checks have a moderate chance of success. And I did point out that the +5 is useful when you couldn't succeed without it. But if you have a medium-difficulty DC (You need somewhere between natural 6-15 to succeed, which is most commonly the case in my games), rolling several times is better than once with a +5 bonus. If you have a 50% chance of success (11+), you have a 75% chance of success with a +5 bonus and a 97% chance of success if you roll 5 times. If you succeed on less than a natural 6, then the +5 bonus makes it an auto-success...but if you roll 5 times, you already have a 97-99% chance of success, so why bother? The only time the bonus is useful is when you literally can't succeed otherwise, and how often does that happen?

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-09, 11:11 AM
Because of the restrictions on rituals, and their casting time, I do not think this is generally true. With a few notable examples, using magic does a worse job than using a skill would.

For a simple example, Comprehend Languages will not let you speak to the creatures in question (well, except if you can make a DC 35 arcana check), whereas using e.g. Bluff or Diplomacy to improvise a sign language will.

Or, as noted earlier in this thread, setting a watch at your camp is actually more effective than using the Eye of Alarm ritual, and Discern Lies is generally worse than making an insight check.
You're conflaiting costs with benefits.

"Restrictions on Rituals" are their costs - which this thread advocates lowering. Their effects are their benefits - which this thread is not addressing. In a cost-benefit analysis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost-benefit_analysis), you weigh the costs of a given action against its benefits; you then choose the course of action across the universe of choices that gives the greatest benefit for the least cost.

Your examples are true insofar as the costs usually outweigh the benefits. However, when you reduce the costs, this becomes less true.
For example, using Discern Lies (which is, IIRC, a +10 on Insight) when the casting time and component costs are trivial is strictly better than the same character using Insight alone. In fact, by simulating a +5 WIS and Training, it is probably at least as good - if not better - than the party Lie Detector; of course, the party Lie Detector is probably going to be a Ritualist anyhow, now that casting Discern Lies isn't particularly costly.

The "sign language" Skill Challenge isn't going to be as useful as a trivially cast Comprehend Languages for two reasons. One, an improvised sign language is going to miss a lot of meaning at best - using a basic Comprehend Languages to clear up one side of the communication is already an improvement there. Two, unless a DC 35 Arcana check is impossible or highly unlikely, having fluent conversation is going to make it a lot easier to convince the other side to do what you want.

Here, I say "impossible or highly unlikely" here, but with reduced Time & Money costs you might as well call it "impossible" since the caster can keep recasting it until they pass. With 4 Assists, the Caster will need to hit DC 27, which a 1st level caster (INT 18, Trained) can do on a 18+.
These are just two examples, but I hope it clarifies my position somewhat.

kieza
2010-08-09, 11:17 AM
Huh? Discern lies, which basically makes your cleric's insight check autosucceed by giving it a HUGE bonus is worse than the insight check.

You can't have actually READ the ritual and not have noticed that it ADDS to your insight check since they specifically mention that the same person can't assist you with both checks.

Discern lies with take 10 on the insight check will fairly reliably beat any possible roll for insight without the ritual.

If your DM lets you take 10, sure. And you have the time to use the ritual, and the person you're discerning isn't horribly offended by the fact that you don't trust them. And if you knew you'd need the ritual ahead of time. And if you can spend a minute questioning them, getting them to confirm what they just said over and over, you can make 5-10 insight checks, and you'll have a near-certainty of success in a tenth the time, without spending 140 gp. (Admittedly, it's not a guaranteed success, but it's very close.) Plus, Discern Lies only helps discover untruths, where Insight checks can give you some hint as to what the untruth is concealing, help you find someone's weak point, determine a motive, etc...

Leolo
2010-08-09, 11:22 AM
Generally, players have no way of knowing in advance that they will get a bigger reward if they solve an encounter with a ritual instead of with skill checks.

Maybe you did misunderstand me. I don't want to reward ritual use, but "better solutions". This could be rituals or other things.

And of course players should know this.

"Please, help! My daughter...she is captured by the slaughterer! I gave you all that i have if you bring her back alive."

You do not know if a ritual will solve this problem. But you do know that it will be solved better if you could find her fast.

A group that finds the evil guy after 2 days could also get an reward. Maybe they find the magical butcher knife of this creature? They could destroy it and get the residium, sell it or even use it. It is not neccessary that they find her alive. It is only better.

Leolo
2010-08-09, 11:32 AM
For a simple example, Comprehend Languages will not let you speak to the creatures in question (well, except if you can make a DC 35 arcana check), whereas using e.g. Bluff or Diplomacy to improvise a sign language will.


In fact this would be an example where the magic is better, because actually understanding a language is much better than interpreting gestures.

But the main use for comprehend languages is: You find some writings on the wall. Maybe a warning? Maybe some riddle? You do not understand the language.

Neither bluff nor diplomacy will help. The spell is not called "speak language" for a reason. It is intended to comprehend languages, and to speak them is only a benefit for specialised casters (although 35 is not that hard to reach).

Kurald Galain
2010-08-09, 11:35 AM
These are just two examples, but I hope it clarifies my position somewhat.
Yes. I agree that time taken is a cost. Restrictions, that really depends on the ritual. For instance, Eye of Alarm's inability to hear anything doesn't strike me as a cost; but this restriction does mean that even if EoA was free, I would still prefer to set a watch: its effect is stronger.

You are correct that Knock can open barred doors, and Thievery can't. However, a barred door strikes me as simply a DM's attempt to block Thievery. Sure, DMs can do that; but the DM can also create an anti-magic door, which can be opened by Thievery but not by Knock.

Neither seems a likely occasion to me: I cannot recall ever being in a situation in an RPG where a door was barred or anti-magical. The common situation, then, is an ordinarily locked door that can be picked, ritual'ed, or bashed down.

Now I agree with you that Knock shouldn't be completely free of costs; but even if it were, it would not eclipse Thievery in most situations. But Knock presently costs (1) time, (2) money, and (3) a healing surge. It strikes me as perfectly reasonable if the rite costed one of the three, not all.

And Eye of Alarm, well, considering how easy it is for the elf or warforged or revenant to state that he'll take watch because he doesn't sleep, I don't see why the ritualist should be penalized in cash or time by stating that he'll keep watch magically.

$.2

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-09, 11:49 AM
Yes. I agree that time taken is a cost. Restrictions, that really depends on the ritual. For instance, Eye of Alarm's inability to hear anything doesn't strike me as a cost; but this restriction does mean that even if EoA was free, I would still prefer to set a watch: its effect is stronger.
Hmm... fair. IIRC Eye of Alarm has superior vision though - which can be helpful for detecting people creeping up without other cover.

AFAIK, few of the Rituals have actual restrictions that, barring casting time and component cost, would stop people from casting them all the time.

I will take issue with the "barred" example.
Doors can be barred for very good reasons and while they are designed to "defeat" Thievery checks they can also be designed to encourage Ritual use - or lateral thinking. If all you have are locked doors normally and the PCs suddenly find themselves faced with a barred door they might try any number of things: find an alternate route, break it down with a battering ram, hack it to pieces, etc. But, if the need is dire enough, they might just expend the healing surge time & money to open the door.

Also remember that Knock gives a +5 Bonus on top of the standard Arcana check - strictly better than practically any Rogue of the same level. If the casting time is 1 round, then your Rogue might as well hang up his lockpicks except for trivial locks; if the casting time is 1 round and free, why have lockpicks at all?

IMHO, Knock's Surge cost is probably more than is strictly necessary, but the time & money costs are very important.
Ultimately, I'd prefer not to get bogged down in specific scenarios; I'm making general points about the way magic is used in RPGs and in D&D4 specifically. While the point on "restrictions" is well taken, note that restrictions are simply another cost; they must always weighed against the actual benefits produced by the Ritual.

Saph
2010-08-09, 12:24 PM
I know that it's fun playing a Ritualist, but when magic is too easy it becomes a crutch for the players and a barb in the DM's hide. Parties don't need to work together to solve a problem when a single caster can trivialize the problem with a single spell - and cooperative problem-solving is where I find parties having the most fun.

Playing a Ritualist isn't very much fun in 4e, because Ritualists hardly ever get to do anything. I've learned by now not to make rituals a central part of any 4e character I make: identifying yourself as a "ritualist" is a recipe for frustration. Likewise, class features that actually work are not my definition of a "barb in the DM's hide", and I have never seen the uselessness of Rituals encourage co-operative problem solving in any way.


Maybe i can? Carrying things requires you to use your hand. Your hands are already required to carry other things. Like swords, wands or something other important stuff.

Way to miss the point, Leolo. Tiki was saying that the reason TFD was good was because it allowed the "clumsy PCs" to succeed at carrying the mirror without dropping or damaging it. If you find some page citations for rules covering that, let me know.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-09, 12:44 PM
Playing a Ritualist isn't fun in 4e, because Ritualists hardly ever get to do anything; having class features that actually bloody work is not my definition of a "barb in the DM's hide"; and I have never seen the uselessness of Rituals encourage co-operative problem solving in any way.
I... I guess I've been playing it wrong? :smallconfused:
I had fun using Rituals while playing as a Cleric and a Wizard.

The Cleric originally got Free Casting but after revealing the utility of Hand of Fate and Water Walk (!) we went back to full cost casting. Admittedly, this was a high-Heroic game so casting Hand of Fate to find the book we needed was still a good investment. Of course, if the DM had been planning a Skill Challenge there, he'd probably be miffed at the ease with which I alone solved that particular problem.

The Wizard was a "Wizard Thief" and, while he used Rituals far less often, it was nice to have them around for when they needed them - such as "forging" passes to enter a city. Same DM, and I think he was a little more resigned to my Ritual use this time around.
The truth is that no class is designed to be "the Ritualist" - the Wizard is closest and it has a boatload of minor utility magics that see constant application. Ritual Casting is a feature like Clerics' Channel Divinity - a little something extra that's nice to have, but doesn't define a character like the D&D3.5 Batman Wizard.

As for encouraging co-operative problem solving: if you can't snap your fingers to solve a problem, you have to solve it some other way.

This means you either use a skill (which encourages spotlight sharing) or the group has to come up with a way to get around the problem using several skills or creativity. Maybe you never noticed it because the magical solution wasn't available, but those problems had to be solved somehow and I'm willing to bet it wasn't always just one character saying "I make a skill check."

Leolo
2010-08-09, 12:46 PM
Even if you only consider the mirrors safety the same things apply. People get tired (Endurance rules), or they let the mirror drop because monsters endanger the player characters and it is a faster way to grab the weapons.

And because heavy load decreases your speed the travel will be slower. There are enough rules that clarify this is not an easy task.

And we are not even talking about things like people who want to steal or destroy this item. The guys who carry it could be guards if the have their hands free. At least they would not stand all next together, making it more difficult to place a surprise attack with for example some area effect.

Tiki Snakes
2010-08-09, 03:41 PM
Actually, as I have since recalled, the Mirror was infact originally in the tree, and was Tenser's Lifted down safely, rather than having several pc's play Mr Shifter (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgzEBLa3PPk).

It was a very big tree. The PC ritualist was also pretty paranoid about it, admittedly, given what they'd gone through and haha, promised Various NPC's in exchange for it.

Shardan
2010-08-09, 05:20 PM
some suggestions:

1) Allow players to use skills during downtime to procure/make ritual ingredients
Nature: gather herbs
Heal: prepare balms
Arcane: prepare incense
Maybe not make the mats free, but make it possible to turn 1 GP raw materials into 5 gp finished goods during down time

2) As GM, add ritual materials or even rituals as 'extra' treasure:
"The wizard has a cloak with some magic aura, 300 GP, and a satchel with 30 GP worth of materials usable for arcane rituals"

3) Make a sliding scale for ritual costs/times, either by tier or by level. Maybe the 11th level wizard SHOULD be able to cast the first level rituals faster and cheaper. I suggest 5% less for every level you have over the ritual cost. Minimum time element, never instant though.

4) Never be afraid to 'fudge' the rules, especially for creative players

Saph
2010-08-09, 06:33 PM
The truth is that no class is designed to be "the Ritualist" - the Wizard is closest and it has a boatload of minor utility magics that see constant application. Ritual Casting is a feature like Clerics' Channel Divinity - a little something extra that's nice to have, but doesn't define a character like the D&D3.5 Batman Wizard.

As for encouraging co-operative problem solving: if you can't snap your fingers to solve a problem, you have to solve it some other way.

This means you either use a skill (which encourages spotlight sharing) or the group has to come up with a way to get around the problem using several skills or creativity. Maybe you never noticed it because the magical solution wasn't available, but those problems had to be solved somehow and I'm willing to bet it wasn't always just one character saying "I make a skill check."

See, this is the thing. From this post and your previous one (where you're talking about 2e) you seem to have a very strong dislike of player characters reliably solving problems via utility magic. But you don't seem to have any problem with them solving the same problems with skills. Most of your posts on this topic basically seem to come down to "I want players to solve utility problems with mundane solutions instead of magical ones".

And you've never given a very good explanation as to why it's such a terrible thing for utility magic to be effective. All of your arguments as to why skills are better beg the question, really - a skill "encourages spotlight sharing"? No it doesn't! Having the face character do a negotiation doesn't encourage spotlight sharing, nor does it encourage creativity, nor does it somehow make the game better than if a spellcaster came up with a solution that relied on a utility spell. It's just a different way to solve the same problem.

Your basic assumption seems to be "solving problems mundanely = good! solving problems magically = bad!" which strikes me as bizarre. I mean, half the 4e classes run off magical at-will and encounter powers. So apparently killing things mundanely is okay, and killing things magically is okay, and solving out-of-combat problems mundanely is okay, but solving out-of-combat problems magically is bad. It frustrates the hell out of me because the "utility mage" character is one of my favourite archetypes to play, and having people talk about how great it is that I'm not allowed to do it is very depressing.

I mean, you keep on talking about "creativity", but the more I listen to your posts, the more I get the impression that your biggest priority is restricting the ways in which players are allowed to be creative rather than encouraging it. You seem to be convinced that as soon as spells are brought in to solve a problem, it immediately becomes unfun and something to be avoided at all costs. Since many of my favourite moments in fantasy games have come from using spells and magical abilities creatively, it's really hard for me to have much sympathy for this.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-10, 12:37 PM
Short Reply:
Everyone has skills; not everyone has magic. The more you allow magic to be the primary problem solver in a campaign, the less people without magic can do.
Particularly in 4E, everyone has some chance of succeeding on a given skill check - and it can be fun for people not expert in, say, Athletics, to try to make it up a rocky cliff. The more opportunities you have for people to try out skills they're not "optimized" for, the more likely you are to have a bit of uncertainty in the outcome - and uncertainty is fun.

Magic is not the root of creativity; it is a tool that can be used creatively, like anything else. However, it is a tool that works too well - it is the difference between trying to start a fire with only what you can find in a forest and trying to do the same with a lighter. In the former case, lighting the fire is an adventure; in the latter, it is a simple chore.

There are a lot of things in 4E that argue against the existence of your (Staph's) style of Utility Mage. For one, it is a generalist - someone who can solve many different kinds of problems on their own. Secondly, it is a concept that does not require teamwork so much as minions - mundanes can only help implement the magically-created solution; their skills are not strictly necessary.

I appreciate that you enjoy playing Utility Mages - so do I - but I recognize that having one character solve everything makes things less fun for everyone else. Perhaps when everyone is a Utility Mage everyone can have fun thinking of wacky ways to use magic to solve problems but, IMHO, that sort of restrictive build does not fit in the mould of D&D generally, and D&D4 specifically. For a game of Utility Mages I use oWoD Mage - it is designed to be exactly that.
I don't expect to convince you to think my way, but I do hope that at least one of these posts at least clarifies my position.

To recap
(1) "Rule of the Mule" - a world where Utility Magic is easy is one where it makes little sense to use mundane means.

(2) "Teamwork" - everyone can work together to solve a problem using mundane means. With easy Utility Magic, only those with Magic solve problems; everyone else is just there to assist.

(3) "Uncertainty is Entertaining" - too much of D&D Utility Magic minimizes the role that uncertainty plays in resolving problems. Uncertainty is fun; it adds drama to the game.

EDIT
Regarding specialists
Specialists are very good at what they do, but - in 4E at least - non-specialists still have a chance of succeeding on a given roll. The party Face may be the best at doing negotiations but, if the situation comes up, the Fighter still has a chance (albeit a slim one) of conducting them in some fashion. Skill Challenges, in particular, encourage people to act outside their limited specialties and I've found the most fun challenges have a mix of allowing specialists to shine while subjecting people to tests of their non-optimized skills.

Magic does not allow the non-specialist to attempt a challenge. "Challenges" in a world with easy Utility Magic ("UM") must be such that magic alone cannot solve them; if UM can solve a challenge trivially, then it wasn't really a challenge. However, unless the challenge is explictly anti-magic, it is unlikely to be passable via purely mundane means either - or so my experience in D&D of several editions suggests. A caster has access to both magic and mundane "tools" but the mundane have only one set, and it is one that cannot even attempt a true Challenge.

It is much more fun to attempt a Challenge and fail than to know you never had a chance. In an easy UM world, mundane characters face the latter far more often than not, for the reasons described above.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-10, 01:13 PM
Everyone has skills; not everyone has magic.
I believe your premise is incorrect.

First, not everyone has skills, at least not in the same degree. Some skills are much more useful than others, some classes get more skills than others, and some skill uses are explicitly trained-only. For example, a human rogue has seven skills from a very wide list, whereas a dwarf fighter has three skills from a very narrow list (with zero knowledge skills, even). So for many situations, it is fair to say that the rogue has skills, and the fighter does not.

And second, the skill challenge mechanics strongly discourage using skills that you're not good at. If climbing a cliff is a skill encounter, then it might be "fun" for the frail cleric to try an athletics check, but it may not be "fun" for the rest of the party because this kind of behavior will make them fail the SC. This is not teamwork, this is the cleric throwing a wrench in the gears. Likewise, in a social situation, standard protocol is for the barbarian to keep his mouth shut while the bard and the paladin chat up the NPCs.

On the other hand, magic is not restricted: anyone who wants to can use a ritual scroll, and WOTC considers it a feature that everyone can take the ritual caster feat. For many rituals, you either don't need to roll anything, or it's not particularly relevant what you roll.

So I would say that in 4E, the opposite holds true: not everyone has skills, and everyone can use magic.



(2) "Teamwork" - everyone can work together to solve a problem using mundane means. With easy Utility Magic, only those with Magic solve problems; everyone else is just there to assist.
I want to point out an important difference here. There is "handwave" magic, which makes your problem go away instantly whatever it is; and there is "tool" magic, which helps in solving a problem. I believe that "tool" magic is what Saph is looking for, and that "handwave" magic is what you object to.

An example of tool magic: the party comes upon a door with a guard dog. The wizard creates an illusion of a cat that wanders past, which distracts the dog. This allows the party rogue to sneak past. That's teamwork. This kind of tool magic is easy to find in most RPGs, but literally impossible with 4E rituals.

An example of handwave magic: the party has a long perilous journey ahead through the enemy-infested swamps of sorrow. They teleport past it.

Ironically, many 4E rituals lean towards "handwave" magic, in that they solve a very specific problem instantly, and contain explicit language to prevent them being used as "tool" magic. And, an overly long casting time more or less automatically disqualifies tool usage. This is why Tenser's Floating Disc is a good ritual, because of its versatility, and Hallucinatory Creature is not, because of its boatload in restrictions.

kieza
2010-08-10, 01:21 PM
(2) "Teamwork" - everyone can work together to solve a problem using mundane means. With easy Utility Magic, only those with Magic solve problems; everyone else is just there to assist.

I honestly don't think this is such a big deal. Generally, using teamwork to solve a challenge falls into a few archetypes:

(1) A challenge is easily overcome by some people in a party, but not others. Example: A wall which is not easily climbed by the weak wizard or the rogue who isn't trained in Athletics. Generally, one or two people in the party come up with some way of getting the ones who are at a disadvantage around the obstacle. In that example, the fighter climbs the wall, lowers a rope, and hauls up the characters that can't climb. If a ritual caster can find a way to get the party up the wall, that just means he's the one doing the assisting. I'm not a particular fan of this type of challenge, anyways. Usually, half the party feels useless while the rest of the party feels annoyed that they have to help.

(2) A challenge which requires several successes to overcome. Example: A gate has several locks. All but one lock are warded such that opening them unleashes a gout of fire. You can tell which is which with Arcana, unlock the proper one with Thievery, and lift the gate and hold it with Athletics. One character will probably not have all these skills, so multiple characters need to contribute. Utility magic can replicate the Thievery check, sure. Is there a ritual for lifting a heavy object? (Tenser's Disk can lift it a few inches, I guess. And there might be a ritual that does that, I'm not sure.) But the point is, utility magic can't replicate everything. When performing a complex task, one person can't do everything.

(3) A challenge requires actions to be taken in several locations. Example: The party is performing a heist. Someone has to distract the guards, someone has to get into the vault, someone has to keep the bank clercs from calling for help, someone has to play lookout, etc, etc. One person can't do all of these simultaneously, even with utility magic.

To sum up, why does utility magic not encourage teamwork? Utility magic is just another tool that a character can use to support his party, and it has very narrow limitations. Knock doesn't let someone disable traps. Discern Lies doesn't let someone determine an NPC's motivations. Utility mages...they can replicate some of the functions of a wide range of skills, but they can't do everything. Other characters can do everything related to a few skills, but they're not that great outside their focus.

Caphi
2010-08-10, 01:26 PM
Magic is not the root of creativity; it is a tool that can be used creatively, like anything else. However, it is a tool that works too well - it is the difference between trying to start a fire with only what you can find in a forest and trying to do the same with a lighter. In the former case, lighting the fire is an adventure; in the latter, it is a simple chore.

It's natural in games for various types of obstacles to become easier over time. Some game systems take it upon themselves to define it for the GMs, and some don't. In D&D3 design, a wall became a trivial encounter at level 5. But this wasn't a bug in the system, though some people think it was - the wall is a level 4 and below encounter, and becomes trivial at level 5 for exactly the same reason that level 2 goblin fighters do. The players' abilities have outgrown them.

D&D4 seems deliberately designed to slow down utility scaling, both with respect to combat scaling and with respect to the scope of the game. It's well-known that open-ended effects like illusions were tossed out with great prejudice. Flight and teleportation are limited in availability and in scope, because they are restricted by the power frequency system and their ranges are tactical at best - except in the form of long, expensive rituals.

Types of encounters gradually becoming trivial - "chores", as you call them - is natural. At some point, lighting a fire shouldn't be an adventure. It may be one at a very low level, but it should be very easy when the PCs are able to build their own shelter and not an issue at all when they can conjure their own mansions out of thin air.

Saph
2010-08-10, 01:37 PM
Short Reply:
Everyone has skills; not everyone has magic. The more you allow magic to be the primary problem solver in a campaign, the less people without magic can do.

I don't expect to convince you to think my way, but I do hope that at least one of these posts at least clarifies my position

It clarifies it in that it restates it, but you still have the same issues as before:

a) you start from a false dilemma perspective, where magic either has to be the primary problem solver or the last-resort option, with nothing in between - and the in between is exactly the kind of game I'm looking for.

b) your arguments as to why skills are fun and teamworky and magic is an uncreative handwave are extremely weak and mostly just lean on assertions. Skills don't encourage teamwork, as anyone who's watched a thief-type or a face-type play an entire encounter on their own will tell you, nor do they increase uncertainty very much.

If you simply don't like players using utility magic, that's fine, but I think you should drop the whole "it's making the game less fun for everyone else" approach.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-10, 02:06 PM
If you simply don't like players using utility magic, that's fine, but I think you should drop the whole "it's making the game less fun for everyone else" approach.
No, because I maintain that my logic remains sound.

I am very happy when my players use utility magic, but I maintain that making it too easy allows magic to dominate the game. I do not mean to assault your prefered style of play - though it begins to sound like that has been the effect - but I fully believe that there are a large number of reasons why magic must be kept in check.

I have not iterated every single one in this thread because I simply don't have them time - and besides, we're not having a real debate on the merits of these arguments.
Stating that I am presenting a false dilemma is unhelpful, since I never claim an all-or-nothing stance. In every single one of my posts I have asserted that utility magic is nice but must be subjected to a cost-benefit analysis. As magic inherently grants greater benefits than mundane skills - an bald assertion, but not one I expect anyone to challenge - a great deal of focus must be given to the costs of using magic versus mundane means. There is obviously a range of "good" outcomes here, but simply doing away with costs - as has been suggested several times - is going to break the balance.

Claiming that I am making "weak assertions" regarding teamwork does nothing to discuss the extended meditations have I made on these matters. I also do not like being painted the enemy here - I have done my level best to civily present my positions and to specifically refute weak areas of reasoning or misconceptions.
I am perfectly willing to have a discussion on why having easy UM results (or does not result) in issues relating to self-consistency, gameplay, and so forth but I am not about to claim that any position is inherently better or worse than any other. I am forwarding a position that I believe best fits the paradigm of D&D4 and similar "party-based" games; I have stated my reasons for it and, if they are weak reasons, I look for specific criticisms of their underlying logic.

Apart from that, I can do more no than to agree to disagree.

EDIT: In regard to Saph's second assertion, please examine my response in regard to specialists. Hopefully it lays out the core of my argument in clearer terms.

@Caphi - while it is true that obstacles should become more difficult over time, I do not see why this has to mean that certain classes should become irrelevant as a result.
The "Lighter example" is not meant to be represent a low level challenge, but a paradigm for framing challenges. To extend the metaphor, in a group without a lighter, everyone can try their own way of making a fire. Maybe one person wants to try rubbing sticks, while a second wants to try a burning lens. Both are imperfect methods for starting a fire and either - or both - could work. But if the third person has a lighter, then everyone knows how the fire is being started; you could try the other two methods but they're less likely to work and much harder to do.

Now imagine that, instead of a forest, the three people are in a windowless room with a pile of wet leaves. There are no sticks to rub, nor any sunlight to focus into a fire - this project is impossible for the "mundane." The first two people can do nothing by wait for the Lighter to provide the solution - sure, they can dry the leaves somehow, but they're not solving the problem their own way, they're helping the Lighter solve it his way. It's one thing if the three are in the forest and agree to help each other try to light the fire in a particular way, but here there is no need for agreement - there is only one way to light that fire. Can you say it is as fun for the first two to light that fire as it was when they were in a forest? Would the two have had even more fun if the Lighter wasn't present with his strictly superior solution?

Is it not more fun to try and solve something yourself than to be compelled to solve something a particular way?

To unpack this metaphor a bit, the three people in the forest are an example of a low-level challenge: you can solve it mundanely, but everyone knows that the magical (Lighter) solution is easier and more efficient. The windowless room is the high-level encounter - you can't solve the problem without using magic, so the "mundanes" have no hope of participating aside from suggesting things for the magic-user to try. IMHO, a good "party system" always presents problems like the forest and never like the windowless room.
I hope that better explained my position.

Saph
2010-08-10, 03:00 PM
Claiming that I am making "weak assertions" regarding teamwork does nothing to discuss the extended meditations have I made on these matters. I also do not like being painted the enemy here - I have done my level best to civily present my positions and to specifically refute weak areas of reasoning or misconceptions.

I don't think you're the enemy. I just think you're simply wrong, in that you have a preference for a specific type of high-combat-magic low-utility-magic playstyle, and believe that because you enjoy playing this way, that players using effective utility magic makes the game less fun for everyone else.

I also think you spend too much time analysing arguments, coming up with lengthy rebuttals to the arguments, and developing theoretical models based upon the arguments, and not enough time looking at how things work in practice. You keep on explaining how doing things mundanely is supposed to be more fun, but you never seem very interested in whether other people actually find it more fun.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-10, 03:15 PM
I also think you spend too much time analysing arguments, coming up with lengthy rebuttals to the arguments, and developing theoretical models based upon the arguments, and not enough time looking at how things work in practice. You keep on explaining how doing things mundanely is supposed to be more fun, but you never seem very interested in whether other people actually find it more fun.
I... suppose so? :smallconfused:

It just seems hard to me to go about answering a systematic problem with anecdotes. I've tried to inform my analysis with my personal gameplay experience (e.g. 4E Ritualist = Fun problem solving experience; 3.5E Rogue = Not-fun problem solving experience) and tried to explain why this may generally be the case. But perhaps my own experiences are too limited.

Have you ever played a non-caster in an easy UM game? Was it fun for you? What made it fun for you? What would you have changed to make it more fun?

Saph
2010-08-10, 03:26 PM
Have you ever played a non-caster in an easy UM game? Was it fun for you? What made it fun for you? What would you have changed to make it more fun?

Lots of times. The reason it was fun was mostly due to the RP element, and due to the rest of my group, just like most games (mechanical issues like utility magic are really pretty far down the priority list compared to stuff like "how good is the GM").

However, since it's the utility magic element you're interested in, the answer is that problems typically got solved with either skills or with magic, with a preference towards skills (since magic uses resources and skills don't). Since most of the challenges we faced were open-ended, it didn't matter that much whether you chose to solve a problem magically or mundanely. Solutions tended to use teamwork in that everyone pitched in on the discussion, suggesting ideas, but were generally done by only one person at a time (because that's how most skills and most spells work). The problem would get resolved and we'd move on to the next thing.

As a noncaster, there were some things I could do and some things I couldn't do. It made very little difference to me whether the things I couldn't do were skill-based or magic-based.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-10, 03:47 PM
Fair enough.

Then I suppose it is up to the OP to determine which end of the spectrum his personal 4E games fall.

As a game designer, however, I'd still caution folks to pay attention to the Rule of the Mule.

EDIT: Interesting side-note.

It sounds like, in Saph's case at least, "solving problems" wasn't actually the focus of the game - what made the non-caster sessions fun were "mostly RP elements."

Was the same true for your caster sessions? If "solving problems" isn't what makes UM users fun, then why does it matter whether UM is easy or hard? :smallconfused:

kieza
2010-08-10, 04:33 PM
Fair enough.

Then I suppose it is up to the OP to determine which end of the spectrum his personal 4E games fall.

As a game designer, however, I'd still caution folks to pay attention to the Rule of the Mule.

EDIT: Interesting side-note.

It sounds like, in Saph's case at least, "solving problems" wasn't actually the focus of the game - what made the non-caster sessions fun were "mostly RP elements."

Was the same true for your caster sessions? If "solving problems" isn't what makes UM users fun, then why does it matter whether UM is easy or hard? :smallconfused:

Oh, having a cool solution via utility magic is fun. It just doesn't happen all the time. It depends on the problem to be solved. Example: One of my players was relatively new, and played a ritual caster. She had loads of fun using a ritual that caused small animals to obey her. She used them for scouting, signals, and occasionally for distractions. (She didn't like that the party got on her case whenever she wanted to shell out 10 gp.) She had other rituals too, and she didn't hesitate to spend the components when one would be useful. (Sometimes the party wouldn't help with the costs, and she wound up paying out of her own pocket. So she had less gear than the rest of the party as a result. This is one reason I'm trying to make rituals cheap.) She used a lot of rituals, is what I'm getting at.

She actually solved a lot of problems with rituals, but nobody complained that she was overshadowing them, and I didn't notice that she was. Why? Because her rituals were a good solution about as often as other players' abilities were. She couldn't have an animal scout indoors, because it would be noticed: the Ranger did that. She couldn't have an animal sneak forward and analyze a magical effect, because it didn't know how. The group had to get the Wizard close enough. And a lot of times, what she did was provide assistance to the other members of the group: she called up multiple small animals and had them search in several directions to assist the Ranger. She made the group a little bit of cover, so that they could hide from a patrol. She assembled a campsite magically so that the Rogue could convince some guards that they'd been present for hours in order to have an alibi.

The ritual casting classes also tend to have skills with very limited applications: Heal, for instance, only comes up when people need to deal with a disease or injury. Knowledge skills (Religion, History, Dungeoneering) tend to be secondary skills in skill challenges, or they're useful for gathering information about a problem before solving it with some other skill. These skills don't really contribute to actually solving a problem, and rituals give these classes a way to contribute.

Essentially, rituals are just another tool for problem solving. They aren't as versatile, and they usually take longer to use, but they either give better results or fill a niche nothing else does. It balances out, in my opinion. And all the component costs accomplish is to discourage players from using an otherwise great ability.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-10, 04:44 PM
Essentially, rituals are just another tool for problem solving. They aren't as versatile, and they usually take longer to use, but they either give better results or fill a niche nothing else does. It balances out, in my opinion. And all the component costs accomplish is to discourage players from using an otherwise great ability.
Again, the issue of time.

* * *

Perhaps I am overreacting to this particular implementation of UM. In part, it's because I have seen how powerful Rituals can be when made free - having been in those shoes myself. But mostly it's because I do enjou the 2E aesthetic when it comes to magic, and Ritual Magic goes a long way to reestablishing it, even in the context of WotC D&D.

EDIT: Also, a lot of Rituals break the game quickly without constraints. Free, unlimited use of the more potent Divination Rituals (post Hand of Fate) can render many kinds of plots irrelevant in the same way that Divination magic did in 3.5.

...now I need to look over Divination Rituals in regards to my "Blood Ritual" houserule :smallfrown:

Lord Raziere
2010-08-10, 04:52 PM
If everyone used rituals to lock doors, then everyone would use rituals to dispel them. Just keep that in mind.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-10, 04:58 PM
If everyone used rituals to lock doors, then everyone would use rituals to dispel them. Just keep that in mind.
...which still puts Rogues out of business.

Saph
2010-08-10, 05:50 PM
EDIT: Interesting side-note.

It sounds like, in Saph's case at least, "solving problems" wasn't actually the focus of the game - what made the non-caster sessions fun were "mostly RP elements."

Was the same true for your caster sessions? If "solving problems" isn't what makes UM users fun, then why does it matter whether UM is easy or hard? :smallconfused:

:smallconfused: What? No! I specifically said that whether a game's fun or not is not primarily due to whether you're a caster or not and is not due to how the system handles utility magic. It's due to stuff like "do the players have well-RPed characters?" and "is the GM good?" and "are the other players fun to hang around or not?" This is just a matter of priorities.

I don't know where you got the idea that "solving problems wasn't the focus of the game", either, and that DEFINITELY has nothing to do with whether I was playing a caster.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-10, 05:53 PM
:smallconfused: What? No! I specifically said that whether a game's fun or not is not primarily due to whether you're a caster or not and is not due to how the system handles utility magic. It's due to stuff like "do the players have well-RPed characters?" and "is the GM good?" and "are the other players fun to hang around or not?" This is just a matter of priorities.

I don't know where you got the idea that "solving problems wasn't the focus of the game", either, and that DEFINITELY has nothing to do with whether I was playing a caster.
In that case, why does it matter how UM is done in a game? It didn't seem like it particularly mattered to you how a problem was solved or who did it - RP was the focus of gameplay.

Or am I misreading you? It seemed from your posts that the way UM was implemented was a very important issue to you.

Saph
2010-08-10, 05:59 PM
In that case, why does it matter how UM is done in a game? It didn't seem like it particularly mattered to you how a problem was solved or who did it - RP was the focus of gameplay.

Or am I misreading you? It seemed from your posts that the way UM was implemented was a very important issue to you.

It's important if I'm trying to play a character who's a utility mage. You specifically asked about games where I wasn't a caster, remember?

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-10, 06:09 PM
It's important if I'm trying to play a character who's a utility mage. You specifically asked about games where I wasn't a caster, remember?
Of course, but why do you prefer to play Utility Mages if the actual solving of problems isn't personally important to you?

Or do you only not care about how problems are solved when you're not playing a Utility Mage?

Saph
2010-08-10, 06:19 PM
Of course, but why do you prefer to play Utility Mages if the actual solving of problems isn't personally important to you?

I get the feeling that you're trying to find some sort of contradiction here, but I don't think you're getting anywhere. I like playing utility mages. This has nothing to do with whether problem-solving in any given game is personally important to me or not, which in any case is such a vague question that I wouldn't have the first clue how to answer it anyway.

I'll bring this back to the original question: Yes, I've played non-casters in games where utility magic was effective. Yes, players used magic as tools to help solve problems. Yes, players also used skills to help solve problems. No, there was no tendency for skill usages to be more creative or team-oriented than spells.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-08-10, 06:31 PM
I get the feeling that you're trying to find some sort of contradiction here, but I don't think you're getting anywhere. I like playing utility mages. This has nothing to do with whether problem-solving in any given game is personally important to me or not, which in any case is such a vague question that I wouldn't have the first clue how to answer it anyway.

I'll bring this back to the original question: Yes, I've played non-casters in games where utility magic was effective. Yes, players used magic as tools to help solve problems. Yes, players also used skills to help solve problems. No, there was no tendency for skill usages to be more creative or team-oriented than spells.
Well, what I'm trying to resolve is the following
(1) Solving problems as a Utility Mage is fun
Presumably, this is why you'd play Utility Mages instead of, say, a Fighter. Likewise, the fun part of solving problems as a Utility Mage is by using magic in creative ways - this is why UM must be powerful and easy to use.

(2) Solving problems as anyone else is secondary to RP
It didn't sound like you cared much about creatively solving problems as a mundane character. The fun part was doing all kinds of RP interactions; problems got solved, but it didn't matter how they were solved.

When I play, I like contributing to problem solving in problem solving games - doubly so when I'm playing a class that's supposed to solve problems. The fact that I was generally a poor choice for problem-solving as a 3.5 Rogue made him unhappy; being able to contribute to any challenge as a 4E character is one of the things I enjoy most about it. Solving problems is something I like to do with my characters.

In your case, it sounds like sometimes you like solving problems, and sometimes you couldn't care less about it. I'm having trouble understanding this contradiction so I'm asking questions so that I can understand what the deal is. I'm certainly not trying to "prove" that you contain some sort of bizarre contradiction - what I am trying to do is to figure out what motivates someone to espouse such different perspectives at the same time. If I can understand it, then perhaps I can better understand what people want in UM; what it is that people desire out of it in a game.

At the very least, it'll be helpful in my own game design.
Anyhow, if this line of questioning is too annoying, just say so and I'll remain mystified for the time being :smallsmile:

Saph
2010-08-10, 06:36 PM
Well, what I'm trying to resolve is the following
(1) Solving problems as a Utility Mage is fun.

Right.


(2) Solving problems as anyone else is secondary to RP.

Wrong. The importance of solving problems has nothing to do with which character I'm playing.

Kurald Galain
2010-08-11, 04:42 AM
Well, it's been an insightful discussion, and now I think I'm going to agree to disagree and leave this thread alone.

Saph
2010-08-11, 05:16 AM
Yeah, that's probably best.