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Counter spell

Caladors

Villager
I listen to 3.5 private and there I heard about that your looking at making counter spell a reaction there.

Currently I use my own hodged podged counter spell system that I made and it is really good.
But I would love to see what a real designer could do with the idea.
After reading through trailblazer I can see that you guys are really into the numbers side of it and will get something right.
I would buy a product you make about counter spelling even if that is it just counter spell like two to four pages for five bucks.

For me, it helps balance the high level gaming no longer are spell casters dominating the combat they have to be much more tatical because they can't just throw spells at one another they have to conserve and time things.

Anyway I heard about it, if you wanted to know if people are interest, I am!
Enough to create a profile here just to tell you.
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
Thanks, Caladors!

Counter-spelling isn't so much a "numbers game" as it is an "action game." The important balancing act is determining how counter-spelling works in the economy of actions.

The utility of being able to counter the monsters' spells, vs. the concern that having the monsters counter your spells wastes your action, is a serious (perhaps insurmountable) risk to a counter-spell system.

I believe the opportunity cost of "ready to counterspell" is too high, but at the same time I think the opportunity cost of "spend a combat reaction to counter an action" might be too low.
 
Most people wouldn't counterspell, but perhaps a feat could make it easier for someone who wants to use the tactic a lot. Or, you can use a combat reaction to counterspell, but if you do, you lose your standard action on your next turn?
 

Caladors

Villager
Well none the less I believe that you will be able to come up with a fair and balanced system to do so if it's an update or a whole product whatever (if you do, do it) please drop a line here.
I would be very interested.
 
I think that this is one of those things where people are going to have different interpretations and want it to function a variety of ways depending on the particular feel of their game.

By default, Pathfinder says a spell can only Counter itself (page 207).

Page 126 of the Pathfinder book already has Improved Counterspell, which is a spell from the same school (instead of the exact same spell) that is at least one spell level _higher_ than the spell you're Countering.

If it's a question of the whole Economy of Actions thing, given how Trailblazer likes to encourage/force people to spend Action Points, it might be an idea to simply create an Action Point chain like you've got on pages 21-22.

Of course, I'm a fan of PCs and monsters/NPCs not necessarily following all the same rules, with PCs coming out on the cooler side. So I'd be inclined to simply modify the Improved Counterspell feat in a baseline Trailablazer game.

Personally, I feel the Counterspelling rules suck as they don't capture the sort of Counterspell fight I always see in my head: Sort of like a Kung-fu movie, but where spells are matching each other instead of moves.

I don't tend to play Casters in d20 for a variety of reasons, so the following may be completely out of whack...

I notice that Clerics, Sorcerers, and Wizards all have a power they can use as a Standard action. I'd be inclined to tap _that_ particular thing and see about handling Counterspelling using that. Possibly create a feat chain around manipulating the Granted powers to Counterspell.

Since people would be expending their Granted Power to do Counterspelling and it's less than the number of spells a Full caster is going to be able to pop off, it provides another resource manipulation/tactical consideration thingy. Hooking it up with feats and/or Action Point Enhancements furthers the resource management thing.

And folks like myself will either ignore it or rip it apart and rebuild it to suit our needs. :D
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Personally, I feel the Counterspelling rules suck as they don't capture the sort of Counterspell fight I always see in my head: Sort of like a Kung-fu movie, but where spells are matching each other instead of moves.
Oh man, I love those movies! :D

But you are correct, it's very difficult to capture that with the d20 combat rules, at least as they stand now. I think you could create a system for wizard "duels" but once you are in the context of a battle with other participants, it gets very difficult because of the economy of actions.

Wulf and I discussed this a lot during development. While I agree that counterspelling as a standard action isn't great, especially since you have to ready your action to do it (which is probably why it's done so rarely), making it a reaction makes it way too powerful. Casters would use their reactions only to counterspell and would be counterspelling each other constantly.

Counterspelling really comes down to what you view as more beneficial: spending your action to do something you choose or spending your action to negate something your opponent chooses.

I would also like to see a "better" counterspelling system but it can't be frustrating, especially when used against the players. Having your actions negated isn't fun and doing so has to be a 1-to-1 tradeoff for both participants, unless of course you weigh the attacked/defender actions differently. If anything, I'd probably weight the actor more heavily than the defender.
 

ValhallaGH

Villager
One thing to keep in mind is that there are a whole slew of action types between Standard and Reaction (special free).

You've got Instant, Swift, and Move to play around with.

So, for example, a caster could have to "ready" a Move action to be prepared to counterspell. This means he can't direct minions / maintained spells, or actually run away, but can try to cut off his opponent while still being kind of active. And is not totally wasting his turn when the opponent decides "to hell with casting, I want to stab someone."
This would be a great tactic unless the opponent could cast two or more spells in a given round (Elite / Solo; quickened spells; swift spells; multiple casters; casting with both a regular spell and a magic item; et cetera).
Attaching some sort of opposed roll (1d20 + BMB + Spell level, for example), instead of simply spending the correct spell, would keep it uncertain enough to have some serious consideration involved.

There are myriad ways to adjust d20 gaming. :D
 

Kid Charlemagne

I am the Very Model of a Modern Moderator
While I agree that counterspelling as a standard action isn't great, especially since you have to ready your action to do it (which is probably why it's done so rarely), making it a reaction makes it way too powerful. Casters would use their reactions only to counterspell and would be counterspelling each other constantly.
I personally don't see a big problem with a spellcaster using a reaction to counterspell, but if that is an issue, how about making it a reaction plus an action point?

Also, I don't know if this is core or not, but I'd allow that only versus spells that specifically target the spellcaster. Another way of limiting it could be to make that a core class ability only available to the wizard.
 

Kid Charlemagne

I am the Very Model of a Modern Moderator
To expand on that idea, using a feat like Silent Spell or Still Spell would make a spell harder to counter. I'm personally shooting for a Harry Potter vibe with this.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
I personally don't see a big problem with a spellcaster using a reaction to counterspell, but if that is an issue, how about making it a reaction plus an action point?
If I was playing a caster and we were fighting an enemy caster, you can be damn sure that every one of my reactions would be used to counter that caster's spells.

Conversely, if I was DM'ing, I would also be using every once of my caster's reactions to counter the PC caster's spells.

So every round would turn into cast, counter, caster, counter.

That's not fun for anyone.

Requiring an AP might work but my gut feeling is that would make counterspelling used even less frequently than it is now.
 

Kid Charlemagne

I am the Very Model of a Modern Moderator
Well, my idea would be that a wizard could only counter spells directly targeted at him. So if the enemy wizards cast spells at the fighter, you couldn't do anything about that; likewise if he cast a fireball, you couldn't do anything about that either. So it would be more limited than the standard 3E counterspell mechanic. The idea would be that wizards are particularly good at countering wizards; I don't see how that would be that much different than a fighter parrying his opponents attack.

Also, I could see ways to make your spell harder to counter; cast it silently or while invisible, quicken it or use still spell. Use multiple feats in conjunction, perhaps.

Then again, I lean more towards a radical reinterpretation of D&D magic than is probably within the Trailblazer purview.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Well, my idea would be that a wizard could only counter spells directly targeted at him. So if the enemy wizards cast spells at the fighter, you couldn't do anything about that; likewise if he cast a fireball, you couldn't do anything about that either. So it would be more limited than the standard 3E counterspell mechanic. The idea would be that wizards are particularly good at countering wizards; I don't see how that would be that much different than a fighter parrying his opponents attack.
This I do like.
 

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