spellcaster fumbles

Alex Koponen akoponen at MOSQUITONET.COM
Sat Jun 24 13:16:54 CEST 2000

> PS. I think it might have been fun playing a mage in P&P, but
> then again I'm not sure. The first mage in the party did
> fail his spells very often, and he fumbled a few times
> while Vindor was in the party, plus Vindor heard many "old
> war stories" about previous fumbles made by the mage PC.
> I think that if an RPG rules system makes spellcasting too
> prone to failure and fumbling, spellcaster characters won't
> get the respect they deserve. Of course going to the other
> extreme, having spellcasting always be reliable (like AD&d
> does it) is equally problematic, but I believe a happy medium
> can be found (such as Quest RPG, for instance).

To play a spellcaster in P&P it really helps to know the rules. In general
young spellcasters don't become old spellcasters if they use hostile magic
against creatures with MDV (magic defense value) as this is when fumbles are
most likely. There are various tricks to improving the odds of having spells
succeed besides simply being higher level and having more skill in the
particular spell, but in general only very experienced spellcasters can
confidently rely on their spells working against creatures and not causing
embarrasing and potentially fatal fumbles.

Spellcasters can cast spells on themselves with a fair assurance of success
even as apprentices as their MDV helps in this case. This might affect your
choice of spells. Spells such as Purification, Luck, and certain magic items
(in particular staff or wand) can really help the odds of success, but going
against MDVs really hurts your odds. When relatively inexperienced it is
often better (certainly safer) to cast Invulnerability on a friend than
Astral Flame on an Enemy.


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