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Author Topic: 'Readying' items, Mage's Pouches, and Hidden Spells. Also Armor sizes.  (Read 1682 times)
Pooka
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« on: September 08, 2011, 04:45:31 PM »

1.  The Mage's Pouch (and all similar Kits) has a SZ/Hand of 'Blah/2h' (the 'Blah' part isn't important).  Okay, so we look back at the beginning of the chapter and it says the 2h means 'the number of hands needed to ready the item (when appropriate).'

I can find no explanation for what, exactly, it means to 'ready' an item (it's not in the index), nor an explicit way of determining whether it is appropriate to 'ready' a kit in order to gain the effects of having it (note that the explanation of the Spellcasting skill merely says a mage without a Mage's Pouch etc etc- it doesn't say 'without one readied').  Does the character need to actually employ a kit, like a weapon, or just have access to it?  On one hand, the text immediately describes Workshops as being bigger kits, and presumably Workshops cannot be readied.  On the other, the Beast upgrade implies that hands are necessary when using (non-Beast) kits.  So is the usage of hands conceptual or mechanical?  Also, is there a Beast upgrade for Workshops?  This may seem like a minor point, but it's going to be important in a moment-

The Hidden Spells feat.  I have a character who's outfitted as a knight, with sword and armor, but he's actually a mage.  He has the Hidden Spells feat.  A lot of the point of the Hidden Spells feat, if I'm understanding it correctly, goes out the window if the character has to put his sword down and root through his Mage's Pouch with both hands.  So it comes to the issue of what is Hidden Spells meant to do; is it only supposed to give the character the ability to cast spells quietly and without speaking, or is it meant to allow the character to cast spells surreptitiously?

2.  While I'm thinking about it, I can't find any information on determining what size a piece of armor is (for purposes of Item Damage Saves and such).  Is it the same as the size of the character who would wear it (so armor for a medium character would be medium), or is it smaller?  Does it matter if it's Partial or Moderate Armor?

Thanks!   Smiley
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Crafty_Pat
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2011, 05:46:59 PM »

"Readying" something can be either conceptual or mechanical, as you prefer in your game (that's why the language is a bit fuzzy). Traditionally, readying something takes 1 half action (e.g. drawing your sword, getting a mage's pouch ready to use, etc.), though sometimes things are more complicated and should take longer. I don't think we've done this in the rules yet, but we may eventually.

We imagine some groups forgo the use of readying entirely, or more often only apply it to certain items and weapons they find appropriate or logical. Again, thus the fuzziness.

There is no beast upgrade for workshops at this time, though I imagine one could be derived from the kit upgrade pretty easily.

Hidden Spells doesn't hide spellcasting  - mechanically, it does exactly what it says it does. It lets you "cast spells without muttering or gesturing." A lack of gesturing does not indicate that a mage's pouch is any less important - just that you're not making physical incantations when using one. What this means in your game is bound to look different than in someone else's but in my game I'd rule that someone using Hidden Spells still needs to ready a mage's pouch (possibly just by clearing the way to it in his gear or on his belt and/or using his off-hand, if I'm feeling generous and don't want to restrict the mage's sword hand). That choice might change encounter to encounter in my game, BTW - I tend to put story first and justify with conditions as I go.

As for armor damage saves, I'd rule that the armor is as big as the character. It's not, really, but it also tends to be a bit more durable, so it all works out in the wash.
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Pooka
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2011, 06:12:23 PM »

Hidden Spells doesn't hide spellcasting  - mechanically, it does exactly what it says it does. It lets you "cast spells without muttering or gesturing."

I think you can understand why that confused me.   Wink

It really does seem to me that the name and implication of Hidden Spells is at odds with the effect you're describing; maybe 'Silent Spells'?   I mean, when I read it, the image I was getting was a mage hiding his spellcasting because of persecution or something.  The first sentence under Benefits is part of the trouble; 'Your spellcasting checks are not obvious'.

"Hey, that guy's digging through his bag and pulling out...the eyes of a newt and the blood of a virgin.  Huh."
"Is he saying anything?"
"No."
"Ignore it."

 Grin

Quote
As for armor damage saves, I'd rule that the armor is as big as the character. It's not, really, but it also tends to be a bit more durable, so it all works out in the wash.

Good point.

Thanks.
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Crafty_Pat
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2011, 06:23:16 PM »

Language is imperfect, and yet it's the engine on which RPGs run. As I often say, interpretation is a feature of the medium. You must want a rule to work... or it won't. Wink
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2011, 06:38:28 PM »

Bear in mind that a Mage's Kit is whatever you want it to be, in one game maybe it's a large grimoire you have to read from, in another a collection of powders mixed for various effects. I think the spellcasting is one of the fuzzier areas of the game so you can make it fit your world.
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2011, 06:57:43 PM »

At my tables, I enforce that a mage needs two hands free to cast spells, pointing to the kit's "2h" stipulation as to why. He doesn't need to spend an action to ready his kit, as I assume he's got the bits all over him in pockets and pouches and wherever, but he needs both his hands free to cast more than a zero level spell (since he can cast zero-level spells without a kit, he doesn't need his hands, either).
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2011, 07:38:08 PM »

It's also one of the things that synergises with other character options to become more then the sum of it's parts.  If you take it along side something like Draconic Heritage, Drake-Craft weapons, or Rune Knight you get a character who both doesn't need to hold a kit and has unobvious spellcasting (something I can think of plenty of fun uses for).
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Pooka
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2011, 08:13:04 PM »

It's also one of the things that synergises with other character options to become more then the sum of it's parts.  If you take it along side something like Draconic Heritage, Drake-Craft weapons, or Rune Knight you get a character who both doesn't need to hold a kit and has unobvious spellcasting (something I can think of plenty of fun uses for).

Actually, that raises another question I've wondered about;

Do you have to be a Drake to craft Drake weapons and armor, or can anyone with high enough crafting ability to meet the Complexity cost (+5) craft 'in the Drake style' and get the same effect?

The book says that you can only get a Species upgrade if that Species exists in the campaign world, but doesn't say who can make Drake equipment.
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2011, 08:24:22 PM »

Do you have to be a Drake to craft Drake weapons and armor, or can anyone with high enough crafting ability to meet the Complexity cost (+5) craft 'in the Drake style' and get the same effect?

That's a GM call.  Some GMs will say that you need to be a Drake to craft Drake items, others will say that anyone can, and yet others will say you have to spend some downtime with a Drake master craftsman learning the techniques (I'm in the last group, by the way).
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Krensky
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 08:26:48 PM »

Really, it depends on the GM and the world.

Personally, in my home brewe I don't have Drakes, but the Drake upgrade is still available.

Some worlds might require the species to do the work because some inborn talent. Some might call it cultural trade secrets and such. Some might just say it's a style and allow anyone.
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« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2011, 11:26:40 PM »

Bear in mind that a Mage's Kit is whatever you want it to be, in one game maybe it's a large grimoire you have to read from [snip]

I'd just like to thank you for that thought.  I love the visual of a mage actually reading spells out of a book, but I somehow hadn't come up with that idea before.

As for OP's question, I think that Hidden Spells should either allow the caster to forgo using the mage's kit, or allow that use to be non-obvious.  Otherwise, the spellcasting would still be pretty obvious to anyone who knew what they were looking at, even if the mage doesn't have to speak and gesture.  The explanation for that would be up to your group of course.  For example, suppose the kit takes the form of various powders and essences and other magical whatnots.  The mage could have distributed them throughout various hidden pockets and pouches in his robes/under his armor.  Or, perhaps the mage has become adept at using his components without touching them, so when he casts a spell magic powders float out of the bag on their own accord and eyes of newt just vanish without having to first be held.
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2011, 11:55:16 PM »

Generally in my games, you have to give me a damn good reason to own species armor if you're not a member of that species to start or buy. While humans can wear elven armor.. its not normal, and needs some sort of story behind it. Unless I give it to them, of course.

As for Hidden Spells, way I've always thought of it, is you don't speak or gesture, but you still need your pouch obviously. But, people aren't going to know who you're aiming for, they're not going to hear the words you say and be able to tell what spell you're casting, or know who your target is, etc.
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Antilles
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2011, 12:00:42 AM »

There's also the Prestidigitation/Conceal Action skill you can use, if you have Hidden Spells but still need a mage's kit.
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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2011, 12:19:13 AM »

I may have posted this before but...

HIDDEN SPELLS
You can cast spells without muttering or gesturing.
Prerequisites: Spellcasting 1+ ranks
Benefit: Your Spellcasting checks are not obvious. You
make no sound while casting and may cast even when you canít
speak.

And

DRACONIC
HERITAGE
Youíre a descendant of mighty
dragons, feared and admired by all.
Prerequisites: Level 1 only
Benefit: You gain thick hide 3
and are always considered to have a
mageís pouch (see pages 13 and 159,
respectively). When taking the Basic Skill
Mastery feat you have access to a new skill pair: Conqueror
(Impress & Tactics).

Equal Awesome

I love having those two feats as a caster.  Being considered to always have a spell pouch with no muttering or gesturing makes true sorcery.  Not to mention a great surprise when the GM tries to imprison you Cheesy..... Hmmm i am gagged and manacled, whatever shall I do ..... /cast Knock ... See Ya
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2011, 12:24:54 AM »

Any caster can use Prestidigitation to cast without being noticed. Hidden Spells let you automatically succeed at it. You still need a Mage's Pouch though. Using that pouch doesn't make your casting obvious, the check or feat already says it's not obvious.

Unless you have a character ability that says you don't need a pouch or an item that counts as a pouch, you need two hands available to cast if you want to use a Pouch or Workshop.
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