What is Heroes & Other Worlds?

Heroes & Other Worlds is a game of adventure inspired by Metagaming's classic Melee/Wizard/TFT system combined with inspiration from the Moldvay edited basic game. The rules are easy to learn and use standard six sided dice. The system is simple, sensible and flexible in the spirit of classic role playing games from the early 80's. Become a Hero, Other Worlds await!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Is resistance futile?

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In d20 games, the magic-users spell is automatically cast and the target(s) usually get a roll to resist some or all of the spell's effects.

In TFT/HOW style rules, casting is dependent on the wizard to the roll dice vs. his IQ to try and successfully cast the spell. If the roll is successful, the results are applied to the target.  There is no resistance roll for the target except in the case of illusions and then it is a disbelieve roll by the target.

In the HOW basic rules (p46) there is a basic method given for spell resistance. While simple and easy to execute, in light of the Magi Carta being published, there is opportunity to improve upon the idea of spell resistance in this system.

As discussed on the Heroes & Other Worlds G+ site, below is a (still) simple but a bit more detailed method of spell resistance for HOW:

The target of a successfully cast Timed (T) or Permanent (P) spell may attempt to resist the spell's effect by passing a test of X+1/IQ.

In this equation "X" represents the number of dice the Wizard used originally to successfully cast the spell and then add +1 die to the test.  

Example: a Wizard casts a 3/IQ Sleep spell, this would take a 4/IQ test (3+1=4/IQ) to be passed by the target to resist the spell's effect.

If the spell is successfully resisted, the target pays the same EN price the original casting Wizard did when the spell was cast.

Example: The Wizard who successfully cast sleep and spent 2 EN doing so.  The target tests 4/IQ and the spell is successfully resisted by the target.  The target then must pay 2 EN in having resisted the spell.

If the spell is unsuccessfully resisted, the target pays no EN, and the successfully cast spell effects are applied to the target immediately.

This option does not give back EN spent by the Wizard that successfully cast a spell, but it causes the target of the spell to spend that same amount of EN if the spell is successfully resisted.

So as a net/net the desired spell effect may not come about, but even if a successfully cast spell is resisted, there is still a blood price paid by the target taking damage with EN loss.


  1. Didn't see this rule on pg 46 as applying to non illusion spells. Guess I should have read more thoroughly. We played if cast correctly the affects were applied. So now can wizards cast with more dice to make spells harder to resist? Since creatures don't have EN they would actually lose ST?

    1. Q: Can wizards cast with more dice to make spells harder to resist?

      A: Yes if the Wizard pays 2 additional EN to cast the spell for each additional die used in the casting attempt. In effect, the wizard is trying to overcharge the spell to make it impossible to resist. This makes spell casting more chaotic/difficult (added die) and requires more energy from the caster (2EN) to overpower the potential resistance opportunity of the target.

      Q: Since creatures don't have EN they would actually lose ST?

      A: If a creature or character has no EN (or is out of EN), then the EN cost for any action (like cast a spell or resist a spell) is paid for in ST.

      Thanks for the question!

  2. Is the additional 2 EN per Overcharge dice necessary? I mean the caster is already facing a much greater chance of failing the spell cast (more dice rolled on test) by choosing to Overcharge. Isn't that penalty enough?

    1. Hi discuti, thanks for your question.

      Okay, in effect (adding a die to the casting roll) the Wizard is trying to overpower the target's ability to resist the spell.

      As the spell's target already has to add 1 die more to resist than the wizard used to cast, that's a already a stiff penalty for the target. Yet a wizard wants to make it more difficult (for whatever reason) and this should require something more of the wizard than just a whim.

      The Wizard needs skin in the game beyond "this is a more difficult attempt for me." From a logic standpoint, as spells are fueled with EN, the logical pain point would be to increase the EN cost to the wizard. So the logic is the wizard is pouring more energy into the spell in order to overpower the targets resistance.

      Okay so with my "logic"... why 2 EN and not 1 EN? Because 2 EN makes you stop and think about it--"Is this worth it?" No additional EN or 1 EN added for the bonus die in the attempt are not a barrier. A high IQ wizard (14-18) could just add a die and have a 50/50 shot at rolling 4/IQ every time. So the bonus die isn't really a barrier unless there is a stinger in there.

      The 2 EN extra cost makes the decision meaningful and a tough one. It also creates another decision as to which spells a wizard may choose to use this option with. Only low EN spells? Save it for high EN spells? those 2 EN create a meaningful and rational decision tree that each wizard will have to wrestle with.

      Last, even if the wizard spends the extra 2 EN, casts the spell successfully...and the target still resists it? There is an additional 2 EN damage paid by the resisting target. So the extra power used to cast the spell still burns the target as damage in a nice symmetry.

      Can't promise you will agree with the answer, but that's what's behind the idea.

  3. I'm not sure I would use the same endurance loss for the defender. Perhaps 1 less, 1/2, endurance minus the amount they make their roll by?

  4. I have to admit love the like for like END loss. To me it kind of reflects the energy it takes to resist a spell equals the energy it takes to cast it.

  5. I love the endurance loss on a successful save too, it's actually one of the coolest things I have read in a while. I just think if the character resists they should be in a better position than the spell caster, which is why I suggested some lower amount, although I think it may be too fiddly in practice.

  6. Thanks very much for the feedback and I look forward to hearing what you think once you give it a try in game play.

  7. paying 2 extra EN for casting a spell with an extra die is...over-charging! hehehe (punny)

    i think it's fair but it is steep. that's the point. instead of saying 'no, you can't do it', you greatly discourage it. sounds good to me.

    i actually think a 2 EN cost to resist a spell makes spells too powerful. i favor simplicity. if the spell is successfully cast, it works. every following round, the target may attempt to resist and 'break the spell' as a free action.

  8. i actually understood the EN cost of the resisting (that it equals the EN cost of casting the spell) but it didn't come out right in my last post. since resisting the spell is always going to be at least a 4-die test, it will usually take a while to break the spell. i think any EN cost greater than 1 for resisting makes the spells too powerful. Because of the way EN/ST works, every spell becomes a 'Death' spell.