Magic in Errant Story

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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Jack Rothwell » March 2nd, 2013, 5:52 pm

I don't think think a magic-staff would be 'superior in every way' to a standard firearm by a long shot if the issue is managed right. If you make them much more expensive, less accurate, slower firing, and harder to get charges/ammunition for, it would make them inferior in the majority of situations. After all, besides mages and their frequently aggravating ability to raise shields which stop them having to take damage like mere mortals, who would be more vulnerable to yukki staffs over a simple revolver?

Jade is merely re-purposing an established weapon to have a longer range and greater penetrating power, albeit at the cost of a shorter charge.
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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Graybeard » March 2nd, 2013, 6:29 pm

Alberich wrote:My own preference is that staves be usable only by wizards; and that Jade's ability to make "mana rifles" that can be used by non-mages be a serious advance that no one but her knows how to do. (Putting her on par with the Ensigerum genius who figured out the time magic, and that is fine by me.) I've worked under the assumption that staves magnify the power of the mages who wield them, and allow for some specialized functions (such as the gliding wings that Udo used to create with his staff), but do not convey the ability to wield magic on anyone who couldn't already.

Otherwise it's hard for me to see why anyone would take the trouble to manufacture firearms - a magic ray gun (which a staff would effectively be) would be superior in every way. Since Tsuiraku makes enough of them to equip its whole army, I don't think it could be kept secret for long. But if magic talent is not universal and you have to learn to wield magic to wield a staff - then that does make sense; lesser mortals would go with the boomsticks, even though they are expensive, individually-crafted items (as suggested by Poe's notes in the Wiki). Until and unless they got hold of Jade's better products.

What do other folks think?

It's important to remember that Jade could make a "mana rifle" only if she had a Yuuki staff to start with, in essence remanufacturing it so that it fires via the same mechanism (and with similarly directed effect) as conventional firearms rather than under magical control, but leaving the magic-containing innards intact. Those innards are the hard part, and it is not necessarily the case that "Tsuiraku makes enough of them to equip its whole army." Based on the Poe notes quoted here, only a minority of the Tsuirakuan military uses them -- still probably a large enough minority that there could easily be problems in keeping them out of the wrong hands, but they're not exactly lying around every corner of the Tsuiraku-town districts of Farrelian cities. Diversion of Yuuki staffs away from military use goes way back in Errant Road and was important in the now-dormant set of threads located in Farrel. (They were the items being heisted in this episode, which gave rise to many more complications.) The Ralkin aren't the only outfit with an interest in them, by a long shot. (Ugh.)

I don't think the existence of man-portable fireball launchers would pre-empt the continued development of normal firearms in the Errant World any more than the development of grenade launchers has in the real world. Different problems require different solutions. Yes, they would probably diminish the need for rifle companies in the military of any country that could get its hands on them, but at least the Tsuirakuan and Veracian militaries are already very different from the real-world model. More, er, "domestic" use of firearms in the Errant World would likely be restricted to settings where it's important to minimize collateral damage, which is one thing that fireball and lightning-bolt projectors are very poorly suited to doing. One uses the right tool for the job, regardless of whether one is a carpenter or an assassin.
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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Alberich » March 2nd, 2013, 6:36 pm

I don't see that in the Poe notes -- Bani is a Touroku, and even she carries the Yuuki staff, so doesn't that imply that the entire Tsuirakuan military is mages, and that the Yuuki is standard issue among them, their equivalent of the M-16 or AK-47?

The problem with the grenade launcher/slow fire thing is that, as we've used them in play (Udo in particular), they've been useful for precision blasts against individuals, and not slow ones at that.

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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Alberich » March 3rd, 2013, 11:23 am

In terms of the story, here's the big thing that's troubling me. I've been running Udo as reasonably powerful (with a quick rate of fire) when he has his staff, and much, much less effective when he's separated from it. (Something like Sanjuro with-vs.-without a sword.) I've portrayed him this way in several adventures and fights now - it was a big point (for me) in the Goriel mine adventure, which Tamina ultimately solved by finding a way to get his staff back to him, and in the fight outside the kobold village, where Udo was able to hold his own and do some serious damage to the (very powerful) enemy because he did have his staff.

I don't want to suddenly "nerf" Udo-with-his-staff just to make Jade's new weapons less powerful. I'd much rather they be something separate and distinct, with their slow rate of fire or whatever other weakness you care to give them a side effect of whatever she did to make them usable by non-wizards.

Also, saying that a staff doesn't make a wizard any more powerful or rely on his own ability to use mana makes hash out of the plot I'm doing now with Jargalan and Udo (since I had Jargalan steal Udo's staff because he can deliver much, much more powerful blasts with it, based on his expertise as an elf artilleryman). If the staff was "just another gun that hits with the same strength for everyone" then Jargalan would likely be just as strong or stronger without it.

Also - if Bani carries a Yuuki staff on portal guard, as I believe she does, that suggests it is usable as a precision weapon and not the equivalent of a grenade launcher (you wouldn't give airport security guards grenade launchers). A couple of sources (Poe's notes on firearms in the Wiki, Gabriel's instructions to his wizards on the Southern Continent) suggest that a wizard with a staff is a great substitute for artillery - and a weapon that can be used both for portal guard duty and as artillery is, I think, superior to the kind of firearms you see in the Poe-verse. Suggesting to me that the reason everyone isn't using them is - that they can't. Because not everyone is a wizard, and firearms are the best thing for someone who isn't.
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