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Magic - Am I doing it wrong, a min/max'r, or just really dangerous?


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I just started playing through the breach with a tinker, and when it comes to combat my magic seems far more powerful than a lot of the other players attacks. So I wanted to check we weren't doing things wrong.

First off, the pertinent character information. 

 - My character is a tinker, with intellect 3, and sorcery 3.
 - My theory is Tradition magic, specialising in Sorcery with the paired skill of necromancy.
 - I have the specialised skill talent to add Tomes to Sorcery.
 - I have the Animate Construct and Elemental Strike Magia.
 - For immutos i have Fire, Reduce AP and Focus Object.
 - My focus object is a custom built full pneumatic arm. Giving me -4 to TN, calculated as -2 for commonality, -2 for portability (though not sure if this should be -1?)

In combat I am therefor able to cast Elemental strike (base TN3 tomes) with the Focus Object Immuto (-4TN), and 7x Fire Immuto (+14TN), for a target number of 13.
With my sorcery A.V of 6 (3 rating + 3 intellect) and the specialised skill talent adding tomes, I essentially only need to flip a 7 or more (with a positive flip from the theory).
On a hit it will be 1/2/3 damage and 7 burning tokens.

What it seems I can do with this is charge an opponent, hit twice with the ability above, and then use the reduce AP immuto to make a third (0) action, albeit at a +5 TN), totaling 1/2/3 damage 3 times and approximately 21 burning tokens. More than enough to effectively kill anything at the end of the round (boss NPCs included). Granted I can also reduce the target number on each attack by slicing a couple of fire immutos off (say 1 of each normal and 2 less on the 0 action).

Are we playing it wrong? Or have I just capitalised on the system too much? The one downside to the fire immuto is the damage doesn't kick in until the end of the combat round and thus the opponent always gets to act, but its practically a one round kill, or if spread around in a tighter space up to 3 weaker npc minion kills a round.

Thanks in advance for any help!



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Hey there!

All in all, you have a pretty efficient character that is definitely at the upper end of the scale as far as character effectiveness. Whenever you have a Primary Skill of 3 and a matching Aspect of 3 you're in a really good place, and the Focus Object Immuto is essentially always in effect, giving you a permanent bonus to your casting. Specialized Skill ensures that you don't have to worry about suits, which is a huge boon to spellcasters.

That being said, I don't think that your character is "broken." Your threat range with your spell is only ever 1 yard, which requires you to get right up into combat with things, which isn't always possible. If an enemy has a :melee2 range, they should be trying to get close enough that they can attack you without being attacked back, which forces you to spend an AP walking closer to the enemy to get into range. Likewise, it shouldn't be too common to find enemies all bunched up close enough together that you can attack two or three of them in one activation (though that will happen from time to time).

Similarly, the use of ranged weapons is a very good counter against this tactic. If you have to close with an enemy wielding a rifle or shotgun, you're going to have a tough time of it, especially if they have allies that are also firing upon you. Once you unleash your Flaming Hell Meteor Punch and reduce their friend to a charred skeleton, they're definitely going to consider you a priority target.

Terrain and encounter distance also play a part in balancing encounters. If you're starting every fight four to five yards from the enemy, then you'll be in melee right away with every fight. While there's nothing wrong with that from time to time, you should ideally be having a variety of encounters, such as fights that start up close to let melee characters (such as yourself) shine, ones that start at a distance to give ranged characters their moment in the sun, and encounters that just can't be resolved through combat (such as social encounters, skill tests, and Ongoing Challenges).

There's also a bit of a meta element at play with magic. Magic is strong in Through the Breach, but it also tends to be illegal, especially if you don't subscribe to the Thalarian Doctrine (which the Guild promotes). Using too much magic is a good way to draw the Witch Hunters down on you, and most of them should probably have the Counterspell Talent, which makes magic far less effective on them than other enemies.


Now, all that being said, Fated tend to be a bit more like action heroes than normal people, so they're pretty good at unleashing the fury and ending fights. Let us know how your game goes and whether it continues to be a concern or not (as I think that there's a thread by your Fatemaster here as well).



As an aside, I think that your Focus Object is probably more like a -2 TN; the Commonality is -2 for a pneumatic limb, but your character doesn't actually have to do any work to carry it around and can still wield a two-handed weapon while still using the Focus, which puts it closer to -0 TN for Portability. You'll never *not* be carrying it around with you, essentially.

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Thanks for the tips.I figured there was ways for the Fate master to handle this (perhaps with Fire Gamin or other flame resistant opponents etc.), but I wanted to make sure I was playing it correctly.

I did notice that I took a few wounds being as aggressive as I was, though we were trying to stop someone escaping on a train!

On a side note, looking at my book I believe the elemental strike is range 2 by default, or was it errata'd?

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what i do (and i think it is supposed to be this way) 
boss battles, like a strong enforcer at the end of a session, hencman, or master.  won't die from the burning damage, you still have to do a damage flip in order to kill them (trivial perhaps but this will make that boss battles will tend to be a bit longer) 



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Yeah, burning 14 from a single spell is way harsh.  According to the FAQ/Errata, Critical effects from Conditions are Weak, so an opponent with 5 wounds left when he takes 14 from burning would suffer a Weak crit with a +9 to the result (I think). Sometimes opponents get 'lucky' flips on the Crit chart and just soldier on with a bunch of effects that really do not matter. 

Targets of the spell with Counter-Spelling might get a bonus to resist the spell.

Maybe a concerned 'citizen' nearby has a fire extinguisher and is horrified by the prospect of watching another person burn to death in the street.

If I was a Fatemaster that had such a character in his group, I might give some key bad guys the (0) Shrug Off action to remove all the Burning before the end of the turn. :P

There is really not that much that can be done.  I suppose some targets who get set on fire with a value of 14 or 21 might spend there final AP trying to throw a bear hug on the caster or just run into a random building whose occupants might not appreciate the circumstances.

There are other spells that are pretty abusable.

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