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11/08/2019 9:20 am  #1


Level Limit to Spells

Has there been any discussion as to the advantages of limiting spells to 6th level? 
It seems to me that some higher level play involves nerfing whatever spells and abilities characters have. By limiting the spell levels it seems that there is less incentive to nerf players and more of a chance for players to be creative. YMMV.


Thanks,
VR/Scott
 

11/08/2019 7:19 pm  #2


Re: Level Limit to Spells

The main thrust of it is to limit the exponential power growth of player characters. AS&SH is not intended to be a super-heroic, high-fantasy, save-the-world with my nigh immortal character. It's intended to have a more shallow power curve, making for a deadlier and grittier game all around. This applies to the spells and many other aspects of the game. 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

11/09/2019 10:56 am  #3


Re: Level Limit to Spells

Ghul wrote:

The main thrust of it is to limit the exponential power growth of player characters. AS&SH is not intended to be a super-heroic, high-fantasy, save-the-world with my nigh immortal character. It's intended to have a more shallow power curve, making for a deadlier and grittier game all around. This applies to the spells and many other aspects of the game. 

Even so, a band of 6-7th level reavers can wade through tough enemies and can be legends in the cities and towns of Hyperborea.  
I love a campaign with a much lower curve of development. 
I still occasionally get some whining from players who are used to other systems saying "I don't get anything this level" I then point out that wait you got more HP, you got a +1 to FA or maybe a lower saving throw, etc. They want new uber "powers" at each level to rely on vs solving a problem with actual thought.  


 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

11/09/2019 3:47 pm  #4


Re: Level Limit to Spells

Personally, I love high level play and many of the adventures I design myself are for levels 8 and above.  But I'm firmly in the 1st edition AD&D camp, so the power curve is nowhere near what later editions created.  Since these campaigns involve lots of demons, etc., you need higher level characters to survive.  But so long as there aren't lame things like short and long rests, multiple saves to avoid death, etc., it can still be very deadly.  And player skill is still important since my encounters are designed to drain resources and whittle the party down.


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

11/09/2019 4:02 pm  #5


Re: Level Limit to Spells

mabon5127 wrote:

I still occasionally get some whining from players who are used to other systems saying "I don't get anything this level" I then point out that wait you got more HP, you got a +1 to FA or maybe a lower saving throw, etc. They want new uber "powers" at each level to rely on vs solving a problem with actual thought.

This difference is the major reason I much prefer AS&SH's model: characters mostly get better at things they already have (FA, CA, TA, ST, etc.), with the occasional new class ability and spells at new levels. Gaining new abilities every level makes high-level play a chore, and we also prefer high-level play.


"Enough of this intolerable inanity! I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude."
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
 

11/10/2019 12:21 am  #6


Re: Level Limit to Spells

My feelings as well.  No desire to track feats, prestige classes, raising ability scores every level, etc.  Over time you get better at your basic stuff, get more hit points, better saves, and more equipment.  That's enough so far as I'm concerned.
The same with monsters.  I love the simplicity of Swords & Wizardry in that respect.  Especially compared to say Pathfinder or 5e, where stat blocks can get ridiculous.


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

11/10/2019 10:32 am  #7


Re: Level Limit to Spells

revshafer wrote:

It seems to me that some higher level play involves nerfing whatever spells and abilities characters have.

That is lazy, bad adventure design, in my opinion. Higher-level adventures ought to require/reward using higher-level spells/abilities (for best results anyway), not handicap the PCs back to low levels. Sad.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

11/10/2019 1:14 pm  #8


Re: Level Limit to Spells

Chainsaw wrote:

revshafer wrote:

It seems to me that some higher level play involves nerfing whatever spells and abilities characters have.

That is lazy, bad adventure design, in my opinion. Higher-level adventures ought to require/reward using higher-level spells/abilities (for best results anyway), not handicap the PCs back to low levels. Sad.

And you have to realize that you simply aren't going to be able to run certain types of adventures anymore.

You can't run (for example) a "whudunit" murder mystery with high level PCs unless you do something super lame like give every NPC an anti-ESP medallion. Just give it up and run other types of adventures.

Last edited by Blackadder23 (11/10/2019 1:14 pm)


Michael Sipe 1979-2018
Rest in peace, brother.
 

11/10/2019 6:29 pm  #9


Re: Level Limit to Spells

Blackadder23 wrote:

Chainsaw wrote:

revshafer wrote:

It seems to me that some higher level play involves nerfing whatever spells and abilities characters have.

That is lazy, bad adventure design, in my opinion. Higher-level adventures ought to require/reward using higher-level spells/abilities (for best results anyway), not handicap the PCs back to low levels. Sad.

And you have to realize that you simply aren't going to be able to run certain types of adventures anymore.

You can't run (for example) a "whudunit" murder mystery with high level PCs unless you do something super lame like give every NPC an anti-ESP medallion. Just give it up and run other types of adventures.

Yup there are certain annoying spells that will def change the tone and style of the campaign. Except for a handful I like the ones in AS&SH. 
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

11/11/2019 6:33 am  #10


Re: Level Limit to Spells

revshafer wrote:

Has there been any discussion as to the advantages of limiting spells to 6th level?

There is no advantage/disadvantage.  Character top out at level 12.  No need for higher level spells.

It seems to me that some higher level play involves nerfing whatever spells and abilities characters have. By limiting the spell levels it seems that there is less incentive to nerf players and more of a chance for players to be creative. YMMV.

Not at all.  If you run tough adventures, the players will have to come with higher numbers (henchmen, etc..) and be very creative and think their way through it at a tactical level.

It's a much different style of play than leveling up quickly and getting new bling all the time, and isn't for everyone.

That's not to say that AS&SH has to be a "misery crawl" either.  Players have to rely on their skill as players, and not cooked in bonuses to the power curve to keep them slightly ahead of "level appropriate challenges."

 

11/11/2019 9:31 am  #11


Re: Level Limit to Spells

Most notably if you're a relative newbie (i.e. never played 1st edition), there aren't  lame challenge ratings assigned to monsters & encounters.  Sometimes you just have to run.  Don't assume everything is "level appropriate." 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

11/11/2019 11:44 am  #12


Re: Level Limit to Spells

francisca wrote:

revshafer wrote:

Has there been any discussion as to the advantages of limiting spells to 6th level?

There is no advantage/disadvantage.  Character top out at level 12.  No need for higher level spells.

AS&SH RAW acknowledges this is not a hard limit, though. From Vol. I, p.10: "Each character class is presented up to the 12th level of experience. This threshold is the default maximum level of experience attainable. However, the referee is at liberty to expand play to any level, extrapolating from and building upon the rules as desired." This inspired my "Epic AS&SH" house-rules (leveraging the Deities & Demigods extended attributes tables and levels 13+), which I'm slowly working on, and should allow one to use traditional higher-level spells. While these may not be appropriate for Hyperborea, they will suit my Atlantis setting.


"Enough of this intolerable inanity! I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude."
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
 

11/11/2019 1:55 pm  #13


Re: Level Limit to Spells

rhialto wrote:

francisca wrote:

revshafer wrote:

Has there been any discussion as to the advantages of limiting spells to 6th level?

There is no advantage/disadvantage.  Character top out at level 12.  No need for higher level spells.

AS&SH RAW acknowledges this is not a hard limit, though. From Vol. I, p.10: "Each character class is presented up to the 12th level of experience. This threshold is the default maximum level of experience attainable. However, the referee is at liberty to expand play to any level, extrapolating from and building upon the rules as desired." This inspired my "Epic AS&SH" house-rules (leveraging the Deities & Demigods extended attributes tables and levels 13+), which I'm slowly working on, and should allow one to use traditional higher-level spells. While these may not be appropriate for Hyperborea, they will suit my Atlantis setting.

Oh dang, that sounds interesting!
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

11/11/2019 6:34 pm  #14


Re: Level Limit to Spells

mabon5127 wrote:

Oh dang, that sounds interesting!

Thanks, I hope my players think so too! It's mostly inspired by Wallace West's Lords of Atlantis, with some Warriors of the Red Planet for airships and equipment. The foundation is AS&SH, but I realized I wanted to go beyond level 12, then stumbled on that sentence on a re-read...had completely forgotten about it in all my actual playing over the past few years.


"Enough of this intolerable inanity! I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude."
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
 

11/12/2019 10:26 am  #15


Re: Level Limit to Spells

rhialto wrote:

mabon5127 wrote:

Oh dang, that sounds interesting!

Thanks, I hope my players think so too! It's mostly inspired by Wallace West's Lords of Atlantis, with some Warriors of the Red Planet for airships and equipment. The foundation is AS&SH, but I realized I wanted to go beyond level 12, then stumbled on that sentence on a re-read...had completely forgotten about it in all my actual playing over the past few years.

So I ordered Lords of Atlantis as I have never heard of West!  I absolutely love the OSR Warriors of the Red Planet. Our group took a Summer break from AS&SH and played some Mars capers!  As for level 12 and beyond...I eventually want to run a campaign where the players advance a level after each adventure so that we can actually get to the pinnacle of the 12th level!!! As it is we got to 7th / 8th level after 5 years and then started new with 2nd edition.  We are hitting the 5th level now after about two years.  I had also thought about ending advancement at 7th level giving any class abilities beyond 7th at 7th to have a grittier always dangerous game. I'm too much of a tinkerer!


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

11/12/2019 7:19 pm  #16


Re: Level Limit to Spells

mabon5127 wrote:

So I ordered Lords of Atlantis as I have never heard of West! 

It's one of those stories where the idea is better than the execution, but I enjoyed it nonetheless: sucker for anything Atlantean...

I absolutely love the OSR Warriors of the Red Planet. Our group took a Summer break from AS&SH and played some Mars capers!

Nice: I've had WotRP since the Beta, and once you read LoA you'll see where I got the idea of ancient Atlanteans/Greek gods on Mars...and why levels beyond 12 looked necessary.

As for level 12 and beyond...I eventually want to run a campaign where the players advance a level after each adventure so that we can actually get to the pinnacle of the 12th level!!! As it is we got to 7th / 8th level after 5 years and then started new with 2nd edition.  We are hitting the 5th level now after about two years.  I had also thought about ending advancement at 7th level giving any class abilities beyond 7th at 7th to have a grittier always dangerous game. I'm too much of a tinkerer!

Guilty too: I don't track XP, and just have everyone level up when it feels right, since our gatherings are sporadic.


"Enough of this intolerable inanity! I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude."
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
 

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