Spell Duration

koda's picture

I have been working my way through the spells, and I have noticed that with some spells (particularly Odivshe) the listed duration is worded differently.

For example Footfall of Dhivu (Odivshe V) lists duration as:
(Basic) ML×10 Seconds (Maximum)
(CS) ML×30 Seconds (Maximum)

whereas most of the spells I have been reading, including Hand of Ulmer (Odivshe V)read:
(MS) SI×10 Seconds
(CS) SI×30 Seconds

Should I read (Basic) as Marginal Success (how I've been treating it), or do some spells not require a roll for the "basic" version of the spell?

Balesir's picture

If you read the spell descriptions in detail you will find that the ones with a duration listed as "Basic" have some sort of special consideration. For Footfall, for example, the "basic" effect is to lower the temperature of a (fairly large?) body of water by one temperature "level". This is the use for which the "Basic" duration applies. There is also an alternative use described, however, that involves freezing a smaller quantity of water; a separate duration is described for this use of the spell.

In short - read the spell descriptions in detail, *including* the bonus effects for higher MLs. They all have "special cases" where they have duration noted this way - see also Calm of Sâris and Figure of Aúmos.

koda's picture

It's the description which throws me - I'm not comprehending these cases. A caster still needs to roll to cast Footfall, correct? I would think there'd be no need to distinguish "basic" from a critical success, unless the critical success doesn't not apply to the basic spell. But the description doesn't seem to support that.

Balesir's picture

OK, let's walk through the Footfall of Dhivu as an example.

The spell has two modes, first of all. Mode 1 is that it cools water that the caster touches. You could, for example, touch a basin of hot water and make it cool instead. This is 'mode 1'.

The second mode allows you to walk on top of a body of water by turning the water immediately under your feet to ice. This is 'mode 2'.

To use this spell, you have first to cast it using the usual rules (roll against EML for CS/MS/MF/CF). If you succeed (MS or CS) you get an 'enchantment' that is on you alone that lasts MLx10 seconds if you rolled a MS, or MLx30 seconds if you got a CS. While the spell is active, you can use it in either 'mode 1' or 'mode 2'. The time the enchantment lasts on you is the "basic duration" (for both MS and CS), but note that there are other considerations, here:

1) Once you have cooled the water in 'mode 1', the water stays cool or heats up again naturally, regardless of the duration of the enchantment.

2) The ice you generate under your feet in 'mode 2' starts melting as soon as you are no longer stepping on it if your ML is less than 41; you don't leave a "frozen path" behind you. If you have ML41+, on the other hand, the hexes you leave **may** (your choice) remain frozen for SIx10 seconds. This is not the "basic duration", but it is a special duration that you can get from certain specified circumstances, and it might allow others to follow you across the ice (as long as they do it within SIx10 seconds).

3) Range: you can normally only cast the enchantment on yourself, regardless of whether you get MS or CS. If you have ML 96+, however, you can cast it on someone else who you touch while casting the spell. Hence, range changes based not only on your degree of success, but also on your expertise with the spell. Note, also, that there are other aspects of "range" here, too. The main one is "how much water can I affect with the spell?" To be honest, the spell description does not define this at all well, but we can infer that it is less than 20 square feet by "a few inches", as this is what can be affected by a caster with ML 41+. I would suggest an area around 2 feet by 2 feet and a few inches deep as a reasonable arbitrary amount. This bit of the spell seems ripe for discussion and development within each gaming group; not a technique I really like, these days, but a viable and potentially interesting one.

In short, the "basic" in the statbox refers to "the basic version and action of the spell" and is applicable to a basic success with the basic spell. As a complex enchantment, there are a number of other "ranges" and "durations" that need to be considered, though, and these are covered in the spell description detail.

Is that any clearer?