Lamp of the Wood-Elves

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Blubbo Baggins
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Lamp of the Wood-Elves

Post by Blubbo Baggins » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:46 pm

I'd love to get a consensus, or hear about your LM experience on players using the Lamp.

Here is the text:
You know how to make a torch or a lamp burn with a peculiar flame that attracts all mortals who see it.
Spend a point of Hope to light a torch, or a lamp. Any speaking creature who sees its flame must try to get near it by any means possible, or spend a point of Hope (or Hate) to ignore the spell effect.

You may snuff out the light at will, even from a distance, either to extinguish the flame quickly and quietly, or to cause it to flare suddenly to blind and confuse your enemies (those standing close to the flare fight as if Weary for one round of combat).

----

If a PC has this ability, how does this interact with the other PCs?

Do ALL (non-Elf) PCs have to spend Hope to avoid being drawn to the light?
Never?
Only the first time because it's new?
Or every time?

If yes to every time, can the Elf using it point it in such a way as to either help most PCs avoid looking at it, or can the other PCs simply not look at the lamp? (They know what is about to happen when their Elf friend is pulls the lamp out so they "avert their eyes" and are unaffected, so the LM can just hand waive that in most cases PCs are not affected.)

In any case, I think it's intended that even if an enemy or friend is drawn toward the light, that doesn't mean that the enemy or friend can't take normal actions (attacking, using skills) as long as they are moving in the direction of the light... so they ignore things outside of that line of sight (i.e. a good way to protect someone or draw attention away from something you want the enemies to ignore).

Also, I have to assume that snuffing it suddenly out does NOT affect PCs... otherwise the Virtue (in its basic form) costs 1 Hope to use, and then causes everyone to be Weary, which is arguably far worse for PCs than for most low level enemies (since they usually will die from End loss or a single wound before Weariness affects them).

There is potential for this Virtue to cost X hope per use, where X is the # of PCs. Or if that Hope isn't spent, the benefits of the Virtue in its basic form are offset by the drawbacks.

Experiences and feedback appreciated!

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Earendil
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Re: Lamp of the Wood-Elves

Post by Earendil » Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:52 pm

This is, or can be, a very powerful ability, and when my Elf player took it I could have wished for a little more guidance from the rules. :)

I ruled that you have to actually be looking in the direction of the light to be affected, so if he placed the lamp behind them they would not be affected unless they looked back for some reason. (He was the groups main archer, so that worked well.)

Of course he would warn the other PCs beforehand not to look at the lamp. If for some reason they looked anywhere near the direction of the light they might get a roll to avoid looking at it (can't remember what I used, maybe Battle, but it should be very difficult).

If they did look at it, it seems clear that they would be affected like anyone else, and yes, it would apply every time! I agree that those affected can still carry out other actions as long as they move toward the light if possible, including attacking the one who carries it - but of course he could set it down somewhere). In fact, they would have to fight anyone who tried to stop them from getting close to it ("by any means possible").

As for the flare that wearies those close to it, I guess it's up to the LM to decide how close is close, but I rules that it meant only those within a few feet; so anyone attacking the one carrying it, or anyone who had got right up to it if it was set down. So probably no more than 3 if fighting, and no more than 8 if they were simply standing round it (I based that on the D&D principle that 8 people can surround a single square, but in fact I don't think it ever came up).

Oh, and since it says "mortals" I'd say it doesn't affect Elves (or Istari, or Balrogs...), even though it does also say "any speaking creature".
Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima!

... but you can call me Mark.

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Majestic
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Re: Lamp of the Wood-Elves

Post by Majestic » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:48 pm

I have allowed my PC to use his regularly, but he's mainly been among a company of fellow Elves. Now that a Hobbit has rejoined them, there will probably be some fun next time he fires it up (as I didn't recall that bit about mortals being drawn to it).
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Wbweather
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Re: Lamp of the Wood-Elves

Post by Wbweather » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:45 pm

Yes, but do you think you will require the hobbit to spend a point of hope every time the light is used? That is the real downside to this virtue.

Blubbo Baggins
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Re: Lamp of the Wood-Elves

Post by Blubbo Baggins » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:51 pm

Anyone have a lot of experience with it in their games?

I doubt the designers intended it to cost 1 Hope for every player every time. But if that's the case, how has it worked out?

Francesco?

Gareth?

;)

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Earendil
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Re: Lamp of the Wood-Elves

Post by Earendil » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:25 pm

Blubbo Baggins wrote:
Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:51 pm
Anyone have a lot of experience with it in their games?

I doubt the designers intended it to cost 1 Hope for every player every time. But if that's the case, how has it worked out?

Francesco?

Gareth?

;)
Yes, I have quite a bit of experience with it in my game. And I don't see why you doubt that the designers intended it to cost any PC who sees it 1 Hope every time: that doesn't seem ambiguous at all to me.

But as I pointed out above, it only applies to those who see it, and it's easy to set it up behind the group and warn them not to look in that direction.

It can even be used to distract enemies while you get away; at the very least you're costing them a point of Hope each.

In my game, I don't think any of the heroes looked at it more than once, and it wasn't a problem because the Elf could just extinguish it at will (note that it doesn't have to make everyone close to it weary, that's a choice the Elf makes).
Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima!

... but you can call me Mark.

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Majestic
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Re: Lamp of the Wood-Elves

Post by Majestic » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:54 pm

Well, enemies don't have Hope, they usually have Hate.

After this discussion, I went looking for the exact text you quoted, and I was unable to find it (I looked through the Revised Rulebook, The Heart of the Wild, The Darkening of Mirkwood, and Rivendell).

My player took the 'Study with the Lampmaker' Undertaking (listed on p. 79-80 in HotW), which does some other stuff (but I don't see anything like what you've written, Blubbo).
Adventure Summaries of our campaign, currently playing through The Darkening of Mirkwood

Blubbo Baggins
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Re: Lamp of the Wood-Elves

Post by Blubbo Baggins » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:07 pm

The exact text I quoted comes from the core book.

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zedturtle
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Re: Lamp of the Wood-Elves

Post by zedturtle » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:31 pm

I think part of the confusion is when BB talks about the Lamp, he's referring to Elf-lights (page 109 of the core rules) and the lamp is just the medium that the Elf is using to produce the magical effect.

Like others, I would strongly tend towards interpreting the rules in a very generalized fashion. In other words, I wouldn't make heroes pay Hope to ignore the Light, unless it was pretty much dead-certain that they would have necessarily looked at it. Otherwise, I figure that the Elf has had enough practice in shielding and directing the Light coming from the lamp to produce the desired effect.

Once a hero had spent Hope (if it was necessary to make them do so) then I would have the hero ignore the effects of Elf-lights for the scene (at least). In other words, if the Elf produced three Elf-lights and used them in rapid succession (thus spending six Hope in one fight!) I'd probably make each hero that had to look at the Lights pay only one Hope and then be able to ignore them (unless for some story reason it's clear that the Elf would be focusing the magic on that hero, e.g. a hero undergoing a Bout of Madness).
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Majestic
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Re: Lamp of the Wood-Elves

Post by Majestic » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:51 pm

Thanks, Blubbo Baggins (and zedturtle). I was doing PDF searches based on the title you posted, so missed seeing the Elf-lights. It's been so long since our Mirkwood Elf with Wood-elf Magic did stuff with just the Elf-lights (he moved on and did all of the Lamp stuff under Ormal) that I can't even remember him using it (though I'm sure he did).
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