Modiphius.com  |  Modiphius Shop

One Zone Within Close Range

The range for quite a few area effect spells in MC is “one zone within Close range.”

I find that very odd wording … does it mean “an adjacent zone,” or does it mean that the caster must use an area effect attack on themselves (seldom is there any specific reference to the attack only affecting enemies or excluding the caster)?

1 Zone within Close Range is the starting range.
You can spend 1 Momentum for each range increase.
So if you spend 2 Momentum the area effect would affect 1 Zone in Long Range distance.

Are you sure that it is stated as “1 zone within Close Range”?
I could not find any Dark Gift or Spell of the Art of Light that has this Target given.

It usually is “1 creature within Close Range” or such.

And there, still, applies the Momentum spend for additional zones (if you use the Art of Light).

Here’s a quick example that happens to be open on my screen rn–check out Glamour, on page 27 of the Brotherhood Source Book. There are four or five others like that in that sourcebook … you’re right that it doesn’t occur in the Core Book–I thought it did, but I can’t find it there either.

That’s how I’m reading it as well, Frank.

I have to say: of all the aspects of an outcome that MC spells might adjust only after deciding to cast, I feel like the use of range on an area effect spell is a poor one. In virtually every other instance, Momentum gives you what you were aiming for, and then some–in this case, you might succeed but not be able to reach your intended target … if the result is that you can only cast something like Deluge in Close (meaning, flooding the zone you’re standing in) and the target you had in mind is in Long range, then I will likely never cast that spell. It’s not worth potentially burning a turn for nothing and/or drastically altering my own chances of success for the remainder of the fight.

If you think about it in terms of target, this is never the case. Your target is your target; Momentum only ever allows extra targets, or enhanced outcomes, but not getting enough Momentum never takes your primary target off the board for a given action.

One other thing is that most of the spells don’t actually allow for range to be modified by Momentum, iirc. Considering that none of the Momentum spends give you any sort of immunity, either, it’s just a puzzling decision all around.

It makes me feel like the intention was to either phrase it differently, “Any one adjacent zone,” or to simply say “Any zone in Medium range,” since Close would be included in that, should one so desire.

For the Glamour spell it is very useful to have the range of “1 zone in Close Range”, because you can conceal yourself or your whole party, if they keep close to you. This is a spell where you affect a whole area by creating an illusion. So I find it absolutely applicable as it is stated in the Brotherhood book.

If it would only work in an adjacent zone, you could not conceal your group in close distance at all. That would reduce the usefulness of this spell quite a bit.

Sure, some of them work fine like that. Just seemed like a weird way to do Deluge, Tremor, Inferno or Earthshape, all of which would make it more difficult for the caster to survive and none of which give them a way to move the range further away.

I also still think the wording is odd: “One zone within Close range” … is there any other way to interpret it?

In general: The spells of the Art of Light nearly always require some extra Momentum to use their different special effects, cast them at range or at a useful duration. A Mystic needs those extra successes for Momentum spends nearly all the time. That is by design, because those spells are already VERY powerful.
Having played and run in MC3 games with even slightly experienced Mystic PCs, they are much more powerful than “mundane” characters. They are quite “superpowered”.
So balancing this a little bit by requiring Momentum does - ever so slightly - mitigate their superpowers.

“The Mystic conjures a great quantity of water, shaping it to his will to impede his enemies.”
That means, the caster decides if he wants to suffer the effects or not. that is “shaping to his will” means.
Especially for those effects where you want to create a barrier or such.

And, the range Momentum spend is valid for Deluge and other spells with “one zone within Close range” target, too.
One zone within Close range for no extra Momentum, Medium range for 1 Momentum, Long range for 2 Momentum, etc.
So the Mystic needs to generate some Momentum for additional range.

But Mystics need to generate additional Momentum anyway, because - as above - the special effects and variants of spells require Momentum spends.
This is a balancing mechanic, though a well-trained Mystic usually has lots and lots of Momentum to spend on spells.

Where do you get that? - In the spell description the range Momentum spend is not forbidden. So it still applies for all of those spells.

Edit:

Tremor

“all creatures in the zone other than the Mystic must pass a Challenging D2 Acrobatics test or be knocked prone”
That affects the zone the Mystic is in, but not the Mystic himself.
The only chance the Mystic might get some damage is, when the spell is cast within a building and at such great strength (Momentum spends) that the whole building collapses on top of him.

Yeah, I guess you’re right. It works fine with those Art spells because they all have such low Ds that you’re virtually guaranteed to get some Momentum.

I should have gone back to real the Art stuff more carefully–I’m not running MC strictly speaking, just borrowing elements for a home-brew situation, and I think my consternation is because I’ve taken the concept of One Zone Within Close Range and tried to apply it to spells using a different format where Momentum is used slightly differently (where the caster selects a Power Level at which to cast the spell, like the Psionic Powers that Guardian mutants get) and it just doesn’t work as well … but, to your point, that’s to be expected, I simply lost sight of the fact that it wasn’t designed to. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Would you say that mystics would remain as superpowered if the focusing device did not exist? I’ve been toying with that idea, and I feel that the Complication range remaining high even for well trained characters would, if not limit the power capacity, limit full-bore usage via adjusting the risk-reward calculus for players.

I’ve also toyed with the notion of making the Difficulties for each tier climb in a more linear fashion: D1 for minoris, up to D3 for dominus, forcing teamwork to pull off bigger spells.

Yes, because all Complications rolled on a spellcasting Mysticism test will only lead to mental damage, which a Mystic usually can recover from quite quickly. I wouldn’t take those devices away from them, as they give the iconic look Mystics have in Mutant Chronicles.

Don’t do that. Ever!

Most spells, even from the higher tiers, require LOTS of Momentum generated by the Mystic. If you raise the Difficulty, they get less Momentum, which makes learning those spells, which is a very XP-expensive thing in the first place, rather ineffectual.

If you feel that a Mystic in your group is too powerful, don’t allow one at all as PC.

I have played a Mystic in a group where we had a fully tricked-out Cybertronic character and a Mishima Martial-Artist with lots of VERY powerful Mutations.
In this kind of group even an experienced Mystic is not too outstandingly powerful.

But any “normal” character couldn’t compete with any of those - Mystics, Cyborgs, Mutants.

The balancing method of choice is: throwing more and increasingly dangerous Dark Legion creatures at your PCs. The Dark Legions have very powerful monsters in their ranks. So powerful, that Mutants and Mystics are not overpowered compared to this kind of opposition.

But that only works out, if you have a group of PCs of similar power level. What challenges a Mystic or a Mutant will outright kill a normal human character.

1 Like

Understood. For my setting, I feel some of the outcomes you’ve cited are actually desirable, so I am gratified by your reaction to them; and although there are factors at play in your critique which aren’t necessarily operative for my purposes, I can certainly appreciate what you’re saying within the context of MC.

1 Like

Everyone likes the walking church organs! :slight_smile:

1 Like