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by Larryn 'Skorpios' Cock

Welcome, one and all, to Skorpios's "Magick and Technological Aptitude in Combat 101"

BARRY! Stop sniggering back there! Pay attention!

Now, please open your textbooks and turn to page 27, where you will find a visual representation of the Magick/Technological Aptitude scale.

Now, let's look at three hypothetical characters:

Shellman - with a technological aptitude of 50
Seymore - with a magickal aptitude of 50
Cain - who has trained in both magick and tech and has a neutral aptitude of 0.

Now, as you all know magick and technology operate quite differently so we'll study them separately. First, magick:

Let us assume that both Seymore and Cain know the Fireflash spell and that it does a fixed amount of 30 points of damage. Unlike weapon attacks, Magick spells ALWAYS hit their target, but aptitude penalties can reduce or negate the effect of the spell. There are NO bonuses however - 30 points is the maximum a Fireflash spell can do, regardless of who casts it.

Seymore casts a Fireflash on Shellman - their relative aptitudes are equal so there is no penalty - Shellman gets toasted for 30.

Seymore casts FF on Cain, as Cain is neutral, again his aptitude is much lower than Seymore and there is no penalty - he gets scorched for 30.

Seymore meets a Master Mage of Tulla (magick aptitude of 100) - he casts FF on him. Assume the Master Mage has had a lobotomy and has no protective spells in place - his higher MAGICKAL aptitude means there is no penalty to the spell, so he gets burnt for 30. Highly ticked off he proceeds to Disintegrate Seymore, then in a fit of remorse Resurrects him again.

Finally, Seymore meets RoboCop who has a Technological aptitude of 100. Screaming 'I'd buy that for a dollar!', Seymore launches yet another MAGICK Fireflash, but watches in amazement as overwhelmed by RoboCop's higher TECH aptitude it sputters and fades into a small sooty patch
that RoboCop nonchalantly brushes off. A significant penalty has reduced the Fireflash to nothing much more than a mild sunburn. RoboCop extends one fist and a 12-inch blade appears from nowhere - Seymore collapses into a dead faint.

Now let's look at Technology with Shellman.

She is armed with a nifty Tesla Coil Rifle, which funnily enough does 30 points of damage also...*g* She is quite well trained in its use so her basic chance of a critical failure is 10%. Any aptitude penalties will increase that risk. Also, as with any weapon, the normal chances of hitting or missing in combat apply.

Not liking the look of Seymore, she takes a bead on him and lets fly. Assuming she doesn't miss (unlike Magick - which always 'hits') their equal aptitudes will have no overall effect and Seymore starts twitching like Michael Jackson, absorbing 30 points of electrical damage.

Starting to enjoy herself, Shellman has a potshot at Cain. Again his lower aptitude relative to hers does not affect her chance of critical failure but she misses the shot 'naturally' and Cain is none the wiser.

"Halt, Citizen! Drop the weapon - or there will be...trouble." Shellman turns to see RoboCop advancing on her. Firing from the hip the Tesla bolt strikes him in the head, erasing 30 points worth of his short term memory. Staring blankly at her for a moment, he shakes his head and walks away. Again, there is no penalty using a TECH attack against a TECH aptitude higher than yours.

Last but not least, Shellman decides that she really doesn't like the way the Master Mage of Tulla is ogling her so she lifts the Tesla Coil Rifle to her shoulder and pulls the trigger. Unfortunately for her, the much higher magick aptitude of her target raises her chance of critical failure to 100%. The Tesla Coil Rifle explodes, doing 50 points of damage to Shellman, and knocking her unconscious. (The critical failure need not be so severe though, most CF's are simply missed shots for example.)

Finally we come to Cain who having studied both magick and tech, knows the Fireflash spell and is the proud owner of a Tesla Coil Rifle. Deciding to put poor Shellman out of her misery - he sends a Fireflash her way - however her much higher TECH aptitude means that it fizzles into a warm breeze. It would be even less effective against RoboCop of course, so Cain doesn't even bother.

Grumbling to himself, Cain then grabs his Tesla Coil Rifle - because of his low tech rating (0) his chance of critical failure with it is significantly higher - 50%. But Shellman's higher Tech aptitude does nothing to increase that risk, so after a couple of unluckily missed shots, Cain finally nails her and she dies. Again, although he COULD attack and hit RoboCop - Cain is not that silly.

Turning to Seymore, Cain tries to zap him. Unfortunately, Seymore's higher magick aptitude (even when he's unconscious) raises Cain's risk of critical failure to 100%. Sparks start shooting out of the weapon in every direction and Cain throws it away with a yelp. (If he had aimed at the Master Mage, something even nastier would probably have happened.)

Sucking on his scorched fingers he then focuses his will and a Fireflash engulfs Seymore for 30 points, finishing him off. Cain could do the same to the Master Mage if he was feeling suicidal, but he isn't, so he goes off to find some candy instead.

So - what have we learned from this hypothetical situation? Barry? Barry?

WAKE UP BARRY! Oh, pick yourself up, and get back in your seat.

Now, where was I? Well, hopefully you have learned that the neutral balanced Character (Cain) is not as disadvantaged as he might seem at first glance. Although his magick is close to useless against any tech opponent, he can still use tech weapons against them, and when his tech weapons fail him against magick opponents he can use magick against them. Balanced characters have the option to use whichever attack is the most suitable for the situation. Specialists lack that flexibility - if their magick or their technology can't handle the problem, then they are screwed.

Secondly - if you look again at the diagram on page 27, you can see that aptitude penalties only apply when your target is HIGHER on the scale than you and is of the OPPOSITE aptitude.

I hope this short lecture has been of assistance to you in your understanding of magickal and technological aptitude. Thank you for your attention and good afternoon. office, now!


The above is based on my understanding of the magick/aptitude system as described in the UberFAQ - it is not to be taken as Official as I think Troika have said they are experimenting with alterations/extensions to this system. Any figures or percentages quoted are used purely for comic effect.


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