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KellerMeister
10-09-2005, 08:21
In the big Book of Rules it says about Drain Life:

"If cast successfully each enemy unit within 12" of the Wizard is affected"

Fair enough, since no unit is actually targeted, there is a set radius and line of sight is not required - Drain Life is an area spell centered on the Wizard.

In the 2004 Chronicles, however, someone asked the following question:

"Are wizards allowed to cast the Lore of Death spell Drain Life or the Lore of Heavens spell Storm of Cronos if enemy units engaged in close combat are within the area affected by the spell?"

And the answer was "Yes they can cast it, but only unengaged units are affected as the spell does not specifically state that it can be cast at units in combat"

Here is the beef: An area spell centered on the Wizard is not cast AT anything - it affects an area. Spells that require you to nominate a target ,which Drain Life doesn't, are cast at units (a perfectly reasonable logic used by GW on several occasions before). Therefore the standard GW answer "if it doesn't specifically say that a spell can be cast at a unit in close combat it cant" really does not apply for Drain Life. It does however for Storm of Cronos since it has an entirely different wording: "This spell can be CAST ON all enemy units which ARE VISIBLE to the caster" i.e. NOT an indifferent area spell. One could argue that the two spells should not have been bunched together in the same question (or they should have been answered as two questions) as they are not of the same type, wich is pretty important.

So the question is: Do we abide by the answer in the 2004 Chronicle for Drain Life which says no to hurting units in close combat OR do we instead abide by normal GW strictness on rules wording - together with a portion of Warhammer rules logic - and hurt units in close combat?

Flame
10-09-2005, 08:48
My vote is for not allowing it affect units in CC. Nothing in the game can (without a specific exception), so why be different for this spell?

Never try to apply logic to the warhammer rules, it simply doesnt work!

Festus
10-09-2005, 10:20
Hi

The rules are clear in this matter: The spell does not affect units in CC, there is no need for any ruling or debate here IMHO.

You can cast the spell, but it simply will not harm units in CC.

Greetings
Festus

Guido le Wombat
10-09-2005, 10:49
The rules themselves aren't clear, but their intention is.

GW state 'Wizards cannot cast spells at units in close combat unless specifically noted in the spell's discription'

Clearly for the spell 'drain life' no unit is targetted, it simply affects all units within 12".

So yes, by the very letter of the rules you could try to claim that units in combat would be affected, however there has been a Q&A which covered this and GW clarified that it was not their intent for this spell to affect units in combat.

Most Q&A and errata are there to correct badly worded rules which were open to questionable decisions, do you ignore them all becuase the original rules were not water tight?

Sir_Turalyon
10-09-2005, 10:54
It looks like intended drain life effect is "each enemy unit within 12" of Wizard and not engaged in close combat is affected". Words in bold were skipped because they assumed they only need to say when spell does affect unit in cc...

Guido le Wombat
10-09-2005, 10:58
now this I can agree with :)

KellerMeister
10-09-2005, 15:28
Most Q&A and errata are there to correct badly worded rules which were open to questionable decisions, do you ignore them all because the original rules were not water tight?

Absolutely not, and I’m not trying to abuse the rules, I just want them clarified. In this case the Q&A was badly worded since it bundled two spells of completely different composition (area/not area) and gave an answer that only suited one of them. GW has been extremely strict themselves on what they actually type in their books and the question was if this strictness would count here also or if a poorly answered Q&A should be the law.

There is, apart from the mock-up with the wording, due cause to raise this question since other area effects hurts units in CC. The Stonethrower, The Comet of Casandora or the Chaos Dwarf Earthshaker for example, and none of them actually says that it will damage units in CC – only “under the template”, “all units that are within D6 (inches)” or “any troops within this radius”. Compare with Drain Life’s “any unit within 12(inches)” and you see that the similarity is greater than the confusion.

The "image" of Drain Life as sucking the life force out of everything within a radius is also a factor. Why would fighting in CC save someone from that?

So, even if there is an intention you'd be hard pressed in most gaming situations when your opponent says "this is what is written in the book".

Festus
10-09-2005, 21:45
Hi

So, even if there is an intention you'd be hard pressed in most gaming situations when your opponent says "this is what is written in the book".
No, you are not, as the *official* (cough...cough) Q&A published adresses exactly this point.

Greetings
Festus

T10
10-09-2005, 22:33
The FAQ ruling seems satisfactory in this case.

If you need to put your mind at ease regarding this issue then bear in mind that the Drain Life spell distinguishes between friendly and enemy units. It does not affect units indiscriminately as do the Comet of Cassandora or template effects (stonetrowers, cannon etc).

It is therefore reasonable to assume that the caster dictates which targets are affected and willingly excludes units involved in combat since it is difficult to distinguish between friend and foe.

-T10

KellerMeister
10-09-2005, 22:40
Festus: Well, yes - but I was addressing the point of ‘GW intention’ in general with that one.

And, yes - the Q&A says exactly that. I wrote it in the first post.

However, if you read my arguments, I think too many factors should disallow GW from using the standard "if it doesn't say that..." and that it's allowing them to make it too easy for them just to accept that Q&A as the rule. IMHO, I feel it helps make the rules an illogical (even with the GW-logic definition) patchwork that messes up possibilities of agreeing on interpretations of other nincompoop stuff they tend to write sometimes and where there is no Q&A to assist at all.

I don’t doubt you Guido but if there is a true intention from GW, an Errata-clip out for the spell should be easily enough entered in to a Chronicles/Annual. Or perhaps by changing the RB text in the magic section to something more encompassing like “Magic does not affect units in CC unless the description of the spell or item clearly states that it does”. I do think they should reconsider though. A spell like Drain Life should hurt units in CC. If that’s too powerful, perhaps it could be balanced by sucking the life out of your own units within the radius also.

We play DL as the Chronicle Q&A tells us, even if some of us feel it blows, and we will continue to do so since this debate gave no support for changing anything. Thank you all for your input!

Flame
12-09-2005, 14:32
Let me guess, you really really wanna use this spell in your army?

KellerMeister
12-09-2005, 15:29
Hehe! Well, yes I like to use it – since I play VC against an all knight Bretonnia army. But I really do tend to jump at most of the rules/fluff inconsistencies with the same reasoning fervor regardless of my own position. And in this case, even if I defer gracefully, I don’t think I’m wrong at all.

mageith
13-09-2005, 02:42
In the big Book of Rules it says about Drain Life:

"If cast successfully each enemy unit within 12" of the Wizard is affected"

Fair enough, since no unit is actually targeted, there is a set radius and line of sight is not required - Drain Life is an area spell centered on the Wizard.

But there is targeting. "Enemy" unit.



In the 2004 Chronicles, however, someone asked the following question:

"Are wizards allowed to cast the Lore of Death spell Drain Life or the Lore of Heavens spell Storm of Cronos if enemy units engaged in close combat are within the area affected by the spell?"

And the answer was "Yes they can cast it, but only unengaged units are affected as the spell does not specifically state that it can be cast at units in combat"

Here is the beef: An area spell centered on the Wizard is not cast AT anything - it affects an area.
No so. It affects enemy units within that area. True area spells affect a true area, such as the comet or templates. But even template spells can't target a unit even though there are perfectly adequate rules to adjudicate the effects.



Spells that require you to nominate a target ,which Drain Life doesn't, are cast at units (a perfectly reasonable logic used by GW on several occasions before). Therefore the standard GW answer "if it doesn't specifically say that a spell can be cast at a unit in close combat it cant" really does not apply for Drain Life. It does however for Storm of Cronos since it has an entirely different wording: "This spell can be CAST ON all enemy units which ARE VISIBLE to the caster" i.e. NOT an indifferent area spell. One could argue that the two spells should not have been bunched together in the same question (or they should have been answered as two questions) as they are not of the same type, wich is pretty important.

Not enough different to float your argument. Visible enemy units vs. enemy units. Both have target restrictions.



So the question is: Do we abide by the answer in the 2004 Chronicle for Drain Life which says no to hurting units in close combat OR do we instead abide by normal GW strictness on rules wording - together with a portion of Warhammer rules logic - and hurt units in close combat?
Warhammer rules logic????

When it comes to magic, it is the one place where logic is completely out the window. Since no one knows, or can know, how magic works, we can only know how it works by observing it's behavior. How can a drain life, for example, ignore friendly units and not enemy units? Does it test for DNA? :)

How come spells generally don't work on fighting units but work on marching units? Again we don't know, it's just how it is. The rules are really quite clear and the Q&A clears up any lingering doubts.

I suspect the reason that spells can't be targeted on fighting units is simply for simplicity's sake. But even if I knew the intention of that rule, it wouldn't make any difference because the why of how magic works is unimportant. There's no logic to deduce.

Mage Ith

KellerMeister
13-09-2005, 09:02
I had this debate as over and done with but ok, I'll riposte.


But there is targeting. "Enemy" unit.

We may have different definitions of what targeting actually is - but to me no, the "enemy" in this scentence does not constiute "targeting". This because it is 1; not an active choise made by the player between a number of options and 2; no harmfull spells may ever be cast at your own units which leave the enemy the ony viable recipient of magical harm.


No so. It affects enemy units within that area. True area spells affect a true area, such as the comet or templates. But even template spells can't target a unit even though there are perfectly adequate rules to adjudicate the effects.

I can't see how the definition of true area, as long as it is a circle, could be more prefectly described than "a radius from a center". I seem to remember reading in some Q&A that if a unit that is engaged in CC happens to fall under a template you randomise the hits between them and their opponents "beacuse they are all mixed in the melee".


Not enough different to float your argument. Visible enemy units vs. enemy units. Both have target restrictions.

As I wrote above, that the recipient is an enemy is not a restriction. It's a must for even casting a harmfull spell of any kind. The difference between "visible unit" and "each unit" is huge when it comes to differentiate between the two. Its like comparing a bazooka (aim at something you can see, fire, kaboom) and a bomb (choose your area, drop, KABOOM). Quite different.


Warhammer rules logic????.

When it comes to magic, it is the one place where logic is completely out the window. Since no one knows, or can know, how magic works, we can only know how it works by observing it's behavior. How can a drain life, for example, ignore friendly units and not enemy units? Does it test for DNA? :)

Hehe. Agreed, it is impossible to apply logic to magic. What I was after was perhaps more like "consistency" and "reasonable effects based on the fluff". The only thing I can say is that harmful magic can't hurt you own units. But frankly, I wouldn’t mind if the Drain Life spell sucked the life out of every unit within the range, even your own. It would fit the image I have of how such a spell should work. And Image is important. It’s the image of how the spell works that rules it. It says nowhere on the Comet spell that it hurts units in CC but still it does since we all perceive the big stone coming down hitting whatever is under it, and therefore it is ok and a "reasonable effect based on the fluff”.


How come spells generally don't work on fighting units but work on marching units? Again we don't know, it's just how it is. The rules are really quite clear and the Q&A clears up any lingering doubts.

But we do know, if my memory of ever reading that Q&A is correct. Its because of the chaotic melee where you can't distinguish between targets. Hm, perhaps it was the explanation for why you cant shoot at CC... Not sure, but it would still be correct for any magic missile.


I suspect the reason that spells can't be targeted on fighting units is simply for simplicity's sake. But even if I knew the intention of that rule, it wouldn't make any difference because the why of how magic works is unimportant. There's no logic to deduce.

Speaking about intentions, and here is perhaps the core, I fully believe that when GW devised Drain Life they really meant it to “affect each enemy unit within 12(inches) period”. If we ignore the percieved image of how such a spell should work, any comparison with other area effects and what GW actually managed to write in the spell description, lets look at the casting value instead; 10+. That is equal to that of the Comet (in the unrevised RB) and Curse of Years (VC) - and only slightly lower than Flames of the Phoenix (HE) and Pestilence (Nurg) and what does Drain Life actually do? Well, one D6 S3 hits with no AS on each unit within a 12” range, with two and a half army books being completely immune to it. Peanuts, really. If GW didn't intended it to affect units in CC I don't know what.

T10
13-09-2005, 11:22
Speaking about intentions, and here is perhaps the core, I fully believe that when GW devised Drain Life they really meant it to “affect each enemy unit within 12(inches) period”. (...) If GW didn't intended it to affect units in CC I don't know what.



I disagree.

For all their faults, the spells are quite clear on what can affect units in close combat (and by ommision what cannot).

In my opinion the spell deals with a collection of targets, and thus units in close combat are exempt.

-T10

mageith
13-09-2005, 14:12
If GW didn't intended it to affect units in CC I don't know what.
You probably mean 'enemy' units, no? :)

I write lots of rules and what I find is that there is no intention at all much of the time. I write the words with certain situations in mind. Hopefully I write the words so it covers situations I haven't thought of.

Whether the author originally imagined that enemy models in CC were targets is of no importance. He didn't write it and other better rules cover the situation.