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Free Action - IE vs PnP

RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,716
I've decided to expand the discussion that was happening in this thread. I want more opinions and here this subject will probably get more attention.

I was thinking about the concept of PnP Free Action. Here's what PHB says:
Free Action
(Abjuration, Enchantment)
Sphere: Charm
Range: Touch Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 turn/level Casting Time: 7
Area of Effect: 1 creature Saving Throw: None

This spell enables the creature touched to move and attack normally for the duration of the spell, even under the influence of magic that impedes movement (such as web or slow spells) or while under water. It even negates or prevents the effects of paralysis and hold spells. Under water, the individual moves at normal (surface) speed and inflicts full damage, even with such cutting weapons as axes and swords and with such smashing weapons as flails, hammers, and maces, provided that the weapon is wielded in the hand rather than hurled. The free action spell does not, however, allow water breathing without further appropriate magic.
The material component is a leather thong, bound around the arm or similar appendage, which disintegrates when the spell expires.

Focus on the word "normally". That makes me uncertain if a "PnP" behavior would include the allowance of Haste/Improved Haste/Increased Movement Rate.

To be honest, I'm not even sure if it should protect against Grease, Entangle and Web. I mean, if you're tied by a rope would Free Action release you? I don't think so.

Thoughts?

StummvonBordwehrAndreaColombogorgonzola

Comments

  • AndreaColomboAndreaColombo Member Posts: 5,452
    edited March 2019
    I will do further research into my AD&D manual archive, but the spell’s decription you quoted clearly states it prevents negative effects, but doesn’t say it prevents positive effects.

    Specifically, it says Free Action allows you to continue normal movement in the presence of impediments (i.e. you move as though the impediments weren’t there.)

    Had the authors meant for the spell to prevent beneficial effects, they would have explicitly mentioned it—no reason not to.

    Free Action should definitely prevent the effects of Grease, Web, and Entangle: It’s designed to be a hard counter for those very effects, and says so explicitly.

    It wouldn’t free you from shackles or binding ropes because it says it prevents *magical* impediments—it says nothing of physical ones, which IMO should remain unaffected.

    gorgonzola
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 4,194
    Well, if we get down to details water isn't magical, and moving at normal speed underwater would seem to be about as hard as being tied up by a rope. It could be a harry Houdini type of escape spell I suppose.
    The same way as a spiders web vs the magical spell web are non magical/ and magical. As far as haste goes all we have to go by is the phrase normal movement. In that caste haste would not be normal movement.

    The spell could have used a little more detail in the description I agree.

    Raduziel
  • AndreaColomboAndreaColombo Member Posts: 5,452
    Zaghoul wrote: »
    Well, if we get down to details water isn't magical, and moving at normal speed underwater would seem to be about as hard as being tied up by a rope.

    True that water isn't magical, but since we are getting down to details:
    • Water doesn't impede movement in the same way as a binding rope. It makes movement more difficult, but it doesn't prevent you from completing any movement. A binding rope does.
    • ...which is why I believe the authors felt compelled to mention water explicitly as an exception to the rule that Free Action would only prevent impediments that are magical in nature. Counter-spelling a magical web is not the same as freeing someone from a physical web, IMO.
    Zaghoul wrote: »
    The spell could have used a little more detail in the description I agree.

    That goes for a lot of AD&D rules. Reading the manuals, I'm left with the impression that a lot was left to the DM's judgment.

  • kjeronkjeron Member Posts: 2,321
    Yeah, the description is mostly useless, here's how I would read that:
    This spell enables the creature touched to move and attack normally for the duration of the spell, even under the influence of magic that impedes movement (such as web or slow spells) or while under water.
    You are always moving normally relative to the given circumstances of the moment, so this means nothing.
    It even negates or prevents the effects of paralysis and hold spells.
    Immunity to spells that cause paralysis and hold, removal of spells that cause paralysis and/or hold. No effect on non-spell sources of these effects.
    Under water, the individual moves at normal (surface) speed and inflicts full damage, even with such cutting weapons as axes and swords and with such smashing weapons as flails, hammers, and maces, provided that the weapon is wielded in the hand rather than hurled. The free action spell does not, however, allow water breathing without further appropriate magic.
    Ignore water depth(pressure) while swimming. "Surface" refer to the surface of the water, not dry land.

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,716
    edited March 2019
    Zaghoul wrote: »
    The spell could have used a little more detail in the description I agree.

    The second edition is poorly written when it comes to spells - especially spells interaction.

    ---

    Let's see the concept of spells like Entangle.

    While in Hold Person-ish you're paralyzed by magic, in Entangle-ish you're paralyzed by a physical barrier that is created by the spell.

    Would Free Action let you move out of a Otiluke's Resilient Sphere? Or a Forcecage? I don't think so. So why something that is basically a rope would be different?

    As for Grease: it works by reducing the attrition with the surface - way different than pressure (under water scenario), should this really be applied?

    I see a clear difference between paralyzed and held. Free Action should be touching only spells related to the first group. And, of course, Slow.

    Another thing makes you stop in place: stun. But it is not a paralyzing or held effect, your mind is just incapable of processing any info while in this state - that includes moving. By a broader interpretation, FA should unstun too.

    I honestly don't have a position here, just being the devil's advocate to raise the maximum amount of arguments as possible.

    Thanks!

    Post edited by Raduziel on
    Zaghoul
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 4,194
    edited March 2019
    I spose we could also read it as prohibiting anything that would hinder normal movement, haste not being normal movement. Then, of course we have items in the game that do allow both free action and haste, if applied in a certain order.

    Definitely up to choice as to what it can do, as @AndreaColombo mentioned.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited March 2019
    Zaghoul wrote: »
    I spose we could also read it as prohibiting anything that would hinder normal movement, haste not being normal movement.
    but the description is clear

    Raduziel wrote: »
    Here's what PHB says:
    Free Action
    ..............
    This spell enables the creature touched to move and attack normally for the duration of the spell, even under the influence of magic that impedes movement (such as web or slow spells)
    similar, but not the same.
    free action prevents every spell or other magic that impedes movement, so slow but not haste, to work, allowing the character to "move and attack normally", that is not "at his normal movenent and attack rate", is at the normal rate eventually boosted by something other, like an haste spell or item, as it happens "normally", without free action being active.

    to me the spell description is very clear,
    1 it prevent that magic decreases the movement and attack rate.
    2 it prevent that water decreases the movement and attack rate. the fact that "or" is used in the description proves that water is not regarded as a magic effect , but fa works with it in the same way as it does for magic that prevents movement.
    3 it also "negates or prevents the effects of paralysis and hold spells" so every spell that stuns or anyway prevents attacks and movement, but not from domination or confusion spells that don't prevent to attack and move around, even if the player looses the control on it.
    4 nothing is told about magic or items that boost attacks and movement, but as are not named in the description, that states that the character "attacks normally" i assume that the free action has no effect at all on whatever boost the speed and apr, as is the normal way that the toon has them boosted if something other boost them.

    to assume that free action should make things that boost attacks and speed not work is not stated in the spell description unless we want to force "normally", that is like to say " like if free action were not active" to be "at a normal (not boosted) rate" that is a very different thing, even if sounds so similar.

    Raduziel
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    @subtledoctor also if you attack with a +1 weapon, or with an enchanted weapon that boost your thac0 and damage, you are not attacking normally.
    but as the spell description tell that every negative consequence from water and magic that make your movement or number of attacks worst is prevented if free action is used other way the character attacks normally i assume that all the possible effects that normally boost speed and apr if active work.
    other way it would have been much more simple to state that every effect (of magic and water) that CHANGE speed and apr would not work as the effect of free action instead of using IMPEDE, that means only negative change, and then use the word NORMALLY for the cases where impede is not true.

    about why fa works against stun but not sleep i agree, the pnp description is vague and tells:"It even negates or prevents the effects of paralysis and hold spells", stun is not a spell that holds or paralize, it makes the toon not conscious as well as sleep does. petrification surely paralizes the toon, even if someone can argue that the side effect to have the brain turned to stone is a good enough reason to have it not prevented by free action.

    i don't play pnp, no one in my place to do it, and probably alone is not so fun, but i suppose that if i would have good reasons to ask to a dm to have haste effects working i would leave to his decision what type of stun, sleep and similar is prevented by free action and which is not, as for them the spell description is much more vague and open to different interpretations.

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,716
    I've come to a decision after reading this thread and speaking with my former DM:

    For Deities of Faerûn, Free Action will respect Haste-ish effects and will not protect against stun.

    Those changes will be shipped in the next release (1.9.7.1)

    Thanks, everyone.

    gorgonzolaAndreaColomboDreadKhanZaghoul
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    My pointless takes:

    Moving through water in some key ways isn't mechanically different from being tied up, in both cases physical material's presence impedes movement by resisting motion, ie an opposite force. Note, we think of it differently because water isn't very restrictive compared to a rope at depths we can swim at. Without pressure, water is 'weak', and can't push very hard, so we interpret it differently than, say, being surrounded by a rope (which can exert more contrary force before giving out), but its really the same deal, just different strength levels!

    ...is there special rules in the PHB/DMG that differentiates between swimming at great depths vs shallow water you still swim in? I haven't read those in ages, but I don't remember that. I remember non-piercing weapons used underwater are wildly ineffective, but little about depth beyond I think something about depth and damage maybe. From the text it shouldn't offer protection from pressure, just let you move easier, but this is a bit self-contradictory, since pressure should have an effect on movement obviously. If I was DMing, I'd let you function at depth with no penalty, but would take damage and drown normally.

    Free Action should not protect from Stun I think I agree, as it is supposed to represent inhibiting of the normal firing of neural pathways, and you aren't conscious like when paralyzed, and nothing about this spell makes me think it would help.

    Regarding haste, I'd not allow it personally, but I'm not sure it's clear cut. The big pro is iirc that haste isn't supposed to speed up biological processes in the affected individuals, which I think shouldn't be interacting, though the big con is that FA stops slow spells, meaning it does interact with a closely related spell, so I'd personally rule FA affects Haste. I think you could 100% defend the opposite by noting that the spell does not mention Haste, but does mention Slow, and doesn't say it negates any bonus of any kind.

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,716
    I think that Haste do affect biological processes - it even ages the receiver of the spell by an year.

    AndreaColombosemiticgoddessZaghoulDreadKhan
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    DreadKhan wrote: »
    If I was DMing, I'd let you function at depth with no penalty, but would take damage and drown normally.
    but only if the offender is under free action himself. or maybe using piercing weapon. the spell description is clear and precise about it, it even tells that for a crushing weapon it is not slowed but only "provided that the weapon is wielded in the hand rather than hurled", so any reduced damage or apr suffered by a weapon used against a character protected by FA while under water is applied. the only special case is if he inflicts the hits on himself, holding the weapon in the proper way, wielded in the hand rather than hurled.
    DreadKhan wrote: »
    I think you could 100% defend the opposite by noting that the spell does not mention Haste, but does mention Slow, and doesn't say it negates any bonus of any kind.
    not only that, but the spell clearly mention that prevents the influence of magic that impedes movement, this is more than simply not mentioning haste, is stating that the protection is given only against what lowers the ability of the character to move and attack. the toon under that protection so can attack and move normally, so as if the impeding condition was not there, and so can be hasted as to block movement changes that increase and not hinder movement is not what the spell does. the spell does not block movement changes, blocks only impeding changes, try to read again the spell description given by @Raduziel , with fresh mind, like if it were the first time and you had not allready formed an opinion about it, and you will see it by yourself.
    to block haste can be a house rule, but is not what the description of the spell tells.

    AndreaColombo
  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 3,426
    Raduziel wrote: »
    I think that Haste do affect biological processes - it even ages the receiver of the spell by an year.

    This was, I believe, a D&D rule. Not AD&D or 2e, I mean straight-up original D&D.

    It's my understanding--and I'm sure the PnP hawks will point out I'm probably wrong--that you can selectively lower (some?) magical protections as needed, e.g. your magic resistance doesn't block stuff like healing spells but will block magic missiles. (oBG didn't allow for this, which made healing Viconia a PITA; oBG2 and onwards wisely changed this.) Taking the same approach to free action means that, even though it technically should block haste, you could choose to allow haste to work anyway.

    gorgonzola
  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,716
    edited March 2019
    CamDawg wrote: »
    Raduziel wrote: »
    I think that Haste do affect biological processes - it even ages the receiver of the spell by an year.

    This was, I believe, a D&D rule. Not AD&D or 2e, I mean straight-up original D&D.

    It's my understanding--and I'm sure the PnP hawks will point out I'm probably wrong--that you can selectively lower (some?) magical protections as needed, e.g. your magic resistance doesn't block stuff like healing spells but will block magic missiles. (oBG didn't allow for this, which made healing Viconia a PITA; oBG2 and onwards wisely changed this.) Taking the same approach to free action means that, even though it technically should block haste, you could choose to allow haste to work anyway.

    Nope, AD&D.
    Haste
    (Alteration)

    Range: 60 yds.
    Components: V, S, M
    Duration: 3 rds. + 1 rd./level
    Casting Time: 3
    Area of Effect: 40-ft. cube, 1 creature/level
    Saving Throw: None

    When this spell is cast, each affected creature functions at double its normal movement and attack rates. A hasted creature gains a -2 initiative bonus. Thus, a creature moving at 6 and attacking once per round would move at 12 and attack twice per round. Spellcasting and spell effects are not sped up. The number of creatures that can be affected is equal to the caster's experience level; those creatures closest to the center of effect are affected first. All affected by haste must be in the designated area of effect. Note that this spell negates the effects of a slow spell. Additionally, this spell ages the recipient by one year, because of sped-up metabolic processes. This spell is not cumulative with itself or with other similar magic.

    Its material component is a shaving of licorice root.

    Post edited by Raduziel on
    ZaghoulStummvonBordwehr
  • shabadooshabadoo Member Posts: 312
    edited March 2019
    "Web" does not tie you up in the "bound by ropes" sense (though struggling could cause this). They are extremely sticky...you are stuck and unable to move away. Technically you can still fight adjacent foes or fire a bow (provided the arrow was already nocked), albeit with a significant penalty. I guess it's easier to just have characters completely stuck in Video games versions.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,833
    The 1-year aging effect of the PnP Haste spell always struck me as absurd. If a party member tried to cast it on me, I'd want to make a saving throw.

    AmmarAndreaColombogorgonzola
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,223
    edited March 2019
    semiticgod wrote: »
    The 1-year aging effect of the PnP Haste spell always struck me as absurd. If a party member tried to cast it on me, I'd want to make a saving throw.

    It's also a pretty terrifying torture method. Cast haste on them once per day, while they watch their body grow old and wither. In one of the Krynn books someone on whom Haste was cast without consent (just to travel a bit faster at that!) actually complains about it but lets it go pretty quickly. I think it was the first book in the Defender of Magic series.

    But at least it gives another substantial advantage to long-living demi-humans. They suffer enough from the absurd level limits that were in those editions....

    semiticgoddessgorgonzola
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    @Raduziel agreed, I actually looked it up while posting. No clue why I didn't correct my post, so thanks!

    Raduziel
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited April 2019
    shabadoo wrote: »
    "Web" does not tie you up in the "bound by ropes" sense (though struggling could cause this). They are extremely sticky...you are stuck and unable to move away. Technically you can still fight adjacent foes or fire a bow (provided the arrow was already nocked), albeit with a significant penalty. I guess it's easier to just have characters completely stuck in Video games versions.

    in the pc game web completely blocks a toon that fail to save, movement, attacks and prevents him to defend himself, the to hit roll is skipped and the hit always successful ignoring thac0 and ac.
    and this can have its sense, glued to the ground a character can not move and dodge effectively, but even spell casting or other things are impossible, the effect of web is to stun someone, not to tie him to the place, thing that could surely be possible as there are other spells in the game that do it. to implement a web like you tell is not a problem, take something like grease or the druid spell, add some other restrictions, like a thac0 penalty while using ranged weapons and change the animation, work done. the web behavior is clearly wanted by the original developers as a stun one.

    and if we are taking about how the free action works, using the pnp spell description as reference, it is not important if the character is bound by ropes or sticky webs, the difference is if the rope or web is created with magic or a mundane one is used
    "This spell enables the creature touched to move and attack normally for the duration of the spell, even under the influence of magic that impedes movement".
    a caster can not use free action to get rid of the mundane rope that a bad guy used to tie him while sleeping or to come out of the web of a giant spider, but can use it if some magic creates the rope or web.
    EDIT: "even under magic" may suggest that what i told is not correct and the free action frees from the bound of any web, rope or other impeding condition, that has a mundane or even magic origin. END OF EDIT.

    about the 1 year aging of haste probably it had sense in pnp where you fight less battles and rp is more important. to have it in the description of the computer spell probably is a left over, something that had to be removed when adapting the pnp spell description for the computer game.
    i avoided for years to use it on other toons, hasting only summons that i knew was going to die anyway, meatshields, for rp reasons, now i use it also to haste the party as it did not add any rp value to my runs.

    i see a certain cheese potential if the enemy is hasted and then the party hide and wait for the haste to expire, after a couple of times the enemy party should suffer the fatigue effects, making the battle more easy. can @semiticgod or other cheesemaster tell me if fatigue has effect also for the scripted ai enemies?

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,833
    Enemies do suffer fatigue penalties. Waiting out Haste and in IWD Righteous Wrath of the Faithful is a good idea, and charmed enemies are a good target for those spells.

    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    thank you, i will post it in the unusual tactics topic and probably will give it a try also in the game even if is not the kind of cheese i usually try to use.
    probably i will try it in the starting dungeon of bg2 with tactics mod where an enemy has a spell that get your party fatigued if you are not fast to run away from its aoe. to have the "russian" party instead of my one fatigued at least once would be a satisfying revenge... :)

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