Table Top Game The Dresden Files Discussion

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03:28:29 PM Jan 24th 2012
  • Whoring: Someone on Jim Butcher's forum realized that the Refinement and Ritual powers could be easily abused. In a 10 refresh game, someone could take Ritual (Crafting), with 7 Refinements, which would give them a total of 16 Focus Item slots—or 32 Enchanted Item slots. With a high Lore rating (which determines the power of Enchanted Items), a character could easily be carrying around extremely high-powered magical weaponry combined with nearly impenetrable shields and armor, or enough magical gadgetry to give Batman's Utility Belt a run for its money.

Focused Practitioners don't have any mention of restrictions on Refinement because it's not listed in their options, ergo they don't have it as an option. The idea that they could take Refinement, if only for magical items seems more to have come up as a commonly-held house-rule more than anything. Only Sorcerers and Wizards actually mention Refinement in their Options, meaning that they can take it. If anything, they'd have to add Emissary of Power to their templates, if only to represent that they have at least some sort of external training.
07:51:56 AM Jan 25th 2012
edited by MrDeath
The Refinement power mentions that if you are taking it for Ritual or Channeling, then you can only take it for focus items—this is explicit in the text of the rules. The Sorceror and Wizard template require using Evocation and Thaumaturgy.

Focused Practitioner is the only template that's limited to Ritual or Channeling—ergo, if you have the power Refinement saying it's possible to take it for just Ritual or Channeling, and the only template that includes Ritual or Channeling has no restriction on Refinements, then I see no reason why the Focused Practitioner couldn't take refinement.

The Focused Practitioner template doesn't say that they can't have external training—you're thinking Sorcerers, which are mentioned as being mostly self-taught (and even then, mostly). I don't see why a Focused Practitioner couldn't have some external training ("Day Off" mentions Dresden teaching members of the Paranet a cleansing ritual to ward off hexes, for example), or why a Focused Practitioner couldn't refine his art on his own (Morty's huge power boost and boost in effectiveness between Dead Beat and Ghost Story comes to mind).

Focused Practitioners are mentioned, by Dresden, as being capable of being very good at what they do—they're more focused than limited. Someone who focuses in a given area of expertise is pretty likely to spend time to refine that area, hence being able to take the Refinement power.

Otherwise, that means a specialist, someone who puts their time, effort, and energy into developing a particular talent and type of magic, can't spend the points to refine their art, and that doesn't make any sense.
08:11:12 AM Jan 25th 2012
All that said, probably the only way to "solve" this would be definitive word on the subject in the rulebooks, which there clearly isn't, since the template doesn't mention Refinement either way. I'm generally of the mind that if the rulebooks don't explicitly forbid something, and if it still makes sense, it ought to be allowed, but I can see where you're coming from.

So I'll leave the example off the page, since it's also more of a player thing than something mentioned in the rulebooks themselves.
08:18:29 AM Jan 25th 2012
edited by Peteman
Edit: This post was made while MrDeath wrote his response. We'll agree to disagree, but I am keeping my original post for the record.

Alright, I've checked the passages.

The Channeling (p181) and Ritual (p182) lines on the matter state:

"You may gain more Item Slots as one of the options on the Refinement ability (page 182)—but you may only buy Refinement for that purpose. All items created for those slots must be in keeping with the single application you’ve chosen for your power."

We should also look at the statement in Thaumaturgy (p180) and Evocation (p181):

"Casters whose '''template allows for it''' should consider the Refinement ability (page 182)."

However, the Focused Practitioner Options (p78) state:

"Options: Focused practitioners may take the Sight [–1], but if they do, its use will be colored, narrowed, and limited by the focus of their abilities. For example, an ectomancer with the Sight might see the world in terms of its ghostly spiritual presences and may find himself seeing dead people all the time; a pyromancer might perceive supernatural power and presences in the form of flames of various colors and intensity. See “Building a Practitioner” on page 77 for more information."

There is a distinct lack of mention of Refinement in those option, suggesting that they can't take them. What you are saying makes sense, but it's not Rules As Written. Until they release some errata, a Focused Practitioner does not have the option of taking these abilities, regardless of the sense it would make.
05:27:26 AM Jan 26th 2012
edited by MrDeath
I looked through the books hoping to find a Focused Practitioner character with Refinement, but didn't find any. Maybe it's left intentionally murky and up to the given GM—I mean, if they had meant it to not be possible, I imagine they would have said so.

Though I did find one sorcerer, Russell Carson in the Baltimore example game, with more Refinements than that template's allowed (with three, all of them in Thaumaturgy since he's only got Channeling otherwise), so the templates are probably more of a guideline than hard and fast rules.
05:43:29 AM Jan 26th 2012
edited by Peteman
I remember a discussion with one of the game creators, about how some of the math didn't add up for one of the villains. He said something like how the good guys have to live within their limitations. The bad guys? They cheat.

What was funny was that the villain-in-question's stats were missing about one and a half Refinements, so if this guy cheated, it was badly. I believe it was the guy you were talking about, Russel.
06:22:54 AM Jan 26th 2012
edited by hobbitguy1420
Possibly not useful to the Trope, but...

The way I see it, the DFRPG requires quite a bit of GM investment and group investment, and the game writers left it up to the G Ms and other players to notice and quash this sort of power-gaming.

My gaming table has always considered the templates to be guidelines for playing that type of character, rather than hard-and-fast rules.
10:37:19 AM Feb 16th 2012
For what it's worth, I've started hanging around the game's forum, and it seems to be taken for granted that Focused Practitioners can take Refinement for the item slots.
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