So I had a player want to put a sleep whammy (think Prophecy “shh….”) on a person through Use Magic and defended…

So I had a player want to put a sleep whammy (think Prophecy “shh….”) on a person through Use Magic and defended…

So I had a player want to put a sleep whammy (think Prophecy “shh….”) on a person through Use Magic and defended it through this effect:

• Do one thing that’s beyond human limitations.


• Trap a specific person or monster. (the trap being sleep)

Now, after the game, it sparked a discussion that the first effect pretty much sums up all magical effects and would allow anything without using any other roll / or Big Magic

I am inclined to believe that the Sleep Whammy effect is a form of Trap as long as you do not interact with them, but I know my players are Murder Hobo-y enough to use this eventually to set that up for a coup de grâce.

As to the first one, I think thats meant to allow characters to push what they could already do beyond their limits and not to give new abilities.

I am wondering how others would handle this. Thoughts?

9 thoughts on “So I had a player want to put a sleep whammy (think Prophecy “shh….”) on a person through Use Magic and defended…”

  1. Yea, pretty much this. For #1, lift a car, read a book in 5 minutes, jump over a house, stuff like that. For #2, … well. Our exile used this move/effect to call forth the knights of the Round Table to rise out of the sand of his ancestral shore and distract the monster while the team made their get away. One of the coolest magic moves I have ever seen. If people try to exploit this, “turn their move back on them.” That’ll teach them. 

  2. I would say you are right for #1. For #2, use big magic with a sleeping spell. I would consider a trap something more akin to a cage or a wall. It keeps the target contained or controlled. It doesn’t make them paralyzed or asleep, or anything that would make the target effectively helpless or unaware. In fact, I’d say that the target could become even more dangerous and desperate when trapped… Release from the cage, or go too close, and you could get into trouble.

  3. Matt Schillinger So what is the difference in your opinion then if I trap someone in a cage and then shoot them in the face or if I put them to sleep? I mean if they are in a cage they can’t retaliate in most cases (barring their own use of magic or ranged attack)

  4. IMO, asleep means no dodge, no active defense.  In a cage, something could at least attempt to dodge.   Perhaps mileage may vary.  I just didn’t get the impression that the spirit of ‘trapped’ was that coup de grace was a no roll option. 

    I wouldn’t consider it appropriate for regular magic use (single roll) to result in a big bad’s demise without further complications.  That wouldn’t be satisfying to me. 

  5. Matt Schillinger I totally agree you. It is not in the spirit of the move to use it that way. Though to clarify, their use was actually on a Bystander to prevent them from seeing the horrible things they were about to do to the big bad. 

    I guess the cage scenario depends on how tight the cage is right? 

  6. I always considered the “do something…” the important part. See your enemies in the dark, enchant your sword, teleport into the heat of the battle etc etc. When the effect is something happens to someone else and renders them helpless I would suggest that that is big magic. At least in the case of the big bad, maybe minions and bystanders could go down to the lesser magic.

  7. Daniel Steadman I wonder… would that be a satisfying way to bucket those rules? If you want to affect a Big Bad /directly/ with magic you must use Big Magic, but you can affect yourself, a minion, a bystander, or an item you have with Use Magic, even if the assumption is that you will later use said item on the Big Bad later i.e. if you want to trap the Big Bad in a circle you have to Use Magic on the salt/chalk/ blood/whatevs and then you would have to Act Under Pressure to apply it? 

    The duration of Use Magic still stands and starts when created not applied, so you have to do both fairly close to each other in time, so there is no “prep the chalk” days before without Big Magic

    Felix Girke You are right to mention the “turn their move back on them” I need to use that more

  8. Another thing to remember is the monster’s move “Escape, no matter how well contained” or the Bystander’s move “Go off alone.” Those seem like simple ways to counter-act a hunter’s abuse of Trap.

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