Warding is the part of the combat system that handles spells that strike at the target through nonphysical means, attempting to breach the target's magical defenses to generate a damaging effect. Many disease and poison effects also use this system.
The four factors that are added up in a warding roll are Casting Strength (CS), Target Defense (TD), Cast versus Armor (CvA), and a random dice roll (d100). If these factors add up to a result (an "end roll") greater than 100, then the spell successfully strikes the target. Otherwise, it is "warded off" and has no effect.
You gesture at a ghostly pooka. CS: +146 - TD: +123 + CvA: +25 + d100: +97 == +145 Warding failed! ... 30 points of damage! Strike swipes cleanly through the abdomen, but seals up a moment later! Cast Roundtime 3 Seconds.
You gesture at a ghostly pooka. CS: +141 - TD: +128 + CvA: +25 + d100: +60 == +98 Warded off! Cast Roundtime 3 Seconds.
Casting Strength (CS)
Casting Strength expresses how difficult a warding spell is to resist, and comes into play when determining if or how hard that spell will hit. A character earns 3 points of CS per level, and the appropriate stat bonus is added depending on the nature of the spell (the aura bonus is counted for elemental spells, while the wisdom bonus is counted for spiritual spells). The number of spell ranks known, certain spells being active, and other factors also increases CS.
Target Defense (TD)
Target Defense is a reflection of a character's ability to resist or mitigate the damage of a warding spell. A character earns 3 points of TD per level, and the appropriate stat bonus is added depending on the nature of the spell (the aura bonus is counted for elemental spells, while the wisdom bonus is counted for spiritual spells). TD is also increased by certain spells being active, as well as other factors.
Cast vs. Armor (CvA)
Cast versus Armor (CvA) is a factor in warding attack spells that reflects how well armor protects against magic. Lower CvA means the armor is more protective. Heavier armor types are harder to penetrate. Magical or enchanted armors protect the wearer better than non-magical or non-enchanted armors, and this differential also increases with the heavier types of armor. In practice, wearing heavier and magical armor is equivalent to having a higher target defense for any target.
Like AvD, CvA is added directly to the combat roll to determine a warding spell's success. Positive values represent a greater vulnerability to attack, and negative values represent less.
Per GM Cyper's post introducing CvA, use of a non-magical shield will provide -5 CvA, and a magical shield -10 CvA, which is not cumulative with armor. Functionally, this means that shields only provide a CvA benefit when Armor Group 1/clothing is worn.
Dice Roll (d100)
A visible random dice roll from 1 to 100 is used in determining the outcome of most combat situations. When attacking, a high dice roll increases the chances of success, and the opposite is true when attempting to defend against an attack.
When the spell is successful (end roll greater than 100), the warding margin is defined as ([End Roll] - 100).
Additional hidden bonuses to the warding margin may be applied before calculating the final effect. These bonuses only apply on successful casts; they will not, for example, make an endroll of +98 actually hit the target. All of these bonuses are additive.
- CHANNEL adds to the effective warding margin based on the caster's stance and number of open hands. For example, a channeled attack in guarded stance and one open hand adds +5 to the warding margin, so if the endroll is +145, it would instead use +150 to calculate damage. Channeling in offensive stance and two open hands adds +40 to the warding margin, so the same endroll would use +185 to calculate damage.
- If the target is incapacitated (for example stunned or immobilized), most spells receive +15 to effective warding margin.
- Certain spells like Fervent Reproach have special mechanics that can give more bonuses; more details are in the spell articles.
Warding attacks that deal direct damage may have concussion damage cycles and/or critical damage cycles.
Concussion cycles deal HP damage based directly on the warding margin. The base damage is the warding margin multiplied by the spell's damage factor (DF), and is then modified by other factors specific to the spell, such as fixed additional damage, skill bonuses, or some random variation. Some spells have a hard cap on the amount of concussion damage dealt by a single cast.
An example of a spell with one cycle of each type is Elemental Strike (415):
You trace a simple rune while intoning the mystical phrase for Elemental Strike... Your spell is ready. You gesture at a hill troll. CS: +118 - TD: +55 + CvA: +11 + d100: +85 == +159 <-- warding margin = 59 Warding failed! You blast a hill troll for 23 points of damage. <-- concussion cycle ... 40 points of damage! <-- critical cycle (electrical) Right eye socket explodes in a dazzling array of multi-colored sparks. Shocking death.
Certain spells use a warding roll to resolve success, but the exact numbers are not shown to players. Examples include: