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I'm playing a caster in a setting hack of the Dresden files. I find that it's very easy to get in an unbalance of my Conviction and Discipline skills. If Conviction is too high then I fail my discipline rolls and take backlash (which makes for interesting plots, but I like lasting the scene). If Discipline is higher my rolls are effectively wasted.

What is the optimal ratio of Conviction to Discipline, that generates the most powerful effects without nuking myself?

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

If you have high Conviction and low Discipline, you're a lot like Harry Dresden! I've been running a DFRPG campaign for several months now, we've completed one "novel" and we're in our second. So, I consider myself a pretty decent authority on this fairly young game.

Here are some tips:

  1. You don't HAVE to gather as much power as your Conviction, you just can. If you have low Discipline, gather fewer shifts of power most of the time. Save those 5-shift evocations for emergencies!

  2. Boost your Discipline with Focus Items to retain the flavor of your character. Got a caster who tends to lose control (which is what your low Discipline represents), but drops Veils like gangbusters? A pair of Ray-Bans as an Evocation Focus for Spirit Defensive Control sounds like the ticket to me.

  3. Don't forget your Aspects. Taking the above character again, you might have an aspect like, Out of sight, out of control! Invoke it for a re-roll or a +2 bonus on Discipline rolls, initiate Compels to earn Fate Points by deliberately blowing other evocations! Also, don't forget that your High Concept with the word Wizard in it should be Invokable in pretty much every spellcasting situation!

  4. Rote Spells! If you've got some spells you want to be able to reliably cast, you can make them Rotes and never have to worry about the Discipline roll to control. Many Rotes still require a roll to hit, etc., which may be a Discipline roll or may be something else. But failing that doesn't cause Fallout / Backlash.

  5. Keep your Discipline and Conviction true to the character's concept. A balanced caster is capable of controlling all the mojo he can gather. If that's you, then set them to the same level, or within 1 of each other. If not, then the disparity between Conviction and Discipline means something to your character. Something like, "I'm cautious, so I can control far more magic than I generally can summon," which is for a Discipline-high caster who finds he has to dig deep to bring the power, taking Stress and / or Consequences when brute force is called for. Alternatively, "My life is a battle - I'm constantly grappling with the enormous forces that seem to burn through me," which is your Conviction-high caster, and you KNOW what his problems are like.

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+1 Good, comprehensive answer. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Mar 11 '11 at 3:15

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