Kilvan's Cafe Two. by Susan Van Camp
About the Channel Link Card!
Kilvan's Cafe Two. by Susan Van Camp
About the Channel Link Card.
Of all the cards in the Dragon Storm role-playing game, few can compete with the power of Channel Link. It grants a group of Valarians the ability to speak mind-to-mind. It give them the power to pool their strength. It even lets them share role-playing points. Unfortunately, it's also one of the least understood cards in the game.
The text of Channel Link reads as follows:
Channel Link: BOON
UNIVERSAL Anchor, Boon 0 / P
User forms a psychic link with characters who choose to enter the link. Linked characters may speak mind to mind. They may give each other unspent role playing points, and use channel cards. If holder of this Boon dies, or goes unconscious from damage, the link is broken.
This makes Channel Link a typical Dragon Storm card: Short, sweet, and so full of holes that you could drive a truck through it. Many DS card rules are meant to be open to interpretation so that gamemasters and players can tailor them to fit their needs. In the case of Channel Link, however, the rules have proved too vague to encompass such a powerful and complex ability. With this article, I hope to clear up some of the confusion surrounding this card.
No matter what this article says, rule 3.4 is still in force. If your group uses Channel Link in a way that you enjoy, stick with it. For Guild Sanctioned games, Susan prefers that Channel Link be restricted in the ways described in this article.
The question we've heard most often has to do with the number of poeple who need the boon in order for it to function. Must everyone participating in a link have the Boon in order to share in its benefits? No. The holder of the boon becomes the central figure and telepathic communication flows through the boon holder to everyone invited to join a link. This allows a group can spread out their boons; characters can specialize in different areas, such as fighters concentrating on HP boons. In general, spell casters tend to favor to the Channel Link Boon because of its +WIS bonus.
The trick behind the +WIS bonus is that it needs to be an Active Link to get the bonus. If you are not "running" a Link, no bonus.
It's possible (and desireable, given the WIS bonus) for multiple characters in a group to have this boon. Channel Link functions as normal, no matter how many characters have the boon. However, if all characters with the boon go unconcious, die or are out of range (see below) then the remaining characters lose the link.
The next question that comes up has to do with a Link's range. How far can a linked group can stretch a Channel Link? In general we use the 'line of sight' rule; if you can see the other members of your group, the link works fine. If others are out of sight but still nearby (say within 500 feet) then the link continues to function. Any farther than that creates problems. I suggest allowing characters to stay in touch at a distance of up to a mile, but to require a + WIS roll if the 500 feet/line of sight rule has been broken. A failed roll means a temorary loss of the link. The player may attempt a roll to re-establish the link, but it takes all of her concentration to do so; this means, in a combat situation, she must use her action. Rolls to re-establish a link may be made once every five minutes. An interesting wrinkle would be to extend or shorten a link's range depending on terrain: Double it in pristine regions, leave it the same in normal regions, cut it to half in warped regions and limit it to line of sight in wasted areas.
Another question we frequently recieve relates to Channel cards like Channel Strike and Channel Healing. Can anyone in a Channel Link use these cards, whether or not they hold the boon? Yes. Channel Link, like the Valarian Champion boon, allows it's user access to a new class of cards. If your character has to the Valarian Champion card she can use Valarian cards. However, in the case of Channel Link, your character only has to be linked to someone who has this boon. This makes Channel cards even more powerful and desirable.
The next question is related to time. How long does it take to establish a Channel Link or add someone new to the link. It takes at least an hour. The characters must join hands to perform ritual chants and meditations. The exact form of these rituals vary (and can be left up to players and gamemasters). A linked character who remains out of range of his link for more than one day loses contact with the group. He must repeat the ritual and meditation to rejoin the link.
We also get a question from gamemasters. How can I challenge a group of players with Channel Link? Given how poweful a linked group can be, this is a good question. Tap the Link provides the best solution. This Necromancy spell lets a death mage listen in on conversations between the members of a link. There's no better way to second-guess attacking Valarians than to overhear their plans as they make them.
As a Universal Boon the GM will want to place enemy groups in a Channel Link of their own for tough fights. Most Necromancers do not want to hear directly from their minions so they hesitate to put up a link. I recommend that a Necromancer only use Channel Link when the players have 700 card points, or more, in their party.
Even with these restrictions, Channel Link remains a formidible card. It encourages teamwork among Valarians and allows them to combine their strength. This gives them an advantage over necromancers, whose paranoia makes them suspicious of their allies. A death mage never knows who to trust. A linked Valarian can reach trusted allies with a thought.