Status and Overwriting

Version 3
A File from Aayko's The Legends Corner

This piece will deal with a subject about which many players have expressed their uncertainties: the overwriting of an old status by a new status. Will it happen and when? Also the related subjects of 'overwriting' of skills and religions will be briefly dealt with.

[I] STATUSES - INTRODUCTION

A Supernatural Status has several aspects: it belongs to a Status Tree, has a Status Alignment, belongs to a Status Type and has Status Rankings.

(1) A status belongs to a Status-tree
A status-tree is an upclimbing range of statusses that belong together. There are two 'natural' moments at which a status has a chance of Morphing to a better status higher up in the tree:
- during production, at a chance called the Production Morph Percentage, and/or
- during combat (Duel and Battle!), at a chance called the Battle Morph Percentage.
Status trees differ per module.
Example: in ROI you have a tree like this:
'Blessed of Vol' -> 'Favored of Vol' -> 'Spirit of Vol' -> 'Spirit of Battle' -> 'Essence of Battle'
With Blessed of Vol having a 10% chance of morphing into Favored of Vol at production, while the chance for that same morph is 5% during a fight.

(2) A status has an Alignment
Alignment is the association with a certain attitude in life, with the moral inclination of a character or magical thing.
- All characters have an Alignment; it is solely based on the Religion that the character has. It can be changed by changing religion, or in some modules (e.g. SOP) by having the Highpriest change the Alignment of a religion.
- All statuses, and some items, also have an Alignment associated with them. For items this means that the user must have, or may not have, a certain alignment in order to being able to use the item. For statuses this means that a character must have the Alignment associated with the status before he can get/attain that status.
- The four basic Alignments are:
GOOD (G), NEUTRAL (N), EVIL (E), or NON (0)

The Alignment Restriction: if a status has an associated alignment, then a character can only get/attain that status when he has that required alignment. It is the alignment of the status that you are striving FOR/willing to morph TO that matters, not the alignment of the status you already have.
For example, in the SOP module, the Enchanted status has NO alignment, so any character can get it e.g. during a battle morph (due to an item equipped), irrespective of his/her religion. But Greater Enchanted is Neutral or Good. If you had a character with an Evil religion and the Enchanted status, then your character will not be able to morph (see point 1 above) to Greater Enchanted.
Note: In a few specific cases this can be an advantage rather than a disadvantage - if you have a very good item that asks for a specific status somewhere in the middle of a status-tree, then you could prevent morphing (and loosing the benefits of the item) by picking a 'wrong' religion.
Note: Some trees split up at certain stages, each branch representing morphing chances for different alignments.

Examples

View Status Child of Chaos 		
EVIL OTHER
Morphing 
Has a 6 % chance to Morph into Chaos Damned ID # 1878  during Production.
(Character must be of EVIL religious alignment)
Has a 7 % chance to Morph into Chaos Damned ID # 1878  during a Battle.
(Character must be of EVIL religious alignment)

View NEUTRAL GOOD OTHER Status Greater Enchanted ID # 1860  Results.
[snip]
Morphing.
Has a 15 % chance to Morph into Demi-Ethereal ID # 2037  during Production.
(Character must be of NEUTRAL or GOOD religious alignment)

'Evil','Neutral' and 'Good' are the Status Alignment, 'Other' is the Status Type.

(3) Each status is classified under one Status Type.
A Status Type (or: Status Subtype, or: Status Category) is a broad category having to do with the specific supernatural nature of the status. The four Status Types are:
UNDEAD (U), LYCANTHROPE (L), RELIGIOUS (R) or OTHER (O)
Each status (normally: the whole status-tree) belongs nature-wise to one of these Types. It will not surprise you that e.g. a 'Blessed by God X' status is of the Religious Type, and that a Werewolf status is of the Lycanthrope Type.

(4) A status has a Ranking (positive or negative) for each Status Type
Although a status belongs to (falls under, is classified under) one specific Status Type, it also has Rankings for all other Types.
These Rankings are used for:
- determining 'Overwriting' of one status by another status (see below),
- modifying diplomacy (they represent a modifier for the character having that one status when doing diplomacy versus a character with a status belonging to the listed Subtypes)
- some troop types, items and spells require a certain ranking of the trainer/user/caster.
Examples of outcomes of the V7 order:

OTHER status Enchanted
The following is Influence vs. indicated target type and
the Rank within Status sub type.
SAME Status : 1         UNDEAD : 1          Lycanthrope : 1    
Religious : 1           Other : 1 

UNDEAD status Vampire 
The following is Influence vs. indicated target type and
the Rank within Status sub type.
SAME Status :-5         UNDEAD : 4          Lycanthrope :-4    
Religious :-10          Other :-4 
So these give the Rankings in each Status Type, and these Rankings also figure as Diplomacy modifiers (i.e. INF modifiers that the status has versus his own status or versus other statusses of a particular subtype). 'Same Status' of course is no Status Ranking but a Diplomacy modifier ONLY; the other numbers are BOTH.

[II] STATUSES - OVERWRITING

(1) General principle

Overwriting refers to the ability of one status to override and replace another status. For this it matters: (a) to which Status Type belongs the *current* status that the character has?, and (b) what are the Status Rankings of the old and the new statusses for the Status Type determined under (a)?
The Overwriting Condition: A new status would have to have an equal or higher Ranking in the Status Type category to which the existing status belongs, in order to being able to overwrite that existing status.
So if your current status, status X, is a of the RELIGIOUS Type, then for a new status Y [of whatever Type!] to overwrite X, it would require that its *Religious* ranking was equal or higher than the *Religous* ranking of x.
Note that Y could be a terrific and powerfull status of the Undead type, and X a very meagre Religious status - and still no overwriting would occur if the Overwriting Condition was not fulfilled...

Example: your character in Chaos has the status of #350 Blessed of Algar; this is of course a Religious Type status, and via the V7 order you find out its Rankings: Undead:0, Lycanthrope:0, Religious:1, Other:0
Alas he gets killed by a Hydra, and you wonder whether your other character can bring him back to life(?) with spell 'Rite Morghoul'. As you used that spell before, you happen to know that the Morghoul status #362 (of Undead type) has these Rankings: Undead:5 Lycanthrope:-3 Religious:-3 Other:0
As it is the Type of the old status that counts, you must compaire the Religious Rankings of both statusses, which are 1 and -3 respectively. So alas, the overwriting will fail, and your buddy remains dead as a biscuit.

As this is an issue that comes up forever, let's quote it also in the phrasing of several people besides yours truly:
"If you are having status X, and activate an item that gives status Y, then the ranking of Y is compared in the category of X - and if the ranking is equal or better, then the Y status over writes.
Every status has a category: Undead, Lycanthrope, Religious and Other
Every status has a Ranking in each of these 4 categories
For a new status to overwrite an exisiting status the Ranking of the new status is compared in the category of the exisiting status. If the ranking of the new status is equal or higher than the ranking of the current status in its own category then the new status will overwrite the old one.
So if you have a Other status that has an Other status ranking of 7, then a religious status would have to have an Other ranking of 7 or more to overwrite it."(Edi Birsan)
"To overwrite a status, you have to be able to beat it 'on its own ground'. For example, you want to be able to overwrite a status of type 'Other', which has "Other" rank 7, Religious level 3. The only statuses that can overwrite it are those that have an 'Other' rank of 7 or more. It doesn't matter what the type of the new status is. It doesn't matter what the ranks of the old status are in any category except 'Other'."(Andrew Barton)

(2) New status by items, spells and adventures

For Riting (spells #85-88) and similar spells: the new status will only overwrite the old status if the Overwriting Conditions are fulfilled.
Same goes for item activation.
The ONLY way that a status can be automatically forced to override any existing status *regardless* of rankings is via an Adventure order and then only when the Adventure has been specifically designed to do so, and explicitly states so. (It's not clear to me whether 'normal' adventures obey Overwriting Conditions or only implement a status if the target has no status. Anyone tried?)

Note that the fact that the module books list Alignments for basic statusses, does not mean that a target needs that alignment in order for giving him that status via a *spell*(!). So you can e.g. Rite anyone with any religon; the indication that such undead statuses have an Evil alignment only warns you in this case that the undead status will not morph ahead for Good characters in the future. But the initial affliction (by spells or by order S27) to give him the status is no problem.

(3) Combat Morphing of a status

A status can 'morph' during combat (duel or battle) into another status:
* The normal instance is that because of the combat, a status you have will morph into a higher status INSIDE of the same status-tree. E.g. Netherworld becomes Greater Netherworld. In this case the Overwriting Condition is automatically fulfilled, of course. And if the Alignment Restriction is fulfilled as well, morphing can occure. (The same goes for Morphing at Production)
* More tricky is the case, in which you have a status X, but also have an item equipped that gives a small chance to morphing into status Y during combat. Y can be a LOWER or higher status in the same status-tree as X, or a status in a totally DIFFERENT status-tree. What will happen in combat - will the item effect take precedence? NO. In such a case, the Overwriting Condition, and the Alignment Restriction, has to be fulfilled before the morphing takes place; if not, you will just keep your old status. This protects you against ending up with a status deterioration inside the same status tree.

Note that for a character with a status to morph during combat, yet a thirth requirement must be fulfilled as well: the fight must fulfill the Duration Requirement, a requirement that must btw also be met for generating other positive benefits from combat like PC/TACT increases and militant increases (when applicable). If you participate in a walk-over fight which is resolved in de SAV round, then your (fixed) chances at Morphing simply will be ignored by the system.
The Battle Duration Requirement: Skirmish battles or duels will NEVER result in any positive benefit; combat must go *past* the Charge Round (= the second melee round, that is the first Regular Melee Round, must appear on your printout) to get to the chance of a positive effect! For Morphing, this chance is FIXED per status (nearly always 0%, 5% or 10%). But for PC/Tact/Militant increases, this chance is based in part on how many rounds the combat goes, i.e. the tougher the fight, the better your odds of getting something (if you have high levels, and the fight is easy, and you take few wounds, you won't benefit).

Note that when you equip an item of which you do not meet all the restrictions, you can during combat still get the *status morph chance* linked to that item. So the chance of morphing tied to an item does NOT depend on meeting the In Use/Activation restrictions listed for that item; you get the chance simply by fighting with the item equipped. Of course when the item gives a status *at activation*, you must normally fullfill the In Use/Activation requirements.
Items that give a chance to status morph in combat are all taken singularly and are not additive in their results.

(4) SUMMARY

For Overwriting to occure, which conditions need to be fulfilled?
(OC=Overwriting Condition, AC=Alignment Condition, DC=Battle Duration Condition)
- Morphing: 'natural' morphing of a status you have, or the chance at morphing supplied by an item you have in use -> at production OC+AC; in combat OC+AC+DC
- Affliction via spells: like Rite #85-90, Netherworld #122, Enchant #186, Divine Bless #283 -> OC only
- Affliction via item activation: -> OC (as far as I know; or OC+AC??)
- Affliction by S27 -> only takes effect if no status present
- Affliction via adventure -> only case in which OC *may* not matter if explicitly stated; in normal cases OC only (I think, or if no status present??).
So ALL status overwriting, whether from a spell, an item activation, or a battle morph (from an existing status or from an item equipped) has to fulfill the Overwriting Condition: only if the prospective new status has a ranking in the status type to which the existing status belongs, that is greater than or equal to the ranking of the existing status in that type, then the new status will overwrite the old status.

[III] OVERWRITING OF SKILLS AND RELIGIONS

This does not really belong here, but as it deals with a kind of overwriting, leading to as much querries as status overwriting, I'll lump it here.

1) Do Skills overwrite?
Nope, they never do.
- If you can get a new [*] skill by item activation, you need to have an empty skill slot to get that skill. If needed you will have to drop [**] an old skill.
- The normal restrictions of skill combinations do apply. E.g. you cannot make Priest-Mages (L2 games); if an arcanist activates an item bestowing a priest skill, then the item does not fail to activate but does everything EXCEPT teach the arcane skill. And you cannot make Necromancer-Wizards or whatever either. In short, items which grant Priest or Arcane Art skills through activation require that you have no skill #s 1-10 to get that skill teaching effect.

Note:
[*] Accent on "new" (= a skill you do not have yet).
Untill 4 years ago, you also could not overwrite a skill at level x with that same skill at level y. If you were Druid level 5, and you had an item giving you Druid level 20 at activation, then you had to first drop that Druid lvl 5 skill before activating the item to get Druid lvl 20.
This has (silently) been CHANGED somewhere along the line. Now, if an item gives a skill at a higher level then you currently have then it will boost that skill to the new level without dropping it. Note the "higher"- you will not get downgraded.
[**] Note that when you Drop S32 an arcanist skill you not only immediately loose all your spells, but also your familiar! It is not totally clear whether you can drop a skill that is needed for the ownership of a guild you own; LII Rules Book p.225 say "you cannot", but a GM ruling once was "you can, and you will not loose the guild, but you will surely loose the guild when someone Challenges you over it". Hmm. When in dire need, just test it.
You do keep a Title if you drop the skill that was needed for acquiring that title.

2) Do religions overwrite?
Yep, if you activate an item that changes your religion, then your religion will change - even when you are a priest! In fact, such item activation is the ONLY way to swap gods for a priest, as the Convert spell does not work on the clergy. If a priest activates an item that changes his religion, then the character becomes a priest of the new religion at the same priest level. If the same priest owned a church, then he would still own that church, but the guild would be subject to immediate loss at challenge!