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Coronoides

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About Coronoides

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    Dr

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  • RPG Biography
    Hobbyist RPG designer since 1983. Author of Gulliver's Trading Company. Author of "The Tinkers Toolkit, Race Design" a mathematical analysis of D&D 5e canon races as an aid to race design on the DMs Guild. Fan of Ringworld and Magic World. Contributor RPG Review fanzine.
  • Current games
    BRP wise fiddling around with creating a new setting for Magic World.
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    Australia
  • Blurb
    Research scientist by day, game designer by night.

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  1. Coronoides

    Allegiance: how do you define light, balance, & shadow.

    Looking at my table Darth Vader is a Champion of Light!
  2. Coronoides

    Veteran Pregenerated Characters

    Another peak behind the curtain... Reputation: this is a new skill used to determine if others have heard of you. Since magic use is rare and important in this world, base reputation is (number of spell levels known)%. Reputation is a Communication category skill. Unlike other skills other people roll on your skill to see if they have heard of you. A special success will also have heard of the character’s most notable deed, their flashiest spell, and recognise them from description. A critical success will recognise them, be able to list the caster’s three most flashiest spells, and be able to list the several of their noteworthy deeds. In places you have never been these levels of success are reduced one step or two if there is no shared language. A critical failure mistakes the character for someone else entirely. Reputation is checked for experience only after completing a notable deed that had witnesses or recognition. Adventurers thanked by the count with a feast after slaying a dragon would qualify. Note: I have just changed the Base % from 0 to number of spells known. Spell casters posted prior to this should add spell levels know to reputation. In my world spell casting is a rare and important skill. Spellcasting education is available at about the same rate as literacy in Europe's middle ages (about 1% of the population). Only about 1% of those with POW16+ know how to cast spells. PCs with POW16+ are assumed to be among those lucky few.
  3. Coronoides

    Let's talk about Cultures

    Culture I allow the Priest/Shaman occupation for State cultures. I suspect its absence is a hold-over from Glorantha. Is that true? All the historical Iron Age to Medieval states I can think of had strong religions and therefore priests. Languages are not discussed much. All the cultures in a setting could have their own languages if you wanted but then you better ensure all PCs have at least one language in common! How have you handled languages in your setting? There are four broad categories of culture in the book (MW18) and I created a new option ‘Solitaire’ (see below). A setting might define specific cultures with their own languages within these broad categories. Has anyone done this? What categories would you put well known fictional and historical cultures into? Solitaire ‘Culture’ Some fantasy species live as solitary individuals. This ‘culture’ represents a lackof culture. Any parental education is minimal. These individuals are educated mostly by the experience of surviving alone, and thus lack sophisticated knowledge except of the wilds they are familiar with. We do assume that before play they have had enough contact with others to pick up a language, or know it instinctively as dragons do in some worlds. By necessity a solitaire PC is self-reliant in the extreme. Examples: Abandoned in the forest as a child and perhaps raised by wolves or other beasts. Those who have gone mad, utterly forgetting civilised ways and living like a beast. Wild talking beasts especially solitary predators like crocodiles, eagles, and panthers. In many worlds dragons, fachans, and other solitary monstrous predators. Skills: Climb, Hide, Move Quietly, Nature, Sense, Swim, Track. Occupations: Fisher, Hunter, Lost/Forgotten, Nomad. What do you think? Culture and Race Note that while many cultures are dominated by a species, culture and species need not be synonymous as they are in Tolkiens works and much modern fantasy. A setting could allow any species to can come from any culture. If you want to play a dragon living among elves you could in such a world. If this is true then species still determines your base skill %. This could be for several reasons. The physical and mental differences between species affect base skills. Additionally, species cannot interbreed and so families and communities of a species tend to pass some culture down through the generations preserving traditions that emerged on the origin land of the species millennia ago before the great diasporas. How do you handle species and culture?
  4. Coronoides

    Veteran Pregenerated Characters

    Sir Gorland is the closest I could get to the mounted and armoured knight archetype. He has mail and a shield but there is no way a starting character can afford a warhorse. Sir Gorland is a skilled fighter and a competent leader. MagicWorldCS Knight.pdf
  5. Coronoides

    MW is currently 50% off at Chaosium.com

    No one (yet) as far as I know.
  6. Coronoides

    Veteran Pregenerated Characters

    Today’s offering is a young dragon 10’ long from nose to tail tip. Since I use 83pt for Characteristics with points allocated within the rollable range this opens up weaker and some potent species in a fair way. With only 83pt this dragon is by nessesity a young dragon. I created a solitaire culture to cover solitary predators like dragons. Solitaire ‘Culture’ Some fantasy species live as solitary individuals. This ‘culture’ represents a lack of culture. Any parental education is minimal. These individuals are educated mostly by the experience of surviving alone, and thus lack sophisticated knowledge except of the wilds they are familiar with. We do assume that before play they have had enough contact with others to pick up a language, or know it instinctively as dragons do in some worlds. By necessity a solitaire PC is self-reliant in the extreme. Examples: Abandoned in the forest as a child and perhaps raised by wolves or other beasts. Those who have gone mad, utterly forgetting civilised ways and living like a beast. Wild talking beasts especially solitary predators like crocodiles, eagles, and panthers. In many worlds dragons, fachans, and other solitary monstrous predators. Skills: Climb, Hide, Move Quietly, Nature, Sense, Swim, Track. Occupations: Fisher, Hunter, Lost/Forgotten, Nomad. Finally, here are my notes for dragons in my setting: Dragons All the dragons of the Broken Isles are intelligent creatures, none have fixed INT. Dragons are another creation of the gods of Shadow for the wars than raged in the first age of the world. Dragons epitomise individual power, self-sufficiency, and ambition. Most become selfish greedy vain creatures with no regard for others. However they are free-willed creatures and some embrace the kinder traits of Shadow who champion freedom and creativity. A few are even swayed into the influence of Balance or Light. Therefore though rarely seen dragons have a mixed reputation. A dragon approaching a city will be greeted by soldiers and questions but not attacked outright. After all, an enraged dragon could burn half your city but a dragon ally is invaluable. Most dragons live as Solitaires (see this document for this culture). Dragon (with 2d6+6 INT and 3d6 APP) Total of minimum possible rolls for Characteristics 20+10+20+8+10+3+3=74, under 83 so playable but you will be rather young and puny by dragon standards. However, during play you can increase your characteristics in the usual ways up to the maximums allowed for dragons. Unlike the description in the book dragons of this world require POW 16 or higher to cast spells. A dragon’s tail sweep is an area attack but the book does not give the area. I assume the tail hits targets within a right triangle shaped area with sides of SIZ/10 metres/yards round down. Skills: Listen 50% (+35), Search 25% (+5), Ride 00%(-35), Sailing 00%(-15), Physik 15% (-15), Craft 00% (-05), picklock 00% (-5), repair/devise 00% (44%), trap 01 (-4). Total +0. Weapons skills: Breath 60%, Claw 25%, Bite 25%, Tail 50%. Remember a PC dragon does not get the species’ extra attack. Dragons in this setting are excellent swimmers and often get much of their food from the sea. Add swim speed 8. Dragons are have long tails and necks. To find a dragon’s length multiply the height given for a humanoid of the same SIZ by x1.5; for wingspan double the height given for humanoids. magicworldcs dragon.pdf
  7. Coronoides

    Spell casting, what needs to be done.

    In the old Merlin TV mini series with Sam Neill IMDB entry Wizards learned magic from the Fey. They began by speaking, advanced to ‘hand magic’ using gestures only, and true masters could cast a spell just by thinking.
  8. Coronoides

    Spell casting, what needs to be done.

    Do you use talking animal PCs? If so how do you handle those? Or does your world not have them (most don’t).
  9. Coronoides

    New Magic World Review

    I’m guessing your right. A more restrictive community content site as done for CoC might work. It would give fans motivation to do further editing, commission art, put in pdf bookmarks and generally polish the already solid fan work being done.
  10. Coronoides

    Cave trolls are bad neighbours. (Play report)

    Yes we found the statements section of the combat round superfluous, there is no penalty for changing your mind as far as I can see and soon dropped it. I’ll keep the magic phase separate. I liked the way it clearly defined spellcasters starting to cast a spell and fighters having an opportunity to stop them before the spell goes off, just like many fantasy films and novels. We also put environmental effects, such as fire spreading, at the end of the magic phase. I like the d10 to vary initiative idea. Do you roll each round or at the start of each combat?
  11. Coronoides

    New Magic World Review

    A community content option would be nice. Failing that, we fans could at least organise all the final versions of the fan supplements we have made into a pinned post to make them easy to find. A pinned post for errata, typos, and clarifications would also be good.
  12. Allegiance is missing from the flowchart (MW20-21). In the Allegiance section (MW29) the boxed text ‘Three Forces’ makes Shadow sound like ‘evil’ and light like ‘good’. However, Light and Shadow as described elsewhere in the book don’t map perfectly to good and evil. In these descriptions Light places the community first, Shadow the self, and Balance reflects the natural world that cares nothing for intelligent beings. The following table (picture) lists traits associated with each of the traits within the text of Magic World. Both Light and Shadow can be described as evil in their extreme forms and Balance comes across as aloof. There is some overlap. In my current world learned scholars know that the distant gods are aligned into three philosophical forces Light, Shadow, and Balance. Most people are ignorant of this struggle. Scholars know that these factions do not neatly fit into the ideas of ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ used by mortals, but this insight is lost on most common folk who instead tend to think of their gods as good and the opposition as evil. While the gods may not often act in detectable ways observant people can see the influence of these forces everywhere vying for control of the world. Certainly, there are those who swear allegiance to Light, Balance or Shadow and act as agents for theses forces in the world (p29). In this struggle Balance has had the upper hand for millennia, though never total victory and the Balances influence and creatures have come to be thought of as ‘natural’. Rare ‘unnatural’ creatures like centaurs and dragons are survivors from the earliest times before Balance got the upper hand. How do you describe/ use the three forces in your games?
  13. The MW sorcery rules do not clearly state what is required to cast a spell. Can you whisper a spell? Can you cast a spell if holding something in one or both hands? Do you need to speak or gesture at all? Each referee must craft the answer to this question with her world and table in mind. What needs to be done to cast a spell in your games and why did you describe it that way? My Houserule: My assumptions are designed for a campaign with talking animal PCs and diverse concepts that use the spell casting rules such as classic staff and robe wizards, shape-shifting berserkers, and war-priests. These assumptions also mean that spell-casting cannot be conducted stealthily. I assume ‘memorising spells’ is actually completing most of a complex ritual requiring clear enunciation of mystic words, whole body movement, and drawing of glyphs even if it is just roughly tracing these in the dirt. Casting the spell is actually speaking a few words to complete the ritual and release the spell. Since words must be clearly enunciated, whispering cannot cast spells. Since gesturing is not required a sorcerer can cast spells while grasping objects. However, if range is touch then the sorcerer’s skin must contact the target.
  14. Coronoides

    New Magic World Review

    So is there anything in the review I got wrong or that deserves further elaboration?
  15. Coronoides

    MW vs. BGB - Differences / Comparison

    I had a similar problem after a trip to India. Many sites block users whose signal originates from a country with a lot of internet scammers. Here is the text of the review... Magic World (2012) is a generic fantasy game by Chaosium using the a variant of the Basic Roleplaying (BRP) system that also powers Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, and many other games. Here I review the game. In subsequent articles I’ll offer a few clarifications and house rules then give you a summary of my setting as an example of the kinds of world Magic World (MW) can support. When I refer to things one of the authors, Ben Monroe, has said my source is this thread https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/a-thread-for-chaosiums-magic-world.787461/ This article copyright Karl David Brown 2018. Poor First Impressions The physical book is a perfect bound paperback with a dynamic colour illustration of adventurers fighting a giant on the cover. However, inside the art is of varied style and quality giving the book a dis-joined appearance. Chaosium fans will recognise re-used art from older publications, sometimes poorly scanned and visibly pixelated. The physical book also has a glossy map of the Southern Reaches setting which is missing from the PDF. Inside the text is mostly slightly larger font double column which I like because I’m often reading game books late in the evening when eyes and brain are tired. There are a good number of typos and a few rules explanations that are not quite up to the level of clarity we expect today. The typos that give some weapons the wrong Weapon Class (skill used) or price are particularly annoying. Partially, these complaints are because the text was assembled from portions of earlier out of print publications, such as “Elric!”, with references to the works of renowned novelist Michael Moorcock removed. The book really should have undergone another round of editing and polishing to create a seamless whole before being released. Ideally, Chaosium would have shelled out for new art of a coherent style. The Sorcerous Heritage rule is example of a niggling issue that could have been solved by polishing the text taken from previous publications into a seamless whole; the option to switch points into POW at character generation should be in the the rolling characteristics sections of the character generation chapter not hidden half a book away. The PDF does not have bookmarks. Frankly, the whole thing gives the impression of being done on a low budget and in a hurry. Why did Chaosium create Magic World when Runequest has been such a hit? Chaosium has undergone a recent revival as a company. Before that they embarrassingly lost the rights to Runequest. This was the period of the editions of Runequest by other companies, Mongoose and The Design Mechanism. Thus Chaosium found itself in an industry dominated by the fantasy genre with no fantasy game. Maybe this is why after releasing the “Basic Roleplaying ” (BRP) generic version of the system that powers Chaosium games they then produced “Magic World” as generic fantasy game. Despite sporting the BRP logo this is a stand alone game. A couple of years later Chaosium was taken over by folks who owned Runequest and the new management stopped further development of Magic World after only two supplements, “Advanced Sorcery” and the “Magic World Quickstart Rules”. Several others were at various stages of development but are unlikely to see the light of day now. Although, development of new “Magic World” books has stopped Magic World is still available as softcover book and PDF from Chaosium and has a small dedicated fan base including a forum at BRP Central (https://basicroleplaying.org/forum/24-magic-world/ ). Why is it called ‘Magic World’? In 1982 Chaosium released “Worlds of Wonder” a boxed set of generic BRP rules that included a few genre books. One of these was “Magic World”. The title of the new Magic World is therefore a shout out to its distant ancestor. Some people don’t like the name because it is too bland. For me Magic World isn’t magical enough for the name. One might expect Magic World to be especially magical and contain even more incredible creatures, places, and items than usual and for wizards to be especially common. This is not the case; Magic World supports settings with the usual amount of magic you might expect for standard fantasy faire. Why Magic World? Despite all this Magic World is a great game. Why should I play Magic World when there are so many other Fantasy or BRP games? Firstly, there is no one true best fantasy RPG. D&D is good for swashbuckling Saturday matinee type stories of roguish heroes laughing as they cut through hoards of goblins and spit in the eyes of dragons. In D&D its either flesh wounds, unconsciousness, or clean death. Nothing too gruesome for kids’ TV. Other games are more or less gritty, emulate different sub-genres of fantasy or even the works of specific authors. No RPG is the best choice, it depends on the kind of world you want to portray and kind of games you and your players enjoy. It’s a matter of the right tool for the job. One Book Though branded BRP, Magic World is a stand-alone game; you don’t need the Basic Roleplaying ‘Big Gold Book’. Monroe has said that he tried to make the core book Magic World as complete as possible. I’d say he succeeded. You could buy this one book and have everything you need to create and play a lifetime’s worth of adventures. BRP compatibility I will play it with just this book and its two supplements “Advanced Sorcery” and the quick-start free PDF. However, since Magic World is built on the BRP system it is very compatible with other BRP games (including those who don’t have the BRP branding). The core BRP ‘Big Gold Book’ (BGB) is not needed for play but all the generic systems in that book are compatible, want mutants and superheroes from a crashed spaceship in your world? No problem, use the BGB. Magic World supports pre-gunpowder Iron Age to early medieval technology but it would be easy to import Age of Sail technology from the old Runequest Pirates or Mongoose’s Pirates of Legend. There is a good bestiary in Magic World but if you need need more monsters it is easy to import monsters from Call of Cthulhu or any other BRP game. BRP veterans who like things more complicated could easily import the magic system from their favourite BRP game but to my mind that negates one of the features that differentiates Magic World from other BRP fantasy games. Generic While the last chapter of the book provides an example setting, Magic World is presented as a generic rule set not tightly bound to the reality of a particular fictional world and therefore perfect for building your own world with. Sure, the book has its origins in out of print material from the Elric! franchise but after cutting out the specific references a fairly adaptable generic game remains. Personally, I prefer generic RPGs because part of the fun is building your own world. If you don’t want to do that work well the last chapter has a setting for you. If you want to buy into an unusual and fully described setting with lots of supplements, well Magic World is not for you and that’s cool too. Gritty No generic RPG can do everything well. Magic World is suited to the grittier end of fantasy. Combat is arguably more realistic than D&D and for the ill equipped or untrained downright deadly. The rules for major wounds are simple enough to be fast playing but should make PCs hesitate before drawing swords. If you want to emulate the fight scenes from TV shows like Vikings, Britannia or Game of Thrones then Magic World is a good choice. Other hat-tips to realism and real risks are scattered throughout the book including disease and seasickness. When was the last time you saw a swashbuckling D&D hero get sea sick? Not every encounter will end in a deadly fight but battles will happen and you should create a PC prepared to survive one way or another. Be pragmatic, even the most scholarly wizard might consider a shield or perhaps armour under that voluminous robe before heading towards a battle. Alternatively, a really high dodge skill might be good enough. If this level of grit isn’t to taste there are optional rules such as heroic hit points that make things a bit less grim. Just easy enough Games of the BRP family, including Magic World, all have a unified rule to resolve all tasks, had it for over a decade before D&D caught up and invented its own unified mechanic. BRP games use % roll under that is even more intuitive and easier to teach to beginners than D&D’s D20 roll over. There are degrees of success and failure that add a little more granularity to outcomes. BRP games don’t have classes and levels with hundreds of unique abilities to look up. Instead characters simply increase their skills and characteristics. In Magic World the few spell casters might learn new spells and very rarely a character might gain a few abilities by becoming a champion of a cosmic force but that’s the extent of new material to learn. Monroe has said that Magic World was intended as a “streamlined intro game to the BRP line”. Everyone has their own ‘sweet-spot’ of complexity, which may change depending on the project. Magic World is very close to my current sweet-spot. It is simpler than most BRP games except Open Quest by D101 Games which is too simple for my taste. One place where streamlining is obvious is in the magic rules. In other BRP fantasy games there are typically several different kinds of magic each with its own skills, systems, and quirks. The core Magic World book presents a single streamlined system used by all spellcasters. It’s easy to learn and fast playing at the table. I like it a lot. Although there aren’t character classes players choose a species, culture, and occupation which guide their skill choices preventing choice paralysis. They also have a few free choice points for skills to customise the new PC. Character generation is fast and flexible taking about 15-30 minutes to complete. Nautical Adventure Magic world includes a pretty complete set of seafaring rules. Sailing provides a wealth of adventure possibilities including exploration, pirates, naval battles, sea monsters, riding out storms, and mutiny. If you want the sea to feature prominently in your campaign then Magic World is a good choice. Go away and watch the old Sinbad matinee’s and HBO’s Vikings then read Le Guin’s Wizard of Earthsea and you’ll have lots of ideas to play with. The author of Magic World has said that one reason the nautical rules are in the core book was because his kids loved Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. You’ll note that there are also rules for talking beast PCs. Overall Magic World has some presentation issues but remains my favourite iteration of the BRP rules for fantasy. It is a stand-alone book with lots of spells, monsters, travel and everything you need for a lifetime of play. The rules within are a streamlined version of the intuitive BRP rules providing fast play and are suitable for those new to BRP or even RPG. Magic World provides a grittier more threatening environment for PCs while maintaining fairly fast play.
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