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Lloyd Dupont

Enchantment in BRP

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Any enchantment (homebrew) rule for BRP? The gold book is rather vague...

NOTE for this particular upcoming setting I like to keep BRP powers as weak as the gold book, compare to say, RQ or Mythras, but I wouldn't mind enchantment being "as easy" as Revolution D100

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By "enchantment" you mean the creation of "magic items", correct?

(Warning: vague advice and pontification ahead.)

You might want to adapt the rules for "invention" or "research" in other RPGs, notably science fiction and/or "mad science", or rules for ritual magic. Usually they work as follows:

1. A player decides what they want to build.

2. The GM (somehow) determines how much time the PC must spend, what special tools or material they need, and the difficulty of the task. Something "routine" like holy water or a one-use scroll might simply require time and raw materials, while forging Anduril (the first time) might be insanely difficult even for an immortal Elvish weapon master.

3. Assuming there's some risk or uncertainty involved, the player makes one or more skill rolls, adjusted by the difficulty of the task, to actually create the magic item. Failure means wasted effort and possibly spoiled materials; a Fumble might cause an explosion.

The tricky bit is deciding the time, materials, and difficulty for a particular item. I have no simple tables or charts to offer. If an item reproduces the effect for a specific spell, e.g. a "spell matrix" in RuneQuest, one can simply make those parameters a function of the spell's MP cost, "level", etc. Otherwise the GM will have to gauge the "power" of the item. The (ritual) magic system in Barbarians of Lemuria, for example, divides all magical effects into four categories: Cantrips (minor narrative effects), "First Circle" (whatever a trained human could do with the right equipment), "Second Circle" (beyond normal human ability), and "Third Circle" (world-shaking rituals most often used in swords-and-sorcery as the thing Our Anti-Hero is trying to prevent). Their alchemy rules have similar coarse-grained categories. See also its multi-genre derivative Everywhen and its suitably generic "Invention" rules.

Also note that the prevalence and power of magic items will set the tenor of your game world. If items that grant +5% to +15% bonuses are easy PCs will stock up on as many of these things as they can. (It also stands to reason that NPCs with sufficient gold and/or connections will also load up on as many of these things as they can.) The end result, at least in my experience, is that magic becomes just another technology. If powerful magic items that anyone can use become too common, it might trigger an "arms race" between PCs questing for super-gear and NPCs (or at least a harried GM) seeking defenses against them. The local evil overlord, hearing of thieves that can teleport into his treasury or bedchamber, will find a way to stop them, particularly if he knows (or is) a sorcerer.

My own preference is for low-magic worlds where uncommon "masterwork" gear -- mundane or magic, if there's a difference -- grants small bonuses and true "magic items", made with lore now mostly forgotten, are unique and dangerous to use. But it's your game.

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P.S. On the subject of limiting magic items:

You may want to look at Numenera or the Cypher System Rulebook, although its systems probably won't translate easily to D100. It breaks its "magic items" into three categories: oddities (which do weird things but nothing useful), one-use "cyphers", and "artifacts". The latter two have "levels" which may influence the strength of their effects but mostly determine which devices override which. Artifacts also have "depletion rolls": after every use, the player rolls dice (d6, d10, d20, or d100) and if the dice show a 1 the artifact becomes useless.

Depletion rolls are easier than tracking charges, and keeps players from becoming too dependent on their fancy technosorcery. For that matter, the prevalence of randomly assigned one-use magic items does give players powerful "desperation moves" that don't permanently unbalance the game.

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The thing close to my heart here is that Revolution D100 somewhat encourage enchanting whole area and I took that to heart for my Dark Elf parallel universe. With various protective enchantment covering all major dark elves towns and well off shops.

However BRP follow the tradition of many Runequest like setting before it where any sort of enchantment is prohibitively expansive in term of POW and implicitly extremely rare.
(Note I a m loathe to introduce to BRP the exponential result of magic / pow investment)

And it's not so much I want to flood the world with magic sword and armor, but I found having anti teleport anti scry zone protecting large and important area quite thematic....

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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Sorry for the post above. I wanted to tag fmitchell, and for some reason I was not able to type any text after that...

fmitchell made the suggestion that you could use a sci-fi or "mad science" rules from another game and adapt it to BRP. If you read french, you could take a look at Hawkmoon french editions, as both have such rules. As far as i know, they didn't exist in the US edition.

First edition proposes a very complete set of rules to create almost every thing using a set of Knowledge skills. The rules are also somewhat cumbersome, and have a tendency to impose high maluses on skills, making projects very hard to succeed.

Second edition, based on Elric!, treats science more like a series of spells that you learn individually. Though I prefer 1st edition rules, those are far more easy to handle.

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BRP is both flexible and forgiving. If a particular setting wants to posit a magical (alchemical?) technology, especially one involving immovable wards against intruders and certain forms of magic, it's not too hard to add a skill. Costs in time and materials could replace POW sacrifices. Penalties (maluses?) might grow slowly with area, so a rich merchant or petty nobleman might be able to protect his bedchamber and treasury with two separate enchantments, but only an emperor working with an arch-wizard could protect his entire castle.

Or you could adapt "Glyphs" (formerly Runes) in Advanced Sorcery (formerly The Bronze Grimoire), wherein each effect is a distinct pseudo-spell.

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My player have some frustration with Revolution D100... and I might give another go at BRP for that campaign part 2.... (and adapt the stunt/blueprint thingy to BRP)

Magic have a definitely different feel between both system.. but while I do like the weaker (i.e. less powerful) yet freer approach of BRP I like the area enchantments / warding I started to use extensively with Revolution D100...

I guess I could posit a area warding / enchantments (Rituals!) which let apply some vaguely defined spell list to some vaguely defined area on a somewhat permanent fashion and could be cast by a congregation of casters to ease an expansive (yet affordable) POW and time cost.
And I could keep it "GM only" for now (as in it's not widely available knowledge and I could fudge it for now and give me time to experiment on its effect...)

the whole magic item creation procedure is rather .. left to the  imagination in BRP...
Dark Elves do have special materials (adamantium, blood power stone, strongly magical culture), I like to use skill penalty idea...
I might have this advanced sorcery supplement to look at for ideas, thanks for suggestion.... 

An idea, indeed, might need to have Adamantium engraving all over the enchanted area... which explain while Dark Elves could protect whole town (they have lots of adamantium)... but others could not...

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