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Rules Changes from Elric! to Magic World?


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I haven't seen an authoritative list. Glancing at the Magic World pdf, MW includes or modifies the following:

  • The inclusion of Cultures, as @rsanford stated.
  • Skill Category Modifiers.
  • Occupation skill allotments instead of a large pool of skill points to spend.
  • Additional Occupations (maybe just Astrologer?)
  • Different base skill levels
  • Different skill success levels.
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8 hours ago, Vile said:

What do you mean?

Ben adapted the RQIII cultures idea, and added it to Magic World's Character generation.

As I noticed just last week(!) Apotheosis for Champions of Balance is Different.

I'd have to look again at combat very closely, but my recollection is that Ben didn't change anything per se, but on the basis of my pedantic close reading of the two printings of Elric! I have plus SB5 and the BGB, clarified and reworded some stuff. I'll take another look when I get a chance.

I may even have my emails from back when he showed me the MS...

Cheers,

Nick

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I don't have my Stormbringer 5th Edition in front of me but here are a few differences I noticed:

Characteristics are 3D6 for everything but SIZ and INT which are 2D6+6. In Elric! and Stormbringer it's 2D6+6 for all.

Hit Points are (SIZ+CON)/2 rather than SIZ+CON (the old formula is an option)

Starting skills are calculated differently. Rather than a pool of points to allot among the occupational skills as with CoC, you get a fixed bonus to certain skills. You choose a culture a la RuneQuest and get +10 to three of the culture skills. You then get +60 to one skill, +40 to three skills, and +20 to four skills from your 8 occupational skills.

MW includes skill category modifiers a la RQ2/3. They are half the characteristic associated with the skill category. This is added as a bonus to all skills in the category.

The Allegiances are now Shadow, Light and Balance. I'm not sure if the benefits are exactly the same as SB/Elric! but they look similar.

Some skills are renamed to the skills in RQ from the names in SB, such as World Lore. Otherwise they look pretty similar.

The Seafaring rules from Sailing on the Seas of Fate are now included.

The Bestiary is creatures from RQ3 adapted to MW.

A chapter detailing the new setting: The Southern Reaches.

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21 hours ago, Vile said:

What do you mean?

That was supposed to be chargen not charge. It means that in Magic World you pick the culture your from and that dictates where a portion of your skill points are placed. For example a nomad might have riding...

Edited by rsanford
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3 hours ago, rsanford said:

That was supposed to be chargen not charge.

Haha, yes, it's obvious to me now - I had a cognitive failure there!

Thanks, all, this is interesting. Quite a few small differences and design decisions seem to have gone into the making of MW, so it's far from a simple stripping of the Moorcock elements from Elric! A lot of these feed into the "Southern Marches vibe" as per my other thread.

By the way, I've also started a thread on these rules differences on RPGnet in the hope of getting a few people who don't post here (hint: it's working). As these things tend to disappear under the volume of posting there, it would be good if some of you MW fans chimed in over there from time to time.

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I’m pretty sure another difference is experience.

If memory serves, in MW your occupational skills increase by D8, and non-occupational skills by D6. You also get an automatic increase of an occupational skill when advancing, without needing to roll over. I like the difference between occupations and non-occupations, though I’m hesitant of the automatic increase. In Elric! it’s just a D10 regardless of whether it’s occupational or not. MW is better, IMO.

MW also has a different grade/degree of success. Elric! has critical (1/5th), success, failure, and fumble. (Some weapons can impale.) However, MW has critical (1/20th), special (1/5th), success, failure, and fumble, for all rolls. So there’s more of an interesting skill-based contest in MW. A special will make a critical into a normal success, for example, with contested rolls pulling opposed rolls down. I don’t recall if Elric! has that system. MW seems more dynamic generally.

MW has 20 or 25% in Brawl, whereas Elric! has 50%. I prefer the Elric! value here.

I think the MW system for differential advancement is to be preferred, as is the contested mechanic and degrees of success. You could easily use this approach in Elric!

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Magic World includes rules for 'things' associated with a classic quasi-medievel setting

i.e. Crossbows and Chainmail/Ringmaille/Maille/Call it what you will

 

It also has (as mentioned) rules for non-human characters which fit the 'classic' RPG setting (i.e. RQ3 Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Orcs rather than Moorcock's Melniboneans and Myrryhns)

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I've been looking at MW fairly closely lately, and I have to say I'm quite surprised by the depth of the changes. It's far from the simple re-skinning of Elric! that I had previously assumed it was. It's also becoming apparent to me that the rules and the decisions of what to include in terms of occupations, magic, creatures, etc. actually create quite a distinctive implied setting even without considering the Southern Marches write-up.

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3 minutes ago, Vile said:

I've been looking at MW fairly closely lately, and I have to say I'm quite surprised by the depth of the changes. It's far from the simple re-skinning of Elric! that I had previously assumed it was. It's also becoming apparent to me that the rules and the decisions of what to include in terms of occupations, magic, creatures, etc. actually create quite a distinctive implied setting even without considering the Southern Marches write-up.

One thing that I noticed when I first reviewed Magic World was that the setting featured a resurgent fey influence. However the creatures statted out in the book were really a grab bag of creatures and not a complete representation of what people think of Fey. I think Ben Monroe once said (Ben correct me if I get this wrong) that the Fey Magic World describes is really a generalized term for monsters / creatures. I thought Magic World would have been improved if the beasiary had focused nearly exclusively on Fey.  Here are a couple of reviews on Magic World -> https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/17/17905.phtml

-> https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/16/16300.phtml

 

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3 minutes ago, rsanford said:

However the creatures statted out in the book were really a grab bag of creatures and not a complete representation of what people think of Fey. [...] I thought Magic World would have been improved if the beasiary had focused nearly exclusively on Fey.

I tend to agree that the Fey aspect could be reinforced. My understanding is the Southern Reaches were a late addition, so it would be more a case of making the setting fit the bestiary instead of the other way around. I find it quite fun to reinterpret/ reimagine the creatures along those lines (reminds me of making weird Universal Planetary Profiles work in the Official Traveller Universe).

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16 hours ago, Vile said:

I've been looking at MW fairly closely lately...

I should re-read it. I never gave it much more than a skim ... 7 years ago... and didn't find it that interesting.

The fact that it combined Elric! + supplements + RQ3 (all material I already had and wasn't pleased with re-buying) and that the layout and artwork were generally awful (IMO) didn't leave me with much of an impression. It seemed like a soup of random ideas thrown together into a shitty package. Might have been a bit too judgmental back then.

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2 hours ago, K Peterson said:

I should re-read it. I never gave it much more than a skim ... 7 years ago... and didn't find it that interesting.

The fact that it combined Elric! + supplements + RQ3 (all material I already had and wasn't pleased with re-buying) and that the layout and artwork were generally awful (IMO) didn't leave me with much of an impression. It seemed like a soup of random ideas thrown together into a shitty package. Might have been a bit too judgmental back then.

Yeah I can see where it repackaging material could be an issue. However for me MW was my first introduction to BRP gaming and remains my favorite implementation of the game despite the warts.

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Regarding a couple of these changes in particular:

  1. Elric! base skill changed to MW base skill + category modifier.
     
  2. Elric! critical/success/failure/fumble or MW critical/special/success/failure/fumble levels of success.

Which do you prefer? Or is there something else entirely you use, such as the Mythras stat + stat base skills?

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41 minutes ago, Vile said:

Regarding a couple of these changes in particular:

  1. Elric! base skill changed to MW base skill + category modifier.
     
  2. Elric! critical/success/failure/fumble or MW critical/special/success/failure/fumble levels of success.

Which do you prefer? Or is there something else entirely you use, such as the Mythras stat + stat base skills?

Depends on mood and the campaign I'm running. Sometimes I want things straightforward with Base Skills + Occupation Skill Points -> Go!. Other times I want more complexity and prefer MRQ2/RQ6/Mythras stat + stat. (Today, I'm feeling more stat+stat. But that's because I've been re-reading my MRQ2 books lately and remembering how much I enjoyed running that system... 9 years ago, or whatever).

Skill Category Modifiers are my least favorite. Back in the 80s, when I was first introduced to RQ3, I loved them. Now I just find them fiddly.

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I prefer MW. The system is more dynamic in terms of success levels, which allows for more scope, and the category modifiers make sense to players and give the character design a more holistic feel, as opposed to characteristics being locked out of skills. (As an additional element, I think having skill maximums at the governing characteristic x10 might be an interesting option, too.) 

Like with CoC and other BRP games, I personally think a danger relative to other systems is the character design can sometimes feel two dimensional and lacking in dynamics. So the category modifiers go some way towards addressing that. (I personally would also add some talent options or similar.) Anything that makes the character design integrative across the page (category modifiers) is good imo, and then hopefully you can find ways to develop the characters in terms of depth.

Having characteristics locked outside of skills makes little sense in terms of world or character design, and I think players will eventually notice it. So, for me, MW succeeds. (But I get it’s a matter of taste.)

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7 hours ago, Vile said:

Regarding a couple of these changes in particular:

  1. Elric! base skill changed to MW base skill + category modifier.
     
  2. Elric! critical/success/failure/fumble or MW critical/special/success/failure/fumble levels of success.

Which do you prefer? Or is there something else entirely you use, such as the Mythras stat + stat base skills?

1) Magic World - whilst I tend to find the RQ2/3 / SB1-4 / Hawkmoon etc category bonus too fiddly these days, I like characteristics influencing skills in blocks, rather than trying to tie specific skills to specific characteristic pairs... whilst still liking some broad skills also having a base of a stat (Dodge, how I handle combat skills).

2) I prefer Magic World - I always ran Elric! pretty much that way anyway. Bluntly, I think its a fundamental principle of RPGs - Adventurers are the focus, and whilst adversity and challenge are important, part of what engages me and most players I know is their characters actions being both enjoyable and consequential. So I actively want that asymmetry of an additional grade or nuance of success versus failure.

</Tangent>

But I am also as a GM deeply hostile to the automatic equating of "fumble" with "maximally disastrous outcome for adventurer". Fumbling a Drive check does not, and should not, always mean a crash in which everyone dies / is seriously injured. Fumble / Fail / Success / Special / Critical should, IMO, always be interpreted in relation to both the task at hand and the skill level of the adventurer performing that task.

</End Tangent>

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Posted (edited)

Oh, as I started this I guess I should come clean, too!

  1. On a grander canvas, these days I actually prefer a purely culture-based fixed base chance, with characteristics doing other things. However, in this context where I place MW as a medium-crunchy implementation of D100 I'd still rather have a link between stats and skills. However, i do find the MW category modifiers a bit too fiddly for my liking. I'd be tempted to replace them with something akin to the Legend/ Mythras stat+stat base. I'd want to make sure adventurers don't lose out, so if the default skill levels come out a bit low using the latter method I'd address that by bumping up Occupational skill bonuses (and Nick's Outlook bonuses, because I'm yoinking those).
     
  2. I can't decide, that's why I'm asking you lot!
1 hour ago, NickMiddleton said:

Fumbling a Drive check does not, and should not, always mean a crash in which everyone dies / is seriously injured.

Haha, the very first roll in our last campaign* was the captain fumbling her Sailing roll and wiping out the longship on a reef. Luckily we started out with 6 characters each, plus about 40 skilled civilians and a ship full of tools and supplies. Well, each of us still had 2 or 3 characters by the time we dragged ourselves ashore, though there was no sign of the longship, cargo, or passengers ...

* Sort-of-Vikings finding out what happened to their King's last trading post in sort-of-Britain, ending up setting themselves up as sort-of-conquerers of the locals. So that fumble was character-forming, obviously.

Edited by Vile
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8 hours ago, Vile said:

Regarding a couple of these changes in particular:

  1. Elric! base skill changed to MW base skill + category modifier.
     
  2. Elric! critical/success/failure/fumble or MW critical/special/success/failure/fumble levels of success.

Which do you prefer? Or is there something else entirely you use, such as the Mythras stat + stat base skills?

For 1., definitely Skill + Category modifier. The lack of any link between characteristics and skill (except for Dodge and perhaps Native language) was a problem for me in Elric!. My own preference would be for something more akin to Revolution D100, with broad skills based on skill categories (plus Melee and Aim) and skill specializations. That is, a character could have Agility 35 and specialization Climb 30, for a total of 65%. The base value for Agility being based on DEX and STR. Both Agility and Climb could increase over time.

For 2., I'm torn. I like the extra success level, and I didn' like the Empale on a 01 in Elric!. But the math for Skill/20 and skill/5 is not simple to do on the fly, which means you need a chart. I'd prefer values like Skill/10 and Skill/2, which are easier to evaluate. IIRC, those were the values used in Steve Perrin's SPQR rules, with an extra level for Skill/100. But I understand the 1/5 and 1/20 are more in line with BRP tradition.

Edited by Mugen
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6 hours ago, NickMiddleton said:

But I am also as a GM deeply hostile to the automatic equating of "fumble" with "maximally disastrous outcome for adventurer".

Yeah, agreed. 

As a GM, I tend to be a little... interpretive of detailed fumble tables (for attacks/parries). I find most minor fumble results (dropped weapons, disorientation, damaged equipment) to be inconvenient enough, and leading to bad-enough situations. IMO, it starts getting ridiculous when you have PCs accidentally stabbing themselves or impaling their friends in the throat.

Quote

Fumbling a Drive check does not, and should not, always mean a crash in which everyone dies / is seriously injured.

I consider fumbles to be commensurate to the conditions of the Drive test. If PCs are not driving at an insane rate of speed, not taking serious risks and have reasonable weather conditions, the fumbles will be inconvenient (vehicle damage that further impacts their driving, for example.). If the situation is bad - high rate of speed + slick surfaces + erratic movement - it could get ugly. 

Even with a high-speed crash, damage will be random, leading to a chance that not everyone-dies / is seriously injured. But as I said, the stakes of the Drive test would have to so high for that kind of fumble to happen. And the PCs would be aware of the risk they're taking. If they choose to gamble their lives on a die-roll then that kind of fumble-result is not unreasonable, IMO.

Edited by K Peterson
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1 hour ago, K Peterson said:

Yeah, agreed. 

As a GM, I tend to be a little... interpretive of detailed fumble tables (for attacks/parries). I find most minor fumble results (dropped weapons, disorientation, damaged equipment) to be inconvenient enough, and leading to bad-enough situations. IMO, it starts getting ridiculous when you have PCs accidentally stabbing themselves or impaling their friends in the throat.

I consider fumbles to be commensurate to the conditions of the Drive test. If PCs are not driving at an insane rate of speed, not taking serious risks and have reasonable weather conditions, the fumbles will be inconvenient (vehicle damage that further impacts their driving, for example.). If the situation is bad - high rate of speed + slick surfaces + erratic movement - it could get ugly. 

Even with a high-speed crash, damage will be random, leading to a chance that not everyone-dies / is seriously injured. But as I said, the stakes of the Drive test would have to so high for that kind of fumble to happen. And the PCs would be aware of the risk they're taking. If they choose to gamble their lives on a die-roll then that kind of fumble-result is not unreasonable, IMO.

Indeed - if I ask for a drive check when the PCs jump into a vehicle to race across town to get to something before their current antagonist,  a failure is arriving AFTER the opposition, and a fumble is probably  getting caught up in an altercation along the way. 

Similarly, a complete novice who fumbles the drive roll doesn't drive in to a wall - they fail to even start the vehicle... and a master driver probably doesn't crash in to a wall either (but perhaps commits a  traffic violation that draw's unwanted attention and delays the PCs).

Context matters - who is attempting the task, and what is at stake should always shape the interpretation of the raw numbers and die rolls.

Edited by NickMiddleton
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I prefer the way Magic World does things over Elric. Elric is great but I appreciated the broad skill category modifiers (even if a bit fiddly) and the extra success level and I use those rules in many other non-fantasy settings.

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