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Outlooks from Elric! in Magic World


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A quick first pass at rewriting Outlooks for Magic World: Between steps 4 and 5 of Character generations (MW page 21), study the character so far and pick or roll for one of the following perspectives on 1D6:

1 “Strong Arm”: He or she thinks first of solving problems by means of physical force and skill. Give 10 skill points each to Brawl, Climb, Dodge, Insight, Jump, Listen, Move Quietly, Ride, Sailing, Swim, Throw, to anyone class of weapon. and to the Wrestle skill.

2 “Skilled Hands”: He or she believes that technique, craft, and expertise are the secrets of success. Give 10 skill points each to any one Craft, to Disguise, Dodge, Evaluate, Nature, Navigate, Physik, Pick Lock, Ride, Salting, Scribe, and Trap, and to one class of weapon.

3 “Quick Wits”: He or she first tries to outsmart an opponent or to gain an advantage. Give 10 skill points each to Bargain, Conceal Object, Disguise, Evaluate, Fast Talk, Hide, Insight, Natural World, Oratory, Own Language, Pick Lock, and Search, and to anyone class of weapon.

4 “Silver Tongue”: The adventurer enjoys persuading other people to work, while he or she makes the decisions. Give 10 skill points each to one Art, to Bargain, Disguise, Evaluate, FastTalk, Insight, Oratory, anyone Other Language, Own Language, Ride, and Search, and to any one class of weapon.

5 “Wise Head”: He or she believes all problems can be understood by reasoned understanding. Give 10 skill points to any one Art, to Nature, Navigate, Own Language, two Other Languages, Physick, Potions, World Lore, one Play Instrument, Repair / Devise, Scribe, and any one weapon class.

6 “Jack of All Trades”: He or she has no particular focus or method – pick 13 skills and add 10 points (only one weapon class, one craft, one art or one Other language).

If using the Experienced Adventurer's side bar (MW page 22) increase the skill points as follows: Veterans get +15; Heroic adventures +20 and Legendary adventurers +25 to each fo the thirteen skills in their perspective.

Edited by NickMiddleton
typo! Typo! AGAIN!!
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Would be interesting to test in play - how much would it beef up beginning characters? I've generally thought they were okay in Magic World, but this might round them out a bit. Can you choose the same skills as in your occupation to get a +20% bump?

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That feels a little rich for my blood, but on the other hand 10% boosts to a dozen or so skills probably wouldn't upset the apple cart too much -- I guess it would be like 20-30 successful experience rolls. I like the concept, but I'd probably halve the bonus.

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On 4/18/2020 at 12:51 PM, Vile said:

Would be interesting to test in play - how much would it beef up beginning characters? I've generally thought they were okay in Magic World, but this might round them out a bit. Can you choose the same skills as in your occupation to get a +20% bump?

I placed these at roughly a point in the Magic World adventurer creation sequence prior to profession - so logically profession adds go on top.

On 4/18/2020 at 4:13 PM, Nick J. said:

That feels a little rich for my blood, but on the other hand 10% boosts to a dozen or so skills probably wouldn't upset the apple cart too much -- I guess it would be like 20-30 successful experience rolls. I like the concept, but I'd probably halve the bonus.

One thing I went back and forth over was +5/+10/+15/+20 or +10/+15/+20/+25.... in the end, +5 here or there seems too minor to really bother with for Magic World characters, so I went for the larger number. But there 's no reason not to reduce it as you suggest, or perhaps only use the Perspectives with Heroic or Legendary characters.

Edited by NickMiddleton
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2 hours ago, NickMiddleton said:

I placed these at roughly a point in the Magic World adventurer creation sequence prior to profession - so logically profession adds go on top.

One thing I went back and forth over was +5/+10/+15/+20 or +10/+15/+20/+25.... in the end, +5 here or there seems to minor to really bother with for Magic World characters, so I went for the larger number. But there 's no reason not to reduce it as you suggest, or perhaps only use the Perspectives with Heroic or Legendary characters.

I like this but I wouldn't do just 5% as it seem too little to me to be worth the extra step during chargen

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It seemed a lot to me at first, too, but once you look into it I think +10% hits the sweet spot. Occupations in MW only add a few +10% bonuses (though the experience benefits are arguably worth more), whereas the Elric! outlooks gave out +20% bonuses. So on the whole, with Nick's outlooks added in I think you're looking at a similar power level, whereas RAW MW characters might be a little down on Elric! otherwise. It also has the advantage of differentiating characters further, which is always an issue in skill-based RPGs otherwise.

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That was my feeling, ultimately: Cultures (not Occupations!) add 10 to some skills, and the Elric! rule was a +20 to the thirteen skills, so a +10 from a Perspective, plus possibly +10 from Culture, doesn't seem unbalancing. Occupation allocations come later and stack on top of Culture and Perspective. One could put the choice fo Perspective later, between steps 6 & 7 (so it comes after Culture, but before Occupation still).

 

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I always liked the personality type or outlook skills in Elric!

I think that they're a very good (re)addition to MW.

Fully agree that a +5 bonus isn't worth the effort.

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15 hours ago, NickMiddleton said:

One could put the choice for Perspective later, between steps 6 & 7 (so it comes after Culture, but before Occupation still).

I'm torn as to whether I'd put it before or after Cultural Background. If you put it before, the player is making more of a "raw" decision as to their preferred style of play for that character going forward, but you'd be asking them to make that decision without much context - that could be good or bad, depending on the player. If you put it after, the player has more of an idea of the options remaining, but they might be tempted to base their Outlook choice on min-maxing the skill bonuses - good mechanically, maybe bad in terms of pure roleplaying.

I really can't decide, would love to hear whether anyone has a preference or arguments for one way or the other.

Another tack: It's tricky choosing 13 skills to get these different Outlooks, especially given a relatively restricted skill list. Your groupings are pretty good, there are one or two I might tweak if I really wanted to but on the whole I don't think it would be worth it. Perhaps in some cases I might take out one or two specific skills and replace them with another cascade skill like Craft, Language, or Weapon (or Lore, which I port over from RQ3 and which Nature and World Lore fall under, but which can be expanded to other specialisations).

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  • 5 months later...

Not being familiar with Elric! I'd probably use fewer skills, maybe 6, and then 'steal' those points back by reducing the free choice allocations after occupation by the same number of skill points. Then again maybe I'm stingy. I agree +10% is the sweet spot for the size of the bonus.  

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1 hour ago, Coronoides said:

Not being familiar with Elric! I'd probably use fewer skills, maybe 6, and then 'steal' those points back by reducing the free choice allocations after occupation by the same number of skill points. Then again maybe I'm stingy. I agree +10% is the sweet spot for the size of the bonus.  

The first 4 Outlooks correspond to those in the Elric! rulebook though they didn't have names; @NickMiddleton has added the last two. +10% works pretty well, especially if you are including culture bonuses, which aren't in Elric!. That game was designed to make rather overpowered characters. The end of the world is near and there isn't time for characters to slowly develop their skills. That's reflected in a few design choices, from the +20% skills for 'Outlooks', to encouraging beginning characters to start with >100% skill, to adding +1d10% on successful skill checks (instead of +1d6% in standard BRP). There's also the rapid progress to Apotheosis which is possible, especially for Chaos, where Chaos allegiance points can be gained for casting spells and used to cast more -- an unvirtuous circle.

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Technically I only added one: the “just pick thirteen skills” option is in Elric!, it just isn’t numbered separately as a fifth option. 😉

As Questbird points out, the core Elric! Rules were written to evoke the feel of the Elric saga: yes, a brutal dark fantasy setting, but also an epic, grandiose affair where gods and destiny are challenged and, literally, worlds end ... and Magic World is a refinement and evolution of that rule set.

Ben’s changes added nuance and detail, but there’s no huge structural changes: Magic World is an engine designed for quite exaggerated, bold, broad strokes stories. +/-5 points, on skills likely to be well above 50, and a few of which will start play above 100 and may climb some way above 100, seems neither here nor there. Even if one deprecates certain aspects (apotheosis etc), it’s a robust system that I think works best when one leans in to it boldly, rather than fiddling with minutiae.

All that said, there is a separate conversation to be had about trimming / rationalising the Magic World skill list, which would logically have implications for Cultures, Outlooks and Occupations as they are all, ultimately, just lists of skills.

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  • 2 months later...

As a further thought, one could always use a d10 for each of those outlook skills too, if the bonus is a worry. It might mean some players get unlucky and roll low a lot, though it creates an average of +5 with the possibility of more, which seems to make it motivationally worthwhile to include in chargen for the players. 

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