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BRP vs. D&D: An Observation


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I think I'd be more interested in the reverse : a d20 roll-over game without classes and levels but with magic, health and combat inspired by RuneQuest.

Talislanta and Atlantis the Second Age are somewhat close to this.

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8 hours ago, Mugen said:

Talislanta and Atlantis the Second Age are somewhat close to this.

Talislanta is one of my favorite games/settings . I have often thought of a BRP version. I think the Mythras rules would work quite well. I would certainly buy a Talislata-BRP conversion.

As for DnD, I think 5E is a very well done game if you want larger than life heroes etc.  If you like that style, it is great. My preference for the BRP-family is more a question of setting and style than broken rules.  BRP tends to be a bit more real-world where a dagger can actually kill you in one round.

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Thing is if you want fantasy superheroes you are simply better playing Champions or Mutants and Masterminds, the latter of which uses a D20. Then there is also the recent 5e Supers and Sorcery. It is also interesting that M&M has a PF / DnD conversion into the full system.

Then there is also Modern Age, also by Green Ronin, and while the magic system is somewhat lacklustre compared to DnD / PF, or even RQ. There are supplements incoming next year to aid in this, and superpowers. The multiverse setting to go with it, Modern Age: Threefold is utterly amazing.

That said I am not a DnD fan, at all, nor for PF 1e or 2e. But there are a lot of really cool DnD 5e settings (some still in KS) which you could easily convert for Mythras Fantasy use, most of the work already done in the Basic and Expert.

 

 

 

 

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I am personally displeased with elemental magic in all BRP/D100 systems... you know, fireball and the like of it!

And also I have another small frustration with a the "power curve", by that I mean, in many variation (Mythras, Revolution D100), when one create a new character, or as a noble train their followers, one will be better off training Wizard army in term of bang for your buck! They requires 0 tools (i.e. once you get the book, no need to buy sword and armor, save a lot of money) and do much much more damage...
(I was often suggested to make "some spell" rare, like, fire, wrack, protection, sharpen, but what I wanted instead is a common yet reasonable version)

I made some magic tweak that try to fix both "problems" (at least they are problem to me, I'll confess many other do not seem to find that problematic)... But then.. at the moment I am not GMing and my next game / campaign is not going to have any magic... so I dunno if my fixes are good! ^_^ 😅

 

One other thing I haven't really tested, since I played mostly Mythras and RevolutionD100 in which one can have any spell last all day long, whereas next I want to use raw BRP, which have most spell only last a short while.... so the dynamic will be very different.... haven't tested it yet either... 
And I added my own way to make long lasting spell...
 

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21 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I am personally displeased with elemental magic in all BRP/D100 systems... you know, fireball and the like of it!

Fireball is just Wrack with the fire damage and Shaping spent on range and # of targets. Many of the spells can just be re-skinned this way. Ray of Frost is just Wrack with ice damage and one target.  However, I understand your comment.  There is a certain flavor provided by having the spell description in the book. 

 

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3 hours ago, fulk said:

Fireball is just Wrack with the fire damage and Shaping spent on range and # of targets. Many of the spells can just be re-skinned this way. Ray of Frost is just Wrack with ice damage and one target.  However, I understand your comment.  There is a certain flavor provided by having the spell description in the book. 

It's not quite what displeased me...

I have no problem with the reskinning, in fact I do prefer more flexible spell combination!
On that topic I quite like my new combination spell "Ball" that turn spells (even other spell like.. Change hey?!) into are area spell! 😛 

No I am displeased with the combination of casting cost / damage. And each system has various thing that displeased me. Some of them might be bad handling of the rules by me, or me not giving enough counter spell to enemy... I will concede... (I do have a lot of non caster in a magic heavy world... might not just work with such systems)
But to focus on my current rule set of interest I will comment on BRP below.

I am using BRP and general HP (no localisation).
Fire does 1D6 per 3MP. Can be Evaded. (i.e. it' not POW resistance table it's Evade roll)
Area attack can be avoid with Evade for half damage.

 

First problem to make it vaguely deadly one has to spend 12MP. Unlike other spell that usually work for 3~5MP. Then it uses Evade instead of resistance table that is either too easy or too hard (it can be gamed by using henchman attacking first) and finally, if I make it a Ball spell (by increasing the cost further by, say +3) now it become totally unavoidable damage (area spell do half damage in case of successful Evade) for... 21MP... 

 

Anyway to summarize I have 3 problems
1. excessive casting cost
2. excessive damage
3. (bonus problem) I still want some sort of leveling up with magic, without resorting to spell being rare or more or less powerful version of spells

So in my alternative magic system, it look very much like the Magic power with a few core changes...
1. spell are not limited by INT/2 level but by MIN(INT/2, "Arcane Knowledge skill/10%") MP cost
2. spell no longer have level, but arbitrary cost, that can be just like Magic or maybe like 1MP Cantrip/FolkMagic, 
3. Fire and the like is NOT costed 3MP / 1D6 anymore, but instead 1MP for 1D6 + 2MP per extra D6 (so it's cheaper,  but limited to 5D6 at best)
4. Ball cost 3MP (so Area spell have to be less powerful by 3MP)
5. Arcane Knowledge give a bonus to MP pool, equal Skill/10% (leveling part 1)
6. Arcane Knowledge at 100% give a one time 1MP cost reduction (leveling part 2)
7. when a spell skill reach 100% every 10% above 100% give a 1MP reduction to that specific spell (levelling part 3)
8. Cost reduction also play into the spell casting limit, enabling higher level spell casting
9. "Ritual Casting" skill is slow (1 round per MP) but applied to all spell... and is limited only by skill/10% not by INT/2. can be used for all "cantrip" or for more powerful casting out of combat 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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@Lloyd DupontSandy Petersen rules for sorcery for RQ3 have rules for D&D-like elemental attack spellsspells with the "Evoke" family of spells.

If I remember correctly, Evoke(Fire) deals 1dX damage, where X is the spell's Intensity, ignoring armour. All have different effects, and some don't deal damage.

You can even prepare them in advance with the Hold art.

 

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yeah Mythras damage is like that and is fine.... but it has other problem (for my taste)...
also cannot do that with BRP very well if I keep the option to empower it...

although.. the idea of NOT empowering it crossed my mind a few times... then I could start with a flat damage dice (depending on skill) and make it 1MP... mmm... might be the best way...

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On 12/18/2020 at 5:18 PM, Lloyd Dupont said:

It's not quite what displeased me...

First problem to make it vaguely deadly one has to spend 12MP.

Ah yes.  I see what you mean.  I suppose it all depends on how common and powerful you want magic in your world.  Changing the casting costs is an easy approach. You could also increase the rate of recovery so that wizards would get 'winded' during a fight but recover quickly for the next. 

One of the things I do like about 5E is the cantrips - relatively small spells that you can use all the time. The damage spells are good but do less damage than a weapon because you don't get a damage bonus.  The cantrips are obviously specific to a high, common magic setting with powerful wizards and may not be appropriate to all settings.

I do like the idea of lower MP costs with higher skill levels, although I'd probably use larger increments (say 20 or 25%). That would allow experience casters to throw around low level spells fairly easily. I always liked the image of a mage sitting at his desk reading a book with a magical light source while using mage hand to make tea... 

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1 hour ago, fulk said:

Ah yes.  I see what you mean.  I suppose it all depends on how common and powerful you want magic in your world.  Changing the casting costs is an easy approach. You could also increase the rate of recovery so that wizards would get 'winded' during a fight but recover quickly for the next. 

MP cost is a really complicated question, I realise. 

At first, I was going to point out that Disruption deals 1d3 for 1 MP, so @Lloyd Dupont's proposal to do 1d6 for that same cost was imbalanced. 

But then I remembered that Wrack can do it every turn as long as the spell is active, in an BRP variant where damege outputs are usually lower than in Chaosium's iterations. And you can have it for 1 MP if you don't want to go beyond basic duration or range, or don't fear someone will dispel it...

In my idea of Sorcery, you'd be essentially limited by your skill, and you could reduce MP cost by reducing your chances of success, with 1 minimum of 1. That is, if you want to cast an Intensity 5 spell, you could either do it by spending 5 MPs, or reduce your chances of success by 10% per 1 MP reduction. The reasoning behind this is that you're drawing energy either from yourself, or from the surroundings. 

I would also let one create a spell as an extended action, where each roll adds effect levels to the spell, each being more difficult as Intensity grows. Failures would reduce the spell's total level, as the sorcerer fails to keep all the energy concentrated. Fumbles meaning the spell either dissipates, or explodes...

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It's getting there... 

to repeat myself.. :P

the problem is 2 fold, not so much in BRP, but obvious in Mythras and RD100, a starting Wizard is way too powerful compare to a starting any other thing (To my taste) (unless you give the wizard purposely weak spell, which is not my choice either) (the Mythras version of CF is OK, but it has classes and levels)

Then one an do from 1D6 to 9D6 (unavoidable, if it's a fireball damage) so really unbalanced.. but the price is crazy high.. nobody is happy there...

in a short Mythras stint, I gave protection and wrack to the starting Wizard. It had permanent Protection 5 and Wrack 5 enemy every round until they were dead, then next... Meanwhile the other character were struggling with hitting the enemy, bypassing the armor, and not taking too much damage... that was a failure... ON the Mythras forum they were advising me very strongly to make Wrack rare, as the one and only solution. That went totally against my intention, why can't I have a non OP wrack instead... 

Anyway, long story short... Yea a solution (which requires lot of homework) is to redo the costing of many spell and also change to cost limits... I already write my plan a few post prior.. :)

Your cost reduction is close to mine (mine is automatic at 100+%, your suggestion is more of a gamble)...

your second idea is interesting but.. only for very long spell taking multiple rounds... round to round casting requires tons of roll is drag on the game... there is already something like that but instant 1 roll, one can combine spell at will in BRP (and Mythras, and RD100), just being limited by the total level...

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@Lloyd Dupont  Sorry, I was not clear : my intention was to express my view on Sorcery, not to tell you how you should do. :)

As for the "extended casting" thing, it is intended to be used outside combat, to create elaborate spells. Most combat magic would be very simple effects, requiring only 1 action to create and cast. Basically, concentrated balls of "mana", with effects depending on "color".

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10 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

the problem is 2 fold, not so much in BRP, but obvious in Mythras and RD100, a starting Wizard is way too powerful compare to a starting any other thing (To my taste) (unless you give the wizard purposely weak spell, which is not my choice either) (the Mythras version of CF is OK, but it has classes and levels)

What Mythras does not have, that older RQ & Legend had, was Heroic Abilities. Fireball the hero with a decent heroic ability (Black Waltz), which he may well use to dodge then shove his sword through your face. These made for a great equaliser, and in conjunction with Gifts could easily cover all the basic abilities from DnD / PF classes.

On 12/17/2020 at 11:50 PM, Lloyd Dupont said:

And also I have another small frustration with a the "power curve", by that I mean, in many variation (Mythras, Revolution D100), when one create a new character, or as a noble train their followers, one will be better off training Wizard army in term of bang for your buck! They requires 0 tools (i.e. once you get the book, no need to buy sword and armor, save a lot of money) and do much much more damage.

The other thing BRP needs is a more intuitive magic system. So if a magic-user has fire control, or the more powerful fire manipulation - anything they do with it would be subject to shaping rules. So if they want to make a fire shield, they shape it and it has a certain intensity / magnitude. I might get around to it at some point......maybe.

 

 

Edited by RogerDee
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1 hour ago, RogerDee said:

 

The other thing BRP needs is a more intuitive magic system. So if a magic-user has fire control, or the more powerful fire manipulation - anything they do with it would be subject to shaping rules. So if they want to make a fire shield, they shape it and it has a certain intensity / magnitude. I might get around to it at some point......maybe.

 

 

This might veer a little far OT, but in narrative terms, I keep thinking about a magic system that makes mechanical use of the ideas of "force" and "finesse", with force being raw power and finesse being the ability to manipulate it.

Like, if all you want to do is unleash your power and damage everyone in 5 metres radius, you don't need any finesse at all; if you want damage a specific person or thing, it might be force/finesse 50/50. If you want to burn away infected flesh, it's all finesse. If you just want to start a small fire, force would be okay, as well (assuming that you can control the rough amount of energy with your force skill, but can't really shape it).

It woul need to be designed in a way that it makes a big difference whether you invest in force or finesse or take a balanced approach; and both might also interact with how easily you tap into different aspects of magic.

However, the design task is much too complex for me ...

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14 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

, but obvious in Mythras and RD100, a starting Wizard is way too powerful compare

It is possible that I don't really understand the Mythras sorcery rules (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, which is frequently), but it is useful to consider the whole casting process. I also understand that you are not using Mythras, per se. I also understand wanting to tailor the magic to your preferences.  Perfectly reasonable. However,

 

Assume a beginning caster with Invocation 70%, Intensity 7 and Shaping 7, for simplicity.

Wrack = with extended range and targets to create a Fire Ball like effect:

Range ~15 m = 1 point shaping, 1 MP

Targets 4 =  3 points shaping, 1 MP

Magnitude 3 = 3 points shaping, 1 MP 

Base cost = 1MP

So it costs 4 MP and takes 4 Turns to cast the spell, which has ~ 70% chance of working and which opponents can Evade, and if it works does 1d4 damage (Intensity 3), which can be maintained. So if we let the opponents have 70% in Evade (certainly high for a starting character), the sorcery has about a 35% chance of doing damage to any specific target-- not particularly high.  

The base damage doesn't seem too high in this situation. However, the ability to maintain damage each Turn is obviously a big deal.  It also ignores regular armor, which is good for taking out tanks.

On the down-side (in terms of power), the 4 MP means it takes 4 Turns to cast.  That means that a reasonable fighter with 3 AP will have crossed the room and attacked the sorcerer multiple times and archers have fired at least one, maybe two shots, before the spell takes effect. To do continuing damage, the sorcerer also has to maintain Concentration.  So, the dynamic is the standard old DnD situation of protecting your Magic User long enough so that he can cast a big area effect spell and take out the other side.  A party with a reasonable combined-arms set up (melee and ranged characters) could take down the sorcerer pretty quickly. A well protected sorcerer is really dangerous.

Damage Resistance+ Wrack is a pretty powerful combo (as you note), I agree . 

I think it is also worthwhile considering non-mechanistic ways of limiting power. If you think Wrack is overpowered, just don't let a beginning sorcerer have it. Let them have the Folk Magic (Cantrips) Disruption instead. Depending on the setting, the PC may not have found that spell or his patron may not have provided it.   You could also place Wrack and Damage Resistance in different Schools (offensive and defensive magic), so it is difficult and time consuming to have both. 

In the end, of course, it depends on how you envision magic in your setting.

 

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Yes, as you noticed.. I was using Mythras for a short while. but no longer.

A few correction, at 70% you have 70% of shaping... each new component cost 1 MP but, for the exception of combine, additional level in the extra components are free...

So Shaping range & target of wrack cost 3 MP overall. With 3 range point the range is POWx10m, say 150 meters, that leave you 4 point for 5 targets (at 150 m) for 3mp. 3mp is 1 round if you have 16 in DEX. or 1.5 round for most people.
You can not do that in a Dungeon, but in the wilderness you can safely target anyone beyond even missile weapon range. They do have a save (evade, that leave them prone) but nothing else (not even a shield) will help. After that they are dead man walking... (free damage every round, that ignore armor) If the wizard had protection on top of that...

So I wanted to have a wizard school of elementalism.. and I added my favorite spell (wrack, protection, enhance damage) but phew.. obviously I should give them to everyone or make it a turbulent time of conquest by the few nations that have it.... But meanwhile the party is not as balanced that I wanted it to be... (one was exceptionally schooled by those sorcery master, but the other were local with no magic of folk magic) I cant just give more XP to the other players, nor I am sure what I could give them that would be both in character and balanced...

But more that that, while I unreservedly like the flexible casting (combine spell like you want, tweak them too) the result is too overpowered to my liking, I do not like super heroes. And to my surprise, I think Mythras magic is more OP than D&D.

On the other hand BRP is much more limited and safe...but I still couldn't make a fireball that feel right 😕 
My latest iteration (described above, but untested as I said) might do it.
And yes, I also added a spell a bit like Disruption, but is an elemental bolt (because, I do like those :D

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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15 hours ago, Questbird said:

Not that it's not interesting, but Magic Systems in BRP is some way off topic from "D&D vs BRP".

True. 

The bonus of level-based systems is, of course, that you can keep everyone's power levels similar.  You can throw some light damage fire spells around at single targets in DnD at low levels, but Fire Ball is a higher level spell. I do think that 5E is pretty well designed in that way. Certain classes can be pretty powerful under certain circumstances, but that just means you have to think a little. I played a bit of 5E with a Barbarian. He was a total tank in melee...unless you stayed away from him and only attacked every other round, which meant he would lose his advantages from Raging.  The same is true for the Wizard above; don't confront him at range, in the open, when he is prepared. 

As much fun as I have had with DnD, I prefer class-less games, so that characters can develop more organically and in varying directions.   

BRP and Mythras don't necessarily ration out spells in the same way as DnD, which is obviously a different style.  

I am fully on board with homebrewing the magic to get what you want. 

Re MP above, you still have to allocate Shaping to Magnitude, which would bump the cost to 4 MP, not 3 MP, by my reading. Nevertheless, the point is that this delay is a weakness for magic users.  DnD 1E also had varying time requirements for spells and weapons, although I think a lot of people didn't use them. 

 

*** Edit - I just realized you are correct it is 3MP. I was mixing up intensity and magnitude. Nevertheless the extra time is important for dealing with the caster.

Edited by fulk
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9 hours ago, fulk said:

True. 

The bonus of level-based systems is, of course, that you can keep everyone's power levels similar.  You can throw some light damage fire spells around at single targets in DnD at low levels, but Fire Ball is a higher level spell. I do think that 5E is pretty well designed in that way. Certain classes can be pretty powerful under certain circumstances, but that just means you have to think a little. I played a bit of 5E with a Barbarian. He was a total tank in melee...unless you stayed away from him and only attacked every other round, which meant he would lose his advantages from Raging.  The same is true for the Wizard above; don't confront him at range, in the open, when he is prepared. 

Well, in theory, it should be the case, but....

First, it was never the case before 4th edition, except for a short range of levels (5 to 7) where casters power roughly matches fighters ability to sustain blows in terms of utility.

And while 5th edition surely does a better job at this than any prior edition except 4th, you still have fighters which are just good at dealing damage on one hand, and wizards that can fly, become invisible, read minds, and are not bad at dealing damage too on the other hand. And the new magic system gave them more versatility, as they can now prepare utility and combat spells and chose which one they'll use when they need it.

The same happens in BRP when non-magicians are mixed with magicians. Melniboneans in older versions of StormBringer were a nightmare, not counting the fact their INT ensured they get higher values in combat skills. In Mythras, non-magicians do not compare well to full priests and sorcerers.

It's also true for games like ShadowRun : while it should in theory possible to use the system in medieval fantasy settings, the lack of any cybeware would make non-magicians problematic. Unless magic items are so easily available it replaces cyberware...

RuneQuest is an exception because everybody has access to magic.

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