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Freeform magic as a skill?


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After gaming for a long time, is there a reason that magic by type is not treated as a skill? Can it not simply be used as just another way to solve a problem?

By defining magic to be so codified and process oriented, it seems that it makes it less magical...less wonderous.

I know that you can't just have "magic" as a skill and expect that players won't slide into power-gaming territory if not held to some standard.

But, in the same way that "science" is not really a good example of a skill, neither is "magic."

However, what if there was the skill of "Ice magic 24%" or "Telekinesis 33%" and the player has to describe how they are using the skill and in the same way that the GM says "no" to outlandish and ill-thought out uses of regular skills...the same can be done for the magical skills? If players are not upset they can't use "physics" or "rifle" in some way, would they be upset that they can't use "Lightning magic" to do something? 

I ask this because, magic (and psionics, etc.) are often used to either replace technology (instead of a flashlight, you get create light or whatnot) and then entire books are then filled with a whole bunch of spells of various types and they end up reading like a catalogue instead of a wonderous/magical knowledge.

Anyway, just a rando 5 AM thought...

Here's what I came up:

2.82 Freeform magic system

Each type of “magic” is a different skill such as Water, Shadows, Fire, Air, Divination, Electricity, etc. Cost is 1 POW = 1 Rank of Damage or Protection, Mass, Time, Distance, Volume or skill bonus (+5%).

Add it up and that equals the COST in MP and the number of rounds that it will take to cast the spell. That COST is then subtracted from the skill. This is to simulate that bigger spells (more MP) are harder to cast (penalty to the skill roll = to the MP cost). Roll the dice and check for success or failure. If you fail, the MP are lost regardless.

Bonuses for the skill roll are gained for the use of magic items, ingredients, fasting, ritual, time of day, geography, hand, verbal components, religious components, etc.

Magic item, for each type of magic: +5%

Religious items for attempting magic that follows the tenets of that religion: +5%

Ingredients that will be consumed: +5%

Fasting, depends on the length of the fast: 12 hours +5%, 24 hours, +10%, 3 day fast +15%, 7 day fast +20%, 10 day fast +25%, 14 day fast +30%, 21 day fast +35%, 40 day fast +40%

Ritual length, depends on the length of the ritual: 1 minute +1%, 5 minutes +5%, 30 minutes +10%, 1 hour +15%, 1 day +20%

Hand gestures: +5%

Verbal components: +5%

Important times, dates and geographic locations each provide a +5% bonus so that a necromantic ritual performed at midnight on the anniversary of a horrifically deadly battle on the graveyard where the dead from that battle are buried would get a +15% bonus (5% for midnight, 5% for anniversary and 5% for graveyard).  For events that happen only once a decade, the bonus is larger (+10%) and for once a generation (+15%), once every hundred years (+20%) or once every thousand years (+25%).

You can not raise the skill roll higher than your base skill, so a skill of 43% casting a 20 POW spell, would reduce the skill to 23%. By using Hand Gestures, Verbal Components, Ingredients and a Magic Item, that would give a bonus of +20% to bring the skill check back up to 43%. Regardless of how many other bonuses are used, the skill can not be raised above the base skill of 43%.

A magic scroll is a one-shot item and the scroll is destroyed when it is “used.” A magic scroll can be used to learn a spell (which is a specific effect that has been created and codified). The benefit of spells is that they do not take the POW penalty to skill.  For example, a freeform spell that has a POW cost of 12 will cost the mage 12 POW points and have a penalty of -12% to the mage’s skill. A spell will cost 12 POW points but have no skill penalty.

Magic items require a roll at the lowest skill being used.  To create a magic sword, the skill used would be lowest between “blacksmith” and the relevant magical effect(s) being added to the object.  The creator would also have to have to expend the POW to cast the spell.

PCs have a certain amount of MP based on POW. At 0 they pass out. At -1/2 POW they die. If the victim is sacrificed ritually, then double the POW can be extracted.  Thus, a dying person will release their current POW, but if they are sacrificed, they will release double their POW. A magic user can use extra power than they have, but will immediately go unconscious, or die (if they hit their hard limit of POW x 1.5).

Large, powerful spells can also be created by using more than one person’s MP by having multiple people give their MP to the leader of the spell.  The other participants can only give their MP, the leader of the spell is the one who makes the roll to determine if the spell occurs or not. The range for this giving of MP is only five feet.

As an example, the perennial favorite fireball would be a “Fire magic” spell.  To shoot a fireball 30 feet (rank 6 Distance = 30’) and have it cause 3d10 damage (Rank 5 Damage = 32 damage = 3d10) in a 10 foot radius (Rank 5 Distance = 10’ foot) requires 6+5+5 = 16 Magic Points. For a character with a “Fire magic” skill of 71% they would be casting that spell with at (71-16=55) 55%.  If the character rolled a 63%, they would fail to cast the spell correctly, and will still have expended the 16 MP.

Because of this, there are some magical effects that have become almost standard as they have a set effect with set costs. These spells are treated the exact same, such as the fireball above.

To have spells ready for use and not having to wait to make them, you spend the MP before you need them (during the PCs down time). When you decide to fire them off, then you make the skill roll to see if you did it right, but this way you have the spell already available.

-STS  

Edited by sladethesniper
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Note that you don't need to create a whole magic system to back your idea to use skills for freeform magic.

The easiest way to do it is to take one of the already existing magic systems that allow to freely set your MP cost (*), and change the relationship between spells and skills.

For instance, you could take RQ3 Sorcery and consider that all spells that deal with Fire all use the same "Fire" Skill. You don't necessarily have to give all Fire spells to a character that has the Fire Spell, but rather give him half skill in the spells he doesn't have, or 0 chance.

(*) BGB "Magic", RQ3 or OpenQuest Sorcery, for instance.

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If you are looking for a way to do this, I recommend Ars Magica as a model.  It has good rules for what it calls Spontaneous Magic, which involves improvised spells.  

The basic principle is that there are 5 techniques of magic, and 10 forms.  The techniques allow you to manipulate other forms of magic, while the Forms are things like herbam which covers plant life, or corpus which covers all things relating to the human body, plus the 4 elements, etc.  You gain levels in these forms and techniques based on things you can study, and if your Technique+Form+(other bonuses)+1d10 puts you over double the level of effect you want to achieve, you can do any magic within that area that you choose.  Ars Magica is great in that it allows player wizards to do any spell they like, provided they have an appropriate level of general skill in related abilities that such magic could be based on.  The Ars Magica system has a lot of other good ideas to draw upon too, and is a brilliant game and system imo.

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Darius West said:

I recommend Ars Magica as a model.

Ars Magica (via MtA) is where my idea came from, actually. The spontaneous magic stuff is great, the 53 pages of "spells" is what I am trying to get away from.

What I really, really want is the Magic system from Mage: the Ascension.... without a flowchart and 9 spheres (10 with qlippothic) to play with. So, a simplified MtA magic system.

-STS

Edited by sladethesniper
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On 7/11/2022 at 4:01 AM, sladethesniper said:

...

Bonuses for the skill roll are gained for the use of magic items, ingredients, fasting, ritual, time of day, geography, hand, verbal components, religious components, etc.

Magic item, for each type of magic: +5%

Religious items for attempting magic that follows the tenets of that religion: +5%

Ingredients that will be consumed: +5%

Fasting, depends on the length of the fast: 12 hours +5%, 24 hours, +10%, 3 day fast +15%, 7 day fast +20%, 10 day fast +25%, 14 day fast +30%, 21 day fast +35%, 40 day fast +40%

Ritual length, depends on the length of the ritual: 1 minute +1%, 5 minutes +5%, 30 minutes +10%, 1 hour +15%, 1 day +20%

Hand gestures: +5%

Verbal components: +5%

Important times, dates and geographic locations each provide a +5% bonus so that a necromantic ritual performed at midnight on the anniversary of a horrifically deadly battle on the graveyard where the dead from that battle are buried would get a +15% bonus (5% for midnight, 5% for anniversary and 5% for graveyard).  For events that happen only once a decade, the bonus is larger (+10%) and for once a generation (+15%), once every hundred years (+20%) or once every thousand years (+25%).

I would give more variability to the bonus available.  Sure, that herb you harvested in the light of the last full moon may give you a 5% bonus... but the same herb harvested from atop Mount Occultans (hundreds of miles away) on midsummers' eve (1 week from now) might give much more bonus... +15%?  +20%?  More???!?  I'd explicitly make this not a matter of ticking check-boxes, or shopping at the herbalist:  the GM's job is to offer (and reward) quests and role-playing.  Big rewards come from big investments.  And maybe their archrivals want that same patch of herbs, or some Evil Cult wants it for their own nefarious purposes, or it's like catnip for the local gryphons, etc etc etc.

Similarly, I might give more weight to some contributions than others -- +10% rather than +5% as the basic verbal-component bonus when the spell enhances a glib tongue, or a Sing roll; etc.

I'd also include rules for "must-haves" -- it's not that you get any bonus for some specific  item / location / astrological-date / etc ...  but that you have  no chance of casting at all  unless you do it the right way, with the "must-have" (some magic may have more than one must-have).  Call these "Necessities" (or some other flavorful term).  One characteristic of "black magic" may be the use of destructive and/or unwilling-donor "Necessities."
 

On 7/11/2022 at 4:01 AM, sladethesniper said:

...

A magic scroll is a one-shot item and the scroll is destroyed when it is “used.” A magic scroll can be used to learn a spell (which is a specific effect that has been created and codified). The benefit of spells is that they do not take the POW penalty to skill.  For example, a freeform spell that has a POW cost of 12 will cost the mage 12 POW points and have a penalty of -12% to the mage’s skill. A spell will cost 12 POW points but have no skill penalty.

...

Substitute "one-use magic items" for "scrolls," IMHO.

Honestly, I dislike this version of scrolls, specifically:  it's a straight yank from D&D, and not from D&D's good rules.  Self-erasing writing sounds kinda-cool, but more as an intended effect in itself -- magical spy-stuff ("Mission:Impossible" style & other "burn after reading" secrets); Royal Proclamations (that implant a perfect memory in the listener when read out loud, the words moving themselves from ink to memory); etc. -- rather than as a byproduct of enchanting something that the metagame wants to be single-use.  Potions, now -- potions make perfect sense as single-use items:  consume the potion = the spell is consumed.

Instead of scrolls &c, I would prefer single-use enchanted items.  You "cast magic into" a crystal or other item you have prepared as a matrix for that magic, and then can call the magic back out of the item whenever you desire.  Functionally it's equivalent to scrolls as a single-use item (except for being able to "learn the spell" from it... or you can rule that you can learn from such items, the spell-matrix being amenable to "study" (also to being booby-trapped)).
 

On 7/11/2022 at 4:01 AM, sladethesniper said:

...

Large, powerful spells can also be created by using more than one person’s MP by having multiple people give their MP to the leader of the spell.  The other participants can only give their MP, the leader of the spell is the one who makes the roll to determine if the spell occurs or not. The range for this giving of MP is only five feet.

...

Careful, here.  It'd be easy to gain *HUGE* magic effects from -- for example -- a village full of frightened peasants who want "the monster in the forest" destroyed.  Half their MP's... that they have minimal use for, and recover quickly??!?  Oh HELL yeah!  Here, Adventurers, have a 200MP boost...

Similarly, just out adventuring:  why wouldn't the non-caster types give up some/most of their MP's at the start of every rest-period, to massively boost the caster?

The obvious restriction is that MP-donors might need to roll with a relevant Magic-skill... not magicians, or really bad (low-skill) ones?  Not very helpful as MP-donors.  A slightly-looser variation would be to allow only 1MP / donor, unless the donor makes a skill-roll (normal success = 1/3 total MP; special = 2/3; crit = as many as they want; fumble = they suck MP's out of the casting!).

 

Edited by g33k
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5 hours ago, sladethesniper said:

Ars Magica (via MtA) is where my idea came from, actually. The spontaneous magic stuff is great, the 53 pages of "spells" is what I am trying to get away from.

What I really, really want is the Magic system from Mage: the Ascension.... without a flowchart and 9 spheres (10 with qlippothic) to play with. So, a simplified MtA magic system.

-STS

Have you looked at Lawrence Whitaker's magic system from The Unknown East/Advanced Sorcery?

SDLeary

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@g33k

While I don't want it to be a "check the box" type thing, I "try"  to get around that by having the spell still be rolled for, and even with all the goodies in the world, a magic user can still jack it up...

I think I might add a "failure" mechanic that does something a bit more than just have the MP wisp away... Something a bit like Paradox, but not really.

Great points, I really appreciate your input on that.

-STS

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2 hours ago, sladethesniper said:

...

I think I might add a "failure" mechanic that does something a bit more than just have the MP wisp away... Something a bit like Paradox, but not really.

-STS

I think the "lost" action of a failed roll, + spent MP's, is a steep enough penalty.
 

But on a fumble... well... why should fighter-types have all the fun??!?  Fumble-tables FTW !

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14 hours ago, sladethesniper said:

Ars Magica (via MtA) is where my idea came from, actually. The spontaneous magic stuff is great, the 53 pages of "spells" is what I am trying to get away from.

What I really, really want is the Magic system from Mage: the Ascension.... without a flowchart and 9 spheres (10 with qlippothic) to play with. So, a simplified MtA magic system.

-STS

Well, that said, it is pretty possible to just rework Ars Magica or M:tA into a BRP format.  The crucial thing is to set levels for effects.  That being said, BRP doesn't give you that leveled effect of the dice pool systems like M:tA, and is somewhat different to the way Ars handles skills too.

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Hi all,

Thanks @g33kfor paging me. I enjoy talking about freeform magic in BRP. 
 

But first let me caution this is going to be a shortish post as I’m in Maui on vacation and my wife is going to want to do the late night swim in a little while. So maybe a few observations:

1 - I’m not an Ars Magica player but I get the feeing that sladethesniper would benefit from an Ars-like system, modified to support rituals like described in the Enlightened Magic book.

2 - The homebrew rules located on this site called “The Second Way (TSW)” does much of what your describing but in a slightly different way. In its latest version TSW supports a skill roll to cast a spell, but it’s a general Wizardry skill and not a skill for a type of magic. However TSW leverages nearly the exact same techniques and forms described in Ars (called glyphs and spheres) such a that a wizard can fairly easily cast a spell with the glyphs and spheres they possess but struggle with spells that require glyphs and spheres that they don’t possess. The difficulty in casting spells with unknown glyphs and spheres is driven by two elements.

a - the costs in mps for a spell that the caster doesn’t have the prerequisite glyphs and spheres is high and often prohibitively so. It doesn’t matter what the skill roll is if the wizard doesn’t have the juice to power strange spells.

b - for the skill roll to succeed (assuming you have the juice) you have to roll the wizardry skill minus the prohibitive cost of doing strange magic (see a above) exactly as Slade described it.

The result is much as Slade described it but in TSW the variety in glyphs and spheres replaces the need for multiple specialty skills (like life or time magic).

3 - I think Slades approach is workable but if you don’t use TSW ultimately you are going to have to define in detail the costs of attributes like the number of targets, area of affect, range, mass, damage, etc. If it comes to that you might consider just downloading TSW and using its definitions assuming your okay with definitions that give wizards very high, nearly game breaking power (like I envision Ars offering).

4. Having the GM decide on when a spell seems outlandish or ill thought out seems problematic to me and my group. When my group helped me nail down the rules of TSW (particularly attributes like range, mass, etc) they wanted it all in black in white specifying what could and could not be done. These clear definitions (that didn’t require GM input) made the sessions more fun as the players we’re often forced to get extremely creative on creating spells that did what they want but met all restrictions. Whether you use TSW or not I think clearly defining the “limits” and costs is important.

5. If you allow wizards to tap other characters for their MPs, I recommend as G33 said requiring the donor to make his wizardry roll. And if the donor fumbles BAD things will happen. So sure, the party wizard can tap 200 MPs from 40 wizards but the odds of someone fumbling become more and more likely as donors are increased.

6. And when I say BAD, I mean BAD. Fumbled spell results should range from things that make the wizard hard to play (maybe the wizard permanently takes on the shape of a preying mantis) to things that can compromise the campaign (if a lot of MPs are in play). So instead of taking the shape of a praying mantis the caster rips a hole in space time and now the whole world is getting sucked in. Now they have to fix it…

 

Okay more tomorrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by rsanford
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Check out our homebrew rules for freeform magic in BRP ->

No reason for Ars Magica players to have all the fun!

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9 hours ago, rsanford said:

4. Having the GM decide on when a spell seems outlandish or ill thought out seems problematic to me and my group. When my group helped me nail down the rules of TSW (particularly attributes like range, mass, etc) they wanted it all in black in white specifying what could and could not be done. These clear definitions (that didn’t require GM input) made the sessions more fun as the players we’re often forced to get extremely creative on creating spells that did what they want but met all restrictions. Whether you use TSW or not I think clearly defining the “limits” and costs is important.

This aspect of "magic" is what I don't like about "magic systems." They are a system and have no real magic in them. It is the same as technology or physics. Pull this, do that and then this thing happens...and even though the "rules" say you can't do that...this "magic" over-rules that rule and it happens anyway.

That level of certainty is what I am trying to avoid...and if you do want that level of certainty in magic, then it takes a lot of preparation to get that (time of day, special stuff, MP drain from X or Y, etc.) That, IMO, is what magic should be in a game...otherwise magic staff is the same thing as laser gun and flashlight...just a special effect wrapped up in "magic."

-STS

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23 hours ago, sladethesniper said:

This aspect of "magic" is what I don't like about "magic systems." They are a system and have no real magic in them. It is the same as technology or physics. Pull this, do that and then this thing happens...and even though the "rules" say you can't do that...this "magic" over-rules that rule and it happens anyway.

But it needs to be reliable enough that the players want to be spellcasters.  How about this:

* Specify the details, as per @rsanford's TSW rules; "reliable enough."
* Add in a "but it's magic" layer.  You only get the  exact  result on a Special or better, not on an "ordinary" Success.

If you "merely" succeed, you get ...
 Slightly more of the effect than you wanted, or slightly less
 Maybe it's just slightly... odd ... in some fashion or another
 Maybe there's some utterly-irrelevant side-effect.  Etc etc etc.

Kind of like a "fumble lite" table:  things that would be "bad" if they happened to an extreme degree, but as minor effects range from shrug-and-move-on to mildly-annoying to wtf-odd... all without actually impinging (much) on the basic functionality of the spell.

 

Edited by g33k
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1 hour ago, sladethesniper said:

That level of certainty is what I am trying to avoid...and if you do want that level of certainty in magic, then it takes a lot of preparation to get that (time of day, special stuff, MP drain from X or Y, etc.) That, IMO, is what magic should be in a game...otherwise magic staff is the same thing as laser gun and flashlight...just a special effect wrapped up in "magic."

If one looks at what passes for "magic" in the real world (and not stage prestidigitation/illusions) then that "level of certainty" is what the practitioners sought to achieve. Most noticeable in Alchemy (which sought to transform "baser" materials into "purer" forms [I use material as lead=>gold is just the most commonly thought of transform, but the ultimate goal was to transform the soul from "beastly" to "angelic"]). However, beyond Alchemy take a gander at "Ceremonial Magic" and the "Key of Solomon". Those are full of "this must be performed when the moon is... at sunset... in a circle of these dimensions with these glyphs at such and such points"...

The alternative "magic" is what you find in Wicca (and maybe shamanism). There are still recipes to follow but the "magic" is essentially equivalent to a prayer -- with effects possibly not noticeable, may take place days or months later. Difference is that prayer typically asks an outside entity to perform (call it a form of RQ Rune/Divine magic) whereas the Wiccan form assumes the power comes from oneself (RQ Spirit/Battle magic). Alchemy probably maps onto RQ(3/RiG) sorcery magic.

A magic staff shooting fireballs is essentially a big/powerful Roman Candle firework (hmmm, alchemy?)

 

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16 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

If one looks at what passes for "magic" in the real world (and not stage prestidigitation/illusions) then that "level of certainty" is what the practitioners sought to achieve.

And when that level of certainty was reached it turned into a science. Astrology >> Astronomy, Divination >> Intelligence Analysis, Alchemy >> Chemistry, Herbalism >> Botany, etc.

I mean if that is the case, then you just take a bunch of science skills and play MacGuyver

-STS

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22 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

If one looks at what passes for "magic" in the real world (and not stage prestidigitation/illusions) then that "level of certainty" is what the practitioners sought to achieve. ...

n.b. "sought to achieve"

One of the characteristics of "magic" (particularly in fantasy-fiction (which is actually more of an influence on fantasy RPG's than historic/RW is)) is the unreliability.  Summonings get away from the caster, magic corrupting the soul, etc.

I'm not 100% aligned with STS ... but I'm  very  sympathetic to the basic stance that magic should be magical; and that one of the things that strips away that "magical" feeling is having "magic" be every bit as mechanically reliable/repeatable as any mundane skill.

 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

At which point one gets to invoke Clarke's (third) Law

Ah, yes, picking up some herbs, throwing a bug in a fire, chanting for two hours on a blood moon = I got the job. Obviously, technology.

Clarkes law ONLY works from the viewpoint of a LESSER technologically advanced culture looking at a more advanced one. Our technology is magic to them...their technology is a bunch of sticks and easily falsifiable statements.

The problem with using Clarkes law is that.... "magic" is generally thought of as being a lower technological solution to a problem that requires no industrial base to create the items necessary. Thus, a magic system that works like that...is just reality and not really a "magic system."

20 hours ago, g33k said:

I'm  very  sympathetic to the basic stance that magic should be magical; and that one of the things that strips away that "magical" feeling is having "magic" be every bit as mechanically reliable/repeatable as any mundane skill.

Thank you for finding the words to express my idea succinctly and much better than I could.

-STS

 

edit:

Of course there are some things that are "old" that work better than the modern equivalents and we have no idea how they worked, so I guess that could be examples of magic (Roman concrete, wootz steel, Greek fire, stonemasonry, etc.) However, that just sort of gets into high level skills being guarded and only taught to a select few. 

Edited by sladethesniper
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I prefer magic to be based on laws that cn be understood and studied rather than completely random phenomenon. Because if there's no such laws, there can't be any magician.

Also, even very reliable laws such as the 4 fundamental forces of physics can give birth to chaos. Life is full of wonders, yet it never breaks gravity, electromagnetism nor the strong and weak nuclear forces.

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1 hour ago, Mugen said:

I prefer magic to be based on laws that cn be understood and studied rather than completely random phenomenon...

It's not an all-or-nothing binary, though.
Having "laws" that are immutable, predictable, 100% reliable...  That's arguably an alt-tech.

Having rules that sometimes are a bit more like guidelines doesn't equate to "completely random phenomenon"

 

 

1 hour ago, Mugen said:

... Because if there's no such laws, there can't be any magician.

Sure there can.  It's like gambling:  sometimes you get a big reward.  Sometimes, of course, there's only a small reward; and sometimes you lose it all.

Surely you won't claim there's no gamblers???

For RPG purposes, the magic-system just needs to be  reliable enough  to tempt the players into using it; into sometimes picking magicians of one sort or another.

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1 hour ago, g33k said:

Having "laws" that are immutable, predictable, 100% reliable...  That's arguably an alt-tech.


Having rules that sometimes are a bit more like guidelines doesn't equate to "completely random phenomenon"

That's precisely my point : I want my Magic to be an alt-tech. Or, more precisely, an alt-science.

But anyone knows completely unexpected results can occur even with perfect laws...

But it seems I did not understand you correctly, and your position was not as extreme as I thought. 

I apologize for caricaturing your point of view.

 

 

Edited by Mugen
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5 hours ago, Mugen said:

That's precisely my point : I want my Magic to be an alt-tech. Or, more precisely, an alt-science.

That makes it feel too sci-fi, to me.  I like my *psi* rules to be alt-science!  (n.b. it's still "fantasy" just a form called "science-fantasy."  It varies, having stuff like "mental blasts" and "psychic assaults" and "telekinetic stiletto" and what-have-you; but the "psi" fluff lends an alternate flavor from the "magic" fluff, and thus different-feeling games.)
 

5 hours ago, Mugen said:

...

But it seems I did not understand you correctly, and your position was not as extreme as I thought. 

I apologize for caricaturing your point of view.

No harm, no foul.  Glad to be given the chance to clarify!

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11 hours ago, g33k said:

I like my *psi* rules to be alt-science!  (n.b. it's still "fantasy" just a form called "science-fantasy."  It varies, having stuff like "mental blasts" and "psychic assaults" and "telekinetic stiletto" and what-have-you; but the "psi" fluff lends an alternate flavor from the "magic" fluff, and thus different-feeling games.)

YES!

Psi = alt-tech

Magic = chaos, but super culturally relevant... different magical traditions don't work with other ones.

Magic Items = things that work, and can be replicated, but only by "enlightened masters" and although they know the recipe, they don't know the actual science behind it.

Summoning/planar magic = very specific rules, but most are unknown. Know the rules, get the results.

Faith = GM fiat based on roleplaying aspects of the religion. Kind of a play on Fate points.

-STS

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14 hours ago, sladethesniper said:

...

Magic = chaos, but super culturally relevant... different magical traditions don't work with other ones.

Not for me.

For me, "chaos magic" is  one  sort of magic, but it's not all of magic.  It isn't even very much of magic, as the fundamental "chaotic" nature of Chaos is that it is both limitless and uncontrollable (I borrow somewhat from Runequest here); those who tap Chaos tend to have very short magical careers, with rather horrible ends (this is less RuneQuest-y, as the Lunar Empire has been using Chaos for centuries).

Cultural relevance, yes, absolutely.  Also personal belief:  the magician who doesn't "believe they can" is right, in the most self-fulfilling way.

Above all, "magic" is something that explicitly breaks physical laws.  Matter can be created, or destroyed; so can energy.  Effects that people can perceive may not be detectible by any recording machinery; etc etc etc.  If it reliably obeys physical laws, then it's some form of "science."

All of this, of course, is modulo a given setting.  Call of Cthulhu has magic working in a very-different setting than Magic World, for example; and RuneQuest is yet another setting, that differs yet again.

14 hours ago, sladethesniper said:

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Magic Items = things that work, and can be replicated, but only by "enlightened masters" and although they know the recipe, they don't know the actual science behind it.

...

"magic items" IMHO largely follow the same "rules" that their creating magician follows.  Some are reasonably "reliable" and can be "replicated," some are not & cannot.

 

Edited by g33k
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I agree, but when I meant by "chaotic" isn't Chaos with a capital C, but chaotic, little c, meaning that this effect can be achieved by this magician with X Y and Z, but the same thing can be achieved by this other magician with A and B only. So, by chaotic, I am meaning that there is no 1 > 2 > 3 logical progression... but rather 2 > 5 > 1 progression that doesn't make sense when observed by a scientist... but a magician can, does understand it, and uses these cheat codes (this is the best way I can describe it) in reality to their benefit. Everyone else has to go around the boulder, but the magician can no clip through it, or some other mis-appropriated gamer term to describe an effect.

-STS

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