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I like Magic World character generation!


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I am putting together a demo adventure for Magic World and I made seven pre-generated characters -- nothing fancy -- in a few hours in the evening while watching TV with the family! For Rubble and Ruin it would take me at least an hour per character and I wrote the dang rules! Not only did I find the system easy and fast, but I like the variation in characters. Most characters have a skill over 90% -- everyone came out with strengths and weaknesses (of course I haven't run the demo yet, so who knows how they will play).

If Ben gives his blessing I will post the whole lot to the download area.

Also, when the book hits print I will have a few house rules to add regarding starting equipment that will make character generation even a bit easier.

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I see that "culture" has been added by hand to the character sheet.

Does MW have rules for character culture?

Yes, it's part of the character creation process. Ben revised the basic concepts from RQIII and then found away to fit them into the streamlined MW framework. It's one of the small, subtle changes Ben made to Elric! that I really like.

Cheers,

Nick

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Thanks for posting these.

Classic example of reading rules before worrying about them, I did not like the idea of half STR being the bonus for Agility type skills, but actually those in the Physical category suit STR and the ones which better fit DEX are all in the Manipulate category anyway. I like.

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I'll like to know about MW combat rules. Are those different from the ones at the BGB? (i.e. Volley fire rules, Martial Arts, Riposte, Two weapon Fighting)

Not radically, no. Magic World is a subtle evolution of the SB5 / Elric! rules, which were in turn ONE of the major sources for the "baseline" core system in the BGB (Call of Cthulhu sixth edition was the other). So the majority will look very familiar, albeit it is more straightforward to read as their aren't as many optional sub-systems as there are in the BGB. Plus, there are a few subtle tweaks: the "combat matrix" have been revised to the (corrected) Elric! version but with MW terminology for example...

Cheers,

Nick

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One thing to be aware of: the riposte rule says you get a riposte on a critical; it should say special but the terminology was carried over from Elric/SB, which uses crit/impale rather than special/crit. I mentioned this to Ben and he said it's too late to fix in the printed version but will go in errata.

BTW I ran a drop-in demo session of MW yesterday at Dundracon and I was gratified at how much the players enjoyed it, even though we didn't get very far into an adventure per se. Two guys had no BRP experience and one only knew CoC, and they were all very keen on the mechanics. Another BRP-newb came by later and engaged in a very intent conversation about the game. He seemed very favorable. All of them seemed eager to see the actual book when it comes out.

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If you want to speed up chargen more, I think it might help to incorporate the Elric/BGB idea of clustering skills based on a general character personality type (use this instead of hobby skills), and then just add occupation and culture bonuses. Cuts down on the number of decisions. But this observation is partly because I created the demo characters using the "Veteran" guidelines, which give a lot more "hobby" skills.

To give a little context without quoting the MW rules directly:

Your Culture gives you a list of background skills to choose from; you pick three to get a modest bonus. Culture also gives you a range of occupations to choose, which work more or less like occupations in Elric, though with a little more structure in terms of skill point distribution. Finally you get to assign points to "hobby" skills outside your occupation, again using structured distribution. By "structured" I mean that you don't assign points freely from a pool but instead assign X points to each of certain # of skills, then Y to some more skills, etc.

Edited by ewilen
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What do you mean by "corrected"? I have played Elric! for ages but I had never noticed there was a bug in the combat matrix. Please, tell me I'm curious ...

Depending on which printing of Elric! you have, the footnotes and wording on the matrix can be ambiguous regarding how parrying works - add that to an ambiguous passage about shields in the combat chapter and its possible to get quite tied in knots over how weapon and shield parries work. I went through the table carefully and (hopefully!) disentangled those ambiguities and amended the terminology to suit the terminology of the BGB ("special" and "critical", rather than "critical" and "impale")...

Cheers,

Nick

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....add that to an ambiguous passage about shields in the combat chapter and its possible to get quite tied in knots over how weapon and shield parries work. ...

Hey Nick,

That passage in Elric! re: Shields has confused me for years :P

Today, I just let the characters use shields to parry and riposte, but I'm not sure that's what Richard meant with that paragraph...

Marcus

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I have the fourth printing of Elric! so I guess whatever mistake there was, had been corrected. Looking it over, I see that MW not only brings the terminology into alignment but incorporates four levels of success on defense rolls (critical, special, success, failure/fumble) to Elric's three (critical, success, failure/fumble).

OTOH distinctions between cutting/thrusting and other weapons have been removed--there's no separate impale result. Dodge and parry also work basically the same, where in Elric there are some subtle distinctions. It isn't clear to me what the relative effect on play of one rule vs. the other would be.

Edited by ewilen
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Today, I just let the characters use shields to parry and riposte, but I'm not sure that's what Richard meant with that paragraph...

p. 64 of my Elric! says you can riposte with the weapon that didn't parry. So roll a critical (= special in MW) on your sword parry, and you can bash back with your shield. Or roll the crit on your shield parry, and you can swing back with your sword.
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If you want to speed up chargen more, I think it might help to incorporate the Elric/BGB idea of clustering skills based on a general character personality type

Caveat Reador: I've not read new MW and the rules therein may be far better than this suggestion.

I just add +20 to a skill category (I suppose in NMW that would be added to the skill category modifier)

Physical Force and Skill = +20 all Physical skills

Technique, Craft, Expertise = +20 all Manipulate skills

Out think and out manoeuvre = +20 all Perception skills

Manage others = +20 all Communicate skills

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I have the fourth printing of Elric! so I guess whatever mistake there was, had been corrected. Looking it over, I see that MW not only brings the terminology into alignment but incorporates four levels of success on defense rolls (critical, special, success, failure/fumble) to Elric's three (critical, success, failure/fumble).

OTOH distinctions between cutting/thrusting and other weapons have been removed--there's no separate impale result.

The "framework" (of weapon groups that distinguish between large thrusting weapons, short thrusting weapons etc) is IIRC still there, so a Chronicler could easily add it back in. Interestingly, my original revision of the matrix and comments on the MS around that time suggests I at least was assuming that "impale" as a special effect of thrusting weapons WAS staying, but I'm at work so don't have access to all my notes and emails and I can't for the life of me remember the exact ebb and flow of the discussions on that specific topic.

Dodge and parry also work basically the same, where in Elric there are some subtle distinctions. It isn't clear to me what the relative effect on play of one rule vs. the other would be.

Errm, there is still at least one subtle distinction: if you manage to Dodge an attack at the same level of success, you avoid the attack entirely; if you Parry an attack at the same level of success, you have to hope your parrying object holds up... And Shields are are significantly tougher than weapons designed to parry, which are in turn significantly tougher than weapons NOT designed to parry...

Cheers,

Nick

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Yeah, absolutely you could add impale back or even add the idea of bashes (from RQ III? know I saw it somewhere). Aside from damage to weapons, a difference of dodge v parry in Elric is you can never dodge an impale, at least based on some q&a that I believe came from Chaosium.

It's hard to compare because E! uses separate dodge and parry matrices, and has fewer levels of success.

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  • 2 months later...

I've had the Magic World pdf about a week after it's release, and I've been glancing at it intermittently, enough so that I think I'll source out a hard copy. I'm not much one for the Major Wound Table, preferring the optional Hit Locations from BRP, but I see why this has been chosen to remain consistent with the BGB core rules and easy for players to jump from CoC over to MW, and that was a good game design choice. I do slightly prefer the BGB Magic mechanics to the BGB Sorcery mechanics, but not overly so, and I really like the collection of spells in MW.

I've had a long standing dislike of the Variable Armour Rules since they appeared in Elric/Stormbringer. I have no issues with having them included in the BGB as Optional Rules, but I thought that in order to remain consistent with the core BGB rules that MW would have the standard AP rules, and I was surprised that Chaosium went with the optional rules as default here. I just found it a bit unusual in that respect. It looks like the game will play pretty much like Elric/Stormbringer without The Young Kingdoms setting, which is a good thing. I really like the Southern Reaches setting, perfect for fantasy gaming, a lot of unmarked territory for a GM and players to sandbox.

One of the main kudos from me is the character generation, it seems very clear and simple, making the char gen up there with some of the 'rules-lite' systems around, although with beefier actual game mechanics. I really like the basic approach of "Pick one skill at xxx%, two at xx% etc", that works nicely, and helps prioritise main skills with the character concept. One of the drawbacks with newbies playing BRP is all the fiddling over putting minor skill points in numerous skills, taking a long time to do so, and all the time moving away from their initial character concept. What's great for experienced players isn't always a boon to novices, and I think MW addresses this.

Magic World is quite simple in its character gen, I think players used to rolling up Savage Worlds or FATE characters could easily jump over to MW. I'ld probably make it even easier for them by giving narrative descriptors for skill allocation, correlating to the bonuses described in the MW book, using the Skill Rating terms from BGB.

That way a GM can say

"Looking at the Occupational Skills, choose 8 skills:

* 1 at Professional ability,

* 3 at Amateur ability,

* 4 at Neophyte ability."

Then I'ld go through the same situation for Personal/Hobby Skills. It's descriptive enough for newbies to grasp, and quick enough for players who have played rules-lite systems to quickly stat up their PCs skill list.

I also like how the Skill Category Bonus are much more simply calculated than they were in the BGB (which was RQ3 inspired). Another good fix in my opinion. Bringing Cultural Skill bonuses back (previously seen in RQ3 as well) was a good move, although I would have preferred an additional skill or two here, considering how much culture impacts on a character. But no big issue, easily tweaked according to tastes.

I also like the way you roll different dice for successful skill checks, depending on whether that skill is a Occupational skill or not. I initially saw a similar idea in the Classic Fantasy monograph, and I like how it has been picked up here, it is well suited for Fantasy play and I guess it stimulates experience growth along the lines of the fantasy archetypes without straight jacketing them into 'Classes', this rule suits the genre well. It's probably something that could suit any pulp genre actually, whether its High Fantasy, Sword n Sorcery, Space Opera, Classic Jazz Age Noir Era etc. I like the standard +1d6 gain for Skill Checks, but the rate is best for gritty play, which is probably the default for BRP, but having higher dice rolls for archetype related skills certainly suits the more 'pulpish' games. I wonder if Chaosium will perhaps consider this with the upcoming Astounding Adventures book.

So I think the slimmed Character Generation is a great boon to BRP, and I think I'll probably run my fantasy games using the char gen guidelines from this book due to its ease of use. Its pretty much consistent with the BGB, yet flows much smoother. I'm quite impressed overall

Edited by Mankcam
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