K Peterson

Advantages of Magic World

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I've got a PDF of Magic World stashed up on OneDrive, but I haven't read it in a few years. And I've got a sizable collection of Elric! and RQ3, so MW was a bit of a redundant impulse buy. Or, at least it felt like that to me.

But, I'm curious: are there any advantages to using MW rather than the original material it was assembled from? Are there any rules introduced in MW that you feel improve chargen, combat, magic, or task resolution - especially when compared to Elric!/RQ3? What does MW do better than what it was compiled from?

Let's avoid a benefit like, commercially available for purchase. Typically, I assemble my own player's book and distribute them at the table; I don't require my players to buy copies of a core book. Or a benefit like: the art and layout are fantastic. Doesn't matter to me. I'll strip-mine out what I want, and present it how I want.

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Character skill assignment is good in general. I don't really go into the tribe, rural, city stuff. I'm also one of those weirdos you like stats divorced from skills so I use base skills from Elric!

In Elric! as writ there's two phases to a road. The first is the declaration round and then the action round. MW combines these two, which is the way I always play.

Even though you forbade it as a factor, Elric!'s layout is a work of art.

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2 minutes ago, Chaot said:

Even though you forbade it as a factor, Elric!'s layout is a work of art.

I should have probably been more clear. I meant that factor in the other direction. In case someone wanted to sell MW as an art/layout improvement over Elric!.

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Posted (edited)

Elric! is still my favourite 23 years on. It's slimmer than Magic World even with the Young Kingdoms information that I don't use, and it has everything I need. It also helps that my gaming gang has about four copies between us at the table. And I agree with Chaot about the layout. Character generation is slightly different in Magic World: you have fixed amounts of points to allocate to skills in chargen, for example two skills add 60%, three add 40% and four add 30%. In Elric! it is more freeform: you have 250 points, go for it.

The main reason I bought Magic World was simply that Elric! was out of print by then and I wanted some rulebook redundancy. But I haven't really used it other than to work with Colinabrett on a BRP character generator (in slow progress).

BTW my players laughed out loud when they heard the name 'Magic World'; they thought it was a joke.

Edited by Questbird
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32 minutes ago, K Peterson said:

I should have probably been more clear. I meant that factor in the other direction. In case someone wanted to sell MW as an art/layout improvement over Elric!.

It's not. Elric! was laid out by the late Lynn Willis and it is a masterpiece. No disrespect to MW, but Elric! looks fabulous and it is insanely easy to find information in it once you've familiarized yourself with the book. I don't know how well this actually translates to the digital version, but the physical version is by far my favorite rpg book. I firmly agree with Questbird on this account.

 

The thing that was great about MW was that it showed that the system was still relevant and it brought Advanced Sorcery into the fold. In my opinion, between the two Advanced Sorcery is the superior book because it brings new things to the table. MW was all about reestablishing a rules set. For that reason alone, MW is an important book.

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Posted (edited)

I'm a late-comer to D100 gaming, so I didn't get a copy of Elric! until a year or so after I bought Magic World. All I can say is that MW was the first d100 game I fully grokked as a life-long AD&D/D20 gamer and it is currently my game of choice.

But, after buying Elric! I agree with Chaot and Questbird that it's a superior book in terms of layout and organization. The best thing I can say about Magic World vs. Elric! is that if your eyes are going, its very large type-face is probably easier to read and the PDF of Magic World is far superior the scanned PDF I have of Elric! (both in quality and for the simple fact that I can search MW).

Edited by Nick J.
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11 hours ago, K Peterson said:

I've got a PDF of Magic World stashed up on OneDrive, but I haven't read it in a few years. And I've got a sizable collection of Elric! and RQ3, so MW was a bit of a redundant impulse buy. Or, at least it felt like that to me.

But, I'm curious: are there any advantages to using MW rather than the original material it was assembled from? Are there any rules introduced in MW that you feel improve chargen, combat, magic, or task resolution - especially when compared to Elric!/RQ3? What does MW do better than what it was compiled from?

Let's avoid a benefit like, commercially available for purchase. Typically, I assemble my own player's book and distribute them at the table; I don't require my players to buy copies of a core book. Or a benefit like: the art and layout are fantastic. Doesn't matter to me. I'll strip-mine out what I want, and present it how I want.

Magic World was Ben's tribute to his mentor at Chaosium, Lynn Willis. The changes Ben made (besides removing the IP Chaosium no longer had a license for) were all subtle refinements to the existing text borne out of the intervening couple of decades of use, or corrections to slips in presentation or editorial oversights in the original: Character generation adds RQ3 style cultures, but at the same time streamlines the process; similarly skill categories / groups and their bonuses; the core mechanics were tweaked to bring terminology more in line with the BGB; some minor errors and unclear passages in combat were clarified; Demon & Elemental summoning were largely removed from the core book to Advanced Sorcery and additional spells from published sources folded in to the core list, as were the ship rules (from either Sailing on the Seas of Fate or the RQ GM's book -can't recall for sure which was Ben's primary source there).

Bluntly - if you have have Elric! plus Sailor on the Seas of Fate plus the Bronze Grimoire you have no _pressing_ need for Magic World or Advanced Sorcery (and I say this as the author of one of the bits in Advanced Sorcery you WON'T have). And much as I don't dislike the layout of Magic World, Elric! remains the gold standard for B&W RPG books in editing and design IMO - concise, readable, accessible, atmospheric AND practical. To achieve a couple of those is worthy of note; most RPG books struggle to manage one, yet Elric! managed to achieve all five.

However - with Elric! you game material will be split over three books, and if anyone you play with does want their own copy, you will have to direct them to eBay; also, there is _no_ legal means of obtaining any of that material in PDF.

And if ANYTHING will persuade Chaosium to revise their stance on future support for Magic World, it would be sales of the existing books.

Cheers,

Nick

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Posted (edited)

...

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
need to read more closely!

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Posted (edited)

Honestly, I believe Magic World's most important mistake was the name. Nondescript. without imagination, and with no etymological relation to what it is, namely, license-free Stormbringer.

 

Had they named it "Stormbearer", for instance, and had they slapped a setting on it that was more... multiversal in nature, everybody would have understood what it was, and that name would also have sounded a lot cooler.

The more I think about this idea... the more I like it. They could still do that, should the Stormbringer license negotiations fail...

Edited by Thot

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Or just use the Elric! system for another licensed property.

 

erictheviking.jpg

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, Vile said:

Or just use the Elric! system for another licensed property.

 

erictheviking.jpg

We need a system for Berserking!

Can we swap Tanelorn for Hy-Brasil?

Edited by Chaot
damned autocorrect

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On 4/21/2017 at 5:36 AM, NickMiddleton said:

However - with Elric! you game material will be split over three books, and if anyone you play with does want their own copy, you will have to direct them to eBay; also, there is _no_ legal means of obtaining any of that material in PDF.

That doesn't so much impact me - I've got spare copies of the Elric! core book, and legally purchased PDFs of a number of the books. I can compile books for the players, or provide them with PDF-fragments as necessary. And, honestly, I prefer that over directing players to making a purchase - I can drop the rules that I'm not using, or add in house-rules without having them purchase a core and telling them what to ignore because I'm not using it. (If they want to run Elric/MW themselves, then that's a different matter - buying MW would be the best route for them).

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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, Thot said:

Honestly, I believe Magic World's most important mistake was the name. Nondescript. without imagination, and with no etymological relation to what it is, namely, license-free Stormbringer.

Had they named it "Stormbearer", for instance, and had they slapped a setting on it that was more... multiversal in nature, everybody would have understood what it was, and that name would also have sounded a lot cooler.

Hah! I feel so much the opposite... I actually really like the name. It's wide open to a whole range of stuff... 'Magic World' hits me the same way 'Fantasy Land' did when I first saw it as a kid. No specifics, but a big spot to hang my imagination... ALL fantasy is welcome.
I know some people laugh at the name for being quaint... and maybe it does appeal to for that reason, because it's not trying to be bleeding edge 'cool' or macho... it dares to be quaint, even charming.

Despite being based on Stormbringer I think it's open to a lot more than just sword & sorcery.

Meanwhile, 'Stormbearer' sounds like the name of some high school metal band from the 70s, IMO.

Edited by Simlasa

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1 hour ago, Simlasa said:

...  Meanwhile, 'Stormbearer' sounds like the name of some high school metal band from the 70s, IMO.

Nah.  It's a YoungAdult paranormal-romance series.  Generic and formulaic, but proficiently-written.

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I think their was a Stormbringer band starring Michael Moorcock!

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41 minutes ago, g33k said:

Nah.  It's a YoungAdult paranormal-romance series.  Generic and formulaic, but proficiently-written.

With vague white-supremacist undertones.

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To re-phrase the OP's question slightly, what are the members' thoughts on the merits of Elric! vs. Magic World in terms of actual rules content? Forget about art, layout, setting material, which one you can still buy over the counter, or whether you already have any of the books*.

Which of the two do you think is the superior game system?

* What do you mean, you don't have full sets of both? Who let you in here? Let me see your papers. :mellow:

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8 hours ago, Simlasa said:

With vague white-supremacist undertones.

:D I wasn't aware of that series, and it doesn't sound too fascinating. But I am sure Chaosium could come up with some "Stormb******" name to make clear where it is coming from.

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12 hours ago, Simlasa said:

Hah! I feel so much the opposite... I actually really like the name. It's wide open to a whole range of stuff... 'Magic World' hits me the same way 'Fantasy Land' did when I first saw it as a kid. No specifics, but a big spot to hang my imagination... ALL fantasy is welcome.
I know some people laugh at the name for being quaint... and maybe it does appeal to for that reason, because it's not trying to be bleeding edge 'cool' or macho... it dares to be quaint, even charming.

Despite being based on Stormbringer I think it's open to a lot more than just sword & sorcery.

Meanwhile, 'Stormbearer' sounds like the name of some high school metal band from the 70s, IMO.

Well, even then, don't you think a name that is more catchy, with a setting that is worth talking about (instead of a fantasy kitchen sink), would have been a better marketing decision?

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1 minute ago, Thot said:

Well, even then, don't you think a name that is more catchy, with a setting that is worth talking about (instead of a fantasy kitchen sink), would have been a better marketing decision?

That's a problem. BRP is excellent in adapting to a setting, but the Magic World (or Elric!) rules don't apply to just about any setting. They aren't limited to the Young Kingdoms, though - a friend of mine used them in the setting I built for my Fantasy Viking-themed RuneQuest3 campaign without feeling out of place, but then I had adopted magic from Ken St. Andre's Stormbringer game for some of those cultures, too.

If you mean to use an already existing setting, there is always the question of license fees. Personally, I could have imagined the old Chaosium taking the license for Midkemia, re-publishing the excellent City of Carse supplement (and its sister products, including Tulan of the Isles, with rulesy bits for the characters in there. Midkemia as a gaming world is owned by Midkemia Press, and has rather broad distribution through the novels of Raymond Feist. Not likely to happen with the current Chaosium, but might be an ambitious project for some of the other branches of BRP. I admit that I am clueless about the chances on the anglophone market, though.

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That's why I say use something that is a bit more like the original.

You'd have some kind of Dark Elves (who ride ancient and powerful flying steeds, but obviously not dragons), a Corrupted Human Sorcerer Island civilization, Winged Men, lots of seafaring (possibly involving ships that can travel to other planes). The three allegiances wouldn't be fantasy clichees like Light and Shadow, but something more similar to Chaos vs Law vs Balance, such as Extropy (symbolizing creation, but also creative destruction), Entropy (symbolizing natural laws that eventually freeze the universe), and Pendulum (symbolizing the eons-old swing between the two).

Just a bit more imagination and uniqueness in the packaging, while clearly showing where the game is coming from, you know. Add a cool-sounding name to that, some nice epic cover art, and it should have a better chance at inspiring people to use it than the rather dull name of "Magic World".

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6 hours ago, Vile said:

To re-phrase the OP's question slightly, what are the members' thoughts on the merits of Elric! vs. Magic World in terms of actual rules content? Forget about art, layout, setting material, which one you can still buy over the counter, or whether you already have any of the books*.

Which of the two do you think is the superior game system?

* What do you mean, you don't have full sets of both? Who let you in here? Let me see your papers. :mellow:

Magic World, hands down. What changes there are are minor, and subtle, but I think all of them improve the game to at least some small degree.

Cheers,

Nick

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5 hours ago, NickMiddleton said:

Magic World, hands down. What changes there are are minor, and subtle, but I think all of them improve the game to at least some small degree.

That's the impression I'm getting in my current reading of both books, but would you care to elaborate? Any changes in particular? :) 

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Posted (edited)

One of the biggest differences is the combat round. In Elric! it's INT ranks to declare actions then DEX to track when they happen. I believe MW is just DEX ranks. 

Not sure I've ever met someone who played combat by the Elric! rules. Personally, I only use one combat round but track DEX and INT separately depending on if the PC is physically fighting or using spells.

Edited by Chaot
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13 hours ago, Vile said:

To re-phrase the OP's question slightly...

Can I hire you to be my personal forum translator? You do a better job of getting my questions across than me.

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