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Richard S.

BRP WoT Channeling

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My brother's designing a BRP game for the Wheel of Time books and wants some criticism/advice on his rules for channeling.

Channeling is based on several "talents" such as healing, traveling, elements, or binding, each of which is a seperate skill. Each talent represents a collection of "weaves", which are basically spells. Channelers will also have an affinity with one or more of the five elements, which are not skills but function more like RQ:G's sorcerous techniques (you have it or you don't).

To cast a weave at intensity one, a character must have an affinity with at least one of the elements associated with the weave, spend one power point per element in the weave they have an affinity with and two per element they do not, and succeed in an appropriate talent skill test. Weaves can also be made more powerful by spending more power points, at a one per point to one intensity ratio, though if the character doesn't have an affinity with all the elements of the weave it takes two power points to raise the intensity by one. 

Weaves normally only last for a single round, but characters can either maintain them at the cost of one power point a round or two points a round of they don't have all required affinities, or they can tie the weave off. Tying a weave off requires another successful talent skill roll but if successful the weave doesn't require any more upkeep though it cannot be changed or altered and permanently reduces power points by one/two points depending on the same criteria as maintaining a weave.

If a character has run out of power points but still wants to channel, they can "overchannel" by spending HP instead of power, but for each point expended they must make a constitution roll or take another point of damage. When overchanneling, if either the constitution roll or talent skill test is fumbled, or if both of them fail, the character must roll on a "channeling fumble table", with one possible result being accidental severance from the One Power.

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When era are you planning to run this in? Are you going to take into effect male channelers vs. female channelers?  As well as those employed by the Seanchen? But what you are suggesting seems a simple and nice way to approach the weave.

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2 hours ago, Sean_RDP said:

When era are you planning to run this in? Are you going to take into effect male channelers vs. female channelers?  As well as those employed by the Seanchen? But what you are suggesting seems a simple and nice way to approach the weave.

Hi.  I'm the brother—I remembered I had a BRP Central account after he mentioned he posted this.  I'll answer your questions in order.

 

As for era,  I was thinking of roughly the time period of the books, from the Aiel War until a little before Tarmon Gai'don.  I figured that that would allow potential players to have all of the world background they need in the series itself.  I suppose you could play at any time during the Third Age, though.  If those guidelines need to be adjusted, I'll get to it—I'm currently on book nine, reading the series for the first time.

 

As for male and female channelers, the will be marked differences, yes.  Weaves will be slightly different (such as men being able to do more with less effort of women being able to link.)  There will also be a Sanity stat, primarily for men who can channel, with different features of madness appearing as SAN drops.

 

Thanks for mentioning the Seanchan—I'd forgotten all about them!  I suppose that they would just have a different set of Talents to draw on, like how Aes Sedai or Wise Ones or Asha'man would have different Talents.  These could probably apply to sul'dam controlling damane or to escaped damane.

 

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I had one additional question.  Strength in the One Power is (obviously) derived from POW.  However, since strength in the Power is quite independent of other characteristics (except rate of aging,) POW is useless to non-channelers.  Would it be best to give POW to everyone and let its score determine if characters can channel, or simply to not give POW to non-channelers at all?

 

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54 minutes ago, Daniel Stevenson said:

I had one additional question.  Strength in the One Power is (obviously) derived from POW.  However, since strength in the Power is quite independent of other characteristics (except rate of aging,) POW is useless to non-channelers.  Would it be best to give POW to everyone and let its score determine if characters can channel, or simply to not give POW to non-channelers at all?

 

So Magic World answers that: the only people who can use Sorcery have to have a POW of 16 or better. I would use the exact same rule for The One Power. And then have a Sanity mechanic for channelers (or for everyone) but especially males. 1d3 Sanity loss per MP? or 1 SAN per MP spent?

Edit
In essence the One Power is out there for everyone to tap into, but only those with a POW of 16 or better have the ability to do so. But everyone will have MP (magic points) that can be used for other things? 

Edited by Sean_RDP

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29 minutes ago, Sean_RDP said:

So Magic World answers that: the only people who can use Sorcery have to have a POW of 16 or better. I would use the exact same rule for The One Power. And then have a Sanity mechanic for channelers (or for everyone) but especially males. 1d3 Sanity loss per MP? or 1 SAN per MP spent?

Edit
In essence the One Power is out there for everyone to tap into, but only those with a POW of 16 or better have the ability to do so. But everyone will have MP (magic points) that can be used for other things? 

Hm. We were going to use sanity, making it equal to your PERx5 (personality, replacing CHA and representing willpower and force of personality). We had discussed just using POW for that as per the norm, but I didn't think it was really supported in the books that a higher connection to the One Power made you more resistant to insanity. Sanity was also going to be a stat for everyone, with losses being caused by encounters with powerful beings and places of the shadow, and also by excessive channeling for Asha'men and other male channelers.

I haven't finished the books, but are there any examples of non-channelers actually doing anything that requires power?

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I would suspect using something like the Horn of Valere? But with any of the d100 games, POW and magic points are just inherent to a person. They can grow or fade as the dice and fate decree. So I would not just ignore it for non-channelers because what is their POW increases? Indeed, indeed resisting the One Power would require a character's POW.

I am sure there are a plethora of things it could be used for. 

<----not the world's biggest WoT scholar, I just happen to know a few dozen of them lol

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On 7/3/2018 at 12:07 AM, Richard S. said:

My brother's designing a BRP game for the Wheel of Time books and wants some criticism/advice on his rules for channeling.

Channeling is based on several "talents" such as healing, traveling, elements, or binding, each of which is a seperate skill.

Um, no? Channeling uses four elements and spirit. Strands of these are interwoven into the weaves. The strands can be maintained by the channeler, or they can be tied off.

It is possible but extremely risky to pluck strands from an active channeling, making it unstable and prone to release its energies uncontrollably.

 

Nynaeve's Healing knack is a weird Wilder talent augmenting her normal spell-weaving abilities for healing weaves significantly. She has an affinity to the patterns.

 

You are mixing up the core components of the weaves and the purposes. These purposes are certain patterns in the weave, and those patterns can be modified or other patterns might be interwoven.

 

On 7/3/2018 at 12:07 AM, Richard S. said:

Each talent represents a collection of "weaves", which are basically spells.

I would call these "patterns", and give them certain requirements in the strands that are essential, and possibly common variations with extra strands.

On 7/3/2018 at 12:07 AM, Richard S. said:

Channelers will also have an affinity with one or more of the five elements, which are not skills but function more like RQ:G's sorcerous techniques (you have it or you don't).

I think that the four elements plus spirit serve pretty much the same purposes as the elements in RQG.

IIRC, two of the elements were more closely associated with female magic and the other two with male magic, but nonetheless both Aes Sedai and Ashaman had personal preferences overriding these gender affinities.

On 7/3/2018 at 12:07 AM, Richard S. said:

To cast a weave at intensity one, a character must have an affinity with at least one of the elements associated with the weave, spend one power point per element in the weave they have an affinity with and two per element they do not, and succeed in an appropriate talent skill test. Weaves can also be made more powerful by spending more power points, at a one per point to one intensity ratio, though if the character doesn't have an affinity with all the elements of the weave it takes two power points to raise the intensity by one. 

Hmm. I recall this differently. The Aes Sedai would fill themselves with the source from the environment (or in rare cases where the environment wouldn't provide any, from personal storage), then use this huge amount of temporarily available power to put into their weaves. The amount of the Source an Aes Sedai could hold or channel could be increased through Angreal.

I am not quite sure how much of this power came in elemental/spirit flavors, or whether those could be chosen by the channeler at will.

Something like this looks like it is tied to a characteristic like POW, but might be an exponential effect of that characteristic. It should be a trainable characteristic.

An Aes Sedai filled with the Source would have a huge amount of "magic points" available. There was a safe margin for filling yourself with the Source (or channeling it through you), and there was the risky way to channel more than you could normally contain, requiring ever harder rolls, with various risks like Stilling or explosions.

 

Creating the patterns is a matter of skill, and affinities or lack of those to certain elements or patterns can modify these greatly.

 

On 7/3/2018 at 12:07 AM, Richard S. said:

Weaves normally only last for a single round,

Is this a game convention?

Most weaves in the series lasted significantly longer and also took longer to take effect. Healing weaves were a process of healing rather than toggling the health state.

 

On 7/3/2018 at 12:07 AM, Richard S. said:

but characters can either maintain them at the cost of one power point a round or two points a round of they don't have all required affinities, or they can tie the weave off. Tying a weave off requires another successful talent skill roll but if successful the weave doesn't require any more upkeep though it cannot be changed or altered and permanently reduces power points by one/two points depending on the same criteria as maintaining a weave.

All of this sounds like all the magic comes from the caster, rather than the caster re-directing a bunch of magical flows into a pattern. IIRC the problem with channeling wasn't providing the power, it was providing the control over the flows opened, or containing the power. The latter wasn't helped by the euphoria that came with grasping the source and filling yourself with the power.

 

On 7/3/2018 at 12:07 AM, Richard S. said:

If a character has run out of power points but still wants to channel, they can "overchannel" by spending HP instead of power, but for each point expended they must make a constitution roll or take another point of damage. When overchanneling, if either the constitution roll or talent skill test is fumbled, or if both of them fail, the character must roll on a "channeling fumble table", with one possible result being accidental severance from the One Power.

This sounds like it makes for quite weak channelers. The Aes Sedai feel way more over the top with their abilities.

They do get drained of something channeling the power, even though while holding on to the source the euphoria will carry them through the fatigue, only to crash a lot harder afterwards. This sounds like it does something with the channeler's constitution.

 

Then there are the forbidden weaves - weaves that will other people fear and abhor Aes Sedai. Mind manipulation is one of the most common ones.

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14 hours ago, Sean_RDP said:

I would suspect using something like the Horn of Valere? But with any of the d100 games, POW and magic points are just inherent to a person. They can grow or fade as the dice and fate decree. So I would not just ignore it for non-channelers because what is their POW increases? Indeed, indeed resisting the One Power would require a character's POW.

I am sure there are a plethora of things it could be used for. 

<----not the world's biggest WoT scholar, I just happen to know a few dozen of them lol

The really aren't any uses that I can think of.  People with no ability to channel don't just acquire it—even those who can learn to channel have to have some strength in the Power to start.  The only way I can see a non-channeler resisting the Power to any effect is resisting Compulsion, and that has to do with willpower, not with strength in the Power (e.g. Morgase escaping Rahvin.)  And from what I remember, the Horn of Valerie has nothing to do with the Power at all.

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Right, but POW is not the One Power. POW is just a character's internal potential luck and magical fuel and ability to tap into it. Whether they can tap into it or not. So it would not make much sense for some characters to have it and others not to.  Just from a mechanical POV, not necessarily from the setting POV. I am basically just addressing this question.

17 hours ago, Daniel Stevenson said:

Would it be best to give POW to everyone and let its score determine if characters can channel, or simply to not give POW to non-channelers at all?

So I guess my answer is, give POW to everyone.

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22 minutes ago, soltakss said:

This all sounds very interesting.

Any chance of uploading the finished document to the Downloads section for all of us to enjoy?

That's exactly what we were planning, we just have to get access to a computer so we can type it up first.

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So I was thinking that even though everyone should have POW, maybe non-channelers do not need MP (magic points)?

Just a thought.

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45 minutes ago, Sean_RDP said:

So I was thinking that even though everyone should have POW, maybe non-channelers do not need MP (magic points)?

Just a thought.

Hi, Daniel talking (I don't have access to my phone.)

Thanks for your suggestion.  I thought about that, but I think strength in the Power really has to be independent of other characteristics.  The closest thing to divine favor/innate luck in WoT is being ta'veren, but that really has nothing to do with the Power, and I would rather not collude the two.

The only thing that I can think of for keeping POW relevant for all characters is that it increases your chances of something special happening to you (becoming minor ta'veren, discovering you are able to channel, becoming a wolfbrother, etc.) while channeling ability is a seperate stat, but that also means altering the definition of POW.

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10 minutes ago, Richard S. said:

The only thing that I can think of for keeping POW relevant for all characters is that it increases your chances of something special happening to you (becoming minor ta'veren, discovering you are able to channel, becoming a wolfbrother, etc.) while channeling ability is a seperate stat, but that also means altering the definition of POW.

Which might be the best answer of all, to be honest. If it is not what you need, then make it be what you need it to be.

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Magic points can still be used as a measure for magical attrition when a non-Channeler beomes the target of a weave.

IMO the channelers of WoT grasping the Source is similar to the result of Tapping, holding way more magic points than they could generate on their own. But then, looking back at the three magics of Rolemaster, that is exactly what Channeling is about.

 

Do you have any concept how to do the Dream activities?

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7 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Magic points can still be used as a measure for magical attrition when a non-Channeler beomes the target of a weave.

IMO the channelers of WoT grasping the Source is similar to the result of Tapping, holding way more magic points than they could generate on their own. But then, looking back at the three magics of Rolemaster, that is exactly what Channeling is about.

 

Do you have any concept how to do the Dream activities?

Non-channelers resisting the effects of weaves can probably be handled by POW against PER (personality, replacing CHA and including willpower as well).

For dream walking and the like, we haven't thought about it much, but possibly it could be run like going into the spirit world in RQG.

And btw Daniel is writing a response to your previous comment that he'll post tomorrow when he gets Wi-Fi back.

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Largely thanks to Joerg's criticism, we have made some major revisions.

POW now functions as a sort of "magical encumbrance" along the lines of free INT rather than as a stock of points.  A character who can channel can hold a point total of weaves not exceeding their POW.

Exceeding this limit or channeling for extended periods of time requires a CON roll, beginning at CON x 5 and reducing in multiplicity every time you are forced to make it.  Failing this roll means you must let go of the Source and are too tired to channel or to do much of anything; fumbling means rolling on a “channeling fumble table” and can result in unconsciousness, HP loss, explosions, being severed, or other consequences.  Results are modified by how much/how long you were overchanneling.

Another constraint is your “multichanneling score.”  Although a character can channel points up to their POW, the number of ways they can divide the flows is limited (see Elayne’s first encounter with a Sea Folk Windfinder channeling in The Shadow Rising.)  This limit is initially based on INT—1 for 12 and below, 2 for 13-16, 3 for 17 and above—but can be trained up over time.

Angreal and sa’angreal increase channeling capacity, basically serving as extra POW (a static number.)  Linking does the same, but we still need to work out a curve for it.  Wells give points, rather like magic points, that can be “used up,” each point supplying one POW for one melee round.

For easier bookkeeping, weaves (Joerg, see Chapter 10 in Crossroads of Twilight, p. 316 in the paperback) are grouped into Talents (we were probably just going to steal the d20 ones.)  Along with tying off a weave and unraveling one, these make up the skills in a Channeling skill category, with INT and POW both being major modifiers.

We got our information about the d20 game from a 5e conversion PDF we found in this Reddit post.

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On 7/6/2018 at 10:27 PM, Joerg said:

Magic points can still be used as a measure for magical attrition when a non-Channeler beomes the target of the weave.

Just clarifying Richard's answer.  The only situations where we thought channeling could be "resisted" would be (a) breaking a shield, which only applies to channeling characters anyway, (b) breaking out of Air bonds, which is basically impossible, or (c) breaking free of Compulsion, which has more to do with force of personality than channeling ability (Morgase breaking free of Rahvin in The Fires of Heaven.)

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2 minutes ago, Daniel Stevenson said:
On 7/7/2018 at 6:27 AM, Joerg said:

Magic points can still be used as a measure for magical attrition when a non-Channeler beomes the target of the weave.

Just clarifying Richard's answer.  The only situations where we thought channeling could be "resisted" would be (a) breaking a shield, which only applies to channeling characters anyway, (b) breaking out of Air bonds, which is basically impossible, or (c) breaking free of Compulsion, which has more to do with force of personality than channeling ability (Morgase breaking free of Rahvin in The Fires of Heaven.)

This would make weaves like Compulsion automatic instant successes against anyone not holding on to the source. Making it an attrition contest between magic points (which would be replenished by someone holding on to the source, but be used up rather quickly by non-channelers) would at least delay the effect, analogous to RQ Spirit Combat. But then, using a Resistance roll against some other stat would do this job just as well, repeating for as long as either the victim succumbs or the channeler breaks off (due to a wound or the appearance of a more immediate threat).

Air bonds would match weave effect STR vs. the STR of the victim. Is there a way to use an opposing weave of air to counter air bonds?

IIRC, Morgase is using a passion to counter the Compulsion, and probably rolls a critical in rules terms. And she is a (however weak) channeler educated in the White Tower.

Do you have mechanics for shielding and breaking through a shield? (Or for unraveling a weave?)

Tying off a weave means it stops being active, requiring no further concentration (and allowing no further modification). Does it still occupy some of the weaver's POW?

 

Your rules variant as presented now might work for other settings where magicians tap into external energy flows, too, like e.g. Asprin's MYTH series.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

This would make weaves like Compulsion automatic instant successes against anyone not holding on to the source. Making it an attrition contest between magic points (which would be replenished by someone holding on to the source, but be used up rather quickly by non-channelers) would at least delay the effect, analogous to RQ Spirit Combat. But then, using a Resistance roll against some other stat would do this job just as well, repeating for as long as either the victim succumbs or the channeler breaks off (due to a wound or the appearance of a more immediate threat).

...

IIRC, Morgase is using a passion to counter the Compulsion, and probably rolls a critical in rules terms. And she is a (however weak) channeler educated in the White Tower.

Compulsion results in a POW (being put into the Compulsion) vs. PER resistance roll.  Morgase using a passion does make sense, but it doesn't have anything to do with her being able to channel.  In the prologue of Fires (I think it was the prologue) Rahvin muses to himself how Morgase's force of will means he has to be especially vigilant in maintaining his Compulsion.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Air bonds would match weave effect STR vs. the STR of the victim. Is there a way to use an opposing weave of air to counter air bonds?

I probably shouldn't have mentioned this.  Although it is an example of normal folks resisting channeling, I can think of no instance in which this was even remotely successful without using the Power to cut the flows—the attacker is, after all, supplied with constant energy from the Source.

I supposeyou could "arm wrestle" Air vs. Air, but I think flows are usually cut with Spirit—those would both be POW vs. POW (spent on the weave, not total POW.)

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Do you have mechanics for shielding and breaking through a shield? (Or for unraveling a weave?)

Tying off a weave means it stops being active, requiring no further concentration (and allowing no further modification). Does it still occupy some of the weaver's POW?

As was in the update post, tying off and unraveling are both Channeling-category skills.  A tied-off weave does not occupy POW.

A shield is just another weave.  After it is successfully woven, there is an attrition contest between the amount of POW put into the weave and the free POW of the defender (see Nynaeve and Moghedien's fight near the end of The Shadow Rising.)  I will have to look into how breaking a shield once it is in place works, but untying the knot on a tied-off shield (or other weave) as Rand does near the end of Lord of Chaos will be another Channeling-based skill.  It would also be good to note that this, among other weaves/skills, is lost to the Third Age.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Your rules variant as presented now might work for other settings where magicians tap into external energy flows, too, like e.g. Asprin's MYTH series.

Happy to make a contribution!

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Another mechanic we were thinking of including (actually a shameless rip-off from the d20 edition) was "Ta'veren Points."  They have a similar role to Fate points/Momentum & Doom/Force points.

Basically, you have some counters that are black on one side and white on the other.  Each player gets one with the white side up and the GM gets one with the black side up.  The players can spend theirs for turning a failure into a success, minor retconning (e.g. remembering to pack rope,) creating a favorable external circumstances (e.g. saying a guard is a mercenary who will accept bribes,) and other such.  When they do this, they flip their counter over and give it to the GM.  The GM can make a roll fail, introduce an unfavorable circumstance, etc. by flipping a counter and giving it to a player.

Although this introduces a cinematic element uncharacteristic of BRP, it represents how events in WoT are moulded around those individuals the Pattern deems important to it, and most high fantasy RP'rs are interested in an important, heroic role anyway.

Of course, this mechanic could be altered—characters starting with no points and being awarded them for awesome roleplaying/world-shaking events or the number of points based on an inherent characteristic.  Anyway, your thoughts are appreciated.

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I've actually tried homebrewing this before, a long time ago. No real useful notes--most of them in my head--but I hope some thoughts will be helpful. :)

A really, really big challenge with homebrewing up a BRP version of WoT is figuring out a balance between "This really feels like the books!" and "Oh, this game is incredibly unbalanced." After all, in the novels there's really nothing scarier than a well-trained Aes Sedai or Asha'man with an angreal. A powerful channeler, unopposed by other channelers, can level a city without an enormous effort. That doesn't make for a balanced game (although, if all the players are OK with it, it could still make for a fun game). Figuring out a balance between what channelers and non-channelers can do is the tricky part. After all, the Cairhienin minor lord who is a skilled and cunning politicker should feel just as useful to the party as the Aes Sedai.

Personally, I also think that a thorny problem is setting. Even disregarding the danger of having the player characters overshadowed by the ta'veren heroes of the Third Age, the dangers of male channelers and the extent to which WoT fans are often lore-nerds (I am, anyway...) makes it tricksy to find meaningful space to play. That was one of my frustrations with the WotC campaign for WoT d20, Prophecies of the Dragon. When I was trying to figure out my homebrew, I was setting the game within the Fourth Age, a few hundred years after Tarmon Gai'don. My general themes I wanted to explore were the increasing use and development of steam tech and firearms interacting with established Aes Sedai magical and political dominance (sort of like how Sanderson's Era Two books of Mistborn do) and how Andor and "New Manetheren" (the Two Rivers and Ghealdan, with other bits, set up by Perrin's descendants) interact since Elaine is probably still alive at that time.

A lot of my ideas for WoT Channeling rules derived, in greater or lesser part, from the d20 rules and from Sandy Petersen's Western Sorcery rules. I was thinking to write the system basically as a nightmarish mess of different skills to work on and master, with increased ability to manipulate weaves and the different general elements as the channeler progressed. My thinking was to have a set rule that at character creation a character is a wilder on a POWx1 roll, and is able to learn channeling on a POWx3 (Or, by GM fiat). I was thinking for all characters to have POW, and to have MP/PP/whatever, and that there should also be other abilities that could be learned, not just channeling. Wolfbrothers, Dreamwalking, and maybe some funky abilities tied to being a swordmaster (since the different techniques and styles play a major role in the story, and I'm just a sucker for bad-ass pseudo-magical swordsmen). It's definitely possible to invent non-canon magic/pseudo-magical abilities--after all, some things which were once lost may return as the Wheel turns!

I was thinking maybe that a character who can channel could assign points equal to their POW to the five elements, maybe with a free point in their gender's element (Water & Air for women, Fire and Earth for men) and everyone gets one point in Spirit. They probably wouldn't have to assign points right at character creation, but I never made that decision. Each point represents 10% they can learn of the five element "skills." Per 10%, they can use a 1MP of that element in creating weaves. Each element has a cap based on those assigned points because every channeler has natural strengths and weaknesses. Overchanneling would probably have been going past those mastered amounts. Perhaps someone with a fully mastered Air 5 (50% Air skill) could safely use 5MP in the Air portion of a weave, or could overchannel up to Air 10, with risks. Specific weaves would have been skills, too, although just using/creating the element might have been possible just with that element's skill.

I'm not saying these are rules you should use, or that these are rules ideas that don't have issues, but this is kind of where my general thoughts were going. I think a big part of making channelers kind of more fair is having it be this mess of different skills to spend a lot of time training and mastering. It's rather lore-friendly too! After all, the process for becoming an Aes Sedai often takes decades. (While it's less time for the Asha'man, they also do some incredibly dangerous forcing. I don't know how to model that, but it could be useful to keep in mind. After all, player characters are pretty likely to end up in dangerous situations and doing more than is safe.)

I like your ta'veren points, mainly because of how they shift between the GM and players. That's a great way to model characters who are central to the Pattern, without giving too many freebies. A lot of my thinking has been for players who aren't ta'veren, but that's a pretty cool mechanic.

Another benefit of the skill-overload approach could be a multichannel skill, for modeling those Shield v. Shield fights. One weave trying to shield, the other trying to cut the enemy's shield.

The simple truth is that a lot of weaves, going pretty strictly by the books, won't allow any sort of resistance save. It's part of why Aes Sedai are so frightening (and the Asha'man, unbound by the Oath Rod, even more so). Unless the target is a channeler of the same gender, odds are an alpha-striking weave is just going to happen. I would probably go with this (because I'm too big a fan of the books) but honestly, there should be some sort of resistance save, or maybe a DEXx3 chance to dodge Arms of Air, or whatever. It's better, more fair game balance, which is more likely to cause Maximum Game Fun in the long run.

I like the notion that grasping the Source basically just fills the character up to their POW with MP. It makes sense. Personally, I might model that with a basic "Channel" skill, which is capped by POWx10 % (ex. POW 16 = Channel 160%), then maybe the same Skill%x2 rule as above for maximum MP a character could hold, even while Overchanneling. Perhaps the Overchanneling Failure table numbers could be affected by the method of overchanneling. Ex: Nynaeve has Earth 20%, and Channel 180%, with POW 18. She wants to lift a boulder, so has to overchannel to Earth 4. This is still 4MP (or maybe 6MP, doubling the MP for overchanneled elements?...), which is less than her Channel% restricts, but she still must roll to Overchannel more than natural capacity (Earth 2) allows of the element.

If you ever end up with a Rules doc for this, I'd love to read it. WoT is one of my favorite series. And bugger, now I want to actually try codifying my version... Too many project ideas, too little focus!

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On 8/5/2018 at 6:34 AM, Crel said:

Personally, I also think that a thorny problem is setting. Even disregarding the danger of having the player characters overshadowed by the ta'veren heroes of the Third Age, the dangers of male channelers and the extent to which WoT fans are often lore-nerds (I am, anyway...) makes it tricksy to find meaningful space to play. That was one of my frustrations with the WotC campaign for WoT d20, Prophecies of the Dragon. When I was trying to figure out my homebrew, I was setting the game within the Fourth Age, a few hundred years after Tarmon Gai'don. My general themes I wanted to explore were the increasing use and development of steam tech and firearms interacting with established Aes Sedai magical and political dominance (sort of like how Sanderson's Era Two books of Mistborn do) and how Andor and "New Manetheren" (the Two Rivers and Ghealdan, with other bits, set up by Perrin's descendants) interact since Elaine is probably still alive at that time.

I was a little concerned about this too.  I think I'll wait until I finish the series (almost done with Book 11) before I make a final decision, though.

On 8/5/2018 at 6:34 AM, Crel said:

I was thinking for all characters to have POW, and to have MP/PP/whatever, and that there should also be other abilities that could be learned, not just channeling. Wolfbrothers, Dreamwalking, and maybe some funky abilities tied to being a swordmaster (since the different techniques and styles play a major role in the story, and I'm just a sucker for bad-ass pseudo-magical swordsmen). It's definitely possible to invent non-canon magic/pseudo-magical abilities--after all, some things which were once lost may return as the Wheel turns!

We considered broadening POW (maybe changing the name) to facilitate that kind of stuff.  Haven't gone too deep into it yet, though—we're trying to iron out channeling first.

On 8/5/2018 at 6:34 AM, Crel said:

I was thinking maybe that a character who can channel could assign points equal to their POW to the five elements, maybe with a free point in their gender's element (Water & Air for women, Fire and Earth for men) and everyone gets one point in Spirit. They probably wouldn't have to assign points right at character creation, but I never made that decision. Each point represents 10% they can learn of the five element "skills." Per 10%, they can use a 1MP of that element in creating weaves. Each element has a cap based on those assigned points because every channeler has natural strengths and weaknesses. Overchanneling would probably have been going past those mastered amounts. Perhaps someone with a fully mastered Air 5 (50% Air skill) could safely use 5MP in the Air portion of a weave, or could overchannel up to Air 10, with risks. Specific weaves would have been skills, too, although just using/creating the element might have been possible just with that element's skill.

I hadn't thought of this.  We were going to use the Five Powers like sorcerous techniques, but this seems to be closer to how they are presented in the book.

On 8/5/2018 at 6:34 AM, Crel said:

I think a big part of making channelers kind of more fair is having it be this mess of different skills to spend a lot of time training and mastering. It's rather lore-friendly too! After all, the process for becoming an Aes Sedai often takes decades.

Of course!  Probably the best balancing mechanism out there.  Becoming Aes Sedia is rather akin to Rune Master status, perhaps even more difficult.

On 8/5/2018 at 6:34 AM, Crel said:

(While it's less time for the Asha'man, they also do some incredibly dangerous forcing. I don't know how to model that, but it could be useful to keep in mind. After all, player characters are pretty likely to end up in dangerous situations and doing more than is safe.)

Thanks for bringing this up.  I actually hadn't considered it at all.

On 8/5/2018 at 6:34 AM, Crel said:

I like your ta'veren points, mainly because of how they shift between the GM and players. That's a great way to model characters who are central to the Pattern, without giving too many freebies. A lot of my thinking has been for players who aren't ta'veren, but that's a pretty cool mechanic.

Don't thank me, thank WotC!  That was stolen directly from the d20 edition.

On 8/5/2018 at 6:34 AM, Crel said:

Another benefit of the skill-overload approach could be a multichannel skill, for modeling those Shield v. Shield fights. One weave trying to shield, the other trying to cut the enemy's shield.

I was thinking of being able to channel a total cost of weaves up to your POW, but each weave beyond the first inducing a penalty on all of them (probably -5% or -10%.)  This is a little different than what we presented earlier in this thread, as I read something in New Spring that changed my idea of how this works.  Shield vs. shield will probably be handled by a resistance roll or opposed rolls.

On 8/5/2018 at 6:34 AM, Crel said:

The simple truth is that a lot of weaves, going pretty strictly by the books, won't allow any sort of resistance save. It's part of why Aes Sedai are so frightening (and the Asha'man, unbound by the Oath Rod, even more so). Unless the target is a channeler of the same gender, odds are an alpha-striking weave is just going to happen. I would probably go with this (because I'm too big a fan of the books) but honestly, there should be some sort of resistance save, or maybe a DEXx3 chance to dodge Arms of Air, or whatever. It's better, more fair game balance, which is more likely to cause Maximum Game Fun in the long run.

I think the best way to remain true to the books and balance the game at the same time is for the GM to establish a power level for the campaign.  Do you want to start with stickpickers, or do you want to have a party of Aes Sedai and Warders?  I'll have to give it more thought, though.

On 8/5/2018 at 6:34 AM, Crel said:

I like the notion that grasping the Source basically just fills the character up to their POW with MP. It makes sense. Personally, I might model that with a basic "Channel" skill, which is capped by POWx10 % (ex. POW 16 = Channel 160%), then maybe the same Skill%x2 rule as above for maximum MP a character could hold, even while Overchanneling. Perhaps the Overchanneling Failure table numbers could be affected by the method of overchanneling. Ex: Nynaeve has Earth 20%, and Channel 180%, with POW 18. She wants to lift a boulder, so has to overchannel to Earth 4. This is still 4MP (or maybe 6MP, doubling the MP for overchanneled elements?...), which is less than her Channel% restricts, but she still must roll to Overchannel more than natural capacity (Earth 2) allows of the element.

That makes sense, but then how do you account for holding more or less of the Power?  It does seem a good way to measure how long one should be able to channel, but that's a lot of numbers in flux.  It seems easier just to track a number of melee rounds or full turns.  Channeling combatants would run out of ammunition quickly too.

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9 hours ago, Daniel Stevenson said:

We considered broadening POW (maybe changing the name) to facilitate that kind of stuff.  Haven't gone too deep into it yet, though—we're trying to iron out channeling first.

Of course!  Probably the best balancing mechanism out there.  Becoming Aes Sedia is rather akin to Rune Master status, perhaps even more difficult.

I think the best way to remain true to the books and balance the game at the same time is for the GM to establish a power level for the campaign.  Do you want to start with stickpickers, or do you want to have a party of Aes Sedai and Warders?  I'll have to give it more thought, though.

I figure you can still leave it as POW, and in most non-magical cases it operates in similar ways. Hopefully, that will give you the least grief when figuring out your other basic mechanics (apart from channeling), and will keep any players who are familiar with BRP at a certain level of comfort. Some of this does depend on which game you're using as a base. (Myself, I'm most familiar with a homebrewed version of RQ3, so a lot of my rules assumptions come from that beginning.)

On the topic of setting, it really will just have to come down to what you think sounds most interesting. My two cents, though, is that unless you're going to remove the Big Three from your world it's wise to avoid the main story of the books. As I said before, one of my frustrations with Prophecies of the Dragon is that the players aren't really the main characters. I worry that RQG is going this way as well, with how major Argrath is, and how close the era is set to the Hero Wars. (Another example would be the LotR video game, The Third Age.) My gut reaction was to move into the future, but there's definitely eras without much written about in the (WoT) Third Age which could be loads of fun to explore. Artur Hawkwing's conquest comes to mind, or perhaps the chaos right after the Breaking. Or even the War of Power itself!

Personally, I'm a fan of starting with stickpickers who slowly, through adventures and training, become terrifying, exceptional people. This is to some extent the case in the books, although a lot of the power of the Big Three is due to ta'veren/plot device. I've been playing a game like that for some years, and having an experienced character that started as a lousy peasant is incredibly satisfying. But, that game style takes a very long time and certainly won't be for everyone. I'd be careful about starting a party of Aes Sedai and Warders; no matter how badass the Warders are, I feel like to a conventional gaming group they would be outshone by what an Aes Sedai can do.

For thinking of starting areas, I feel like the Accepted of the White Tower are, ballpark, in the area of a journeyman RQ3 sorcerer. A party of an Accepted or two, maybe a Soldier or Dedicated of the Asha'man, a minor noble from Andor or Cairhien, and a Borderlands soldier or algai'd'siswai new to his/her spears could be a fun game.

10 hours ago, Daniel Stevenson said:

That makes sense, but then how do you account for holding more or less of the Power?  It does seem a good way to measure how long one should be able to channel, but that's a lot of numbers in flux.  It seems easier just to track a number of melee rounds or full turns.  Channeling combatants would run out of ammunition quickly too.

I don't have much ideas in mind for how long someone can channel, but it should probably be a skill function too (in how I think about these things). After all, in Eye of the World Egwene starts with barely being able to channel a couple seconds, after minutes of focus, but the skilled and long-practiced Aes Sedai of the setting can channel for hours and hours (though not necessarily channel at max for that long). The end of Winter's Heart is pretty much the maximum use of the Power which is possible by any human, ever, I figure, and the players probably shouldn't reach it. (IIRC, WoT d20 modeled the Choedan Kal by adding +6 levels to every spell slot used through them...)

Any half-decent idea I can think of for channeling stamina is ending up with a lot of gross bookkeeping. Fatigue Points, CON rolls, etc.

How I was thinking about using this Channel skill, though, is sort of like this: Damer Flynn's player knows that he can learn to channel (he has a POW of 14, and rolled under POWx3 during character creation), but it takes the events of play to convince him to go join the Dragon's new Black Tower. It's revealed in-game that he can learn, so he spends some weeks training with some of the Dedicated, and acquires the Channel skill. This starts at a base of 05%, or maybe 1d6+Magic category mod, or maybe a flat 10% to make things simpler. He continues training, until he reaches Channel 40%. At this point, he can open himself to saidin (with a successful Channel roll) and safely fill himself with 4MP. If he wants to hold more MP, up to double allowed by Channel%, he will have to make Overchannel rolls. (Fortunately he's very good at this, since M'Hael is always driving the Soldiers to channel more.) If he wants to hold less--say, he just needs a 1MP weave of pure Fire to heat water for a bath--he's free to choose to seize fewer MP of saidin. While his POW is still 14, this reflects the final cap on his Channel, 140%. He will never be able to learn Channel higher than that (though he could seize up to 28MP, with Overchannel rolls).

The most accurate modeling of the books onto a Channeling collection of skills seems, to me, to be something like a nasty function based on a "Channel Stamina" skill or something, which is rolled with penalties based on how much of the Power you're using, out of how much you can safely use. So, using 3MP out of 14POW would let a caster basically go all day, but Overchanneling 20MP out of 14POW would quickly apply increasing penalties to this "Channel Stamina" skill.

But, as I said--ew, the bookkeeping. I really don't know if that's the best idea for a tabletop game. I would play it, but that's entirely because I'm a huge WoT geek, less because that sounds like a fun system.

10 hours ago, Daniel Stevenson said:

I was a little concerned about this too.  I think I'll wait until I finish the series (almost done with Book 11) before I make a final decision, though.

Enjoy! The last three books are really strong. The Gathering Storm is my personal favorite volume, and in general I think Sanderson closed the series really well. IMHO, much as I love the series, there really is kind of a middle "slog" between Lord of Chaos and Crossroads of Twilight/Knife of Dreams, even with some really cool parts (like the climax of Winter's Heart).

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