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How would y'all go about adding a more high fantasy magic system a la D&D to Pendragon? I know KAP4 already had a magic system, but since I don't own that, and have heard it's rather slow and costly even if very thematic, I'm not too interested in using it. I was thinking that maybe magic users could have another attribute like Magic or Power or something to determine their talent and capacity for magic, which would also help avoid muscle wizards, and then also giving them different skills for different schools of magic.

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There are loads of way of approaching this. I'd opt for David Dunham's Pendragon Pass http://www.poppyware.com/dunham/pdp.html

It bolts RuneQuest 3 magic onto Pendragon, adding POW and Magic Points. You can then pick and choose what aspects of the system you want to use. However if you haven't got any RQ materials it's not much use.

I'd also recommend the 4th edition system. Just change the day and weeks values to seconds and minutes, or whatever. IIRC (a long time ago) we changed the d20 life force to d6s and divided all the cost by 10. Seemed to work. We were playing an Ars Magica style game. Magical talents are treated like skills, if you need more there are plenty of lists on the Web: https://powerlisting.fandom.com/wiki/Category:Magical_Powers

https://www.chaosium.com/king-arthur-pendragon-core-rule-book-4th-edition-pdf/

The PDF is currently $10

 

 

 

 

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I second @David Scott's suggestion: just use the KAP 4th Edition's magic rules, which are flavourful, really entertaining and explicitly tied to the background. Simply reduce the time/aging requirements/costs until you obtain a system that works for you.

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Someone else (cannot recall off the top of my head) mentioned a homebrew system with magic as a skill which costs hit points to use.  I dont know all the details, but I thought the idea was brilliant, simple, thematic, and elegant.  You could probably extrapolate from the basic concept.

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19 hours ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Someone else (cannot recall off the top of my head) mentioned a homebrew system with magic as a skill which costs hit points to use.  I dont know all the details, but I thought the idea was brilliant, simple, thematic, and elegant.  You could probably extrapolate from the basic concept.

That was me. ;)

The system was simple:

Each spell is treated as a skill. Certain attack spells (like a magic dart or something) would then be just the same as shooting a bow or throwing a javelin. In the setting we used this method magic was dangerous, so had its drawbacks. One  was that whether you succeed or fail you get some magical backlash (1d6, 2d6, or even 3d6 damage which heals after a good rest) . The damage was determined by the strength of a spell. Other drawbacks was that sometimes a failure did not mean that the spell failed, but acted in some unforseen and usually annoying way. For the healing it was a bit different: You took on the damage of the one you were healing. A good rest healed the damage taken. Luckily you did not get extra damage.

Some magical locations gave you a modifier to your roll. Or the backlash was reduced. The magical strength of the location determined the size of the modifier.

Otherwise treat them as skills, so you can earn checks and use training to increase them. Since we played a group where everyone had a magical ability we did not change the number of skill points that could be added, but you could do that if you wish to mix knights and magic users, so the magic users are not penalized on other skills for being a magic user. (Unless you do not mind that they lack in social skills.

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23 hours ago, Richard S. said:

How would y'all go about adding a more high fantasy magic system a la D&D to Pendragon? 

It would depend on what I was trying to accomplish with the magic system.

If I wanted to give it an authentic Arthurian feel type of magic then I'd either go with KAP4's magic system or wait for the Book of the Magician for KAP5 (which is in the pipeline, and is worth mentioning).

If I wanted a more FRPish magic system, I'd probably add POW as a stat and incorporate some variation or combination of RQ's/BRP's Battle/Spirit Magic, Divine Magic, Sorcery, Stormbringer Summoning, etc. There is so much to work with that just adding POW and BRP's BGB would probably be enough to do the job. One worry though would be the effects of such magic on the game, both in terms of diminish the knight's place in the campaign and in how the spells alter the way things work in the wold.

Just adding Heal 1 to a campaign would radically alter things. Probably every knight would keep a Healer on staff with knowledge of the spell, and no one would have to worry about Chirurgery anymore. Few Knights would probably die at all, since KAP gives you until midnight to get someone up to positive hit points. And that's just the effects of adding one realtively minor spirit magic spell into Pendragon.

If I wanted something somewhat Arthurian, but more low keyed than a traditional FRPG magic system, then' I'd probably take a look as the magic systems from Decipher's Middle Earth RPG, and even take a peek at C7's The One Ring. With Middle Earth having a mythical/historical Earth fell to it, Tolkeinesque magic would seem to match up will with the Arthurian setting. 

Ars Magica could be another possible place to look, as it integrates the magic system and magi into the medieval setting, which is a must in you want to keep the campaign more Arthurian and not just another FRPG.

If I wanted to run something more like the old Welsh Stories, I'd probably consider using the Super Powers system to give each hero some special ability.

My biggest concern though would be in preserving Pendragon as what it is, an Arthurian game centered around Knights. A full D&D style magic system tacked onto it could certainly work, fro a game mechanics standpoint, but would probably ruin the game as Pendragon, and it would probably morph into a more traditional FRPG. So I'd want to be careful with any magical system not to overshadow the knights. Not much point in a knight fighting a giant or dragon if the mage can just toast it with a 20 point disruption spell that does 20d6 or some such compensates for that by the heroes also knowing magic.

 

My advice would be to determine just what you want the campaign to be like, and how much magic that would take, and then work out the  ramification of it all. Then, look over what you ended up with and see if it's still what you want, and if not, tinker a bit until it is. It's had to say just what to add or how much, because that's high subjective and will vary from GM to GM.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Cornelius said:

Each spell is treated as a skill. Certain attack spells (like a magic dart or something) would then be just the same as shooting a bow or throwing a javelin. In the setting we used this method magic was dangerous, so had its drawbacks. One  was that whether you succeed or fail you get some magical backlash (1d6, 2d6, or even 3d6 damage which heals after a good rest) . The damage was determined by the strength of a spell. Other drawbacks was that sometimes a failure did not mean that the spell failed, but acted in some unforseen and usually annoying way. For the healing it was a bit different: You took on the damage of the one you were healing. A good rest healed the damage taken. Luckily you did not get extra damage.

This is really good.  It has a true "power comes at a cost" theme to it.  With HP a known quantity, serious damage not something that can be taken lightly, and healing a generally slow process, it seems to me that it would cause a player with a spell-casting character to not just leap into the fray and start blasting away with magic, or even heal another character without weighing the cost.

I am totally ripping this off in my homebrew.  Thanks again for the idea!

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