Magic

Genres and rules modules (e.g. magic, psionics, super powers, etc.) should be discussed here if the topic is focusing on a single genre or module. If discussing cross-genre rules conventions -- "How do enhancements work with different genre-specific tropes?" -- that's best put in the more specific rules forum.

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Magic

Postby Shawn Burke » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:10 am

I haven't seen much info on this so thought I'd start a thread.

It sounds like there will talents for magical powers but will that be different from spells?

I'd love to spells in addition to talents that work like 4E rituals but have combat applications as well.
You know, like summoning demons, creating powerful storms of destruction, etc.
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Re: Magic

Postby JuggernAlz » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:19 am

Yes and I would like to hear something about force/psionic powers too. ;-)

Most of all: will spells be different or similar to powers? I mean, I would love to have a system that unifies the mechanics of psions and mages. I really love the 1/encounter powers for force users in SAGA, it is well balanced. Would that rules fit well even for a magic user? What do you think?
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Re: Magic

Postby DTemplar5 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:36 am

You could do this many ways; have the power selection based on character level, class level, tied to talents, tied to feats, or, alternatively, give them their own seperate progression.
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Re: Magic

Postby Elsidar » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:52 am

Hmm. I like the idea of rituals, but they had a bunch of problems despite how interesting they were.

The 4E rituals took too long to cast, were too expensive to cast and buy, and they went largely unnoticed in my games; players tended to forget they had them.

Ritual-esque effects could be pretty useful across multiple genres, but I'm not certain of the best way to do it. As for combat application, directly damaging effects would better be kept to talents and enhancements. However, if there were a way to "prepare" ritual effects for later use (for example, scribe to a scroll, and just a standard action later, the ritual goes off when you need it), that would let environment-altering/battlefield manipulation effects be used in combat.

As for summoning, ...I'll get to that later. ;)
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Re: Magic

Postby Shawn Burke » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:53 am

Actually I kind of like somewhat different mechanics for psionics and magic (and then another for divine magic).
At least enough to give them a different feel.

Psionics seem like they would work well with the current talent mechanics. But to me magic (not all) should be something you have to prepare and study - more ritualistic.

I would also be cool to have some kind of "miracle" or "prayer" mechanic for priests/shamans, etc.
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Re: Magic

Postby Shawn Burke » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:57 am

However, if there were a way to "prepare" ritual effects for later use (for example, scribe to a scroll, and just a standard action later, the ritual goes off when you need it), that would let environment-altering/battlefield manipulation effects be used in combat.


Thats kind of what I was thinking. But being able to make trap like effect would be cool too that aren't directly usable in combat.
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Re: Magic

Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:59 am

Posted in the "Modules" thread, but this seemed like a good place to repeat it (for what it's worth):

JaredGaume wrote:I was musing that an e20 "magic" system could be talent based.

You have these magical talents that cover a lot of basic functions, like pushing, shooting out flames or lightning, or other "classic" depictions of magical power. There wouldn't have to be very many talents to cover the broad scope of these things. Essentially innate magical talent and ability, seperate from "book learning".

You could then have book magic, incantations and rituals the character can perform.
Incantations are spells you prepare, and use basic magical talents to complete and cast at a later time. Even enchant magical items.
Rituals are spells that take a good deal of time (and money) to set up and perform, but give you access to powerful effects and benefits. Some of them permenant, like say Enhancements (see the other thread).

You could include a basic framework in the core book, and in theory it shouldn't be overwhelming.


When I say "magic" I mean anything that uses the traditional "spell" structure like magic spells, priest spells, psionic "spells"/abilities, etc...
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Re: Magic

Postby babs » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:16 am

I would really like it if e20 would not get a 'Ye Olde Magic Shop'. I always had problems with the abundance of magic items in D&D. I think Magic Items should be quite personal and not be easily sold on the open market. That would also leave the verisimilitude of the world much easier to describe.

Babs out!
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Re: Magic

Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:28 am

Ah yes, but in a magic genre setting you would at least have shops that sold the components you need, if not be a place where you can hock stuff you aren't using any more but need the cash to make better stuff. Kind of like the herbalist shops you see tucked away in the corners of strip malls and the like.
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Re: Magic

Postby Felix Le Rouzes » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:31 am

babs wrote:I would really like it if e20 would not get a 'Ye Olde Magic Shop'. I always had problems with the abundance of magic items in D&D. I think Magic Items should be quite personal and not be easily sold on the open market. That would also leave the verisimilitude of the world much easier to describe.

Babs out!


I feel pretty much the same way.

If I remember correctly, in the "Post your Houserules" thread there was a post about the scalibility of the hit point reserves which was being discussed at the time. Would it be possible to implement something similar for magic items? Meaning, could the system be made to work with lots or few magic items, depending on the GM's preference?
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Re: Magic

Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:54 am

Felix Le Rouzes wrote:If I remember correctly, in the "Post your Houserules" thread there was a post about the scalibility of the hit point reserves which was being discussed at the time. Would it be possible to implement something similar for magic items? Meaning, could the system be made to work with lots or few magic items, depending on the GM's preference?

Absolutely, in the "Level of Heroism" thread a similar discussion was more pointedly taking place.
Extending that into the area of magic you might see:

"Realistic": Magic is what the hero does, he or she has to do it on their own. Magic users horde their magic and secrets, so getting at someone else's magic stuff is either on a contract (apprentice) basis, or you have to steal it. (what you guys are talking about).

"Heroic": In a magic genre setting magic and magic items are rare, but plentiful enough for the hero to reliably get to. You don't necissarily have "magic shops" but you can easily find hedge wizards and the like that you can commission to research spells or make magic items for you, it is largely a matter of time and money. Some people may have a magic item or spell or two tucked away in a chest somewhere, and they may not even know it (granddad's "Wand of Miracles" or something).

"Superheroic": Again, in a magic genre setting, the hero has "magic shops" he or she can tap into. This may or may not be available to the general public, but the superhero isn't going to waste time trying to find or sell magic stuff. The hero is readily able to find magic stuff in the world around him or her, things that may be overlooked by most people.
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Re: Magic

Postby jazzencat » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:31 pm

Hopefully there is a way to fit a framework for improvised magic into the system along with the standard memorisation types of D&D. Rating spells along a point system or tying casting to fatigue (linked to constitution) would also work. As the mage or psychic advances they can do more with magic or psionics, similarly to how consistent practice with a sword and wearing armour increases physical condition and eventually the weight doesn't have as much of an impact on the character's fatigue as it did in the beginning. Think of what happens when we first started running or biking. Eventually we become conditioned and go either farther or faster than when we started. Have something like this available for mages and psionicists as well as a framework for pulling improvised tricks (would be harder than using rotes), but as long as the mage has the knowledge in the areas of magic where he is trying to improvise the spell. I was thinking of an adaptation of Mage The Awakening's system. I'll see about putting together a tentative write up on it how it could fit into a level-based game mechanic, if people would like to see it?
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Re: Magic

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:08 pm

Whatever we do, we can't do with the traditional spell's lists and spell slots of the previous decade. As long as we don't do spells per day/spell slots/spells known like 3.5 and Pathfinder does, I think I'll be ok. Just the thought of maybe putting that in this game makes my stomach curdle.

How about a core Effects based system, and then, through the use of Effects options (advantages and disadvantages sort of), you can customize the core system to better reflect different styles of play. This way, if somebody wants to use Spell Points with the Effects that's one Option, and if somebody else wanted to use a skill, like, say, Spellcasting for their spells, then they can. This would also give GM's the versatility to come up with their own setting rules without being constrained to just our rules. If somebody else picked the options that made their Effects permament, well, now they are playing a Supers game. :)

Combining this into a good Class structure that uses Feats and Talents would be really neat. Then anybody of every class would have their options to tap into these powers or not, not constrained by their class choice.

Or, we provide, oh, lets say, three different power structures... one Effects based, one Talent Tree based, and one Skill based, and from those options they can pick the one they want... idk.
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Re: Magic

Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:31 pm

How about this:

Using the notion that we have a skill based resolution system, "magic" (and its derrivatives) are controlled by using the Focus skill (mentioned by Gary in the Skills thread). You have say a "magic" feat that turns on your magic abilities, and gives you access to the Core talent(s) associated with "magic". I am using magic as an example here, but any power set could be similarly replicated.

Focus (skill) - Among other uses, you utilize this skill when using magic. Make your casting attempts by rolling d20 + Focus bonus + other bonuses versus target defense (Primary, Fortitude, Reflex, Will, or Difficulty).

Magical Heritage (feat) - You discover or have awakened within you latent magical powers, you are able to use magic, i.e. you qualify to enter the magic talent tree. (choose a heritage ..., and get some static bonus to spell use; a derrivative of this may be a racial feat, i.e. you don't get to choose your heritage, but you might get a bigger bonus)

Magic Power (core talent) - As a standard action you may unleash an expression of your power. (choose a magic power ..., you may take this talent as many times as you like, each time choose a different magic power, each power does something).

(A group of various magic powers, tree talents. Each is based on "amping up" the effect of one of your chosen core magic powers. Somthing like: flaming hands (core) -> fire burst (tree 1) -> fire ball (tree 2) -> fire storm (tree 3) ...)

Incantations (magic enhancements) - These are essentially the traditional "magic spells", they are refined and codified special uses of magical power. You have to prepare your incantations, but your limit is a matter of time and magic power. You complete an incantation by using one of your magic powers (talents), and replacing or modifying its effect by the incantation used. Low level incantations are relatively easy to prepare, while high level incantations take quite a bit of time. Depending on how long you have to prepare defines how many incantations you can ready for use. Your Grimoire (spell book) is your repository of the incantations that you know and can prepare, however you don't necissarily have to have your Grimoire physically present, it is just what you know. You can use incantations to enchant objects, allowing any user to expend the incantation placed on it (potions, scrolls, wands, etc...). You learn incantations either by copying or stealing another magic user's Grimoire, or through your own experience and research.

Rituals (magic enhancements) - Where incantations are fairly fleeting and instantaneous, rituals create permenant magic enhancements. Performing a ritual takes a lot of time relative to preparing an incantation, and also requires an expensive set of materials to enact. The result is a permenant magic enhancement such as a magical exploit or item that you may use. Rituals may be found in Ritual Books, or even recorded in your personal Grimoire. Usually you will have to discover a ritual, or you may be able to research and develope your own ritual of a lower level given your knowledge and experience. You may use rituals to create Wonderous items (magic weapons, rings, armor, etc...), these items are generally able to be used by anyone. A magical exploit is something that boosts your powers, focus skill bonus, or gives you some special ability; a magical exploit is placed on the person who is the focus of the ritual, and this may or may not be the magic user.
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Re: Magic

Postby Kaldaen » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:31 am

However the magic/psionic/summoning system works, we should strive to keep it as simple as possible. Magic should indeed be awe-inspiring, but it should not overshadow the contributions of non-magical characters. D&D 3.x had the problem of giving Wizards and Sorcerers a very involved, complex magic system overflowing with possibilities, while martial combatants were limited to a "draw weapon, hit stuff" existence. It seemed like nearly half of the development effort went into the magic system, and if you played a character that had no magic, you could easily get the sense that you were missing out on half of the game.
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Re: Magic

Postby JaredGaume » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:36 am

That is why I think a talent driven magic or powers system can remain balanced with other styles of play.

Yeah, past d20 itterations basically had one or two classes or class tiers that got all the goodies. Everyone else was just there for flavor. Something we should try and avoid.
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Re: Magic

Postby j0lt » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:21 am

If you have a copy, take a look at Monte Cook's World of Darkness. The magic system in that book is excellently designed, and could be easily modified to require talents for each component. In a high-magic setting these spells can be done on the fly, while in a low-magic setting they would function more like Urban Arcana's Incantations system.

I'd really like to avoid artificial "balancing" mechanics like Spell Levels and Vancian style casting if at all possible.
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Re: Magic

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:34 am

JaredGaume wrote:That is why I think a talent driven magic or powers system can remain balanced with other styles of play.

Yeah, past d20 itterations basically had one or two classes or class tiers that got all the goodies. Everyone else was just there for flavor. Something we should try and avoid.


Having "magic" neutral is the way to go. This way, its not tied to any single class, and yet if somebody taps into using magic, then that's their choice to give up something from their class for more versatility with power.

Is something like this what your thinking Jared? let's say we have a Tree called Magic Missle (totally hypothetical here)

So, somebody took the Heritage Feat, then took the Core Magic Talent, then took Magic Missle as a Talent Tree.

Magic Missle - In its base form, this spell produces a missle of magical force that strikes at a range of 50 feet, doing 1d4 damage (base damage 2).

Increased Range - require: Magic Missle.
This Talent allows the caster to increase the range of the missle by 50 feet, and increases the damage by one die step (bd +1). This can be taken more than once, each time increasing the range 50 feet, to a maximum of 250 feet.

Increased Missles - require: Magic Missle.
This Talent allows the caster to cast one more missle, up to two different targets, no more than 50 feet apart from each other, and increases the damage by one die step (bd +1). This can be taken more than once, each time gaining another missle attack. Maximum of five missles.

Area Blast - require: Magic Missle, one other Magic Missle talent.
Your skills with Magic Missle are increasing, and you can now modify your growing mastery over the energy to release the force of your magic in an area blast instead of a missle. Target a spot up to 50 feet away, everybody in a 10 foot radius (or twenty feet radius) is attacked as from the center spot arcane missles of force shoot out in all directions. Increase the damage by one die step (bd +1).

Mind you, these are just examples. I put in the growing effect of increasing the damage scale with the spell for each talent in the tree chosen because, to me, it represents a growing master of the spell, increasing the amount of damage the character does with the spell as he gains levels. I put in Base Damage after reading Gary's latest thread on changing how damage works.

Is this one viable way of doing spells as talent trees? Like, is this sommething along the lines of what your thinking of Jared? And of course this wouldn't be everything in the tree.
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Re: Magic

Postby DTemplar5 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:54 am

Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:Having "magic" neutral is the way to go. This way, its not tied to any single class, and yet if somebody taps into using magic, then that's their choice to give up something from their class for more versatility with power.


I have to agree here, except expand to all supernatural abilities. Making supernatural powers class-neutral is the best way to balance the classes out. Perhaps you take a feat akin to Force Sensitivity to gain access to a particular supernatural power set and their talents?
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Re: Magic

Postby JaredGaume » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:12 pm

Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:
JaredGaume wrote:That is why I think a talent driven magic or powers system can remain balanced with other styles of play.

Yeah, past d20 itterations basically had one or two classes or class tiers that got all the goodies. Everyone else was just there for flavor. Something we should try and avoid.


Having "magic" neutral is the way to go. This way, its not tied to any single class, and yet if somebody taps into using magic, then that's their choice to give up something from their class for more versatility with power.

Is something like this what your thinking Jared? let's say we have a Tree called Magic Missle (totally hypothetical here)

So, somebody took the Heritage Feat, then took the Core Magic Talent, then took Magic Missle as a Talent Tree.

Magic Missle - In its base form, this spell produces a missle of magical force that strikes at a range of 50 feet, doing 1d4 damage (base damage 2).

Increased Range - require: Magic Missle.
This Talent allows the caster to increase the range of the missle by 50 feet, and increases the damage by one die step (bd +1). This can be taken more than once, each time increasing the range 50 feet, to a maximum of 250 feet.

Increased Missles - require: Magic Missle.
This Talent allows the caster to cast one more missle, up to two different targets, no more than 50 feet apart from each other, and increases the damage by one die step (bd +1). This can be taken more than once, each time gaining another missle attack. Maximum of five missles.

Area Blast - require: Magic Missle, one other Magic Missle talent.
Your skills with Magic Missle are increasing, and you can now modify your growing mastery over the energy to release the force of your magic in an area blast instead of a missle. Target a spot up to 50 feet away, everybody in a 10 foot radius (or twenty feet radius) is attacked as from the center spot arcane missles of force shoot out in all directions. Increase the damage by one die step (bd +1).

Mind you, these are just examples. I put in the growing effect of increasing the damage scale with the spell for each talent in the tree chosen because, to me, it represents a growing master of the spell, increasing the amount of damage the character does with the spell as he gains levels. I put in Base Damage after reading Gary's latest thread on changing how damage works.

Is this one viable way of doing spells as talent trees? Like, is this sommething along the lines of what your thinking of Jared? And of course this wouldn't be everything in the tree.

I was thinking terms of broader trees, but yeah, you have the idea.

For example (not necissarily advocating this):

You have say 5 Magic Powers (core talent): Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and Void (or spirit).

Each power has a basic use, and then a "tree" of additional power uses. If you specialize in one power set you have some pretty amazing magical talents that you can unleash pretty much at will.

You then have "spells" or incantations that you can learn. You prepare these incantations and trigger them through use of an associated power. These may completely substitute the prepared incantation for the regular talent use, or it may "add" something to the power use. The power of your incantations is determined by level and branch of power that is needed to activate. Rituals follow a similar pattern of usage as incantations.

So something like magic missile might work like this:

Magic Power (core talent): Fire - Produce a fan of flames in a 90-degree arc out to 15 feet, attack target Reflex defense, deal 1d6 base fire damage, flamable materials catch fire and take ongoing fire 2 damage.
Fire talent tree: Fire Burst (minor), Fire Ball (minor), Fire Storm (major).

Magic Missile (incantation level 1, enhancement): Preparation 5 minutes, activation Fire (magic power core talent). Produce a magical bolt of energy to attack your target, attack target Reflex defense, deal 1d8 base energy damage, range 300 feet. You may improve magic missile by changing the activation talent:
Burst Missile (minor) - activation = Fire Burst, produce up to 2 + enhancement bonus magic missiles, you may use each of these to attack a seperate enemy within range, any extra magic missiles are wasted;
Power Missile (minor) - activation = Fire Ball, produce 1 powerful magic missile, it does Xd12 damage to one enemy within range, where X is equal to 1 or enhancement bonus (whichever is greater);
Missile Storm (major) - activation = Fire Storm, attack every enemy within range with a number of magic missiles, the number of magic missiles you hit each target with is equal to 2 or enhancement bonus (whichever is greater).
You may use this incantation to enchant a wand, you may place one incantation on a single wand. When used, the wand expends the incantation placed on it. Anyone may use a wand.
Enhancement bonus: +0 at level 1, +1 at level 3, +2 at level 7, +3 at level 11, +4 at level 15, +5 at level 19.

Wonderous Wand (ritual, enhancement): preparation varies, activation by incantation. With this ritual create a wand that can permenantly cast the incantation placed on it.
Cost: (varies by incantation level and enhancement bonus)
Time: (varies by incantation level and enhacement bonus)
Ritual DC: (varies by incantation level and enhancement bonus)
Power: This wand casts the incantation placed on it, usage is limited by incantation and activation power. A core power incantation may be used as a standard action, minor power incantations recharge after 1 minute, major power incantations recharge after 1 hour. Anyone may use a wand.


This way we can keep the magical talents within a manageable range (a single but fairly brief talent tree). We can control the "spell" population as a grouping of enhancements. This would allow us to produce a core "spell book" for the module with a basic selection of "spells". And expand this with any potential supplement without also having to expand the talent tree. "Sorceror" types could just stick with the magic powers, and maybe use a couple of rituals to amp up their power level. "Wizard" types might go for a more basic "enabling" set of talents and really branch out with a broad selection of incantations.

Just a thought.
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Re: Magic

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:36 pm

JaredGaume wrote: I was thinking terms of broader trees, but yeah, you have the idea.

For example (not necissarily advocating this):

You have say 5 Magic Powers (core talent): Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and Void (or spirit).

Each power has a basic use, and then a "tree" of additional power uses. If you specialize in one power set you have some pretty amazing magical talents that you can unleash pretty much at will.

You then have "spells" or incantations that you can learn. You prepare these incantations and trigger them through use of an associated power. These may completely substitute the prepared incantation for the regular talent use, or it may "add" something to the power use. The power of your incantations is determined by level and branch of power that is needed to activate. Rituals follow a similar pattern of usage as incantations.

So something like magic missile might work like this:

Magic Power (core talent): Fire - Produce a fan of flames in a 90-degree arc out to 15 feet, attack target Reflex defense, deal 1d6 base fire damage, flamable materials catch fire and take ongoing fire 2 damage.
Fire talent tree: Fire Burst (minor), Fire Ball (minor), Fire Storm (major).

Magic Missile (incantation level 1, enhancement): Preparation 5 minutes, activation Fire (magic power core talent). Produce a magical bolt of energy to attack your target, attack target Reflex defense, deal 1d8 base energy damage, range 300 feet. You may improve magic missile by changing the activation talent:
Burst Missile (minor) - activation = Fire Burst, produce up to 2 + enhancement bonus magic missiles, you may use each of these to attack a seperate enemy within range, any extra magic missiles are wasted;
Power Missile (minor) - activation = Fire Ball, produce 1 powerful magic missile, it does Xd12 damage to one enemy within range, where X is equal to 1 or enhancement bonus (whichever is greater);
Missile Storm (major) - activation = Fire Storm, attack every enemy within range with a number of magic missiles, the number of magic missiles you hit each target with is equal to 2 or enhancement bonus (whichever is greater).
You may use this incantation to enchant a wand, you may place one incantation on a single wand. When used, the wand expends the incantation placed on it. Anyone may use a wand.
Enhancement bonus: +0 at level 1, +1 at level 3, +2 at level 7, +3 at level 11, +4 at level 15, +5 at level 19.

Wonderous Wand (ritual, enhancement): preparation varies, activation by incantation. With this ritual create a wand that can permenantly cast the incantation placed on it.
Cost: (varies by incantation level and enhancement bonus)
Time: (varies by incantation level and enhacement bonus)
Ritual DC: (varies by incantation level and enhancement bonus)
Power: This wand casts the incantation placed on it, usage is limited by incantation and activation power. A core power incantation may be used as a standard action, minor power incantations recharge after 1 minute, major power incantations recharge after 1 hour. Anyone may use a wand.


This way we can keep the magical talents within a manageable range (a single but fairly brief talent tree). We can control the "spell" population as a grouping of enhancements. This would allow us to produce a core "spell book" for the module with a basic selection of "spells". And expand this with any potential supplement without also having to expand the talent tree. "Sorceror" types could just stick with the magic powers, and maybe use a couple of rituals to amp up their power level. "Wizard" types might go for a more basic "enabling" set of talents and really branch out with a broad selection of incantations.

Just a thought.


Oh yours looks so much more elegantly put... :) I like your idea also.

Let's combine your idea with my Success Chart idea... get rid of DC numbers. For spells that don't do damage, maybe some spells are just harder to cast than others. One spell might require an Ordinary success to cast, while another might need an Amazing Success to cast. I don't know.

I love how you tied Enhancements into your spell system. Maybe with mine, an Enhancement could make that spell that requires an Amazing success easier to cast, lowering it down to Good with one Enhancement, and Ordinary with a second Enhancement.
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Re: Magic

Postby Kaldaen » Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:40 am

Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:Having "magic" neutral is the way to go. This way, its not tied to any single class, and yet if somebody taps into using magic, then that's their choice to give up something from their class for more versatility with power.

Is something like this what your thinking Jared? let's say we have a Tree called Magic Missle (totally hypothetical here)

So, somebody took the Heritage Feat, then took the Core Magic Talent, then took Magic Missle as a Talent Tree.

Magic Missle - In its base form, this spell produces a missle of magical force that strikes at a range of 50 feet, doing 1d4 damage (base damage 2).

Increased Range - require: Magic Missle.
This Talent allows the caster to increase the range of the missle by 50 feet, and increases the damage by one die step (bd +1). This can be taken more than once, each time increasing the range 50 feet, to a maximum of 250 feet.

Increased Missles - require: Magic Missle.
This Talent allows the caster to cast one more missle, up to two different targets, no more than 50 feet apart from each other, and increases the damage by one die step (bd +1). This can be taken more than once, each time gaining another missle attack. Maximum of five missles.

Area Blast - require: Magic Missle, one other Magic Missle talent.
Your skills with Magic Missle are increasing, and you can now modify your growing mastery over the energy to release the force of your magic in an area blast instead of a missle. Target a spot up to 50 feet away, everybody in a 10 foot radius (or twenty feet radius) is attacked as from the center spot arcane missles of force shoot out in all directions. Increase the damage by one die step (bd +1).

Mind you, these are just examples. I put in the growing effect of increasing the damage scale with the spell for each talent in the tree chosen because, to me, it represents a growing master of the spell, increasing the amount of damage the character does with the spell as he gains levels. I put in Base Damage after reading Gary's latest thread on changing how damage works.

Is this one viable way of doing spells as talent trees? Like, is this sommething along the lines of what your thinking of Jared? And of course this wouldn't be everything in the tree.


I like what you've done here with Magic Missile -- one talent gives you the basic ability, and subsequent talent choices will supplement or alter its effects.

What if we combined that with how GMSarli described talents and feats -- that talents are "active" abilities and feats represent "passive" adjustments to talents or other character aspects. You'd still take a talent to gain the Magic Missile spell, possibly from a talent tree representing Force Damage spells, and the additional effects -- increased range, dual missiles, area blast -- would come from feats designed to enhance the effects of Magic Missile. This way, a Wizard-style character can broaden his repertoire by having more talents available for individual spells, and still be able to choose options that show a specialization in one type of spell over the others.
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Re: Magic

Postby GMSarli » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:42 am

Kaldaen wrote:I like what you've done here with Magic Missile -- one talent gives you the basic ability, and subsequent talent choices will supplement or alter its effects.

What if we combined that with how GMSarli described talents and feats -- that talents are "active" abilities and feats represent "passive" adjustments to talents or other character aspects. You'd still take a talent to gain the Magic Missile spell, possibly from a talent tree representing Force Damage spells, and the additional effects -- increased range, dual missiles, area blast -- would come from feats designed to enhance the effects of Magic Missile. This way, a Wizard-style character can broaden his repertoire by having more talents available for individual spells, and still be able to choose options that show a specialization in one type of spell over the others.

That's largely along the lines of what I'd been thinking. I can see some talents being "enabling" actions that ultimately enhance other talents, but where appropriate we should use feats for straightforward enhancements.
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Re: Magic

Postby JaredGaume » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:50 pm

Given the proposed feat budget (11 by level 20), taking a feat should be a big deal.
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Re: Magic

Postby spaceLem » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:55 am

Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:Increased Range - require: Magic Missle [sic].
This Talent allows the caster to increase the range of the missle by 50 feet, and increases the damage by one die step (bd +1). This can be taken more than once, each time increasing the range 50 feet, to a maximum of 250 feet.


A quick note here: linear increases of distance are a poor choice, since if you can already shoot out to 100 feet, there is little point in increasing it by 50% to 150', and even less by increasing 200' to 250' (only a 25% increase), and note that your chances of needing to fire that far decrease rapidly. Exponential increase is a much better choice.

How about you make the simple missile fire 30', then each increase doubles the range, i.e. 30', 60', 120', 240', 480', 960'. Note how an increase remains useful at higher levels. The same sort of thing applies to something like scrying.

The initial step could be reduced to 20', if you wanted to make a basic magic missile a fairly close range attack. Also values could be rounded, so the last 3 might be 250', 500', 1000'.
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Re: Magic

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:07 pm

spaceLem wrote:
Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:Increased Range - require: Magic Missle [sic].
This Talent allows the caster to increase the range of the missle by 50 feet, and increases the damage by one die step (bd +1). This can be taken more than once, each time increasing the range 50 feet, to a maximum of 250 feet.


A quick note here: linear increases of distance are a poor choice, since if you can already shoot out to 100 feet, there is little point in increasing it by 50% to 150', and even less by increasing 200' to 250' (only a 25% increase), and note that your chances of needing to fire that far decrease rapidly. Exponential increase is a much better choice.

How about you make the simple missile fire 30', then each increase doubles the range, i.e. 30', 60', 120', 240', 480', 960'. Note how an increase remains useful at higher levels. The same sort of thing applies to something like scrying.

The initial step could be reduced to 20', if you wanted to make a basic magic missile a fairly close range attack. Also values could be rounded, so the last 3 might be 250', 500', 1000'.


I like that also. All my numbers are highly non tested and just numbers to show a theory of how it could happen. I was thinking of a lower power scale, but as long as we don't get to cosmic numbers, like having a magic missle that can hit from miles away, i'm good with just about anything :)
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Re: Magic

Postby spaceLem » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:48 pm

Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:I was thinking of a lower power scale, but as long as we don't get to cosmic numbers, like having a magic missle that can hit from miles away, i'm good with just about anything :)


There are loads of different ways of making magic work, for this example I kind of assumed that you could stack various qualities onto a simple spell (e.g. longer ranger, more targets, different damage type, more damage etc.), but each one would increase the cost of the spell (casting DC, mana, or stamina, or whatever). A quadratic scale could maybe work too, but the numbers aren't as interesting. I admit that being able to zap from miles away can potentially cause all sorts of problems, but if you've ploughed all your efforts into being able to shoot it that far, you probably won't have any room to get the power level up too. I get the picture of a master wizard firing a missile at his apprentice a few miles away, just to remind him that he can (or an evil sorcerer, sending a message to the PCs that he's powerful, and aware they're coming).
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Re: Magic

Postby Jimmy Plamondon » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:32 pm

There are several "magic" systems out there. I think the magic system should be tied to the universe/focus of the campaign.

For example, having a system à la Ars Magica or Mage: The Asc/wakening would kick arses! But the balance of the game would be out the window unless everyone plays mages.

I guess the scope of the "basic" ruleset will be to have fighters and wizards be of equal strength.

There has to be a fancier way of to have a spell system than the one we have with 3.0 and 3.5 (even 4.0) dnd; talent trees is a good way to do it I think. Now, how do we make the trees work?

Ill work on that :)
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Re: Magic

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:52 pm

The elements of magic: revised magic system

This is how this system basically works - everything between brackets I just copied from the book. fyi

[All casters have Spell Lists, which come in three effect categories: Creatures, Alignments, and Elements.

They also have one of 11 action types: Abjure/Hex, Charm, Compel, Create, Evoke, Heal, Illusion, Infuse/Drain, Move, Summon, and Transform.

Each spell type can be applied to one or more of the three categories. In all, over 250 different spell lists are possible, not counting various combinations of multiple lists into a single spell.

A caster also has access to magical skills, which work alongside the spell lists. Once a caster learns her spell lists, she can cast a simple spell, cast a combined spell, or cast a signature spell. A caster can keep notes on her signature spells in text form.]

Magic in this system is based on a Magic Point system, not a spell slot system.

An example of a spell and how it works -

Your character learns the spell and puts it on your list: (Create) Fire
Create is the Action type, and Fire is the Element. (In this system, there are 22 elements that can be picked, but this caster chose Fire...if you wanted to create objects, then pick Crystal, or Metal, or even Nature as your element, but this caster wanted people to burn).

So, he has the Create Fire spell list.

Now, all spells follow these Spell Basics, which are defaults that can be enhanced at the cost of an increase MP when you cast the spell -
Casting Time: 2 Full rounds
Duration: Up to one Minute (D)
Range: Touch
Target: Creature, Object or point in space
Area of Effect: One 5 ft square, or 0 ft

So, if you want to increase the Range to 150 ft, it has an increase to MP cost of 2 if targeted. Adding 20ft area of effect radius is an additional 3 MP, or 4 if its Discerning. Having it be +3d6 damage per round would increase the cost by 5 MP. The final MP cost would be 11, for a firestorm that has a duration of 1 full minute that does a total of 4d6 damage (the basic Create Fire does 1d6 per round), and it discerns from enemies and allies.

If you wanted to create a spell that has a faster Casting Time, like Instantaneous, you use the Evoke or Heal Action instead of Create.

Just an example but Iike this because it gives the basic structure for all spells, then each element and action type provides different enhancement possibilities.

-------------------------------------

The other thing that I think is cool, and can take this to the next step is that we have this basic system for magic, but we can expand it with campaign/module qualities. Like, Superheroes for instance.

For superheroes, they can build their super powers using this system, but maybe when making their characters they get 40 Build Points for their powers, then they build their powers within the campaign structure using this Elements of Magic (henceforth I shall call it Elements of Power J ). Then, maybe at certain levels, they get a bonus 4 or 5 Build Points that allow them to increase their over all power levels.

For other types of magic systems, instead of using Magic Points, every casting is skill based, and maybe this is a world where if they fail their check, they suffer hit point damage or reserve point damage.

Or, maybe a psionics system that has the psionics powers pre-built and the psi can only pick from those powers, but those powers are built on the core of the Elements of Power idea here.

Then, different Feats and Talents could be created that allow further versatility, like specializing in particular Action types or Effect categories, getting a bonus when casting spells, or using powers, of that nature.

You could take this entire book (meaning Elements of magic), take out the Force Powers rules in SWSE, put in EoM, and you’d already have your fantasy world using Saga edition without to much fuss. And then use EoM to simulate Force Powers, only better because each time a person uses their Force Power under this version, they can choose how powerful they'd want their Force Power to be, instead of reyling on a random roll to beat a certain DC value. If that is the campaign qualitiy chosen for the campaign.

---------------------------
This book is, IMO, a work of wonders. I haven’t read the whole thing, but I think that we should really consider it. And its free with the EnWorld subscription, which is only 3 bucks to get, and so worth it.

So, in the end, having a system that has 3 core effect types, with 11 possible action types, that can be mixed and matched between them to have a possibility of 250 spell combinations that can be enhanced either at each casting, and then the possibilities of modifying the system based on campaign/setting qualities or module rules options, I think that this system has the real potential to be the answer to our prayers.
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Re: Magic

Postby Jimmy Plamondon » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:04 pm

Wow Stacie, that stuff is great!
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Re: Magic

Postby Elsidar » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:26 pm

The problem with modular spells like this is that they're too easy to abuse and too easy to make really crappy spells.

Especially if "disadvantages" are built in, players will try to cram as much power as they can reasonably fit into a single spell, depending on the circumstances. That'll lead to players trying to tweak the parameters of the spell on the fly, which, while might sound like a good idea in theory, slows the game down when the player decides to do so on his turn. An egg timer won't solve that problem.

Further, judging by the example, this system will be including options that are never used. To name but one, casting time; 2 full-round actions? Really? Nobody is going to sit around and do nothing for two whole turns while the enemies beat the tar out of him so he can toss a fireball off at the end of the round. If there's an option to spend more than a single Standard Action on casting a spell in the middle of combat, it will be summarily ignored.

We should keep the spell/power/mutation development solely in the writer's court, and not let players try to min-max every action of each turn. Non-magical characters won't have that level of customization from round to round, so it's not fair for the ones who haven't taken any magical talents.
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Re: Magic

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:28 am

Elsidar wrote:The problem with modular spells like this is that they're too easy to abuse and too easy to make really crappy spells.

Especially if "disadvantages" are built in, players will try to cram as much power as they can reasonably fit into a single spell, depending on the circumstances. That'll lead to players trying to tweak the parameters of the spell on the fly, which, while might sound like a good idea in theory, slows the game down when the player decides to do so on his turn. An egg timer won't solve that problem.

Further, judging by the example, this system will be including options that are never used. To name but one, casting time; 2 full-round actions? Really? Nobody is going to sit around and do nothing for two whole turns while the enemies beat the tar out of him so he can toss a fireball off at the end of the round. If there's an option to spend more than a single Standard Action on casting a spell in the middle of combat, it will be summarily ignored.

We should keep the spell/power/mutation development solely in the writer's court, and not let players try to min-max every action of each turn. Non-magical characters won't have that level of customization from round to round, so it's not fair for the ones who haven't taken any magical talents.


That was, you know, just an example...and not really meant to be taken literally...of course we'd modify it so it would be easier for us and not as cumbersome. And that was the baseline for all those spells, except Evoke and Heal spells, which did confuse me why they even put that in the game.

Different settings would work different ways and that's where campaign elements would come into play. We have this base system where powers are built, then we can have some prebuilt examples, and give them the tools to build their own. I don't want to have this be a powers-list type of game where the players can only pick from the powers we create. We need to give them the tools to build their own powers, whatever system we end up coming up with.

Give them the tools, let them run with it. Give GMs the advice on how the system could be broken, give them different options. I'm not saying we have to use elements of magic as is, and I know we wouldn't. We'd rework it, tweak it, reduce the complexity, and make it better, if we used it at all, or something similar.

This is more like, I show us a system that could be an option, then we see it for what it is, see its faults, reduce its complexity, and make it better.

Of course, without seeing more of what Gary has in mind, I kind of feel like my brain is sort of lost on how to proceed. :)
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Re: Magic

Postby fodigg » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:39 am

Quick thoughts: The core of magic should be these three things IMO:
  1. Damaging enemies
  2. Healing allies
  3. Breaking the rules

Emphasis on the last one.
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Re: Magic

Postby Elsidar » Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:27 pm

Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:That was, you know, just an example...and not really meant to be taken literally...of course we'd modify it so it would be easier for us and not as cumbersome. And that was the baseline for all those spells, except Evoke and Heal spells, which did confuse me why they even put that in the game.

Different settings would work different ways and that's where campaign elements would come into play. We have this base system where powers are built, then we can have some prebuilt examples, and give them the tools to build their own. I don't want to have this be a powers-list type of game where the players can only pick from the powers we create. We need to give them the tools to build their own powers, whatever system we end up coming up with.

Give them the tools, let them run with it. Give GMs the advice on how the system could be broken, give them different options. I'm not saying we have to use elements of magic as is, and I know we wouldn't. We'd rework it, tweak it, reduce the complexity, and make it better, if we used it at all, or something similar.

This is more like, I show us a system that could be an option, then we see it for what it is, see its faults, reduce its complexity, and make it better.

Of course, without seeing more of what Gary has in mind, I kind of feel like my brain is sort of lost on how to proceed. :)


Snide remarks aside, this sort of malleability in the system shouldn't be in the hands of players, especially not during a fight. Kaldean is right; the simpler it is, the easier it will be for players to understand and use quickly and effectively. Any system where you build your own spells on the fly, no matter how streamlined it is, can accomplish that goal.

Your last point, though, I agree with. I'd really like to see more of Gary's baseline. I'm getting antsy.
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Re: Magic

Postby GMSarli » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:46 pm

Elsidar wrote:
Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:Of course, without seeing more of what Gary has in mind, I kind of feel like my brain is sort of lost on how to proceed. :)

...

Your last point, though, I agree with. I'd really like to see more of Gary's baseline. I'm getting antsy.


Still working on it -- I need at least one more week to get the "e20 Lite" thing finished.
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Re: Magic

Postby Jimmy Plamondon » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:55 am

Flag me as an heretic if you wish, but...

DnD has always been obsessed with balance. Having played Mage (the white wolf game) since its first iteration, with its free-form magic system, having a modular system for a d20 game has a huge appeal.

System abusers are everywhere. When the player is the problem, don't change the system, change the player. If the player doesnt want to change, kick him in the nuts... er I mean out of the gaming table.
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Re: Magic

Postby bone_naga » Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:45 am

I disagree with the idea that you need to change the player, not the system. Sure players should not be trying to use really odd, obviously not RAI, interpretations of the rules to support some overpowered concept, but if a system is completely broken out of the box (D&D 3e) expect to see broken characters. Its like the "well no good DM would allow..." arguments. Not everyone at the table is an experienced gamer. New players should not suffer through a mess of brokeness or uselessness because of their inexperience.

That said, I'm still in support of a modular system, but if we use one, we really do need to keep a close eye on game balance.
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Re: Magic

Postby Jimmy Plamondon » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:47 pm

I would not play a game with a broken system. And to me, a possibility of abuse does not equal having a broken system. My example was related to players-abusers. When you have players-abusers, change the players. Not as in "you go home, we'll phone someone else to pick your spot". More like "we will educate ya a bit".
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Re: Magic

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:12 pm

Ummm, these are roleplaying games, what is this game balance thing your all talking about??? ;) j/k

The person in charge of setting the balance is the Gamemaster...there will always be players who will do their best to tweak the rules to best fit their idea of breaking it, it doesn't matter what game system is being played. The GM has to set the limits, then when the players make their characters, the GM has to make sure its within the guidelines of the game he has in mind.

Even in 4e, where everything is so balanced across the board that all classes feel the same and monotone and there is no real difference between them except for some fluff, you can still manage to work within the system an uber character that outshines everybody else if you know how to tweak the system.

With whatever magic system we have, and perhaps we should actually call it a Powers System and use a single Power System for everything that is Power Related, be it magic, psionics, super powers, mutations, and then apply campaign options and modifiers to this power system so people can simulate either a skills based spellcasting, or a Energy Point expenditure to fuel the powers, or combine it with an optional talent and feat system IF they want to use that, or any combination of this...

This is what our Powers System needs to accomplish. And we will playtest this thoroughly, and that is going to be so fun. :)
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Re: Magic

Postby j0lt » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:44 pm

One thing I really liked about previous D&D versions is that the different "powers" functioned differently. I can see trying to get magic and psionics to work under the same mechanic, but mutations and super powers are a completely different thing. Perhaps they should be treated similarly to the Enhancements?
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Re: Magic

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:10 pm

j0lt wrote:One thing I really liked about previous D&D versions is that the different "powers" functioned differently. I can see trying to get magic and psionics to work under the same mechanic, but mutations and super powers are a completely different thing. Perhaps they should be treated similarly to the Enhancements?


I don't see why they have to be seperate. With a single system but with campaign options, you can come up with various ways of using that system.

For Super powers, you just give a number of power points to build powers with and once they are done, you have your super powers.

For Psionics, you can include Psionics skills and/or Talents in combination with this Basic power system, thereby differentiating it from Super powers... but the Psionic Powers themselves are built with the same power system as super powers.

For Magic, you can include a Mana Point system where you can have your spells, along with the options of taking a Base spell and then modifying it on the fly by putting more Mana into the spell, thereby making it more costly to cast... then maybe have a Spellcasting skill with various DCs to cast based on how much Mana is in the spell... but the core of the spells themselves are still built based on the basic power system.

With Mutations, you just have lower cost powers, but maybe because they are mutations, they have side-effects. Like, using a mutation that makes you more tired, or does stun damage to you, or gives you the hideous complication, yet those mutations are built with the same basic power system.

So, with a single basic power system, yet with campaign/genre modifications to it, each would treat it differently than the others. It would function differently per genre, depending on how the game master wants it to function in his world setting.
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Re: Magic

Postby j0lt » Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:04 pm

Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:
j0lt wrote:One thing I really liked about previous D&D versions is that the different "powers" functioned differently. I can see trying to get magic and psionics to work under the same mechanic, but mutations and super powers are a completely different thing. Perhaps they should be treated similarly to the Enhancements?


I don't see why they have to be seperate. With a single system but with campaign options, you can come up with various ways of using that system.

Mainly because they're not the same thing. Spells and psionic powers function more or less the same way, so they could be done with a similar mechanic. Super powers and mutations are fixed for the most part and something like Enhancements would suit them better. Trying to get them all to function on the same system would be an exercise in futility. It would be like trying to mix the feat and skill systems into the same mechanic.
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Re: Magic

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:29 pm

j0lt wrote:
Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:
j0lt wrote:One thing I really liked about previous D&D versions is that the different "powers" functioned differently. I can see trying to get magic and psionics to work under the same mechanic, but mutations and super powers are a completely different thing. Perhaps they should be treated similarly to the Enhancements?


I don't see why they have to be seperate. With a single system but with campaign options, you can come up with various ways of using that system.

Mainly because they're not the same thing. Spells and psionic powers function more or less the same way, so they could be done with a similar mechanic. Super powers and mutations are fixed for the most part and something like Enhancements would suit them better. Trying to get them all to function on the same system would be an exercise in futility. It would be like trying to mix the feat and skill systems into the same mechanic.


It is absolutely not an exercise in futility. That's just crack. :twisted: Spells, psioncis, super powers, mutations...what are they? They are all the same thing: Extraordinary abilities that defy the basic laws of physics of what we would consider "NORMAL" , Boring, Reality. They are all identical, they are just used in different ways and have different methods of working. They all take the same core effect and apply it in a different manner.

But, either way, as long as we have the system in place for each of these, then I'm cool with it. 8-) But it is not an exercise in futility. Or explain Hero system, or Mutants and Masterminds, or any other generic game out there that lets you simulate the effects of all of these using a single system, because if its an exercise in futility, then how are these games functioning?
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Re: Magic

Postby Imagist » Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:37 pm

I am not going to comment on the "functionality" of Mutants and Masterminds, but I do agree that magic, psionics, super powers, and mutations can all coexist peacefully in the same mechanic. We just have to break the mechanic down to its core elements and see what each represents.

Active - These elements are tied to talents. Magical and psionic talents are easy enough to understand because they are spells and powers. From a super power or mutation point of view, active super powers and active mutations are ones that you possess that you must choose to activate. Energy beams, radiation projection, acid spit, and force fields you have to activate are all examples of active super powers and mutations.

Passive – These elements are tied to feats and enhancements. Magical and psionic feats and enhancements are easy enough to understand because they are magical items or specialized training that simply comes naturally (magical heritage, ritual caster, ect). From a super power or mutation point of view, passive super powers and passive mutations are one of the broadest categories of super powers and mutations the game is going to have. While magic and psionics and going to, for the most part, be focused on active abilities with a few passives, super powers and mutations are going to be focused on passives, or feats and enhancements.

The only thing we will have to keep in mind is while magic, psionics, super powers, and mutations should be different… they shouldn’t necessarily be any more powerful than heroic abilities of the same level. In this system magic probably isn’t going to let you pick up a fist full of dice, do instant-kill large groups of enemies (unless of course that is the normal scope and power scale for a heroic campaign). So we are going to have to take a step back from the “epic ultimateness of magic” and be more realistic about power structure and mechanics. Same goes for super powers. Unfortunately, you will probably not be able to stat-out Spiderman, Superman, or the Hulk and play them as a character (even at 20th level), but you can still play a character that is super heroically strong, agile, fast, or tough.
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Re: Magic

Postby j0lt » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:57 am

Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:
j0lt wrote:
Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:I don't see why they have to be seperate. With a single system but with campaign options, you can come up with various ways of using that system.

Mainly because they're not the same thing. Spells and psionic powers function more or less the same way, so they could be done with a similar mechanic. Super powers and mutations are fixed for the most part and something like Enhancements would suit them better. Trying to get them all to function on the same system would be an exercise in futility. It would be like trying to mix the feat and skill systems into the same mechanic.


It is absolutely not an exercise in futility. That's just crack. :twisted: Spells, psioncis, super powers, mutations...what are they? They are all the same thing: Extraordinary abilities that defy the basic laws of physics of what we would consider "NORMAL" , Boring, Reality. They are all identical, they are just used in different ways and have different methods of working. They all take the same core effect and apply it in a different manner.

But, either way, as long as we have the system in place for each of these, then I'm cool with it. 8-) But it is not an exercise in futility. Or explain Hero system, or Mutants and Masterminds, or any other generic game out there that lets you simulate the effects of all of these using a single system, because if its an exercise in futility, then how are these games functioning?

Oh, so THAT's what I've been smoking! :lol:
If you reduce anything down far enough, it all becomes the same. Mutations and super powers are specific constant abilities that can't be turned off and IMO would probably fit best under the Enhancements mechanic. Magic and psionics, on the other hand, contains a myriad of different effects, each of which has a different duration. If we break them into those two separate mechanics, I think it would both be a LOT easier to implement and would make a lot more sense.

Edit: What Imagist said...
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Re: Magic

Postby Imagist » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:23 pm

One thing about magic (I will try to focus on magic and not keep dragging in psionics, mutations, and super powers) is that when it happens it should feel like magic. Sure, you could have material components, but mostly I would focus on the verbal and stomatic aspects of spellcasting, as well as the visual effect, for flavor.

Evocation (Core Evoker Talent)
You have learned how to channel magical energy into harmful effects.
By spending an action, you can make a ranged touch attack against a target within 60 feet using the Focus skill. The amount of damage done to the target on a successful hit is based on the action you used to make the attack: full-round, 6d6+6; standard, 3d6+3; move, 2d6+2; swift, 1d6+1. All damage is either acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic/concussion (your choice each time you use this talent).

Magic Missile (Major Evoker Talent)
You have learned to harness your innate ability to channel magical energy, and turn it into a force projectile.
Prerequisite: Evocation.
As a standard action, you an unleash a missile of magical force at a target within your line of sight and line of effect. The missile as a range incrument of (insert average pistol range incrument) and deals (insert average pistol damage) + one-half your character level in force damage on a successful hit. You use your Focus skill for attack rolls with your magic missile.

I'm not sure, these are just suggestions, but I would like to see the core talents have more variable uses, like options for a full-round action, standard action, move action, swift action, free action, or reaction use. The numbers for Evocation I just pulled out of the air so in no way assume that is going to be the power level of any talent or magical effect. I see the core talents in the magic module being like the schools of magic in D&D and each offering a broad use of that school's magical power, while major and minor talents will be more focuses uses of those powers. I think the core talents for magic should be more flexable.
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