A Curious Mechanic for a Magic System

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nemedeus
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Re: A Curious Mechanic for a Magic System

Post by nemedeus » 27 Jul 2017, 07:00

Siggi wrote:
nemedeus wrote:There's no limit to the mechanics you can implement with that (one of the reasons i like pool systems so much more than other dice mechanics, incidentally).
Exactly! This core mechanic may be used to simulate a pulp warhammerish magic, but it also suits as a base for a rally mysterious magic system.

Just imagine. A would-be magician player character is casting his first spell. He rolls a simple Concentration/Attunement/Whatever test, succeeds, and the GM says: "Good. Now you may draw power from the Gloom and shape it into the spell". The player knows that it's just going to be another req3 test and puts his hand into the black leather pouch. He draws several dice from there (provided the GM didn't put a small mousetrap inside :twisted: ) and sees that they're all of different colors. Two green, one red, one black, two white and one yellow. What the hell? "Now roll", says the GM, smiling evilly. "And don't forget to choose which of them you're using. 'Cause otherwise I'll assume that you're using all of them". And the player rolls and chooses three or four dice that rolled successes, without knowing exactly what would happen.

For the player doesn't know that only green dice work as normal (their color representing all 'natural').
That yellow dice count fails for successes and vice versa.
That black dice succeeds only on 6s but this counts as three successes.
That you must include a red die in your roll if you're using a black die, for otherwise something really nasty would happen.
That if you use an odd number of white dice, it would make your spell work the other way round.
That a purple die signifies the presence of an otherworldly creature, and if you use it, you would attract its attention as a (side) effect.

Throughout his troublesome career as a wizard the player will be discovering and learning these rules (sometimes the hard way), but even more would be left unknown, dice of new colors (and shapes!!) would keep popping out of that damnable pouch and the player would be on pinpoints everytime he casts a spell. Because the more he discovers the workings of magic, the more he learns of dangers of the craft (and he would still be dumbfounded by some unexpected stuff not knowing that rolling 6s on a red, a black and a white results in chaos manifestation, that three different colored 1s would ruin the spell even if these dice are not used in a casting attempt, etc).

Yeah, OK, I hear you, guys: such system would be hard to devise and almost impossible to run for a Game Master. But if someone manages to pull such thing off, it may result in an amazing playing experience.
imagine "procedurally generating" these rules at the start of the campaign so players never know what is gonna happen this time...
"First Rule of War Club: Don't fight in the War Room" - Clint Eastwood, 1920
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Siggi
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Re: A Curious Mechanic for a Magic System

Post by Siggi » 27 Jul 2017, 07:12

Cool stuff! We need an app for that.
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nemedeus
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Re: A Curious Mechanic for a Magic System

Post by nemedeus » 07 Aug 2017, 07:42

I've been thinking. actually, having rules like that which are hidden to the player but can be DISCOVERED by the player is probably THE most scientific way to present magic in rpgs. because the player ACTUALLY IS ENCOURAGED TO DO ACTUAL SCIENCE. because that's the way he can figure out the obscure rules he is working with.
"First Rule of War Club: Don't fight in the War Room" - Clint Eastwood, 1920
dysjunct
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Re: A Curious Mechanic for a Magic System

Post by dysjunct » 08 Aug 2017, 16:40

It might be entertaining to have something akin to Nethack et al., where command words and potion colors have set effects, but those effects are randomized at the beginning of each campaign.

Maybe with a sheet for the GM to record the random generation.
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nemedeus
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Re: A Curious Mechanic for a Magic System

Post by nemedeus » 09 Aug 2017, 07:15

another point for the case that pool systems are more powerful than other dice mechanics: you can include different dice types.
i had this idea once for a lovecraftian style game where the players get awarded otherworldly "insight" in form of d8 they can expend as bonus dice in (d6 pool) rolls, but every time they land on an 8, the doom tracker goes up by 1, or a horrible truth is revealed or something like that... including other die types doing other stuff. admittedly similar to that star wars eote gimmick with the special dice and their badly designed symbols, but more straightforward I'd like to believe.
"First Rule of War Club: Don't fight in the War Room" - Clint Eastwood, 1920
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