The High Cost of Magic

Talk about any rules that don't directly fall under personal combat
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Joined: 07 May 2016, 04:42

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Stuh42l »

I realize this is borderline necromancy, but magic is the topic.

I have actually been brainstorming several ideas for magic in a game just like this (originally with the intent on replacing TROS system). My ideas focus on magical traditions drawn from real world historical examples, all with their own unique flavors, aspects, and price.

I am flying out in a few hours for family vacation, but would be more than happy to help in any way I can with this.
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by nemedeus »

Agamemnon wrote:I'm actually pretty damn excited. The "magic focus" thing was one of the more beautiful moments we've had in coming up with stuff for this system. Even more interesting, our current rules have it set up in such a way that magicians naturally have to be paranoid and guard their secrets, as the rules allow for that focus to be stolen, or for other people to replicate your spells and secrets which is the last thing you want.

Even better, the rules currently allow people who aren't wizards per se to actually cast spells or perform rituals if they know the physical actions to perform. A bit like how anyone can make a meal if they follow the recipe, but a chief has an actual knowledge of ingredients, what they do, and what is required - which mechanically explains how cultists and dabbling amateurs can perform rituals despite not having actual points invested into them.
I'm reading through this thread again and in hindsight, that's kinda like wizardry works in the Potterverse, or at least in my favorite fan-interpretation. With the difference being of course that only other wizards can do spells. But a great wizard, such as Voldie himself, invents new magic (through years-long reflection). There's even sacrificial rituals...

Man, i loved that Fanfiction... (for anyone interested, it's Significant Digits, a metafanfiction continuation of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. Note that a big problem this alternate universe Harry encounters is that the rules of magic are completely arbitrary and not at all rational, even so far as to be completely impenetrable).
"First Rule of War Club: Don't fight in the War Room" - Clint Eastwood, 1920
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by dav »

I've been thinking a little bit about a magic system from first principles – ie. what are the types of magic? It'd be nice to have the versatility to support different interpretations of magic in folklore and popular culture.

For example – Sources (of knowledge or power):
* Innate
* Learned
* Channeled (as from a place)
* Bargained for (as with a demon / fairy)
* Bequeathed (as by a patron / deity)
* Activated (wands / staves / etc)
* Stolen (consuming life force of others)
* Sacrificed (consuming life force of self)

Traditions / Foci:
* Runic
* Literate / Wizardly
* Blood
* Death / Bone
* Fertility / Sex
* Dream / Astral / Trance / Fasting
* Alchemy
* Herbalism / Pharmacology
* Techno-magic (clockwork, etc)
* Elemental
* Psychic
* Folk / Subtle Magic
* Shamanic
* Spirit
* Symbolic (numerology, etc)
* Energy stuff (chakras, ki etc)
* Place magic (ley lines, etc)
* Fairy
* Planar
* Divine

It might be interesting to apply some other lenses: "schools" of magic common to different traditions (perhaps sort of like the D&D staples of enchantment, necromancy, etc); type or length of casting (ritual / cantrip / invocation / ...). It'd be kind of cool to let players mix and match these to some extent – to be able to make a folk wizard who has a little innate power (can cast a few simple cantrips), but who must strike a bargain with a demon for serious effects.

I hear the Changeling RPG has detailed systems for entering into contracts with mortals / demons / fairies, which seems like an excellent flavoursome way to establish a cost to magic. Other potentially cool cost mechanisms: making magic slow (a prepared wizard is a terrifying adversary, but if you run up and stab him in the face ...); making magic dangerously unpredictable (especially if you try to use it quickly, etc); making magic consume rare, strange and adventure-demanding material resources; making magic dangerous to your character's mental health; making magic attract the attention of terrifying things; making magic cause exhaustion or physical trauma.

Just dumping some ideas in the hope they spark something.

EDIT: just re-read the thread leading up to now and see Agamemnon nailed down the magic system sometime in 2015. Is it Thursday yet? :)
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