The High Cost of Magic

Talk about any rules that don't directly fall under personal combat
User avatar
Marras
Grizzled Veteran
Posts: 856
Joined: 22 Apr 2014, 03:19

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Marras » 19 Sep 2014, 05:43

Sounds definitely interesting.

Is the magic ritualistic that takes a lot of time to cast (that's my assumption) or something that is more common in RPGs (similar to D&D magic that you can cast in the middle of combat)?
User avatar
Agamemnon
Grand Master
Posts: 1116
Joined: 05 Jan 2013, 13:59
Contact:

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Agamemnon » 19 Sep 2014, 16:02

Marras wrote:Sounds definitely interesting.

Is the magic ritualistic that takes a lot of time to cast (that's my assumption) or something that is more common in RPGs (similar to D&D magic that you can cast in the middle of combat)?
That's actually one of the things we're trying to wrap our head around. Henri and I both heavily lean towards the kind of magic ritual effects you really imagine when you think "wizard." Circles on the ground under the full moon, candles and herbs, that kind of crap. Similarly, our conversation about "what can magic do" is very folklore oriented. It's all quite powerful, really, but it requires preparation and foresight and ritual to actually pull off.

Amusingly, if you stick strictly to those ideas, there is no conflict at all in terms of magic-users being "overpowered" compared to, say, martial characters (a symptom most other RPGs have a lot of trouble balancing). Wizard characters can do some pretty powerful stuff, but the true power of a wizard is in cunning, planning and anticipation. Having worked from the shadows in advance of his enemies - unlike the swordsman, whose scope is limited to what he can actually put blade through, but he can walk straight up to you and stab you. He doesn't have to have prepared for the event beforehand. It's a nice dynamic, really. If I were writing a game just for me and my group, I'd probably just leave it here.

The thing we have to consider though is that a lot of players will probably want to be able to be more active. Yes, Gandalf actually spent most of his time swinging a sword around - he does very little actual magic in LotR - but as a player who wants to be a wizard, is that going to be a satisfying experience? Or, do we need to incorporate more direct and spontaneous abilities? Things that people can do "off the cuff," and get more directly involved in the action?

That's the point we're kind of kicking around now and trying to get a feel for. We don't want "I cast fireball" to be a thing, or the caster contribution to the group to be "I'm buffing my friends / cursing my enemies / shooting lasers from my wand," but we don't want to leave them entirely out of the spotlight if, say, they should wind up in some kind of battle scene or whatever.

Then again, Gandalf just swings a sword. So maybe the key is diversifying your capabilities.

It's a point we're going to have to kick around. Feel free to offer your own input on the subject while we chew on it.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
User avatar
Marras
Grizzled Veteran
Posts: 856
Joined: 22 Apr 2014, 03:19

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Marras » 19 Sep 2014, 16:25

I like the idea of ritual magic in this kind of game. Walking artillery doesn't seem to be the focud here and not something I would want. D&D style games require different kind of wizard but I would use D&D rules for that kind of game anyway.

Still, you have a point that many people want faster and more direct magic if they choose to play a wizard. Perhaps some sort of alchemically prepared potions, gasses etc could be the solution?
User avatar
hector
Dogged Bastard
Posts: 292
Joined: 01 Dec 2013, 03:26
Location: Aberystwyth University

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by hector » 20 Sep 2014, 11:39

I prefer the idea of subtle but powerful magic. It may be possible to allow the creation of magical items, but that should be the kind of thing that requires the players to go out and find rare components, to craft an item out of rare and expensive materials capable of containing that kind of energy, and and to perform a costly ritual to empower the item with that spell. One could actually have spells which would have a use in combat, were it possible to cast one in the time frame required for it to be useful, but make it so that practicality would demand that magical items be created to store said spell for use at a later date. Most wizards would probably just swing a sword or shoot things with a crossbow.
User avatar
higgins
Heresiarch
Posts: 1186
Joined: 05 Jan 2013, 08:00

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by higgins » 05 Oct 2014, 09:26

Just letting you guys know that we've made a LOT of headway within the last week. The hardest-to-wrangle core elements in the rewritten magic system have now settled down.

- Player input has a massive role on how the spell will look, feel and play out (some loose parts here, so, no examples yet).
- We make a distinction between a focus (think Gandalf's staff, The Rings of Power) and a tool (think chalk, salt, mirror, silvered scissors, cup and dagger).
- Mages aren't powerless without their foci, but having one is extremely beneficial. Losing one's focus is kind of a big deal. In addition, it is possible to steal the focus of another mage and attune yourself to it, but doing so can be dangerous, as you don't know what other powers are imbued into it.
- While spells could in theory be cast without using any herbs, etc, having those components makes the success much more likely. In addition, having proper tools to cut, measure and mark those components has a separate benefit of its own. It means that players will voluntarily hunt not only for the components themselves, but also for the proper ritual tools to make their setup "complete".
- Sacrifices make achieving the spell effects much, much easier, but harder to direct the exact minutiae, with a possibility of the energies spiraling out of control and having unintended consequences.

I'm probably not communicating my excitement about all this well enough, so, let's just say that Agamemnon simply blew my socks off last night. The foci will be BAD-ASS. Yes, in caps. :) As you probably gathered, they have a whole LotR vibe to them, and as with most things in 'Bastards, you can start off the game with an impressive amount of firepower.

Some of the work, such as guidelines to the Obstacles, are yet to be done. And we're also trying to figure out how to determine in a relatively neutral way whether and when the stars are right.

Y'know, some balance between:
Player: "The stars are aligning tomorrow!"
Narrator: "No, the alignment you needed was last month, and the next time it occurs is in a hundred years!"
:lol:
"You can never have too many knives."
- Logen Ninefingers, The Blade Itself
User avatar
Mozusuke
Recruit
Posts: 14
Joined: 26 Jul 2014, 05:47

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Mozusuke » 05 Oct 2014, 11:31

Sounds really exciting. Your enthusiasm DOES come across, but it does sound like just the sort of system I love. I started with (every edition of) C&S, But then personally went in a direction of less 'magic is a science with predictable outcomes for predictable inputs' and more a 'dabbing in affairs you don't understand or control' type of vibe. (I know others vary!)

But either way this systems sounds ... exciting... and one I can work with.

One question ... Obstacles? Is this something I would understand if I had played TROS? Or what?
User avatar
higgins
Heresiarch
Posts: 1186
Joined: 05 Jan 2013, 08:00

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by higgins » 05 Oct 2014, 11:49

I've never played C&S, but... I'm glad you like our direction. We're definitely aiming for the dangerous angle... Especially when sacrifice comes into play, which was a bitch to model, btw. :) Doing something easier, yet more dangerous at the same time sounds like a straightforward task, but putting it into mechanics... Whew! :twisted:
Mozusuke wrote:Obstacles?
That's just our word to denote the difficulty of the task at hand. The number of successes you need to meet or exceed in an unopposed task, essentially. :)
"You can never have too many knives."
- Logen Ninefingers, The Blade Itself
User avatar
hector
Dogged Bastard
Posts: 292
Joined: 01 Dec 2013, 03:26
Location: Aberystwyth University

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by hector » 06 Oct 2014, 14:58

This looks pretty damn interesting. Also, what's C&S?
User avatar
higgins
Heresiarch
Posts: 1186
Joined: 05 Jan 2013, 08:00

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by higgins » 06 Oct 2014, 15:43

C&S stands for Chivalry & Sorcery.
"You can never have too many knives."
- Logen Ninefingers, The Blade Itself
User avatar
Agamemnon
Grand Master
Posts: 1116
Joined: 05 Jan 2013, 13:59
Contact:

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Agamemnon » 07 Oct 2014, 21:38

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.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
User avatar
Marras
Grizzled Veteran
Posts: 856
Joined: 22 Apr 2014, 03:19

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Marras » 09 Oct 2014, 16:33

Sounds like a great system!

So, designing new "spells" is for magi but others can replicate the effects if they get their hands on a grimoire (and happen to understand what it says)?

I also like it very much that components and other tools will have a benefit of their own. How well these will be defined in rules and how much players and GMs need to decide what are adequate for certain effects?
User avatar
Mozusuke
Recruit
Posts: 14
Joined: 26 Jul 2014, 05:47

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Mozusuke » 11 Oct 2014, 05:34

One of the editions of C&S had an awesome system where you had to work out what the right 22 ingredients for your focus were dependant on your school, astrological sign etc - some mundane, and some really exotic. The you had to gather them which could be an adventure in itself. Then you had to enchant each of them, which would take days or weeks depending on the item e.g a phoenix feather takes longer than wood.

Then you would combine them into the focus to make your sorcerous efforts more effective.

All this created an awesome vibe. BUT...

It could also really easily turn into a massive book-keeping exercise that rapidly strayed into a territory whose name we can only whisper...... "Boring".
User avatar
hector
Dogged Bastard
Posts: 292
Joined: 01 Dec 2013, 03:26
Location: Aberystwyth University

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by hector » 11 Oct 2014, 09:46

Yeah, 22 different ingredients is maybe a little overkill. Five or six (maybe ten at most) could fuel a few adventures, give the character a reward for the effort put in, and let the campaign move on to something else before everyone gets sick of "we're finding more shit to make our mage better", but I suspect everyone would get tired of all their adventures being about making the mage better before they found all twenty two ingredients...
User avatar
Marras
Grizzled Veteran
Posts: 856
Joined: 22 Apr 2014, 03:19

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Marras » 11 Oct 2014, 17:48

22 ingredients? :shock: I own one edition of C&S but I have never played it and don't remember almost anything of it.

I am pretty sure that the amount of ingredients and components is a lot lower in 'Bastards than that at least for those that give actual game mechanical bonuses. At least I would think so. That amount of ingredients that you really have to hunt down as adventures is pretty hefty and might be a basis for an entire campaign. For some groups it's nothing but for us it wouldn't work. On the other hand some of those components could very well be some almost mundane items that one can simply go out and shop for without it eating adventuring time (like certain scissors, chalk and measuring tape).
User avatar
higgins
Heresiarch
Posts: 1186
Joined: 05 Jan 2013, 08:00

Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by higgins » 12 Oct 2014, 17:40

Marras wrote:So, designing new "spells" is for magi but others can replicate the effects if they get their hands on a grimoire (and happen to understand what it says)?
Correct! :twisted:
Marras wrote:I also like it very much that components and other tools will have a benefit of their own. How well these will be defined in rules and how much players and GMs need to decide what are adequate for certain effects?
As the previous incarnation of the rules didn't have that aspect to them, the mechanics for that are yet to be fully formed. Right now we're thinking of a three tiered approach, so that the benefit gained would depend whether your tool was a dagger, a silvered athame or The Horn of Ba'al. But as you said, the wording of those categories will be the key.
"You can never have too many knives."
- Logen Ninefingers, The Blade Itself
Post Reply