The High Cost of Magic

Talk about any rules that don't directly fall under personal combat
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Arrow Odd
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Arrow Odd » 18 Oct 2014, 15:39

Higgins wrote:
Let's say we're affecting a person with a spell. Should killing them be the hardest task, or should we put "fates worse than death" above that?
Genius. Don't lose this idea. Something to reserve for your worst enemies.

Plenty to ponder on in the last couple of posts, but this deserves a reply of its own.
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by higgins » 19 Oct 2014, 08:35

:twisted:
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Agamemnon » 21 Oct 2014, 17:59

Arrow Odd wrote:
Higgins wrote:
Let's say we're affecting a person with a spell. Should killing them be the hardest task, or should we put "fates worse than death" above that?
Genius. Don't lose this idea. Something to reserve for your worst enemies.

Plenty to ponder on in the last couple of posts, but this deserves a reply of its own.
One thing to consider here is the impact of this kind of thing on long-term game-play. It's one thing to have the players cut their way through guards and murder the BBEG. It's even pretty great to have a player sneak through the palace and murder the bad guy in his sleep. Having the group's resident occultist place a death-curse and murder the BBEG from the safety of his apartment fifty miles away? Somewhat anti-climactic. Perhaps that's an unfair differentiation, but from a purely narrative / cinematic perspective, the only way it makes for a satisfying story is if the actual spell is the culmination of a whole plot arc in itself as players have to scramble to do acquire the components or whatever else. Even then, it feels like it lacks the same impact of the other two scenarios in which someone is deliberately behind enemy lines to do the thing.

Something to consider.

Your thoughts?
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Arrow Odd » 22 Oct 2014, 04:02

Agamemnon wrote:Having the group's resident occultist place a death-curse and murder the BBEG from the safety of his apartment fifty miles away?
Fifty miles? I'd assumed that any horrific curse or pronouncement of doom would be delivered in person. Preferably with an audience.

If you've reason to condemn someone to a lifetime or eternity of suffering you'd surely want them to know who was responsible.

If you've reason to have someone suffer an horrific but quick death you'd surely want to see the terror in their eyes as they realised what was about to befall them.
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Agamemnon » 22 Oct 2014, 09:51

Arrow Odd wrote:
Agamemnon wrote:Having the group's resident occultist place a death-curse and murder the BBEG from the safety of his apartment fifty miles away?
Fifty miles? I'd assumed that any horrific curse or pronouncement of doom would be delivered in person. Preferably with an audience.

If you've reason to condemn someone to a lifetime or eternity of suffering you'd surely want them to know who was responsible.

If you've reason to have someone suffer an horrific but quick death you'd surely want to see the terror in their eyes as they realised what was about to befall them.
That might make for something more servicable. My initial thought when someone says "kill them with magic" is always the beginning of that Conan story - I think it was "People of the Black circle." Where the whole thing is set in motion because in the first scene wizards assassinate the king from the safety of their tower.
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."
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Daeruin » 28 Oct 2014, 03:33

Agamemnon wrote:
Arrow Odd wrote:
Higgins wrote:
Let's say we're affecting a person with a spell. Should killing them be the hardest task, or should we put "fates worse than death" above that?
Genius. Don't lose this idea. Something to reserve for your worst enemies.

Plenty to ponder on in the last couple of posts, but this deserves a reply of its own.
One thing to consider here is the impact of this kind of thing on long-term game-play. It's one thing to have the players cut their way through guards and murder the BBEG. It's even pretty great to have a player sneak through the palace and murder the bad guy in his sleep. Having the group's resident occultist place a death-curse and murder the BBEG from the safety of his apartment fifty miles away? Somewhat anti-climactic. Perhaps that's an unfair differentiation, but from a purely narrative / cinematic perspective, the only way it makes for a satisfying story is if the actual spell is the culmination of a whole plot arc in itself as players have to scramble to do acquire the components or whatever else. Even then, it feels like it lacks the same impact of the other two scenarios in which someone is deliberately behind enemy lines to do the thing.

Something to consider.

Your thoughts?
Such things were always possible in TRoS. the game changer was really SAs. There can be terrible personal consequences that fall out of killing someone like that. If you haven't read Ron Edward's original review of tros I recommend it.

Of course you could always put limitations on magic to limit such possibilities, like requiring all spells to have line if sight.
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by higgins » 28 Oct 2014, 14:07

Daeruin wrote:Of course you could always put limitations on magic to limit such possibilities, like requiring all spells to have line if sight.
We thought of this, but that approach would kill every single death-spell Melisandre ever performed.
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Forknife » 28 Jun 2015, 09:42

Interesting thread indeed.
*casts Wall of Words*



First off, like the combat system the way magic works should be setting independent. That way GM's and their players can decide on wether to play 'high' or 'low' fantasy campaigns.

I'd love to see the magic system in line with the combat system, the crux being the the level of proficiency. Profiency can build out the specifics of what can be accomplished with a certain type of magic



Someone mentioned the Wheel of Time earlier and it does have an interesting feature upon a system might be built: the weaving of threads of raw energy (or power)

A spell consists of one or more threads of magic, picked from the 4 elements, void and spirit.

To cast a spell each of the threads you attempt to weave must be in your control to achieve the desired effect. How difficult controlling a thread is, depends on your profiency and the number of threads you try to weave.


For each thread needed in the spell you roll against a base TN. Every additional thread exceeding 2 (for example) ups the TN by +1.

(a spell made of 4 threads could have TN's like this: 6,6,7,8)

A failed check means it escaped your control and inflicts a mental strain, upping the TN like the wound system.

There should be a way to attempt to regain control of the 'loose' thread (for example by rerolling once), but the strain remains, making finishing the spell harder.

Failing two consecutive TN checks means the magic goes rampant and its raw energies coalesque into an effect determined by the GM. (and you attained mental damage, it should hurt like hell botching a spell)

When weaving multiple threads it can make a huge difference where the 2 failed rolls occur, since you might have succesfully handled the first thread for example, which now gets ripped out of control as well.

Proficiency in a type of magic (elements,void,spirit) could influence how good you are at controlling threads of that type, influencing the TN of weaving that specific type of magic.

The strenght of a spell depends on the number of threads used.
Lighting a candle might need only a single thread of fire, while a fireball might need three at least. Setting off a slumbering volcano......

There could be a limit on the types of magic you can be proficient with, through gifts/flaws.



In short, my suggestion is to make magic independant of setting, its rules simple. Its application dangerous for the magic user and all in the vicinity of magic wether friend or foe.

Cheers!
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Agamemnon » 29 Jun 2015, 05:36

We have at this point nailed down the "default" magic system for 'Bastards. It is proficiency-based, with each proficiency representing a different approach to magic detailed in much the way melee combat proficiencies are. It has a dark, low magic vibe, with a lot of indirect effects taken out folklore and the occult with a bit of dabbling-with-what-man-was-not-meant-to-know.

In terms of flavor and direction, magic was more of my baby than Higgins, and a lot of my influence came out of both some real-world fascinations and the fictional Necronomicon written by Donald Tyson. It's written as though it were a lost journal of Alazred. A very cool read. The mechanics were about 50/50.

Magic is powerful, otherworldly, extremely dangerous and extremely tempting. Aspiring sorcerers can very quickly seize way more power than they can actually control. They are limited only by the size of their ambitions and the depths they are willing to go to. Even people who aren't trained in sorcery (i.e. mechanically, they have no proficiency in it at all) can successfully complete rituals if they have a way to know what they are doing (finding an old dusty tome, etc).

We are very happy with how it turned out, and it's a good fit for the default feel and theme of the game.

Like anything though, it's part of a wider toolkit. If it's not for you, feel free to leave it out entirely and play a historical game or replace it with something more to your taste. If/when we launch an expansion or supplement to the game, the first thing we'll wind up doing is creating an alternate magic system to fit the genre the expansion caters to.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have character sheets to finish!
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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
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Forknife » 30 Jun 2015, 08:46

Agamemnon wrote: Magic is powerful, otherworldly, extremely dangerous and extremely tempting. Aspiring sorcerers can very quickly seize way more power than they can actually control. They are limited only by the size of their ambitions and the depths they are willing to go to. Even people who aren't trained in sorcery (i.e. mechanically, they have no proficiency in it at all) can successfully complete rituals if they have a way to know what they are doing (finding an old dusty tome, etc).
This i like ;) So any date planned for teasing us with the magic system? :mrgreen:
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by higgins » 03 Jul 2015, 02:00

Image
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Marras » 05 Aug 2015, 04:05

That's what happens when you fail "control summoned" :)
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Agamemnon » 01 Oct 2015, 12:23

A bit of thread necromancy, separating a topic from the assassination thread.

Relevant bit:
thirtythr33 wrote:You guys talk a lot about replicating classic and modern literature and I've noticed more than a few references to Game of Thrones. What about magical assassinations such as Melisandre assassinating Renly? "Scry and die" tactics definitely feels likes like a very 'Bastards thing to me but its possibility opens the door to even more degenerate situations than has already been discussed in this thread.


We played around with this for a while, before coming to an interesting place with it. The biggest thing we wanted for flavor was to make magic retain its folklore/mythology/occult vibe. This meant making certain decisions about what magic can and can't do. So for us, no fireballs, no glowing energy shields. No shooting lightning out of your hands, or opening portals through which to summon badgers to fight for you. Magic wants to work through more natural channels than that. It takes on a more subtle, indirect character.

Of all the laws for magical behavior, the one we found most important was this: Life is immutable, and beyond the power of magic. Magic can neither directly create nor destroy life, it can only manipulate the world around us.

You can't kill someone with a spell anymore than you can bring them back to life. However, that's not the same as causing them to be killed. There are plenty of extremely nasty things that a motivated sorcerer can do to someone without violating this core premise.

There is no such issue in weakening the foundations or walls of your home until it collapses around you and kills you. Or, for that matter, in making you so sick and wretched that you simply wish you were dead — of course, the the illness may take care of that for us both. I could place a doom upon you, and curse you in such a way that you bring your own death upon you. If I was the least scrupulous but highly motivated sort, I could even entreat with or bind a spirit or demon to intercede on my behalf.

This setup works extremely well to emphasize how differently obstacles can be approached by different character types. So much of magic is in subtlety and preparation, working at things by indirect means.

Of course, this is a magic system that specifically caters to our tastes and the kinds of magic we wanted to see in the styles of game we tend to play. It's not meant to be universal. We're certainly planning on developing some alternate magic systems down the line to fit other settings we have in mind, and people will be welcome to develop their own variants or the like and throw them on our forums.
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
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by thirtythr33 » 06 Oct 2015, 09:12

Agamemnon wrote:We have at this point nailed down the "default" magic system for 'Bastards. It is proficiency-based, with each proficiency representing a different approach to magic detailed in much the way melee combat proficiencies are. It has a dark, low magic vibe, with a lot of indirect effects taken out folklore and the occult with a bit of dabbling-with-what-man-was-not-meant-to-know.
Do these magical proficiencies share the mechanics of having basic/advanced maneuvers, augmentations and Emphasis' like Combat proficiencies?

Am I correct in taking this to mean that each spell is like a "Maneuver" that together make up a list of effects available to each discipline? By taking multiple magic proficiency you could increase the available number of magic effects?
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Re: The High Cost of Magic

Post by Agamemnon » 06 Oct 2015, 18:20

thirtythr33 wrote:
Agamemnon wrote:We have at this point nailed down the "default" magic system for 'Bastards. It is proficiency-based, with each proficiency representing a different approach to magic detailed in much the way melee combat proficiencies are. It has a dark, low magic vibe, with a lot of indirect effects taken out folklore and the occult with a bit of dabbling-with-what-man-was-not-meant-to-know.
Do these magical proficiencies share the mechanics of having basic/advanced maneuvers, augmentations and Emphasis' like Combat proficiencies?

Am I correct in taking this to mean that each spell is like a "Maneuver" that together make up a list of effects available to each discipline? By taking multiple magic proficiency you could increase the available number of magic effects?
The magic system shares a lot of commonalities with the melee proficiency system, but there are some differences.

Maneuvers are what make up the properties of the spell, but they are far fewer and broader in application than melee maneuvers. In addition, multiple maneuvers can be chained together to create more complex spell effects, drive up the difficulty of the spell.

Each magical proficiency has certain maneuvers it favors. As of this writing, most proficiencies can still make use of maneuvers they do not have, but it is far more difficult to do so. This may change as we tinker around with it before we let those rules drop. Magic being as complicated as it is (and potentially powerful as it is) we're doing a lot of testing/debugging to make sure it all works the way we want it to.

Compared to melee, magic emphases have a stronger impact on the way that an individual magic system works - in some cases including limitations as well as benefits.

Magic also has a number of additional little mechanics and sub-systems that simply aren't applicable to melee - the creation of foci, charms, and fetishes, the creation of magical items, and certain edges and flaws that only affect magic and magic using characters.
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
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