Options for "Elemental Magic"

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nemedeus
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Options for "Elemental Magic"

Post by nemedeus » 10 Feb 2016, 08:07

Explanation:
I say "Magic" in quot. marks because in my own Setting, what constitutes the "elemental" branch of magic* is really more a kin to (as i mentioned being a huge inspiration) the Art of Alchemy from Fullmetal Alchemist. In-Universe it's not considered magical or supernatural at all (with the exception that noone could explain as to why Alchemists can do it; much like Real World Earth Scientists don't really know why Gravity happens, as of yet).
So, it's really very much based on the natural sciences; knowledge of Physics/Chemistry/Medicinal Biology is required (depending on what you want to do with it), and laws of physics still apply to it (for example, the energy expended in your Alchemizing needs to come from somewhere).


Either way, I would like to ask whether you have considered options for such a kind of magic, and/or how you would have done it.

My own designs ended up very much similar to Shadowrun's magic: announce how much juice you want to put in, check against that, and suffer the difference as exhaustion/loss of vitality.

I'm guessing that somesuch mechanic will be easy to add in, but i was nevertheless curious about the opinions of you, the authors.



*there is also a mysical, actually supernatural type of "subtle yet powerful", high personal/immaterial cost, occultism/"dark arts"-style magic in-universe, but neither is its existence common knowledge, nor is it going to do fireballs and such - so my assumption is that Bastard's default magic subsystem will verily suffice to it.
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EinBein
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Re: Options for "Elemental Magic"

Post by EinBein » 10 Feb 2016, 08:29

There is a very long thread about magic in BoB already: Link
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thirtythr33
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Re: Options for "Elemental Magic"

Post by thirtythr33 » 10 Feb 2016, 08:38

Personally, I much prefer Magic as an Art than as a Science. Something entirely uncanny and wyrd.

In my opinion the best magic as a science systems are the ones that lay out a list of fundamental laws and rules how they interact, and then let the wizard mix and combine them to create novel effects on the fly.

The RPG Ars Magica is the epitome of this, but is entirely too involved to be suitable for any kind of RPG that doesn't revolve around a group of wizards. It lends heavily from Hermetic teachings of the Renaissance which focuses heavily on astrology, religion and alchemy. One fundamental law in Ars Magica is The Limit of the Soul; Magic cannot create an immoral soul.

In fiction, I greatly enjoy the magic system in Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It is very particular about the idea that conservation of energy should apply to magic. Wizards don't spend their own mana though, they act as conduits that move the energy in nature from one place to another.
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nemedeus
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Re: Options for "Elemental Magic"

Post by nemedeus » 10 Feb 2016, 09:21

thirtythr33 wrote:Personally, I much prefer Magic as an Art than as a Science. Something entirely uncanny and wyrd.

In my opinion the best magic as a science systems are the ones that lay out a list of fundamental laws and rules how they interact, and then let the wizard mix and combine them to create novel effects on the fly.

The RPG Ars Magica is the epitome of this, but is entirely too involved to be suitable for any kind of RPG that doesn't revolve around a group of wizards. It lends heavily from Hermetic teachings of the Renaissance which focuses heavily on astrology, religion and alchemy. One fundamental law in Ars Magica is The Limit of the Soul; Magic cannot create an immoral soul.

In fiction, I greatly enjoy the magic system in Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It is very particular about the idea that conservation of energy should apply to magic. Wizards don't spend their own mana though, they act as conduits that move the energy in nature from one place to another.
I agree on every point, however i was
1. specifically talking about something else, and
2. i mentioned such in the footnote. If you like mystical magic, i got you covered! ;p

In-Universe, the act of doing "Alchemy" is asctually supposed to be more an Art than a Science itself; The idea is the Act itself is something to be trained much like a muscle, while your scientific knowledge broadens your options by granting access to more complex and/or powerful Alchemy "Formulae".

The way i have set this up in my own system is that there is an Alchemy Skill which is linked to the "Sharpness" base stat (perception, wit etc.) on one end, and Science Skills (Physics, Chemisty, Medicine) which are linked to the Intelligence base stat (Learning, Analytical thinking etc.) used to research and learn new things to do with Alchemy.
thirtythr33 wrote:Wizards don't spend their own mana though, they act as conduits that move the energy in nature from one place to another.
This is very much represented here:
the energy expended in your Alchemizing needs to come from somewhere
the Alchemists of my Setting don't have any form of Mana either.
thirtythr33 wrote:One fundamental law in Ars Magica is The Limit of the Soul; Magic cannot create an immoral soul.
I guess i'm fine with creating perfectly moral souls anyway.

(Wasn't that the "Prime", though? Or was that something else? I've unfortunately only a passing acquaintance with Ars Magica)
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Re: Options for "Elemental Magic"

Post by thirtythr33 » 10 Feb 2016, 09:40

Haha, I meant to write Immortal Soul. It's an implication from a more fundamental Ars Magica law; that magic cannot effect anything divine. Since souls are divinely created, magic cannot create one. Animals however, do not have souls and can hence be conjured. Much rules lawyering is to be had creating Ars Magica spells.
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Re: Options for "Elemental Magic"

Post by nemedeus » 10 Feb 2016, 09:48

thirtythr33 wrote:Haha, I meant to write Immortal Soul. It's an implication from a more fundamental Ars Magica law; that magic cannot effect anything divine. Since souls are divinely created, magic cannot create one. Animals however, do not have souls and can hence be conjured. Much rules lawyering is to be had creating Ars Magica spells.
HAHAHAHA, I fucking hate this divine magic/mundane magic distinction. The Dark Eye has it too. ImO It's so arbitrary it feels like magically handwaving MAGIC ITSELF.

I realize that's my personal Taste, i'm sorry.

It's not even a bad "law of magic", really - adds flavor. Just flavor i don't like very much. Much as i love religious themes in fiction (i'm a die-hard atheist in real life), i prefer it if these themes of souls and the literally divine are kept vague and mystical (edit for clarification: unprovable/unfalsifiable, "inconclusive") (much like in real religions).


BTW, i know you meant "immortal". ;p
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Re: Options for "Elemental Magic"

Post by Agamemnon » 10 Feb 2016, 14:07

There is a magic system in place that will be released at some point during the beta, though probably not with the first release. It's an involved thing all by itself, and while we've played with it a bit, it's not yet tested to the same extent that other systems have been.

Our system is definitely an unscientific one. Magic is very folklore-like. Subtle, fickle, and dangerous. With the maneuvers system we have in place, you could likely restructure it to fit a more alchemical system, you'd just have to build the backbone of those interactions on your own and work from there.
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Re: Options for "Elemental Magic"

Post by nemedeus » 10 Feb 2016, 15:51

Agamemnon wrote:Our system is definitely an unscientific one. Magic is very folklore-like. Subtle, fickle, and dangerous. With the maneuvers system we have in place, you could likely restructure it to fit a more alchemical system, you'd just have to build the backbone of those interactions on your own and work from there.
Which is something i am fully prepared to do.
Frankly, I was just curious about whether and in what form it had been considered.

As said, an unscientific Magic much like you describe is part of my game universe - i'm a fan of the mystical just as much as i am an enthusiast for science - so i'm definitely looking forward to that release.

And "scientific" is a good point: I am immensly dissatisfied with how popular fantasy fiction has handled the aspect of scientificality in their "sciency" magic systems (though i have yet to read Brandon Sanderson - which i plan to do, having bought a few of his books - and i am given to understand this is his Forte).

This is why Alchemy, in my setting, can be learned by anyone, while Magical Powers and Secrets is something to be bargained from Demons and Spirits. Of course, the tricky part is finding these folks.

Either way, you got me curious now as to how maneuvers might be a venue to implement Elemental Magic. My best guess is that you meant, essentially, well-formed Spells, as seen in GURPS and D&D?
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Re: Options for "Elemental Magic"

Post by Agamemnon » 10 Feb 2016, 19:10

Let's define our terms broadly for a moment to see how the design plays out. A proficiency is essentially a body of training. It is a system of methods and practices that can be used to bring about the desired effect. No matter what melee proficiency you choose, they all have the same purpose and can be used to accomplish roughly the same tasks. Melee proficiencies differ in the methods and characteristics of their individual systems and the quirks that arise from those methods.

In that context then, maneuvers are the way that you further define those methods and the techniques they have available - the specifics of how to the proficiencies what.

Magical proficiencies follow this same pattern. All of the magical proficiencies have their own quirks and implied training, and they ultimately all work towards similar goals. Maneuvers are the specific techniques and capabilities that each proficiency can use to accomplish those goals. Maneuvers then are not specific pre-set spells, but rather magical operations that bring a would-be sorcerer closer to bringing about the desired effects of their spell.

Summoning and Banishing are separate maneuvers, for instance. You can very easily see how over the course of a ritual, you might need to use one and then the other. The spells a sorcerer can then create are based then on a combination of how well they can control the power they are summoning, and how they combine the different maneuvers available to their proficiency to bring about an effect.
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Re: Options for "Elemental Magic"

Post by PsiPhire » 11 Feb 2016, 07:16

thirtythr33 wrote:One fundamental law in Ars Magica is The Limit of the Soul; Magic cannot create an immoral soul.
thirtythr33 wrote:Haha, I meant to write Immortal Soul.
A setting where you can't create an immoral soul would be rather entertaining. Especially if the divinely created souls can only be immoral. Everyone in the world is a dick, except for the people made by wizards :P. Probably won't be a very pleasant place.
nemedeus wrote:And "scientific" is a good point: I am immensly dissatisfied with how popular fantasy fiction has handled the aspect of scientificality in their "sciency" magic systems (though i have yet to read Brandon Sanderson - which i plan to do, having bought a few of his books - and i am given to understand this is his Forte).


Do yourself a favour and read his books. Their magic systems are well fleshed-out and extremely interesting. The best part of his works for me, however, is that the existence of magic is truly built into the setting. Too many fantasy settings are simply "medieval with magic." There's no thought given at all to how magic would impact society as a whole.
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