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JLV 03-15-2018 06:10 PM

Interesting Magical Variation
 
I was reading through my PDF copies of Fight On! magazine the other day, and ran across this fascinating magical variation:

"Spontaneous Magic: Mages in fantasy fiction often can make many small spells without trouble, yet in many roleplaying games they only have a small-to-middling number of fairly potent spells instead. For GMs who prefer a different approach we offer the following:

Mages should be allowed to extemporize small spells based on their current spell list. Thus a mage who currently has Exploding Orb of Plasmatic Fury
committed to memory could light a candle or campfire without incident; one who has studied a telekinetic dweomer might nudge a box off a mantel; one who can cast Slumber might be able to make someone yawn momentarily; and so on. The possible effects should always do little to nothing directly – certainly no more than one point of damage even in the best of circumstances for example – but player creativity can sometimes give them great indirect effects in play. They also allow your mages to help out in little ways and do the neat tricks that wizards in some books do. As your mage casts the spells on her list, she also gradually loses the ability to create these spontaneous effects, representing the decrease in magical force that working greater enchantments (i.e. ordinary spells) inevitably causes. If you use a mana point system instead of spells that disappear with use, simply have the minor magical effects cost one mana point each instead."

Now, while that's written towards D&D-ish OSR games, clearly we could just as easily substitute TFT spells for the effect. Someone who knows Fireball can light a candle or get a campfire started; someone who knows Magic Fist can nudge that box off the mantle; someone who knows Rope can tie or untie a knot, etc., etc.

Clearly also, we would use the "mana points variation" to determine cost -- though a cost of 1ST might seem a bit high. Still...

This would resolve the debate over cantrips and the like, and make for a much simpler variant of the cantrip idea that could easily be applied. It also allows the players to make an argument for being able to do something tiny (yet sly) that can have an outsize effect on an encounter; e.g., tying the bandit leader's shoelaces together while he tries to terrorize you -- when the fight begins, he has to roll 4/DX to avoid falling down immediately (remember, it's just an example).

Anyway, thoughts anyone?

tbeard1999 03-15-2018 06:48 PM

Re: Interesting Magical Variation
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2165542)
I was reading through my PDF copies of Fight On! magazine the other day, and ran across this fascinating magical variation:

"Spontaneous Magic: Mages in fantasy fiction often can make many small spells without trouble, yet in many roleplaying games they only have a small-to-middling number of fairly potent spells instead. For GMs who prefer a different approach we offer the following:

Mages should be allowed to extemporize small spells based on their current spell list. Thus a mage who currently has Exploding Orb of Plasmatic Fury
committed to memory could light a candle or campfire without incident; one who has studied a telekinetic dweomer might nudge a box off a mantel; one who can cast Slumber might be able to make someone yawn momentarily; and so on. The possible effects should always do little to nothing directly – certainly no more than one point of damage even in the best of circumstances for example – but player creativity can sometimes give them great indirect effects in play. They also allow your mages to help out in little ways and do the neat tricks that wizards in some books do. As your mage casts the spells on her list, she also gradually loses the ability to create these spontaneous effects, representing the decrease in magical force that working greater enchantments (i.e. ordinary spells) inevitably causes. If you use a mana point system instead of spells that disappear with use, simply have the minor magical effects cost one mana point each instead."

Now, while that's written towards D&D-ish OSR games, clearly we could just as easily substitute TFT spells for the effect. Someone who knows Fireball can light a candle or get a campfire started; someone who knows Magic Fist can nudge that box off the mantle; someone who knows Rope can tie or untie a knot, etc., etc.

Clearly also, we would use the "mana points variation" to determine cost -- though a cost of 1ST might seem a bit high. Still...

This would resolve the debate over cantrips and the like, and make for a much simpler variant of the cantrip idea that could easily be applied. It also allows the players to make an argument for being able to do something tiny (yet sly) that can have an outsize effect on an encounter; e.g., tying the bandit leader's shoelaces together while he tries to terrorize you -- when the fight begins, he has to roll 4/DX to avoid falling down immediately (remember, it's just an example).

Anyway, thoughts anyone?

I’ve always been intrigued by these kinds of “make it up as you go along systems”, but have never run them. With the right GM and player - he’d have to be willing to accept GM rulings without any quibbling - it could work. Plus over time, the character would kind of assemble his own spell book. It sounds like fun.

Dave Crowell 03-15-2018 08:24 PM

Re: Interesting Magical Variation
 
I have played games with assemble on the fly magic systems. They are fun. I actually think it would be easier to create such a system for TFT than for D&D. TFT uses a spell cost system rather than a spell slot system. Build on the fly magic's biggest requirement is a listing of spell effects, ranges, etc, and their respective costs. Then build a spell by deciding what it does and adding up the costs.

Jim Kane 03-15-2018 09:50 PM

Re: Interesting Magical Variation
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2165542)
I was reading through my PDF copies of Fight On! magazine the other day, and ran across this fascinating magical variation:

"Spontaneous Magic: Mages in fantasy fiction often can make many small spells without trouble, yet in many roleplaying games they only have a small-to-middling number of fairly potent spells instead. For GMs who prefer a different approach we offer the following:

Mages should be allowed to extemporize small spells based on their current spell list. Thus a mage who currently has Exploding Orb of Plasmatic Fury
committed to memory could light a candle or campfire without incident; one who has studied a telekinetic dweomer might nudge a box off a mantel; one who can cast Slumber might be able to make someone yawn momentarily; and so on. The possible effects should always do little to nothing directly – certainly no more than one point of damage even in the best of circumstances for example – but player creativity can sometimes give them great indirect effects in play. They also allow your mages to help out in little ways and do the neat tricks that wizards in some books do. As your mage casts the spells on her list, she also gradually loses the ability to create these spontaneous effects, representing the decrease in magical force that working greater enchantments (i.e. ordinary spells) inevitably causes. If you use a mana point system instead of spells that disappear with use, simply have the minor magical effects cost one mana point each instead."

Now, while that's written towards D&D-ish OSR games, clearly we could just as easily substitute TFT spells for the effect. Someone who knows Fireball can light a candle or get a campfire started; someone who knows Magic Fist can nudge that box off the mantle; someone who knows Rope can tie or untie a knot, etc., etc.

Clearly also, we would use the "mana points variation" to determine cost -- though a cost of 1ST might seem a bit high. Still...

This would resolve the debate over cantrips and the like, and make for a much simpler variant of the cantrip idea that could easily be applied. It also allows the players to make an argument for being able to do something tiny (yet sly) that can have an outsize effect on an encounter; e.g., tying the bandit leader's shoelaces together while he tries to terrorize you -- when the fight begins, he has to roll 4/DX to avoid falling down immediately (remember, it's just an example).

Anyway, thoughts anyone?

Interesting indeed JVL! Sound like the magical equivalent of when Jazz musicians improve their solos on the spot. Thanks for sharing.

JLV 03-15-2018 10:20 PM

Re: Interesting Magical Variation
 
My original concept here was that it would only be used for MINOR magics -- something along the lines (and potency of) cantrips in the old D&D system.

We'd talked about something like cantrips elsewhere, but seeing this made me realize I was probably over-intellectualizing the concept and it could be done very simply -- as long as the players and GM all agree on the ground rules (which for me would be: a) it has to relate to the regular spell in some discernible way, and b) it can't do much in the way of affecting the environment or inflicting damage on anyone -- it's a very tiny, weak version of the main spell).

Not sure if it's a great idea or a really bad one, but I think I might try using it next time I get a group together and see if they like it and what issues crop up with it. Something like this could solve a whole host of "problems" (not game-problems, but "concept problems" is what I'm talking about here; as in "why can I do this, but not that?" e.g., "Why can I cast a fireball, but not light a candle?") that people have had with the magic system over the years (which, let's face it, is primarily designed for tactical combat situations with everything else sort of tacked on around that solid core).

Jim Kane 03-15-2018 10:48 PM

Re: Interesting Magical Variation
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2165597)
Not sure if it's a great idea or a really bad one, but I think I might try using it next time I get a group together and see if they like it and what issues crop up with it.

Well I think it sounds like a super thing to consider for enhanced Role-Play or non-critical situations (i.e. non-combat), if even only for a flavor thing. Let us now how it plays out for you!

JLV 03-15-2018 11:13 PM

Re: Interesting Magical Variation
 
LOL! Yeah, CLEARLY not intended for a combat situation! ;-)

But I can see how you could use it in the run-up TO a combat situation, or in an emergency situation like trying to get a campfire going in a rainstorm, or perhaps when you're captured...

It would really be pretty irrelevant in an arena combat situation, though -- unless you were milking it for laughs. The giant barbarian paused his death stroke upon Chaplin ("call me Charley!") the Magician as he uncontrollably yawned for some reason! (a minor variant of SLEEP).

Jim Kane 03-15-2018 11:15 PM

Re: Interesting Magical Variation
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2165620)
LOL! Yeah, CLEARLY not intended for a combat situation! ;-)

But I can see how you could use it in the run-up TO a combat situation, or in an emergency situation like trying to get a campfire going in a rainstorm, or perhaps when you're captured...

It would really be pretty irrelevant in an arena combat situation, though -- unless you were milking it for laughs. The giant barbarian paused his death stroke upon Chaplin ("call me Charley!") the Magician as he uncontrollably yawned for some reason! (a minor variant of SLEEP).

LOL! Sounds more like something the "Wizard named Tim" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail might cast LOL!

Chris Goodwin 03-16-2018 10:43 AM

Re: Interesting Magical Variation
 
Some things to consider...

In general, what can 1 ST worth of magic achieve? (How much damage, how much armor protection, how much summoned creature time, etc.)

How do you limit how much ST a wizard can put into one spell?

How do you determine what kinds of spells a wizard can cast? (Verb-noun is very common.)

How do you determine whether the wizard successfully casts the spell?

Jim Kane 03-16-2018 12:40 PM

Re: Interesting Magical Variation
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Goodwin (Post 2165713)
Some things to consider...

In general, what can 1 ST worth of magic achieve?

It's a really great question! I am thinking about the Chicago Fire of 1871, which burned the whole city down,... major disaster,... and yet, "they" say, it all started with Mrs. O'Leary's cow who knocked over a lantern. SO, how much unforeseen consequential trouble could a Wizard accidentally create with 1 ST of magic on Cidri if they could basically "improv" minor spells,...

The mind boggles with all the potential story-line and adventures which could develop as a residual consequence of "casting minor magics".

Awesome question Chris G!


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