Steve Jackson Games Forums

Steve Jackson Games Forums (
-   GURPS (
-   -   New Magical Style advice (

Harbinjer 09-18-2018 07:35 PM

New Magical Style advice
Short term lurker, first time poster.... so apologies in advance if I miss some etiquette.

The basic idea of this style I'm working on is that Magic is a natural thing that follows laws, just as all things in nature do, and that magic is essentially a release of energy. Without guidance from a wizard, magic will naturally express itself as an instantaneous release of heat, light, sound, and force, something like a ball of flame. I call it a "Foom" after the sound it makes: There's a flash of light, and soft explosive Foom!, along with a release of heat and force that dissapate harmlessly.

Students of this style start by learning to create a "Foom," and then progess to breaking down the four types of energy one at a time, learning how to control them (the spells Sound, Light, Ignite Fire, and a new spell called Force). Once done, they have all of the required spells mastered, they have the tools they need to learn more advanced spells on their own, including using them from default skills (as a Style Perk).

The spell list is basically everything that follows from those four basic spells: Light, Sound, Ignite Fire, and Force (something like 105-110 spells). The benefit to the wizard is they can start using a lot of spells pretty quickly, and self-teach even more, but they don't have what some other schools might call "The fundamentals."

Anyway: I have (at least) two questions...
1) Is "Foom" worth creating a spell? I feel it wouldn't even qualify as Hard skill, though it would require at least Magery 0. At low levels it can't do any damage, even at point blank range, and isn't any more useful that just shouting to get someone's attention. It might be scaled up with more mana to make it brighter, louder, hotter, more forceful, but by the time its doing anything useful there are other, more efficient spells to accomplish the same effect. It is impossible to Crit-Fail however (it either goes off or it doesn't), because it's essentially a free-release of magical force anyway.

2) I've created a Movement spell I'm calling "Force" as a pre-requisite (in this style, anyway) to Apportation. It acts as if a person of strength 1 (or more with more FP) pushed against an object with a single finger. i.e. enough to move or knock over something small, thus demonstrating control over the magic "force."
Why a new spell? Because the style is meant to start with the most basic versions of heat energy (Ignite fire... a point of heat), sound energy (Sound... pretty obvious), light energy (Light... also obvious), and a physical force... which has no corresponding basic spell. Apportation is is close, but does more than the simple Force I'm looking for. I considered some of the Air spells, but they wouldn't work in a vaccuum.

I forgot that was supposed to be a question...... uhh, what do you think? Is there a better option than creating a new spell that won't really be useful in a game context?

Any comments on the concept in general?

Refplace 09-18-2018 11:21 PM

Re: New Magical Style advice
PCs are generally going to object to a totally useless spell as a waste of points, especially if forced to take it.
Heck, some object to spells they consider useless just being in GURPS Magic.
So make it have some utility.
My initial idea is 1 FP and either SSR range penalties as if it were a Missile spell instead of a Regular spell or give it a minute duration so it can be used on multiple objects.

Culture20 09-19-2018 07:24 AM

Re: New Magical Style advice
I’m guessing a Foom looks like a real world magician’s flash powder.
I like the concept, but I dislike the spell “Force”.
Compare the other basic spells to a Foom: Sound produces specific and modulated noises which last much, much longer than a momentary Foom. Light produces a light which is as bright as a Foom but mobile and again, long lasting. Ignite Fire can set a wizard’s robes on fire, start a fire in a barn full of hay, or give a jerk a hot-foot. Much warmer than a Foom. And all can be cast at range (I’m assuming a Foom is restricted to range 0)
Force, on the other hand, seems to be just a ranged component of Foom with equal strength to the Foom. Apportation does seem to be the equal counterpart for the other spells.
If you do make Foom into its own spell and your players complain, just give them the points for free that are needed to bring Foom up to its mandatory minimum. But don’t be surprised when some player decides to become Johnny-one-spell, the Foom Master with Foom at 25 literally casting it every second for no good reason.

ericthered 09-19-2018 11:54 AM

Re: New Magical Style advice
I'd allow "Foom" to be part of the style mastery perk. If you feel the need to represent apprentices who haven't learned the complete style yet, have them buy it as a perk that gives you the "Foom" ability and can be traded in for the style mastery perk once you qualify for it.

For force, it probably needs to be either stronger or longer. Apportion matches a longer version rather well. A stronger version would probably be 1d6 of knockback only damage or something like that.

Pursuivant 09-19-2018 01:11 PM

Re: New Magical Style advice
"Cantrip" type spells which create small, short-lived, mostly cosmetic effects should be modeled as Perks.

The "Force" spell is a bit like a weak version of Poltergeist or Manipulate from GURPS Magic.

If it just allows you to poke a nearby target once, with a force equivalent to a gentle poke or tap (i.e., ST 1 or less) then it's another Perk.

Lameth 09-19-2018 04:02 PM

Re: New Magical Style advice
Not sure If this helps but you can find “force spells” here also. Encase you have not seen it.

Prince Charon 09-19-2018 05:40 PM

Re: New Magical Style advice

Originally Posted by Lameth (Post 2210011)
Not sure If this helps but you can find “force spells” here also. Encase you have not seen it.

A toned down version of Push, from that page's list of Force Spells, looks pretty good as a replacement for the basic Force spell the OP mentioned.

As for Foom, I suggest it be either a Perk, or an IQ/Easy spell.

Harbinjer 09-19-2018 07:58 PM

Re: New Magical Style advice

Originally Posted by Lameth (Post 2210011)
Not sure If this helps but you can find “force spells” here also. Encase you have not seen it.

This is a better description (borrowed from the above link) of what I was trying to create with "Force:"

Nudge Regular
This spell creates a very small area of force which can be used to topple very light objects or to get people's attention.
The spell generates about 2lb. of force, sufficient to push an (unresisting) cat off a (smooth) counter, knock over a full glass, or startle a sleeping person into wakefulness.

Duration: 1 second
Cost: 1, can't be maintained
Item: Jewelry. Energy Cost to Create: 50 points.

However, I think I may defer to the greater wisdom of the crowd, not attempt to reinvent the wheel, and settle for Apportation as the base "Force" spell.
Still not 100% settled on what to do about Foom, but am considering all of your suggestions.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:36 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.