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dfinlay 01-21-2016 07:07 PM

Advice on Spirit-based RPM variant
 
I've been musing about a heavy modification of RPM and wanted to get some feedback on my ideas.

The fluff: Spells are actually cast by powerful spirits. Every location will have a collection of spirits that are present and some casters carry their own spirits with them. Casters preform elaborate rituals to gain the notice of spirits and gain their assisitance.

The mechanics:

It uses Effect Shaping with Ritual Adept prohibited.

The world is covered in overlapping domains of spirits. Almost everywhere will have one or more powerful spirits. Each spirit has the following set of characteristics:

A descriptor for spells used with them. This might be something like “Fire” or “Memory”. Spells must use a spirit that thematically fits with the spell (GM's call). Particularly complex spells may require multiple types of spirits, in which case finding a place where both classes of spirits are present can be an adventure in itself.

A maximum energy that they can handle. This will typically be quite high, so that the caster's skill will be what limits their power, but extremely powerful spells will require powerful spirits.

An attribute that combines with Magery to determine your Path skills. Some spirits must be reasoned with (IQ), some must be tracked down (Per), some must be mentally resisted/overcome (Will), some must be impressed with physical feats (HT/ST/DX). Some may also allow you to use certain advantages (Appearance/Charisma, for example). This applies even if the spirits already want to help you. It's just part of how spiritual magic functions.

A tradition (set of significant or mandatory modifiers) that works for spells with the spirit. Some may have more than one.

Some spirits may grant a bonus (used instead of places of power).

Some spirits may also have special rules that apply to magic when using them.

Most charms are symbols of promises made by spirits. As such, they cannot be triggered outside of the domain of the spirits used to make them. At an additional -4, the caster can create charms that instead trap a portion of a spirit. Spirits dislike the use of this, so unless it was negotiated ahead of time (and what the caster offers will have to be very good), further casting from the same spirit by the caster will give a -4 to all spells (does not stack with the other -4 if making multiple such charms) and the spirit may retaliate against the caster. Overuse of this can damage or even kill the spirit.

Some casters may have ally spirits or spirit guardians. These work as above with the following modifications:

The character is always considered to be in their domain. Anyone else is if they have skin contact with the character, but is at -4 to cast without the character's permission.

An example (very powerful) spirit:

Quote:

Maltrus: Maltrus is the spirit of an enormous but dormant volcano. He is vengeful and destructive. His domain extends 100 kilometers in all directions around the volcano itself.

Maltrus counts as a fire and heat spirit and gives +2 to all spells that use fire or heat for destructive ends. He may also be used as a substitute for an earth spirit for tectonic or geological purposes, at -2, or for the purpose of causing nightmares.

Attribute: Will

Tradition: Hermetic Deacons. Maltrus also appreciates human sacrifice, especially by burning. Involuntary sacrifice counts as double the normal bonus and voluntary sacrifice that kills the subject counts triple.

Energy limit: 5000 energy

The locals believe that Maltrus must not be invoked without first performing the slumbering ceremony, a ritual involving at least one singer, one drummer and nine dancers, as well as a shaman with Religious Ritual. Failure to do so supposedly runs the risk of awakening him and causing an eruption.
My questions:

Any thoughts? Anything you would add to such a system?
How should I price the advantage of having a spirit guardian?
Any thoughts on how I should do Paths? Path of Spirit and Path of Magic are especially problematic, given that all magic is spirit-based. I'm also not a big fan of Path of Undead.
It seems like this all is a pretty big nerf to RPM. How do you think RPM casters will hold up in a campaign with TL0-1 mundanes and Sorcery? (Humans get spiritual RPM. Fae get Sorcery.) I feel like the versatility of their magic should still make them viable and competitive, but I'm not sure.
I couldn't see the rules for Involuntary Sacrifice with Effect Shaping. Are there any? If not, what would be reasonable?

For the record. I have Laws of Magic, RPM and Thaumatology.

Christopher R. Rice 01-21-2016 07:15 PM

Re: Advice on Spirit-based RPM variant
 
I have some - but I'm busy - I'll get back to you later. Very cool concept. I like it.

dfinlay 01-25-2016 12:33 AM

Re: Advice on Spirit-based RPM variant
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1972478)
I have some - but I'm busy - I'll get back to you later. Very cool concept. I like it.

Great. I look forward to reading your thoughts. Several of your ideas served as inspirations for this.

Another thought I've had since posting this is that you could probably roll divine magic into this framework pretty easily. A divine caster is one with an Ally Spirit chosen from a fixed list of deities for the campaign, which has infinite maximum energy, and who has a pact limitation on both the Ally Spirit and the Magery advantages. Many (though not all) divine casters will also have a "Only with my divine spirit" limitation on their magery, which I'd rule as -35% (slightly worse than one-path only). Finally, as a nice trade-off benefit, divine casters can take a special path skill that represents all spells cast via their god and no others. As divine domains should be of smaller or equal scope to a path, this should be reasonably balanced.

Christopher R. Rice 01-28-2016 09:22 PM

Re: Advice on Spirit-based RPM variant
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
The fluff: Spells are actually cast by powerful spirits. Every location will have a collection of spirits that are present and some casters carry their own spirits with them. Casters preform elaborate rituals to gain the notice of spirits and gain their assisitance.

Cool. I like it. Has a very shamanistic feel to it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
It uses Effect Shaping with Ritual Adept prohibited.

Ok. So here's an odd thought: What if Assisting Spirits was standard? Basically, you can't fuel your own spells - you must have a spirit to help.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
The world is covered in overlapping domains of spirits. Almost everywhere will have one or more powerful spirits. Each spirit has the following set of characteristics:

Ok.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
A descriptor for spells used with them. This might be something like “Fire” or “Memory”. Spells must use a spirit that thematically fits with the spell (GM's call). Particularly complex spells may require multiple types of spirits, in which case finding a place where both classes of spirits are present can be an adventure in itself.

Ok. That makes sense.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
A maximum energy that they can handle. This will typically be quite high, so that the caster's skill will be what limits their power, but extremely powerful spells will require powerful spirits.

I'd use the Assisting Spirits model plus maybe Contacts. So each spirit has a skill level for spells to provide energy, multiply that skill level by 3 to get the maximum amount they can provide. So if you have a spirit of Memory as a Contact with a skill of 12 he can at most provide 36 energy for memory spells. So that's a spell with up to a -4 casting penalty for effect-shaping.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
An attribute that combines with Magery to determine your Path skills. Some spirits must be reasoned with (IQ), some must be tracked down (Per), some must be mentally resisted/overcome (Will), some must be impressed with physical feats (HT/ST/DX). Some may also allow you to use certain advantages (Appearance/Charisma, for example). This applies even if the spirits already want to help you. It's just part of how spiritual magic functions.

This is Base 10 magery. You start at 10 and each level costs 10. If you're doing this then Magery (Effect-Shaping RPM) doesn't exist - you want to get better with spells increase your Magery Attribute or find better spirits (who should have Magery themselves).

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
A tradition (set of significant or mandatory modifiers) that works for spells with the spirit. Some may have more than one.

Ok.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
Some spirits may grant a bonus (used instead of places of power).

Makes sense.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
Some spirits may also have special rules that apply to magic when using them.

Cool.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
Most charms are symbols of promises made by spirits. As such, they cannot be triggered outside of the domain of the spirits used to make them. At an additional -4, the caster can create charms that instead trap a portion of a spirit. Spirits dislike the use of this, so unless it was negotiated ahead of time (and what the caster offers will have to be very good), further casting from the same spirit by the caster will give a -4 to all spells (does not stack with the other -4 if making multiple such charms) and the spirit may retaliate against the caster. Overuse of this can damage or even kill the spirit.

That seems workable.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
Some casters may have ally spirits or spirit guardians. These work as above with the following modifications:

Also Contacts or Patrons if I were you. When figuring the cost here, I'd make sure the base cost for such spirits is equal to whatever level of Magery they might provide if it were limited. I'd use Special Abilities as a leveled trait here to make sure the cost works out right.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
The character is always considered to be in their domain. Anyone else is if they have skin contact with the character, but is at -4 to cast without the character's permission.

Hmmm. Ok. Maybe use Mana Enhancerer (Place of Power) or something.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
Maltrus: Maltrus is the spirit of an enormous but dormant volcano. He is vengeful and destructive. His domain extends 100 kilometers in all directions around the volcano itself.

Maltrus counts as a fire and heat spirit and gives +2 to all spells that use fire or heat for destructive ends. He may also be used as a substitute for an earth spirit for tectonic or geological purposes, at -2, or for the purpose of causing nightmares.

Attribute: Will

Tradition: Hermetic Deacons. Maltrus also appreciates human sacrifice, especially by burning. Involuntary sacrifice counts as double the normal bonus and voluntary sacrifice that kills the subject counts triple.

Energy limit: 5000 energy

The locals believe that Maltrus must not be invoked without first performing the slumbering ceremony, a ritual involving at least one singer, one drummer and nine dancers, as well as a shaman with Religious Ritual. Failure to do so supposedly runs the risk of awakening him and causing an eruption.

Interesting...

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
How should I price the advantage of having a spirit guardian?

See above.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
Any thoughts on how I should do Paths? Path of Spirit and Path of Magic are especially problematic, given that all magic is spirit-based. I'm also not a big fan of Path of Undead.

I'd combine Path of Spirit and Magic into one personally. And really, the spirit-based bit is window-dressing - the mechanics are the same so don't stress over that. You don't have to change anything. Basically, think of it like this: if all magic is spirit-based then it still gets broken up into Paths the same way. You're changing the battery in the remote, not the remote's functions.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
It seems like this all is a pretty big nerf to RPM.

Nah, not really. It can be more powerful and more limited at the same time.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
How do you think RPM casters will hold up in a campaign with TL0-1 mundanes and Sorcery? (Humans get spiritual RPM. Fae get Sorcery.) I feel like the versatility of their magic should still make them viable and competitive, but I'm not sure.

Sorcery and RPM work quite well together - one of my campaigns does exactly this and it works very well.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1972476)
I couldn't see the rules for Involuntary Sacrifice with Effect Shaping. Are there any? If not, what would be reasonable?

At a glance, I'd say to divide the total amount of energy given by 10 to get a +1 bonus to negate spell penalties for effect-shaping. If it gives a bonus then I'd divide by 20.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1973382)
Another thought I've had since posting this is that you could probably roll divine magic into this framework pretty easily. A divine caster is one with an Ally Spirit chosen from a fixed list of deities for the campaign, which has infinite maximum energy, and who has a pact limitation on both the Ally Spirit and the Magery advantages. Many (though not all) divine casters will also have a "Only with my divine spirit" limitation on their magery, which I'd rule as -35% (slightly worse than one-path only). Finally, as a nice trade-off benefit, divine casters can take a special path skill that represents all spells cast via their god and no others. As divine domains should be of smaller or equal scope to a path, this should be reasonably balanced.

That works and is balanced - I've done this for fae magic that ALL fae know in one of my campaigns.

dfinlay 01-29-2016 11:32 AM

Re: Advice on Spirit-based RPM variant
 
I feel like you may have misinterpreted (or I misexpressed) my proposal. The idea is basically that a spirit can automatically cast any spell up to their energy maximum within their domain, at least when a human mage is getting them to. The spirit doesn't roll, but the effect-shaping roll done by the human is actually a roll to invoke/bring forth/convince the spirit to help.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1974558)
Cool. I like it. Has a very shamanistic feel to it.

What I was going for.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1974558)
Ok. So here's an odd thought: What if Assisting Spirits was standard? Basically, you can't fuel your own spells - you must have a spirit to help.

This is what I was going for from a fluff point of view - the process of casting is the process of convincing a spirit to cast the spell for you. That said, I'm not quite sure what you mean from a mechanics point of view. I can find three versions of assisting spirits: One reduces the difficulty of skills, which I guess I could do to make up for some of the limitations this system adds to RPM. One uses the spirit's casting skills instead of your own, which seems lame since it makes it so casters don't even need skills. One lets the spirit give you energy, which doesn't make a lot of sense with Effect Shaping.

Instead, what I did was to have spirits be a prerequisite for casting, so if you want to cast a fire spell, you first have to find a fire spirit with enough energy maximum to allow it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1974558)
I'd use the Assisting Spirits model plus maybe Contacts. So each spirit has a skill level for spells to provide energy, multiply that skill level by 3 to get the maximum amount they can provide. So if you have a spirit of Memory as a Contact with a skill of 12 he can at most provide 36 energy for memory spells. So that's a spell with up to a -4 casting penalty for effect-shaping.

Hmm...if I'm understanding correctly, that seems fairly limiting. If you want to cast 200 energy spells, you need a spirit with skill 67. I realize 200 skill is very high, but not skill 67 high. Plus, pricing ally spirits as contacts seems off to me. Fluff-wise, they are contacts, but mechanically, they are the ability to cast RPM spells within their field from anywhere, rather than having to find a place with the appropriate spirit.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1974558)
This is Base 10 magery. You start at 10 and each level costs 10. If you're doing this then Magery (Effect-Shaping RPM) doesn't exist - you want to get better with spells increase your Magery Attribute or find better spirits (who should have Magery themselves).

No, you misinterpreted. I know Base 10 magery. This isn't that. What I was saying was the following: Say you want to cast a fire spell through Maltrus. Maltrus's attribute is Will (in other words, casters get Maltrus to cooperate with them by having a strong identity and sense of purpose and by mentally imposing themselves on him). So, the caster looks at his Will, which is 12, his magery, which is 2 and his Path of Energy, which has 8 points for a RSL of +0 and his effective skill for this casting is 14. If he later tries to cast the same spell with a spirit who values nimbleness and agility (DX), his DX of 9 will give him only an effective skill of 11.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1974558)
Also Contacts or Patrons if I were you. When figuring the cost here, I'd make sure the base cost for such spirits is equal to whatever level of Magery they might provide if it were limited. I'd use Special Abilities as a leveled trait here to make sure the cost works out right.

So, having them cost as much as limited magery makes sense for the ones that provide a bonus, but not all of them will. The main advantage of spirit guardians is that they allow one to cast a certain class of spells without having to first find the domain of an appropriate spirit and to use the attribute you want to use (you'd pick this one making the spirit), rather than the attribute the spirit you managed to find somewhere wants you to use.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1974558)
Hmmm. Ok. Maybe use Mana Enhancerer (Place of Power) or something.

Hmmm....this might work. Again, PoP gives a bonus, whereas this just allows casting in the first place, but maybe considering the world no-mana and this to be a mana enhancer...hmm...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1974558)
I'd combine Path of Spirit and Magic into one personally. And really, the spirit-based bit is window-dressing - the mechanics are the same so don't stress over that. You don't have to change anything. Basically, think of it like this: if all magic is spirit-based then it still gets broken up into Paths the same way. You're changing the battery in the remote, not the remote's functions.

This is fair, though it makes that merged path even more useful, where Path of Magic was already pretty much required for all mages. Maybe move conditional spells out of Path of Magic and add spirit stuff in.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1974558)
Nah, not really. It can be more powerful and more limited at the same time.

I'm not really sure how it's more powerful. It means that casters can't cast the spell they want in the places they want. Instead they have to seek out somewhere they can cast the spell and if they want the spell to take effect somewhere else, they have to make a hostile charm to do so, potentially ******* off a powerful spirit as a byproduct. Not to mention the fact that the spirit they finally find may use an attribute that the character doesn't have very high.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1974558)
Sorcery and RPM work quite well together - one of my campaigns does exactly this and it works very well.

Oh, I realize they are compatible. I was more concerned with heavily-nerfed RPM vs Sorcery and I'm definitely unconvinced this isn't a nerf.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1974558)
At a glance, I'd say to divide the total amount of energy given by 10 to get a +1 bonus to negate spell penalties for effect-shaping. If it gives a bonus then I'd divide by 20.

Sounds good.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1974558)
That works and is balanced - I've done this for fae magic that ALL fae know in one of my campaigns.

Great.

dfinlay 01-29-2016 01:08 PM

Re: Advice on Spirit-based RPM variant
 
I figured an example of the full process of casting might make it more clear how I want things to work, so here goes:

Moralis the Magnificant is a shaman with 12 Will, 9 DX, Magery 2, Path of Energy [8] +0, Path of Crossroads [4] -1. His best friend and travelling companion, Baltog, Warleader of the Western Isles, has been captured. After several days of tracking and asking the spirits, Moralis has made his way to the outskirts of a camp of twenty enemy soldiers holding his friend hostage. Moralis knows that he won't be able to just charge in and grab Baltog, so he rolls against Thaumatology to find out what spirits are around. Being successful, he learns of the presence of Maltrus and Aaron. Maltrus is in the first post. Aaron is below:

Quote:

Aaron: Aaron was once a human scout for the town of Fontir. He learned of an impending invasion of the town and beseeched the spirits to help him reach the town faster. He was transformed into a hare in order to reach home and warn his people. As a side-effect, he seemed to have become immortal. Aaron has wandered the woods and watched over the town of Fontir ever since.

Aaron allows any spell relating to mobility or speed. He also allows animal spells specialized to hares. Aaron gives +1 to all spells he supports that are used for protection and another +1 if the goal is the protection of Fontir.

Attribute: DX (Aaron is impressed with displays of skill and athleticism and often has to be chased down by the mage).

Tradition: Hermetic Deacons.

Energy limit: 45 energy
Moralis considers two spells: A Path of Crossroads effect using Aaron to get Baltrog out quickly and a Path of Energy fire spell using Maltrus to blow his way in. While the first is the better match for the situation, his lower Path of Crossroads combined with his low DX will mean he'll be rolling against 9 (DX) + 2 (Magery) – 1 (Path) = 10. Going with the Path of Energy spell will give him an effective skill of 12 (Will) + 2 (Magery) +0 (Path)=14. As such, he decides to go with that.

He settles on a spell with the following stats: Greater Create Energy (6) + Damage, External Burning 6d (4) + Area of Effect 10m with 2 subjects excluded (9) + Charm (2) = 21x3=63. (Note: this is using the idea mentioned above where charms aren't based on Path of Magic)

This gives a -7, so he'll have to acquire some bonuses. This spell counts as destructive, so he gets +2 from Maltrus. He also takes an hour to do the casting, giving another +2. He sacrifices 2 HP and 4 FP for a +1. Finally, he uses hermetic modifiers for another +2. Altogether, he offsets the -7 and rolls against 14.

The spell takes down most of the enemies, stunning the rest and Moralis manages to grab his friend Baltrog and get out of there. Unfortunately, due to not having spoken with any locals about it, Moralis didn't know about the slumbering ritual. As such, his spell has awoken Maltrus and the mountain begins to rumble. Realizing they can't outrun the eruption, Moralis begins invoking Aaron. Let's hope he can pull off that Path of Crossroads ritual he didn't want to cast earlier and that he can do it before the eruption reaches them.

Basically, the idea is that you can only cast spells that reflect what spirits are around you and your attributes will give incentives to use certain spirits over others.

Refplace 01-29-2016 01:24 PM

Re: Advice on Spirit-based RPM variant
 
Why calculate the Spirit bonus as energy at all?
Just give them a cap on skill bonus and let them add anything up to that based on reaction bonus derived from reaction from prior relationship and situation as well as influence roll.

dfinlay 01-29-2016 03:16 PM

Re: Advice on Spirit-based RPM variant
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Refplace (Post 1974732)
Why calculate the Spirit bonus as energy at all?
Just give them a cap on skill bonus and let them add anything up to that based on reaction bonus derived from reaction from prior relationship and situation as well as influence roll.

I'm not calculating a spirit bonus as energy. Mages aren't getting a bonus for using a spirit (unless the spirit says something like +2 for a certain type of spell, as with Maltrus, above) - they're becoming able to cast a spell due to using a spirit. The energy count is the maximum energy that the spell can have but still be cast with that spirit. This is just to make sure that even a powerful mage can't cast 200 energy spells from that minor imp down the block. I really must have been unclear, since both you and Ghostdancer seem to have misunderstood in a similar way.

Christopher R. Rice 01-29-2016 03:28 PM

Re: Advice on Spirit-based RPM variant
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1974701)
I feel like you may have misinterpreted (or I misexpressed) my proposal. The idea is basically that a spirit can automatically cast any spell up to their energy maximum within their domain, at least when a human mage is getting them to. The spirit doesn't roll, but the effect-shaping roll done by the human is actually a roll to invoke/bring forth/convince the spirit to help.

Yeah, I'm not getting exactly what you're trying to do here entirely. It could be just because I'm failing my IQ roll to comprehend. Can I suggest you lay this out in bare bones/bulleted format so that I can see exactly what you are changing. No fluff is needed here - add that later. Just what game-mechanical effects are you looking at.


Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1974701)
This is what I was going for from a fluff point of view - the process of casting is the process of convincing a spirit to cast the spell for you. That said, I'm not quite sure what you mean from a mechanics point of view. I can find three versions of assisting spirits: One reduces the difficulty of skills, which I guess I could do to make up for some of the limitations this system adds to RPM. One uses the spirit's casting skills instead of your own, which seems lame since it makes it so casters don't even need skills. One lets the spirit give you energy, which doesn't make a lot of sense with Effect Shaping.

Just convert energy over to a bonus by each 10 energy = +1 to cast that specific spell.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1974701)
Instead, what I did was to have spirits be a prerequisite for casting, so if you want to cast a fire spell, you first have to find a fire spirit with enough energy maximum to allow it.

Ok.


Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1974701)
Hmm...if I'm understanding correctly, that seems fairly limiting. If you want to cast 200 energy spells, you need a spirit with skill 67. I realize 200 skill is very high, but not skill 67 high. Plus, pricing ally spirits as contacts seems off to me. Fluff-wise, they are contacts, but mechanically, they are the ability to cast RPM spells within their field from anywhere, rather than having to find a place with the appropriate spirit.

Or high-powered Patrons so that they can bring those rules.


Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1974701)
No, you misinterpreted. I know Base 10 magery. This isn't that. What I was saying was the following: Say you want to cast a fire spell through Maltrus. Maltrus's attribute is Will (in other words, casters get Maltrus to cooperate with them by having a strong identity and sense of purpose and by mentally imposing themselves on him). So, the caster looks at his Will, which is 12, his magery, which is 2 and his Path of Energy, which has 8 points for a RSL of +0 and his effective skill for this casting is 14. If he later tries to cast the same spell with a spirit who values nimbleness and agility (DX), his DX of 9 will give him only an effective skill of 11.

So the base depends on the spirit? That's going to make wizards have to be uber-generalists to case any spells. I wouldn't do that.


Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1974701)
So, having them cost as much as limited magery makes sense for the ones that provide a bonus, but not all of them will. The main advantage of spirit guardians is that they allow one to cast a certain class of spells without having to first find the domain of an appropriate spirit and to use the attribute you want to use (you'd pick this one making the spirit), rather than the attribute the spirit you managed to find somewhere wants you to use.

Yeah, again, I suggest doing this as a modifier to rolls vs. figuring out what the spirits have exactly and then coming up with an entirely new format to support that. (see below).

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1974701)
This is fair, though it makes that merged path even more useful, where Path of Magic was already pretty much required for all mages. Maybe move conditional spells out of Path of Magic and add spirit stuff in.

For this I'd just move all Conditional Spells to each Path as a campaign feature. It's been done before by a chap I know and it works just fine.


Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1974701)
I'm not really sure how it's more powerful. It means that casters can't cast the spell they want in the places they want. Instead they have to seek out somewhere they can cast the spell and if they want the spell to take effect somewhere else, they have to make a hostile charm to do so, potentially ******* off a powerful spirit as a byproduct. Not to mention the fact that the spirit they finally find may use an attribute that the character doesn't have very high.

And yet if they all know the right spirit to appease to do what's needed then this is nothing more than window dressing.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1974701)
Oh, I realize they are compatible. I was more concerned with heavily-nerfed RPM vs Sorcery and I'm definitely unconvinced this isn't a nerf.

The way you've got it, it could be. See below.


Quote:

Originally Posted by dfinlay (Post 1974727)
I figured an example of the full process of casting might make it more clear how I want things to work, so here goes:

Moralis the Magnificant is a shaman with 12 Will, 9 DX, Magery 2, Path of Energy [8] +0, Path of Crossroads [4] -1. His best friend and travelling companion, Baltog, Warleader of the Western Isles, has been captured. After several days of tracking and asking the spirits, Moralis has made his way to the outskirts of a camp of twenty enemy soldiers holding his friend hostage. Moralis knows that he won't be able to just charge in and grab Baltog, so he rolls against Thaumatology to find out what spirits are around. Being successful, he learns of the presence of Maltrus and Aaron. Maltrus is in the first post. Aaron is below:



Moralis considers two spells: A Path of Crossroads effect using Aaron to get Baltrog out quickly and a Path of Energy fire spell using Maltrus to blow his way in. While the first is the better match for the situation, his lower Path of Crossroads combined with his low DX will mean he'll be rolling against 9 (DX) + 2 (Magery) – 1 (Path) = 10. Going with the Path of Energy spell will give him an effective skill of 12 (Will) + 2 (Magery) +0 (Path)=14. As such, he decides to go with that.

He settles on a spell with the following stats: Greater Create Energy (6) + Damage, External Burning 6d (4) + Area of Effect 10m with 2 subjects excluded (9) + Charm (2) = 21x3=63. (Note: this is using the idea mentioned above where charms aren't based on Path of Magic)

This gives a -7, so he'll have to acquire some bonuses. This spell counts as destructive, so he gets +2 from Maltrus. He also takes an hour to do the casting, giving another +2. He sacrifices 2 HP and 4 FP for a +1. Finally, he uses hermetic modifiers for another +2. Altogether, he offsets the -7 and rolls against 14.

The spell takes down most of the enemies, stunning the rest and Moralis manages to grab his friend Baltrog and get out of there. Unfortunately, due to not having spoken with any locals about it, Moralis didn't know about the slumbering ritual. As such, his spell has awoken Maltrus and the mountain begins to rumble. Realizing they can't outrun the eruption, Moralis begins invoking Aaron. Let's hope he can pull off that Path of Crossroads ritual he didn't want to cast earlier and that he can do it before the eruption reaches them.

Basically, the idea is that you can only cast spells that reflect what spirits are around you and your attributes will give incentives to use certain spirits over others.

This seems needlessly complicated. I get what you are trying to do, but honestly, you're taking off the training wheels and then putting them back on, but backward. IF I were you and trying to do something like I wouldn't change how spells work at all. Instead, I would come up with a series of modifiers to the rolls and then base the spirits "attributes" (if it needs any) off of those.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Refplace (Post 1974732)
Why calculate the Spirit bonus as energy at all?
Just give them a cap on skill bonus and let them add anything up to that based on reaction bonus derived from reaction from prior relationship and situation as well as influence roll.

Ya. Exactly.

dfinlay 01-29-2016 05:06 PM

Re: Advice on Spirit-based RPM variant
 
Alright, so I feel incredibly inarticulate right now. Rereading my first post, I can see why. It wasn't very clearly written and jumbled a bunch of different ideas together. So, the core idea, stripped of fluff as much as possible (the rules are in bold, while the explanation is not):
  1. Each geographical region in the campaign world has a list of spell descriptors. Spells matching those descriptors are the only spells that are possible to perform there. Characters may buy an advantage that exempts them from this rule for a specific type of spell. This is intended to make it so that casters will either have to search for locations where they can cast the spells they want to cast, influence conflicts so that they occur in the locations the casters need, or try to deal with having a limited set of effects they can produce. It should also make magic seem more finicky and less casual. This is the core of the idea. Everything else is optional add-ons.
  2. Each combination of location and spell type that is possible there (called a spirit) would only allow spells of a certain power level or lower (measured in energy). This would make the process of finding somewhere to cast the spell more difficult for more powerful spells, potentially making it a full-on adventure for the most powerful. Note that this doesn't give a bonus to casting, merely acting as a requirement for more powerful spells.
  3. Originally, I was thinking that each spirit would require you to use a different attribute as the base of your magic. This would encourage casters to focus on Magery and Path skills to improve their magic, rather than IQ, while still giving some incentive to have non-magical aptitudes. It was also intended to differentiate casters by having some of them work better with certain spirits than others and to allow/encourage casters with things like strength or health as core attributes as well as the typical IQ mages. You might be correct, however, that it is unnecessary complication and I should just make it base 10 magery.


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