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Old 10-26-2019, 09:26 AM   #10
ericthered
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Default Re: Magical Gadgets versus Magical Gear

I prefer using Gear to using gadgets, unless the ability is innate to the character and merely requires the gadget to turn it on. I most often use this with a magical sword that only works for its rightful owner (a concept I use surprisingly often). It also shows up on items that channel the user's power, like Harry Dresden's blasting rod, shield bracelet, and so on. In each case, the power comes from the combination of the user and the item. If the item works for everyone, its gear.

When making or tweaking magic systems, I go out of my way to make them more gear-like. I'll occasionally treat magery or access to a system of magic as one of more levels of high TL (on an alternate tech path, of course).

The supers genre is the place where I lean more towards using gadgets, but there I'm a lot more lax about point budgets for powers.

I find that gear is more customizable, less fiddly, and easier to balance that powers with the gadget limitation. I also find about 50% of the time the gadget limitation appears on a character sheet the player is trying to push for an uber-powered PC who will overshadow other players, so its left a bad taste in my mouth.
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