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Old 03-05-2016, 04:00 PM   #21
Emerald Cat
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA
Default Re: Alternate Magic System

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
Actually, H and VH would cost 4 and 8 CP to get to +0 according to B170.
Yeah, those are the correct numbers. I was trying to remember them off the top of my head so that I wouldn't have to disturb my cat. Apparently I haven't gotten this table memorized yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
I'm on the fence about whether to make spells be A or H/VH. It seems a bit expensive to be H/VH on top of the Sphere costs, but maybe that is best anyway. I do value this forum's member's opinions
This is a good question. Assigning difficulty on a spell-by-spell is the easiest way to handle this. I think it would be fair to make lesser effects A, normal effects H, and greater effects VH. You may want to increase the difficulty beyond this baseline if a spell effect is supposed to be rare in the setting or is economy/game breaking.

A more difficult solution would be to make all spells H techniques rather than skills. Techniques are skills that use another skill as a base attribute, at a penalty that can be incrementally bought off. This is discussed in the Skills chapter of Characters. Most of the given examples are hyperspecialized uses of a skill. Costs for buying up the technique are much lower than developing a skill.

Unfortunately, I think you'd need to rewrite quite a bit of your system in order to make techniques work well. I'll take a stab at it:
  • Each Sphere has a Magery/VH skill associated with it.
  • Rote spells are H techniques that default to (i.e. are based off of) the min(required Sphere skills, Thaumatology).
  • To cast a rote spell you must meet the Sphere requirements for that spell.
  • The default penalty for each rote spell is set by the GM. A penalty equal to the highest Sphere involved would be a good baseline. -2 per Sphere after the first is recommended for mixed Sphere castings.
  • A mage can buy up their rote spells to the +0 level, but no higher.
  • Improvisational castings are also based off of the Sphere skills (which is why I set those skills at VH).

For example, Brian the apprentice pyromancer wants to throw a Fireball at his rival. Based on your examples this would be at least a Fire 4 rote spell (requiring Create and Greater Control). Since there are no other Spheres involved, the Fireball rote spell would be a default - 4 technique. Brian has a Thaumatology skill of 15 and a Pyromancy skill of 13. Pyromancy would act as the default skill for Fireball because it is the lower skill. However, he hasn't practiced his Fireball enough to buy off any of the default penalty yet. Therefore, Brian would have to cast his Fireball with a base skill of 13 - 4 = 9 (37.5% success rate).

If you want rote spells to be harder or require more training you should double the baseline penalty for each rote spell technique. One interesting thing you can do with this approach would be to have rote spells default to other rote spells. Exploding Fireball may default to the vanilla Fireball spell. This naturally creates a prerequisite tree while preventing the shenanigans where a mage only puts a single point into the prerequisite.
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Old 03-05-2016, 05:45 PM   #22
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Alternate Magic System

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerald Cat View Post
Yeah, those are the correct numbers. I was trying to remember them off the top of my head so that I wouldn't have to disturb my cat.
I've a cat like that myself!
Quote:
This is a good question. Assigning difficulty on a spell-by-spell is the easiest way to handle this. I think it would be fair to make lesser effects A, normal effects H, and greater effects VH. You may want to increase the difficulty beyond this baseline if a spell effect is supposed to be rare in the setting or is economy/game breaking.
This has an appealing logic to it. Nice suggestion.
Quote:
A more difficult solution would be to make all spells H techniques rather than skills. ... This naturally creates a prerequisite tree while preventing the shenanigans where a mage only puts a single point into the prerequisite.
This also has an appealing logic and consistency, too. I'll need to ruminate on how this might work, and consider which of the two makes a more satisfying play system. Thanks very much for your considerable thinking on this.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:01 PM   #23
Emerald Cat
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA
Default Re: Alternate Magic System

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Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
This has an appealing logic to it. Nice suggestion.
This also has an appealing logic and consistency, too. I'll need to ruminate on how this might work, and consider which of the two makes a more satisfying play system. Thanks very much for your considerable thinking on this.
You're welcome.

One thing to consider is how flexible you want mages to be in your setting. With Techniques, trained spell casters would theoretically be able to cast any rote spell. Only true experts in the associated Sphere(s) would be likely to pull this off. But if this would break the setting for you, high default penalties may be required to encourage players to spend points on the rote spells. I think a baseline penalty on the order of -3 x [highest Sphere level required] should suffice. The skill based system is far less flexible, but doesn't run into this problem.

I could go either way, myself.
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