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Old 04-03-2016, 03:45 PM   #1
sonofether
 
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Default Houserule Proposal: Wildcard College Magic

TL;DR I wanted something between Johnny One-Spell and Generalist, so I tweaked the suggested wildcard magic rules as follows: a skill per college, penalties based on Magery requirement rather than number of pre-reqs, one point in a college skill lets you learn one spell in that college, plus a couple miscellaneous changes

Motivation:
Spoiler:  


Summary of Variant:
  • There is a wildcard skill for each magical college, as mentioned on Magic p. 202.
  • There is a penalty to each spell equal to the level of Magery it has as a pre-req, eg. a -2 for all spells that require Magery 2. (There is no penalty based on number of pre-reqs as suggested on M202.)
  • A mage learns spells by buying points in the skill for a college. One point in the skill => learning one new spell in the college, if there are any that can be learned. The pre-reqs for that spell must be met as normal (other spells known, etc.)
  • Recover Energy is no longer a spell. It is an IQ/H skill enhanced by Magery (even single-college). It has a pre-req of learning at least one spell. It can be self-learned (w/o trainer) and self-taught by anyone that casts spells regularly.
  • Spell Specialization Advantage: Costs 20 points, provides +5 skill to a single spell. Pre-req: that spell at skill level of 15+. Can be taken multiple times for a single spell and/or multiple spells. It is not efficient to take this for more than two spells in one college. Mana-Dependent is a built-in limitation and should not be added. Some other limitations such as gadget limitations may be appropriate. (Specialization would be impossible w/o this advantage.)
  • No matter what, have a hard limit on Magery except as reward for roleplay, because it's cheaper than improving a wildcard skill.
  • Suggestion: let Magery go to 4.

Biggest Feature: You learn more spells in a college when you improve your skill in the college and vice versa, encouraging specialization without requiring it.

Subtleties on Spells Known:
Spoiler:  


Other Features:
Spoiler:  


Lengthy, Detailed Example #1: Single-College Mage, 12 points on spells:
Spoiler:  


Lengthy, Detailed Example #2: Single-College Mage, 36 points on spells
Spoiler:  


This is my first post, be gentle.
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:09 PM   #2
Refplace
 
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Default Re: Houserule Proposal: Wildcard College Magic

Ill have to think about it for a bit but overall I like the idea.
I would probably add stuff from GURPS Power Ups 5: Impulse Buys.
Also let people buy Magic Perks related to the college.
Ive seen the idea of colleges as Wild Cards somewhere before and prefer it to Magic!, except perhaps in a Supers game.
The Specialization advantage is new.

It builds on the Ritual Magic system in Basic, more expensive which I like but it needs to have more oomph I think at the moment to offset the cost.
Your spell penalty being changed to Magery requirements vs. prereq count I like though and it might be enough.
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:23 PM   #3
simply Nathan
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Default Re: Houserule Proposal: Wildcard College Magic

Personally I think if you're making that sort of change, you're better off turning Recover Energy into a Mental/Supernatural Advantage worth 5 points for 1 FP/5 minutes and 15 points for 1 FP/2 minutes.
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Old 04-03-2016, 06:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Houserule Proposal: Wildcard College Magic

I would totally not go for a "wildcard" where I could only cast a specified list of spells, as is implied by your suggestion about "you can cast one spell of the college for each point you have in the college." The whole point of wildcards is that they're wide open. If I learn Fire Magic! I ought to be able to try to cast any fire magic spell. At a penalty, maybe, but if putting three points into Fire Magic! only lets me cast three spells, it's no improvement on just putting one point into each one spell, which is how i would normally do it.
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Old 04-03-2016, 06:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Houserule Proposal: Wildcard College Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by simply Nathan View Post
Personally I think if you're making that sort of change, you're better off turning Recover Energy into a Mental/Supernatural Advantage worth 5 points for 1 FP/5 minutes and 15 points for 1 FP/2 minutes.
Kind of like Fit and Very Fit wi a 0% limitation, magic only? Maybe it gets balanced by applying to Energy Reserve simultaneously.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:32 PM   #6
sonofether
 
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Default Re: Houserule Proposal: Wildcard College Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I would totally not go for a "wildcard" where I could only cast a specified list of spells, as is implied by your suggestion about "you can cast one spell of the college for each point you have in the college." The whole point of wildcards is that they're wide open. If I learn Fire Magic! I ought to be able to try to cast any fire magic spell. At a penalty, maybe, but if putting three points into Fire Magic! only lets me cast three spells, it's no improvement on just putting one point into each one spell, which is how i would normally do it.
To be clear, the part you mention is not a separate suggestion, but an integral part of the variant.

Motivation from core rules:
The rules I cited on M202 provide a wildcard magic option that allows full knowledge of spells within a college the moment you have 3 points in it. Those rules further prescribe a penalty to a spell based on the number of prerequisites it has. I feel that that penalty is a recognition that allowing full access to all spells within a college (or all spells in general) with an investment of only three points is a bad idea. As discussed elsewhere on the boards, that that penalty is both arbitrary and extremely large (consider the penalty for Enchantment, Teleportation, Counterspell, Haircut, etc.).

I did not create this variant because I liked wildcard skills and wanted to apply that to magic. I created this variant because the standard rules for magic lead to boring character design (see the motivation section), and the wildcard rules were the easiest to adapt into something that seemed more fun for long-term character ownership. I didn't feel constrained to providing immediate access to all aspects of the wildcard skill just because all the other wildcard skills do that.

The improvement is an improvement in long-term character growth. As I described above, a player taking this variant for a character has more interesting choices as they spend character points. Specifically, they have tradeoffs in specialization vs. breadth that don't lead to the same min/max solutions that the standard rules do. That's the intended benefit, and I think a lot of it would be lost if all spells were learned in a college immediately.

Separate Counterpoint, Novice Players:
Also, a player first starting GURPS Magic might be intimidated by their fellow players saying "You've got full access to the entire spell list, do something!" Learning spells one at a time also makes this variant more suitable for the growth of the player as well as the growth of a character. That benefit would be lost by using wildcard magic that allowed the full spell list. Compare that to Sword!, for instance, where all a novice player needs to know is that anything pointy can be used as a weapon.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:40 PM   #7
sonofether
 
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Default Re: Houserule Proposal: Wildcard College Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by simply Nathan View Post
Personally I think if you're making that sort of change, you're better off turning Recover Energy into a Mental/Supernatural Advantage worth 5 points for 1 FP/5 minutes and 15 points for 1 FP/2 minutes.
I was trying to leave it having the same cost and effects to keep the disruption to a minimum. If I was going to price it as an advantage instead, I might do the following:

It normally takes 20 points to raise a skill by +5. To match the original cost, it should be 5 points for 1 FP/5 min and 25 points for 1 FP/2 min.

Given the use of being able to cast 2.5x more utility spells during a day, I feel that 20 points between the first and second is also appropriate from a gameplay perspective.

Recover Energy as an IQ+Magery/H spell might normally take between 1 and 8 points to reach skill 15 for an "average" mage. 5 points for the first level does feel about right off the top of my head.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:46 PM   #8
sonofether
 
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Default Re: Houserule Proposal: Wildcard College Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
It builds on the Ritual Magic system in Basic, more expensive which I like but it needs to have more oomph I think at the moment to offset the cost.
It's actually still compatible with Ritual Magic without any real translation. Just add Thaumatology as a capping skill for any of the college skills, or any spell that has Spell Specialization.

By itself, this variant is not actually supposed to have a dramatic effect on the cost to be a mage. At the high levels, it doesn't affect things much unless someone is specializing in a single school, because it will still be cheaper to raise IQ (like a Generalist) that to raise the skill in 2+ colleges.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: Houserule Proposal: Wildcard College Magic

Can you post an example with a specific college, points spent, and consequent abilities of the character? I'm confused by what you mean here, and I think it's because of your use of the word "wildcard" to mean something different from what I'm used to.
Are you using "wildcard" as a kind of Unusual Background that allows a character to learn spells from the college? Do I still have to spend points on those spells? Is this just forcing me to invest heavily in a particular college before I can learn its spells (and isn't that what the standard prerequisite system is supposed to do anyway?)?
I think I see the problem you're trying to solve (although to me the fact that you can build both generalists and specialists in Magic seems like a pro, not a con), I just don't see how your system solves it, since I don't actually understand what you're saying due to peculiar use of the word "wildcard."
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:50 AM   #10
ericthered
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Default Re: Houserule Proposal: Wildcard College Magic

Zerribuchus (125)
attributes [46]
ST 9 DX 10 IQ 13 HT 10
HP 9 Will 12 Per 12 FP 13
speed 5 move 5

Magery 3 [35]

Stubborn [-5]

Earth Magic! - 15 [16]
seek earth
shape earth
earth to stone
stone to earth (14)
create earth
Stone missile
Flesh to Stone (14)
Stone to Flesh (13)
Body of Stone (13)
Walk through Earth
Steelwraith (13)
Earth Vision
Partial Petrification (13)
Summon Earth Elemental (14)
Earth to Air
Essential Earth

Gate Magic! -14 [6]
Seek Gate (12)
Control Gate (11)
Planar Summons (Elemental Plane of Earth) (13)
Plane Shift (Elemental Plane of Earth) (13)
Scry Gate (12)
Planar Visit (12)

Air Magic! - 13 [3]
purify air
create air
destroy air

Staff - 12 [8]
Area Knowledge (Earth Plane) -14 [4]
Thaumology -15 [4]
first aid -14 [2]
saviore faire (mages) -13 [1]
Recover Energy -15 [2]

Please note that while it doesn't raise overall skill level, its worth putting extra points in a skill so that you can learn the additional spells -- the system is about raising skill level and learning new spells at the same time. Its also worth pointing out that this mage struggles with new colleges until the proper number of points are sunk into them or unless they have IQ+Magery = 18, not 17. On the other hand, sinking more spells in one college can allow the IQ+Magery sweet spot to be a good deal lower.

I'm not sure if I like this or not, and I can't speak to its balance -- that wizard up there seems a little strong for 125 points... but it does achieve the desired goal of encouraging specialists. Its also strongly tied to the college system. for different specialists you may need to use different colleges.

The 'One spell from 10 Colleges' requirement on gate and metamagic is very painful in the system. Above, I just ignored it. A 5 or unusual background for access to 'higher' magic would work just as well. Also, statements have been made to the effect that the prereq system is NOT a balancing component of magic.
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