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Old 05-03-2016, 08:30 PM   #1
dfinlay
 
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Default Mundane Magic

So, I'm working on a low-powered fantasy campaign at the moment. I already have a formal magic system that's modified Effect Shaping RPM. However, I would also like to have what (for lack of a better term) I'm calling mundane magic. These are things like "Silver is associated with strength, so I wear silver jewelry to grant me strength in battle" and "One who settles in a new region without introducing him/herself to the local spirits will be less protected from misfortune" or "when fording a river, one should always give a small offering to the current (say, a few berries) to avoid offending it".

Basically, they're mundane things that anyone can do, mage or no, and probably without a skill role other than (for more obscure things) the knowledge skill to have heard of the ritual. I want these sorts of things to have an actual effect but on the other hand I don't want them to get too gamest ("What's the list of trinkets we can get? I'll take one of each. Wait, do they stack?") nor too blatant (even a +1 ST is very significant in GURPS, especially with KYOS, so how do I make something grants strength, for example, without it being blatant and extreme?). I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts about how to do this or if perhaps there's some write-up/system I'm missing that's already made.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:43 PM   #2
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: Mundane Magic

I recommended it many times but Golden Bough is available at Amazon on public domain and gives an idea what the real stuff was all about.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:49 PM   #3
khorboth
 
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Default Re: Mundane Magic

For low-powered things, a once-per-session luck roll could be good. Silver charms can give one use per session on a damage or ST roll. Being too greedy with charms nets to a bad luck roll.

Perhaps work up a Karma stat. Start at zero and then get +1 for doing the good thing, -2 or -3 for doing the wrong thing, nothing for doing the expected thing. Keep a total and spend the points on luck rolls? perhaps 10 points for a single use of luck?

I like the luck mechanic because it doesn't let anybody do the impossible or really push their maximum capabilities. It can easily fly under the radar socially while still being a real game affect.

hidden lore (Karma) might be good for spotting the opportunities to get the bonuses.
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:53 PM   #4
dfinlay
 
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Default Re: Mundane Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
I recommended it many times but Golden Bough is available at Amazon on public domain and gives an idea what the real stuff was all about.
Thank you for the book recommendation. I have heard of it but haven't read it. I just downloaded a copy and may read it when I have the time (I don't really at the moment). That said, I am specifically looking for ways to model this in GURPS in a fun way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by khorboth View Post
For low-powered things, a once-per-session luck roll could be good. Silver charms can give one use per session on a damage or ST roll. Being too greedy with charms nets to a bad luck roll.

Perhaps work up a Karma stat. Start at zero and then get +1 for doing the good thing, -2 or -3 for doing the wrong thing, nothing for doing the expected thing. Keep a total and spend the points on luck rolls? perhaps 10 points for a single use of luck?

I like the luck mechanic because it doesn't let anybody do the impossible or really push their maximum capabilities. It can easily fly under the radar socially while still being a real game affect.

hidden lore (Karma) might be good for spotting the opportunities to get the bonuses.
I like the idea of luck rolls, but would probably change them to GM-controlled luck rolls. That makes it more subtle how it's helping even to the players and allows the GM to use them in places that will appropriately reflect their source. Plus, it has the "the spirits occasionally intervene on your behalf" feel going on.

I don't know how I feel about tracking a numerical score. It would make it harder to have different rituals have different effects, but it would definitely simplify bookkeeping, which might be necessary.

A relevant skill, whether Hidden Lore, Religious Ritual or Occultism could definitely be used to know about/notice opportunities for additional ceremonies beyond the usual ones everyone would know.
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