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Old 07-10-2018, 06:46 PM   #1
kirbwarrior
 
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Default Decreased Mana Costs as an advantage

In an old campaign, the GM and I came up with a trait we were both happy with for decreasing the cost of magic spells. It was adapted off of Wild Mana Generator, with the assumption that dropping everything but the no mana cost on spells was a feature.

Looking at it today, I'm pretty sure 100pts* for "Spells have no mana cost" is too strong. However, it was intended to be allowed in the same campaigns as Wild Mana Generator. What would be a good way of going about figuring out a trait that makes spells free?

And once that's figured out, what's a good way to turn it into a leveled trait for making spells merely cheaper? I used an exponential leveling system, set up so even 1 mana less on spells is very useful, while at a certain point spells being cheaper by enough is effectively the same thing as being free.

On a side note, I would like to know how this affects enchanting (and Wild Mana Generator), but that's not a huge deal, I remember reading somewhere that changing Quick Gadgeteer to Quick Enchanter is about as good.

Any thoughts? Thank you ahead of time.

*Technically 105pts but there's no reason for it to go 5pts over and 100 fits the discussion better. The formula came out to 3^([x]/15), where [x] is the amount of points spent. 1 and 2 less costs were simplified to [5] and [10], the rest is a leveled trait of 15pts/lvl, making it so 2000 mana cheaper is the same as being free.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Decreased Mana Costs as an advantage

Whatever it is it's going to be less than 50 points per -1 to spell's costs (as that's what 5 levels of Magery is worth).

I'd be inclined to put it around 25-30 myself... just eyeballing it.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Decreased Mana Costs as an advantage

Yeah. Extra Magery with a Limitation like (Only to increase base skill for determining energy cost) looks like an obvious solution. That should be a hefty discount.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: Decreased Mana Costs as an advantage

"Only to decrease mana costs" seems almost like it could be -80% (Magery does so much and the skill bonus is the bulk of it), but I could see an argument for probably -60%. That works fine for low numbers, but what would the ceiling be? I could see it being better to base it off of WMG with Cosmic +300% (failures are still free and don't turn to fumbles), but I'm not certain.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Decreased Mana Costs as an advantage

Raising a spell from [1] to [16] (most spells for most casters are at [1], so this is reasonably representative) will increase it by 5, levels which reduces energy cost by 1. That means single-spell cost reduction certainly shouldn’t cost more than [15]. At [6] per FP it seems like almost always better deal than ER, but [9] trades versatility for specialization.

To me, this supports a ~[30] cost to reduce all spell energy costs by 1: Uncapped Magery at -40%. Also equivalent in cp cost to ER 10, which is usually better for instant spells but worse for maintained ones.

At -80%, multiple levels of it become a staple of every new character I create.

For the record, I think spell cost reductions at specific plateaus is by far the worst rule in regular GURPS.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Decreased Mana Costs as an advantage

I'd build it as follows:

Energy Reserve (Magic Cost Reduction) 1 [3] + Regeneration (Very Fast, 1 ER per second; ER for Magic Cost Reduction Only, -0%) [100]) = 103 points

That effectively reduces the cost by 1 as you use the mana point and regain it immediately next turn. To reduce it by 2 or more it gets more complicated, as the next level of Regeneration is Extreme, which regains 10 ER per second and is worth [150]… so it's roughly 5.5 points per extra level. I'd go for 2 per second at 110, and then +5 for each extra point until your reach 10 per second at 150. This makes it ER 2 [6] + Regen (2/second) [110] = 116, then an extra +8 per level after (3 for ER and 5 per level of Regen). Regen technically stops at 10 per second, but if you want faster, I wouldn't see a problem with the +5 per extra point each second is fair.

Note, the Regen only affects this specific ER, and wouldn't affect the regular Mana Points reserve that mages might have.

So, my final cost:

Option 1: Magery Spell Energy Cost Reduction (103/116/ +8 per additional level)


Someone else had another valid approach of Magery 5 (Only for purpose of reducing spell cost, -40%) [30], giving a final value of:

Option 2: Magery Spell Energy Cost Reduction (30 x level)

This method is cheaper for the first 4 levels... then becomes significantly more expensive than the first method.

While the second sounds more reasonable off-hand for lower levels, I think overall power-balance-wise the first approach is more fair when you consider how versatile and powerful this is (you only need 1 level to cast a whole lost of spells for free, as most mages will have at least skill 15)... but that's just my opinion.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: Decreased Mana Costs as an advantage

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Originally Posted by kirbwarrior View Post
"Only to decrease mana costs" seems almost like it could be -80% (Magery does so much and the skill bonus is the bulk of it)...
Eh....

For most spells skill becomes meaningless above 21 (this keeps skills at 16 in Low Mana Zones) except to reduce casting time and cost. The bonus to Thaumaturgy is likewise true, it's meaningless after a certain point (I'd say beyond 26ish?). So to my mind if you're building an advantage that does 'half' of what Magery (above a certain point) does... it should cost somewhere around half.



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Originally Posted by ArchonShiva View Post
To me, this supports a ~[30] cost to reduce all spell energy costs by 1: Uncapped Magery at -40%. Also equivalent in cp cost to ER 10, which is usually better for instant spells but worse for maintained ones.
I can get behind Reduced Spell Cost [30/lvl].

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At -80%, multiple levels of it become a staple of every new character I create.
No joke.

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For the record, I think spell cost reductions at specific plateaus is by far the worst rule in regular GURPS.
I've toyed with stripping it and reduced casting time from the skill and making them their own penalties.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Decreased Mana Costs as an advantage

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
I can get behind Reduced Spell Cost [30/lvl].
Which is what I was eye-balling it at as soon as I read the thread title, making it effectively a -40% limitation to Magery.

This also suggests that Reduced Spell Cost (One College Only) is worth about 10/lvl, totaling -80% in limitations. I rather like that cost breakdown and structure.

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Originally Posted by ArchonShiva View Post
For the record, I think spell cost reductions at specific plateaus is by far the worst rule in regular GURPS.
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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
I've toyed with stripping it and reduced casting time from the skill and making them their own penalties.
Magic p. 9 has an Optional Rule for Alternate Magic Rituals. I toyed with the idea of extending that to cover casting cost and time, with -3 skill giving either -1 cost or 1/2 casting time and doubling cost or doubling casting time giving +1 skill each (you could only get each bonus once, whereas you could reduce time and cost as many times as you could afford the penalty). Ultimately I decided against it because it was one rule too many to hoist onto spell casters, not because I disliked the rule.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Decreased Mana Costs as an advantage

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
For most spells skill becomes meaningless above 21 (this keeps skills at 16 in Low Mana Zones) except to reduce casting time and cost. The bonus to Thaumaturgy is likewise true, it's meaningless after a certain point (I'd say beyond 26ish?). So to my mind if you're building an advantage that does 'half' of what Magery (above a certain point) does... it should cost somewhere around half.
I thought penalties would come up enough for more skill to matter, and contests always want more skill. Plus, as you pointed out, reducing cost and time is still useful as skill goes up (similar to how a skill can take less time for mundane skills).

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Originally Posted by ericbsmith View Post
Which is what I was eye-balling it at as soon as I read the thread title, making it effectively a -40% limitation to Magery.

This also suggests that Reduced Spell Cost (One College Only) is worth about 15/lvl, totaling -80% in limitations. I rather like that cost breakdown and structure.
Wouldn't that be 10/level? Magery 5 (One College -40%, Only Reduced Cost -40%) comes out to 10.

-80% is definitely too far, but -40% doesn't seem to be enough (however, that's something that I could easily figure out from gameplay).

I like that "faking it" build with ER and Regen. I should point out that having 20+ ER increase the amount of recharge. On that note, the next level of Regeneration being 200pts for "all" seems perfectly reasonable. At that point, each reduction would be 3pts (as you increase ER).

Using all the options, it could be;
Levels 1-4: 30pts each
5 to 20: 103+8pts per level
21+: 200+3pts per level
Some maximum? The cut off could be 400pts, which is similar to level 66 with this.

The other issue, of course, is that I was planning on also using this with Syntactic Magic, where spells don't really have caps on cost. WMG is especially good there, I've found.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Decreased Mana Costs as an advantage

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Originally Posted by kirbwarrior View Post
Wouldn't that be 10/level? Magery 5 (One College -40%, Only Reduced Cost -40%) comes out to 10.
Yes, it would. My math skills failed me there.
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