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Old 09-20-2018, 12:26 PM   #1
A Ladder
 
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Default Heretical RPM [RPM]

So I am considering running RPM for the magic in my next campaign instead of Sorcery or vanilla magic but I have some reservations about the system that I wanted to address before switching over.

I don’t like how RPM doesn’t really do “combat casting” (the -4 to gathering or taking reaaaallly long to cast spells) but instead relies on charms as a sort of “ammunition” for combat spells. It annoys me that a typical higher powered wizard can run around with 15 to 20 howitzers in their pockets but can’t light someone’s shirt on fire without taking 10 seconds to mumble some jumbo about it.

What breaks in RPM if I...
1. Remove the -4 penalty for one second gathering
2. Allow players to pay for energy with a 1:1 ration of FP
3. Tap from multiple energy sources at a time instead of just one
4. Make it so conditional rituals and charms do not exist?

Keep in mind I run DF and Action games. My players run high powered characters and expect to attack almost every turn and do enough damage to murder a healthy orc each sword swing or to use a machine gun to sweep a bunch of gangsters down. I have no problem with wizards burning hordes to death in a few seconds.
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Last edited by A Ladder; 09-20-2018 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Heretical RPM

Hello you might want to look the pyramid 66 and see the variant rules for it. I am also starting a new modern fantasy game with open supernatural on the world, and I am using RPM for the first time. The Effect Shaping aspect works well for it instead of gathering. Then you just tweak the negative for faster casting.

Overall I agree with you. Sorcerers should be spell casters and not walking charm bracelets. But overall the magic is not designed for DND like casting and it comes with a negative, i.e. the negative to the rolls to make it happen. I do not agree with removing the conditional rituals and charms altogether though. They give a nice element and color to the magic style.
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Heretical RPM

RPM is already quite powerful, and pushing broken. But I don't think your changes affect that much.



FP at a 1 to 1 ratio isn't bad at all. very little breaks. Speeding up RPM really doesn't break it that much, and you're only adding 6 or so to your maximum energy, which isn't that much.



1 second per attempt makes RPM users more dangerous in combat, but they weren't that dangerous to begin with (at least not without conditionals, which you have removed). It also doesn't really allow instant spells. they have to gather for at least one second, then cast. It makes fights a lot flashier, but I'm not sure it makes them strong.


The debuff of conditionals has some edge effects with traps and alarms, but I don't think its too bad. Its a strong debuff, but its not a bad one.


Allowing to pull from any number of energy sources is a bit odd. I'd personally add the caveat that they must all be the same type of energy source, or only allowing personal reserves to be tapped for free.
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: Heretical RPM

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Allowing to pull from any number of energy sources is a bit odd. I'd personally add the caveat that they must all be the same type of energy source, or only allowing personal reserves to be tapped for free.
It's more for being able to have the mage gather some energy, realize they need 3 more to get the spell off the ground and instead of waiting a turn can just tap into their mana or FP pool and make up the difference to fire the spell off this turn.

It also allows going all Mana/FP and one gather attempt for the spell that needs to happen NOW if the caster is willing to be totally out of reserves in later scenes.

(I could be reading the rules incorrectly on needing one second per tapping of different energy sources)

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RPM is already quite powerful, and pushing broken. But I don't think your changes affect that much.
Yeah, I am a little leery on seeing what it can do and will partially combat its flexibility by splitting up some of the paths to make a total of 12 instead of 9. I also plan on not allowing players to purchase the Connection part of Adept and maybe not let them take the Sacred Space part as well.
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Heretical RPM

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It's more for being able to have the mage gather some energy, realize they need 3 more to get the spell off the ground and instead of waiting a turn can just tap into their mana or FP pool and make up the difference to fire the spell off this turn.

It also allows going all Mana/FP and one gather attempt for the spell that needs to happen NOW if the caster is willing to be totally out of reserves in later scenes.

(I could be reading the rules incorrectly on needing one second per tapping of different energy sources)

Yeah, I'd lower that rule to "instant access for personal sources". It will do everything you want it to without breaking in odd ways. Also, I just had a thought: you may want to reduce the energy from FP provided by willing sacrifice for other people. Mass sacrifice is already one of the best ways to break RPM.


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Yeah, I am a little leery on seeing what it can do and will partially combat its flexibility by splitting up some of the paths to make a total of 12 instead of 9. I also plan on not allowing players to purchase the Connection part of Adept and maybe not let them take the Sacred Space part as well.
outlawing connection is a strong option, and I commend your decision. Banning both sacred space and conditional effects would make it very difficult to cast meaningfully. You'd still have a magic system, but it would be very restricted in where it could operate. I'd only ban one at a time.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: Heretical RPM [RPM]

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I don’t like how RPM...

Keep in mind I run DF and Action games. My players run high powered characters and expect to attack almost every turn... I have no problem with wizards burning hordes to death in a few seconds.
It's perhaps worth keeping in mind that RPM was designed for Monster Hunters, which is to say a secret magic, wainscot fantasy in the modern day. Its restrictions are there by design, to create the feel that was desired for that genre. (One reason charms exist, for instance, is to reward research about your target and preparation. It's not just the spellcasters that have a use for Giles' library.)

If you're running more of a D&D-style artillery wizard action game with a lot of flash and bang, then RPM isn't really the magic system you want. You're looking for a different feel. Other elements you might want to consider changing are grimoires (do you want wizards to cast long rituals out of books, or just hit 'em with the spells they know in their head) and correspondences. (Perhaps take a cue from D&D there, and just mention "material components" just for color, while avoiding getting slowed down by actually tracking their consumption and totting up modifiers for finding appropriate stuff to use in your rituals, which is another one of those research-and-prep things.)

So, yes, if you mostly like RPM, but want to blow stuff up, then you'll want to modify it to get a different feel. As has been mentioned, RPM is more powerful and flexible than some of the other systems in part because it's so limited in other ways. So you might want to rein it in in other ways.

GURPS Magic was originally designed for that sort of feel, with its ultimate origins back in Wizard, extending the Melee arena combat game. It's moved on from there, of course, but it still has the effects of expecting mages to stand toe-to-toe with warriors (while not completely dominating them, quadratic wizard style).

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Old 09-20-2018, 03:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Heretical RPM [RPM]

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It's perhaps worth keeping in mind that RPM was designed for Monster Hunters, which is to say a secret magic, wainscot fantasy in the modern day. Its restrictions are there by design, to create the feel that was desired for that genre. (One reason charms exist, for instance, is to reward research about your target and preparation. It's not just the spellcasters that have a use for Giles' library.)

If you're running more of a D&D-style artillery wizard action game with a lot of flash and bang, then RPM isn't really the magic system you want. You're looking for a different feel. Other elements you might want to consider changing are grimoires (do you want wizards to cast long rituals out of books, or just hit 'em with the spells they know in their head) and correspondences. (Perhaps take a cue from D&D there, and just mention "material components" just for color, while avoiding getting slowed down by actually tracking their consumption and totting up modifiers for finding appropriate stuff to use in your rituals, which is another one of those research-and-prep things.)

So, yes, if you mostly like RPM, but want to blow stuff up, then you'll want to modify it to get a different feel. As has been mentioned, RPM is more powerful and flexible than some of the other systems in part because it's so limited in other ways. So you might want to rein it in in other ways.

GURPS Magic was originally designed for that sort of feel, with its ultimate origins back in Wizard, extending the Melee arena combat game. It's moved on from there, of course, but it still has the effects of expecting mages to stand toe-to-toe with warriors (while not completely dominating them, quadratic wizard style).
I like the flexibility of RPM and that it is a magic system that's not just a menu to choose off of but more of a build the spell you want. I just don't see why you can't have flexible magic and be able to use it in GURPS's combat time scale.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Heretical RPM [RPM]

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Originally Posted by A Ladder View Post
I like the flexibility of RPM and that it is a magic system that's not just a menu to choose off of but more of a build the spell you want. I just don't see why you can't have flexible magic and be able to use it in GURPS's combat time scale.
RPM was built the way it was to stop someone from spending 30 minutes of real time every turn building a new spell.

My House Rule: Only Known Rituals can be cast via Ritual Adept. Ritualists get one Known Ritual per character point spent in a Path for free. They may also purchase the Perk: Known Ritual [Specific Ritual]. I didn't put any limits on this Perk.


You could also do something I was thinking about: give Ritual Adept (Time) a third and fourth level. Third drops the time element to 1 second for the first pass and makes taping one Energy source take no time if done in conjunction with a Gathering Energy roll, level 4 reduces all passes to 1 second and allows the Ritualist to tap one Energy Source without needing to Gather Energy*.



* I was still going to limit Ritualist to only one spell per turn without Altered Time Rate.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Heretical RPM

If you want the RPM spellslingers to be powerful in Dungeon Fantasy style combat, why would you want to eliminate conditional rituals? With those, a character can prepare several powerful spells in advance, waiting only to be triggered. This is not dissimilar from D&D style Vancian magic. And, since the energy accumulation is all done well in advance, this can allow a caster to basically cast a spell per turn. Not bad. You can also consider allowing some advantages like Mana Sponge--its 135 point version allows Mana Reserve to regenerate at 10 MR/second. That's roll-free mana to power spells!
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Heretical RPM [RPM]

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My House Rule: Only Known Rituals can be cast via Ritual Adept. Ritualists get one Known Ritual per character point spent in a Path for free. They may also purchase the Perk: Known Ritual [Specific Ritual]. I didn't put any limits on this Perk.
I kind of like that one.
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