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Old 02-21-2020, 08:28 PM   #1
Murezor
 
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Default Limits of Ritual Path Magic

Hey everyone. I'm organizing a medieval game with a magic system loosely based on Terry Mancour's Spellmonger series. Ritual Path Magic is a pretty good fit but I'm not quite sure how to limit it.

It sounds like a mage with the right Paths can do pretty much whatever they want. Even with the Path of Energy, a mage is extremely powerful - It's pretty much all the elemental spells in the normal grimoire in one Path. Has anyone had success with this in a campaign?
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Limits of Ritual Path Magic

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Originally Posted by Murezor View Post
Hey everyone. I'm organizing a medieval game with a magic system loosely based on Terry Mancour's Spellmonger series. Ritual Path Magic is a pretty good fit but I'm not quite sure how to limit it.

It sounds like a mage with the right Paths can do pretty much whatever they want. Even with the Path of Energy, a mage is extremely powerful - It's pretty much all the elemental spells in the normal grimoire in one Path. Has anyone had success with this in a campaign?
How is it limited in the book series exactly?
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Limits of Ritual Path Magic

Tons of success with RPM yes
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Limits of Ritual Path Magic

This is a great question actually. In one of the many RPM campaigns I've run (2), one character wanted to be just a healer. Not a cleric. Not someone who could take a normal person and turn him into a combat monster. Not someone who could create beings from thin air. Just a healer. So, Path of Body for things that physically ail you and maybe Path of Mind for things that mentally ail you. Yes, he could have just created a regular character that just didn't do things outside of healing, but he wanted to not be able to do them, however coerced.

Could this be done with the standard system without creating new paths?
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Limits of Ritual Path Magic

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This is a great question actually. In one of the many RPM campaigns I've run (2), one character wanted to be just a healer. Not a cleric. Not someone who could take a normal person and turn him into a combat monster. Not someone who could create beings from thin air. Just a healer. So, Path of Body for things that physically ail you and maybe Path of Mind for things that mentally ail you. Yes, he could have just created a regular character that just didn't do things outside of healing, but he wanted to not be able to do them, however coerced.

Could this be done with the standard system without creating new paths?
Yes, you could have specialized Path of Body and Path of Mind with "Healing" as an optional specialization. This reduces the difficulty to IQ/Hard and gives a -2 to do anything else other than heal.
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Limits of Ritual Path Magic

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How is it limited in the book series exactly?
I'm honored that you respond. Thanks, Chris R. I just noticed your thread from a couple days ago. Sorry I didn't just reply to that.

First off, I should say that I've never used RPM in any capacity. I've only ever use the GURPS Magic system.

In Spellmonger, magic is very similar to RPM. Mages draw power from the magisphere (or erionite - mana stones) and they can hang spells. Most of the powerful spells take time to cast or are pre-hung on an instrument. What I like about magic in the book is that mages have to be clever in crafting a spell that delivers the response they are looking for.

In the game I'm planning, it's easy enough for me to put limits on the paths. I.e. There either is or isn't gate magic. Etc. The issue I worry about is how to put limits on the paths themselves. For example, let's say I have Path of Matter and the player wants to change iron into gold during his down time to get rich. Maybe this is a bad example, but I guess I'm not sure if there are any limits to what a mage can do with RPM with enough time.

One more thing - there are several spells in Spellmonger that war mages cast in one second without hanging the spell. Is it possible in RPM to create a technique for a specific spell that the caster uses a lot to buy down the penalty for fast casting?
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Old 02-21-2020, 10:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Limits of Ritual Path Magic

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I'm honored that you respond. Thanks, Chris R. I just noticed your thread from a couple days ago. Sorry I didn't just reply to that.
No worries. :-)

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First off, I should say that I've never used RPM in any capacity. I've only ever use the GURPS Magic system.
A good system. I use it when I want to run or play DF.

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In Spellmonger, magic is very similar to RPM. Mages draw power from the magisphere (or erionite - mana stones) and they can hang spells. Most of the powerful spells take time to cast or are pre-hung on an instrument. What I like about magic in the book is that mages have to be clever in crafting a spell that delivers the response they are looking for.
That sounds like RPM, yup.

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In the game I'm planning, it's easy enough for me to put limits on the paths. I.e. There either is or isn't gate magic. Etc. The issue I worry about is how to put limits on the paths themselves. For example, let's say I have Path of Matter and the player wants to change iron into gold during his down time to get rich. Maybe this is a bad example, but I guess I'm not sure if there are any limits to what a mage can do with RPM with enough time.
Well, you can turn iron to gold - but the counter is not in limiting the spell really (even though it only lasts as long as the Duration you use). The counter is in the setting itself. If folks know magic can make riches then people will be wary of them and have ways to test "mage-gold" from "gold."

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One more thing - there are several spells in Spellmonger that war mages cast in one second without hanging the spell. Is it possible in RPM to create a technique for a specific spell that the caster uses a lot to buy down the penalty for fast casting?
Not with energy-gathering RPM, with effect-shaping RPM you can get rote techniques. I suppose you could create a rot technique for EG-RPM as an Average technique - each 1 point gives you +1 to cast that spell and gather energy for it.

There is also a power-up PK suggested here.

My blog also has a lot of a suggestions/hacks for RPM.
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Old 02-22-2020, 07:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Limits of Ritual Path Magic

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Well, you can turn iron to gold - but the counter is not in limiting the spell really (even though it only lasts as long as the Duration you use). The counter is in the setting itself. If folks know magic can make riches then people will be wary of them and have ways to test "mage-gold" from "gold."
Ok.. I can see how duration can be a factors in limiting the players but I can foresee scenarios where I might not want the players to completely circumvent the adventure. In these cases do you just come up with reasons why this won’t work on the fly? Let me give you another example. The mage might, say, use path of mind to successfully take over the mind of an enemy leader and reveal his secrets thus thwarting the adventure. Sounds like a GM really needs to decide the boundaries of each path before starting the game. It might be unfair to tell the player that spell didn’t work after his cast it because it’s not consistent with the game-world. Also I noticed that the ability to locate someone is part of the path of body. That seems a little weird to me. Have you seen any resources with alternate paths? Also having one path for energy seems strange because that covers everything from fire to electricity. I had planned on having more specialty for the type of energy based on the type of mage in my game.

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My blog also has a lot of a suggestions/hacks for RPM.
After checking out your blog and reading a little bit more about ritual path magic, I feel like you would really enjoy the Spellmonger book series.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: Limits of Ritual Path Magic

If you want to limit the power of individual spells, then you can increase the energy costs. You might use a hard cap ("no more than 9D damage"), a soft cap that ramps up in various ways (every three dice of damage, the energy cost per die doubles, or whatever smoother formula you like), and the GM defines the threshold where effects become "Greater" instead of "Lesser", which might be low indeed.

You can also bump up the difficulty penalties, so any given caster will have a much harder time successfully gathering energy even for simpler spells.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:17 PM   #10
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: Limits of Ritual Path Magic

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Ok.. I can see how duration can be a factors in limiting the players but I can foresee scenarios where I might not want the players to completely circumvent the adventure. In these cases do you just come up with reasons why this wonít work on the fly? Let me give you another example. The mage might, say, use path of mind to successfully take over the mind of an enemy leader and reveal his secrets thus thwarting the adventure.
Mind Control is a bit of an issue and now that I think about it I need to put how to adjudicate that in my current project. But let's talk about your other question: How to keep RPM in bounds. It's all about the GM. It's a Rule Zero system. That means despite it having a way to build spells and pretty clear lines on how that works it still needs the GM to properly function. You're free to decide things on the fly, but when I GM RPM I strictly put into writing what it can do and cannot do. And then I ruthlessly abide by it.



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Sounds like a GM really needs to decide the boundaries of each path before starting the game. It might be unfair to tell the player that spell didnít work after his cast it because itís not consistent with the game-world.
RPM is kind of a "do anything" system and that's intentional. It's flexible (some say too flexible) and that's one of its strengths. With a little modification you can pop it into just about any setting and use it.

My suggestion to you is to lay down the things you definitely don't want the system to do and present them as immutable laws of magic. Then as the game progresses and you find more holes retcon those back to said laws. It's worked for me in the past.


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Also I noticed that the ability to locate someone is part of the path of body. That seems a little weird to me.
You're locating the body itself. Locating a person's corpse might be better as Path of Matter.

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Have you seen any resources with alternate paths?
Pyramid #3/66: The Laws of Magic is basically a mini-supplement for RPM users. If you don't have it, I suggest you get it.

I don't use Alternate Paths most of the time. The typical ones serve me nicely. What are you trying to do exactly?

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Also having one path for energy seems strange because that covers everything from fire to electricity. I had planned on having more specialty for the type of energy based on the type of mage in my game.
That's gonna mean a lot of IQ/VH skills. Though you could require specializations and treat them as IQ/H instead. If you want speciality casters I would suggest Higher Purpose, a quirk restricting style, specializing by skill, and so on to breaking up the Paths.

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After checking out your blog and reading a little bit more about ritual path magic, I feel like you would really enjoy the Spellmonger book series.
It's on my list of stuff to check out. It looked interesting when I googles it.
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