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Old 11-25-2019, 04:28 PM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

Basically, a thread for magic-users of various types (probably mages, but not necessarily) who are rather more specialized than their peers. Depending on the intended setting, Magic As Powers might or might not be involved here. That does not automatically mean that one spell, ritual, or whatever on the caster's sheet gets lots of points and the rest get one each (or none in systems that allow defaults and/or familiarities), although that's a possibility. An enchantress with Enchant 21, Recover Energy 20, and Powerstone 21 would be a Powerstone specialist (and could make a brisk trade in Quick & Dirty Powerstone enchantment, especially with some assistants who also have high Recover Energy skills, and decent skills in Enchant and Powerstone), even though she spent as many points in each of Enchant and Recover Energy as she did in Powerstone - the other spells are just there to aid or allow her rapid production (and leveling up) of powerstones. Her business partner might have Powerstone 16, but have Enchant 21, Recover Energy 20, and Staff 21 - a high-quality, if limited, enchanting shop. An adventurer or Q&D enchanter might even have more points spent on Recover Energy than in the spell he specializes in, because it's just that useful for them. Specializing in a single College could count, or a small group of spells that work well together but are not necessarily all part of the same College; I'm more thinking of narrowly specialised mages (though not necessarily Johnny One-Spells), but I'm not going to limit the thread that strictly.

A Path/Book (or other Ritual Magic) specialist would likely work somewhat differently, especially with an Energy Accumulating style. One way to do it would be to have Path/Book Adept or Energy Reserve (or both) with the 'One Ritual Only, -80%' limitation (or with 'One Path Only' or 'One Book Only'). Symbol-Drawing or other Syntactic Magic specialists might specialize in one Noun or Verb, or in one of each (e.g. 'Control 17 and Magic 17,' or 'Transform 15, Body/Human 16, and Animal 14'). Clerical Magic specialists depend on which form of Divine Magic you're using, but in my opinion should involve some backstory and other role-playing about why you're focused on this specific aspect of your god's/goddess's power. Realm Magic and other high-flexibility systems seem like 'specializing' would mean spending a lot of points in a specific Realm, and anything further would be a matter of role-playing.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-25-2019, 04:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

Here's an example of the sort of character I'm imagining, at least in terms of the spell-based system:

Hrulph of the Phantoms, 1213

Age: 30

Attributes

ST 10 [0]; DX 11 [20]; IQ 13 [60]; HT 14 [40]

Secondary Characteristics

HP 10; Will 15 [10]; Per 13; FP 16 [6]

Social Background

Languages: Ytarrian Norse (Native) [0], Latin (Accented) [4].

TL: 3^

Cultural Familiarity: early Yrth Christian [0].

Subtotal: 140


Advantages

Attractive [4]
Claim to Hospitality (Royal Mages' Guild of Offasmark) [5]
Guild Rank 1 [4]
Reputation (Skilled specialist, Large class (adventurers and those who work with or hire them), all the time) +2 [5]
Status 0 [0]

Magery 0 [5]
Magery 1 [10]
Magery (Illusion and Creation College Only, -40%) 2 [12]

Perks

Courtesy Feudal Rank 2. [2]
Dabbler (Well-Travelled: Area Knowledge (Lindy) 11, Area Knowledge (Offasmark) 12, Area Knowledge (Ytarrian Christendom) 10, Current Affairs (Ytarrian Christendom)/TL3^ 11). [1]
Defensive Phantom. [1]
Faster Casting (Phantom). [1]

Subtotal: 50


Disadvantages

Code of Honor (Professional) [-5]
Curious (12) [-5]
Duty (Guild; 9 or less) [-5]
Sense of Duty (Friends) [-5]
Truthfulness (Curse; Always in Effect; Cannot tell the same lie three times, -20%) [-10]
Vow (Wear no armour save magic) [-10]

Quirks

Dislikes kobolds. [-1]
Likes cats. [-1]
Particular about his beer. [-1]
Says 'By Saint Cuthbert!' when startled or annoyed. [-1]
Slight limp. [-1]

Subtotal: -45


Skills

Area Knowledge (Offastown) [IQ/E] [1] 13
Artist (Illusion) [IQ/H] [4] 13
Brawling [DX/E] [2] 12
Carousing [HT/E] [1] 14
Detect Lies [Per/H] [1] 11
Hiking [HT/A] [2] 14
Leadership [IQ/A] [1] 12
Philosophy (Classical) [IQ/H] [1] 11
Running [HT/A] [2] 14
Sex Appeal [HT/A] [1] 13
Staff [DX/A] [4] 12
Survival (Woodlands) [Per/A] [1] 12
Survival (Island/Beach) [Per/A] [1] 12
Thaumatology [IQ/VH] [4] 12
Weather Sense/TL3 [IQ/A] [1] 12

Techniques

Disarming (H) Staff-0 [2] 13
Retain Weapon (H) Staff-0 [3] 14

Subtotal: 33

Spells

Healing:
Lend Energy [IQ/H] [1] 12*
Lend Vitality [IQ/H] [1] 12*
Minor Healing [IQ/H] [2] 13*
Recover Energy [IQ/H] [8] 15*
Stop Bleeding [IQ/H] [1] 12*

Illusions and Creation:
Simple Illusion [IQ/H] [1] 14**
Complex Illusion [IQ/H] [1] 14**
Dispel Illusion [IQ/H] [1] 14**
Independence [IQ/H] [1] 14**
Initiative [IQ/H] [2] 15**
Know Illusion [IQ/H] [1] 14**
Perfect Illusion [IQ/H] [1] 14**
Phantom [IQ/VH] [12] 17**

Mind Control:
Alertness [IQ/VH] [1] 11*
Daze [IQ/H] [1] 12*
Foolishness [IQ/H] [1] 12*
Keen Hearing [IQ/H] [1] 12*
Keen Vision [IQ/H] [1] 12*
Mental Stun [IQ/H] [4] 14*
Wisdom [IQ/H] [1] 12*

Movement:
Apportation [IQ/H] [1] 12*
Haste [IQ/H] [1] 12*
Hinder [IQ/H] [1] 12*

Sound:
Sound [IQ/H] [1] 12*

* Includes +1 from Magery.
** Includes +3 total from Magery and Magery (Illusion and Creation College Only).

Subtotal: 47

Total: 225


Equipment

Boots
Cloak
Decent clothes
Good-quality bronze knife
Mess kit
Pouches with stuff in them
Staff (Power 20)
^ 12-point Powerstone (opal on Staff; Power 20; Quirk: Smells faintly of lightning, more so when fully charged, less when fully discharged)
Tall, pointy hat

Notes

'Defensive Phantom' basically means that Hrulf has a great deal of experience using his Phantoms to protect himself or others. For defensive purposes only, this Perk adds +1 per level to skill with Phantom.

His curse only stops him from speaking the same lie (or a too-close variation thereof, by the GM's reckoning) three times in a row. It has no effect on his ability to write it, to use illusions and phantoms to fool people (though if the illusion or phantom speaks, it counts as if he had), or to communicate it in other ways, nor does it stop him from telling the truth in ways that lead people to infer a falsehood, telling the same truth twice and refusing to speak it a third time, nor any other sort of deception. Also, if the GM feels that enough time has elapsed, especially if he's not telling it to the same person, it no-longer counts as the 'same' lie (which saves on bookkeeping).

His Vow covers physical armour, enchanted or not, but does not cover shields. It by definition permits jewelry, clothing, and other such items enchanted with protective spells, though he currently doesn't have any.

Someone who knows enough about his powerstone's quirk and is close enough could determine roughly how much power is left with a scent-based Per-4 roll. The result shouldn't be more precise than 'close to fully charged,' 'a middling amount,' or 'nearly out of energy,' not an exact number, and then only if they've previously been around the powerstone for long enough to gauge the usual intensity of the scent (and he isn't using an illusion to hide the scent).

Hrulph is an adventurer with some experience under his belt, and an illusionist and specialist wizard - specifically, as you might have noticed, he specializes in the Phantom spell. He's also a pretty good example of how difficult being a specialist is in the standard spell system. The exercise has reminded me that I don't like creating magic-users in the standard system... though I might be inclined to use a variant that doesn't use prerequisite chains, or perhaps just make Charms or Shortcut to Power very common, but still a Perk (an I&C-themed magical style with Shortcut to Power (Initiative) would make sense, and a general agreement that a lot of styles have Shortcut to Power (Recover Energy) is likewise quite plausible).

A younger Hrulf who had just started adventuring (so, a fresh journeyman, rather than a senior journeyman who only isn't a master because he doesn't want to play politics) would have no Healing nor Mind Control spells (and thus would not have the Initiative spell), a lower skill level in Phantom, and only one level of Magery (Illusion and Creation College Only), but Magery 0 and Magery 1 would be unchanged. He'd also be less generally skilled and energetic, and wouldn't have his Courtesy Rank, Reputation, Detect Lies skill, the Dabbler nor Defensive Phantom Perk, nor the slight limp (the injury that caused it was part of the reason he started learning Healing spells, along with a desire to learn Recover Energy), nor the Truthfulness curse. He'd also have a 5-point powerstone (still Power 20, but with no quirks; same stone, just with fewer castings yet - it's a standard gift for graduating to Journeyman), but his staff would not be enchanted, the stone instead being on a necklace. The Duty and Vow are required disadvantages for membership in the Royal Mages' Guild of Offasmark. So, he's less specialized than he was when he started out, but all his spells are still either in aid of his specialty, or something to help him stay alive to use it.

Hrulph is native to Offastown, capital of Offasmark, one of the many petty kindoms that in the main Yrth timeline would eventually be absorbed into the Megalan Empire (indeed, even the capital no-longer survives on the 4e canon maps, having been covered by the Blackwoods), though that may or may not occur in the still-hypothetical campaign I'm designing (which now will probably use a different magic system - ironic, since I started creating it to have some place for Hrulph to be from). Offasmark's people are primarily a mix of Norse, English & Normans, Frisians, a few Celts, Jews, and other humans, and a number of half-elves and other humanoids. The kingdom was technically founded in 1120, when King Offa I 'Ironfist' declared the village that became Offastown to be the capital of his kingdom (which at the time consisted of the village and the farms surrounding it - Offa I had a bit of an ego, but his optimism was surprisingly justified). The capital was watered by a river called Avon that flowed down from Zarak, and fed into the River Lindy (and was not big enough to appear on the canon maps, or perhaps had shrunk or dried up by the twentieth century).

Ytarrian Norse is understandable by speakers of the various branches of Old Norse at one step worse, and by speakers of related languages (including modern Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, and Norwegian) at two steps worse - someone familiar with modern English would maybe catch a few words, but not enough for even Broken comprehension. It is written with the Futhark alphabeta in Offasmark.

If I do a thread for the Offasmark setting, I might do a new version of Hrulf with a different magic system (which means dumping his entire spell list). Currently, I'm leaning strongly toward using Symbol Drawing, but beyond that all I've really got is the vague idea that iron probably has anti-magical properties, but not so much as to make magic useless in combat against people who have it, and that HP should offer up more magical energy than FP.
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
An enchantress with Enchant 21, Recover Energy 20, and Powerstone 21 would be a Powerstone specialist (and could make a brisk trade in Quick & Dirty Powerstone enchantment, especially with some assistants who also have high Recover Energy skills, and decent skills in Enchant and Powerstone), even though she spent as many points in each of Enchant and Recover Energy as she did in Powerstone - the other spells are just there to aid or allow her rapid production (and leveling up) of powerstones.
She'll probably want the Stable Casting enhancement from Thaumatology so that she crit-fails less often.

Extra Option: Stabilizing† Skill (Thaumatology‡ for Enchantment) would be a little too powerful if using T40's Skills to Salvage Critical Failures ALWAYs applied...

† = Magical Styles 24
‡ = Magical Styles 4/5

Luckily it doesn't necessarily have to. Healing involves exceptions after all (B248 "unless you are trying the spell more than once per day on the same subject" for Lesser, doesn't appear to apply to Major though) so you could build in an exception to Stabilizing Skill too.

I guess the "same subject" limit would be one way, limiting you to improving a particular powerstone once per day to avoid criticals, but mages could easily just work on different powerstones to avoid that...

Another way to do it might be to require a roll against the stabilizing skill, and only a success changes a crit into a normal failure, a failure should keep it a crit and a crit failure should make it even worse (like crit failing in high mana).

Speaking of High Mana: if you can find a place with High Mana nearby for recharging (not for enchanting itself! too dangerous!) Lend Energy would be a lot more useful for quickly regaining FP than Recover energy would.

Mage A and Mage B both only have 1 FP left.
Both cast Lend Energy on the other. This briefly reduces each of their FP to 0, but then receiving the spell from the other boosts the FP back up to 1.
Since A and B both spend FP on a spell in High Mana, in their following turn, they each get back the 1 FP they spent: now they are both up to 2 FP!

You can basically just geometrically recover FP that way, because now you can turn 2 into 4, 4 into 8, 8 into 16, etc.

The only risk is if you fail since normal failures in high mana count as crit failures, so you will lose all the FP you spent if that happens. So as you geometrically recover FP this way, there is a progressive risk of losing it all if you gamble all of it each time. It could be a lot safer to just risk 1 FP each time and take a little longer to get it back.

Not sure if a mage could do this alone by designating themself as target?
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

Interesting thread.

This isn't very detailed, but as an experiment I'm currently playing a half-elf "mind mage." She has standard Magery 0 and Magery 1, but has two more levels of Magery with Limited Colleges for three colleges (Communication & Empathy, Knowledge, Mind Control).

She has no offensive spells, and her only offensive ability is Staff at skill 11. So far she's survived six games sessions with little problem (other than collapsing after draining all her Fatigue to save an NPC).
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Old 11-27-2019, 08:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

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Originally Posted by Alden Loveshade View Post
Interesting thread.

This isn't very detailed, but as an experiment I'm currently playing a half-elf "mind mage." She has standard Magery 0 and Magery 1, but has two more levels of Magery with Limited Colleges for three colleges (Communication & Empathy, Knowledge, Mind Control).

She has no offensive spells, and her only offensive ability is Staff at skill 11. So far she's survived six games sessions with little problem (other than collapsing after draining all her Fatigue to save an NPC).
I would guess that the other PCs are better at combat, while she does a lot of stuff that either isn't combat at all, or falls under the umbrella of 'combat support,' like detecting ambushes or confusing difficult enemies.
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Old 11-28-2019, 09:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

In RPM, Path Specialists probably have Magery 0, Magery 1+ (One Path Only, -40%), and Ritual Adept (One Path Only, -40%). For example, a Mind Mage might have IQ 12 [40], Magery 6/0 (Path of Mind Only, -40%) [41], Ritual Adept (Path of Mind Only, -40%) [24], Thaumotology (VH) IQ+6 [32]-18/12, and Path of Mind (VH) IQ+6 [24]-18. When using the Path of Mind, they are ritual adept mages with an energy reserve of 18 and a skill of 18. When using other Paths, they are mages with a skill of 12 and no ritual adept or energy reserve.
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Old 11-28-2019, 01:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

Hey Charon how much FP would your Enchantress have to get the ball rolling on making powerstones? You'd need 12 energy to start off making a One-College Powerstone (Enchantment Only) which you could then use to mitigate the cost of the broader 20-energy all-college powerstones.

Even 12 (60% or 3/5 cost) can be more than you start with at HT 10 though (do you want to lose 2HP?) unless you bought extra FP (or an Energy Reserve).

An alternative to that (since that's 3 points per level) is also learning Manastone, since that only costs 5 energy (easily affordable) and even though it's one-use, building up a manastone to help pay the cost of One-College Powerstone could help your enchantress get off the ground without needing to lose HP in the process.

Energy is an even more serious consideration if you don't have expensive stuff to enchant to avoid the x4 cost penalty, since then you're looking at 80 (all-college powestone) or 48 (one college powerstone) or 20 (manastone). That puts even manastone outside of most people's energy capabilities!

House-ruling a one-college manastone as being makeable at 3 energy (or 12 energy if made from something low-value) might be one way to do it (perhaps it should be a perk to do this since it's not technically legal?) but you're still looking at a cost of 12 energy which is beyond most people's safe FP limits, and you might not want to design an enchantress with an ER or extra FP, or who has helpers/familiars to lend them energy...

Unless you wan to go the route of Black Magic to pay those costs (dangerous!) one other route might be to use Threshold-based magic. This could help you avoid using HP to enchant stuff, although it comes with other risks...

T77's suggested Threshold of 30 would let you spend 30 energy on a spell without any problems if you began at tally 0. Unless you have T79's "Variable Energy Access" (super costly!) you can't use Threshold to power normal magic directly... but there are some lower-cost workarounds to avoid spending 50 points, if you're willing to indulge some risk....

T79 mentions how "Lend Energy" can allow you to accrue Tally to recover FP. So you could use Tally to indirectly fuel FP-based magic by using Lend Energy on yourself after. It's not exactly the best deal though since Tally takes a long time to recover. It also doesn't help with casting big spells since you'd have to deplete your FP before Tally could restore it.

T79 also mentions how "Share Energy" can allow you to take up a mage's energy cost for their spells as Tally instead... You do need to learn separate versions of spells for using Threshold instead of energy if you lack VEA, but this is feasible, and if you are only interested in fueling 2 spells, you can take 2-spell magery (also T25) for a cheaper discount than one-college magery.

Threshold Magery 1 (2 spells only -75% Slower Magical Recovery -10%) would only cost 3 points, so you pay 2 more points to get Lend+Share with a point each, so it only costs 5 points to be able to tap into thresholds to assist your Energy Magery buddies.

But... if you ALSO have the usual run-of-the-mill Energy Magery, is there any reason why you couldn't cast "Share Energy" and designate yourself as the recipient, allowing you to create energy for use with a future spell by accruing Tally?

This only allows up to 5 energy to be shared, so it wouldn't help a huge deal with high-cost spells. I guess that's where Variable Energy Access would truly shine...

The requirement to use the energy in the next second also creates a complication with spells that have casting times longer than 1 second though. In that case, I think you'd usually have a buddy cast Share Energy right before you were about to complete your spell.

That would cause a problem with trying to use Lend Energy to power your own spells though, since you can't be casting 2 spells at once unless you have Compartmentalized Mind. A caster who had that could probably be using 1st mind doing Energy Magery-based Enchantment while the 2nd mind could jump in at the 2nd-last second accruing 10 Tally to cast Share Energy and make 5 extra energy available for the enchantment.

Without CM, this trick would only work if you cast a 1-second spell in the next second :( Assuming it was okay to self-designate using Share Energy (doesn't seem broken)

Tally/Threshold gets interesting if you're making enchantments that way primarily though. Aside from having the base 30 to work with (you can totally make that cheap manastone without Calamity) T80 replaces Powerstone with "Buffer Objects" which have twice the capacity, although they take twice as long to heal Tally meaning in total they take 4x longer to recharge from 0 to full.

This system allows bigger creations (even without risking Calamity) but the longer recovery times mean you can't really pump out stuff using "Quick and Dirty" at the same speeds.

Tally/Threshold also has no "Breath Control" or "Recover Energy" equivalent to speed things up further.

I don't think there's any way for Energy Magic to actually mitigate accrued Tally, so you can't reverse the above trick where you dabble in the other to beef up your primary. T80's "Trading Fatigue Points for Power" only helps with cutting down the initial tally costs of spells, but not healing tally once you've accrued it.
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Old 11-28-2019, 01:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

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I would guess that the other PCs are better at combat, while she does a lot of stuff that either isn't combat at all, or falls under the umbrella of 'combat support,' like detecting ambushes or confusing difficult enemies.
The "PC experiment" is still relatively new, and I don't want to post too much here on my ideas (my GM may be watching). But confusing difficult enemies and the related I think could be quite useful. I won't know how useful until I get in more combat
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

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Hey Charon how much FP would your Enchantress have to get the ball rolling on making powerstones? You'd need 12 energy to start off making a One-College Powerstone (Enchantment Only) which you could then use to mitigate the cost of the broader 20-energy all-college powerstones.
The thing is, she wouldn't be starting from scratch, nor working alone (which is why I gave her a business partner). The two of them started out as apprentices to Master Enchanter Basil of Hyrnan, where they dreamed of much more exciting work while drudging around and getting their skills up. One of the privileges Basil gives his apprentices is letting them borrow powerstones that they've worked on to make their own powerstones from material they bought themselves... and sometimes he allows them to buy quirky powerstones that he would never sell to a regular customer (reputation, you see), especially if they're reasonably to blame for the quirks. Thus, they were able to make their first powerstones under his supervision, and to enhance them over time.

By the time they went out to start their own shop, they had plenty of decent powerstones, and just needed a space to spread them out for charging in, secure enough where they wouldn't get stolen. They did go on one adventure together, and then decided that adventures are nasty things that make one late for dinner, and they'd much rather be alive and make steady money selling powerstones and staffs to crazy adventurers.

If she and her partner had to start from nothing, they'd probably each give ten energy to a single regular powerstone (I haven't decided if either of them even knows One-College Powerstone, nor Manastone), because they each have more than ten FP, though less then twenty. Then they'd do it again after they recovered, and so on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alden Loveshade View Post
The "PC experiment" is still relatively new, and I don't want to post too much here on my ideas (my GM may be watching). But confusing difficult enemies and the related I think could be quite useful. I won't know how useful until I get in more combat
OK, that's fair. When you can talk about it, please lets us know what happens.
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Specialist Magic-Users

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I haven't decided if either of them even knows One-College Powerstone
It isn't specified as being a separate spell, but I could see maybe treating it as some kind of specialty use. Like if you learned 1 specific college it might be 1 level easier to learn Powerstone, but then all other colleges (or generic) would be cast at -2.
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