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Old 02-10-2018, 07:31 PM   #11
tanksoldier
 
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Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

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Hum, what do you mean with false?
I misunderstood what you were saying.

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Maiar encompasses an enormous range of power.
Of course. You could write an entire dissertation on the beings of Middle Earth and people have done.

The point it, the Istari _all_ have more power available than they actually use.

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I don't think there's any distinction in Tolkien between "innate power" and "traditional spell" as sources of magic. What is a "traditional spell," exactly, according to you?
I'm trying to think of a way to make spell-like effects more expensive but not completely unobtainable... buying them like a superpower or something. The Istari cast spells because they are supernatural beings, not because they are mortals who memorized something in a spell book.
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:57 PM   #12
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

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I'm trying to think of a way to make spell-like effects more expensive but not completely unobtainable... buying them like a superpower or something.
On the GURPS forum, that common practice is usually called "magic-as-powers". Such abilities are built out of Advantages and modifers (Enhancements and Limitations). GURPS Powers is a useful addition to the Basic set. GURPS Psi Powers and GURPS Thaumatology: Sorcery provide a couple of nice worked examples with some "under the hood" explanations showing how the abilities were built, so you can learn from them for designing your own abilities.

GURPS has a lot of appeal for players that like to build their worlds and tinker with systems. Magic's one of those, important to the feel for fantasy games. The question isn't "how does magic work in GURPS" but "which magic system and options are you going to start with in GURPS, and does that give you the feel you want, or are there some other changes you're interested in making?" There's many more ways than one to do magic.

As Kromm said, head over to the main GURPS forum if that's where your interests lie. DFRPG is aimed more at all those players that just want to crawl some dungeons, kill monsters, take their stuff, and have some fun without having to make all those choices and tinker around with rules systems.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:09 PM   #13
Stormcrow
 
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Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

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Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
The Istari cast spells because they are supernatural beings, not because they are mortals who memorized something in a spell book.
Okay, that "spell book" idea does not appear in Tolkien. Spells are literally stories you utter to shape the world. Anyone can cast spells, although those with more power, like the Istari, or more skill, like the Elves, can do more. But make no mistake: even hobbits cast spells, though they don't recognize it as such. Frodo sings a song-battle against the spell of the Old Forest. He loses, but that was a spell nonetheless. Tom Bombadil teaches the hobbits a rhyme to chant to call him. That's a spell.

If you make magic an inborn ability, an advantage, you block the ability of anyone without the ability to cast spells in Middle-earth.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

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I don’t think Gandalf setting fire to the wargs happened either.
In books this happened in The Hobbit, as did the use of some flash effect to blind a bunch of goblins, and also some sort of spell to extinguish all the goblins' lights to allow the captured dwarves to escape.

In Fellowship Gandalf's direct and blatant spell casting was limited to (failing) spells of unbinding and opening on the door to Moria. He allowed that he could cast more while they were on Caradras (and the bad weather there was never shown to be more than the mountain's normal state) but that every magically attuned being for hundreds of miles would know he'd done it.
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Old 02-10-2018, 10:00 PM   #15
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

What you seem to be wanting is just allowing anyone the option to buy magic as powers, not that they don't fit that style to begin with.
How characters in setting feel and think does not have to dictate how things are written up. They may not realize their players bought magic, when they just believe they're singing with "force".
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Old 02-10-2018, 10:20 PM   #16
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Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

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and of course he does defeat the demon in close combat, a nice trick for a wizard in any game system.
Well, the balrog killed him, too, so it's debatable as to how much of a victory that was. Gandalf just had a better get-out-of-dead card that than the Balrog did.
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Old 02-11-2018, 08:06 AM   #17
malloyd
 
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Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

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I'm trying to think of a way to make spell-like effects more expensive but not completely unobtainable... buying them like a superpower or something. The Istari cast spells because they are supernatural beings, not because they are mortals who memorized something in a spell book.
Are you certain you want to? Are you familiar with the game Pendragon? It operates in much the same "legendary" space as Tolkien, and when the designers finally caved in to fan pressure and included a magic system with enough limits on it to more or less fit the source material, the virtual universal complaint was that magic users weren't any fun to play.

There's also the perpetual debate about making game magic more "magical" which runs up against the problem that if you are going to let players use it, magic *needs* clearly defined and hence very scientifically feeling and logically exploitable rules, or they will either never use it (because they can't plan around the outcome), or turn half the GM rulings on what happens into a debate with likely hard feelings about how they are being "cheated".

It might be best to not bother to have an actual system and make all spell casters NPCs.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:14 AM   #18
Kromm
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Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

"Know your players" is, as always, crucial. A well-known GURPS author and I recently discussed the matter of non-hack 'n' slash fantasy worlds. A subject that came up was that there's a risk that if magic exists and the heroes can use it, certain players will do their best to turn secret magic or subtle magic into hack 'n' slash. If magic is present but the heroes can't use it, as in traditional sword-and-sorcery stories, certain players will get miffed at what they see as GM heavy-handedness – especially if NPC villains get to use magic. Fundamentally, if the players expect a hack 'n' slash experience, they'll attempt to engineer one and grow unhappy if they cannot.

So . . . If the players actually like magical worlds where all the magic is subtle and almost entirely in the hands of NPCs – or are willing to try that as a new experience – great! If they were raised on D&D-like games and expect hack 'n' slash, it's usually easier on everybody to run dungeon crawls with magical pew-pew. And if the players equate fantasy with magic to hack 'n' slash but are comfortable with fantasy completely without magic – say, a cinematic historical or quasi-historical setting where there's lots of non-magical hacking and slashing – that might be a good compromise.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:54 AM   #19
b-dog
 
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Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

One idea to make it so that magic is not always the answer to every problem is to change the concept that magic points just naturally recharge. I have it so that magic points are found in the dungeon that can be drained and added back to recharge the magic points lost. Treasure is often imbued with magical energy and some glowing grottos of caves and so on. Magic must be found in order to be used so it is not wasted. Your Wizard must adventure for magic points instead of just sitting in a room waiting to recharge.
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Old 02-11-2018, 11:55 AM   #20
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Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
There's also the perpetual debate about making game magic more "magical" which runs up against the problem that if you are going to let players use it, magic *needs* clearly defined and hence very scientifically feeling and logically exploitable rules, or they will either never use it (because they can't plan around the outcome), or turn half the GM rulings on what happens into a debate with likely hard feelings about how they are being "cheated".
Depends on your Players, as Kromm says.

If you've got Players that are open to experimentation, heavy GM Fiat, and being told "No", then an open 'magical' approach to magic can work just fine...


Just it won't work very well with GURPS without some heavy designing it yourself. (Exception, Poetic Magic from 3e Magic can fit this scheme)
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