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Old 11-29-2020, 08:47 PM   #1
Murezor
 
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Default Advice on spy-themed magic setting

Hey everyone - I hope all of you are healthy and happy.

I'm creating a new custom setting for an upcoming solo RPG. I think it's best described as Burn Notice meets fantasy and Cthulhu in the steam era. It's heavily influenced by the second Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson.

So here's the concept.. This takes place on a different world, like Earth but not Earth. The solo campaign centers around a mage who was trained in a school specializing in counter intelligence. He takes on all kinds of spy-oriented missions and gets pulled into all kinds of intrigue.

A little history on magic - It reappeared on the planet after disappearing for a thousand years - the result of some powerful spell that hid it from all life on the planet. Humans had been abusing magic for so long that they damaged the "magisphere" (thanks Spellmonger) and the side-effect was that it allowed for a horrifying old one to start entering this world. He's already sent many minions which will be the main enemy that our solo mage faces.

Here's where I need help. My friend and I are both a little tired fo the standard magic system. We'd like something a little more fresh but also something that represents how misuse in magic can damage the magisphere. Imagine abusing magic too much one day and having a wraith come from the void and start hunting you. Threshold magic seems like an obvious choice but I really don't want to go back to the standard system. I like incantation magic from Dungeon Fantasy 19 but not sure how to handle the abuse effect... I like the idea of a central skill driving all derivative magic (like with Path, RPM, incantation, etc) but I worry a little about all the flexibility it provides. I can envision lots of "can I do X?" kind of questions that might slow the game and make my head spin. All ideas are welcome.
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Old 11-30-2020, 01:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Advice on spy-themed magic setting

This thread talks about using RPM with the Threshold system: http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=119276

Christopher Rice goes into it more in Pyramid issue 3/66.
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Old 11-30-2020, 12:16 PM   #3
Murezor
 
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Default Re: Advice on spy-themed magic setting

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Originally Posted by transmetahuman View Post
This thread talks about using RPM with the Threshold system: http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=119276

Christopher Rice goes into it more in Pyramid issue 3/66.
Thanks, Transmetahuman.. I have that issue.

I'm still a little worried about using something path oriented. First off, how do you limit it's flexibility and use on the fly? Perhaps I need a lot of structure around the paths to describe how what they can be used.

Concerning RPM specifically, I've always been confused about something. Take something that requires over 200 energy. Even with a high thaumatology skill, there's going to be LOTS of roles and probably a lot of quirks to add. Is there a simplified table such that it is one role and, based on your results, you it takes X time and inherits Y quirks?

Finally, has anyone done any work with using magic with ballistics? I mentioned earlier that I was inspired by Sanderson's Mistborn series. What if the hero could use magic to perhaps "bend" a bullet's trajectory to shoot around corners. I think stuff like would add a lot flavor.
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Last edited by Murezor; 11-30-2020 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 11-30-2020, 12:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Advice on spy-themed magic setting

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Originally Posted by Murezor View Post
First off, how do you limit it's flexibility and use on the fly?
Something like Charms Only, Requires Grimoire, Known Spells Only, etc can help. Basically, the spells need to have been designed beforehand to be usable, so there's no risk of the player trying to improvise something he wants to use right then and there.
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Old 12-01-2020, 08:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Advice on spy-themed magic setting

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Something like Charms Only, Requires Grimoire, Known Spells Only, etc can help. Basically, the spells need to have been designed beforehand to be usable, so there's no risk of the player trying to improvise something he wants to use right then and there.
True. IMHO, though, (apart from Charms Only) if you go that far, you might as well use another form of Path/Book Magic, since being able to improvise what you want on the fly (and having a coherent-if-maybe-counterintuitive system to do so with) seems to be the main advantage of RPM over other styles (or maybe just other Energy Accumulating styles).

Admittedly, RPM does have the advantage for the GM of requiring cases a lot more energy for most spells, thus limiting casters that way, but not all games would benefit from that.
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