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Old 10-03-2013, 05:53 PM   #1
Kromm
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Default GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic

The trick with magic
Is that it isn't a trick
If you do it right
— Some hack
Have you ever felt that RPGs do magic a bit of a disservice? Most of them talk up mages as brilliant people whose inside knowledge of the universe lets them do almost anything. Then they hand you a list of spells that's considerably smaller than "almost anything," and you find that only a few of those are actually relevant. It soon becomes clear that the system pigeonholes spellcasters – whether as walking artillery, heal-bots, or trenchcoat-clad weirdos – and that your magic-user had better toe the line . . . or else.

It shouldn't be that way – least of all for a generic game like GURPS – and e23 has the answer: GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic. Instead of fixed spell lists and scads of restrictions, this flexible system divides the universe into nine realms, sorts magical effects into seven broad categories, and lets you go nuts mixing and matching. There are no artificial limits on what you can accomplish! Even mages of modest talents can achieve great things if they make judicious use of grimoires, places of power, and magical trappings, and are patient enough to chip away at grand goals a bit at a time.

"But," you're thinking, "I'm still limited to chanting and wiggling my fingers. Or maybe this is one of those systems where it takes forever to accomplish anything, or where witnesses cause my magic to explode in my face?" Nope! In addition to picking what you're affecting and how, you choose your approach to the individual casting or even the entire art. With the right advantages, perks, and skills, you can battle swords with spells . . . or be a slow, sure ritualist who casts world-shattering magic only When The Stars Are Right . . . or become a purveyor of magical potions and charms . . . and much more.

"Then I can't really do 'almost anything.' I have to decide to be an alchemist or an enchanter or a battle-wizard." Again: Nope! You can specialize, but you never have to; by default, an adept can try to channel any effect, in any realm of Creation, with approaches ranging from speedy, modest castings to huge rituals that create charms of untold power. As with everything in GURPS, success is tied to spending enough points, and of course a narrower focus offers more power, but you aren't forced to walk a particular path. The only limit is your imagination – and if you get stuck, Ritual Path Magic includes a whole chapter of examples to help you.

Don't take my word for it, though – I could be casting a Greater Control Mind effect over here. You won't find a more flexible standalone magic system for just $9.99. (Naturally, we'd love to sell you GURPS Magic and GURPS Thaumatology, but you truly do not need them to use Ritual Path Magic in your campaign.)
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:59 PM   #2
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
The trick with magic
Is that it isn't a trick
If you do it right
— Some hack
Have you ever felt that RPGs do magic a bit of a disservice? Most of them talk up mages as brilliant people whose inside knowledge of the universe lets them do almost anything. Then they hand you a list of spells that's considerably smaller than "almost anything," and you find that only a few of those are actually relevant. It soon becomes clear that the system pigeonholes spellcasters – whether as walking artillery, heal-bots, or trenchcoat-clad weirdos – and that your magic-user had better toe the line . . . or else.

It shouldn't be that way – least of all for a generic game like GURPS – and e23 has the answer: GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic. Instead of fixed spell lists and scads of restrictions, this flexible system divides the universe into nine realms, sorts magical effects into seven broad categories, and lets you go nuts mixing and matching. There are no artificial limits on what you can accomplish! Even mages of modest talents can achieve great things if they make judicious use of grimoires, places of power, and magical trappings, and are patient enough to chip away at grand goals a bit at a time.

"But," you're thinking, "I'm still limited to chanting and wiggling my fingers. Or maybe this is one of those systems where it takes forever to accomplish anything, or where witnesses cause my magic to explode in my face?" Nope! In addition to picking what you're affecting and how, you choose your approach to the individual casting or even the entire art. With the right advantages, perks, and skills, you can battle swords with spells . . . or be a slow, sure ritualist who casts world-shattering magic only When The Stars Are Right . . . or become a purveyor of magical potions and charms . . . and much more.

"Then I can't really do 'almost anything.' I have to decide to be an alchemist or an enchanter or a battle-wizard." Again: Nope! You can specialize, but you never have to; by default, an adept can try to channel any effect, in any realm of Creation, with approaches ranging from speedy, modest castings to huge rituals that create charms of untold power. As with everything in GURPS, success is tied to spending enough points, and of course a narrower focus offers more power, but you aren't forced to walk a particular path. The only limit is your imagination – and if you get stuck, Ritual Path Magic includes a whole chapter of examples to help you.

Don't take my word for it, though – I could be casting a Greater Control Mind effect over here. You won't find a more flexible standalone magic system for just $9.99. (Naturally, we'd love to sell you GURPS Magic and GURPS Thaumatology, but you truly do not need them to use Ritual Path Magic in your campaign.)
So happy this is finally out. :-)

BTW, I think I'm going to have to steal your haiku for a book I'm writing...it's kind of awesome.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic

But but, shouldn't RPK be doing the poem for this one?

Kromm poems are excellent, but I want an RPK poem!
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:13 PM   #4
Kromm
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Default Re: GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
So happy this is finally out. :-)

BTW, I think I'm going to have to steal your haiku for a book I'm writing...it's kind of awesome.
I was torn between it and this one:
The trick with magic
Is that it's only tricky
If you do it wrong
. . . but I decided to go with positivity. ;)
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:23 PM   #5
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
I was torn between it and this one:
The trick with magic
Is that it's only tricky
If you do it wrong
. . . but I decided to go with positivity. ;)
Not bad! I'm eventually going to gather all your haiku together and make a book for download somewhere. Seriously though, this is something one of my protagonists would say... :-)
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:26 PM   #6
PK
 
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Default Re: GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalzazz View Post
But but, shouldn't RPK be doing the poem for this one?

Kromm poems are excellent, but I want an RPK poem!
But . . . but . . . there's a reason Kromm does the haikus! I never got around to putting that point into Poetry. Um . . .
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Because Greater effects have such a huge effect on energy cost
The GM should try to make them worth it, or at least fun
How was that? Did I poetry right?
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:30 PM   #7
Kalzazz
 
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Default Re: GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic

Making that count as poetry is indeed a greater effect, well done!
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic

Quote:
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How was that? Did I poetry right?
I've been in advanced-level poetry workshops, and -- long story short -- you have what it takes to get a degree in Creative Writing.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:30 PM   #9
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK View Post
But . . . but . . . there's a reason Kromm does the haikus! I never got around to putting that point into Poetry. Um . . .
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Because Greater effects have such a huge effect on energy cost
The GM should try to make them worth it, or at least fun
How was that? Did I poetry right?
YOU POETRY'ED! Congrats!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Marsh View Post
I've been in advanced-level poetry workshops, and -- long story short -- you have what it takes to get a degree in Creative Writing.
Alright, Smarsh won that one. I ain't even trying no more.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:49 PM   #10
Raekai
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Default Re: GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic

I'll save you some sob elaborate story, but this has seriously been the highlight of my past month... After a bummer job situation... My girlfriend leaving me... And my grandmother's situation getting worse... I am finally getting out of my GURPS dry spell. I know it seems like such a stupid thing to get excited over, but it came out of nowhere. And... Sometimes... It's the really small things that count. I've just been reading the PDF over and over and over again and pretending like everything is right in the world.

Also, Ghostdancer, sorry for being such a tool and not emailing you like I should have been. I had put away GURPS for a while and pretty much disappeared from the GURPS world. I had been running a huge campaign with my girlfriend and her family, and then... Well... That ended with our relationship. I just couldn't work on GURPS without beating myself up over something completely unrelated.

Well... Back to gathering energy so I can eventually cast some equivalent to a Wish spell.

Two thumbs up to all of whom made this possible, and two middle fingers to Ogre for clogging the GURPS pipeline for so long. This book is absolutely magnificent, and it has inspired me to get back to GURPS-ing.
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