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Old 08-10-2018, 08:00 PM   #31
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [Magic] Colleges And Prerequisites: What Are They?

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Originally Posted by scc View Post
In this case I don't think these people are mages, I think instead they are reality wrappers.
That's mainly what I mean when I refer to mages or magic. The lists of defined spells in GURPS Magic and various other game systems strike me as an assimilation of "magic" to be more like "technology." That can be convenient for game purposes and entertaining in certain types of fiction, but when I say that something was "magical" it's not what I have in mind.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:33 PM   #32
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Default Re: [Magic] Colleges And Prerequisites: What Are They?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
That's mainly what I mean when I refer to mages or magic. The lists of defined spells in GURPS Magic and various other game systems strike me as an assimilation of "magic" to be more like "technology." That can be convenient for game purposes and entertaining in certain types of fiction, but when I say that something was "magical" it's not what I have in mind.
The problem is that otherwise they are gods.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:36 PM   #33
hal
 
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Default Re: [Magic] Colleges And Prerequisites: What Are They?

I started to weigh in earlier about what I consider to be "metaphysical mechanics" and all of the mumbo jumbo that can go with any attempt to model magic - then I figured "Why bother?"

Seeing how this thread is moving and seeing some of the original poster's comments - I can't help but wonder...

A little history:

It all started with D&D in 1978 at UB for me. From there, I moved on to TFT (The Fantasy Trip). After that, it was Chivalry & Sorcery 1st edition, Tunnels and Trolls, and a whole plethora of game systems - each with their own unique take on magic, how it should work within the game system, and so forth. Having to read the rules and adjudicate them as a GM, gave me a few underlying thoughts about what magic is for a game setting, and what the game mechanics do in such a way as to facilitate story telling at the table.

For instance, PENDRAGON had a few spells that were useful for in game play, and allowed for GMs to come up with their own - providing that no spell ever allowed for youth spells or resurrection spells. C&S had a lot of spells that were organized much like D&D in the sense that they were level based, but that was as far as things went - because the mage's magic level was based in part, on stats/attributes, as well as character level itself. Their enchantment system was pretty nifty in that each magic item had to be comprised of various categories of items, all symbolically linked much as later versions of GURPS THAUMATOLOGY attempted to do with the correspondancies etc.

GURPS magic largely (at the start at least) started with the concept of Magery being required in order to cast spells in mana low and mana normal regions. ANYONE could cast spells in mana High regions - but there was a catch. Some spells required magery as a requisite in addition to spells. So if something required Magery 1 (Magery 0 didnt' exist at this time), then you had to have magery 1 regardless of the mana surrounding you. So call it an "innate" ability within, that manipulates the energies and forms them into magical machines to produce an abnormal result in a universe that is largely "normal". In other words, absent magic, certain things happen the same way every single time (ie physics).

As was pointed out, GURPS MAGIC with its requisite spell chains, was based on the idea that if you can cast fireballs, it would be silly to realize that you can't light a candle with but a simple flame.

GURPS could have gone the same route as D&D and countless other D&D clones or inspired games - but it didn't. So there were no "levels" of capabilities, just inherent qualities that limited your capabilities instead (ie, if a spell required magery 2, and you had magery 1, then you just couldn't learn it or cast it.

HARN WORLD's version of Magic, in the book SHEK P'VAR - went a different route - one that I ALMOST wish someone at SJGAMES had come up with instead. The idea was simplicity in itself...
Design a spell - assign it an energy cost based upon its complexity. But they went a step further. If you knew the spell at the lower skill level, it did just basic things. If you learned the spell to a higher degree of understanding (ie, a higher skill level), said spell could do more COMPLEX things or the basic things more cheaply or more reliably or what have you. Imagine if GURPS had done this from the beginning...

We could have a CAST FIRE spell. At low skill levels, it acts like an ignite fire spell. At higher skill levels, it acts like move fire spell. At higher yet levels of skill, it acts like a fireball.

But - that's not the way of the world, things that could have been, but weren't. <shrug>

So, what specifically are colleges if you want to try to explain it as if it was the real deal and magic works as detailed in GURPS MAGIC, send me a private message or even an email and I'll send you what I almost sent earlier. It was the basis by which I looked at magic in general while writing the Alaconius Lectures back in the day. But if you want the gist of it?

Colleges are like "Frequencies". We know this why? Because one college magery permits you to cast a "class" of spells, but no others. In theory, that means you could have 22 separate mages each with one college magery - and each would be limited in what spells they could cast. End of story.

Spell requisites are essentially a structural way of looking at spells much in the vein of Lego toy blocks. They snap together (to some extent) and potentially explain other effects that are combined together as a new spell. I've raised objections to spells introduced by GURPS GRIMOIRE and later on, the newer never seen before spells added to GURPS MAGIC for 4e on the basis that they are too overpowered or two cheap in energy, or what have you, compared to their respective "components" where a new spell does two or more things at the same time that would normally take two separate spells to do. But hey, it is what it is. Toss in the troubles with playtesting the material, and the author(s) involved - it kinda did have a rough time coming into existence.

Then there is the other issue involving ANY role playing game...

If you want the system to be tweakable and customizable - you run into issues when you print a book that once printed, etches it into stone. Case in point? Take a look at the spell DESTROY MANA and then look at its prerequisites. Then take a look at the spell introduced later in GURPS GRIMOIRE - called Suspend Mana. The requisite chains are a wee bit out of kilter to my eye... ;)

In any event - when GURPS FANTASY 1st edition came out, the spell lists were much smaller, and the spell descriptions for some spells were a bit different than what they would be tweaked into later down the road in later editions. Why do you think I still keep my GURPS FANTASY 1st edition, my GURPS MAGIC first printing and GURPS MAGIC 2nd printing, and any published version of GURPS MAGIC? They changed.

Some of those changes actively TORQUED me off (one of the reasons the Alaconius lectures ended despite my intent to do all of the colleges). It is old water under an old bridge no longer standing (metaphorically speaking) so I won't revisit it. Long story short - the Alaconius Lectures were intended to help players pick the spells they wanted for their characters, and to find ways to utilize the spells in creative fashion other than a "One spell for one task" mentality.

I wish now, I could either FIND the reference that indicated that critical failures in low mana regions were less damaging (roll 2d6 against spell backfire table instead of 3) - did I make it a house rule? Was it published in something like the early paper editions of THE PYRAMID or even earlier yet in the now defunct ROLEPLAYER? I can't tell you darn it! But I will tell you this...

We've used many different game systems, but kept coming back to GURPS. I still like the rules from ARMAGEDDON/WITCHCRAFT series by Eden Studios (small wonder, as C J Carella crafted it!). I still like some of what C&S had. I have dug into DRAGONQUEST and pulled a few spells from there and converted them into a GURPS format and used them (including one where a curse is written on a piece of parchment, handed to the intended victim, and if he accepts it, he's chased by a demon once per month). I've also used the Demon rules from DRAGONQUEST including the bronze, tin, copper, silver disks etc used to guard against critical failures. When the playtest rules for GURPS CABAL came out, I used those rules to craft my own one college gemstones for use as powerstones along with rules on how to ground your energies so as to lessen the damage done by critical failures. Describing the scene of a place where ritual magic had been performed involving salt, sea water, silver, and blood - was a bit more graphic for my players - so much so, that when they went hunting for the one who practiced the obscene magic, they were out for blood (ie, viscerally angry).

So - what you make of GURPS MAGIC depends SOLELY upon you. Today's use of GURPS CHARACTER ASSISTANT means that as a GM, you can change requisites for spells to be more customized for your own use. Having access to PDF's of your GURPS material means you can copy and paste into WORD (or some word processor) and actively MODIFY spell descriptions that you can print out and store in your notebooks for when your players need it.

Today's GM, in my opinion, has it better than when we first started out with GURPS MAGIC in the late 1980's and early 1990's.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:46 PM   #34
hal
 
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Default Re: [Magic] Colleges And Prerequisites: What Are They?

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Originally Posted by scc View Post
The problem is that otherwise they are gods.
To quote from one of my favorite books by H. Beam Piper...

"You're crazy!" Basil Gorram exploded.

"Young man," Harkaman reproved, "the conversation was between Lord
Trask and myself. And when somebody makes a statement you don't
understand, don't tell him he's crazy. Ask him what he means.
What _do_ you mean, Lord Trask?"

So, in the spirit intended (common, ya gotta smile!)

What do you mean by "They are gods." above?

Have you ever, as a GM, had to hunt down player character mages? They are anything BUT gods in my game worlds that I've run. One player character had reverse missile (always on) along with a few other fun defensive magic item spells. He made the mistake of assassinating the Emperor's younger brother, as well as the High Priest of the empire. The wizard's guild, fearful that this act would result in them all being hunted down, or heavily regulated - that they quickly banded together, and created a spell circle to cast the spell "Suspend Magic". The spell was linked to a pebble, and would only function when forcefully cast to the ground and invoked. The radius of the spell was such that everything within a 1/4 mile of the ground zero of the pebble, would result in zero mana for a short time. Net result? The friends of the offending mage (also fearful that they'd be hunted, expecially when the mage's guild approached them directly) agreed to let the mage's guild agent know when their friend was back in town.

End result? The player character returned, they ratted on him, and once the suspend mana went into effect, the outlaw was shot down with crossbows like a dog in the street.

It is not hard to hunt mages down who are built using GURPS MAGIC. Unless we're talking about a point budget of 500+ characters points, all human mages are mortal and can be taken down.

So - what precisely do you mean by "They are gods"?
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:04 PM   #35
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Default Re: [Magic] Colleges And Prerequisites: What Are They?

Quote:
So - what precisely do you mean by "They are gods"?
You skipped the word 'otherwise'. If there isn't some type of structure limiting the ability of mages to warp reality (such as the GURPS spell system), then wizards are effectively gods.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:09 PM   #36
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Magic] Colleges And Prerequisites: What Are They?

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Originally Posted by scc View Post
The problem is that otherwise they are gods.
I have not found that to be the case. I'm currently running my second campaign of Mage: The Ascension. The underlying premise there is that reality is subjective. But the PCs do not become omnipotent gods, partly because there are other people around who also know that reality is subjective.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:22 PM   #37
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: [Magic] Colleges And Prerequisites: What Are They?

Or, in the words of the Hulk, 'puny god'.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:32 PM   #38
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: [Magic] Colleges And Prerequisites: What Are They?

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
I like the idea that any given mage's view of reality alters how magic works for that person..
My pet project is creating magical styles that correspond to historical schools of philosophy. So far I've done the Ionians, the Pythagoreans, the Cynics and the Legalists.
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:34 PM   #39
scc
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default Re: [Magic] Colleges And Prerequisites: What Are They?

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
Colleges are like "Frequencies". We know this why? Because one college magery permits you to cast a "class" of spells, but no others. In theory, that means you could have 22 separate mages each with one college magery - and each would be limited in what spells they could cast. End of story.
The problem is that these days we have forms to limited Magery that crosses College lines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I have not found that to be the case. I'm currently running my second campaign of Mage: The Ascension. The underlying premise there is that reality is subjective. But the PCs do not become omnipotent gods, partly because there are other people around who also know that reality is subjective.
As an example what's stopping someone from trying to cover the world in a sheet of fire in such a system?
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:56 PM   #40
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Default Re: [Magic] Colleges And Prerequisites: What Are They?

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
My pet project is creating magical styles that correspond to historical schools of philosophy. So far I've done the Ionians, the Pythagoreans, the Cynics and the Legalists.
I'd like to see that. I might not ever use it, but I would like to see it and buy a book like that.
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