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Old 01-27-2018, 03:50 AM   #11
Bazial
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Thoughts on a magic system

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
You can adapt standard magic to Path/Book without that much effort by having each College being a separate Book. If you are using Effect Shaping, the Prerequisite Count becomes the ritual default penalty. If you are using Energy Accumulation, the Prerequisite Count plus 5 becomes the Energy Requirement. You would have to modify some spells, but it should be workable.

It becomes tricky in the case of Enchantments, but I would suggest transforming the energy requirement into (hours of ritual preparation/[5×mages]) for Quick and Dirty Enchantment (with the normal penalties and the minimum effective skill 15) or (days of ritual preparation) for Slow and Sure (with the normal restrictions and the minimum effective skill 15). In the case of magical items that allow the casting of a spell, they instead allow the casting of the ritual at skill of the item. You would have to modify some enchantments, but it could be workable.
That... Might actually be what I'm looking for. Energy Accumulation certain fits the traditional conception of ritualistic magic better. I'll run some numbers and look into it, but it could very much work! Thanks!

Two questions off the top of my head: What roles could grimoires/spellbooks play in this? One of the conceits of the setting is that spells are a kind of jumbled and lost art, and gaining new spells is a big thing. Second (and this is probably answered if I read Thaumatology closer), how about magical modifiers in this?

EDIT: Speaking of the same, would final cost than be calculated using the methods with normal Path/Book magic?

Last edited by Bazial; 01-27-2018 at 03:53 AM. Reason: Forgot a question
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Old 01-27-2018, 08:47 AM   #12
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Thoughts on a magic system

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Originally Posted by Bazial View Post
Two questions off the top of my head: What roles could grimoires/spellbooks play in this? One of the conceits of the setting is that spells are a kind of jumbled and lost art, and gaining new spells is a big thing. Second (and this is probably answered if I read Thaumatology closer), how about magical modifiers in this?
For your first question, well, make everything Book magic. Maybe some archmages have learned a Path itself, but most wizards just have the spells they know from their grimoires, i.e., Books. That means you're going to need to do a bit more prep work in building the Books, but it also means you have a lot more control over what spells get into play. Want some basic spells that almost every wizard is going to know? Build a book with that in it that's widely available and used by apprentices. Want a few related spells to be mostly off-limits? They're only found in this one forbidden tome that was lost long ago - if your PCs want those spells, they have to find the tome.

As for magical modifiers, those are folded into Ritual Elements needed to cast a spell, on Thaumatology p. 127. Those requirements can be ignored by casters with the appropriate Adept advantages on Thaumatology p. 123. A tip from someone who's run games using the full decanic modifiers system: unless your players like fishing for bonuses, using a whole lot of modifiers - or worse, making the mandatory for successful spellcasting - can get tedious really fast. You may want to figure out a little subsystem that can speed it up in play, e.g., "Ok, roll Thaumatology and spend $100 minus the margin of success to figure out enough modifiers and buy enough ingredients to cast tonight's ritual at no penalty," as opposed to spending the next thirty minutes of playtime running down components and flipping through the spell modifier charts.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:05 AM   #13
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Thoughts on a magic system

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but as mentioned above, it is geared towards something slightly more low-power and ritualistic than standard. Magic is fairly prevalent power in the setting, so the Low Mana -5 suggested in Thaumatology doesn't quite seem to fit. Hence the focus on limited base skill and encouraging ritual castings.
Any switch from "standard" Magic to Threshold makes spellcasting much more rare. Even at REC 10 it'll be roughly 10x less common than Standard. That's based off a Standard Mage recovering 12 pts of FP per hour rather than 10 pts per day.

Reducing the capabilities of Threshold even more with Skill caps and Prereq counts just makes magic that much rarer.

For a really simple solution you could use standard Magic with the Ceremonial Only limitation. Then lift this for use of Jet and Missile Spell Items such as wands and staves. This greatly reduces the use of magic in combat while still leaving magic as a whole fairly common and powerful.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:14 AM   #14
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Thoughts on a magic system

You might also want to consider using a variant of Ritual Path Magic for this — specifically, replacing the Paths with Books and ditching the Adept Advantage.

Pyramid #3/66: Laws of Magic has an article in it called Alternative Ritual Path Magic, which basically goes through Thaumatology step by step and says “how would this or that apply to RPM?” The very first section of the article addresses using Books, and further explains the connection between Books and grimoires.
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Old 01-27-2018, 10:09 AM   #15
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Thoughts on a magic system

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Originally Posted by Bazial View Post
That... Might actually be what I'm looking for. Energy Accumulation certain fits the traditional conception of ritualistic magic better. I'll run some numbers and look into it, but it could very much work! Thanks!

Two questions off the top of my head: What roles could grimoires/spellbooks play in this? One of the conceits of the setting is that spells are a kind of jumbled and lost art, and gaining new spells is a big thing. Second (and this is probably answered if I read Thaumatology closer), how about magical modifiers in this?

EDIT: Speaking of the same, would final cost than be calculated using the methods with normal Path/Book magic?
Thank you. Yes, you would use Book magic, and you could leave out problematic spells from incomplete Books. For the sake of simplicity, I would make each College a separate Book, but it is up to you. The ritual modifiers for Energy Accumulation are rather straightforward, allowing greater duration and range than standard magic, though at the cost of speed. I would avoid Path/Book Adept, even for NPCs, because it violates the spirit of what you want to ignore ritual components. The total cost would be (Prerequisite Count plus 5 plus Ritual Modifiers), and I would suggest not allowing mage to cast any ritual that exceeds their effective skill plus 5, meaning that very skilled mage can only cast the most powerful spells.
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Old 01-27-2018, 03:10 PM   #16
Bazial
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Thoughts on a magic system

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Any switch from "standard" Magic to Threshold makes spellcasting much more rare. Even at REC 10 it'll be roughly 10x less common than Standard. That's based off a Standard Mage recovering 12 pts of FP per hour rather than 10 pts per day.

Reducing the capabilities of Threshold even more with Skill caps and Prereq counts just makes magic that much rarer.

For a really simple solution you could use standard Magic with the Ceremonial Only limitation. Then lift this for use of Jet and Missile Spell Items such as wands and staves. This greatly reduces the use of magic in combat while still leaving magic as a whole fairly common and powerful.
That's a good point. I've always liked threshold magic for the flavor, but how it inherently changes the economy of spellcasting I never pondered that much.

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
You might also want to consider using a variant of Ritual Path Magic for this — specifically, replacing the Paths with Books and ditching the Adept Advantage.

Pyramid #3/66: Laws of Magic has an article in it called Alternative Ritual Path Magic, which basically goes through Thaumatology step by step and says “how would this or that apply to RPM?” The very first section of the article addresses using Books, and further explains the connection between Books and grimoires.
Thanks! Been looking into RPM a bit as well. And damnit, I like RPM, but it just doesn't sit well with my players. One day, perhaps... One day. sigh

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Thank you. Yes, you would use Book magic, and you could leave out problematic spells from incomplete Books. For the sake of simplicity, I would make each College a separate Book, but it is up to you. The ritual modifiers for Energy Accumulation are rather straightforward, allowing greater duration and range than standard magic, though at the cost of speed. I would avoid Path/Book Adept, even for NPCs, because it violates the spirit of what you want to ignore ritual components. The total cost would be (Prerequisite Count plus 5 plus Ritual Modifiers), and I would suggest not allowing mage to cast any ritual that exceeds their effective skill plus 5, meaning that very skilled mage can only cast the most powerful spells.
Hmm, this is true! It's a bit of reworking needed, but it could work. I'm torn between energy accumulation and threshold magic, since they are both really flavorful, but in very different ways. I'm really digging your idea, however.

Right now, I'm rather erring on the side of my players, and despite all the love I have for RPM, Energy Accumulation and Path/Book, they are certainly not newbie-friendly, and my own knowledge of them need some brushing up. Character creation is coming up soon, and overall, I think I may just be going with low-mana, threshold ritual magic with slightly reworked colleges. It ain't perfect, and may be prone to some abuse, but luckily my players are nice people and don't particularly like munchkining of any kind. Right now, it's all really coming down to whether or not the emphasis should be on the rarity of spells, or on the preparation in casting a spell. Overemphasizing any of the two makes the other seem redundant, so it's really a question of which should be more foregrounded.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:49 PM   #17
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Thoughts on a magic system

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That's a good point. I've always liked threshold magic for the flavor, but how it inherently changes the economy of spellcasting I never pondered that much.
I went through the chat logs of my online game at one point and tallied up how much FP people actually used in adventuring situations - the theoretical throughput is 50-250 FP per 8 day day, but it's hard to optimize to that in adventuring conditions - and it worked out closer to 30-40 FP/day.

I then ran a different online game using Threshold Magic, a standard Threshold of about 25, and a Recovery Rate of about 35, and it worked out pretty nicely: the wizard went over threshold toward the end of the day, and there was a definite sense of "now I have to conserve magic" but he could still contribute if things got really dangerous. He pushed himself too far a couple of times - I was using a more generous Catastrophe table but he went overboard - and pretty much had to say "I cannot cast spells for a week or my character will explode." Fortunately, they were done with the adventure then and could take the time off.

Long story short, moderate threshold, high recovery rate, less punishing catastrophe table gives you slightly more impressive wizards who can't wreck your game world's economy the way FP casters can. The recommend high threshold, low recovery rate, punishing catastrophe table gives you wizards that can do an impressive thing every few days but don't do very much magic otherwise.
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Old 01-27-2018, 10:59 PM   #18
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Thoughts on a magic system

Generally why I prefer Energy Accumulation Path/Book Magic over Standard Magic or Threshold Magic, it hits that sweet spot of efficiency and effectiveness without creating strange magical economies.
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:03 AM   #19
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Thoughts on a magic system

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Generally why I prefer Energy Accumulation Path/Book Magic over Standard Magic or Threshold Magic, it hits that sweet spot of efficiency and effectiveness without creating strange magical economies.
I find Energy Accumulation annoyingly complex and would be actively dissuaded from using it as a PC. If you wonder I didn't like when I saw the roots of it during the Falkenstein playtest lo these any years ago.

Just as a note and rueful one since I was a playtester for Cabal but I find decanic modifiers and their accompanying rules too complex in actual play as well.

Judging by the people I play with any of Gurps major magic systems are near or beyond the complexity limits of what they'd like to play. Even when I GM and handle some of the complexity off-screen I.e. don't bother the players with it even standard Magic gets somewhat simplified.
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:44 AM   #20
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Thoughts on a magic system

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Thanks! Been looking into RPM a bit as well. And damnit, I like RPM, but it just doesn't sit well with my players. One day, perhaps... One day. sigh
So, what exactly about it doesn't sit well with your players?
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