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Old 01-27-2014, 11:50 PM   #1
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default more on Tapestry: ritual magic paths

As part of my work on my upcoming Tapestry campaign, I've been defining common ritual magic paths for the seven humanoid races that share the world it's set in. These come partly from the published Paths, and partly from my own invention; and the rituals they include against are partly published and partly invented. At this point I've decided on the Paths (or in one case, Books) for all the races, though I still have a few rituals to write up for the dwarves.

Dwarves: Paths of the Hearth, Magistracy, Making, and Stone
Elves: Paths of Dreams, Herbs, and Making
Ghouls: Paths of Cunning, Flames, Protection, and Spirit
Men: Paths of Form, Horsemanship, the Hunt, and War
Nixies: Paths of Habitation, Herbs, Letters, Trade, and Water
Selkies: Paths of Form, the Hunt, and Song
Trolls: Books of Curses, Knots, Medicine, Needles, and the Winter Queen (trollwives) and Chants (trolls)

I think I may want to add a version of the Path of Water to Selkies. I might like to have one more Book for trollwives, but I'm not coming up with one just yet.

Why Books for trollwives? Ironically, not because they use actual books. A "book" is a collection of rituals compiled by an individual and passed down; in the case of trollwives and trolls, this depends on racial Eidetic Memory, which allows retaining collections of arcane detail without writing, exactly as they were taught. So, for example, the Book of Knots is actually a collection of memorized complex knots that can do things like binding winds or tying shut a purse that will cry out if someone other than the owner touches it.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:12 PM   #2
kpram
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Default Re: more on Tapestry: ritual magic paths

Quote:
I think I may want to add a version of the Path of Water to Selkies
Maybe weather/tides? It might increase the seperation between Nixies and Selkies. Not that I know for sure your concept for the two.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:04 PM   #3
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: more on Tapestry: ritual magic paths

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Originally Posted by kpram View Post
Maybe weather/tides? It might increase the seperation between Nixies and Selkies. Not that I know for sure your concept for the two.
Nixies are a race of rivers, lakes, and marshlands. They were the first race to develop agriculture, and they also are traders and city builders. Selkies are a race of beaches and islands, who live by fishing, whaling, trade voyages, and piracy. Weather and tides are certainly the main focus I had in mind for their rituals of this sort.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:24 PM   #4
Genesis
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Default Re: more on Tapestry: ritual magic paths

These sound like a great way to break this down.

Is all magic inherently racial? Can humans learn elf magic, theoretically?

Also: what's in the Magistracy, Habitation, and Making paths? Are both Making paths (elven and dwarven) the same?
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:16 PM   #5
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: more on Tapestry: ritual magic paths

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Originally Posted by Genesis View Post
These sound like a great way to break this down.

Is all magic inherently racial? Can humans learn elf magic, theoretically?

Also: what's in the Magistracy, Habitation, and Making paths? Are both Making paths (elven and dwarven) the same?
Magistracy is rituals that aid in leading, judging, and ruling. Habitation (or Hearth) is dwarf women's rituals, things that aid a woman in running a house and keeping her husbands happy—but I'm leaning toward "Hearth" including spells that aid in smelting and alloying metal, blowing glass, or firing pottery, because it seems to me that it's neat to have those be women's arts (and secretive, as dwarf women generally are secretive). Making is spells that aid crafts and produce enchanted items.

Making for elves and Making for dwarves are at root the same path, but they're characteristically applied to different materials and in different styles (so familiarity penalties apply), and they don't include all the same techniques; for example, an elf can weave the stuff of dreams into cloth, and can buy up that as a technique, but while a dwarf might figure out how to do it, they probably could not find a teacher. If they could get an elf to teach them they might be able to learn it, though. I don't think these are inherently off limits. There may be Unusual Background costs.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 01-30-2014, 02:05 PM   #6
Genesis
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Default Re: more on Tapestry: ritual magic paths

Is the Habitation path that the Nixies practice, then (by analogy to the shared principles of of Dwarven and Elven Making), similar to the Dwarf Path of Hearth?

Is there magical "science" in this world? By which I mean, when you talk about the shared 'root' of the Dwarven and Elven Paths of Making, do the practitioners of these paths recognize them as being similar (i.e. convergent answers to shared needs), or related (i.e. divergent from a common root)? Is there a practice of Thaumatology with which one might relate the disparate rituals of various Paths? I ask because, in your previous posts on this setting, it's seemed like verisimilitude is important to you - this is a potential breakpoint between 'fantasy-like' settings (where things are the way they are for narrative reasons) and 'history-like' settings (where things are the way they are for plausible in-setting reasons, as an outgrowth of a few underlying assumptions).

Path of Form = shapeshifting?

In general, how much overlap is there between paths that focus on similar things - between various paths of Herbs, Making, Habitation/Hearth and Form as practiced by different races? If elves and dwarves exclusively apply their paths of Making to different materials, do they share any spells/effects at all? Are there parallels in the Path structure?

What about paths that may have incidental overlap, but are focused quite differently: like the Path of Cunning vs. Hunt, War, Letters, or Trade, any one of the latter of which have (in human mythology/history, anyway) been variously associated with 'cunning'?

Edit to add: How big are the paths, total? How generic/flexible?
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:46 PM   #7
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: more on Tapestry: ritual magic paths

There is an underlying common skill, but it's not Thaumatology; it's Ritual Magic. That is, it rests not on the study of an impersonal force or power or attribute such as mana, but on social transactions with the spirits of the world. Paths default to it at -6 (though Books, canonically, do not).

If you are an elf, and you have Ritual Magic-14 and Path of Making-14, you have various rituals at 14 down to 6 as defaults. You have Path of Herbs-8 as a default, and various rituals at 8 down to 0. You have the dwarves version of Path of Making at 11, because you aren't familiar with the peculiar dwarven styles of doing things; you have its rituals at 11 down to 3. But you have the dwarven Path of Stone at 5, because you have both the cultural unfamiliarity penalty and the default skill penalty; and your very best ritual default is 5.

The kind of path overlaps you're asking about, like Cunning and Hunt, or Hearth and Habitation, are handled by having paths with different names and root concepts share some rituals. For example, the Hearthstone ritual occurs in both Hearth and Habitation, though the version in Hearth is also used to help set up a kiln or smelter. There is overlap between rituals even for the same species; for example, Path of Dreams and Path of Making share a couple of rituals.

Path of Form is indeed the shapeshifting path.

I think that addresses most of your questions?

Bill Stoddard
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:12 AM   #8
Genesis
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Default Re: more on Tapestry: ritual magic paths

For sure - it sounds like a pretty standard Path/Book Magic set up, but with a well-conceived setting and your usual attention to detail.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:34 AM   #9
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: more on Tapestry: ritual magic paths

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Originally Posted by Genesis View Post
For sure - it sounds like a pretty standard Path/Book Magic set up, but with a well-conceived setting and your usual attention to detail.
The only big difference is that each race has ready access to its own subset of paths instead of all the paths being open to all the races. In a similar way, the different races are going to have different combat skills, cinematic skills, and martial arts.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:06 AM   #10
Genesis
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Default Re: more on Tapestry: ritual magic paths

I would imagine that things like combat skills are harder to keep locked down - sure, each race will have traditional weapons, but generally those things don't constitute the same sort of 'secret knowledge' that magic/martial arts/cinematic skills do. What maintains the divisions?
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