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Old 06-02-2018, 08:10 AM   #1
David Bofinger
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Sydney, Australia
Default Inobvious Magic

TFT is all about obvious magic: spells that anyone can see are happening. Anyone in a magic-using area of Cidri who think magicians are charlatans is clearly deluded.

The other kind of magic in RPGs is inobvious magic. Magic that some characters will believe is good to have on your side, and others will doubt exists at all. Magicians whose skills can't be established in a brief job interview.

Inobvious magic might prevent catastrophes, cause accidents to inconvenience enemies, provide bonus to friends and penalties to enemies, force or allow rerolls, etc.. It works without unambiguous signs.

I'm thinking it might be interesting to have this kind of magic in some TFT campaigns. Has anybody tried implementing an inobvious magic system in TFT, and if so how did it work?
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:20 AM   #2
Jim Kane
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

David, I never have personaly; however, your Overt vs Discreet Magic observation is brilliant.

On first-blush, it sounds to me as though the so-called: inobvious magic, has the potential to add a whole new dynamic to the story-side of the TFT experience, as well as the combat-side; and may possibly provide for some very creatively colorful moments during play.

I will be very interested to see how this thread develops.

JK

Last edited by Jim Kane; 06-02-2018 at 10:17 AM. Reason: Italic
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:58 AM   #3
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Inobvious Magic

Hi David,
I ran a campaign where magic was highly illegal so wizards would strive to get +4 IQ so they could cast spells without speaking or moving. A few spells, could be cast without it being obvious. (Spying spells, making an image bird for scouting, casting a healing spell in the wilderness, etc.)

Of course, the evil government didn't have to hide THEIR magic use.

Nearest things to such I campaign that I've GM'ed.

It was fun, mostly for the variety. The campaign felt quite different from most of mine.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:58 PM   #4
JLV
 
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Location: Far northern California
Default Re: Inobvious Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
TFT is all about obvious magic: spells that anyone can see are happening. Anyone in a magic-using area of Cidri who think magicians are charlatans is clearly deluded.

The other kind of magic in RPGs is inobvious magic. Magic that some characters will believe is good to have on your side, and others will doubt exists at all. Magicians whose skills can't be established in a brief job interview.

Inobvious magic might prevent catastrophes, cause accidents to inconvenience enemies, provide bonus to friends and penalties to enemies, force or allow rerolls, etc.. It works without unambiguous signs.

I'm thinking it might be interesting to have this kind of magic in some TFT campaigns. Has anybody tried implementing an inobvious magic system in TFT, and if so how did it work?
Brilliant observation, David!

And, that actually sounds like a superb paradigm for a "priestly magic" system -- exactly the kind of thing a deity might provide to his/her followers. If that were the case, we could have our cake (flashy, obvious magic) and eat it too ("lucky events," inobvious magic)!
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Old 06-02-2018, 05:05 PM   #5
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Inobvious Magic

Sure. The AW rules say what gestures or words are necessary. Someone who can cast Fire without any outward signs, and who doesn't get noticed or suspected for being where all the fires keep starting, can cause absolute mayhem, destroy cities, etc.

Well, unless the local authorities and/or Wizard's Guild have a crystal ball or other way to scry... but those have far more annoying implications to me, so I tend to not have crystal balls or even the Trance spell available.

Often a wizard who does things smartly can be much more powerful and dangerous than a wizard with powerful overt spells doing things overtly.

The Trance spell (if allowed by the GM) is another example - it can be cast discretely by just doing it in private, since the subject doesn't have to be nearby. It may seem reasonable but taints many kinds of situations by allowing powerful yes/no information gathering, and not having much counter or chance of bad information. And, it's a nightmare to think about if there are many people with access to Trance casting available in the world, scheming... ugh, makes my head explode.

Last edited by Skarg; 06-02-2018 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:45 AM   #6
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

I think there's more to this idea than magicians being overt. I'm talking about magic where the magician can't easily prove he's doing anything, even if the magician wants to prove they are useful.

I think it would make a good kind of magic for a shaman, or maybe a priest.

I wonder if it's worth making a system that works like this, and how it would work. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-04-2018, 07:49 AM   #7
Jim Kane
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
I think there's more to this idea than magicians being overt. I'm talking about magic where the magician can't easily prove he's doing anything, even if the magician wants to prove they are useful. I think it would make a good kind of magic for a shaman, or maybe a priest. I wonder if it's worth making a system that works like this, and how it would work. Any thoughts?
David, you thoughts about potential rules for an *inobvious* magic system, seems to be dove-tailing nicely with a thought JLV shared with us on another thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLV View Post
As far as role-playing goes, I think it would be VERY interesting to play a character who has little opportunity to directly attack an enemy, but who, at the same time, can indirectly manipulate things to ensure that enemy is defeated before the first arrow flies. Besides, as we've pointed out in other places on this forum, building and running TFT characters is so easy that there's no reason why you can't have one of each kind.
Perhaps the two of you should try working together on this one?

You're both bright guys, easy and fun to work with, and seem to be sharing the same wave-length on this very interesting topic. Who knows, you two might make a good team for this concept.

I, for one, would be quite interested to read what you two might cook up together as a rough-draft on this unexplored area of TFT.

JK

Last edited by Jim Kane; 06-04-2018 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:35 PM   #8
Kirk
 
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

I've tried to leave this discussion of priests and such to those interested in having it in their game, but isn't a system of "inobvious" magic basically just religion?

That is, activities where the believer can't, even if he wants to, show that his prayers or supplications etc. actually work?

Isn't this what TFT already has, i.e. priest talent etc., where only the GM knows if it really works, and it can never be proven?

Maybe I missed the point, but I don't really understand what inobvious magic might be, I guess...
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:21 PM   #9
Jim Kane
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

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Originally Posted by Kirk View Post
I've tried to leave this discussion of priests and such to those interested in having it in their game, but isn't a system of "inobvious" magic basically just religion?
Right off the top of my head, I suppose it alternatively could also be:
  • Psionically Talented Individuals who can manifest their powers free of visual or aural detection
  • Individuals who can telepathically call upon invisible *sorcerer-gremlins* to do there secret wishes or mischief - consciously or unconsciously - as 2nd party agents
  • Karma is real, and manifests it's effects for some individuals much more than others, and without them having to call and wait upon it for "Instant Equalization".
  • Individuals are in possession of ancient Mnoren relic-devices which allow them to transmute matter via mental thoughts, which, acting as an amplifier, the secret device detects their thoughts as telemetry broadcast directly from their minds. The manifest *effects* are powered invisibly from a source of abandoned, though operational power-stations, hidden deep within underground Labyrinths, scattered throughout and beneath the surface of Cidri. The caretakers are long-gone, but the generator-machines continue to operate, unabated; for those who have the remote devices and have figured out how to use them... and for as long as the machines continue to hold-up without malfunctioning or breaking down. - Sounds like an adventure plot seed.
So, to me, I don't see why a system of *inobvious* magic must conceptually have a dogmatic ritual, creation story, or identifiable deity associated with it, or based on any form of faith or superstition whatsoever; it could be pure super-science, reason and fact - maybe; who knows... could be a great many ways to go with this, limited only by creative imagination; but I'll stop the list short here and give others a chance to add to the list.

JK

Last edited by Jim Kane; 06-04-2018 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 06-04-2018, 05:29 PM   #10
Kirk
 
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

I guess my misunderstanding is the "unobvious" part. If something can be done repeatedly, learned, trained, etc., then it is science, or in TFT, "obvious" magic.

If someone can't ever show cause and effect and predictability, then it is religious.

I'm not sure, then, why unobvious magic wouldn't basically be religious, since it can't be predicted, can't be repeated, etc.

But it's not important. I just hope religious concepts beyond "only the GM knows if it works" don't enter TFT.
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