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Old 10-02-2020, 06:42 PM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Dungeon Fantasy, Path/Book Magic] Path/Book Magic in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

I haven't seen much use of Path/Book Magic in DF, beyond the worked example of Incantation Magic (which I currently don't have the book for). It occurred to me that it could be interesting to have some form of Effect Shaping magic in a DF type of setting, or otherwise one that is closer to (but not the same as) the version in GURPS Thaumatology. Some might say that Path/Book Magic is too subtle for a DF game. This is false, as shown by (for example) the Paths of Elements and Form, and by how spirits may in some cases manifest, but also because PBM is a magic system framework, rather than a single system. The version to be described in this thread would simply be another worked example, or a few examples, but the version given in the book does not need a lot of changing in order to fit.

Let's say that DF ritual mages (at least the wandering adventurers) tend to have at least Path/Book Adept (Space), sometimes with various limitations, but might not have other levels of Path/Book Adept. They tend to create a number of charms and otherwise prepare Conditional Rituals (GURPS Thaumatology p138) before going into a dungeon, or when they have time while in a dungeon (or otherwise on an adventure). Below are my general thoughts on how each casting profession (as well as Artificers and Scholars) might use Path/Book Magic (no templates, though, because I do not think that my understanding of DF is sufficient to do balanced templates):

* Bard
Bards tend to have one or more oral Book styles, rather than learning Paths - note though that this is a suggestion, not a requirement, and some bards will learn the wizards' style, or the style of a particular faith. The core skill would most often be Musical Influence or some form of Ritual Magic, though this depends on the style.

A bard's preferred musical instrument (generally Signature Gear) may also be a Mystic Symbol (Gadget advantage) providing Path/Book Adept, and possibly other advantages.


* Cleric
The followers of each deity teach a different style or styles. Generally, this is the Path of Health plus one or more Paths related to the deity's focus, though the style may be a Book style instead. Still, this being DF, at least one Book in such a style should have Dose, Succor, and one or more other Health rituals. The core skill would be either Ritual Magic (<deity/faith>) or Religious Ritual (<deity/faith>).

The symbol of one's faith may also be a Mystic Symbol. Any space consecrated to the cleric's deity should be considered an appropriate Ritual Space for the cleric's style. Spaces consecrated to an allied deity may be considered appropriate ritual spaces, often with a small penalty. Check with the GM.


* Druid
The typical Druid style includes the Paths of Elements, Form, and Nature, and possibly Spirit (or it may be a Book style, possibly oral, that includes rituals from those Paths in the Books, along with some others). The core skill would most often be Ritual Magic (Druidism), which has Symbol Drawing (Ogham), Natualist, and Herb Lore as Complementary Skills. A more versatile druid (taken far enough, practically a druid-themed wizard) might instead use some variant of Celtic Tree Magic as a Path or Book style.

Some druids have Path/Book Adept (Space) with environmental limitations, specifically treating any wilderness as a Ritual Space (though how dense the wilderness needs to be varies). Druids are more likely to have a Familiar than a Mystic Symbol.


* Wizard
Wizards tend to be versatile, and thus will have many Paths (or Books, if you want to go there). The 'standard' Wizard style has the following Paths:

Path of Air
Path of Cunning
Path of Dreams
Path of Earth
Path of Fire
Path of Form
Path of Knowledge
Path of Luck
Path of Protection
Path of Spirit
Path of Water

As you can see, the Path of Gadgets is absent due to the tech level (though variant styles might have it, and some of the rituals exist in other Paths), the Paths of Health and Nature are absent due to niche protection, and the Path of Elements is split up. It is appropriate to add new rituals to the Elemental Paths, perhps including Element-specialized forms of Summon; e.g. Explosive Runes, if developed, probably belongs under Fire or Air, while something like Magic Missile would likely fall under Spirit. The core skill would most often be Thaumatology (Wizardry), though some form of Ritual Magic is also plausible.

A wide range of alternate Paths are possibly if you want to go there, such as adapting the Colleges of the main GURPS spellcasting system, or the Schools of Magic used by certain other dungeoncrawling fantasy game systems.

A wizard's staff has a knob in the end of it might be a Mystic Symbol, or they might have some other item serving that purpose. A wizard might also have a Familiar.


* Artificer
An artificer that uses Path/Book Magic at all (most wouldn't) is likely to have a style that includes the Path of Gadgets, or a Book style that has one or more Books that incorporate rituals from the Path of Gadgets. The most common core skills are probably Alchemy, Engineer (Gadgets), and Weird Science.

Artificers don't tend to have familiars, and are less likely to have a Mystic Symbol than the other professions.


* Scholar
Scholars tend to use one or more Book styles. Such Books often serve as Mystic Symbols, limited to the Book's own style.



Thoughts?
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Old 10-03-2020, 04:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Dungeon Fantasy, Path/Book Magic] Path/Book Magic in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

I'd be more likely to adjust the Elementalist, Demonologist, and Shaman from DF9: Summoners to Path/Book magic, summoning angels, demons, elementals, fae folk, and the like (using my Path of Planar Travels), making the Pentagram spell from Magic a Path/Book ritual, and going with Paths of Elements and Form, not to mention borrowing heavily from Powers: Totems and Nature Spirits, rather than adapt the main DF templates like Bard, Cleric, and Wizard.
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Old 10-03-2020, 08:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Dungeon Fantasy, Path/Book Magic] Path/Book Magic in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

I would be more likely to adapt Path/Book to Gurps Conan than DF.

Evil wizards summon Big Bads while PC witches and esoteric scholars keep the Succor Ritual on PC barbarians.

There';s no "POOF! You're All Better!" but PCs do heal at 6x rate between adventures and never seem to have those inconvenient lasting injuries. PC magic users also do a bit of scrying and uncursing and other utility magic effects.

Even vaguely subtle magic doesn't fit DF very well. It's the original home of "Magic as a Bigger Hammer".
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Old 10-04-2020, 12:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Dungeon Fantasy, Path/Book Magic] Path/Book Magic in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
I'd be more likely to adjust the Elementalist, Demonologist, and Shaman from DF9: Summoners to Path/Book magic, summoning angels, demons, elementals, fae folk, and the like (using my Path of Planar Travels), making the Pentagram spell from Magic a Path/Book ritual, and going with Paths of Elements and Form, not to mention borrowing heavily from Powers: Totems and Nature Spirits, rather than adapt the main DF templates like Bard, Cleric, and Wizard.
The point was to use the same system (or reasonably similar systems) for all casters. I don't have a problem with using it for the casters from Summoners, I just don't want to limit it to them... and forgot about that book, since I was just using Adventurers and barely remembered Sages partway through.

I think I'd file the summoning of angels under 'Cleric variant,' and am leaning toward some of the classes in Summoners using Book styles, but I need to reread that book again before I try to do even minimalist summaries of how they'd work in this version of the setting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
I would be more likely to adapt Path/Book to Gurps Conan than DF.
I do agree that Path/Book Magic fits the Conan setting pretty well, but I feel like I already addressed your complaint about PBM being too subtle for DF in the OP. To expand on it, though, not only is the subtlety of PBM variable, but magic being less unsubtle than the standard system can work with some playstyles.
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Dungeon Fantasy, Path/Book Magic] Path/Book Magic in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

The professions from GURPS DF9: Summoners, as mentioned earlier. In all cases, the Summon ritual is key, whether part of a Path (usually Spirit, Elements, or one of the Elemental Paths), or part of a Book; Bind is often just as important, and Embody is a vital ritual for some necromancers, and is quite useful for any summoning caster that wants a familiar, or a few disposable minions with more solidity to them than typical spirits (some summoners might only know those three rituals above the default). Before creating a Summoner, check with you GM to see if Summon is a single ritual with a variable skill penalty, or is divided into multiple specializations (and in the latter case, what specializations are available).

* Demonologist
There is some overlap between demonologists and the clerics of certain deities, and in that case they should be treated largely the same, just with a lot more points in Summon and Bind, and likely some demonic Allies. Otherwise, demonologists tend to be Book stylists, or have a very limited range of Paths, with more points spent on Path of Spirit than any other Path skill (or in most cases, any skill other than the core skill of their style). Ritual Magic (Diabolism) or Thaumatology (Demonology) are very common core skills.

While some demonologists have demonic familiars that grant them Path/Book Adept and other powers (common with the starter megalomaniac, on Summoners p7), more sensible ones tend to use mystic symbols in the form of their preferred bladed weapon (particularly favored by the methodical evil-slayer), their shield or buckler (ditto), or their Book if they use a single-Book style. Those of a more clerical bent prefer the symbol of their faith for this purpose.


* Elementalist
An elementalist will typically know Path of Spirit plus one or more Elemental Paths. A specialist might only know their preferred Path and maybe Spirit above the default, but wiser ones know at least a little about each element, especially the opposing element if their style has those. Some elementalists are nearly as versatile as wizards, having styles that include anything metaphorically associated with an element (such as healing rituals being found in the Path of the Waves, or illusions in the Path of Smoke and Flame), rather than merely everything clearly related to it. The devotee of primal power (Summoners p10) is basically a cleric or druid that happens to be very focused on elemental spirits, and should be mostly treated as such. Common core skills include Thaumatology (Wizardry), Thaumatology (Elementalism), and Ritual Magic (the Elements).

Many elementalists have familiars, though others prefer some symbol of the elements or of their preferred element, or perhaps a weapon or tool associated with it.


* Necromancer
Necromancers are sometimes Book stylists, and sometimes Path magicians that specialize in the Path of Spirit, or in a couple of related variant paths, such as the Path of Ghosts and the Path of Undeath. Like other summoners, some necromancers overlap with clerics to various degrees. Typical core skills include Thaumatology (Wizardry) and Ritual Magic (Necromancy).

A monster slayer (Summoners p14) will often use a preferred weapon as a mystic symbol, and many necromancers, even the less clerical, use a symbol of faith for that purpose. Others will use a Book, or with have an undead familiar of some variety. It is rare for a lich to use their phylactery as a mystic symbol, but not unheard of (when it does happen, it's often the result if the phylactery having already been a mystic symbol when the lich was alive); of course, some liches no-longer need any outside item to apply Path/Book Adept to them, especially within their own sanctum.


* Shaman
While Spirit is the most important Path for a shaman, many also know Dreams, Health, Luck, and Nature, and sometimes the Elements or Form; others memorize oral Book styles that take rituals from those Paths. A shaman's usual core skill would be Ritual Magic (Shamanism), though the specific style varies from tribe to tribe, sometimes quite widely (defaulting between shamanistic styles could be as low as -1, or so divergent that no default is possible).

Many shamans have familiars, though mystic symbols are also common, in a wide variety of forms.


Thoughts?
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Last edited by Prince Charon; 10-12-2020 at 08:48 PM.
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