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Old 06-04-2018, 06:57 PM   #11
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

The examples given for 'inobvious magic' amount to probability tweaks. If it actually works, there would be statistically significant effects that a proper testing environment would reveal, but that doesn't mean they're particularly visible to the casual observer.
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Old 06-04-2018, 08:53 PM   #12
Kirk
 
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
The examples given for 'inobvious magic' amount to probability tweaks. If it actually works, there would be statistically significant effects that a proper testing environment would reveal, but that doesn't mean they're particularly visible to the casual observer.
Ah, so you are saying something like a curse? From a simple thing like a sword that makes you clumsier, slightly, say DX -1 when used, to having the eyes behind spell, which again might not be immediately obvious?

Aren't there a lot of magical effects that might be "inobvious" already in the system? Even, perhaps, something like sex appeal, which might be difficult to pin down straightaway?
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:50 PM   #13
David Bofinger
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
The examples given for 'inobvious magic' amount to probability tweaks. If it actually works, there would be statistically significant effects that a proper testing environment would reveal, but that doesn't mean they're particularly visible to the casual observer.
Also it's not obvious the forces providing the tweaks would wish to participate in a trial of statistically significant size, which might be hard to make double blind as well.

But I'm thinking the effect could count for enough that people get the feeling someone is useful to have around, even if they can't be sure.
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:09 AM   #14
JLV
 
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

Which is actually a very cool approach to this whole concept.

In fact, if you think about it, it's kind of like those characters that get designed with unusual character flaws (in GURPS terms, advantages/disadvantages) -- you may not know anything about them until something weird happens in the game, and even then, you may be left asking; "What was THAT all about?"
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:15 AM   #15
zot
 
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

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Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
Also it's not obvious the forces providing the tweaks would wish to participate in a trial of statistically significant size, which might be hard to make double blind as well.

But I'm thinking the effect could count for enough that people get the feeling someone is useful to have around, even if they can't be sure.
David, your idea reminds me of The Subtle Art from the Fate System Toolkit. Maybe there are some nuggets in there you can mine...
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:20 AM   #16
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

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Originally Posted by zot View Post
David, your idea reminds me of The Subtle Art from the Fate System Toolkit. Maybe there are some nuggets in there you can mine...
It reminds me of the magical historians of Norrel and Strange, or the decayed form of the society in Anubis Gates. Only in those cases magic was something that turned up occasionally and in between people forgot about it. I was talking about a world where magic was real, but didn't leave an unambiguous signature.

I'll look through it for ideas but I think FATE and TFT are pretty different.
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:11 PM   #17
zot
 
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Default Re: Inobvious Magic

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Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
It reminds me of the magical historians of Norrel and Strange, or the decayed form of the society in Anubis Gates. Only in those cases magic was something that turned up occasionally and in between people forgot about it. I was talking about a world where magic was real, but didn't leave an unambiguous signature.

I'll look through it for ideas but I think FATE and TFT are pretty different.
True but if someone wanted TFT to be closer to Fate, they could just add aspects. I've grafted them into several different systems, including Tri-Stat (I remember seeing David Pulver listed as a Tri-Stat designer).
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Old 06-24-2018, 01:26 AM   #18
David Bofinger
 
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Default Unverifiable Magic

This is a first cut at a system for unverifiable magic. It won't work yet - all the numbers are basically placeholders and I have to work out how much everything should cost. I'm just putting it here in the hope that someone might give me their thoughts on whether the idea would be fun once it was balanced. Tell me whether you would enjoy playing, or playing alongside, a character like this.

--
David
--

This is a draft of an extension to TFT. It needs a lot of work: in particular all the numbers are made up and unbalanced: I haven't figured out how much things should cost yet. This extension by David Bofinger, derivative of TFT by Steve Jackson. Feedback gratefully appreciated, it can be sent to Bofinger.David@gmail.com.

Unverifiable Magic

Quote:
GLENDOWER: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
HOTSPUR: Why, so can I, or so can any man. But will they come when you do call for them?
Introduction

Canonical TFT magic is verifiable. If you want to hire a wizard for the party you take her somewhere with nothing fragile about and ask her to show you what she can do. Anyone in a magic-using area of Cidri who think magicians are charlatans is clearly deluded.

The other kind of magic in fantasy fiction and mythology, and to a lesser extent in RPGs, is unverifiable 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. Sometimes the wizard may not even know.

This is an attempt to implement a system for unverifiable magic in TFT. In this system unverifiable magic does work. But there's no way to prove it works, and unless you have access to the wizard's sheet it's unclear how powerful they are or even if they bought the unverifiable magic talents at all.

Unverifiable magic is not the same thing as discreet magic, where a wizard casts a spell and not everybody nearby knows she has, or which spell it was, or perhaps even that a spell has been cast at all. TFT does have discreet magic to some extent.

Some common uses of unverifiable magic in fiction include:
  • A shaman who enters a drug-induced trance and speaks to spirits or totems, asking their advice or aid. Is he really on a first name basis with the rainbow serpent? Or has he just eaten so much psychoactive cactus he thinks he is?
  • A wizard in a story that's realistic historical with a touch of cynicism. "I hired her for the voyage, because the sailors said we needed a wizard to protect us from the enemy wizards, and I suspect she's a charlatan, but I can't prove it and the sailors are happy, or pretend they are, which is good enough, so I guess as long as the enemy wizard is a charlatan as well maybe it doesn't matter." From time to time they try to do magic, and claim they've done something, but there's no way to know if they really did.
  • Rumours of magic, carried out by natural forces or people you never meet. The villagers believe it's bad luck to harm an albino goat: one of the goats is hurt and two days later the guy who did it dies falling down a staircase. Was it coincidence? Did someone who was offended by his crime push him? Who knows.
  • Someone who prays to his god(s) for assistance. This might be a priest, but it doesn't have to be: if a barbarian warrior screams out something about Krom as he charges into battle, is he casting a spell? Perhaps he is, and doesn't know it.

Mechanics

To cast unverifiable magic requires:
  • A reserve of magic power. This is purchased through talents:
    • Unverifiable Power I (IQ 8; talent cost ?): power is 1 die.
    • Each subsequent level: one higher IQ required, and ? higher cost.
    • Many campaigns will cap power at some level. (e.g. none)
  • A relevant field of magic, called an aspect.
    • IQ 11, talent cost 4?: melee hit roll by target, melee damage roll by target
    • IQ 10, talent cost 3?: ranged hit roll on target, ranged damage on target, melee hit roll by target, melee damage roll by target, friendliness, sexually attractiveness, stealth, wealth, see through tricks, perpetrate tricks
    • IQ 9, talent cost 2?: ranged hit roll by target, ranged damage by target, pereption to see enemy, perception to see trap, perception to see treasure, perception to see clue to mystery, leadership, bard, athletics
    • IQ 8, talent cost 1?: HTH hit roll by target, HTH damage roll by target, HTH hit roll on target, HTH damage roll on target, feat of strength, feat of endurance, feat of dexterity, feat of agility, feat of intelligence, feat of will, boats, ships, horses

To energise one or more effects requires a spell casting action. A character performs the following procedure:
  • Chooses a spellcasting action. As part of this she makes a public display appropriate to her style of magic, such as calling on her god's aid, dancing about while cackling insanely or reciting doggerel. Unless there are e.g. cultural or linguistic barriers that make it harder, this will normally tell any observer more or less what you're trying do.
  • Cancels any effects she no longer wishes to energise
  • Rolls her power, according to which talents she has
  • Subtracts any power currently being used to energise an effect
  • Allocates some or all of whatever is left to creating new effects appropriate to aspects she knows. For each point of power allocated she incurs one point of obligation, see below.

Effects

Effects include:
  • 1: When making rolls relevant to the aspect, the target replaces one D6 with a D8. The caster must specify whether rolls greater than 6 will be considered 1s or 6s.
  • 2: As above but use a D12.
  • 3: As above but use a D20.
The cost in power of an effect is multiplied by the cost of the aspect being used?

For twice the cost, the magician can affect 1 die of targets. For three times the cost, two dice.

A roll might be:
  • An attack
  • A damage roll
  • Dodging a trap
  • Seeing a secret door
  • A reaction roll
  • A random check to see how long it will be before a ship comes to port
  • A random determination of the quality of the horse the army has provided you
  • Anything else that might be random

Obligation

Each time power is committed the caster incurs obligation. Obligation accumulates until it reaches a threshold equal to (something) times the number of characters in the party who could reasonably be expected to help multiplied by the caster's power level.

If the obligation threshold is reached after an adventure, or if it's close and the GM feels like it, then the caster and party have been called upon to do something. This will require an adventure that wasn't what they'd otherwise do and might not be as beneficial to them as the other thing would have been, it should be non-trivial but not especially dangerous, and it goes without saying that it should be fun. After the mission is complete, obligation is reduced by an amount equal to the threshold.

If the party won't do it for some reason then the caster's power is halved, round down, until they start trying to complete the mission.
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Old 06-24-2018, 03:31 AM   #19
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Unverifiable Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
This is a first cut at a system for unverifiable magic. It won't work yet - all the numbers are basically placeholders and I have to work out how much everything should cost. I'm just putting it here in the hope that someone might give me their thoughts on whether the idea would be fun once it was balanced. Tell me whether you would enjoy playing, or playing alongside, a character like this.
It looks great to me -- Lenny Balsera once described this type of magic as "confirmation bias magic".

I like the idea of changing the dice size. Great way to increase chances of a critical without changing the effect range! I did a mental double-take before I figured out that must be what you're going for.

1) I like the goat-to-accident example. Here's an effect that might capture that: force a DX saving roll for whatever they're doing, like using a staircase or just walking around. Failure produces damage like magic fist -- additional power might increase damage or dice for the saving roll.

2) I also like "two days later" for the goat incident. Here's a potential "augmentation" for unverifiable magic: get one an extra unit of effect if it happens 1d days later (i.e. very much not in this combat).

I suspect there might be other interesting augmentations besides just N days later...
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:19 AM   #20
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Unverifiable Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
This is a first cut at a system for unverifiable magic. ...
Hi David,
I was going to give you feedback, but I'm afraid that I don't understand the system well enough to do so. Could you add some more details, and maybe give an example or two?

The improved dice go d8, d12, d20. d20 is amazing, if you want to roll a 1, there is a 75% chance of getting exactly what you want. Wouldn't d8, d10, d12, d14, d16 work better? (d14 and d16 can be found, I have several.). I'm not sure what the cost is for rolling a d20 rather than a d8.

Can you do multiple effects on the same roll? (Can you roll a d6, d8 and d12 at the same time?)

Warm regards, Rick.

Last edited by Rick_Smith; 06-24-2018 at 05:43 AM.
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