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Old 10-15-2020, 09:23 AM   #1
CarrionPeacock
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default [RPM] Improving Bullets with Magic

I'm trying to make sense out of RPM and I need some help.
Lesser Strengthen Energy says it can impart enough energy to a moving object to double its effect, so can this effect double the damage done by bullets (overpenetration not withstanding)?
If so, how would an actual spell look like? Can I cast it on a gun so it speeds up every bullet it spews or would I have to make ammunition charms? Because it's enhancing the damage already done by the bullet, am I right to think I should use the Internal Damage table instead of External?
How would I go about to improve the chance of hitting with said bullet? My guess is that Lesser Control Energy would allow to bestow bonus to hit, while Great Control Energy would allow turning it into a "homing" attack. Is it right? If so, how do I do the latter?
Finally, what sort of spell would allow me to keep shooting the gun after running out of ammo? Greater Create Matter to make an ammo (or a full magazine)?
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Old 10-15-2020, 11:24 AM   #2
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: [RPM] Improving Bullets with Magic

I would target the gun rather than the bullet. I would treat it as a damage effect equal to the bonus damage (with the cost modified by accuracy, range, recoil, etc). If you just want a modest increase in damage though, you could just give a +5 damage for a narrow purpose (+16 energy).
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Old 10-15-2020, 11:30 AM   #3
ericthered
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Default Re: [RPM] Improving Bullets with Magic

Alexander is correct: the damage boost should go on the gun. some notes by PK, who wrote RPM and was assistant line editor at the time:

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK View Post
For what it's worth, Bestows A Bonus is absolutely the canonical way to do a "+2 flaming sword." Nothing about BAB limits it to success rolls! Damage rolls, reaction rolls, rolls on a table, etc., are all fair game! And unless the GM feels the need to inflate the cost, "damage" is absolutely a narrow bonus -- it improves one thing and one thing only about the weapon, after all.

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Originally Posted by PK View Post
Note that, per the usual GURPS rules, it's a special effect to change every +2 to damage into +1/die. That is, if your weapon does 5d+2 damage, and you pay for "a +4 damage bonus," it's legit to interpret that as "a +2/die damage bonus" and call it a net 5d+12.

BTW, it's worth mentioning that several people here have argued that Bestows a Bonus/Penalty should "flatten out" rather than continue to double, and while I don't plan on retroactively changing the existing mechanic, I do support this as an optional rule -- one that I'm planning to work into a future supplement (as an official optional rule). Basically, at +/-3 or higher, use a flat 4*(D-2) for Narrow, 8*(D-2) for Moderate, and 20*(D-2) for Broad, where "D" is the degree of bonus or penalty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
How would I go about to improve the chance of hitting with said bullet? My guess is that Lesser Control Energy would allow to bestow bonus to hit, while Great Control Energy would allow turning it into a "homing" attack. Is it right? If so, how do I do the latter?
Bestow a Bonus on the gun can improve the chance of hitting, and I'd call it a lesser effect. I'd be fine with either matter or energy. For a homing bullet, I'd require the control effect, and then a sense effect to detect your target (or to read the aimer's mind), but both would be lesser, unless the bullet can turn 60 degrees off course or something like that. The homing bullet uses the skill on you ritual to hit.



Quote:
Finally, what sort of spell would allow me to keep shooting the gun after running out of ammo? Greater Create Matter to make an ammo (or a full magazine)?
Greater Create Matter on the magazine should suffice to make infinite ammunition. You might be able to argue me down to a lesser effect on a sufficiently large magazine. I'd require you to pay energy for the weight of the created ammo, of course.


So the final effect is something like:


Homing Bullet (30)

Lesser Strengthen Energy (3) + Lesser Control Energy (5) + Sense Mind(2) + 10 lbs (0) + 3 hours (4) + bestow a bonus (+ 4 to damage) (8) bestow a bonus (+4 to hit)= 30



When shot, bullets from this gun ignore range penalties, roll against 14 to hit, and do an additional +2 damage per die.
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Last edited by ericthered; 10-15-2020 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 10-15-2020, 12:36 PM   #4
CarrionPeacock
 
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Default Re: [RPM] Improving Bullets with Magic

Thanks for the help. Bestow a Bonus to increase damage was eye opening and being able to transform it into a per die bonus is great. Is the formula below correct for a more modest version of the spell as a charm? 11 is the safe threshold for a character with path skill level 15, so it would fit an out-of-box Sage.

Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Strengthen Energy (3) + 10 lbs (0) + 10 minutes (1) + bestow a bonus (+2 or 1/die to damage) (2) = 11

It didn't come to me that I needed Sense Mind on homing-type spell. What would be the limit of a spell without it? Could control energy/matter alone be used to bestow a bonus to hit by, say, negating bullet drop due to gravity? Maybe increasing the character's ST for the purpose of avoiding penalties from insufficient minimum ST for a gun by negating recoil?
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Old 10-15-2020, 01:23 PM   #5
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: [RPM] Improving Bullets with Magic

Homing should probably be priced as an enhancement for the base cost of the ritual (increasing the final cost by 50% or more).
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Old 10-15-2020, 07:06 PM   #6
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: [RPM] Improving Bullets with Magic

I'll add in addition to Bestows a Bonus being the way you add bonus or to hit rolls to damage, adding Enhancements simply treats the damage dealt as the "basic damage" of the attack and adds to that normally.

So if you did 3d large piecing damage with a pistol and you wanted to add Incendiary to the weapon's damage it would be a Lesser Transform Matter effect plus +2 energy. See p. 5 of How to Be a GURPS GM: Ritual Path Magic for more info on this.
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Old 10-15-2020, 10:31 PM   #7
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: [RPM] Improving Bullets with Magic

Actually, it would be +4 (+1 energy per +5%), as 3d direct damage costs less than 20 energy (RPM, p. 17).
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Old 10-15-2020, 11:07 PM   #8
Plane
 
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Default Re: [RPM] Improving Bullets with Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
Lesser Strengthen Energy says it can impart enough energy to a moving object to double its effect, so can this effect double the damage done by bullets (overpenetration not withstanding)?
If so, how would an actual spell look like? Can I cast it on a gun so it speeds up every bullet it spews
It's the bullet that's the moving object, so I don't think so. To avoid requiring casting on the bullet while fired, Pg 25 allows you to delay an effect until it's triggered, but you'll also need to use Lesser Control Magic. Pg 27 talks about that under Ammunition Charms.

PU4p14 "Follow-Up, Universal" could be added to some Innate Attack you gain to make that damage add to any attack you make. You could probably add something like "Accessibility: requires guns" so it isn't added to all attacks in general.

PU4p11 "Other Weapons" (Kaytee enhancing the RoF of her gun) is another approach to FUU, if you just wanted to do something like add Incendiary +10% or "Ammo Options" to your guns. Enhancements sometimes emulate Alternate Abilities here.

Pg 19's "External (Indirect) Damage" could maybe be enhanced that way to add static effects that don't depend on the round's underlying damage. +1 energy per +5% means this will cost you +10 energy. I think you'd also need to put Delay +50% on there too, unless you were immediately firing your gun

Pg 7 Path of Body (Yesod) also seems like an option here ("add any physical trait that doesn’t change the subject’s morphology") using Greater Strengthen Body to give someone Innate Attack. If you enchant the person it applies to attacks they make, but if you enchant an object (effectively a "can be wielded" character) then it applies to any attacks it makes, including attacks made by it's wielder.

The incentive to enchant an item is that it would cost less energy per pg 16 Altered Traits since the innate attack can take "must be wielded" discount. This saves more points than "accessibility: requires equipment: gun" and also lets you lend the gun to others who weren't around to be enchanted, should you choose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
or would I have to make ammunition charms?
Because it's enhancing the damage already done by the bullet,
RPM26 says charms are just conditional rituals cast on fragile objects.

The force of a bullet comes from the actual round's explosion, so it sound right to enchant the bullet.

Air guns OTOH might be a different story, they get the energy from CO2 cannisters. There are also spring guns (BB guns) which get the energy from the gun's spring and not the inert rounds.



Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
am I right to think I should use the Internal Damage table instead of External?
Internal is when it bypasses DR like a malediction, is that the intent for the bullets? You could just give them Armor Divisors to make them less absolute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
How would I go about to improve the chance of hitting with said bullet? My guess is that Lesser Control Energy would allow to bestow bonus to hit
Using Geburah as an alternative to Hod: path of Chance (pg 8) ?

Pg 10 "“shove” an object in motion so it heads in (roughly) a new direction" sounds like at best you could change target to a new hex, but not a new target in that hex (or hit location) from 'lesser' alone'.

If you just wanted to targe thexes with AEs leser would be fine, but if you want to snipe then I think "Greater" would be warranted to "exert perfect control over a moving object"

Another less/great contrast in examples is "dictate the direction and rate at which a fire
spreads" vs "make a fire stretch out and attack someone."

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
while Great Control Energy would allow turning it into a "homing" attack.
Is it right? If so, how do I do the latter?
That's adding an enhancement, also sounds like Greater Control Energy. If you were just using "Mobile" that could probably settle for lesser.

You might need some other paths to reflect the "scanning sense" of "homing", unlike "guided".

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
Finally, what sort of spell would allow me to keep shooting the gun after running out of ammo? Greater Create Matter to make an ammo (or a full magazine)?
You could maybe get away with 2 castings of Lesser Create for air guns("pellets" and "compressed air") or just 1 for spring-BBs.

For bullets though you'd need:
1) bullet
2) cartridge
3) powder
4) primer

So 1 casting of greater might be more convenient than 4 casting of lesser...

Pg 7 mentions this dichotomy of effects but it's hard to find what that means... pg 15 mentions higher energy costs.. . ah it's 18/19 greater effects modifiers I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
I would target the gun rather than the bullet. I would treat it as a damage effect equal to the bonus damage (with the cost modified by accuracy, range, recoil, etc). If you just want a modest increase in damage though, you could just give a +5 damage for a narrow purpose (+16 energy).
This would work too since the gun is a character too, so it's just like giving a bonus to their "must be wielded" (thaumatology modifier) innate attack

Enchanting a gun for 10 minutes should somehow cost more than enchanting a bullet for 10 minutes IMO. Or do we view the benefit of "the first bullet this gun fires benefits" to be as valuable as "the first gun to fire this bullet benefits" ?

Pg 18 table charges +1 energy for 10 minutes. You would need to do this for the 'wrapper' (lesser control magic) per 25, simply to have a "capacity to inflict +1 damage". That would be a separate +1 for 10 minutes, which would begin to take effect as soon as the wrapper triggered it.

If all you do is fire 1 shot then that 10 minutes I guess is wasted. I can't find a way in RPM to emulate how "Link" works to extend durations as M131 allows (stretch out 168 hours of Continual Light to 168 days by only entering the room 1 hour per day). This distinguishes activate/deactivate and is probably like using Suspend Spell instead of Counterspell to halt a duration.

There's a limit on how many conditional rituals you could have up (Thaum+Magery) which limits how many "magic guns" you could make before the old ones started expiring. To do greater amounts you'd have to have more powerful spells enchanting multiple guns simultaneously.

The key question I have (which I can't figure out) is whether or not charms (being subset of condition rituals) contribute toward the T+M cap. Unless I'm overlooking "not subject to cap" on pg 27 features/ammunition it wouldn't seem like they're excepted... actually "Buying Charms" I can see now explicitly affirms it still applies to them:
The maker may decide that the charm has been out long enough, and make enough new ones that the old charm deactivates!
Anyone have an idea for a way around that? "I can end my charm by creating a new charm" sounds contrary to the spirit of "cannot cancel the spell before it expires"

To impede stockpiling we could just make duration more expensive upfront, or require top-ups.
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Old 10-15-2020, 11:20 PM   #9
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: [RPM] Improving Bullets with Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Actually, it would be +4 (+1 energy per +5%), as 3d direct damage costs less than 20 energy (RPM, p. 17).
Incendiary is a +10% modifier . . . so no, it wouldn't. It would be +2 energy.
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Old 10-16-2020, 12:05 AM   #10
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: [RPM] Improving Bullets with Magic

Sorry, my bad, I thought it was +20%.
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