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Old 10-04-2018, 03:30 AM   #1
FeiLin
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default RPM vs basic magic

I'm currently looking into ritual magic (RM) and am trying to figure out how it differs from the basic system. I should also note that I'm not so experienced with GURPS magic to begin with (perhaps partially because the basic system doesn't feel as intuitive as rm, which is why I wanna try that instead).

First I have a few questions about the cost (to make sure I got that part down). Let's say I have two mages one standard and one rm. They have IQ 14 and magery 4 for a total of 80+45=125 cp. Then they happen to wanna learn the same spells, namely fireball, explosive fireball at skill 16 and 14 respectively, and summon water elemental at 15, but don't care about any other colleges/skills. (They're twins, but have grown up each with a different parent, so their approach is different but their ambitions and situations are eerily alike...)

For the "basic mage", this would simply be ploughing down 3 points in the three fire spells required, and then 12 in fireball and 4 in explosive fireball. The water elemental requires 8 points in water spells (or 3 more fire spells, summon fire elemental, and 4 water) and then another 8 to bring the spell itself up. That costs 19+16=35.

For the "rm mage", this would first cost 16 for thaumatology/ritual magic. Then the fire college also lands on 16, while fireball has -3 in preqs and thus costs 4 and its explosive sibling has -4 and comes in at 3. The water side comes in 12 for the college and 9 to remove the penalty to get the skill up to 15. That totals 16+23+21=60.

I'm not expecting anyone to verify my math, but just to double-check, prerequisite penalities are still in effect for rm even though they're met, right?

I don't know if it's explicitly stated somewhere, but I guess that forbidden schools etc means you can only take a certain forbidden path if it's the only one, and in other cases of multiple paths you can choose which one (i.e. the lower), in rm as well, am I correct?

Does rm have the same limitations regarding colleges (for instance to reduce the cost of magery) or is that built into the whole setup? (Again, sorry if this is stated somewhere, but can't recall it.)

In general, how are the costs and strategies for setting up mages in the various systems different? Based on my calculations above, I'd say that standard more encourages building on branches but slightly more forgiving in mixing between colleges (i.e. you could create your own tree, with branches plucked from different colleges). Rm, on the other hand, makes it slightly easier to pick individual spells within a college, but quite a bit more expensive to add another college. What results has it produced (both from a player and a GM perspective)?

Also, thematically, it would perhaps make more sense to have more generic institutions of magic with rm since it permits defaults, which might generate inspiration in other colleges, while basic more favors specialisation and "branches"?

Last edited by FeiLin; 10-04-2018 at 06:45 AM. Reason: Ritual magic, not ritual path magic
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Old 10-04-2018, 03:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: RPM vs basic magic

I think your misusing a term here.
RPM stands for Ritual Path Magic and is a system originating in Monster Hunters and later given its own book.
Ritual Magic is a variation on the default or basic magic system and described on p. B242 (GURPS Basic, page 242 in the box.
It sounds like that is what your asking about, is that correct?
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Old 10-04-2018, 06:40 AM   #3
FeiLin
 
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Default Re: RM vs basic magic

Yes, that's correct, thanks. My bad, I just assumed it was ritual path magic, because it's about rituals and then it mentioned "colleges or paths" in the book. Guess I've seen it too many times on the forum without knowing it.

Hmm, I guess it's not possible to change the title. Well, any mod, feel free to do so.

The rest still stands as is, though.

Last edited by FeiLin; 10-04-2018 at 06:44 AM.
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: RPM vs basic magic

Yes, the ritual mage paid more.



The ritual mage also has access to all of the water and fire college spells. That's what makes him have to pay more.



Specifically, he has:


seek fire at 16
extinguish fire at 15
Fireproof at 14
summon fire elemental at 11
Rain of fire at 14
Resist cold at 13


There are not trivial spells, and while he doesn't know them at 15 (except a few), they're still worth casting.



He also has good water spells, but his twin is more competitive there.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:54 AM   #5
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: RPM vs basic magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by FeiLin View Post

I'm not expecting anyone to verify my math,"?
You might be doing at least some of that wrong.

With IQ 14 and Magery-4 the effective IQ to learn Spells is 18. Putting 1 pt in a H Spell gets you level 16 and VH gets you a 15. Remeberign this is a big shortcut in doing Magic.

So 1 pt in the 3 prepeqs to Firebal gets you those spells at 16 and Fireball-16 is also 1pt. Explosive Fireball at 15 is also 1 pt. After you pt 1 pt into each of 8 prereqs for Summon Water Elmental you also get that at 16 for 1 pt. I only get 13pts spent.

Ritual Magic is somewhat harder to figure mostly because of prerequisite counts.

Either Ritual Magic or Thauamtology are VH Skills but Magery adds to IQ in figuring their levels. So it's 1 pt to get either of them at 15 or 2 pts for 16 and so on.

If the "no double defaults" rule is in effect for Ritual Magic Spells you need at least 1 pt in a College Skill you want to cast spells from. After you do that you can cast any spell from that College that you want to at College Skill with a penalty equal to the Prereq count.

So say that Ritual Magic is the relevant Skill you need to put 2 pts into that and then each College skill to get those at 16. Then if you use the prereq counts in Magic (which may have been altered by Errata) for those 6 pts you can cast Fireball at 16-4 or 12-, Explosive Fireball at 16 - 5 or 11- and Summon Water Elemental at 16 -9 or 7-.

Those rolls may be bought up indivdually as Hard Techniques. That would be 5 pts to get Fireball-16-, 4 pts to raise Exploive Fireball to 14- and 8pts to get Summon Water Elemental up to 15-. That appears to add up to 23 pts.

However, the Ritual Magic Mage can attempt any Spell in Fire or Water at a penalty of the prereq count. So he is theoretically more versatile (though not always reliably) .

So RM is not a good way gnerally to get just a few Spels at specific levels. It might be better at geting you at least _some_ chance of casting many spells.

I have never actually used RM, moslty for these reasons and I haven't heard of many other doing it either.
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: RPM vs basic magic

I dabbled with it some before I switched to Path/Magic magic. The real advantage is that you do not need 'trash' spells, as you can just default them if you need them. A specialist with IQ 12 and Magery 3 will purchase Ritual Magic to 20 and then a specific College to 20 (each costing 28 CP), granting them a decent range of spells at 15-20, and may purchase one or two more advanced spells as techniques. It really does prevent people from making enchanters though, as it becomes prohibitively expensive.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: RM vs basic magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by FeiLin View Post
Yes, that's correct, thanks. My bad, I just assumed it was ritual path magic, because it's about rituals and then it mentioned "colleges or paths" in the book. Guess I've seen it too many times on the forum without knowing it.

Hmm, I guess it's not possible to change the title. Well, any mod, feel free to do so.

The rest still stands as is, though.
Looks like the title has been updated for you (Thank you Mods).
Yeah the early systems, especially suffered from naming issues that cause confusion. I really wish Basic Magic had an official name (I call it College Magic) and that Ritual Magic had a different name as well. No one ever gets RPM, Book/Path, Realm, Symbol, or Sorcery mixed up.

I have used RM in Third Edition but not Fourth and we liked it, mages still had that expert in a college look and feel to them but players didnt feel like they wasted a lot of points on prerequisites.
I think the main differences are
  • More versatile since any spell in a college is available
  • Lower spell skills overall, both with defaults and because you need two VH skills to increase your cap
  • Signature spells are not too xpensive o reach the cap, but your likely to have only one or two of them per college (I'm ok with that)
  • All your colleges tend to be at the same level, though with Basic most of your spells were at the 1 point level anyhow.
Bottom line, a Johnny One spell is cheaper with Basic Magic so certain players object to RM. I might allow Technique Mastery though and that would offset that issue.
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Old 10-04-2018, 02:19 PM   #8
Gef
 
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Default Re: RPM vs basic magic

Howdy FeiLin,

I can answer your question from experience.

First, I'm a big fan of the standard magic system. It may not be perfect, but the issues are well charted, and it has straightforward mechanics, a comprehensive spell list, and flexibility for any GM who wants to tweak it to fit his campaign concept. At present, I'm running a fantasy (griffin rider) campaign using both standard and arcane magic. I've rebranded "ritual" magic as arcane, on the theory that wizards reserve this teaching for mature students who can be trusted to exercise some judgment.

The "ritual" magic system as presented in Basic isn't any more ritualistic than the standard system, and all it does is trade the chance to frequently fail casting lots of spells for the chance to use a few reliably. When you look through GURPS Thaumatology, though, you get a sense of what was originally intended. Allow wizards to use ritual elements like a doll in the shape of the target and a lock of his hair, plus a generalized bonus for other ritual elements based on Symbol-Drawing skill, and now those flexible effects become more likely to succeed, but the wizard has to invest time, money, and ingenuity to collect the things that give the bonuses.

It works great in the right context. The wrong context would be if you have a lot of players who get bored waiting for the wizard's player to dicker with the GM over what his bonuses should be. If the group is small, and everyone's playing a wizard, that's a much better context. If the GM has the system of bonuses that he's going to use down pat, and if the player has a crib sheet of modifiers worked out in advance, then it can work smoothly without slowing play. I refer to "the bonuses that he's going to use" because all of these things are optional. Personally, I don't explicitly count astrology modifiers because I can't keep track of game time well enough. Instead I rule that astrology matters, and if your symbol-drawing roll is a big success, it means that in addition to drawing the symbols correctly, the stars align in your favor.

The way it works in my campaign is that Arcane Magery is separate from Conventional Magery, but that most of the Gifted have both as Alternate Abilities (with the same modifiers). While there are more broadly talented wizards in the world, my PCs are griffin riders first, wizards second, and I limit them to one college. So the math goes like this:

Magery 0 (One college Only; 3)
Magery +3 (One College Only, Gadget; 6)
Arcane Magery 3 (same limitations, Alternate Ability; 2)
Energy Reserve in multiples of 5 (One College Only, Gadget; 3)

So they'll have some spells they cast reliably, plus the potential to attempt any spell in their college (even ones with prerequisites from colleges they can't learn). The Gadget is a holy symbol for church wizards, or a wand for secular wizards, or something else (or maybe Granted by Familiar instead) for different traditions than the one in the PCs' country. It works out to a -40% limitation, but if they lose it, they can have a replacement consecrated, and in the meantime, they can still cast spells at -3 (in theory - in practice I have a house-rule whereby they normally learn spells that require holy symbols and invocation of saints' names).

So far, there hasn't been a lot of use of arcane magic, because each college from which the griffin corps recruits has a killer app. For the air wizard, it's Wind, which drastically reduces travel time for a wing of griffins. This gives me the best balance: Most of the time, wizards stick with the formulaic spells, and they have a flexible option which come up rarely enough that it won't irritate the other players.

Incidentally, I really like the Magical Styles supplement for the basic system, as it shows one way in which the standard system can be customized (though it doesn't translate to arcane magic at all). The styles I use in my present campaign are here: http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=144876

Good luck!

GEF

PS: After spending what they need to be proficient airborne cavalry, my PCs won't have IQ 14, so I thought about giving credit for each spell they know toward the prereq count for arcane magic. That's a pain, so I simply said, for every 3 spells you know, get a free point to spend on the college skill (after you've spent the first point). So with a point in the college skill and 9 spells, you have the 4pt level of IQ-1+M before applying the penlty for prerequisite count.

Last edited by Gef; 10-04-2018 at 05:15 PM.
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