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Old 05-23-2018, 10:17 AM   #1
Stormcrow
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Default Viking magic

In GURPS Vikings, the rules for which type of spell caster gets which types of spells are long, but maddeningly vague. "Bear in mind the needs of their community" is not sufficient guidance for players choosing spells. Before I go all out doing it myself, has anyone ever produced a list of something more concrete that I can look at?

I'm not talking about using alternative magic systems like rune magic or path/book magic or anything like that, just the standard spells. I recognize that when GURPS Vikings says "most of the spells in the Basic Set are appropriate to a GURPS Vikings campaign," it's referring to the third edition Basic Set, which had a rather different list of spells. I'm perfectly happy to use GURPS Magic reproduce that list and get others mentioned, but I'm still just looking at the standard magic system for GURPS.

Any easy outs for me?
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:22 PM   #2
maximara
 
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Default Re: Viking magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
In GURPS Vikings, the rules for which type of spell caster gets which types of spells are long, but maddeningly vague. "Bear in mind the needs of their community" is not sufficient guidance for players choosing spells. Before I go all out doing it myself, has anyone ever produced a list of something more concrete that I can look at?

I'm not talking about using alternative magic systems like rune magic or path/book magic or anything like that, just the standard spells. I recognize that when GURPS Vikings says "most of the spells in the Basic Set are appropriate to a GURPS Vikings campaign," it's referring to the third edition Basic Set, which had a rather different list of spells. I'm perfectly happy to use GURPS Magic reproduce that list and get others mentioned, but I'm still just looking at the standard magic system for GURPS.

Any easy outs for me?
Setting aside the issue of what level of fantasy you want (High, Low, etc) I would suggest getting the GURPS Magic Spell Charts and look at the spells that don't require magery.

The second addition of GURPS Vikings provides several details to keep in mind:

1) Spellcasters were feared and distrusted.

2) Magic was powerful, unpredictable, and irrational. This made it something to be feared.

3) Norse warriors were distrustful of magic to the point "it left a bad taste in the mouth."

4) Elemental spirit spells simply don't exist because such beings aren't part of the Norse mythos.

5) Hedge wizards will know basic spells over a large number of categories.
a) Communication and Empathy Spells like Sense Emotion and Persuasion.
b) Lesser Elemental spells like Find, Shape, and Purify
c) Weather related spells
d) Making and Breaking spells
e) Knowledge (mystics)
f) Healing
g) minor Mind Control spells (mystics)

Several colleges can be eliminated:

Enchantment College: magic items are rare and what do exist are made by the Gods or the Dwarves.
Gate College: in the hand of the gods or other supernatural beings.
Technological College: of this only the Metal spells are really relevant.

Last edited by maximara; 05-23-2018 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:27 PM   #3
Phantasm
 
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Default Re: Viking magic

Honestly, for Viking magic I'd look at the Futhark runes and the runic system detailed in the back of GURPS Magic and revised in Thaumatology.

Beyond that, for Vikings I can see a lot of Body Control buffing spells; Plant, Animal, Weather, and Food spells for farming; and Water, Weather, Air, and Movement spells (particularly Haste) for sea-faring raiders/traders. I don't think they'd have much in the battlefield artillery spells, but temporary enhancements on weapons, shields, and armor seem right up their alley.

Any magic to help them survive the long, cold winters would be very useful.
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Old 05-23-2018, 02:01 PM   #4
Stormcrow
 
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Default Re: Viking magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Setting aside the issue of what level of fantasy you want (High, Low, etc) I would suggest getting the GURPS Magic Spell Charts and look at the spells that don't require magery.
Mystics will need to have Magery 1, since the entire Knowledge college depends on knowing Detect Magic. I guess if we push the boundaries of the other spell caster types, we can say that they have access to spells that don't require Magery 1, whether or not the casters themselves actually have Magery 1.

I'm going to have to play the part of the ambitious player and see what unlikely spells that lets me get away with.

By the way, I'm looking at a realistic (as opposed to cinematic) and fantastic (as opposed to historical or mythic) game.

Quote:
The second addition of GURPS Vikings provides several details to keep in mind:
Yeah, these are the vague details I referred to.

Quote:
1) Spellcasters were feared and distrusted.

2) Magic was powerful, unpredictable, and irrational. This made it something to be feared.

3) Norse warriors were distrustful of magic to the point "it left a bad taste in the mouth."
Irrelevant to players. "Sure, slap me with a Social Stigma and a Reputation. Here are the spells I want..."

Quote:
5) Hedge wizards will know basic spells over a large number of categories.
a) Communication and Empathy Spells like Sense Emotion and Persuasion.
b) Lesser Elemental spells like Find, Shape, and Purify
c) Weather related spells
d) Making and Breaking spells
e) Knowledge (mystics)
f) Healing
g) minor Mind Control spells (mystics)
I guess if we assume "basic" and "lesser" mean "don't require Magery 1," this might be nearly enough for mystics and hedge-wizards. The bit about dealing with spirits is still missing, and the Necromantic college requires Magery 1. Maybe all spell casters need Magery 1 even if most only have access to Magery 0 spells...
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Old 05-23-2018, 02:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: Viking magic

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Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
Honestly, for Viking magic I'd look at the Futhark runes and the runic system detailed in the back of GURPS Magic and revised in Thaumatology.
Naturally, but I don't need help implementing that. It's the two whole pages of sorting spells in GURPS Vikings that I want to figure out. Presumably they were written to be used.
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:25 PM   #6
maximara
 
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Default Re: Viking magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Mystics will need to have Magery 1, since the entire Knowledge college depends on knowing Detect Magic.
Actually the Knowledge college has spells that per the spell chart do not require magery. Of the Seek (whatever) only Seek Plastic requires magic. There are a handful of other spells with Test Load and Tell Position being the most useful to the Vikings.

Looking at the chart Enchantment and Meta are the only collages that require Magery 1+ throughout though some colleges are near useless at Magery 0.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
I guess if we push the boundaries of the other spell caster types, we can say that they have access to spells that don't require Magery 1, whether or not the casters themselves actually have Magery 1.

By the way, I'm looking at a realistic (as opposed to cinematic) and fantastic (as opposed to historical or mythic) game.
Effectively leaning toward High Magic + Rare Magic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
I guess if we assume "basic" and "lesser" mean "don't require Magery 1," this might be nearly enough for mystics and hedge-wizards. The bit about dealing with spirits is still missing, and the Necromantic college requires Magery 1. Maybe all spell casters need Magery 1 even if most only have access to Magery 0 spells...
Actually the Necromantic college doesn't require Magery 1: Steal Energy, Steal Vitality, Steal Dexterity, and Steal Might are all learnable by Magery 0 wizards per the chart. There are a handful of other M0 spells but those are the ones that really stand out.

Yes, M0 majorly limits some colleges (a few to the point they are effectively gutted) but only two really require M1 or higher: Enchantment and Meta.

Last edited by maximara; 05-23-2018 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:45 PM   #7
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Viking magic

I would honestly look at Path/Book Magic in Thaumology. With the exclusion of the Path of Gadgets, I think that Energy Accumulation Path/Book Magic could provide you with everything you need for flavor. The Path of Forms would even allow for Shapshifters.
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Old 05-23-2018, 06:46 PM   #8
Stormcrow
 
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Default Re: Viking magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Actually the Knowledge college has spells that per the spell chart do not require magery. Of the Seek (whatever) only Seek Plastic requires magic. There are a handful of other spells with Test Load and Tell Position being the most useful to the Vikings.
Useful to Vikings, but not relevant to mystics. All of the spells that they would want to use are learned through Detect Magic.

Quote:
Effectively leaning toward High Magic + Rare Magic.
But fairly low for the Norse. Enchanters and monsters will have more magic. Powers should roughly reflect how the Norse believed them to be, but more reliable and effective.

Quote:
Actually the Necromantic college doesn't require Magery 1: Steal Energy, Steal Vitality, Steal Dexterity, and Steal Might are all learnable by Magery 0 wizards per the chart.
None of which are in the purview of cunning men, wise women, or mystics, which are the types that deal most with spirits. Their role is supposed to be protective, not offensive.

Quote:
Yes, M0 majorly limits some colleges (a few to the point they are effectively gutted) but only two really require M1 or higher: Enchantment and Meta.
And I'm fine with limited colleges if I could just find the right combinations for each type.

I'm just going to have to go through the spell lists one spell at a time and classify them.
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Old 05-23-2018, 06:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Viking magic

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
I think that Energy Accumulation Path/Book Magic could provide you with everything you need for flavor.
I know most people aren't going to get this, but I'm not going for system flavor, I'm going for suitability of spells in the standard magic system, as Graeme Davis tried to describe in the book. I don't want it to feel like reenacting folklore beliefs; I want it to feel like fairly standard RPG magic, albeit only using the spells appropriate to the caster type.
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Viking magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Effectively leaning toward High Magic + Rare Magic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
But fairly low for the Norse. Enchanters and monsters will have more magic. Powers should roughly reflect how the Norse believed them to be, but more reliable and effective.
I think you are confusing High Magic with High Fantasy

High Magic fits the Norse quite well. It is the magical equivalent of home remedies. Under this falls things like Craft Magic where special rituals while crafting an item imbues it with magical power. Oaths, knacks, and True Faith all fall under High Magic.

Next up is Formulaic Magic ie magic via secret knowledge and elaborate rituals. This is where mystics will be.

Low Magic combines High and Formulaic Magic. Spells are easy to learn but are learn via direct story.
They produce very potent results. Your average D&D campaign has Low Magic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
And I'm fine with limited colleges if I could just find the right combinations for each type.

I'm just going to have to go through the spell lists one spell at a time and classify them.
The Symbol magic rules would make things far saner. The interesting thing about those and the Syntactic magic they are based on is no mention of magery being needed to learn or cast spells is made.

This makes sense as GURPS 4e Fantasy explains, under Runic enchantment, that there is the idea that
certain letters or other symbols in themselves are a source of magical power. The Golem of Prague is a prime example of this form of magic.

Last edited by maximara; 05-23-2018 at 07:39 PM.
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