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Old 05-26-2019, 09:12 PM   #1
Kesendeja
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Default Magic as Powers (ala Shadowrun)

I’m finding myself more and more a fan of Spells as Powers. I think it’s mostly a matter of having come from Shadowrun, and the Spells as Skills just feels wrong for that type of setting somehow.

Personally, I use “The Fifth Attribute” Quintessence makes a lot of sense in a setting where magic is separate from IQ. But I’ll put notes in for those who don’t use it.

Skills
Shadowrun had a number of skills, but the four that survived my initial brainstorming are;
  • Sorcery (QT/VH): the art of shaping mana into a desired effect.
  • Conjuring (QT/VH): the art of calling forth spirits from other realms.
  • Innate Attack Magic (DX/VH): For any spell that needs aiming.
  • Arcana (IQ/VH): Practical knowledge of all things magical
  • Ascencing (Per/VH): The use and understanding of the input of magical senses.

If you aren’t using Quintessence, just base Sorcery and Conjuring on IQ.

Spells
All spells cost Quintessence points (or FP). 1 point plus an additional 1 for every 10 cp of the total spell cast.
As an example firebolt cost 5 for each point of damage, so a 4d firebolt would cost 3 points to cast. 1 initially and another 2 because the 4d equeals 20 cp.

Each spell also affects the sorcery skill. The more powerful a spell is the harder it is to cast. For every 10 full points if applies a -1 to the skill roll, Other modifiers may also offset or add to the difficulty. For example a fire mage may get a +4 for the “Elementalist” advantage.
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Old 05-26-2019, 11:49 PM   #2
Quantumboost
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Default Re: Magic as Powers (ala Shadowrun)

An Infinite Worlds-type campaign I'm in started in Shadowrun, and we've been using a combination of Sorcery (basically Spells as Powers coupled with Alternate Abilities), as well as Path/Book magic. Most of this is my GM's work, but I've helped out some with things like the Enchanting system, specific Adept Powers, Metamagics, and Spirit stats.

Path/Book is mostly needed to accurately model basic "every Magician has these" abilities like Astral Projection, ritual spellcasting, and calling up spirits, which would otherwise be ruinously expensive for things that every magic-user is expected to be able to do. It does mean that Magicians need to learn the Ritual Magic skill with a specialization... but they're supposed to have some Magical Tradition anyway, so that's not much of a stretch.

Instead of using FP/QP costs, "Drain" deals 3 FP damage (not QP, because falling unconscious due to casting when you're physically exhausted is important yo), can be negated with a successful Will roll, and is a -5% Limitation (modeled using a Resistible Backlash). It's also reduced proportionately by cutting down the spell's intensity, so if you cast a fireball that deals 1/3 the damage it potentially could, it only deals 1 FP if you fail the drain soak roll.

Adept Powers are just Advantages with the Magical, -10% modifier for being sensitive to Mana Domains/Ebbs/Voids.

Initiation Grade is represented by Sorcery Talent [10 points/level], which is the Power Talent for all magical abilities (Mystic Adepts just have one Initiation level, after all).

For the directly-magical skills:
  • The Spellcasting Skill Group has two skills: Spellcasting (QN/VH), which is rolled in order to cast any Sorcery spell (all Sorcery spells are appropriately modified to require a QN roll), and Ritual Spellcasting/Book of Shadows (QN/VH), which covers targeting spells with material links rather than line of sight, and also contains "general" magical abilities as rituals like creating Wards and various metamagic-related Techniques. None of us have looked into Counterspelling too deeply yet.
  • Conjuring is Path/Book magic's Path of Spirit (QN/VH) directly, limited to the setting-appropriate rituals.
  • Assensing (Per/VH) is a slightly modified form of the Awareness skill from Pyramid 3/97, which already does the 'reading auras' thing besides. It'd be appropriate to anchor a few rituals to it for characters who can't learn Ritual Spellcasting/Conjuring proper but need to be able to do things like astrally project, go on Metaplanar Quests, or create Wards.
  • Enchantment is split into the Alchemy skill for processing reagents (per Pyramid 3/66, "The Material Difference") and Crafting Imbuement skills (Pyramid 3/102). The latter requires purchasing a Imbuement Advantage, but the heavy constraints on Shadowrun-style Enchantment cut it down to 1 or 2 points at most*. At SR's current state of enchanting advancement, only Channel Weapon (generalized to Channel Item for things like Health Spell Fetishes in the form of a trenchcoat, or that sort of thing)/Infuse Gear/Precise Gear and Combination Skills made from those are available, but it's a setting where people are continuing to make strides in understanding of magic, so introducing new types of Foci isn't wholly inconceivable. That'd potentially up the cost of Imbuement.
  • Arcana is just Thaumatology from the Basic Set, and used to identify/invent spells/powers as normal for Thaumatology.
  • Theology tells you things about how a given Magical Tradition views the world, what types of spirits they can summon and how they're likely to behave, and lets you puzzle out things about the associated Metaplanes. Expert Skill (Spirits) would identify spirits independent of Tradition. Navigation (Astral) as described in the recently-published GURPS Powers: Totems and Nature Spirits would allow finding your way through the Metaplanes, and helpfully defaults to Theology at -4 (or IQ-2 for spirit guides).
  • Innate Attack is as normal.
  • We don't use any special rules for astral combat, it might be appropriate to have that be a familiarity for melee weapon/unarmed combat skills?

* The first level is Imbuement 1 (Limited Skill Access, Channel Weapon/Item, -80%; Requires appropriate focus formula, -10%; Accessibility, In a Tradition-appropriate Mystic Lodge, -10%; Costs character points, ⅕) [1]. The second level is Imbuement 3 (Limited Skill Access, Channel Item/Infuse Gear/Precise Gear, -40%; Requires appropriate focus formula, -10%; Minimum Reagent Cost** 1, -5%; Accessibility, In a Tradition-appropriate Mystic Lodge, -10%; Magical, -10%; Costs character points, ⅕) [2]. We've ruled that Destiny Points in the form of Edge can fill in for character points, but that might not be appropriate in a pure Shadowrun game.
** A combination of Reduced Fatigue Cost and Trigger, Magical Reagent; this means the minimum reagent cost is equivalent to 1 FP. Since the reagent is potentially retrievable if you destroy the item, we've halved the discount.

Admittedly, much of this is barely-tested and kludged together where it isn't straight from other books, but it's mostly worked so far for the circumstances we've found ourselves in. ^_^;
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Old 05-27-2019, 01:39 AM   #3
Phantasm
 
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Default Re: Magic as Powers (ala Shadowrun)

Having played an SR3 Shaman, I think the new Powers: Totems and Nature Spirits should be a shoo-in for working SR style shamans.
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Old 05-27-2019, 10:56 AM   #4
Gef
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yucca Valley, CA
Default Re: Magic as Powers (ala Shadowrun)

Hi Kasendeja,

Good luck with your shadowgurps campaign. My thought on your original post is that "Cost 1 FP per 10 cp" doesn't seem very GURPS-like, partly because their are cases where a FP cost is already factored into the cost (Shapeshifting) and cases where you'd modify the point cost with a modifier to increase or reduce the fatigue cost.

May I suggest you look into Power Stunts and Extra Effort for powers? Then setup basic spells where the best sorcerers will routinely push them in ways that'll cost fatigue (even more than whatever's built into the base spell)?
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:20 PM   #5
Kesendeja
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Default Re: Magic as Powers (ala Shadowrun)

Generally speaking for powers I'm creating the base power, with modifiers, and the character buys that up to the maximum they can cast, usually half their Quintessence or IQ if Quintessence isn't being used. But doing away with "1 point plus an additional 1 for every 10 cp of the total spell" would make spells both more expensive and more even in cost.

Doing it that way a 1d firebolt cost 1 qp, and a 6d one would cost 4
the other way of doing it, where each level cost a point would mean that the same 6d firebolt would cost 6 to cast.

But letting mage's buy off some of the cost by other advantages, or create spells of their own works better in the second option.

Any opinions?

I'm not trying to duplicate Shadowrun exactly, more take insperation form it.
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:35 PM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Magic as Powers (ala Shadowrun)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kesendeja View Post
G

Doing it that way a 1d firebolt cost 1 qp, and a 6d one would cost 4
the other way of doing it, where each level cost a point would mean that the same 6d firebolt would cost 6 to cast.

But letting mage's buy off some of the cost by other advantages, or create spells of their own works better in the second option.

Any opinions?
How does a 6D firebolt compare to a 7.62mm rifle?

If it's a generic Gurps 6D Burning Innate Attack it's not worth many pts be they CP, FP or Quintessance in comparison to that 7D P rifle round. Especially once you start looking at range. It's true that you can't detect the spell before it's cast but with a good sniper rifle you can fire before the target has detected you.

SR gets around this by nerfing guns to a considerable degree and give spells unlimited range and armor penetration. These things would be very expensive in Gurps.
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:15 PM   #7
Refplace
 
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Default Re: Magic as Powers (ala Shadowrun)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
How does a 6D firebolt compare to a 7.62mm rifle?

If it's a generic Gurps 6D Burning Innate Attack it's not worth many pts be they CP, FP or Quintessance in comparison to that 7D P rifle round. Especially once you start looking at range. It's true that you can't detect the spell before it's cast but with a good sniper rifle you can fire before the target has detected you.
Alternative Abilities helps get around this by substantially lowering the cost. The trick to making that work is getting a core ability that's useful enough, has a high enough cost to cover useful alternates, and isn't a core combat ability you'll regret switching off in a fight.
GURPS Powers: Divine Favor is good at most of those and for Shadowrun I'd go Humabouts route of making a Totem the Patron rather than God.
GURPS Thaumatology: Sorcery uses modular abilities as the core ability so is more flexible, though you dont get a base high power ability. Also its really too flexible for mages in that setting if I recall correctly.
GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Magic would be good for Physical Adepts though I would beef it up with use of alternative abilities and the material from Pyramid #3/105 Chi Sorcery and especially #3/70 Elemental Xia Champions vs. the Shenguai (Jason "PK" Levine).
GURPS Powers: Totem and Nature Spirits provides 27 (plus additional variations) worked totems to give shamans a lot of flavor. Purchase some of the emblemetic traits separately or as alternative abilities for increased flexibility and power. It does not cover elemental spirits (I figured they were already covered in other books such as DF9: Summoners) but the two books can easily be combined for elemental totems.
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:47 PM   #8
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Magic as Powers (ala Shadowrun)

Shadowrun attack spells are line of sight attacks usually, so they are just as accurate at 10 miles as they are ten yards, which is really difficult to model in GURPS. They are also comparable in power to firearms and, in the case of the best mages (Hestaby), can destroy main battle tanks and cripple cruisers. That is generally why I consider Shadowrun to be a gritty supers setting and would build starting PCs with 500 CP.

For example, a starting Mage is capable of astrally projecting for 5 hours, is undetectable be mundane creatures and machines, can see astrally projecting creatures, in capable of moving 5,000 mph during astral projection, and can manifest on the physical plain to cast their spells without any penalty. That alone is worth a buttload of points in GURPS and that is without including their sorcery and conjuration. Augmentation can make characters that can cripple APCs with their barehands four times per turn (and they are not extra attacks, these are extra actions, as they can be used for anything).
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:23 PM   #9
Kesendeja
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Default Re: Magic as Powers (ala Shadowrun)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Shadowrun attack spells are line of sight attacks usually, so they are just as accurate at 10 miles as they are ten yards, which is really difficult to model in GURPS. They are also comparable in power to firearms and, in the case of the best mages (Hestaby), can destroy main battle tanks and cripple cruisers. That is generally why I consider Shadowrun to be a gritty supers setting and would build starting PCs with 500 CP.

For example, a starting Mage is capable of astrally projecting for 5 hours, is undetectable be mundane creatures and machines, can see astrally projecting creatures, in capable of moving 5,000 mph during astral projection, and can manifest on the physical plain to cast their spells without any penalty. That alone is worth a buttload of points in GURPS and that is without including their sorcery and conjuration. Augmentation can make characters that can cripple APCs with their barehands four times per turn (and they are not extra attacks, these are extra actions, as they can be used for anything).
I agree with the Gritty Supers assessment after having to build several characters in it (including one dragon).
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