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Old 10-02-2020, 09:11 AM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

I am curious what people consider the best magical systems in GURPS? I consider RPM to be the overall best system because of its features, though I tend to customize the Core Skills and Paths to the individual settings. After RPM, I am fond of Path/Book magic because it is subtle, especially in settings with secret magic. After Path/Book magic, I find that I enjoy Verb/Noun magic, as it is probably the most flexible system of magic in GURPS, and it lacks the very high point investment of Realm Magic.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:14 AM   #2
Anders
 
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

There's no single answer to your question, because it depends on what you want to accomplish. RPM is probably the most powerful and flexible of the published systems, so if that's what you want - go wild. You have to fit setting and system to each other (not just magic system, by the way, although that's where there are most versions available).

I love Path/Book magic because it reminds me of faerie-tale magic - slow but still powerful and concentrating more on curses and subtle effects than fireballs. So I tend to build settings where it fits.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

I'm very fond of magic as powers. It gives mages a lot of umph and it doesn't break your world. Though for best effect you need to use the stunts rules and alternative abilities.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:37 AM   #4
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

There is no objectvely truie answer to your question there's just personal preferences.

My preferences are default Magic and Path/Book Magic the best. The first is simple but highly developed including the ability to create magic items. The second is very well adapted to its' niches and those include ones that the first isn't really good for.

None of the others suit me very well. They mostly manage to be complex but impose high GM loads at the same time.
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

I'd just like to put in a word for the poor maligned core magic system. While some of the spells therein have faults (and I am led to understand that it tends to break down at very high point values), the core principal of individually learned spells which are usable basically at will but are exhausting to cast mimics very well much of the fantasy fiction I enjoy (really, Gandalf's recounting of his magic workings in Moria might have been taken straight from GURPS, and Raistlin Majere casts remarkably like a GURPS mage considering that he is supposed to be a DnD wizard), and it plays well enough at the table. It has all sorts of variant systems designed for it, so a setting can have many clearly different types of casters without the need to learn or create fundamentally different rulesets. Plus, it comes prebuilt. Most of the other systems either require huge amounts of assembly beforehand or else require far more judgement calls and outright haggling in play than I enjoy making as a GM or relying on as a player.
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
I'd just like to put in a word for the poor maligned core magic system.
I second this.
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Old 10-02-2020, 11:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

I enjoy Sorcery the most. Its allows me to state what spells are available based on whether you can build them as abilities. It also limits what a spell caster can do by shrinking their list of spells to a handful plus whatever they can improv. This is very helpful because it means to me that players really flesh out their characters and carefully choose what spells to master and in what order. It also helps any new players I get since they don't have to go shopping through a catalog to find what they want. They can just tell me what type of caster they want to play and what kind of spells they want to cast.
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Old 10-02-2020, 01:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

I'm keen on old fashion spell colleges, more specifically the organization from Dungeon Fantasy. Effects are tried and true with little dispute. You know what you get and it feels formulaic like how a guild would organize magical abilities. When I want powers that feel more like clerical powers or magical imbuements I tend to us Magic-as-powers to make it feel less skill-based and less strictly governed.
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Old 10-02-2020, 06:53 PM   #9
johndallman
 
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

"Best" depends on how you want magic to behave in the story structure, IME.
  • Basic spell magic makes magic a matter of scholarship.
  • Path/Book magic makes it more a matter of access to ancient lore.
  • Ritual Path Magic makes it a matter of illuminated understanding of the world.
  • Realm magic makes it an issue of learning the levers that control the universe.
  • Magic as Powers is about individual talent and connection with magic.
  • Sorcery is essentially a standardised structure for Magic as Powers.
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:09 PM   #10
Raekai
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anders View Post
There's no single answer to your question, because it depends on what you want to accomplish.
Definitely this.

But I'll throw in on Sorcery and Magic as Powers in general because it's 'balanced' (or, at least, it's supposed to be). But, at the end of the day, I often crawl back to Ritual Path Magic and Incantation Magic for their flexibility and comprehensiveness.
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