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Old 10-05-2020, 11:25 AM   #31
awesomenessofme1
 
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

I haven't seen Ritual Magic mentioned yet. I haven't had much opportunity to test it out in play, but in theory, I really like it. It strikes a balance when it comes to versatility. Not locked in to spell lists like Sorcery or the default system, but not wide open with a lot of need for in-play adjudication like RPM and similar.
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Old 10-05-2020, 12:11 PM   #32
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

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It's still pretty broken when the RPM user can do everything the other people can do, better, and with fewer points. So.
Yes, with the right rituals RPM casters can make any other template redundant. Also, with the buffs they can add they wind up with an extra 100-200 pts worth of a boost.
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Old 10-05-2020, 01:51 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by awesomenessofme1 View Post
I haven't seen Ritual Magic mentioned yet.
<shrug> I've taken a look at it and not liked it much. It takes what was originally a minor restriction on learning spells (prerequsites) and turned it into a major limitation on castng spells (prerequisite count) while still keeping the original system's limit on casting which was energy cost.

Look at Prof. Headley in the sample characters in Basic. He does Ritual Magic but to me it looks like he's spent a lot of pts and gotten not much in return. Even the cleverest looking thing he's done which is to let him improvise any Plane Shift on an 11 or less has problems (besides 11 or less not being that good a roll). It's still going to cost him 20 FP (minimum) and he doesn't seem to have that much handy.

The real problem may be that Plane Shift will only take him and not his adventuring party. He can try and improvise a Create Gate but that has a prerequisite count of 24 and still costs 200 FP.

Infinite Worlds does some things with magical planar travel in its' Cabalist Templates but it doesn't use Ritual Magic.

There is a munchkin trick where you buy Ritual Magic Skill up into the 30s and double-default everything from that but it still doesn't help with the energy costs. Or the sarcastic GMs who ask "So? Your father's the God of Magic?".
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Old 10-05-2020, 09:53 PM   #34
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

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Well, its not a flat number. RPM's power is roughly equal to the exponential of the energy you can gather. That's actually not that uncommon in gurps. But the ammount of energy you can gather goes up with skill squared, roughly, and it is ideally suited to take advantage of very high skill. Skill 14 doesn't accomplish much at all (10 energy if playing it safe, 25 if pushing your luck), skill 17 (65 energy at the first quirk is pretty typical) is pretty strong, and skill 20 is ridiculously good (150 energy before the first quirk). So at low levels, RPM is actually pretty fair, but higher and higher skill pulls away as a better and better option.
That's exactly the same problem Magic has where below 15 you're largely useless and it gets better too fast. In fact the more I hear about RPM the more it sounds like an even more complicated and broken set of rules than base Magic.

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RPM is not that broken, especially when any opponent worth their salt also has RPM and is doing the exact same thing (but usually better). I will usually give the Big Bad and/or the Dragon extensive grimoire libraries. In one game, I had a Big Bad with Multimillionaire 2, so they had 100 +10 grimoires for their own use, and they lent their Dragon 100 +6 grimoires.
"It's not broken when everyone is forced to take it."
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Old 10-06-2020, 03:11 AM   #35
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

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What are the best magical systems in GURPS?
For me, that's a meaningless question.

There are no better or worse magical systems, there are magical systems more or less suited to different settings and power levels.

As for RPM being broken, no more and no less than any other magic system.
But as a freeform magic system, it does require more GM oversight during the game.

A RPM witch with IQ20+, +10 grimoires, allowed to cast any spell that can be designed within the rules with no GM approval, and with the pesky restrictions on spell stacking overlooked as cumbersome ... is broken. No discussion.

So is any other magic system, if likewise pushed outside the envelope.

In my latest campaign, I had players with power as magic, imbuement, a variant of rpm/incantation, and divine favor.
The "broken" one for that group of characters became divine favor, which started too weak but grew too fast too strong.
In another setting/with other players, it would certainly have been different.

Last edited by Celjabba; 10-06-2020 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 10-06-2020, 09:24 AM   #36
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

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There is a munchkin trick where you buy Ritual Magic Skill up into the 30s and double-default everything from that but it still doesn't help with the energy costs. Or the sarcastic GMs who ask "So? Your father's the God of Magic?".
Actually there is a far "better" way to munchkin this but it requires going outside the Basic Set and to Classic material to do.

Spells: Wildcard Magery, College! wildcard skill.
If you use these with Power-Up 7's option of "let casters attempt any spell within the college at full skill" for College things can go off the rails fast as Wildcard Magery expressly adds to College! ("Wildcard Colleges", Thaumatology pg 75)

Energy Cost: Industrial Alchemy and being insanely rich.
Paut Talismans.

Pros of Paut Talismans vs Powerstone
*Magery 2 and spells not required to make: Since Paut involves Alchemy, Magery 2 and the 11 spells needed to learn Powerstone are not required.
*Faster process to make at higher energy: It takes 100 days to make a 6 energy Paut Talisman rather then 120 days for a 6 point Powerstone via the Slow and Sure process.
*Option for better base success rate: Since Talisman making is not enchanting, with high enough skill a 16 can succeed and only an 18 is a critical failure.
*No Power level: Because they have no Power level, Paut Talisman still function in low mana areas, even if the Alchemist's effective skill is below 15. They, of course, don't work in no mana areas.
*Huge energy reserve possible: In a setting where Industrial Alchemy exists it is possible to manufacture Paut Talismans with energy beyond the largest practical quirkless powerstone with the absolute maximum being 1,000 energy.
*Better cumulative success rate: Since a 6 energy Powerstone takes multiple castings there is only a 90.7% chance the item will survive the process rather then the 95.4% for a 6 energy Paut Talisman.
*No quirks: Unlike a Powerstone a Paut Talisman will have no quirks - either the process works or it doesn't.
*Fixed "recharge" rate: The break even point for a Paut Talisman vs a normal Powerstone is 2 energy in normal mana. A Paut Talisman rechages far faster in low mana then a Powerstone.
*Multiple Talismans can be used together: There is nothing in the RAW that says that multiple Talismans cannot be used together. This allows a mage to use as many Paut Talismans as they can can wear.
*Other Talismans can be made: Since all elixirs are based off of the alchemy skill the crafting of other Talismans is possible.

Cons of Paut Talismans vs Powerstones
*Expensive: At $700/energy point a Paut Talisman is far more expensive then a Powerstone of the same energy. In fact, a Paut Talisman does not become less expensive until around 40 energy which would require Industrial Alchemy, is limited to a total of 1,000 doses for each batch, and is more expensive For example, the previously mentioned 1,000 Energy Paut Talisman would cost $725,000 to make and sale for $1,450,000 minimum.
*Practical Energy limitation: Since each dose (energy point) is -1 for each dose beyond the first in settings without Industrial Alchemy Paut Talismans beyond 6 energy would be extremely rare.
*Paut Talismans cannot be made more efficient: They must be separate items and cannot be part of another magic item.
*Requires activation in Low Mana: a Talisman requires a roll against the effective skill of the alchemist who originally created it.
*Fixed "recharge" rate: the Classic version of Charge Powerstone and the Mana Pool quirk dramatically changes the break even point in terms of "recharge" rate.
*Must be Worn to "recharge": A Talisman must be worn to come out of dormancy. "A talisman stashed in a chest or backpack will lie dormant indefinitely."
*Amount of Energy cannot be improved: The energy of a Paut Talisman is set at creation. More energy can be added to a Powerstone after creation via the Powerstone spell.

For how all this comes together there is Necron Maximara, an NPC I used to brings GURPS magic to my D&D setting. Yes, he ~950 points but he was supposed to be so powerful that only deities and the insanely powerful would bother him.
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Last edited by maximara; 10-06-2020 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 10-06-2020, 10:41 AM   #37
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

The pared-down magic in dungeon fantasy has served my game really well. It chucks out a lot of the problematic spells, and keeps it tightly focused on the high fantasy theme.

I figure it counts because DF is GURPS that's been pre-sculpted for fantasy. And that curation serves the magic system well.
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Old 10-06-2020, 11:00 AM   #38
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

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Originally Posted by Polkageist View Post
The pared-down magic in dungeon fantasy has served my game really well. It chucks out a lot of the problematic spells, and keeps it tightly focused on the high fantasy theme.

I figure it counts because DF is GURPS that's been pre-sculpted for fantasy. And that curation serves the magic system well.
I agree. If I run with the standard magic system I will probably use those spells and only import other spells as needed.
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Old 10-06-2020, 03:36 PM   #39
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Look at Prof. Headley in the sample characters in Basic. He does Ritual Magic but to me it looks like he's spent a lot of pts and gotten not much in return. Even the cleverest looking thing he's done which is to let him improvise any Plane Shift on an 11 or less has problems (besides 11 or less not being that good a roll).
He might also get a bonus from a successful Symbol Drawing roll.

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
It's still going to cost him 20 FP (minimum) and he doesn't seem to have that much handy.
We know he has signature gear of unspecified means but which is known to be a magic staff and the pic shows a gem on it.

F131 lets that buy anywhere from 25 to 1000 energy worth of enchantment, so that might be a pretty decent manastone or powerstone.

The real problem may be that Plane Shift will only take him and not his adventuring party. He can try and improvise a Create Gate but that has a prerequisite count of 24 and still costs 200 FP.

Infinite Worlds does some things with magical planar travel in its' Cabalist Templates but it doesn't use Ritual Magic.

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
There is a munchkin trick where you buy Ritual Magic Skill up into the 30s and double-default everything from that but it still doesn't help with the energy costs.
It's not double-defaulting technically since the spells are techniques ;)

T73 "rule of 20, extended" is one mitigator for this problem so people will specialize in the paths.

One other idea I had for this, since I lament how Ritual Magic effectively lacks "Dabbler" equivalent, is first acknowledging the basic intnt of ritual techniques being 'hard': it takes 2 points in them to buy them up to Path+1-PRC.

1) First convert them to 'average' techs. Don't worry about balance: they pay for it due to next step
2) assume it is "easy skills" (note: there are none yet) which default to the path, add an additional -1 for 'average' skills (like in the new supplement, -2 for 'hard' (most spells) and -3 for 'very hard'. We can call these 'skill difficulty modifiers'.

This alone is a nice snug little nerf which I think is well warranted if we look at ritual magery as 'balanced for basic' before they kept adding more and more spells which they all got automatically.

If you want to nerf further, here is the next step. It builds upon what it previously established: 1 character point buys up from a lower level to an established level.

The way dabbler functions is usually you assume a default of at least -4 relative to 1 point in the skill. In this way, 1/8+1 or 1/4+2 or 1/2+3 or 1/1+4 gets you there.

So what you can do is apply an inherent -4 to all the defaults, reduce to -3 for 1slot, -2 for 2slots, -1 for 4 slots, -0 for 8 slots (first full point).

You can take 'Incompetent' for entire ritual paths too... perhaps you could just assume 'incompetent by default' and need to buy 'Competent' to remove the basic -4 penalty to using the path skill.

Incompetent also relates to Anti-Talents which group leveled partial incompetencies together so it's valued at least in 1 point increments. You could in theory put together 'anti-dabbler' type setups too, where you group together partial-incompetent penalties.

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Pros of Paut Talismans vs Powerstone
*Magery 2 and spells not required to make: Since Paut involves Alchemy, Magery 2 and the 11 spells needed to learn Powerstone are not required.
Thaum has option to avoid the magery reqs if you have ritual magic like headley, just take a -2 penalty instead of the magery.

Of course... the PRC of Enchant/Powerstone is still brutal.

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
*Faster process to make at higher energy: It takes 100 days to make a 6 energy Paut Talisman rather then 120 days for a 6 point Powerstone via the Slow and Sure process.
Why would you be using slow and sure when you could be using quick and easy?

Or, apples to oranges here, if you want 1-shot mana (like paut) then why use Powerstone instead of Manastone? That's cheaper and easier to do using Quick and Dirty. Paut is even called liquid manastone...

Quote:
Originally Posted by maximara View Post
*Option for better base success rate: Since Talisman making is not enchanting, with high enough skill a 16 can succeed and only an 18 is a critical failure.
Stable Casting is only +40% which is merely 2 extra points if all you have is Magery 0, which is all you need to enchant if you are subbing penalties for magery prereqs.

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
it is possible to manufacture Paut Talismans with energy beyond the largest practical quirkless powerstone with the absolute maximum being 1,000 energy.
you can only drink 6xST ounces per 24h, so a ST 10 wizard can only get +60 energy per day using Paut. FP beyond your max is also usable for only 5 minutes.

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
A Paut Talisman rechages far faster in low mana then a Powerstone
ah wait, I thought you were just talking about normal Paut... I think I missed something here.

Is this a homebrew? Can't seem to find canon rules for paut talismans...
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Old 10-06-2020, 04:01 PM   #40
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Default Re: What are the best magical systems in GURPS?

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
ah wait, I thought you were just talking about normal Paut... I think I missed something here.

Is this a homebrew? Can't seem to find canon rules for paut talismans...
IIRC, and I might not, it's just the general "alchemical talisman" rule applied to paut in particular.
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