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Old 07-22-2016, 08:40 PM   #1
Gef
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yucca Valley, CA
Default Anyone use effect-shaping?

Hi all, gone awhile running a mutants game. It was great and reached a satisfactory conclusions, so I'm returning to my pseudomedieval fantasy world, only now it's pseudorenaissance - TL4. The empire of the previous campaign has disintegrated into several successor states, and the united church has splintered too. The schism will play a central role in the campaign, and the church uses effect-shaping path magic, so that's central too. PCs are griffin riders in a time of tense peace, ripe for intrigue, and I'm shooting for the feel of The Three Musketeers.

There are many kinds of magic in the world, but the main two are standard system and path magic. I like the contrast, one being tactical and the other strategic. Campaign starting total is 100 points, a sweet spot for GURPS in my opinion, especially if you're flexible with Talents. Allowing players to nominate Talents lets them be good at something, without being good at everything. Most PCs have a cheap talent for griffin-related skills and another cheap talent for fencing skills, "good" being 14 and "great" being 16. Equipment modifiers matter. Out of 150 build points, it takes 75 just for minimum griffineer requirememnts, leaving 75 for everything else. For the wizard, I'm allowing single-college only with a short chain, but he chose P&W for Missile Shield. In the standard system, a modest point total means you can only cast a few spells, but you can cast them well.

For the path system, the result seems to be that you can do a lot, but none of it well enough to bother with. Here's what I've got:

Religious Rank, +2 for Clerical Investment, caps your Magery level starting at -5. Chaplain has Rank 1, so he gets Magery -2! However, Rank+2 also adds full value to primary path skill, and half value to secondary path skill. Chaplain only has normal IQ because of other requirements, so with 4pt each in RM and Path skill, he's looking at 10-1-2+3=10. Max bonus is +10, then all the good rituals take -4 to -6, and that's before parameters. In many cases, the chaplain should be working with max bonus, including plenty of century-old cathedrals; he has the support of the church after all.

Most important rituals for the griffin corps are Chaperone (-3) and Charm Against Dark Beasts (-6), each with conditional activation (-1). Locked to a fetish with the rider present for the ritual, that's 98% and 85% success rates.

So thank you for reading this far! Now here's the question: What do you think of my house rule for letting Rank plus Clerical Investment add to rituals?

I think it balances with the fact that I won't let a PC start with higher Magery - those folks exist but they're not fly-boys. And I like the success rate; this is for downtime casting, on behalf of friends in ideal circumstances. If I count the bonus against the max, then basically it displaces something that would be more interesting (and wouldn't cost points).



On to the second topic, fetishes. They're a big deal in the system, and cosmology assumptions have huge effects. Here are mine: There are weak servitor spirits for the asking, call it ST/HT 8, anything less being too weak to survive in the spirit-eat-spirit astral jungle. They have no useful ability except the ability to provide energy and lock rituals. I ran some numbers and figured a priest could live quite well churning these out for his brethren at $400 a pop (market value, includes distribution cost).

First issue, the energy is great for sandard system wizards, beats the HELL out of a powerstone, and no use for effect shaping, so I nominate 2 house rules: Maximum discharge is 1 per minute, helpful to a wizard for maintenance but not for initial casting of big spells. Powerstones discharge fast, recover slow; fetishes are now the opposite. Second, path magicians can get a +1 bonus to rituals from a fetish with a roll against its spirit's HT. Success by 5 yields +2, succes by 10 yields +3, no penalty for failure or crit fail. Also, he can get +1 per 5 energy drawn from a powerstone; fair's fair.

How's all that sound so far?

Problem is how it scales. As written, a cheap-ass fetish can lock any ritual, so here's my solution. You need a spirit with HT 8, plus the base difficulty of the ritual, so the most serious rituals need HT 16. With 1 less, the lock lasts a season, and count backward from there down the Time Parameter chart until an 8pt fetish can only maintain the hardest ritual for 12hr. Make sense? And I'll combine that with a rule that fetish retail cost doubles for every level of HT above 8, so you need a 50-thousand-dollar fetish for potent rituals. The church won't hand those out to a mere chaplain! This applies only for on-going effects; a weak fetish can maintain an un-triggered ritual indefinitely.

So many rituals are really designed for long-term effects, which makes fetishes essential, but I need 'em to be somewhere between unobtainable and dirt cheap. Starting wealth is $2k, so a HT 11 spirit needs real money, but a HT 8 spirit can hold Chaperone for a month, or a triggered version that will wait indefinitely until a rider falls from altitude. Whaddya think?
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Old 07-22-2016, 10:59 PM   #2
Refplace
 
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Location: Yukon, OK
Default Re: Anyone use effect-shaping?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gef View Post
For the path system, the result seems to be that you can do a lot, but none of it well enough to bother with. Here's what I've got:

Religious Rank, +2 for Clerical Investment, caps your Magery level starting at -5. Chaplain has Rank 1, so he gets Magery -2! However, Rank+2 also adds full value to primary path skill, and half value to secondary path skill. Chaplain only has normal IQ because of other requirements, so with 4pt each in RM and Path skill, he's looking at 10-1-2+3=10. Max bonus is +10, then all the good rituals take -4 to -6, and that's before parameters. In many cases, the chaplain should be working with max bonus, including plenty of century-old cathedrals; he has the support of the church after all.


So thank you for reading this far! Now here's the question: What do you think of my house rule for letting Rank plus Clerical Investment add to rituals?

I think it balances with the fact that I won't let a PC start with higher Magery - those folks exist but they're not fly-boys. And I like the success rate; this is for downtime casting, on behalf of friends in ideal circumstances. If I count the bonus against the max, then basically it displaces something that would be more interesting (and wouldn't cost points).

Seems pretty limited.
Religious Rank 1 + Clerical Investment gets you what a normal Magery 0 character would have. No -5 penalty but a cap of 10.
Also it sounds like your replacing the standard +15 Bonus limit with 1 based on the cap. Penalizes the lower Rank guys and you hve to be pretty high up there to benefit.
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Old 07-23-2016, 04:18 AM   #3
Gef
 
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Default Re: Anyone use effect-shaping?

hanks Refplace. The cap of +10 for bonuses is not part of my proposed house rule, just a fault of my memory. You've reminded me that the max is higher, so that means that Rank should count against the bonuses. At low level, it helps hit the max, and at high levels, it helps you in circumstances where you can't get as many other bonuses as you'd like.

I didn't mean to imply a specific cap to starting skill in RM and path skills. Rather, I estimated what a player would want to spend. If he cuts his griffin rider skills to bare minimum and really focuses on magic, he could swing a couple more levels or get 1 level from an IQ bump that would help with lots of other skills he has to buy anyway.
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Old 07-23-2016, 11:13 AM   #4
Refplace
 
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Default Re: Anyone use effect-shaping?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gef View Post
hanks Refplace. The cap of +10 for bonuses is not part of my proposed house rule, just a fault of my memory. You've reminded me that the max is higher, so that means that Rank should count against the bonuses. At low level, it helps hit the max, and at high levels, it helps you in circumstances where you can't get as many other bonuses as you'd like.

I didn't mean to imply a specific cap to starting skill in RM and path skills. Rather, I estimated what a player would want to spend. If he cuts his griffin rider skills to bare minimum and really focuses on magic, he could swing a couple more levels or get 1 level from an IQ bump that would help with lots of other skills he has to buy anyway.
Nice nod to Rank.
Ok the last paragraph confuses me.
One of the optional Rules was Magery caps skill. I thought that was what you were using in a modified form above?

From memory an idea I once had was for a typical High Fantasy game using Path/Book
Priests had Power Investiture instead of Magery and PI capped skills.
Non-priests could cast but at -5; Clerical Investment removed the -5
Bonus were gained from Sancity and age of the Temple, time (liked the idea of long ritual prayer), and helpers with other bonuses from Thaumatology as well (No Deacons).
Rank added its level as a Bonus.
Blessed/Very Blessed +1/+2 Bonus.
Sense of Duty to the religion or god was +1 (Actual duty was typically required but didnt help here)
Paths were based on the Deities Aspects and most Deities had Books for special professions and priestly roles.
Theology was used to invent new Rituals and was encouraged so I didn't have to invent everything.

This gave me a nice mix of adventuring priests and stay at home priests who could still be powerful.
Never ran it though.
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Last edited by Refplace; 07-23-2016 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 07-23-2016, 12:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Anyone use effect-shaping?

Another reason I planned my religious system that way might be relevant to your campaign.
I liked the possible intrigue between established formal religious leaders (Rank) and "lower" priests or even non-priests who seemed Divinely Blessed and able to do Rituals far above their Rank.

Power Investiture was typically awarded as you gained Rank in a ceremony.
However PI came from the god so you could have heretical Saint types who bucked the Church but were apparently favored by their god.
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