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Old 07-13-2013, 02:15 AM   #1
Joe
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Wizards - Social Stigma + Social Regard? Help!

I'm putting together a small advantage/disadvantage package for wizards in my new fantasy campaign. The campaign is DF-like, but not quite so campy or over-the-top. Plus social situations, status etc will matter.

Wizards are meant to be rare and dangerous folk. From the campaign intro:

Quote:
Magic certainly exists, and the rulers of some major kingdoms are reputed to be mighty sorcerers. Yet normal people rarely if ever come into contact with magic, and would no doubt fear and shun it if they did. Anyone performing supernatural feats will be respected, but also feared and even reviled, even if the magic seems relatively benign in its effects.
To model this, I was thinking of having wizard characters purchase a package looking something like this:

Quote:
Wizard Package
Unusual Background [10] (Wizard)
Magery 1 [15]
Social Regard 2 [10] (Powerful and mysterious Wizard)
Social Stigma [-10] (Unnatural and dangerous Wizard)
Does this make sense to folks? Or is there a better way?
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:35 AM   #2
Mailanka
 
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Default Re: Wizards - Social Stigma + Social Regard? Help!

I'm not sure you need to charge for an unusual background. "Rarity" has less to do with Unusual Background than rebalancing a package and/or discouraging people from trying something. That is, PCs are generally going to be rare and special people anyway. There's no reason to charge them extra "for being a hero," but you might want to charge them if they want, say, to use psionic powers in your fantasy campaign, because they're generally not allowed and will upset the balance of your game, but you feel that charging them X points makes it acceptable.

As for the social regard/stigma, I certainly wouldn't bother, just like I wouldn't give someone +will and -will, or +ST or -ST. Both are just granting Reaction modifiers in pretty much the same way (as opposed to, say, Beauty and Social stigma, which are reaction modifiers that apply under completely different circumstances).

Instead, I would reflect that passage in one of three ways. I would either say that people react to mages strongly, and then add +2 to any high rolls or -2 to any low rolls and force a reroll of anything of a 10, and call that a 0 point feature, or I wouldn't bother and treat fluff as fluff (that is, it affects the story strongly in a narrative fashion, but has little mechanical weight: ie, people always really notice mages strongly, and a neutral reaction is very standoffish, and a negative reaction is very frightened, and a postive reaction is very worshipful), but otherwise they have the same kinds of reaction ROLLs. Finally, I might consider allowing players to purchase reputations on the kind of magic they practice. A known necromancer? Negative reputation. Known healer? Positive reputation.

So, in the end, I suppose my package for your rich and evocative description would be:

Magery 0 [5]

And that's it. GURPS can be very deep and nuanced, but that doesn't mean that you have to have crazy, complicated templates. GURPS can also be very simple and still evocative, especially when you understand how features work (especially in regards to what you allow, rather than force, players to purchase)
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:54 AM   #3
roguebfl
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Default Re: Wizards - Social Stigma + Social Regard? Help!

Unusable background is only semi-related to rarity. It only charged in the cases where the rarity causes the ability isn't a consideration as a possibility as a cause, such that it will neither be looked for as a cause nor would people take precautions against it, assuming normal precaution would not indirectly also protect against it.
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:22 AM   #4
Michael Cule
 
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Default Re: Wizards - Social Stigma + Social Regard? Help!

You could do it the way ARS MAGICA does. Give the wizards Reputation bonuses when they earn them but tie the magical gift (Magery in GURPS terms) to an effect that makes people's flesh creep when they meet a wizard and instantly distrust them.
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wizards - Social Stigma + Social Regard? Help!

BTW what is the Social Stigma providing that Social Regard (feared) isn't granting?
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:59 AM   #6
Joe
 
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Default Re: Wizards - Social Stigma + Social Regard? Help!

Hmm... now that I go back and actually read the entry for Social Regard, it explicitly states:

Quote:
Membership in a given social group cannot result in both Social Regard and Social Stigma.
So my way is out.

As for other people's ways: thanks everyone for the responses so far. Some thoughts:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
I'm not sure you need to charge for an unusual background. "Rarity" has less to do with Unusual Background than rebalancing a package and/or discouraging people from trying something.
I see what you're saying here. In this campaign, though, my intention is to have Magic be rare and special enough that very few folks will have taken any precautions against it - a bit as Roguebfl was saying. So a character who has even minor magical powers will potentially be able to cause considerably more havoc than a character with the same number of points invested in mundane skills, advantages and so on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
I would either say that people react to mages strongly, and then add +2 to any high rolls or -2 to any low rolls and force a reroll of anything of a 10, and call that a 0 point feature, or I wouldn't bother and treat fluff as fluff.
This seems plausible to me. Certainly it generates the same effect as I was going for, more or less.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Cule View Post
You could do it the way ARS MAGICA does. Give the wizards Reputation bonuses when they earn them but tie the magical gift (Magery in GURPS terms) to an effect that makes people's flesh creep when they meet a wizard and instantly distrust them.
Thanks for this. I, too, like Ars Magica's treatment of wizards a lot. In this campaign, though, I'm a bit reluctant to have The Gift function as an automatic supernatural Odious Personal Habit, as it were - it just doesn't quite match my sense of the campaign world. Wizards here aren't disliked for supernatural reasons, but for quite natural social ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roguebfl View Post
BTW what is the Social Stigma providing that Social Regard (feared) isn't granting?
This is a fair point. Maybe simply Social Regard (Feared) is the way to go after all. Hmmm....

Last edited by Joe; 07-13-2013 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Wizards - Social Stigma + Social Regard? Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Westerhaven View Post
Thanks for this. I, too, like Ars Magica's treatment of wizards a lot. In this campaign, though, I'm a bit reluctant to have The Gift function as an automatic supernatural Odious personal Habit, as it were - just doesn't quite mach my sense of the campaign world.
Ars Magica has "Mages are creepy" as the default, but allows modifiers. Gentle Gift leaves you seeming like a normal person. Blatant Gift makes you actively frightening. For this campaign, having a levelled disadvantage of "Obvious Magician", worth -5 per level, and giving -1 reactions per level, seems plausible.
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:28 PM   #8
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Wizards - Social Stigma + Social Regard? Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Westerhaven View Post
I see what you're saying here. In this campaign, though, my intention is to have Magic be rare and special enough that very few folks will have taken any precautions against it - a bit as Roguebfl was saying. So a character who has even minor magical powers will potentially be able to cause considerably more havoc than a character with the same number of points invested in mundane skills, advantages and so on.
But why charge that as a flat-rate tax of 10 CP for anybody who has magical potential, regardless of whether it's a tiny and highly specialized potentail or a broad and hugely powerful one?

It might be better to use a set of levelled UB Perks, such as 1 CP UB per level of Magery, or per full 10 CP in Magery if the character has Limited Magery, i.e. Limited with One-College or Gadget or similar. And likewise 1 CP UB per level of magic-like advantage, such as Oracle, See Invisible and so forth. All the magic-like supernatural trais that you want to make rarer in terms of world demographics.

Or you can total up the final CP cost of such traits (i.e. after Limitations, including Power Limitations) and charge a 1 CP UB Perk per 10 CP. Or per 15 CP or per 5 CP, or whatever sounds right to you.
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:32 PM   #9
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Wizards - Social Stigma + Social Regard? Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
As for the social regard/stigma, I certainly wouldn't bother, just like I wouldn't give someone +will and -will, or +ST or -ST. Both are just granting Reaction modifiers in pretty much the same way (as opposed to, say, Beauty and Social stigma, which are reaction modifiers that apply under completely different circumstances).
It makes a lot of sense for a character to have both Social Stigma and Social regard, because a subset of encountered people won't care about the Social Stigma, and a mostly different subset won't car about the Social Regard. Both subsets should be small, probably tiny, but it still adds a lot of world flavour.
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:06 PM   #10
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Wizards - Social Stigma + Social Regard? Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Westerhaven View Post
I'm putting together a small advantage/disadvantage package for wizards in my new fantasy campaign. The campaign is DF-like, but not quite so campy or over-the-top. Plus social situations, status etc will matter.

Wizards are meant to be rare and dangerous folk. From the campaign intro:



To model this, I was thinking of having wizard characters purchase a package looking something like this:



Does this make sense to folks? Or is there a better way?
It's possible. But bear in mind that people with Social Regard: Feared, are not liked anyway (except by people who aspire to also be Feared). Are you sure they really have a social stigma over and above just being feared?
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