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Old 12-03-2013, 04:08 AM   #1
doulos05
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Seoul, Korea
Default GURPS Magic Flavor

OK, probably been asked before but I Crit failed my Research roll. What is the flavor of the default magic system described in Basic Set and Magic (with no options). I'm trying to get a feel for what fantasy books/styles have informed it's creation and what kind of power levels, etc, it gravitates to. Campaign assumptions I'm making are Banestorm with 160 point characters. What are my mages going to look like at that point level power-wise (assume they aren't terrible munchkins but they do understand the basics of point optimization. What about after a bit of adventuring (175, 200, and more)? I ask because I've always either run SF games or used magic as powers but I'm curious about what I'm missing.
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:40 AM   #2
Michael Cule
 
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Default Re: GURPS Magic Flavor

Well, your magicians at 160 points (and why 160? Particularly? 150 is the default) will not be fragile flowers but they won't be supermen either. They can afford to have a good basis of useful things they can do for the party, healing, finding things, mind reading perhaps and maybe one good offensive spell. But there will be plenty of things that they still want to learn and lots of room to improve spells to levels that make them very much easier to cast.

As they get more knowledge they get more flexible but increases in power depend more on what sort of stored energy you allow them to acquire. It's unlikely that PC wizards will want to go down the long boring lonely career path of the professional enchanter but they may well make a few nice things for themselves.

Even at the highest levels, most GURPS Wizards are still human beings. Necromancers who decide to become liches excepted.
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:48 AM   #3
doulos05
 
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Default Re: GURPS Magic Flavor

No particular reason for 160, I just like it better than 150. The extra points seem to go to background skills for most of my PCs anyway. The energy storage is kinda my biggest question mark. I'm not sure exactly what to expect in terms of power levels there. Assuming they drop as much into powerstones as a front line fighter drops into weapons and armor, what kind of energy capacities are we talking about and how does that translate to the battlefield?
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:33 AM   #4
Refplace
 
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Default Re: GURPS Magic Flavor

They could go for the above but some players prefer to focus on one spell and do it really well instead of a large spell list.
Flavor is hard, its more a professional type wizard then a major force or waling cannon.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:48 AM   #5
davidtmoore
 
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Default Re: GURPS Magic Flavor

Quote:
Originally Posted by doulos05 View Post
No particular reason for 160, I just like it better than 150. The extra points seem to go to background skills for most of my PCs anyway. The energy storage is kinda my biggest question mark. I'm not sure exactly what to expect in terms of power levels there. Assuming they drop as much into powerstones as a front line fighter drops into weapons and armor, what kind of energy capacities are we talking about and how does that translate to the battlefield?
Depends on how freely you let them use the system; high Wealth and lots of Signature Gear can go a long way in buying Powerstones. Generally, at that point level, most wizards seem to end up with low-double-figure energy sources, allowing them to roughly double or triple capacity, but a properly min-maxed character could significantly exceed that.

How it translates depends on build. Most battle mages will probably go with standard Missile spells - Fireball and so on - so more magic just means more fireballs. A very focused character can attempt some more spectacular effects with a decent power store, but generally they have long casting times as well as high casting costs.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:09 AM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
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Originally Posted by doulos05 View Post
. Assuming they drop as much into powerstones as a front line fighter drops into weapons and armor, what kind of energy capacities are we talking about and how does that translate to the battlefield?
It won't go far on the battlefield. If the wizard is of average Wealth and spends all $1000 on a Powerstone he gets a 7 pt stone.

The important thing is that it only recharges 1 pt per day. No matter how many stones you have or how big they are that's the usual recharge limit

A 7pt stone is best held as an emergency reserve for unplanned Healings or similar things. An extra 1 pt/day on the battlefield (average) is probably not worth $1000 but saving 1 or even 2 characters might be.

People whoa re serious about casting spells more frequently usually go for Energy Reserve or if their budget is large enough they go for FP Regeneration.

Powerstones might rate ahead of Healing potions in value per $ but a wizard still needs at least one of those to heal himself when he's wounded. Healing spells on himself take a minus equal to the number of HP a wizard has lost.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:06 AM   #7
doulos05
 
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Default Re: GURPS Magic Flavor

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
It won't go far on the battlefield. If the wizard is of average Wealth and spends all $1000 on a Powerstone he gets a 7 pt stone.

The important thing is that it only recharges 1 pt per day. No matter how many stones you have or how big they are that's the usual recharge limit

A 7pt stone is best held as an emergency reserve for unplanned Healings or similar things. An extra 1 pt/day on the battlefield (average) is probably not worth $1000 but saving 1 or even 2 characters might be.

People whoa re serious about casting spells more frequently usually go for Energy Reserve or if their budget is large enough they go for FP Regeneration.

Powerstones might rate ahead of Healing potions in value per $ but a wizard still needs at least one of those to heal himself when he's wounded. Healing spells on himself take a minus equal to the number of HP a wizard has lost.
OK, so it sounds like the smart build is to sink character points into ER (Magic). But I didn't see that on the Battle Mage template in Banestorm so I had forgotten about that advantage. Did it not make that template because of RL timing issues (Didn't Banestorm come out before Powers, which is the first mention of ER I can find in my books?) or was there another reason?
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:11 AM   #8
SCAR
 
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Default Re: GURPS Magic Flavor

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Originally Posted by doulos05 View Post
OK, so it sounds like the smart build is to sink character points into ER (Magic). But I didn't see that on the Battle Mage template in Banestorm so I had forgotten about that advantage. Did it not make that template because of RL timing issues (Didn't Banestorm come out before Powers, which is the first mention of ER I can find in my books?) or was there another reason?
Powers was released (physical print edition) in November'05 (PDF release April '06)
Banestorm was released (both editions) in March'06.

So Powers was released first, but only by a few months, so they were likely in development at the same time, so not too surprising that ER wasn't used in Banestorm.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:33 AM   #9
starslayer
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Default Re: GURPS Magic Flavor

If you have ever read the 'incarnations of immortality' series the magic system behind that seems quite in line with the GURPS magic system. A rather down to earth non-mysterious, well identified magic, with 'logical' progressions (its easy to learn how to start a fire as a mage, you need to learn how to start a fire in order to throw a fireball, no wizard who can throw fireballs will lack the ability to seek, create, and control fires).

Combat magic is quite limited, but extremely powerful, where warriors walk with swords drawn a mage might have a ball spell in hand which will do a whoppin 9d damage if it hits, but will take 3 turns to build a new one, and a substantial ammont of energy.

Combat control magic on the other hand is plentiful, if often short ranged. Why bother throwing a fireball when you can just set someone's hair on fire, or cause every link in their armour to spontaneously unlock and leave them unarmoured- why even bother fighting when you can create 'solid enough to hit you and be hit' magical warriors, animals, and objects. Why bother trying to guard a pass when you can fill it with created earth, or stone, or metal.

Toolbox magic is where magic REALLY excells- a well equipped mage (as in has a lot of spells) is basically never going to end up in a situation where they don't have the skill to solve it, its just which skills to use, and will I have enough time to rest aftwards. They can unlock doors, levitate objects, teleport, start and douse fires, create illusions, befuddle minds, light dark passageways, darken and silence light passageways, etc.

Your average gurps magic mage has more in common with McGuiver then with gandalf, tonnes of little neat tricks that get the job done, not as many big flashy things.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:03 PM   #10
Kromm
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Default Re: GURPS Magic Flavor

To confirm: Energy Reserve (Magic) came along too late to get into GURPS Banestorm. It is eminently fitting, however. Indeed, it's difficult to see how some of the legendary magic-workers in the setting could have done what they're purported to have done without deep internal reservoirs of some kind.

Be aware of a quirk of the standard magic system, however: High base skill enables lots of low-key buffs – high skill gives an energy-cost reduction that lets you maintain numerous modest spells for free, and allows you to absorb the -1 per spell "on" – but it takes raw energy to manage legendary flash. A high-skill PC will either make himself slightly super-powered by keeping bonuses to ST, DX, HT, DB, DR, etc. (and perhaps a few spell-granted advantages) "on" at all times, or boost his entire party by granting them all one or two modest benefits like that. A high-energy PC will cast impressive, top-shelf spells that call for 20+ energy points out of the gate.

To some gamers, this is bizarre . . . Given equal points to spend, the wizard who selects lots of Magery and/or IQ is actually less able to use the more potent and rarified spells than the wizard who gets merely "enough" Magery and/or IQ to qualify for such spells and then ploughs everything else into heaps of FP and/or ER. It creates a distinction between wise masters who act as subtle force multipliers and potent archmages who topple castles and raise the dead singlehandedly. Make sure you plan around this dichotomy if you permit easy access to ER.
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