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Old 02-27-2014, 11:10 PM   #21
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

I suspected that you were wanting something other than what you’re calling “simulating the WW game”; but when I mentioned maybe getting away from the WW setting and just doing a multi-magic-system setting of your own, you insisted that your interest was MtA. I’m not trying to be argumentative, either; just pointing out where my confusion came from.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:32 PM   #22
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

Hm. I like the setting, conceptually or on a "high level", as it were, though I am not necessarily so fond of the particular metaphysics and mechanical decisions that WW made in their game. Does that clarify it some, perhaps?
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:10 AM   #23
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

Frankly, a lot of my comments here have been a reaction to a feeling that I’ve been getting from your posts, that you somehow think that you’re improving MtA by switching over to GURPS and replacing MtA’s generic, universal magic system with a fractured assortment of distinct magic systems. (Oh, the irony!) I haven’t been trying to simulate MtA so much as I've been attempting to salvage those aspects of MtA that I like that you’ve been jettisoning.

As I understand it — and I’m not trying to be judgmental here — what you’re after is a setting that superficially resembles MtA (in that it features a diverse selection of magicians, each with their own kind of magic) without getting into any of the philosophical depths that MtA plumbs. Which is fine; but I’d suggest that you either run the game with a group that knows very little about MtA to avoid misunderstandings or “file off the serial numbers” (e.g., change the names of the various factions) and present it as a game that’s loosely inspired by MtA but is not attempting to be MtA. Either way, the goal should be to discourage people from drawing comparisons between your game and MtA: they should be treated as separate things, each to be judged on its own merits. Stop trying to call it an adaptation of MtA, and I’ll stop trying to insist that you adapt MtA. ;)

One advantage of going with “loosely inspired by” instead of “adaptation of” is that you get to use MtA as a starting point, branching out from there. The nine Traditions presented in MtA aren’t what I’d use if I were devising an MtA-like setting of my own, as there are some styles of magic that get awkwardly lumped together into a single Tradition and others that end up split up over several Traditions.

For instance, I’d be inclined to add a Tradition of Necromancers who deal with ghosts and related entities, drawing inspiration from such sources as Aztec, ancient Egyptian, central African, and Caribbean mythologies (e.g., the Aztecs’ blood sacrifices; the ancient Egyptian concepts of the soul and the afterlife, which drove their practice of mummification; central African traditions of ancestor worship; and the Loa of Voodoo fame). Currently, such concepts kinda sorta (but not really) get shoehorned into the Euthanatoi or the Dreamspeakers, but are primarily represented in MtA by various Crafts. This would also be the way to include psychics, since there isn’t really a Tradition that fits that mold.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:28 AM   #24
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
As I understand it — and I’m not trying to be judgmental here — what you’re after is a setting that superficially resembles MtA (in that it features a diverse selection of magicians, each with their own kind of magic) without getting into any of the philosophical depths that MtA plumbs.
Different philosophical depths. I don't accept the metaphysics that WW seems to have pursued as being the most interesting possibility given the setting concepts, which leads me into different philosophical waters. You are, of course, free to prefer whichever metaphysical set of assumptions, and subsequent philosophy, you like.

The idea of a separate tradition of necromancers seems like a good one.

As for the rest, yes, you are right. Being more explicit about it being loosely inspired by rather than strictly an adaptation of would probably be best.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:01 AM   #25
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

I agree with you lugaid, M:tA didn't do enough to differentiate the traditions. That said, I think that if I were to use the setting, I'd use a common system for all traditions but customize it for each one, much as Dataweaver suggested, probably with mandatory modifiers (mostly limitations) on their Realm Magic advantages.

However, I do have experience with mixing magic systems. In fact, the basic concept for my fantasy campaign was "Mix all the weird stuff, but without making it goofy like IOU."

I'm a bit behind, though; I haven't quite figured out how to work in all the ideas in Thaumatology. Still, I've got plenty.

The standard system is the magic associated with wizards, what most people think of as magic. It's famously tactical: Most of the spells take a moment to cast, just a word and a gesture. Ceremonial spells are possible, but they're mainly for enchantment: Making items which can cast a spell in but a moment.

Master wizards also use the system called "ritual magic" in 4e, though I hate the name because there's nothing inherently ritualistic about it. In my campaign, it's called "arcane" as in in secret, because nobody teaches it to foolish young apprentices. In addition to allowing a wizard to improvise any spell he can think of, it also uses the "threshold" system instead of fatigue.

A form of magic granted by a divine agency is also possible, Power Investiture, but for cosmological reasons, it's rare. Priests mostly use effect-shaping book magic (another awful name). It's strategic rather than tactical. Spells take a long time to cast but can be really powerful, cast over any distance with indefinite duration (using a fetish to maintain). Priests who cast a lot of spells are like hackers, using "social engineering" to get true names and hair samples.

Wannabe wizards without Magery can use Rune Magic or Words of Power, that is written or spoken syntactic magic. The spoken form is more powerful, but all the words are bang skills and the energy cost is higher. Mortals can bear the high cost, barely, if they don't overdo it, because again I use the threshold system. Syntactic magic is slower than standard, faster than book magic. It's more flexible than standard, too. While arcane is just as flexible in theory, it takes hefty penalties for complex spells, so there's a niche for syntactic casters.

One God grants Divine Favor, and another grants pact magic with spiritual distortion.

Some people have a magic gift that breaks the mold, doesn't even require mana. That's psionics.

Everybody knows about legendary warriors; what they don't know is that those warriors are a special kind of magician. They use the magic of motion, or kinemagic; notice how it kinda sounds like cinematic? Call it ki for short.

And then there's chaos mutation, which can do anything a super power can do. Dwarves can have elemental powers instead.

The Society of Geometers have found that when they contemplate the ideal shape, with understanding, they unlock powers of the hyper-intellect, including gadgeteer. What they do seems like magic to common folk.

Basically, it works. Yes, there are balance issues that are a work in progress. A fetish created by a priest can be a lot cheaper than a powerstone. So, maybe it should only work for priestly magic? That's no good, effect-shaping doesn't cost fatigue. I suppose I could use Energy Accumulation, maybe switch to RPM, but that version is more time-consuming in play. Basically, I rule that all the powers interact. Dispel Magic (standard system) and Dispel Ritual (priest magic) and Neutralize (psi power) and the imbuement Strike of Negation (ki power) all do the same thing.

You can easily make the case that Effect Shaping is the most powerful and kinemagic is the weakest, but a wizard is faster than a priest and a power blow is faster than a spell. Psi is expensive in points, but cheap in fatigue cost, and it's not obvious when in use. If players know what they're getting, going in, then the balance is close enough.

Last edited by Gef; 02-28-2014 at 03:42 AM.
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:38 AM   #26
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

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Right. The real touchstone of the Euthanatoi isn’t so much about death as it is about balancing the scales of karma.
Exactly. And they except that their backs are the pivot on which it will be balanced.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:06 PM   #27
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

For what it’s worth, Mage: the Ascension is going to be getting a Kickstarter for its 20th Anniversary edition (a bit of a misnomer, as it missed the 20th anniversary deadline) sometime within a week; and the book is likely to be published a few months from now. When that happens, I’ll probably revisit this topic from the angle of “how to update GURPS Mage: the Ascension to both GURPS 4e and M20 standards”. When the time comes, I’ll probably start a new topic for it, as the mission statement for that will be significantly different from the purpose of this thread.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:08 PM   #28
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

If you want to use the power structures from M:tA, why not just use Detect, Control, and Create?

1 dot is usually Detect
2 dots is usually a limited Control
3 dots adds in limited Create/Transform
4 dots removes many of the Limits on Control
5 dots removes many of the limits on Create/Transform

All of these of course have accessibility limitations based on the Tradition of the user(Generally Preparation and appropriate materials for the tradition), and the rules of consensual reality(Paradox and such)

You can either use the M:tA spheres, or define your own.

You can even have power levels independent of the sphere level by letting different Mages take different levels of the create/control powers

'Magic' in Mage the Ascension was less about 'magic' as used by Merlin, and more about exerting your will on the reality around you like a minor deity.
Seems like the best way to emulate that in GURPS would be to use the 'god-like' create and control powers.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:32 PM   #29
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

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'Magic' in Mage the Ascension was less about 'magic' as used by Merlin, and more about exerting your will on the reality around you like a minor deity.
That was the stated explanation of magic in Mage. If you had an awakened avatar and a strong enough will, you could alter reality and were a mage. To do it consciously and consistently, you needed a paradigm to work through.

It was their paradigms that were supposed to differentiate the different Traditions, Conventions, Crafts etc. and make all their magic seem distinct, even though underneath they were all doing the same thing, altering reality with their awakened avatar and will.

It made sense for there to be one unified system for magic in Mage, part of the setting conceit was that all the mages were all really doing the same thing, but they just couldn't see it.

Unfortunately, there really weren't any mechanics to support the differentiation of paradigms, so unless the GM was willing to really restrict players attempts at magic without support from the rules, and based on fairly vague descriptions of paradigms, all the different types of mages could end up feeling very much the same.
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Old 02-28-2014, 04:08 PM   #30
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terwin View Post
If you want to use the power structures from M:tA, why not just use Detect, Control, and Create?

1 dot is usually Detect
2 dots is usually a limited Control
3 dots adds in limited Create/Transform
4 dots removes many of the Limits on Control
5 dots removes many of the limits on Create/Transform

All of these of course have accessibility limitations based on the Tradition of the user(Generally Preparation and appropriate materials for the tradition), and the rules of consensual reality(Paradox and such)

You can either use the M:tA spheres, or define your own.

You can even have power levels independent of the sphere level by letting different Mages take different levels of the create/control powers

'Magic' in Mage the Ascension was less about 'magic' as used by Merlin, and more about exerting your will on the reality around you like a minor deity.
Seems like the best way to emulate that in GURPS would be to use the 'god-like' create and control powers.
Phil Masters covered it in GURPS: Thaumatology. He called it Realm magic. Read his stuff and all should be simple. All praise the Phil!!!!
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