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Old 09-13-2015, 05:30 AM   #1
scc
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

OK Magic gets a lot of flack, most of the time it's for having too many spells, others it's for being too cheap in light of Powers (A nonsensical argument) and even people upset about the way it makes you spend only a single point of each spell and pour points onto the core stat. While fixing the whole system is too much for a forum post I can make an attempt at fixing a single college.

At the moment the Fire College consists if the following 31 spells (I'm excluding Phantom Flame, it will be covered by a possible future post on the I&M College):

Seek Fire, Ignite Fire, Extinguish Fire, Create Fire, Shape Fire, Slow Fire, Fast Fire, Smoke, Fireball, Explosive Fireball, Rain of Fire, Fire Cloud, Deflect Energy, Heat, Cold, Warmth, Resist Cold, Burning Touch, Flaming Weapon, Flaming Missiles, Burning Death, Fireproof, Resist Fire, Flame Jet, Breathe Fire, Flaming Armor, Body of Flames, Essential Flame, Summon Fire Elemental, Control Fire Elemental, Create Fire Elemental

I'm going to attempt to cut down on this number by either dropping spells or in the case of weaker ones combine them into a single more useful spell in light of the tendency for later spells to be more powerful. Also I'm putting in the concept of Advanced Abilities, which are more powerful/useful versions of a given spell, made available by having an effective casting skill of at least 20, the GM is free to change this, on a per spell basis if he feels the need or even require other criteria be meet, but one of the break points given under Magic Ritual (M8) is advised and actually knowing the spell and not casting it at default somewhere is always required.

Finder
This replaces not just Seek Fire but all the Seek spells. The individual Seek spells are at best Easy techniques to Finder with a default of 0.
Cost: 1

Ignite Fire
Replaces both Ignite Fire and Extinguish Fire. Allows you to start or stop a fire with a literal snap of your fingers. May also be cast over an area.
Cost: Equal to amount of tight-beam burning damage to set target alight, per Making Things Burn (B433), half to extinguish, minimum of 2 for area version

Control Fire
Replaces Shape Fire, Slow Fire, Fast Fire and Fireproof. Use all stats (Cost duration) as per version of parent spell used.

Fireball
Works the same as normal, but Explosive Fireball is it's Advanced Ability

Smoke
Gains Fire Cloud damage dealing as Advanced Ability, with Smoke's duration

Rain of Fire
No change

Deflect Energy
Either left the same or rolled into Reflect

Stable Temperature
Merger of Heat and Cold

Survive Environment
Merger of Resist Cold and Resist Fire, possibly other similar environmental survival spells, Warmth also disappears into it

Burning Touch
Gains Burning Death as Advanced Ability, otherwise unchanged

Flaming Weapon
Flaming Missiles is rolled into this and gains Flaming Armor as Advanced Ability

Flame Jet
Breathe Fire becomes and additional option, otherwise unchanged (Why was Breathe Fire separate to begin with?)

Body of Flames
No change, or becomes Advanced Ability for Flaming Armor (In which case the later isn't rolled int Flaming Weapon)

Essential Flame
Likely merged with other Essential spells

Summon Fire Elemental
Becomes a Gate spell Summoning ALL Elementals

Control Fire Elemental
Becomes a Mind Control spell effecting ALL Elementals

Create Fire Elemental
Unaffected

So there we go, 31 spells reduced down to 17. Really it's both more, what with the non-Fire spells rolled into others. And yes I didn't cover Create Fire, but I couldn't quite figure out what it did, but it might be covered by the new Area ability of Ignite Fire, at least as long as it does no damage.

I hope this proves to people that it is possible to fix Magic. Please note however that this was just something that I threw together in about 3 hours and should only be taken as a proof of concept and starting point and not a finished version a a fixed Fire College. If this process of merging multiple smaller spells and very similar spells together is applied all across Magic I can see it's spell count shrinking from the 450 it is now to around 250-300, it may even end with Fireball and Lightning become the same spell
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Old 09-13-2015, 08:29 AM   #2
simply Nathan
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

Roll Create Fire into Ignite Fire, then make Essential Flame its advanced ability is what I'd suggest.
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Old 09-13-2015, 08:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

There are a lot of spells I'd probably roll into a generic Cantrips spell or 5 to 10 point Advantage (with the cantrips being cast at IQ+Magery for 0 energy). Ignite Fire and Extinguish Fire would be among these cantrips.

Other than that... I think it looks good as a start. Looking forward to more.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

As a player, I would be very annoyed to learn that I couldn't learn Explosive Fireball directly and had to spend enough skill points to get Fireball up to skill-20 to learn it.

Neither of them are very good spells to start (see http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com...-in-gurps.html for my problems with the current design of missile spells in GURPS) but Explosive Fireball is situationally useful for dealing with diffuse foes, and there isn't a good substitute for when you need to deal area effect damage at a distance.

I'm interested in the general idea of consolidating spells and making each spell more useful, but I really don't think that GURPS Magic needs more fetishization of skill breakpoints and it certainly doesn't need more incentives to create high IQ, high Magery wizards with a point in every spell. I'd suggest that advanced uses become available when you spend more than the minimum number of skill points in a spell, so they feel like something you had to spend time learning.

Finally, I don't think consolidating the Summon X Elemental and Control X Elemental spells into cross elemental categories is a good idea, nor is moving them into different colleges. Doing so eliminates the specialist fire wizard concept, which is rather iconic. It seems simpler to merge Summon, Control, and Create into a single spell, with Summon and Control as the baseline abilities and Create as the advanced ability.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:39 AM   #5
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

I actually use GURPS magic pretty much as is. I've modded several spells' prerequisites and created several, but for the most part it works for my world where magic is essentially an esoteric form of science or math. Learning the basics is important. You can't attempt calculus without knowing how to add. But that's my game.

I'm definitely not a fan of merging all the summon elemental, etc spells into the Gate spells. But then, I've pretty much eliminated the Gate spells from my world as there are no alternate dimensions or planes, time travel or the like.

Basically, what and how Magic need change (and whether it does at all) is going to be up to each particular group amd won't satisfy everyone.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

Instead of saying "Advanced versions of the spell unlock at skill 20", how about, "Advanced versions of the spell are available as Hard Techniques with a -5 default to skill"?

This lets the guy with Fireball-15 have Explosive Fireball-10, and able to buy it up as desired; it just won't exceed Fireball.

Speaking of Techniques, I noticed you said:

Quote:
The individual Seek spells are at best Easy techniques to Finder with a default of 0.
Technically, there are no "Easy" techniques, only Average (1 point for the first level) and Hard (2 points for that first level). How high up from Finder are you expecting the Seek techniques to get? A max of Finder+5?
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Old 09-13-2015, 11:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

Quote:
Originally Posted by scc View Post
OK Magic gets a lot of flack ... for being too cheap in light of Powers (A nonsensical argument)
I think you're misinterpreting this argument. The complaint is that Magic is too cheap compared to non-magical abilities. The fact the Powers, which is seen as closer to fair, is much more expensive is seen as evidence of this.

The real issue is that Magic is the best way to do any niche. It becomes an issue when, for example, you have your TL3 Doctor, Scout (in the literal, not the DF sense), Diplomat and Mage in a party. By knowing some divination spells, some healing spells and a mind control spell, your mage can easily become better at each other character's niche than that mundane character themselves. This isn't an issue in some campaigns, where pretty much everyone of note should be a mage and not using magic is like making a TL10 character who doesn't use any tech, but otherwise, you wind up with your mages overshadowing everyone.

Consolidating spells, while perhaps fixing another issue, actually makes this problem worse, because now in order to become better at finding things than the Scout, your mage need only buy Finder.
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Old 09-13-2015, 12:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfinlay View Post
...your mage can easily become better at each other character's niche than that mundane character themselves. ...
This is as much a problem with IQ as it is with magic. GURPS gives you a lot of versatility in character-building, which is why GMs often impose niche protection of some kind.
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

@tbrock1031 if using spells as skills you should probably use a spell

@mlangsdorf interesting point about the advanced uses, maybe shift to something like IQ+1 or +2? As for Explosive Fireball, that being a separate spell is part of the problem.

As for Summon and Control Elemental I just don't see enough difference between the different versions them to justify making them different spells

@dfinlay that's in part a build problem and in part a problem caused by the GM, you shouldn't be able to get anywhere near that much information from spells, and just going around using mind control spells on people should get you in trouble with the law
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

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Originally Posted by scc View Post
@dfinlay that's in part a build problem and in part a problem caused by the GM, you shouldn't be able to get anywhere near that much information from spells,
The various information gathering spells spells, as written, are not the GMs fault. They're in the book giving an enormous amount of information.

A scout is not only redundant in the face of an Invisible Wizard Eye, sending a scout out instead of the Eye is exposing yourself to avoidable risk.

Quote:
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and just going around using mind control spells on people should get you in trouble with the law
Probably, but GURPS Magic has very little to say on the subject. A mind-control ray-gun would come with an LC rating - spells don't.
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