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Old 10-13-2015, 12:21 AM   #31
dcarson
 
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

While different books, movies etc. have different takes on guns, swords, physics they all base it somewhat off of reality. So having it work they way it does in book, movie etc. X is doable by tweaking rules. Often large tweaks (see the swords in a world with guns threads).

Magic has no reality to base off of so it depends on how you want the metaphysics to work in your world. Magic may be so useful that someone without magic has more crippling problems then someone with major handicaps in the real world. Maybe it is so hard to learn and does so little useful that unless you want to learn it because it fascinates you you don't.

The Basic magic system was written to be compatible with games that have magic that works like most RPGs. This is fine if you want that but does not work in many games. Thankfully they have written several other systems that work better for other styles.

Psionics has a similar problem.
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Old 10-13-2015, 08:24 AM   #32
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
Under the standard system, Explosive Fireball is a separate problem that I can purchase, if I decide I need it, for 1 skill point, and have at a reasonable skill (usually 13-19 for most point budgets).

Under your system, Explosive Fireball is rolled into Fireball, but I can't use it unless I spend enough points to get Fireball-20. For the typical 150-250 point game, my wizard has IQ 14-16 and Magery 3-5, and to get Explosive Fireball needs to spend 1-15 points. which isn't affordable at all for low point value game.

Spending 11 more points to get the same marginally useful spell effect is a detriment. Especially since I suspect that when you try to write up your revised spell list with proper formating, you're not really saving all that much line count.
Seems like the perfect use for a Shortcut to Power perk (or variant)
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Old 10-13-2015, 11:30 AM   #33
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

I like the concept of simplifying spells, turning the almost endless variations originally presented as entirely separate spells into Techniques. I think part of why the discussion gets so easily off on tangents is it exposes that GURPS actually still has a lot of areas where it could have better internal consistency. Adjusting for settings, we probably need to be able to model powers, psionics and spells (plus other bits) as Skills or Advantages or Advantages that also use Skills.

Again to streamline the Standard Magic System as is scc's goal, I like this approach. It might make world shattering mages less expensive or make certain spells a bit hard to access, but I'd rather get there and then address those problems than continuing to struggle with the current issues. I mean just making Magic into its own Attribute would help (and is an old, old suggestion I know).
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:09 AM   #34
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

I can't wait to see what he does with the next college. Which one is next?
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Old 10-17-2015, 08:06 PM   #35
scc
 
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

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I can't wait to see what he does with the next college. Which one is next?
The plan, made when I made the OP, calls for I&C to be next
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Old 01-26-2016, 11:11 PM   #36
scc
 
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

OK, kicking around some ideas for a DF game where I wanted Wizard spells to be organized into 6 Magery tiers like Clerics and Druids prompted me to return to this work. So I decided to start at the start this time, with the Air College, of course once I was about half way through I realized that the next two colleges I'd want to do are Water and Weather, because so many Air spells are also part of those two colleges and given how aggressively I cut the list down (5 spells!) I'd merge those three together to get a single college. Of course this is for DF, so core Weather spells may not end up added.

The following lists the fate of every spell in the Air Spells chapter that isn't a pointer to somewhere else in the book.

Clear the Air replaces: Purify Air, Create Air, No-Smell, Odor, Devitalize Air, Destroy Air
Winds of Change replaces Shape Air
Storm Front replaces Windstorm and Sandstorm
A Breathe of Fresh Air replaces Breathe Air and Breathe Water
Tornado Transport replaces Air Vortex

Seek Air is part of Finder, a Knowledge that replaces all 'Seek' spells
Air Vision folded into Knowledge spell protecting/providing vision

Air Jet, Body of Air, Walk on Air, Wall of Wind, Earth to Air, Concussion, Essential Air, Body of Wind, Summon (Air) Elemental, Control (Air) Elemental and Create (Air) Elemental are all folded into generic spells in a new trans-elemental college, along with similar spells from other colleges.

The trans-elemental college isn't a proper college, rather it's a container for spells that have almost incidental effects, only varying in which element is used, such as the Jet and Wall of spells.

One other thing I'm planning on doing is creating more types of elemental, one for each Body meta-trait, how do people feel about sicking an Aid Elemental on their players for the next session.

Finally instead of posting things to the forums directly as I've been preparing this for a possible submission to SJ Games I've uploaded a copy of my working document to Google Docs, and have given people the ability to comment, it SHOULD appear in proper SJ Games manicurist format: GURPS Air Spells Redone
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Old 01-27-2016, 03:53 AM   #37
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desthro View Post
GURPS Magic as written can't be "fixed" because the underlying engine powering it is incredibly faulty and prone to abuse. It needs to be retooled and redesigned from the ground up.
Agree.

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Originally Posted by Desthro View Post
IQ+Magery
Nobody thinks that is okay once they've used GURPS Magic as-is.
A talent with 13+ related skills is 15 points. Yet magery is 10 points per level covering a massive amount of skills. Very iffy. On top of that Magery makes some of the skills utterly potent.


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Originally Posted by Desthro View Post
Magical Spells are not Skills
But they use the skill system! Sort of. Most of the skills in GURPS are broad and cover a large amount of knowledge or physical skill. The narrower the field, the EASIER the skill becomes. GURPS Magic is not this way; as you have noticed, you need to consolidate the skills in order to make them more appropriate. There are few skill-penalty analogues in GURPS Magic. And the ones that do exist, like he -1 per hex distance penalty, result in a heavy skewing towards spells that AREN'T reliant on distance. Like missile spells, pre-combat buffs, and spells that can be controlled at a distance but not CAST at a distance. There aren't "deceptive" casting techniques to make your resisted spell more likely to penetrate your subject's resistances, or "All-Out Concentration" maneuvers, or "Telegraphing" to make your spells easier to cast. And skill prerequisites. . .
This isn't necessarily true. P.39 in Thaumatology gives ideas how how to trade energy for enhancements, skill and other effects.


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Originally Posted by Desthro View Post
Where Are the Tools?
GURPS Magic had no tools or framework to teach you how to design your own spells or colleges. Worse, one can't even derive a consistent framework because the spells themselves are inconsistent from spell to spell, even between similar spells. What makes a spell VH as opposed to H? What is the difference between expending 1, 2, 3, or more energy? Why do some spells require more prerequisites than others? Why do I even NEED a prerequisite? None of the skills in GURPS have prerequisites. . . But I need them in GURPS Magic?
That's not complete true. Other skills in GURPS do have prerequisites. Magic did not introduce this concept.

Here's a list of skills with Prerequisite skills (Advantage prerequisites ignored): Aquabatics, Body Control, Engineer (And more on some specialties of it), Enthrallment, Flying Leap, Group Performance, Invisibility Art, Light Walk, Musical Influence, Pressure Secrets, Shiphandling, Submarine (Free-Flooding Sub), Surgery, Zen Archery.

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Originally Posted by Desthro View Post
Comparison to Advantages
People say you can't compare Advantages and Spells. Well, maybe not in terms of outright costs, but you CAN compare them in terms of the flexibility each one provides. Advantages have a huge advantage (heh heh) with the number of building blocks you have. You have the advantage list, enhancements, limitations, and the myriad ways they all interact accordingly. There is very little that you cannot create. Further, since it uses a well-documented set of tools, you can be reasonably assured that it is fair. Spells don't have that flexibility. They just don't, and they should have from the get go.
I agree that it's nebulous, but much of what is GURPS Magic is 3E carry overs from that magic system and Grimoire book. In fact, some spells are basically copied word for word and missing tables that the 3E books have.

That being said, I'm not really a fan of Advantages as magic either because I think certain traits are over priced for modifiers and underpriced for others. I also think that the Limitations and Enhancements interact poorly with one another, especially when building afflictions (One of the building blocks of magic). Multiplicative modifiers helps a bit with this as an optional rule, but it's clunky to fit into some situations.

I much prefer RPM but that system has the flaw of generalist being far too advantageous. There's some ideas how to fix this, but I haven't chosen my favorite method of fixing this since my players stopped being interested in magic recently.

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I am sure there is more, a lot more. It needs retooled. It won't be, probably not for a very, very, very long time. But I imagine that it will someday.
I don't think it will be. Other magic systems are already being written. Sorcery, RPM and who knows what else will appear. Thaumatology book pretty much gives endless ideas for possible magic systems. Really, GURPS Thaumatology should have been named "GURPS Magic" and the current GURPS Magic should have been a sub book of GURPS Thaumatology.

That would follow more of a 4E design schema. Instead it's very 3E where 3E Fantasy was a specific setting, and Magic is a specific magic system. In 4E nebulous concept books tend to be tools for building a genre. Fantasy 4E is about building your own fantasy world. Space is about building your own space setting. So Magic should be about building your own magic system. Sub books should focus this creativity to specific genres.
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Old 01-27-2016, 03:57 PM   #38
simply Nathan
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

GURPS Magic is my favorite magic system not only in all of GURPS, but in all of tabletop role-playing, of those I have seen to date. My entire list of issues with it come down to a fairly short list:
  • Too many overly-specific spell skills; bloated lists where options could have been placed on some to expand their utility (History, Ancient History, and Prehistory, Neutralize Poison and Instant Neutralize Poison, [missile] and Explosive [missile], [spell] and Mass [spell], et cetera).
  • Related to the above, convoluted spell prerequisite trees. Too many wimpy spells have extremely long prerequisite chains based on the complexity of other spells which could logically have served as prerequisites. Spell prerequisites as a concept are very flavorful, it's just that some spells made up later on in the system's lifespan wound up getting placed too deep in the trees; more brute-force alternate paths like the way Test Food + Magery 3 can get you Neutralize Poison would have been immensely helpful, as would shortening the spell list itself.
  • Absolute skill level breakpoints. I prefer to gauge energy reduction by relative skill level and make the ritual requirements optional skill modifiers, based on the Alternate Rituals optional rule.
  • One stat to rule them all. "Good" wizard builds below a certain point total all look very samey to me (and my advice on almost all wizard builds I've ever made is to make them more like that) due to the relative usefulness of IQ and Magery over HT/FP/ER, Will, DX, and Per. I think some spells should be based on different attributes from each other and/or skills should be floated more often.
  • Positive modifiers for spellcasting are hard to find; this coupled with the default breakpoint at level 15 make it rare for wizards to be going around with spell levels in the 8-14 range of the other adventuring skills, and thus the system is very hard on low point total casters and on dabblers.

RPM brings a flavor to the table, but it's not the flavor I want from my magic.

Powers is there, but lots of work if you want anything other than a fairly basic Super character with mana-sensitive powers. Sorcery is largely the same, but with lots of worked examples and a very good use of Alternate Abilities.

As soon as I saw "magic spells are skills, learned in the same way as other skills" that really clicked with me on a level no other magic system has. When I saw how I could finally make a wizard who could cast both Healing and Fireball without having to be a priest to some random fantasy god I can hold no respect for or selling his soul to the devil for power, just a secular scholarly wizard able to burn things and restore HP with the system casting no judgements on his morals nor declaring by fiat that such a combination was "unbalanced", that is when I fell in love with GURPS.
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Old 01-28-2016, 12:04 AM   #39
scc
 
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

Quote:
Originally Posted by simply Nathan View Post
  • Too many overly-specific spell skills; bloated lists where options could have been placed on some to expand their utility (History, Ancient History, and Prehistory, Neutralize Poison and Instant Neutralize Poison, [missile] and Explosive [missile], [spell] and Mass [spell], et cetera).
That's already in progress, you'll note that Sandstorm has already become a part of Storm Front, the replacement for Windstorm, Sparkstorm will follow in due course.

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Originally Posted by simply Nathan View Post
  • Related to the above, convoluted spell prerequisite trees. Too many wimpy spells have extremely long prerequisite chains based on the complexity of other spells which could logically have served as prerequisites. Spell prerequisites as a concept are very flavorful, it's just that some spells made up later on in the system's lifespan wound up getting placed too deep in the trees; more brute-force alternate paths like the way Test Food + Magery 3 can get you Neutralize Poison would have been immensely helpful, as would shortening the spell list itself.
Reducing the number of spells will, as you note, accomplish part of this. But as I'm aiming for a 6 level progression of Magery I'll probably end up leaning more on that as a prerequisite. As I'm doing this for a DF-based game any spell or college Wizards in that don't get are at the bottom of the list for conversion.

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Originally Posted by simply Nathan View Post
  • Absolute skill level breakpoints. I prefer to gauge energy reduction by relative skill level and make the ritual requirements optional skill modifiers, based on the Alternate Rituals optional rule.
  • One stat to rule them all. "Good" wizard builds below a certain point total all look very samey to me (and my advice on almost all wizard builds I've ever made is to make them more like that) due to the relative usefulness of IQ and Magery over HT/FP/ER, Will, DX, and Per. I think some spells should be based on different attributes from each other and/or skills should be floated more often.
  • Positive modifiers for spellcasting are hard to find; this coupled with the default breakpoint at level 15 make it rare for wizards to be going around with spell levels in the 8-14 range of the other adventuring skills, and thus the system is very hard on low point total casters and on dabblers.
As this is simply a spell conversion I won't be addressing those problems, but I DO have ideas for Enchanting spell failure to explain why that task is always dangerous, as things stand that argument doesn't hold water.

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Originally Posted by simply Nathan View Post
RPM brings a flavor to the table, but it's not the flavor I want from my magic.

Powers is there, but lots of work if you want anything other than a fairly basic Super character with mana-sensitive powers. Sorcery is largely the same, but with lots of worked examples and a very good use of Alternate Abilities.

As soon as I saw "magic spells are skills, learned in the same way as other skills" that really clicked with me on a level no other magic system has. When I saw how I could finally make a wizard who could cast both Healing and Fireball without having to be a priest to some random fantasy god I can hold no respect for or selling his soul to the devil for power, just a secular scholarly wizard able to burn things and restore HP with the system casting no judgements on his morals nor declaring by fiat that such a combination was "unbalanced", that is when I fell in love with GURPS.
Powers and to a lesser extent RPM have the problem is that the point costs tend more towards your companions being Superman then Connan
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Old 01-28-2016, 09:45 PM   #40
scc
 
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

I forgot a few things before, so I'm adding them now.

There ARE ways to get positive modifiers for spellcasting, the simplest is to cast in a High or Very High Mana area, but this is not without risks. The second is to use tools, apparently these do actually exist, even if there are no published prices. Thaumatology's Magical Modifiers are obvious, even if hard to arrange for certain spells. Finally the Stabilization perk may allow you to claim that casting the spell isn't dangerous, giving that +4 mod.

The reason I made things a Google Doc this time was that there's the possibility of me submitting this for publication, so how does this compare with expected document standards?
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