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Old 01-30-2016, 02:09 AM   #41
simply Nathan
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

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Originally Posted by scc View Post
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.
Those don't give skill level bonuses, they just offset some of the other difficulties by letting wizards without Magery cast and making FP/ER lost to magic recharge immediately, respectively. Meanwhile Low Mana, spells "on", and numerous other modifiers out there readily give skill penalties.
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Old 01-30-2016, 02:25 AM   #42
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

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Those don't give skill level bonuses, they just offset some of the other difficulties by letting wizards without Magery cast and making FP/ER lost to magic recharge immediately, respectively. Meanwhile Low Mana, spells "on", and numerous other modifiers out there readily give skill penalties.
I was sure that High Mana gave +5
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Old 01-30-2016, 02:53 AM   #43
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

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I was sure that High Mana gave +5
It does not. High and Very High both allow anyone who knows spells to cast them, even if they lack Magery, but don't give any bonus to the roll. Page B235.
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Old 01-31-2016, 01:20 AM   #44
simply Nathan
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

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I was sure that High Mana gave +5
It would make great sense for symmetry with Low Mana, but that's not an effect it has.
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Old 01-31-2016, 01:32 AM   #45
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

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It would make great sense for symmetry with Low Mana, but that's not an effect it has.
Actually some chance reading in Thaumatology suggests that this is a quantum information thing. The official definition says no, but every so often you run into something that says it does.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:53 PM   #46
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

A few folks have written to the effect that "GURPS Magic is broken. The very title of this thread is that it needs fixing.

I think that GURPS Magic is actually really quite good and not broken at all. The whole concept of colleges provides a great way to encourage niche wizards and this idea is elaborated through Thumatology:Magical Styles. Magic also provides alternative rules for syntactic and symbol magic that are straightforward and easy to understand. The rules, as provided, give a solid foundation upon which to build one's own ideosyncratic system uniquely appropriate for your world. That is pretty cool. Thanks SJG!

While all the prerequisite chains don't always make sense to me, and sometimes I wish that Magery levels unlocked higher power levels in individual spells, I don't feel compelled to claim the system is in dire need of a thorough overhaul, based on my minor dissatisfaction. After all, I'm free to change the system to my whims.

So, I think it is unfair to state that "GURPS Magic is a broken system." The fact that the book commands a pretty penny on the used market suggest that plenty of others agree.

But what if the Magic system was overhauled? Who's overhaul would it be? Would it be the overhaul that satisfied the combat-wizard contingent who want to sling death and destruction at zero FP cost? Or would it be the fix that balanced the system to suit those who think Magic is overpriced and underpowered? Or perhaps the retooling that would satisfy those who are convinced that it is underpriced and overpowered? Nothing would please everyone. For instance, I, for one, don't particularly like what the proposed "fix" that opened this thread would do to the whole system, although there are some bits worth thinking about.

This forum, with its various opinions and insights into a multitude of house rules, is a wonderful resource. But I don't think that saying the Magic system is broken really helps. It certainly is unlikely to make someone lurking or scanning these threads to learn more about GURPS before picking it up then go on to actually adopt the system, or to return to it after a hiatus. A more positive tone, one that acknowledges GURPS's flexibility to meet one's needs and then illustrating that through alternatives to the RAW seems a much better approach.
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Old 02-03-2016, 03:51 AM   #47
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

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Originally Posted by Desthro View Post
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 the -1 per hex distance penalty, result in a heavy skewing towards spells that AREN'T reliant on 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.

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.
I was part of a GURPS fantasy game involving retooled magic in order to fit the "Avatar the Last Airbender"-esque setting, though I can't find the file. Much of it involved consolidating spells, and a huge number were just thrown out because it wasn't possible to mesh them with the somewhat straightforward and physical manner there. The game burned out because a paranoid player kept steering everyone away from anything that could've risked his character, but as it expanded spells so there were 5 elements and spells were consolidated so the same spell that stoked a fire also extinguished it.

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no way to create new spells like you can with RPM or Sorcery.
I'm unfamiliar with how Ritual Path Magic or Sorcery does so, though I might be missing a reference. Could you point me at something specific?

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My own idea was to find a way to use Powers-to-Skills with the Sorcery system and try to rebuild the spells in GURPS Magic that way
The poster seems to have a very clear goal of consolidation, which I think is one step toward fixing the problem of a large and inconsistent spell list. Powers seems complicated, I'm curious how you fared and what your focus was.

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return to the roots of GURPS MAGIC and try THAT on for a bit before you shoot the horse and bury it forever as "unusable". I'd allow SOME of the spells from GURPS GRIMOIRE in my campaigns
By the same token, with the sheer volume there is a LOT to scan through before saying "this is good" and "this is a no-go", that has to be acknowledged. Many of the people claiming problems have specific aspects to be addressed, doing so could help make a framework for GURPS magic like most of the other aspects of GURPS: a framework to make other things on, which is difficult to do with magic as is. There's also the risk of rose-tinted glasses when you look back at the "pure times".

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GURPS MAGIC 2nd edition remains my true love over that of the Ritual Path magic. And if it weren't GURPS that I was using for my group, I'd be using CJ Carella's (yes, the author of GURPS VOODOO) Eden Studio WITCHCRAFT and ARMAGEDDON.
You mention several books, which one are you recommending we look at? GURPS Magic 2nd edition or Witchcraft and Armageddon?

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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.

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 would like a consistent framework. That's why I left Shadowrun 5th edition (they lost consistency).

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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).
  • 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
  • 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.

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.
I like the balance and intricacy of Powers...but at the same time find the intricacy off-putting. I agree about the ritual options (we used them for the 2-3 weeks of our Last Airbender-esque game), but I'm not sure what you mean about use of relative skill level.
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Old 02-03-2016, 12:54 PM   #48
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

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Originally Posted by Mithlas View Post
I would like a consistent framework. That's why I left Shadowrun 5th edition (they lost consistency).
What do you mean by consistent framework?

GURPS is a tool kit system. This means it is consistent in that it is a generic, universal role-playing system. You can do serious games, silly games and everything in between. You can do high fantasy, hard sci-fi, any setting including whatever fantastic or mundane elements you like. However individual campaigns may involve elements are barred.

The suggestion I made was no worse than what we have: we have magic in some settings as (mostly) Skills, we have it as Powers, and there are multiple systems... and that is fine. Magic doesn't always work the same and if you're running a campaign where players reality hope, they should be used to even the laws of physics being inconsistent at times. In some settings Magic can be handles as skills, in others as powers. The same goes for chi-based abilities.

What I proposed was that all such things have a unifying scheme that takes one of three approaches:

1) All (or at least mostly) Skill Based, like the default Magic system and chi-fueled abilities.

2) All (or at least mostly) Advantage based, like Powers

3) A blend of the two, akin to how GURPS handled psionics in 3e (and possibly an option presented in 4e books I don't own).

So all I am suggesting is to make this more generic and universal. These three options should be recognized so that when designing the setting, you select what best represents "Powers" in your setting, be that magic, psionic, super, divine, etc.
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Old 02-03-2016, 12:59 PM   #49
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

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Originally Posted by Mithlas View Post
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Originally Posted by Wellspring View Post
no way to create new spells like you can with RPM or Sorcery.
I'm unfamiliar with how Ritual Path Magic or Sorcery does so, though I might be missing a reference. Could you point me at something specific?
I'm not sure what you're asking, but I'll take a swing. In GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic, spellcasting is mostly spontaneous. The player comes up with a spell effect and then negotiates an energy cost and magical skill prerequisites on the fly. So if you want a spell that works a certain way to match another RPG setting or a fictional world like Harry Potter or Song of Ice and Fire, it's simply part of the normal task of mapping it into the RPM framework.

GURPS Thaumatology: Sorcery takes another approach. There you have spells designed as advantages in advanced and added to a fixed spell list available for the campaign. The GM builds an advantage that models the intended spell effect, then applies the Sorcery power modifier, which adds all the game mechanics specific to Sorcery. At that point, if the player spends the points, he can buy the spell.

Now let's look at the default Magic system (which I agree is not broken). If you have a specific effect in mind, perhaps drawn from some other fictional setting, you have two choices: A) find the closest spell that kind of/sort of fits and use that, or B) create and balance your own new spell by eyeballing it.

While RPM is designed more for spontaneous on-the-fly magic systems, and Sorcery more for spamming a few signature spells the way you see people do it in D&D with the Sorcerer or Warlock, both systems are flexible enough to allow enormous scope for customization and adaptation. Default Magic is quite good... but Sorcery and RPM are better, and more in keeping with the GURPS philosophy.

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My own idea was to find a way to use Powers-to-Skills with the Sorcery system and try to rebuild the spells in GURPS Magic that way
The poster seems to have a very clear goal of consolidation, which I think is one step toward fixing the problem of a large and inconsistent spell list. Powers seems complicated, I'm curious how you fared and what your focus was.
Well, as I said in the post you're replying to, I don't agree that reducing the spell catalog to a smaller but still fixed list is the solution. I'm fine with a long and rich list of spells. IMO, there are no prerequisite chains. GMs come up with prereqs to match the requirements of the setting and story, but they shouldn't affect point costs.

My goal was to take what was best about default Magic and try to retrofit a spell creation system to it. I mostly like default Magic. So I took "Skills into Powers" and worked it backwards as "Powers into Skills". Here's the link.

Such a concept also allow you to turn any advantage into a supernatural skill the way GURPS already does with the Bard and Ninja skills. You start by designing an advantage to reflect the game mechanics of the spell effect you want. You convert it into a supernatural skill. Then, much like with Sorcery, apply modifiers to convert and fit it to the magical spell system.
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Old 02-03-2016, 03:14 PM   #50
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Default Re: Partial Fix of Magic: Fire College

It's not the concept of the magic system that's broke. It's the spell list IMO. Too much of it is arbitrary. And the system definitely didn't consider some of us aren't Arthurian lore for campaigns.

If I want magic in a TL11 setting, the system becomes pretty useless. Sorcery and RPM consider various TLs where magic doesn't.
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