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Old 02-25-2016, 02:03 AM   #31
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: What does magic do?

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
It's possible to have an in-between breadth of category. Some RPG systems calls it "arcane" magic". It doesn't have to be bookish in order to be that subset of the supernatural which is secular and associated with learning and wizards, as opposed to being innate or religious (or in weird cases both innate and religious).

It's my guess that the OP may specifically have "arcane" magic in mind.
Well, that's still the question. Because currently I'm having Exalted-style magic (but primarily not Sorcery) in mind as an example that I can bring up, but the important distinction about it is that it isn't D&D-style Arcane magic, nor even more broad 'verbal, somatic, material components' arcane magic.
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Old 02-25-2016, 03:18 AM   #32
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Default Re: What does magic do?

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Well, that's still the question. Because currently I'm having Exalted-style magic (but primarily not Sorcery) in mind as an example that I can bring up, but the important distinction about it is that it isn't D&D-style Arcane magic, nor even more broad 'verbal, somatic, material components' arcane magic.
The Exalted basically are superheroes (and villains). Which is why I waved aside "magic" and went with "spell casters".
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Old 02-25-2016, 03:56 AM   #33
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Default Re: What does magic do?

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The Exalted basically are superheroes (and villains). Which is why I waved aside "magic" and went with "spell casters".
Not really. It's closer to Wuxia Secret Magical Techniques than to Mutant Super Innate Powers. Notably, you nearly always need to spend mana and activate your Charms, they have mystical workings, they have strict Magic A is Magic A sort of interactions, and (for Solars and Sidereals, at least) are reliant on being skilled.
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:46 AM   #34
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Default Re: What does magic do?

Okay, sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I'd almost forgotten I'd started this thread, and I certainly hadn't expected it to have garnered this many responses. The Roleplaying in General Forum usual seems to take longer than this to get going.

I was intentionally vague about what exactly I meant by 'magic' and 'powers', because I was interested to hear peoples opinions on what they actually meant, what was the difference?

I didn't set up a different thread, because it seemed like a reasonable follow-on. The first few posts addressed an amazing number of points on why you'd include magic, I wanted to know why you'd choose magic over another option.

As for defining what I mean better? I suppose I'd consider it one of style. Powers are typically innate or granted by a strange experiment. Magic may be innate, but mages usually have to learn how to access it. Powers simply exist, whilst magic usually has laws, even if they're only implied, or unknown within the setting. Powers are usually narrow in scope, whilst magic is usually more flexible.


All the above are pretty rough guidelines, so let's address a specific instance:

Here we'll assume magic is learnt, accessible to everyone with sufficient training, but some are significantly more gifted, and most are so inept that it would be pointless to learn. It is reasonably powerful, but it's main strength is flexibility, however it is fairly costly (I'll leave exactly what form the takes cost as undefined).

Meanwhile powers are innate, they're narrow in focus but generally more powerful that what is possible with magic. The cost for using them is pretty negligible compared to magic.

Assuming I'm already set on having a powers system in my game, what does magic add to it that the powers system doesn't already provide? In terms of gameplay I suppose, what benefit my players would get from it in terms of making the game more enjoyable or interesting, and how it would improve the feel of the setting. Also of interest is how it might detract from the game or setting.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:30 PM   #35
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Default Re: What does magic do?

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Originally Posted by Wavefunction View Post
...Here we'll assume magic is learnt, accessible to everyone with sufficient training, but some are significantly more gifted, and most are so inept that it would be pointless to learn. It is reasonably powerful, but it's main strength is flexibility, however it is fairly costly (I'll leave exactly what form the takes cost as undefined).
...
In terms of gameplay I suppose, what benefit my players would get from it in terms of making the game more enjoyable or interesting, and how it would improve the feel of the setting. Also of interest is how it might detract from the game or setting.
It'll depend on you- It'll depend on your players

-I have a setting with both and it works well Magic is set on a (Chaos/Order) powers are random (well player picks after I roll or based on backstory)

Powers have a 'different' point system ...I guess I conciser the 'Powers' in my world as practically divine favor in those 'elements' and switching is very costly. At Character Creation players have 100 'points' to spend based on your background story you may have some points forced or restricted.

Earth (subs include metal or mineral finding and manipulating)

Air/atmosphere (subs include local weather manipulation, or never being breathless, or projectiles not being effected by air resistance or even being aided by favorable winds)

Fire/heat (subs include fully controlling the activity of particles adding or removing energy)

Water (subs include body fluids or at high enough levels any liquid)

Gravity (interdenominational hole...to random...or things like light bending or infinite carry but it still has to fit in your hands/pack- or being an expert at grappling as the character grappling and opponent suddenly changes weight, ignoring normal gravity- pulling objects to/away from oneself)

Light (subs invisibility with still being able to see


Added to that above I have a 'Superpower' setting that everyone has a chance for:
Mind(most often Telepathy),
Body(most often healing),
Soul(most often 'Command Voice' or 'Inflict (emotion))
or Magic...(most often people that want to have a chance to do most of that other stuff at a price)
-These are one per character forever-

I trimmed up your quote your Magic seems to be like ~The Force~ was originally it was everywhere and some people used it innately and some people could actually with study or practice (or both) master it

Magic can be made interesting or a drudgery -

In a 'magic happens...omg run! (towards if it's suddenly caused golden chickens OR away if cows are falling form the sky)' plotline or setting you can allow characters to develop magic in the sense of -I saw that magic happen and was paying attention now I have a piece of the puzzle to work with - I am going to learn how magic works. This will work with players who are curious or like to work towards character rewards like 'magic sense (like spidy sense)' Here magic is (or seems) random and unpredictable so there are (supposedly) no rules to learn- some players will find this annoying and unless you remember to do it often enough to give clues but not so often to be a plot bog - it may end up meaningless. (think what the Fay or 'Q', or Puck, Loki or Maui might do without other entities interfering- sometimes good sometimes bad sometimes a lesson sometimes not...) This would be the hardest to make meaningful and might disgruntal players unless tied into the plot or based on rules (EX: after a special necklace is found ...a cannon shots every time one of the characters shays 'shoot!'...or the weather changes form fog to pea soup if someone says something about the fog - giving the characters limited reality warping powers- but as soon as they say it out loud (the characters can know but not say) the necklace looses power (or takes on a darker power).

In a 'magic is an art/science' plotline or setting you can allow characters to start knowledge with or buy 'books/scrolls on magic' that with time they can understand and use, the workings of magic would be understood by the knowledgeable and there would be few mysteries left about what Magic can and cannot do. This is most common and seems to be where you are headed- Magic would need rules and consequence, each race/species/culture would have a different view on Magic and it's use- (form -all- magic is ok, to no blood magic not even healing, to no magic at all) and the players would have to adapt what they do with Magic accordingly. If you are sitting down for first taste of a new setting and you say 'there is magic in this setting' this is what most people would think of.

In a 'magic is a way of life' plotline or setting the haves are rich and powerful and the have-nots are treated with suspicion or pity 'Poor Tim he has to pick up a broom to sweep)- slavery is outlawed because lets be honest "everyone who's anyone knows a simple spell to take care of 'that' issue." ... everything form transportation to sweeping to fetching water would all be magical - in fact arts and the actual ability to -make- things (w/o magic) may be becoming lost- why build a clock if you can duplicate a masterwork clock ? Now ... what happens to society when Magic collapses (for any reason really) This could -be- the plot the scholars or whatever know that 'M day' (apologizes to Marvel) is coming 'never magics' are at according to official records 10% of the population (or less) but some prophecy (or whatever) told of the age of magiclessness- but society depends on magic (food prep, cleaning, healing, creating items) and the characters are sent to stop 'M day' (the closer they get to the time and place the less magic works and the more 'never magics' there are so when they get to that point they must figure out if they -want- to stop it or not). Like the setting following this it will start super convenient- amulets of protection, bags of holding and the like but as the players get better these devices start to fail. This type of setting as a plot should appeal to anyone that always wanted some magic abilities w/o buying them (everyone starts with 3 level one 2 level two and 1 level three... or whatever) this is the type of plot for thinking players rather then just dungeon clearing ones but magic crutches can be slowly removed.

In a 'magic is limited but everywhere' one could get around the issue of cooking and cleaning and maintaining and carting gear because 'Magic!' also magically protected locks or magically improved lock-picks- Magical Rune traps are all available- here magic is convenient for you and your players. There are no world destroying spells and areas may have more or less connection to magic as you need. This can become frustrating for players who like the challenge of a carefully packed bag of 45 or less units of weight... if you have none of those this has a good mix of no body worries because magic is weak (only effects items and must be recharged every lunar cycle or every season of 3 lunar cycles) - this keeps magic weak enough to be enjoyed and not abused.
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