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Old 03-01-2016, 06:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Alternate Magic System

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Thanks very much, John. This was extremely helpful in my sharpening up the concept. I needed to firmly place things into categories of attribute, advantage, and skill.
Could you please edit your original post to reflect these changes?
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:00 PM   #12
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Default Re: Alternate Magic System

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Could you please edit your original post to reflect these changes?
I tried, but was given a message that I did not have privileges to edit, and so I put it here.

Sphere Skill Magic

This house rules magic system combines elements of standard GURPS: Magic and rules for Realm magic, Verb-Noun magic, and 10+ Magery as detailed in GURPS: Thaumatology. The main goal is to provide a magic-as-skill system supporting dramatic, balanced magic and rich, colorful characters, and that encourages more typical human Intelligence attribute scores, gives incentives for high skill with particular spells, and allows for improvisational casting.

In this system, buying Magery turns on the Magery 9 attribute, and costs 5 CP. The Magery attribute cannot be raised or lowered; it is 9. Magic workings are cast with various bonuses and penalties against this attribute score or skills based on it. Apected magery could be allowed (or even mandated) by the GM, and associated cost reductions would be at the GM’s discretion. Limited Colleges or One College Only are not allowed.

Magic is worked within Spheres, which are purchased separately as Advantages at 5CP/level, with a maximum of level of 5 in any Sphere (gaining mastery over all Spheres costs 300 CP). GMs should feel free to require a Special Background for Sphere 5, since it confers awesome power. Spheres are represented as nouns: Air, Animal, Earth, Fire, Image, Light & Darkness, Magic, Mind, Spirit, Plant, Sound, Water. Each level in a sphere confers +1 to Magery-based casting rolls for workings within that Sphere. Each level also confers command of particular verbs, and each verb has three variants: Lesser, Intermediate, and Greater. For simplicity, “intermediate” is dropped and only the simple name of the verb used when discussing Intermediate Verbs.

Sphere 1 gives Lesser Communicate, Lesser Control, and Lesser Sense;

Sphere 2 gives Lesser Heal, Lesser Move, Lesser Protect, Lesser Strengthen, Lesser Weaken, Communicate, Control, Sense;

Sphere 3 adds Lesser Create, Lesser Transform, Heal, Move, Protect, Strengthen, Weaken, Greater Communicate, Greater Control, Greater Sense;

Sphere 4 confers Create, Transform, Greater Heal, Greater Move, Greater Protect, Greater Strengthen, Greater Weaken;

Sphere 5 sums up with Greater Create and Greater Transform.

Learned Spells

Spells in a given sphere are learned as Magery/A skills (or H or VH, at GM's discretion). There are no prerequisite spells, although every spell has a Sphere prerequisite/s and could have other prerequisites (minimum attribute scores, other skills, etc.) as the GM deems appropriate. Spells can only be learned as skills within the Spheres purchased, and can only utilize verbs given access to with the character's Sphere/s levels. For example, a character with Fire 1 could learn Shape Fire, but not Create Fire. All nouns and verbs have a FP cost of 1 and a 1 second casting time. Each verb also contributes a multiplier as well, of 1-5, corresponding to the Sphere level by which it is conferred. This multiplier is used in calculating both FP cost and casting time. Seek Fire, using a Sphere 1 verb, would take 2 seconds and have a base cost of 2 FP; Create Small Fire, using a Sphere 3 verb, would take 6 seconds and have a base of cost 6 FP; Body of Fire, using a Sphere 5 verb and two nouns (Transform Body to Fire) would take 15 seconds to cast and cost 15 FP. Additional verbs add 1 FP cost per their Sphere level, and only the highest verb contributes its multiplier to the whole magical sentence.

Spells from GURPS: Magic can be used more or less straight from the book, with GM approval, or players can create their own spells for vetting by the GM, utilizing the cost and casting times associated with verbs and nouns. Spell effects, such as damage or area, can be calculated using the guidelines for creating new spells suggested in GURPS: Magic.

Casting learned spells has definite advantages. First, they are faster and cost fewer FP than improvised castings (see below). Casters can halve the energy cost of their spell at a -3 penalty per halving of the energy cost, rounding up. Under this rule, 1 FP is the minimum cost to cast a spell, and 0.5 the minimum for maintaining. Also, area spells have a radius of +1/every 2 skill levels above Magery; resisted spells are resisted against the caster’s Will+skill level above Magery; missile spells and gain 10 yards of range/skill above Magery and can be charged for the number of turns equal to skill level above Magery; and regular spells remove 1 from range penalty (but get not bonus)/2 skill levels above Magery.

Improvised Casting

Improvised casting allows wizards to bend magic to their will to address circumstances for which their learned spells are not adequate or appropriate. Just having Magery and Sphere ability does not confer the ability to improvise magic. This comes with skill in Thaumatology, Ritual Magic, or Religious Ritual. Improvisational magic is worked by combining verbs with nouns within a single or among multiple Spheres in which the caster has ability, and workings are cast against a.) the lower or lowest Sphere in the casting, or b.) or Thaumatology/Ritual Magic/Religious Ritual-2, whichever is higher. Improvised castings have a penalty of -1 to -5, based on the Sphere level of the highest verb and an additional penalty of -1/word beyond two; improvising powerful spells is hard. A mage with Thumatology 15 and Fire 3 (effective skill of 12) improvising Create Fire would roll against Thaumatology -2 (13) with a penalty of -3 for the level of the verb (10). Improvised spells take twice the time to cast as learned spells, and cost 1 FP more/level of the verb used. Thus the improvised casting of the example skilled castings above would be Seek Fire, 4 seconds to cast, FP cost of 3; Create Small Fire, 12 seconds to cast, FP cost of 9; Body of Fire, 30 seconds to cast, FP cost of 20. Improvised spells can only be temporary—one day/lowest Sphere level, at most.

A Guide Lesser, Intermediate, Greater

Each verb, as said, has three forms, Lesser, Intermediate, and Greater. The effects of these are guided by the discussion of Realms and Power in THM 189.

Some examples of each verb’s capabilities:

Lesser Communicate Mind could give someone insight into his own dreams or read basic emotions or disposition (hostile, friendly, etc.). Communicate Mind could let the caster probe another’s mind or send thoughts telepathically to a subject. Greater Communicate Mind could let the caster mind-merge with someone or establish 2-way telepathic communication with multiple subjects.

With Lesser Control Sound, a caster could make his voice sound like someone else’s or perfectly tune a bagpipe. Control Sound could let a witch’s whisper be heard clearly throughout a village square, or silence a speaker. Greater Control Sound could turn someone’s voice into a deafening weapon capable of smashing down doors or walls.

Lesser Sense Earth could let the caster know if there is metal in the earth at his feet, Sense Earth would let him know if it were gold, copper, etc., and Greater Sense Earth would let him know how much, how pure, and where it was with high precision.

Lesser Heal Animal could work only on the caster, for instance, and do no more than what could be accomplished with First Aid. With Heal Animal, one could heal a bird, a comrade, or an octopus. Greater Heal Animal might restore a lost limb or all HP.

Lesser Move Air could blow out a lamp. Move Air could fill the sails of a ship with a steady breeze. Greater Move Air could create a tornado-strength vortex.

Lesser Protect [from] Water could keep a book from getting wet in a rainstorm, Protect [from] Water could waterproof a person or small party and all their belongings, Greater Protect [from] Water could keep a flood from washing a house or village away.

Lesser Strengthen Plant could keep a cut rose from wilting. Strengthen plant could make balsa wood as strong as oak. Greater Strengthen Plant could render a field of corn unharvestable by making the stalks hard as steel.

Lesser Weaken Earth could make a brick soft as wet clay. Weaken Earth could shatter a sword. Greater Weaken Earth could cause a hill to slide down and destroy a village.

Lesser Create Light creates just a few candlepowers of light. Create Light brings into existence light up to about normal sunshine levels. Greater Create Light could create a blinding source of light, perhaps capable of producing damaging effects.

Lesser Transform Animal could let a caster change his skin or hair color or turn his own arms into wings. Transform Animal could turn a person into a raven, wolf, or crocodile. Greater Transform Animal could turn somone into a dragon, or, by adding another noun, turn a person into stone.
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Old 03-02-2016, 10:10 AM   #13
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Default Re: Alternate Magic System

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I tried, but was given a message that I did not have privileges to edit, and so I put it here.
Yeah, it can be annoying when you can't edit a post later. This is much easier to understand than your old system.

Magery as an attribute is an interesting idea. But I would make Magery 10 cost 5 points and then make it worth 10 points to increase. That way it is on par with the other attributes while still being optional.

I wouldn't have the Spheres give a flat bonus to skill since they already unlock the verbs. Being able to buy new verbs and a +1 to all castings for 5 points is a bit under priced in my opinion. This is less of a problem if this bonus is equal to the amount your Sphere level exceeds the minimum Sphere level for that working. For example, if you are a Sphere 5 mage you would get a +4 bonus for casting a Lesser Communicate spell because that only requires Sphere 1.

Other than that, this looks good. It will be even easier to use once you write up a spell list for it.
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Old 03-02-2016, 02:46 PM   #14
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Default Re: Alternate Magic System

[QUOTE=Emerald Cat;1984697]

Quote:
Magery as an attribute is an interesting idea. But I would make Magery 10 cost 5 points and then make it worth 10 points to increase. That way it is on par with the other attributes while still being optional.
The reason for Magery 9 is to keep max casting ability at 14 unless skill in spells or Thaumatology is bought.
Quote:
I wouldn't have the Spheres give a flat bonus to skill since they already unlock the verbs. Being able to buy new verbs and a +1 to all castings for 5 points is a bit under priced in my opinion. This is less of a problem if this bonus is equal to the amount your Sphere level exceeds the minimum Sphere level for that working. For example, if you are a Sphere 5 mage you would get a +4 bonus for casting a Lesser Communicate spell because that only requires Sphere 1.
Having the bonus come from the Sphere level allows the potential for characters who are crackerjack in one Sphere, but only middling in another. Maybe there is a cleaner way to do that then my proposal? Getting the verbs and the bonus is a bit of a twofer, but given that it comes at what amounts to 1 college, it might be seen as reasonable. Or maybe the Sphere cost should just be higher per level.

Quote:
Other than that, this looks good. It will be even easier to use once you write up a spell list for it.
Thanks! And, yes, a list of stated out spells will be handy. That will take a while ...
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Old 03-02-2016, 06:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: Alternate Magic System

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The reason for Magery 9 is to keep max casting ability at 14 unless skill in spells or Thaumatology is bought.
Capping your Magery attribute at 14 would achieve the same effect.

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Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
Having the bonus come from the Sphere level allows the potential for characters who are crackerjack in one Sphere, but only middling in another. Maybe there is a cleaner way to do that then my proposal? Getting the verbs and the bonus is a bit of a twofer, but given that it comes at what amounts to 1 college, it might be seen as reasonable. Or maybe the Sphere cost should just be higher per level.
Right, turning Magery into an attribute is really bad for encouraging specialists. Based on the price of Magery at 10/Level, a +1 to all casting skills should be worth 10/Level. Assuming all Spheres have equivalent utility, One Sphere Magery would be useful 1/12th or ~8% of the time. This would be worth a -35% Accessibility limitation. One Sphere Magery would thus be worth ~6.5/Level. Therefore, each sphere should be worth 13 to 15 points/level.

A simpler way to reduce the importance of the IQ stat for mages would be to state that all casting skills are based off 10 + Magery. Each level of Magery would have a mandatory -40% One Sphere Limitation under this system to force specialization. Limiting Magery in a Sphere to 4 levels would mean that even the best mages would be basing their skills off of 14. Finally, your Sphere level would determine what verbs you have access to but has no effect on effective skill.

Note that I basically bumped up the limitation to -40% instead of 35% to give nice round numbers for Magery costs. This is very close to the canonical One College limitation for Magery anyway.
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Old 03-03-2016, 06:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: Alternate Magic System

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Right, turning Magery into an attribute is really bad for encouraging specialists. Based on the price of Magery at 10/Level, a +1 to all casting skills should be worth 10/Level. Assuming all Spheres have equivalent utility, One Sphere Magery would be useful 1/12th or ~8% of the time. This would be worth a -35% Accessibility limitation. One Sphere Magery would thus be worth ~6.5/Level. Therefore, each sphere should be worth 13 to 15 points/level.
Well, another way to look at it is that +1 to all casting (meaning across all Spheres) costs 60 CP if each Sphere level costs 5. That seems reasonable to me if you get the verbs thrown in there, too.
Quote:
A simpler way to reduce the importance of the IQ stat for mages would be to state that all casting skills are based off 10 + Magery. Each level of Magery would have a mandatory -40% One Sphere Limitation under this system to force specialization. Limiting Magery in a Sphere to 4 levels would mean that even the best mages would be basing their skills off of 14. Finally, your Sphere level would determine what verbs you have access to but has no effect on effective skill.
That is simpler, but doesn't achieve quite the same results, such as high skill in one Sphere, but low in another, and none at all in still others. With 10+ Magery, any casting in any Sphere known gets the bonus.

And, IQ is still important if you want to improvise, since for that you need Thaumatology, which is IQ based. Will is also important if you intend on casting resisted spells, and you'll need plenty of DX to be effective in combat settings. All this means that, unless your GM is extremely generous with starting CPs, you'll need to specialize to be an effective practitioner of magic.
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Old 03-03-2016, 06:39 PM   #17
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With 10+ Magery, any casting in any Sphere known gets the bonus.
This is why I recommended mandatory specialization by sphere. For example, your base attribute for casting with the Fire sphere would be 10 + Magery(Fire Sphere Only).

Magery(One Sphere Only, -40%) [6/LV] sounds about right in terms of point value.
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Old 03-03-2016, 07:42 PM   #18
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This is why I recommended mandatory specialization by sphere. For example, your base attribute for casting with the Fire sphere would be 10 + Magery(Fire Sphere Only).
I understand that, but it doesn't allow for characters who need more than one Sphere for their magic--like weather workers. With what I propose, you pay for Sphere levels that each give limited casting ability due to the selection of verbs they add to your repertoire in that Sphere and the noun you are allowed to manipulate with magic. Sure, you also get a +1 to casting per level, but to get to a score of 10 you still pay 10 CP--and that is limited to what amounts to a single college. Compare that to RAW for magic, where you pay zero for 10 IQ, 5 for Magery, and you can cast in all colleges.
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Old 03-04-2016, 06:48 PM   #19
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I understand that, but it doesn't allow for characters who need more than one Sphere for their magic--like weather workers.
I though each Sphere was its own skill. So each Sphere's magery would apply to castings involving that sphere even though multiple spheres are involved. Thus, the weather mage would benefit from having levels of magery over multiple spheres.

Under my modified system, the PCs are still paying points for their casting ability. I intended for them to buy a universal Magery 0 which is worth 5 points. To actually cast even basic spells in a given sphere also requires at least 5 points. Therefore, the PCs end up paying 10 points just to have a base attribute of 10 under my modification of the system. I think this is a balanced approach. But gaining new verbs and a +1 for only 5 points seems broken to me.

As an aside, having attributes of 10 for free is not unbalanced, even for magic use. With a base attribute of 10, a character has to invest 1 point to obtain a 50% chance of succeeding with Easy skills even for average adventuring tasks (or a +0 modifier). Their odds rapidly get worse as you throw harder tasks at them. According to the Basic Set, skills that govern magic skills should be Hard or Very Hard skills. Meaning you would need to spend 2 to 4 points per skill to get them to atr +0. Under most magic systems in GURPS, this would mean you have a 50% chance of your spell failing and draining you of 1 FP.

In short, having an attribute of 10 is free because a character will suck at tasks involving that attribute unless they buy up high skill. Floating to other attributes is a much better way to emphasize skill levels than capping attributes at 10.
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:14 PM   #20
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I though each Sphere was its own skill. So each Sphere's magery would apply to castings involving that sphere even though multiple spheres are involved. Thus, the weather mage would benefit from having levels of magery over multiple spheres.
Quote:
Under my modified system, the PCs are still paying points for their casting ability. I intended for them to buy a universal Magery 0 which is worth 5 points. To actually cast even basic spells in a given sphere also requires at least 5 points. Therefore, the PCs end up paying 10 points just to have a base attribute of 10 under my modification of the system. I think this is a balanced approach.
Thanks again for your comments. We are in very near agreement. This is exactly what I'm proposing.

Quote:
But gaining new verbs and a +1 for only 5 points seems broken to me.
5CP could be too low. But, using the pricing guidelines for Realms in THM189-190, 12 realms would be 5 times 2/3 points each per level. This suggests that 5 CP per level as I suggest is not so off base. Granted, it does give +1 to casting in that Sphere, and that might make a higher cost more appropriate. But, that +1 is only applicable to a single Sphere.
Quote:
As an aside, having attributes of 10 for free is not unbalanced, even for magic use. With a base attribute of 10, a character has to invest 1 point to obtain a 50% chance of succeeding with Easy skills even for average adventuring tasks (or a +0 modifier). Their odds rapidly get worse as you throw harder tasks at them. According to the Basic Set, skills that govern magic skills should be Hard or Very Hard skills. Meaning you would need to spend 2 to 4 points per skill to get them to atr +0. Under most magic systems in GURPS, this would mean you have a 50% chance of your spell failing and draining you of 1 FP.
Actually, H and VH would cost 4 and 8 CP to get to +0 according to B170. I'm on the fence about whether to make spells be A or H/VH. It seems a bit expensive to be H/VH on top of the Sphere costs, but maybe that is best anyway. I do value this forum's member's opinions
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