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Old 08-18-2017, 01:27 PM   #1
Gnomasz
 
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Default Making spells feel more like skills

From another thread, that was pretty much the opposite of what I'm suggesting here:
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Originally Posted by hal View Post
Why not finally go with "They're skills" and realize that some skills are easier to master than others.

If that weren't enough? What if the EASY version of Fire spells meant that the critical failure rolls were worse off than critical failures for the Mental Average version of Fire Spells? What if the HARD to master spells for the Fire College meant that all critical failure rolls were rolled on TWO dice instead of three, or perhaps offered a 2d6-3 roll on Crit Failure tables. Sometimes, even a crit failure might not affect anything at all?
Well, I was going to test it before I put it out there, but since the topic came out again: I've been trying to make spells feel more like skills for my current campaign. Only had one session though, so I can't really say how it plays out.

Spell Difficulty
I've redistributed spell difficulty somewhat equally based on prerequisite count (taken from Thaumathology.
  • Easy -- spells with up to 2 prerequisites,
  • Average -- spells with 3 or 4 prerequisites,
  • Hard -- spells with 5 to 8 prerequisites,
  • Very Hard -- spells with 9 or more prerequisites. Also all the spells that are VH by RAW.
(Note: I'm only using spells from Summoners, including Void as the fifth elemental college. To distribute all the spells from Magic evenly, one might need to set different thresholds)

This comes with a custom spells sheet that includes point cost, relative level and skill level. I might put it up here on Sunday, when I have the time to translate it into English.

Concentration and Maintenance
See p. 10 of Magic: instead of rolling Will-3, you roll Will-based spell, at -5

Critical Failures
The effects of critical failure come with a 1-turn delay. The mage can try and salvage a critical failure by taking a Concentrate maneuver and rolling an appropriate mundane skill, or a 10-based critically failed spell, either at -3. Success means nothing happens. Failure or not attempting the roll means you roll the critical spell failure table normally. I'm probably going just to re-roll any 14s.
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Last edited by Gnomasz; 08-18-2017 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 08-18-2017, 01:36 PM   #2
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Making spells feel more like skills

I think they ought to be broader. It is hard for me to imagine why Fireball requires the same course of study that Physics does. If they were more like skills I would think they would be more the like Ritual Magic colleges-as-skills approach.
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Making spells feel more like skills

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I think they ought to be broader. It is hard for me to imagine why Fireball requires the same course of study that Physics does. If they were more like skills I would think they would be more the like Ritual Magic colleges-as-skills approach.
I'd have to agree here as well.

There are a fair number of "legacy" issues with GURPS MAGIC in that it was a product that GURPS 4e deliberately chose NOT to be.

For your campaign world - I would suggest that you might want to take a different approach.

If you want? Email me privately for a discussion on magic systems. If you haven't picked up Eden Studio's game titled "WITCHCRAFT" by the same author who did GURPS VOODOO, let me know. You can pick that up for free at RPGNOW.COM. Read that book and see how the author handled the concept of spells for an alternative look on how to perhaps portray magic in your campaigns.

I could say more, but why engage in thread drift right? ;)
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Making spells feel more like skills

Colleges as skills and appropriate themed talents and such could be fun
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Making spells feel more like skills

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Colleges as skills and appropriate themed talents and such could be fun
In lower point games it could be made to work as (spell college) VH skill, each point equals choose one spell. Remove the magery bonus from spells. (But keep for prerequisites)
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Making spells feel more like skills

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For your campaign world - I would suggest that you might want to take a different approach.
I'm not currently running a game with magic of this kind...

My last game world that had magic used the Book and Realm systems.

I like RPM, and may try to use it in the future at some point. I'm currently contemplating a six-guns and sorcery setting and am eyeing RPM for it.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Making spells feel more like skills

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I think they ought to be broader. It is hard for me to imagine why Fireball requires the same course of study that Physics does. If they were more like skills I would think they would be more the like Ritual Magic colleges-as-skills approach.
Fireball doesn't require the same course of study that Physics does. Physics is a Very Hard skill while FIreball is a "Hard" skill that requires a minimum of Magery 1, meaning that it's functionally Average or less. Fireball is childishly easy for Magic Aptitude 4 artillery mage. You'll be an expert with a single point invested into it. And the only reason why Physics has such a broad sphere of application is because it's pretty hard to find an actual application for it in games.

Last edited by David Johnston2; 08-18-2017 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: Making spells feel more like skills

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Fireball doesn't require the same course of study that Physics does. Physics is a Very Hard skill while FIreball is a "Hard" skill that requires a minimum of Magery 1, meaning that it's functionally Average or less. Fireball is childishly easy for Magic Aptitude 4 artillery mage. You'll be an expert with a single point invested into it. And the only reason why Physics has such a broad sphere of application is because it's pretty hard to find an actual application for it in games.
Then Bartending, whatever. It is hard for me to imagine what kind of 200 hour class you take to learn to just chuck Fireballs.
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Old 08-18-2017, 11:49 PM   #9
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Then Bartending, whatever. It is hard for me to imagine what kind of 200 hour class you take to learn to just chuck Fireballs.
It would be the same as the "200 hour class" in any exotic skill. You learn "kiai" by meditating, practicing your breathing and then shouting. You do it again and again until you learn how to do it effectively. In the case of fire ball, most of the time spent learning it would consist of shaping fire into balls. Again, and Again and Again. Now it would be fair to let someone who has invested hours of training into Fireball but doesn't have a full point in it to do something that reflects their incomplete mastery, like a fireball that only travels five feet and then dissipates if it didn't hit anything but of course if you're actually using fireballs in combat you ain't gonna need no 200 hours to get the hang of it. You'll learn, and you'll learn fast.
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Old 08-18-2017, 11:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Making spells feel more like skills

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It would be the same as the "200 hour class" in any exotic skill. You learn "kiai" by meditating, practicing your breathing and then shouting. You do it again and again until you learn how to do it effectively. In the case of fire ball, most of the time spent learning it would consist of shaping fire into balls. Again, and Again and Again. Now it would be fair to let someone who has invested hours of training into Fireball but doesn't have a full point in it to do something that reflects their incomplete mastery, like a fireball that only travels five feet and then dissipates if it didn't hit anything but of course if you're actually using fireballs in combat you ain't gonna need no 200 hours to get the hang of it. You'll learn, and you'll learn fast.
That seems less like a normal non-spell skill then if you spent that time learning the secret rules of magical fire, the true names of the flame spirits, and stoking your inner fire, in order to be able to do lots of different fire magic effects.
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