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Old 09-17-2017, 11:34 PM   #31
Set
 
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Default Re: What is the best Magic system to use in a DF campaign?

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
My suggestion: Play GURPS as it is for a while.

Then when you have the experience to understand it's actual flaws and weaknesses, begin fiddling with dials.
I've tested some plausible scenarios with some friends and came to the conclusion that save-or-die spells are too strong and/or unfun.

I've also read around 5~10 threads about Magic, and the consensus seems to be that it, indeed, isn't balanced.



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Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
Seconded. I say that as someone who wasted a lot of time 'fixing' GURPS when I could have usefully spent that time learning the system instead.

Also those spell fixes look pretty broken...e.g. selectively removing the -1 per yard range penalty is a colossal change, since now I can cast Tickle at someone on the other end of the continent. Further, it's very unclear what these do and don't apply to...is Flesh to Stone a restraint/hindrance? What about Create Fire (being on fire has a negative impact on combat ability)? What about a Force Dome conjured around someone?
Sorry, it was indeed a little confusing. It's -1 flat from the distance modifier. If someone is at 10 yards from you, you'll have -9 instead of -10.

About specific spells, yes I'd have to see many of them case by case.

EDIT: For those spells specifically: Flesh to Stone is instantaneous, so maybe the better way to do this would be making it so it takes a few turns to completely turn the target to Stone, and it's a Regular Contest instead of a Quick Contest.
Create Fire is surely a hindrance, but it does so by being distracting IIRC - that means penalties to skills and thus isn't affected by the rules.
Force Dome IMO wouldn't be a problem since you'd have to cast it with a really big area to lock someone there, because it takes one second to form and people may Dodge and Drop if they don't have enough movement to leave the area.

With that said, any opinion on the rest of the system?

Last edited by Set; 09-18-2017 at 12:02 AM. Reason: Formatting
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Old 09-18-2017, 12:25 AM   #32
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Default Re: What is the best Magic system to use in a DF campaign?

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Originally Posted by Set View Post
With that said, any opinion on the rest of the system?
I think it might be more quicker and more effective to use a different GURPS magic system instead of selectively nerfing some spells. As it is, you're going to have to do a lot of work going through the Magic book and consider a lot of borderline cases. Another option would be nerfing magic in a blanket way, like making the world generally a Low Mana zone. That makes wizards weaker overall, but probably magic is then presumably rarer so that compensates.
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Old 09-18-2017, 12:34 AM   #33
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Default Re: What is the best Magic system to use in a DF campaign?

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Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
I think it might be more quicker and more effective to use a different GURPS magic system instead of selectively nerfing some spells. As it is, you're going to have to do a lot of work going through the Magic book and consider a lot of borderline cases. Another option would be nerfing magic in a blanket way, like making the world generally a Low Mana zone. That makes wizards weaker overall, but probably magic is then presumably rarer so that compensates.
But, you see, my grudge lies specifically with save-or-die spells.

And from what I've seen, pretty much every GURPS system suitable to a high fantasy setting has those.

So I'd like to target them. Having a ground base (i.e. what I'm trying to do) and then nitpicking the more specific cases sounds solid to me, but I need help on the details, such as numbers.

EDIT: Also, I'd like to know which other spells you guys consider out of the curve. I'll most likely try to balance them all.

Last edited by Set; 09-18-2017 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:03 AM   #34
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Default Re: What is the best Magic system to use in a DF campaign?

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
DF really screams out for Spells as Skills (Magic) or Effect Shaping (Path/Book) or Energy Accumulation (RPM/Incantation).
The system in Incantation Magic is Effect Shaping.

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Originally Posted by Set View Post
Indeed, but that assumes Magic is as common as swords and while that, surely, is very much true when we're talking about parties of adventurers we play - and GM to -, the general assumption is that overall magic workers are way more rare than people that can swing a sword, so it makes sense that most people won't be as prepared to deal with magic as they are to deal with incoming blades and arrows.
In which case Magery should require an expensive Unusual Background to pay for this advantage. Which if you make it high enough is going to price save-or-die spells out of usefulness (along with all other spells). Just make it 105 points for Magery 0 and 60/level after and you probably won't see much spellcasting at all.
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But, you see, my grudge lies specifically with save-or-die spells.
I think you might want to actually play with them first and see how you feel. I ran a long DF campaign with multiple PC parties in the same setting and with a range of foes, quite a few of whom could cast spells like Flesh to Stone or Entombment, and I don't think that any of them ever managed to successfully kill a PC with one. The PCs that died died of a) drowning, b) Possession (the advantage, by ghost; this was a TPK) c) sword d) exposure to vacuum e) Deathtouch and f) the apocalypse (calling it a TPK is an understatement).

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And from what I've seen, pretty much every GURPS system suitable to a high fantasy setting has those.
The Talents as magic system in Fantasy probably doesn't, and is a pretty close fit to the way magic mostly worked in Middle Earth.
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:39 AM   #35
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Default Re: What is the best Magic system to use in a DF campaign?

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
In which case Magery should require an expensive Unusual Background to pay for this advantage. Which if you make it high enough is going to price save-or-die spells out of usefulness (along with all other spells). Just make it 105 points for Magery 0 and 60/level after and you probably won't see much spellcasting at all.
Not exactly what I'm trying to accomplish. Do you disagree with the statement that classic RPG settings are those that mages are not as common as soldiers? But still, because RPG is a game, they try to be balanced for the players, even if that somehow breaks the logic.

Anyways, the logic could always be: 125-point Squire is roughly as powerful as 125-point Apprentice. However, this does not necessarily imply that in the game world soldiers are as common - or as powerful - as mages.
In any case, both of those templates are exceptional people: One of them is more skilled when compared to the average soldier - he's ahead of the curve, while the other is pretty much the most basic level someone can be with magic, he's behind the curve of mages, but ahead of the curve for average people.


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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
The Talents as magic system in Fantasy probably doesn't, and is a pretty close fit to the way magic mostly worked in Middle Earth.
True. That sounds like a viable system for a specific setting - and thank you for suggesting it. However, it doesn't fit to the setting I have in mind - one with swords that can shoot thunderbolts.


EDIT: Somehow I misplaced part of the reply in the eternal void between worlds.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I think you might want to actually play with them first and see how you feel. I ran a long DF campaign with multiple PC parties in the same setting and with a range of foes, quite a few of whom could cast spells like Flesh to Stone or Entombment, and I don't think that any of them ever managed to successfully kill a PC with one. The PCs that died died of a) drowning, b) Possession (the advantage, by ghost; this was a TPK) c) sword d) exposure to vacuum e) Deathtouch and f) the apocalypse (calling it a TPK is an understatement).
While I don't doubt it, I'm pretty sure that statistically speaking, the chances of 0 player deaths due to save-or-die spells are low in a campaign that has a decent amount of them.

But in any way, as I see it, save-or-die spells aren't fun in any situation whatsoever. Why? Because, as I've said, they are not fun when the players are targeted by them, and they are anti-climatic when the players use them - they're all or nothing. Either nothing happens, or you died - or killed - thanks to a single roll.

Do you disagree with this? Do you think save-or-die spells are actually fun?

Last edited by Set; 09-18-2017 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:49 AM   #36
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Default Re: What is the best Magic system to use in a DF campaign?

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Originally Posted by Set View Post
Not exactly what I'm trying to accomplish. Do you disagree with the statement that classic RPG settings are those that mages are not as common as soldiers? But still, because RPG is a game, they try to be balanced for the players, even if that somehow breaks the logic.

Anyways, the logic could always be: 125-point Squire is roughly as powerful as 125-point Apprentice. However, this does not necessarily imply that in the game world soldiers are as common - or as powerful - as mages.
In any case, both of those templates are exceptional people: One of them is more skilled when compared to the average soldier - he's ahead of the curve, while the other is pretty much the most basic level someone can be with magic, he's behind the curve of mages, but ahead of the curve for average people.
If magic is so rare that nobody ever thinks to defend against it, then it absolutely should pay an Unusual Background to account for the power of surprise. The assumption otherwise is that it is common enough that people know it exists and are prepared to deal with it, and may even sometimes use it against you.

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True. That sounds like a viable system for a specific setting - and thank you for suggesting it. However, it doesn't fit to the setting I have in mind - one with swords that can shoot thunderbolts.
It is the quintessential high fantasy for most people, I think, and largely established the genre. The Legend of Zelda is something else entirely, I think.

ETA:
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Originally Posted by Set View Post
While I don't doubt it, I'm pretty sure that statistically speaking, the chances of 0 player deaths due to save-or-die spells are low in a campaign that has a decent amount of them.
Not really, save-or-die spells are really inefficient in either cost or time-to-cast or both, are usually Regular with the attendant steep range penalties, PCs have good resistances, PCs tend to save Luck (or impulse points) for these kind of things, and Bless will "pop" for a failed resistance roll.

Quote:
But in any way, as I see it, save-or-die spells aren't fun in any situation whatsoever. Why? Because, as I've said, they are not fun when the players are targeted by them, and they are anti-climatic when the players use them - they're all or nothing. Either nothing happens, or you died - or killed - thanks to a single roll.
Well you can just ban them entirely.

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Do you disagree with this? Do you think save-or-die spells are actually fun?
Yes, because the threat of danger is only meaningful if it is real. To paraphrase, it does the players good to see a dead PC every once in a while.

In order for a save-or-die to work the PCs need to let the caster get close, the caster needs to take a long time or a lot of FP (or both) to cast it, the PC needs to fail the contest, the PC has to be out of Luck (and CP if you allow buying successes; which incidentally I did in that game, with some restrictions) and not under an active Bless.

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Old 09-18-2017, 02:00 AM   #37
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Default Re: What is the best Magic system to use in a DF campaign?

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If magic is so rare that nobody ever thinks to defend against it, then it absolutely should pay an Unusual Background to account for the power of surprise. The assumption otherwise is that it is common enough that people know it exists and are prepared to deal with it, and may even sometimes use it against you.
You're taking extremes. Again, magic is not that rare. But it's not as common as swords.
Tell me, in your long running campaign, did you throw as many magic workers against the party as mundane enemies?

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It is the quintessential high fantasy for most people, I think, and largely established the genre. The Legend of Zelda is something else entirely, I think.
True enough, it did set many standards. But D&D set others - and those are the ones I'm trying to closely relate in my setting, and I also think those are the ones that Dungeon Fantasy, in general, try to mirror.


As a side note: maybe it is just an impression, but it seems to me many of you guys are assuming "aggressive stances" on the discussion. Or at least, passive/aggressive.

I don't think what I'm trying to discuss here is an unreasonable matter. Is it?
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:07 AM   #38
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Default Re: What is the best Magic system to use in a DF campaign?

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Originally Posted by Gnomasz View Post
If save or die spells in general are what you dislike (and not just cheap save or die spells), no system will really solve the problem: using Sorcery, you can build an Affliction-based save or die spell. If you aren't afraid of lots of tweaking, you might want to look into Pyramid #3/83, which has an article on applying Technical Grappling rules to possessions -- with some work, it might let you change any supernatural effect from save-or-die to a longer struggle. Be wary, though, it's just a random idea -- I haven't tried to use it that way. It might be clunky or just too much work.
Sorcery allows for more direct control over what spells he allows and which he doesn't, and allows him to add his own "fail forward" sort of spells. He'll just have to do his own work on it.
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:11 AM   #39
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Default Re: What is the best Magic system to use in a DF campaign?

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Originally Posted by Set View Post
You're taking extremes. Again, magic is not that rare. But it's not as common as swords.
You suggested that nobody would plan defenses against magic, which is the definition of a situation requiring an Unusual Background.
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Tell me, in your long running campaign, did you throw as many magic workers against the party as mundane enemies?
More than the number of Weapon Masters they faced. Enough that it wasn't unreasonable to expect smart foes to be prepared for the PC wizards and clerics.

Quote:
True enough, it did set many standards. But D&D set others - and those are the ones I'm trying to closely relate in my setting, and I also think those are the ones that Dungeon Fantasy, in general, try to mirror.
D&D and dungeon delving FRPGs in general are closer to sword and sorcery than high fantasy, IMO, but really are more a distinct subgenre of its own (which is the stance GURPS Fantasy takes on the taxonomy).

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I don't think what I'm trying to discuss here is an unreasonable matter. Is it?
It isn't unreasonable to not like save-or-die spells, no. The obvious solution is just don't use them.
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:20 AM   #40
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Default Re: What is the best Magic system to use in a DF campaign?

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You suggested that nobody would plan defenses against magic, which is the definition of a situation requiring an Unusual Background.
I suggested that they would be less prepared against spells than against swords and bows (and especially that they wouldn't be prepared to face exactly the player party and fall just short of defeating them) - not that they wouldn't be prepared at all.

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More than the number of Weapon Masters they faced. Enough that it wasn't unreasonable to expect smart foes to be prepared for the PC wizards and clerics.
Not my question, though. The point isn't being prepared against Weapon Masters, the point is not being as prepared against spells as they are against mundane equipment - which is what happens on most of the tables' settings

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
D&D and dungeon delving FRPGs in general are closer to sword and sorcery than high fantasy, IMO, but really are more a distinct subgenre of its own (which is the stance GURPS Fantasy takes on the taxonomy).
Oh, indeed I have confused the genres. Basically everywhere I said "High Fantasy" I wanted to say "Sword & Sorcery".

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It isn't unreasonable to not like save-or-die spells, no. The obvious solution is just don't use them.
This is the most obvious solution. The one I want, though, is to balance them.
What I'm asking is for help on this.
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