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Old 09-28-2017, 08:23 PM   #1
Ailluminus
 
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Default Create Plant and Herb Lore

I can't find a quick answer to this simple question:

A character can use the Create Plant spell from GURPS Magic to, well, bring forth vegetation, with cost depending on whether it's grasses, bushes or trees. Can the mage dictate 'which' types of vegetation will come forth? For example, a mage seeking an herb to defeat an illness could use Create Plant to conjure up healing plants to brew into a tea or whatever?

Would the answer to that question change if my character had seeds to plant beforehand?

To describe this further, I'm hoping to take the Fungus College from Plant Magic to create a Fungimentalist for Dungeon Fantasy, and I'd love to use Create Fungus to conjure up specific mushrooms and molds to attack and defend against monsters, turning the weapons of the dungeon against itself.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: Create Plant and Herb Lore

Having a sample such as seeds usually helps in my games.
But for rare plants I would likely assess a skill penalty that the seeds could offset. But a really powerful/rare or valuable plant may have further restrictions, especially magical plants.
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Create Plant and Herb Lore

Since common tree slime and mold are types of fungi, is it possible to use Create Fungus to bring the various types of Oozes from DF Monsters 2 into being?
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: Create Plant and Herb Lore

I can absolutely see a skill penalty.

As to Oozes, I think maybe. The amazing goo monsters in the Icky Goo book are a major inspiration for the Fungimentalist, whom will spend a lot of time as a Body of Slime, but that might be a high bar, equivalent to creating an Animal... which is not unattainable, but might requires a new spell.

But it seems like the consensus is that the mage chooses the vegetation created with Create Plant, is that right? Any dissenting voices?

Thanks.
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:10 AM   #5
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Default Re: Create Plant and Herb Lore

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Originally Posted by Ailluminus View Post
But it seems like the consensus is that the mage chooses the vegetation created with Create Plant, is that right? Any dissenting voices?
All Create spells are somewhat problematic because of the lack of a good way to link spell energy (or other) cost to cash value. If you allow spell casters to create any plant, be prepared for them getting rich by creating valuable ones. In this case, where you are thinking about allowing plants with supernatural capabilities, you also need to be a little concerned about the spell being able to duplicate more expensive magical effects on the cheap. If you allow wizards to conjure any (kind of thing) you need to be careful about the powers you allow (kinds of things) to have anywhere else. Create Plant lets you pick anything means you need to be careful not have any Wishing Trees anywhere in the setting.

You'll sometimes see efforts to dodge some of that by requiring the spell to create generic magical versions of the whatever that are defined as having *zero* cash value, but it doesn't work all that well. I suspect the key thing to make creation spells work is to have an understanding with the *players* that they will not use them to do game breaking out of genre stuff like that even when the spell as written clearly ought to be capable of them.
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Create Plant and Herb Lore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ailluminus View Post
I can't find a quick answer to this simple question:

A character can use the Create Plant spell from GURPS Magic to, well, bring forth vegetation, with cost depending on whether it's grasses, bushes or trees. Can the mage dictate 'which' types of vegetation will come forth? For example, a mage seeking an herb to defeat an illness could use Create Plant to conjure up healing plants to brew into a tea or whatever?

.
I'm pretty sure the vegetation you get is generic.
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Old 09-29-2017, 02:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Create Plant and Herb Lore

What does that even mean? You can't conjure up willow and its bark for a headache, because it has a medicinal use? Or all the highly toxic plants?
Or the very useful aloe?
Generic vegetation is like saying generic animal. Nearly every person in the room would likely picture something different.
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Old 09-29-2017, 02:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: Create Plant and Herb Lore

Perhaps the plants are native to the area, and common. The caster has some control over if trees, bushes, flowers, or grass grows, but the magic is essentially using nearby plants and seeds as a template for what its creating. Rare plants are unlikely to show up. This method emphasizes harmony with nature.

That's just one solution, appropriate for certain kinds of casters.
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: Create Plant and Herb Lore

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What does that even mean? You can't conjure up willow and its bark for a headache, because it has a medicinal use? Or all the highly toxic plants?
Or the very useful aloe?.
Yes. No it doesn't make a lot of sense, but it is the usual dodge around making Create spells into "do anything with a good story" effects they otherwise inevitably become. They summon some sort of "Platonic ideal" whatever that has only the properties of an ideal thing, not of any specific example.

Some level of player buy in to that is probably required to make such spells usable, whether you implement that as summons such an imaginary generic, or you allow them to summon any specific thing they want with the unstated understanding that they won't actually *use* any properties that the generic thing wouldn't have (including the "has cash value" one). You need to remove most of the flexibility from any given Create or Summon spell if you don't want that one spell to turn into an entire alternate magic system. A brief look at the hoops Snatcher has to jump through to make it remotely balanced even at it's enormous point cost should be enough to convince yourself of that.
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: Create Plant and Herb Lore

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Perhaps the plants are native to the area, and common. The caster has some control over if trees, bushes, flowers, or grass grows, but the magic is essentially using nearby plants and seeds as a template for what its creating. Rare plants are unlikely to show up. This method emphasizes harmony with nature.

That's just one solution, appropriate for certain kinds of casters.
Ooh, I think I could easily buy that in a game. Slightly touching on MtA and "paradox" or tao.
But native or merely extant could still matter. Invasive species are sometimes useful and sometimes scourges out-competing more valuable natives.
Here in Oregon, nutria increase in numbers while beavers decrease. Invasive blackberries choke out native plants.
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