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Old 03-09-2019, 06:38 AM   #1
Gef
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yucca Valley, CA
Default Magic Vegas (campaign setting)

This will be useful to anyone interested in the path/book magic system (particularly the effect-shaping version). That system requires decisions about spirits - what kinds there are, what they can do for a magician, and how common they are at what power levels. This setting is a worked example that shows the ramifications from these decisions and also adapts standard rules for tools, including software for "techno" magic. There's a system for generating variant paths based on the portfolio of gods from mythology, plus I add a skepticism mechanic to explain how magic can exist in a world where many reasonable people are sure it doesn't, and a cosmology to explain it all which may be unique, one that allows for seemingly contradictory things to all be true.

Let me start by giving credit to Lameth; this is a collaborative effort that he initiated in 2016. We wound up with two separate versions for our respective urban fantasy campaigns, and what follows is my take on it, though I haven't run run mine yet.

****Magic Vegas has moved to the GURPS Wiki: https://gurps.fandom.com/wiki/Magic_Vegas


PS: I suppose a disclaimer is in order. This should go without saying, but this campaign setting is a fictionalized version of the real world. It posits that magic works and that it's related to religious cosmologies. In seeking inspiration from real-world religion and mythology, I intend no disrespect to any, and the conflicts I imagine are for the purpose of a fictional plot, not to impute motives to any real person. -GEF

Last edited by Gef; 04-26-2021 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 03-22-2021, 04:57 PM   #2
Greg 1
 
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: Magic Vegas (campaign setting)

I find this setting very interesting and hope that you put it up on the Wiki! I particularly like the fact that you are drawing on real-world traditions. A few questions strike me.

Who rules the world?
Who opposes whoever rules the world?
Who rules the USA and who opposes them?
Who rules Nevada and who opposes them?
How much danger am I in just for being a wizard? To what degree am I being hunted?
What does my tradition mean for me socially? How does it affect my relationships with other members of my tradition and with members of other traditions? Are there feuds? Wars? Alliances?
Does my tradition give me any advantages or disadvantages?
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Old 03-22-2021, 08:01 PM   #3
bocephus
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Default Re: Magic Vegas (campaign setting)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg 1 View Post
I find this setting very interesting and hope that you put it up on the Wiki! I particularly like the fact that you are drawing on real-world traditions. A few questions strike me.

Who rules the world?
Who opposes whoever rules the world?
Who rules the USA and who opposes them?
Who rules Nevada and who opposes them?
How much danger am I in just for being a wizard? To what degree am I being hunted?
What does my tradition mean for me socially? How does it affect my relationships with other members of my tradition and with members of other traditions? Are there feuds? Wars? Alliances?
Does my tradition give me any advantages or disadvantages?
You have to go back and read through the opening explanations, a lot of those answers are there.

In a lot of cases if you're just trying to get a feel for the world, you can sort of generically substitute politician for magician and party for tradition.

There are no "rulers" so theres no direct opposition to "rulers". You're not really in more danger, you're likely just more aware of the increased potentials for danger. An additional vector of danger as it were.

The setting isnt nearly as black and white as your questions seem to assume.

Things arent divided into "Druid Zone" and inside this zone Druids are in charge and if your not a Druid we hunt you... Its like politics... If a republican finds himself in a democrat controlled town he has a few options... try and stay under the radar, be confrontational to every one about every perceived slight, drive through town honking his horn yelling "democrats suck"....
It may well be no one notices a republican is in town, maybe no one really cares, maybe a few people dont like it but other than stink eye...meh, maybe they form a posse and forcibly remove you from the town. More likely than not as long as he doesnt break any rules or start a violent altercation, nothing of note would happen.

There are a lot of reasons that Magicians, even from different traditions might ally, or just choose to ignore each other for the sake of having a good time.

The vast majority of people you meet and interact with are not magicians (or politicians). You might meet some local "low level" ones and never even know it. Politicians some times work together to get stuff done, sometimes they manage to find new dimensions of thing to disagree about (3 politicians can have 26 opposing ideas about a yes no question). Magicians, even within their own tradition dont always agree. Some traditions have very different "rules of decorum" some have none at all. Some traditions get along, some dont, some have no opinion about it till you do something that brings you into the same circle of influence. Some are exclusive, some arent, some have lots of resources, some dont.

Most magicians dont agree on or enforce any rigid morality clause (even within the traditions). So theres plenty of room for drama there.
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Old 03-23-2021, 04:18 AM   #4
Gef
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yucca Valley, CA
Default Re: Magic Vegas (campaign setting)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg 1 View Post
I find this setting very interesting and hope that you put it up on the Wiki!
Thanks, Greg. I can't put it on the wiki just yet, for the same reason I can't answer your questions: I'm still working out some of the details as I run the game, and some of my initial assumptions may not hold up. I can say that in the campaign so far, a dozen girls died pretty much just for being magicians, because another magician whom they trusted considered them to be potential rivals, and all the passengers on the same plane died too. Social benefits of traditions vary.

One thing that's turned out to be very interesting in play is the concept of Marks of Power. Now these marks are just mental disads, game-mechanically the same as any other, but they represent foreign influence on the mind of a magician caused by channeling the worldlaw of powerful, archetypal spirits. Culturally, it means that magicians never grow up. A lot of kids are impulsive, overconfident, drink too much, etc., but they settle down and become pillars of society. If disadvantages like these are Marks of Power, they're permanent.
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Old 04-26-2021, 02:46 PM   #5
Gef
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yucca Valley, CA
Default Re: Magic Vegas (campaign setting)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg 1 View Post
I find this setting very interesting and hope that you put it up on the Wiki! I particularly like the fact that you are drawing on real-world traditions. A few questions strike me.
OK Greg, I put it on the wiki. Formatting of tables in the appendix is all messed up and hopefully I can figure out how to fix that in a way that isn't labor intensive. I just use tabs to line up the columns in my original document. I've deleted the setting from this thread, then edited it for consistency and clarity before posting to the wiki, incorporating feedback from players and some of your questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg 1 View Post
[1] Who rules the world?
[2] Who opposes whoever rules the world?
[3] Who rules the USA and who opposes them?
[4] Who rules Nevada and who opposes them?
[5] How much danger am I in just for being a wizard? To what degree am I being hunted?
[6] What does my tradition mean for me socially? How does it affect my relationships with other members of my tradition and with members of other traditions? Are there feuds? Wars? Alliances?
[7]Does my tradition give me any advantages or disadvantages?
1&2 - It's in play. In the developed/Western world, Monotheists were ascendant for a long time, and they could basically say that magic is bad. Rationalists gained ascendancy but they can't say magic is bad because that would require acknowledging it and also articulating a moral philosophy to define bad without invoking religions that are tied up with magic. This in turn has given channeling magicians an opening. I did not explain the matter so succinctly in the document; maybe I'll edit it.

3 - There's no department of magic; instead several magicians of different traditions vie for influence behind the scenes. I gave a paragraph or two describing that.

4 - See 6 below.

5 - If you learned some magic and never do anything with it, no sweat. The higher your profile, the greater your risk.

6 - The document in its present form assumes that GMs will give players an opportunity to flesh out their traditions, with a few pre-generated for a player who doesn't want to do that, which also serve as examples for the ones who do. The thumbnail traditions provide a working theory for the GM, until a player chooses to flesh it out, in which process he can redefine the paths based on more than cursory research or bigger imagination. It also assumes that GMs will want to set up the council and its factions, though obviously I've done so for my campaign, and I think the best approach would be to post a companion document, Magic Vegas Council, showcasing the decisions I took and how I came to them. Do you like that idea, or do you think that a council breakdown belongs in the main doc?

7 - Yes, but I don't represent them with points. Instead I give a paragraph pointing out how the resources of each tradition differ, and even if they're not balanced in terms of point-rated traits, each has an advantage for a PC to exploit. For instance, even a small pond of a tradition has the advantage of making the PC a relatively bigger fish.

Last edited by Gef; 04-26-2021 at 02:51 PM.
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