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Old 02-21-2008, 06:21 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Fixes for a Medieval style GURPS MAGIC

This is a spin off from another thread to the effect of discussing fixes that some GMs have employed with GURPS MAGIC in order to have a more consistent Medieval style campaign.

As an example:

EARTH TO STONE permits the large scale production of tons upon tons of metal on a daily basis, making metal an absurdly common material. One possible fix is to make it a new spell STONE TO METAL (as it was in GURPS GRIMOIRE) and change its magery requirement to Magery 3, as well as increasing its requirements to include Metalurgy at 15 and IQ 15. This means then that the spell will be as rare as those who have magery 3+ AND have a high IQ and have metalurgy at 15. While it doesn't make it impossible to have such mages in their game world, it does limit the damage that will ensue.

Bless Plants: This spell had no real limitation on it as to when it can be cast upon any given plant or region of plants - and still not be effective. In theory, one can cast this spell on a field of wheat just moments before it is harvested, and have double the yield. Although the spell description implies that it requires a growing season to grow and double, it does not state at what point the bless spell is not effective. As an arbitrary limit, one could state that for grains, this spell must be cast within 20 days of planting (or 7 or 13 or 30 - GM choice) or the bless spell will not be effective. If GMs want to go so far as to say that it must be cast within the first 10% of its growing season, and are willing to determine how long any given crop requires for its growing season, by all means, use that instead ;)

Divination: As written, this spell and its 20 question gamesmanship allows far too much information to become available to the person who has the divination spell. Questions such as "Did Marty Kill the Butler, and then make it look like the Butler Killed the master of the mansion" becomes overly easy to discern. Since its trinary nature of yes/no/no answer makes it only too easy to phrase questions in a successful manner, one could speculate that a mage armed with Divination could eventually use divination to create Nuclear physics as a skill at TL 2. Somehow, there has to be a given limitation for the Divination spell or it can be abused not only because it permits the perfect lie detector (who needs a lie detector when you can ask some unknown entity for the answer directly and that entity rarely lies?) on up to the perfect research mechanism. One way to limit Divination is to make it so that questions have an inherent "resistance" factor. Being able to ask "Did Marty Kill the Butler" might depend on someone else having access to the knowledge besides Marty. Or perhaps it might depend on having a good reaction roll by the agency that provides the answer to the spell itself. Maybe it requires that questions must be within a clearly defined area of interest or the divination will fail to work. As it exists now, it created a lot of headaches for a player who was involved in every day ordinary things, poisoned grain that he gave to some orcs, and then was fingered as the guilty culprit when the grain was sold back on the human market unconsumed by the orcs (who didn't trust their enemy). The use of Divination makes ANY commission of a crime difficult to hide - which in a medieval society is the intended goal. Being able to determine if someone is in danger is one thing. Being able to determine if Marty killed someone is entirely beyond the pale in my mind.

Solution: May be used in a limited fashion for information providing that the character actually has the spells that would provide for the information. Visions of the past for example, would be required to determine if a person killed another or had committed an action. If the person doesn't have that spell, Divination suffers an additional -6 penalty. In short? If the person has no normal way of determining the information for themselves, Divination suffers an additional -6.

EARTH TO STONE: This spell displaces normal masonry only too effectively. I made the premise years ago, that per the original wording of the spell description, it makes very cheap stone material (not unlike sandstone) which tends to be relatively worthless for raising castle walls and the like. I also however, made provisions that it will work upon earth that has been the target of Destroy Air, which in turn makes it more compact and less sandstone like. Thus, to make usable quality stone with this spell, one must use both DESTROY AIR as well as EARTH TO STONE. It doesn't remove the occupation of stone quarrying, nor does it render masons useless.

These should do for a start :)
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