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Old 04-18-2008, 10:29 PM   #191
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Default Re: Yrth technology

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin
No, but I'm not looking for some bizarre explanation as to why magic hasn't changed the world. I'm not really comfortable with magic that doesn't change the world.
Than accept the many reasons given. Of course as GM you can make whatever changes you want in your game.

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I saved the bit about the Banestorm as an example of a crit fail that is proportional to the intent and effort of the spell that failed. The Dark elves were trying to cast every orc off Yrth. So when it went bad it brought a lot more beings they didn't want.
It also obliterated miles of land and wiped large parts of the elven civilization.

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Taking the 4 energy necessary to change a rock into a pot and turning it into the 20 energy (minimum) needed to summon a Demon is disproportionate and having someone roll 2 18s in a row doesn't justify it.

Even taking the energy that would turn 1 rock into 1 pot and using it to break every pot in the shop is disproportionate. You usually don't get results that favorable for rolling a crit success.

A crit fail should not be more bad than a crit success is good.
Of course it should. Why? Because you already get a usual GOOD result that's far better than the mundane equivalent. People revere wizards for the powerful capabilities they possess. But they also fear them for the mishaps they can bring about through failure and malice.

Most of the time in your pot example the mere 4 points of energy yields results that are disproportionate to the effort put into it if measured against mundane creation of pots. But magic is tricky. There are dangers in spell casting. The spell table shows any number of areas where things go wrong and on a result of 18 (and this is after already rolling a critical failure to get here in the first place), it states a demon or some such creature appears and attacks the spell caster.

Personally, I'd go with something less than attacking the spell caster immediately. I'd usually just have the creature rampage through the shop breaking things. Sometimes it would be a demon, other times an earth elemental. On really rare occassions it would attack the spell caster. Most of the time it would just cause damage unless the spell caster or others attack it.

The magical pot maker can typically create pots faster and cheaper than his mundane counterparts. But there are those days when life gets far more interesting than with the mundane potter. "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" and "great rewards come with the cost of greater risks".

You can't simply ignore the rules and then criticize the setting.

Wizards are far rarer than mundane workers. They have magic, but that entails specific innate talent, taking on specialized training, and accepting the risks inherint in using magic.

I recall reading a Zelazny story about "Delivish the Damned" where the mage talks about "charming a lock" being a difficult spell. Typically we think of magically lock picking as being a routine and easy task.
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Old 04-19-2008, 12:33 AM   #192
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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Originally Posted by Pip Boy
Magic defies physics.
Clearly, on Yrth, there are more basic forces. They have got Gravity, Electromagnetic, Strong Nuclear, Weak Nuclear, and Magic. As far as is currently accepted by physics, only the first four exists in our universe, although searches for Chi, Prana, Orgone, Universal Force, Morphogenetic Field, and a few others will certainly turn up theories regarding other forces. It is also worth noting that physics is merely our current best guess about the nature of the universe, and a different one might be devised at any time to fit new data. If observational data conflicts with physics, i.e. someone levitating, then clearly your knowledge of physics is incorrect, and a new model needs to be made to include the new data. Sorry for the pedantry, incidentally, I tend to fall into it by habit.
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:21 AM   #193
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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Originally Posted by griffin
You can't simply ignore the rules and then criticize the setting.
Then it's a good thing I'm not doing that. I'm criticizing the setting and it's assumptions about how magic affects things and then altering the rules to answer my criticisms (mostly just dropping a particular rule in trivial instances).

When Aldehar rolled an 18 with a 10D+10 Stone Missile in his hand, _that_ was worth rolling on the table (he hit himself and had to survie 2 death checks). If he ever rolls one while doing something minor it's going to be "Poof! you've got soot on your face." (again).

It just does not make sense to me that magic out of control should be capable of doing so much more than magic which was carefully controlled.

It's like saying that a radio that plays music normally should be able to deafen everyone in a 20 yard radius if it malfunctions.
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Old 04-19-2008, 10:41 AM   #194
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin
Then it's a good thing I'm not doing that. I'm criticizing the setting and it's assumptions about how magic affects things and then altering the rules to answer my criticisms (mostly just dropping a particular rule in trivial instances).
...
It just does not make sense to me that magic out of control should be capable of doing so much more than magic which was carefully controlled.

It's like saying that a radio that plays music normally should be able to deafen everyone in a 20 yard radius if it malfunctions.
You're viewing magic as a substitute for technology. At least for the Banestorm setting, this just isn't the case. Magic is a mystical force. Using magic is more art than science. Many physical laws of science are broken or at the very least warped. Typical results allow miraculous things to occur. Given the typical result is "then a miracle happens" having the occassional tragic mishap is a reasonable counter balance.

The Critical Spell table exist in GURPS rules. It's there as a guideline to how to handle critical spell failures. Banestorm uses the standard Magic system and that includes the Critical Spell table or at least similar results.

You're only accepting the good side of "hedge wizards" competing with crafsman and artisans, while overlooking the hazards.

It's your game and you can do with it what you will, but it seems unfair to me to criticize the setting while overlooking specific areas that would help mitigate some of the criticisms you indicate.

I'm done on this topic. We simply won't agree on it, and that's OK.
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Old 04-19-2008, 12:35 PM   #195
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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The GM may use the Critical Spell Failure Table or improvise some other “backfire” he finds amusing.
Thats what Magic says. Way I see it, this doesn't say you have to use the crit fail table, it's just there as suggestions for the kind of outcomes a crit fail entails. To me this says if someone has house-ruled some other crit-fail table, thats fine, so long as they are all bad results.

Personally I somewhat agree with Fred. Unless its just a piddly little demon that pops up(a foot tall gremlin or something) it's too bad a result for a small energy spell. Especially given that the amount of bad stuff for a lot of other results on the table scales directly to the power of the spell(usually in the results that switch targets.)

All that being said, seems to me, even if you kept in the summoning a demon thing, thats why you pay your Magicians Insurance and do all your pot-shaping inside a Pentagram ceremonially cast by your local Magicians Insurance chapter. And if you do get a demon, he can only screw up whats inside the Pentagram, and you send a runner off to the local MI chapter to bring their extermination team by. If it's a reliable result that if I cast x spell 50,000 times, I will summon a demon a certain amount of times, human ingenuity will find a way to prepare for the demon summoning, if there is a way. Your town government would require licensed Magicians to have up to date Magicians Insurance before they can set up shop in town. Which doesn't prevent fly-by-night outfits from operating without it to cut costs and accidentally summoning demons to wreak havoc.

Somewhere in this thread someone seemed to be implying that a magician potter is a selfish mean person for putting other potters out of business. I feel that a magician using magic to make pots faster than a mundane person isn't morally questionable and needs to be punished for their greed any more than a farmer using a horse to plow a field as opposed to digging furrows himself is a selfish tool that needs to be punished. It's technology, and its a capitalist system. Those who can produce the best product the fastest for the lowest price deserve to be more successful, and those who can't compete with that should find a different line of work, IMO.

Does this make it so that magicians would dominate society? To some extent, yes. I'm okay with that. It makes logical sense to me. Whether or not this would be accurate to Yrth as a setting is up for debate. But I think any system that defines Magic as being able to do X and Y, but not Z, essentially becomes technology, because it gives repeatable results. And people will take advantage of that to become rich/successful/happy/powerful, because thats what people have been doing with technological innovations for millenia.
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Old 04-19-2008, 01:18 PM   #196
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Default Re: Yrth technology

As Griffin said, Magic is a very random and unpredictable thing. Mages are meddling with a universal force, and there are costs in doing that, even if the effect seems simple. There really isn't "easy magic", and "hard magic" -- what's more magical? A fireball or talk to a spirit? -- there's only magic.

And in other topic, it always seemed to me that because that intrinsic complexness of magic, as technologies advances, magic diminishes. The more things we CAN explain, more we lost in believing things that we CAN'T explain. I use that in all my games, to show how mages impede technology to advance so they're not needed anymore.
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Old 04-19-2008, 01:38 PM   #197
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But magic isn't a random and unpredicatable thing, at least according to the rules. It does certain things in set, established ways. It fails(if we are only using the RAW crit fail table) in set, predetermined ways. And there are plenty of universal forces that we meddle with on a daily basis, in the real world. We manipulate the properties of the strong and weak nuclear forces, gravity, and electomagnetic force to go about out daily business.

I agree that in literature and fiction, magic is often mysterious and awesome, but in most RPGs, it doesn't work that way, at least according to RAW. If you want magic to be mysterious, strange, and unpredictable, you need some system besides the basic magic rules, because in that system they are simply skills that have higher-than-normal consequences for disastrous failure, but not really any more disastrous than say, handling anti-matter or dissasembler nano-tech.

*EDIT* Those are actually more dangerous. Most magic crit-fails with non-combat spells are less dangerous than say, a driving(automobile) crit fail.
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:09 PM   #198
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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Originally Posted by griffin
I'm done on this topic. We simply won't agree on it, and that's OK.
You've put a lot of words in my mouth and reached a lot of incorrect conclusions about what I believe and what I'm doing (even if you really do think they're okay) but if you're done I just hope you're satisfied with not getting the last word. :)
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:14 PM   #199
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk
Somewhere in this thread someone seemed to be implying that a magician potter is a selfish mean person for putting other potters out of business. .
Honestly it's a recipe for economic disaster. Sooner or later you're going to run out of one-college only Earth mages of mediocre talent and no ambition, and then, having lost the basic skills, your civilisation collapses.
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:18 PM   #200
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Why would you run out of them? Increased production(in all fields) generally leads to increased population growth. You'd get more. It's simply a magic based production, as opposed to a technological based production.
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