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Old 06-24-2016, 12:00 AM   #1
Darkholme
 
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Default GURPS Undead Creation

So, I'm having a bit of a dilemma.

I'm putting together a GURPS campaign.
I'm using RPM, more-or-less, with some variants found in Pyramid, like incantations.

Anyways.

I want to be able to create undead or otherwise affect permanent change on subjects or inanimate targets via magic.

So a necromancer might be able to make himself into a lich, or unleash a bunch of ghouls/wights on the world (which can then create more ghouls/wights), or magically create a vampire, or what have you.

I'll probably hand-design the spells I'm willing to make permanent rather than let the PCs design them, but I don't know how to price them out reasonably.

How would I price out a spell that makes an undead creature, that isn't a temporary effect. Not an undead creature permanently under your control, just an undead creature (controlling it would be a different spell you'd have to maintain).

RPM doesn't have pricing for such effects. So how would I price it out if I wanted to include such things?
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Old 06-24-2016, 12:40 AM   #2
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: GURPS Undead Creation

So I talk about necromantic RPM here on my blog and about becoming a lich here.

In general, if you want a permanent effect in RPM you can use Conditional Termination (GURPS Thaumatology Ritual Path Magic, p. 18) and declare "Until dispelled" as a condition worth 18 energy.
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Old 06-24-2016, 01:38 AM   #3
Darkholme
 
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Default Re: GURPS Undead Creation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
So I talk about necromantic RPM here on my blog and about becoming a lich here.

In general, if you want a permanent effect in RPM you can use Conditional Termination (GURPS Thaumatology Ritual Path Magic, p. 18) and declare "Until dispelled" as a condition worth 18 energy.
Wow. Nice; great stuff.

I especially like the methods to become a lich. I presume a spell to become a vampire, or just *undead* with no other special abilities would follow the same process, but with the template values substituted, yeah?

What about making unintelligent/animal intelligence undead, that still aren't controlled? I'm thinking about D&D style ghouls. On the one hand, yeah, you're applying a template to a corpse. On the other hand they don't keep any special abilities or skills, basically just using their physical characteristics as a starting point.

How different is it if you're applying the template to a corpse?
How different is it if you remove the chance of death?

The lich post doesn't fully brake down the math, and I'm a little fuzzy on where the -150% modifier is coming from. I'm also a little fuzzy on how you can be applying a -150% leaving you with a positive number.

I apologize if these are rookie questions, I'm new to GURPS, and I've noticed there are a lot of formulas (discussed by people or sometimes in templates) seem to be presented assuming I understand where the numbers are coming from, when I unfortunately do not.

One additional question: How do you achieve an instantaneous result that's not a transformation? Say, growing an oak tree (perhaps from a seed, or just straight up created) in an instant? After the spell is cast, it's just a regular mundane oak tree.

Last edited by Darkholme; 06-24-2016 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 06-24-2016, 03:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS Undead Creation

Here's another take that I'm still hammering out (this will get posted on my blog soon, with any revisions that happen between now and then, so keep a look out):

Creating an Enchanted Item
Crafting an enchanted item requires that the enchanter can cast the ritual in question and has the appropriate casting skill at skill 15 or better. The first step is to design the ritual to be cast into the magic item. After that, the sorcerer must enchant the object, gradually channeling energy into the creation until it is complete.

Designing the Magic Item
Begin with the ritual the enchanter wishes to imbue into an item and
  • Remove any duration effects.
  • Set all variable effects; e.g., damage, healing, range, speed, weight, etc.
  • Add a Greater Create Magic effect.
Once this is done, find the total energy cost of the ritual and apply any discounts for ritual trappings that will apply during the entire enchantment process. The result is the total energy required for the enchantment. Divide this cost by 25 to find the necessary Enchantment Points (EP).

Restricted Items
As part of its design, the enchanted item can be restricted only to work for specific people or groups of people. This adds an additional Lesser Sense effect based on who the item will function for:
  • Path of Body: Only those of a specific race or a specific person.
  • Path of Magic: Only someone with Magery and/or Ritual Adept.
    [8]Path of Spirit: Only spirits, particular kinds of spirits, or one specific spirit.
  • Path of Undead: Only undead, particular kinds of undead or one specific undead entity.
Additionally, an item can be made self-powered with a Lesser Create Magic effect, permitting it to gather energy in place of its user. Roll against the spell’s Path skill to accumulate energy as a non-adept (using a Greater Create Magic effect gathers energy as an adept instead).

Adding either effect does not count as altering the underlying spell.

Enchanting It
Once you know what you want to imbue into an item, you just need to acquire the base item and begin enchanting.

Objects of Value
Magic items are often ornately decorated, masterfully worked items, and there's a reason for that! An object must have a minimum inherent value to hold a given enchantment. This is based on the Inherent Value Table from GURPS Thaumatology - Sorcery, p. 30. (You'll notice most of this is a mix of RPM and Enchanting via Sorcery.)

If the enchanter wants to enchant a low-value item with high-powered magic (e.g., to avoid drawing attention to it), he may instead sacrifice an appropriately expensive item as part of the enchanting process. The object so destroyed must be of the minimum inherent value; the actual value of the item to be enchanted becomes irrelevant.

Enchanting the Item
Once the item is at hand, the sorcerer may begin the actual enchantment process: obtaining EP and channeling them into the item. There are a couple of ways to do this: employing outside energy sources and spectral forging. The two are not mutually exclusive; the enchanter can switch back and forth between methods freely until he’s accumulated the necessary EP.

Tapping Energy Sources
On any given day, an enchanter can draw that day’s energy from any combination of energy sources. To determine how many EPs he acquires this way, first tally the total number amount of energy he would normally gain toward a ritual and divide it by 25, dropping fractions, and then roll against his modified Path skill:

Critical Success: The enchanter generates EP equal to twice the margin of success (minimum 10). If he has assistants, they may now roll to improve this, at +2!
Success: The enchanter generates EP equal to the margin of success (minimum 1), which any assistants may now roll to improve.
Failure: The enchanter generates 1 EP. This may not be improved further; it is a flat 1 FP.
Critical Failure: The energy is lost and the enchantment acquires a quirk.

Spectral Forging
This works similarly to the rules on Sorcery, p. 31 with a couple of alterations:

After 25 days of work, the sorcerer rolls against Path skill:

Critical Success: The enchanter generates EP equal to 1.5 x the margin of success (round up, minimum 8). If he has assistants, they may now roll to improve this, at +2!
Success: The enchanter generates EP equal to the margin of success (minimum 1), which any assistants may now roll to improve.
Failure: The enchanter generates nothing and the item acquires a quirk. The time was wasted and the spell is slightly flawed.
Critical Failure: Make an immediate HT roll for the item (usually HT 12); on a failure, it shatters and must be replaced! Succeed or fail, all EP are lost, dissipating in typical botch fueled by the 50 x EP enchanted thus far!

----
The rest of the rules pretty much follow those from Sorcery.
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Old 06-24-2016, 05:15 PM   #5
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: GURPS Undead Creation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkholme View Post
I especially like the methods to become a lich. I presume a spell to become a vampire, or just *undead* with no other special abilities would follow the same process, but with the template values substituted, yeah?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkholme View Post
What about making unintelligent/animal intelligence undead, that still aren't controlled? I'm thinking about D&D style ghouls. On the one hand, yeah, you're applying a template to a corpse. On the other hand they don't keep any special abilities or skills, basically just using their physical characteristics as a starting point.
That'd be a feature and/or possibly lowering the ritual from Greater effects to Lesser ones.

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Originally Posted by Darkholme View Post
How different is it if you're applying the template to a corpse?
Not really different. You'd need to get the spell/potion/charm on the corpse, but that's it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkholme View Post
How different is it if you remove the chance of death?
It would increase the cost greatly. This uses the rules for Repercussive Rituals (see below).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkholme View Post
The lich post doesn't fully brake down the math, and I'm a little fuzzy on where the -150% modifier is coming from. I'm also a little fuzzy on how you can be applying a -150% leaving you with a positive number.
You'll need to look in Pyramid #3/66: The Laws of Magic on p. 38). Basically, the -150% reduces the cost of the ritual's required energy by -80% (since it tops out at -80%)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkholme View Post
I apologize if these are rookie questions, I'm new to GURPS, and I've noticed there are a lot of formulas (discussed by people or sometimes in templates) seem to be presented assuming I understand where the numbers are coming from, when I unfortunately do not.
No apology required. :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkholme View Post
One additional question: How do you achieve an instantaneous result that's not a transformation? Say, growing an oak tree (perhaps from a seed, or just straight up created) in an instant? After the spell is cast, it's just a regular mundane oak tree.
That's tricky and really a case-by-case basis. In RPM you don't really have truly permanent rituals - you can fudge it a bit with Conditional Termination (as I noted) - but even then magic will undo them. You could also add a crap load of Duration (more than the campaign will ever need) and call that a "permanent" spell. Your tree example might use Speed to determine how quickly the tree grows. For Speed use the Long-Distance modifiers (p. 241) and read miles as days. The GM could then rule that you merely sped up its growth - you don't change it in any real way. (I would not allow such a spell to work on anything with an IQ of 1 or more however.)
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Old 06-24-2016, 05:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: GURPS Undead Creation

Didn't you suggest multiplying energy by 5 for permanent rituals? Or have I jumped to another reality, again?

But by RAW and virtually all myths, magic always has a curse break effect usually duration. It's not that huge of an issue as reinforcing it is much cheaper than the original spell.
But I believe, correct me if I'm wrong, that it still counts as ongoing holding the place that other spells could go or enhance.
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Old 06-24-2016, 05:59 PM   #7
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: GURPS Undead Creation

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Didn't you suggest multiplying energy by 5 for permanent rituals? Or have I jumped to another reality, again?
No, that's not me. Thinking about it, for things that are not using Altered Traits I'd say divide the total energy of the spell by 25 and then charge that many unspent character points to make it a constant effect.

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But by RAW and virtually all myths, magic always has a curse break effect usually duration. It's not that huge of an issue as reinforcing it is much cheaper than the original spell.
Aye.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
But I believe, correct me if I'm wrong, that it still counts as ongoing holding the place that other spells could go or enhance.
I'm not parsing this, sorry.
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Old 06-24-2016, 07:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: GURPS Undead Creation

You can only have one Strengthen Body active on you at a time, for example. So that a super long term ritual effect would hold that position disallowing other Strengthen Body rituals.
Even if wrong, I hope that clarifies my point.
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Old 06-24-2016, 07:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: GURPS Undead Creation

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
You can only have one Strengthen Body active on you at a time, for example. So that a super long term ritual effect would hold that position disallowing other Strengthen Body rituals.
Even if wrong, I hope that clarifies my point.
Ahh, yes. the Stacking Rules. In general, if a spell produces a permanent effect - that is, if the casting of the spell's Duration has ended whatever remains isn't really an active spell.
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Old 06-25-2016, 01:09 AM   #10
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Default Re: GURPS Undead Creation

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Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
Ahh, yes. the Stacking Rules. In general, if a spell produces a permanent effect - that is, if the casting of the spell's Duration has ended whatever remains isn't really an active spell.
That's what I meant, and why it's not so awesome to just increase durations to year plus long lengths to appoximate permanent effects.
I'm sorry if my posts have been less clear lately.
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