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Old 01-07-2019, 01:25 PM   #121
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Conditional Spells, Local Mana and Places of Power

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Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
If that's what you're going for then retool Ritual Adept - remove the Connection part for those who have it. Done. Since it seems like no one has Ritual Adept anyways aren't you already emulating this?
From Thaumatology, casting in the presence of the target fulfils any Connection requirements. Activating a condtional ritual or Charm when standing by a target seems to fall under this.

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From what I've read it just seems like you're artificially building up skill levels to compensate for penalties you're adding on. If you want to remove massive bonuses I'd suggest you kill the bonuses (halve them for instance) and bring skill levels back to norm. Unless you are literally going for the idea of "skill 15 + bazillion for foci, place of power, etc." If you only allow +1 or +2 bonuses for things in the first place you won't need to worry about stacking penalties so skills become sub-base.
It's a device so that ordinary people are mostly useless when it comes to the occult, unless something Terrible is teaching them, giving them power and bonuses.

Also, so that a smart, prepared and educated caster can learn just enough to get into trouble, but not enough to deal with it. Basically, anyone other than servants of dark forces, chosen ones and generational super-geniuses will not be able to perform adventuring-useful magic.

And, yeah, I'm going for a feel where whole adventures revolve around amassing positive modifiers for one ritual, the way Tim Powers stories tend to work.

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I like the idea of a boat with a threshold. That's just cool.
It is. The idea for this campaign was literally a player asking if they could play modern Monster Hunters who travel by boat.

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Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
But on topic - consider allowing the mana bonus to stay, but add a seperate roll to make it "stick." This gets you the flavor you want and means PCs still will seek out places of power to use. For example:

After the casting roll make a Will-based roll against your base skill or effective skill, whichever is less. Each two points by which you succeed lets you keep the a +1 bonus from the local mana. Any failure or success of one or less results in the bonus fading outside of the higher mana level.
That might not be unfair, I suppose.

Though I anticipate needing to have no worries about the PCs not desiring Places of Power. Just being able to cast rituals there, such as divinations, is well worth it. Add being able to gather energy there for charms and conditional spells and people will still kill for Places of Power.

Remember, they'll tend to be in favorable mana zones, as well. A consecrated Place of Power might be -3 to -5, as opposed to an unconsecrated spot on an average street at -13 to -15.

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Why not just add a special variation of duration instead of spending time on it. Or maybe in addition to it. Just double the cost of the Duration and that's how long the spell in the charm lasts without an HT roll. Or perhaps allow a Lesser Strengthen Magic effect + Bestows a Bonus to get a bonus versus weakening.
I'd allow the Lesser Strengthen Magic effect combined with Bestows a Bonus, sure. I'm also considering having all effects that can endure the dawn outside a Threshold need to be bound in an object or living being, metaphysically something that has a threshold-like field around it.

And creating any long duration conditional rituals calls for Greater Strengthen or Control Magic effects.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:50 PM   #122
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Default Re: Conditional Spells, Local Mana and Places of Power

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
From Thaumatology, casting in the presence of the target fulfils any Connection requirements. Activating a condtional ritual or Charm when standing by a target seems to fall under this.
Yes, but spells to find lost objects or people would suffer. As would things like hexing your enemies from afar.

You COULD state that targets not in your presence suffers a -10 to cast on them, with those who are in your presence requiring a -5. Then you'd add a second level of Connection for Ritual Adept. That might be help with the flavor your going for.


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It's a device so that ordinary people are mostly useless when it comes to the occult, unless something Terrible is teaching them, giving them power and bonuses.

Also, so that a smart, prepared and educated caster can learn just enough to get into trouble, but not enough to deal with it. Basically, anyone other than servants of dark forces, chosen ones and generational super-geniuses will not be able to perform adventuring-useful magic.

And, yeah, I'm going for a feel where whole adventures revolve around amassing positive modifiers for one ritual, the way Tim Powers stories tend to work.
As a long-time GM of RPM - I probably have more experience with the system then anyone here except PK - this just rings warning bells in my head. It's your game however and it's not like I can tell you to do X anyways. Just trying to give the benefit of experience.

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It is. The idea for this campaign was literally a player asking if they could play modern Monster Hunters who travel by boat.
I agree. I like it quite a bit.


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That might not be unfair, I suppose.

Though I anticipate needing to have no worries about the PCs not desiring Places of Power. Just being able to cast rituals there, such as divinations, is well worth it. Add being able to gather energy there for charms and conditional spells and people will still kill for Places of Power.

Remember, they'll tend to be in favorable mana zones, as well. A consecrated Place of Power might be -3 to -5, as opposed to an unconsecrated spot on an average street at -13 to -15.
I suppose that's true. It just feels weird that you can gather the energy to cast the spell easier, but don't get it for the casting roll as well. A thought: If you're going to use the current mana level for casting a spell in a given area consider rounding up the bonus for Places of Power by 1.5 for the purposes of gathering energy. That might even it out some.

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I'd allow the Lesser Strengthen Magic effect combined with Bestows a Bonus, sure. I'm also considering having all effects that end longer than dawn outside a Threshold need to be bound in an object or living being, metaphysically something that has a threshold-like field around it.

And creating any long duration conditional rituals calls for Greater Strengthen or Control Magic effects.
That works.
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:10 PM   #123
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Default Re: RPM Rituals: Official, Semi-, Quasi- and Un-official

One thing which I have used in my games (which are notably a lot more 'high magic' than your game seems to be aiming) is that powerful magic creates echos both forward and backwards in time, like the side-lobes of a radio broadcast, and that detecting an echo does not require more than magical training or other detection ability (Empathy, oracle, danger sense, etc).

Thus if you are considering combat with someone who has a 100d doom arrow in their quiver and you have danger sense you can get a sensation of raw destruction and harm being placed within an arrow before you are committed to the fight.

Similarly this helps protect the 'state of the union' (State of the union: the concept that everything is the same as you know it, but magic/supernatural has been added) in that, even though under RPM a large cult could in theory get together, drink the magic kool-aid, and do voluntary sacrifice until death getting up to thousands of points of energy rather quickly and easily- the echos of that will stretch so far backwards in time that anyone inclined to disrupt the cult will have ample time to do so (and probably lots of someones if the ritual is for 'turn the entire world's oceans into soup').

For your lower powered, more subtle magic, game making all magic have echos (with the amount they ripple subject to scope and energy) should allow things to remain largely the same with only a few individuals 'in the know' required to 'run interference'- the classical 'slow moving bureaucracy', multiple decision makers, and arbitrary delays of large governments and organizations may actually be simple mundane defenses against mystical manipulation and anything powerful enough to circumvent such defenses creates large enough echos that the limited number of 'in the know' defenders can step in.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:08 PM   #124
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Default Re: RPM Rituals: Official, Semi-, Quasi- and Un-official

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One thing which I have used in my games (which are notably a lot more 'high magic' than your game seems to be aiming) is that powerful magic creates echos both forward and backwards in time, like the side-lobes of a radio broadcast, and that detecting an echo does not require more than magical training or other detection ability (Empathy, oracle, danger sense, etc).

Thus if you are considering combat with someone who has a 100d doom arrow in their quiver and you have danger sense you can get a sensation of raw destruction and harm being placed within an arrow before you are committed to the fight.

Similarly this helps protect the 'state of the union' (State of the union: the concept that everything is the same as you know it, but magic/supernatural has been added) in that, even though under RPM a large cult could in theory get together, drink the magic kool-aid, and do voluntary sacrifice until death getting up to thousands of points of energy rather quickly and easily- the echos of that will stretch so far backwards in time that anyone inclined to disrupt the cult will have ample time to do so (and probably lots of someones if the ritual is for 'turn the entire world's oceans into soup').

For your lower powered, more subtle magic, game making all magic have echos (with the amount they ripple subject to scope and energy) should allow things to remain largely the same with only a few individuals 'in the know' required to 'run interference'- the classical 'slow moving bureaucracy', multiple decision makers, and arbitrary delays of large governments and organizations may actually be simple mundane defenses against mystical manipulation and anything powerful enough to circumvent such defenses creates large enough echos that the limited number of 'in the know' defenders can step in.
This seems reasonable enough.

Also, note that my campaign is actually quite high fantasy in scope. The PCs are 1,000 point Chosen Ones, or if not Chosen by anyone in particular, at the very least each of them has some deeply mystical significance. In a world where only one in a thousand people might know about the occult and only one out of every thousand is capable of even modest adventuring-useful magic, the PCs are mages (or the equivalent) who stand at the pinnacle of mortal potential, probably in the top 1% of adventuring occultists.

Out of the couple of dozen greatest living archmages in the world, the PCs will start out knowing one and will probably end up making enemies of a couple more before the end of the first adventure. And by Season 2 or 3, the PCs might be knocking on the door of that first tier in the rough ranking of magical puissance, once they've polished their raw (or rustic) potential.

It's just that to most people living in the campaign world, the supernatural is superstition, not reality. Even those who know differently mostly just know to use Thresholds, salt, bells, horseshoes, garlic and othef apotropes to protect themselves. At best, a skilled practisioner might be able to make protective amulets and good luck charms, but those would not last long outside his Sanctum.

The ability to stand toe-to-toe with what exists in other worlds and defeat paranormal predators with stronger magic than their own, that makes the PCs superheroes in a world where most people, even very high point budget people (world-champion athletes, special operators, rich and powerful elites, etc.), are simply potential victims.

Only by avoiding areas of the Vile Vortices and any other higher mana zones caused by ley lines and Places of Power can anyone hope to avoid becoming a statistic and a cautionary tale. Most mortals don't even realize it, but they'll unconsciously shiver and feel a desire to go home, inside their safe Threshold, when they sense areas of higher mana, where there might be monsters.

I'm aware that using one set of rules for PCs and another for everyone else accomplishes roughly the same goal, but I'm a fan of character sheets actually spelling out, in concrete terms, what makes the character different from the norm.

Think Anita Blake (probably with less sex), Harry Dresden and Owen Pitt from Monster Hunters International. Just realise that the named characters in those stories and the PCs in mine, they aren't representative of typical people in the setting. Or even typical animators, wizards or monster hunters. All of the above, along with allies of a similar power level, eventually defeat cosmically powerful, deity-level threats and save the world.
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:42 PM   #125
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Default Re: RPM Rituals: Official, Semi-, Quasi- and Un-official

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This seems reasonable enough.

Also, note that my campaign is actually quite high fantasy in scope. The PCs are 1,000 point Chosen Ones, or if not Chosen by anyone in particular, at the very least each of them has some deeply mystical significance. In a world where only one in a thousand people might know about the occult and only one out of every thousand is capable of even modest adventuring-useful magic, the PCs are mages (or the equivalent) who stand at the pinnacle of mortal potential, probably in the top 1% of adventuring occultists.

Out of the couple of dozen greatest living archmages in the world, the PCs will start out knowing one and will probably end up making enemies of a couple more before the end of the first adventure. And by Season 2 or 3, the PCs might be knocking on the door of that first tier in the rough ranking of magical puissance, once they've polished their raw (or rustic) potential.

It's just that to most people living in the campaign world, the supernatural is superstition, not reality. Even those who know differently mostly just know to use Thresholds, salt, bells, horseshoes, garlic and othef apotropes to protect themselves. At best, a skilled practisioner might be able to make protective amulets and good luck charms, but those would not last long outside his Sanctum.

The ability to stand toe-to-toe with what exists in other worlds and defeat paranormal predators with stronger magic than their own, that makes the PCs superheroes in a world where most people, even very high point budget people (world-champion athletes, special operators, rich and powerful elites, etc.), are simply potential victims.

Only by avoiding areas of the Vile Vortices and any other higher mana zones caused by ley lines and Places of Power can anyone hope to avoid becoming a statistic and a cautionary tale. Most mortals don't even realize it, but they'll unconsciously shiver and feel a desire to go home, inside their safe Threshold, when they sense areas of higher mana, where there might be monsters.

I'm aware that using one set of rules for PCs and another for everyone else accomplishes roughly the same goal, but I'm a fan of character sheets actually spelling out, in concrete terms, what makes the character different from the norm.

Think Anita Blake (probably with less sex), Harry Dresden and Owen Pitt from Monster Hunters International. Just realise that the named characters in those stories and the PCs in mine, they aren't representative of typical people in the setting. Or even typical animators, wizards or monster hunters. All of the above, along with allies of a similar power level, eventually defeat cosmically powerful, deity-level threats and save the world.
Ah, ok- so the '-20 in penalties' is not 'there are basically no casters' its 'you 1000 point paragons can cast like how a 150 point witch sidekick casts in monster hunters' instead of 'every spell you cast could shake the world at its core'
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:56 PM   #126
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Default Re: RPM Rituals: Official, Semi-, Quasi- and Un-official

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Ah, ok- so the '-20 in penalties' is not 'there are basically no casters' its 'you 1000 point paragons can cast like how a 150 point witch sidekick casts in monster hunters' instead of 'every spell you cast could shake the world at its core'
You've got it.

With the extremely important flourish of:

"Magic is still superstition in most of the well-lit modern cities of the world, where even archmages have a hard time producing noticeable effects, even from pre-prepared charms, but in certain mystically significant places, along ley lines and in locations of historical significance, shadowy figures of the occult underground exchange subtle curses and you may need protective charms to be safe from monsters. If you enter the Vile Vortices, you may find yourself in an area where other realities bleed into ours and the mana levels rise enough to make the magic of myth and stories possible. Watch out, then, as such concentrations of magical energy are a sure sign of an incursion by something powerful and if it is not sent back whence it it came, the tear in reality will grow stronger and eventually, the Earth we know will be no more."

Magic isn't a 'natural' part of the setting, it's a symptom of the approaching apocalypse that the PCs are supposed to stop. And while they fight fire with fire, by mastering the use of magical forces to use against the paranormal creatures from other worlds, the PCs should never forget that magic is an alien, invasive energy, one with unpredictable effects and frightening implications. There are areas where any magic should work poorly, if at all, and these areas, rather than being annoyances and areas where the PCs are weak, should be viewed as islands of safety from the supernatural.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:51 AM   #127
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Default Re: Conditional Spells, Local Mana and Places of Power

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Yes, but spells to find lost objects or people would suffer.
Yes, where they pinpoint their location or show them from a distance, which would both count the sought object or person as the target/subject of the spell. General divination and information spells, even if they gave hints that could be used to narrow down the location of someone, I would count as not targeted on anyone in particular and thus not penalized any more.

Such rituals, of course, could not give you any specific directions toward an object or person who was in a less magical area. But it could exclude areas of higher mana from your search, give cryptic prophetic answers, suggest that what you search for is occluded from the spirits by bright lights and technology, etc.

Things like: "What Place of Power did X last visit?", I would count as targeted on the impression left in that Place of Power, with maybe an effective -3 to cast, and not on X, presently sleeping in a normal suburban home with a local mana of -10.

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As would things like hexing your enemies from afar.
Feature, not a bug. In setting, all magicians know that one of the sacrifices you make, if you choose to make your home where magic is easier to perform, is that your enemies can also hex you more easily. This is why they generally expend a lot of power ensuring that their homes are Sanctums, with powerful protective Thresholds holding various wards interwoven with the matrix of the Threshold, if such magicians choose to make their home within an area with a higher mana level at all.

It's why people who live within the areas of one of the Vile Vortices worry constantly about being cursed and great numbers of people in places like Haiti or Mali have learned enough to mess with the supernatural, but people who live in 'normal' modern cities don't really have to consider the subject, being able to disbelieve the whole thing and usually not suffer for it.

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You COULD state that targets not in your presence suffers a -10 to cast on them, with those who are in your presence requiring a -5. Then you'd add a second level of Connection for Ritual Adept. That might be help with the flavor your going for.
It might. I'll consider it.

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As a long-time GM of RPM - I probably have more experience with the system then anyone here except PK - this just rings warning bells in my head. It's your game however and it's not like I can tell you to do X anyways. Just trying to give the benefit of experience.
You should talk to my players. :-)

They want to be able to teleport, raise armies of undead, throw fireballs and all that fine stuff. I've told them that I want to be able to have a world which still resembles our world enough so that I can use detail from our world in worldbuilding, so no one can be able to do anything which would blow the lid of the status quo in the world forever.

There being areas of the world where monsters break the rules of physics and magic can work in at least a moderately flashly manner, even if subtle effects are still favored, but with most of the modern life we take for granted occurring in areas where even Merlin might struggle to prove that he's not a fraud, was a compromise.

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I agree. I like it quite a bit.
Traveling by ley lines and sailing the occult tides will also allow the PCs to be in the right places at the right times, aided by the arcane prognostications of adepts on board, and most especially, by the advanced tellurgic workings of their Patron.

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Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
I suppose that's true. It just feels weird that you can gather the energy to cast the spell easier, but don't get it for the casting roll as well. A thought: If you're going to use the current mana level for casting a spell in a given area consider rounding up the bonus for Places of Power by 1.5 for the purposes of gathering energy. That might even it out some.
Note that you absolutely do get the Place of Power bonus on casting the spell. It's just that determining the effects of a spell uses the lower modifier of your local mana level and your target's.

Yes, I want to consider how, for the purposes of an adventure, a ritual magician could somehow affect a target who lived in 'normal' society, almost, but not quite, in a No Mana Zone. An area where mana was present, but only in minuscule amounts, making affecting anything there extremely hard. And yes, such areas are actually most of the world, at least most of the urban, Western world that I know. The occult underworld impinging on the world of the normal is cool and it will happen, from time to time.

But the places where PCs will mostly face the supernatural and use magic are in the Vile Vortices and at confluences of ley lines and mystical tides where the mana level rises to levels similar to those found within the Vile Vortices.

And Charms and Conditional Spells that you prepared at a fairly safe Place of Power with a friendly Threshold and an effective modifier of -4 will work just fine when you cast them in an area where the world of Faerie has bled into our world and the local mana level is Normal Mana (+0), which even with an unconsecrated modifier is merely -5, and just -1 after a quick consecration.

Added to that, I do allow one part of Ritual Adept to mortals, and that is a limited version of Ritual Adept (Space), such as Druidic Turf, for example, which allows someone casting in a druidic tradition to treat areas of pristine nature as consecrated.

Wondering how conditional spells would work in front of an audience of scientists on live television is important from a setting-building point of view, but the PCs hopefully won't be trying to prove the existence of magic to the world, they'll be too busy using it against monsters in areas where the natural laws are closer to suggestions.
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:52 PM   #128
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Default Re: Conditional Spells, Local Mana and Places of Power

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Yes, where they pinpoint their location or show them from a distance, which would both count the sought object or person as the target/subject of the spell. General divination and information spells, even if they gave hints that could be used to narrow down the location of someone, I would count as not targeted on anyone in particular and thus not penalized any more.

Such rituals, of course, could not give you any specific directions toward an object or person who was in a less magical area. But it could exclude areas of higher mana from your search, give cryptic prophetic answers, suggest that what you search for is occluded from the spirits by bright lights and technology, etc.

Things like: "What Place of Power did X last visit?", I would count as targeted on the impression left in that Place of Power, with maybe an effective -3 to cast, and not on X, presently sleeping in a normal suburban home with a local mana of -10.
That could work, sure.


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Feature, not a bug. In setting, all magicians know that one of the sacrifices you make, if you choose to make your home where magic is easier to perform, is that your enemies can also hex you more easily. This is why they generally expend a lot of power ensuring that their homes are Sanctums, with powerful protective Thresholds holding various wards interwoven with the matrix of the Threshold, if such magicians choose to make their home within an area with a higher mana level at all.

It's why people who live within the areas of one of the Vile Vortices worry constantly about being cursed and great numbers of people in places like Haiti or Mali have learned enough to mess with the supernatural, but people who live in 'normal' modern cities don't really have to consider the subject, being able to disbelieve the whole thing and usually not suffer for it.
Ok. If that's the flavor you're seeking, cool. I was just worried it might be a bit too much. In my own campaign I simply gave every one the Mundane Background and Enlightened so only certain folks can cast spells, then gave a penalty to everyone but those who possessed a certain UB to do it well.


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It might. I'll consider it.
Spiffy.

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You should talk to my players. :-)

They want to be able to teleport, raise armies of undead, throw fireballs and all that fine stuff. I've told them that I want to be able to have a world which still resembles our world enough so that I can use detail from our world in worldbuilding, so no one can be able to do anything which would blow the lid of the status quo in the world forever.

There being areas of the world where monsters break the rules of physics and magic can work in at least a moderately flashly manner, even if subtle effects are still favored, but with most of the modern life we take for granted occurring in areas where even Merlin might struggle to prove that he's not a fraud, was a compromise.
Heh. I hate teleportation for the most part outside a few campaigns. And when I say I hate it what I mean is I don't like PCs to have it. Ruins too much.


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Traveling by ley lines and sailing the occult tides will also allow the PCs to be in the right places at the right times, aided by the arcane prognostications of adepts on board, and most especially, by the advanced tellurgic workings of their Patron.
On Stranger Tides as it were.


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Note that you absolutely do get the Place of Power bonus on casting the spell. It's just that determining the effects of a spell uses the lower modifier of your local mana level and your target's.

Yes, I want to consider how, for the purposes of an adventure, a ritual magician could somehow affect a target who lived in 'normal' society, almost, but not quite, in a No Mana Zone. An area where mana was present, but only in minuscule amounts, making affecting anything there extremely hard. And yes, such areas are actually most of the world, at least most of the urban, Western world that I know. The occult underworld impinging on the world of the normal is cool and it will happen, from time to time.

But the places where PCs will mostly face the supernatural and use magic are in the Vile Vortices and at confluences of ley lines and mystical tides where the mana level rises to levels similar to those found within the Vile Vortices.

And Charms and Conditional Spells that you prepared at a fairly safe Place of Power with a friendly Threshold and an effective modifier of -4 will work just fine when you cast them in an area where the world of Faerie has bled into our world and the local mana level is Normal Mana (+0), which even with an unconsecrated modifier is merely -5, and just -1 after a quick consecration.

Added to that, I do allow one part of Ritual Adept to mortals, and that is a limited version of Ritual Adept (Space), such as Druidic Turf, for example, which allows someone casting in a druidic tradition to treat areas of pristine nature as consecrated.

Wondering how conditional spells would work in front of an audience of scientists on live television is important from a setting-building point of view, but the PCs hopefully won't be trying to prove the existence of magic to the world, they'll be too busy using it against monsters in areas where the natural laws are closer to suggestions.
Hmmm. Interesting. Not quite the way I'd do it to seek the flavor you're going for, but not bad either. I'm not a fan of inflation on skills to combat artificial penalties in a setting-wide thing. I am a fan of features working like that because it makes the PCs special without having to give them a skill of 30 to cast in a NMZ (or similiar).
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:05 AM   #129
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Default Re: Conditional Spells, Local Mana and Places of Power

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Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
Ok. If that's the flavor you're seeking, cool. I was just worried it might be a bit too much. In my own campaign I simply gave every one the Mundane Background and Enlightened so only certain folks can cast spells, then gave a penalty to everyone but those who possessed a certain UB to do it well.
That's another way to do it, but a sliding scale of penalties is more useful in distinguishing between people who have all the requisite knowledge, but are unable to effectively cast adventuring-type spells while in mana levels that are typical for most of Earth, and people who simply can't cast spells at all.

Plenty of occultists can't really go around casting spells on the well-lit streets of modern cities, but would be extremely competent at it if they dared to enter a Vile Vortex and found a confluence of much higher mana than exists in the rest of the world, around a Place of Power.

Not to mention the possibility of spirits or other preternatural beings granting power and guiding low-powered occultists to higher mana areas. Hell, it seems every other cultist and crazy person is wielding magic at much higher levels than friendly occultists can manage, but that's because if you take the easier path to power, you can get around the problems of a) Not actually having the talent for Magery, b) Needing a lot of bonuses to even be able to contemplate using magic, and c) Not having the discipline to actually study magic.

There are always plenty of spirits and other beings ready to make a Pact. It's just that if you do, you might regret it.

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Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
Heh. I hate teleportation for the most part outside a few campaigns. And when I say I hate it what I mean is I don't like PCs to have it. Ruins too much.
As the PCs probably won't dare to get on airplanes*, the issue of fast travel is something the players are very concerned with.

Penemue will be able to cruise at speeds that would be extremely impressive for a modern superyacht** and the fuel efficiency will be (supernaturally) good despite running the engines at near full power, but that's still 'only' 35-40 knots cruising speed, with max speed maybe around 50 knots. Damn impressive for a luxury yacht of mostly traditional hull design, ponderous indeed for long distance travel for people used to airplanes.

They are eager for the setting to allow some form of dimensional travel. I might, might consider letting sailing along ley lines, at the appropriate times and with the preternatural tides just right, allow the Penemue to make a long trip in half the time or something like that, by entering another ocean, adjacent to our own. But such doings would be a desperation maneuver.

That being said, maybe a subtle effect could allow travel times to be slightly shortened from what the physical speed would indicate. Magic that made it more sea-kindly and allowed the hull to glide more effortlessly through waves would minimize the effects of bad weather on travel times (though they'd still get seasick, no doubt) and allow every trip to be made in good time, with fortunate conditions.

That way, what should be at least a two or three day trip for a yacht at full steam, from Galveston to the Windward Islands at the far side of the Caribbean, might be made in less than 30 hours. It's not physically impossible, magic is just aiding their passage enough to net them a trip where everything goes just right.

*Even though I've told them that despite their powers no doubt increasing the chance of catastrophe dramatically, they can afford an increase of a few orders of magnitude before flying becomes really dangerous.
**I found real 1960s vintage yachts with speeds that still beat most modern yachts. Modern engines are more efficient and it's easier to get the high top speeds now, but 1960s technology still allows for extremely powerful diesel engines.


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Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
On Stranger Tides as it were.
I'm not gonna lie, Tim Powers is always a huge influence on any secret magic campaign I contemplate.

He is the Ideal and Ken Hite is his Prophet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
Hmmm. Interesting. Not quite the way I'd do it to seek the flavor you're going for, but not bad either. I'm not a fan of inflation on skills to combat artificial penalties in a setting-wide thing. I am a fan of features working like that because it makes the PCs special without having to give them a skill of 30 to cast in a NMZ (or similiar).
I do this for most adventuring skills. Apply the harshest penalties possible to doing stuff that in the real world is almost impossible, outside of some extremely talented people under controlled conditions, and then allow PCs to be one of the few people who can, if the players choose to spend enough of their points in that area.

Cinematic results, without actually using cinematic rules. The 25 point normal people and the PCs are using all the same rules, it's just the PCs will be at the top of human potential in many, many things.
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Last edited by Icelander; 01-10-2019 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:59 PM   #130
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Default Re: Conditional Spells, Local Mana and Places of Power

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
That's another way to do it, but a sliding scale of penalties is more useful in distinguishing between people who have all the requisite knowledge, but are unable to effectively cast adventuring-type spells while in mana levels that are typical for most of Earth, and people who simply can't cast spells at all.

Plenty of occultists can't really go around casting spells on the well-lit streets of modern cities, but would be extremely competent at it if they dared to enter a Vile Vortex and found a confluence of much higher mana than exists in the rest of the world, around a Place of Power.

Not to mention the possibility of spirits or other preternatural beings granting power and guiding low-powered occultists to higher mana areas. Hell, it seems every other cultist and crazy person is wielding magic at much higher levels than friendly occultists can manage, but that's because if you take the easier path to power, you can get around the problems of a) Not actually having the talent for Magery, b) Needing a lot of bonuses to even be able to contemplate using magic, and c) Not having the discipline to actually study magic.

There are always plenty of spirits and other beings ready to make a Pact. It's just that if you do, you might regret it.
I'm ruthless when it comes to deals with the devil (literally or figuratively). My article "How Very Tempting" was based in a system I used for my games for just that purpose.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
As the PCs probably won't dare to get on airplanes*, the issue of fast travel is something the players are very concerned with.

Penemue will be able to cruise at speeds that would be extremely impressive for a modern superyacht** and the fuel efficiency will be (supernaturally) good despite running the engines at near full power, but that's still 'only' 35-40 knots cruising speed, with max speed maybe around 50 knots. Damn impressive for a luxury yacht of mostly traditional hull design, ponderous indeed for long distance travel for people used to airplanes.

They are eager for the setting to allow some form of dimensional travel. I might, might consider letting sailing along ley lines, at the appropriate times and with the preternatural tides just right, allow the Penemue to make a long trip in half the time or something like that, by entering another ocean, adjacent to our own. But such doings would be a desperation maneuver.

That being said, maybe a subtle effect could allow travel times to be slightly shortened from what the physical speed would indicate. Magic that made it more sea-kindly and allowed the hull to glide more effortlessly through waves would minimize the effects of bad weather on travel times (though they'd still get seasick, no doubt) and allow every trip to be made in good time, with fortunate conditions.

That way, what should be at least a two or three day trip for a yacht at full steam, from Galveston to the Windward Islands at the far side of the Caribbean, might be made in less than 30 hours. It's not physically impossible, magic is just aiding their passage enough to net them a trip where everything goes just right.

*Even though I've told them that despite their powers no doubt increasing the chance of catastrophe dramatically, they can afford an increase of a few orders of magnitude before flying becomes really dangerous.
**I found real 1960s vintage yachts with speeds that still beat most modern yachts. Modern engines are more efficient and it's easier to get the high top speeds now, but 1960s technology still allows for extremely powerful diesel engines.
I have some more Tellurgy spells you might like in the coming months. :-)

That said, you may wish to allow ley tunnels as a method of travel. In Ceteri I have the Autumn Road - which is a fae-created network of ley tunnels to allow rapid travel - if you know what you are doing. Teleportation is also possible for spirits and those not made of flesh - the living end up greasy stains when they try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I'm not gonna lie, Tim Powers is always a huge influence on any secret magic campaign I contemplate.

He is the Ideal and Ken Hite is his Prophet.
Heh.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I do this for most adventuring skills. Apply the harshest penalties possible to doing stuff that in the real world is almost impossible, outside of some extremely talented people under controlled conditions, and then allow PCs to be one of the few people who can, if the players choose to spend enough of their points in that area.

Cinematic results, without actually using cinematic rules. The 25 point normal people and the PCs are using all the same rules, it's just the PCs will be at the top of human potential in many, many things.
I mean, I see where you are going. It just seems weird to me. If you want to run a cinematic game then do it - the PCs are the special ones, no one else is. No need to jack up point totals or penalties in that case. Though I suspect we're coming at the same problem in two different ways.
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