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Old 02-06-2024, 12:02 PM   #1
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Changes to spells from GURPS

I recently noticed that in DFRPG, the Bravery spell explicitly grants Unfazeable, which was not explicitly stated in GURPS Magic. This got me wondering about other changes to spells—specifically, things that add detail that was not explicit in Magic, or which even contradicts Magic. (Lots of spells have small changes to wording, cutting text that's only relevant in high tech settings, or just stating the obvious.)

Wallwalker seems to have gotten ever so slightly nerfed—Magic doesn't reference any advantages and seems to let you walk on walls at full Move. The version in Spells specifically works the same way as the Spider Climb chi ability, which means you're at half move.

In Magic, Earthquake's effects are very vague beyond causing people to potentially fall down. Spells has explicit rules for using Earthquake to aid Intimidation and cause buildings to fall down.

In Magic, the rules for Flesh to Stone are very vague. DFRPG adds an explicitly defined "Petrification" condition (Exploits p. 66), whose details mostly aren't surprising though a few things might not be obvious (e.g. the fact that the victim isn't considered living or even formerly living).

Walk Through Earth and Steelwraith both now explicitly say you must leave everything but your clothing behind, and explicitly define "clothing" as being limited to 6 lbs. and DR 0. The same definition of "clothing" is added to Ethereal Body (though in that case, the Magic version did mention "clothing", it just didn't define the term).

Stop Bleeding restores 1d-3 (minimum 1) HP rather than just 1 HP. This change seems to ultimately be downstream of Dungeon Fantasy simplifying the First Aid rules (unlike in GURPS, there's no distinction between "bandaging", which restores 1 HP, and "treating shock", which restores 1d-3 HP at TL3).

In Magic, there's a reference to the possibility of an 8 yard radius Mirror, but doesn't say anything about this costing more FP or anything like that. In Spells, larger mirrors have their cost multiplied by (1 + SM).

Apportation gets updated to be resistible by ST or Will, instead of just Will. Used on anyone but the caster, gives -3 to DX-based skills.

Aura gets updated to explicitly detect any spellcasting talent, not just Magery. Similarly, inside the extradimensional space created by Sanctuary, all spellcasting (not just mana-based spellcasting) is at -5. It wouldn't surprise me if this had been addressed somewhere before DFRPG came out (even if it was just a forum post by Kromm), but I can't find it.

In writing this post, I didn't rigorously compare Magic and Spells, I just skimmed Spells and checked Magic only when I saw something that made me go "huh, I don't remember that bit..." So if I've missed anything, please do tell me!
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Old 02-07-2024, 01:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: Changes to spells from GURPS

Deathtouch, Frostbite, Flaming Weapons, and probably other spells did undefined damage in GURPS, In DFRPG they do Injury.
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Old 02-07-2024, 12:51 PM   #3
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: Changes to spells from GURPS

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Originally Posted by Balor Patch View Post
Deathtouch, Frostbite, Flaming Weapons, and probably other spells did undefined damage in GURPS, In DFRPG they do Injury.
In the case of Deathtouch this could be considered a minor bit of clarification, but it seems a bit weird in the case of Flaming Weapon. Why not say something like "adds a follow-up attack that does 2 points of burning damage"? Flaming Missiles, Icy Missiles, and Icy Weapon are also worded this way in Spells. (Spells also uses the "injury" terminology in many other cases where "direct" injury makes sense.)
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Old 02-07-2024, 02:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Changes to spells from GURPS

From where I'm standing, one of the biggest changes is the fact that Bless counts as a "spell on" for the purpose of accumulating casting penalties. The party still wants the cleric to cast Bless on them if they can't get it from elsewhere- a bonus to all rolls is wonderful, to say nothing of the chance to avoid disaster, and DF spellcasters have plenty of skill levels to spare-, but now it's at least a bit of a choice rather than a complete no-brainer. Also, from a world-building prospective, there's now a reason why everyone in the campaign setting isn't carrying the spell on them, which is hard to explain otherwise given its essentially unlimited duration and extraordinary utility.
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Old 02-07-2024, 04:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Changes to spells from GURPS

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Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
From where I'm standing, one of the biggest changes is the fact that Bless counts as a "spell on" for the purpose of accumulating casting penalties. The party still wants the cleric to cast Bless on them if they can't get it from elsewhere- a bonus to all rolls is wonderful, to say nothing of the chance to avoid disaster, and DF spellcasters have plenty of skill levels to spare-, but now it's at least a bit of a choice rather than a complete no-brainer. Also, from a world-building prospective, there's now a reason why everyone in the campaign setting isn't carrying the spell on them, which is hard to explain otherwise given its essentially unlimited duration and extraordinary utility.
Oh huh, that's interesting. It took me a few minutes to track down the relevant references, but it seems Magic itself is actually pretty vague about what spells count as "on", though the FAQ took the position that only maintainable spells count as "on". Spells in contrast says non-maintainable spells with finite duration do count as "on".
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Old 02-07-2024, 04:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Changes to spells from GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
Oh huh, that's interesting. It took me a few minutes to take down the relevant references, but it seems Magic itself is actually pretty vague about what spells count as "on", though the FAQ took the position that only maintainable spells count as "on". Spells in contrast says non-maintainable spells with finite duration do count as "on".
For mainline GURPS, Magic seems fairly clear to me. Page 10 says "temporary spells are spells that require the continuing expenditure of energy to maintain. [...] Only temporary spells count as spells on", so spells give a penalty for being 'on' if and only if they have a specified maintenance cost, whereas Bless cannot be maintained. DF, by contrast, talks about "spells that specify a finite duration (in seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc.)" (Spells p.11), so I don't know what the general rule is for spells that last until a specific event occurs rather than lasting for a particular amount of time, but Spells includes a note in the Bless spell (under duration) specifically stating that it counts as a spell 'on'.

EDIT: Another change in Bless is that different levels of the spell no longer offer different degrees of mitigation. In DF, even a +1 bless can turn a foe's critical hit into an outright miss when it gets used up rather than (as in the listed example in Magic) merely causing an arrow to hit the arm instead of the heart. The +3 level of Bless is also absent from Spells, but, with Ceremonial casting gone, no one was going to come up with the 500 energy points for it anyway.
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Last edited by ravenfish; 02-07-2024 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 02-08-2024, 01:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Changes to spells from GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
EDIT: Another change in Bless is that different levels of the spell no longer offer different degrees of mitigation. In DF, even a +1 bless can turn a foe's critical hit into an outright miss when it gets used up rather than (as in the listed example in Magic) merely causing an arrow to hit the arm instead of the heart.
That's because a "hit to the arm" can still kill someone. The spell is meant to save the person, not just move the death from "LOL blew past -x5" to "yup still dead just took a bunch less HP damage". Also, it's faster and easier to adjudicate "miraculously saved" versus "saved but crippled".
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Old 03-07-2024, 08:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Changes to spells from GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
From where I'm standing, one of the biggest changes is the fact that Bless counts as a "spell on" for the purpose of accumulating casting penalties. The party still wants the cleric to cast Bless on them if they can't get it from elsewhere- a bonus to all rolls is wonderful, to say nothing of the chance to avoid disaster, and DF spellcasters have plenty of skill levels to spare-, but now it's at least a bit of a choice rather than a complete no-brainer. Also, from a world-building prospective, there's now a reason why everyone in the campaign setting isn't carrying the spell on them, which is hard to explain otherwise given its essentially unlimited duration and extraordinary utility.
The ideal scenario for Bless is for the party Knight or Swashbuckler to cast it on party members from a universal uncharged scroll ($400), with the party cleric available to recast Bless on demand. That way you get the same coverage (plus the cleric can be Blessed!) but casting penalty usually stays small, +0 to -3ish.
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