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Old 06-03-2016, 10:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Occultism, Ritual Magic, Symbol Drawing and Thaumatolo

I had another use for symbol drawing in one game. All mages in this world had an inate of some form or another, mages from one group had an attack that required an item. This was their staff, wand etc. Anyway each character from group could use symbol drawing to modify their item and as a result the attack it generated.
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Old 06-04-2016, 04:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Occultism, Ritual Magic, Symbol Drawing and Thaumatolo

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Originally Posted by Tallor View Post
In my opinion, I'd consolidate Occultism, Thaumatology, and Ritual Magic into a single Average or Hard skill with a required specialty for particular colleges or cults.

I'd like to hear if anyone's had that idea. It can't just be me!
A systems that's trying to be generic and universal needs a skill setup that works for worlds where there is no magic, or it's very obscure, yet people believe in it. In the real world, there's loads of Occultism, but if anyone knows real Thaumatology, they are keeping quiet about it.

Consolidating Ritual Magic and Thaumatology, requiring specialisation in a particular magic system is a much sounder idea.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Occultism, Ritual Magic, Symbol Drawing and Thaumatolo

Thaumatology - This one is very commonly seen, and is probably the most rolled single skill in our campaigns, as a general purpose 'find knowledge about magic stuff'. Its also required for arcane RPM, and is boosted by Eldritch Power for Mystic Knights, and Magery for Magic Magic mages. So are 3 different categories of people who are bound to have it. And anyone who has a good IQ who isn't in the above category is likely to take it, because its very useful as a knowledge skill! I can't offhand think of an IQ 14 (or more) character who hasn't thrown a point into this. Knowing about magic is good!

Occultism - Very common, but not quite as common as Thaumatology. Still, very common as its a general purpose 'know about odd stuff' skill, and everyone wants to know about odd stuff. Especially as its very likely noone in the party has 'Hidden Lore - Purple Woozle Worms' when the party comes up against Purple Woozle Worms

SYmbol Drawing - Rarely seen. Its needed for like, Hasty Consecration for Non Adept RPMists, and has some other stuff, but just isn't used much.

Ritual Magic - Since Pyramid 66 didn't come out for a while and explain this was used for Divine Magic, well, I don't use this for Divine Magic. I use Theology. So this really has no particular role and isn't seen much.
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Old 06-05-2016, 12:48 AM   #14
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Occultism, Ritual Magic, Symbol Drawing and Thaumatolo

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
A systems that's trying to be generic and universal needs a skill setup that works for worlds where there is no magic, or it's very obscure, yet people believe in it. In the real world, there's loads of Occultism, but if anyone knows real Thaumatology, they are keeping quiet about it.
That's surely valid, and an important part of the idea. But I'd also note that in a world where magic exists, and is known to exist, there will be the knowledge of how magic actually works that could be used to analyze unfamiliar forms of magic, or to develop new spells or rituals, or perhaps to predict what magical phenomena could occur; but then there will also be the ability to recognize a magical script or diagram, or to know what forms of divination are commonly practiced, or to recognize what kind of magical creature a summoner has called up. It's kind of like the difference between Physics (Electromagnetism) and Electronics Operation/Repair: the physicist knows the equations, but may not know the resistor color code or be able to send Morse code.
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Old 06-05-2016, 04:47 AM   #15
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Occultism, Ritual Magic, Symbol Drawing and Thaumatolo

The way I work it is this:

In a fantasy setting with known magic, Occultism is more the "everyday knowledge" of magic, fae, and monsters, often with required (rather than optional) specializations for various fields. Someone with Occultism can recognize "this is a magic circle, not just a drawing", but can't say exactly what was summoned or bound, or what other steps may have been involved. Thaumatology is the in-depth theory behind how and why magic works, and is often used as the "concept" skill when inventing new spells, analyzing rituals, and can say with certainty what the aforementioned magic circle was meant to do: summon or protect. Ritual Magic is not often used; Thaumatology is both theory and practice, usually.

In a hidden-magic urban fantasy setting, say for instance Constantine or the Buffyverse, or any given Monster Hunters setting, Occultism is more likely to be relevant, but known by less people, and almost always requiring specializations. Here, Ritual Magic is the practical skill for casting, with Thaumatology still being the theory.

In both cases, Symbol Drawing is more often a complementary skill rather than a primary. In settings where rune casting is the norm, this would probably be the practical skill for casting.
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:34 AM   #16
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Occultism, Ritual Magic, Symbol Drawing and Thaumatolo

Have we already done a Skill of the Week for Hidden Lore? It and Occultism are usually seen as two sides of the same coin.

ETA: Yes, we have.
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:29 PM   #17
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Occultism, Ritual Magic, Symbol Drawing and Thaumatolo

If I were to combine any of the listed skills, I would combine Symbol Drawing and Ritual Magic -- they are both generalized 'cast magic' skills. Symbol Drawing I use only when I would normally use Ritual Magic but the method involves drawing. (This actually happens a lot).

I find the others quite distinctive.
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:37 PM   #18
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Occultism, Ritual Magic, Symbol Drawing and Thaumatolo

The Basic writeup suggests that Ritual Magic is specific to certain types of spirit-oriented magical traditions, and is a counterpart to Thaumatology. This doesn't seem to be how the skill has been used in later works, which is probably for the best.
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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
If I were to combine any of the listed skills, I would combine Symbol Drawing and Ritual Magic -- they are both generalized 'cast magic' skills. Symbol Drawing I use only when I would normally use Ritual Magic but the method involves drawing. (This actually happens a lot).

I find the others quite distinctive.
Symbol drawing seems to exist entirely as an extra 'technique skill' for certain types of magic, exactly the sort of thing GURPS usually absorbs into the actual effect-producing skill. I like that kind of extra complexity and would use it more often, but if you do want to merge skills it's a good place for it. (You'd mostly just be erasing places where Symbol Drawing is used.)


If trying to GURPS-ify Brandon Sanderson's The Rithmatist setting, I would definitely use Symbol Drawing, and maybe even split some of it off into an additional magical drawing skill (perhaps making chalkings based on a specialty of Artist instead). I'd also probably make it based on DX. The magic system in that setting (or at least the parts that have been revealed) revolves around rapid free-hand drawing of geometric figures.

On the other hand, I wouldn't use Ritual Magic for any of the known arts.
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:59 PM   #19
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Occultism, Ritual Magic, Symbol Drawing and Thaumatolo

If redoing the Magic skills I would go the TL physical sciences route.
Design/Research
Build/Craft
Use/Effect

Engineering or Physics to design and research so Theology or Thaumatology.
Mechanic or Armoury to build and as the effect skill so Ritual Magic or Thaumaturgy.
Weapon or use skill so Symbol Drawing, Spell (Basic System), College skill (Ritual Magic), or Path (Path/Book and RPM).

This actually broadens the list a bit for some systems but its my preference.
Most have Defaults but this lets you build the Theory or Research mage, the field expert who needs prepared spells or a bit of both types for a more rounded mage.
Also the Use or Effect skill can be based off other stats.
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