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Old 05-04-2019, 01:07 PM   #1
phayman53
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Default [Monster Hunters] What skill for knowing about magic but not able to use it?

I am designing a Monster Hunter who knows about hunting rogue witches but shuns the actual use of magic. Would he still know Thaumatology even though he has no interest (or ability) in actually using magic? Or could he learn something like Expert Skill (Thaumatology) IQ/H to represent knowing about magic but no actual ability to cast spells?

Thanks!
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Old 05-04-2019, 01:15 PM   #2
Plane
 
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Default Re: [Monster Hunters] What skill for knowing about magic but not able to use it?

There used to be a rule in 3e that you needed 1 full point in Ritual Magic to cast rituals, but with 0.5 points could only recognize rituals.

The closest thing to a half point now is being a "Dabbler".

I think what you'd need to do is just make it a setting feature that you need more than the Thaumatology skill to cast magic (some kind of Magery) and just have the character lack Magery.

Another option is: if EVERYONE with Thaumatology can cast magic because Ritual Magic skills default to it...

Give them "Incompetence" quirks in those skills so that their defaults are so horribly low they're not even worth attempting.

Incompetence is normally only available for skills you get a default in for free so I'm not sure if it's allowed for skills you only get a default in because you bought some other skill. That might be 'free points' in a sense.
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Old 05-04-2019, 01:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Monster Hunters] What skill for knowing about magic but not able to use it?

Occultism skill if it's trial and error about the supernatural.

Thaumatology if he is formally trained and yes, I'd allow an Optional Specialization for just knolwledge about how to recognize rituals and use mundane counter measures, which would default at -2 to actually using Thaumatology for your own magic (if you had any).
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Old 05-04-2019, 01:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Monster Hunters] What skill for knowing about magic but not able to use it?

Either Thaumatology or hidden lore (magic). Icelander's idea of an optional specialization is a good one.

Just because someone CAN cast magic doesn't mean that they're any good at it, and RPM does that better than most systems. And there is fantastic story potential when the mage hunter who has devoted his life to destroying it can save the world... if only he casts this one spell this one time.
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Old 05-04-2019, 02:49 PM   #5
WingedKagouti
 
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Default Re: [Monster Hunters] What skill for knowing about magic but not able to use it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phayman53 View Post
I am designing a Monster Hunter who knows about hunting rogue witches but shuns the actual use of magic. Would he still know Thaumatology even though he has no interest (or ability) in actually using magic? Or could he learn something like Expert Skill (Thaumatology) IQ/H to represent knowing about magic but no actual ability to cast spells?

Thanks!
Thaumatology is the academic study of magic and how it works, you can think of it as as combination of Engineer (Magic) and Physics (Magic). You can acquire the skill without having the ability to actually use magic yourself, characters with Magery merely get a bonus. It is not apropriate for every hunter, not even for every hunter specializing in spellcasters, but it is definitely a useful skill for any of them to have. Still, I'd only give it to a hunter that has spent time studying magic theory in an academic setting. It's not something you'd pick up without spending a lot of time actually studying, not even as a mage.

Occultism can work, but that is more general folklore knowledge about the subjects it covers. But I would expect any hunter of the supernatural to have at least one point in this. From the description B212:
Quote:
For instance, a fantasy occultist would know what magic can accomplish, and could provide advice on slaying demons, but without Thaumatology skill (p. 225), he could not explain the gestures, words, and symbols used by wizards.
Hidden Lore (Magic) would be a good option, especially if the knowledge is accurate but not based on book studies. Expert Skill (Magic)* is a solid alternative to Hidden Lore and which one is more apropriate would depend on the campaign. I'd generally not use Hidden Lore if magic was public knowledge, but Expert Skill can still be apropriate even if magic is hidden. Hidden Lore should IMO give access to accurate knowledge about more esoteric magic but have little access to the theoretical stuff, while Expert Skill should be able to scratch surface level theoretical knowledge. Expert Skill would not let you design new spells or reverse engineer an unknown spell, but it should be able to give hints as to what some bit of magic does and how it is accomplished.

As far as Expert Skill (Magic) vs Thaumatology goes, I feel a character with Expert Skill would be able to examine a modified ritual and produce a good estimate of what was attempted and how it would like go on a normal success. A character with Thaumatology would be able to examine the same scene and be able to explain how the modification(s) would interact with the original ritual (and potential outcomes of Critical Success & Failure), but the character may or may not be able to deduce what was attempted.

*I would not call it Expert Skill (Thaumatology), Expert Skills are broader in scope (and shallower in reach) than that name suggests.
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Old 05-04-2019, 03:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Monster Hunters] What skill for knowing about magic but not able to use it?

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Originally Posted by phayman53 View Post
knows about hunting rogue witches but shuns the actual use of magic... knowing about magic but no actual ability to cast spells?
Can you be a little more specific about the meanings here, perhaps with examples of things the character can and can't do, would know and wouldn't know?

"Knowing about hunting rogue witches" can cover a wide variety of ground. I'd agree with previous posters that Thaumatology represents the technical skill of magic. But it's possible to "know about" magic without being trained in how to be a magical technician.

In secret magic campaigns, "knowing about magic" might just mean knowing about the wainscotting of the setting (practically a requirement for a PC). I'd usually just call that a campaign advantage for all PCs (though someone might enjoy playing a few sessions where their character get enclued in play) and not even bother naming or pricing an Advantage to list on character sheets.

"Knowing about magic" from the point of view of a mundane witch-hunter might mean being familiar with the range of effects you can get with magic, the pros and cons (does casting spells make you tired, do disrupted rituals just fizzle or explode, etc), knowledge of how to use any countermeasures that might exist (cold iron, holy water, Magery-disrupting drugs, etc), all without any ability to actually cast a spell. This could be notated as "Professional Skill (Witch Hunter)".

Then there's the situation where the character actually does know technical stuff about magic and how to cast spells. They might be a witch, but just refuse to use their powers for some reason (sworn anti-witches, fear of the consequences of dark magic, etc). They also might be a student of magical theory, but unable to cast spells because they lack key advantages like Magery -- perhaps an academic type that understands and enjoys the theory, even though they can't put it into practice. These characters could understand the purpose of rituals that they witness, advise other casters on how to structure their spells, make guesses about the evil plot when you uncover notes about their ritual plans or discover facts about the mystical hodgepodge of stuff that they're gathering. These situations are where I'd buy Thaumatology skill even while not intending to use it for its primary purpose of being the base for spellcasting.
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Old 05-04-2019, 04:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Monster Hunters] What skill for knowing about magic but not able to use it?

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
In secret magic campaigns, "knowing about magic" might just mean knowing about the wainscotting of the setting (practically a requirement for a PC). I'd usually just call that a campaign advantage for all PCs (though someone might enjoy playing a few sessions where their character get enclued in play) and not even bother naming or pricing an Advantage to list on character sheets.
In a secret magic campaign (or, really, any other where it matters) to not know about magic is usually Mundane Background.

Quote:
"Knowing about magic" from the point of view of a mundane witch-hunter might mean being familiar with the range of effects you can get with magic, the pros and cons (does casting spells make you tired, do disrupted rituals just fizzle or explode, etc), knowledge of how to use any countermeasures that might exist (cold iron, holy water, Magery-disrupting drugs, etc), all without any ability to actually cast a spell. This could be notated as "Professional Skill (Witch Hunter)".
Or Hidden Lore (Magic) or Occultism, depending. I think Monster Hunters uses Occultism.

Quote:
Then there's the situation where the character actually does know technical stuff about magic and how to cast spells. They might be a witch, but just refuse to use their powers for some reason (sworn anti-witches, fear of the consequences of dark magic, etc). They also might be a student of magical theory, but unable to cast spells because they lack key advantages like Magery -- perhaps an academic type that understands and enjoys the theory, even though they can't put it into practice. These characters could understand the purpose of rituals that they witness, advise other casters on how to structure their spells, make guesses about the evil plot when you uncover notes about their ritual plans or discover facts about the mystical hodgepodge of stuff that they're gathering. These situations are where I'd buy Thaumatology skill even while not intending to use it for its primary purpose of being the base for spellcasting.
Vow (Don't use magic) in the first case. If Magery is not required, you could price Divine Curse (Cannot use magic) as you would the Vow.
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Old 05-04-2019, 07:46 PM   #8
phayman53
 
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Default Re: [Monster Hunters] What skill for knowing about magic but not able to use it?

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
Can you be a little more specific about the meanings here, perhaps with examples of things the character can and can't do, would know and wouldn't know?
The campaign is actually set in the early middle ages and it is a secret-ish magic setting. Most people believe in magic, but most magic is practiced by charlatans selling charms or by potion makers who make brews that may or may not have some real effect (though usually not magical even when effective). Real magic exists but is a dark art that corrupts. At its least objectionable it requires disturbing rituals. At its worst it requires horrible sacrifices. It is tolerated in most pagan societies as useful though dangerous. That said, real practitioners are usually feared and particularly dark ones are not usually tolerated when their excessive practices become known. As a result, even in pagan societies real magic users are rare because it is difficult to master and most people are not willing to do the kinds of things required on a regular basis.

Christian society, on the other hand, does not tolerate known magic users. The village wise woman who claims to make charms and potions, but otherwise doesn't seem to cause any harm is usually ignored--though they still try not to let the authorities know what they are doing. However, when the church or authorities learn about real practitioners of magic, they usually hunt them down as a danger to the community. The character in question is an exorcist and witch hunter for the church.

My idea is that the character would have enough training to be able to have a chance to be able to recognize rituals based on the prepared space (the ritual markings an ingredients) or the activities of the caster (for faster rituals) and know their general effects. He'd have no practice at actually collecting or controlling magical energy. An (imperfect) analogy is someone who can watch a sport and understand the action at a detailed level, but not actually be able to play or coach the sport. [EDIT: This training would come from the church and was learned based on reading grimoires of defeated witches, interrogating captives, experience of fighting witches, and being taught by ones who repented and converted.]

Last edited by phayman53; 05-04-2019 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 05-04-2019, 07:46 PM   #9
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: [Monster Hunters] What skill for knowing about magic but not able to use it?

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Occultism skill if it's trial and error about the supernatural.

Thaumatology if he is formally trained and yes, I'd allow an Optional Specialization for just knolwledge about how to recognize rituals and use mundane counter measures, which would default at -2 to actually using Thaumatology for your own magic (if you had any).
^This. Icelander hits on exactly what I'd do.
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Old 05-04-2019, 08:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Monster Hunters] What skill for knowing about magic but not able to use it?

For the imperfect analogy, think of an sports announcer.
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