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Old 05-13-2021, 11:25 AM   #31
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

Although grounds for spending points to improve levels in an existing advantage might just be 'use the advantage', one other possible approach if that's considered "too accessible" might be to allow temporary access to a higher level via Extra Effort rules, and only that temporary access is grounds for buying it.

Similar rules might be used to buy enhancements: to do that perhaps you ought to have tried out that enhancement in a risky way using Temporary Enhancements first?

I also like that idea for buying new advantages under a power you have: maybe first "Using Abilities at Default" to get temporary access to an advantage based on something you already have, prior to buying it outright?
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Old 05-13-2021, 11:35 AM   #32
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Yes, but not everybody has the same concept of fun. I run games that are fun for me, and apparently for my players, as when I lived in San Diego I had accumulated a pool of around fifteen players who kept coming back. But my sense of fun calls for a strong world concept and constraints on what characters can do based on that concept, which requires players to be ingenious in finding ways to work within those constraints.
Oh, absolutely, and I would never claim that someone else's game is no fun if they're enjoying it!
I have found, with my players, that they don't enjoy constraints on how they can spend their earned CP unless those constraints help them imagine their character or how it fits into the world. It makes total sense to everyone if I say "you can't buy psionic powers because psionics don't exist in this world," but if I say "you can't buy psionic powers because only people born with them can have those powers and you weren't born with them," the player will likely just say "couldn't I have been born with them and I just didn't know it until now?" or "couldn't the gods somehow grant my character powers?" etc. And sometimes that means they're willing to do things in-game to get the powers, like travel to the sacred mana pool or whatever, and that makes for a fun adventure. To me, it's a game, and in order to have fun my players need to feel that it's a fair game and not a rigged one. If I say "well, you should have thought of that when we started this campaign 28 sessions and 150 CP ago, it's too late now to become a psion," the player will feel like they're being hamstrung by my rules and vision, rather than those rules and vision being there to support their fun.

This may partially have more to do with the kinds of games I run, which tend to be cinematic, influenced more by DnD and video games than literature and such, internally consistent to the degree that it helps us imagine what's going on but not taking great pains to explain all the details of things that happen "off-screen" unless they seem relevant to the PCs' actions. I realize your games might be more focused on literary themes and realistic character development as ends in themselves, in which case your priorities will naturally be quite different...
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Old 05-13-2021, 11:43 AM   #33
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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This may partially have more to do with the kinds of games I run, which tend to be cinematic, influenced more by DnD and video games than literature and such, internally consistent to the degree that it helps us imagine what's going on but not taking great pains to explain all the details of things that happen "off-screen" unless they seem relevant to the PCs' actions. I realize your games might be more focused on literary themes and realistic character development as ends in themselves, in which case your priorities will naturally be quite different...
That's quite right. I've played D&D only once this century, and before that I hadn't played it in a decade or more; and I don't play video games (and back when I did, my favorite was Civilization, which isn't a roleplaying game as usually understood). My inspirations come from literary works, from mythology, and from anthropological studies of supernatural beliefs. So we're aiming at very different design principles and target audiences, I think.

I have not said, and do not intend to say, that there's anything wrong with the way you do things; it's just that it wouldn't suit me, because my tastes run to other sorts of play. The only point I'm trying to make is that there ARE different tastes in this area. And it seems that we do actually agree that that's so.
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Old 05-13-2021, 12:29 PM   #34
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
Although grounds for spending points to improve levels in an existing advantage might just be 'use the advantage', one other possible approach if that's considered "too accessible" might be to allow temporary access to a higher level via Extra Effort rules, and only that temporary access is grounds for buying it.

Similar rules might be used to buy enhancements: to do that perhaps you ought to have tried out that enhancement in a risky way using Temporary Enhancements first?

I also like that idea for buying new advantages under a power you have: maybe first "Using Abilities at Default" to get temporary access to an advantage based on something you already have, prior to buying it outright?
While this approach is very "Modern" with respect to 4e, it runs head on into the legacy issue of GURPS MAGIC.

GURPS MAGIC predates all of 4e's design philsophy. All of the GURPS MAGIC Spells, save for duration type, are almost identical to their 3e version counterparts. What is being done is essentially a retcon of original rules to the new way rather than anything else.

Extra effort to improve one's magic aptitude even temporarily, draws on the same currency as casting a spell - ie, fatigue. If a player proposed an all gain no pain process for improving an inborn trait, I'd smile and say "sure" knowing that they will try and I will say "nice try, but you didn't reach the threshhold for getting new magery levels. Now, if they said instead...

"A crit success achieves what I am trying for, a crit failure results in LOSING a level of magery"

Well, then I'd have no REAL issue with trying to adapt the extra effort.

But - using my "Quanta 1, Quanta 2, and Quanta 3" style metaphysics concept...

If you're stuck being able to use only quanta 1 "threads" for manipulating reality via magic, but instead, you opt to try for Quanta 2 energies to produce a quanta 1 result - I could see that as making sense. If you further stated that all attempts to use a quanta energy level you're not suited for, and any failure trying this is a critical failure (much like using magic in a mana high zonen) - then I could EASILY see it working in that fashion. I might even go the route of - with my usually miserly way of limiting any increase in advantages or skills by 1 point per adventure, say after 10 such attempts "Ok, you can NOW consider yourself capable of using Magery 2 safely".

In fact, thanks to your input - I think I may have a set of workable rules for permitting a player character to improve their Magery in play. I will also likely limit to a one time improvement. This means that you can improve from Magery 0 to Magery 1, but not to Magery 2.

Now, what happens when you get a crit failure actual while attempting this? Hmmm. That's when Magery gets reduced by 1 temporarily, with rolls every X time period until you either recover, or lose it permanently (say, a failure against a given stat by 3 or more points?).

Hmmm. I'll have to think about this and do a write up later on.

So, thank you for the idea.
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Old 05-13-2021, 01:45 PM   #35
WingedKagouti
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
No harm, no foul - I was just hoping that someone could come up with a good rationale as to why improving an inborn trait to something higher was possible without resorting to "it isn't an inborn trait". I am surprised to see people treating talents as something that can be easily improved after character creation - but, it is the right of every GM to rule as they do to suit their campaign.

:)
There's nothing in the 4E rules stating that Magery is purely inborn and can't ever be improved upon. Ruling so is purely a GM/setting decision. You need to disconnect what you know and remember of the 2/3E rules from the 4E rules, because at its core without the trappings of any setting 4E is firmly in the Nurture camp when it comes to Nurture vs Nature.

As a general rule 4E only requires a plausible explanation for spending points on anything, whether that's buying off/reducing a Disadvantage, a Stat increase, a new Skill/Advantage or improving a Skill/Advantage.

While most settings likely won't (or shouldn't) allow a player to just add a new limb by spending enough points, the GURPS 4E rules do not disallow it.
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Old 05-13-2021, 02:02 PM   #36
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
GURPS 2e and 3e both required that attribute changes cost double AFTER start of play for the character. TO go from ST 11 to ST 12 cost 20 character points instead of 10. Going from IQ 13 to 14 cost 30 character points instead of 15. Getting BETTER after reaching your adult stage was progressively harder to achieve - something that GURPS 4e makes only too easy.
Too easy? Not when you figure that generally 1 character point is 200 hours of study in both Classic and 4e.

Also the rule was flawed as points effectively "disappeared" if attributes were increased during play. To me it felt like that 1500 gp/level requirement in D&D1 - an unneeded impediment to character development.
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:18 PM   #37
Polydamas
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
The Lord of the Rings is a problematic example. There's some kinds of "magic" are learnable exotic skills, while there's also a kind of spiritual power that is a function of how many generations separate you from the creation of the world or how long long you have been absent from Eru's presence. But it is true for example that Aragorn has healing powers that he gets from the elven ancestry that makes him a rightful monarch of Gondor. My list is much more straightforward in their "magic is apparently genetic" orientation
Ok, the problem is that the only thing on your list I am familiar with is Harry Potter, and Harry Potter incorporates so much colonial era yuck into its worldbuilding. The novels do not approve of all of it (house elves, squibs from great houses, tormenting of muggles- J.K. Rowling grew up working class after all!), but the setting is built on a basically conservative view which includes some people from some families having special gifts which lift them above ordinary people. Those stories about boarding schools are a 19th and early 20th century thing after all! Tom Brown's School Days came out in ?1857? and Orwell skewered the genre in one of his literary essays.

I would have to research the rest to say anything intelligent about them.
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:45 PM   #38
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Ok, the problem is that the only thing on your list I am familiar with is Harry Potter, and Harry Potter incorporates so much colonial era yuck into its worldbuilding. The novels do not approve of all of it (house elves, squibs from great houses, tormenting of muggles- J.K. Rowling grew up working class after all!), but the setting is built on a basically conservative view which includes some people from some families having special gifts which lift them above ordinary people. Those stories about boarding schools are a 19th and early 20th century thing after all! Tom Brown's School Days came out in ?1857? and Orwell skewered the genre in one of his literary essays.

I would have to research the rest to say anything intelligent about them.
Thing is, though that magic aptitude being mostly familial is essential to Harry Potter's kind of wainscot setting. If they could teach mundanes magic, then they just would and there would no longer be a secret society of magicians living alongside us. The alternative, high mana approach of everyone being able to learn magic but most being denied the opportunity is actually more aristocratic because then it would be a secret ruling class not wanting to lose their edge over the rest of us or just not trusting us not to be dumbasses with it.
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Old 05-13-2021, 04:49 PM   #39
johndallman
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
If Magery can be improved - can it diminish over time much as anything else - due to aging?
Page B444: "At the GMs option, you may lose advantages or gain disadvantages of equivalent point value instead of losing an attribute point." If a GM is going to make Magery eligible for aging losses, they should really decide if it's a quality of your mind, body or spirit, or whatever divisions they find useful for living beings. That's a world-building decision, not something that belongs in generic rules.
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So, HOW do you treat raising Magery in your campaigns such that it makes inherent sense to you as a GM or player?
I've only made serious use of Magery in my Infinite Cabal campaign. There, it was something that some people had naturally, and very powerful entities could grant. If you had it, it was improvable, but this required specialised training. Magicians in many worlds knew how to work up to Magery 3, but higher levels were a Cabal secret. Learning higher levels required Cabal Rank equal to your Magery level.
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:09 PM   #40
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

I only used basic magic for a short while but while I did, I allowed improving it normally in play. It was a simple way for mages to get better than increasing their IQ to Einstein level (and Will/Per with it...) or "wasting" points improving individual spells.
Besides, DF allows characters to improve talents so I don't see why not treat Magery as magical talent and allow it to be improved as well. Maybe doing so makes it easier to abuse magic, but that's not my experience.

For fluff, I'd just call it magical attunement (not!quintessence) and be done with it. You cast a lot of spells, your attunement strengthens. If you don't it weakens. Just like a "magical muscle".
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