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Old 06-30-2021, 11:57 AM   #1
Michael Lewis
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lexington ky, U.S.A
Default Magic style for Sword & Sorcery Lankhmar

I've been looking long and hard about GURPS magic system for a Dungeon Fantasy style Sword & Sorcery Lankhmar campaign. I Want the feel of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. To quote from the rule book "Magic comes from gods and demons who are capricious and unconcerned with your character’s
flyspeck of a life. Those who would use magic are best served to always have a backup plan. Summoning magical energies is arduous, expensive, and dangerous. No wizard does it lightly. As a result, there are no mundane magics, no spells used simply to light a corridor, for example. Use a torch, fool; it is much safer!" There actually are no light spells. DFRPG somewhat mirrors this with a limited amount of wizard spells. And "Low-level wizards are powerful. High-level wizards fear for their souls."

Some of this feel can be done in the setting.
Magic is rare
1. Limiting the number of spells during character creation.
2. Magicians are required the Social Stigma disadvantage.
3. There are few people who are considered real wizards. Limited number of
NPC wizards.
4. Magic can only be learned via a mentor who is willing to teach you(Patron)
or through finding spells or scrolls.

Magic is dangerous
DCC uses a d20 spell check, where a natural 1 can cause backfire, corruption(physical changes to the caster) or both. This can be mirrored with the spell failure chart, modified or used as is.

I don't want players shying away from being a wizard due to these limitations. But then again, I don't want a "Tim" (from Monty Pyton's Holy Grail) flying thru the air throwing lightning bolts. But I don't want players spending 30 minutes casting spells through ceremonial magic as in Conan style magic.

I have considered using the Ritual Magic system, where mages could cast any spell with a penalty, and only allowing them to cast spells in which they were taught or found during adventuring. Then having a spell, they could spend character points to get rid of those penalties by reverse engineering to learn the prerequisite spells of that spell they found in some crypt. This they would not need to learn from a teacher. Or maybe it would just take longer to learn.

Is there any magic system in GURPS that would better reflect this style of play?

I've looked at the descriptors of Magic: The Least of Spells and GURPS: Magical Styles Horror Magic. Would these fit?

Thanks in advance.
Michael
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Old 06-30-2021, 12:31 PM   #2
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Magic style for Sword & Sorcery Lankhmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Lewis View Post
I

I don't want players shying away from being a wizard due to these limitations. But then again, I don't want a "Tim" (from Monty Pyton's Holy Grail) flying thru the air throwing lightning bolts.
"Tims" are most likely to result from some version of Magic-as-Powers (i.e. somebody bought Flight and Innate Attack).

Though PCs can learn Spells that do this in the standard system they can't pay the FP costs to abuse them much unless the GM has been very generous with cp.

There's actually a short story in something like Book 4 or 5 of F&GM where the duo is attacked by two low level mages using what are almost exactly the Gurps verions of Lightning (low-powered) and Winged Knife. Fafhrd defends himself with Parry Missile Weapon Skill and the Gray Mouser uses a conductive cable to turn his sword into a lightning rod.

So some version of standard Magic could work if spell availability is kept low and extraordinary power sources are avoided. I wouldn't go to the trouble of using Ritual Magic. You'll end up with PCs spending forever looking at prereq counts to see what kinds of spells they can throw at -3 or -4.
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Old 07-04-2021, 02:47 AM   #3
Pomphis
 
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Default Re: Magic style for Sword & Sorcery Lankhmar

Did you consider Threshold Magic (Thaumatology p.76)?
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Old 07-04-2021, 05:32 AM   #4
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Magic style for Sword & Sorcery Lankhmar

Use the Book version of Path/Book Magic from Thaumatology, and only create books for the players to choose from that contain spells you are comfy with.
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Old 07-04-2021, 06:57 AM   #5
maximara
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Default Re: Magic style for Sword & Sorcery Lankhmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Lewis View Post
"Magic comes from gods and demons who are capricious and unconcerned with your character’s flyspeck of a life. Those who would use magic are best served to always have a backup plan. Summoning magical energies is arduous, expensive, and dangerous. No wizard does it lightly. As a result, there are no mundane magics, no spells used simply to light a corridor, for example. Use a torch, fool; it is much safer!" There actually are no light spells. DFRPG somewhat mirrors this with a limited amount of wizard spells. And "Low-level wizards are powerful. High-level wizards fear for their souls."

Some of this feel can be done in the setting.
Magic is rare
Magic is dangerous
DCC uses a d20 spell check, where a natural 1 can cause backfire, corruption(physical changes to the caster) or both. This can be mirrored with the spell failure chart, modified or used as is.
Two things here.
1) Is all magic rare and dangerous or only spell magic? In the later alchemist charms would be king. Instead of a spell one activates one of the many of the charms there are wearing.
2) d20 is a flat percentage (just as likely to roll a 1 as a 20) while 3d6 is bell shaped. This drastically changes how success-fail dynamic works.
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Old 07-10-2021, 04:31 PM   #6
Refplace
 
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Default Re: Magic style for Sword & Sorcery Lankhmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pomphis View Post
Did you consider Threshold Magic (Thaumatology p.76)?
This turns magic from a tactical thing to a more strategic one as casters have to ration out thier spells. Alsdo consider Corruption and Unstable Magery, especially as part of magical styles. The Horror Style book would likely be a good one for this, though the Least Spells is about common but weak magic and seems opposite to what your asking for.
On the other hand its been over 40 years since I read the Lankhmer books.
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