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Old 07-24-2020, 09:39 AM   #1
Kromm
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Default GURPS Magic: The Least of Spells

Five seconds to speak
Seven magic syllables
Not quite a triplet
— Rhyming Roger, Hedge Wizard & Troubadour
When running a campaign that includes magic, you don't always want high-powered magic. Even when you do, the genre might be classic sword and sorcery – or horror – where heroes can dabble in the arcane (often unwisely . . .), but true magical power is for villains or monsters. Or perhaps you're fine with archmage PCs, but some of the players would like to play amateurs, apprentices, or hedge wizards who happen to know a simple spell or three.

GURPS Magic isn't precisely bad for that, but it presents a structure that strongly encourages magic-workers to delve both widely and deeply into magic, building their entire career around it. What GURPS Magic: The Least of Spells offers is a way to keep that system but introduce easy, low-powered magic for the masses. It presents 77 trivial spells spread across the 24 standard colleges, along with advice on fitting them into your game.

Why should mages have all the fun?


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Old 07-24-2020, 10:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: The Least of Spells

Are there any spells from Magic you would place in this category? Off-hand I can think of Haircut, Light, and Sound.
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Old 07-24-2020, 10:09 AM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: The Least of Spells

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Originally Posted by Anders View Post

Are there any spells from Magic you would place in this category? Off-hand I can think of Haircut, Light, and Sound.
The supplement suggests a few: Light, Sound, and Touch. As written, Haircut doesn't qualify because it's a fairly advanced spell with a prerequisite count of 6 – though I agree that its utility is fairly low.
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Old 07-24-2020, 12:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: The Least of Spells

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
The supplement suggests a few: Light, Sound, and Touch. As written, Haircut doesn't qualify because it's a fairly advanced spell with a prerequisite count of 6 – though I agree that its utility is fairly low.
Huh? In a world without enough professional coiffeurs it´s absolutely necessary for a gentleman mage, or at least his assistant mage. Maybe a bit less important than Clean, okay.
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Old 07-24-2020, 10:10 AM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: The Least of Spells

I bought without thinking twice!

I've always liked the idea of simple, mundane spells.

It is something that I have always imagined in the construction of fantasy settings: if magic really existed in our world, there would not be only combat spells, we would probably have many spells for everyday use. Some even "useless", created just for fun.

So, this book for me is like a dream come true.
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Old 07-24-2020, 10:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: The Least of Spells

I haven't bought the book yet, but from the preview, a lot of these spells look super useful.
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Old 07-24-2020, 10:24 AM   #7
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: The Least of Spells

Might include Season in the "spells that should be least" list. Or perhaps a version that isn't permanent but only lasts for an hour or so.

The supplement looks good, from the glance I gave it.
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Old 07-24-2020, 10:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: The Least of Spells

I really like a few of these spells. Aide is a nice way to make ritual castings of healing spells supported by ordinary worshipers more powerful. And a non-mage NPC who knows Sweet Oblivion at a high level could be interesting—particularly as, say, fence who makes himself forget who sold him particular pieces of loot, an assassin who makes himself forget who hired him.

But with a lot of these spells, I have a hard time imagining anyone wanting to spend FP to cast them. In theory, I like the idea of say, a hunter who is in no way a wizard but can use magic to call his hunting dog (per the Call spell on p. 6). But will he really want to do that if doing so is as tiring as hiking for an hour? That sort of concept seems better-served by letting non-mages have a single Intuitive Cantrip perk.

One place where this book seems very useful—though it's a bit of a niche use—is for stories about "wizarding schools". If I were running such a game with this book, I'd make the grounds of the school High Mana, to exploit the rule that characters with Magery get their FP back when they cast trivial spells in High Mana zones—much as if they were operating in a Very High Mana zone, but without the downside of treating all failures as critical failures. That lets wizard students have fun casually tossing around trivial spells like Tack and Bender Defender without worrying about FP costs.

All in all an interesting book with some cool use-cases, even if I'm a bit skeptical about the advertised "magic for the masses" application.
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Old 07-24-2020, 10:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: The Least of Spells

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
But with a lot of these spells, I have a hard time imagining anyone wanting to spend FP to cast them. In theory, I like the idea of say, a hunter who is in no way a wizard but can use magic to call his hunting dog (per the Call spell on p. 6). But will he really want to do that if doing so is as tiring as hiking for an hour? That sort of concept seems better-served by letting non-mages have a single Intuitive Cantrip perk.
Having everyone have 1 point in an energy reserve (abilities only, trivial spells only, slow recharge 1/hour or even 1/day) [1] would make an interesting addition to many settings.

This supplement is a must buy I think ... but I will probably wait for the Gurps kickstarter backerkit.
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Old 07-24-2020, 11:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: The Least of Spells

This sounds like something I could use when designing a magical civilization. One of those civilizations that gets talked about a lot, where magic replaces technology, but no one ever describes the common citizen's life.

... And I could have used it a couple of weeks ago before I spent a quarter of my monthly RPG budget on the Kickstarter and the rest on an 85th birthday present for my mother.

*sigh* Next month, then ...
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