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Old 03-29-2019, 11:09 AM   #41
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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Originally Posted by ericbsmith View Post
It's been said many times, but terms used in GURPS Magic were never meant to align with the modern scientific use of those terms.
Sure, but that means you have to decide what they do mean, and unfortunately, the word 'organic' only dates back to the 14th century (at which point it meant 'relating to organs' and probably excludes a wooden staff).

I don't have a problem with you choosing the definition 'of, relating to, or derived from living organisms' -- but my example of 'flesh to stone -> stone to metal -> craft into sword' qualifies, it's most certainly derived from a living organism.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:14 AM   #42
ericbsmith
 
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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I don't have a problem with you choosing the definition 'of, relating to, or derived from living organisms' -- but my example of 'flesh to stone -> stone to metal -> craft into sword' qualifies, it's most certainly derived from a living organism.
It was, until you used magic to transmute it into something decidedly non-living.

I could see a case being made for it either way, but would tend to rule that once you've transmuted living material into stone that it is not "organic" anymore. Not unless you can transmute it back.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:18 AM   #43
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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It was, until you used magic to transmute it into something decidedly non-living.

I could see a case being made for it either way, but would tend to rule that once you've transmuted living material into stone that it is not "organic" anymore. Not unless you can transmute it back.
Nope, not "can". Rather it becomes organic again when you _do_ transmute it back. Potential actions are not important, only actual ones,.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:51 AM   #44
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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It was, until you used magic to transmute it into something decidedly non-living.
Um... a bone or a chunk of dead wood is most certainly non-living, it's just derived from something living (I would generally classify the results of flesh to stone as organic stone, and note that stone to flesh only works on organic stone).

If you don't like the magic part, a sword quenched in blood is also derived in part from a living being.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:55 AM   #45
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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So basically, you're saying 'organic' doesn't actually mean 'organic'. .
Stated as if "organic" means just one thing. Or have you never walked into a supermarket and been amused by the signs advertising "organic produce"? Why yes, all those foods have long chain carbon molecules in them. But so do all the others.
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:09 PM   #46
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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.

If you don't like the magic part, a sword quenched in blood is also derived in part from a living being.
It's sounds like you're trying to build a "Reverse-Staff" with the core beign constructed from inorgainc materials with minor organic additions and decorations. What would that do? Add 2 yards to your Speed/Range modifier?
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:47 PM   #47
a humble lich
 
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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Stated as if "organic" means just one thing. Or have you never walked into a supermarket and been amused by the signs advertising "organic produce"? Why yes, all those foods have long chain carbon molecules in them. But so do all the others.
I'm suddenly envisioning that the Staff spell should then require wood from trees grown without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides in a manner certified by a board of druids.
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:12 PM   #48
William
 
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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I'm suddenly envisioning that the Staff spell should then require wood from trees grown without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides in a manner certified by a board of druids.
I mean that's probably pretty reasonable in a particular sort of game where magic has to be very "pure." The magic can't transmit through the staff if anything unnatural gets in the way.

Also reasonable, in some games, are Staff items made from iron distilled from the blood of hundreds of innocent victims. It technically qualifies because the necromantic connection still exists. And in some, very not, because the bodily connection is destroyed by all that processing.

Also reasonable, in some games, are Staff items made from dragonbone allowed to fossilize over the course of a year in the Plane of Mineral.

Etc., etc., etc. Unlike rules like knockback calculations, which are based in hard-to-argue physics approximations (damage is approximately momentum in GURPS), or the ST-to-BL function (which is basically a definition of ST in GURPS), magic rules exist because they are meant to describe an element of a particular setting. Perhaps a tin staff works perfectly well for air spells but not water spells because tin is the metal of Zeus. That says something about the setting.

In the "default" GURPS setting, "normal" staffs are wood or ivory or the like. Whether fossils or plastic or blood-iron work are decisions a GM will have to make about how magic works in the setting they're running, and they're basically axiomatic.

-----

Personally I love all the funky staff ideas. It's not like Staff is an overwhelmingly powerful spell. I also like to substitute "the width of their arms" for "six feet," letting magic be a body-image thing rather than a fixed number, and let giants create Staffs of size equal to their reach, and pixies create Powerstones that can recharge as long as they're no closer to another Powerstone than the original pixie enchanter's reach - and then charge premiums for these in the human market. These just mean my setting would have more options and would have to deal with the ramifications, like mages with Giant-purchased Staff floor planks who can surprise unpleasant guests with touch spells.
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:59 PM   #49
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

I actually kind of like spells that have restrictions that are there for symbolic rather than gameplay-related reasons; GURPS rules often tend to be rather, well, Generic. Adding peculiar limits to magic can make it more flavourful.
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Old 03-30-2019, 09:10 AM   #50
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

"Once-living material" is a great establishing guideline for how things can work in a generic fantasy thing. It gives a solid footing for the mechanical side of things where the spell-bearing staff is stat-wise as a weapon the same as a staff, stick, or club as appropriate. If you don't have a concept of what should be spell-bearing then there's a theme available and ready to go.

When deviating from that, it's always good to ask the question "Is this interesting, good, flavorful, or fun?" when stepping outside the boundaries of the suggested description. Mechanically nothing changes (staff/club stats regardless of material), but if your blood-iron staff inlaid with crushed sapphires, or the simply the old fire-poker from the hearth of the family farm gives a sense of wonder and fun then by all means use it!

It's all about whether or not the player is playing for flavor or trying to game the system mechanically somehow. If that non-standard staff starts conversations about "well, it should do this because it's made of iron" or "I should get a +X because it's something-or-other" then you gotta lock that down.
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