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Old 03-19-2016, 12:33 AM   #11
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: Campaign Advice needed for Modern Fantasy Setting

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Originally Posted by panton41 View Post
I love Wainscott urban fantasy (Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman are among my favorite authors and I write in the genre (signature link)) and can't imagine it working with standard GURPS Magic at all ever since Ritual Path Magic came out. (And before then I was looking into Path/Book or Realm/Power Magic.)

The idea of keeping standard GURPS Magic secret is simply impossible unless you cull the list so much you're talking maybe 1/10th of the total list. At that point you might as well start looking into RPM.
I agree with this statement completely. Could you perhaps expand a bit on what sort of help you're looking for exactly, christ0pher?
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Old 03-19-2016, 01:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: Campaign Advice needed for Modern Fantasy Setting

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Work on the in game rules of magic. Have a few things that mages can't do. This is a great way to add depth.

Are there any illegal spells? Mind control, time travel etc. If so who enforces the rules?
I like this. I hadn't considered having taboos forbidding certain magics, but I think that will work. I don't think there will be a "Ministry of Magic" that oversees all magic, but smaller regional councils that traditionally hold sway. Even lawless areas where anything goes.

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If you want secret magic, take a look at Path/Book ritual magic in Thaumatology.
My worry with RPM is that it's more complicated and less straightforward than the old regular magic system.

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The idea of keeping standard GURPS Magic secret is simply impossible unless you cull the list so much you're talking maybe 1/10th of the total list. At that point you might as well start looking into RPM.
I think limiting PC access to some of the more powerful spells at the start by having grimiores with the powerful stuff be rare and well protected/hidden. Also, limiting the total number of magic users worldwide, coupling that with taboos/rules of magic to keep most in line.

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Ben Aaranovitch's Rivers of London has a magic system that has a passing similarity to standard gurps magic. Rather than fatigue there is a chance of brain damage.
I really enjoyed that series so far.

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I agree with this statement completely. Could you perhaps expand a bit on what sort of help you're looking for exactly, christ0pher?
I was looking for feedback on using the standard magic system with some tweaks in a modern setting. From the feedback so far, it looks like I need to be using RPM instead, but I'm not sure that my players are ready for that. I need a miracle!
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Old 03-19-2016, 01:44 AM   #13
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: Campaign Advice needed for Modern Fantasy Setting

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I was looking for feedback on using the standard magic system with some tweaks in a modern setting. From the feedback so far, it looks like I need to be using RPM instead, but I'm not sure that my players are ready for that. I need a miracle!
I wish I could tell you otherwise, but that about sums it up. RPM works very well for urban fantasy. Though I'll also suggest Sorcery - with some tweaks. The magic feel I've got going for Aeon is actually more urban fantasy-ish vs. supers-ish (which I know is a weird choice, but it's quite deliberate). That's why I know Sorcery can be tweaked to actually work in such settings.
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Old 03-19-2016, 03:03 AM   #14
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Default Re: Campaign Advice needed for Modern Fantasy Setting

It's an obscure books and the magic system is best converted to Fate Core, but Deliria is pretty much laser focused for Charles de Lint style urban fantasy.

I point you to Wikipedia because it's been out of print for years and the original author regrets how he wrote the rules. Broadly speaking he wrote the game in really poetic purple prose... even the gameplay rules.. which he realized years later that people liked rules written like stereo instructions.

The rules are almost impossible to translate into GURPS (and trivial for Fate Core, but so is the difference between the systems). But basically if two stats reached a certain level it was a simple dice roll for anyone at all to do magic. In Fate that's a High Concept and Skill (maybe Stunt), but in GURPS it's more complex. Basically, like if someone had to roll against (IQ+DX)/2=Magic (or (IQ+HT)/2) where IQ and DX/HT had to be 12+ and no other modifiers were allowed, but beyond that any ability was allowed.
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: Campaign Advice needed for Modern Fantasy Setting

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My worry with RPM is that it's more complicated and less straightforward than the old regular magic system.

[...]

I was looking for feedback on using the standard magic system with some tweaks in a modern setting. From the feedback so far, it looks like I need to be using RPM instead, but I'm not sure that my players are ready for that. I need a miracle!
Making the entire setting a low mana zone with rare normal mana areas is a quick and dirty way to explain magic being secret in the setting.

How much complexity are your players willing to accept? And what kinds of complexity do they prefer? Flexible magic systems e.g. RPM are good for simplifying character sheets. Their complexity lies in their rules for constructing consistent and balanced spells. As long as you, the GM, are familiar with these rules this shouldn't be a problem for your players. Writing a cheat sheet with things like Spell Parameters and Long-Distance Modifiers would be a big help for building spells quickly.

On the other hand, if your players prefer spells as skills flexible magic would be a poor choice. Path/Book magic would be a good alternative to standard magic for players like this. To simplify the system, I would use the degree of success interpretation of the Spell Parameters as outlined in the discussion of Syntactic Magic in Thaumatology to determine spell efficacy. This is more straightforward than the algebra of the penalty interpretation or repetitive dice rolling of the energy accumulation interpretation of the Spell Parameters. Unfortunately, this means that you won't be able to use any of the prepublished rituals in your game. So this creates more work for you. Keeping track of how well they know a given ritual will be the main source of complexity for your players.

For a secret magic setting like yours, I think RPM or a version of Path/Book magic modified as described above would be the best candidate. Spells are time consuming under both of these systems, explaining why society chose technology over magic. Most people wouldn't believe magic exists because of the high charlatan to true mage ratio in your setting. If there are only ~300 mages in the United States, it is quite plausible that no one has seen a true casting.
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Old 03-19-2016, 09:02 AM   #16
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Default Re: Campaign Advice needed for Modern Fantasy Setting

I agree with the people who are saying that Path/Book magic is a better choice. Mana-based magic is designed for the dungeon crawling "mage as artillery weapon" paradigm; its spells run to the showy and are also capable of very quick use (you can cast one in a second!). Path/Book magic is designed for secretive mages in a world where magic isn't commonplace; you can perform a ritual in seconds, but you do so at major penalties, and the effects of most rituals are subtle.

That's not to say you couldn't go the other way. Two options: Put the overt spells off limits, giving characters ready access to warning spells, knowledge spells, minor healing spells, minor manipulation spells, and other things that don't let them imitate four-color supers. Alternatively, limit their pointóbut allow them to take Symbol Drawing, in the version that gives bonuses to spell casting, and allow them to gain bonuses to Symbol Drawing (not directly to spells!) by taking extra time. I've done this in a campaign and it worked pretty well.
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Old 03-24-2016, 01:32 PM   #17
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Default Re: Campaign Advice needed for Modern Fantasy Setting

Well, after reading through GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic again and getting a better feel for the mechanics, I believe that will be the Magic system for my new campaign.

Thank you to everyone who chimed in to point me in this direction, you guys are part of why GURPS is awesome.
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