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Old 05-13-2021, 07:50 AM   #11
hal
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Very much so. This is a setting choice.



I do lean towards the "can improve magery" side of things when building my games. But then I also lean towards the camps "Treat Magery like any other Talent", "Don't cap Talent Levels", and "Use Talents for Everything".
At this point, yes - it is readily apparent that it is a "Setting" choice. But here is the rub in my eyes...

How do you justify the "Growth" in character, of an inborn trait, that is leveled?

The "knowledge" to use higher energies is a knowledge thing better handled by "Thaumatology" as a skill. The RAW ability to manipulate reality is what exactly? Is it to "reality" what Lifting muscular strength is to moving items with mass? You improve weight lifting by your muscles bulking up.

So, what does 10 character points represent in terms of real life (assuming magic were real that is!!!) when one wants to improve from Magery 0 to Magery 1?

Take for instance, the Novel series MAGICIAN by Raymond E Feist - Pug goes from a lesser magcian to one who can handle magic magic after undergoing a physical trial that almost leaves him insane.

In GURPS VOODOO, one can suddenly become an initiate level spell slinger after having a near death experience.

These are all EVENTS that can strengthen one's ties to the supernatural or perhaps to the abilities that through constant use, can somehow be sharpened.

Now, take for instance, the idea that before a mage character can improve his "Magery" advantage, he has to have 10 critical successes casting spells under stress. In this case, non-adventuring mages will never meet that criteria 10 times within their lifetimes - and thus, never improve their Magery. On the flip side, a player character will likely never amass 10 critical successes even while adventuring. So, let's try 3 critical successes while using spells whose magery level requirement is equal to the best the mage currently enjoys.

NOW we have a rationale for why his Magery level can advance. He's perhaps suffered a radical rewiring of his soul to where he can now touch/sense entropy level 3 energies (ie Magery 3 spells) that those who can only touch entropy level 2 energies can't.

THAT would make sense at both the player character level and at the non-player character level.

Addenda: In a way, what I've written above sort of does make the argument of allowing Magery to improve as a result of game play. But unfettered throwing of character points at this is what doesn't make sense to me as a GM. Having an in-story reason for it, makes more sense. Just because a player wants to buy off his disadvantage of an enemy worth 10 points and has 10 points to spend, doesn't mean the GM removes the Enemy. Spending the 10 points requires the GM to set up an adventure where the player CAN put finis to his old enemy and not have a new one spring up in its stead. Pug in MAGICIAN risked going insane to improve his magery level. If players had to worry about losing 1d6 IQ points after undergoing a Trial to strengthen their Magery from 0 to 1 - then most people might not risk it. This explains why most of the NPCs don't improve without risk taking. A player character who tries and fails? That's a STORY! A player character who gambles and wins? That's an even BETTER story right?


Last edited by hal; 05-13-2021 at 07:55 AM. Reason: Addenda
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:56 AM   #12
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

I was thinking in terms of fasting, meditation and a ritual initiation.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:21 AM   #13
hal
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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I was thinking in terms of fasting, meditation and a ritual initiation.
Expand please?

Simple fasting, meditation, and a ritual initiation creates a chicken and the egg issue.

If you don't have someone who can create the initiation ritual, then you can't have someone improve past a given point.

If in general, Magery 0 is the DEFAULT level that everyone starts at, then how did the first Magery 1 mage come into being?

But, let's look at the implication of this concept. Looking at the prerequisite of the basic spells for each college (ie, the first spell that has no prerequisite of other spells) - there are a few colleges (Enchantment, Movement, and Necromancy specifically) that can not be done until someone has magery 1 or higher.

Hmm. A possibility - but now comes the hard part, the expansion if you will...

What is the Ritual Initiation? How does that actively change the reality of the initiate undergoing the initiation? As was reputed to have been said by someone in the dim historic past...

"I can command and speak to legions of Demons!"

"So can I, but will they listen?"
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:23 AM   #14
hal
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

As an afterthought...

If one can simply spend 10 character points in game play and undergo an initiation or any other process in which one improves magery through game play...

Why would anyone ever WANT to utilize a Greater Wish to gain Magery levels?
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:30 AM   #15
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
How do you justify the "Growth" in character, of an inborn trait, that is leveled?

Practice.



I don't see talents in general as static things that a infant is born with and will never improve throughout their life. I see them as part of a continuum between skills and attributes, representing aptitude at a type of study. Sure, natural aptitude talent exists, but its not the only trait that appears in the world that talent can represent, and natural talent looks best when it is improved upon.



Now, Magery is NOT a typical talent, though pyramid 4/1 weakens that somewhat, explicitly breaking down everything but the zeroth level as a power talent. However, the alternative, that it represents power rather than skill, rings hollow. Its effects on spells are identical to a level of IQ, with the exception of some prerequisites, and its been stated that spells are mostly balanced by FP costs, not prereq chains. Power instead would correspond to Energy Reserves or more exotic ways of gaining mana.



As a final comparison, raising power talents is fairly normal, and powers talks about doing it in various places. I know I've seen people talk about spending just a few points in a power at character creation in order to "leave the door open" to build up that power later.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:57 AM   #16
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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As an afterthought...

If one can simply spend 10 character points in game play and undergo an initiation or any other process in which one improves magery through game play...

Why would anyone ever WANT to utilize a Greater Wish to gain Magery levels?
The Wish doesn't take 7 years of boredom and privation. Also I wouldn't let anyone do it more than once.

Last edited by David Johnston2; 05-13-2021 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:23 AM   #17
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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However, rpgs are not the same as works of fiction. The primary goal is fun for the players/GM.
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.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:27 AM   #18
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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I'm generally of the opinion that a PC should be able to improve almost anything, because it's more fun to advance your character without being hamstrung by "realism"--after all, it's fantasy, right?
The idea of magery as a special gift which only some people have is also yucky (like "obviously aristocrats are better at everything than commoners" yuck or "person from my culture is shipwrecked in a distant land and soon does everything better than the natives because he is from my cultures" yuck), and I am having trouble thinking of stories where magic works that way. Making it specifically genetic is even more mid-20th-century-yuck. And does it make for better stories? You don't need it to tell stories about the person with potential in humble surroundings, or the person who is expected to do more than he or she is capable of.

I think GURPS Thaumatology has a list, but magery could be:
- a Talent (and Dexterity and Intelligence are talents too!)
- an initiation (Magery 0 is an obvious candidate, but maybe to use Magery 2 spells you need a pact with greater spirits, and Magery 3 archangels)
- a metaphysical attribute of people in a setting (maybe people's star sign determines which magic they can use?)
- ...
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:44 AM   #19
ericthered
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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The idea of magery as a special gift which only some people have is also yucky ... I am having trouble thinking of stories where magic works that way.

Dragonborn by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey, and Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Both of which explore the "yuck" and use it to set up their villains, who are explicitly aristocracy abusing peasants, though to varying degrees.

I do think the idea that magery is inborn is kind of part of the default gurps magic assumption, which is what I think the OP is looking for. We can change that, but it will drastically effect the project the OP is working on.

Looking at things other than inheritance and genetics to restrict magic on is an interesting idea. I like it, and it keeps magic mysterious.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:45 AM   #20
hal
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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The Wish doesn't take 7 years of boredom and privation. Also I wouldn't let anyone do it more than once.
Ok - just curious (and people, please understand that I'm reading all the responses even if I'm not directly responding to them)...

Suppose you have a player whose character does NOT have magery. By dint of adventuring, the player stumbles across a Great Wish.

Can he wish for Magery 1 at 15 point cost (5 for magery 0 plus 10 for magery 1) because it is less than the maximum of 20 points that a Great Wish can confer? Or would you say...

"Sorry, but you can only wish for ONE advantage worth 20 points or less per wish. You can at best, get Magery 0". If your player says "But that's a leveled advantage, at magery 1, that is a single advantage!" how do you respond?

One could argue that Level 0 is an advantage. Level 1 is an advantage, etc.

Last but not least...

Character has Magery 0. Can he gain Magery 2 with a single wish?

Just looking at the implications here. ;) No right answers per se, no wrong answers, just YOUR answer.
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