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Old 05-13-2021, 09:46 AM   #21
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
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.
In The Lord of the Rings, magic seems to be the province of elves and wizards; hobbits don't use it, and men who do fall into the power of the Dark Lord.

In A Wizard of Earthsea, Ged is born with a talent for magic.

In the Discworld novels, it seems that only certain people are born with the gift for witchery or wizardry.

In The Witches of Karres, the ability to work with klatha is the domain of people from Karres and a few talented people from elsewhere.

In the Sharing Knife novels, magical talent is the sphere of a distinctive ethnic group, the Lakewalkers.

It seems to be quite a common trope, actually.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:53 AM   #22
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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?
The same way you justify increasing any other stat or Talent, which is defined and limited by the setting. There is no single unified answer, because every setting (and campaign) has its own needs and wants.
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:02 AM   #23
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
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.
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Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
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My Next Life As a Villainess: All Routes Lead To Doom! by Yamaguchi Satoru
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:06 AM   #24
martinl
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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But unfettered throwing of character points at this is what doesn't make sense to me as a GM.
"Unfettered throwing of character points at X", for any X, doesn't make sense.

Amy goes on an exciting adventure and when she is done she is instantly an expert mathematician, with no training or practice. If you, as a GM, require her to study math to justify this, you are requiring things beyond "throwing character points" at it just like the other folks who are suggesting requirements for improving magery. (I like using potassium concentration in the body as a magery level myself.)

GM imposed restrictions on spending CPs in order to support the feeling of the game or setting are of course completely ok, but spending CP to improve anything is an RPG construct. Folks like improving their characters as a reward for playing.

They really like it.

Really really like it.
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:10 AM   #25
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
In The Lord of the Rings, magic seems to be the province of elves and wizards; hobbits don't use it, and men who do fall into the power of the Dark Lord.
The Hobbit has more of a typical real-world attitude that anyone clever (the dwarves) can learn a few simple spells. And doesn't Galadriel tell the hobbits that they could learn to make elvish rope?
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:33 AM   #26
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
Which leads us to the fact that GURPS 4e is definitively different from GURPS 3e in ways that can cause issues on how something happened prior to 4e, and subsequent to 3e.
I looked at the 2004 version of Classic Basic Set and yes it does state "These are character traits that are innate abilities. With few exceptions, a character may only be given these advantages when he is first created. After that, there is no way to gain or “earn” them."

However, it also lists things that are clearly not innate like Legal Enforcement Powers, Literacy (it is even acknowledged this is a skill), Military Rank, Reputation, Status, and Wealth. So even Classic knew that some advantages were not innate even if the lead in paragraph claimed they were.
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:36 AM   #27
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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And doesn't Galadriel tell the hobbits that they could learn to make elvish rope?
That gets into the question of how much of elven craft is actually what we think of as magic, as opposed to just really good craftsmanship. (Is lembas magical? Elven cloaks that help you hide? Boats that are easier to steer and harder to sink?) And the flip side -- from the elven crafter point of view, is magic really something distinct from the craft (I make this and then I enchant it), or it is part and parcel of how such things are made, impossible to separate? Galadriel also has a line something along the lines of "this is something you hobbits would call magic" (implying that she doesn't really think of it that way).

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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?
How do you justify the growth in character of any trait that doesn't have an obvious physical connection, like muscle mass? How do you justify getting better at a mental skill, or getting better at understanding and getting along with people? Or even learning Combat Reflexes, in GURPS terms? (Isn't that all really just combat skills rather than an Advantage?)

There's not a hard, qualitative line between skills, Advantages, and Talents. Those are all meta constructs that exist only in the game rules.

You get better at a levelled Advantage by doing the things that make you better at it. As you've agreed, that's setting dependent. Maybe it's practice, maybe it's inwardly directed thought and mediation, maybe it's more engineering-esque experimentation and invention, maybe it just gets better with age, or with exposure to the Holy, or because there's a Conservation of Magery law and some other mage died, so their portion came to you. There are hundreds of answers.

Are you looking for specific, detailed suggestions to spark your own thoughts along those lines?
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Old 05-13-2021, 11:02 AM   #28
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
The Hobbit has more of a typical real-world attitude that anyone clever (the dwarves) can learn a few simple spells. And doesn't Galadriel tell the hobbits that they could learn to make elvish rope?
The Lord of the Rings is a problematic example. There's some kinds of "magic" are learnable exotic skills, while there's also a kind of spiritual power that is a function of how many generations separate you from the creation of the world or how long long you have been absent from Eru's presence. But it is true for example that Aragorn has healing powers that he gets from the elven ancestry that makes him a rightful monarch of Gondor. My list is much more straightforward in their "magic is apparently genetic" orientation
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Old 05-13-2021, 11:24 AM   #29
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
The Hobbit has more of a typical real-world attitude that anyone clever (the dwarves) can learn a few simple spells. And doesn't Galadriel tell the hobbits that they could learn to make elvish rope?
Not Galadriel, but one of her subjects. And they might be wrong; they don't really understand what Pippin is talking about when he asks, "Are these magic cloaks?" so they may not be clear on things they can do and hobbits can't. I'd also note that they say "We could have taught you much" but not that they could have taught Sam to make their specific kind of rope.

But yes, it's true that there is something magic-like in Middle-Earth's races generally; Gandalf, for example, says he knew some huge number of spells for opening doors in a variety of tongues, including those of orcs, I believe. On the other hand, there seems to be a clearly distinct category of "wizards" who are not just ordinary men, and indeed are not men at all, but divine messengers.
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Old 05-13-2021, 11:24 AM   #30
hal
 
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post

<snipped>

How do you justify the growth in character of any trait that doesn't have an obvious physical connection, like muscle mass? How do you justify getting better at a mental skill, or getting better at understanding and getting along with people? Or even learning Combat Reflexes, in GURPS terms? (Isn't that all really just combat skills rather than an Advantage?)

There's not a hard, qualitative line between skills, Advantages, and Talents. Those are all meta constructs that exist only in the game rules.

<snipped>

Are you looking for specific, detailed suggestions to spark your own thoughts along those lines?
GURPS old school, as Maximara points out, discusses inborn traits that should NOT be allowed to be added via experience points after start of play, but leaves some escape clauses or wiggle room.

What is the difference between someone with Musical Talent 1 who spends decades to reach skill 20 and a Musician with Musical Talent 4 who spends a handful of years mastering their craft (skill 20)? It would appear there are some who would with ease, say "of course you can buy up Musical Talent 4 from Musical Talent 1!"

That to me makes no rational sense. If mere practice is enough to raise a "talent" from a lower level to a higher level, how is that different than a simple Music Talent 1 spending years of practice reaching the skill level instead of the Talent level? Either talent is some inborn trait that is not improvable, or it is an improvable stat.

Even GURPS 2nd and 3rd edition had this to say about allowing inborn traits to be improved - but said this very explicitely:

"The GM should provide a good rationale in his game world or challenge the player to come up with a good explanation why he should be allowed (for instance) to suddenly have better hearing."

Trade out hearing and replace it with Musical Talent. Trade out Hearing and make it Magery or improving magery from a lower level to a higher level. Getting a leveled "Law enforcement advantage" is the result of getting a promotion to a job that allows for greater law enforcement powers. It isn't an inborn trait to the person, it is a function of the job.

Now - even GURPS goes the route of explaining that you can't KILL an enemy and remove the disadvantage. It went on to explain that a player can pay the points for a CHANCE to remove the enemy via a game session or two, and finally put paid to the enemy if successful in the adventure.

In theory? Unfettered tossing of experience points could permit a player to tell his GM "Hey, I paid points for Social Status 3 when I started out as Social Status 0. Give me land and a title" You and I both know this isn't going to happen, no GM would permit that even though Social Status is itself, a construct, not an inborn trait. ;)

So - yes, I'm looking for ways to make it seem like a GOOD rationale for allowing something that I see as an inborn trait. I treat Magery 1 as much an inborn trait as Magery 2 is. If you don't start with Magery 2, you're stuck with what you had at the start of the campaign. The only in game rationale for modifying a character after start of play with inborn traits they didn't start with, was by Great Wish or Divine intervention.

Now, changing one's inborn trait for a greater version, but at risk of dying makes PERFECT sense in some ways, but that would be a world building decision - not a game mechanic decision. Practicing magic means what exactly? Casting spells? All practicing spells does, is improve the spell knowledge skill itself. Lifting weights is known to bullk up muscle mass and hence lifting strength and - lifting SKILL. Practicing archery with a long bow improves accuracy perhaps - but if you use the same draw weight of bow all year long, you will never actually be improving your ST to use heavier bows right?

Each of these "improvements" have rational real world explanations on how to improve "attributes".

So, which is it? Is magery an attribute? Is it a skill? Is it an innate ability? Being able to upgrade from 0 to 1 suggests it is an attribute. Not being able to do so treats each level as an inborn trait.

Putting this all into perspective?

GURPS 2e and 3e both required that attribute changes cost double AFTER start of play for the character. TO go from ST 11 to ST 12 cost 20 character points instead of 10. Going from IQ 13 to 14 cost 30 character points instead of 15. Getting BETTER after reaching your adult stage was progressively harder to achieve - something that GURPS 4e makes only too easy.

So, yes. I'm looking for the rationale as to how spending 10 points to raise magery 0 after start of play to magery 1 has an IN GAME explanation for how it occurs. Most answers thus far have been along the lines of "it is a game campaign decision" or "practice" or something similar. An Initiation ritual does make sense, and I can point to MAGICIAN by Raymond Feist as a literay example of it. Every other answer treats Magery as an attribute, not an inborn trait.

No harm, no foul - I was just hoping that someone could come up with a good rationale as to why improving an inborn trait to something higher was possible without resorting to "it isn't an inborn trait". I am surprised to see people treating talents as something that can be easily improved after character creation - but, it is the right of every GM to rule as they do to suit their campaign.

:)
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