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Old 05-15-2021, 03:43 PM   #71
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
If ritual magic as an actual functional skill didn't exist than why even mentioned it is what the talent does?
Because it's an available option but not the default. Every GM who uses Banestorm will have the spell system, if only because it's in the Basic Set but many will not have Ritual Magic. So they've written Banestorm to leave open the possibility for Ritual Magic included among the vague defined "mysticism" category. If it's there, that talent will help.
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Old 05-15-2021, 03:52 PM   #72
Willy
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Because it's an available option but not the default. Every GM who uses Banestorm will have the spell system, if only because it's in the Basic Set but many will not have Ritual Magic. So they've written Banestorm to leave open the possibility for Ritual Magic included among the vague defined "mysticism" category. If it's there, that talent will help.
As far as I know was Yrth created before RPM came into play, but in later 3rd Ed. publication are hints for another way to cast magic there, GURPS Wizards lists at least 2 Anglish speaking Rune magicans from Yrth.
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Old 05-15-2021, 06:04 PM   #73
Kallatari
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
The primary intent wasn't to ask for rules supporting whether one could or should allow magery to be upgradable trait - but to have a good rationale for WHY it is upgradable within the scope of the story.
I not sure why a game mechanic is relevant to your "story rationale."

Let's turn this around for a second. Why can characters upgrade their IQ or their DX. Is there a "within the scope of the story" for those improvements in your campaign as well? While arguable, someone's intelligence is an innate trait, and cannot really change. What that person does with their intelligence, and how well they train to use it and hone it can vary, and that's what will make them seem intelligent or not. So IQ is technically innate, but some will learn to use it efficiently, while others will not.

Going back to the game rules, in GURPS some will learn so much in so many different "skills" that they seem smarter overall because they can solve more and answer more because of their experience and knowledge. And that's reasonable. And GURPS, by the rules, lets you do that by buying up IQ instead of forcing you to increase every single IQ-based skill. Why? because in GURPS, IQ isn't an innate intrinsic trait. It's a game stat. It serves specific purposes within the rules of the game. You can increase your IQ because it has the game-rule effect of increasing all your IQ-based skills, your Will, and your Perception. That's it. Does it really mean that the person is getting smarter?

Asked another way, what's the game-mechanic difference between someone who had IQ 10 and increased it to IQ 11 vs someone with IQ 10, who then added an additional +1 to all IQ-based skills, a +1 Will and a +1 Perception? (other than the latter obviously costing a lot more character points to build). And what would be the "story" difference between them?

So why is Magery any different? The Magery trait is neither something you are born with nor something you can learn later. It is simply a game trait that lets you use the rules to cast magical spells, determines upper power limits for some of them, and gives you a bonus to all your spell skills. The story rationale is "I practiced with all my spells, and now I'm better at them", while outside of the story you optimized game character points by buying Magery instead of increasing each spell individually.

Sure, in some settings someone's magical power could be innate and what you are born with, but that doesn't mean they can't improve the game trait known as Magery. Improving Magery could just means they are making better use of their innate magical power, just like improving IQ can mean someone is making better use of their innate intelligence.

So even in a "you must be born with magical ability" world, why does a person need Magery 0 as a starting character to say he was born with it? By the game mechanics, it's very easy to say you either have the Magery trait or you don't, and that determines if you were born with it. There's even the "Potential Advantage" rule where you can buy it for half-cost to represent it doesn't work for you yet, but when you pay the difference to get it full cost, you then have it. That rule was specifically designed to support the fact that an innate trait must be purchased at character creation approach - for those who want that approach.

But you are talking about "scope of the story" in your question. So, how does "not having Magery and buying Magery with points later" differ in story from "having Magery with Potential Advantage and paying off the difference later"? There is no difference in the story or rationale; they are both "I didn't think I was a mage, but turns out I was." So the Potential Advantage approach is just an option for consideration, not necessarily a requirement.

Extrapolate this into improving their Magery trait. You're just making better use of your innate talent that you have, and aren't actually improving that innate talent. Game mechanic-wise, you can cast more powerful spells and get a bonus to all spell skills.

So the story behind whether "magic power" is innate or not need not affect the rules with regarding to purchasing or improving Magery in any way.


Now, all that said, I can certainly see setting-specific exceptions to this. In any setting where it's impossible for you to be a mage and not know it, then I definitely would see a requirement where if you don't start with Magery, you can't learn it later. For example, "when you are born a mage, from the first time you look with your eyes you can see all the magical energies flowing everywhere all the time", then it would be impossible to explain why a character never saw those energies before and suddenly sees them now, so it doesn't make sense for him to start seeing those magical energies later. Ditto if magical power is easily detectable ("we scanned him ten times for magical power and he didn't have any, but now he's a mage?")

But that's very specific. And it's very distinct from "someone with magical talent can, when properly trained, learn to see those energies."



All the above is my advice with respect to looking for "story-based" justifications. While you want your game mechanics to somewhat go with the campaign setting story so that it gives a proper style and feel for that setting, it's still just as easy to ignore the game mechanics because in the story there are no "game stats."

For those who want to know how I actually run Magery in my campaigns, it's really case-by-case. In some settings, anyone can buy and improve Magery, in some you have to start with Magery to be able to improve it but cannot buy it later, and in some you only have what you started with and can never buy or improve it later. The cap varies by setting, from 3 to 9 to no upper limit.

And in some, when it's really important to make a distinction, I also have a Talent called Magical Aptitude [10 x level] which gives a +1 per level to all magical spells, just like Magery. It just doesn't count with respect to how powerful a spell you can cast (e.g., the maximum damage of your fireball is based only on your Magery and it not affected by your Magical Aptitude). This fits nicely for some settings. For example, I've always interpreted that (in my opinion) Harry Potter was the more powerful mage (higher Magery) but Hermione was more skilled (higher Magical Aptitude, in addition to just higher IQ).

My decision as to which variation to use in a given game is absolutely influenced by the campaign setting story/feel, for sure. But it is also influenced by what type of power balance I want players to have in my game, which is also just as important to have the right feel and story for any given setting.

Last edited by Kallatari; 05-16-2021 at 06:15 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 05-16-2021, 04:14 AM   #74
maximara
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Default Re: Magery as an improvable advantage?

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Originally Posted by Willy View Post
As far as I know was Yrth created before RPM came into play, but in later 3rd Ed. publication are hints for another way to cast magic there, GURPS Wizards lists at least 2 Anglish speaking Rune magicans from Yrth.
The Yrth Rune mages in Wizards are Ebhla (pg 100) and Gormgrimm Runehammer (pg 103). IIRC the boxed Basic Set (1986) had the bare bones of what would become the default magic system.
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