Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-14-2020, 03:45 PM   #1
Prince Charon
 
Prince Charon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Default [Magic] Rare Permanent Enchantment, Common Elixirs and Scrolls

First, I will set out some numbers: Roughly 2% of the population, or 1 in 50, are mages (this, at least, is mentioned in some of the books, and I'm going with that); most of those will have Magery 0 and IQ 10. Let's say that 10% of all mages have Magery 1 or higher (consistent with GURPS Banestorm p23), and 1% of all mages have Magery 2 or higher without limitations that would prevent them from becoming enchanters, or 1 in 5,000 of the total population. Apart from those with limitations that require them to be enchanters (e.g 'Enchantment College Only' or 'Aspected: Magic Items'), most of them are not going to go for becoming enchanters, since you need very high skill in at least two spells (including one Very Hard spell) to get any real results - even those who are obligated to be enchanters will mostly make Scrolls or serve as assistants in Slow and Sure enchantment, take a long time to get up to skill (most of them have IQ 10, meaning 12 for spells, ergo 16 points to get a Hard spell up to 15, and 20 points for Very Hard spells like Enchant), or just give up on high-level magic.

Let's say that 1% of the mages who could be professional Enchanters (as in, users of the Enchant spell to make permanent magic items as their main employment) actually are - 1 in 500,000 of the total population, most of whom know only Enchant and one or two profitable spells at 15 or higher. Twelfth-century London had a population of around 15,000, though standardish GURPS magic, even with how limited enchantment with this set of assumptions is likely to be, could allow much greater populations, as could a better economy than twelfth-century England had (after all, ancient Rome did not, to the best of our knowledge, have magic, and the city had a population of around a million by some estimates, while at TL2). So, one or two professional enchanters per major city, at best, with a very limited selection of spells, and one or two per country for small or low-population countries. In general, permanent magic items are expensive and rare, and those with especially interesting and powerful abilities are legendary artifacts. Even a magic staff with a powerstone on it might be the mark of a master mage, not standard equipment for spellcasting adventurers.

Meanwhile, you only need Magery 1 and literacy to make a Scroll, and you can learn Alchemy or Herb Lore without even Magery 0 (and many Herb Lorists would probably be illiterate). A note on the Scroll spell, though: for purposes of this thread, I'm houseruling that scrolls have the energy cost of casting built in (though if you want to maintain it for longer than the writer intended, you must use your own energy, or get it from a source other than the scroll), and take one hour per point of energy to write, not one day per point. So, mages having some down-time and in need of money would have motivation to write a few scrolls to sell, and they take rather less time than making elixirs. The cost of elixirs might be kept down by the number of people making them, but most of them would probably specialize in one or two profitable elixirs, because Alchemy and Herb Lore are Very Hard skills. Herbal concoctions are still going to be cheaper than an alchemist's elixirs, not only because of the lower ingrediant costs, but because there will be more people learning to make them, and the people most likely to buy them can afford less. A village cunning woman or cunning man would tend to have worse quality control than an alchemist - the average quality might be lower (e.g. not lasting as long, having less of a bonus, odd side effects, et cetra) than what you'd get from the Alchemists Guild in London, but there a chance of something being usefully above average in some way. On the other hand, if you buy from the Guild, you are more likely to get a consistent product, one that does basically the same thing every time.

What effect is this likely to have on society, and on adventurers?

What magic items are likely to be common at all (beyond perhaps powerstones), and what magic items are likely to be hard or nearly-impossible to find?

How much do you think the costs of various items goes up by, when they can be found at all?
__________________
Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 5/25/2021: September, 2014 article has been posted.
Prince Charon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2020, 03:56 PM   #2
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: [Magic] Rare Permanent Enchantment, Common Elixirs and Scrolls

I like the idea of scrolls being faster to produce (seems strange it only has 1 'slow and sure' equiv option insetad of the 'quick and dirty in an hour' option other enchantments have)

even if you bake in energy needed for them (I think Manastone would be a good mechanic for that) the problem you face is that scrolls (and manastones!) are only usable by mages

so to make them usable by non-mages you might need to enhance them further somehow, maybe upping the creation cost.

The 'mages only' restriction presumably even applies where you don't need to be mage to use magic (like High Mana) it's some kind of special ability like how they sense magic items.
Plane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2020, 04:01 PM   #3
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: [Magic] Rare Permanent Enchantment, Common Elixirs and Scrolls

The economics of enchanting are dubious in the first place, a rare trait and a minimum of two skills at 15+ would suggest a minimum of Wealth (Wealthy) and Status 2, not Wealth (Average) and Status 0, which would translate to a fivefold increase in enchanted item cost. If enchanters are even rarer, they should probably have a minimum of Wealth (Filthy Rich) and Status 4, with a hundredfold increase in the cost of magical items. Of course, the economic incentives would probably increase the number of enchanters tenfold, which would mean that they would stabilize at Wealth (Very Wealthy) and Status 3, with a twentyfold increase in enchanted items prices.
AlexanderHowl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2020, 04:36 PM   #4
Say, it isn't that bad!
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Default Re: [Magic] Rare Permanent Enchantment, Common Elixirs and Scrolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
The economics of enchanting are dubious in the first place, a rare trait and a minimum of two skills at 15+ would suggest a minimum of Wealth (Wealthy) and Status 2, not Wealth (Average) and Status 0, which would translate to a fivefold increase in enchanted item cost. If enchanters are even rarer, they should probably have a minimum of Wealth (Filthy Rich) and Status 4, with a hundredfold increase in the cost of magical items. Of course, the economic incentives would probably increase the number of enchanters tenfold, which would mean that they would stabilize at Wealth (Very Wealthy) and Status 3, with a twentyfold increase in enchanted items prices.
To learn Enchant, you need Magery 2 (as noted), and "at least one spell from each of 10 other colleges.", M56. The spell you want to enchant into an item probably accounts for one of those 10 spells. Considering that, a "master enchanter" - that is, someone who may be the only one, or only one of two, on the entire continent, would probably be someone who knows all or most (8-10) of those 10 spells at 20- (sufficient to cast any of them with assistants).

Conversely, on the low end, there would probably be "minor enchanters", who have Enchantment-aspected Magery 2. Such a character would logically be no more than 1/27 of the population of mages with aspected Magery 2 (depending on if additional colleges listed outside of Magic are included). Given the general setup and flavour Magery is often given, an enchanter with Magery 3 probably has Enchantment-aspected Magery 3. As a GM, I would rule that Enchantment-aspected Magery could be used to learn and enchant spells from other colleges, but not to cast them.

In any case, the number of mages with Enchantment-aspected Magery may be a tiny fraction of the number of mages, but they would probably be a large portion of the number of Enchanters.
__________________
In which I post about a TL9-10 solar system

http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=169674

If you don't know why I said something, please ask. Assumptions are the death of courtesy.

Disappointed in the behaviour I have too-often encountered here.
Say, it isn't that bad! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2020, 04:45 PM   #5
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: [Magic] Rare Permanent Enchantment, Common Elixirs and Scrolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Say, it isn't that bad! View Post
there would probably be "minor enchanters", who have Enchantment-aspected Magery 2.
Such a character would logically be no more than 1/27 of the population of mages with aspected Magery 2
Are we sure that there's equal distribution between people born with aspected magery?

What if you could be born as a generic "aspected mage" but what the aspect was is something you don't determine until later?

I'm not entirely sure how one would do that. You could take Magery at half-price as a "Potential Advantage" but I think when you buy potential advantages you need to specify all their parameters ahead of time...

It should probably cost a little more if you retain flexibility of what modifiers your advantage will have when you eventually pay the remainder of the price for it.

IE if I have "Potential Advantage: 10 points of Innate Attack" I can't wait until I pay for it to specify if it's "Burning" or "Cutting" , or if I'm going to take "Increased Range" or "Persistent" on it. I'd need to specify that up front...
Plane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2020, 05:42 PM   #6
Say, it isn't that bad!
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Default Re: [Magic] Rare Permanent Enchantment, Common Elixirs and Scrolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
Are we sure that there's equal distribution between people born with aspected magery?
Well, no; but the discussion has to start somewhere.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
What if you could be born as a generic "aspected mage" but what the aspect was is something you don't determine until later?

I'm not entirely sure how one would do that. You could take Magery at half-price as a "Potential Advantage" but I think when you buy potential advantages you need to specify all their parameters ahead of time...

It should probably cost a little more if you retain flexibility of what modifiers your advantage will have when you eventually pay the remainder of the price for it.

IE if I have "Potential Advantage: 10 points of Innate Attack" I can't wait until I pay for it to specify if it's "Burning" or "Cutting" , or if I'm going to take "Increased Range" or "Persistent" on it. I'd need to specify that up front...
These are all interesting thoughts, especially for more "fey-like" or "supernatural" races.

I think if I were pricing a "Vague Potential Advantage", 65% of the final cost up-front seems right. However, I wouldn't require that 100% of the points be spent when it came time to actually purchase the advantage.

So "Vague Potential Advantage (One College (to pick later) Magery 2)" would cost 10 points.
__________________
In which I post about a TL9-10 solar system

http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=169674

If you don't know why I said something, please ask. Assumptions are the death of courtesy.

Disappointed in the behaviour I have too-often encountered here.
Say, it isn't that bad! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2020, 06:51 PM   #7
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: [Magic] Rare Permanent Enchantment, Common Elixirs and Scrolls

Even so, Magery 2 (Enchantment-Only, -40%) [17] is still quite a rare trait. If aspected mages are as common as a group as universal mages, and if half of them are aspected towards a specific college, then people with Magery 2 (Enchantment-Only, -40%) would likely only be 1:270,000 individuals in the above assumptions, meaning that they would be less than two-thirds of the enchanters. Very low supply and very high demand generally results in extremely high prices.

Assuming that IQ and Magery are not linked, the average enchanter would need to invest a minimum of 53 CP in spells to have Enchant and another a spell to be able to enchant even a basic items (IQ 10, 10 CP for ten spells at level 8, 20 CP for Enchant-15, and 23 CP to upgrade one of those spells to level 15). For that level of dedication, an IQ 10 person could just ignore their Magery and invest 44 CP to get Physician-20, which would easily earn them a minimum of Wealth (Wealthy) and Status 2 (the economics are even worse for people with IQ 11+, as they have so many options).

When you combine that level of dedication with that level of rarity, there needs to be an economic justification to spend the time learning the spell. Unless their Magery 0 is also aspected, which it usually isn't, practitioners can still learn and use spells that only require Magery 0. If they still wanted to do magic, it would make more economic sense for our IQ 10 potential enchanter to instead spend 45 CP to learn Seek Earth-8 and Shape Earth-20, and then go offer their services to rulers in low mana regions where they could use ceremonial magic to build roads, clear land, and establish defensive earthworks. With their level of expertise and the lack of competition, they could easily receive a position that gives them Wealth (Very Wealthy) and Status 3.
AlexanderHowl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2020, 07:19 PM   #8
StevenH
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: [Magic] Rare Permanent Enchantment, Common Elixirs and Scrolls

You also have to remember that there are people who have Magery, and there are people with Magery that have been recognized as having it, and some of those are actually trained (some people with Magery might not have the aptitude to actually learn any spells, due to inclination, talent, or learning disabilities).

So while 1 in 50 people might have Magery, there are far fewer actual practicing wizards, and only a subset of those are enchanters. And this is in a normal mana, "magic is relatively common" world.

In a city of 48,000 people, I have one enchanter (well, two, if you count his assistant, who is competent as an assistant, but wouldn't really be any good by himself). And he's originally from out of town. And he only has the ability and skills to enchant maybe a half dozen items.

So yeah, magic items are rare. The fact that they take a long time to make also leads to their rarity (and thus the high prices).

On the other hand, there are several enchantments that are "small" enough to use the Q&D method; those items will be much more common, such that even the working class folk might be able to have an enchanted item or two in the family.
__________________
Warmest regards,

StevenH

My current worldbuilding project.
StevenH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2020, 07:37 PM   #9
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: [Magic] Rare Permanent Enchantment, Common Elixirs and Scrolls

The default cost of magical items is too cheap for the rarity of enchanters and for the dedication required to become enchanters (even Q&D items). With the default cost of magical items, an individual would be better off becoming a blacksmith, as they would receive Wealth (Comfortable) and Status 1 for having skill 15 in a single A skill. Of course, scrolls and elixirs would be less expensive because they are easier to make than enchanted items.

Of course, one advantage of increasing the cost of enchanted items by 20x is that even the most basic magical item becomes a handsome reward. A Ring of Ignite Fire would be worth a minimum of $2050 while a Staff of Fireballs would be worth a minimum of $528,400. Some magical items would be worth a king's ransom and rumors of their existence could lead to war.
AlexanderHowl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2020, 07:40 PM   #10
Say, it isn't that bad!
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Default Re: [Magic] Rare Permanent Enchantment, Common Elixirs and Scrolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
When you combine that level of dedication with that level of rarity, there needs to be an economic justification to spend the time learning the spell. Unless their Magery 0 is also aspected, which it usually isn't, practitioners can still learn and use spells that only require Magery 0. If they still wanted to do magic, it would make more economic sense for our IQ 10 potential enchanter to instead spend 45 CP to learn Seek Earth-8 and Shape Earth-20, and then go offer their services to rulers in low mana regions where they could use ceremonial magic to build roads, clear land, and establish defensive earthworks. With their level of expertise and the lack of competition, they could easily receive a position that gives them Wealth (Very Wealthy) and Status 3.
True, but also a different thread on these forums. Presumably most mages are doing things other than the Enchantment college, but those things are probably not relevant to this thread unless they're specifically relevant to the Enchantment college. Unless, of course, the OP says otherwise.

Which you probably already know, but I thought was important to note 'for the record'. ;)
__________________
In which I post about a TL9-10 solar system

http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=169674

If you don't know why I said something, please ask. Assumptions are the death of courtesy.

Disappointed in the behaviour I have too-often encountered here.
Say, it isn't that bad! is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
magic, magic items, spells, worldbuilding

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.