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Old 04-05-2021, 05:07 PM   #1
RainbowFactory
 
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Default Clarification about the Sorcery System

So I am dabbling in the Sorcery system for the first time and some things about it leave me confused.

First off, when casting sorceries what do range penalties apply to and which range penalties apply? On Page 5 of the Sorcery book it says "subtract range
penalties (p. B550) unless otherwise specified."

1: Is this saying that instead of the "-1 per yard away" rules that the Magic book uses I should be using the chart on B550?

2: Are these range penalties meant to apply to the Innate Attack roles used to aim the spell rather than the casting rolls? I thought that one of the main benefits of using the Sorcery System was that spells did not require rolls and therefore eliminated most range penalties entirely.

Also what spells DO require rolls? The book seems to differentiate between "known spells" that require no concentration rolls and "Learned Spells" that requires two Concentrate maneuvers – or just one if the sorcerer is repeating the same spell they last cast. Are he Casting Roll(ATT) listed in the book only applicable if it isnt a known spell?

If you acquire new spells during a game are you not allowed to add those as alternate abilities like a "known spell"?

Is the only difference between "known" spells and "Learned" spells how many rolls they take to execute?

Also how when looking through the magic book for spells I found Blink Other and im confused as to how that spell works. It seems like a spell that is used to save one of your allies from an attack in combat but it says it is an active defense and I don't see how you can use an active defense on somebody elses turn.

Last edited by RainbowFactory; 04-05-2021 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:32 PM   #2
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: Clarification about the Sorcery System

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainbowFactory View Post
So I am dabbling in the Sorcery system for the first time and some things about it leave me confused.

First off, when casting sorceries what do range penalties apply to and which range penalties apply? On Page 5 of the Sorcery book it says "subtract range
penalties (p. B550) unless otherwise specified."

1: Is this saying that instead of the "-1 per yard away" rules that the Magic book uses I should be using the chart on B550?

2: Are these range penalties meant to apply to the Innate Attack roles used to aim the spell rather than the casting rolls? I thought that one of the main benefits of using the Sorcery System was that spells did not require rolls and therefore eliminated most range penalties entirely.
Sorcery has nothing to do with GURPS Magic - it's based on Advantages and modifiers as seen in Characters and Powers. No rules from Magic are relevant unless Sorcery deliberately imitates them.

Most advantages, and thus most Sorcery spells, if range penalties apply will either use the standard size/speed/range modifiers or some kind of long-range modifiers. You could use the Short-Range limitation (PU8 p17-18) if you wanted a Sorcery spell to have the -1 per yard range mechanic though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RainbowFactory View Post
Also what spells DO require rolls? The book seems to differentiate between "known spells" that require no concentration rolls and "Learned Spells" that requires two Concentrate maneuvers – or just one if the sorcerer is repeating the same spell they last cast. Are he Casting Roll(ATT) listed in the book only applicable if it isnt a known spell?
It literally says in each spell writeup what casting roll, if any, is required. It's right in the header.

I don't know where you're seeing "ATT"?

The casting roll is unrelated to whether you know the spell. It is generally a result of the underlying Advantage the spell is built on featuring an activation roll, I think, though you could modify an Advantage to add in such a roll if desired Hardcore improvisation requires a separate roll to successfully improvise the spell, but that is (expressly) in addition to any required casting roll.
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Originally Posted by RainbowFactory View Post
If you acquire new spells during a game are you not allowed to add those as alternate abilities like a "known spell"?
What else would it mean to acquire new spells?
Quote:
Originally Posted by RainbowFactory View Post
Is the only difference between "known" spells and "Learned" spells how many rolls they take to execute?
Where are you seeing "Learned" spells as a thing, let alone one distinct from known spells?
Quote:
Originally Posted by RainbowFactory View Post
Also how when looking through the magic book for spells I found Blink Other and im confused as to how that spell works. It seems like a spell that is used to save one of your allies from an attack in combat but it says it is an active defense and I don't see how you can use an active defense on somebody elses turn.
Active defenses are almost always used on somebody else's turn.

Side question: which book are you looking at? Because that isn't in GURPS Thaumatology: Sorcery. Which is the foundational book for Sorcery.
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Old 04-06-2021, 04:22 AM   #3
DangerousThing
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default Re: Clarification about the Sorcery System

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainbowFactory View Post
Also what spells DO require rolls? The book seems to differentiate between "known spells" that require no concentration rolls and "Learned Spells" that requires two Concentrate maneuvers or just one if the sorcerer is repeating the same spell they last cast.
Do you mean the difference between known spells and improvised spells? There should be no difference between the two. And a sorcerer should be able to use earned character points to learn new spells, which would then be the same as any other spell they know.
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Old 04-06-2021, 05:12 AM   #4
Anaraxes
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Clarification about the Sorcery System

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Do you mean the difference between known spells and improvised spells? There should be no difference between the two.
Well, there's certainly a difference between "known" and "improvised" -- though not in how you make success rolls to cast.

"Known" and "learned" mean the same thing -- that that you've spent character points so that you're not improvising the spell. "Learned" is not a separate term of art in the Sorcery rules. "Improvised" spells have not been purchased with character points. They're just invented on the fly whenever the sorceror feels the need.

As was mentioned, Sorcery is built on existing GURPS rules. If all you've read is the Sorcery book, some of those underlying principles may not be familiar. Sorcery does tell you how it's all built. But the short form is that spells are all abilities built from Advantages, as per Basic and Powers; Sorcerous Empowerment is a Modular Ability, which is the mechanic that lets sorcerors improvise spells; and known spells are individual pre-designed abilities, which are all in a Alternative Abilities group with Sorcerous Empowerment. (Sorcerous Empowerment is required to be the most expensive abilities in that group -- that is, cost more than any single spell -- which makes sure that all the known spells are bought at 1/5th cost for the AA, while Sorcerous Empowerment is always the one full-price ability in the group.)

Sorcery has little (if any) all-new rules made up just for the sake of that system. So, most questions about how spells work can be answered just by seeing how that spell would work if it were a singular ability built for the character. Range penalties are the standard speed/range table, because that's where Advantages and abilities built from them often start. You can change the kind of range penalty by adding the appropriate Enhancements or Limitations to the spell when you design it -- but those modifiers would be in the stats block that describes the spell.

Whether or not you need two Maneuvers to cast a spell doesn't depend on whether or not it's known. That comes from the underlying AA (Alternative Ability) rules. AAs have one active ability. You can switch to another ability in the group -- but that switch requires taking a Ready or Concentrate Maneuver to do. Abilities with an activation roll, including sorcery spells, take one Concentrate Maneuver to cast. So, it's not really two Maneuvers to cast -- it's one Maneuver to swap spells, and a second to cast the new one. If you happen to cast the same spell twice in a row, then for the second cast, it's already the active member of the AA group. So you don't need the Maneuver to rearrange that AA group. Just cast the spell. To cast a different spell, you'd have to rearrange the AA group (one Concentrate) and then cast your spell (another Concentrate -- if that particular spell/ability needs an activation roll).

Not all abilities in GURPS require an activation roll, which is why some spells say "Casting Roll: None", while others might say something like "Casting Roll: IQ". The underlying base Advantage (Innate Attack, Telekinesis, Terror, Affliction, etc) determine whether or not an ability will need an activation roll, though that need can be added as an extra Limitation (see "Requires (Attribute) Roll" in Powers, for instance).

So, in the Sorcery book, you'd have to check the description of each spell to see what kind of casting roll is listed. There's not a general rule along the lines of "all known spells require a casting roll" or "only improvised spells require a casting roll".

(That kind of consistency might be desirable for some systems built out of the same pieces. See PK's other book, "Psi Powers", for an approach which does start with the assumption that all abilities have a casting roll on some associated skill -- and so builds each ability to add a roll if it didn't have one, or alter the basic definition from an attribute to a skill if needed.)
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