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Old 05-14-2021, 03:31 PM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Thaumatology] Threashold Tally/Recovery as environmental conditions

In normal Threshold-Limited Magic (GURPS Thaumatology pp76-82), the Threshold Tally and Recovery Rate is part of the character, not the location. What if that wasn't the case, though? Suppose that your location determines what the current Threshold Tally is, as you draw upon the magic of the environment, and each location recovers at it's own rate (or perhaps you have your own Thresh and RR, but the location does, as well); magic is thus a locally-renewable resource, like soil nutrients or ground water. This could be a factor in many wizards being wandering adventurers, and others being isolated hermits, as staying in one place too long, or having too many others using the same power source, can rapidly deplete it and cause disaster. A wizard's tower may be in a place with a high Power Tally, a fast Recovery Rate, or both, and the location would be guarded as jealously as a small high-mana region in Caithness (or something like that).

If the mage has a Power Tally and Recovery Rate separate from the location they're in, I suggest that locations should usually have a higher Tally and a slower RR, while mages have the reverse... but doing it differently could also be interesting. Locations with especially high Tallies could be good for enchantment, but then, you might not be using the standard Enchanting system (or Slow and Sure might only increase the current Tally by one per day, allowing the land to recover while the enchantment is going on).

How large a region you can draw from may vary from person to person, or may be determined by how the GM's magic system defines 'one area' for purposes of Threshold. Cities and smaller settlements would likely have strict rules about who can use magic in or near their walls, regardless, and deliberately overusing the Threshold next to a wall might well be a common tactic in sieges.

In most cases, I suggest that mages should either automatically know or easily be able to determine things like the current and total Power Tally of a location they enter, whether its Aspected in some way (and what the Aspect is), and the Recovery Rate, without needing to find out the hard way. Environmental factors that alter this (e.g. 'Old Merril's tower always recharges faster during thunderstorms') might be harder to discover, though.


Thoughts?
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Old 05-14-2021, 03:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Threashold Tally/Recovery as environmental conditions

I played around with having it depend on mana level. The higher the mana level, the lower the Threshold and the higher the Recovery rate.
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Old 05-14-2021, 04:49 PM   #3
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Threashold Tally/Recovery as environmental conditions

The system I just built for an RPM hack has one side that uses a heavily modified Threshold and Tally and uses Places of Power to allow for recovery of Threshold via a standard Path of Magic refill. It also allows sacrificing character points to massively reduce the points spent. I'm still considering allowing for times, places, etc. to reduce it further. Like, "when the stars are right" allowing for a huge reduction in tally if summoning something.
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Old 05-15-2021, 01:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Threashold Tally/Recovery as environmental conditions

What I've considered is that the places of power - such as a ley line nexus - are much more forgiving, decreasing the tally cost or increasing the tally threshold in its vicinity as well as speeding recovery.

This is why the sorcerer will retreat to his sanctum, which is typically built at such a location, to recover after a harrowing battle.
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Old 05-15-2021, 04:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Threashold Tally/Recovery as environmental conditions

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Thoughts?
This is something I considered for an RPM variant (inspired by one of the magic systems from the webcomic TwoKinds*), but the problem is implementation. Something like this seems like the effect should fall off with distance from the epicenter - sure, the Tally is 50 where you just finished your ritual, but go some distance away and it drops to 30, then 20, and so forth. That actually wouldn't be that hard to define (say, every 30 yards you drop by -1 SSR; treat anything below 1 as 0), and using it in play wouldn't be that rough... at first. But then you run into overlapping effects, potentially generating a very complicated map of Tallies as you and others use magic. You could avoid this by treating the affected area as continuous - say, the Tally applies equally everywhere within 100 yards, but go 101 yards away and the Tally is back to 0. But then you realize that, everywhere but the initial epicenter, "within 100 yards" includes some area that hasn't racked up a Tally. Additionally, you need to actually go 200 yards away for your 100-yard radius to not overlap with the previous one.

One way that just occurred to me that this could be gameable would be to say the first time Tally is accrued in an area, it generates something of a "wound" that attracts any Tally generated within a given area. So, using the 100-yard radius from above, any casting done within 100 yards of your (or someone else's) first casting in the area simply boosts the Tally for that whole area. In theory, you could cast, move 9 yards away, cast again, and continue this; at the 99 yard point, the environment has accrued 12 spells' worth of Tally. At the 108 yard point, you go back to a Tally of 0 - but when you cast, this creates a new epicenter. As to the question of overlap, just say whichever "wound" is stronger is the one you go off of - if you go back to the 99-yard point, you're back to using the original epicenter that's 99 yards away, rather than the new one that's only 9 yards away.

Interestingly, this allows for an interesting magical defense strategy. Essentially, rack up high Tallies in the areas surrounding your castle/tower/whatever. This creates something of an anti-magic "moat" - those who attack you have to be conservative with their magic (they're already dealing with a high Tally), while you have a clean slate to work off of.

*TwoKinds has roughly 3 systems. Humans use ambient mana from their environment without really impacting it, while Keidran store mana in special mana crystals and pull from there. The third, and the one I was trying to use environmental Tally for, was black magic, which actively pulls mana from the environment, depleting it (at least that's how it works for humans).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
The system I just built for an RPM hack has one side that uses a heavily modified Threshold and Tally and uses Places of Power to allow for recovery of Threshold via a standard Path of Magic refill. It also allows sacrificing character points to massively reduce the points spent. I'm still considering allowing for times, places, etc. to reduce it further. Like, "when the stars are right" allowing for a huge reduction in tally if summoning something.
The things you come up with tend to be immediately gameable, so I'll be interested to see how you resolved the issue. As for time/place/etc reducing Tally, shouldn't Decanic Trappings (RPM36) and the like work here? Or are you just debating if you want such to apply?
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Old 05-15-2021, 12:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Threashold Tally/Recovery as environmental conditions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
One way that just occurred to me that this could be gameable would be to say the first time Tally is accrued in an area, it generates something of a "wound" that attracts any Tally generated within a given area. So, using the 100-yard radius from above, any casting done within 100 yards of your (or someone else's) first casting in the area simply boosts the Tally for that whole area. In theory, you could cast, move 9 yards away, cast again, and continue this; at the 99 yard point, the environment has accrued 12 spells' worth of Tally. At the 108 yard point, you go back to a Tally of 0 - but when you cast, this creates a new epicenter. As to the question of overlap, just say whichever "wound" is stronger is the one you go off of - if you go back to the 99-yard point, you're back to using the original epicenter that's 99 yards away, rather than the new one that's only 9 yards away.
Another way of dealing with it is to not have the 'area' be defined by exact numbers, but conceptually: Old Merril's tower sits on a hill, and the area is defined by the hill and tower, not by the exact distance from where in the tower or on the hill he's casting. The conceptual boundaries could be even narrower, with something like a traditional dungeon crawl having each room or section of hallway having its own Tally and RR. This does require the players to be willing to cooperate with the idea, of course, as some players really want exact numbers.
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Last edited by Prince Charon; 05-16-2021 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 05-15-2021, 01:21 PM   #7
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Threashold Tally/Recovery as environmental conditions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
The things you come up with tend to be immediately gameable, so I'll be interested to see how you resolved the issue. As for time/place/etc reducing Tally, shouldn't Decanic Trappings (RPM36) and the like work here? Or are you just debating if you want such to apply?
The first thing I did was remove the calamity table. It might work for high fantasy, but it didn't work for what I had conceived. It was too campaign changing for me to be comfortable with the setting I was working the RPM hack for (hereafter called Channeling). Instead, I replaced it with a "debt" system where you could go into hock for your mana (your tally), but you suffered injury doing so. On paper - it works. We'll find out in play on Monday.

I'm still not sure I want Trappings to apply or if I want to create a novel system of energy reduction. The idea behind channeling magic is that you have evocation (where you draw magic from within) and invocation (where you draw magic from without). Neither side can naturally gather energy, they must wait for their stores to be refilled (evokers) or must sacrifice FP, HP, etc. to refill them (invokers). Invokers tend to go dark fast because sacrificial energy refills them faster and gives them a bonus.

But I'm derailing the thread at this point. It's going to be available on my Patreon in the next month or so so if you're curious that's where to look.
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