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Old 06-12-2022, 07:33 AM   #1
Prince Charon
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Default [Thaumatology] Magical Engineering

Engineer (Magical)/TL^ is basically the technically-mundane design skill for magic items that are built out of components (some of which are probably magical to start with), rather than enchanted, bound with spirits, or similar things. Alternative names include 'Engineer (Thaumaturgical)/TL^' (or 'Thaumatronics' if electronics is involved or closely related to that form of the skill), or if it's based on a specific type of magic, a name relating to that, such as Engineer (Alchemic)/TL^ (or 'Alchemical,' or just 'Alchemy'), Engineer (Orgone)/TL^, Engineer (Quantum Mysticism)/TL^, Engineer (Decanics)/TL^, et cetra. Prerequisites vary by setting and type, but Thaumatology is plausible for most. The magical components might themselves be enchanted, or might be Alchemical Charms, or just magically-potent materials - or materials that are 'strong in the Force,' or 'rich in Chi,' or 'have a significant psionic resonance,' or 'interact usefully with subspace fields,' since for literary and gaming purposes, all of those are basically magic (which is why I'll put a link to this thread in the Five Earths thread). Things like this appear in various fictional settings, such as the Imp-powered devices in Discworld, the chakra-tech in Naruto, or the magic-and-steam-powered mecha in Sakura Wars.

Related skills most likely include specializations of Machinist and Mechanic, and if the skill is sufficiently related to electronics, Electronics Operation and Electronics Repair. If it doesn't involve electronics, I suggest that Magic Item Operation (<specialization>) and Magic Item Repair (<specialization>) are appropriate IQ/A skills (depending on setting assumptions, Operation might be IQ/E, or based on another attribute). Of course, it might make more sense for the Repair skill to be a required specialization of Mechanic or Machinist, instead.

Engineer (Magical) was first described in 3e GURPS Discworld p57, as far as I can tell, though that version was specific to the Disc. It doesn't get used much (it was at best only hinted at in Thaumatology, which is disappointing), but it seems pretty interesting to me. Have you used it, or seen or been in a game that did (apart from Psychotronics, of course)? If not, what sort of effects do you think it would have on a setting? What ideas can you think of for this concept?
Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

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-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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Old 06-12-2022, 09:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Magical Engineering

I have always thought of Thaumatology as the magical engineering skill.
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Old 06-12-2022, 09:28 AM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Magical Engineering

Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
I have always thought of Thaumatology as the magical engineering skill.
Well, technically, no; Thaumatology is the magical physics skill. Or the magical Economics skill as opposed to the magical Finance skill.
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Old 06-12-2022, 10:35 AM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, Colorado
Default Re: [Thaumatology] Magical Engineering

I did some work on this for Facets.
The table in G: Technomancer, under the section, "Energy Spells" (p.29) gave me the key to converting magical energy to kWh.

Some of the commentary is specific to Facets (and G:Cabal), but most settings with magical technology might find the core ideas useful.
If anybody spots a mistake, anywhere, or thinks of a better way to do things, please speak up; I'd really like to hear them.

Magic Batteries
50 pence (5 shillings) per FAT point, manufacturing costs
Magic storage requires a 1 carat gem for each FAT stored
Rechargeable magic storage requires twice the number of carats, and costs 100 p (5s) per rechargeable point.

Common Decanic Battery sizes
5 FAT cell (equivalent to a 12-volt battery) 500 p (25s)
10 FAT cell (equivalent to 1 kWh, 1.34 horsepower, 3,400 btu) 1,000 p (50s)
1,000 FAT cell, 100,000 p; 5,000s, 250 gold (100 kWh; 134 horsepower, 340,000 btu),
-The size of a tennis ball
Larger sizes available, but require special orders and long delays.
Again, these are single use.
Double prices and sizes for rechargeable

Power Sources
Spirit Matrix
-Captures holds a spirit
-Drains its FAT
-FAT recovers 1 point every 10 mins.

Typical 10 FAT Spirit Matrix
-3,000 p (150s)
-Capture your own spirit
-Silver sphere the size of a golf ball

Typical 20 FAT Faerie Bottle
-10,000 p (500s)
-Recovers 1 point every 2 mins
-Capture your own Faerie (or trap it in a bargain)
-Gold sphere the size of a gold ball
-Faeries react badly to the presence of one of these -- don't even roll, just start killing.
-Good luck with that

Elemental Binding Vessel
-700,000 p (35,000 s, 1,750 gold)
-Different types for each elemental or demi-elemental
-(200 kWh, 268 hp, 680,000 btu)
-No fatigue expended, but can only provide energy appropriate to the type
-The size of a volleyball made of appropriate substances for the decanic type.
-Framework must have the shape of a perfect solid, and consist of orichalcum, with the decanic materials set in each facet
-Includes ability to set power expenditure desired
-Must capture and bind own elemental.

Atlantean Meyalos Binding Vessel
-1.25 million p (61,500 s, 2,625 gold)
-Different types for each elemental or demi-elemental
-(280 kWh, 375 hp, 955,400 btu)
-No fatigue expended, but can only provide energy appropriate to the type
-The size of a soccer ball made of appropriate substances for the decanic type.
-Includes ability to set power expenditure desired
-Must capture and bind own elemental.
-Framework must have the shape of a perfect solid (almost always an icosahedron), and consist of orichalcum, with the decanic materials set in each facet
-Requires Atlantean export license that lists the number permitted to purchase.

Elemental Binding Spell (RPM)
Lesser Sense Mind (to detect the elemental): 2
Lesser Sense Mind (to communicate with the elemental): 2
Greater Control Mind (to get it to do what is desired): 5
Up to 15 tons lbs worth of creature (go large or go home): 7
10-yard range: 4
Duration: 10 minutes (more than enough): 1
Limitation: Only on one type of elemental -40% (need different spells for different elemental): -9 (rounded)
Subtotal: 12

This spell allows the mage to bind an elemental into a prepared receptacle made of substances particular to the type of elemental bound.

Each type of elemental requires its own binding spell, and any material components used must be particular to the type of elemental the mage seeks to bind.

Magical machinery
Once the power source is defined, the engine or other device that converts the energy to work must have a way to access the device.

These are found in the College Ouare.
The spell, “Propel,” when used as an enchantment, creates an item (made of materials appropriate for the type of energy used or work to be done) to serve as the “link” between the power source and the “engine.”

The spell, Draw Power allows the user to link a power source to any spell, which then functions as long as the energy source has the fatigue, which it loses at a rate of 1 per minute.

If used for a different element, the binding vessel loses two FAT per minute. The energy cannot be used for the “opposite” element.
Binding Vessels with demi-elementals used to power one aspect of their dual nature will lose the standard 1 FAT per minute.

The Ouare College (Technology) also plays a key role in the creation of magic items.
Enchanted items must have a power-source to use to cast the spell, a machine that has been “taught” the spell to cast, and a target for the spell that falls within its parameters.

Power Source: Any of the batteries or binding vessels may be used, but must be items appropriate to the spell college of the spell to be cast. Rechargeable batteries are required, or self-recharging binding devices that hold appropriate creatures (or generally useful magical beings, such as faeries or spirits).
Draw Power: Cast this on a connector (rod, plug, etc) made of materials appropriate to the college.

Magickal Engine: The engine must, again, consist of materials appropriate to the college cast, and it must have moving parts and the ability to make sounds (somatic and vocal components) that match the type of spell (rippling water, whistles, clanks, music, etc.), if the skill of the caster is such as to require those. Those with greater skills may use simpler mechanics.
Animate Machine: Causes the machine to move of its own accord. This lasts no more than 10 minutes, but only gets used to cast the spell, so that’s plenty.

Machine Possession: Cast one time by the enchanter, who must also know the spell to put into the machine.
-Caster successful casts the spell to add
-The machine has that character’s skill level for that spell, thereafter.

Hopefully, this at least triggers some fun ideas. :)
MXLP:9 [JD=1, DK=1, DM-M=1, M(FAW)=1, SS=2, Nym=1 (nose coffee), sj=1 (nose cocoa), Maz=1]
"Some days, I just don't know what to think." -Daryl Dixon.

Last edited by tshiggins; 06-12-2022 at 10:45 AM.
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engineering, skills, thaumatolgy

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