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Author Topic: Magic as Science (Split from "stealing from sorcerer...  (Read 3170 times)
Rick
Member

Posts: 22


« on: July 12, 2004, 03:11:57 AM »

"As many others, I'm not terribly thrilled with Riddle's magic system. It feels too clunky, the science speak is jarring, etc etc. "

What can I say?  I was 23-24 when I designed the sorcery system.  Kids that old are cocky and irreverent.  Or at least I was.  Sorry all, but I don't have a degree in literature and to boot, what I originally wrote wasn't published for various reasons.  As far as the science thing goes, from a rational and logical standpoint I could not and cannot to this day fathom being able to alter reality without understanding the principles on which it is based.  Stylistically, and ideologically, I know this is not everyones cup of tea, but for me, and no one else, I wanted to have a system that was based on common sense.  Or one that could could make at minimum some sense when the ramifications of magic (being able to do the impossible) were applied to a basis that as an educated individual I could at length agree with. Of course this is provided the effort and factual evidence existed to do so.  

I have encountered so many DM's, GM's, and storytellers in my time as a gamer that simply dictated the story to the players.  They came up with whatever they wanted, and subsequently justified their choices and explanations with no other reason than they were in control of the game, and had the power to do as they chose without the need or desire to consider their players interests, goals, or desires.  For me, I constantly felt that I was being railroaded through one adventure after another, most of the time at the whim of a friend who was only interested in bolstering his own ego.  

Those experiences ticked me off.  I suppose they still would if I hadn't grown up and applied all of the effort I once spent on gaming to my real life.  (Ladies and gentlemen, games are cool and all, (insert personal opinion here) but REAL LIFE is the most challenging and rewarding "game" you will ever play.  Fight hard and win.)  My theory was that if factual and empirical evidence could be acknowledged as the foundation of reality, and from that you could extrapolate the impossible, then the experience would be not only educational but reasonable in a sense that it would lead to some level of equality and understanding between the Seneschal and the player.  From my standpoint, I was tying to give players who did their homework an advantage based on effort, much in the same way players who know how to sword fight IRL have a slight advantage over those who don't in TROS.  

Personally, to me games are just games.  You can't define your life by them.  An enjoyable game should be able to adapt its rules to whatever style of play the gaming group wants to use.  I honestly think TROS is capable of doing that very thing, in regard to both the sorcery and the combat sections.  This opinion is based on what I've seen others do to adapt it to their style of play in this forum here in the past, and the hope that this trend will continue in the future.  So tweak the system to your hearts desire.  I honestly meant for it to be blatantly easy to do just that, and I hope to hell it is.

Please note that the opinions I express are solely my own, and are not intended to represent anyone else's in any way.  

Hail.
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greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2004, 03:56:23 PM »

Heya Rick,

If one's goal is to make boundaries for sorcery which both gamemaster and player can grasp and agree to, it would be no better nor worse for use in a game as the use of the scientific understandings from the early 1800's would be, or the ancient Greek scientific understanding of the world. In fact, one would be no worse off basing it upon the Judaic Qabbalah, or modern Ceremonial tradition (such as the Golden Dawn), or worldwide shamanic technique, as all would form an acceptable basis for that purpose.

In our world, the occult and magic are based on set and known magical laws passed down for literally thousands of years (in the case of certain basic principles that cross cultural boundaries), which do not refer to modern principles of understanding reality -- except perhaps on a very gross level, such as is the case with alchemy. These are internally consistent and easily grasped, and would have provided the necessary color to magic that is unfortunately lost and dispersed with the use of conceptions and modern understandings.

Leading from that, we're talking about a fantasy world...with a medieval level of understanding of the properties, functions and behaviors of the universe. References to cells, molecules, atoms, and lightwaves are all out of place in a fantasy game, or even a medieval game (those paying attention might note this is the same reason I have despised, and still do, the inclusion and application of psionics in the various incarnations of D&D), because they are particularly out of place when applied to the understanding a character from that world has of their world.

A medieval sorcerer would know nothing about cells, atoms, or gravitational forces (etc); as such, how can this form the basis of a sorcerer's practice of magic? It is a character breaker for me, completely. After all, you do not need to reference physics for the combat system, and yet warriors get along just fine without that knowledge (but I'll return there in a moment).

It seems an extra crutch to explain such problems given that the inference in the text is that sorcerers do understand and know about such things in the practice of their art. It is simply jarring and out-of-place, because we are speaking of a world that does not remotely conceive of the fundamental makeup of beings and physical objects referenced in the text. Realistically, such understanding by sorcerers (even if they are obscenely rare) over the couse of the last few thousand years would have fundamentally altered society and its progress -- there is no possible way the world could paralell the medieval/iron-age societies of Earth.

The concepts referenced "do not exist" in the fantasy or medieval world, for all intents and purposes. By this, I do not mean to imply that atoms and molecules literally do not exist (though they may not! This is a fantasy world, after all*), rather, since they are not conceived of, how would the sorcerer even understand what it was they were doing or seeing, or know how or why it was important to do certain things with them (such as stimulating "cell growth" for healing)?

* We are talking about a world where there are six moons in the sky; realistically, the tidal forces alone would have torn the planet apart long ago. As such, scientific reality doesn't have much to do with things, and trying to insert it as an explanation for anything at this point is pretty much giving the inspiring pre-game speech after the game has already ended.

Another thing you mention is that those with understanding of sword-techniques will be at an advantage in the game, and you wished to include this benefit for those would play sorcerers. Thus, you give the educated individual the same benefit regarding sorcery, because of its foundation in science. However, if the player who has knowledge of sword-play in the real world is better off in TROS than the one who isn't, then why not weight sorcery towards those who understand and practice sorcery in the real world? That would certainly be my preference (and far more similar to the former benefit), and it would solve the problem of the game's internal consistency being broken by the references to modern conceptions.

So, I hope that helps you better understand where some of the criticism regarding the system is coming from, at least that stemming from the science-speak in the descriptions.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Rick
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2004, 10:28:19 PM »

In our world, the occult and magic are based on set and known magical laws passed down for literally thousands of years (in the case of certain basic principles that cross cultural boundaries), which do not refer to modern principles of understanding reality.

Huh? Do those rules work?  Can you fly? If anyone can do anything "magical" other than convince someone else of something, please let me know.  Magic isn't empirical, science is.

Leading from that, we're talking about a fantasy world...with a medieval level of understanding of the properties, functions and behaviors of the universe. References to cells, molecules, atoms, and light waves are all out of place in a fantasy game.

I disagree.  Written into the sorcery system is an obvious way to study and understand the principles and systems of of the world around them.  I think that if the opportunity existed, curiosity would get the greater part of such an elite group.

A medieval sorcerer would know nothing about cells, atoms, or gravitational forces.

According to this system, he/she would.  Again, it's a game.  One of the rules in this game is that the sorcerers DO understand such things.

It is simply jarring and out-of-place, because we are speaking of a world that does not remotely conceive of the fundamental makeup of beings and physical objects referenced in the text.

Again, I disagree.  This world isn't ours, and it does in fact conceive of the fundamental makeup of beings and physical objects referenced in the text.  Knowledge is power.  Only with the ability to truly understand what is happening around you can you ever hope to effect any change.

The concepts referenced "do not exist" in the fantasy or medieval world, for all intents and purposes.

They do, they just are not understood by mundane people.  

We are talking about a world where there are six moons in the sky; realistically, the tidal forces alone would have torn the planet apart long ago.

A lot of planets in just our solar system have more than 1 moon.

Thus, you give the educated individual the same benefit regarding sorcery, because of its foundation in science. However, if the player who has knowledge of sword-play in the real world is better off in TROS than the one who isn't, then why not weight sorcery towards those who understand and practice sorcery in the real world?

Because that's just silly.  Sorry, man I hate to rain on your parade and all, but the only magic in our day and age is sheer force of will.  It's often aided by persistence and empathy but is still nothing more than the desire to see an event occur.  You can't wish a mountain away, no matter how hard you try.  Magic does not exist in real life, in my opinion.  There is faith, self confidence and discipline.  Mostly it's getting off your ass and going after what you want.  Chant all you like, if it helps you accomplish the goals you set for yourself.  Wave feathers in the air, whatever.  But if you want something to happen, you have to make it happen.  To do that, it is essential that you have an understanding of the world around you.  It'll never work for you until you know how to use it.  I'm not out to fight perceptions of how magic should work.  I'm out to make people think about the world that exists around them, and more importantly why.  That's all.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2004, 06:44:08 AM »

Did you notice the Rev. in Greyorm's sig? As in Reverend? As in you may just have insulted his belief system. Did you consider that at all before posting?

The scientific view is just as faith based as any other. And I can prove that using the scientific method, in fact (just ask Herr Hiesenberg).

But that's neither here nor there. Raven isn't asking you to accept his POV. He's merely pointing out that there are other POVs besides your own, and that this may be where some of the criticism is coming from. That is, given these other ways of looking at the real world that people have used for thousands of years, and given a world in which presumably the mindsets of the people in the world are closer to those thousands of years than to our couple of rational centuries, the question is why put our modern sensibilities (right or wrong) into the description of what has been described so well in the other way previously?

That's not to say that your POV doesn't work - it works fine. It just jars some people's aesthetic sense of how a fantasy game like this ought to be. Which doesn't make your POV wrong. It just means that some folks will want to change the assumptions to make the game more what they expect.

Welcome to game design.

Mike
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Rick
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2004, 09:38:01 PM »

My apologies if my post offended you Mike, the good Reverend or anyone else.  The use of the word "you" in my last post was meant in a general context, and not as a personal attack.  Please replace it with "a person."  I'm in no way saying my opinion or choices were correct (or plausible), I'm just stating my view and why.  I do in fact respect other peoples opinions greatly, though I personally have no desire to conform to them at this time.  

The good news is that someone will eventually write up a variant magic system that is acceptable to the majority of the gaming community. When that happens, it will and should replace what I wrote and everything will again be right with the world.  So fear not.  There's already been a lot of great work done to adapt the system to individual play styles, and that people have expended such an effort to do so is extraordinarily cool.  Unfortunately for now what's done is done, jarred aesthetics and all.  Please forgive my failings as an author and game designer.

Thanks for the critiques, I shall consider myself remonstrated.
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2004, 03:08:32 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes

The scientific view is just as faith based as any other. And I can prove that using the scientific method, in fact (just ask Herr Hiesenberg).


No its really, really not.  Heisenberg doesn't challenge any of that; limitations to knowledge do not imply that knowledge is indistinguishable from faith.

I think Rick is perfectly in the right to make his claim, and it might even have worked if more attention had been directed to the sorcery and sorcerous play.  IF this were a world in which magical people could indeed sense molecules, then they could be expected to know exactly what a modern scientist would know through instrumental research.  They would have seen the body's cells and organs thousands of years back when stone age people started exploring medicine.

all that is perfectly plausible to me, but there are two problems.  The first is that as noted above, its thematically jarring to a medieval world.  I think this is legit and I found it jarring myself.  The second is that players need quite a strong scientific background to make magical decisions at the moment, as we saw with the argument that sorcerors can easily blow up the world.  So in that regard, the system as writ has not been as explicit about the metaphysics of magic as some games might be and has therefore been perhaps a bit more prone to problems.  Public understanding of real physics is pretty patchy, and the book does little to help.

Anyway, I don't think your sentiment was unworthy, but I would endorse a re-written magic system for TROS.  If nothing else, your desire for the players to explore the real world of physics is actually at odds with the rest of the systems desire to explore personal combat.  Your idea might well work perfectly well in a product dedicated to that topic, perhaps ala Mage.
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Tom
Member

Posts: 26


WWW
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2004, 11:20:56 PM »

Uh, where is the problem here, guys?

I don't dig the "this spell creates heat by affecting the molecular movement" approach, either. In the age TRoS plays in, molecules and atoms are freakish theories at best.

Before I stumbled over Stephen's alternate system (see other thread), I simply used the TRoS approach in a more timely way.
Take the lightning thread, for example. To medieval men, I reasoned, a lightning bolt is a thing. A bright, and very fast thing, but nevertheless a thing. Electricity, on the other hand, is that prickling in your hand when you rub a piece of cloth over an amber stone, it can't possibly have anything to do with a bright flash of light.

So lightning is a thing and the proper Vagaries to affect it follow from that, taking into account that it's darn fast, so if you want to direct its impact, only Movement level 3 will do.


"Scientific" is totally fine with me. I just insisted to take the science of the period. It makes for a great game if you add phlogiston to a fire in order to make it burn brighter. :-)
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Ian.Plumb
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2004, 03:11:20 AM »

Hi,

Quote from: greyorm
If one's goal is to make boundaries for sorcery which both gamemaster and player can grasp and agree to, it would be no better nor worse for use in a game as the use of the scientific understandings from the early 1800's would be, or the ancient Greek scientific understanding of the world. In fact, one would be no worse off basing it upon the Judaic Qabbalah, or modern Ceremonial tradition (such as the Golden Dawn), or worldwide shamanic technique, as all would form an acceptable basis for that purpose.


From my understanding of what Rick wrote I don't think this was the design goal. The magic system is based on scientific principles so that the resulting system is as free of referee interpretation as possible. For any player who has designed a strategy in a key scene that revolves around their understanding of what a particular spell does, only to have the referee say "It doesn't work like that." and thus railroad the scene in a different direction, such a design goal would seem quite noble.

Basing the magic system on modern scientific principles has many advantages. All the players (not just the referee) understand those principles independent of the rule text. It provides a commonly understood vocabulary for describing spells and their effects. It allows players to extrapolate new effects as easily as the referee, ensuring that the referee's role is to confirm understanding rather than interpret intent and effect. It allows the players to reverse-engineer effects they have seen NPCs perform in order to infer the strengths and weaknesses of those NPCs.

The same is not the case for the alternatives you mention.

Quote from: greyorm
In our world, the occult and magic are based on set and known magical laws passed down for literally thousands of years (SNIP)


Any number of RPGs have attempted to codify "real world" magic. There was and is no need for TRoS to follow suit. You can use the TRoS mechanics to produce a magic system that simulates the medieval western-European view of magic. The magic available would be extremely low-powered compared to core TRoS but it can be done.

In the same way that SAs measure player intent rather than character intent, so too the magic rules encourage player knowledge rather than character knowledge.

Quote from: greyorm
Leading from that, we're talking about a fantasy world...with a medieval level of understanding of the properties, functions and behaviors of the universe.


Where is this knowledge-level listed as a premise of the TRoS magic system?

Quote from: greyorm
(SNIP summary of modern understanding) Realistically, such understanding by sorcerers (even if they are obscenely rare) over the couse of the last few thousand years would have fundamentally altered society and its progress -- there is no possible way the world could paralell the medieval/iron-age societies of Earth.


Is Weyrth an Earth parallel?

Is TRoS a simulation of medieval western-European society?

Any set of RPG mechanics that allows magic in any form cannot parallel our real world. It's not even a matter of whether you believe magic works in the real world. RPG rules ensure that magic works predictably, routinely, and repeatably. It is this that busts the parallel-Earth issue.

Cheers,
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Irmo
Member

Posts: 258


« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2004, 06:50:51 AM »

Quote from: Ian.Plumb

Basing the magic system on modern scientific principles has many advantages. All the players (not just the referee) understand those principles independent of the rule text. It provides a commonly understood vocabulary for describing spells and their effects. It allows players to extrapolate new effects as easily as the referee, ensuring that the referee's role is to confirm understanding rather than interpret intent and effect. It allows the players to reverse-engineer effects they have seen NPCs perform in order to infer the strengths and weaknesses of those NPCs.


Allow me as someone involved in natural sciences to disagree. I sincerely doubt that all players understand the principles. The implications of tinkering with mother nature, be it on the fields of biology, chemistry or physics are legion, and even a full-fledged scientist considers himself lucky if he fully understands the ins and outs of his field of specialization.

Letting someone with a Weyrth level of understanding of the world around him tinker with cell growth or even atoms is a surefire way to have whatever he's trying to do blow up in his face. A mystic explanation is in my opinion far preferable. It allows players to accept "Well, that's the way it is" rather than have the M.D. cringe here, the biologist cringe there and the physicist toppling over at the latest trick of the sorcerer.

You might argue "What if they understand nature better?" The answer is easy: If they did, they wouldn't be doing sorcery. They would be doing nuclear physics, biotechnology or chemistry. It doesn't bear the risk of aging.

Quote

Any set of RPG mechanics that allows magic in any form cannot parallel our real world. It's not even a matter of whether you believe magic works in the real world. RPG rules ensure that magic works predictably, routinely, and repeatably. It is this that busts the parallel-Earth issue.


I disagree. The aging risk far from makes magic working routinely or predictably, and in historical periods comparable to the technical development of most of Weyrth, magic was very much considered an -even if occult- science.
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Irmo
Member

Posts: 258


« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2004, 06:55:55 AM »

Quote from: Rick

I disagree.  Written into the sorcery system is an obvious way to study and understand the principles and systems of of the world around them.  I think that if the opportunity existed, curiosity would get the greater part of such an elite group.

...

According to this system, he/she would.  Again, it's a game.  One of the rules in this game is that the sorcerers DO understand such things.


If that's the case, then there is a serious bug in your system, Rick. If they understand molecules, cells etc, why would they risk aging on doing things they can easily do without?
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Rick
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2004, 03:11:15 AM »

Here are some some thoughts I had when doing the sorcery design. They may help clear up my perspective a bit.
Premise:  Space is the key to magic. The universe is comprised of mostly dark matter. There is some light matter, and then there is space. If it were possible to manipulate space, then the matter sliding through it could be refashioned in any way desired.


The big question then is how to manipulate space.  Since it's a game, the answer was: use "magic".  Building rules around that premise was tougher.

My thoughts were:

As space doesn't physically exist, it could be defined as the opposite of existence. The universe implies the sum of all of the energy (density) in the universe is equal to its critical density. In other words the total "Omega" as they put it, is 1. As the universe expands, it moves towards 0. From this it could be reasoned that space has the value of -1, with the addition of 1 and -1 canceling each other out over time.  

So to use space, I though I'd draw from my art background and mess with perspective. Take, for example, a sphere. If a person were to look at that sphere from any direction, they would see a circle. Now, if a circle is a viewed from the side it becomes a line. A line, when viewed from the front is nothing more than a point. The sphere can become a circle, or a line, or a point, depending on how it is viewed. Space has the same principles, only it starts from a point and progresses to the line, the circle and then the sphere. Or the other way around, depending on the period of space-time.  Thusly space could be compacted and transfered about, were it tangible.

Sorcerers, with full Sorcery Pools would exist at 0 (and -0), interacting with both space and matter, able to see and manipulate both. In order to change the structure of matter they move space, adding or subtracting it from their value of 0 for a short time . Space, like matter, has a value as well. "Alpha." let's say. So, if space is taken away from one location, it has to be placed in another. Taking space in easier than putting it back for sorcerers, who would have to do it naturally to balance their existence equation. Slowly absorbing extra space is easiest, but in a pinch it can be sucked in quickly. In addition terms, this would bring the sorcerers value to a positive number when they were drained. As they naturally exist at a preferred value of 0, depleting the negative value would cause a localized time distortion.  This would allow the sorcerer the opportunity to examine their target at length, and introduce the negative space into the right location.  Should the sorcerer miscalculate, they would be stuck in the time dilation until they got the balance right or gave up, with nasty consequences to their biological systems.  Originally, cells just broke down, but growing a beard is aesthetically cooler.

When the sorcerer wants to change something about the positive world around them, they reintroduce the negative space to the positive matter in a manner appropriate to their designs.  The reintroduction process is far more complex than the absorption process, as the the matter has to be studied and understood, the negative space added in just the right way to break or connect the correct level of bond in the positive matter. An tiny bit of extra space could push enough cold dark matter together to form a hot dark matter, which in turn could be coalesced into energy, energy to matter, built to subatomic particles, then into atomic particles, and so on and so on and so forth until whatever was desired could be created from effectively nothing. (It is not heresy, I shall not recant!) In game terms, I'd say a person can do this with all 9 Vagaries at at Master level. Should the seneschal allow it, of course. However, that level of power is systematically designed to justify the existence of God(s), not wreck the game. That's a whole different discussion though.

So, anyway the science part comes into play when building on the above process. It's the design perspective I started building the system from at least. I modified it to the extent I could to make if fit the fantasy mold Jake had come up with originally.  But, as it's been said, the final product could use some work.
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Dain
Member

Posts: 125


« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2004, 11:59:19 PM »

Hey Rick,

Before I go further, I can't begin to express how well designed I think your magic system is and how well it integrates into TROS. No, I'm not boot licking here...just trying to make sure that you know I'm not attacking you when I start to say things going forward that probably will sound like I'm attacking the design. I'll try not to get carried away with my emotions on this because despite my opening statement I REALLY don't care for the flavor of the magic system...but even so, in all fairness, I think it strongly merits mentioning how well it does work and how versatile it is since I do believe it is easily possible to produce any effect whatsoever using it (including fireball...only my version would be blue not flame colored...involves using a volume of 3 against air (300 gallons of air) and moving all the non-oxygen and non-hydrogen molecules out of the sphere, then generating a spark in there by stripping an electron or whatever other molecular agitation method you like that generates extreme heat or a spark).

Ok, enough padding. I have a couple of problems with the Science basis (that are probably clearly stated in my posts over in topic "Science in Sorcery: Good or Bad"
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=12067&sid=5a463f57d4e064ae874bc80645f90197
so I won't waste everybody's time repeating them here. One though that the above discussion brings to mind is this...ok, suppose these medieval sorcerers do understand atoms, molecules, energy, quantum mechanics, etc,.... I know, I know, there's no way, but let's assume for argument as you do that they do know all this. Then how is it possible, with all that knowledge, that they don't have nuclear power plants, jets, computers, lasers, rockets, neutron bombs, high rises, air conditioning and countless millions if not billions of other technological conveniences much more easily constructed and with zero chance of aging that would just as effectively allow them to rule the world. Either they understand science to that level or they don't...that's where I think most people have a problem with the design in a fantasy scenario. No real need for swords when you have uzi's, howitzers, atomic bombs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, etc,..... Spells aren't all that effective either when both sides have them and the technology as well...cold war rises...sure I can't prove your invisible assassin took out our president (or maybe I can with spells I suppose) but proof or not I know you did it and I'm pushing my buttons to make your country glow pretty.

Ok, *grin* so I'm being a bit obnoxious and exaggerating a bit here, but I think you get my gist. Let me leave that scab alone for now and pick at another one.

How does sculpture 3 work without Vision 3? Oh, heck, bag that...how does sculpture 1 work without Vision 3? Vision 3 is required to see cells/molecules/etc/... on every other spell description that in any way mends molds or alters anything intricate. Why doesn't molding a solid out of it's original shape into a completely different and alien shape NOT require you to see the molecules? If you don't align them right the new shape should be violently fragile and incohesive and fall to pieces if lightly bumped because the molecules most likely aren't compactly aligned in the correct crystaline structure (or whatever that solid has as it's natural occuring structure) to have any strength or structural integrity whatsoever. If you go for the "just molds like mud and finds the correct pattern at solidification" answer, then why doesn't it work for organics as well (healing)? *grin* ok, ulterior motive here...have personal beef with vision 3 being tied to every spell of critical import that a caster would need to cast daily, not the least of which is healing, all for apparently no reason other than to drive the TN up so no one ever bothers to actually cast the spell because nobody wants to age that much.

Last issue...ok, aging, just about everybody's beef. Mine is more easily stated in common sense than anything else. Assume you know casting any spell of worth is going to age you half a year. Assume you're completely insane and cast four spells a year for 10 years. You've just aged 20 years. If you were 30, you're 50 now. No, you're not dead, but you have arthritis, your vision has gone to hell, you pee 4 times a night, your back kills you morning noon and night, you sleep all the time, you have the starting of alzheimers, a raging case of hemoroids, etc,....all the joys of old age, yet you're only 40. increase it to 8 spells a year and now you're 70 instead of 40...if you didn't have symptoms of all that stuff at 50, you do now. Even if you started at 20 you're still 60 and feeling pretty crappy instead of feeling 30, and you ARE going to die SOON. Based on all that, who in their right mind is EVER going to cast a spell...EVEN in life or death circumstances. Maybe in CERTAIN death circumstance, but otherwise...no...only the suicidal. In my opinion, 8 spells a year isn't a sorcerer...it's a character who probably has no ability to defend himself and has a boatload of skills that are really entertaining and useful in roleplay, but who almost never gets to participate in an adventure...and who almost never gets to use the abilities he went out of his way to roll up in the first place because he wanted to be a sorcerer. 4 a year is even more pathetic.

ok, what's my point, since up front I said you did great and I've been fairly strongly bashing a few pet peeves? My point is that other than a few very contradictory concepts and an overly inhibiting limitation, I think you put together an excellent system that integrates fantastically into TROS. Such being the case, you've already proven your design skills in spades, and I think ANYONE would be hard pressed to disagree with that in any fashion whatsoever when they consider the overall system (TROS core system plus magic system), how well the magic system integrates, and how well it does indeed work in actual game play. THAT being said, I was wondering if you had ever entertained the idea (or might ever entertain the idea now that I'm mentioning it here) of designing an additional alternate (alternate, not replacement) magic system that is as solid as your original yet leans a little more towards the PFM (G rated expansion: pure freaking magic) system that half of the community here seems to really prefer the flavor of. Looking at your success designing the existing science based magic system, I can think of no one better suited for the job, and I would have complete faith in your ability to successfully design such an alternate system (and would be delighted to lay out the cash to buy it as an official supplement).

*grin*..."no pukeface, drop dead...you're an idiot, I hate you, and I don't have the slightest desire to put in that kind of effort again because I have a life in the real world" is a perfectly understandable response....won't take offense in the least...*grin*...well, maybe a little at the pukeface and idiot parts.
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