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Author Topic: Non-Gloranthan Magic  (Read 11895 times)
Tom B
Member

Posts: 28


« on: June 25, 2005, 12:38:17 PM »

I think this is my final sticking point.  I've worked out the PCs into their HeroQuest form, advanced them appropriately to match their abilities under the former system, and everyone grasps the basics.

One PC uses priestly magic.  That's fine, HeroQuest priestly magic works fine.  No problem.

Another PC is a magent type character (think magical spy).  He's not as heavily into magic as a pure mage, but he does have a number of active spells that he uses frequently.  He can also embed spells into runes for others to activate.  I looked at Wizardly magic in HeroQuest..but a) it doesn't seem to fit and b) I have a horrible time making heads or tails of it.

I'm thinking to build regular magic more along the Theistic model, because it seems more straightforward.  I have a few thoughts and would appreciate any opinions.

First, the mage would need to pick a 'theme' for his magic.  I don't expect hodge-podge collections of spells to try and cover every contingency.  I'll use the example of 'Magent' above since it's immediately applicable.

Magent will be the Occupational Keyword, and include skills appropriate for spy-like activities (infiltration, theft, climb, move quietly, perception, searching, etc.)

It would also include affinities, such as 'Manipulate at Range', 'Protection', 'Strike', 'Pass without Notice'.  These could be used as augments, or specific appropriate feats from each category could be used actively as spells.

To keep a similar heirarchy, there would be Trainee, Journeyman and Master.  Journeymen would have access to the affinities as augments, and Masters could actively use the individual spells.

More magically oriented professions, such as pure mages, would have more affinities in their Keyword and fewer physical abilities.

Does this sound like a sound enough starting point?  I hate re-inventing the wheel if someone has already set something up.  If so, I would really appreciated being pointed in the direction of any material that might be available.

Tom B.
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Der_Renegat
Member

Posts: 124

everything is religion


« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2005, 11:58:44 AM »

I tried a non gloranthan wizard here:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=14277
but i´m still unsure if i like it this way.

I dont think you need to design a whole wizard concept for your game, just give your player the abilities you think would be fun.
Give him spell-like abilities, augment-type abilities and one-use abilities that need recharging for the rune stuff.

Speaking of fun: i think the best part of HQ magic is how to use and interpret an ability/spell. So you may call a power „teleport“ or „ mystic folding of airy distance“. The latter is definitely a lot more fun to play if you have creative players.
Traditional rpg magicspells give very definite rules for how a spell works. In HQ a rating determines its usefulness that can be applied in any way it seems fit, thats the beauty of it.
Thats one reason i dislike the wizadry rules a bit, because every spell only works in the precise meaning of its name. So i would really go for the pompous magic option.

Christian
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Christian
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2005, 01:48:38 PM »

Hopefully I can be more helpful here than I was for Christian in the thread he referenced.

Lots of people are going to an "all theism structure" for magic, and I think it's a mistake. Oh, if you're simplifying, I suppose it makes sense, but in that case, I'd even drop the whole "Affinity/Feat" dichotomy altogether, and just go with abilities. But if you're going to go with one of the structures, the more I look at it, the more I like basic Wizardry for "secular" magic. Several reasons.

1. It's not only about monotheism, in fact very little about that in some ways.
2. In fact, the term "sorcerer" in HQ means "wizard who does not adhere to the church." So it's even canonical in Glorantha that the "secular" magic flingers use Wizardry.
3. The Adept keyword is right for modeling these things.
4. The structure of magic for adepts is right for modeling most of these types.

Let's look at each in more detail. Wizardry orders are said, in Glorantha, to be part of the church of the One God. But what do we know about them? Well, they aren't liturgists, meaning they don't do prayers over folks - their occupations are "Wizard" and "Scholar" and the like. They are secular folks except that the orders pay heed to some "Saint." In most cases.

In fact, the case is that the One God doesn't monitor the use of the magic power he puts in the world and instead gives people free will to abuse it and just sorts the good from bad after death. This magic, is called Essence, which makes it so that it's even the same term that RM uses. Wizards get their power from the essence by having spells that are powered by it. Sound familiar?

The Adept Keyword simply gives the character a notion of the place where he learned these spells. This is a staple of the fiction. You have to learn your magic spells from somewhere, all the Adept keyword does is to say where. Yeah but, you say, what's with the saints? Well, Saint is a term in Glorantha that means "guy who invented some spells and is revered because he also worshipped the one god." That is the association with the one god is, again, cultural to the orders.

Put another way, some individuals come up with their own spells and are not honored by being made saints. But this doesn't mean that they don't have grimoires where they've written down this knowledge. In other words, they can teach what they know, too, if they want, and/or there could in fact be orders of sorcerers who teach what they know. And this is in Glorantha.

Simply think of your world as like Glorantha, but everyone forgot to be worshipping the One God. What would happen? Well, the structures are all the same. You still have wizards coming up with spells, writing them down for others to learn, and students learning this lore.

What's with the whole "grimoire" thing, you ask? Coolest of all. To make a RM comparison, this is like purchasing a Spell List. In fact, I've seen "treasure" listed for RM where it was books of spells that contained chunks of spell lists. Basically all they are is a bunch of spells that the character knows how to use through their use of the book. And they can break them off and buy them separately if they want to do so, too.

So, basically, an Adept can purchase whole chunks of spell lists, or they can purchase single spells. Either way, you can imitate any RM profession with this. Mentalism, you say? Where it doesn't seem like you have spell lists? Well, you have two options there. Either the orders in question don't teach grimoires, and only by spell, or they teach "oral grimoires," again basically chunks of the spell lists.

So, let's follow the example, and do a Magent Order. Since I'm playing in Kaitaine in Shadow World, I'll make it fit my game so I can use it:

The Kaitaine Magent's Guild

Meeting at a place called Ornock's Ale Hall, a place off limit to outsiders and run to all appearances as a gentleman's club, a group of professional spys trained in an ancient set of spells for spying gather to exchange knowledge of their craft, and of espionage matters. Their magic was developed originally by a master spy and mentalist named Marsharas. They are enemies with the Magents of Thuul order also in Kaitaine.

Entry Requirements: Only those who have been secretly sponsored by a merchant noble of a Kaitaine house are allowed entrance, and even then there are serious tests given up front by the membership to ensure that the candidate has the mental acumen to follow the regimen.

Homeland: Kaitaine

Abilities: [Speak Foreign Language], Read/Write Shay, Know Rule of Marsharas, Mind's Sight (Symbolic Sight for Mentalists, Open Portal of the Mind (Portal of Power for Mentalists)

Virtues: Subtle, Unflappable

Relationships: To Instructor, To Guild

Grimoires: Marsharas Movements (contains spells like the Magent Movements list), The Book of Secrets (contains information gathering spells), The Horliak Scroll (contains spells for assuming disguises and moving unseen)

Other Spells: Poison Dart, Enthrall, Sense Direction, etc.

Talismans: The Magent's of this guild all use their special cloak broaches as talismans for all of their spells.

Other Side: The Magents of this order tap their power from a special Essence Plane of night.

Disadvantages: Those in the know about their talismans often disable these agents by taking away their broaches (OTOH, this is when they're often most dangerous as they have mundane abilities that most do not realizes). Also they have the Enemy of Magents of Thuul relationship, and the enmity between these organizations is great.

Make sense?

Mike
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Tom B
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2005, 03:51:56 PM »

Very nice.

What I did was a bit of name-changing.  Affinities became Spheres of related spells (similar, in fact, to spell lists from Rolemaster).  In my setting, grimoires are sources of spells, but not used so much of themselves.  A spellcaster will have his written materials, including his spells, research notes, etc.  Also, after their starting spells, the spellcasters are expected to develop their own spells.

So, I treated Spheres as Affinities, and individual spells as Feats.  If a spellcaster wants to develop spells unrelated to his existing Spheres, he must develop a new Sphere before he can develop individual Spells  (in other words, he has to understand the magical theme first).

He can improvise new Spells within a Sphere, but will still have to research them to make them permanent.  He can also augment other abilities using the Spheres.

I required a separate Sphere for Runes, which he uses to embody specific Spells.  They can be unpowered (and thus passive), and activated by others...as long as they haven't concentrated their magic in a different area.  They can be powered (and thus read as active), and activated by others (if they're willing to risk carrying around empowered runes).

With your suggestion above, I'm going to go back and re-read Wizardry to see if I can glean anything additional.  (Also, I like your Magent write-up and will steal from it shamelessly. :D)

Thanks again.  You're a very useful fellow to have around.

Tom B.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2005, 07:47:18 AM »

I get what you did with the Spheres. The question is why. Lets look at the similarities and differences:

[list=1][*]Affinities parallel Grimoires in that they're both groupings of abilities.
[*]Feats generally can't be learned independently of Affinities (the exception being an odd one, that with some subcults you can learn Feats without the attendant Affinity) - Spells can generally be learned independently.
[*]Feats are based off the level of the attendant Affinity. Spells cast from a Grimoire are also, but can't be raised up like feats can. Spells cast independently have their own independent ability level.
[*]Having an affinity doesn't let you use feats unless you're one "level" more specialized (devotee).
[*]With Affinities and Feats you can improvise new feats. With Grimoires and Spells you cannot.
[*]Spells require a talisman, Feats don't require objects.
[/list:o]
So, do you want your spellcasters to be able to:
[list=1][*]Improvise? It's fun, to be sure, but using Affinities to improv is largely counter to the RM paradigm of fixed spells (stuff like Spell Mastery I'd model with other abilites that can be used to tamper with spells, not just allowing improv from some base concept).
[*]Learn spells that are not in a group? In RM players are always buying one spell level from this list or that for their utility. Why not allow this to continue by using the Grimoire/Spell paradigm?
[*]Cast spells from texts? In RM characters can cast spells from scrolls (though these are expendable, it's still a meme), and spellbooks are implied.
[*]Cast spells without objects? RM actually supports Feats here somewhat in that, technically you don't have to have anything to cast most spells. But I personally think that requiring a wand or toadwort or whatever to cast a spell is fun. [/list:o]
Most importantly, I think that if you're going to use these complications at all, then it makes sense to create a separation between deistic magic and essence magic. It exists in both HQ and RM very parallel - channeling/essence.

So hopefully you can see why I went with Wizardry. Note that for Warrior Mage sorts of characters, then you can use the Orderly rules (for "Paladins" I use theism).

Here's how I break down the otherworlds to match RM:

RM - HQ
Animist Channeling - Animism
Cleric Channeling - Theism
Essence Realm - Wizardry (with an Essence Specialization)
Mentalism Realm - Wizardry (with a Mentalism Specialization)
Channeling/Essence Hybrid (Sorcerers) - Theism/Wizardry
Channeling/Mentalism Hybrid (Astrologers) - Theism/Wizardry
Essence/Mentalism Hybrid (Mystics) - Mysticism (which is yet to be released by Issiaries, but for which I've developed a system)

The two Wizardry realms end up counting as separate otherworlds, though only at -10 default from each other.

I'd strongly suggest that you use the Apprentice/Adept keyword types as opposed to the Initiate/Devotee in terms not only of the abilities (that's obvious), but of the limitations. Adepts are surprisingly unlimited. Devotees specifically can use no other magic than their god's. The only limit on Adepts are the in-game restrictions of the particular order. So there's no reason that a truely secular order might not allow it's members to also initiate with some cult. Of course this would require the Adept to not be concentrated (which is an option, or do I have that incorrect?).

Anyhow, hopefully some of this will make sense for you. I'm really hoping that HQ works as an RM conversion for more than just myself.

Mike
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Tom B
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Posts: 28


« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2005, 09:08:48 AM »

Ah.  We have a basic misunderstanding.  My fault.  I've been using Rolemaster as an example because you seemed familiar with it.  I've never used Rolemaster for this campaign, and am in no way trying to make it similar to Rolemaster.

We started off using the Darkurthe Legends mechanics, but due to dissatisfaction with how combat was handled, and a rather over-powered magic system (although a very well done one), we went looking for a better system.  I won't bore you with what we tried that didn't work, but the best of the lot was Fudge, with a very detailed magic system that I designed for it.  I'm trying to get away from that much detail...thus my interest in HeroQuest.

Quote from: Mike Holmes

So, do you want your spellcasters to be able to:
[list=1][*]Improvise? It's fun, to be sure, but using Affinities to improv is largely counter to the RM paradigm of fixed spells (stuff like Spell Mastery I'd model with other abilites that can be used to tamper with spells, not just allowing improv from some base concept).


I am, in fact, trying to encourage improvisation.

Quote
Learn spells that are not in a group? In RM players are always buying one spell level from this list or that for their utility. Why not allow this to continue by using the Grimoire/Spell paradigm?


I am encouraging spellcasters to be coherent in their spellcasting themes.  If you want to create a 'Stealth' spell, then the spellcaster must be conversant in how stealth-type magic works.  I am trying to avoid a horde of un-related spells being acquired haphazardly.  If a spellcaster wants an individual spell unrelated to any of his Spheres, then he needs to find a magic item that will do it for him.  Or open a proper Sphere.  I -may- allow a spellcaster to learn a spell outside his Spheres, but at a substantially higher cost.

Quote
Cast spells from texts? In RM characters can cast spells from scrolls (though these are expendable, it's still a meme), and spellbooks are implied.


Rituals can be cast from books.  Spells...might be, with enough effort and a high risk of failure.  Generally spells must be learned before they can be cast.  Scrolls are the exception.

Quote
Cast spells without objects? RM actually supports Feats here somewhat in that, technically you don't have to have anything to cast most spells. But I personally think that requiring a wand or toadwort or whatever to cast a spell is fun.


No.  I don't require components for spellcasting.  Certain items will aid in spellcasting...a wizard's staff, a shadow-mage's rod, etc.  But they aren't required.  Now...I can see requiring components if attempting to cast a spell from a book, or for rituals, or if you're trying to learn a spell for which you don't have an appropriate Sphere.

We've used components in the past, but they've never been a popular requirement in our group.

Quote
Most importantly, I think that if you're going to use these complications at all, then it makes sense to create a separation between deistic magic and essence magic. It exists in both HQ and RM very parallel - channeling/essence.


There is certainly a difference in the source of the power being used, but for my conception of magic, I believe the Deistic HQ model works very well with a few tweaks.

Quote
So hopefully you can see why I went with Wizardry. Note that for Warrior Mage sorts of characters, then you can use the Orderly rules (for "Paladins" I use theism).


I will look at Wizardry again, but I don't think it can really offer anything that would help with the approach I'm taking.  (There will actually be a Paladin in the group.  I'm running him fairly straight from the Deistic approach to magic.)

Quote
I'd strongly suggest that you use the Apprentice/Adept keyword types as opposed to the Initiate/Devotee in terms not only of the abilities (that's obvious), but of the limitations. Adepts are surprisingly unlimited. Devotees specifically can use no other magic than their god's. The only limit on Adepts are the in-game restrictions of the particular order. So there's no reason that a truely secular order might not allow it's members to also initiate with some cult. Of course this would require the Adept to not be concentrated (which is an option, or do I have that incorrect?).


The way I've approached this for now is that the Paladin does only have access to magic appropriate to his deity.  I have another character who is concentrated in Wizardry so he could have spells, but who is also a Champion for his Deity.  Your point above is very interesting, because otherwise he was going to get no Deistic benefits.  I'll look at Adepts and see if I can at least get him access to his deity's affinities...that would 'feel' more like what I was going for.  Thanks for the tip.

Tom B.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2005, 12:47:42 PM »

Quote from: Tom B
Ah.  We have a basic misunderstanding.  My fault.  I've been using Rolemaster as an example because you seemed familiar with it.  I've never used Rolemaster for this campaign, and am in no way trying to make it similar to Rolemaster.
Aren't you the guy with the 15th to 20th level characters? That was a conversion to Rolemaster?

Dude, I'm familiar with Darkurthe, and about 100 other RPGs. You didn't have to convert to Rolemaster. :-)

Aargh!

;-)

Quote
I am encouraging spellcasters to be coherent in their spellcasting themes.  If you want to create a 'Stealth' spell, then the spellcaster must be conversant in how stealth-type magic works.  I am trying to avoid a horde of un-related spells being acquired haphazardly.  If a spellcaster wants an individual spell unrelated to any of his Spheres, then he needs to find a magic item that will do it for him.  Or open a proper Sphere.  I -may- allow a spellcaster to learn a spell outside his Spheres, but at a substantially higher cost.
Er, um, see, that sounds like wizardry to me. The "themes" are bound up in what the Grimoires are about, and in what the order teaches overall. That is, it's precisely that you understand the "field" at X level that means that all of the spells in the Grimoire are cast at the same level.

Quote
Rituals can be cast from books.  Spells...might be, with enough effort and a high risk of failure.  Generally spells must be learned before they can be cast.  Scrolls are the exception.
You're working on the D&D paradigm here. The idea that it's "free" to cast from a book somehow. All casting in HQ is "free." What I mean is that what makes more sense - being able to cast easily from a ready text, or having memorized that text, and casting from memory? Seems to me like the text would be an aid, not a hinderance.

That'd be my genre expectation. What you seem to be doing is coming up with the expectation from some other RPG.

Quote
We've used components in the past, but they've never been a popular requirement in our group.
How did you use them? Were they "now we have to go get X" elements? The way to use talismans in HQ is that the characters always have them ready to go, unless you want to take the time as narrator to figure out why they wouldn't have them. For example, you have somebody steal them or take them away.

Basically talismans are just there to provide potential extra adversity for characters. Not to be a dull task to aquire.

But, in fact, the talisman requirement can be dropped from wizardry without issue. It's just a fun option.

BTW, you're using the term "ritual" in an unspecified manner. I don't think you mean it in the HQ "any magic ability that you prepare longer or with more resources to use." What does the term mean to you?

Quote
I'd strongly suggest that you use the Apprentice/Adept keyword types as opposed to the Initiate/Devotee in terms not only of the abilities (that's obvious), but of the limitations. Adepts are surprisingly unlimited. Devotees specifically can use no other magic than their god's. The only limit on Adepts are the in-game restrictions of the particular order. So there's no reason that a truely secular order might not allow it's members to also initiate with some cult. Of course this would require the Adept to not be concentrated (which is an option, or do I have that incorrect?).


Quote
The way I've approached this for now is that the Paladin does only have access to magic appropriate to his deity.  I have another character who is concentrated in Wizardry so he could have spells, but who is also a Champion for his Deity.  Your point above is very interesting, because otherwise he was going to get no Deistic benefits.  I'll look at Adepts and see if I can at least get him access to his deity's affinities...that would 'feel' more like what I was going for.  Thanks for the tip.
I think I'm confused here. Why would a paladin have "spells"? I mean, yeah, that's how it plays in other games, but in other games clerics have "spells" too. In HQ they would have feats, Clerics and Paladins both.

Considering Darkurthe professions is a tad bit harder, but not much. I think you can still see the D&D MU, Cleric and Druid in there. As I recall the game has a sorta freeform magic system (is this why you're trying to have the improv magic?), but the sort of magic is pretty well related to the professions (which are then pretty race specific, aren't they?). Really hard to say for sure what's what coming from that system, and you probably could, therefore, get away with only one system to describe all of the magic.

All I can do at this point, to potentially convince you, is to tell you to check out some of the threads on this forum about religion and the Midnight conversion. Basically my general arguments are that all fantasy games have a core to them that HQ brings out better than any other system, and that one should mold their magic to fit the HQ system rather than trying to get the HQ system to fit the "mistakes" that the other system made in modeling magic.
 
Mike
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Tom B
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2005, 01:59:28 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Aren't you the guy with the 15th to 20th level characters? That was a conversion to Rolemaster?

Dude, I'm familiar with Darkurthe, and about 100 other RPGs. You didn't have to convert to Rolemaster. :-)


Well, think about it.  Which is an easier way to convey the power-levels of the characters involved.  Me saying that they're around 15th level in Rolemaster terms, or by attempting to describe them in Fudge or Darkurthe terms?  I knew you were familiar with Roleaster and so went for the shortcut.

Quote
Aargh!

;-)


I live but to irk.  :D


Quote
Er, um, see, that sounds like wizardry to me. The "themes" are bound up in what the Grimoires are about, and in what the order teaches overall. That is, it's precisely that you understand the "field" at X level that means that all of the spells in the Grimoire are cast at the same level.


Yeah...but I've never used "grimoires" in my setting.  Apart from a few starting spells, mages devise their own spells.  By having Spheres of study, they are also knowledgeable about those Spheres and tend to have skills complementing them.  This has proven especially useful in HeroQuest since they can augment those skills with the Sphere knowledge they have.

I'm not seeing a reason to have grimoires...what would I gain?

Quote
You're working on the D&D paradigm here. The idea that it's "free" to cast from a book somehow. All casting in HQ is "free." What I mean is that what makes more sense - being able to cast easily from a ready text, or having memorized that text, and casting from memory? Seems to me like the text would be an aid, not a hinderance.


No, really I'm not working from D&D or anything else.  I realize that spells in HeroQuest are free.  It comes back to the philosophy and framework for magic that I worked out for my world.  As I said above, spellcasters create their own spells.  If they find a spell written by someone else, they have to study and understand it, and then they have to 'translate' it into their own shorthand and spell-casting style.  If they cast it from someone else's book, they're having to do the translation as they cast, which is inviting disastrous results.  It's done, if at all, as a last resort.  If they're dealing with their own book, then they already know the spell.  In order to research and create a spell, you have to know it thoroughly...to the point that having the text in front of you is extraneous and likely to be more of a distraction.  A mage's attention is focused on the magical structure or framework that he is creating with the spell.  A book would be a hindrance to this.

If a mage loses his books and notes, he doesn't lose his spells.  It will be much more difficult for him to create any new spells until he can replace or recreate them, though.


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That'd be my genre expectation. What you seem to be doing is coming up with the expectation from some other RPG.


In the beginning I had a player who ran a mage.  The player in question was an engineer.  He wanted exhaustive details on how magic worked and why things were or were not required.  He was still around when I created a 20 page write-up on exactly how magic works and how spells are created for the Fudge conversion that I did.

My assumptions and theories are based on how I wanted magic to work in my campaign, and really don't come from any particular source -- fictional, rpg or otherwise.  Just my own twisted mind.  A fair bit comes from my off-the-cuff answers to questions asked by players, then worked in and made consistent.

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Quote
We've used components in the past, but they've never been a popular requirement in our group.
How did you use them? Were they "now we have to go get X" elements? The way to use talismans in HQ is that the characters always have them ready to go, unless you want to take the time as narrator to figure out why they wouldn't have them. For example, you have somebody steal them or take them away.


Nobody wanted to go to the effort of tracking them back when the topic first came up several campaigns and about a decade ago.  There was a certain dislike for them simply because they were a D&D staple.  Having someone steal or lose components was an irritation rather than a source of adversity.  When I worked up magic for my campaign, it simply never occurred to me to include them.

I do allow spells to work more effectively if you have a contagion, and if it's personal enough it can even work against someone otherwise protected.

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But, in fact, the talisman requirement can be dropped from wizardry without issue. It's just a fun option.


Just never enjoyed them.  In working up my current magic system, the emphasis has always been on channeling, controlling and shaping magical essence.  Simply, nobody in our groups wants them or wants to have anything to do with the concept of them.  They just don't fit how we feel magic should work in the campaign.

Quote
BTW, you're using the term "ritual" in an unspecified manner. I don't think you mean it in the HQ "any magic ability that you prepare longer or with more resources to use." What does the term mean to you?


In my campaign, rituals can be used by mages to cast more powerful spells, or to cast very complex spells.  Rituals aren't really as necessary in HQ since you don't have anything like 'overcasting' or 'power point costs'.  Even in HQ, though, they can be used to reduce the difficulty modifier if you are casting a spell over a much longer than normal range or duration, or to effect larger targets.  They're more designed to focus the mind on the patterns involved in the spell...not requiring much in the way of components, but just normal ritual implements (chalk/paint, candles, various meditation aids, etc.)


Quote
I think I'm confused here. Why would a paladin have "spells"? I mean, yeah, that's how it plays in other games, but in other games clerics have "spells" too. In HQ they would have feats, Clerics and Paladins both.


That's what I was trying to say, sorry.  Paladins basically act as Theists, with access to Affinities and Feats, and the ability to ask for specific aid.  I'm strongly influenced by Elizabeth Moon's 'Paksenarrion' books when it comes to Paladins.

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Considering Darkurthe professions is a tad bit harder, but not much. I think you can still see the D&D MU, Cleric and Druid in there. As I recall the game has a sorta freeform magic system (is this why you're trying to have the improv magic?), but the sort of magic is pretty well related to the professions (which are then pretty race specific, aren't they?). Really hard to say for sure what's what coming from that system, and you probably could, therefore, get away with only one system to describe all of the magic.


Honest.  My current magic system has little in common with any existing magic system from other RPGs...at least not intentionally.  When working with Fudge, I had a chance to design the magic system from the ground up.  Although those mechanics were left by the wayside when we switched systems, my theories about how magic works were defined at that time.  I'm determining how to approach magic in HQ based on those thoughts and conceptions, not by trying to adapt HQ to any one system's approach to magic.

There are bits and pieces from different systems.  'Channelers' from Darkurthe, 'Shadow Mages' (or at least a very tweaked version of them) also from Darkurthe.  Magents from Rolemaster.  Runes from Darkurthe. Etc.

There is something similar to 'hedge magic', as defined in a couple of different sources.  Small magic to help crafters, farmers, etc.  HQ works this very well as Common Magic.  Magic as used by Mages is well-modeled by Theistic magic with the tweaks I described.  It allows them to devise specific spells, but also to improvise if they're willing to take the risk.  It involves the spellcaster becoming familiar with the field covered by the Sphere.  Clerics and Paladins have access to certain abilities granted by their deity, and also have the ability to ask for direct aid.  There are two or three other types of magic that work differently, but there are no PCs using them, and so I don't need a mechanical rendition of them yet.  I know how they work and what they do, which is sufficient.

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Basically my general arguments are that all fantasy games have a core to them that HQ brings out better than any other system, and that one should mold their magic to fit the HQ system rather than trying to get the HQ system to fit the "mistakes" that the other system made in modeling magic.


Part of my problem in finding a system was that I 'knew' how I wanted magic to work.  It was difficult to find a system that allowed magic to work the way I wanted.  HeroQuest, as it stands, comes closer than any other system I've tried.  The tweaks I've made to Theistic magic in order to model Mages in my world are primarily superficial and interpretive.  Mechanically I'm quite satisfied.  

I just need to go take another look at HQ Wizardry as you suggested and take a look at their restrictions and Keywords.

Tom B.
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Tim Ellis
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2005, 07:39:42 AM »

Quote from: Tom B

Yeah...but I've never used "grimoires" in my setting.  Apart from a few starting spells, mages devise their own spells.  By having Spheres of study, they are also knowledgeable about those Spheres and tend to have skills complementing them.  This has proven especially useful in HeroQuest since they can augment those skills with the Sphere knowledge they have.

I'm not seeing a reason to have grimoires...what would I gain?


From a "Rules" perspective there are a couple of important differences between "Grimoires and Spells" and "Affinities and Feats".  You can improvise a feat from an affinity (at a penalty) but you can't augment a feat with it's parent affinity, (or another feat in the affinity).  A Grimoire does not allow you to improvise spells, but does allow you to learn individual spells that are in the grimoire and use the "use grimoire" ability to augment them.    You can also learn to use Grimoires and Spells without concentrating, wheras you can only learn or improve feats within an affinity if you are concentrated.

If your mages tend to devise spells "on the fly" as it were, then using a "HQ THeism" based model probably works best, but if they spend time researching and devising spells in advance of actually going out and casting them then I'd be tempted to take another look at Adepts (the generic term for Wizards and Sorcerors) to see if they can be made to work the way you wish.  By making Grimoires that match your "spheres" you allow them to be used to augment research and casting, and can make these as specific or general as you wish.
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Tom B
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2005, 09:29:48 AM »

Quote from: Tim Ellis
From a "Rules" perspective there are a couple of important differences between "Grimoires and Spells" and "Affinities and Feats".  You can improvise a feat from an affinity (at a penalty) but you can't augment a feat with it's parent affinity, (or another feat in the affinity).  A Grimoire does not allow you to improvise spells, but does allow you to learn individual spells that are in the grimoire and use the "use grimoire" ability to augment them.    You can also learn to use Grimoires and Spells without concentrating, wheras you can only learn or improve feats within an affinity if you are concentrated.


The effect I was looking for was to allow mages to improvise spells from the appropriate sphere.  Since I see a Sphere as a body of knowledge and understanding, I don't see why it couldn't augment appropriate spells.  Also, since mages will tend to have knowledge-type abilities related to their spheres, I might allow additional augments to casting (or improvising) a spell, provided the ability is appropriate (something I will likely define pretty narrowly).

Your point about concentration is well-taken, though, and bears looking into.  In my mind, anyone might be able to learn spells, even if they are concentrated in theistic magic.

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If your mages tend to devise spells "on the fly" as it were, then using a "HQ THeism" based model probably works best, but if they spend time researching and devising spells in advance of actually going out and casting them then I'd be tempted to take another look at Adepts (the generic term for Wizards and Sorcerors) to see if they can be made to work the way you wish.  By making Grimoires that match your "spheres" you allow them to be used to augment research and casting, and can make these as specific or general as you wish.


They probably won't improvise too often.  It's risky.  Usually they put research and development into their spells.  To me, the use of grimoires seems too limiting.  After all, it only contains the spells it began with...something that limits the mage in developing whatever spells he chooses.  I choose to view Spheres as a knowledge and understanding behind a particular theme of magic...and thus it seems like it would work just fine for augmenting research and casting while not suffering from the limitations of a pre-defined grimoire.

Using a Sphere as a body of knowledge and understanding seems to allow it to replace the role of a grimoire...unless I'm misunderstanding grimoires.

Tom B.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2005, 08:02:19 AM »

Well, I think that I'm mostly convinced. Actually, what I'm seeing is that you've created your own magic method here that doesn't really match either of the systems under discussion. That is, you've sorta picked and choosed parts of the system to make "Spheres" a new one.

Note that grimoires are talismans for the spells in the book essentially. When I said you could drop the physical requirements, I meant for both the general area, and the specific spells. You're looking at these things with an eye more to the trappings of them than I'm intending. The need for physical objects is just one element of what makes up the magic system that is wizardry, amongst many.

As Tim points out, actually, you're taking the ability to augment from a field from wizardry, not theism (or, rather, it just happens that your modification matches). This is what I mean by a new system. It has elements of both systems.

The only worry that I'd have is that your new system might overshadow theism. It seems like Spheres have the advantages of both theistic magic and wizardry, with none of the limitations. This might prejudice players into taking Spheres and not Theism.

And part of this is, again, in how the associated keywords work. I'm going to assume that you're going to use something like the Adept keyword framework for your "Master" keywords, and overall structure? Meaning that, for example, a adept can move on to other Spheres at will more or less (just has to find people to teach him), as opposed to a Devotee by comparison who can only take magic strongly associated with the deity.

Why take the "trainee" level keyword (just for the associated skills)? Does this count as a specialized magic keyword? Most of the "Zero Level" keywords are actually non-existant, merely being what you call a member of the associated religion who has the religion keyword, but not any specialized magic keywords. That is, it's confusing to some, but you never take a "Communal Worshipper" keyword, you simply take the religion keyword for the religion in question, and you are a communal worshipper.

In SW, how I do it is say that a character can take a theistic or animist religion, and can then take wizardry specialized keywords (as long as the religion is tolerant of it). But, then of course, the character can't take another specialized magic keyword at least to start. That is, everyone ends up with a homeland, religion and one specialized magic keyword. If Trainee has no magic associated with it, it would be an oddity as a specialized magic keyword.

Inany case, as one progresses, then, through the levels, there are typically more and more restrictions on the character. What would be the restrictions on the different levels of these characters? Why be a journeyman and not a master? Concentration?

Again, sans these restrictions, I think you'd be creating an unintentional extra draw towards these "Sphere" keywords (while actually making them simultaneously less interesting). The physical limitation is one of the small things that balances the openness of wizardry out against the deity restrictions of theism (lowers power, increases interest). If you don't want that in, then do you have a replacement?

Mike
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Tom B
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2005, 08:24:11 AM »

It's an interesting point.  My approach may be somewhat unbalanced mechanically.  I'll think about it.

However, I don't think it will impact my current game, because the characters are already made...so there's no unfair draw toward one over the other.

Now, in the context of the setting, dealing with Wizardry has its own limitations.  It is usually difficult to learn new Spheres, and something I would try to keep control over as GM.  Plus, of course, I think it would be somewhat easier to improvise in theist magic than wizardry, plus a theist can ask for any appropriate help (in effect improvising even from affinities they don't have).  Under extreme circumstances, a deity may take direct action through a theist, as well.

Primarily, though, they're entirely different types of characters.  Someone who wants to play a priest or something similar will probably not be attract to wizardry even if my approach to Spheres is somewhat unbalanced.  That's the nice thing about my group...nobody has ever 'worked the system' to gain advantages.  Their character concepts always come first.

If I was devising this for public consumption I would probably put a lot more effort into balance.  For our own use, so far everyone seems to be satisfied.  I will keep an eye on it, though and keep your observations in mind.

Tom B.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2005, 11:40:54 AM »

I'd largely agree with that. But I guess I'm just unsure of the limits at this point. Let's say that an initiate (unconcentrated, if you're using that), decides to become a master, too. Can he do that? If not, why not? Right now, there are no rules limitation on your initiate paladin also picking up a sphere or two. HQ is intended to be such that you can't take magic that your deity objects to (though they didn't put any hard limit in the rules about it). But if this magic is indeed "secular" and not related to a religion, then what would there be to object to? Some deities still might on some principle, but if the magic really doesn't represent competition, why would they prevent their people from learning it?

There's a big difference between a mechanical limit on these things and an in-game limit. You can make doing such "hard" in terms of in-game forces making it unlikely, but that'll only make getting the abilities more interesting to the player who's really interested in the idea. Once achieved their character will be all the more unique for having overcome the obstacles in question. Whereas a hard mechanical limit means it won't happen.

Many imposed limits actually make things more attractive. Those that don't make something attractive but actually penalize, are penalties on creativity. If you really want players looking elsewhere, simply say no.

Mike
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Tom B
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« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2005, 04:31:46 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I'd largely agree with that. But I guess I'm just unsure of the limits at this point. Let's say that an initiate (unconcentrated, if you're using that), decides to become a master, too. Can he do that? If not, why not? Right now, there are no rules limitation on your initiate paladin also picking up a sphere or two. HQ is intended to be such that you can't take magic that your deity objects to (though they didn't put any hard limit in the rules about it). But if this magic is indeed "secular" and not related to a religion, then what would there be to object to? Some deities still might on some principle, but if the magic really doesn't represent competition, why would they prevent their people from learning it?


Well, first of all, the Paladin would need to devote about 5 years to learning magic in order to pick up his first Sphere.  His deity isn't going to allow that, or else he wouldn't have been selected as a Paladin in the first place.

As to a mechanical limitation...I'll have to delay responding until I look over Wizardry again as I keep saying I will (but haven't yet had time to do so.)

What is the HeroQuest mechanism for preventing a non-religious wizard from gaining Theistic magic as well?  I thought someone said they didn't have the same limitations on concentrating magic?

Tom B.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2005, 07:30:52 AM »

Quote from: Tom B
What is the HeroQuest mechanism for preventing a non-religious wizard from gaining Theistic magic as well?  I thought someone said they didn't have the same limitations on concentrating magic?
Interesting question with no easy answer.

    [*] No, technically Adepts don't have to concentrate, but some orders might require it.
    [*] There is no mechanic per se that prevents any adept from gaining theistic magic.
    [*] The intent of the designers (I found out the hard way) was that people can only take magic in their religion. Despite no rule as such - they thought that people would just understand that the powers of a religion wouldn't allow it. This is an in-game limit, essentially. The powers of your religion simply won't give you power if you start to worship some other power outside of the religion.
    [*] From this, I'm guessing that most religions would actually see "secular" magic as outside the religion. But that's based on Glorantha, where wizardry is, in fact, closely linked with many religions. If you posited a truely "secular" wizardry, then I think that, like using technology, your powers might not object to it. On the other hand, perhaps they would. Basically this is a big in-game call. [/list:u]This leaves us with an odd situation. Well to me at least. Concentration says basically that there's a trade-off between specializing, and branching out. But, in fact, you really can't branch out. The one thing that being non-concentrated can definitely allow is to have common magic of a sort that doesn't match your specialized magic. That is, if you are an unconcentrated theist, you can take spells and charms, etc, in addition to Feats. If you are concentrated, you can only take common magic feats. In practice this is no limit at all, since whatever abilities you can get from charms and spells, you can get from feats, too.

    The only other way to use a non-concentrated status to be broad in magic is to get into more than one type of organization in your own religion. That is, most religions actually are "mixed" in that they will have some theist organizations, some animist practices, some wizardly orders, etc. So, since these are in the same religion, theoretically you can get the magic from more than one type if you are unconcentrated.

    But the designers say that, here too, there are strong in-game restrictions against heroes doing this. It's not impossible, but supposedly vanishingly rare for a character, to use the now classic example, to be an unconcentrated initiate of an Orlanthi god, and also become a member of a Kolat related animist practice. Like you have to be born to two fathers (one Kolating, one regular Orlanthi) hard.

    All this seems obviated by the example of the Lunar religion, but we're now learning that this is actually a fourth otherworld or something, so it's not the exception that it seems to be. Or maybe it is, we won't know until we see ILH2.

    I've gone on about this at length before. The point is that it seems like the "advantage" of being unconcentrated pales before the advantages of half-cost specialized magic. Yeah it would make a very interesting character, IMO, to play the Initiate/Practitioner Orlanthi. But you're so penalized for doing so that it'll make you think more than twice. It would very much seem to me that the designers intent is to prevent players from "spreading out" in terms of magical knowledge.

    So to answer the question, I don't think that there is any absolute mechanic that prevents an Adept from being an Initiate as well. But there are all sorts of suggestions that, in-game, it's just not something that happens. Of course, MGF might actually void that, too, I don't know. But for your game, in your world I think you're just going to have to choose.

    Here's the principle in this case: given the willing essence for any Adept to use it in any way they like (which is the case even if it's not secular), the real question comes down to two things. Will the gods (or spirits, if you have animism - which I hope you do) give you magic if you use magic other than that given to you by them? It seems very logical that they would not, assuming that the magic comes from an enemy deity. It also seems logical - though less potently so - that they would not allow you to use their magic if you worship some being outside of the religion. The question is will they allow you to use their magic if the magic doesn't come from a being. There is a rationale for this that is logical - wizardry magic comes from an otherworld of it's own. As such, it requires an attunement to an alien mindset. Which might upset your deity.

    Not sure about your "Spheres." Even if you said it came from the same otherworld, perhaps the deities are just petty and want you on the hook for magic from them (this is what I assume is the case with devotees - to get that sort of power, the deity does require you to eschew even other deties from the pantheon). So I think there's a logical rationale for stopping players here if you want one.

    I'm personally of the opinion that it would be more interesting to allow it, however, generally speaking. Basically you can put some teeth into concentration by allowing non-concentrated characters to have specialized magic from more than one otherworld. And I think it's an interesting idea (wizard-priests, etc).

    But that's just my take on it. You'll just have to decide how it works for your game.

    Mike
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