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Author Topic: Sorcerous Limitations...  (Read 11383 times)
spunky
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« on: December 04, 2002, 09:50:00 AM »

I've been playing with the idea of using Limitations on Sorcery to help give magic using characters a personal approach to their craft (similar to the "Affinities" used in Ars Magica).  

For example, a sorcerer specializes in fire.  Whenever casting a spell that involves fire, the TN decreaes by one, making it easier to cast, and easier to resist aging.  Or maybe their SP increases by 2 just for the casting of that spell; I'm not sure which is mathematically better.

An even greater limitation should yield even greater benefits.  Take a Sidhe shapeshifter. They can transform themselves, but that's ALL they can do.  No throwing fire, no armoring spells or dancing swords or exploding heads.  In such a case, I'd decrease the TN AND add to their SP, because they're so specialized...

I don't know whether this has been covered in earlier posts, but I wanted to throw it out to see if anything stuck to the wall...

Philip
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2002, 03:27:04 PM »

Stuff like that will be in SatF...use your own rules (or share them with us) until then, though.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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prophet118
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2002, 10:34:13 PM »

excuse me for coming in...

i know you guys arent going to like me bringing this up...

ok magic in TROS is like it is in mage the ascension, you have 9 spheres and pretty much can do whatever you like... however they have paradox to kind of keep players in line....

other than aging what keeps players in line in here?.... i have read through the sorcery section, and im immensly curious about that...........some of my players refuse to play in a game where magic is truely this powerful.....

not sure why..lol
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2002, 11:28:58 PM »

For the record niether I nor Rick ever even read Mage, nor ever talked about it or ever played it. Just FYI.

What keeps them in line? The story, I guess. They're not the only ones with that much power. What keeps a guy with a sword from killing everyone? Other people with swords, of course. Why wouldn't it be the same as magic? It's rare, sure, but don't think that just 'cause you "can" do anything with it, that you'll get away with it.

Lastly, while would they refuse to play? What reasons do they have? Are they afraid of NPCs that'll just nuke 'em? Remember that TROS sorcery is a toolkit...it's *supposed* to be tempered by the tastes and styles of the players. If it isn't, then, well, you really could have quite a bit of chaos if the players and the GM were at odds with each other, each trying to do the other in (***NOT*** the way to play TROS, btw..buy HackMaster).

Lastly, the real question, have you played it? I know you haven't, and that you want to, but the fact is that you just need to. In all the time I've been here I've never heard of a real example from actual play of *any* of the stuff you guys are always so afraid of.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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prophet118
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2002, 11:59:17 PM »

i have run it breifly, while i was on thanksgiving vacation, i had to convince my wife to play (she does normally, she just didnt really want to on vacation i think)... i wanted to do a dry run through on the character creation process..

i understand about the limitations set story wide....and i dont really understand either why some of the players wouldnt play it.... but then they also wont play Star Trek, or Rune...(one players reason for not playing star trek was because you could "set phasers to kill"......he has no trouble playing star wars though...lol)

i dont really understand it myself, but i am working on reading all i can about it, and telling them about it, with hopes of convinving them that the system is actually pretty good

i personally enjoy the freedom of both TROS's system of magic, and mage the ascension, because i hate playing wizards, but i do like playing sorcerors, and bards (d20 3rd ed, they get a limited numbers of spells, but arent stuck memorizing them all the time.. its more fast casting rules... sorta)

basically with mage you are putting a few things together and going from there....i have noticed though that the vageries are easier to use, and easier to combine, than the spheres from mage...with 9 spheres it seems, and is hard to combine more than 2 on a great effect (life,prime,matter,forces,entropy,spirit,mind,correspondance and time)

those spheres do tend to cover quite a bit...however its actually quite difficult to do anything in them at the start, sicne it costs so much to get more, and the they go from 1-5.... and you can only have up to level 3 at start...

i like the TROs system alot better, im just concerned about the power mongers... which is what alot of the people i play with, are...

luckily a friend of mine is coming up to see me in a few weeks, hes the one who introduced me to roleplaying, and so far we have had a great history for trying new systems... im going to get some stuff together and run a game when he gets here... that way i know its not going to be for a bunch of power gamers...

i suppose im really worrying too much, so what im going to do is read the book a few more times, and start dropping hints that id like to run this next.., and see what happens..thanks for the reply
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Bankuei
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2002, 12:17:12 AM »

One of the biggest things I have to ask when I hear this concern is:

What is it exactly you're afraid of?
Is it:
•The players "ruining" your preplanned, carefully packaged, story?
•The players nukng your gameworld into dust simply for the joy of the power trip?(Does not make for a fun game, that's why there's other magical forces out there...)
•The players nuking each other?(Why are you playing this again?)
•Being unable to offer a "challenge", or more importantly, a conflict to that player?

Let's look at the list here-
•Don't have a preplanned story.  That's not the kind of game this is.
•Either throw a nasty thing their way, or better yet, let them nuke the joint and then age them to dust.  Let them play their new character in the post-apocalyptic hell hole they created.  It's like Akira, just in medieval times!
•If the players are the type to nuke each other, more or less power isn't the problem, its time to get new players.(note, some players can actually have a great time in conflict, but if you're afraid of giving them power, then these aren't those kind of players)
•Just as not everything can be solved with swords, not everything can be solved with magic.  You don't have every type of magic, and you can't do everything on the drop of a dime.  Look at the character's SA's, then oppose them.  Here's a few things a mage cannot easily change:
-Natural disasters
-Making someone love you
-Bringing people back from the dead
-Changing the minds of a large group of people

There's plenty else, but if you can't give conflict to a mage, I'm fairly sure you can't give conflict(as opposed to simply a fight) to anyone else either.

Like Jake says, try it before you knock it.

Chris
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prophet118
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2002, 12:36:22 AM »

umm stop right there, im not knocking the system... why would you think that?...

i have only run 1 30 minute session, that was totally made up on the fly... im not worry about people messing up any preplanned thing i may have, im worried about the power mongers who make every game i play an countless battle of counting dice, and seeing how many hit points the creature has left.... thats what i dont like about the current group, they have lost the charm of exciting adventuring, and have fallen into "isnt it dead yet, it only has 200 hit points.".......

again though, i wasnt knocking the system, hell i praised it for being as simple and easy to understand as it is, i like it alot, im just trying to get my bearings in the world itself
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2002, 08:35:48 AM »

prophet-

It looks like you've got a decent handle on what to do. As for the power-mongering in your group...hmmm...

Anyone got some good advice for this one? It's one of the most frequent topics on the Forge (and the basis for my previoius and controversial "the Forge isn't really into Gamism" comment a few months back).

Jake
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Bankuei
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2002, 09:11:21 AM »

prophet-

My bad.  Sorry, jumped the gun on that a little too soon.

On to your concerns proper then...

Focus on SA's.  Let players know that why they do things is where they get the xp from, not how they do things, or who they kill, or even if they fail or succeed.  Also, give them some really interesting npcs with strong SA's that aren't necessarily counter to their own, although the NPC might believe them to be.  Put them into situations where killing won't solve the problem, for example-

•Court advisor is preparing to betray the kingdom for another lord...can you prove it?  What if the advisor is using magic?
•A young boy or girl, maybe 8 or 10 is trying to kill the players  for having harmed a family member.  Is the kid right or mistaken?  Either way, the kid isn't a real threat, but what the hell do you do to stop him/her from trailing you and causing problems?  What happens if the kid grows up and learns swordfighting, poisoning, or magic?
•Two kingdoms, normally at peace, are at high tensions.  The son of an ambassador has been captured for rape, and the local magistrate refuses to let him go unpunished.  Are the players for justice or for peace?  Is there other countries out there waiting to take advantage of this?

And of course, put in the real consequences of senseless murder, or just breaking laws and stepping on toes- big enemies.  If you've set up your players right, somewhere in their SA's is something they want to defend, be it an ideal, a loved one, or an organization/group.  Whatever that thing is, put it up as potential consequences for acting hastily.

Imagine the following scenes:
"You've been excommunicated.  I know you didn't do it, but I couldn't stand in the way of the High Council.  Until the day you can clear your name..."
"I don't know what's going on, but Father said you've done some terrible things.  I wanted to know for myself, but this is the only way I can be sure.  I'm sorry my love, if you're truly innocent, the High Magistrate will bare the truth"
"Your majesty!  Forgive my impertinence!  But you cannot knight that man!  Last night, he tried to kill me!"

Etc.

Hit'em where it hurts.  And make'em live with it.  Death is far from the worst threat in this game.

Chris
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prophet118
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2002, 11:38:50 AM »

the game i ran over vacation was an interesting rip off of scorpion king.....lol, sorta..
the main character was a sorceror, and it basically revolved around her escaping, she was being used by a small kingdom in Stahl for her abilities..

she had a familiar (a hawk) who had scouted the surroundings, and she ended up finding out that an army was coming, she used her abilities to see a day into the future, and found out that if she stayed, she would die.

she was brought her food for the evenings dinner, and in the bottom was a note that said "you must leave now"

she finally garnered the courage, and ability to teleport away...

now then the question she came up with last night was "ya know... why didnt my character just teleport away before"... i had a few answers.. "maybe you didnt know how to, and you just recently got good enough..", or my fav "you did, you just didnt get far enough away, and they caught you, but since they are going to war this time, they cant exactly spend as much time and effort to look for you"
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spunky
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2002, 01:24:19 PM »

<prophet118:  im worried about the power mongers who make every game i play an countless battle of counting dice, and seeing how many hit points the creature has left... thats what i dont like about the current group, they have lost the charm of exciting adventuring, and have fallen into "isnt it dead yet, it only has 200 hit points.">

TROS poses quite a challenge to munchkins, since even a "maxed-out" swordsman will fall against multiple opponents unless they act tactically, and don't just rely on their stats and dice pool to save them.  At the same time, what I find appealing, as a recovering power gamer, is the ability to describe in heroic detail what my bad-ass swordman is trying to do, and then have the mechanics reflect that description.  The first time you feint to an enemy's head and then take their leg off at the knee... it's truly a joy.  <Hmm.  That sounded more disturbing than I intended.>  

On a non-TROS note, try weaning your D&D players from tracking their own hit points.  The minute your players don't know exactly how much more damage they can take, the more interesting the game becomes.

Jake: in response to your earlier query, re: game balance in MAGE, they used a device called Paradox.  Basically, Reality, as defined by the collective unconscious of Muggles, will rear up and slap the sh** out of any Mage that pushes it too far.  This forces magic users to rely on "coincidental magick," that is, magick that can be explained away by rational means.  Still, there's not a mechanic in existence that can stop players from ignoring the story in favor of "getting points."

And on a final note, I've seen in several posts that pre-made adventures for TROS aren't practical.  I don't think this is the case.  In creating an adventure, the author will need to provide a variety of SAs that would be applicable to the adventure, to facilitate conversion to specific campaigns.  That done, I don't see what else would be required beyind the norm to create a TROS mod.  Modules are necessary to help bring new players to the system.  While a great system for broad stories, there's no reason you couldn't use TROS for an old-fashioned dungeon crawl as well.  

Etc.,
Philip
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ShaneNINE
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2002, 03:40:36 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei
What is it exactly you're afraid of?
Is it:
•The players "ruining" your preplanned, carefully packaged, story?
•Being unable to offer a "challenge", or more importantly, a conflict to that player?


Eh... you take it to extremes here, but that's sort of it. My group doesn't do carefully packaged preplanned stories, but it's not just an open book either. I understand the idea of a story driven by SAs. But my players need direction, more than just the SAs provide; they need prodding, guidance, sometimes outright rail roading. That's just the way they play. That's what they want so that's what I give them.

Even without the magic I can't anticipate their every move. Sure, they can't solve everything with magic, but if they can solve just one thing, the one thing that the whole story stands on... well, then there goes the story in a tiny puff of anticlimactic smoke. That's what I'm afraid of.

With a magic system that has more rigid rules on a spell caster can and can't do, I'm much better able to anticipate what might happen. I have much better control over the story and for us that's what's important. All of us would be disappointed if the story suddenly ended because the main baddi was simply killed by a shrinking helm

And there's also a matter of feel. We like a more subtle magic system with concrete spells. Sorcery in TRoS just doesn't do it for us. Really, it's the main reason we haven't started playing it (and also because one of the players is afraid of the combat system).
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::: Shane
Brian Leybourne
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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2002, 04:33:43 PM »

If that's your main concern then just don't allow sorcerers as PC's. Easy.

Really, TROS magic is so fantastic and rare (I use "fantastic" as meaning having the qualities of fantasy, not as a compliment; this is not to suggest that it's not worthy of compliments though, I'm merely clarifying my use of the word *grin*) that the concept of a young mage wandering the world with a group of buddies doesn't really gel with me anyway.

To me, TROS is more about action heroes and riddle seekers - Conan, Arthur and Frodo. That keeps Thulsa Doom, Merlin and Gandalf as mysterious NPC's whose powers are hinted at and whispered about but never really truly known.

IYG and YMMV of course, but that's just IMO and IMG (wow, four acronyms in one sentence, that makes me ROTFL. Ok, I'll stop *grin*).

Oh, and for your player who's afraid of the combat - get him to try it. As long as a) he's remembering and playing his SA's and b) you're remembering that the characters are the heroes and protagonists and as such should not be constantly attacked by people just as good as them (the average human has a CP of 8, remember) then there's no reason to fear combat unless you're momentally stupid, monumentally unlucky, or both.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
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ShaneNINE
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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2002, 07:05:50 PM »

Quote
[SNIP]...  the concept of a young mage wandering the world with a group of buddies doesn't really gel with me anyway.


It does with us. But TRoS Sorcerers just don't fit with that (IMO). But that's what we want. And that's why...

Quote from: BrianL
If that's your main concern then just don't allow sorcerers as PC's. Easy.


... I just can't say "no sorcerers!". I've certainly thought about it, but I just hate telling the players they can't do stuff. Someone always plays a spellcaster.

Alas! Oh woe and rupture (no, really, I meant rupture - it's from Bloom County)! Guess I'll just have to deal with it. I wonder if I can figure out how to convert Chivalry & Sorcery spells for TRoS - I've never used that damn game and the magic systems are right up my alley.
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::: Shane
Lyrax
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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2002, 07:12:58 PM »

Shane: Create an enemy NPC spellcaster who frustratingly counters the PC sorceror's plans.  If the PC gets carried away, perhaps the NPC will summon a demon and sic him on the PC, or something like that.  If the players have lots of power on their side, then all their enemies will, too.

BrianL: Did you mean "monumentally" or "momentarily"?  Normally I don't nitpick that much, but it makes quite a difference!  :-D
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Lance Meibos
Insanity takes it's toll.  Please have exact change ready.

Get him quick!  He's still got 42 hit points left!
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