Different Flavor of Magic

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Different Flavor of Magic

Postby Grim Luck » Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:28 pm

I'm very interested in hearing about different ways in which Magic might be represented in True 20.

I've considered doing a 'source' type of magic where not only do magical effects need to be taken, but also a feat needs to be taken in order to draw from a magical 'source'. There would be a certain number of magical sources (I.E. Light, Dark, Fire etc.) and the 'source' would color whatever magical effect was being used. If the character was using an effect which complimented the source (smiting someone with fire, when the fire source has associated conotations of chaos, destruction, etc.) then the effect would get a bonus to the magic roll (up to +5).

Obviously, this is just an idea I'm toying with, but I'd be curious as to what tweaks others have done to 'magic'.
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Postby JBowtie » Wed Sep 07, 2005 8:27 pm

ENWorld's Elements of Magic could be adapted easily enough. It's a point-based system in which spells are "verb noun" combinations (sort of like Ars Magica). There are also generic enhancements that can applied to any spell.

It would replace the generic "Fire Shaping" with things like "Create Fire", "Move Fire", "Summon Fire" and so on. The main things that would have to change are how you allocate points and how you determine which spells you have access to.
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Postby Grim Luck » Wed Sep 07, 2005 8:35 pm

I kind of like the linguistic element to that... I'd like to see something like that worked out for True20.
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Postby The Shadow » Wed Sep 07, 2005 9:13 pm

A friend of mine has a homebrew magic system called "Magic With Feeling" that I've been considering how to adapt to True20. When I work it out, I'll post it. The nice thing about it is that it adds a lot of dramatic tension to magic.
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Postby Ludanto » Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:43 pm

My group is using a magic system alot like Blue Rose, but the "Talents" are magical "techniques". The technique offers access to several "spells", many of them the same, however each technique has benefits and drawbacks. The "cleric" style technique inflicts fatigue penalties for spells that go against the patron diety's codes of conduct. The "psychic" style, drawing the power from within, uses a Fortitude save instead of a Will save, and doesn't collect cumulative penalties for Fatiguing spells. It's not especially creative, but it's what we've got. It adds a little flavor. Plus, it's a work in progress... :P
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Postby Dork Elf » Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:26 am

I like the "source" idea, and have considered trying something like this but have yet to summon up the nerve. Something like universal modes and effects combined in different ways (or JBowties' example with verb/noun) would be neat.

So effectively if one has learned an effect or "verb", one can apply it to all sources or "nouns" he/she knows, yes? I like the concept, and am unfamiliar with existing systems that use similar methods to approximate a flexible magic system.

To contribute: I have been considering a new summoner type of adept who only has access to a few powers, but 2 of them could be a summon "thrall" spell which summons a familiar-type of elemental or demon (seperate powers?) that has access to powers of a certain type or "domain". The summoner could command it to cast with a move action and suffer no Fatigue checks herself, but the effective rank would be a bit lower and losing control of the thrall could be possible. Maybe even let the thrall cast at the summoner's power rank if she "aids" in the casting instead of just taking a move action to command the thrall. THIS would require a Fatigue check for the Summoner, methinks.

So this would be a fun and dangerous way to have a caster with access to perhaps every power, but only by one "group" or domain of powers at a time, depending on thrall type. Not as dynamic in a setting where all adepts have access to all powers, of course....

A variant on this theme would be an aura-based adept who had to embrace different auras to use powers governed by that aura. The Embracing of the aura could be a Fatigue check-incurring action but maybe powers used while the aura was embraced could be used without penalties to Fatugue checks for subsequent usage of the powers. If the adept is attacked, though, they have to make a Concentration check of some sort to keep the Aura up. Maybe special feats could allow one to alter their Aura's properties. Let them "tune" it to offense or defense kinda like agressive attack, ect. Hey, there could even be rules for Aura duels where adepts have access to powers that attack the auras of others and shut them down, a bit like saidin/saidar from the WoT. In fact, this whole variant is basically just a "tuned" version of a channeler hehe.

These are just new adept themes really, not new magical concepts. Just some thoughts :)
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Here's what I did; feedback would be appreciated.

Postby Bhikku » Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:29 pm

My apologies for the length of this post. As anyone in the BR forums can tell you, I'm prone to running at the mouth... or at the keyboard, i guess.

I'm actually doing something similar with a setting I'm working up. (Digression: Unfortunately I can't afford the .pdf right now, so I'm making do with my copy of Blue Rose and hand-written notes about the changes that seem to have been made. From what i hear the Blue Rose Companion will have conversion guidelines, so i'm saving a gift card for that - so if anything I describe sounds wonky, rules-wise, that's why. End digression.)

In my setting, the Shaping Talent feat has been removed, so most heroes can only get shaping powers via Wild Talent; but there are some alternatives.

One hero can take the Arcane Magic feat, which allows him to use Int for all powers (I'm otherwise retaining the power-specific ability system used in Blue Rose), as he draws on his arcane knowledge to devise an on-the-spot spell. This feat has a prerequisite of being trained in Knowledge: Arcana, but also serves as a prerequisite for the Ritual feat (to be taken straight from the BR Companion) and another new feat, Evocation Talent, which is essentially Shaping talent for arcane mages.

Another hero can take the Spirit Magic feat, which allows him to use Cha for all powers, as he compels eldritch and natural spirits to perform services. I'm trying to decide on a good prereq for this feat, but it also serves as a prereq for Rituals and Inanimism Talent, which is again a parallel to Shaping.

A third hero can take the Psion feat, which is the odd duck of the bunch. He still has to use Wis and Cha depending on whether a power is sensory or influencing, but he is able to take part in psionic combat (the version used in Mindscapes and Hyperconscious, from Malhavoc Press; not any WotC version), which has the added benefit of allowing him to recognize any other creature with the Psion feat. This feat also serves as a prerequisite to Psychokinetic Talent, which is (surprise surprise) a parallel to shaping.

Further, I'm adapting the Invocations system featured in MSRD and the Lesser Invocations seen in Modern Magic, to allow anyone to attempt an arcane rite, regardless of role and feat selection. I may also use the various apotropaic rites and charms seen in Modern Magic, and possibly some of the rituals in Malhavoc's Mystic Secrets. The setting is pretty magic-heavy, as you can see.

This all works from the standpoint of setting flavor, and you may find something like it works for you. I'm a little unsure about the balance of those feats, though - Arcane Magic and Spirit Magic give benefits that roughly parallel what I understand the standard True 20 rules already do, but allow an Adept to really focus on a single ability score, as well as providing prereqs to a major magical system ('cos Rituals look to be tres cool). Conversely, Psion keeps the adept sprawled across two or three abilities, and although it grants access to Mindscape-style psionic combat, that's often as much of a risk as it is a benefit; plus i've only got a single follow-up feat so far (although i might adopt some from the psionic SRD to flesh out a full tree).

The fact that each feat i looks at feels like it's not quite as cool as the others, until i look at the others, suggests to me that they're all about equal (but maybe equally underpowered?). So maybe all three need a little extra pizzazz. Additionally, I'm considering turning the three pseudo-Shaping talents back into a single Shaping Talent, and just adding a prerequisite to have one of the three style-based talents. (Which might allow an adept to switch which ability he's using for shaping, in case he's taking ability damage in a fight. Handy? Too handy?)

Feedback on these last few questions would be great. I'm not so fetishistically determined to maintain mathematical balance here, I just want to make sure that all three routes are about equally attractive.
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