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Offline manfred

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More Magic for My World...
« on: May 10, 2004, 01:25:17 AM »
Finding an interesting link on Magic Systems design, I found my system to be lacking in this regard. This whole article is thought for my game world and game system, but I hope it can be useful for someone else. Comments welcome!


Links:

 The resource that kicked me into more thinking about magic in the first place:
Guidelines For Creating Magic Systems

 If you have a lot of time, you may want to see the Gods and Races of my world. Or the K10 Rules I want to use this magic with. But most things are hopefully clear without it. On we go.


Definitions

 1 Magic Point - is the smallest unit of magical energy in all "real" spells. It is certainly NOT the smallest unit of magic itself. For instance, cantrips (those tiny magics), certainly cost less (estimated at around 0.1-0.2 MP). But in most everyday applications of magic, this is what you will operate with. It seems that it is too hard to operate with the smaller amounts anyway. Most "Detect Magic"-like spells and abilities fail to detect them, too.

 The above definition also defines a magic user - a person that is skilled enough to cast spells with magical energy of 1 Magic Point and more. If he or she "carries" such an amount of magic, it might be felt by other magic users.

 And what does it mean to "have", or to be a "carrier" of magic? The magic users store the mana (they gained from various resources) around them, in their aura to be exact, before shaping it into spells. Dispersed in their immediate vicinity, it is more 'at hand', physically speaking. Thus it is bound to the wizard, and his will in a special way, and will not dissipate easily.

 Gathering magic is the process of getting the magic itself. Most magic users concentrate to gather it from a source, where it is dispersed and free. Priests do it slightly differently, they get their magic already concentrated, so they concentrate in a prayer to recieve it, and be not harmed by it.

 Rituals are something more than common spells. Not only do they exclusively rely on material components, their casting takes much longer than most spells. Their results may be bigger also... fortunately very few are powerful to cast such magic. (Not described here.)
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2004, 01:26:33 AM »
What Is "The Power" anyway?

 Well, duh, Magic. ;)

"If we knew what Magic is, most of our problems would vanish, or we might recognize too many new ones. Maybe we will never know, and maybe we won't even get close. But at least, we try to learn HOW it is, and how to shape it. Let us join the search for "
 Archmage Nerian, Order of the Blue Flame's supposed founder.


 Magic is a stable part of the world, so much is sure. It flows through and permeats everything, and whether it is the aura of gods, as some deem, or something else, no one knows, and I won't write it here either. Let's find out at least more about how it is, and what one can do with it...


The Focus of Magic

 Magic that flows through the world, is for the most part a raw material: anything can be done with it, but it must be shaped it to the desired form and effect, or in other words, to cast spells. Most mana can be thus considered "colorless", to create a useful magical effect, it must have a certain "color".

 To what degree is this or that amount of Magic shaped to any "color", is called Focus.

 The more focused the Magic is, the easier it is to use for certain magical purposes, and harder to use for others. A druid, for example, draws his magical Power from the Nature, and it is focused correspondingly. The Focus is most intense exactly at the moment of casting - the purpose is absolutely clear, for the one short moment, the magic then looses it. As laws of entropy are valid even in this world, magic slowly, but unavoidably looses its Focus, its "color".

 This fact alone determines what is possible, and what not quite, and what is too hard even to try. Healing is a very good example: how does it feel to be healthy? You may say good, but at least as many times you feel bad, from many various reasons. The problem is that Health has no special feeling attached to it, even if everyone knows how it is to be ill. And if you don't know how it is to be healthy, then how can you focus your magic to heal?

 Focusing is always a matter of concentration. You try to control the magic you have gathered, and shape it in the desired way. Focusing takes time, so using unfocused mana, while versatile, prolongs the spellcasting process. This means that comparatively hard spells take longer to cast for common wizards, than for specialists.


Sources of The Power

 Magic is everywhere, but where do those wizards and others take it from?

 Inside of every living being is a little amount of magic, circulating along with blood, and most probably being a part of Life Force itself. Few know about, and still fewer know how to use it.

 A human, the average humanoid, has around 0.5 of a Magic Point of this "free Magic" in himself, magic usable for spellcasting, should be known how. It is overlooked for being too little to power any "real" spell. Cantrips may be powered through it, but are not spread or valued enough for wizards to consider, and no one has yet thought of teaching cantrips to the general populace, that has no education in "real", higher magic. But this little amount certainly counts on the larger scale, see below.

 The little amount mentioned above returns fast (after a nice sleep certainly), but most magic users would find it lacking. It is, however, possible to sacrifice the Life Force itself, at a rate of 1 Magic Point per Life Point lost.

 Note that the focus of such sacrificed magic is rather high. It might either be used for healing (if it is a willing transfer of Life Force), or dark purposes (involuntary loss of Life Force= pain and outright hate is usually the Focus). Not for everyone is such a process.

---

 From the Outside, from the wide world it is much easier to get enough mana for spellcasting.

 - The Magic Skill and its variants all gather magic that freely floats around. While the Magic Skill draws on mostly unfocused energies, and all the limitations apply to it, others concentrate on more focused magic. The druidic and ranger magic both draw upon Nature, allowing healing for example.

 - Divine Grace, Direct is from reasons explained elsewhere only _very_ seldom given. What is common for a God, may be too much for the mortal.

 - Divine Grace in its most accessible form is in fact redirected from a god's followers: the little amount of magic every mortal has, can be sent to a deity through prayer. In wishing for certain desired things (like peace, healing and wealth), the people focus this magic, and so it arrives to a priest. This indicates many strange possibilities. A priest does not get a constant amount of magic, it rather fluctuates randomly, and hard times may bring the congregation together for common prayer (creating more magic for that god's priests), or apart. Attitudes of common people shape the magic a priest would like to use, sometimes in the wrong direction. A town hot from anger may translate into more offensive magic being available, and the healers may feel out of resources. Calming the mob is a good idea from more points of view...

 - Rune Magic creates a symbol that draws magic itself to power its effect. The caster but supplies some initial dose of his very own personal magic, thus becoming fatigued after creating several runes.

---

 Alternative sources and types of magic:

 - Material Components are used in some spells, and particularly rituals. Their use is but limited, and no spell has been yet cast from some raw material only. Note that Alchemysts use only such components, but cast no spells either.

 - It is not possible to Summon magical energy from "somewhere else". You either have it here, or not. Getting magic from far away would require more magic to power the transfer/transport, sounds like quite a useless attempt.

- Nodes - portable quanta of natural magical energy? After getting the magic, most wizards "carry" it with them, but not hidden in items. With enough research though, new ways may be discovered (see the great Gemstone Magic thread as one example).
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2004, 01:28:20 AM »
Magic-Using People

Mages or Wizards - the classical choice, offering the most versatility, and in a way, independence. Most wizards gather their magic unfocused, and then focus it for their own purposes. The few exceptions might be more specialised wizards, sacrificing some of their versatility to excel at some favoured magic school. Note that their need of focusing can make their spells slower to cast.

Hedge Wizards - are less formally educated, and many of them cannot use more than Cantrips. But, they are more likely to be favoured by common folk, and in fact show that Magic can be useful. Hedge wizards live most often in small villages, ... [more might be added later]

Priests - what more can be said of them, than the fact they serve the Great Gods? In their domains, they can be very powerful, and could in theory call upon divine aid. But the priestly powers are not open for everyone, even less than most other magic users.

Druids - connected with nature, friends of the forest, sages of the greener parts of the world. [lacking any original thoughts here...]

Alchemists - do not use, nor gather unfocused magic, but take items and substances, where it is naturally prominent, and combine these to new strange-smelling creations. While it may seem limited at first, quite a lot recipes exist, and many Alchemists make a good living in towns selling their products. From all the magic users, these are best accepted among the folk.

Shamen - are said to live in the North. Similar to priests in some way, little known to anyone. They do have contact with the spirits, and seem to draw power from them, or get favours in some way. [another blank spot...]

Runecasters - do not supply magic to power the rune; they merely start it, and let it work on its own. Publicly little known, these dwarwes work as artists most of the time.

Note that Rune-casters and many Hedge Wizards may not count as true magic-users (see the definition above), as they do not use (or carry) enough mana. Note also they may be undetectable (through a Detect Magic spell or sense) most of the time...



Personalised Magical Items, Skill

 No "common" magical items are created with this skill, nor potions, wands, not even many of those +1 swords, not even those.

 A single special item is the carrier of the Skill, through it are the respective bonuses manifested into the world, and it is in fact the carrier of them.

 The item must be indeed special for its "enchanter", and he or she must spend a lot of time with the item, and many thoughts must be directed on it (or through it to some purpose). Taken those weapons as example, you can't simply buy any sword and expect it to become magical. But a sword given to you from your ancestors, the blade that saved you so many times, and you would never throw away, that may grow with you.

Mechanics:
 A Skill, with a (+) on the 1st Rank, it nonetheless costs 5 times the expected sum to raise (means: 10,10,15,20,25,30,... XP). Terribly expensive, it is in most cases easier to invest into your own Skills.

 The Game Master may but take another course: noting special moments and masterful feats displayed when using the item, it may "advance" on its own! Getting a Point of Experience here, and another there (when the character does also), the character may be quite surprised, if after a few adventures his weapon suddenly becomes magical. The Game Master may keep this mechanism a secret, to prevent greedy players from too much asking for this reward.

 Should the item be lost or sold before it happens, too bad, all is lost. But once the magic is there, it stays for long, being more resistant to most forms of destruction.

(One item that might be a nice example of the process...)

 Thus an anonymous +1 sword found somewhere belonged to someone truly skilled, maybe a mercenery or some adventurer, that survived and braved many dangers. More powerful weapons must originate from true heroes, and should be revered as such. Sadly, such items do not grow with their new owner anymore, their true master and creator long gone. (Exceptions are at the Game Master's discretion.)


Optional rule: anyone but the creator himself has only half of the Skill at disposal. So if with a particular sword has the owner +3 to attack due to this Skill, it is only +1 for anyone else. This may not apply to some, particularly cursed items. That's life.


Note that anyone using the Skill (knowing it or not), but having no mana other than its own, would have to wait at least 20 days (=10/0.5 MP) until the wonder happens. A warrior is surely bonded with its sword, but will he keep it for days around, when not adventuring? This is another limit to item creation, and guarantees there won't be too many around.



Racial differences in using Magic

Humans and Elves are the most common magic-users. Elves in particular, are more able at gathering magic than anyone else, the casting itself is similarly easy for both.

Dwarwes and Hobbits have a bit more of their own, "inborn" magic, but have problems to gather it. This means that while very few members of these races become great magicians, they can invest their magic into other matters.

Dwarwes are quite known as excellent miners, smiths and stone-cutters. The magic they have flows into things they like to work with most. No wonder their deep homes are admired for beauty and quality, and their weapons for excellence.

And Hobbits? These little merry guys are considered to have the least magical talent. But theirs potential is no smaller than of the Dwarwes, it just has another direction: theirs is the power to influence the things they grow and harvest. And somehow, they always seem to grow enough to have another great feast...

---
System note:

The Magic Skill is Medium (+) only for Humans, it is Easy (0) for Elves, and Hard (++) for Hobbits and Dwarwes.
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2004, 01:30:02 AM »
Closing thoughts

 Summonning as we know it from other game worlds, is practically impossible. There exist simple Blink spells, and more powerful teleporting variants. So why no summonning?

 -  First, planes do not exist, so you cannot summon cheap Fire or Ice or what out of some Elemental plane.

 - Summonning magical power itself? Creating such a "window" is costly in the matters of power used, and it must be then gathered normally, which often makes the whole deal worthless, as free magic dissipates again freely.

 - Summonning materials and even creatures to aid you in some way is very hard. Most of the experiments that did not fail outright, brought "something from somewhere", usually air, water, or earth/rock, the most common things of the world. Getting more precise is very hard, though very powerful wizards have succeeded in teleporting of things they knew well, from places they knew precisely about. Anything else is always jeopardy. And should it ever work, there is that little problem with persuading the creatures to work for you...

 - Creating a stone wall, teleported from nearby stone, has worked on occassion. Too bad most of them fell promptly apart. Not all stone is perfectly solid, you know...

---

 Enchanting Items is very much possible, but the effects wear off soon. To make the spell last longer, outrageous amounts of magic are necessary.  _Permanent_ enchantments are but a matter of legends. Needs more details yet.

---

 Animal Magic

---

 The Focus is a Game Master tool: it defines what is possible, what easy and what too hard. What you cannot focus on, won't produce a usable spell. Focusing may fine-tune the system anywhere from free spell-slinging to classical D&D - where you must first create and lock the spells into your mind, and only then release them, lost until you focus new magic.

---

 Half a Magic Point for a common human, that is sent to the Gods, and then back to a priest, may sound like quite a lot, considering the raw mass of worshippers. But not everyone prays really intensively each day! Plus, the Gods may see a bigger need elsewhere, and so the mana that comes to a priest changes each day unpredictably. "The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away." Teaches the lesson of modesty, and warns of spending too much too fast. But what will a priest expect, if much mana arrives? What kind of proof awaits him?

 Conversely, if some priest learns of the mechanism (does not have to understand it, merely observing that many people praying make the Gods grant more magic), could it be abused in some way? Or could some (undoubtly powerful) magic-user duplicate the trick, and play upon it? People do not become gods in my world, but it is still a strange thought.

---

 The topic of "un-focusing" was not yet covered. It happens naturally, but may be too slow for the wizard. If a particular spell is needed fast, and all the mana is focused the wrong way...

 Now, the "pre-focusing" of mana could be problematic, from the game-comfort point of view. To remember what each magic point is supposed to do, and convert it all the time, hmmmm... Needs clear mechanisms that allow to prepare a spell, but don't get awkward and messy, and prevent possible abuse.
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2004, 05:11:17 AM »
There is a problem with focusing Mana for healing purposes, fine, why not. But then there will be a problem with something else too:

Killing spells (the notorious Power Word Kill, Finger of Death, Buble-gum Death or whatever) should be hard to do also. 'Cause no one knows how it is to be dead, until one really is!

Which is as I want it. It is quite possible to kill someone with offensive spells, but there is NO direct and instant killing spell.


Possible exceptions:

 - Some magical creatures (though very few) might be simply dispelled. This might only work with temporary creations, as a kind of unstable phenomena.

 - Undead might be turned, or outright destroyed by priests, but that is not exactly a spell, but more a priestly ability granted from the gods.

 - Speaking of Undead, if something dies and can still cast spells, _and_ do research, it might create a killing spell. The good old Lich comes to mind first. Luckily, this would be very rare creatures.

 - If resurrecting is allowed, could a wizard research such a spell? In theory, yes. It might be hindered through a trauma from being dead and made back living, though. Not decided yet, but have either option at hand, should the need arise.

---

Experience with the Focus of the spell

It seems the need for familiarity on the desired effects is becoming an important part of the system. So when learning the basics of Fire Magic (or the first fire-based spell), the adept mage would have to play with fire, literally. Who said learning magic is painless?

Introduces a bit of variety into those dusty studies, filled with old tomes and parchments. To learn Haste, you have to run! To learn Fog, you must experience an authentic specimen, etc. Finding or buying or stealing a scroll with a spell can be only a start of the trouble.

In some cases, the only way to learn a spell would be to feel it yourself. Hypnosis or Suggestion anyone? Requires a lot of trust into the teacher, and is another limit on some offensive spells ("Ouch!"). Now, how would one learn Turn to Stone...

---

Well, has anyone questions, or any ideas? Or do you see some weak point, or potential for abuse? Let me know.
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline Strolen

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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2004, 04:17:31 PM »
The questions I have is with the many sources of magic and how they are to be balanced in a game.

There is the Priest magic and the ability to gather power from worshippers.

Then there is generic floating magic in all living things.

I may have missed it, but what limits the amount of magic a person can use? and how is the generic magic collected?

I see the waxing and waning of Priest magic depending on the god, but if it is also controlled by the people, well, the Pope, for instance, would always have a considerable amount of magic at his disposal at any time even without direct giving from his god. How is that power tempered, or is it?

Generic magic for a druid would be plentiful in the great forest, so what limitations do they have in place. Is it the same as a priest or do priests have extra at their disposal because of the combined powers of god and people.

You also mentioned about a magic user becoming a god. It might not be so much with good, but evil seems to have those that worship him in fear due to the power he holds. Does having underlings give a magic user power if they trully worship him. After all, and evil magic user can easily promise things in return for worship just to get people to give them their power.

The worship thing for good could turn into magic cults with a Grand Pubba as well. In time of need the cult comes together, all the members focus their energy on the Master of the cult granting him extra powers as if worshipped.

The priest, cult, druid, have their special power taps, but the common mage only has the random floating magic around him?

The amount of places that the power comes from makes it more difficult to interpret how each one can be used and to what extent I think. I believe there should be some sort of ultimate single source of power that it all comes from and using that as a base helps define how the rest is used. Otherwise you pretty much have to have a different magic system for each type. It is used the same way, yes, but the approach to it is entirely different with an entirely different set of definitions.

I guess I am looking for a common thread between them, not just how it is used, which I really like by the way. I love how it is cast and what it is capable of, but I am wanting to understand how I, as a normal magic user, can get the power that the priest and druid has available.

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Offline manfred

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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2004, 08:04:00 AM »
Finally, somebody answered!


Many issues may come from my split (and maybe incompatible) interests for creating this article:
 a) A magical system for my game world only
 b) A basic framework for Magic in my game system K10, that would allow nigh to everything, even things I would not like, but others may. But let GMs tweak it their own ways.

Quote from: "Strolen"
The questions I have is with the many sources of magic and how they are to be balanced in a game.

The priest, cult, druid, have their special power taps, but the common mage only has the random floating magic around him?

The amount of places that the power comes from makes it more difficult to interpret how each one can be used and to what extent I think. I believe there should be some sort of ultimate single source of power that it all comes from and using that as a base helps define how the rest is used. Otherwise you pretty much have to have a different magic system for each type.

It is used the same way, yes, but the approach to it is entirely different with an entirely different set of definitions.


From one point of view, there is only one Magic, and that's it. Unfortunately, it is hard to shape it to some purposes, thus there are various Skills (that specialize), and it can be argued from another point of view, more types of Magic.

One balancing factor (I hope) are those multiple skills needed to access the Magic. If we allow complete freedom, taking the Skills (or rather be taught them) grants you access to wizardly magic, priestly magic, and whatever magic you desire. It is but easy to declare a rule that mortals cannot master more than one magic skill, for example. At any rate, you must learn each of them anew, and pay the respective cost, plus find a willing teacher.

Then is the yet unsolved question of un-focusing: how to "convert" already specialised mana into generic mana, so use that druidic nature stuff for wizard spells? Even if it can be done, it will never be fast&easy (meaning at least several combat rounds of intense concentration). Being a magic user and "multiclass" is not easy: you will have several pools of mana that is hard to use for other than its purpose.

There is a common base though, for most magic users: You gather the mana, from what source ever. You later focus it into a spell, and cast it. OK, maybe not that a large base, but rules-wise all shall be the same rolls, thus same mechanisms.


Quote
I may have missed it, but what limits the amount of magic a person can use? and how is the generic magic collected?

Avoiding the precise rules for the moment (likely to change anyway), it is governed by the respective Magic Skill (Druidic Magic Skill, Pink Killer Magic Skill, ...). The Rank of the Skill limits how much you can safely gather and keep in control. (Later needs guidelines on how much is _not_ safe, and how much is too much.)

Gathering magic/meditating/praying/whatever is in principle the same thing: you concentrate on the source... and take the mana from there. :)


Quote
I see the waxing and waning of Priest magic depending on the god, but if it is also controlled by the people, well, the Pope, for instance, would always have a considerable amount of magic at his disposal at any time even without direct giving from his god. How is that power tempered, or is it?

Hmmm, I did not consider this before... several options:
 a) God giveth, god taketh - the deity itself decides where the magic goes, always.
 b) Piety counts - deity may be a bit lazy (or unwilling to make that all day long), and "throw it out" on the world, most of the time. The ones who are most similar to their gods in deed and thought are best attuned to the flow, thus always getting the most mana. Saints can perform the most miracles. The deity can but always direct flow, where it is needed.
 c) Skill counts - deity does not care, mana goes to whomever can gather it. Options for the not-so-holy men... (this may be the way for worlds without actual gods, or people simply imagining their deities)

And if people control it to a degree, then you are right: the Pope/High Priest would have always some magic. Making popular priests more powerful, hmmm... luckily, most adventuring priests are not that terribly popular, I think.


Quote
Generic magic for a druid would be plentiful in the great forest, so what limitations do they have in place. Is it the same as a priest or do priests have extra at their disposal because of the combined powers of god and people.

"Generic magic" is supposed to be everywhere. Druidic magic (focused towards nature) is only in those forests, or other "natural" locations (limits on what is natural enough needed...).

As for healing, druids and (some) priests can be the same. Priestly magic is focused according to their believers beliefs, though. And Godly Magic (tm)? It is a GM tool, no commonplace phenomenon. Even gods make mistakes, and if you get 1000 Magic Points instead of 10, random things on the large scale happen. Catastrophic things mostly. The priest usually dies, in some spectacular way.


Quote
You also mentioned about a magic user becoming a god. It might not be so much with good, but evil seems to have those that worship him in fear due to the power he holds. Does having underlings give a magic user power if they trully worship him. After all, an evil magic user can easily promise things in return for worship just to get people to give them their power.

The worship thing for good could turn into magic cults with a Grand Pubba as well. In time of need the cult comes together, all the members focus their energy on the Master of the cult granting him extra powers as if worshipped.

That is certainly a teoretical option... (later to be worked out...)

Quote
I guess I am looking for a common thread between them, not just how it is used, which I really like by the way. I love how it is cast and what it is capable of, but I am wanting to understand how I, as a normal magic user, can get the power that the priest and druid has available.

You don't. Or you can, but only if you:
a) learn the respective skills (and become actually a druid or priest to a degree) or
b) manage to focus the mana just the right way (which will be very hard, as mentioned before)

So nothing is impossible. It is just out of reach for most magic users.
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2004, 05:33:17 AM »
Limiting/Balancing various magic users


Spell Repertoire:
 While many traditions of spellcasting overlap in some points, each has something unique.

 - Wizards are the most versatile, and by far the most spells are known in theirs domain.
 - Hedge Wizards have practical, but not many spells at disposal.
 - Druids have access to healing spells, and natural magic.
 - Priestly powers depend on the respective god, and the worshippers. Some priests have access to healing.
 - Alchemysts have a limited set of items they can create.


Ease of casting:
 While the wizards are very versatile, their spells take generally longer to cast. The other magic users have already focused mana, so are considerably faster. Hedge Wizards are not the same case: Cantrips are very simple to cast anyway. Alchemysts do not cast, creating items can be very slow, and their usage is rarely instantenous.


Raw Power:
 Much depends on the individual of course. Speaking generally, wizards have the most varied arsenal at disposal, druids are good in defensive effects, a priests' potential varies again. (But don't forget their god that may help them...) Hedge Wizards have no offensive magic.

 As for the raw amount of mana, there is yet NO difference between the respective Skills. So for the same number of XPs, the Skill can be raised to the same Rank, and grant control of the same amount of Magic Points.

 (Note: Does not apply to Alchemy, that could in theory produce in time many of items, and use all at once. Requires funding though($), or long searches for components. Alchemy too needs developing.)


Social pressure, Organisations:

 - Wizards are publicly not very trusted. There exist wizard groups, often picky about members, but it is very possible to find a lonesome teacher. On the other hand, there exist groups hunting wizards, so beware.
 - Priests are most often admired and expected to have the highest moral principles. While in theory a slick tongue can bring someone into such a respected position, there is the ever-present possibility of gods noticing this, so beware.
 - Druid is another word for a loner, or outsider. Many indeed follow this stereotype. But to advance ones' knowledge, meddling with other druids is necessary, and circles exist, to a lesser or larger degree picky of their members. Still, it is possible to be the whole life master of his little piece of woods, and nobodies servant.
 - Hedge Wizards are officialy trained at a single school, though occassional apprentices exist. In many cases, what they learn is enough for their whole life, and are (almost) seen as another kind of craftsmen.
 - Alchemysts generally require cash to work, so it is no surprise their large Guild is mainly business-oriented. Alchemysts are considered businessmen with a bit of mysticism added. Due to their proximity to strange materials and poisons, they are a bit more watched by the authorities.

 As for politicking, magic users are expected to help their lords, and only the priests and druids somehow manage to escape it. In warfare captured wizards are usually put to death, while alchemysts put to work or imprisoned.
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2004, 08:45:50 AM »
One thing that was standing in background until this moment, is the fact that all the magical spells and effects are on some level the same. While some things are very hard to do, there is no absolute barrier between the abilities of a wizard, druid or priest. With much hard strain, a talented magic-user could duplicate ANY spell of any other magic-user. It would be probably a useless waste of powers and time, but it IS possible.


Note: The GM can of course set the barrier as he wishes for his own game world, saying "This is domain of the priests only.", etc.

Note: Another option is imaginable, a kind of magic-super-user, that can indeed do anything. The cost of such Skill would be outrageous, learning would be tedious indeed, and most spells would be slow, hard to cast (higher diffilcuty), and use up lots of mana.


So to come back to Strolen's question: "How I, as a normal magic user, can get the power that the priest and druid has available."

There could be one way:

Adding more magic to improve casting

 Let's imagine that player, that wants to play a wizard, and have access to healing magic too. And wants it sooo much! The weak GM succumbs after some time.

 Say that the wizard studies the healing magics of other magic-users, and has had a few healing spells cast on him. So he knows roughly, in what way to focus the magic. But he does not know it _exactly_, and maybe never will. It could be argued that a little part of the mana is shaped just the right way, and if the spell is cast well, and enough of the rightly focused mana is present, it will work. But how much is enough, or to be exact, how much mana will be wasted?

 Let's say some very basic healing spell costs 1 Magic Point, able to heal at most 2 Life Points. It is Very Easy to cast, and it takes only one round to do so. If a wizard is able to focus 10% of the magic just right, AND the above theorem applies, he has to use 10 Magic Points!

 Naturally, this huge amount could be decreased after much practice, and experience with healing.

 So the spell resulting from the research would cost 10 Magic Points, be harder to cast (at least Easy, or Problematic), and take likely over ten rounds (evil GM's estimate). But it is possible. Improving it will be hard, since you never really know what you do right.


Adding more magic to improve casting II.

 Applying the above dubious principle on common magic would be easier. If there is a certain chance a spell will fail, the spellcaster would like to make sure in critical moments.

 Let's go linear! (K10 is good at this...) For one Magic Point, you get a bonus of +1. For another two MPs, a bonus of +1. For three more, another +1 (a total bonus of +3 for 6 Magic Points). With four it would be +4 (total 10 MPs). With five +5 (15 MPs), to get a bonus of +6, you need 21 Magic Points, etc, until you run out of mana, which most wizards already would.

 Sounds like a game mechanism.
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2004, 06:09:04 AM »
How do Spirits work?

I've had a problem with integrating Spirits into the rules. But here has the idea hit me: "It is possible to sacrifice the Life Force itself, at a rate of 1 Magic Point per Life Point lost."

That's the mana, that does NOT usually enter any spellcasting, the magic that is in Life _itself_ (there could be in fact more mana, if the "converting" ratio above is not perfect). It certainly is not something any lifeform would feel comfortable loosing.


BUT, if the lifeform in question is dead, but still somehow stays in existence... would it be harmed at all, if it lost this mana, or if it were, for instance, used to some (magical) effect?


The relation to its Life Force (or is it now Dead Force? ;) ) could stay the same, ie less of this "basic" mana, less power, and no mana = death. But some part of it could be very usable!


A spirit is a manifestation of what stays behind after death. I won't create now all the rules and principles that would be necessary to cover all the possibilities, like how people/creatures become spirits, what rituals can attract their attention and goodwill, and how much of their essence can they lend to the Living, and/or use on their behalf or detriment. But I think every spirit has to have something exceptional in itself, something that were special for it in its life.

On the one side, this may mean that only exceptional people and creatures may become spirits (or any creature, but remarkable ones would be still easier to contact). Perhaps the not-so-unique, but valuable members of a family join into a single ancestor spirit? And what kind of fate awaits those, that are not unique?

On the other side, the effects they produce, the favours they can be asked for, or the magic they can lend, is already focused. Thus in a ritual dance, the hunters of the tribe can ask the Wolf Spirit for better hunting abilities. However, the shaman cannot ask this same spirit for spiritual guidance on some intellectual pursuit, something it knows of little, and cares even less for.

The most important thing is then Knowledge, of who/what to contact in the first place. Relations to spirits are in a way similar to those with mortals (unpredictable ;) ). Whether a spirit accepts the need of the petitioner, wants to help, and actually helps, is never sure.

---

System/Game World Notes: If the special effects a spirit can create depend on its Life Points, then high Steadiness, and/or the Life Skill raise the potential. These statistics are usually associated with strong heroic figures. But is it only a potential to withstand wounds, that makes a spirit worthy contacting? What statistics, or "descriptors" in the widest sense, can make a creature a mighty spirit?

A spirit of a shaman may retain its own mana. Probably much easier to transfer, and could perform a ritual on a mortal, if willing.

My rules are all about Skills. Could a spirit "lend" its Skills to mortals, instead of effecting people in some bizzare way? An ancestor, a legendary warrior and tracker, would not bless someone with luck while hunting (fighting), but in fact making the reciever a better hunter (warrior), for a short time! The spirit may so aid you, but if you do nothing, then the power is wasted.

---

Private Note: Another big hole in my world I have spotted now is the Afterlife, or what actually happens when people die. Sounds like more work. Creating a game world-independent Afterlife principles sounds but impossible...
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2004, 06:25:32 AM »
I have had a very good chat with Iain about spirits. Thus, here it comes, edited only a little:

[Iain] On the subject of a spirit's "life points" determining what it can do. Rather than making the "life points" depend on the creature's steadiness or life skill it had when it was alive. You could make its "death points" depend a little bit on this, but more on it's knowledge and skills (as in other skills).

[manfred] (To ours interest is mainly, what it can do for us mortals, or what power it can give to us.) Yes, I was thinking of that... it's just how to bend it right is the question. But the "lending Skills" might have more potential in the end, I think. You can do more, but if you do not use the potential, it just vanishes.

[Iain] I agree - "lending skills" sounds good.

[manfred] Wizardly magic does the 'bang' and 'boom', but with this, you have to be active yourself.

[Iain] Regarding a shaman retaining it's own mana, perhaps he should only retain half (or some fraction of it); but perhaps the things he can do with it are different than when he was alive, some things being much easier (e.g. contacting spirits) but some things (materially affecting the real world) are harder.

[manfred] Also, spirits may not grow anymore in power, like the Living can.

[Iain] Could skill lending perhaps also help someone to develop their skills quicker?

[manfred] I think not implicitly...

[manfred] ...but if you do exceptional things (easier with higher Skills), you gain more Experience.

[Iain] Maybe not in power, but they should be able to gain in knowledge type skills.

[Iain] If only because they've been watching the world for a long time.

[manfred] And some of the EP can be devoted to that Skill only.

[Iain] That makes sense

[manfred] Ah, you mean the spirits!

[Iain] - Random idea - maybe spirits fade over time (very slowly; I'm taking over centuries or millenia) so the further back in time you want to contact a spirit, then only the most powerful would be around from that time.

[manfred] Perhaps, they can't advance in things too closely related to our world, since they are not a part of it anymore.

[Iain] That would seem sensible. They could perhaps advance in things related to the spirit world.

[Iain] The fading would make the communal ancestor spirits you suggested very potent: though any individual would have faded, the spirit as a whole continues.

[Iain] It keeps receiving "new blood" at the same rate at which it fades away (presuming the tribe remains at a constant size).

[manfred] Maybe not fade: http://www.strolen.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=14035#14035

[Iain] Just read that - yes, that makes sense: they don't fade, they just lose interest in our world.

[manfred] Thanks, Iain! You have reminded me of that older thread... and it seems to fit.

[Iain] And the longer they've been dead, the more likely they are to have lost interest (unless, as you said), a shaman goes to persuade one to take an interest.

[Iain] This would also make a communal ancestor spirit less likely to lose interest than an individual one.

[manfred] Ah, MoonHunter's famous cookie metaphor...

[Iain] I don't think I've heard that?

[manfred] (that was about spirits liking "cookies"=attracting rituals, and why they would accept Wheel Magic)

[Iain] (Ah yes!)

[manfred] (and some spirits liking certain flavours of cookies... etc.)

[manfred] (Traditional Magic meant few excellent cookies. Wheel Magic would mean many okey cookies.)

[Iain] Oh - for mechanics of communal ancestor spirits, you could use your usual K10 triangular system. So, when 1 (not very special) person has died, the ancestor spirit is 1 unit (and is practically non-existent), 3 would make it 2 units; 5050 people would make it 100 units.

[manfred] Ahhh, good! I like the simple-yet-devious things you can do with linear progressions...

[Iain] Then a range of dead tribes people from 5000 to 125 000 (probably sufficient) gives a workable power-range for ancestor spirits of 100-500. (or divide by 100 and call it 1 to 5).

[manfred] Yeah, now just work out what one unit can do, what cannot, how to call it, how...

[manfred] ...and all the rest.

[Iain] True!

[manfred] Now, in my game world, spirits are "used" only in certain barbaric parts...

[manfred] (The usual northern plains+barbarian tribes. *sigh*)

[Iain] It works quite well if we extend it up to the God range. It's probably reasonable to say a major god has had around 50 million worshippers dying. This would give it a power rating of 100 (after dividing by 10). That seems about how much more powerful you would want it to be than an ancestor spirit of a tribe.

[manfred] Hmmmmm...

[Iain] And this "god" will definitely want to stick aroundm so priests can just worship him (as in the wheel magic thread).

[manfred] ...and I just wanted to ask myself why don't they worship some spirits too.

[Iain] Essentially, gods are just glorified ancestor spirits. This is actually going quite beyond your original concept, so you might well not want to use it.

[manfred] My gods are even more different... so no, but it is a very valid option.

[manfred] (http://www.rpgcitadel.com/guild/index.php?topic=193.0)

[Iain] Saints and angels are kind of like spirits used within a big religion. Particularly saints. They're just not called spirits, but they could function mechanistically in the same way.

[manfred] So angels and gods are spirits that have been probably exceptional long ago...

[manfred] ...but have attracted and fused with other, similar spirits of believers, etc..

[manfred] So they have lost their unique identity to a degree.
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2004, 05:35:56 AM »
Why are spirits only associated with tribal communities?

 That's how it turned out in my world, but I think now spirits really don't quite fit into other communities. Why?


 - Tribes are relatively small groups of people, and it is often true that everyone knows all other members of their tribe. Tribes often have only low technology available (or can produce themselves), and their way of life mostly hinders them from settling down permanently (limited resources, seasonal migrations, etc), so I envision them as mostly hunters and gatherers. Among other effects, this instills a strong community feeling. In many primitive cultures, I think, the term "human" applied only on the tribe-members (for example, it wasn't cannibalism, if they in fact ate no humans :shock: ).

 So to get a traditional ancestor spirit, we just have to take the strong community feeling, and combine it with the explicit desire of many to "join our ancestors/Elders" after death.


 - But in the cities and villages of a permanently settled civilisation, the strong feeling is gone. If people in a tribe don't cooperate, they die. But here, it is often expected to be better than the competitors, and independence is valued highly. Also, a community is harder to identify: would the ancestor spirit belong to a village, to a town with surrounding villages, or to a kingdom/nation? (Note Iain's idea of gods being just glorified spirits, though.)


 - What is so great about having an ancestor spirit? Besides a bit of moral support, and a feeling of superiority against others, the spirits offer some services: mystical knowledge, and lending of Skills it had in life. Again, a tribal society is better off: having a relatively low number of Skills that change little over time. What your grandfathers needed to know, you need to know too.

 A village or town, however, combines many Skills, that somewhat change over time, and are bound only to a few people. The spirits can offer little or no boost to anyone interested, are often forgotten, and "common" Magic wins.
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2004, 05:59:34 AM »
Going Godly  (Magic users becoming gods 2.)


If people can send their energy to the gods, they could send it to mortals. But first, it is important to know how much mana can a mortal gather, and control at all.

Experimental rule: a magic-user can control ("own") up to a double of his "normal" potential of mana.

So if a Skill allows someone to safely control 10 Magic Points, he could gather up to 20 Magic Points. (Theoretically even more, but that would cause direct physical damage and other bad effects.)

The burden would be great, after all, if one could safely control more, the Skill, and so the potential would be higher. An image that comes to my mind is juggling, and how many balls one can keep in the air (imagine torches or daggers if you are that inclined ;) ). There is a certain number the juggler is comfortable with, and more are possible, but start to be diffilcut to manage, and tiring. Until at some point, you start loosing control, and they start to fall...

So this double amount of mana is the maximum one can keep in control while concentrating. As soon as concentration shifts to anything else (even to casting a spell), those balls/torches/daggers threaten to fall. The most probable effect is loosing this extra mana, and very likely more, even loosing everything.

---

Now back to godhood! Fine, you are a powerful magic-user, and have a cult of pityful lackeys, I mean devout worshippers, that want to worship you. So what's so great about it?

 - The amount of mana that is sent to you is small, and there have to be many to power actual spells.

 - You have to _listen_ to those prayers, or to be exact, be prepared for the incoming mana to recieve it. ("Thou shalt pray at sunrise...")

 - You better don't recieve too much mana, 'cause you could loose it all. This is the reason why you need to be powerful: you have to be able to withstand something extra. On the other hand, you better work your miracles fast, or would have to ignore the mana that comes later.

 - Those worshippers have the annoying habit to focus the mana for you, so it is not necessarily usable for the things you would like. Therefore, one must carefully design one's "portfolio". Will it be a god of healing or revenge?

 - And finally, they _always_ ask for something in return. Dumb worshippers them.

The biggest problem when a mortal plays god is simple: it is a mortal. To truly be considered a kind of deity, one must live long enough in the first place.

(If we consider spirits as a logical extension of one's life, it might be possible to continue doing this, truly becoming a god. It's just the worshippers have the tendency to stop worshipping, once their god is dead. Design your religion carefully! ;) Plus, the soon-to-be god himself has to maintain interest in our world, which may not be as easy as it sounds.)

---

However, this might be usable for common magic-users, not aspiring to godhood. Let's imagine a circle of wizards (or priests or druids for that matter), that concentrate their magic on the one in the middle of the circle. Pumping him up with mana, so he can cast that super-fireball is a bad idea: it could fail too easily.

But a masterfully researched ritual could allow the casting of a spell, while the caster is constantly recieving small amounts of new mana. The spell would be necessarily very slow to cast, but it could in theory go up to hundreds of Magic Points in casting cost, without harming anyone. I see two probable categories of such spells:
 1. Very powerful protective spells and
 2. Permanent enchanting of items and weapons

So, what do you think?
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2004, 05:30:48 AM »
Alchemy, the Stinking Science

To create a potion or something else, the Alchymyst has simply to mix the required ingredients in the required way. But how does it really work?


Components:

 - the key ingredient(s) - this is what actually focuses the magic, it must be a special representative material of the effect to be achieved. There are often several key ingredients, one is but usually most prominent. For instance, the classical healing potions are said to be made of quality wine (plus a few healing herbs, and other stuff). Without the key ingredient(s), it simply wouldn't work, but they are often experimented with for improving the effect or lowering the cost. Quality of these is very important.

 - side components - for the sake of game comfort, these are overlooked and pushed into one bag. So if a recipe says "add 2 ounces of side components", there actually are strange roots, herbs, and insects, but are considered neglible. These components have a very small effect on the focus, but have other important functions, like stabilising the brew, make it last longer, or simply improve the flavour.


 - raw mana - yes, raw magic itself: a recipe often needs more magic than is in its other ingredients. Magic has a tendency to bind itself to some materials more than to others.
 From these it is therefore extracted and stored in a raw form, described as an amorphous and colourless slimy something (but touching with bare hands is not recommended... ).

 Common resources of raw magic like the root of mandragora or dragon eggs are distilled, the mana of various descent then mixed together, to lower the focus. A waiting period of "maturing" is also recommended, to further lower the residual focus and prevent it from interfering with the experiment. (Note that in Alchemy, everything is an experiment.)

 Sadly, raw mana cannot be permanently stored, for it slowly looses the binding and becomes free magic again.
 The process seems to halve the amount of mana in regular intervals, more is not known. But one of the most important skills of alchymysts is prolonging the life of their mana, and it is for this reason they leave so seldom their laboratories. Should an alchymyst try adventuring, it is not practical to carry too much on his persona. First, it has weight (yes, this magic has weight!), and second, he must attend to this treasure in often hostile enviroment. It can also attract some monsters.


Why not witches?

 Witches may do basically the same things, but use no raw mana. While their brews may be more potent, they don't have the comfort of a laboratory, and most recipes are loooong lists of all the bizzare ingredients. Alchemy is a science (sort of), witchcraft is an art.
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A random school of magic
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2004, 07:07:27 AM »
Order of the Holy Swine

"... when the first people entered the woods, they were powerless at first. The animals were cautious and swift, some fruits that seemed edible were quickly revealed to be poisonous, and little food was found anywhere. Harsh times it were, and they might perished, if the Boar spirit had no mercy with them. And she has shown them where to find the good fruit, and which to avoid, what roots to eat, and what herbs to seek if one is ill. Thus have the people learned how to survive in the woods, and closed friendship with the boars."

 - that claims the myth the Order spreads as the only truth, and most other people consider bogus. Deep in the woods they live, only rarely they visit the civilisation, to liberate the unlucky pigs humans have enslaved over the years (or so they say). Naturally, many consider them insane. It is no suprise they are forbidden this meat.


Swine Magic - is a wizardly School of Magic, specialising on mimicking the abilities of the Boar Spirit (who supposedly taught these long ago). These magic-users are actually true wizards, and could teach their spells to other wizards, should they be considered worthy.


Typical Spells:

Enhance senses
 - namely taste and smell. The caster is partially able to track with his nose, and as many of the Order know common, visual tracking, they can be very adept at this. Edible roots can be also found.

Iron stomach
 - with this spell, almost any organic matter can be eaten, and digested to a degree. Note that while poison eaten may be resisted with this spell, there is no guarantee. The spell is seldom used, because it does not change the taste, and most often produces severe cramps afterward. Useful to prevent starvation. Rarely, it used in bets ("I bet you won't eat this...").

Enhance hair-growth
 - occasionally used on the liberated pigs, to make them better blend in nature, some use it to grow beards or long hair. Fashion in any way.

Charge
 - roaring mightily, the caster runs towards the enemy. The spell can help to intimidate some opponents, and to have a good start on others. It is but usable only at the start of the fight. Do not forget even powerful wild boars withdraw sometimes. Not all enemies can be defeated.

Guardian
 - cast on a group; the caster will know, if a member of that group leaves a certain distance from him/her, or is in immediate danger (while still close). The Boar Spirit is remembered as a good mother, that never leaves its children behind.

---

...now, any questions or ideas on Magic in K10, anyone?
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.