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VPP -1/4 limitation; "Only Magic"?


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I am confused as to what this means. It is a suggested limitation in the rules book as a constraint on the sort of powers one can put in a variable power pool. Does this mean simply that the 'special effect' is always magic? How does it constrain the building of 'spells' for that pool?

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53 minutes ago, Panpiper said:

I am confused as to what this means. It is a suggested limitation in the rules book as a constraint on the sort of powers one can put in a variable power pool. Does this mean simply that the 'special effect' is always magic? How does it constrain the building of 'spells' for that pool?

 

The special effect of any powers from the pool would be, "magic." This might not seem like much of a restriction, but, "Dispel Magic" would work against any of them.

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4 minutes ago, IndianaJoe3 said:

 

The special effect of any powers from the pool would be, "magic." This might not seem like much of a restriction, but, "Dispel Magic" would work against any of them.

What IJ said. In many campaigns (especially FH and Urban Magic), that adds a set of limitations to the powers such as what can and cannot be done with magic, that all spells must cost endurance, that additional skills may be required by magic school, etc.

 

It's easier to think of for me as being like "Only Gadgets". In that case it means they will all have a similar set of limitations (focus or physical manifestation), that they operate within a technology structure that can be researched for ways to counter it, etc.

 

- E

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 By locking in the special effect of magic can cause it to be affected by some advantages and limitations.  If a character has defenses that only work vs magic he gets those on anything in the pool.  In some cases a power will have multiple special effects.  For example a fire spell will count as both fire and magic.  It also should exclude certain special effects.  I for one would not allow lasers or other scientific special effects in a VPP with the limitation magic only.  You could do a light spell but that would not count as a laser.  

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I've used it in the past since it's listed for published characters, including signature character Witchcraft. But I'll confess "magic" is so versatile a special effect it feels like cheating in the absence of other limitations like Gestures, Incantations, Requires a Magic Skill Roll, etc.. I'm more comfortable with more restrictive versions like Only Chinese Sorcery (-1/2) that give a better feel for what can and can't be chosen as a slot.

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1 hour ago, Matt the Bruins said:

I've used it in the past since it's listed for published characters, including signature character Witchcraft. But I'll confess "magic" is so versatile a special effect it feels like cheating in the absence of other limitations like Gestures, Incantations, Requires a Magic Skill Roll, etc.. I'm more comfortable with more restrictive versions like Only Chinese Sorcery (-1/2) that give a better feel for what can and can't be chosen as a slot.

 

Yeah, I'm with you there as well. There's little a robot does that a properly-enchanted golem couldn't. And mystic armor can do pretty much anything that power armor can do.

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I think that it must be looked at in the context of other -1/4 limitations.  Yes, "magic only" is very versatile.  Remove the -1/4 limitation and it is fully versatile - it can do absolutely anything.  If the VPP could only be used when in alternate ID, or when the character is wearing a very nondescript token, or would fail in an intense magnetic field, would it be less useful than being limited to magic only?

 

The value of the limitation does not vary with the base utility of the underlying ability it limits.  It varies with the extent to which it limits that underlying ability.  "Magic only" does not limit what the VPP can do by very much.  If it limited what the VPP could do by a lot, it would not be a -1/4 limitation.

 

How much of "absolutely any power that could possibly be achieved, with any SFX" has been removed?  Certainly not "most" or "half" of its effectiveness.  But slightly limited.  Well, that "slightly limited" is what a -1/4 limitation is.

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8 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I think that it must be looked at in the context of other -1/4 limitations.  Yes, "magic only" is very versatile.  Remove the -1/4 limitation and it is fully versatile - it can do absolutely anything.  If the VPP could only be used when in alternate ID, or when the character is wearing a very nondescript token, or would fail in an intense magnetic field, would it be less useful than being limited to magic only?

 

The value of the limitation does not vary with the base utility of the underlying ability it limits.  It varies with the extent to which it limits that underlying ability.  "Magic only" does not limit what the VPP can do by very much.  If it limited what the VPP could do by a lot, it would not be a -1/4 limitation.

 

How much of "absolutely any power that could possibly be achieved, with any SFX" has been removed?  Certainly not "most" or "half" of its effectiveness.  But slightly limited.  Well, that "slightly limited" is what a -1/4 limitation is.

 

I'd like to reiterate that I don't have a particular problem with giving a -1/4 limitation because it's been given out in published characters.

 

But Saint Isidore of Seville is officially the Catholic Church's Patron Saint of Computers.

 

That indicates to me that a character could use magic to gain a blessing from Saint Isidore or Summon Saint Isidore himself and hack the hell out of whatever computer system exists.

 

If computers can be accessed or created magically, what piece of technology couldn't be duplicated? The Asgardians in Marvel Comics fly around in outer space in what appear to be magical Viking longboats. Hercules flew around in outer space to various planets in Apollo's chariot of the sun and participated in "drag races" with other spacecraft.

 

I don't recall ever seeing a power writeup for any character that was so purely technological that I couldn't remove the name of the power and slap a new magic-themed name over it and explain how it's the product of magic.

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39 minutes ago, archer said:

Saint Isidore of Seville is officially the Catholic Church's Patron Saint of Computers.

 

That indicates to me that a character could use magic to gain a blessing from Saint Isidore or Summon Saint Isidore himself and hack the hell out of whatever computer system exists.

 

If computers can be accessed or created magically, what piece of technology couldn't be duplicated?


I hadn't heard of that one, but I would probably allow it in my game.  So "The Cleric, Holy man on a crusade against crime" could indeed pray for a magical computer.

But as his VPP is "Magic Only" the computer could likely be dispelled by the Demonologist.  (One spell vs another), but if Defender had built the computer with his technology skills, Demonoligist's dispels wouldn't work (Cant magically dispel the laptop if it isn't magic).

I mean, a lighting bolt would fry it either way, but by magicing it up, it interacts with all kinds of other powers by dint of being magical.  You can't use your VPP to get a purely technological laptop the way that a tech based hero could with their variable power pool. 
If "the Junk Drawer Janissary" had a VPP (with no special effect limits but a "must be in a Focus") made of up all the gear he has found on various superhero battlefields over the years he could conceivably have magical items, super-tech, alien bio-weapons, conventional weapons, toon-based hammerspace stuff (that he got that one time cartoons came to life), etc.  He could not cast spells, as they are not foci based.

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  • 4 weeks later...

While magic armor can duplicate any power of a technical based power armor, it does not have the same special effect.   By putting on the magic only limitation on the VPP you lock in the special effect.  Without the limitation I could have a spell that creates a suit of armor but after the suit is created it is non magical and is not affected by things like dispel magic.  Maybe the spell is summoning an ordinary suit of armor instead of actually creating it.  With the Magic only the suit of armor I created will still be magic.  The game effect is exactly the same, but the suits of armor are not.

 

 

Likewise I can create a golem that has the exact game stats as the robot but all its special effects are magic.  Both the golem and the robot may have the exact same game design, but subtle differences will exist.  For example the robot may have a radiation blast, but that would not be appropriate for a golem.  To most characters it will not matter, but to the character that has a vulnerability or susceptibility to radiation it could matter a lot. 
 

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On 2/27/2021 at 5:33 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

Yeah it has to do with special effect, but also conceptual stuff.  You cannot make a robot, or a starship, you cannot do things that do not feel or seem magical.  It has to follow a theme.  This is  very broad theme, granted, but still its a small limitation.

 

Robot no, Golem yes. Starship no, 'spacejammer' yes.

 

It's never stealing from other games, it's research

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If you are putting the limitation on the VPP magic only obviously magic exists.  In a campaign that magic exists there are usually at least a few villains or creatures that are highly resistant to magic.  They usually purchase very high defenses with the limitation only vs Magic.  By taking the limitation magic only that means that anything you create with your VPP no matter what the other special effect or game power is will trigger that limitation.  Likewise any dispel or drain targeting magic as a special effect will be affect all your powers.  

 

Even if you conjure a supposed normal gun it will be considered magic and be affected by anything that affects magic.  Without that limitation I could use a spell to conjure a non-magical gun with the special effect I am teleporting a normal non-magical gun into my hand from my lair or other location. With that limitation I cannot do that and the gun is still considered magic.
 

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I go way back to some old D&D arguments:  that arcane and divine magic were, in fact, different on some level, and the arcane version of Dispel Magic didn't work on divine magic, and vice versa.  And later on, there's the magic/psionic separation;  the default ruling was, they're different.  But an optional, simpler interpretation was "magic is magic is magic" and the heck with worrying about any petty differences.

 

So, is Magic in and of itself a special effect that has significance?  Does a magical ward versus teleports block a teleporting super...or just a spellcasting super?  Or, another angle is, does the world have magically suppressed or null areas, does a generic Dispel/Suppress Magic work on ANY magical effect?

 

Another interpretation is that psionic powers and magical powers often don't overlap.  Mental powers are not the realm of the magical caster.  So if Magic Only means no Mental:

--Defense

--Illusions

--Blast

--Entangle

--Telepathy/Empathy

--Mind Link/Scan/Control

--AVAD/NND targeting Mental Defense

 

That's a fairly sizable and useful collection that's barred.

 

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If a player takes such a Limitation, they and the GM should have a discussion about how and why the Limitation works.


If I was the GM of a campaign with a character with this Limitation, I would be thinking about villains who can suppress or dispel magic, areas where magic does not work, etc. Also, once the character becomes known at all, villains may start to take specific actions against. For example, perhaps recurring villain Evil Tech Guy, having had large amount of damage done to his operations by Super Magic Guy, teams up with the mystical Artificer to create defended against those magics,

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