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i build a magic system for my fantasy game and want your opinion on something...........the flavor i like in my world concept is: magic is a dangerous thing to use!! .............so in my system of magic the spell success is based on a characteristic roll and not a skill roll (the characteristic roll depend of your magic style ex: mental spell is a ego roll etc) so for every spells: a 10 active cost or a 200 active got the same roll ( no -1 per 10 active cost) most of the time is 11- , 12- , 13-, but the point is more the active cost is high great are the side effect if your misse your roll ...........in that way a 150 200 active cost spell can kill you (maybe) if you miss your roll.............what do you think is it to much

excuse english not my first language


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Re: magic system




The only problem I see with that is the high lethality rates will make it so nobody will want to be a mage, and you can get things like your NPC mages suddenly blowing themselves up during a big fight! ("I guess we don't need to kill the Wizard King after all! Back to the tavern boys!" :D )


I've thought about similar limitations on wizards, but I keep being reminded that if I limit them too much, there's no reason for anyone to play one! Even a 16< skill roll with a side effect on a failure will make most mages hesitate if it's a big one! Better to just run it with normal skill rolls and say that an 18 is always a failure, then you have the danger without the lethality even if they buy up their skills.



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Re: magic system


Let's put some numbers to it.


You are using the No AP Penalty RSR: Casting. You've got some kind of custom limitation that says: You take 10 AP of Side Effect for every point of RSR failure.


If your roll is 13- and you roll a 12 you take 10 AP of Side Effect. With Side Effects, you get no DEF. This is all going straight through. 10 AP is 2d6. So if you fail the roll above you are going to take, on average 7 STUN and 2 BODY. The STUN is partly an issue and partly not. You have more STUN and it's easier to get it back (eg REC). The BODY is going to stack up REAL fast though. Assuming a mage is rather normal BODY-wise, you are looking at somewhere about 5 failed spells before the mage crumbles into dust.


That's pretty scary.


Perhaps a STUN/END Drain instead? It depends a lot on what you mean by Side Effect.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Re: magic system


I've been piecing together a magic system based on LOTR and shadowrun ideas. I like throwing side-effects on "dangerous" spells. Here's what I tend to go with:


Exhausing spells: A STUN or END (or both) drain.

Dangerous spells: An EB or KA.

Evil and Corrupting Spells: Cumulative transform based on EGO, with a gradual effect. Basically, it turns the caster evil.


The first two are usually weak side-effects, but the last is usually a pretty major side-effect, just to make the transform a threat. Luckily, one or two castings don't put the caster in much danger, but is enough to make him "creepy" and scare the player a bit. The transform heals with time, or with some sort of quest.


As for dissuading players from taking such spells: I agree, you don't want to make a single casting likely to kill the PC. Even if the idea and SFX are that the spell "can kill the caster," it's not going to kill the main character in a novel (unless it's pre-planned), so it's not going to kill a PC either. A 1d6+1 KA is a threat to a PC even if it won't kill him in one shot (make sure your mage has at least BODY 8). You can call it "deadly" the way a pistol is "deadly" at 1d6+1 RKA.

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