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I have some magic...oh, never mind...

In the world of the Arcana Practica, the Thaumic Age began some hundred to hundred and twenty years ago.  This was the beginning of systematized study of magic.  Before that time, "wizards" (charlatan

I don't really play Fantasy Hero, but I like building characters from movies and books.  I've done a lot of tinkering over the years and I've got something I'd like to use if I ever got around to runn

One magic system I've used for divine magic is to have effects powered only by an END Reserve that will only recharge while the character is performing religious acts, such as prayer. I did this specifically to emulate HarnMaster's ritual and piety point system, and to give divine magic a very different flavour to arcane magic.

 

You coud vary is somewhat - recovering END only while on ground consecrated to the character's deity, for example (though one might then allow a specific temporary Consecrate ritual which costs no END but requires significant extra time so you can set up a temporary shrine where you stop to camp, but can't recharge your reserve in combat).

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In Nyonia (my campaign world) magic is accessible by almost anyone. 

 

There are two basic people who can use magic (cast spells), people with a natural talent (born that way) and those who learn how to cast magic later in life.

In game terms:

  • Naturally born/talented mages need to pay for a custom magic talent (10 pt talent) which allows them to buy a VPP for their spells
  • People who learn magic later in life, don't pay for the custom magic talent, can not have a VPP or MP

Both kinds of casters have the access to the same power levels of magic but mages with the custom talent don't need to worry about what happens if they don't make  a spell roll.  Those mages without a natural affinity to magic will have bad things happen to them if they miss a spell roll (sometimes fatal).

 

All spells have magic skill rolls, components, gestures and invocations/

 

The second thing with magic in my world is that the kind of magic you can use depends on your character's race or cultural background.  So some races use magic to protect themselves and their communities; and improve and preserve food stuffs.  One culture might be all about fire so they can forge and make unique metal objects.  Another culture might use magic to enhance their abilities to buy and sell.  Characters can pick on and only one type of magic and that is 'permanent'.  Nyonian history is littered with mages who tried to learn more than one kind of magic.  The best result is the mage only kills himself and nearby inhabitants (dozens of yards from where she is casting the combined spell).  Worse case results have resulted in world changing events.

 

I did both of these things so that magic would be unique between cultures.  Every culture/race has a set of spells to start with.  Players have 'researched' new spells.  And I also wanted someone to have the ability to buy one or two important but not necessarily overwhelming spells.

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In the world of the Arcana Practica, the Thaumic Age began some hundred to hundred and twenty years ago.  This was the beginning of systematized study of magic.  Before that time, "wizards" (charlatans) would ply their trades, often getting hired on into official positions.  Some of these wizards had some actual power, by means of knacks (magical talents that some people, then and now, possessed), but being a wizard was as much about putting on a show as it was about working actual magic.  Often, wizards would take on apprentices, some of which had knacks of their own, many of which did not.  Their training methods were as much flim-flammery as their wizardry.  There was a big scandal, as most kingdoms, governments, etc., gave their wizards the choice of hanging or beheading (sometimes even burning at the stake was offered), but one group (a confederation of duchies) instead commissioned a study on why some wizards could actually do real magic and some couldn't.  It turned into a long running study on magic in general, that began the Thaumic Age.  

 

Arcana, singular arcanum, refers to a type of magic: air, fire, light, lightning, animals, etc.  Practica, singular practicum, refers to a magical technique: create, sense, bind, conjure, dismiss, cloak, etc.  Together, these are a spell's Arcanum and Practicum (often abbreviated as "A and P"), and the overall organized body of magical knowledge and pedagogy is referred to as the Arcana Practica.  The incidence of knacks has gone down in the general population as the Arcana Practica has taken hold; no one is sure exactly why, but there are a number of competing theories.  

 

Learning a number of spells that share a common practicum allows you to buy a Skill (PS) with that practicum, which you can roll as a complementary skill roll to your Magic Skill Roll.  Some individuals have an "affinity" with an arcanum, which in game terms is a few Skill Levels that apply to magical and mundane manifestations.  So, for instance, an affinity with fire would help you with casting spells of the arcanum of fire, as well as with building fires mundanely; an affinity with animals would improve your spellcasting on animals, as well as your Animal Handling and other animal related Skills.  Spells would initially be bought for full point cost, though as the game progresses you can work your way into Multipowers and potentially a VPP (based on arcana).  

 

Characters can also buy knacks, which are just a magical power with an A and P.  Sufficient study of thaumatology and Metamagic can help you turn your knack into an arcanum.  

 

Finally, spells are divided into tiers, based solely on the prerequisites required.  Tier 0 spells require no prerequisites; anyone who is not "athaumic" (nonmagical) can learn them, and none of them require a skill roll.  Tier 1 spells have a basic level of prerequisites; some might have a particular tier 0 spell, others might require a minimum skill in a practicum, or an affinity, or a knack.  Tier 2 spells have more extensive lists of prerequisites; higher levels in various related Skills, demonstrated minimum ability to cast certain tier 1 spells, possibly certain knacks or other magical talents.  There are no tier 3 spells, unless you are a disgruntled wannabee who has barely passed their basic Arcana Practica and thinks that there's some kind of conspiracy keeping you from learning tier 2 spells.  

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In my (as yet untried) fantasy game I want a low magic campaign. To this end spells are relatively difficult to cast and it takes a great deal of focus (read: experience points) to become a truly awe inspiring sorcerer.

 

In game, magical effects are caused by manipulating the underlying Laws of Magic (Laws of Sympathy, Antipathy, Contagion, etc.) Different magical traditions apply their understanding of these laws in different ways which in turn gives rise to different types of magical effects. The difference in traditions is just one of individual interest and focus of study, there's nothing stopping a character from learning different traditions. All magic has the same source, there is no difference between divine and non-divine magic.

 

Game mechanically all spells come with Skill Roll (a separate skill per tradition),  Gestures, Invocations, and Focus limitations. Active Point penalties apply to skill rolls and players are encouraged to make use of extra time to offset this for more powerful spells.

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9 hours ago, Lucius said:

 

Sure if I wanted to I could buy the Power Skill up to 12 and buy all the spells with an Activation roll of 12.

 

Then I spend 2 XP to raise the Power Skill and have to recalculate all my spells with an Activation roll of 13.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

the palindromedary says Lucius would rather just buy up the Power Skill and all the spells improve automatically

 

 

I would think that if you bought Activation roll, you wouldn’t need Power skill roll. As that would be redundant.

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5 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

I would think that if you bought Activation roll, you wouldn’t need Power skill roll. As that would be redundant.

 

Having a Power Skill is useful for things like cantrips (minor manifestations or "stunts" that don't justify being bought as outright Powers.)

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Power Skill: Palindromedary Rider

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4 hours ago, Lucius said:

 

Having a Power Skill is useful for things like cantrips (minor manifestations or "stunts" that don't justify being bought as outright Powers.)

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Power Skill: Palindromedary Rider

That’s a fair point.  Then I would just ignore the RAW on  assigning penalties on active points with Power Skill.

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Having a Power Skill is useful for things like cantrips (minor manifestations or "stunts" that don't justify being bought as outright Powers.)

 

 

Yeah that's part of what I am working up for the Jolrhos Players Guide, letting people do very minor effects with a Magic Skill roll and 1 END such as start a small fire, anything under 6 active points, basically.  You can zap someone with your wand to do minimal damage and make a flash of light; it will kill a mouse, but won't really hurt a person.

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12 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

That’s a fair point.  Then I would just ignore the RAW on  assigning penalties on active points with Power Skill.

 

I am willing to ignore RAW when I have to. In this case, I can get what I want within Rules as Written so I don't have to ignore them.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

I am willing to use a palindromedary outside a tagline, but I usually have no need to.

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I would have to dig out moldering piles of APAs, out of the shed, (Hey Alarums & Excursions, hey Wild Hunt!), to get the specifics, but I built magic systems "culturally" in that what was the role or art of magic for each culture?  One culture, was a culture of direct speaking and of icy tempers. Tht culture's magic system had full END costs in general, most spells got the "Noisy" modifier, so that anyone near the magic going off would feel the hairs of the back of their neck rise, and people with a "magic skill roll" could detect a spell at long ranges.  You didn't need a detect magic to tell that magic went off. Special effects were "Geometric looking" and a lot of effects were in beams, cones, or spheres. Magic for them started as a tool for war, and only extended slightly from those. Nearby, was a culture the first gruop beat up for their lunch money. THey started as squabbling and disunited  petty kingdoms, but after being occupied, their magic, became a tool of resistnce..  Their magic did require a magic skill roll, but most spells were either invisible power effect, or "indirect",  and  rarely included gestures or incantations, and magic items from there, DID require a detect magic. Often their spells had a trigger or a time effect.  The Jaggiri, I have discussed before, in a thread here, but The Mechanics weren't.  Basically Jaggiri Magic required a magic skill, was cast in teams, and spell power was based on how many people contributed END for the spell, plus made their coordination roll (with time),  so as to drop indirect area of effects with range doubling and  AOE doubling. (This was before megascale), so that they could drop effects subtle or terrible, over large areas of terrain, miles away (Weather Control was a thing they did on occasion).  

In my thinking, is that Magic is a reflection of the culture that discovered, or created it, much like a religion, but with a more direct effect. on people, and as such the society will mold their mages to find a space, and fit a role in the society.  The Magic Systems should have advantages and limitations that reflect the culture it came from.   Once I had cultural frameworks in place, if  player wanted a new spell, they would have  to work within their cultural framework to build a spell that fit in properly, and I as the GM would deny, edit, ir approve.

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Just now, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

Holy Carp!

 

Now that's a flash from way, way, _waaaayyyy_ back!  :shock:

 

Thanks for the memory jolt.   :lol:

 

I was there from 1985m until... i want to say 199-?

It was only after I moved from Los Angles in April, and was unplackng all my stuff, including the A&E issues, that I had lived in the same zip coade as Lee Gold (who was just south of Venice Blvd, apparently).

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40 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

I don't wish unkind things on anyone, but is she still with us?  I never met her, but I was under the impression that she was at least a decade older than me.  (hopefully that was a very wrong impression)

Only ran into her a couple of times, Barry and Lee were active in LASFS, and he seemed younger than she, but she was tiny. She must be in her late 60's now.  But we are hijacking the thread.

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In my thinking, is that Magic is a reflection of the culture that discovered, or created it, much like a religion, but with a more direct effect.

 

I probably won't ever get to writing this novel so I guess it won't hurt to talk about it.

 

In my game setting's history, in the main continent where PCs run about (Morien), elves ruled for centuries.  They dominated everything and built a nice civilization, with humans being basically serfs under their thumb.  Every so often a human kingdom would build up and eventually the elves would go stomp them flat for "rebelling."


Eventually due to various circumstances, the humans became more organized and a great leader came about who led a real rebellion, one that eventually won and destroyed the elven control.  In the process they killed a lot of elves, leaving them a remnant of who they once were and since elves don't have many children over their very long lives, they have stayed small in number and out of power for over 200 years now.

 

But the main reason the humans won is related to the concept of cultural magic.  There's only one magic system, but different peoples focus on different aspects. The elven overlords and elven culture locked into the idea of magic being exclusively the 5 elements (aether being the 5th) and death.  Death magic was outlawed and banned.  They knew other kinds of magic were possible (and even were done by other creatures, such as orcs) but shunned that and focused on their own.


The humans, under one particularly bright young man, figured out a lot more about magic, he was the first to really do any sort of systematic study of the theory of magic rather than just figuring it was unknowable.  And the new things he developed and came to understand unleashed power that the elves had not even attempted.  The kid was entirely an academic, he wasn't a fighter, but his eventual wife was, and she led the human mages to battle with great success.

 

So yeah I like the idea of cultural magic -- orcs focus on spiritism and necromancy, some demonology, for example -- and its part of my world's history.

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24 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

I probably won't ever get to writing this novel so I guess it won't hurt to talk about it.

 

In my game setting's history, in the main continent where PCs run about (Morien), elves ruled for centuries.  They dominated everything and built a nice civilization, with humans being basically serfs under their thumb.  Every so often a human kingdom would build up and eventually the elves would go stomp them flat for "rebelling."


Eventually due to various circumstances, the humans became more organized and a great leader came about who led a real rebellion, one that eventually won and destroyed the elven control.  In the process they killed a lot of elves, leaving them a remnant of who they once were and since elves don't have many children over their very long lives, they have stayed small in number and out of power for over 200 years now.

 

But the main reason the humans won is related to the concept of cultural magic.  There's only one magic system, but different peoples focus on different aspects. The elven overlords and elven culture locked into the idea of magic being exclusively the 5 elements (aether being the 5th) and death.  Death magic was outlawed and banned.  They knew other kinds of magic were possible (and even were done by other creatures, such as orcs) but shunned that and focused on their own.


The humans, under one particularly bright young man, figured out a lot more about magic, he was the first to really do any sort of systematic study of the theory of magic rather than just figuring it was unknowable.  And the new things he developed and came to understand unleashed power that the elves had not even attempted.  The kid was entirely an academic, he wasn't a fighter, but his eventual wife was, and she led the human mages to battle with great success.

 

So yeah I like the idea of cultural magic -- orcs focus on spiritism and necromancy, some demonology, for example -- and its part of my world's history.

 Exactly!  

 

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For my Fantasy world, the four gods representing the classic four elements (Air, Earth, Fire, Water) came together and created the world.  Each created their own chosen races, and gave their race a distinct style of magic.  

 

All magic takes the Requires Skill Roll limitation, and Costs END if it doesn't already.  Each style of magic requires an additional -1/2 limitation based on the style.

 

Air magic is Thaumaturgy*, and often deals with things unseen or intangible.  It requires some form(s) of Incantations.  Temporary Air magic items are called Charms, activated by blowing through a hole in the charm.

Earth magic is Enchantment* and often defensive in nature.  Each Earth magic spell requires a distinct, permanent Focus.  Temporary Earth magic items are dusts or powders activated by sprinkling or rubbing them on something.

Fire Magic is Sorcery* and often offensive spells.  Casting Fire magic requires the sacrifice of (oftentimes expensive) expendable Components.  Temporary Fire magic items are incenses activated by setting them on fire.

Water Magic is Alchemy* and often healing in nature.  Casting Water Magic requires movements and/or Gestures.  Temporary Water magic items are potions activated by drinking them.  

 

Other non-exclusive Limitations can still be applied.  

 

*These words have different meaning in my Fantasy world than in the real world.  I used cool sounding names for the magic.  Deal with it.

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 Taking things a little broader.  There was a discussion of "Hard, vs. Soft magic" This essay by Author, Brandon Sanderson describes it in detail here: https://brandonsanderson.com/sandersons-first-law/  In short Both hard and soft magic has rules, but Soft magic the rules are unknowable, except in vague outlines, as the universe is much larger than mere mortals, and hard Magic Systems are tools, with defined rules.  

The only way a Soft System would work in a Fantasy hero Game, would be if the P.C.s never were casters themselves, and might pick up a magic item here or there.  Hero, though by it's nature lends itself to hard systems. but then this essay, gives you another axis to use, and that is Nebulous/ Rational. Author C.R. Rowenson ex plains the added axis here: https://crrowenson.com/magic/types-of-magic/types-of-magic/?doing_wp_cron=1571195180.8687610626220703125000  The Short explanation is a Rational System would allow a reader or observer to deduce that  A + B = C. An Nebulous system would only be discernable if the reader or observer has C< and has seen A  and B.  Rowenson illustrates what each system best serves certain types of narratives  and then graphs different systems from literature to find out where they are https://crrowenson.com/magic/types-of-magic/types-of-magic-part-2-7-popular-systems/?doing_wp_cron=1571199062.3508040904998779296875

What this leads me to believe is that because of what Hero is, or was originally, it favors hard systems, specifically because of the point builds, But on the rational/ nebulous scale that is dependent upon the setting and the GM< It seems. 

Oddly, to me I have always mentally separated D&D Characters, from Fantasy Characters conceptually, as i see D&D Characters as adventurers, but (for the most part) Fantasy Hero Characters as professionals. This analysis  of magic systems seems to indicate a little bit why.

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  • 4 weeks later...

A little late to this thread.

 

Mine is here: https://sites.google.com/view/amagicsystemforherodescribed/home

 

Or at least a version of it, No Magic System survives contact with the Players, right? ;D

 

Pretty basic. RSR with Side Effects.

 

One of the more interesting bits is that magical conduits (channelers\magic users\casters) are required to take a DF: Magic Conduit which is NOT Concealable from Magesight (which conduits also have to take).

 

So magic users can almost always detect other magic users on sight.

 

 

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The only way a Soft System would work in a Fantasy hero Game, would be if the P.C.s never were casters themselves, and might pick up a magic item here or there. 

 

I think you could make it work, but magic wouldn't be fireballs and levitation.  It would be more like Conan or Call of Cthulhu where you try a ritual and maybe it does what you want, or maybe you get turned inside out and explode.  You would have no real control over the success or even outcome of the magic, only hopes and vague ideas.  Magic would be something someone tries on the side, or does in addition to be otherwise an alchemist and scholar rather than an adventuring mage.

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I don't really play Fantasy Hero, but I like building characters from movies and books.  I've done a lot of tinkering over the years and I've got something I'd like to use if I ever got around to running a fantasy game.

 

My suggestion for a magic system is a tiered approach.

 

Tier 1 -- Entry level stuff

All the spells are created by the GM.  In D&D terms, these are 1st and 2nd level spells, maybe 3rd.  Spells are paid for with cash, not points.  If your "acid arrow" spell is the same damage as the fighter's crossbow, it's not fair to charge the wizard points for it.  Spells can cost similar to what an equivalent weapon or tool would cost.  Some spells may require spell components -- an Animate Dead spell that creates a zombie servant might require special powders, similar in cost to what it would take to hire a soldier for a week.  At this level, your wizard just needs Magic Skill 11- (or whatever), and then he spends the money to buy the spells.  Maybe he pays to have Weapon Familiarity with that type of magic.  His actual point expenditure is very small though, but he's also limited to fairly unimpressive "beginner" magics.

 

Type 2 -- Boosted spells

You can buy Deadly Blow (or whatever it's called) or other "enhancement" abilities to increase the power of existing Tier 1 spells.  You wanna be a Fire Mage?  Deadly Blow on all fire spells, and there you go.  This is a quick way to specialize.  Likewise you could just buy some extra dice on one or two spells.  +3D6 Mental Illusions, incantation & gestures, only on Harry's Hazy Hallucination spell.  It's a big step up in power for a beginner mage, and it maybe costs you 10 points or something.  A lot of starter mages will try to take one of these to distinguish themselves in some way.

 

Tier 3 -- Extraplanar entities

All the spells are created by the GM, but these can be significantly more powerful.  The player doesn't pay points for the spells (though he still may have to pay cash to learn it).  Instead the player buys a Contact with the appropriate extradimensional being.  You want to cast Dormammu's Destructive Disc?  Well make your Contact roll, and call upon Dormammu.  See if he's in the mood to give you that spell right now.  Effectively the points are "paid" by the extraplanar being, and you're just asking them to do you a favor.  These spells may be weak, or they may be extremely powerful.  The GM sets limits on when and how these can be used.  Many spells may be almost automatic (some beings don't notice or care that you called on them), while others may not always work, or may have consequences.  It's all up to the GM.  These kinds of spells are often the next step up for an aspiring wizard.  You get a lot of bang for your buck -- some entities may grant multiple spells.  But it has the drawback that you're not really the one in control.  It's kinda like buying Contact: Superman, 18-.  Yeah it's useful, and he's always willing to help, but calling on him too often will bring... scrutiny.

 

Tier 4 -- Paid-for spells

This is the default Fantasy Hero proposition.  You pick a spell and pay the points.  In my opinion, generic attack spells and other basics aren't really useful enough for this.  If you're gonna have a spell like this, it needs to be something good.  You probably won't have a lot of these spells, but it depends on how many limitations you put on them.  With only a few, it may be something character-defining for you.  If everybody knows your sorcerer can walk through walls and change into a dire bear, and you do it all the time, then maybe those are paid-for spells.

 

Tier 5 -- Summons, Frameworks, and Superpowers

At this level, you're basically just building a Champions character.  Your wizard can fly, just because he can fly.  Maybe Saruman has an 80 Presence, because he's magic.  Your character's got a multipower or VPP with a ton of different abilities, his magic can do almost anything.  Summon is a big points saver as well.  It can give you world-altering power for fairly cheap.  Summon Undead Army is not that expensive, especially if you can only do it on the full moon or something.  Every one of those needs to be looked over by the GM very carefully.

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