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Tywyll

Cantrips without a Power Skill

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So, usually cantrip like effects are handled via a power skill roll.

 

But what if your magic form doesn't have a power skill?

 

In my current game, there are three main forms of magic: Arcane, Divine, and Tryshallan (elven-which is an innate sort of mix of the two). Arcane and Divine require skill rolls but Elf magic, being innate, does not. However, thematically, of the three forms the elven magic ought to have them. However, there is little use in a Power skill when that form of magic is expressly forbidden from taking RSR.

 

Any thoughts on how to handle this pickle?

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On 12/5/2019 at 5:56 AM, Scott Ruggels said:

Call it a power, then call it a day. If it’s innate, they just have it. New powers are just bought outright with CP. Elves live a long tome so they can accrue points over many years.

 

So how would you build 'cantrips' as a power? Most attempts at it I've seen involve ultra expensive VPPS which kinda defeats the purpose.

 

I suppose I could just make it a custom power, 5 points or something, and call it a day. 

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On 12/4/2019 at 8:20 PM, Chris Goodwin said:

You don't need to take RSR for Power Skill to be useful.  Even though it's innate, training probably helps elves learn new things they can do with it.  So I'd use Power Skill there as well.

 

What else would it be good for?

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4 hours ago, Tywyll said:

 

So how would you build 'cantrips' as a power? Most attempts at it I've seen involve ultra expensive VPPS which kinda defeats the purpose.

 

I suppose I could just make it a custom power, 5 points or something, and call it a day. 

Well I would build them as 5 to 10 points. And not have too many. Like 5 max. 

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6 hours ago, Tywyll said:

 

What else would it be good for?

 

Power stunts.  I've played characters with Power Skill and no RSR powers, just to be able to do power stunts.  Cantrips could very well be considered power stunts off of a character's other magic.  

 

Power Skill could be used when two characters want to compare their general level of skill without necessarily getting into a fight, and not necessarily testing combat skill.  It could cover versatility, general knowledge, techniques, experience.  Someone who wants to learn a new technique or spell could make a roll to determine how well they learn it.  

 

Do you have The Ultimate Skill/HERO System Skills?  There's some discussion in there on what all you can do with Power Skill.  I'd also check the Ultimate Mystic, and probably a number of the other Ultimate books talk about it as well.  The Fantasy Hero full genre book (for 5th and 6th editions) talks about it in some depth, specifically relating to fantasy.  

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What is it you want these cantrips to do?

 

A Power Skill, in addition to the spellcaster's array of spells, might cover it.  Can you cast a Fireball spell?  Then with a "Cantrip" Skill Roll, you can light a fire without burning the house down.  Have an Illusion spell?  Then with a Cantril roll, you can make a small projected image for illustrative or entertainment purposes.  Have a spell to keep everyone warm in the cold weather?  Then you can make a cantrip roll to warm up a plate of food.

 

If you want to telekinetically fetch your spellbook from across the room as a cantrip, then you should probably be required to have some TK spell available first.

 

But IIRK, 1 point of TK should allow you to pick up 25 kg up to 10 m away.

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Phil's suggestion is pretty close to how I do High Fantasy.  Not exact, of course: we're two different people and we've never played together, after all. ;)

 

I do "cantrips" both of two different ways:

 

if it's a lesser variation on something you can already do (as in Phil's suggestion above), then you can just _do_ it.  Seriously.  No roll.  No check.  You can just _do_ it.    The umbrella question that started this thread off?  If you have Force Field, Force Wall, or even Telekinesis, fine: you can just _do_ it.

 

Now before going further, let me put in a couple of things:

 

That cantrip _stops_ the moment you focus the power from which it's derived to a greater use.  Using Lothai's Armor of Lighted Aether as a rain shield for your coiffure?  Go for it.  You have a sparkling little dome of twinkling lights floating just above you...   bandits leap out and you cast great Lothai's wondrous spell upon your swashbuckling companion?  Fine: he's protected by the shimmering sparkles.  You're getting wet, though.

 

If it's something with potential to really affect the game or the plot (again, see Phil's example of telekinesis)?  Want a cantrip that grants 1 pt of telekinesis?  Sure, it's a nifty thing to be able to float your spell book in front of you as you study, or have your clothes put itself upon you when you've finished bathing and step out of the river, _but_...   This particular cantrip-- let's call it Astral Servitor (because I _do_, in fact, call it Astral Servitor) can also be used to fetch the keys from the hook on the wall to you in your jail cell, or to pull a curious lever while you remain a safe distance away....), well that's going to cost you a point.

 

That's the thing: a "cantrip" in my High Fantasy is essentially one point of a power or skill (six or less), or talent.  A seriously bare-minimum.  Want something bigger, learn it as a spell.

 

Why?

 

because I don't really read fantasy fiction (I know; it's not a secret, but most of it irritates the Hell out of me.  I enjoy a lot of Low Fantasy, though, and I _adored_ Turtledove's The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump so much that I was _mortified_ to find out just how awful most Urban Fantasy is.... :(   ), with only a few exceptions, most fantasy RPGs are designed to highlight their lack of originality and tend to just revisit Tolkienisms or re-invent D&D....

 

The upshot of this?

 

I have absolutely _no_ solid grasp of what a "cantrip" is supposed to be.  Many, many years ago-- at some point before there actually was a Fantasy Hero, we tried some fantasy in Champions, and it wasn't half bad.  Then one day while writing up the new spell one of the players had been working on creating (i.e., he'd been "studying" it and now had enough EP to buy it), he asked me quite boldly how many cantrips he could have bought instead.

 

I had no clue what he was talking about.

 

Not wanting to short him, I got up, found a dictionary, and discovered that it was, to paraphrase, a small and not-very-powerful magic spell.

 

And that's pretty much how I've played it since: insignificant stuff: if you can derive it from something you have, then you have it, period.  Call it a perk of not being able to swing a sword.

 

If you can, buy a point of it.  Anything more than that is not a cantrip.  Anything that has good potential of being plot-effective?  costs a point.

 

 

 

I'm going to stop before I repeat myself again.

 

 

have a good evening.

 

 

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On 12/4/2019 at 8:57 AM, Tywyll said:

So, usually cantrip like effects are handled via a power skill roll.

 

But what if your magic form doesn't have a power skill?

 

In my current game, there are three main forms of magic: Arcane, Divine, and Tryshallan (elven-which is an innate sort of mix of the two). Arcane and Divine require skill rolls but Elf magic, being innate, does not. However, thematically, of the three forms the elven magic ought to have them. However, there is little use in a Power skill when that form of magic is expressly forbidden from taking RSR.

 

Any thoughts on how to handle this pickle?

 

Yes. Look at the two parts I have highlighted. come to the realization that you have contradicted yourself. Understand that if a Power Skill allows cantrips, there IS indeed a use to taking it even if none of your spells require a Skill Roll to work.

 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Summon Palindromedary

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5 hours ago, Lucius said:

 

Yes. Look at the two parts I have highlighted. come to the realization that you have contradicted yourself. Understand that if a Power Skill allows cantrips, there IS indeed a use to taking it even if none of your spells require a Skill Roll to work.

 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Summon Palindromedary

 

I guess what I mean is that a skill that only produces 'fluff' effects =/= a skill necessary for using your powers. Those two things should not cost the same points, but they do. 

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8 hours ago, Tywyll said:

 

I guess what I mean is that a skill that only produces 'fluff' effects =/= a skill necessary for using your powers. Those two things should not cost the same points, but they do. 

 

First, why shouldn't they cost the same?

 

But if you really think cantrips should be cheap, attach  them not to the Power Skill, but to the Professional Skill.
 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

PS: Palindromedary Rider

 

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9 hours ago, Tywyll said:

 

I guess what I mean is that a skill that only produces 'fluff' effects =/= a skill necessary for using your powers. Those two things should not cost the same points, but they do. 

 

The Power Skill does both, with additional functions determined by the GM (often responding to players asking if they can perform a power trick).  Though in 6e you can fine tune your RSR to use different Skills (a different 3-point Skill, a PS or KS, even a Characteristic Roll).  

 

If you're the GM, you can decide.  If you're not the GM, then ask your GM.  :)  I would guess most GMs would use the Power Skill for this; if it were me, that's how I'd do it.

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16 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

The Power Skill does both, with additional functions determined by the GM (often responding to players asking if they can perform a power trick).  Though in 6e you can fine tune your RSR to use different Skills (a different 3-point Skill, a PS or KS, even a Characteristic Roll).  

 

If you're the GM, you can decide.  If you're not the GM, then ask your GM.  :)  I would guess most GMs would use the Power Skill for this; if it were me, that's how I'd do it.

 

I am the GM so that's good!

 

What kind of other things would you have it do?  According to FRED you can't really add advantages or remove limitations (though I know some RSR alternate rules break that with a -2 per -1/4 limitation removed).  Cantrips are fluffy and fun, but are they worth 3 points? 

 

Tying it to PS is an interesting idea, though that seems to advantage caster PS's over noncaster (they don't get any equivalent). 

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18 hours ago, Lucius said:

 

First, why shouldn't they cost the same?

 

But if you really think cantrips should be cheap, attach  them not to the Power Skill, but to the Professional Skill.
 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

PS: Palindromedary Rider

 

 

Because they are not as broadly useful.

 

The downside to the PS idea is that this magic is racial, so it isn't really tied to a skill. The elves can just do it. It doesn't matter if they are a ranger, bladesinger, or farmer...so I'm not sure that the PS really works? 

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A lot of good suggestions in this thread - to me, it comes down to the question of: In your game, since elves don't need a skill roll for regular spells, should they require a Skill in order to perform cantrips? If your answer is no, then just consider it a kind of custom Talent or Perk with a cost that seems appropriate to the level of actual utility you anticipate allowing it to have (3 pts, 5 pts, etc.).  If your answer is yes, elven cantrips should require a Skill, then just go with Power Skill - Chris Goodwin in particular pointed out some other possible applications of it beyond "power stunt" cantrips.

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6 hours ago, Tywyll said:

The downside to the PS idea is that this magic is racial, so it isn't really tied to a skill. The elves can just do it. It doesn't matter if they are a ranger, bladesinger, or farmer...so I'm not sure that the PS really works? 

 

I think in this case it actually works better (or just as well) because it represents how much time/effort the character has spent to learn to use the natural magical ability. Maybe make the skill an "Everyman" skill for all Elves, with maybe base roll 8- or 9-, then those who have practiced magic a lot raise it up, those who don't, don't raise it up very much. 

 

For example, there are lots of things all humans can do in real life (swim, run, deduce, etc...) but only if people spend time practicing and learning and training with those abilities that everyone has, do they become super good at them and better then other people who can do the same thing, just not as well. Or as another example, everyone knows their native language (english in the usa) but some people actually further study it in university or read a lot, etc... and those people have a way bigger vocabulary, really know all the syntax and grammar rules, etc...  that can be like magic in your game. Everyone "knows it" but some people who have really practiced and studied it know little things and tricks that regular people might not know about. 

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14 hours ago, mallet said:

 

I think in this case it actually works better (or just as well) because it represents how much time/effort the character has spent to learn to use the natural magical ability. Maybe make the skill an "Everyman" skill for all Elves, with maybe base roll 8- or 9-, then those who have practiced magic a lot raise it up, those who don't, don't raise it up very much. 

 

For example, there are lots of things all humans can do in real life (swim, run, deduce, etc...) but only if people spend time practicing and learning and training with those abilities that everyone has, do they become super good at them and better then other people who can do the same thing, just not as well. Or as another example, everyone knows their native language (english in the usa) but some people actually further study it in university or read a lot, etc... and those people have a way bigger vocabulary, really know all the syntax and grammar rules, etc...  that can be like magic in your game. Everyone "knows it" but some people who have really practiced and studied it know little things and tricks that regular people might not know about. 

 

Okay, you've convinced me. So would the PS that Elves get, would that be like the PS everyone gets (soldier, priest, farmer, etc) or would it be an additional one only for elves?

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10 hours ago, Tywyll said:

 

Okay, you've convinced me. So would the PS that Elves get, would that be like the PS everyone gets (soldier, priest, farmer, etc) or would it be an additional one only for elves?

 

That's best left to you to decide. I personally would have a specific one for the Elves (PS: Elvin Magic) and then any non-elves who use a different style of magic would have to buy (it wouldn't be an "everyman" skill for them) something like PS: Magic, or PS: Fire Magic, or however your magic system is based and how detailed you want to get with it. 

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