Changes to sorcery

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Mixster
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Postby Mixster » Mon May 02, 2011 8:24 am

Deleriad wrote:Actually I think there's another interesting issue here which is what happens to RQ in a world where common magic is not actually commonly known? i.e. where magic is only used by specialists.

Is there a rationale for giving non-magic users something else? Heroic Abilities currently cost 1 MP to invoke which, to an extent, allows the non-magician another use of their Magic Points. What about extending these into "slightly heroic abilities" (i.e. they may require 70% in a skill and 12 in a stat without a hero point cost).

E.g. Impressive Pecs. Requires Brawn 70% and STR 12. When targeted by a spell that has the trait Resist (Persistence), the adventurer may spend 1 Magic Point to resist with their Brawn rather Persistence.

Anti-magic focus. Requires POW 12 and Perception 70%. When targeted by a spell with a resist trait the adventurer may spend any number of Magic Points. For each Magic Point spent this way, the adventurer gets +5% to their chance to resist the spell.

Obviously magicians may use these but they tend to either be low on MPs due to dedicated POW or need their MPs to cast magic so they will be of most use to non-magic users.

You could also extend Combat Manoeuvres.
E.g. Double attack. Requires 70% in a combat style featuring a 2H sword. If you gain a Combat Manoeuvre you can spend 1 MP to use the Double Attack CM. The Double Attack CM allows you to immediately attack a different opponent. This attack requires you to spend a CA as usual.

That might be more work than you're interested in and might not fit the setting but it is a way of allowing non-magic users to use their MPs for something.
I like this, but why not just call it magic? It's what it does afterall, and it keys of other primary skills for fighters. But it's still magic IMO. So the playing style problem may still exist.
My point exactly. The problem is that you can ignore siz, str and con, and simply use your magic to gain great values in those stats. So even though the sorcerer ignore 2-3 of his stats, those that use them gain no edge towards him.
However, those that actually use their POW, can make sure he has to use those stats. Those that attempt to swing greatswords at him will have to make sure they act first. The sorcerer will have to compete in this rocket tag as well. Unless he has a party that can make sure he doesn't get a crossbow bolt to the face before he starts casting his spells.
But the fact is that some people will not enjoy playing people that make stuff happen magically, and I as GM will have to live with that. I cannot simply have all my players be casters, as some of them will not think it's fun.
But then I think our definition of caster is off. I'd not think of someone who boosted their combat prowess with Bladesharp as a caster. Nor would I think of somebody who uses bandits cloak to better blend in as a caster. They are simply people who have accepted that to fit in a magical world, you need to do magic. Casters would be the type of guy that can solve the problem using only magic, or give such a great boon that the problem gets trivial through magic. They have huge problems with MPs outside of Ebberron, and not wearing armour, inside Ebberron.
Besides that, Divine magic only gets really good when you becomes a Rune Lord / Rune Priest, and those two positions come with extremely limiting responsibilities, in terms of donating 50% of one's income to the cult, etc.
Wat? I think you should re-read the Divine Magic section. There are loads of spells that are awesome that don't require you to be a Rune Lord or a Rune Priest, true you can only cast 5-6 of them per day if you are an acolyte. But do you really need that much more, you can get them back the next day, and if not you'd have to return to town, also, with extension, your best spell can last all day.
However, sorcery also follow the rules for cults. So a gloranthan sorcerer would also have to donate some of his income to his cult.
Yep, which is why I am hesitant to directly interfere too much. However, you can still easily just boost your Shapechange with max magnitude without problem, as long as you only use cast it on yourself, with minimum duration.
Yeah, so it essentially adds one MP, and all my manipulation to the casting of shapechange.
I am not trying to balance magic vs non-magic. I am trying to balance magic to be good in some situations, but weak in others. A magic user should be able to do maginifcent things, all the things you said. I just wan't him to rely on the party in some way - a mage should not be omnipotent in my eyes, which is also what you implied in your earlier posts is one of the problems in d&d.

So I'm not talking about nerfing concept 2 "till it can't do any of that", but merely toning down how much they can do (allowing turning into a lizardman, instead of a wyrm - blasting 2 of the enemies with lightning, instead of the whole party).

But again, I may just be too influenced by the fact that you were in the air during the last fight (where, by the way, you yourself agreed that there was a problem Wink ). If the fight had been in the city or in a dungeon, you would have been seriously hindered. I will continue thinking about what to do before I change anything...
For starters I will equip my NPCs better in the future I think.
Yeah, I agreed that if one character can Fly, and everybody else is earthbound, and the fight takes place on a flying ship. The guy who can fly can do more things. In a dungeon Turning into a Wyrm is meaningless (Though I will certainly try), as it is just a Slarg who can't cast spells or use weapons.

Magic already is good in some situations and weak in others. If I didn't have a party of people that are bigger and more likely to get a bolt in the face than myself I would probably have died fighting those gnomes. It was an encounter were you didn't even want to make it a fight, because if we wanted to beat up the gnomes we could. Yet I still had to use magic points to get past them, since I would have been beaten up by the lowliest NPC. This is the hurdle of the sorcerer I think, you either go big, or you go home. So when I actually do decide to add anything to the party what I add will be great. When I don't want to waste resources, I wont be doing anything at all.
And I think I will also half the effect of some select spells, enhance, diminish, damage enhancement and perhaps damage resistance... But probably not shapechange, as I've come to realise that size is often as much of a minus as a plus. Especially in regard to NPC reactions.
Do keep in mind that there are common magic spells that do Enhance, Diminish, Damage enhance and Damage Resistance at almost that effect.

Perhaps I'd consider making what you know as Ebberron Wizardry into Common magic, and then scrapping Sorcery entirely.
Sad to throw out the most awesome magic system I've ever seen though.

Also, do keep in mind, that whatever change you make, I will accept it, you are the DM and all. I just don't want you to do anything rash. Nor would I want to lose interest in playing this character by being nerfed to heavily.

---
Dan True wrote:
Mixster wrote:
Dan True wrote: But that's not really a proper way to write it.
Already at level 2 spells in D&D The game gets broken, at level 4 spells, it gets silly and above that wizards usually stops caring about what's happening around them. They are crazy good in any D&D based setting. The fact that WoTC never realised this is just silly. Neither did the makers of Ebberron apparently.
It's because game designers [s]typically are not min/maxers ;) [/s] In D&D don't understand their own system.
FTFY. Heck, one of the Game designers actually thought taking Two-Weapon Fighting and Weapon Specialization with a light weapon was Overpowered. Because you got the benefit of the feat twice.
Luckily, the guys designing Runequest seems to know what is going on.
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Deleriad
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Postby Deleriad » Mon May 02, 2011 9:17 am

Mixster wrote:
Deleriad wrote:Actually I think there's another interesting issue here which is what happens to RQ in a world where common magic is not actually commonly known? i.e. where magic is only used by specialists.
I like this, but why not just call it magic? It's what it does afterall, and it keys of other primary skills for fighters. But it's still magic IMO. So the playing style problem may still exist.
By that argument Heroic Abilities are 'magic' as they require Magic Points to activate. There is a long tradition of POW in RQ referring to channeling a form of inner strength or focus. At one point this was used for Ki abilities.

For example, back when I was running DragonLance in RQ3 I used to let PCs exert themselves by spending X Fatigue Points to gain +X% to a skill roll or X Magic Points to give themselves +5*X%.

The basic point is that the attribute derived from POW which is used to fuel some magic can also be used to represent intense concentration, focus or exertion.
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Postby Verderer » Mon May 02, 2011 1:44 pm

I am only reading the rules on RQII magic at the moment, so forgive my ignorance, but it seems most you think magic (and sorcery in general) is possibly too powerful? In regard of 'balance' with non-magic using characters, if I understand this correctly?

The reason I find this topic interesting and useful is that I am planning a homebrew campaign which is kind of loosely based on D&D type of magic. One of the premises is that although magic is common, majority of people can't use it. You have to have the 'gift' in order to cast spells. Some have a minor gift which enables them to cast common magic. In D&D terms this would make them similar to multiclass/dual class characters, who know some but aren't experts by any means. These are the most common type of mages.

Sorcery I plan to reserve for the 'high' wizards who are the real thingy. Think Gandalf but only little less so. People bound by their gods have divine spells (although strictly speaking they don't have the 'gift'), and witches, warlocks, shamen and hoodoo-men use spirit magic (among other things).

So some of the players won't know spells at all. In fact, so far only one knows a bit of common magic. Remains to be seen whether they change their minds during play, when they get to witness the effects of magic.

Anyhow, As sorcery will in my campaign be the 'high' or 'true' magic, I intend to make it pretty rare and tightly controlled. The factions that use sorcery have very strict controls on who they teach, and potential apprentices are rare anyway. They might also have rather limited and focused grimoires. You could perhaps learn sorcery independently, but much of sorcery will be hidden, lost or in the hands of the guilds/opposion (whoever they are). So learning sorcery will be neither easy or quick. And learning sorcery will most likely require completing arduous and epic quests/research. Also, what could be better than an evil sorcerous mastermind to oppose any PCs dabbling in magic?

How does that sound?
Mixster
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Postby Mixster » Mon May 02, 2011 3:10 pm

Common Magic has a minor effect on the game, and mainly works as a supporting school of magic.

Common magic can help you in performing some tasks, however, you still have to use them yourself.

The problem is that if one guy has one of the higher forms of magic, he will be much more powerful than someone who has access to no magic at all. Glorantha fixes this by giving everybody the ability to start with 50-90% Common magic, thus having those that aren't using their magic points on higher magic have more possibilities to alter their everyday life.

With the higher types of magic you can usually solve an entire encounter with a few spells. A successful Wrack can usually win you one fight, and Aphrodisiac can easily make a social encounter an easily succeeded one.
The higher magics are off course different, divine magic is tremendously powerful since anything you cast is a Single CA and you are done, these spells can be casts reactively, and have immense power. With true-shot, the blind beggar can easily win the archery competition, with aphrodisiac the old cripple gets all the women, and with beast form, that priest ain't old and fragile anymore.
With sorcery you give up some of the raw power and speed of divine magic, for the versatility to change targets and duration of your spells on a whim. Sorcery is pretty expensive in MPs and in RQII, a sorcerer wont be casting more than 4-5 spells per day at maximum. The spells are tremendously useful and still allow most encounters to be treated as rather trivial, they don't have the raw power of divine magic, but gain a lot of versatility, a fact that is perhaps most clearly seen in comparing Shapechange to Beast Form. Beastform allows yourself to change into one creature sacred to your cult, but gives extra Str, Dex, Siz, and Con Based on the magnitude. Shapechange is much more versatile and can both be used to change yourself into a powerful creature of the family, and enemies into a weak one, but you will be getting just standard stats (if you chose avian for example, you could turn yourself into a Roc, and your enemies into a Kiwi-Bird).
Spirit Magic looks at sorcery and divine magic and laughs. First, the effects can be indefinite, they are long lasting and useful. But not versatile at all. A spirit magician can pretty much only do two things: Buff himself senselessly, and have his spirit pets eat his enemies. But oh what power he holds.
Instead of turning into some creature, he can just have a spirit control that creature, and have it follow him. Instead of increasing his strength to deal more damage, his nature spirit can just increase his damage modifier. He can also still use his Common Magic, which is pretty much the balancing factor for the other high magicians, since he can use the extra 11-15 MPs of his fetch. He doesn't do all the magic stuff like flying about that the other guys can, but he can still gather intelligence by spirit walking.

That's how I view the higher magics in short. Which is why I'm opposed to nerfing one without nerfing the others.

By the way Dan, I've been thinking about this, what if you just remove Magic Reserve, and see what happens?
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Postby Mugen » Mon May 02, 2011 3:37 pm

Loz wrote:To me, the best way to put the brakes on sorcery is to increase its MP cost. Instead of 1 MP per manipulation type, make it 1 MP per degree of inensity (grimoire/10). So sure, a sorcerer at a grimoire of 80% can cast that Wrack with 8 levels of manipulation, but that's an 8 MP cost on top of the 1 point needed for the basic level of the spell.
What about the following :

1) When a Sorcerer casts a spell, he cannot invest more MPs than his Grimoire skill/10 (your suggestion);
2) Each MP invested in a spell gives the sorcerer a number of Manipulation levels equal to Manipulation skill/20;
3) No Manipulation can get more levels than the lowest of Grimoire and Manipulation skills, divided by 10;
4) Spell effect is based on the Magnitude effect level.
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Postby Verderer » Mon May 02, 2011 5:37 pm

Mixster wrote:
The problem is that if one guy has one of the higher forms of magic, he will be much more powerful than someone who has access to no magic at all.
Of course, this is problematic only if the GM and the players think that all PCs should be equally powerful? Roleplaying is not just about maximum destruction (or maximum whatever), and in our games, at least, unequal power levels usually aren't problem.

Besides, as I tried to explain, I am going to throw complications at these magic users, so that life won't be all that easy for them. Things like social acceptance (people often fear powerful and mystic individuals, or envy them etc.), the difficulty of becoming a true sorcerer, having to live according the rules of you society/faction, finding the proper tomes and knowledge, having to face the consequences of your magic, etc. Instead of 'fixing the rules', I prefer to work from within the game environment in such manner. So they can be extremely powerful but they would be constantly on the edge, as it were. Much more fun that way, I think.

And of course characters not able to use magic can still wield all sorts of ancient magic items...
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Postby Dan True » Mon May 02, 2011 8:42 pm

Mixster wrote: By the way Dan, I've been thinking about this, what if you just remove Magic Reserve, and see what happens?
Well, we can do this by just seeing how many MPs you have left, and then whether or not you are actually using your magic reserve.

But, I introduced the skill because I wanted sorcerers to be able to stand Dungeon-based adventures... Without it, sorcerers can really dominate an encounter, but will fail against multiple small encounters. (and since I like designing dungeons once in a while ...).
So it's a possibility,...but not one that I like, but may have to go with.

The balance I would like to attain is one where casting spells have an effect, but do not dominate the entire encounter. For instance, when you cast Enchance(int) combined with Enhance(dex), it has such a massive effect, that the encounter basically revolves around this spell. I would like that if you buff the team, they get an edge (say 1-2 more CAs), but don't become invincible.

Sooo, I would like magic to be decisive, such that a clever combination of 3-4 spells can really win home an encounter, if used correctly... But doubling the amount of CA availiable just seems like too much. Then it doesn't take finesse to apply the extra edge you have just been given, anymore.

Of course I can just throw more sorcerers against you, but then the encounter pretty much resolves around what sorcerer gets disrupted first...

But, I think I'll halve the effect of certain spells (and that may include Divine spells if we encounter problems with those) ... but before I do anything more than that, I'll try to counter the problem in-game and via heroic abilities and new combat manouvers.

- Dan
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Mixster
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Postby Mixster » Mon May 02, 2011 10:23 pm

I don't think sorcery is supposed to just give a slight edge. I think that's what common magic does. Sorcery should give quite heavy buffs at the higher price.

Keep in mind, that even with Magic Reserve I can only Buff the entire party with Enhance int + dex 9 times per day. For 12 minutes. This may help in one fight, but if enemies are smart, they'll retreat often when fighting sorcerers.

I would love to be facing more sorcerers as I have great ideas of how to counter anyone trying to pull my own tricks on me.

Atm I think I'm at 14 MPs after one fight and spending a bit of time as a Newt/Pseudodragon. That means I've used 13 MPs, yeah, I'm starting to use my reserve now. I didn't at first.
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Postby DamonJynx » Tue May 03, 2011 4:49 am

Ohh the joy's of GM'ing intelligent players! I had hoped to avoid the "power-gaming" associated with D&D, particularly magic users (no offence meant, Mixster).

Dan, I feel your pain - you want the players to be able to play their PC's how they like, but at the same time you don't want clever spell use to be overly powerful, resulting in the escalation of challenges you see in D&D.

I'm glad the magic in Elric is more...toned down and not as freely available.

I haven't read through your conversion notes fully yet, but there must be a way to limit sorcery in a way that you and your players are comfortable with?

Now, I'm not fully conversant with the core magic systems so my following comments maybe off a bit - disclaimer for if I make a ridiculous suggestion.

Common magic, for example (and I'm going to use D&D Eberron classes here for clarity) might be the purview of artificers only. Sorcery the domain of wizards and the Arcane Academy. Perhaps you could make the learning of higher magnitude spells require time spent in study at the Academy or a teacher of appropriate skill, say 1 month per point of magnitude?

Other than that, I don't really see how you can be "fair" with your dumbing down of sorcery spells. IMO they should work as RAW, as that's what sets the expectations of the players (I want to play a sorcerer becasue the "Bite Me" spell is awesome...Oh you changed it GM, now it's mediocre, I don't want to play that now, I'll just play a fighter type...). As you say, you need to come up in-play, with legitimate ways of neutralising the effects of the spells you don't like.

One D&D GM I know (and this isn't me!), plies on template after template to nullify what clever players do. Player A purchases a +3 Lightning Warhammer, all the monsters now have templates or traits that gives them DR against electricity and bludgeoning damage - that kind of thing. Trust me, Dan, you don't want to be going down that path! Or even have players think you're going down that path.
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Mixster
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Postby Mixster » Tue May 03, 2011 7:52 am

DamonJynx wrote:Ohh the joy's of GM'ing intelligent players! I had hoped to avoid the "power-gaming" associated with D&D, particularly magic users (no offence meant, Mixster).
None taken, I like min/maxing or powergaming or munchkinism or whatever you like to call it. Especially when it fits with the character, and in this particular circumstance, it does.
One D&D GM I know (and this isn't me!), plies on template after template to nullify what clever players do. Player A purchases a +3 Lightning Warhammer, all the monsters now have templates or traits that gives them DR against electricity and bludgeoning damage - that kind of thing. Trust me, Dan, you don't want to be going down that path! Or even have players think you're going down that path.
I've had those as well, and while at first I thought it intelligent and fun at last I just got tired of preparing for all the things that could happen.
I remember once playing a wizard with so many crafted contingencies it was stupid. And my spell list was prepared 75% to protect everything that he attempted to kill me. Then he found out I hadn't prepared anything as a silent spell, so the next thing we met was a lich with a one mile area of silence around me. Well, gee thanks! :roll:
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DamonJynx
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Postby DamonJynx » Tue May 03, 2011 8:44 am

Mixster wrote: I've had those as well, and while at first I thought it intelligent and fun at last I just got tired of preparing for all the things that could happen.
I remember once playing a wizard with so many crafted contingencies it was stupid. And my spell list was prepared 75% to protect everything that he attempted to kill me. Then he found out I hadn't prepared anything as a silent spell, so the next thing we met was a lich with a one mile area of silence around me. Well, gee thanks! :roll:
Definitely not good when a GM does that. I GM'd once and had an area that was essentially one big anti-magic field. The guy's (my NPC's included!) had to be clever as they were just relying on their own skills without the +5 Holy Vorpal Bane everything except squid Butter-knives of Beelzebub!
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Postby PhilHibbs » Tue May 03, 2011 10:59 am

Mugen wrote:What about the following :
1) When a Sorcerer casts a spell, he cannot invest more MPs than his Grimoire skill/10 (your suggestion);
2) Each MP invested in a spell gives the sorcerer a number of Manipulation levels equal to Manipulation skill/20;
3) No Manipulation can get more levels than the lowest of Grimoire and Manipulation skills, divided by 10;
4) Spell effect is based on the Magnitude effect level.
I think that would be too complicated. It's already a chore to cast a spell, at a minimum tallying up how far away they are and how many targets can be hit. It also has the side-effect that sorcery spells become much harder to counter or dispel as they will usually have some magnitude.
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Postby sdavies2720 » Tue May 03, 2011 1:18 pm

Mixster wrote:... Then he found out I hadn't prepared anything as a silent spell, so the next thing we met was a lich with a one mile area of silence around me. Well, gee thanks! :roll:
LOL. I once had a Bard that was (as most low level bards are) a support character and basically ineffective. He never got much opportunity to shine. Then one night the party got split up: just my Bard and a Fighter trying to penetrate the core of an enemy castle. Outnumbered, having to sneak, having to buff, having to be flexible. My Bard was in his element doing great as we alternately snuck, ran, cajoled, bluffed, and when we had to, fight, our way through.

Until we found that the core of the castle had magical silence...uh, ok...You lead, I'll carry the lantern.

That GM never understood why I drifted away from the campaign after that.

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Postby Dan True » Tue May 03, 2011 4:37 pm

DamonJynx wrote: One D&D GM I know (and this isn't me!), plies on template after template to nullify what clever players do. Player A purchases a +3 Lightning Warhammer, all the monsters now have templates or traits that gives them DR against electricity and bludgeoning damage - that kind of thing. Trust me, Dan, you don't want to be going down that path! Or even have players think you're going down that path.
Hehe, that is a kinda crappy way of doing it. But I'm not talking about that kinda stuff. But if sorcery is that powerful, naturally competent PCs will be equipped to handle it. I am talking dirty tricks, not just static damage reduction or magic items ;)

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Postby Simulacrum » Tue May 03, 2011 4:50 pm

I don't know if it has been suggested - but I for one would just consider having Magnitude cost Magic Points as well as manipulation points (it's spell reinforcement after all, to stop it getting taken down too easily. old time RQ players will remember adding extra MP to shore up their spells). So if you are worried about regular castings of something big and glitzy - this may magnify the cost in a fairly logical way, and make a casting backed with Magnitude the sorcerer's showpiece of the day.

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