Magic of Legend

Discover the Legend RPG, Mongoose's fantasy game.
Lord Kruge
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby Lord Kruge » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:18 pm

The "Nuclear Option" when it comes to Low-Magic Campaigns - all Common Magic and Sorcery Spells are their own skill. :twisted:


Hey Matt...I know Magic of Legend will include Pete's Blood Magic options, but will it include all the cool spells from MRQI Runequest Magic? It would be nice to get all those spells into the OGL.
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby Mankcam » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:43 am

Sample Houserules Magic System

- Each Spell/Power is a separate skill

- Base Spell Power is Magnitude (MAG) 1 and uses 1 MP.

- The typical effect a MAG 1 Spell/Power in game mechanics is either a a:+/- 10%, b: +/- 2, or c: +/- d6. Typically 'a' pertains to skill chances, 'b' pertains to attributes or other scores of a similar scale, and 'c' pertains to damage. The rest is narrative.

- Spells/Powers are learnt once, but all are variable and can be performed at any MAG, with a culminative -30% casting chance for each additional MAG.

- Every style of Magic has an unique Arcane Knowledge (eg: AK: Sorcery, AK: Theology, AK: Animism, etc). For each 10% known of Arcane Knowledge, the character can perform a MAG without suffering the culminative -30% casting chance.

So an initiate with Theology 26% could perform a prayer for a Power granted by their patron deity (eg Bladesharp 65%) up to MAG 2 . If attempting to cast it at higher MAG they receive casting modifiers, such as MAG 3 -30% (Bladesharp 35%), MAG 4 -60% (Bladesharp 05%), etc. A Sorcerer with Sorcery 72% would be able to cast up to MAG 7, but would cast MAG 8 at -30%, -60% for MAG 9 etc.

- Arcane Knowledge is closely guarded secret, and higher degrees in it are taught only to those proven worthy to the teachers.

- You can use this same base system for any magic style, you just have to hang flavour on it so it's not just a bunch of mechanics. The same spell can be renamed many times depending upon it's varied trappings and magic style.


Just putting it out there. It works for me, as my group didn't like having too many different mechanics for the magical styles. No disrespect against the published magic systems, but this is how we are currently playing magic.
PhilHibbs
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby PhilHibbs » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:28 pm

Lord Kruge wrote:The "Nuclear Option" when it comes to Low-Magic Campaigns - all Common Magic and Sorcery Spells are their own skill. :twisted:
I'd call that the "don't bother with magic because it isn't worth it" option. No-one will take magic because it is interesting or fun, they'll just take maybe a heal spell because that's the only one that still remains worthwhile. I can't ever imagine having a separate Bladesharp skill when I could just spend those IRs on my combat skill, STR, DEX, evade, etc.

Just ask anyone who played RQ3 about the individual-spell-skill sorcery system.
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby RangerDan » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:31 pm

PhilHibbs wrote:
Lord Kruge wrote:The "Nuclear Option" when it comes to Low-Magic Campaigns - all Common Magic and Sorcery Spells are their own skill. :twisted:
I'd call that the "don't bother with magic because it isn't worth it" option. No-one will take magic because it is interesting or fun, they'll just take maybe a heal spell because that's the only one that still remains worthwhile. I can't ever imagine having a separate Bladesharp skill when I could just spend those IRs on my combat skill, STR, DEX, evade, etc.
Well voila, a Low-Magic Campaign :wink: .

No, I see your point, though there might be setting-specific reasons for taking magic anyways, i.e. you can only harm certain evil creatures with Disruption or a Bladesharp weapon. That way the player who invests his IRs into magic skills is rewarded by occasionally by being able to do things nobody else can.


A "Nuclear-lite" option might be grouping thematically similar magics into Grimoire-style skills, with properly fluffed names of course:

Hunter's Rites: Bladesharp, Multimissile, Bandit Cloak.
Blessing of the Mountain King: Bludgeon, Protection.
The Evil Eye: Befuddle, Disruption
etc...

Of course Sorcery already works like this, but there are other ways of limiting the power of Sorcery if desired.
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby PhilHibbs » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:26 pm

RangerDan wrote:Well voila, a Low-Magic Campaign :wink: .

No, I see your point, though there might be setting-specific reasons for taking magic anyways, i.e. you can only harm certain evil creatures with Disruption or a Bladesharp weapon. That way the player who invests his IRs into magic skills is rewarded by occasionally by being able to do things nobody else can.
OK, that works. I also like the Common Magic grimoire idea. It has occurred to me that once a player gets Common Magic up to a high level, then acquiring more and more common magic will become a strong drive. Breaking up the Common Magic skill addresses this. I don't think I'll do it though, I'm happy with a high level of magic.
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby Mankcam » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:26 pm

A "Nuclear-lite" option might be grouping thematically similar magics into Grimoire-style skills, with properly fluffed names of course:

Hunter's Rites: Bladesharp, Multimissile, Bandit Cloak.
Blessing of the Mountain King: Bludgeon, Protection.
The Evil Eye: Befuddle, Disruption
etc...


Excellent flavour and trappings. Yes this 'Grimoire/Realm' certainly approach works much better than 'one spell-one skill'...
PhilHibbs
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby PhilHibbs » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:10 pm

On the general subject of a "low magic campaign", I don't think that this can be achieved by any "nuclear option" of just making magic so hard that it isn't worth having. Magic can be rare because it is rare, that's ok. You could charge Free Skill points for them, have them being cult or guild secrets so the players have to have obligations in order to acquire them, or only allow them to be discovered in play. But making them prohibitively expensive to advance and improve is not the right way, in my opinion. It means that anyone who has gained access to these rare secrets is in fact gimping themselves in the long run compared to those who do without magic.
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby Mixster » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:53 am

What's up with the notion that, "low magic = useless magic", idea?

In most low magic settings I know, (George R.R. Martins Westeros for example), magic is rare, but extremely powerful, when Melisandre for example resists the poison or uses some spells to summon shadows to do her bidding. In the Kingkiller chronicles, magic would is, in game terms, ridicolously overpowered. I mean the main character beats like 20 bandits and a "demon" by using his magic creatively.

If you make a "magic sucks" setting, don't confuse it with low-magic. If each common magic spell was it's own skill, and casting it at higher magnitudes caused you to take a 10% hit to it. Having bladesharp as that skill would simply mean you have a skill were you can sometimes add half of it to another skill. That's pretty silly.

However to be more constructive than just saying nerfing magic is a bad idea I present one of my own ideas:

Keep the 4 systems of magic but format them like follows:
Common Magic: Keep as is, Common Magic ain't particularly powerful without the Divine Magic Amplify.

Divine Magic: Magnitude is now 1/20% pact skill, Instead of each deity only offering a select few spells each deity adds or deducts a certain amount on each spell of your chance to get them. Want to get Bearform from the god of hugging animals? Fine that adds +20% to your attempt to it, if you want to get it from the god of hitting people with sticks, that deducts 40% from your attempt. This reduces the need for the pact skill, increasing it is not as important, and as a result only fanatic followers will be able to do a variety of stuff from their gods, while the initiates are restricted to their gods favorite spells. In addition to this you could scrap the entire Initiate, Acolyte, Runepriest/runelord, and have it just be Initiate spells are regained at your full pact, Acolyte skills at half your pact, and runepriest spells at a quarter of your pact.
All in all, divine magic gets more miracle like as the powerful stuff gets cast less. Amplify could be skipped although I am uncertain it really is that powerful or whether it just makes common magic worth it.

Sorcery: Intensity (the per 10% of sorcery skill thing) gets tied into magnitude.
In one smooth stroke all sorcery spells now cost 1 more magic point to cast and take 1 more CA, meaning sorcery buffing in combat takes a lot longer.

Spirit Magic: Only chaos spirits can discorporate unwilling people (per the normal rules).
While spirit magic buffs are good, the worst part was that you can run around with a wolf spirit, who gives you 2 wolf companions, and in combat it discorporates one of your enemies. All in all you are fighting like 3 people while everybody else is fighting like one person on an intensity 2 spirit.
Discorporating people is just too good, so I suggest limiting it to a special kind of spirit.
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby Titus » Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:06 pm

Mixster wrote:Spirit Magic: Only chaos spirits can discorporate unwilling people (per the normal rules).
While spirit magic buffs are good, the worst part was that you can run around with a wolf spirit, who gives you 2 wolf companions, and in combat it discorporates one of your enemies. All in all you are fighting like 3 people while everybody else is fighting like one person on an intensity 2 spirit.
Discorporating people is just too good, so I suggest limiting it to a special kind of spirit.
In the Age of Treason setting, most spirits must manifest (a spirit skill) in the material world to engage in spirit combat. They do not rip their victim's soul from their body and drag it into the spirit world to fight it. Also, the person being attacked by a manifested spirit uses the better of their full Persistence or Spirit Binding skill for spirit combat. There are some very dangerous spirits with the discorporate ability, but they are rare.

I will probably be using these changes in my Gloranthan game which is switching to RQ/Legend rules. I have just started an Age of Treason game with another group, but we aren't far enough in to have had any spirit combats yet.
So many games, so little time....sigh!
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby Mixster » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:24 am

Titus wrote:
Mixster wrote:Spirit Magic: Only chaos spirits can discorporate unwilling people (per the normal rules).
While spirit magic buffs are good, the worst part was that you can run around with a wolf spirit, who gives you 2 wolf companions, and in combat it discorporates one of your enemies. All in all you are fighting like 3 people while everybody else is fighting like one person on an intensity 2 spirit.
Discorporating people is just too good, so I suggest limiting it to a special kind of spirit.
In the Age of Treason setting, most spirits must manifest (a spirit skill) in the material world to engage in spirit combat. They do not rip their victim's soul from their body and drag it into the spirit world to fight it. Also, the person being attacked by a manifested spirit uses the better of their full Persistence or Spirit Binding skill for spirit combat. There are some very dangerous spirits with the discorporate ability, but they are rare.

I will probably be using these changes in my Gloranthan game which is switching to RQ/Legend rules. I have just started an Age of Treason game with another group, but we aren't far enough in to have had any spirit combats yet.
This is a much fairer system than the Core book system.
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PhilHibbs
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby PhilHibbs » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:39 am

Mixster wrote:What's up with the notion that, "low magic = useless magic", idea?
...
If you make a "magic sucks" setting, don't confuse it with low-magic.
Absolutely.
Divine Magic: Magnitude is now 1/20% pact skill
How does doubling the cost to acquire or advance divine magic fit in with your earlier sentiment?
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby RangerDan » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:05 pm

I think it's very difficult to get a proper "low-magic" feel out of rules alone. As Mixster says most magic users in low-magic fiction are actually very powerful. Yet in most low-magic campaigns we dream up plenty of house rules to limit the power of "out-of-the-book" magic.

I tend to agree with Phil that making magic extremely difficult to advance (from a game mechanics perspective) has the potential to alienate magic-using PCs. Having said that, the very fact that magic is difficult to advance and rare makes it more powerful. A Sorceror who knows Wrack is dangerous anywhere, but in a world where nobody knows any magical protection spells he is frightening indeed.

If I was running a low-magic campaign I think I would look at limiting the availability of spells as the best way to get the low-magic feel though. In particular, I would scrap the Common Magic skill entirely, leaving only specific sets of Common Magic spells attached to Divine and Spirit cults.

I think Divine magic rules are actually fine as they are for a low-magic setting, with cult advancement being the limiting factor through in-story means. Becoming an Acolyte or a Priest should require significant dedication. But even so a PC Initiate would know a handful of Common magic spells and occasionally be able to throw out something heavier, which will be more than most can do.

Spirit Magic can be scary for the reasons Mixster mentions. I would definetely apply the Age of Treason rules to avoid the horror that is Discorporate. You could also further rule that in the setting the vast majority of spirits are weak (Intensity 1), giving a shaman with a stable of spirits a lot of flexibility, but not necessarily a lot of straight-up power. Alternatively, you could rule that in the setting all spirits are actively hostile against the living, and will attack the shaman as soon as the binding breaks. This gives a shaman a constant risk versus reward aspect to consider when using spirits. The shaman would also have access to a handful of Common spells to round out his powers.

Sorcery is very flexible and you can go a lot of different ways to get a low-magic feel out of it. Controlling which spells become available through Grimoires is important I think. I actually like the idea of keeping the rules for Sorcery generally unchanged (ie. powerful), but making it somehow unsavoury to use. Perhaps it involves contact with daemons, or human sacrifice to use to its fullest potential. Sorcerors are the genre's favourite bad guys after all.

Ok this post got a little too long now I think, apologies to all :wink: .
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby DamonJynx » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:23 pm

RangerDan wrote:Stuff.
I agree that making magic too hard to advance or difficult to learn will alienate players.

For a low magic setting, create spell lists that suit the flavour of a particular archetype; witches- common magic and some sorcery enchantment type spells for example. Priests have spells associated with their Deity/Pantheon, Sorcerers have very tight, themed grimoires and Warlocks after creating a Pact with an infernal power gain the use of the Command and Summon Demon skills from the Elric setting, each time they summon a Demon they gain insanity points...
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby sdavies2720 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:57 pm

The simplest way to get low-magic that doesn't suck and doesn't alienate players, is to make casting expensive. If instead of one magic point cost per point of magnitude, it is 5 magic points per point of magnitude, spells will only be used only when they are most needed and heroes must rely on mundane solutions to problems most of the time.

You can still play with the other factors in magic production, but I would think the casting cost would be the easiest and most effective parameter to vary.

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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby Mixster » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:36 pm

PhilHibbs wrote:
Mixster wrote:What's up with the notion that, "low magic = useless magic", idea?
...
If you make a "magic sucks" setting, don't confuse it with low-magic.
Absolutely.
Divine Magic: Magnitude is now 1/20% pact skill
How does doubling the cost to acquire or advance divine magic fit in with your earlier sentiment?
Ah you see now that I cleverly anticipated this question.

The reduced magnitude does come from the pact skill actually being more useful in my proposed changes; since so few spells rely on magnitude, making the one that do, a little worse ain't all that bad. People will with the change also get +10-40% to the pact for their signature spells just for worshipping the right god.

However, I do digress, perhaps sorcery could take more combat actions to use instead of simply increasing the magic points. Sorcery is good because you can buff up with 2 spells in 1 CA. that is pretty darned awesome. If the time it took was increased by 1 (to 1 + number of manipulations) it would become a lot less scary.

Alternatively I was thinking of a system where I'd scrap magic points entirely. Divine Magic would be running on the differentiated Pact system I proposed before, Spirit Magic would be running on opposed rolls. Sorcery and Common magic would cause a mishap if the last digit was less than the magnitude of the spell (for common magic) or less than the number of manipulations used (for sorcery magic). The mishaps should be bad enough to discourage excessive use of magic, but not as bad as to nerf magic totally. Perhaps the Mishap would become worse if the roll was a double, or a particularly unlucky number that the GM wrote down as game started (perhaps rolling 13 is unlucky, and if it causes a mishap it gets worse). Mishaps should off course be different from common magic to sorcery.

Magic points would be replaced by POW/3 (Or 4) magical re-rolls, which could be a re-roll of a divine magic casting roll, a spirit magic opposed roll, or to ignore a sorcery/common magic mishap roll.
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby Mugen » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:08 pm

sdavies2720 wrote:The simplest way to get low-magic that doesn't suck and doesn't alienate players, is to make casting expensive. If instead of one magic point cost per point of magnitude, it is 5 magic points per point of magnitude, spells will only be used only when they are most needed and heroes must rely on mundane solutions to problems most of the time.
So, if I'm lucky enough to have POW 15+, I will be able to cast Bladesharp 3 OR Heal 3 ONCE per day ? Except if I get those spells are for free, I think I would rather spend time in learning Combat Style and First Aid.

Note that this could work for Sorcery, as it was the case in RQ3, where each level of Intensity/Range/Duration was worth 1 MP. Nevertheless, the game offered ways to get MP storages more easily than Legend does...
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby sdavies2720 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:13 pm

Mugen wrote:So, if I'm lucky enough to have POW 15+, I will be able to cast Bladesharp 3 OR Heal 3 ONCE per day ? Except if I get those spells are for free, I think I would rather spend time in learning Combat Style and First Aid.
yep, that's what I call 'low magic'. Of course, you can adjust the costs to get the balance you want. The problem with making the spells hard to find (or otherwise changing the mechanism for getting the ABILITY to cast the spells but not the actual casting mechanism) is once characters get that ability, the campaign looks much like any other. And if you prevent them from getting the ability, you're nerfing magic. I think you have to focus on the casting mechanism
Mugen wrote:Note that this could work for Sorcery, as it was the case in RQ3, where each level of Intensity/Range/Duration was worth 1 MP. Nevertheless, the game offered ways to get MP storages more easily than Legend does...
I think it cal work both places.

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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby Mixster » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:43 pm

sdavies2720 wrote:The simplest way to get low-magic that doesn't suck and doesn't alienate players, is to make casting expensive. If instead of one magic point cost per point of magnitude, it is 5 magic points per point of magnitude, spells will only be used only when they are most needed and heroes must rely on mundane solutions to problems most of the time.
I just think it's a clever way to do the: Let's make magic suck so bad that no-one will use it. Then nobody will be using spells and it'll be a low magic setting!

If all bladesharp 3 did, was that once per day, for 5 minutes you could get +3 damage and +15% combat style for 2 CA. I think Common Magic would be a very terrible and situational skill.
Meaning magic gets bad, meaning it isn't effective, resulting in magic not being used.

All in all, Low magic isn't about magic being worse, it's about magic being less common.
The reason it is often referred to as a "low-magic setting" is IMO because it's in the setting.

Now the basic runequest rules are operating around the fact that magic is important since POW=Magic Points, so you'll need a way around this. Perhaps through heroic abilities.
All in all a low-magic fix could be to offer all PCs a heroic ability at start-up and then make a heroic ability for each of the magic schools called spellcaster(specific school) that gave you access to casting spells. People who aren't magicians get something to use their MP on, people who are get to feel more rare.
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby DamonJynx » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:44 pm

Look at the sorcery rules for Elric, rune casting and summoning. They are ideal for low-magic, swords and sorcery campaigns. Whilst they don't have same versatility or raw power as the magic systems in the core rulebooks, they can be quite useful if used creatively! The good thing is you don't have to nerf anything then. YGMV.
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Re: Magic of Legend

Postby Loz » Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:03 am

DamonJynx wrote:Look at the sorcery rules for Elric, rune casting and summoning. They are ideal for low-magic, swords and sorcery campaigns. Whilst they don't have same versatility or raw power as the magic systems in the core rulebooks, they can be quite useful if used creatively! The good thing is you don't have to nerf anything then. YGMV.
You'd be surprised how versatile and powerful Elric runes can be when used creatively... :-)
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