Traveller SRD....Magic Anyone?

I have no problems mixing fantasy and sci-fi elements. It just needs the right setting. The standard Imperium type settings, probably wouldn't work with magic too well. But then again, Psionics is pretty much the same as magic, rulewise, but it has a different explanation/background.

If you put both magic and psionics in a campaign, you will probably want some different mechanics to keep them seperate.

Besides, as has previously been stated, any sufficiently advanced technology is the same as magic.

Long time ago I worked out the concept of a universe that has magic. It's usually found around precursor ruins and artifacts. Humans don't really understand it, but some are starting to use it. The truth is stranger than they may think. It's all caused by Thaums, the elemental particle of magic. Well, actually they aren't natural. Rather Thaums are actually the precursors ultimate technology. Essentially they are quantum sized pseudo telepathic 'robots' created from the substance of spacetime itself. Humans don't have the tech to identify what they really are, but they can detected them when active by their unique Thaumic Radiation Signature.

Well, that's just some more concepts for you to chew on :wink:
EDG said:
I don't think there should be a magic system in Traveller. SF has psionics (i.e. weird powers of the mind) filling that niche, not magic (i.e. control of extradimensional or supernatural energies or abilities granted by supernatural entities).

While definitely not Traveller flavor, as a generic SF engine, it probably would need rules for Magic. There is a lot of Pseudo-magic and Fantasy-Science blurring in Sci-Fi stories available today, a lot has changed since the 'Foundation Trilogy'.

I read a story in a Cyberpunk anthology about someone who accidentally conjured a monster by playing his Fender Stratocaster Guitar to work out his anger ... Psionics just won't cover that.
For those who think that psionic and magic systems need to follow the same game mechanic, you have forgotten that with most early roleplaying games, the two systems where very different.

Modern games make the use of magic to be an automatic thing, but in many settings, the effectiveness of magic is based upon many things outside of the characters control - from the ambient level of mana to areas of positive vs negative magic - even colours and flavours of magic.
You may have the best training and experience, with all the best arcane knowledge, but you won't get that feather to lift unless the surrounding area meshes with what you are trying to do.

Psionics are fundamentally based upon a deterministic system - if you have the ability, you will be able to perform the task, while no matter how much training will alow someone without the ability to perform the action.

Magic is fundamentally a non-deterministic system. You have no way of knowing who is or is not capable of using magic as this is setting dependant. You do not know if there are rules that govern the use of magic or if it is inherently rule-less, ie two different magicians can not get the same effect from the same causes. This is what separates magic from science in that it is not testable or reproducible except in limited circumstances.

Overall, from a game setting point of view, you do want a system that makes psionics and magic feel different or you will loose that element of wonder you feel when you read comics like Dr Strange when he combats a mind mage.......

For the SRD (not the OTU rules) a way of handling magic should be included. This allows for Chutulu in Space or Modern Dresden Files type settings from the start.

Eventually even the support for low fantasy settings would also be covered.

Just my 2c
Sounds like you are postulating as many different magic systems as there are FTL drives. :p

Perhaps if you want to cover magic in Traveller then we should look for a separate book dealing with the subject. Sort of Book 9 Wizardry.

I think the core book should stick with psionics and a later book can cover psionics and magic in more detail.
Psionics and Advanced Technology are actually fundamentally different than Magic. I once read the complete transcripts of the Salem Witch Trials and was quite surprised by just how ‘magic’ works to those who really believe in it (as opposed to the vanilla magic of most pop-fantasy).

Unknown to you, the old woman who sells you a jug of cider is a witch, and uses the money you pay as the physical link between You and Her Spell. She calls upon dark powers (drawn to her malicious nature) to place a curse upon you. You become sick to the point of being near death. Your desperate family hires a stranger knowledgeable in counter curses who performs the proper counter-charm, seals the urine of the victim in a clay pot and cooks it in an oven. This will reflect the curse back upon the witch. The witch learns of the counter curse and dies.

This really happened!

Such a system of power is NOT INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY and is NOT properly handled with the PSIONICS rules. Outside of the significant ‘flavor’ differences, the mechanics are radically different from Technology.
Dalton: Based upon the games of the 70's and 80's, both were deterministic.

AD&D: Magic had no rolls to activate. Think-do. Psionics had a similar approach. (Psionics became Roll-to-activate under 2E... in The 1990's.) pre-2E, they differed in how they were limited; magic was spells of level _ per day, while psionics was point driven. Resisted psionics had some rolling.

Rolemaster: all three systems of magic used the same system; Spacemaster Psionics was a 4th category under the same system. If you have the points, it works. All 4 were point driven. Rolls to succeed only if you pushed your abilities.

Palladium: Psionics point driven. Magic in spells per day. If you can trigger, it works.

Tunnels and Trolls: Magic defined as a psionic activity. If you have the Strength, it works.

Classic Traveller: Psionics system only. Point driven, no rolls.
Mega Traveller: Psionics system only. Point driven, Roll to start.
TNE: Psionics System only, but magic system available in companion game (using same mechanics). Roll to succeed, unlimited attempts.
T4: Psionics system only, point driven, rolls only when pushing.
Border Reiver said:
Erm, no it didn't. There is no such thing as magic or witchcraft. Just superstition. :lol:

Well, real world magic tended to be more about people doing things that seemed to work with no understanding about how it worked. A love potion was a concoction made from herbs that acted as an aphrodisiac, but the practitioners wouldn't have understood the hows and whys of it - just that out of experience it works. Hence, it's "magic"... it often did actually work (and if not, well, maybe the juju or mojo or whatever wasn't working), it was just that there's nothing actually supernatural about it.
Border Reiver said:
This really happened!
Erm, no it didn't. There is no such thing as magic or witchcraft. Just superstition. :lol:
As Irvine Welsh once said, it's all unknown science. :lol:

The cause and effect are not what the people believed they were, but the events did happen. RPG 'Magic' rules are about "What IF the cause and effect were real".
EDG said:
AKAramis said:
CT, MT, TNE, T4, and T20 all do have a Magic system. It's called Psionics.

What Traveller has is a psionics system, not a magic system. One's internal, the other's external.

In roleplaying terms, Psionics is a supernatural way for the human mind to affect the world around it by the power of will alone. It needs nothing but concentration and inherent ability to work.

Magic is a system whereby humans can control the world around them by harnessing some kind of external supernatural energy, be it "mana" or "divine will" or whatever. It needs a lot of training, but generally anyone can potentially be trained to use magic.

<snip for brevity>

It's a subtle difference but an important one I think.

A good distinction, but one already included in models of magic (in period documents about it, at least). Specifically, in two commonly proposed division/branches of magic: Goetic Magic(external force and/or spirit based effects s) or Theurgic , (Internal, based on great knowlege of the effect or target used to make an alteration;knowlege as literal power) - essentially gnostic - Magic .. Howsomever, remember that both are bunkum, and a good illustration of why an exquisitely detailed and self consistent system does not invariably equate to a description of the real world....which, I suppose, is what RPG design always grapples with..

Anyway as I said in the other forum, Traveller really doesn't need to have a D&D magic system welded onto it-psionics works well enough, particulalry if you just expand the effects available.
I like the books by Raymond Fiest set in Midkemia.

There is "High Magic" and "Low Magic", typically someone who can do one can't do the other (PUG is one of the few, if not the only one, who can do both).

I look at these as Psionics (High Magic) and regular component-somantic-verbal "magic" (Low Magic).

While having one does not mean the other can't exist in the same setting, my memory is that there are very few sci-fi/futuristic 'settings' where "low magic" exists....
The only problem with mixing Magic with tech, is you kinda end up with something like the Force from Star Wars. Magic and SciFi don't really mix well sadly. I have played D&D, Gamma World, and Traveller now for like 32+ yrs (for D&D) and the others slightly shorter times.

Magic and Tech kinda works slightly in Gamma World but you need a system that can bridge all these geners. As far as I can find, the only system that does all that well is the Hero System game rules. The rules are the same in all their setting and you just tailor what you want to fit your setting and etc.

Thus I would say keep Traveller a tech setting and forget the magic.

Magic and low tech, maybe. Magic and high tech is Shadowrun. Throws everything and the kitchen sink into a big pot. A game that doesn't know what it wants to be.
Getting away from RPGs a bit, the Final Fantasy series of video games use a mix of magic and tech. Since each game in the series is a bit different than the others, they have actually blended Magic and Tech several different ways.

Seems to me it can be done, doing it for an RPG might be a bit tough.
From a generic RPG standpoint - ie OGL Traveller, the system should be able to handle Shadowrun, Riddick, Final Fantasy, Chuthulutech and any other system that may have elements of magic intermixed with fantasy, or even a fantasy setting exclusively, such as thieves world (which had a Classic Traveller section written by Marc)

When you look at a superhero game, you will often see technology, magic and psionics, all in the same setting, all treated differently while being handled by rpg's.

I personally do not see magic and psionics as being the same thing. Psionics are too limited and predictable. A psion who happens to be physically wired to use psionics, applies skill and power and the effect happens. A magician uses metaphors and the twisting of reality where their own perceptions are used to overide the universe itself. Depending upon the setting, it is possible that anyone can perform magic and from that standpoint, some settings are just the average of all the agreed upon perceptions of it's inhabitants (runequest anyone?)

I am not saying that magic should be included in the base rules, or ever make it's way into the OTU, just that the designers should think about including the mechanics for it in the OGL for use by GM's who want to use it for their own universes - after all, the OTU was not even included in the first four books of Traveller (books 0-3) as Traveller was a generic game system without a fixed setting.

best regards