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> audun's ideas for an overhaul of SR magic, flexibility, consistency and magic
audun
post Apr 19 2005, 10:04 PM
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I'll try to post this now. It's rather long and as I've been writing it on and off for some weeks since this discussion.

EDIT: If you are new to this thread, the long discussion on "belief/understanding" can safely be skipped.

I post it with the intention that some of the people working on SR4 will pick up some or most of these ideas, and to get feedback. If I come of arrogant or something it's probably because I am ;)If SR4 continues in the same vein as MitS, this might be something for the SR3R. Here goes:

My intent is to make the SR magic rules more consistent and flexible. SR magic rules are quite good, better than many others. The initial system was a good idea and lots of good ideas have been added over time. Now, it's a heap of good ideas. The problem is that most ideas simply have been added on top of the others and the basic system, there's no consistency to it. SR4 intends to fix this for the rest of the system, so why not for magic too.
I have some suggestions. The basics are:

1. Magic works the way you believe it works. This is no longer only fluff (as it is by current rules), but the way the rules work. Culturally different traditions such as Quabbalah, Norse magic or Bantu animism shouldn't be tweaks of hermetic or shamanic magic, but traditions all by themselves. The spirits conjured and the magic worked should reflect this.

2. Same rules for all. SR3 mostly has same rules for everyone. Though, SR3 defies
1. By adding more flexibility to the basic rules it should be possible do both 1 and 2.

3. Move SR magic from the realm of D&D fantasy spellslingers into the realm of Urban fantasy (Neil Gaiman, etc) magicians. Why? Well, SR was originally the combination of D&D and cyberpunk. Since it first appeared, cyberpunk fiction is no longer or has evolved into so much more. SR4 seems to try to catch up with some of these changes. Why shouldn't it catch up with the evolution in fantasy as well. SR has adopted lots of concepts from RL occultism and mysticism, something which moves it much closer to urban fantasy, so why not take it the whole way.
What I want is magic rules which treats magic as magic is portrayed in fiction. Lots of rituals, mysticism, spirits and dangerous powers. This should be a part of the system, not fluff.

4. More options. Going from 1,2 and 3 the system needs more options. And it needs more ways of introducing new stuff. MitS was written in a way that permitted no new stuff to be added. There was two options for introducing new stuff in SR3 magic. One was to introduce new metamagics (T:AL, SOTA2063), the other was to tweak and bend the existing rules (Euromagic in SOTA2064). I felt crippled when working on the Neo-Pagan rules in the Euromagic chapter. I had to take into account what MitS said about something even if it was far off. I especially loathe the idea of Idols. MitS it was a ”cover everything”-book instead of the ”advanced magic rules” book. Hopefully Street Magic would be the latter.

5. No power creep. More options shouldn't be more powerful, only more flavor and fun. This hasn't really been a problem in SR so far IMHO, though it should still be avoided.

Take note that all my suggestions are only ideas and suggestions. Game balance or any other balance is not calculated with in any way. I'm no good at writing actual rules, I'm good at ideas and concepts.

This post has been edited by audun: May 4 2005, 01:16 PM
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audun
post Apr 19 2005, 10:09 PM
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BUILD POINT MAGIC
This is a somewhat cumbersome way of creating Awakened characters, but on the other hand it's flexible. It allows for some very heavy min-maxing, though that's the cost of it's flexibility and anyway the GM has the final word. It should be the advanced rules, probably left for Street Magic. The difference being that the the rules in BBB4 actually should be based on these. (That would probably be a good idea all over. Advanced rules should be designed when writing the basic rules.)
The Build Point Magic system gives every magical ability, bonus or weakness a point cost. Every option of the current system should be in there, but reduced to components many new may also be available. What are Totems, but at package of Merits and flaws and some ideals. Seen this way, creating your own Totem is quite easy.
As I have no idea what the SR4 BP system will look like all BP costs are to be taken with a grain of salt.

Building the magician:
You pay an initial amount of build points (BP) to be Awakened. Magic is bought like any other attribute, from 1 to 6 as the racial max.

You have to pay for astral senses as well:
Astral Sense 1 BP
Limited form of astral perception which gives you a sense of the astral, but not actual perception. You simply have sensations of the astral. Allows Assensing and Divination, but imposes penalties on this. On the other hand, it doesn't make you dual-natured.
Astral Perception 5 BP
required for Sorcery, Conjuring and Enchanting. No penalties for Assensing and Divination.
Astral Projection 10 BP
as is. Perception is automatic with projection (not total 15BP). Astral sense may be bought in addition.
Limited Astral Projection 7BP
Project for Magic x minutes instead of Magic x hours (as in SOTA2064)

For a magician you buy the five basic magic abilities and skills. Each costs 5BP + skill costs. Skills above your Magic attribute is at double costs (as with other skills).

Enchanting
Covers creation of foci and anchoring. Enchanting is the art of tyeing mana to items. Anchoring is no longer a metamagic (see metamagic reasoning later on), simply a part of Enchanting. Though, spells have to be learnt separately to be used for Enchanting(Anchoring).
Talismongering is still a non-Awakened skills for creation of fetishes and knowledge about magical materials. Though, talsimongering have to be learnt separately for each Tradition much like Etiquette skills (foci and fetishes are should be Tradition specific).

Divination
The art of gaining information about the past, present or future trough magical means. Divination is no longer a metamagic, but a basic technique for most magicians. It used not only for predicting the future, but also the present and the past. Things that earlier was done with Detection spells a la Detect (xxx), Catalog and similar spells could be covered by this skill. Divination is one active skill, but you may have complementary skills for divining (see Ritual magic;centering)

Assensing
The ability to glean information from the astral plane, as well as manipulating it. Assensing should be a skill. Psychometry and Sensing are no longer metamagics, but parts of this skill. Things that earlier was done with Detection spells a la Analyze (xxx), Mind Probe and Diagnose could be covered by this skill.

Conjuring
Mostly as now, except that the UMT guys finally made the breakthrough that allows you to learn how to conjure different types of spirits. Some new spirits are also introduced to better reflect the different traditions found in different cultures. See Spirits and Conjuring below for more details.

Sorcery
Sorcery is no longer the all and everything of magic skills, it is used for spellcasting, spell defense and dispelling only. Not for Astral Combat or for each and every metamagic out there.

In addition to the five basic abilities, metamagics may be learned at character creation. Costs may vary as not all metamagics are equally powerful or useful.

Reduced costs and Geasa
Each ability may be geasaed and bough at 75% cost, like Adept abilities*. Examples: To assense you have to meditate, to do sorcery you have to gesture, to divine you need an Ouija board, to conjure you have to sing and dance, and you may only create enchantments in moonlight.
Why? Looks a lot more like magic with all these rituals, doesn't it? The in-game logic is that mana is easier to manipulate trough abstractions than directly. This way, only the most powerful can use magic unhindered. Geasa may be shed by paying the difference between geasaed ability and ungeasaed ability in Karma. (see also Initiation)

Aspected magic
Aspected Conjurers and Sorcerers no longer exist per se, they are just specialists who didn't buy the ability at start. As the priority system no longer exists it doesn't make sense to have A and B Awakened. Abilities not bought at character creation may be learned later on as metamagic. Shamanists and other -ists have flaws which makes them unable to do certain things, such limiting themselves to one kind of spirits or one category of spells.

Adepts
Adepthood costs 15 BP. Powers are bought as before, with Magic points. Magic points can't be used both for magical abilities and adept powers (Magician's Way rules).

Initiation and Metamagics
In SR3 every new element introduced to magic was introduced as Metamagic. That wasn't always a good idea, as metamagic should represent advanced techniques, not every idea that didn't fit with the current rules. In SR4 Metamagic should be advanced techniques which requires a deeper understanding of magic or simply more power to be used.
The following are no longer metamagic:
Sensing, Psychometry
Divination
Sympathetic linking (again standard part of ritual magic as in SR2)
Centering (part of ritual magic, still an Adept metamagic)
Anchoring

Some metamagics are no tied to other skills:
Cleansing, Filtering, Geomancy and Masking are tied to Assensing
Quickening, Focus Blocking and Tattoo magic are tied to Enchanting (quickening as the creation of astral only foci).

Any magic ability not bought at character creation is available as a metamagic. Metamagics are no longer freebies with Initiation. Initiation is a cheaper way to learn Metamagic. By going trough an ordeal and/or with the help of magical group you may learn a metamagic, shed a geas or increase your magic attribute at reduced cost. That is called Initiation.
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audun
post Apr 19 2005, 10:10 PM
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RITUAL MAGIC
The ritual magic rules could use a rewrite, but as stated I'm no good with rules. What I suggest is that magic in general should also be more ritualized. Here goes:

Limited spells
Expendable fetish -2 modifier
Reusable fetish -1 modifier
Exclusive -2 modifier
Simple ritual* -1 modifier
Complex ritual* -2modifier

*A small ritual such as a gesture or an incantation requiring a simple or complex action before the spell is cast. Rituals are always obvious actions. You can't do anything else that requires actions at the same time (like shooting), but they are not exclusive actions. If the spell itself is exclusive, the rituals are also exclusive actions as they are part of the spell.

Centering
should no longer be a metamagic. The centering skill is done away with, and centering uses the same mechanics as complementary skills (but may still be used for the Drain test). Any creative skill may be used as complementary for centering, but most magicians limit themselves to one. The creative skill has to be learned for the purpose of centering (requiring a specialization Magical use). Centering is no longer a free action, every second die used takes a full turn of attention. Why? You can't possibly dance or sing in the quarter of a second. Initiative and Reaction doesn't count either as singing, dancing or chanting faster won't have any true effect, hence a full turn.
Centering is still a metamagic for adepts when applied to non-magical skills.

Ritual links
Symbolic links are no longer metamagic, but are of course more difficult to use than material links. Ritual links may also provide bonuses for Divining and Assensing. Ex.: Predicting someones future is much easier when they are right in front of you. Finding someone with divination is easier when you have a picture of them. Having a glove that belonged to a suspect makes it easier to assense his astral signatures at the crime scene.
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audun
post Apr 19 2005, 10:12 PM
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TRADITION, WAYS AND TOTEMS

All Awakened are part of a Tradition or another. If nothing else, it's their entirely own autodidactical tradition. Tradition is the cultural background and the theories that form the magicians understanding of and approach to magic. Hermetic is one tradition, Native American shamanism another and Wicca a third. Some Traditions are closer to each other than others.

Tradition dictates what spirits you may summon. Using foci and fetishes from another tradition impose a +2 penalty, doing ritual magic across traditions also impose +2 penalty. Formulas have to be reverse engineered and created anew to be used with another Tradition (as per current rules).

Within each tradition there are different schools such as the different paradigms found within Hermetic magic. Schools may represent differences in theory within the same tradition or cultural differences within the same tradition.

Some Awakened have a set of ideals and conditions which helps them focus their magic, called a way. Choosing a way counts as a 1 BP flaw. If the character strays from his Way, the GM may impose penalties. Ways are found in almost any tradition, even though they are not always called so. Examples: Fire Elementalists, Path of the Bard, Berserkers and Way of the Spirit adepts.

Ways covers Adept Ways, Idols, Paths, Totems, etc.

Totems are like ways, but in the ideals are represented by a spiritual entity. Ways are abstract, whereas Totems are actual entities which may interact with the character.

The difference is that totems and ways are no longer a prerequisite of all shamanic magic, they are an option. Within some traditions and schools, ways and totems may be the only known approach, but in other traditions they may be mere specializations.

Additional Merits and flaws, known as Strengths and Weaknesses, may be built into the Traditions, Ways, Schools and Totems. Strengths and Weaknesses are permanent. Later Karma uses can't overcome built-in weaknesses, unless one totally alters one's approach to magic.

Changing Tradition is impossible as you can't unlearn something already learned. Changing school isn't that difficult (free option at Initiation), but changing way or totem will heavily penalize your magic and you would probably have to relearn the whole thing.
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audun
post Apr 19 2005, 10:16 PM
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CONJURING AND SPIRITS
Your Tradition dictates what spirits you may conjure. Though, there are some changes to the spirit realm. The main change is the introduction of Spirits of Man as a separate realm. The Spirits earlier known as Spirits of Man are renamed Spirits of the City.

Spirits of the City
As magic levels rise in the Sixth World, the spirits are starting to get accustomed to the ways in which man has changed nature. Whereas Toxic spirits represent spirits who see these changes as pollution and corruption, the city spirits see that even if the original natural life is pushed back by man, new life takes it place. The city used to be one domain to spirits, but after a while some spirits become more accustomed to some parts of city life than others and the city domain split up. Spirits of the city are nature spirits.
Suggested domains/spirits:

Back Alley spirit
The Back Alley spirit thrives in the back alleys, in the barrens and other places where man doesn't regularly go. The back alley spirit shares it's domain with street people, rats and cockroaches. It's domain is often not very well lit, it's unkept and there usually litter floating around. It's the places where you may hide away, where nobody usually looks are cares for what you do and there's little traffic. Whole parts of the city may be the domain of the the Back Alley spirit. Underground areas such as sewers and catacombs are also the domain of Back Alley spirits, though the actual sewer system may also be the domain of river spirits.
A Back Alley spirit using it's Movement power will lead you on a wild chase trough sewers, empty buildings and backyards going on shortcuts you'll never thought possible. It will camouflager you beneath litter, in the shadows of a broken lamp post and as one of the street people sitting by an improvised fire. Usual manifest forms include a talking trashcan, a rat, a shape made of litter or a gnome hardened by life on the streets.

Main streets spirit
Is the opposite of the Back Alley spirit. It's domain is the well lit and well kept main streets. Arcologies, malls, office parks, tourist attractions and shopping streets. The only way to hide in it's domain is to blend in. There's always some people around, at least the private security guards, and there's cameras and sometimes surveillance drones. It's a place filled with animated billboards flashing commercials, skyscrapers, glass and concrete buildings, suits and wage slaves. Main street spirits using their Movement power will simply let you flow easily trough crowds and other obstacles usually found there. It will camouflager you simply by letting you look inconspicuous. Usual manifest forms include random strangers in a crowd, a subtle modification to an animated billboard, a reflection in the window and talking lampposts.

Traffic spirits
The domain of traffic spirits is anywhere there's transportation going on. Any road, highway, subway, railroad or the grid. It's domain end the moment you walk away from the bus stop, but if it uses it's Movement power the bus will probably stop at once and take you directly to where you were going. Traffic spirits often manifests as cars on the road or as a fellow bus passenger.

Hearth spirits
Hearth spirits have their domain where people live. As people not only lives in their homes, but also at cafes where they eat lunch, in offices or shops where they work and at clubs where they dance and get drunk. Each shop, apartment, office or nightclub is a domain of a single Heart spirit, but all the spirits in a single building or building complex are allied and may thus act as one. So, if you summoned a spirit in one office and move into another within the same building, you don't have to summon another as the one in this domain will be just as willing to help you out as the latter. Hearth spirits usually manifest as little people.

Field spirits
No change, really. Fields aren't really in the city, but classifications can't be truly perfect.

Park/Garden spirits
The lite version of the Forest spirit, it's domain is the parks and gardens man has made. Not truly different from a Forest spirit, but it's another domain. A park which borders to a Forest won't be the same domain as the forest itself. Suburban gardens and common grounds are also the domain of such spirits.

Spirits of the city may cross domain lines for a short while since their domains overlap and cross into each other, but can't use their powers outside their domain.


Spirits of Man
Spirits of Man are all the spirits tied to metahumanity itself. There are many kinds, some more common than others. Suggestions:

Ancestor Spirits
should be well known

Guardians
Common worldwide are stories of how each person has a guardian angel or follower spirit. Magicians may learn to communicate with their own guardian and gain help and guidance from them. Commanding or controlling anyone's else guardian is impossible, but if you know your own Guardian you may have it communicate with others. Guardians should mostly be there to help out and provide guidance, not be spiritual errand-boys or servants.

Loa
should be well known

Mythic spirits (Loa who are not Loa)
If Loa can be conjured, so should other types of mythic spirits. The loa are a pantheon of spirits. In other traditions they are called gods, but they are close to the same thing. What I want is a system where you ”speak with the spirits” and those spirits all represent some element of human life, like the Loa does. It fits well with some Wiccans and neo-pagans, various forms of street magic and many Sub-Saharan and Asian magic traditions. Every pantheon should be on the same power level as the Loa pantheon. In traditions where possession is not the norm, some other power should replace it.
Any pantheon should be available, even self designed ones. Norse Aesir, the heroes of your childhood favorite anime, archangels or the animals of Native American myths all amount to the same. The most common pantheons (Egyptian, Norse, Greco-Roman, some Asian and African) should be in the book, but in addition there should be guidelines for how to expand them or create your own.
OPTION: instead of writing up every single possible part of a pantheon and their powers, maybe a system for what you can do with the help of such spirits and what you can't.

Spirits groups
The basics should follow from the current system. Shamans conjure the four kinds of nature spirits (Sky, Land, Water and City), Hermetics conjure elementals, Wuxing conjure elemental spirits, Psionics conjure Constructs and Voudoun conjure Loa. These are spirits groups. You choose one spirit group when you get the conjuring ability. Learning more is metamagic.

Limiting your the options of spirits you may conjure is part of the Merit/Flaw and Strengths/Weaknesses system. This covers Urban and Wilderness shamans and Aspected magicians of any tradition.

So, what about the other spirits introduced. Mythic spirits is a spirit group by themselves. Though, you may only have one pantheon. You can't both summon Norse gods and Loa.

Guardian and Ancestor spirits may be learned as a metamagic at start or later in game, for the cost of 3 BP. You may learn to conjure another spirit group for the cost of 7 BP at start or as metamagic later in game. You must be in a school which allows for that sort of thing to be able to learn it (UMT for instance) and you need a Conjuring specialization for each group.

In addition characters may exchange some of the spirits between spirits group if it fits their way. This is an option at character creation only. Options:
- Exchange one kind of nature spirit for one elemental spirit (like Phoenix totem) . Not the other way around for game balance purposes.
- Exchange one kind of nature spirit or elemental spirit with either Guardian or Ancestor spirits.
Both of the above may be done as many times one wish to.

Other options:
Totem possession
Metamagic that allows you to conjure your totem spirit and possibly also be possessed by it. Totem possession would be cool for totem adepts.
Demonology
A complementary skill for summoning ”demons” AKA free spirits. Adds both in finding the true name and in the conjuring.
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audun
post Apr 19 2005, 10:16 PM
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REARRANGING SPELL CATEGORIES
Included mostly for completeness as I don't have any exact idea on how to do this. As many others I think that Manipulation is overloaded. As Assensing and Divination could cover many of the detection spells, that category is nearly empty and may possible be done away with. A complete reorganization sounds like a good idea, maybe with either more or fewer categories.
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Ellery
post Apr 19 2005, 10:45 PM
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Maybe I'll get into the details later, but there's one basic concept that I don't think you rely upon, and in fact, I think certain ways of interpreting the concept would make rules creation much harder.

QUOTE
Magic works the way you believe it works. This is no longer only fluff (as it is by current rules), but the way the rules work.


Taken literally, if I believe that I can cast 1-km wide fireballs all day without drain, then I can. This makes game balance impossible, so presumably you mean something else.

One could take the view that there are only certain functional beliefs (possibly all factually incorrect, and possibly contradictory) that allow the believer to practice magic in that mould. Other beliefs are non-functional, meaning that those beliefs will not allow you to effectively utilize magic.

There are at least two major issues that have to be addressed however. First, what happens if your beliefs change? Can you just flip between different belief-sets and gain the advantages of each one (if they give different advantages)? If the answer is no, then there needs to be some reason why, and some explanation of what happens in extreme cases (e.g. amnesia, where the person will forget their old belief set).

Second, what determines magical ability? Is it belief alone, or are there other factors that come into play? If it is belief alone, why can't everyone just believe that they are a magician, and presto, they are! (Or can they? If they can, what are the implications for the number of magicians in the Sixth World once it becomes well-known that it's simply a matter of belief? And if it is simply a matter of belief, what is to prevent people from finding out in relatively short order?)

Alternatively, one could take the view that it is society-wide or planet-wide belief that sets the context for magic, and within that societally-determined magical framework, people must fall into place as hermetics, shamen, and whatever else society has subconsciously deemed appropriate.

There are at least two major issues that have to be addressed here, too. First, under this model, how is it possible for people to be surprised by a new type of magical activity? You'd think that the process would be self-affirming and that you wouldn't discover new magical powers and threats except possibly after a popular movie was created that had imagined such powers and threats.

Second (and relatedly), how can one exploit the coupling between societal belief and the function of magic? Does societal belief that their emperor is a god give the emperor potent magical abilities? Does a new, wildly-popular movie generate new magical possibilities, creating the possiblity of casting spells that previously never could be generated? Couldn't opinion be manipulated to generate the kind of magical tradition that you wanted?

Anyway, I think you have a number of interesting ideas, but I think that this issue should be resolved before proceeding, or one might get all confused.
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audun
post Apr 19 2005, 11:04 PM
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In other words belief is the wrong word, or at least you completly misunderstood what I meant. My gripe is that SR magic fails to portray the magical and mystical traditions that it is supposed to portray. What I want to get away from is, for instance, that "angels" in Theurgy are elementals and that Thor, god of thunder is a storm spirit. I don't want to be tied to the TWO ways of magic which SR magic now is tied into.
Belief system or system of thought is probably a better word. That implies that there has to a consistency to your beliefs for them to have a a magical effect. A way of thought which explains why and how you can do magic. By expanding and refining upon this way of thougth and eventually gaining deeper insights into how magic works, you may become a better/more powerful magician.
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Ellery
post Apr 20 2005, 01:19 AM
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My first points still apply--can't a magician adopt any sort-of-consistent system of thought and be just as good as any other magician? If not, why not? If a crazy street shaman thinks that his spells are powered by the electricity grid, does he cause blackouts when he casts powerful spells? If not, why not?
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Edward
post Apr 20 2005, 05:03 AM
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I think you put to much emphasis on a few skills.

Masking is a very powerful metamagic, linking it to Assensing makes it something everybody will have access to. Cleansing already has a non metamagic version witch is not as powerful. Filtering gets around one of the most significant limitations on a mage and should not be freely available for balance reasons. I don’t understand geomancy so I will leave that un commented. Putting quickening and tattooing under enchanting dose make some sense but removes there rarity value. Remember tattooing was supposed to be hard to find access to.

Divination is a pain in the as that I wish would go away (I hat dealing with future predictions, more so when the story cant be railroaded to make it fit) and you made it available to everybody. The others make some sense.

I like the new short ritual spells idea. If I am interpreting correctly a short ritual is just a spell that takes a couple of rounds to cast and allows you to use centring. There should be more things you can do with a short ritual but I like the idea. Also you seem to have limited centring to against drain; I think it should be usable to mitigate penalties as well as it could in SR3.

Did the limited spells require a short ritual, if so how long. I don’t think they should but there should be a limit of ritual that can be applied to a spell when you learn ity,-1 per full turn of the ritual, max -3 (for balance)

I assume long rituals remain much the same as rituals in SR3, multiple casters allowed, casting spells without LOS using a material (or symbolic) link.

I think that about coverers it

Edward
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blakkie
post Apr 20 2005, 06:02 AM
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QUOTE (Ellery @ Apr 19 2005, 07:19 PM)
My first points still apply--can't a magician adopt any sort-of-consistent system of thought and be just as good as any other magician?  If not, why not?  If a crazy street shaman thinks that his spells are powered by the electricity grid, does he cause blackouts when he casts powerful spells?  If not, why not?

Perhaps better wording would be:

"For any given functioning practice of magic, the practitioners belief understanding of how it works is truely how it functions."

This means the different magical traditions are not infinate, and do not solely rely on pure belief alone. But they must be uncovered (or created, it makes no difference) and are separate realitys unto themselves.

EDIT: They are not nessasarily equally potent either, and may have differing areas of limitation and strengths. There still might be a point of contention of whether the "understanding" of an irrational or insane mage is correct, but i'd allow it to be. This could lead to two different mages that on the surface have the same tradition actually having different, inspite of very similar functioning, because of their understanding. If two mages understandings are close enough to each other they are of the same tradition. Thus different hermetic schools of thought might actually over time become fully different traditions. The rules would leave it to GM choice when that point is reached.
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Critias
post Apr 20 2005, 06:48 AM
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QUOTE
They are not nessasarily equally potent either...


Wow, that sounds fun. What reason is there for anyone to not just pick your idea of what belief system is bestest, then?
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blakkie
post Apr 20 2005, 06:55 AM
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QUOTE (Critias @ Apr 20 2005, 12:48 AM)
QUOTE
They are not nessasarily equally potent either...


Wow, that sounds fun. What reason is there for anyone to not just pick your idea of what belief system is bestest, then?

*shrug* I'm just trying to put together a description that describes traditions already created.

Besides objectively measured potency isn't nessasarily the overriding factor in a person's choice. There is RL suggestion that people pick a religion to follow partially on their own personality or bent. Even within a given religion, the flavour of it that you choose to live is influenced by your personality.

Or to steer away from The Taboo Topic, why did you pick the career you have? (assumig you are employeed) Why doesn't everyone pick a single "bestest" career?
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Critias
post Apr 20 2005, 07:04 AM
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So one the one hand you want to preach options and game balance and all the rest (on several other threads, citing extensive gameplay with your own small circle of players/GMs as unarguable evidence that the mundane/magical balance of power is somehow incorrect, and that for the sake of fairness things need to be "balanced") -- but then in this thread, you want to argue that game balance shouldn't be the deciding factor (or, apparently, much of a factor at all) in what makes someone create, play, and enjoy a certain type of character.

Game balance matters on one thread, so much that one of the cornerstone rule ideas of the game needs to be overturned because blakkie said so -- game balance matters so little on another thread, however, that being happy with what matches their personality is all anyone should look for when designing a character.

You make tons of sense. For real. You're like some sort of mythical sci-magical logic machine from the future, benevolent super scientists hurled back in time to educate and enlighten the barbarians of the 21st century and show us that what we thought was madness and contradiction was actually truth. It's amazing. Thank you so much.
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Lilt
post Apr 20 2005, 07:20 AM
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Sounds great, but note that no-matter how open you make it you'll still have to have the totems and hermetic traditions because Fanpro sure aren't going to change all of the shadowrun novels previously released to reflect this.

Plus you need a basic start-point as not everybody has the creativity or inclination to research their character's own magical tradition. There are a wide variety of magic user types that people do want to play ("I wanna do VooDoo!") but are actually fairly complex and aren't going to be played effectively without proper research.

GM: "Ok, you want to play a magical character?"
Player: "Yes"
GM: "What tradition?"
Player: "What are my options?"
GM: "There are an almost limitless selection of traditions. Magic works as your character believes it does."
Player: "Um, can I cast spells?"
GM: "Yes, some traditions cover that. Here's a link to a web-page which covers some real-world belief systems. Choose one and come back to me."
Player: "Um, I changed my mind. I'll go sammie."
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blakkie
post Apr 20 2005, 07:21 AM
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Critias

You are yelping up the wrong tree, and from your tone i suspect for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the subject of this thread. I didn't create the senario that not all traditions are "equal", I'm just trying to create wording to explain it. *shrug* You think that SR4 should differ from SR3 in this respect, fine. But don't fire up the rant machine in my direction. I don't really have an opinion on it because I haven't looked at it that closely.
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audun
post Apr 21 2005, 11:10 AM
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Obviously, things aren't expressed as clearly as I hoped they would be.
QUOTE (Edward)
I think you put to much emphasis on a few skills.

Masking is a very powerful metamagic, linking it to Assensing makes it something everybody will have access to. Cleansing already has a non metamagic version witch is not as powerful. Filtering gets around one of the most significant limitations on a mage and should not be freely available for balance reasons. I don’t understand geomancy so I will leave that un commented. Putting quickening and tattooing under enchanting dose make some sense but removes there rarity value. Remember tattooing was supposed to be hard to find access to.

QUOTE (myself)
Some metamagics are now tied to other skills:
Cleansing, Filtering, Geomancy and Masking are tied to Assensing
Quickening, Focus Blocking and Tattoo magic are tied to Enchanting (quickening as the creation of astral only foci).

I still intend all of the above to be metamagics. Still metamagics, but as advanced versions of the respective skills. In SR3 nearly all metamagics is tied to Sorcery.
QUOTE (Edward)
Divination is a pain in the as that I wish would go away (I hat dealing with future predictions, more so when the story cant be railroaded to make it fit) and you made it available to everybody. The others make some sense.

I made it available to everybody because Divination is something that shows up in nearly any known magic tradition. IMO it's an essential part of magic, and is therefore included as basic ability.
Divination is a pain the ass, because there are no good guidelines on how to use it. Here's my take:
First off, Divination shouldn't give you definte predictions, but shows you a possible option of what may happen in the future. If you or someone else interfere based on the prediction, the outcome may be different.
This is because Divination lets you glean information from "patterns" of causality. Sort of like in chaos theory where the hurricane is caused by the butterfly flapping it's wings. The butterfly wing flapping and all the factors that may lead to a hurricane is the "pattern". Trough Divination you gain insight into the patterns already laid down and the possible outcome of those. The patterns themselves are beyond human comprehension (even beyond dragon comprehension), you only get to know the likely outcome. The funny thing is that your Divination adds another random factor to the pattern, possibly screwing with all the other factors. I.e. Divination only gives you the outcome of what might have happened if you didn't divine it.
This way future predictions shouldn't be a pain in the ass anymore and you want have to railroad the game to fit.

Also take note that I want Divination to be used not only for future predictions, but also to discover patterns for things that already has happened. That way you may use it to predict the present i.e. finding lost persons or your car keys. One should even be able to divine the past, for instance to discover who the murderer was. The movie The Gift is a perfect example, though most stories of clairvoyant people involves this.

QUOTE
I like the new short ritual spells idea. If I am interpreting correctly a short ritual is just a spell that takes a couple of rounds to cast and allows you to use centring. There should be more things you can do with a short ritual but I like the idea. Also you seem to have limited centring to against drain; I think it should be usable to mitigate penalties as well as it could in SR3.

Not only drain, also to gain more successes. I removed the option to mitigate penalties, due to my understanding of the new treshold rules. Reducing the treshold by removing some of the penalties is far more powerful than adding dice, so I wanted to limit it to adding dice. In the end that is a game balance decision, so I might be wrong. For SR3R, centering against penalties should be in.
QUOTE
Did the limited spells require a short ritual, if so how long. I don’t think they should but there should be a limit of ritual that can be applied to a spell when you learn ity,-1 per full turn of the ritual, max -3 (for balance)

I don't really get what you're asking about? The only change to Limited Spells (already in current rules) is that I introduced Simple and Complex rituals alongside Fetishes and Exclusive modifiers, and reintroduced expendable fetishes. These are are part of the spell formula and the spell when you learn it. They are not optional in any way when casting the spell. If you learnt the spell with modifiers, the modifiers do always apply. Centering is something you may do in addition if you have the time.
QUOTE
I assume long rituals remain much the same as rituals in SR3, multiple casters allowed, casting spells without LOS using a material (or symbolic) link.

yes :)
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audun
post Apr 21 2005, 11:11 AM
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QUOTE (blakkie)
Perhaps better wording would be:

"For any given functioning practice of magic, the practitioners belief understanding of how it works is truely how it functions."

This means the different magical traditions are not infinate, and do not solely rely on pure belief alone. But they must be uncovered (or created, it makes no difference) and are separate realitys unto themselves.

EDIT: They are not nessasarily equally potent either, and may have differing areas of limitation and strengths. There still might be a point of contention of whether the "understanding" of an irrational or insane mage is correct, but i'd allow it to be. This could lead to two different mages that on the surface have the same tradition actually having different, inspite of very similar functioning, because of their understanding. If two mages understandings are close enough to each other they are of the same tradition. Thus different hermetic schools of thought might actually over time become fully different traditions. The rules would leave it to GM choice when that point is reached.

That's what I meant. Thank you.
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audun
post Apr 21 2005, 11:23 AM
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QUOTE (Lilt)
Sounds great, but note that no-matter how open you make it you'll still have to have the totems and hermetic traditions because Fanpro sure aren't going to change all of the shadowrun novels previously released to reflect this.

Plus you need a basic start-point as not everybody has the creativity or inclination to research their character's own magical tradition. There are a wide variety of magic user types that people do want to play ("I wanna do VooDoo!") but are actually fairly complex and aren't going to be played effectively without proper research.

I didn't intend to remove them. As noted, these should be advanced rules and not in the main book. This is simply rules for creating Traditions that are not in the book. Like the rules for creating you own spells.
Guidelines for all major traditions already known should be in there (either BBB or Street Magic), except for the list of traditions in on pages 24-26 in MitS. More traditions could even be added in Street Magic, like wicca, druidism and the others from SOTA64. Though, most of them should be reworked so that the stupid stuff we had to take into account when writing the Euromagic rules can be undone.
And Idols should not be in any book because they are such a horrible idea.
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audun
post Apr 21 2005, 11:28 AM
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Critias: :noflame:

QUOTE (Critias)
QUOTE (blakkie)
They are not nessasarily equally potent either...


Wow, that sounds fun. What reason is there for anyone to not just pick your idea of what belief system is bestest, then?


Because noone should be the "bestest". Differences in potency doesn't have to mean that one is the best all over, but the best in a certain area. Indeed that is the whole point of the Build Point Magic idea and is already how the SR rules work. Druids are better at magic in the wilderness (beeing Wilderness shamans) and some street shamans are better at magic in the cities (Urban shamans).
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Edward
post Apr 21 2005, 12:07 PM
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Yes your right I got confused on a few points.

Metamagics linked to different skills is good

Divination will always be a pain. Coming up with useful predictions that a story can still be worked around was never my strong suit.

You are totally correct on the centring against penalties, centring for successes and cantering against penalties to a dice pool become the same thing and centring against an increased threshold would be to powerful (or the same thing again depending on eth mechanic you use)

As to the spell limits, that was just me being tired and not reading properly.

Good work

Edward
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Edward
post Apr 21 2005, 12:10 PM
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ops

This post has been edited by Edward: Apr 21 2005, 12:11 PM
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Ellery
post Apr 21 2005, 12:27 PM
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Whether you call it belief or understanding or whatever, the point remains: if understanding cannot be wrong, what limits your ability? Why can't my understanding be that just by thinking about it, I can be the Ultra-God of the Universe, and then it happens?

If you provide a set of balanced options with rules about how to pick and choose from them so the character ends up balanced too, that's one thing. But that doesn't mean that it really boils down to the character's understanding--in fact, it says quite the opposite. Regardless of what the poor fellow thinks, he's limited by the same factors as everyone else.
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Demosthenes
post Apr 21 2005, 12:47 PM
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QUOTE (Ellery)
Why can't my understanding be that just by thinking about it, I can be the Ultra-God of the Universe, and then it happens?

Because if you played a character who honestly believed that, he'd be a megalomaniac?

Out of game, I'd have no problem with that being your understanding...provided that you had no problem with the understanding that your character is a deluded loolah.
[ Spoiler ]


QUOTE
But that doesn't mean that it really boils down to the character's understanding--in fact, it says quite the opposite. Regardless of what the poor fellow thinks, he's limited by the same factors as everyone else.


Except that you can't 'understand' something just because you want to. Understanding implies that you have made an assessment based upon the evidence you have perceived. If the evidence you have perceived is flawed, then so is your understanding. Seems like a pretty common limitation to me.
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Demosthenes
post Apr 21 2005, 12:47 PM
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Edit: Double post.

This post has been edited by Demosthenes: Apr 21 2005, 12:48 PM
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