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Author Topic: (Abeo) Idea  (Read 1722 times)
Blue Wizard

Posts: 4

« on: December 23, 2009, 01:31:31 AM »

While talking with a friend of mine I brought up an idea I've wanted to see a world built around.  I wanted to bounce the idea off of some people to see their reactions.  The premise is that magic fundamentally changes something around you anytime a spell is cast, the larger the spell the greater the change.  I liked the idea that magic is chaos but that there was a degree of certainty that spellcasters could have.

Every thing in existence has energy, X, that can be tapped in various ways.

We expounded on the idea to discuss different supernatural subtypes.

Spell casters are masters of change, and bend reality to their will.  The effect that casters envision is highly likely to work, save for certain exceptions, the chaos in magic is the amount of change that comes about.  Lesser casters have only a minor effect on their surroundings due to the low power of their spells.

There are several factors in the amount of change that happens randomly.  Casters have a reserve pool of X (better name to come) that can be used without affecting the environment, this value is unknown to the character.  Ambient energy from the world provides more X for use of casters and various props in the area provide a conditional amount of X. ie: a bonfire nearby when casting fire spells provides X.

There are two fundamental differences between some casters being that some are benevolent and some malicious.  These terms only refer to their magic, a malevolent caster may be a defender of good but his magic has dire consequences.  A benevolent caster can be the warlord assaulting towns for plunder but leaves groves in houses of his victims.  This choice is something that comes from various roleplay and character trait decisions but again remains unknown to the player. 

The change that benevolent casters bring about tends to bring about inherently good things. ie: higher level kill spells may create a patch of wildflowers around the victim, a large area of effect spell creates fertile ground or a small grove.  In cities the area that Benevolent casters live in begin to turn into a nicer are of town, streets are cleaner, lights are brighter and pests stay out.  Because of this a higher class district slowly begins to grow around a benevolent caster creating somewhat of a nobles district.  Benevolent casters also gain more X in a area of tranquility and order.

The change that a malevolent caster brings about is inherently destructive. ie: curing a disease or a soldier causes something or someone around you to fall ill (not life threatening but causes problems) during a battle a malevolent caster may cast a costly spell into the air only to watch as his change destroys things around him.  Malevolent casters thrive in areas that negative emotions and strife exist and gain more X in their presence.  Malevolent casters are where slums begin to grow up around in cities.

Martial character (for lack of better term), use only their own X to supplement their mundane skills.  A martial character uses his focus to channel his X during a fight. When combat begins a Martial character has no focus, or a small amount, to utilize his X.  Through fighting his focus continually increases, if he is a defensive Martial then as he defends himself or others be begins to develop more focus, an offensive Martial gains more focus as he continually attacks or wounds opponents.  If a Martial character has enough rounds in combat to develop his focus he should become nigh unstoppable.

Leeches (again for lack of better term), draw power from the things around them to use in themselves.  Unlike spellcasters a Leeche's abilities only affect themselves. ie: a barbaric Leech sees a comrade almost take a mortal wound in combat but is in combat himself, in a sudden rage throws his combatant back to charge to his comrades rescue.  I have to think more about Leeches.

Pariahs are distinct from the other subtypes because their abilities specifically aim to fight their opponents.  After a combat begins a Pariah can enter a stance that prepares for fighting a particular type of enemy.  ie: Leeches and Spell casters have trouble fighting Pariahs because the ambient X fades as a Pariah nears.  I have to think more about Pariahs.

I just had one night to brainstorm these things but I want someone's opinion so far.

Posts: 146

« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2009, 08:36:41 AM »

Nice invention, but you need to rethink the Pahrias, or their name, as well.
I don't mind adding some idea as well, take it or leave it:
Two Spellcasters makes a spell each, but since they are in the vincinity of each other, neither Spell ends up entirely as intended ......
Also, i'm personally not fond of dualism, so i'd suggest more variating effects, like
Plant growth, Animal attraction, Dryness, Wierd weather ......

Creative Cat
Blue Wizard

Posts: 4

« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2009, 11:58:19 AM »

Well an interesting thought I had was, spellcasters could dominate a battlefield but no one wants to use them for that large of thing because the change they bring about may be worse then the men lost without their assistance, unless you are desperate of course.  Even peasants would in a great enough numbers use the absorb the ambient X just fail to use it.  So in times of revolt spellcasters and Leeches have a hard time operating near the rebellion because of the discord created by the revolt.

If two casters were casting near each other the X from props and ambient would be shared by each other so their reserve X would have to be used unbeknown to them.  I'm looking at having each of the abilities be similar to point buy, casters would have schools based on emotions; anger, trust, joy, sadness, disgust, surprise.

And just a personal preference, manipulation of time is taboo.  Time is a power that was attained in this world, through a circle of casters linked up.  The only known though secretly occurrence of manipulation of time was performed by a kingdom seeking knowledge.  The place of the ritual was in the capitol city, and was currently being besieged by a coalition attempting to prevent the abomination that was time magic.  At the completion of the ritual a shockwave spread through the city and the siege armies, and in an instant time was moved back 4000 years with the city and siege intact.  Forces broke the siege to investigate on loved one knowing something had happened just not what.  Everyone realized they were cutoff from the energies of the world.  Years past and these people became unaffected by time hunger, or disease.  The term Ageless was coined and they found primitive man throughout the world.  The ageless believed they could bring the primitive men back to their level of greatness by showing them the knowledge that had been lost.  But without the proper comprehension of the gifts they were used for fighting or worship.  1000 years after the first incident, time was reverted again and the ageless remained.  A large number of ageless disappeared in the first loop.  The ageless believed the loop was a consequence of attempting to usurp mortal knowledge.  They believed the only way to fix it is to make the world right, though no one knew what that was.  The cultists found artifacts that used the taboo power, that could return an ageless to where they were created unharmed.  Many cultists believe the artifacts were required to set the world straight.  Every time the loop happens the artifacts return to where they were found.

Posts: 146

« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2009, 02:53:47 AM »

I have always disliked "Time Magic", and in my own games & such, i usually avoid it entirely.
The few cases i allow it, are usually extreme circumstances, and usually out of the hand's of Player Characters.

Your explanation of why it is avoided, is a bit intruiging, though.
Makes me think of what would happen if a believed "lost" suddenly shows up in the middle of a war .....
... I have a tendency to think in Stories ....


Posts: 803

Kitsune Trickster

« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2009, 03:28:21 AM »

I like the idea that magic is a person using a mysterious force to bend reality to their will...I also like the idea that this energy has to come from somewhere.

Consider this...

A spellcaster can always gain a number of successes (#) equal to their mastery of magic and their ability to filter this energy through their bodies. A lower ranked spellcaster can gain a single success, a master spellcaster can gain five successes (or they can choose to only gain a single success if they want to do something subtle).

The way these successes manifest in the story is determined by the type of magic known to the caster...a martial mage gains extra successes in their combat skill, perhaps appearing as flaming palms when they strike, or a metallic sheen in their skin when they absorb blows. A sorcerous diplomat may have eyes that faintly glisten when they swindle someone, or might find the air echoing around them when they try to intimidate someone.

The problem is, that when a spellcaster accesses their full number of successes they have no idea where the energy comes from. Every positive somewhere requires a negative somewhere else. This is a success that the character may have to face as a consequence of their actions, or it may not. Maybe you roll a die, on a success the character avoids negative repercussions, on a failure, the mystical curse will come back to bite them later.

If a spellcaster chooses not to access their full range of successes, then they may roll additional dice to ignore the negative effects.

Let's look at our master spellcaster who can access 5 successes.

If they use all 5, they roll 5 dice for potential backlash.
If they use only 4, they roll 4 dice for potential backlash. Their fifth dice may be used as a reroll to prevent a penalty from coming up.
If they use only 3, they roll 3 dice for potential backlash. Their fourth and fifth dice may be used as a reroll to prevent possible penalties.
1 success means only one possible backlash, and four that may each be rolled to avoid that possible negative effect.

It's basically a case where the master can choose to display more savage effects (with far more potential complications), or they can be truly subtle and careful, with no-one realising their true power until too late.

Your different types of magic user can be used to describe the types of negative effects that usually arise as a result of the spellcasting.

Just some ideas for how to ties these concepts into a decent game mechanism.


A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
David Berg

Posts: 612

« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2009, 11:14:09 PM »

Blue Wiz,

I don't find your metaphysical explanations very striking, but I love the player ignorance factor.  I would totally enjoy playing some ambitious dude who has no idea how much power he can safely and effectively harness at any given moment, and no idea what each choice he makes will add to his environmentally potent karma.  "Why are all the bushes around me dying?  What did I do with my magic that was so wrong?  How can I fix it?"  Given some way to explore and eventually understand and act on these dynamics, I'd be sold.

Of course, I'm imagining this player ignorance combined with a character-POV experience and a "magical magic" flavor.  So, y'know, people coming to play are primed to enjoy the ignorance rather than be frustrated by it.

Perhaps I'm superimposing my own goals and tastes on your project.  I already have a design that does some of this stuff, though on a much subtler, more personal scale.  Let me know if I'm onto something you'd like to discuss.


here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
Blue Wizard

Posts: 4

« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2010, 12:15:23 AM »

Been busy with holidays, read everyone's responses and I'm still pondering different ideas.  Just letting Ya'll know I didn't abandon the thread.  Most of the ideas were from a spontaneous discussion with a fellow gamer so I'd have to work through some of the reasoning of them.
Blue Wizard

Posts: 4

« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2010, 03:55:38 PM »

Maybe to expand on your idea Vulpinoid.

A caster of rank 3 would have three dice to allocate.  Before rolling she can choose how many dice she will be keeping.  The sum of the dice kept determine the success of her casting.  But there are consequences of using a higher die face  1-2 beneficial change  2-3 neutral change 5-6 malevolent change.  After a few successful attempts at a spell she is told the DC of the action

So a caster of rank 3 would decide to use keep two dice on her roll
Her roll: 5, 1, 3

She has to make a choice if the DC is unknown to her, take the malevolent change at a higher chance of success or have a neutral change with a lower chance of success.  If she knows the DC is only a 3 she can choose a benevolent change.
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