This morning I dreamed a thing where some character played by Tom Hardy did shadow magic and I did magic with light. He made like a newt thing out of shadows, and I made a ball of light by shaping it with my hands. So I've been idly noodling spell prerequisite chains and FX.( Read more... )
If you start with the game mechanics you get hints at social organisations and personality types. If you start with the social stuff...( Read more... )
When I was thinking on Shapeshifting earlier in my GURPS tag, the prerequisites helped me make a story, because Shapeshifting requires six spells. Any
six spells. But a dragon's Breath attack is at the end of a particular chain of elemental prerequisites. So I read across a bunch of colleges, standardised, and decided on my six:
Seek, Purify, Shape, Create, Jet, Breath.
In any of Fire, Air, Water, Earth, or Ice.
And then Shapeshift.
Each element is a different chain of six, because that's how the standard GURPS system works.
But I was idly thinking on making it secretly
syntactic, with a lost key, so someone figures out where the word borders are and learns how to plug in a different element. Instant six new spells.
... instant super special newbie character. Do I always complain about that? I think so.
Dragons would learn their way up to Breath spells, that seems logical. But what other sets of spells fit what other mages?
If you were going to Magic University, what degrees could you leave with? They would need different tracks for different levels of Magery, since M3 can learn 30% faster. Or would they just provide the same amount of teaching hours for everyone and those with lower levels would have to do more hours of homework to keep up? Maybe the rare M3s can learn without any homework and spend all those extra hours on either elaborating on their studies or extra curricular activities. The super powerful mages having enough time to be the most rounded people would be a different sort of feel to the usual one track mind mage.
And how much would these people have in common? Like, Magery is effectively an extra sense, having it means you can perceive and manipulate something the non mage can't see, so they've got that in common. But beyond that, they may not have anything at all, not from the basic assumptions on up. Are different groups perceived socially as all being mages? Or is it like superpowers in Marvel, where different sub group makes a heck of a difference to social role?
I've considered university study before
. The biggie is that in GURPS terms not all degrees are created equal. The split in efficacy between taught hours and self study hours means it matters how much class time you get, which varied between units in my courses, let alone between institutions and subjects. I figured out my degree would be worth 11 or 12CP, but GURPS reckons you get 10CP every year
from two 21 week semesters. Somewhere the math or the education systems differ very greatly in their assumptions.
So to work through the math again... ( Read more... )
Got distracted, had a thought, this isn't going anywhere at the minute...
It can take between 4 and 10 weeks to learn 1CP of a skill with some combination of Education, Self Study and Job. I have a pretty table with all the different combinations.
Which combinations are possible for how many weeks of the year is a worldbuilding and character issue.
You can study 12 hours a day every day out of book, and that gives you about 11CP a year, but you have to be the person who doesn't skip a single day and does actually spend 12 hours a day on it. And has no other calls on their time. And doesn't, like, starve, while reading.
Any other approach means knowing how many hours a day and days a week and weeks per year a teacher is willing to work. The GURPS maximums assume weekends off, but really, is a weekend a universal concept? I think not. Yet what kind of people will turn up to teach/learn 8 hours a day with no weekends or holidays?
If you're working for a living you're going to learn very, very slowly and only things that you do at work. That's not a suitable way to learn magic, unless I suppose an older mage will pay you to support them in casting the same spell every day until you earn a point in it. If casting the same spell every day can be a job, you've got a worldbuilding cornerstone right there. Industrial magic? (actually that's the name of a system, I haven't read Technomancer for aaages, probably do that next.)
Also, now I have my pretty charts, I can tweak them for Magery 1, 2 and 3, and find out how many CP and therefore how many spells a mage could learn per year.
... with weekends but no holidays a mage can learn between 5 and 19 spells per year, depending on how they're studying and what level Magery they have. If they have an 8 hour a day paid job they can learn 2 spells from that, or 5 spells if they add another 4 hours study to it. Between that and 13 spells is reducing hours paid employment, increasing hours of self study, or adding in hours of being taught. Magery 3 will get you an extra 2 to 6 spells per year because you're just that much better at magic so you learn faster. ... however depending on how the teaching is happening it might be more plausible to put those extra points into the same spells everyone else is studying, just being better at them, because a new spell is like a whole new subject and learning that many extras out of books on your own would otherwise be implied. Which I guess some people would do. Whichever.
But obviously current schooling has holidays. Lots of holidays. So probably less spells.
From a world and character point of view, a mage that can whizz through a curriculum and pick up 19 spells per year is kind of frustrating to make a story about. Like, what on earth kind of adventures need you to do 19 distinct impossible-without-magic things?
19 is enough to learn Resurrection by the longer prereq chain in a single year of study.
That's some super swish spellcasting, that is.
Now imagine what a 3 or 4 year college trained mage could do.
... basically anything, right? I mean even if they studied in semesters, ie half the weeks of the year, and didn't do any magic studying the rest of the weeks, that's still 38 spells they'd come out of college with.
Buuuuut to use them as prerequisites they need a spell up to a certain standard, so some spells they'd maybe need to put more CP in, so that's fewer spells in more depth.
Still really a lot of spells. Mage like that could deal with almost anything.
It's more fun making stories where they've got a limited toolkit.