beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
GURPS rules based magic says:
you can only use one powerstone at a time
you must be touching it, or touching something with the Staff spell enchanted on it that has a powerstone in it
powerstones recharge normally if six feet away from another powerstone, otherwise they divide the points among the stones, take twice as long for two, three times for three etc.

Obviously the simplest way to carry multiple stones is just take them off and put them different places. But then someone can wander off with them.

There's also the spell Knot which knots a rope or cord in such a way as it can only be undone by the password or by magic.

I was thinking: a bracelet can be made of a complexly knotted cord. Like I found one with 24 feet of paracord in it. You could fit a longer thread in if it was skinnier, and more complexly knotted. Obviously this stretches the definition of knot really really far, but that just means there's a more complex spell to learn or invent.

... in theory you could have knitting that won't unravel without a password. Or crochet. Or... stuff.

But what I was thinking of was a bracelet that packed a number of different powerstones close together, around your wrist or wrists, maybe even knotted so they touch your skin. Can't be removed without a password. But with the password they unravel to just be rope.

And then you can throw one end up a tree or use the thing to make a circle around you or some other shape as long as every stone has at least six feet of cord between it and the next stone. And it would recharge at normal speed. But you would have it knotted back around your wrist again - assuming no tree branch based critical fail - in a single casting of a two second spell.

Or you could have complex magic items where each bit had it's own power source and you needed to run a cord up a flagpole at night to recharge the thing.

Obviously you'd end up with different math than just getting one huge powerstone and letting it recharge at normal speed. Less overall bang, but faster recharge if you want to do a lot of smaller things in a row.

And it's always easier to find many small powerstones than one big one, because chance of crit fail destroying larger stones.

Of course this goes well with any knotting or fabric based magic, but those usually assume the knots or weaving or whatever happens at normal speed and are the gestural components of an enchantment. This is more like instant items.

I don't know. Might not be useful, but it's interesting flavour or spin.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I looked at an old entry on GURPS magic and I epic, epic failed at maths.
epic. fail.
my math is bad and I should feel bad.

now I have remembered how to math, that whole line of speculation is rubbish.
so I have private locked it so only I can see my fail.
I mean it remains an interesting what if, as in what if demons were a frequent result from magic, but my math missed some zeros somewhere somehow and then it's orders of magnitude more frequent than it should be.

one spell in two hundred and sixteen crit fails at high skill levels, or one in 108 at slightly lower skill. a critically failed spell does something you don't want to do. possibly painful or a problem for bystanders. but it's another roll of 18 on 3d6 to get a demon. so demon only happens when you roll six sixes in a row.

1 in 6*6*6*6*6*6 is one time in 46,656.

that's a lot more spells between demons than last time I worked it out, and I don't know how I failed so bad last time.

but of course I might be failing again.


So then you have the opposite story problem, where it's really unlikely a given mage has accidentally a demon, so why would they even believe they exist?

Read more... )

Yesterday I read GURPS Technomancer, which puts a Magic Comes Back event at the first nuclear bomb test and has a whole atomic horror thing going on. Read more... )

Technomancer had mages be something huge like one percent of the modern population, in some areas, or one in a thousand where it's rarer. On a planet that had discovered Cure Disease and potions of Youth and any number of agricultural spells, and was experiencing a demographic boom and a half. That is very plenty many students. And given urbanisation they're much more likely to meet, and with standardised printed grimoires and plentiful university courses they're going to be able to get trained. Whole different effect to the medieval stuff.

Medieval magic should still pretty rapidly change the world to look not medieval, unless mages are very scarce and cannot get the training. a society that only progresses as rapidly as our history did is one that found really large disadvantages really often. otherwise cure disease is more effective than antibiotics and the collected agricultural spells can feed a lot more people for a lot less work, even if magic cauldrons that create food aren't in common use.

you're pretty much left with war, out of the horsemen.

mage war is epic bad though. it might be plenty. and it would try and take out mages first.

anyway, demons not as much of a problem as previously calculated, what was I thinking, ugh.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
A lot of RPGs use mana and chi as words for game mechanisms that measure magical energy and life energy. It makes me kind of uncomfortable, but when I went looking for alternatives I got reminded all over again that English is at least three languages in a coat. English has been mugging other languages for parts since forever, and every word has traces of conquest in it, but swallowing these two whole and spitting out the actual cultural context seems a bit much.

I think I'm going with thaumic, as in thaumatology, measured in thaums ala Pratchett.
Also vitality, vital energy,probably measured qualitatively so it's flowing well or badly, positively or negatively inclined.
That's mixing greek and latin pasts into the mix, but if the Healers use Latin and the Scholars' works are literally all greek to them, that's got potential for story in it.

Read more... )

This seems like an overly complicated system of magics, but I'm used to comics where people can do very similar things through power sources ranging across everything GURPS can throw at them.

Distinct traditions with distinct histories and as far as they know sistinct power sources is a great way to leave loopholes, contradictions, and other sources of friction.

And yet I keep fiddling with rules and phrasing, instead of writing fiction.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I was reading around about GURPS and found
which postulate that on the whole magic does not change society, because maths.

But I think their math is wrong.

Take their example magic item that would change the world: Purify Water.
Read more... )

Basically, if you can get enough mages in one place to even teach each other a broad enough range of spells to make an Enchanter, and if those Enchanters understand the value of working together, and if they feel like making money on a regular basis through making simple enchanted items, then magic will change the world. Even the simplest items could make pure water for all of London in a few days. Even one Purify Water item could make clean water for a whole medieval sized town. And be made in an hour.

The only way for magic to not change the world is to mess with mages: make them too scarce, uncommunicative, uncooperative, or too unlikely to become Enchanters. If the basic GURPS assumptions for magic can be met, then Enchanted items will pile up and nudge the effective tech level upwards, starting a demographic upward spiral that puts more mages into the system.

Of course if demons are a serious and regular problem, you can also get a mage downward spiral, or outright crash. See 'too scarce'.

But OP's math is just peculiar, for someone who says they're using GURPS, and I disagree with their conclusions.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Been poking GURPS Magic, specifically the Body Of spells.

Read more... )

See I'm not sure that a magic world that starts with Bea training Johnny and Tora training Bobby is really going to develop into a story as such, but it's an idea to pass the afternoon with. As superpowers they just like naturally can turn into flying flames or whatever, but as magic there's the implication they had to spend hundreds of hours studying to be able to do it. That seems like a very different set of people, really. Except the stuff Storm does in the movie actually does take a whole lot of studying, the bikes and flying stuff, it's just he had fun with it and it don't involve so many books. So maybe elemental magic is more like dance, fun to study as well as do, even for the active people. Or maybe they tried to make him be a book learner and he really epic isn't and then someone comes along from a slightly different tradition and trains him and he turns out to be annoyingly good at it.

I could of course start with some actual original characters.

... I mean theoretically.

Okay, done of this topic for now.
beccaelizabeth: Burning feather from In Nomine, up like a quill pen; Watcher symbol with lightning; Be in red Buffy style font. (feather watcher be)
She sat at the back, by the window that looked like it would actually open. The desks were a shaky half circle behind a patch of lines and rows, a teacher's desk at the front. Chalk was everywhere, and the schedules and curricula being handed out were on plain old paper in still ink. Ancient stuff for such an advanced class. But then paper was much harder to disrupt than electrons when the magic misfired.

"Okay, class, I'll trust you to do the reading at home, so for now we'll get straight to the practical. Just some warm up exercises, see what you're bringing to it, what level you're at. But remember, the final assessment has to be a group project, so you should start as you mean to go on."

Someone in full third level robes at the front snorted and spun her fingers in a complicated circle, the first few bars of a Gate college spell. "Seriously? Like there's a group here that can do that? They'd only hold me back."

The lecturer, back to her, rolled her eyes, but the student at the back was the one to speak.

"It is deadly serious. I've walked on other worlds, same as you have. Where I've been, there were dangers I'd never experienced, never even thought of before. Whole histories changed on an instant, or with a doom hanging over them. It's only four Earth's over that they've a rock coming just like killed the dinosaurs, and only days to do anything about it. I've seen it with my own eyes, stood and watched it wander their night sky, and I still don't know what to do about it. They're talking evacuation. That's of a planet just as populous as this one. And maybe they'll come to this one. Seven billion people, just arriving, overnight. What do you do when your population doubles? Or triples? We think that rock is rare, but maybe the orbital mechanics work out so it almost always hits us. Maybe we're the last lifeboat in the near alternity. How do you cope when there's three, four, five, five hundred of everyone? What's the life support capacity of one Earth anyway? And what if it's you who looks up and finally sees it. The hammer, waiting to fall. What if it's your own Earth that has to think of something, do something, right now? What would you do?" She paused for a beat, then rolled a gesture around the circle of students. "You, plural."

The Three screwed her face up but nodded. The student at the back nodded and tapped the table twice, passing the point on.

Of course, that wasn't a custom of this Earth...


Read more... )


Okay, so, I only dreamed the first part, and the AU Stargate-by-magic fic under the cut is what I thought up to solve the problems there presented, but... these are really cool problems.

Also, if they do manage to just shift everyone one universe over? You are suddenly faced with yourself. Forget the stupid Stargate rule where you'll get the shudders, pretend there's no rule to time limit things, just, how do you suddenly cope where across the world there's around seven billion life histories shared by fourteen billion people? Because lets face it, most of us would not be good at sharing.

And as for having to choose which AU to go live in...

b u n n i e s.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've been pondering a magic system which combines Powerstones as gifts from the gods with increases in Magery as you make greater devotions to a deity. Kind of mixing up GURPS and the Black Jewels books, which spent longer explaining their magic system than using it, last time I read.

So, you get people who get an Opal at a certain significant stage of their life, meaning the gods are smiling on them and they get Magery 1. They can devote their whole life to a particular god, get Magery 2, and get a richer stone. And they can devote their next life to a deity, usually meaning their afterlife, and that gets them the richest stones and Magery 3.

So the question becomes, which spells would require you to sell your soul?

Magery 3 has a lot of advantages, speeding up spell learning and giving a boost to all your spells, but to hand over your whole afterlife to the service of a particular spirit? I'm thinking they're after something very particular.

Spells that require M3 tend to involve the words 'Permanent' or 'Other'. The levelled up variations of M2 spells that you can only cast temporarily on yourself. Permanent shapeshifting, for instance. Or Plane Shift Other.

That last gets me my main character: if you want to get someone out of hell, that's a specific variation of Planeshift Other. You could go visit them at M2, but to get them out, you need M3.

... if i've read the gate spells correctly, you know gurps, always a new way to trip you up...

But the other major categories of spells at M3 are the ones that will keep you alive indefinitely. Steal Youth, Lich, and of course Permanent Possession / Exchange Bodies. There's a bunch more in the same vein. Plus the most excellent healing spells, and Resurrection, though as ever the problem there is finding enough power. Spells that you could reasonably expect to keep you around a very, very long time.

So there's two major categories of people who'd sell their afterlife for Magery 3: People with a specific Permanent task for Others, or people who are planning not to attend.

You'd then logically get deities using their lifelong servants to go bounty hunter on these reluctant sorts.

So right there the plot shapes up nicely.

Prevalence is always a big thing to decide. I reckoned Opals were one in a million births, meaning there's about 7300 people in the world with M1 or above, and 63 in the UK. But that's before shenanigans. If they've been using their power to stick around beyond their natural span, there can be as many as you like. But to do that they'd need to have traded their afterlives, so the excess would all be Magery 3 and very, very powerful.

But that power would come with a price. The extra levels of Magery beyond 1 are made by a Pact with a particular spirit. The Jesus people think theirs is the only good guy spirit and all the others are demons. A certain proportion of those Opals would agree with that, and never level up. They'd probably try and 'save' the M2 and M3 sorts from their 'masters'. But the M2 and M3 would be serving Minerva and Trivia and Janus and so forth. I wrote bits of this before. They'd pick a deity, as far as they could tell, and do what their deity tells them to do, or else.

They could in theory devote this life to one deity and the next to another, gaining access to a wider spell list, but they'd have both gods judging them so they'd better be really really sure they get along. Like, picking a living and an underworld deity from the same pantheon, seems like it wouldn't annoy either of them, if done in the right order. Picking from different pantheons seems likely to annoy. And if a pantheon has a god/dess of the dead, choosing any other deity to give your afterlife too seems... risky.

But deities can only give out spells appropriate to their aspect. Their spell list is limited, their help likewise. And everything done in their name has strings.

GURPS Pacts lead to further difficulties since one tends to take on the personal qualities of the spirit one serves. With demons that means turning into a very nasty person. (There will always be someone who thinks serving a demon is somehow a good deal, especially if they can promise their afterlife to somewhere else and try and cheat on consequences). With other gods it depends on who you choose. If you only have the full width of your power when acting most in line with their wishes, you just get trained into doing as they will. If you pick a particularly nice, honest, truthful sort of a deity, well then you turn into an honest and truthful person, whether you planned on that or not.

So people who set out to cheat would, just by accessing the power a lot, become more and more like the person they were initially planning to rip off. It's not that they'd stop being able to make a different deal, it's that they'd stop wanting to.

Unless they're particularly strong willed and can pull up early.

or, i guess, unless they can make both offerings at once, before their lifetime service starts to shape them.
... but then you'd be left with the afterlife you thought was cool at that age, which, you know, not always awesome...

This seems like a chewy plot generator of a magic system. I like it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm poking GURPS magic rules again (because why not) and I was just looking at the Recover Energy spell.
Every other spell, there's a ritual, there's foot movements, hand movements, words to say. Like a dance with a mantra.
Recover energy? You sit very very still and don't think too hard.
Really, you can't take a Concentrate maneuver or hold any spells that require you to Concentrate, you can't think too hard.
You just sit and Recover Energy.

And it's different from meditation. Not least because there's bunches of different sorts of meditation. But also because to meditate is a skill, and a useful one, but it is not a Recover Energy spell.

To Recover Energy you do nothing, but in a magic way.

So now I'm wondering how you teach that.

Read more... ) Tell students to sit there, then tell them to sit there different??

... I know nobody knows or cares, but, what would wizard school actually be like, to work like GURPS does it? Recover Energy would take at least 180 hours of study with a teacher, half of what it would cost to get the hang of alone. What would the teacher actually be doing? And how do you get the students to actually do it?
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
today's dream had me waking up poking magic systems and reaching for the dictionary. which meant getting up and turning on the computer, because paper dictionaries woefully incomplete.

There were magical beings with powers that divided up into two factions, commonly known as good and evil. The point of view character had a very mixed bloodline and had like a report card of his abilities, because he had a little of everything from the common types. They used alphabets where being towards the end was more powerful. Probably they had omega powers for the bossest ones, but it might have been Z, you never know.

Read more... )

So yeah, arguably Evil slightly vampire Arthur and Merlin in a 'verse with vampires and plant magic and whatever that theon thing could possibly be. As an Evil power it feeds on some aspect of intelligent life, so maybe feeding on worship? Complex politics and the quest for women who wandered off to do their own thing centuries ago.

I think that's a different spin on a lot of elements I've read before. It could work.

I'd just be a lot more interested in it from the women's point of view.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today with no headache I found the GURPS Spirits book more helpful on the topic of gaining power from worshippers, at least marginally.

GURPS Spirits is 3e, and it is making rules up as it goes along. So instead of setting up a bunch of new advantages, or using modifiers on existing advantages like 4e Powers would, it just says that Spirits are so different from normal assumptions that being a Spirit is a 100 point advantage called Spirit Form. Then it describes the abilities all spirits have. And then it has a section on modifiers to that Spirit template, where the loss of common Spirit abilities is a -% modifier. All those with Spirit Form can gain fatigue from worshippers at about 1 fatigue per worshipper. And being unable to do this is a -10% modifier on a 100 point trait.

So you might think 'great! 10 point ability!'
But nooooo
because Special Limitation: Missing Power happens in -5%, -10% and -20% levels
4 different -5% limitations (or possibly 3 or 5 depending how you read it)
4 different -10% limitations (maybe 5)
3 different -20% limitations
for a total of at least -115% if you have none of the powers at all.

... math is hard?

And that's not even all the theoretical advantages you might be missing, it's just a bunch of miscellaneous powers at the end.

It says treat anything above -75% as -75%
so limitations aren't just the bundle minus one part anyway.

Spirits says that all spirits can tap places of occult power as well as worshippers. Don't want that, not the way I want the world to work. but the limitation says it is -10% if they can't "tap fatigue from places of power and worshippers". And. So is that -5% just to take the Places of Power thing off? But places are worth 5-30 fatigue total, whereas worshippers are 1 fatigue each, though Spirits mentions a limit of 20-100 fatigue at roughly one point each. Gods aren't generally known for their upper limits on worshippers. Even that would make worshippers three or four times more effective than a place of power, so maybe it should only be -3% to not tap places of power?

How a rule system can be so fiddly and so clunky at once... :eyeroll:

Well that would be why 4e.

I suspect if I could get the hang of the Powers book, rather than seeing page after page of confusing, I could probably figure this thing out.

It also doesn't say much if anything about what it feels like to the worshippers to have their power tapped, or indeed what constitutes worship. Those would be setting decisions? Important sort of a thing. Spirits presumably can't tap the unwilling without using a spell. Willing donors contribute like in ceremonial magic but spirits don't have the auto fail on 16+ and always crit 17-18, or to multiply casting times by 10, and though they still get a max 100 points from willing supporters there's no mention of them needing to be chanting or suchlike at that precise minute. They can be willing sort of in general, and drawn on as and when needed. And the spirit's concentration doesn't suffer for it, doing things that way is as easy as casting from their own resources.

But I still can't find a way to put worshippers on the character sheet. With or without fatigue lending abilities.

Actually I'm a bit fuzzy on how a regular priest should write up their flock. Or a pope. Popes probably have a lot of followers and so forth willing to help with pretty much anything. Ally Group?

I shall go read the rules some more.

The 100 a spirit can get from worshippers, 100 a mage can get from willing supporters, and 100 a mage can get from mass magic in stadium sized crowds, all max out the same even with quite different numbers of humans involved. Except I think the stadium mages can each contribute a different 100 from their very large crowd. A regular ceremonial mage only needs 100 spectators to get 100 fatigue, but that's their limit, they can't pyramid sell it.

... hmmm, isn't there a lend energy spell that in fact could?

... more rules to look up.

Spirits does say that worshippers contribute once a day. Spirits recover their own fatigue at the usual rates, but they can draw on this extra pool provided by worshippers, and that replenishes only once a day. So that's tidy, but again, has not attached point cost.

not that I end up playing these things, but I like writing things out tidy
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm tired and grumpy today and may or may not have a headache and in general am not having my best research day.

I was looking for rules to spin stories around, specifically stories of mortals attempting to become gods. There's rules for becoming a spirit, and there's a bunch of mentions that gods draw on their worshippers to gain power, but today I cannot find a points cost or mechanism for such a draw.

Read more... )

Wanting to put a points cost on a deity seems daft. But wanting to be able to point out to a PC that they are not, in fact, currently a deity, seems more helpful.

Also with the population surge on Earth then the amount of power available could be going up even if the percentage who are religious are going down. There could be maths to demonstrate.

And if you could get a bunch of people to participate in a ritual, say by making it a dance craze, how powered up could you get? With a network of mages to bring it together?

There's some very powerful spells that could make world changing effects, and if you want to run something in the here-now you keep crunching into the thing where they ought to have done so by now, and should be able to do so really easily.

The usual GM level answer for why they don't is there's always a bigger fish.

Which is sort of boring.

Okay, pointless rules poking done for the day, this is going nowhere.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I mentioned before that the me-alike in many magic worlds worships Janus. I've had plot bunnies since Buffy that wandered really a long way from Buffy.

I know Buffy took the two faces, used an unusual statue where one of the faces is definitely feminine, and did a whole insides to outsides physical transformation thing, but that's not conventionally associated with Janus. Cool, but, not a primary aspect.

Janus could see past and future, and was deity of gates and doors, being the doorkeeper of the gods.

So the obvious spells are Read more... )

The visions powers would be handy for investigations, but not completely instant answers, especially if there's limits like can only show your own personal past and future and can't be used on murder victims.

The gates powers would either be the sneakiest cat burglar of all time or awesome at jailbreaks. Jailbreaks from other dimensions even. Like getting Lindsey out of his hell dimension.

Looked at from a more or less mainstream Christian perspective it's a giant not cool to break someone out of hell, because God did the judging, The End.

Looked at from a number of other perspectives, like say belief in a just and loving deity, hell is just creepy bad.

And if you believe in reincarnation then the Christian idea that there's a hell that's forever is just the worst. Like, there are hells in reincarnation schemes I know of, but they aren't eternal. They're more like jail with added badness. So you do your sentence and get out again. Read more... )

The idea that all the 'hells' of reincarnation religions are purgatories, and that 'hell' in the permanent sense is a trick built around getting people to not even try getting out, that's where the story would happen.

The magic system I was thinking on with spells being the swap for offering your life to a deity... Read more... )

There would be spirits who are lying liars who lie, spirits who skip the small print, and spirits who set out the price up front and let people weigh it up. The truthful ones would get annoyed at the lying ones.

How the spirits get started would be a great big argue. Read more... )

But someone deciding to set out and be a good and generous god... that's such an interesting story. It's all about being a good boss. What's the necessary qualities of a good boss?

Like, you want your deity to leave you free will, but you want your boss to kind of give you a hint what your company does to make the shinies that keep all your employees alive.

And if omniscience isn't one of the powers of deity, just maybe higher levels of skill and more power to pour into some standard spells like divinations and mind reading and so forth, ever deity is a gamble. Like, there'd be some big successful firms, but there'd be new startups too, and they might get big or crash out.

But if you happen to have power, like if you arrive in the afterlife and your friends are willing to post you some power every day, then what do you do with it?

Also, are there two magic systems, where one uses a sort of raw power and the other just kind of asks spirits nicely, or is it all spirits all the way down? Then being a big deal spirit would just be about getting more spirits to follow you. Some big spirits would do it by punishing a few and getting the others to scamper around trying to avoid punishment, others would do it by being nice and helping them all, except they'd need like taxes where they get a little work from each to do things that are for the good of all.

So then the gods thing is just like the politics thing only it don't end.

It's all different story generators with different metaphors built in.

If you start with only one being sitting in judgement, then you do right or wrong, the end.
But if you've got entire courts and pantheons going on, lots of different standards standing right next to each other, then that gets complicated.
Hence drama.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Sometimes I spend a daft amount of time fiddling around in GURPS books and character builders and then decide that no, my idea was fine in the first place, not reshaped to fit their rules.

I dreamed some characters that get jewels that symbolise the magical power they get in exchange for an offering. Offering to who or what? That part can be fun. So I look up Roman gods and goddesses. Trivia is interesting. Minerva is who sprang to mind for the whole mind control college. Janus is who the me-alike always ends up with. Divination and Gate spells, more or less. Read more... )

Gates that can go anywhere, whether by landing there or just sitting waiting to be opened, are such bountiful plot generators that the two longest running SF series used them. Read more... )

The Spirits and Religions books mentioned that hells and heavens have, like, entrance criteria. Read more... )

I just have in mind as a story seed someone looking at this gate to a pristine empty world, and instead of just thinking 'space colony', they ask "How do you make a Heaven?"

That crystalises the same problems as the space colony in whole different ways.

Whole lot of stories in that.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
GURPS is always so fiddly I end up tripping over bits of it and feeling foolish.
I've had these books for years, usually since they were published, and I still wouldn't say I know how to... anything, in GURPS.
Because fiddly.

I've been reading GURPS Horror. System in there for Fright Checks as cumulative and leading to sanity problems. It says something about how the system isn't meant to represent real mental illness because that would be offensive, it's just trying to imitate Gothic Horror. Well if gothic horror is offensive about mental illness (usually yes) then that's still offensive. A bit. But as a game mechanism to make sure no one gets out unscathed it is a bit useful.

There's also systems of black magic and corruption, as well as spirit magic in GURPS Thaumatology, where you can make deals to gain power from spirits malign and otherwise but you'll end up with your personality twisted and probably get your soul dragged away at the end of it. It mentions doing the same thing with angels once, but mostly ignores that possibility. The mechanics should work the same way though, if you let divine power through you then you'll end up with Disads that suit the spirits that want to be good, like Honesty and Truthfulness and Self Sacrificing. Having different systems for divine magic, demons, and shamanic spirits, makes them out to be different in kind as well as in alignment, and there's no real call for that.

Read more... )

Some of the spells require humongous energy investments, like Resurrection or Wraith. Read more... )


Jun. 4th, 2015 07:09 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] elf in a comment I totally mean to reply to in a minute mentioned someone wanting to use the GURPS Zombie spell. Called it overpowered. And, okay, yeah, it's spectacular... buuuuut... if I were GM I'd let them try. And learn the consequences.

First off... Read more... )

Add it all together, and yeah, Zombie is powerful, but, you are going to pay for it. It'll be part of a system of checks and balances, worldbuilding choices that leave you with plenty of problems to deal with. It'll warp your character, give them enemies, socially isolate them, or give them a huge great unsustainable secret. Other necromancers can take control of your army just as easily as you did, and plenty of people can Turn them. Undead are uniquely vulnerable, with limitations that might include being unable to leave death aspected mana zones, depending on the world you build. And physically they're less useful than ... well, making friends, for starters. Hiring someone. Having particularly bitey pets.

If you want to play a necromancer, have at it. But it's only an easy ride if someone lets it be easy. With the surrounding systems working at the speed of the GM? It's just not that practical.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
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.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I think I was swapped out for Parker today? Hardison was there, she wasn't, but I was only all over Eliot as per usual. But I am by no means bendy or athletic enough to be Parker, even in my dreams, so I had a different speciality, something more to do with magics I think. Because my dream version of Eliot mushes together with Lindsey pretty routinely.

So the dream plot was that he'd got epically beat up and he was freaked out about not being able to protect us, so he was going to go do another deal to get even more upgraded. Because he'd already done that once, to get the combat skills and some extra resilience and possibly a working hand. But the problem was he was doing deals with demons and sucking up the dark power to make himself more violent, and the payment was... nasty... but he was pretty convinced he was headed for hell anyway so he didn't think he could screw up his soul worse, after everything he'd done.

So I haven't watched much Leverage but that seems like a very Eliot compatible plot? Like, he doesn't like himself much, thinks he went really wrong, keeps doing it anyway. It's just the magical/literal manifestation of that, to make it about demon parts.

Me in the dream was AI made flesh, because dad was a programmer and wanted a kid. Pinocchio again. Read more... )

How magic works makes such huge differences to the universe, but is seldom systematically explored in TV.
Read more... )

Universe ruleset questions with a whole lot of different settings.

Also ways to make religious differences way interesting to play through. Especially in a three sided relationship, you can play more settings. And if only one belief set is correct, that's less fun, but if nobody is entirely sure because they all seem to work even if mutually exclusive, that's like a great big ongoing argument with cool FX.

Okay, it's Cleaner Day and I have other stuff to do, I should go do it.

... also, the electrician was here to fix the radiator, but it was simplest fix ever: it worked for him. *doh* I've spent all winter trying to turn that thing down! It didn't go down! Now he twiddles it a few times and tada, full range of motion achieved. He recommends using a penny for leverage if it happens again. *sigh* Okays, well, that's good that it was a quick fix. I just feel foolish.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Went to sleep after 5, woke up 0730 (ha), 1230 (blergh), 1530. Now I'm all enthusiastic about the latest way I dreamed the world ended / restarted.

Read more... )

... many people would experience dreaming of post apocalyptic witch hunts as a nightmare, but here I am feeling all chipper and enthusiastic. Writers!
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today I'm idly pondering the genetics of magic inheritance. Again.
... specifically, setting it up so women are most powerful and are, like, legally obliged to have more than one husband, especially if the first one doesn't work out in the making more mages department.

Read more... )

I mostly just wanted a world where mages are mostly women, women are most powerful, mages are matrilineal and get estates and people to protect them, and they try and have children with bunches of different partners to optimise their chances of some of them being magic. That seems like a fun setup for some id fic.
beccaelizabeth: Chaos star with blinking black sphere center.  Like a cursor blinks. (chaos star blip)
I would like a nice new home, two bedrooms, excellent condition, in a nice area, in walking distance of the places I go in Norwich like the Forum library. In my price range. Preferably with no gas, with a bathroom off the landing or lobby, and no WC attached directly to the kitchen. The most best version has room for a table and six chairs, ready for guest type people.

It would also be handy to have places to plug in the phone, broadband, and TV, as well as sufficient sockets, but mum says that stuff is easy to fix.

Places that fit these criteria have existed before, so I am hoping they will exist again.

Alternately, if there's a better plan, universe could give me some hints.
... actually, this being me, if there's a better plan, I'd kind of need a written invitation to it with details and small print and so forth. *sigh*

Attempts to get my life together and moving in an interesting and useful direction have become a bit housing focused, but there are many areas that could benefit from improvement.

Energy, focus, drive, some idea of what I even want to do, these would all be good things, as would appropriate help, and people doing like they say they will, or at least informing me that they're not going to.

What I'd actually really very like is to win a bunch of moneys so I can not only sort out my own housing but also buy a bunch to help other people, who are probably at least as stuck, seeing as none my problems are unique or even uncommon.

But if I want to help other people there are other less lottery dependent ways to do that and I should probably focus my efforts there, or indeed make any efforts at all, this sitting in my recliner thing got old a while ago and its been more than a year since college finished and I still need a new plan. One that works. Because 'be a princess and take care of my people' or 'start a space colony, or the practice version thereof' or 'run a Quest Tavern with vegan pizza and games nights' or 'do real life superhero teams and help people with their actual needs that need a team to achieve' or 'have Dragon Trails and a shop with knights and castles themed gear kind of like the superhero stores in New York' are all pretty good plots but not at the moment great plans.

Small achievable steps towards a great plan would be grand.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
This morning's dream involved Bond, James Bond, Daniel Craig edition. So it's ahead on points right there.

There was a little girl called Amelia, and she was really important, so he and I were protecting her. But he couldn't be out and about for more than 12 hours, he couldn't stay up late, he'd start looking really rough and then just get gone when I wasn't looking. So this turned out to be because he had a whole lamp genie thing going on with a set of bone china.

... look, my brain is a weird, weird place. But I can work with this one.

Read more... )

So this one could be fun.

I'd have to think of an actual plot, why Amelia needed protecting, what had happened to land Bond in this particular situation, and how magic use wove through this 'verse.

Also I'd need to decide on some superpowers for me. I'd have to be magic to make any of it work, but I'd need a skill set that complimented Bond, or I'd be a bit superfluous. But Bond is such a ridiculously accomplished character it's hard to pick an area he doesn't already rule. Maybe focus on the Seek spells and Detect/Analyze, be about the subtle magics. Anything less subtle he can give a kicking. At least for 12 hours a day.

ETA: ah, if I focus on Enchantment, which I'd need in order to repair him, then it gets simples: I'm Q.
Magic Q that is. Providing items of unique abilities, to get Bond out of specific corners.

Having an awesomely powerful ally on a timer sounds fun for a movie but not a TV series. I mean, you know he's going to run out at the worst moments, it would probably get boring to do a lot.

But the Green Lantern ring does that, needs recharging every day, and they've made that work for a really long time now.

As per usual, bunnies would be more useful if I sat down and wrote them proper.

Anyone is welcome to grab a bunny and run with it, it's not like any two people would write the same things, just credit the prompt.

... I don't know who would read it. I don't know who would read any of this stuff my brain comes up with.


Apr. 25th, 2014 02:02 pm
beccaelizabeth: Ethan Rayne smiles (Ethan smiles)
Today I dreamed, first, that

I was a pyrokinetic able to throw anything from spinsparks to greater fireballs, and I met Magneto and was offered a place in the mutant homeland, but I was trying to get my mum out of the country and she wasn't a mutant at all so we were trying for America instead, to get away from being attacked by both vampires and werewolves and some creepy people in ill fitting police uniforms that might have just been wearing the police.

then, that

Ethan Rayne and I had magic subtle enough we could easily have doubted ourselves out of believing in it, stuff like misdirecting attention so we can walk into places without being challenged, or being able to get one passport perceived as two, if it was busy and routine enough. Basic con artist and sleight of hand stuff really, only enhanced to be just that bit into the implausible. We'd also shared a vision of a future, not for the first time, and we'd both seen each other die. So we were busily planning our escape from the country. But in the meantime we were sneaking around with a lingering feeling of deja vu. I was still living with my parents in my 20s, so I had to sneak him upstairs to my room at the end of the day, both only stepping on alternate stairs so the right number of footfalls happened. I nearly fell on the tricky corner bit but I never worried. It was all too familiar, and a bit unreal. So we got to my room, grinning, and closed the blinds for privacy. It was a nice night. I concluded that, if we were dead and now stuck just repeating, I was content.

That was a nice bit of dream.

And apparently I would really quite like to leave the country. Don't know as that would work out.

But the two power sets... it would be a lot flashier to throw fire around, but I think it would be very much more useful to have the Trickster set. You could use it to duplicate money, or get in to things without tickets, or go on the train for free with a vaguely correct bit of cardboard. ... which personally I'm feeling guilty about just to contemplate, I am not the kind of person who tries to skip the tickets part, but I am definitely not the kind of person who'd throw fire at people even if I was pretty sure they were vampires, so. Trickster powers would be better. Even if the other one more looks the part.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The prerequisites chain for Restoration / Regeneration : I know they obviously meant the Healing college spells starting 'Restore', but I reckoned the Making-Breaking college spell 'Restore' would mean they regenerated with non-living parts, magecrafted prostheses. Read more... )

Powerstones and the $ material requirements for creating them at high power: I found a formula in Low Tech for pricing gems. Read more... ) that would mean the real determining factor on how much power you could pour into a thing would be how much people want the thing.

Which is kind of cool.

I keep looking in rulesets for story seeds. It's different just deciding to generate a character worth x points. Makes you think about how they arrived at the point the character sheet describes.

... at some point I should either turn this into fiction or acquire a gaming group and do something with it.

... all meta, no trouser...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
GURPS rules poking again.

94 Resurrection* Regular Heal./Necro. Perm. 300 2 hrs. Instant Regeneration, Summon Spirit. 9

I already poked the power requirements for Resurrection. Today I'm thinking on the prerequisites. Read more... )

Right, someone is supposed to be visiting, like, ten minutes ago, I'll post this and get back to it another time maybe.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I started out trying to understand the GURPS powerstone and staff rules for the standard magic system. Many hours later, I'm now poking around the internet looking for a six foot oak staff, a nice pretty crystal of appropriate value, and the means to stick one to the other.

... actually I'm still baffled, how do you get them to fit together? Read more... )

I've been thinking on wizard school, and GURPS rules for intensive training. It says you usually only get intensive training in the military, so basically it's boot camp. Handing out wands and going to wizard school gets you a very different feel of story than going to wizard boot camp and being handed six feet of oak.

After that the rules reckon Magery, the necessary prerequisite advantage to casting any spells, can be acquired in play, but it needs something a bit epic to explain how. Ordeals and quests and suchlike. So, what would they put new proto wizard recruits through, to get them to the point they can see the magic?


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

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