Author Topic: "Freeform" Magic/Powers systems  (Read 1531 times)

Lmns Crn

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"Freeform" Magic/Powers systems
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2011, 10:09:28 PM »
Hmm, okay, now I don't have any idea what you're talking about. Are you talking about magic that is really freeform, or just really generic?

I mean, are you looking for systems where you have some real basic, amorphous guidelines and you make everything up on the fly?

Or are you looking for systems where you look at the list of vague and generic powers, select "Generic Attack Spell #1", and decide to call it "Throwin' Fireballs" (or whatever) and describe it in terms of fire (or whatever), but it's essentially identical to "Generic Attack Spell #1 [Lightning Bolts]" and all other variants?
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LordVreeg

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« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2011, 08:45:45 AM »
Quote from: sparkletwist

Unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean, the bang skills in GURPS are for something different. Those are useful if you are running a more rules-light or cinematic campaign and want to generalize skills. Asura does that anyway.

What I'm talking about is more about the same skill with multiple ways it may be presented in narrative terms. Say there's a "fireball" spell. An Elemental Sorcerer would tap into the element of fire and conjure a blast of fire energy, whereas a Necromancer would draw upon some deceased fire elemental and cause an eerie black flame to appear. But they're both flames, and mechanically, they'd be the same thing. The only difference is the fluff. If this were a CRPG, I'd use the same code, just change the graphics.

I believe it adds color and depth to the magic system to retain the difference in fluff, but it seems like keeping the two of them as completely separate powers kind of overcomplicates the already greater complexity of the "effect based" system.

Right, it overcomplicates...But it helps keep immersion.
The bit about the CRPG is perfect.  It explains it in a nutshell.
I had to make this exact decision a few years ago.  I have a certain amount of spells that very much replicate (and there will be more; the idea is that often people go after similar results with different ingredients) actual effect; for example, Minor Kinetic Blast, Minor Fire Ball, and Minor Water Ball have almost the exact same damage effect and spread.  
I had the choice way back when to just say , 'See Minor Kinetic Blast, add fire slant', etc for this and a lot of other spells.  
I went the route of full inclusion to maintain the feel of an actual school of study and research.  Is it worth it?  It may be for what I am trying to do.  Maybe not for everyone.
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Ninja D!

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« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2011, 11:36:22 AM »
Quote from: sparkletwist

Unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean, the bang skills in GURPS are for something different. Those are useful if you are running a more rules-light or cinematic campaign and want to generalize skills. Asura does that anyway.

What I'm talking about is more about the same skill with multiple ways it may be presented in narrative terms. Say there's a "fireball" spell. An Elemental Sorcerer would tap into the element of fire and conjure a blast of fire energy, whereas a Necromancer would draw upon some deceased fire elemental and cause an eerie black flame to appear. But they're both flames, and mechanically, they'd be the same thing. The only difference is the fluff. If this were a CRPG, I'd use the same code, just change the graphics.

I believe it adds color and depth to the magic system to retain the difference in fluff, but it seems like keeping the two of them as completely separate powers kind of overcomplicates the already greater complexity of the "effect based" system.
Well, the magic Bang! Skills are for schools of magic. So if you make it clear in the fluff that these things can be done, you could probably do it that way.

sparkletwist

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« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2011, 03:31:32 PM »
Quote from: Luminous Crayon
I mean, are you looking for systems where you have some real basic, amorphous guidelines and you make everything up on the fly?

Or are you looking for systems where you look at the list of vague and generic powers, select "Generic Attack Spell #1", and decide to call it "Throwin' Fireballs" (or whatever) and describe it in terms of fire (or whatever), but it's essentially identical to "Generic Attack Spell #1 [Lightning Bolts]" and all other variants?

In some ways, this is hard to answer because I guess I'm looking for something that is a little bit of both. I want to have the real, basic, amorphous guideline that encourage making-things-up-on-the-fly, but I want to have the appropriate flavor given in the fluff even if the thing you decide to make up is essentially "Generic Attack Spell #1"-- if that makes any sense. In thinking about it more, the example I gave has the power being drawn from two completely different sources, so the proper thing to do is have the Elemental Sorcerer have mastery of the element of fire, and have the Necromancer be able to call forth this dead fire elemental, and they can both access fire as such... but their fluff is totally different. The "Generic Attack Spell #1" would be given as a sort of rote, to use the M:tA parlance. Basically, it'd be a list of "spells" given on a "cheat sheet" for people who were new to the system or couldn't quite grasp the purely openended way of doing it. However, these wouldn't be actual spells you'd have to memorize, just some well-refined techniques for using the powers you have.

In effect, I'm combining all the suggestions together, and it just might work. ;)