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 Post subject: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 6:38 am 
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This week PJ sent me his complete, alternate magic system for TRoS. It has four sections and totals over fifty pages, nicely laid out with some thematic artwork. Having seen the work I've decided to make this a community project. In short -- we'll get everyone who is interested involved in nutting out the mechanics and providing feedback, and then we'll commission some artwork using the funds donated by the community to trosfans. Fairly shortly we should have a nice downloadable alternate magic system!

So, here for your perusal and comment, are the mechanics for PJs magic system...

Elemental Magic

There are seven Elements -- Crystal, Darkness, Fire, Light, Metal, Water, Wind, and Wood. Everything else in this universe consists of some combination of these pure elements. These precise combinations are often unknown. Each element has a Reflection, a naturally occurring substance that may be used to contain a Node. Each element dominates one other element, the relationship of which can be pictured as a circle.

Pure forms of these elements are referred to by scholars as Nodes. An elementalist is one capable of using a node to cast magic.

Nodes are created spontaneously and they can move. An elementalist has a Node Discovery skill which can be used to try to locate a Node or determine whether something they see is in fact a Node. Once located, the elementalist has three choices -- ignore the Node, lock the Node, or use the Node.

Locking or using the Node requires the elementalist to cast the Arcane Awareness spell. The spell is cast as a ritual. The elementalist must attune their mind to that of the Node and this takes time. If the spell cast is a botch then the Node is destroyed and the elementalist receives a wound equal to the level of power of the Node.

Once contact with the Node has been established the elementalist is able to re-establish contact with that Node simply by making a WP/Meditation roll.

A Node may be placed and held in a container. The container is made of a Reflection. A container may hold more than one Node and of different types. The elementalist coaxes the Node into the container once contact has been established through the Arcane Awareness ritual.

Once a Node is contained it may be used whenever contacted. Once it has been aligned, contained, and the container placed in a safe, permanent location the elementalist may access it from anywhere on the planet -- as long as the container is precisely where they left it. If it moves it may not be accessed.

A Node may be used to cast any spell of its respective element as long as it has the Power to do so. However, if a spell cast results in a botch then any Unaligned Nodes being used are destroyed.

A Node may be Aligned to a specific spell. One Aligned the Node may only be used to cast that specific spell. There are two advantages to doing this. Firstly, botching the spell cast doesn't cause the Node to be destroyed. Secondly, the spell CTN is reduced when using Aligned Nodes. If one power level is being used from one to three Aligned Nodes to power the spell then the CTN is reduced by 1. If two or more power levels are being used from one or more Aligned Nodes then the spell CTN is reduced by 2.

Aligning a spell also makes any participating elemental node inherently more stable, allowing for an ART check per node (adding any available SP dice, if desired) against a TN (equal to the spell's CTN) verses the total of dice failures from a botched spell’s role.

When casting spells through Nodes the elementalist does not risk aging. Instead, the Nodes suffer an Arcane Backlash which will potentially destroy them. This can be avoided by the elementalist making a Backlash Roll, using dice from the SP versus a CTN of the spell. For each success one power level of the Node(s) is protected.

Alternatively, when a Node is first contacted it may be Locked. This prevents the Node from being Aligned to a spell and it prevents the Node being used to power a spell. However, a Locked Node is impervious to Arcane Backlash. An elementalist may place Locked Nodes in a container. The total power level of Locked Nodes contained by the elementalist may not exceed their Form attribute. Each Locked Node within the elementalist's control will absorb one level of Arcane Backlash.

An elementalist may attempt to steal an Unaligned Node from another elementalist. Doing so requires the elementalist to use the Arcane Awareness spell. The owner of the Node may resist with SP/Art with a TN of 7.


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 Post subject: Re: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 2:07 pm 
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This looks very much like the Swordbearer magic system. I never liked it much, but it seemed to have its dedicated supporters.


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 Post subject: Re: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 3:42 am 
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Certic, I looked up your reference to Swordbearer and you are on target. I must admit to being a bit disappointed because much of my "material" was given to me by a friend from long ago and I THOUGHT it was his stuff. Hmm...I still like it but...

What do you think Ian? Go forward or let it be?

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 Post subject: Re: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 5:46 am 
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pbj44 wrote:
What do you think Ian? Go forward or let it be?


Go forward!!!

I'll post the remaining mechanics-extracts over the next few days. I have a lot of questions about the system myself, but I'll hold off until I've finished the other mechanics posts.

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 Post subject: Re: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 5:52 am 
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I don't think resemblance to another system should make you stop. At the very least, you could call it an adaptation of the other system into TROS.

I like how you have to make really careful decisions about how you use your Nodes. If you aren't careful with them, things could turn out disastrous.

I'll admit, though, that I didn't read it thoroughly. I'm kinda working on my own magic system. :) However, I did feel it could benefit from a little more explication. You introduce a lot of new terms very quickly, and I had to read it pretty darn close to figure out what's going on.

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 Post subject: Re: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 8:14 am 
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Okay, forward it is! I can already see some of Ian's touches in it already! :mrgreen:

One of the things I really like about the system is how easy it is to scale the magic level up or down. Some folks may like a lot of magic and others just a little touch here and there. That is all possible with this setup.

Ian is hard at work doing some editing/tweaking and I am curious to see his work on meshing this system with the combat system (one of the real headaches when using the traditional core system).

Once Ian and I have beaten this thing into shape a bit more, I do have a group of six players anxious to play test it, so that's a positive. What Ian has just introduced is an overview of one of four parts, so this is a very large project. Wait til you read about spiritual magic! Thanks for taking this on, Ian!

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 Post subject: Re: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 9:00 am 
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Hi Daeruin,

Glad it seems interesting for you so far! I will try to help out with terms and items of confusion. For you math majors, Ian's element count isn't wrong, Light and Darkness are two sides of one element.

Some Terms:

Aligned - A portion of a node's power may be "aligned" (dedicated) to the casting of a particular spell. For example, a fire node of level five strength could have 3 of 5 power levels dedicated exclusively for the casting of a certain spell. A sorcerer wanting to cast a random fire spell would therefore only have two "available" power levels to draw on from the fire node in this example.

Arcane Awareness - The "new" spell needed to access an elemental node.

Arcane Backlash - The raw displaced magic that slams back into a node after magic power has exploded forth from it.

Locked - A node may be "Locked" when the caster performs the Arcane Awareness ritual. Locked nodes may be used to divert the destructive magical energies of Arcane Backlash away from precious nodes. The decision to lock a node must be made before the player knows the power level of the node.

Node - A concentration of raw elemental magic.

Power Level - A measurement of the strength of an elemental node. As currently written, a node's power can range from 1 to 20, though nodes with a power level beyond 9 are very rare.

PJ

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 Post subject: Re: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 2:24 am 
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PJ, thanks for the definitions. Perhaps these could form the beginning of a small glossary at the end.

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 Post subject: Re: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 2:02 pm 
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Good Idea! :o

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 Post subject: Re: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 6:59 am 
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Phil, I'm running out of time to put up the mechanics summaries. Could you do the next one, Elemental Enchantments?

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 8:43 am 
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Done! This is a rough overview of Section Two - Elemental Enchantments.

Elemental Enchantments

Enchantment is the process of binding elemental nodes along with a spell into an object. Both spell and nodes become permanent attributes of the object. This allows characters ignorant of magic to use the object, and thus cast spells. It is also useful for sorcerers who don’t want to take the chance of a valuable node being destroyed while casting a mundane spell.

There are three types of enchantment: passive (the easiest but least useful), active contact (more difficult), and active ranged (most difficult).

In a passive enchantment, the spell affects only the object it is bound into, nothing else.

In an active contact enchantment, the spell can affect anyone or anything the object touches.

In an active ranged enchantment, the object’s user can aim it and cast the spell at anything in sight.

Enchantments can only be put into inanimate, unintelligent, unaware objects. Living items such as people, plants, ect, cannot be used for enchantments. Obviously, characters cannot be enchanted.

If the spell’s element does not naturally dominate the object’s element, additional “carrier” nodes are required, to establish a chain of dominance so that the spell dominates the object.

For example, putting an elemental light spell (light) into a sword (metal) requires a light node for the spell, a fire node carrier, and a metal node carrier (for the metal sword), to establish the light/dark-dominates-fire-dominates-metal, relationship.

If the enchantment requires a chain of nodes, the enchanter begins with aligning the least dominate node, and then one after another adds each node that dominates the last, until the final elemental node is aligned into the object.

Enchantment Success: In enchantments, nodes are simultaneously aligned to spells and the object (even carrier nodes), so the number of successes when using the Arcane Awareness spell to enchant the object is critical, therefore:

If the total of enchantment successes does not equal or exceed the number of nodes being aligned to the object, the enchantment has failed and all involved nodes are now lost.

The final step is the actual casting of the desired spell into the object. At this stage only a single success is needed to embed the spell into the object Enchantment takes one hour per node aligned, and must be done as a continuous process; it cannot be stopped then started again later.

As with all things TROS, a sorcerer may use applicable SA's to enhance his enchantment rolls. But consequently, few sorcerers will be willing to craft such items for others, as there is little incentive to do so when weighed against the possible dangers involved in such an undertaking.

In addition, a sorcerer may also deliberately imbue an item with a "mission" of his choosing by implanting SA points from one of his Spiritual Attributes into the object. Thus, a sword infused with two points of the passion "Slay my cousin Olaf", would add two CP to the wielder's combat pool when being used to attack Olaf. The sorcerer's applicable Spiritual Attribute would be permanently reduced by two in the above example.

While an object could have several spells implanted in it, it may only be bound with one mission. Conversely, an object needs no spells crafted in it for it to be mission bound. The Arcane Awareness spell ritual must still be observed, but successes during the ritual need only exceed the value of the Spiritual Attribute points bound into the object. Purpose bound objects are the simplest enchantments to craft and thus most magical objects found will be of this variety and of little use to anyone other than their creator.

Hopefully this overview is not too sketchy and communicates the basic ideas of the chapter.

PJ

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 Post subject: Re: PJs Alternate Magic System
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:59 am 
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Okay folks,

Here are some exerpts from Book Three -Spiritual Magic:

Spiritual magic has many similarities to elemental magic, although some are superficial. First, both types use “nodes” that can only be “seen” by the mind, and used only by mental effort – and then, truly exploited only by those gifted with magic talent.

In elemental magic, there are seven “elements”, while in spiritual magic there are four “humors”.

Unlike elemental magic, spirit nodes are either “alive” (within a living character) or “dead” (released when a character dies).

Any character when living will have one node of each humor within him, one of which will be dominant. When a character dies, these convert into an equal number of dead nodes.

In order to identify spirit nodes and to perform spirit magic, a sorcerer must learn the spell, Spiritual Awareness.

This spell cannot be found in books, scrolls, ect., but must be learned from a teacher. Anyone possessing knowledge of this spell is known as a “Spiritualist”. As part of a sorcerer’s training in the use of the Spiritual Awareness spell, he will be taught the following subjects:

Sanguine Humors: The ability to identify sanguine nodes, and knowledge of how sanguine spells function. This humor is associated with the color red, and denotes a lively, active, even passionate attitude. Sanguine spirits are life-oriented, extending at times to the truths (and falsities) of life. Possible spells include those related to health, energy, perception, illusion, shape shifting, ect.

Phlegmatic Humors: The ability to identify phlegmatic nodes, and knowledge of how phlegmatic spells function. This humor is associated with the colors green or blue, and denotes a slow, dull, or sluggish attitude, often with great inertia and solidity. Phlegmatic spirits are associated with strength, solidity, and resistance to change or activity. Possible spells include those related to abilities, all manner of resistances, wards, locks, barriers, protection, ect.

Choleric Humors: The ability to identify choleric nodes, and knowledge of how choleric spells function. This humor is associated with the color yellow, and denotes an angry, irritable, even unstable attitude. Choleric spirits are often hostile, and are used to enhance power and activity over physical, mental, and/or insubstantial aspects of the world. Possible spells include those related to charm, emotions, control, summoning, ect.

Melancholic Humors: The ability to identify melancholic nodes, and knowledge of how melancholic spells function. This humor is associated with the color black and is sometimes known as the “necronomic humor”. It is associated with gloom, depression, even death. Melancholic spirits deal with life and death, and to some extent the metaphysics beyond both. Possible spells include those related to re-animation, death, insight, energy drain, ect.

Each of the four nodes within a character will belong to each one of the four “humors” (Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric, or Melancholic). One of the four nodes will be stronger than the rest, and this node reflects the character’s core personality.

If a sorcerer loses all his spirit nodes and is somehow still alive and in a functioning state, he also loses all direction, purpose, and ability to look towards a future. The character simply lives from day to day, trying to satisfy immediate wants and needs only. A character’s spiritual attribute (SA) values all drop to zero as the character forgets all ulterior objects or goals and generally acquires a distracted and somewhat vacant attitude.

Live Spirits: When a character gains the Spiritual Awareness spell, he learns to identify and contact his own spirit. This includes learning the strength of each of the four humors of that spirit. A character with spiritual knowledge of the appropriate humor can identify the spirit nodes (including quantity, power level, and humor) in another character, but this takes a minute of concentration. This is normally part of the contact or alignment of spirit spells.

Dead Spirits: A character that has acquired the Spiritual Awareness spell and the associated knowledge of humors, will sense when a live spirit is dying, and when it finally dies. Dead spirits within containers can also be identified.

Moving Spirit Nodes: Spirit nodes, once in a container, can be moved by carrying the container. Spirit nodes can be moved very small distances by mental concentration alone (just like normal elemental nodes), and thus transferred from one container to another.

Container Restrictions: Only spirit nodes of the same race and humor may be within the same container. For example, a human heart holding a human choleric spirit node could hold only other human choleric nodes. If a node of a different humor or race is maneuvered into the same container, it will break instantly with all nodes being lost.

Preserving the Container: Most containers for spirit nodes are flesh of a body, and this is apt to decay over a period of days or weeks. When the flesh decays far enough to fall apart (or any container is broken), the node is released and lost. Successful use of the Herbalist skill with easily obtained materials allows one to preserve a flesh container, using embalming techniques. Some body materials, such as horn or bone, decay slowly or not at all in certain climates.

Elemental Containers: A container for an elemental node, with at least one unaligned elemental node within, also may be used to hold dead spirit nodes.
This is done during contact with the dead spirit, with the extra step of aligning any one elemental node to the spirit node.

Once the spirit node becomes contained within the elemental node, the change becomes permanent. Obviously, this technique can be used only by a sorcerer who is practiced in elemental magic. It is a very useful way of carrying spirit nodes.

Okay, thats the complete overview of the system. Book Four concerns itself mainly with mechanics and my adaptation of Ian's wonderful Arcane Combat System! Hope you enjoyed spiritual magic's description!

Phil

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