PROPOSAL for a magic system: problem: magic usually breaks historical games, challenges, tactical situations solution: write a list of spells that are carefully designed to convey advantages and offer more tactical options without short-circuiting interesting play situations. No magic telephones or teleporters or resource fountains. Suggestion: each magic effect is a creature (sandestin, imp, yokai, faerie or whatever) that can do what one creature can do (so it’s like “strike that guy”, not “make all elephants fly forever.”) Examples: Gnawer - weakens one thing so it breaks under normal strain (eg sword, mast, horse, bridge); Tangleroad - causes the victim to become lost, set off in semi-random direction (just not where they want to go) Cousine - convinces the target they have some familial relation to you: note this probably comes with obligations but it’s not charm person, it just breaks the ice/generates relations. ....any ideas?
😊 Richard G @ 2019-05-23 13:10:40
(it occurs to me that curses are easier to control than benefits: things break and go wrong anyway, but a reliable advantage can always be exploited) Maybe Steal Luck - you can choose to swap roll results with your enemy AFTER you’ve both rolled but BEFORE you know what they got.
😊 Paolo Greco @ 2019-05-23 17:13:42
Write it as a W&W supplement and send me a draft?
😊 Richard G @ 2019-05-23 19:51:12
yup, think so.
😊 Lloyd Neill @ 2019-05-24 01:07:28
So kinda like Mage in that you are tweaking probability in your favour? Making the unlikely or even improbable happen, but not the impossible
😊 Lloyd Neill @ 2019-05-24 01:15:35
Disclaimer: has never played Mage
😊 Lloyd Neill @ 2019-05-24 01:18:53
Could you do this with tags rather than clearly articulated spells? E.g. weaken, confuse, sympathy for your examples. I guess this creates more opportunities for creativity but also abuse and breaking of historical feel.
😊 Richard G @ 2019-05-24 02:37:17
it’s an interesting thought. I’m starting to like the idea of entropy-based magical effects, plausible deniability. And the opportunities for false confidence that affords.
😊 Alistair Langsford @ 2019-05-24 06:45:21
Maelstrom also worked on tweaking probability. You just had to define how unlikely an effect was, from memory. Available on dtrpg: Levels of probability were as follows - quite an interesting idea for 1984. Probable Unlikely Highly unlikely Wildly improbable Impossible
😊 Richard G @ 2019-05-24 09:48:50
I have maelstrom but haven’t read it yet (true of so many games...) - now I will!
😊 Richard G @ 2019-05-24 09:59:55
...and I’m not really thinking just about a probability-inflected system.* The critical point is, the magic shouldn’t preclude realistic/historical play, whether that means it’s bounded in its domain of effect or something else. I’ve been thinking about the magic in Game of Thrones and how a Pac might weaponize it: it seems very constrained to only allow certain kinds of interventions - no training armies of wizards to continual light the streets of King’s Landing.
😊 K Yani @ 2019-05-24 10:36:12
But isn't raise dead/revenant possible in GoT? This is to me clearly something very out of ordinary and contrary to more historical approach.
😊 Richard G @ 2019-05-24 11:13:03
It really is... so GRRM keeps a heavy thumb on the scale. The only people who can do it are far outside the PCs’ control - they do it for their own purposes and to unpredictable ends, so it’s really not much of a tool in the players’ hands. Mechanically, Jon Snow’s and Gregor Clegane’s resurrections are both highly improbable saving throws vs death. And the zombie army (as an uncontrollable npc shock weapon) is not that different from the Dothraki.
😊 Richard G @ 2019-05-24 11:15:05
* probability systems are fun, though. @Lloyd my experience of mage has been similar to my experience of Risus: you essentially fast-talk the DM into letting you drag the action into something you can roll against.
😊 Richard G @ 2019-05-24 11:25:47
(the point here is not to make a magic system that doesn’t change anything, nor one that yields strictly historical results (the best approach for that is no magic), but one that opens up an interesting tactical space without making the world unrecognisable - specifically without destroying some gameable aspects of the past, like slow communications, castles and arbitrage trade. It might not be possible. It’s also possible that some expectation that magic should work was a critical element in the way our history actually played out. Poor risk assessment definitely played a role.
😊 Alistair Langsford @ 2019-05-24 13:36:06
I think one of the magic systems for nephilim was based on how “real world” magic was suppposed to work. Things would happen in a way that could have been normal happenstance, but it was triggered none the less by a magical intervention by a caster or casters. Is that more what you’re after? That there is a possible and believable (even if improbable) mundane explanation, so events are still believable , within the real world’s bounds on what is possible and reasonable, so reality and history as we unknowing mundanes perceive it isn’t broken? Stretched perhaps - but only unbelievable madmen see the reality of it.
😊 Lloyd Neill @ 2019-05-24 13:38:34
I think having a substantial cost also attached to magic use may help. Make it so magic is not cost effective to use as a hammer. However if you can apply magic cleverly to take advantage of situational factors it becomes worth it - applying a hammer stroke to a lynch pin or fault line as it were.
😊 Richard G @ 2019-05-24 14:42:29
@Alistair Nephilim’s magic is super-flavorful but I’ve never really seen players take advantage of it - rather like @Lloyd suggests, you wind up engineering complicated ling cons in order to take advantage of that one critical spell effect, and in the end it would’ve been more cost-effective and less risky to hire a guy with a knife. Which actually reminds me of Renleigh’s assassination in GoT: they had to find a way to basically get to line-of-sight with the target, then deploy the magical assassin - which, however, could not be fought. If only they’d hired a faceless man, nobody would know there was a witch behind the job, nor would Davos’s loyalty have been tested.
😊 K Yani @ 2019-05-24 19:36:47
Richard G, There was also mother of Starks (don't recall her full name) who got killed at Red Wedding and returned via very strange 'divine' resurrection. I am vary of such magic even existing in the setting, because there is always that one player who wants to play a merlin in such tale.
😊 Richard G @ 2019-05-24 19:55:10
ahh I haven’t seen the final series yet, if they go full on resurrections that seems like a problem.
😊 K Yani @ 2019-05-24 21:27:48
It was in the books, I don't think she got raised in the series. And she returned as some kind of a troubled revenant. I called it 'divine' because it was not obviously magical thing as with what Melisandre is doing.

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