Welcome To Jotunheim

17th Dec 2021, 12:00 AM in Thor
Welcome To Jotunheim
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Author Notes:

17th Dec 2021, 12:00 AM
Maybe it's because you're the ONLY spellcaster. Or maybe it's because your other spellcasters are a bunch of unreliable dunderheads. But sometimes you've gotta be the one to pick your spells in anticipation of other people's dumb ideas.

Comments:

17th Dec 2021, 12:50 AM
Otaku
Okay, story time and yes, since it is me that means I'm talking GURPS. It isn't all positive fanboying this time, at least. XD

One of the things that I never got right about being a spellcaster class in D&D was that I really needed to specialize. This is because, when using the default Magic System for GURPS it is kind of broken. The short version is it isn't as generic or universal as one might think such a thing for the Generic Universal Role-Playing System would be, but it can work quite well in the setting for which it was designed.

What forces a PC or NPC to specialize in GURPS aren't class restrictions, but how much they can afford (GURPS has you build your character by spending Character Points). Now, due to some overly generous GMs when I was starting out in GURPS, I just got used to all Spellcasters having

1) Some Healing Spells
2) Some damage dealing Spells
3) Something else on top of the first two

Eventually, I played games where you just couldn't afford to be so diverse a spellcaster, but yeah: Spells like Resist Cold and Resist Heat were among a list of high utility Spells you'd take.
18th Dec 2021, 12:36 PM
Spell selection is honestly one of the main reasons I don't generally run spellcasters in D&D/Pathfinder. Even as someone who actively enjoys resource management and jumping through math hoops, the irritation of realizing I don't have the right spell available is usually a little too much for me. It was especially fun in the last Pathfinder game we ran, where my Bard was the only source of magic and was only a 3/4 caster, so there was quite a bit of pressure. XD
18th Dec 2021, 6:57 PM
Otaku
Yeah, it was definitely a culture shock when I did play D&D 3e... and it was only due to DM generosity (oversight?) that I was remotely useful as our high level cleric. Well, that and because I could only make it to a few sessions but the party really needed a cleric, so either the DM ran my character those sessions or if even my character was absent, he was "off camera" doing his own adventuring that let him more or less keep up with the party in terms of leveling. I know 3e is not 3.5/Pathfinder. After this is a fanboy explaining game mechanics for a different system: feel free to skip if it doesn't interest. ;)


What I like about GURPS is that it actually has multiple approaches to Magic. A lot of this stems from the game originally making magic work a few ways, having psionics be their own thing, having super powers be their own thing, having "racial powers" be their own thing, having chi-fueled abilities and skills be their own thing own thing, etc. in GURPS Second Edition, GURPS Third Edition, and GURPS Third Edition (Revised). In fact, if I were to criticize the system, it is because the time crunch for Fourth Edition officially releasing meant they didn't have time to distill these disparate options for "Powers" into generic approaches... well, they sort of do that, just in supplemental material.

Basically, take just about any version of the magic system, and you can sand off those pesky labels that call it "magic" and replace it with whatever "power" you want. The actual supplement, GURPS Powers, seems like it ought to have been part of the Basic Set, because it is so vital to how I like to run things. It realizes that the different kinds of powers are best balanced against each other when they work the same way, so it shows you how to do that... with additional supplements (GURPS Supers, GURPS Thaumatology, etc.) going into more detail if you're like me and neither talented nor invested enough to do it yourself. ;)

To further clarify; the default Magic System of GURPS has magic depend on four things:

1) An innate magical aptitude talent called Magery, available as Magery 0, 1, 2, and 3. Sometimes augmented by some other similar traits.
2) The amount of time (and or CP) invested in studying Spells, which are handled as Skills.
3) The local manga level and/or if it has an aspected nature that favors and/or resists some forms of spellcasting.
4) A "fast" method that is typically used, or a slower method, known as "Ritual Magic" that is better suited for some spells than others (as intended by design).

The default approach to chi (or however you justify "better than realistically possible") examples of martial arts, is similar:

1) Usually a catch-all Advantage like Trained By a Master or Weapon Master, sometimes augmented by some smaller, but some other similar traits.
2) Actual Martial Arts Skills
3) Making sure you're managing your chi properly e.g. preventing or exploiting an imbalance.
4) Techniques (Maneuvers?) that let you train a hyper-specific application of a Skill, allowing you to excel in it beyond what the base skill level would imply.

I don't know if they've officially distilled and test this as a generic approach to "Powers as [mostly] Skills", but it seems plausible.

Meanwhile GURPS Powers is mostly about fine-tuning Advantages to create these effects. You determine the source of the Power (Chi, Magic, Psychic, Divine, Super, etc.) and whether or not those things are limiting or enhancing factors (based on the setting). This affects how many Character Points the traits are worth. You can add other Modifiers, including combining Advantages with other Advantages, or with Disdadvantages, until you get what you want. For example, if you like how D&D typically does Spells, there are Modifiers that can be applied to various Advantages to replicate this approach.

I haven't read the Fourth Edition version yet, but GURPS Psionics is based on the Third Edition/Third Edition (Revised) approach to Psionics (from the different but similarly named book). Basically, split the difference between the Advantage focused and the Skill focused approaches. Fewer Skills, more Advantages, but still quite a bit of either if you want a diverse power set.

All of this under a unified rule system. You can use all of the above together in the same system if the GM is feeling ambitious. You can skip all of it as well. Or you can pick and chose what is used and what isn't, and how it works. There can be balance issues when mixing and matching, however. The same amount of Character Points needed for a super of a certain power level is far more than the equivalently potent mage built using the default Magic System. Unless the GM knows exactly what to tweak.
17th Dec 2021, 8:13 PM
A Quiet Reader
"What do I knowtun?" amuses me more than it should.
18th Dec 2021, 6:21 PM
Otaku
Aye, verily.
18th Dec 2021, 9:26 PM
Wildwolf42
...Makes sense, if you know a hostile environment is involved in the plot and you know that type of player is involved, you'd prepare for that environment immediately.

In other news, found a new comic to watch, read the whole thing in an afternoon... Hope it doesn't go the way of the other Avengers RPG comic.
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