Type of Magic in this game

Type of Magic in this game

Postby drkguy3107 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:35 am

Obviously codex martialis needs a magic system. The one for 3.5 doesn't fit this system well at all imho.

I think a no to low magic system would work best but the question is how low magic is low magic?

I was thinking of a magic system based on real life, as in, what powers did people at the time think other people had? The ability to bring people back from the dead and speaking in tongues, cursing towns and breathing water all come to mind.

However to keep things balanced it seems to me that the blatant fire ball cone of cold, ray of disentigration all have to be dumped. The system I am working on comes from the d20 A Game of Thrones system which is now out of print, however I am trying to modify into a less world specific game. It's a great starting point because combat is already assumed to be deadly and magic doesn't really exist.

There is no wizard class so I added one, as a sorta flavorless default magical person, that could be customized into anything between witch, gypsy, soothsayer, alchemist, faith healer, and shaman.

The idea is that you would add some feats which can prerequiste stats (like 16 int or wis) and then divide them by school.

The schools I have are divination, which consists of runecasting, hydromancy, and dream walking,

healing,(needs a more flavorful name) which consists of some rather jesus like acts, curing blindness and leprosy with a touch, bring back to life men that had ben burried for a week, etc.

cursing, ( needs a more flavorful name, maybe witchcraft) haven't thought this through exactly but I was thinking the evil eye would be a good place to start.

alchemy, treated more like a very powerful craft which needs a different feat for every different section of items, mroe renaissance and high medieval

protection, (needs a more flavorful name), making charms of protection, sorta a Excalibur (1981) "no bow will pierce you while you do X, or you will feel no fear, etc.

some kinda druidic/shaman spirit/animal communication affinity

and some sort of tailisman magic item thing (possibly too close to alchemy)

so clearly this system would be largely non combat related but would be huge in outta combat situations and would be strong and powerful without replacing the normal combat system or making it ridiculous (why spend centuries developing plate armour when any wizard can roost you in it?)
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Re: Type of Magic in this game

Postby Galloglaich » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:35 pm

Hy drkguy, welcome to the forum.

Obviously codex martialis needs a magic system. The one for 3.5 doesn't fit this system well at all imho.

I think a no to low magic system would work best but the question is how low magic is low magic?


I think you have raised some good points here. The Magic system issue is a kind of a big can of worms which bring up a lot of issues, to which the answers are complex.

The shortest answer is, I think Codex can work with the existing OGL Magic system if you use a little common sense, (and I recommend the Spell Failure rule) but I personally like to take it a bit further, and I suspect many Codex fans will as well in the long run. Everyone likes to do magic differently though.

First a little history. I wrote a Magic supplement for D20 once, for Pelgrane Press out of the UK. I think (not a big surprise!) that it is a pretty good spell system and fits well with the Codex, though unfortunately it's out of print now since Pelgrane lost the license to do Jack Vance material.

http://www.amazon.com/Primer-Practical- ... 0953998010

My basic rule of thumb for using OGL standard spells, is that with a few relatively minor adjustments it fits much better in a realistic / cinematic campaign.

1) Is to simply re-organize the spell list, so that really powerful (and really flashy, direct types of magic) are 'un-nerfed' and pushed back up the list into higher levels.

2) Give the spellcasters a lot of cool and interesting low-level spells and cantrips

3) Give them a little bit more flexibility to choose what spells to cast.

An example of #1 is Invisibility. Invisibility is a really powerful spell. Entire fairy tales, books and movies have been based around this one supernatural ability. It's a HUGE thing. It was originally made a 2nd level spell in DnD when there were only 3 levels of spells, but it was left that way and then nerfed for balance, with a silly rule that you turn visible if you hit someone. In my campaign, invisibility is a 5th or 6th level spell (can't remember off the top of my head) something only really powerful Wizards could do. That is not to say a potion of invisibility might not be found by players, but it would not be a commonplace thing you could buy at a market, it would be a big deal, something the story would center around.

Same for say, Lightning bolt. No real reason to eliminate it, I just make it like an actual lightning bolt (which would kill anybody) Though to be honest I like the Druid 'Call Lightning' spell a lot better.

An example of #2, well I had about 30 cool Cantrips in the Primer, I don't have permission to use those in a published document at the moment though, but you can borrow really cool low level spells from other systems, my favorite source right now is Ars Magica. They have next to a million spells on this website and most of them are a lot more interesting than the kind of homoginized version of DnD spells you see in the 3.5 SRD.

For #3, my rule of thumb is to count up the total number of casting spell-levels that a Wizard or a Cleric gets, then add them all up and give the player that number of 'spell points' that they can use however they like. So for example if you are a 5th Level wizard and can cast 1x 3rd level, 2x 2nd level, 4x 1st level spells, and 5x 0 level spells, I add that up at 1 point + 1 per level, so 1 3rd level spell = 4 points, 2 2nd level spells = 6 points, 4 1st level spells =8 points, and 5 0 level spells = 5 points. Total, is 23 points.

With 23 spell points the player could memorize 23 0 level spells, or 11 1st level, or 7 2nd level spells, or 5 3rd level spells... Or any combination of the above... or they could try to cast a couple of higher level spells beyond their current competency.

There are hints of this in the little fragment of Spell rules I included in the Codex. With the Spell Failure rule you can try to cast spells over your allowed level, though with potentially dire consequences if you fail.

I also don't allow 'cure light wounds' type spells, or divination spells like detect evil in my campaigns generally, though that is just a personal preference.

For my own campaign I use a combination of standard OGL spells, spells from the Primer, and spells I've borrowed from other games especially Ars Magica as well as a few from Call of Cthulhu, some from Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing Game, a few from various novels, and a few other sources.

So anyway
That is kind of going to be the starting point of the Magic, Mnemonics and Mythology book I'm going to do. It may be the next book I do in fact I'm not sure yet. Weapons of the Ancient World Part II is almost ready for initial release so I'm not sure which direction I'm going to go in next. I'll probably do at least a small magic supplement which may later get rolled into the core rules.

But down the road a bit I'd really like to take a shot at making a Magic system, or more accurately a series of magic systems, which are based on historical records. There is a lot of interesting stuff out there, from the Renaissance magicians of Europe to the Alchemists of China and the Middle East, to all the various forms of Shamanistic magic and etc.

That would be a very big project though and I'm not sure when it will start.

G.
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Re: Type of Magic in this game

Postby Galloglaich » Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:58 am

The system I am working on comes from the d20 A Game of Thrones system which is now out of print, however I am trying to modify into a less world specific game. It's a great starting point because combat is already assumed to be deadly and magic doesn't really exist.

There is no wizard class so I added one, as a sorta flavorless default magical person, that could be customized into anything between witch, gypsy, soothsayer, alchemist, faith healer, and shaman.

The idea is that you would add some feats which can prerequiste stats (like 16 int or wis) and then divide them by school.

The schools I have are divination, which consists of runecasting, hydromancy, and dream walking,

healing,(needs a more flavorful name) which consists of some rather jesus like acts, curing blindness and leprosy with a touch, bring back to life men that had ben burried for a week, etc.

cursing, ( needs a more flavorful name, maybe witchcraft) haven't thought this through exactly but I was thinking the evil eye would be a good place to start.

alchemy, treated more like a very powerful craft which needs a different feat for every different section of items, mroe renaissance and high medieval

protection, (needs a more flavorful name), making charms of protection, sorta a Excalibur (1981) "no bow will pierce you while you do X, or you will feel no fear, etc.

some kinda druidic/shaman spirit/animal communication affinity

and some sort of tailisman magic item thing (possibly too close to alchemy)

so clearly this system would be largely non combat related but would be huge in outta combat situations and would be strong and powerful without replacing the normal combat system or making it ridiculous (why spend centuries developing plate armour when any wizard can roost you in it?)


This sounds pretty interesting, can you tell me a bit about game of thrones, what it's about, what the setting is, how the rule system breaks down etc.?

G.
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Re: Type of Magic in this game

Postby Draewn » Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:23 am

Disclaimer: I've never read the books in question

A quick interwebs search reveals the following -

It's based on the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin -

There's a review of the system up on RPG.net - - which contains a bit of information on it's mechanics and style; though Drkguy could provide more detail.
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Re: Type of Magic in this game

Postby drkguy3107 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:55 am

Well it is the first book from a Song of Ice and Fire which is a series of low magic fantasy novels made by George R. R. Martin, which is my all time favorite series of books. Currently there are four books but he plans on making 7 (very slowly!!). The books are told from several character perspectives and mainly revolve around the realpolitik of the various noble houses in their attempts to gain power while a magical metaplot (special since magic doesn't actually exist, or at least not anymore) works in the background.

The game system was made by the Knights of Order publishing I believe (i don't have the book on me at the moment so I'm not positive) but it is really just a modified version of 3.5 d20.

The differences made fit the world much better but I think that they will generally work will in any low magic (or medieval) setting.

Firstly all magic is gone, all magical abilities (such as ranger animal companion or certain theif abilities) are gone. Instead the world revolves around A LOT of political manipulation. Each class has (in addition to the normal hitpoint, skills, bab, saves, abilities) influence points which are determined by class and cha modifier. For example the Man at Arms class (pretty much a fighter but since all nobles are knights and all knights are men at arms they have considerable political clout as well) has like 3+cha influence per level.

The influence points are essentially invested in people and organizations and can be used to get favors and to manipulate and blackmail them into getting what you want. This requires a d20 plus applicable modifiers vs a dc, or vs someone else in the event that you are both trying to manipulate them.

Additionally the combat system (which I have replaced with codex martialis rather easily) is already very lethal as every character has a lot less hit points (no more than 3 per level plus con) and every one has a shock value (which is 1/2 con score), if you take more than your shock value in any single hit you must fort save vs 10+every point of damage beyond your shock value or fall unconscious. This, plus no magic, means that combat can quickly become fatal, meaning that political maneuvering and talk are often preferable to combat (or at least a fair fight.)

The classes are man at arms,
*Artisan (skilled at making things and have the ability to affect peoples reputations which affects manipulation, and gain patrons who serve as friends in high places)
*Maester (effectively a scholar type character, damn near genius's, high influence points)
*Septon (priest, no magic but your prayers aid in help people psychosomatically, also high influence points)
*Knave (your cliche thief but not quite as combat savy and better at information gathering)
*Hunter (your ranger, but no two weapon fighting, more ambush and survival skill oriented)
*Raider (sorta a barbarian but no rage ability and pretty much builds into either a viking type, nomadic hun type, forest raider type, or highlander type)
*Noble (pretty self explanatory and immensely powerful, ranks of nobility involve an ECL to balance it out.)
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Re: Type of Magic in this game

Postby Galloglaich » Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:32 pm

That sounds really pretty cool. It reminds me a bit of the Dying Earth game Pelgrane Press made based on Jack Vance, I did some work for them. That also had a form of 'social combat' in it though it was mostly to do with one-on-one con artistry, whereas this one seems to emphasize courtly intrigue, factions and blackmail etc., which is really interesting. A system like that would also fit will with a Three musketeers style swashbuckling campaign, or a Crusades campaign, or quite a few others...

I think Codex would be a very good fit for this system for sure, I'd like to learn a bit more about it. This is more the kind of thing Codex really can integrate with I think, more than say Pathfinder.

Getting back to the magic system, for this game or others... have you ever heard of the stuff they were into in the Renaissance? Fellows like John Dee and Giordono Bruno? I think this could be a really interesting angle to pursue if you could figure out suitable mechanics. It's very evocative.

Also the alchemists from the Islamic Golden Age, Al Jabir and Al Razi come to mind, as do the Ancient Greek inventors like Heron of Alexandria and Archemedes, and the magic mentioned in the Sagas... there are a variety of fascinating directions one could go in for "real life" Magic systems that were plausible and very 'low magic' but still really far out, and capable of introducing elements of horror, mystery, supernatural awe, etc. like a good Call of Cthulhu game, or a good novel....

G.
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Re: Type of Magic in this game

Postby drkguy3107 » Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:33 am

I am aware that they existed but I know nothing about them personally. Care to elaborate?
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Re: Type of Magic in this game

Postby Galloglaich » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:42 pm

was thinking about your Magic ideas, when I ran across this interesting entry about the MS 3227a document written in 1389 AD, which is one of the earliest documents including European Martial arts. But it's also quite interesting what else was in this document, (from the wiki):

The codex Nürnberger Handschrift GNM 3227a (169 folia) is a manuscript dating from around 1389, preserved today in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg (Nürnberg). It is frequently attributed to Hanko Döbringer.

It contains recipes for a wide range of purposes as well as treatises on martial arts.[dubious – discuss] Most notably, it is the earliest manuscript dealing with the art of fencing with the long sword of Johannes Liechtenauer which remained predominant in the German school of swordsmanship for two centuries to come. See also Historical European Martial Arts.

[edit] Contents
1r - 5v treatise on fireworks (Marcus Graecus: Liber Ignium) 5v magic formulas in Latin and German
6r recipes for powders used for painting
6v - 10v Latin recipes (paint, alchemy, medicine)
11r - 12r German instructions for the strengthening of iron (Von dem herten. Nu spricht meister Alkaym...)
12v - 13r alchemical recipes in Latin
13v - 17v treatise on sword fencing, on foot, on horseback, unarmoured or armoured (kunst des fechtens mit deme swerte czu fusse vnd czu rosse blos vnd yn harnuesche)
18r - 40r teachings of Johannes Liechtenauer on unarmoured foot combat. (Liechtenauers blozfechten czu fusse)
43r - 45v teachings of other masters, in verse (Hanko Döbringer, Andres Juden, Jost von der Neißen, Nidas Preußen).
47r - 48v glosses on technical terms of the preceding section
52v on sportive (non-serious) fencing (Schulfechten)
53r - 60v teachings of Liechtenauer on combat on horseback and armoured combat with spear and sword.
62r fragment on wrestling
64r - 65r recapitulation of the teachings of Liechtenauer
66v - 73v astrological texts, magical and medicinal recipes, name magic 74r fragment on combat with sword and shield
74v - 77v recipes for paint, tumors, metal and ivory treatment
78r fragment on combat with the long-staff
79r - 81v miscellaneous Latin recipes, treatment of gems, preparation of a miraculous potion 82 on combat with the long knife (Messer)
83v Latin calendar, 1390-1495 (the manuscript is dated to 1389 on the basis of this calendar)
84r - 85r on combat with daggers
85 magical recipes
86r - 89r Liechtenauer on wrestling, interspersed with additional recipes
90v - 165v recipes for dental hygiene, various alchemical recipes, food recipes, nonsense recipes, in various hands
166r - 169v index to the recipes in the manuscript, partly illegible


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3227a

What is name magic? What kind of potions are in there? What kind of alchemy? Astrology?

Fireworks and metalurgy entries are also interesting.

I'm going to try to find out a bit more, will post here with any results.

G
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Re: Type of Magic in this game

Postby Galloglaich » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:16 pm

Here are two Germanic / Norse magic spells from the 9th Century AD, one to release prisoners and another to cure a horse:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merseburg_charm

Once the Idisi set forth,
to this place and that.
Some fastened fetters,
Some hindered the horde,
Some loosed the bonds
from the brave:
Leap forth from the fetters,
escape from the foes


Phol and Odin
rode into the woods,
There Balder's foal
sprained its foot.
It was charmed by Sinthgunt,
(so did) her sister Sunna.
It was charmed by Frija,
(so did) her sister Volla.
It was charmed by Odin,
as he well knew how:

Bone-sprain,
like blood-sprain,
Like limb-sprain:
Bone to bone,
blood to blood,
Limb to limb,
As though they were glued
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Re: Type of Magic in this game

Postby Galloglaich » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:18 pm

Here is another spell for curing poison:

A snake came crawling, it bit a man.
Then Woden took nine glory-twigs,
Smote the serpent so that it flew into nine parts.
There apple brought this pass against poison,
That she nevermore would enter her house.[1


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Herbs_Charm
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