• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

[fate 3.0] maneuver magic

animandeg

Retired User
Thanks for the input everyone.

1) I'd strongly consider one (Mysteries) and then forcing spellcasters to choose one of the four disciplines. If you wanted, you could then add a stunt that granted access (at Mysteries-2 or something) to another discipline, with a further stunt that granted access to everything else. Keeps it simple.
I can dig that, but as SquidFisher and others have pointed out skills should have a pretty clear bailiwick. Having multiple (but not necessarily four) magic skills lets me keep different flavors pretty clearly defined. Plus, I wanted to keep some of the ordinary trappings of Science and Engineering without having skills with those names.


2) Depends how flexible the spells are, and when you have to choose them (character creation, start of each session, on the fly, etc.). Having some rules for on the fly cantrips takes a lot of weight off, as only the really major stuff needs to be represented by an actual spell. Maybe one spell per rank would work, with a stunt that grants bonus spells.
I don't have a problem with one per skill level, especially if I stick with multiple skills. My only concern is with Minion magicians. Part of the worldbuilding I have in mind includes Average quality magicians who are able to make a living as a village wizard. Can they do that with one spell? Maybe.

It's worth checking out the gadget rules (both for having gadgets and for creating them during play) and thinking about that in terms of spells. If people had time, could they research a particular spell that they wouldn't normally have access to?
I like that. I'm fond of ritual magic. I'd have no problem letting a magician spend a couple of days in the lab casting a spell he wouldn't be able to cast on the fly. Or brewing it into a potion, so that it is portable. It warrants looking in to.

3) Mediocre? Whatever the other guy rolled to defend? Maybe requiring spin in order to make the aspect sticky. I don't see why spells should be different from anything else, especially when a machine gun and a fist do the same damage in this game.
I like the spin idea. I just figured that changing the fundamental laws of the universe in a local area might be a little trickier than Mediocre. You can do potentially do some potent things with this.

And frankly, I like the way you handle attack spells better than the way I did. Placing a "I'm now armed--with MAGIC!!!" aspect on yourself is way better than spending a fate point every damn time you shoot lighting. I'll still allow the attack option (handy if your Mysteries is much higher than your other weapon skills), but I think I'll encourage your idea.
Thanks. I appreciate it. And since it's a temporary aspect, you get one free tag.
 

animandeg

Retired User
The most common magic systems I've seen have been "stunt or Fate Point to use magic skill in place of other skills" and "use magic skill to place an Aspect on something, difficulty depending on target size and Aspect duration". Instead of sleep, put Sleepy and try to sneak by. Simple and flexible but low level.
Really? I thought the Aspect angle would have been used before, but I couldn't find anything. My Google-fu is apparently pretty weak. You wouldn't happed to have any links handy?
 

Shawn Conard

Registered User
Validated User
I can dig that, but as SquidFisher and others have pointed out skills should have a pretty clear bailiwick. Having multiple (but not necessarily four) magic skills lets me keep different flavors pretty clearly defined. Plus, I wanted to keep some of the ordinary trappings of Science and Engineering without having skills with those names.
Makes sense. This works a lot better if you have a very clear concept of what each type of magic can do, which is why I went for something else entirely in my game. Although gun mages are one of the few IK spellcasters that are fairly well defined... hmm....

Eh, I better decide soon. Character creation is in less than a week.

I don't have a problem with one per skill level, especially if I stick with multiple skills. My only concern is with Minion magicians. Part of the worldbuilding I have in mind includes Average quality magicians who are able to make a living as a village wizard. Can they do that with one spell? Maybe.
Would you even need spells if the spellcasting skills were defined tightly enough? Alternatively, you could have the spellcasting skills do a little bit on their own, but mostly power the spells. That way, magicians that don't have many spells would mostly get by on the base abilities.

I like the spin idea. I just figured that changing the fundamental laws of the universe in a local area might be a little trickier than Mediocre. You can do potentially do some potent things with this.
Supposedly, your average professional magician would have Average skill in spellcasting, so mediocre difficulty isn't really that low. It's just that the PC are world-shaking characters. (Also, the spin thing isn't really my idea. There was some mention of requiring spin to make an aspect sticky in the SotC book. Somewhere. I think.)
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
Validated User
Yeah, breaking "magic" up into skills is the third common approach, but yes, requiring a bit more work. A precursor is the Great Lighthouse in Fate 2. I like the Door into Shadow, combinatorial magic (a bit a la Ars Magica, or Wuxalted Sorcery, or Runequest) but it seems less common.

An idea I haven't seen in the Fate community: if you want the # of spells castable to not be tightly limited to Fate points, but also not totally free, and you don't want to invent a Magic Track or re-invent magic points to keep track of, then something I've been liking is saves a la Blue Rose. You cast the spell, it goes off, then you roll dice/dice against some target and if you fail it then you lose a Fate point. I'd been thinking in terms of d10s but you could stay within Fudge dice, just roll against some target. If you don't want # of spells to be directly tied to magic skill, then you'd pick a number on the 4dF. "level one" spells lose Fate only if you roll -4, level two would be -3 or below, and so on. "level nine" would always lose Fate, even if you rolled +4.

Aspect driven magic... possibly most of the examples were on the list and it's protected from Google. Or maybe I multiplied examples. But Fate of the Rings was one:
http://evilhat.wikidot.com/lotr#toc41
(Minor Words of Power)

http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=328378
at least mentions "Mysteries tag with Aspects". Note neither of these use the word maneuver.

If you can read Yahoo FateRPG messages (or join the list) then I can spam you with more magic links in general that I've saved.
 

SquidFisher

Unregenerate Deviant
Insofar as Iron Kingdoms goes, the various magical traditions are fairly easy to break down into Skills given that they're one and all based on either idiosyncratic divine sources (Morrow's personal advancement ethos is distinct from Menoth's Thou Shalt Not Do Anything That I Hath Not Written Down In Six Foot Letters On A Slab Of Granite approach, for example) or well established groups with sizable training facilities etc. (the Golden Crucible always screamed 'industrial-scale alchemists' to me). Still a fair bit of work, but with the martial tone of the setting giving them all a Guns-esque 'magic attack at 2 zones range' ability along with two other flavour abilities sounds about right.
 

jetan

Retired User
This is a great thread.

An idea I haven't seen in the Fate community: if you want the # of spells castable to not be tightly limited to Fate points, but also not totally free, and you don't want to invent a Magic Track or re-invent magic points to keep track of, then something I've been liking is saves a la Blue Rose. You cast the spell, it goes off, then you roll dice/dice against some target and if you fail it then you lose a Fate point. I'd been thinking in terms of d10s but you could stay within Fudge dice, just roll against some target. If you don't want # of spells to be directly tied to magic skill, then you'd pick a number on the 4dF. "level one" spells lose Fate only if you roll -4, level two would be -3 or below, and so on. "level nine" would always lose Fate, even if you rolled +4.
I was also thinking of ways to statistically require a fate point (inspired by some earlier threads on magic in SotC such as the LotR magic and the Mythos magic). The main realization I had, though, is that you can simply do that by making the difficulty of the roll scale up so that they will likely need to spend a FP to beat a difficulty. This approach would integrate better with the rest of the mechanics (e.g., you could use free tags from rituals, stunts to reduce the difficulty, etc.). If the spell roll for a spell must beat a minimum difficulty or cause a consequence, then players will be inspired to burn fate points to make sure they succeed.

My current thought: casting a spell has to beat two difficulties, 1) the normal opposed or unopposed difficulty to have an effect, and 2) the difficulty to escape a consequence. I'll call #1 the challenge (it's just a normal maneuver difficulty) and #2 the risk (though "danger" might be a better term). If the adjusted roll exceeds the challenge, the spell has effect (e.g., does stress, places aspect). If it exceeds the challenge with spin, it would create a sticky aspect. If it doesn't beat the challenge, the spell doesn't work. This is all pretty normal. If the adjusted roll beats the risk, then everything is fine. If it does not, then the caster takes a consequence.

The two difficulties may be uncorrelated (beat Mediocre to [Distract] everyone it the house, but beat Great to not be [Exhausted] by it for the rest of the scene). The things that change the difficulties may also be uncorrelated. Affecting a zone (perhaps with appropriate stunt) could increase the risk by 2, but have no effect on on the challenge difficulty.

Various options I'm considering (I expect this to eventually converge to something very flexible, covering a large range of powers, but still light on additional mechanics overhead):

  • Add stunts to reduce the risk (a la acrobatics) in various ways or of various trappings.
  • Have risk start at average (1). Perhaps turn that knob based on the campaign or dynamically to represent varying levels of magic (e.g., a ley line adds +2 to your challenge result but also +2 to risk). Perhaps the starting risk increases for every spell in the scene or at least for every continuing effect you have. Perhaps it starts at 3 in a scene until you tag it to determine the best way to cast a spell ("ah the moon is high, you will have to invoke using the left hand...").
  • Types of spells that have specific consequence severity associated with them. Thus, a spells with a large area effect might have cause Moderate consequence on failure (as well as having a high risk).
  • Rituals and/or material components as maneuvers to have free tags for the final casting roll. Potentially everyone in the ritual could contribute FPs. Some material components might provide a free tag or two.
  • Having the risk escalate quickly, thus essentially requiring stunts to reduce difficulties, or tags of personal aspects, maneuver aspects (e.g., free tags from rituals or material components), etc. to get really powerful effects. As your skills goes up, your flexibility and the power of effects you can cast routinely (e.g., without FPs or maneuvers) are increased.
  • Spell casting with chase scene mechanics: declare your risk, then roll; your challenge difficulty can never exceed your risk.
  • Increase the risk a lot for enhancements like range (+2 per zone?) and area effects (+3 per zone?), but provide stunts to reduce those difficulties.
  • Integrate this with Landon's stress/consequence scheme. You take stress of the shifts by which you fail the risk. In this scheme, most risk difficulties could be hard, so you often take stress from casting spells. You can then spend consequences normally to not be taken out by the backlash. This nicely balances the flexibility of magic, while allowing some magic to be used routinely.
Example (assuming opponents roll 0 for simplicity): With some combination of the above, a small fireball (range 2 area 1 attack) would be risk 8 (1 base + 4 range + 3 area). The local village magician (average +1) could get lucky (roll 3 or better) and fry an attacking group of orcs (fair +2) by getting a total of +4 (needs 2 stress against each), but he'd fry himself (he'd take at least 3 stress). BUT that same magician could prepare that one spell: pull out a little sulfur [materials], wield his wand [appropriate magical implements], and spend a maneuver casting [energies gathered] for a total of +7 (or appropriate rerolls). Thus, one a -3 or better, he'd take out the orcs, and one 0 or better, he would not be annihilated by the backlash.

But let's compare that with Zortho the Mighty: with Superb magic (+5) and a Wand of Dragons (arcane, +1 magic, +2 stress to attack magic), and a stunt Magical Reach (reduce difficulty of range by 1/ zone), he can blot the minions out with a -4 roll (-4 + 5 skill +1 wand meets their defense of 0+2, and the extra +2 stress from the wand kills them). His risk is 6 (because the stunt reduced it by 2) so he takes no stress if he rolls 0 or better. Thus, Zortho can blow off lots of fireballs, occasionally spending a fate point to avoid stress/consequences. Another stunt (e.g., reduce the cost of AoE) and some serious preparation, and a willingness to take some consequences, and Zortho might be dangerous to an army....

BTW I'd probably have area effect also take a -2 on the challenge (like the group intimidate stunt), since it skips past group bonuses. That would change the example some, but only in detail. I'm also impressed with how much easier it is to integrate some of these ideas given Landon's scheme.

Some scheme like the above would make a minion-level mage interesting and challenging but nothing like a real sorcerer. It adds danger in exchange for the potential flexibility of magic, and gives the DM knobs to turn to make magical life interesting.
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
Validated User
Bump because I re-read the last post and think it was pretty awesome. Needs fleshing out, but a good core.
 

jetan

Retired User
Bump because I re-read the last post and think it was pretty awesome. Needs fleshing out, but a good core.
Thank you! I've been doing some further work on it. Inspired by your comments, I've posted both the original post for this thread and the Risk Magic post on the wiki:

http://evilhat.wikidot.com/magic-as-maneuvers
http://evilhat.wikidot.com/magic-with-risk

The Risk Magic version has a few other updates (like increase the risk for each active spell), but hasn't really been fleshed out more yet.

I'm also working on another approach which will easily support magical dueling. When I get an initial version, I'll post it.
 

skylerbrungardt

Retired User
I like the idea of magic as maneuvers. Here's where I went with it:

Magic
(New Skill, Adjudication)
From shooting lightning from fingertips to supernatural seductions, Magic holds the potential to shape the unseen energies of the metaphysical world to the desires of the magician. Magic is related to Mysteries in the same way that Science is related to Engineering; it both compliments the skills covered in Mysteries, and also governs different activities, such manipulating the forces of life and death, altering reality, and manipulating energy through force of willpower. Characters with a high Magic skill include wizards and magicians, cultists, shamans, and priests.

Changing Things [Magic]
Really this means making things happen that are generally considered “impossible”. Magic can be used to change objects or the environment in drastic ways that don’t have to always make sense scientifically, by means of declaration. Want to set something on fire and don’t have the tools? How about making it really windy on a cloudless, still day? Or granting someone the ability to fly? Not only are these things possible with magic, you can perform them as reliably as a physicist can prove how gravity works!

In application, this means that nearly anything can happen with the use of magic by either making a declaration, spending a fate point, or both. Unless the character has stunts which allow otherwise, the use of this skill is restricted to making declarations which alter the scene he’s in by adding or subtracting aspects. This is a declaration action. In any given scene, the character may add an aspect to the scene which didn’t previously exist, and which generally wouldn’t be possible or readily applicable to the situation, or remove an aspect which already exists in a scene, which might not normally exist. The declaration doesn’t need to make scientific sense – it’s magic after all – but the character does need to roll against a difficulty set by the GM. Some examples include adding the aspect “On Fire” to a scene happening in a rainy forest, or changing the aspect “Stone Walls” of a scene inside a castle to be “Cracked and Crumbling Walls” instead. Alternately, the character can remove an already existing aspect on a scene, such as extinguishing a few lights in a warehouse which has the “Brightly Lit” aspect. This use of the magic skill requires that the character spend a fate point whether or not he succeeds. If he does, then the first tag of the “new” aspect is free, and every tag afterward costs a fate point as normal.

Magically Curing [Magic]
Magic can be used to heal wounds and remove the worries of the world, both physical and mental. This functions identically to the use of Science to perform first aid, except that it also applies to composure, and can’t remove consequences. See the stunts for magic for more information.

Magic Stunts

Principles

Magical Prodigy [Magic]
Your character is recognized as a forefront practitioner in a specific type of magic, such as divination, summoning, elementalism, necromancy, etc. Among the elite circles of practitioners of the type you choose, the character is known for his remarkable skill and capabilities. If his skill level is low, it simply means that he is toward the lower rungs of the elite group.

Whenever the character makes a Magic roll pertaining to his chosen field, he gains a +1 bonus on the roll. Also, the character should pick a very specific focus within the field (such as fire shaping, palmistry, plants, and so on), for which he receives an additional +1 bonus to all rolls and a decrease in the time it takes to perform any given activity by one step, due to his specialization in the matter.

Panacea [Magic]
Your character excels at providing remedies in a tight spot. Normally, someone providing first aid can remove a checkmark of stress for every two shifts gained on the roll. With this stunt, every shift past the first one improves the level of stress that may be removed (the same as the Medic stunt for Science). This stunt applies to both health and composure.

Dispelling [Magic]
Requires one other Magic stunt.
Your character is excellent at removing magical effects. You may remove any existing aspect that’s a magical effect on the scene or a person as a contested action against the person who put the aspect in place. If you win the contested action, the aspect is removed.

Application

Enscorcellment [Magic]
Requires one other Magic stunt.
You are able to give yourself or the people around you specific temporary traits they didn’t previously have. Within a number of zones equal to the number of ranks you have in the Magic skill, you can add a temporary aspect to any friend or foe you choose. This functions just like applying a maneuver, and the aspect can be tagged by you and anyone nearby. Some examples include “Confused”, “Strengthened”, or “Slowed”. If the target person is friendly or otherwise doesn’t resist, roll against a target of Mediocre to apply the aspect as a simple action. The aspect counts as a sticky aspect for a number of exchanges or tags (whichever comes first) equal to the number of shifts you generate on the roll, minimum of one. If the target is hostile or otherwise attempts to resist, it may make a contested roll using its Resolve versus the results of your Magic roll; if it beats your roll, the aspect isn’t applied, otherwise it counts as sticky for a number of exchanges or tags equal to the number of shifts you generated.

Magical Means [Magic]
Requires two other Magic stunts.
You may permanently pick any single other skill, and use Magic in place of that skill at a rank equal to one lower than your rank in Magic, subject to GM approval. You must describe how your character achieves the effect using magic rather than the mundane means for this stunt to work. For example, if your character uses Magic in place of Guns, you’ll need to describe how he fires magical bolts of shimmering energy from his fingertip (or whatever you want it to be), or how he charms a person into helping him, when using Magic rather than using Rapport.

Extraordinary Effect [Magic]
This stunt functions similarly to a Universal Gadget or a Rare Artifact, with a few notable differences. You may introduce an effect or a spell that you design on-the-fly, just as with a Universal Gadget or a Rare Artifact. This effect or spell can have a single improvement, can be applied to any person or object of your choice, and is subject to GM approval. You must use a simple action versus a target of Mediocre or a contested action versus Resolve to apply the improvement. Effects last for a single scene, generally, and you must spend a fate point to define an effect. Once defined, however, you may use the effect as much as you’d like without spending another fate point – only the initial fate point is required to determine what the effect does. The Extraordinary Effect you define remains locked in place until the end of the session, meaning that you can’t define another Extraordinary Effect using that stunt until the next session. This stunt can be taken multiple times, each time allowing for another Extraordinary Effect to be defined.


*****


I'd love to hear your thoughts about it!
 

mitchw

Viral Marketing Shill?
Validated User
For more ideas you could model the 'arcane background' / powers of Savage Worlds and/or the powers system from True20 (or go whole hog and figure out how to implement True Sorcery in Fate 3.0)

Mitch
 
Top Bottom