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SwivelDiscourse

Musings on Magic and Monetization.

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So... Let's talk about the real elephant in the room here. The Genesys Magic system isn't entirely that great. By which I mean more than anything it feels incomplete. There's very little in the way of progression and while the system is quite versatile, it also has no indication on how accessible it is, and really, that's all by design. 

FFG didn't include a more fleshed out system because they're a company in the business of making money. Which is fine. It makes sense that they're going to include a more developed magic system for their Terrinoth supplement, or a more diverse hacking system for their Netrunner supplement. Or actual Superpower rules instead of what we laughably got.

But it is something to think about, and discuss.

Edited by SwivelDiscourse

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1 hour ago, SwivelDiscourse said:

But it is something to think about, and discuss.

Ok. 

1) I like the magic system and think it's pretty nifty.

2) I believe that FFG didn't include a more fleshed out magic system, because this book is a toolkit. And a more "fleshed out" magic system instead of an instruction manual on how to make magic systems would have made it less generic and, possibly, have left me with a magic system that I'd have to completely redo. So... your con is my pro.

Edited by ArtWend

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1 hour ago, ArtWend said:

Ok. 

1) I like the magic system and think it's pretty nifty.

2) I believe that FFG didn't include a more fleshed out magic system, because this book is a toolkit. And a more "fleshed out" magic system instead of an instruction manual on how to make magic systems would have made it less generic and, possibly, have left me with a magic system that I'd have to completely redo. So... your con is my pro.

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What is it missing?

1) more items that make Casting easier, I can probably do that myself.

2) more Talents to make Casting easier, or doable by other characters, I can probably do that myself too. Reduce difficulty, reduce strain etc.

3) more spells, but really everything I can think of is covered by the current spells with enough creativity in your description. So really it’s just concrete difficulties for more specific concepts that are needed. Eg how do you Influence the thoughts of others? Curse does it just fine. Flying? That’s basically Swift from Augment. Invisibility? Augment as well. Telekinesis? Really just Attack or even Conjure.

4) Other types of magic, particularly the long term enhancement of items and the creation of potions/scrolls etc. Augment does some of this, so does Barrier and Heal... but this is probably the biggest hole I can see, which again I can fill in easily in a pinch.

 

For me when the Terrinoth book Is released I’ll buy it for the setting, their  work on a rich theme, not for a few new rules I can make up in half an hour.

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I'm fine developing new magic schools for my own campaigns. They don't have to be kid-tested and mother-approved, they just have to work for my group, who are infinitely tolerant of my merciless experimentation on them. :) I'm working on Mentalism and Transmutation soon.

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I posted this thread just a little bit ago about this topic, actually. Perhaps you'll find some insight there? I agree with the other replies on this thread. Genesys is a toolkit, not a roleplaying game. You are meant to use the toolkit to make a roleplaying game. A lot, if not most, universal systems are like that. To summarize my post, it is my observation based on the Genesys Gencon mage character that the magic rules in the toolkit are the basic actions of magic. Just like Brawl, Melee, and Ranged attacks are the basic actions of combat, but that's not all you can do in combat, and even when you're attacking you have a lot more flavor you pour into your brawl/weapon attacks than just using those skills as they sit. Basically, it is my opinion, that you are not just supposed to take the magic skills and use "attack" spell as it sits. You're meant to actually build your own spells with differentiation between them. Even in the CRB on page 212 Under the Attack section the first sentence is: "Attack spells include any combat check..." then in sentence two it talks about different attack spells like "fireball, shooting lightning, smiting a foe with magical force, or knocking a foe around the battlefield with invisible blows." Notice the words "Attack spells" plural. In the toolkit there is only one attack spell, but the description of the Attack spell it talks about attack spells plural. The book doesn't state it directly, but it is my inference from the Gencon materials and the wording described that the GM and players are meant to invent their own spells using the spell definitions within. At least that's what FFG did with the Genesys Gencon mage character, that character has two different spells derived from the attack spell, and a specific barrier spell which he can target himself with.

 

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But I think they wrote that expecting the players to decide what their attack look liked during the actual encounter, not weeks before during character creation.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t come up with some standard spells your character uses, I think that’s a fun way to bring your character to life. But it’s enough to say “I’m a Pyromancer, when I Attack I launch fireballs, flame walls and burning arrows. When I use barrier I have a howling cyclone of flame surrounding me.”

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6 minutes ago, Richardbuxton said:

But I think they wrote that expecting the players to decide what their attack look liked during the actual encounter, not weeks before during character creation.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t come up with some standard spells your character uses, I think that’s a fun way to bring your character to life. But it’s enough to say “I’m a Pyromancer, when I Attack I launch fireballs, flame walls and burning arrows. When I use barrier I have a howling cyclone of flame surrounding me.”

If that's how you want to run it. I wasn't trying to say you couldn't modify the spell further, such as from Magic Attack Additional Effects table mid combat, but the base spell would have imposed limitations based on how you built the spell.

There's nothing stopping your Pyromancer from adding the Ice effect that way their fireballs can ensnare the targets, but now you have a fireball made of ice. What?

However if you prebuild spells you might have base spell called "Fire Arrow" which is just an Attack spell with the fire effect built in. Then during play the pyromancer can choose to imbue the fire arrow with more power giving it the blast effect, now it's a fireball, add close combat to the fire arrow spell and now it's a burning hands spell, you want your make a flameburst spell by adding the impact effect. That's all just narration, and adding those effects. I am by no means saying take away the ability to add effects ad hoc during play. 

And as of right now there is no way in the rules to make a fire wall that is a barrier and does damage. Attack isn't a concentration spell, so you don't have a fire wall that lasts longer than a single attack. And barrier doesn't do damage, but is concentration.

This magic system is just a very loose collection of toolkit rules meant to be adjudicated by the GM for their setting. The last paragraph of 'Magic Actions and Maneuvers' on CRB page 214 tells me it's completely up the GM and players to actually use the rules, rather than defining what they should be for other people.

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A fire spell with the Ensnare quality could be magma that solidifies into rock around the targets legs.

Flame barrier protecting a caster can easily be the Defense and Reflect upgrades. Threat on an attackers check being spent on Strain is the flames getting too close to them. Threat/Despair spent on a magical Attack against the caster is the flame barrier lashing out at the caster of the Attack Spell.

I think everyone gets caught up in the specific name of each upgrade rather than looking at the actual mechanics. I challenge people to play with the raw spells and instead of looking at the list to decide what they want to cast they just start describing the effect they want to create. Then figure out the upgrades that make that happen.

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As to why the GenCon characters have specific spells? They’re one shot characters; they need to be simple to read, use and understand. They don’t even have the Utility Spell!

But having specific spells is definitely a feature of many settings... Harry Potter? Coming up with specific spells has got to happen at some point, I just don’t think it should be the very first thing when trying a new magic system.

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2 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

 

I think everyone gets caught up in the specific name of each upgrade rather than looking at the actual mechanics. I challenge people to play with the raw spells and instead of looking at the list to decide what they want to cast they just start describing the effect they want to create. Then figure out the upgrades that make that happen.

This. I was trying to say the same, and failing, in the Witcher thread.

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2 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

I think everyone gets caught up in the specific name of each upgrade rather than looking at the actual mechanics. I challenge people to play with the raw spells and instead of looking at the list to decide what they want to cast they just start describing the effect they want to create. Then figure out the upgrades that make that happen.

yet players might have an expression problem, but have prior knowledge in DnD/PF.

sentences that i got was "i want this spell to work like Delayed Blast Fireball", or "i want to be able to cast Restoration/Resurrection",
totally ignoring the Narrative Concept and Setting Specifics because Genesys is being labeled Generic.

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14 minutes ago, Terefang said:

yet players might have an expression problem, but have prior knowledge in DnD/PF.

sentences that i got was "i want this spell to work like Delayed Blast Fireball", or "i want to be able to cast Restoration/Resurrection",
totally ignoring the Narrative Concept and Setting Specifics because Genesys is being labeled Generic.

Sure, but the fact that players bring baggage from other systems over is not the fault of the game, but the player. Those spells represent a prescibed outcome and set of actions; Genesys doesn't operate like that. But you can still achieve the outcome in Genesys. You just have to step back from the traditional compartmentalisation approach of d20 and ask "what do I want to do?" and see if you can do it.

Spoiler: you can. You just need to change your approach. And, the benefit is the realisation that prescription is more restrictive than helpful.

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1 minute ago, Endersai said:

Spoiler: you can. You just need to change your approach. And, the benefit is the realisation that prescription is more restrictive than helpful.

the reality is, that you start converting DnD/PF style spells on-the-fly ...

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With 30 years there’s probably multiple spells for every need in the DnD multiverse, it’s unsurprising that experienced DnD players will know a Spell that does what they want before they know the Genesys way to achieve it. 

The trap that can lead to though is artificially restricting yourself to what’s possible because you can’t think of a Spell in another game system that does what you want. Ultimately players should be able to look at the scene and come up with some funky idea without mechanics restricting that creativity.

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12 minutes ago, Endersai said:

You can, but only if you prefer a waste of time and effort?

I mean, seriously - what's a D&D spell that can't be replicated by the RAW in Genesys?

Wish? :D

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1 minute ago, Richardbuxton said:

With 30 years there’s probably multiple spells for every need in the DnD multiverse, it’s unsurprising that experienced DnD players will know a Spell that does what they want before they know the Genesys way to achieve it. 

*G* ... i have players/gms that:

  • started their gaming career at the time of "Chainmail" (early 1970s)
  • started their gaming career at the time of "PF 6th printing" (2013+)
  • and anything in between

 

and i am sometimes receiving consistent behavior from all ends of the spectrum.

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4 minutes ago, Terefang said:

no problem:

Difficulty 10: word your effect carefully

I would go with 

Difficulty: Impossible (5D + a Story Point) upgraded 5 times... word your spell wisely!

 

For those wondering the Impossible skill check is designed to work with the “one story point per check” rule to prevent the use of talents that require a story point to activate.

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32 minutes ago, Richardbuxton said:

The trap that can lead to though is artificially restricting yourself to what’s possible because you can’t think of a Spell in another game system that does what you want. Ultimately players should be able to look at the scene and come up with some funky idea without mechanics restricting that creativity.

most of these where either second generation gamers (eg. Storyteller, etc.) or started with BRP/Runequest (now: Mythras, Mongoose Legend, etc).

Edited by Terefang

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4 hours ago, Doughnut said:

And as of right now there is no way in the rules to make a fire wall that is a barrier and does damage. Attack isn't a concentration spell, so you don't have a fire wall that lasts longer than a single attack. And barrier doesn't do damage, but is concentration.

Burn is the long lasting effect for Attack. Flame wall would look something like:

Attack Basic (D)

+ Blast (D) to hit multiple opponents.

+ Fire (D) to continue the pain.

+ Range x 2 (DD) because you don’t want to hit yourself.

+ Empowered (DD) because you really bring the pain.

 

Now Obviously you cannot cast that without some magic implement assistance, perhaps even a talent or two. But getting that difficulty down to a Hard (DDD) using a Ring and Staff is one way , it represents a significantly powerful caster doing something really epic. 

Obviosly you need at least a Triumph, some Advantage too would help, so it’s not as easy as an at will Spell, but should it be?

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