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mouthymerc

Magic & Genesys

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So I have been seeing a lot posts here and elsewhere about the disappointment that there wasn't more to magic in RoT. Kind of a head scratcher for me. I like generic systems like this where you add the colour and themes to the mechanics.

Now Rune magic was added, which is a big thing in Terrinoth I gather. There are talents which ease some of the casting modifiers. 

So what more are people looking for? I've seen spells mentioned. In what form? Like lists of them like other games? We already have spells, they just don't have specific names. You can always name a particular spell action combination you use regularly. With the Signature Spell talent you can make it easier to cast.

What other tools are needed? The system's generic nature is what makes it so useful, but it seems some people want more restraints. The Terrinoth book has a lot of fluff which should enable you take make the magic as distinctive as you want. 

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Lists and lists of spells, as well as guidelines on creating them. Also how to balance them so they're not all out of whack, how to assign difficulties, etc. Realms of Terrinoth is a huge disappointment in that regard, which is a shame, because most people were looking forward to the book to find expanded magic. 

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11 minutes ago, mouthymerc said:

You can always name a particular spell action combination you use regularly. With the Signature Spell talent you can make it easier to cast.

That's what I plan to do if I ever play. Take an attack spell, stack a few modifiers, and record it as Gorbidorf's Icy Breath on your sheet. Boom. Spell.

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2 minutes ago, rogue_09 said:

That's what I plan to do if I ever play. Take an attack spell, stack a few modifiers, and record it as Gorbidorf's Icy Breath on your sheet. Boom. Spell.

My mage character is rather enjoying not being stuck with "level 1 spells".  I warn him to be careful with his difficulties, but outside of that, he's got his crib sheets and he goes crazy.

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37 minutes ago, Tkalamov said:

Lists and lists of spells, as well as guidelines on creating them. Also how to balance them so they're not all out of whack, how to assign difficulties, etc. Realms of Terrinoth is a huge disappointment in that regard, which is a shame, because most people were looking forward to the book to find expanded magic. 

Genesys is more freeform than spell-porn. Besides, as others have already said, take a spell action and common combo of effects and name it wherever you want. And with the lists we have in the core book, you know it's 'balanced.'

And they added rune and verse magic. That's more then the core book, so it is expanded. 

Edited by c__beck

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1 hour ago, Tkalamov said:

Lists and lists of spells, as well as guidelines on creating them. Also how to balance them so they're not all out of whack, how to assign difficulties, etc. Realms of Terrinoth is a huge disappointment in that regard, which is a shame, because most people were looking forward to the book to find expanded magic. 

Aren't the guidelines already in the core book?

As to expanding magic it does that. Adding two new casting skills, magic based talents, implement materials, and a whole new magic system. 

Again I ask why the list of spells? Is it difficult to cast spells without them. Or do you feel it is a lack of flavour?

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I’m slightly disappointed that Verse didn’t get a couple of unique additional effects to add to the existing spells, particularly Curse and Augment, but the instrument is cool enough.

I was thinking over Invisibility, clearly a use of Augment even if there isn’t a specific effect in the list. But we have a great way to judge the difficulty now with the addition of the Invisibility Potion and Alchemy. We already knew from p211 of the core that doing anything with magic should be more difficult than normal means.

So Invisibility potions are Rarity 9 for +4 concealment that lasts 3 rounds, According to the Alchemy rules that would be a 10 hour task with a difficulty of Formidable (5). Now for a potion that only lasts a single round that difficulty could perhaps drop by 1, and for a lower concealment bonus (+3 or +2) it could drop 1 more to be a Hard check.

Then for casting the spell you increase the difficulty once; +4 concealment is a Formidable 5 Difficulty check, +3 is a Daunting 4 Difficulty Check, +2 is a Hard check. All require Concentration to maintain and are only cast on an engaged character as normal.

 

A Rune could even be made for it too;

Rune of Concealment 

Users of this Rune find themselves shimmering, blurring, and hard to focus on. Opponents struggle to keep their gaze upon them or spot them. A runemaster utilising the power of this Rune finds it possible to amplify this effect and even achieve complete Invisibility.

Activation: As an action the user gains concealment +2 for the next 2 rounds

Implement: When casting the Augment Spell you may increase the difficulty up to 3 times, in addition to the normal effect the target increases their  concealment by 1 + the number of increases to difficulty made through this Rune. This may not be used in conjunction with the Additional Targets effect.

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7 hours ago, mouthymerc said:

Aren't the guidelines already in the core book?

As to expanding magic it does that. Adding two new casting skills, magic based talents, implement materials, and a whole new magic system. 

Again I ask why the list of spells? Is it difficult to cast spells without them. Or do you feel it is a lack of flavour?

For me a list of common spells would just be nice to give guidelines and examples of Spell construction to achieve a desired effect.  Attack is pretty obvious but using Augment to fly or turn invisible? Teleportation?  

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The section on all the different types of magic gives great narrative description of some of the spells too. The problem with having a list of pre defined spells with specific names is that the same combination of additional effects could be described in hundreds of different ways for different religions and magical practices 

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Freeform magic is only one use.  I wanted examples of how to purchase individual spells as talents or something of the like; guidelines on how to balance power and cost.  [This would double as a way to make one-shot powers for characters who aren't spell-slingers too]  I want characters searching for and poring over ancient arcane text to learn new spells and effecs.  Freeform doesn't really capture what I want for my games.

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I actually understand where the original poster is coming from. I love the very open ended nature to casting in Genesys. But one of the problems with complete freedom is that too much of it can actually slow down the game. If a player doesn't know exactly what they want to do it can really ruin the pacing of a session while they take the time to match up the effects on a chart. So having some examples can help players get into the mood, or help give them inspiration on what to do. I think one of the hardest thing to do is come up with effects that the book just doesn't list; which are quite a lot actually. Things like teleportation, invisibility, mind control, even long term buffs or debuffs. The base book doesn't give a good framework for non combat or non skill check related uses of magic. Although @Richardbuxton does explain a good method above to try and create checks for those situations the base book does not. 

 

For instance; for my custom game I'm planning to just write up a bunch of pre-made spells for each school of magic. Just so my players can have a place to start. It will give them inspiration and flavor to what each school can do and I'm hoping it will lead to them creating their own spells. Because while I'm making a premade list they are not limited to the list, and can create spells on the fly as normal.

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I agree with some of the other posters in this thread. Having example spells as a guide post would be beneficial. Having played D&D 5e and currently playing FFG's Star Wars with Force Powers spelled out, it is as if my creativity has been crippled. As one who always loves playing wizards and Force users, switching from, "Do I want to use Spell A, B, or C," to "I can do anything and everything," leaves me feeling overwhelmed. 

I think with practice and repetition in getting outside of the "List" box, it will become easier to craft my own spells. But I definitely agree with @Noahjam325 that trying to figure spells out on the fly will bog the game down until players become more familiar with crafting spells from scratch. Having a list of examples would help.

On 4/22/2018 at 10:44 AM, Noahjam325 said:

I think one of the hardest thing to do is come up with effects that the book just doesn't list; which are quite a lot actually. Things like teleportation, invisibility, mind control, even long term buffs or debuffs.

I agree. As an example of this, I am wanting my mage to be able to run into combat and then shove everyone out of the way. I know I need the Manipulative quality and I'm guessing that is a Utility spell maybe? So that would be Difficulty 2 (or should it be 1 since I'm just wanting to move a person or object?), but then because there may be more than one target, I would add Additional Target for another 2 Difficulty for a total of 4 (or 3)? Or, should it be an opposed check? Everyone I am wanting to affect needs to make an opposed Discipline(?) or maybe Coordination or Athletics (?) check against my Arcana check? Maybe this is already spelled out somewhere (let me look some more)?

That process took 5+ minutes and I'm still not certain what the right course of action should be. The point is that without examples the process can really slow game play down. Again, once I've used these rules enough and practiced crafting spells I know it will come much easier. But until then I hope the other players don't regret having a Magic user in their game. 

p.s. I love Terrinoth and Genesys regardless of my feelings on the Magic Rules. 

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Here’s an example 

Tremor (the Dimora chooses one target at short range and makes an Average (DD) Arcana check. If the check is suc- cessful, this magic attack inflicts 7 damage, +1 damage per Success and the target and all characters engaged with the target are knocked prone. The Dimora can spend A on the check to move the target up to one range band in any direction).
Prison of Stone (the Dimora chooses one target at short range and makes an Average (DD) Arcana check. If the check is successful, this magic attack inflicts 7 damage, +1 damage per Success, with the Blast 3 and Ensnare 3 qualities).

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And some others:

Fireball (choose one target at short or medium range and make a Hard (DDD) Arcana check; if successful, this magic attack inflicts 8 damage +1 damage per Success, with the Blast 4 and Burn 4 qualities).
Magic Shield (make a Hard [DDD] Arcana check; if successful, until the end of the wizard’s next turn, reduce the damage of all hits against them by one, plus one for every 2 Success, and the wizard gains +3 defense. The wizard can maintain these effects with the concentrate maneuver).

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Basically when making a character, or through the life of playing that character I would jot down some common spells and give them a short description with a name. It feels important to develop an overall theme for the spell caster too, such as being a pyromancer or tree singer.

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1 hour ago, Richardbuxton said:

Basically when making a character, or through the life of playing that character I would jot down some common spells and give them a short description with a name. It feels important to develop an overall theme for the spell caster too, such as being a pyromancer or tree singer.

Talk about immersion. If I could actually play a spellcaster,  half the fun would be coming up with the actual spells and keeping an actual spellbook of them. Kind of reminds me of those early days of D&D and learning about Bigby,  Mordenkainen,  and the other magic users. You get to become your legendary wizard in your game and create actual spells.

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2 hours ago, mouthymerc said:

Talk about immersion. If I could actually play a spellcaster,  half the fun would be coming up with the actual spells and keeping an actual spellbook of them. Kind of reminds me of those early days of D&D and learning about Bigby,  Mordenkainen,  and the other magic users. You get to become your legendary wizard in your game and create actual spells.

I absolutely agree with you from a player perspective, I would dive head first into a caster and love it.  

From a GM perspective, I launched my game prior to Genesys' release so I just used OggDude's app and made spec trees for races and careers, and the Force power trees for spells and item formula.  I don''t regret doing it and I wouldn't change it.  Running a campaign can be like herding cats and lotsa choices just makes the cats spazzier lotsa times.

Again I do agree, a player disappointed that they get to put together their own spell book with their own names and fluff puzzles me as well.

 

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6 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

Basically when making a character, or through the life of playing that character I would jot down some common spells and give them a short description with a name. It feels important to develop an overall theme for the spell caster too, such as being a pyromancer or tree singer.

For who already know other fantasy games or systems, they already know a lot of spells.

For who are really new in everything about fantasy, could be difficult but still 100% open to create something. This reminds me Mage: the Awaken, with their Disciplines.

I agree that examples are very useful for the majority of players and they could made 2 or 3 pages to give some examples in the Core but...

In the other hand, keep it empty could work well to two things:

1) Make people come to forum and talk about the system where one help each other;

2) Force the people to be creative and create things from the 0, with is, in my opition, something important for Genesys (literally and figuratively).

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I'm never a fan of generic fluff.  Every playtest I did in Star Wars I always wanted the fluff to either be something new not found elsewhere, or gut it and don't include it at all.  I don't want to pay for a page or three of fluff on Tatooine, because I can pull something up for free from probably a dozen links in 10 secs on the Internet.

I wouldn't want pages and pages of spell descriptions for the same reason.  You can grab all manner of specific spell descriptions from all manner of existing sources and flesh that description out with this system's mechanics.  I want mechanics and content when I buy game books, not generic fluff.

Edited by 2P51

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