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Genesys Core Magic vs Spell Lists (aka. Vancian Spells)

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There are ways to have hard-coded stuff and make it work in a Genesys way, you just have to think things through a bit in a 'how can I use Genesys for this' way.

 

For example having a spell recipe or instruction isn't too different to having a rune or other magical object- if you have say all the ingredients for a spell or whatever else you need to cast it, you effectively have it in the same way as having a magical object, so in similar ways I think there are plenty of ways of making your desired magic work within the Genesys system.

 

Perhaps the way to approach it is to work out ways that Genesys determines how magic gets 'played' game dynamics wise, Genesys in combination with your constraints of your setting determine how it is acquired or made possible for players to use. Thus you can customise however you wish but still get to an end result that the Genesys system and dice determines the outcome of.

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This is why I would like thematic or tone books like in Savage Worlds, to add or expand mechanics to add to our settings. Terrinoth is cool but I would have preferred a book about Fantasy theme, Horror theme, Supers theme, etc... There they could have created or expanded on things like magic/creating spell lists, some horror mechanics to make the tone really feel terrifying and make players feel vulnerable, mechanics to use and create superpowers and really feel like a super (I mean heroic abilities are cool but I don't see Superman lifting and throwing a truck once and then it's over till the next session) and those to name some of the things that I see people mention in the various forums, things that I struggle with too.

I really like the narrative dice system and I see nothing wrong with wanting to convert your favorite games to a system you enjoy, it's been done thousands of times before. But, as much as I like this system, there are some tools missing in Genesys IMO.

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2 minutes ago, Thecompleten00b said:

This is why I would like thematic or tone books like in Savage Worlds, to add or expand mechanics to add to our settings. Terrinoth is cool but I would have preferred a book about Fantasy theme, Horror theme, Supers theme, etc... There they could have created or expanded on things like magic/creating spell lists, some horror mechanics to make the tone really feel terrifying and make players feel vulnerable, mechanics to use and create superpowers and really feel like a super

 

These kinds of things are there but sometimes you have to dig for them among the lore, I think Genesys has been intentionally designed to allow GM's and players to add and adapt what they need to suit their game's situations and this flexibility is one of its strongest points, as long as players know any specifics of how a game works that may differ slightly to Genesys and the specifics of how that game uses Genesys I don't think this presents too many problems. The books take a helpful approach of giving examples from which any adventure you wish can then be built, it's worth reading all of the books even the bits that don't fit your game as they may give a few lightbulb moments of 'ah, that would work for this part of my/our game...'

 

Horror is there for example in the 'terrifying' ability and RoT and the CRB reference the fact fantasy often includes elements of horror and cover ways to hit your PC's with some fear and unease, this is of course something you can also do with your storytelling and scene setting. If your game includes some horror aspects it's probably wise to tell your players and check it's OK with them, you can then make them jump even, if you so wish, if the spell fails maybe there's a nasty shock in store.

 

A lot of the tools for the kinds of things you talk about are there, sometimes you have to hunt for them a bit or find something similar that then gives you those options to use that method to suit your needs.

 

2 minutes ago, Thecompleten00b said:

I really like the narrative dice system and I see nothing wrong with wanting to convert your favorite games to a system you enjoy, it's been done thousands of times before. But, as much as I like this system, there are some tools missing in Genesys IMO.

 

Again I think it's down to working out how to get your particular game needs to a Genesys-led outcome, I genuinely think you can do anything with it it's just working out how- one of the best points about Genesys is it has a simple core system that can easily adapt to the slightly (or much if that's your preference) higher complexity you need once you start precisely defining and creating an adventure using the system. I think it has to be like that to allow its flexibility, as with magic the uniqueness of any adventure or campaign designed around it determines what is needed of it so by design its flexibility requires that you do have to do a bit of work establishing how to best use this flexible toolkit for your adventure- but it's well worth it as the comparative constraints of some other systems can limit their flexibility a lot- one of the other RPG systems I have is great but its complexity has thus far put me off using it, plus it's so rigidly set in its systems, thematics and setting that it would never work for my Terrinoth/fantasy idea. Thus it doesn't have the 'one system fits all' core of Genesys. Genesys doesn't answer every question or need straight off, but with the bit of patience and work that's very worth it, has all the tools you need to do so, it just needs that 'how can I do this in Genesys?' approach.

 

The specific needs of your adventures are the starting point for answering that question.

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On 4/30/2018 at 9:01 AM, Richardbuxton said:

People can’t even agree on what a Fireball Spell should look like in this system (Blast? Burn? Knockdown?)

Page 153 RoT. Greyhaven Wizard.  Burn and Blast. No Knockdown.

 

My own desire to see “spell lists” has little to do with preservation or the re-creation of vancian magic.  I love the open free form style.  I would just like to see official examples of how to achieve a given result within the system.  RoT has many examples but 90% of them are attack spells.  The crb says you can use Augment to fly or turn invisible.  Awesome!  Can you show me an official example?  The list of add-ons for Augment sure doesn’t give me a hint.  Can I make it up? Sure can! But it’d still be nice to see ffg’s take on it.

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50 minutes ago, ESP77 said:

would just like to see official examples of how to achieve a given result within the system.  RoT has many examples but 90% of them are attack spells.  The crb says you can use Augment to fly or turn invisible.  Awesome!  Can you show me an official example?  The list of add-ons for Augment sure doesn’t give me a hint.  Can I make it up? Sure can! But it’d still be nice to see ffg’s take on it.

perhaps it needs some community effort that can at some point become official ?

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One definition of Vancian magic:

Quote
  1. Magical effects are packaged into distinct spells; each spell has one fixed purpose. A spell that throws a ball of fire at an enemy justthrows balls of fire, and generally cannot be "turned down" to light a cigarette, for instance.
  2. Spells represent a kind of magic bomb which must be prepared in advance of actual use, and each prepared spell can be used only once before needing to be prepared again. That's why it is also known as "Fire & Forget magic."
  3. Magicians have a finite capacity of prepared spells which is the de facto measure of their skill and/or power as magicians. A wizard using magic for combat is thus something like a living gun: he must be "loaded" with spells beforehand and can run out of magical "ammunition".

As far as role-playing games are concerned, Vancian-style magic has a lot more to do with mechanical design than it has to do with the lore.

Many people are adapting other game settings for Genesys, which, on paper, is not what it was made to do; FFG are never going to advertise you can play DnD with Genesys, as they cannot legally do so. Likewise for other settings from movies, books, and so on; a question from one of the podcasts asked Sam Stewart what fan projects he (personally) was most hopeful for, and he couldn't even answer that due to legal reasons. FFG will either advertise settings they own, in which chase future material will play off of the rules in Genesys, or they assume you are creating an entirely of your own design (again, because of legal reasons). On record, Genesys is for settings FFG owns or for homemade settings. Off record, everybody is going to play whatever they please and that will be that.

Now, that said, when it came time for the developers to decide between a Vancian-style magic system and the more open-ended, improvisational system they chose, I can see why they went with what they did. I've seen the argument: "If Genesys is supposed to be a toolbox, why isn't there an option to use Vancian magic instead? Where's the tool for that?" And the answer to that is to look at the socket wrench. A garage may have larger, more particular sets of tools, but a portable socket wrench (one tool and a set of smaller, interchangeable pieces) fits easier into a toolbox than having one wrench for every size of bolt. It basically comes down to saving space. With Vancian magic, you need an entry for every spell.

So, not saying it cannot or should not be done, but asking or expecting for everybody to pitch in on Vancian magic is kind of like going up a river. Most people will go with the flow, and they will say as much.

(Of course, there are some downsides to the free-for-all magic Genesys uses. I like the mechanics of it, but the all-or-nothing approach to knowing spells does not always jive with a setting. Also, many settings split the difference between strict Vancian-style and adaptability.)

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I'm definitely a fan of a simple ranked talent. Call it spell memorization. Make it ranked. Each tier gives you one more spell of up to one more difficulty level. PCs could build spells at the start of each day or you could have a spellbook system. Going with classic Vance, don't require any particular magic skill - anyone can take the talents as a structured, limited alternative to spontaneous magic. That's what I think I'll implement.

 

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On 5/1/2018 at 1:41 PM, Swordbreaker said:

Magicians have a finite capacity of prepared spells which is the de facto measure of their skill and/or power as magicians. A wizard using magic for combat is thus something like a living gun: he must be "loaded" with spells beforehand and can run out of magical "ammunition".

I think this right here is one of the big reasons why FFG went the way they did with the magic system. The way described in the CRB for handling magic is consistent with their approach to handling firearms (and other ranged weapons). In the Tracking Ammo sidebar on p. 89 of the CRB , it shows that instead of counting ammunition, Despair can be used to cause a character's ammo to run out. Similarly in the table on p. 211 for spending threat and despair on magic skill checks, a single despair can be used to cause a magic user to "run out of ammo" preventing them from casting spells for the rest of the encounter. Spellcasters in Genesys don't have the luxury of bringing extra ammo though ?

While this is the approach used in the CRB, there's nothing stopping you from counting bullets, or "wizard bullets." It just gets tricky when it comes to defining ammo capacity for a spellcaster and keeping things balanced.

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