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Konungr
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Thoughts on a modification of the magic system. Looking for feedback.

Wed 20 Jan 2021, 23:27

Okay. So I am sitting 50/50 on writing a new game under the OGL or just doing a book of house rule supplements for Forbidden Lands. One of the elements I am looking to tackle and change is the magic system. I have some ideas and I am looking for some input and feedback.

So I dug into some other year zero/free league systems for some inspiration and I think I have a rough outline for a system that SHOULD work. But I am happy to hear what others have to say and look forward to any ones input. The system would work something like this...

Magics Corrupting Effect
-Players will be able to accumulate Corruption (a place holder name. It could also be Mana Poisoning or some such. I have a big list of ideas I am working through). A characters Corruption Threshold is Strength + Wits.
-Players will acquire temporary Corruption from a number of sources including being in magically dense environments, casting spells, some rare attacks from particular creatures, and other such things.
-If Temporary Corruption ever reaches your Threshold you immediately change 1 point of corruption to Permanent Corruption. There will be a table for Permanent Corruption effects which can include mental and physical manifestations (hair turning white, permanent attribute loss, paranoia and other mental issues. It will be a range of things. But not death/loss of the character). As soon as you gain a point of Permanent Corruption you roll on the table.
-If total Corruption ever equals double your Threshold you just flat out die or effectively become an insane NPC. The corruption simply overtakes you.
-Corruption will function mechanically similar to panic dice in Alien. You will add "Magic dice" (again, a place holder.) to your rolls. All rolls. Your natural abilities are being fueled by this swell of power as well. Any 1s you roll on magic dice, pushed or not, will add temporary corruption (thus making you more powerful but also tipping you closer to permanent corruption and the edge of insanity and death).

Removing Temporary Corruption
-For emphasis, Permanent Corruption is permanent and cannot be removed.
-When a player Rests for at least 1/4 day they make an Endurance roll with each success removing 1 point of temporary Corruption. (For clarity. Yes, being a skill roll you will add magic dice to the roll and the 1s on the magic dice can cause more temporary corruption either canceling out successes or maybe even leaving you worse off then when you started. Magic and it's corrupting influence is a slippery slope and it can start to snow ball.)

Casting a Spell
-You will spend Willpower not unlike now, but instead of the spell automatically working they will add "Magic Dice" to your roll for the spell. As above with corruption. Any 1s you roll will add temporary corruption.
-You will roll a Attribute + Skill roll like any other skill to fish for success. Using materials will provide equipment dice to the roll instead of automatic successes. The spell itself will tell you what Stat+Skill to roll. Think shooting a "Melf's Acid Arrow" would be Agi + Marksman + Equipment Dice (if you used the material component) + Magic Dice (for any Will Power spent + corruption).
-No spell will automatically cause damage the way that some spells do in Forbidden Lands now. They will be changed to always allow for an opposed roll. Dehydration will allow a endurance roll as an example.
-Spell ranks and spell tomes will work as they do now with safe casting. Allowing you to subtract magic dice from the roll and thus saving you or minimizing the risk of Corruption.

Some Other Stuff
-Artifact items can still add artifact dice. But MAGIC items can also add MAGIC dice. Wielding a cursed sword can literally empower you and slowly (or quickly!) drive you mad.
-Items with spells bound to them will have Magic Dice bound to the item itself. They will require a WP (minimum) to cast the spell, grant the magic dice to your own, and thus make for powerful spells but also the risk for corruption.

My goal with these changes is to...
-reduce the potential lethality and the sheer randomness from using magic.
-build regular incremental impacts to using magic. I want it to scale up. I want players to FEEL empowered by it. But also see the edge they are approaching and understand and fear it.
-get it to work a bit closer to the way the rest of the game works where talents for melee allow you to do things and enhance what you do but doesn't make you automatically succeed at any of it.


I think thats about it from my notes right now... Let me know if you have any questions. Please, all feedback welcome. Do you like it? Dislike it? Why? Any issues you see?
 
silverfoxdmt73
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Re: Thoughts on a modification of the magic system. Looking for feedback.

Fri 22 Jan 2021, 09:55

I like it.

I'm working on adding a few different elements to my own homebrew FbL setting, but not quite as 'from the ground up' as this.

I do like the Corruption ideas, and would certainly be interested to see how it would work in practice, especially any Corruption tables. I've not played Alien but I get the idea with the mechanic.

Not 100% sure on rolling to see if the spell is successful, but if it fits with your idea for magic being fickle and corrupting, then I think it might fit well with the idea in general.

I'd certainly be interested to see how this looks once things are more fleshed out.

What are your thoughts on the different magic paths? Are you still going to have them divided into groups like FbL, or give magic users a wider choice of spells or paths?

I've added a few paths to the existing ones just to give more choice in the 'colour' of magic, but I am thinking of re-writing the existing paths to more closely match my game world.

Let me know if you want any more input, I'd be happy to help.
 
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Eldhierta
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Re: Thoughts on a modification of the magic system. Looking for feedback.

Fri 22 Jan 2021, 12:01

I like it! I had similar ideas during the beta but never made anything of them. The corrupting influence of magic really fits the theme of the game, in my opinion.

Some thoughts:

- Do 1s on the "magic dice" add corruption even on a non-pushed roll? Seeing how dangerous and debilitating Stress can be in Alien I would suggest that they only add corruption if the roll is pushed, just like with attribute and gear dice.

- Will it be possible to draw on the corruption to gain extra dice on regular skills? Like when you use willpower for spells, but for skills?

- Maybe uncouple corruption threshold from attributes and just let everyone have the same threshold from the start? Just to not make some attributes more important than others. Increasing it could be possible through general talents + the rank of your schools of magic?

- Might be useful to create a talent to better handle removal of corruption. Rank one could give a bonus to the roll, rank two could increase the amount of corruption you remove and rank three could even allow you to remove permanent corruption?
 
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Konungr
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Re: Thoughts on a modification of the magic system. Looking for feedback.

Fri 22 Jan 2021, 18:13

I like it.

I'm working on adding a few different elements to my own homebrew FbL setting, but not quite as 'from the ground up' as this.

I do like the Corruption ideas, and would certainly be interested to see how it would work in practice, especially any Corruption tables. I've not played Alien but I get the idea with the mechanic.

Not 100% sure on rolling to see if the spell is successful, but if it fits with your idea for magic being fickle and corrupting, then I think it might fit well with the idea in general.

I'd certainly be interested to see how this looks once things are more fleshed out.

What are your thoughts on the different magic paths? Are you still going to have them divided into groups like FbL, or give magic users a wider choice of spells or paths?
If I keep it a modification of FbL then I will adjust the current paths. If I decide to do my own thing I will make new ones wholesale.
I've added a few paths to the existing ones just to give more choice in the 'colour' of magic, but I am thinking of re-writing the existing paths to more closely match my game world.

Let me know if you want any more input, I'd be happy to help.
Always happy for more input. I have some ideas for have some of these mechanics can be adjusted. Like magic dice only generating TC (temp corruption) when pushed for normal rolls or always for spells. Threshold being a static flat number for all characters or based on a single attribute (but then which one?). Nothing is set in stone yet. It isn't even fleshed out enough to really test yet.
 
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Konungr
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Re: Thoughts on a modification of the magic system. Looking for feedback.

Fri 22 Jan 2021, 18:21

I like it! I had similar ideas during the beta but never made anything of them. The corrupting influence of magic really fits the theme of the game, in my opinion.

Some thoughts:

- Do 1s on the "magic dice" add corruption even on a non-pushed roll? Seeing how dangerous and debilitating Stress can be in Alien I would suggest that they only add corruption if the roll is pushed, just like with attribute and gear dice.
As presented above, yes. All magic dice that come up as 1s generate TC. But I am currently leaning towards it happening when the roll is pushed or when the roll is for actual spell casting. So you cast a spell, push or not, the magic dice make TC. Every other time you have to push to generate the TC.
- Will it be possible to draw on the corruption to gain extra dice on regular skills? Like when you use willpower for spells, but for skills?
TC would add magic dice to ALL skill rolls. Someone filled with corruption will be swinging swords harder, enduring more punishment, and so on and so forth. It's powerful in a general way and dangerous for all who have it.
- Maybe uncouple corruption threshold from attributes and just let everyone have the same threshold from the start? Just to not make some attributes more important than others. Increasing it could be possible through general talents + the rank of your schools of magic?
This is definitely a consideration I am making. I have 2 ideas I like best atm. 1) it's a flat static number. Everyones Threshold is either 5 or 10 (depending on how fast TC accumulates). 2) Threshold is based on your highest attribute, either equal too or double (again based on how fast TC accumulates). So if your Strength is 6 your TC is 6 or 12 depending. Or if your highest is Wits 4 then it's 4/8 depending.
- Might be useful to create a talent to better handle removal of corruption. Rank one could give a bonus to the roll, rank two could increase the amount of corruption you remove and rank three could even allow you to remove permanent corruption?
It's possible. I am more likely to give a Talent that allows you to increase your Threshold. I don't mind staving off the effects but I don't want to make it too easy to ignore the consequences.
 
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Eldhierta
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Re: Thoughts on a modification of the magic system. Looking for feedback.

Sat 23 Jan 2021, 12:11

Also, I think it might be problematic to make each spell an attribute-skill-combo. It means mages will have to invest heavily into a multitude of skills to be viable, causing them to become incredibly xp-inefficient characters. Magic schools are already more expensive than other talents, I feel it becomes too much of a double-penalty.

Maybe instead connect each school of magic to an attribute-skill-combo? So there is still the need to invest in skills, but you don't have to spread your XP all over the place. Or even create an entirely new skill, Esoterie/Sorcery/Wizardry/Magic, and let that be the skill to use when you roll for magic? Maybe even open it up for all classes, so that everyone is able to do magic? A little bit Conan-esque.

Or make it so that the roll is a combo of attribute+rank in school of magic? Makes it weaker than regular skills, but being able to add willpower/magic dice to the roll should offset that drawback.
 
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Konungr
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Re: Thoughts on a modification of the magic system. Looking for feedback.

Sun 24 Jan 2021, 02:35

I had a thought that the WP spent on spells was going to act as that buffer against skill points. When you cast a spell you don't really have the skill points invested in you can spend the WP to add more dice to make up for it and let the spell do the work. If you have a bunch of skill points invested you can hold back the WP expenditure and let your own ability carry the load.

I more and more thinking I need to make a couple spells and the table and start rolling some dice to see how this actually plays out. What does it encourage, what does it discourage.
 
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Eldhierta
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Re: Thoughts on a modification of the magic system. Looking for feedback.

Sun 24 Jan 2021, 13:45

I had a thought that the WP spent on spells was going to act as that buffer against skill points. When you cast a spell you don't really have the skill points invested in you can spend the WP to add more dice to make up for it and let the spell do the work. If you have a bunch of skill points invested you can hold back the WP expenditure and let your own ability carry the load.

I more and more thinking I need to make a couple spells and the table and start rolling some dice to see how this actually plays out. What does it encourage, what does it discourage.
I think that would make spellcasters incredibly weak compared to other professions. To me, spending Willpower to get a 1 in 6 chance of success feels like a really bad deal. Maybe make Willpower spent equal automatic successes like in RAW? But you still have to roll all dice to see if you overcharge or gain corruption?

Maybe make that into a unique talent for spellcasters?
Rank 1: Spend Willpower to automatically succeed with spells. One Willpower per Rank of the spell.
Rank 2: Spend Willpower to ignore corrupted dice that you roll when casting spells. One Willpower per corrupted dice.
Rank 3: Something along the same lines?
 
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Konungr
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Re: Thoughts on a modification of the magic system. Looking for feedback.

Mon 27 Sep 2021, 02:52

So I kind of shelved this for a bit as I was hitting some roadblocks and worked on other projects but then I had some thoughts about it the other day. Still rough. Still kicking around some ideas. What about this:

Corruption Mechanics Set Up.
-Players can have "magical corruption" (or whatever).
-Temporary corruption can become permanent corruption.
-I am thinking the corruption bar might be 6 or 10. Fill the bar and one of them becomes permanent corruption. (Heavily leaning toward 6. Maybe it's as big as your largest attribute? Don't necessarily want to encourage min/maxing though. Maybe a combination of your 2 highest? (creating a max of 10 but 6-8 very likely.) A combination of your highest and your lowest?
-If your Permanent Corruption ever reaches max the character is too far gone and becomes a NPC. Completely overtaken by the arcane powers that live within them.

Using and Generating Corruption
-Temporary Corruption can be used as Willpower.
-Permanent Corruption can be used similar to Pride. You choose to use the corruption and add a D12 to the roll. It's basically additional Pride uses each session except you can just add it to any roll.
-When using Corruption: skill dice (including the d12 corruption die or other artifact dice) gain banes on a 1. No push needed. This happens inherently when rolling with corruption in play. Skill dice banes generate corruption (your failure to control the forces now at play is what allows the corruption to seep in(?) thus tying it to skill dice).
-When rolling any skill check that involves using magic (I am still considering that spells have a skill roll involved) if you push the roll skill dice have banes and generate corruption as above. That can include using magical artifacts as well. Swing a magic sword normally. No problems. Get the artifact dice and all that. Push the roll and you risk corruption. Spend the temp corruption as willpower and any skill rolls involved can generate further corruption. Hit cap and one becomes permanent.
-Every WIllpower spent casting a spell adds +1 skill dice to the roll.
-Some attacks from Monsters may cause corruption. This is particularly the case with certain demons.
-Some locations may be tainted with corruption (think Mog). Time spent in these locations can cause temporary corruption. (Endurance rolls against a local corruption roll?)
-Each time a Permanent Corruption is gained roll on the Critical Injury: Horror Table.

Getting Rid of Temp Corruption
-Mostly this takes time. Every 1/4 (full?) day not generating or using corruption (Or should it be each 1/4 day spent Resting?), you roll Endurance and on a success 1 point of temporary corruption is removed (or should it be 1 per success?)
-If you are otherwise incapable of restoring attributes (poisoned, broken, disease etc) you cannot remove corruption either.

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