How about reducing the number of magical styles?

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Slloyd14
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How about reducing the number of magical styles?

Post by Slloyd14 » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:13 am

This may be a controversial topic, but I'll bring it up in the interests of streamlining the rules.

There are a lot of magical styles that follow the same pattern as Magic - Wizardy. They get you magic points and you roll two dice to see if you cast the spell and you have an Oops! table if you get a critical fail. However, these spells forbid you from learning other styles, giving you a more limited spell list and preventing possible growth.

Also, necromancy spells contain spells that are functionally similar to wizard spells.

See here's the idea - all styles that require magic points - wizardry, necromancy, demonology, battle magic are all in the Magic - Wizardry skill. In theory, anyone with the Magic - Wizardry skill can learn any of these spells. However, a starting character also has to choose a magical background to determine a spell list that they can choose their starting spells from. There could be a list for necromancers, demonologists, illusionists, diviners etc. so a starting wizard cannot choose any spell they want. There can also be a list of universal spells that are relatively common and so any school could teach them. On adventuring, a wizard could find a college of particular schools of magic and learn new spells, or learn new spells from a spell book or ancient tablet.

There could be an independent wizard who can only choose spells from the universal list, but then they won't be beholden to any college or master.

'But Stuart', I hear you say 'A necromancer's raise skeleton is better than a normal wizard's raise skeleton. How are we going to tell the difference between a proper necromancer and a wizard who just happens to know some necromancy spells?'

That is where talents come in. There could be a specialist talent for a particular spell list where the caster gets a +1 bonus to casting the spells on that spell list and a +4 bonus to arcane power for that spell list. There could be a talent for every spell list except universal.

This links in with the Conan RPG where scholars (the spellcasting class) choose a sorcery style every few levels, meaning that they can be both necromancers and hypnotists for example.

You could attempt this with other styles - for example, mask magic and tattoo magic could become part of Magic - Enchanting.

This would reduce the number of styles to Magic - Wizardy, Magic - Priestly, Magic - Conjuration, Magic - Enchanting, Magic - Arcane, Magic - Sorcery and Magic - Naval Sorcery.

Sorcery is a bit more complicated because each style has its own spell list. Maybe each sorcerer could have the base 48 spells, but if they want to be a naval sorcerer, they could swap out 16 "base" sorcery spells for the 16 naval sorcery spells. This can only be done with a starting character, can only be done with one sorcerer style, cannot be changed afterwards and the player has to choose all the naval sorcery spells or none - they can't just pick a few that they want. This would make naval sorcerers more versatile and also bring a variety to sorcerers. I think that the 48 in the AFF2 book are good as thy have a wide range of effects so you can pick and choose the theme you want by taking out the effects you don't want.
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SkinnyOrc
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Re: How about reducing the number of magical styles?

Post by SkinnyOrc » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:52 pm

You know you floated this one the same day you posted a new magic style right? ;)

I've got some reading to do to get my head around what your plan is here.

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Re: How about reducing the number of magical styles?

Post by Eddie » Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:58 pm

i like the idea, i have felt the sheer number of magical disciplines is somewhat excessive for a player.

then again, the background of Titan has mega high level magic users, which would certainly be able to "max out" more than one type.

except the ones which make you lose your previous spells (necromancy in particular seems a bum deal on that front)

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Re: How about reducing the number of magical styles?

Post by Nuvole! » Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:08 am

I agree with you that there are perhaps too many magic styles that build on Magic - Wizardry model, but I appreciate much the fact that AFF proposes radically dfferent spellcasting mechanics depending on the style that you choose, so I'm all for introducing other spellcasting styles with different mechanics (and reduce the redundant ones that follow the same mechancs).
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Re: How about reducing the number of magical styles?

Post by Eddie » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:13 am

possibly the way to make it work would be slightly more complicated

remove the "must have magic-wizardry of X to pursue this route" which some of them have.
this way the golem builder isn't also a high level wizard, he might only be good at making golems or whatever, and a rubbish spell caster.
it all costs experience after all.

make the Talent that enables spell casting in a specific sphere give bonuses that makes them better at that type.

something like Necromancy: you can control 10 undead summoned using summoning spells per point of arcane power. And you learn those spells as though they were one step cheaper to cast making summon skeleton a MP 4 spell instead of 6

this makes summoning undead easier for a necromancy (being lower MP) and they get more than a general wizard, without taking it away from the wizard entirely.

makes magic item makers as NPC's more "realistic" (i hate using that phrase in a world with fire breathing dragons etc but there we are) maybe verisimilitude is better?

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Re: How about reducing the number of magical styles?

Post by Slloyd14 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:28 pm

@SkinnyOrc - yes, I know! I did this because I was going through the shadowcaster spells and adding a load of core book spells and thinking why not just do it the other way round?

@Eddie - that would reduce the number of magical styles even more. It could work. Spells would need more stats like time to cast, minimum wizardry etc.

Here is what I have come up with so far...

https://drive.google.com/open?id=17LXlE ... -OrV2rHG61
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Re: How about reducing the number of magical styles?

Post by HedgeWizard » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:58 pm

I really like what you’ve started putting together here and hope to see more.

This is a great idea because it not only helps give some more form to spell casters without a major set of rule changes it also helps create much more interesting npcs and enemies. We move away from all wizards being a guy in a pointy hat with a beard who all know the same spells.

Obviously my enjoyment of the document was not solely because you included a hedge wizard option but it helped ;-)

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Re: How about reducing the number of magical styles?

Post by SkinnyOrc » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:37 pm

Okay so I think you could summarise the AFF2 magic system like this:

1. Base Styles - A magic tradition you can start with and only have one of (unless with the Multiple Magical Special Skills optional rule). Includes Wizardry, Sorcery (multiple variants), Necromancy, Magical Tattooing, and Chaos Magic.

2. Supplemental Styles - A magic tradition you can add to a base style, at a specified mastery of the base style. Includes Conjuration (at 3), Enchanting (at 4), Battle Magic (at 5), Arcane (at 6), and Demonology (?).

3. Final Styles - Can be learnt in addition to a base style but stops further development of that style. Only Mask Magic.

So if I'm understanding the idea of this post right, it boils down to making Mask Magic, Necromancy, Magical Tattooing, Chaos Magic, and Demonology, all work like supplemental styles.

Firstly I'd leave Chaos Magic out because it doesn't have a spell list and it makes sense it's all the mage can cast.

Magical Tattooists aren't usually also spellcasters, which along with it being intended for NPCs is why it'll have been treated as a base style. I think it could be something a Wizard or Sorcerer could learn without affecting their other abilities, although that shouldn't be easy and I'm not sure how useful it'd be for a PC given you can only have one tattoo per person.

Mask Magic seems to be mostly intended for NPCs but leaves open it being learnt by PCs. I'd be happy to drop the no longer improves in other styles bit and treat it like a form of Enchanting, but I'm not sure I'd want the entire party starting every adventure with a mask each! So sure, treat it as a supplemental style but one no one's willing to teach them.

That brings us to where for me the most promise is, Necromancy. My opinion is this should have been a supplemental style, because it's hard to come up with enough spells to make the spell list comparable to the Wizardry list. Also I like the idea you can start off as a wizard and be tempted into dark arts. It could be an easy route to power, only needing a rating of 1 in Wizardry or even just Minor Magic. It would certainly allow for a wider range of possible powers for bad guys if they could continue to cast Wizardry spells and even learn more. Perhaps advancing in other magic styles and learning new spells in them costs double after starting Necromancy.

For Demonology, it's not clear from Demons of Doom it's not already a supplemental style. There's nothing about it preventing you learning any other magic styles or losing access to styles you already know. The only thing that doesn't match styles like Conjuration and Enchanting is it doesn't say you need a a certain rating in Wizardry or Sorcery to learn it. But it also doesn't seem likely it'd be the first magic you'd learn, so I'd just assume you need 3 the same as for Conjuration.

I do think that because of the way the magic system grew over multiple books the overlap is a bit messy. If you were doing it all again from scratch you wouldn't include Raise Skeleton in Wizardry, and you wouldn't include demons in Conjuration.

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Re: How about reducing the number of magical styles?

Post by Eddie » Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:50 pm

If i were going to make necromancy a base style of magic i would make a lot of shorter duration summoning spells at the lower levels.

Raise Skeleton takes ages, but creates a permanent creature under your control (permanent until destroyed anyway) so a starting necromancer would need shorter summons at lower levels.

It wouldn't be that hard to expand the base spells to incorporate these realistically, make a summoning or 2 for every MP cost of spell (1, 2 and 4) before 6.

Or use my suggestion above and make Raise Skeleton a level 4 necromancy spell, thereby making it easier to access for a necromancer.

I wouldn't want a necromancer to be as versatile as a general wizard actually, they've made a choice to specialise after all, one of the prices for this is lack of versatility.

along with the slight downside of every right-thinking person hating them!! :lol:

I'm going to brew up some ideas of a elemental style wizard over the weekend, someone focusing more on combat and being a blaster caster, may give some thought to expanding the necromancy spells list at the same time :mrgreen:

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Re: How about reducing the number of magical styles?

Post by SkinnyOrc » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:21 am

Eddie wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:50 pm
If i were going to make necromancy a base style of magic i would make a lot of shorter duration summoning spells at the lower levels.
Yeah to work well as a base style it needs a few more spells, and one that creates weak undead immediately but temporarily would be a great addition. Of course that'd also be great with necromancy as a supplemental.
Eddie wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:50 pm
I wouldn't want a necromancer to be as versatile as a general wizard actually, they've made a choice to specialise after all, one of the prices for this is lack of versatility.
Balance is less important with it being for evil NPCs rather than PCs. So if they can continue to progress in Wizardry it's up to the Director how much they did that. Really all it does is give the Director more flexibility to give them some Wizardry spells as well if it suits their purposes. Most necromancers would probably concentrate on their speciality anyway.

Necromancy's unusual in that it's not a true base style, as from what the rulebook says they can start off as wizards, but it becomes like one because they lose the ability to cast those when they start the dark arts. A compromise might be they keep wizardry they learnt before they started necromancy but can't learn more, making it a Final Style like Mask Magic. That allows the Director freedom to give them some, usually just low level, wizard spells to round out their repertoire.

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Re: How about reducing the number of magical styles?

Post by Eddie » Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:39 pm

good points all SkinnyOrc.

i always tend to approach these things as thought it'd be used by a player, but the background of AFF and style of play (The players ARE heroes after all) suggests this isn't necessary.

I have done some work on Elementalist Magics on Saturday, more than planned because my body has decided 4am is the right time to get up for last week. which is great. obviously.

I will finish up and then start a new thread with that when i have done "enough" for my own mind :D

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