Monday, December 2, 2013

GURPS Magic Notes 05: Enchantment, Meta Spells, basic Magic Economics

What to learn First

I've talked about Enchantment being on of the First Set of spells to learn, please add Meta-Spells, Knowledge and Necromancy. There are about 50 spells each of these colleges, almost 200 spells a GM has to be very aware off.  My process is reading all spells, looking for a pattern, then going through each and every spell as to what situations are best to use them in. Note that since the setting is Low Mana and with a Magic as a Secret (a testy truce between the Vatican Inquisition and Islamic Witch-hunters vs the lesser traditions)  in a Modern Setting, context is tricky. I keep in mind some "average stats" and templates for mages.

Note that I have not made a template down for the mages until I fully understand all the key spells and the key concepts that needs to be understood. I did make some progress as making my job a lot easier by limiting spells by their Prerequisite Count and Energy Level for RPM.

Key Concepts

How the Magical World Works, other than the Introduction to magic the GM has to go about studying up on the Enchantment, Meta and Knowledge Schools. Necromancy in GURPS is a catch-all for most Black-Magic type spells, which is learned last. 

Magical infrastructure then is considered, as to the Economics of accessing power and ingrediates for enchanting. You will need to set some economic assumptionis in your setting: what is the relative market value of objects in the Magical Economy as to the Regular Economy. Basically are magical objects complicated by their Intrinsic Value? 

In haven, we are using Adhoc systems, where as the GM I assign magical properties based on Scientific Properties that may be valuable. I basically use my limited knowledge in manufacturing to assign sourcing costs for these, sometimes sourceing is a challenge itself and worthy of an adventure BUT some stories are more interesting than others and I tell the story the Players are interested in. 

Example: In Haven Gold, $44,000 per kilo is a powerful object for enchantment, particularly its scientific property of being resistant to Tarnishing or degradation. Silver may tarnish over time, despite the luster and shine it may provide, but Gold thousands of years old will not. Its intrinsic eternal qualities make such items able to penetrate damage reduction in the WBH setting.  
Example 2: Silver is about $700 per kilo. Its highly valuable for electronics since its the conductor with the least resistance (i try to get silver wires for my airsoft); in magic it serves as a magical conductor as well, able to channel energies magical energies very well. HSS has bought silver, and the easiest way to deploy them is in 12g shot.  
Example 3: Crystals are also powerful in magic , especially those that have Superconductor qualities. Again I'll just use google to drum up the cost and logistics of acquisition. 


Magical Countermeasures: Enchantment and Meta Spells

Begin by learning about all the Defensive Counter Measures in magic by studying Enchantment and Meta-Spells. Knowledge, strangely is not as broken as I thought it would be as an Analyst. The ability to gather information via Knowledge Path/College is severely limited by the resources of the mage which is then determined by their mastery of the enchantment college. This makes Enchantment the most important to learn first, since its the ability of a mage to make most efficient use of resources, next is Meta-Spells which allow greater variations of preparations at much greater trade-off inefficiencies.

The Primary Countermeasure being Effigy at 1000fp (which in Haven is easy to acquire for the rich and powerful; it makes sense to build many effigies of the Patriarchs as a way to protect them). Effigy works by having all the offensive magic redirected from the target to the effigy. This is a prereq. count of 15, and done so often it is complicated by many other countermeasures that maintain the effigy spell endurance.

Once William Tarameikos comes into the picture, (+James Austin's mage character), the Prince and Knight will have to get their hands on such spells and a way to maintain them. A rising star in Haven needs such magical protection, I'll allow family portraits to be used for a limited effect just so that some families have "Basic" protection. I don't want the setting to have tooo many effigies lying around. 

Amulet and Talisman are great defensive spells but you have to name a particular spell you want to be protected against... which is limiting IMO, especially when using Ritual Magic and the mage alters the spell enough. It should be effective, with related spells at a diminished defensive effect (possibly limiting the endurance of the spell; note Spell Endurance is in M10 and not in the index). Still the best is Magic Resistance, if you don't have the funds get it as a Temporary Magic Item at %15 of the cost or at $3,000-9,000USD. 

Before Going any Further, lets set some Ground Rules. 

Limit Concepts Known by the Spell's Prerequisite Count

With so many Spells, the GM should decide up to How many “Prerequisite Counts” should he allow in the setting. Definitely there should be some In-Game Information asymmetry about what effects and spells can be used. The War Beneath Heaven, for example will have an Prerequisite Count of 1-5 as common, 6-10 as uncommon, and 11-15 as RARE. So spells like Soul Stone, Simulacrum, Doppelganger, Lich, Wraith etc... are conceptually unknown unless the character pours CP into the ability to know such. 

You can even make the Prerequisite Count the Thaumaturgical or Hidden Lore Check of Knowledge of THEORETICAL Effects. Since this is a CONCEPT understanding check Versatility Advantage should have more weight more than Eidetic Memory. You can probably grant a +5 for Versatility advantage and a +1/+2 from Eidetic Memory regarding such conceptual problem solving. Magery if only a Temporary Boost should not influence such a roll, and College specific magery does not help with concepts outside the College of Specialty. So that there are no rolls, you can just say characters are familiar with concepts with a prerequisite Count = to their Skill - 5. A character with Fire college of 10 understands spells up to 5 prerequisites. 

Attempts to learn about effects and concepts of a higher prerequisite requires research in a number of hours equal to (the prerequisites + 15 minus their Skill) * 40 hours. 

So a Mage with a Skill of 10 researching a Spell with 6 prerequisites needs to study [ (6+10-15)*40 ] = 40 hours. After the Research the GM just gives him knowledge of One spell or Effect, not All the the spells of that Prerequisite Count.     
Ritual Path Mages, If existing along with Ritual Magic could be limited equal to the Cost of the Effect. I'd go with -1 for every 5 points cost. Since they have broader magical abilities, their magery adds to this roll... but against Ritual Magic mages feel free to add a -5 unfamiliarity penalty unless the mage uses a specific skill.
Once you have trimmed down the List its much easier to create doctrines, and Spells since you have less complexity since you have less "Cogs" and "moving Parts" to deal with.

Preparation and Sacrifice Rules

I've not read Thaumaturgy and I don't want to add it to my required reading because thats 250 pages more of things to study, compared to the 200 spells I will learn and analyze. Talking to fellow GURPS GMs, I think I just really need to established Infra Costs and Sacrifice Rules costs. 

Basically setting up some fundamental Economics of the system. By this time, you should have finished studying Enchantment and Meta, and of course mastered the rules regarding Enchantment and Ceremonies. Pentagrams is in Meta Spell College, so are certain Enchantment that create Magical Infrastrcture = Power Stones! You will need meta-spells to recharge powerstones. 

If you research powerstones in GURPS Magic, it lays out the statistics of the stone's cost and rarity. It has some parallels to collective computing and I've realized there are some enchantment spells that allows a character to draw from a bunch of powerstones.... Combine these with Drone Technology being your Logistics, its possible for powerstones to be charged and moved around to create a production line. You don't even need drones to pull of this combo, you just need manpower which can be cheap in a 3rd world country. 

Other than powerstones and all those that fall in the Wizardry Tools chapter, there is Living Sacrifice Rules. Particularly Sapient Sacrifice and Black Magic rules found in the Necromancy Chapter. You will need to make a Human Sacrifice Formula (Dmg delt until target expires to the power ^(IQ/10). Of course the greater the Mana Conversion, the Greater the Attention it attracts other Mages, Witch Hunters and Inquisition. 

Economies of Scale of Black Magic or Necromancy Spells will be covered in another set of posts. Particularly what Infrastructure and elements of a 3rd world, mirrors our own technology world in privacy, security abuse, and monopolies that will enter the picture if such spells exist. 

Next would be me going through the 3rd revision of "Black Magic Economics" of Haven lolz. 

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