Tuesday, April 22, 2014

GURPS Magic Notes 15: Ritual Magic Basics and High Magery Game

Ritual Magic Basics

Ritual Magic under B242 and GURPS Magic p.200. Basically instead of every spell a skill, you have a core skill minus prerequisite counts, this core skill is Very Hard and a Very Hard College/Path Skill. Your college/path skill cannot be higher than your core skill but your core skill casts stuff at a -6 penalty. 

Ask your GM which is the core skill Thaumatology (B225) or Ritual Magic (B218) or an alternative. I think in principle the core skill, what ever it will be has to be a Very Hard skill. Ritual Magic requires a Tradition, while Thaumatology doesn't. These skills are excepted from being subject to the bonuses of talents. But there is a work around I would allow because it adds to flavor.
Example. A character with true devotion and talent can have IQ10, 4 levels of Talent that grants a bonus to Religious Ritual-15 [8] can buy from default. Raising Ritual Magic to 10 will cost only 4 points, instead of 8 points. Then apply Magery. 
Ritual Magic and Thaumotology are both core skills in the War Beneath Heaven Campaign. Thaumatology is for appropriate for Free-mages who pursue magic like a science. Note that Ritual Magic can be defaulted from Religious Ritual at -6. So that a faithful can use their Talent in Religious Ritual as an advantage.

Notes when you are Using Ritual Magic

  • Normal magic vs RM, NM is easier because you as a Player or GM only have a few spells. If you are just using the spells in Basic Set, thats ~106 ish then Normal Magic is just fine. But if you want more spells and magic, Ritual Magic makes it easier to have more spells and magical effects in your game without having a Block of Text on your character sheet for all the spells you invested in. 
  • You will need GURPS Magic, you will need to consult with p.225 to get their prerequisite count OR you can manually take note of all these counts. GURPS magic will add about +500 more spells to your spells list.  I would also like to say you will need to bookmark my notes as well. 
  • RM has a lot of Penalties. Not only does the mage have to keep track of his Range/Distance penalties when casting a spell, he has to apply the prerequisite count. 
  • You need to raise two Very Hard Skill. Because Ritual Magic needs the Core Skill cap the College Skill, this means that it costs about at least 8cp for a Mage to focus on a college since he has to raise both the College and the Core skill simultaneously (B242, M200). 
    • Horizontal Expansion. That investing only 1cp in a College reduces the penalty casting a spell to -3. So a Mage with magery 15 and IQ11, who spends 1cp will have a 23 instead of 20. This means the easiest method to advance is horizontally - mastering more colleges since 1cp does a lot.   
    • Normal magic allows you to specialize in One spell, while Ritual magic keeps you a broad generalist, even if you focus in one college you cannot raise it past your Core skill. But since there are few One

Pricing Magical Services

  • This will come very much handy when you start pondering economic Implications of many spells. 
    • Monthly Income of Mage (Wealthy at TL3 would be $3500 as an example). Mo.Inc / Time and Effort. Time is 20 days a month, 8 hours a day, and about 20 minutes per client (or 24 sessions a day). That would be ( Mo.Inc / 480 ) x2-5 depending on market conditions. That would be $15-35 per consultation and $15 per FP spent. 
  • Non-Mages Magical Services. The service would be calculated based on the value of their magic Item, Mo. Income, Time and Effort. 
    • Shape Stone, allowing an artist to Shape Obsidian or other Stones would cost $170k. The Enchanter mage who is his Patron or Partner would be expecting about almost $6000 income per month for 5 years (in return his apprentices maintain and service the Artisans needs). $6000 + Comfortable Monthly Income is $7400 divided by Time and Effort with modifiers for market conditions. Its about $16 per FP. Since a Stone Mage can make several very fine obsidian knives and implements up to its weight. 466kg or 10026lbs of very fine obsidian knives and tools. 

Mana Levels

  • High Mana games means everyone can learn and cast spells. The economy of such a setting would be equal to a very High tech setting with very little scarcity. You can basically take such a high tech setting and make it "Magic". 
  • You may need to setup Demographic assumptions for how frequently the Magery ability shows up or is it something that can be trained. So basically you can treat it like Literacy or the rarity of high hereditary IQ. Its very arbitrary to determine magical demographics and It changes the setting economics very much when there is an advantage one is born with that grants them powers like magery. 
    • Examples: in War Beneath Heaven the demographics is 1:1000 or 0.1% of the population. Then I determined how much of the mage population are born outside of mage families and how hereditary it is. 
    • Mage Population thread in SJgames forums. I'm one of those GMs who think its easier to consider additional levels of magery learn-able, that way I only worry about the magical demographic potential and use medieval education demographics for the higher powered mages. 
  • Sample: Magery Social Class System. As there are Man-at-arms, Squire, and Knights, your fighting potential does not make you Knight. This is the same as mages, your magical potential does not make you a mage. As there are Squires who are squires for life, you have apprentices who are apprentices for life. There is also the matter of education and money, some mages can have the best education money can buy, while others self learned. If magic takes money and time to learn, then the mages who come from noble families will have the advantage. 
    • Wealth and Education as a barrier. Spells are hard skills, already as compared to other skills it takes Intensive Training (B293).  
    • Hereditary magery as a barrier. Mage families who cultivate their bloodlines will produce more mages, and the bastard mages suffer as apprentices and the rare-exception of being better than their full blooded siblings despite lacking in education and opportunity. if magical potential is only the elite class, you can just put it at 1:100. As a society gets more population and bigger, you can see mages being an oligarchy growing farther and farther away from everyone else (rarefied demographics). 
    • Chinese Elite society from evolution of the Mandarins would be a good example of how to to handle Magery with Social Class system. Unfortunately there is not a lot of good Wikipedia articles I can recommend, and my understanding is from sifting through various sources in my Sino studies. Trying to summarize it: as it takes money, resources, and good genes to create an elite warrior - and the same for mages. You will need more bureaucrats in a society that can channel their resources in War and Magic (and Commerce). The greater the ability for the economy to specialize and others purse: War, Magic, and Commerce - such specialization will create a ruling class. Note that a High degree of education will also make a society more like China where there are more competing Ideologies (until one destroys them all; see Hundred Schools). You dont need to go far to find an Alien Culture that is very different. 
    • From Yao to Mao, 5000 years of Chinese history
    • Lazlo Montgomery's Chinesehistory Podcast
    • Note that Magery in a Normal Magic setting has no equivalent that exists in the present or human history. The barriers were illusory (ethnicity and creed are mental constructs that can be overcome) when the definition of humanity was defined by the few and powerful. You can make Magery an illusory barrier. Of course if you make magery a true physical barrier then society can base their Value judgement on magical potential.  

Spell Task Difficulty Modifiers

  • A Simple Barrier is creating Task Difficulty modifiers on casting Spells which create more complex results. Example is that mages who can Shape Stone can shape common stone, but when they shape Obsidian they have  a TDM penalty. If they Make Earth to Metal, they have a penalty when creating certain metals. At a high enough penalty you can reflect some elements of scarcity 

War Beneath Heaven Mages

  • Initiates tend to have an average of 15 on their specialty of Magic and 9 for everything else. They would need to use extra-FP to improve the margin of success. Once spent, they may be out for a couple of hours. 
  • Novices tend to have an average of 20 on their specialty of Magic, and 14 on everything else.  
  • Adept tend to have an average of 25 on their specialty of Magic, and 19 on everything else.
  • Masters tend to have an average of 26-27 on their specialty, Skill-23 in many other colleges, and Skill-21 in those that don't matter to them. They also have a lot of advantages that augment their skills.  

High Magery Game

  • You will need to keep note of how the Colleges are at a certain level of Power Discounts. 
  • Elemental (I realize this is a great specialty against swarms).
    • Air  - Air is the second most cost effective elemental college, it is very useful in low tech and can still be fairly useful in high tech / modern settings.  B378 notes on knock back. Unlike the Fire and Earth that can maintain Shape Element Indefinitely at Skill-15, only has Stench in Basic Set. It has Air Jet in GURPS Magic M24, requiring Skill 18 to be able to cast often without FP lost. If the Mage has College (Air) -23 he can do Air jets at no cost to him at 4d knock back. 
      • Air and Earth are always readily available. 
      • Stench (count 1), and Shape Air (count 2)
        • If you want to calculate the air pattern/current, remember circumference formula. You can make a current of air travel a 5 yrd circle of a radius of  0.8yrs/m at 1FP. So basically the Mage is in the center of a mini vortex of air
        •  At 2FP it is a 1.6m/yrd radius spell and 1d of knock back. its a median average of 2.5m/s wind, if its enough to give 1d knock back it should be enough for some penalties for missile weapons to hit. 
      • Shape Air (count 2), great against missile weapons or swarms or if the GM allows it aid missile weapons in adding range. Since it
      • Air Vision (count  3) and Smoke (count 3) 
    • Fire - Fire can be very destructive, but requires higher skill. The most basic combo is having 17-18 skill so as to maintain Create Fire and Shape Fire Indefinitely. Check Incendiary Attacks in B433. Use fire as a crowd control and cover all the hexes beneath enemies using Shape Fire spell - its bad footing with DAMAGE!.
      • Unlike all the other elements, fire is not easily available. 
      • Simple Combo is Air Vision (count  3) and Smoke (count 3). its funny how a fire mage cannot see through smoke lolz. 
      • Strategic use of Ignite (note the distance penalties to spell casting, which you can limit by making a trail of oil). Take note of grease fire, which would require 3FP but will be very difficult to put out because it spreads when water is used. 
    • Earth - Earth is the most bang for buck among all the elemental colleges. It is limited by the Players and PC's ingenuity and creativity. At Shape Earth-16-17 it becomes very useful and versatile. You will need Innate Attack (Earth) for various techniques. Will be covered in greater detail.
      • Shape Earth use to Shove opponents (see Collision Damage B430; Slam B368; Shove B372) to Calculate Knock Back
        • ( [ Mass(lbs)^(0.33) ] * 8 / 100 ) * yrds/s (2m/s for earth, 1m/s for stone)
        • Example Sand has a density of 1.5-1.7 tons per 1 cu.m/yrd. So 3 tons of sand flowing at 2m/s is a 3d-1 cr  or  6d Knock Back. 
    • Water - In muddy or snowy terrain water is as powerful as Earth requiring only a skill of 16-17 to be constantly useful every round and minute. Composite bows are very useless when wet. Muddying the ground or Fighting in the Rain will grant terrain penalties to opponents, and strategic application of Freeze or Frost can be very effective - freezing wet weapons in their sheathes.  
      • Shape Water use to Shove opponents (see Collision Damage B430; Slam B368; Shove B372) to Calculate Knock Back
        • ( [ Mass(lbs)^(0.33) ] * 8 / 100 ) * yrds/s (3m/s)
        • Example Water has a density of 4.5kg per gallon. So 20 gallons of water flowing at 3m/s is a 1d-2 cr or 1d Knock Back. 
    • Biological
      • Animal - This helps you cultivate powerful and useful animal assets. Birds are often overlooked, swallows and sparrows can be very useful in sending messages and recon. Don't begin by thinking of the most dangerous animal you can get, consider the most useful animals in Communication and Logistics. Training animals in record time would be interesting. 
      • Plant - Shape plant can be used to neutralized wooden weapons at Skill-16-17. Most of the plants spells are very powerful in economics and logistics. 
      • Body - Itch against armored foes and Spasm are all great if the mage had a Skill-21-22 to cast it at no cost. 
      • Healing - At Skill-21, the recover FP spell allows a mage to perform extraordinary feats of logistical endurance. 
    • Wizardry
      • Meta Spell - Scryguard, and Maintain are priority spells and effects for powerful wizards. Many Strategic Spells are found in Meta-Spells. 
      • Enchantment - Make Items and Temporary magic items. It takes a lot of research to find items minor and useful at the same time. 
      • Knowledge - very useful, although many information spells are useless against scrygaurd and have a hard time with conceal magic. Echoes and Visions of the past are powerful spells to determine what happened in an area. 
      • Protection - very limited and many of the spells that would matter is in meta spells. 
    • Necromancy - This is one of the most powerful colleges, it has Enchantment Spells as part of the specialization which basically means you can ignore many other colleges for just Necromancy.
      • Necromancy has Demonic Summoning which allows a character have a demonic ally.  There is one very simple way to min-max this - Get a Demons whose motivations are your own. Its a bit zen to know oneself enough to know that this is the "right demons" for me. But if you get there then just summon the demon you choose to serve. Demonic Contracts basically reduce the cost of the spell equal to x3 their appropriate knowledge of the Black Arts. That means Hidden Lore (Dark Magic) -16, the Mage can reduce it by 48 points!
        • That Translates to 24d ex missile attack, very powerful and large Area effect spells that can cover 1,800sqm or 18,000sqf.  Animate 1800sqf/180sqm room full of dead bodies. Cover 23 hectars or 60 acres in cloudy darkness. 
        • Note this discounts, so it cannot help you add FP to a Maintenance Spell BUT it can bring down a spells power cost so that you can benefit from the x5 duration of maintenance spell for spells that cost nothing to maintain. That means you can maintain massive area effect spells.  
    • Mind Control - Compared to Com/Emp, this is pretty bang for buck. At early levels such mages will augment with social engineering. 
    • Communication and Empathy - not really useful in combat, the easiest spells to cast is mostly in social interactions adding reaction bonuses (pursuasion). Oddly expensive with many spells at 4fp and same to maintain. This mostly deals with communications and influence. sense foes, which is the most basic is hard to use because of the muddiness of intent, the very very small area of effect per FP used, and the lack of other detail.  
    • Making and Breaking spells - Inspired Creation is powerful, the ability to reliably make Very Fine quality work means a lot of things and translates to a lot of potential uses. The spells costs compared to what they do makes it a fair specialization. 
    • Illusion - This needs to be Combined with Meta Spells, particularly Maintain. Its ability to program Servants or even Zombies through Independence makes it worth while especially to necromancers. 
    • Light and Darkness. Darkness Spell is a very powerful tactical advantage used well. You can see going out but no one can see going in. A size big enough can help in ambush and maintain some terrain superiority. 

    Magos Lazarous Olumid, Lord of New Ejeba

    He is an example of a Master, at 200cp he would be a formidable enemy or ally to the PCs. If you look at his disadvantage, it doesn't really make him out to be a bad guy.
    • He is at a median magery level as Masters go, there are other masters who have higher magery. 
    • Lazarus has 35 points invested in Spells
    • Lazarus has 20 points invested in Secondary skills, 
    • He has 2 Special Allies - the Heroic Companion Knight of Ife and a Formidable Familiar the Hawk Jaja. 
      • He doesn't have a demon, which is an odd choice of companions. Demons are the most powerful and effective of companions and very cooperative if both personalities are aligned. His choice of Familiar and Companion can be attributed to sentiment or tradition. 
    • He has about x50 100cp Adepts mages under his control, 10 can be available to him in any time. This is a very powerful resource and marks him as a very successful master, his Talent as a Teacher also supports why he has so many adepts. His adepts and Initiates are put to work, so only a few are available on call when he needs them. 
    • He is basically his own feudal lord in part of Haven he controls. He has network to reflect this, and he serves of at the pleasure of the being known as Olokun.
    • His Politics is 10 and Strategy is 9. This means he can be vulnerable attacked Socially and Strategically. His strong roster of Adepts would be attractive to other Masters and their Arch Mages who find the opportunity move against him.
      • At this level stick to Easy Strategies - go with the herd in Politics and be conservative in strategies.  
    • What he is not is a Leader, he's more of a Teacher and Administrator. He is not a Politician or Courtier, nor is he Strategist or Tactician. Hes not as good a liar as many other mages (who have it as a Talent). Like all mages, in order to survive, they have to be a good judge of character (Psychology-14). 

    Lazarus Tactics 

    • Basic Defenses
      • Maintained Scryguard (93 days/45fp) Skill-23 
      • Maintained False Aura (93 days/45fp) - Skill-20
      • Sense Observation Daily (M167) (24 hours) - Skill-19
      • Simple Illusion (-1 on all spell casting) - he appears a much darker and more virile looking, more like a gangster to others. 
    • Lazarus makes use of two zombie guards, who are enchanted with Amulets against Control Zombie. He would sometimes disguise as the zombie and disguise the zombie as himself. 
    • In an emergency he can draw on his 35Fp and his 30fp power stone and in an Emergency he can Burn his HP at no penalty because he can will himself to shrug the pain for a short duration. allowing him to burn as much as 20HP. 
      • What 85 power can do?
        • 43 explosive damage dice
        • 1.8 Hectar (about 4.5 acre) Rainfall
        • Rebuild 12.7 Tons
        • Make a One use Temporary Magical Item worth 566FP.  

    Killian Tarmikos, The Mage Killer

    Killian (real name Kwanele) is free mage, who hires himself out as a trouble shooter among many of the Taipans or Patriarchs. He does not have an Arch-Mage patron and has to live in the fringes of magical society if he wants to keep a low profile.  Killian died in S02E10 in WBH, when the HSS got marked for elimination, he is still a useful template. 
    • He has invested a lot in his spells, about 37cp. He's brought up his effective spell level with Knowledge, Healing, illusion, Protection and Meta-Spells. His default strategy is to keep a low profile and keeping security conscious. 
    • His specialty is studying other mages and looking for weaknesses with Strategy and Information Analysis. He is not more powerful than other mages, he just happen to have to skills that allows him to exploit their weakness better and find it sooner.  Against mages with their many countermeasures he relies on giving them the impression that they are in control through a defensive strategy via defense in depth
      • Since he is observing someone who has Sense Observation and Scry Guard, most of the information he gets are from Indirect Observation and Information Analysis. This problem solving technique simply takes what is unknown and working with economies of efficiency and predictable patterns of development. Much like an investigator who relies on Criminal history to sort patterns in their behavior and strategies. He will create a profile via indirect observation before proceeding, he charges for an evaluation and provides the report (a SWOT analysis) at the end of his research.      
      • He has Traps and Electronics Operation (Comm). This allows him to use radio controlled devices and set up some technological equipment. He can use Inspired Creation to make a Very Fine Trap and Network Set up, one that does not backfire on him and works as it should. He makes use of fine quality equipment and electronics. 
    • Based on the Risk Assessment he tends to work with harassing tactics, creating as many inconvenience and adding as much time wasting projects. For every hour he turns in, he has to create an attrition of hours of 1:5 or 1:10. Enough harassment for his Patron to move in and execute their own plan or to make it too costly for the mage to go on with their original strategy. He draws a lot of "agro" so he does get into fights and escalation, where he fights emotionally unstable and unpredictable mages.  

    Commentary

    • I wish the spells were designed to be more exponential like Area Spells. Many spells are linear like the shape spells, while Area spells are exponential. If you want the same exponential effect per FP: (basically 45 and 90 degrees exponential advancement). 
      • Thanks to +Bertram Jänsch you can by using the (  3n(n-1) ) + 1 formula. 
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