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47

So, this question has both a specific example, and a general question. I address both the specific case (the first two headings) and the general case (the rest of the answer). Unfortunately, the answer to the general case is there is no answer that applies generally. There is no one-size-fits-all, this-is-what-a-GM-should-always-do-for-every-situation answer ...


45

That depends on your definition of "illogical." While I've personally never been a fan of Vancian magic due to cognitive dissonance ("It's like only being able to use the quadratic formula once on a test!"), there are in-fiction explanations for it. Spell Preparation What's important to understand is that the spells are not simply memorized, recalled, and ...


30

From my experience, your number 3 is key: Availability to PCs. If something is supposed to be mythical, it gets scientific automatically. Once players know the mechanics behind it, their brain will do calculations in their head. Thats not even a conscious process. People cannot "un-know" things. Example: D&D, the party encounters some random guy, he ...


28

No, not generally. Spellcasting in D&D or Pathfinder is a routine process -- you select the spell, and then cast it. The character is presumed to be so proficient at this process that there is no chance of failure under normal circumstances. However, there are some special cases where there is a random chance of failure. Two of them require the ...


26

When I DM and a player does something like this, I celebrate it. Creative application of character skills is awesome to watch, and if it's something I haven't thought of, it means it's another tool for the more intelligent NPCs to use later (or for ones who've heard about the PCs using it). Characters who fight by dropping whales on things are probably ...


24

I think the most likely explanation of the phenomenon is that fantasy is normally in a medieval setting, and when we think "medieval", we think of kings, not of theocrats or magocrats. In other words, what limits clerics and wizards is our imagination. If you're looking for in-game explanations, I can think of three Tradition: If the people are used to ...


24

All Summon spells fall under the Conjuration school, which imposes additional restrictions. Specifically: A creature or object brought into being or transported to your location by a conjuration spell cannot appear inside another creature or object, nor can it appear floating in an empty space. It must arrive in an open location on a surface capable of ...


23

It’s not absolutely clear, but I’d say disjunction doesn’t work on (non-epic) golems. Ultimately this is a GM’s call (I’ll explain exactly why later): there is precedent for golems not being affected by disjunction at all, but there is also a counter-argument for them being affected. I’ll go through the factors one by one, because I didn’t reach this ...


21

Looking at the cleric as a bundle of resources for a moment: Both wells and clerics generate water. A well accesses underground aquifers* and can generate larger and smaller volumes of water depending on local circumstances. Furthermore, most liquid intended for human consumption is vaguely alcoholic as a purifying measure. A human will consume 3-4 liters ...


20

Pre-4E D&D's magic system, ignoring sorcerers, is best explained by a visualization of spells as "knots" of mana. For wizards, these knots are made using the spellbook page as a form; the spell literally can't be shaped without its assistance. The shape of the knot determines its function. Further, a wizard can only hold a few at first, but as they ...


19

According to "Introduction: Current Cross-References" (GURPS Thaumatology, p. 5), the book is designed to stand alone and doesn't need GURPS Magic. The book presents alternatives to the spell system provided in the Basic Set, as well as some modifications of the default spell system. If you are using the spell-magic rules from the Basic Set, then GURPS ...


18

Most everybody else is focusing on the cleric creating water; I'll focus on the military tactics then. Especially since I played not too long ago in a 3.5 campaign that heavily used -- in my opinion -- rather clever and realistic tactics that made use of spell casters. Basically, it all boils down to one simple principle: Think of offensive mages as siege ...


18

First of all let me just say that there's no right or wrong in here, neither a "good-GM-should-do-this-or-that" kind of answer. It is pretty much group and situation specific. What I can do, though, is to give a few examples of ways to "cope" with this situation or a similar one that I've seen in the past. The 10,000 staffs I participated in a game once, a ...


18

Yes, by making a caster level check and meeting some requirements The relevant rules are all in the Magic Items - Scrolls section of the DMG. Here's a copy from the SRD. There are two steps: Decipher the Writing The writing on a scroll must be deciphered before a character can use it or know exactly what spell it contains. This requires a read ...


17

I was in exactly the same boat as you a year ago: introduced to Fate with Diaspora, loved it, and then wanted to capture than in a fantasy setting. This is where I went with it: Dresden Files RPG has a comprehensive, flavourful, flexible, and very Fate-like magic system that easily translates to a fantasy setting. For an incredibly-good explanation of its ...


17

There's a few things that help to make magic... feel magical. Relative Rarity If you treat magic like a commodity, it will feel like a commodity. If you treat magic like a strange rarity, perhaps even a scary break from reality... it will be treated like that, too. While the players or the magic type characters may know the basic limitations of magic ...


17

The best way to make healers fun to play is to make their profession matter in the culture of the setting and in the conflicts the group faces. Is the character merely "Joe, with a Great-level Healing skill and a Good Herbalism skill"? If yes, why? Wouldn't it be more interesting to have the character be "Joe, an Adept of the Scarlet Order", with contacts ...


17

There's two ways to understand your question: as a request for example spells, or as a plea for help because you don't really know what Spirit does. There's no exhaustive list of example Spirit spells, and besides, working from a list of spells is the opposite of how the DFRPG magic system works. So I'm going to answer the latter interpretation of the ...


17

According to my Greyhawk book (published in 1976) On page 20 is the extended wizard spell list, on the lower right corner" "9th Level (all new)" - so the 9th level wizard spells were first introduced in this book spell #6 in the 9th level list is "Wish" On page 28, about 1/2 way down the page "Wish: The same spell as found in a Ring of Wishes ...


16

1930 Air Transport: Not much civil aviation. but rapidly growing; the 1932 DC3 will revolutionize air travel. Military aviation branching into three fields: Bombers, Transports, and Fighters; scout planes also used. Airships (Zeppelins, mostly) provide commercial long distance air travel. ...


15

You may find this interesting... I once took a type of personality test that had four "axes" of classification: http://www.personalitytest.net/types/index.htm (I was taking a paper version, but it looks like the same test.) The categories are: Extraverted (E) or Introverted (I) Sensing (S) or iNtuitive (N) Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) Judging (J) or ...


14

I see several factors at work in the D&D worlds, especially in 3.X: Rarity, Motivation, lack of solidarity, Social Contract, and the frankenstein effect. Rarity: Wizards and Clerics are surprisingly rare... typically under 1% each of the population using the 3.0 DMG methods. The smaller the segment of the population, the harder it is to take over. ...


14

There's a few different things you can do here, from either the game system side or the game master side. Systems: Give natural healers more potent long-term healing. The idea here is that you may be able to bring someone from near death to fighting fit in a few seconds with magic, but that kind of healing reduces long-term viability. Maybe magical ...


14

Ars Magica has a system that allows for dynamic spell casting within their own framework. But spontaneous magic (as it calls it) is rooted into the existing system and it is not a light one. Mage: The Ascension, despite its numerous flaws, had an interesting system for creating magical effects. Again, it was derived from a few magical skills that one could ...


13

In 5th edition, it's fairly simple. Rego moves matter around. This includes splitting stone (not perdo, as you're not destroying, just rearranging and moving. You're also not changing the nature of the stone, so not muto). The following are from the Covenants book and a few other official books. Check the spell index for references. As per crafting with ...


13

No, under optimal circumstances there is not a check. However there are a long list of situations that involve a check: Strong Wind Situations where you can speak but cannot hear yourself In grapple While being stabbed etc Note that while the spell may succeed under normal circumstances, spells that negatively affect other creatures may well fail or ...


13

Given the fallout setting, where there's no 'psionics' or magic as such (at least as far as anything appearing the games so far). Broadly speaking you've got a few options: Introduce psionics or magic into the game (this isn't part of the fallout canon). Go with mutation (this does appear in the canon setting). Tell the player no I think that the first ...


13

There is no solid definition of the term of the sort that you're suspecting there might be: there is no agreement across RPGs for what exactly Thaumaturgy is or means, though outside RPGs it does have a solid (though pedestrian) English definition. As KRyan and Simon Gill's answers have pointed out in excellent detail, the word itself, prior to ever being ...


13

Ah, finally found the Pathfinder FAQ. (It's weirdly hard to locate, as a little tab at the bottom of the core rulebook product page.) It contains the following: Darkness: Can adding additional sunrods to the area of the spell (Core Rulebook page 263) increase the light level? No, sunrods can never increase the light level of an area of darkness ...


13

This is not the way to do this Wanting balance between caster and non-caster classes is as noble goal; however, adding mechanics that punish players for choosing to be spellcasters is not how to bring them in line. Random mechanics like Wild Magic just make the game unfun for spellcasters or those with spell-like abilities; sanity rules are difficult to ...



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