i'd like to ask you if any of you has ever played an rpg where players we're entitled to make their own spells, and how it turned to be. Also, i'd like some answer to a problem concerning this topic
I'm writing a very rules lite fantasy tabletop, and i got everything covered but magic.
I'd like to make it as easy as making a stat called "magic", that covers how good you are at it. Some other stats, like will or charm may be used too in some spells.
The problem is that i dont want to make a spell list, because the more i write, the more spells i feel that i'm leaving behind. So following the "less is more" philosophy of buda, and the "doing nothing, nothing is left undone"; i choose making it a freeform magic rpg.
That left me with 2 choices, but i have troubles with both.
First one is making players invent some spells BEFORE the game starts, in the character creation. The problem here is on balancing it. How to know how much to give a player. Still the best option of the two.
The second one is letting players walk the world and decide in every moment what they want to do. "i turn this man into a chicken". "I drink all the water in the river" "I Fly over the house, i turn invisible, and i make the cow explode". The problem here is obvious: how do i limit this power?
How did or how would you do it?
I like a lot the idea of using components, but without stating from the very start which components are needed for everything, it would be like cheating. The characters are supposed to know which components they need for their spells, and their rites. It would be cheap for me to just say "oh, no, boy, you can't exchange the soul with a bear, because you lack a 'mcguffin'". A component based magical system would require a spell list for it to be fair, and thats what i'm trying to avoid.
I'm explaining the setting a little for you to visualize better what i have in mind
In the setting i've formed in my head, Magic is the kind of magic that ancient tribes used to believe in, in a sense that almost everything is ruled by magic. But in this setting, this magic is real.
Healing, using medicines, is magic. Bonfires are not lighted bu sparks, but by summoning fire. The sparks and sticks are just part of the ritual. Crafting a sword is not a dexterity challenge, but a magic one. It requires for the forger to convey all his will into the blade to make it realize its own nature. This is the magic that people with low or medium Magic Stat can do. Maybe they can use it better in some fields than in others. Your average elder woman in the village that can heal by laying hands and also reads the future, or the commoner whose grain grows better than their neighbors are the best examples of this. But the idea is that everyone has at least a little magic on them, its just low power or very difficult for them to use it.
In the other hand, people that knows enough magic are called wizards, and can do awesome things as changing their own faces, launching fireballs or opening doors just by commanding locks to open. I have in mind people like Randall Flagg (the dark tower) or John Constantine (hellblazer) when i think of this wizards: their powers seem endless: their spells range from little cantrips to big shots, but they got something for every situation.
In the end, i want things like lighting candles at will, or putting little curses on people, to be common things and allowed to more or less everybody.
on the other hand, i'd like things like flying, turning invisible or becoming a horse to be possible, but not for everybody.