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HP:MoR is a novel-length fanfiction by Eliezer Yudkowsky, exploring the concept of a rational Harry Potter.

The world is a profoundly rationalist world, and has elements of scientific experiment, rationality, and surrealism. Optimally, a system would have some sort of scientific research mechanic as well as a mechanic that allowed for players to plot and compete against each other in large-group combats. Is there such a system?

If not, what systems can be combined to create a playable, simulatable, world?

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One flexible simulationist approach to magic was West End's Torg. This game had the distinction that the magic rules were internal to the game world; past characters had researched them (and research was ongoing) so the mages were aware of the magic rules. Researching new spells had clear mechanics, and getting good spells needed either a lot of skill or a lot of time invested, or both.

Also, Torg was a cross-genre-warfare system intended to integrate magic into the modern world. (Along with dinosaurs, horrors and cyberpunk, but you could just not use those rules.)

Torg's system encourages a cinematic approach with larger-than-life stunts - in some ways it's a moral precursor to Feng Shui.

What Torg doesn't have is a good research mechanic for anything other than new spells, and its large-group combat mechanics are simplistic. (We merged it with a wargame once for a campaign-end battle, however, to good effect.)

Torg books are a little hard to find these days; it's been out of print for a while. Key Torg books for the magic design system are the main book and the sourcebook for Aysle (Torg's magical realm). The spellbook, Pixaud's Practical Grimoire, is not crucial but has a lot of examples.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also: Not relevant to the question, but where I said "...good spells needed either a lot of skill or a lot of time invested," it was also possible to add "or a desperate willingness to take risks". Last campaign I ran, the party mage nearly blew his head off researching a spell to summon a ton of metal plate from nowhere in less than five minutes. In fairness, there was a big hole in the side of their passenger ship at the time... \$\endgroup\$
    – Tynam
    Feb 23, 2011 at 14:01

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