Thursday, April 24, 2014

[Eberron] Tackling GURPS Magic

In the most recent week, I have been trading lengthy emails with my GURPS Guru Alex. His knowledge of GURPS on within the realm of Masterful Guru if not downright encyclopedic. The topic? How to handle Cinematic Spellcasting.

GURPS Magic works for a quick and pre-generated spell casting system, but it provides substantial power in some cases with little investment into spells, while others that involve enchantment and the like require a large handful of spells, talents, and access to resources to manifest the most basic enchantment spell. Will this work at all?

Great for a fairly realistic take on magic, and a time saver for many.But will it work for Eberron?

Eberron and Magic

Eberron is flooded with Enchantments, and spellcasters abound. Musicians can bend the fabric of reality with their song and dance, while psionic characters can bend the same to their will. Using the existing GURPS Magic I quickly realized that many of the spells also didn't fit the combat oriented trope very well. Many of the skills were an all or nothing bit, or simply gave everything to the player and severely reduced the success rate. There wasn't really much in the way of any consistent balancing involved with it outside of prerequisites, which borderlined on the obnoxious.

So what is a GM to do? Well, there are two other supplements involved here. GURPS Thamatology and GURPS Powers. GURPS Powers is really nice, because there is an entire section on power "templates" as well as ideas on how to make it fit into different Power Sets. Given that Eberron encompasses Arcane, Divine, Martial, and Psionic (just to name a few). This leans a lot towards using advantages in place of spells, and I can use a "blanket" -10% countermeasure for Arcane, Divine, and Psionic as they all have the same access limitations while being able to counter all channeled effects of each other.

No Custom Spells?

Though over the course of our conversation, one thing was clear. There really wasn't any system in place to make custom spells. Instead, there were rules that used the existing Magic book and applied different ways of how to cast them, or how to fuel them. There were, on the other hand, no rules on how to make one's one. There was an alternative system, Syntactic Magic, which seemed simple enough. Though for the purposes of using it with Eberron...  it just doesn't seem to fit.

In the coming week I hope to outline how to use spells as advantages (and the equivalent for divine, martial, and psionic) and describe how they fit into each PL!. I will also touch base on some troubles that this may cause (Like Resurrection, Enchantments, and the like). Though it seems tackling the topic of Magic is going to take a lot more work than I had originally intended, especially if I want to try designing a better skill-based magic system.