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Re: [FateRPG] Using Fate/SotC to run Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne?

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  • Robert Donoghue
    TSOY is definitely worth a look, especially because it s also free and is an excellent game. That said, I admit my Tekumel knowledge is limited to having read
    Message 1 of 10 , Oct 3, 2006
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      TSOY is definitely worth a look, especially because it's also free
      and is an excellent game. That said, I admit my Tekumel knowledge is
      limited to having read one of he novels, but with a minor grain of
      salt, I think the pulp fantasy, alien races and rich cultures can all
      be mechanically supported easily. My only concern is temple magic,
      only because I have no idea what it _should_ be like. In general,
      I'm optimistic because I have a fondness for trying different magic
      systems.

      Anyway, I'd be glad to take a swing at it, so how should temple magic
      work?


      -Rob D.

      On Oct 3, 2006, at 5:24 AM, khelbiros wrote:

      > I might soon be a position to run a campaign set in Tekumel, my
      > favourite campaign world. However, while I appreciate the new book, I
      > didn't really like the rules system when I ran an eleven-session game
      > with previously, and I'm after a more 'narrativist' ruleset.
      >
      > I've played around with the Shadow of Yesterday, and I liked some
      > parts of that - and I've also been hearing about Spirit of the Century
      > and FATE.
      >
      > Do you think that you would be able to adapt the Spirit of the Century
      > to run Tekumel, especially in the Leigh Brackett/Edgar Rice Burroughs
      > pulp fantasy mode? Would be hard to model the complicated temple spell
      > system and other staples of Tekumel's environment? Can the Aspects
      > handle alien races?
      >
      > Advice appreciated!
      >
      > Regards,
      > Belinda
      >
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    • khelbiros
      Well, as I think about it, it s rather not that complicated - no more than D&D type spells. It s just rather exclusive. It mainly works of have particular
      Message 2 of 10 , Oct 3, 2006
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        Well, as I think about it, it's rather not that complicated - no more
        than D&D type spells. It's just rather exclusive. It mainly works of
        have particular spell lists limited to certain groups.

        You've got Psychic Magic - which, generally mimics psychic powers. And
        then you've got your Ritual Magic, which is more your high fantasy
        type magic. There are a bunch of generic spells that both psychic and
        ritual magic that anyone can learn, and then the rather exclusive
        spells controlled by particular temple groups.

        For example, "The Blade of Inexorable Disjection", which creates a
        magic sword, can only be learned in the temples of the war gods. And
        then, after you learn the base spell, you can customise it a little
        bit - change the shape of the sword and even have different types of
        weapons. And this could be a prequisite for another spell, such as
        "The Perfected Gem of Obliteration"

        And then there are the magic items, the "eyes" on top of that,which
        work along the lines of various magic wands and things.

        So, how would this work in Spirit of the Century/Fate? Would I have to
        create each spell and magic effect seperately in the system? Is there
        a way to link the power of each spell to each character's progress in
        their temple hierarchy? What about for things such as demon summoning
        rituals, which sort of work like recipes (gathering lots of bizarre
        items, sacrificing people in a particular way, doing a complicated
        summoning diagram)?

        Thanks.
      • mcr456
        Take a look at this thread. http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/FateRPG/message/6342 This is an idea I came up with for D&D style magic in SotC. Basically you
        Message 3 of 10 , Oct 3, 2006
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          Take a look at this thread.

          http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/FateRPG/message/6342

          This is an idea I came up with for D&D style magic in SotC. Basically
          you have skills that represent your power in various schools of magic,
          and a stunt that determines how may spells and of what potency you can
          cast.

          Knowledge of each Temple's magic is a skill that determines how
          powerful your Temple magic will be. You can then create spells for
          each Temple and assign them potencies. The spell that creates a magic
          weapon may be a Good potency spell. Requiring a Good spell slot and
          Good skill with the Temple's magic.

          Landon Darkwood has helped expand this considerably. With his
          permission, I could email you the document he worked on. He basically
          took my idea and fleshed it out into something cool.

          You could also forgo coming up with exact spells, just allow players
          to come up with spell-effects that are appropriate for their Temple's
          magic style.

          -Michael

          --- In FateRPG@yahoogroups.com, "khelbiros" <brkelly@...> wrote:
          >
          > I might soon be a position to run a campaign set in Tekumel, my
          > favourite campaign world. However, while I appreciate the new book, I
          > didn't really like the rules system when I ran an eleven-session game
          > with previously, and I'm after a more 'narrativist' ruleset.
          >
          > I've played around with the Shadow of Yesterday, and I liked some
          > parts of that - and I've also been hearing about Spirit of the Century
          > and FATE.
          >
          > Do you think that you would be able to adapt the Spirit of the Century
          > to run Tekumel, especially in the Leigh Brackett/Edgar Rice Burroughs
          > pulp fantasy mode? Would be hard to model the complicated temple spell
          > system and other staples of Tekumel's environment? Can the Aspects
          > handle alien races?
          >
          > Advice appreciated!
          >
          > Regards,
          > Belinda
          >
        • Mike Holmes
          ... Does SotC handle engine mechanics well? That is, engines being the complex things that they are, you could come up with a detailed set of specialized rules
          Message 4 of 10 , Oct 3, 2006
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            >From: Robert Donoghue <rdonoghue@...>
            >
            >My only concern is temple magic,
            >only because I have no idea what it _should_ be like.

            Does SotC handle engine mechanics well? That is, engines being the complex
            things that they are, you could come up with a detailed set of specialized
            rules that covers the different things you can do to, say, tune an engine
            for greater output. Mechanics are like wizards, no? They do something
            arcane, and produce special results.

            Now, I could have missed it, but I don't think that SotC has a special
            system for tinkering with engines. Oh, sure, stunts, but these have gross
            effects. What you don't have is an entire additional system to handle this
            sort of action. Becuase the main system handles it fine. Right?

            Magic in fantasy always gets special treatment, because it's a core subject
            of fantasy. And so it should. But that's not the same thing as saying that
            it needs to have an entirely separate system devoted to it, in order to
            evoke it properly. Just take the stunts for something like engineering, and
            convert them to magic sounding things.

            No, you won't have "spells" and such, or other detailed descriptions of the
            rituals involved...so what? A "spell" is just a technique to get something
            done. No different than a mechanic using different techniques to tune a car
            up, for instance. What the character can do is enumerated by the stunts they
            have.

            So, if the character's stunt allows them to, say, fix people up, then that
            could be represented by a hundred specific healing spells, or just one.
            However you want to describe it to fit the setting in question. Make up the
            elements of the spell or ritual or car repair technique as neccessary to
            fill in the narration in as much or little detail as you like.

            Funny, but isn't Tekumel temple magic technological in origin anyhow
            (despite being seemingly mystical)?

            A feature of SotC is that it doesn't get bogged down in specific subsets of
            rules, but instead just has Stunts for special stuff like this. Just come up
            with some reasonable stunts that parallel some that already exist, to
            emulate temple magic, and go with it. Make the color that you use to
            describe the mechanical outcomes such that it fits what you know about the
            world. Instead of trying to make a set of additional rules to emulate this
            sort of magic.

            What you'll find happens is that you get even more of the color you're
            looking for, as the system won't stop you from creating it. And, further,
            play won't get bogged down with having to understand some extensive set of
            special rules. Instead you'll get the fast-paced pulpy play that SotC is
            becoming known for, along with the color you want. You'll get the magic of
            Thoth-Amon from Conan, and other pulp sources. Instead of the search for
            legumes when you want to cast certain D&D spells.

            Magic is no different than technology for these purposes. Treat them the
            same, and it'll work well.

            Mike
          • Robert Donoghue
            I think the D&D thread probably speaks to the specifics of magic well enough that I m going to spin this off. ... Now, just to note, SOTC has a _little_ bit of
            Message 5 of 10 , Oct 3, 2006
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              I think the D&D thread probably speaks to the specifics of magic well
              enough that I'm going to spin this off.

              On Oct 3, 2006, at 9:35 AM, Mike Holmes wrote:
              > Does SotC handle engine mechanics well? That is, engines being the
              > complex
              > things that they are, you could come up with a detailed set of
              > specialized
              > rules that covers the different things you can do to, say, tune an
              > engine
              > for greater output. Mechanics are like wizards, no? They do something
              > arcane, and produce special results.

              Now, just to note, SOTC has a _little_ bit of this in the gadgets
              chapter, but that's about it. Beyond that, the discrete nature of
              stunts makes things much more fast and loose, and it would probably
              be easy to throw a whole array of "Spell" stunts into a game for any
              number of effects.

              That said, however, as we work on the Dresden Files, we're faced with
              much more of an (apparent) need for engine based mechanics. Magic in
              the dresden files is very flexible, with many, many different
              effects, and is so central to the premise (the title character being
              a wizard and all) that it really needs a thorough treatment.

              Now, I mention this for two reasons. The first is rather blah: yes,
              it's totally possible to create an engine subsystem in 3.0 if that's
              your bag. At this point I've created and disposed of more of them
              than I really want to think about. So for those folks who want it?
              It can happen.

              The second is the tricky one - figuring out what we really need
              versus what we _can_ do. It is, with all of the examples to draw
              upon in other games, not very hard to come up with a comprehensive
              magic system, one which can do virtually anything. The challenge is
              doing it in such a way that every time the player does something it
              is smooth and easy, at the very least for things which are going to
              come up frequently. Now, if the ritual magic engine is fiddly,
              that's all well and cool because that is a reasonable venue for one-
              offs. But if it's going to take a calculation when a wizard tosses a
              bolt of fire at someone? Not so much with the fun.

              Anyway, I probably don't have a point here, so much as to say "Mike
              says some smart stuff here, and this is a big question in the general
              sense". :)

              -Rob D.
            • Landon Darkwood
              ... Yeah... for the record, anyone who wants to spread that around can. I ll be posting it to the Files section after doing some small, recommended revisions.
              Message 6 of 10 , Oct 3, 2006
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                On 10/3/06, mcr456 <mikeh1142@...> wrote:
                > Landon Darkwood has helped expand this considerably. With his
                > permission, I could email you the document he worked on. He basically
                > took my idea and fleshed it out into something cool.

                Yeah... for the record, anyone who wants to spread that around can.
                I'll be posting it to the Files section after doing some small,
                recommended revisions.


                -L
              • Mike Holmes
                ... This is the basic challenge of design, as I see it. Once you ve decided that you want to create focus on some specific part of the game, as you say, it s
                Message 7 of 10 , Oct 4, 2006
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                  >From: Robert Donoghue <rdonoghue@...>
                  >
                  >The second is the tricky one - figuring out what we really need
                  >versus what we _can_ do.

                  This is the basic challenge of design, as I see it. Once you've decided that
                  you want to create focus on some specific part of the game, as you say, it's
                  not hard to come up with some system. The question is whether or not you
                  need that focus. For Dresden Files, where the game is "Magic Detectives"
                  magic is going to be central. Some additional system may make sense.

                  And if you want to make Tekumel "Temple Magic Fantasy" then making a
                  specific subsystem for it would make sense, too. But I don't think that's
                  what MAR Barker would say his setting is all about. Temple magic is an
                  important part of the cultures of Tekumel, but it's all about those cultures
                  (much like Glorantha and Talislanta, BTW). Aspects can handle most of this
                  with aplomb, I think. Stunts can handle the rest.

                  I'm not saying "don't make magic subsystems." I'm saying, consider that you
                  can have great fantasy play without a totally additional magic subsystem.
                  Since D&D, fantasy has meant having a "Combat System" and a "Magic System"
                  in RPGs. That's simply not an assumption that everyone should feel that they
                  have to go with.

                  Mike
                • Laura
                  Hello; I ve been running Tekumel using the Fate rules for over a year now, so I think I can safely say that it is very easy to adapt. The magic system I came
                  Message 8 of 10 , Oct 4, 2006
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                    Hello;

                    I've been running Tekumel using the Fate rules for over a year now, so
                    I think I can safely say that it is very easy to adapt.

                    The magic system I came up with is very similar to what the other
                    posters were suggesting. I just used the spell lists from the
                    Guardians of Order book, gave each spell a rank on the ladder, and let
                    players buy them as stunts.

                    As for the alien races; at character creation I gave out free Aspects
                    to players, and one of those Aspects is supposed to be their Clan. If
                    the player wanted to play a non-human, they'd have to change their
                    Clan Aspect for whatever race they wanted to play (with the option of
                    using one of their normal Aspects to buy their way into a Clan at a
                    later date). So far though, all my players prefer playing humans so
                    I've yet to test this out.

                    On the whole I'm pretty happy with how Fate works for Tekumel. It does
                    an excellent job handling all the social connections that makes the
                    setting so fun to play in. Also, the organization rules have been very
                    helpful in managing the Clans and Temples.

                    Laura

                    --- In FateRPG@yahoogroups.com, "khelbiros" <brkelly@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I might soon be a position to run a campaign set in Tekumel, my
                    > favourite campaign world. However, while I appreciate the new book, I
                    > didn't really like the rules system when I ran an eleven-session game
                    > with previously, and I'm after a more 'narrativist' ruleset.
                    >
                    > I've played around with the Shadow of Yesterday, and I liked some
                    > parts of that - and I've also been hearing about Spirit of the Century
                    > and FATE.
                    >
                    > Do you think that you would be able to adapt the Spirit of the Century
                    > to run Tekumel, especially in the Leigh Brackett/Edgar Rice Burroughs
                    > pulp fantasy mode? Would be hard to model the complicated temple spell
                    > system and other staples of Tekumel's environment? Can the Aspects
                    > handle alien races?
                    >
                    > Advice appreciated!
                    >
                    > Regards,
                    > Belinda
                    >
                  • j0vin
                    ... WIth Landon s permission, might this reference be posted into the Files section? ;^)
                    Message 9 of 10 , Oct 4, 2006
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                      --- In FateRPG@yahoogroups.com, "mcr456" <mikeh1142@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Take a look at this thread.
                      >
                      > http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/FateRPG/message/6342
                      >
                      > This is an idea I came up with for D&D style magic in SotC. Basically
                      > you have skills that represent your power in various schools of magic,
                      > and a stunt that determines how may spells and of what potency you can
                      > cast.
                      >
                      > Knowledge of each Temple's magic is a skill that determines how
                      > powerful your Temple magic will be. You can then create spells for
                      > each Temple and assign them potencies. The spell that creates a magic
                      > weapon may be a Good potency spell. Requiring a Good spell slot and
                      > Good skill with the Temple's magic.
                      >
                      > Landon Darkwood has helped expand this considerably. With his
                      > permission, I could email you the document he worked on. He basically
                      > took my idea and fleshed it out into something cool.
                      >
                      > You could also forgo coming up with exact spells, just allow players
                      > to come up with spell-effects that are appropriate for their Temple's
                      > magic style.
                      >
                      > -Michael

                      WIth Landon's permission, might this reference be posted into the
                      Files section? ;^)
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