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Re: attribute costs [deedsnotwordsd20]

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  • Palmer of the Turks
    ... I ve informally allowed the 2 EP Power Limitation complication for a few powers thusfar with NPCs, such as Life Drain Attack - Can Only Be Used With
    Message 1 of 36 , Apr 30, 2004
      On 30 Apr 2004, at 18:34, Orion Ussner Kidder wrote:

      > > What's the discount M&M offers for device-based?
      > i can't recall what their point system is, exactly,
      > or what the scale was, so 2 'power points' for that
      > system might be 8.35 EP for DNW, but i think it was
      > something like a flat 2-point discount for a 'via item'
      > power. basically, that system has enhanceements
      > *and* complications for most of its powers. it's
      > actually a really good system. i would have bought
      > and run it when it came out if i'd had the CDN$60.

      I've informally allowed the 2 EP "Power Limitation" complication for a few powers
      thusfar with NPCs, such as "Life Drain Attack - Can Only Be Used With Bite" for
      vampires, etc.
      I fully support complications for powers, both general across-the-board ones (1 EP -
      counts as Magical/Spell) and specific ones (Flight - Poor Acceleration)

      > what i'm stuck on here is that i'd like to hear why you think we *ought
      > to* interpret magic fire as 'just fire' in this system. what problems
      > does that solve, game wise? what problems might it create?

      I notice you're big on the "mystery" aspect of magic... but in a world with people
      shooting concussion beams from their eyeballs, flying by clicking their heels, throwing
      around taxicabs, walking through walls and making a construction site get up and
      attack you... magic isn't actually all that mysterious anymore. It's just "another way of
      doing things"
      Cyclops looks at something. Balthazar wags his pinky and mumbles something. Both
      targets blow up. How Cyclops can shoot eye beams is just as not-understood and
      mysterious as Merlin's Summon Stupendous Marching Clam Band.

      The problems it solves are that it keeps things simpler - fire is fire, Magic Energy is
      still Energy.

      > as i said before, i really don't care about the science of it. i'm
      > concerned about the system. i want the system itself to be
      > internally consistent and maintain a certain 'feel' in its storytelling.
      > my preference is for magic to be something 'more than' or at
      > least 'different than' mundane effects. a flamethrower shouldn't
      > be effectively the exact same thing as a Burning Hands spell.
      > i want the two to behave differently because i want magic to be
      > something more than 'an arcane and inscrutable kind of science.'

      Except that in most cases, this is exactly what science comes down to. In every
      system and story I know of, magic has rules. It has limits. And it has specific ways in
      which it works. If you make this gesture and say these words while holding that
      talisman, you will get the same result each time.
      This is doubly emphasized in D&D, with the "spell formula" business, scribing scrolls
      and the very basic "memorizing spells". If magic wasn't a science, then memorizing
      spells wouldn't happen, because that's a scientific process.

      > this is why the clarke quotation is so telling. if we reverse engineer
      > that statement, what he's basically saying is that what we call 'magic'
      > is really just a very complicated kind of technology. this should not
      > come as a surprise considering that clarke was a scientist.

      I still stand by the quote completely. Even in this age of incredible science, we KNOW
      that there's a nigh-infinite number of things we do NOT know or understand.
      That which we take for granted WOULD appear to be magic, and be called such, by
      our forebears a couple centuries ago. Hell, even when it was widespread, it was
      common to believe that blacksmiths worked a kind of magic in their smithies - and that
      was a "known" science.

      > but *i* think that if you're going to bring magic into a narrative, be
      > it an RPG or a novel, that magic should be something inherently
      > different, something that works on a whole different set of principles,
      > something which the rigorous rationalism of the scientific method simply
      > cannot fathom. that's more interesting to me, as a storyteller.

      I'm all fine and well with the background behind magic, the ways and the hows and
      whatnot, being mysterious and beyond comprehension... but when it comes to the end
      result... I'm calling a tail a tail, not a leg.
      Fireball explicitly states that it creates fire - to the point of melting soft metals and
      setting things on fire. HOW the wizard focusses energy and waggles his eyebrows and
      thinks of anything but elephants can be as arcane as you want...
      But the end result remains the same. FIRE. Heat energy. Tastes like burning.
      If you're immersed completely in water when a fireball goes off directly overhead, you
      aren't hurt by it. Mundane solution to magic problem. Because the result of fireball is

      > (see Waid's recent issues of FANTASTIC FOUR for a great
      > example of a scientist, read richards, having to face the fact
      > that magic just doesn't behave in ways that he can
      > understand, despite being fantastically brilliant).

      If you don't have the knowledge or context to understand something, then you can't
      understand it, no matter how brilliant you are. Intelligence is a potential, like strength.
      But without the knowledge of how to apply it, the tools, it will avail you to naught.
      Reed Richards has a ball-peen hammer - but understanding magic requires a
      screwdriver. and no matter how you beat that screw with your hammer, it won't

      > so that's why i think magic belongs in its own category
      > in game terms. you can protect yourself from mundane
      > fire, to a degree, using mundane means, but magic is
      > a whole different ball game.

      See above

      > read the original, but bear in mind that herbert really
      > intended it to be a cautionary tale.

      I've always preferred Heinlein for my (oft thinly) disguised social commentary. Just
      reread Starship Troopers last week, doing Have Spacesuit, Will Travel again (only my
      second reading of my first RAH book, I found a copy for 2 bucks last thursday), and
      then it's back to Friday and Job, and fitting in I Will Fear No evil somewhere (one I
      haven't read yet)

      > > My game has been running for a year now, game time
      > > has advanced all of 4 weeks, and they're all Lv 5 now.
      > >
      > > But we've had a couple months of off-time for various
      > > reasons (my personal life and depression, finals, similar things)
      > so how do you do this, logistically? how do you resolve, say, a combat
      > encounter over email without it taking weeks?

      It can go slow... sometimes we all get together on AIM (work and school permitting,
      plus there's the fact I have 4 players... in FOUR different time zones. Vancouver,
      Colorado, Indiana and Halifax) and we can zoom through relatively quickly that way.

      More commonly I present the situation to them, sometimes with an MS Paint
      sketched map, and say "what are you doing?"
      They all email back with their general plans and intentions... and then I make all the
      micro-manage decisions (like how much to put into Power Attack), and resolve 1-4
      rounds of combat on my end. I then write up the results, email it out, and end it with
      "so now what?"
      But yeah, I handle ALL the detailed stuff myself... but they like it that way. Half the
      players have never played an RPG without a TV and controller before, but are writers.
      The other half have years experience with D&D... and are also writers. Everyone is
      happy with having all the numbers removed and having everything descriptive instead.

      Most end in less than a week.

      The above email was brought to you by Shinra Online
      Click it... you know you want to.
    • Orion Ussner Kidder
      done and done. my files don t have the notes on intention as the post did, though, so i m going to whip something up the describes it all, just in case people
      Message 36 of 36 , May 12, 2004
        done and done.

        my files don't have the notes on intention as the post did, though, so
        i'm going to whip something up the describes it all, just in case people
        were wondering 'why in the hell' palmer and i did certain things certain

        lessee if i can toss that together right now...

        slingbld1619 wrote:

        > --- In deedsnotwordsd20@yahoogroups.com, Orion Ussner Kidder
        > <okidder@t...> wrote:
        >>i thought i just posted it as a message, but i can put up the .doc
        > file,
        >> easily enough.
        > I remember that post :).
        > The way you said it in the previous email, I thought you meant that
        > you had posted a document in the files section :)
        > Still, if it's not too much of a bother, posting it as a file would
        > be very convenient for all members. That way we won't have to go
        > hunting through old posts in 6 months when we manage to loose the
        > print out of your post or whatever :)
        > Slingbld~
        > Yahoo! Groups Links

        -Orion Ussner Kidder
        Graduate Teaching Assistant
        Department of English
        University of Alberta

        "I can call it 'magic,' with all the nice feelings
        of wonderment that word inspires; or I can waste
        your time with half an hour of technobabble that
        you could never possibly understand a word of anyway.
        Which would you prefer?"
        -Doctor Who, VIII
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