Magic-User Abilities

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irichmond
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Magic-User Abilities

Post Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:34 pm

Hi there,

My name's Ivan. I've developed rules for Magic-User abilities, which I'm using in my current game. My goal was to make low level Magic-Users be able to contribute to the party more often. Rules-as-written, they can't contribute much at all, except for that rare Sleep spell. These rules provide them with little things they can do to help out. They don't overpower Magic-Users, because they're no substitute for high level spells.

The player who's playing the party Magic-User really liked them and felt it really hit the mark. So, I thought I'd share them, here.

Please let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? Meh? I won't be offended if you don't like it, but I hope folks will give me constructive criticism either way. Anyway, if you like them and want to use them, here they are :).
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Pirate GM13
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Re: Magic-User Abilities

Post Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:39 am

irichmond wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:34 pm Hi there,

My name's Ivan. I've developed rules for Magic-User abilities, which I'm using in my current game. My goal was to make low level Magic-Users be able to contribute to the party more often. Rules-as-written, they can't contribute much at all, except for that rare Sleep spell. These rules provide them with little things they can do to help out. They don't overpower Magic-Users, because they're no substitute for high level spells.

The player who's playing the party Magic-User really liked them and felt it really hit the mark. So, I thought I'd share them, here.

Please let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? Meh? I won't be offended if you don't like it, but I hope folks will give me constructive criticism either way. Anyway, if you like them and want to use them, here they are :).
1. I honestly don't get why people want to make the magic user "better" at lower levels. Sure, level 1 Magic users only cast one spell, but that doesn't mean that they are useless. And maybe you aren't supposed to be doing more than 1 or 2 combats per day with a level one party. And even if you are doing more combats (kind of dangerous) they can still fight. Have them think creatively, such as paralyzing a goblin with a staff near a shoulder. They can hold the torch and pull a "Gandalf", as in pick up flammable objects, light them on fire, and throw them at enemies.
2. I will go read it properly in a second, I just skimmed over it.
Is it the dice against you or you against the dice?
Pirate GM13
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Re: Magic-User Abilities

Post Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:49 am

As a moderator once said to me, OK review time!
I admit I do like the idea of a familiar
The astrology seems alright
Divination seems a little limited, but it is OK
The minor magic missile I am not a fan of
The cantrip may have not been thought through if combined with the other abilities
Detect Illusion I am also not a fan of
Fabulous languages may seem OK
Herbalism may have to be changed a little bit
Read magic is excellent
Detect Magic I don't like due to there being a spell for it
Is it the dice against you or you against the dice?
Rosisha
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Re: Magic-User Abilities

Post Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:03 am

Pirate GM13 wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:39 am
1. I honestly don't get why people want to make the magic user "better" at lower levels.
Two things:
1. Because it is boring to go in, have one fight, and then be useless if the players move on
2. There are a THOUSAND threads on the internet - maybe millions - where retreating out to rest gets you accused of metagaming and "breaking the system."

So chances are you can't retreat, then you can't do much more than an NPC and you're bored. So I get the motivation but I find it fascinating that so many people don't. It's actually one of the primary reasons I don't play magic users. Hell, even when I posted something similar - just IDEAS, including the idea of holding a torch, lighting things on fire, using rope to make trip lines - NOTHING mechanical, I got beep on for it.

It's hilarious because we go on and on about how other versions of the game are all about RAW but the second a magic user wants to use more than a sleep spell everyone is like "SHOW ME WHERE THE RULES AS WRITTEN SAY THEY CAN DO THAT!"

Le sigh.

@irichmond:

I like it! Your astrology thing is pretty cool, and I think super useful while making complete sense. It's non-magical, and if you were to travel back in time to our own history, something a "wizard" or "wise man" would do in real life. So having a note about that makes complete sense.

The language thing is fascinating. I would not say "all" however. I'd say three creatures per intelligence bonus. So an int bonus of +1 would give you one special creature, +2 would give you two and so on.

The low powered magic missile I get is basically a magic skin on throwing a dagger without encumbrance. I would make it more like an ammo limited item. You get one "blast" for every 2.5 points of constitution (round down) + level. This does a few things. One it encourages some development of physical skills and two it emphasizes the physical cost of throwing magic around. I'd also state if you burn through all your shots, you can't cast spells that day.

I love the herbalism too! You could also use herbalism to give them a way to "recharge" their arcane shots, just like how fighters can buy more arrows.

Language eddited by Dimirag
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Dimirag
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Re: Magic-User Abilities

Post Wed Jun 09, 2021 2:31 pm

I can understand both postures:
1: Be helpful outside of your character sheet
2: Put more things on my sheet so I can be helpful

I won't give my posture on the above as its not the focus of this topic. Please try to keep it on topic and do not deviate into war.

1 fight per day is a part of the game, every class is inside this true, if you add special abilities to change this, make sure that every class gets the treatment.

Now, as I said to a project collaborator before: Review time!

Analyze Magic. Detect Magic. Read Magic: These are spells converted into special abilities, I'm ok with that (I use some of them) but with the current roll procedure they become infallible (unless the optional rules are used), I would prefer a % chance like the one for spell research or give points each level so the character can become better at some skills or learn new ones.

Gaining new abilities seems both to subjective and random, and considering that there is only one chance score for all of the existing abilities the character can go from 0 to 100 in one level, specially at high level where they have 20/20 chances of acquiring new abilities and 20/20 chances of using those newly learned abilities.

Analyze Magic is either to powerful or to vague once left to a GM judgement. It should take a good amount of time, maybe some consumables, or put the character in an unbreakable trance for the duration, leave it exhausted after its used, etc...

Cantrip: Extremely subjective, special for a player that does not know what it can do with that skill, maybe better let it cast an actual cantrip from the supplement or simply use the rule from cantrips.

Detect illusion: This one is powerful, a high level MU is virtually immune to illusions. Should require either active use or knowing that the target is an actual illusion.

Detect Magic: Although being focused on one target per roll is a good thing, it requires something extra for balance.

Divination need a reshape: As it stands now its kinda strange having the MU drawing cards, failing its check and not being able to make the question... I would made it such that is a secret roll, with failure being a more cryptic answer or even a wrong one.

Fabulous Languages: I assume this is actual several sub-special abilities that are gained individually.

Find familiar seems like a double edged sword, with the sharper side towards the MU. This need more balance against itself and against other special abilities.

Herbalism: I do not like having to roll for healing 1d3 points after rolling to see if I can find the herbs, make just one roll, either to find or to heal.
Natural diseases should require more herbs to work properly.

Lesser Magic Missile: Check the options for arcane bolt in the MU Option Supplement (I like those better).

Read Magic: As with similar special skills, needs some balancing.
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
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irichmond
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Re: Magic-User Abilities

Post Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:19 pm

Thanks, everyone. This is all very useful feedback for the most part. I'll mull all that over and rework things. You've made some good points.
daryen
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Re: Magic-User Abilities

Post Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:40 am

On cantrips, go check out the 0 Level Spells supplement on the Downloads page. (This is what Dimirag was referring to.)

For another take, check out 0 Level Magic. (I wrote that one.) It is an example of how to keep things general, give hard limits, but not have to come up with an exhaustive list of actual spells. Another example of how to keep cantrips generic is in Sword & Board.
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Re: Magic-User Abilities

Post Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:43 pm

Rosisha wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:03 amTwo things:
1. Because it is boring to go in, have one fight, and then be useless if the players move on
2. There are a THOUSAND threads on the internet - maybe millions - where retreating out to rest gets you accused of metagaming and "breaking the system."
In general, my experience combined with extensive statistical analysis indicates that "if the players move on" they are fools. At first level, you fight one fight, and then you rest. If you are very, very lucky, you may get a second fight without dying, but three times is a unlikely, unless the GM is handing out presents. So the magic-user, in a fairly-run game, should not be standing around all that much.

And number 2 is just nonsense. It's not "metagaming," it makes sense in character to be cautious when you've already got some injured guys and have used up some limited resources. It's not "breaking the system" when the system is designed this way intentionally. And lastly, why in the name of Gygax do you care what anyone says on some thread on the Internet?
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Re: Magic-User Abilities

Post Sat Jun 12, 2021 1:00 am

Good Speech sir (salute)
Sorry couldn't help myself
Anyway I agree fully with Solomoriah (I think I spelled it correctly this time)
Is it the dice against you or you against the dice?
Rosisha
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Re: Magic-User Abilities

Post Sat Jun 12, 2021 11:37 am

Solomoriah wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:43 pmAnd lastly, why in the name of Gygax do you care what anyone says on some thread on the Internet?
Good question. No clue. I guess at some level I feel that there is value to the discussion. I guess who the heck knows. I'll bow out here.
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