Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

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Postby Sam » September 27th, 2013, 3:29 pm

So some after hours discussion went down last night on formalizing the magic mechanics for the earth campaign. It's all just brainstorming at this point, so I wanted to put out the ideas that had already been brought up as well as encourage further input.

Ideas so far:

Magic abilities will be divided into a number of custom skills. Using an ability will follow the same basic rules as making a skill check. The difficulty of the check will be based on the amount of kinetic energy available in the environment. Performing a magic check in an abandoned office building, on a still winter night, might be a :sw_difficulty: :sw_difficulty: :sw_difficulty: :sw_difficulty: :sw_difficulty: , whereas performing a check next to an exploding volcano during a summer hurricane might be a zero difficuty.

Having the magic custom skills available as class skills may require purchasing a magic user specialization, which would work the same as acquiring the force sensitive specialization. May use the force sensitive talent tree, but modify it to remove irrelevant talents.

Drawing kinetic energy from refined materials might work by allowing the user to upgrade his skill check a number of times. Repeated use of the same material yields diminishing returns. By drawing from the Hope Diamond a user can upgrade their check 5 times on the first use, 4 times on the second, 3 times on the third, and so on until the resource is depleted.

Specific uses of magic could be further refined by skinning certain weapons or gear as powers. These could be purchased with experience. Would be attuned to a specific magic custom skill following the same pattern as basic attack skills.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Dan » September 30th, 2013, 3:37 pm

Some great stuff here. As Greg had said last week, I like the idea of keeping the "one roll determines success and severity" paradigm. Personally, I also like somehow incorporating the force dice just to make the rolling different.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Sam » October 4th, 2013, 10:07 am

So last night we all got together and nailed a few things down. Here's the new stuff.

The use of magic is commonly divided into four custom skills:

melee attacks: self explanatory
ranged attacks: self explanatory
control: augmenting the environment, utility.
defense: magical shields, large or small

Creating a dice pool for a skill check works as normal except instead of having a stat tied to the skill, the ambient kinetic energy is used instead. For example: Jack wants to send an energy blast at a foe. He has three ranks in "ranged attacks" and the ambient energy is ranked at a four because there is a nearby waterfall. Jack's dice pool would be :sw_prof: :sw_prof: :sw_prof: :sw_ability: before adding in difficulty dice.

Also some nomenclature has been set forth. Magic is referred to as Thaumaturgy. A magic user would be called a Thaumaturge or a Thaumaturgist. Police will refer to a magic user as a "witch".
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Sam » October 8th, 2013, 12:04 am

So I've been doing some more thinking, here are some ideas for the magic melee and ranged attack skills. My thinking is to have them follow the same pattern as other melee and ranged attacks.

Magic Melee:
Difficulty: The difficulty of a magic melee check would be same as a regular brawl or melee weapons check, :sw_difficulty: :sw_difficulty: .
Damage: The damage would = (number of successes + ranks in magic melee + ambient magic stat)
Critical: The critical hit threshold would = (five - ranks in magic melee), to a minimum threshold of 1
Range: engaged
Special: ??? Not sure what to suggest for extra effects like piercing and vicious. Maybe a specialization tree for getting the effects of attachments or other things?

Flavor idea: Melee combat is intense and fast paced. There is little time to manipulate energy into more complex forms such as advanced fields or highly compact bolts. Techniques tend to be simpler and more reliant on the potency of the available energy.

Magic Ranged:
Difficulty: difficulty will be the same as for ranged (heavy) checks, including penalty for being engaged with target
Damage: The damage would = (number of successes + ranks in magic ranged + five)
Critical: The critical hit threshold would = (five - ranks in magic ranged), to a minimum threshold of 2
Range: long
Special: ??? Again not sure what to suggest as a base. Think it would be a good idea to make a specialization tree for attachments or effects.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Greg » October 8th, 2013, 12:01 pm

I like it - especially the bit about damage being tied to the ambient stat as that's something we hadn't figured out yet. I like that it furthers the dependence magic skills have on the environment, since that's the big thing about Nohaine magic.

The only thing I'm concerned about is making the crit rating a computation - it's starting to border on too much math to resolve a roll. While this is more work, I'd rather see magic attacks have a fixed crit rating like 4, with talents available in the magic tree to reduce it. That's also where we could toss things like "Add Vicious 10 to ranged magic checks". This really requires fleshing out a whole talent tree for magic, but I think that was an inevitability.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Sam » October 10th, 2013, 1:13 pm

Yeah I wasn't too thrilled either with the critical mechanic I had come up with. I was trying to work it so your crit threshold would get better as you put more ranks into the attack skill, but I couldn't come up with anything very clean, short of a math equation or a reference table.

I also had a flavor idea about drawing energy from crystals or elements or whatever. Rather than saying that the energy is coming from the crystal or element itself, what if the crystal was used more as a focus for gathering more energy? Say you're a Nohaine standing next to Niagara Falls. There is just a crazy amount of kinetic energy there. If you could tap all of that with 100% efficiency you could do some crazy stuff, like blow a hole through a mountain or launch yourself to the moon. But can your average Thaumaturge draw all of that energy? What if there was a natural limit to what a normal magic user could do? Maybe even with that huge source nearby, the best he can do is throw a few boulders around or launch himself a few miles. That's where the crystals would come in. What if by using the crystal as a focus to draw the energy through, the Thaumaturge could get a larger amount of the available energy? It would enable him to perform more impressive feats than he would be able to otherwise. Drawing energy through the crystal would damage it somehow, so each crystal could only be used a number of times before they get burnt out.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Dan » October 10th, 2013, 2:15 pm

Nice work, guys! I'm looking forward to see this tech in action.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Sam » October 15th, 2013, 12:54 am

So Greg, we briefly discussed the magic control skill last Thursday and you said to remind you to make a chart listing examples of relative difficulties for the skill. ex: knocking over a nearby chair has a difficulty of zero, flipping a car to create a barricade would be a 3, etc.

We also still need to figure out the magic defense skill. All we've got right now is that you can use magic to make shields of various strengths and sizes.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Dan » October 15th, 2013, 1:39 pm

Also more of a Jack thing instead of a magic thing, but I like that he hired some goons. It fits him and presents some interesting "hireling" scenario stuff, especially since EotE's minion groups are (in my opinion) the best representation of mooks that you would hire. Are there mechanics already in place to support how that would work?
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Greg » October 15th, 2013, 3:45 pm

I'm personally a big fan of how we used Becky in the storage yard fight: She became an ability like:
:sw_advantage: :sw_advantage:: Becky does some crap!


But I want to put the question to you: Is that interesting enough? "Fiction-forward" is my motto for Season 2 of TK, which is a pretty big departure from our Season 1 philosophy of "balanced mechanics first, then flavor around them". I'm worried that using the " :sw_advantage: to activate" thing might make them fall too much in to the background, so I'd like to hear your impressions. The effect would need to be big enough to compete with and probably surpass the things you guys can already do with :sw_advantage: of course.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Sam » October 15th, 2013, 7:47 pm

I don't think it would be the end of the world if we just gave Eddie a minion group to control, they've got pretty simple mechanics. It would also set out a pretty clear path for improvement by him either hiring better/more mooks or outfitting them with better stuff. If building up an organization is where he wants to go with his character, it would also give them more visibility. We have a habit of forgetting about our NPCs, for example: Hasten.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Greg » October 15th, 2013, 9:42 pm

It would slow down combat (by that I mean, the amount of time you wait until it's your turn again) by about 15% due to it being another active character that needs to act, which was my original motivation for doing something based on spending :sw_advantage:. It sounds to me like you're saying that's not interesting enough though, which does seem to be a problem.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Sam » October 16th, 2013, 12:11 am

I'm not saying the :sw_advantage: mechanic isn't fun, it's a good solution to the problem of combat taking forever. I just think it might be fun to give him a minion group and see how it turns out. If it sucks, then we don't do it again, or we scrap it before combat's even over. I'll still have a good time either way.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Dan » October 16th, 2013, 1:56 pm

What if Eddie had to spend his turn "commanding" his troops to use them? Either he goes, or he controls his minion group. They could also be a little more powerful, then.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Greg » October 16th, 2013, 3:05 pm

That's definitely an interesting idea - it could also be where each move is either for the hirelings or yourself. So this turn you might move yourself, then shoot with the hirelings, then next turn you move the hirelings and attack with yourself.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Edwin » October 16th, 2013, 6:22 pm

Actually logging in and posting on the boards, since I told Sam I would do this on Sunday O_o

I like the idea of an "either or" setup, where Jack can act himself or have the minions act on his behalf. It'd keep the minions as a potential participant, but not add another person in the lineup. If we wanted to keep it a bit more limiting, we could say I had to take a round to "activate" the minions; or have them default into action if certain criteria are met. Maybe when we're ambushed the minions default the first turn for Jack to get him out of immediate harm, or counter attack.



As a side note on the whole thugs/minions/red shirts, this is something I'll want to address for Jack on a longer term basis. Since the story has progressed to where simply "find my sister and get her better" isn't the primary motivation, I'm looking to expand Jack's goals towards ultimately rebuilding a criminal group. He was raised with the mob and all, it feels right to have him move towards restarting that whole side of his life, AND gives me more of a long term view for how I want to play him.

I'll post up something more on that and character goals in a new thread in a bit.
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Re: Crossover Campaign: Earth - Magic Mechanics Brainstorm

Postby Thoth » October 16th, 2013, 8:37 pm

Character spends actions to make their minions take a similarly-effective action is a solid system (thanks D&D4!). Without the "powers" system, it doesn't make a ton of sense to have combined actions, but it might be worth roughly the same amount of punch as a talent.
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