Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Alternity for S&S: Initial Thoughts

(I wasn't going to post this, and just keep these notes here as a back-up. I think, though, that I will post them. If I keep them as back-ups I'll delete them and this design history will be lost. I find it very beneficial to trace the genesis and development of these things, especially when I get off track or need inspiration. Please forgive me if these "designer's notes" are a little more stream-of-conscious than usual. That's just how I roll.)

Broad skills for the types of magic as in ZeFRS. They are "free", point-wise, but each comes with Compulsion. This is not a Flaw in the traditional sense, and does not grant bonus points. I'm not sure what it is, beyond the cost of learning magic. At any rate, Every time a sorcerous character increases in magical power (such as improving his broad skill, learning a new spell, unlocking the mysteries of an enchanted item, etc), he suffers a permanent one-step penalty to the roll. Compulsion checks against WILL whenever the character is presented with an opportunity to increase his power and ability.

Spells should be pre-defined rituals, except for Summoners. They command demons to their bidding.

The Cost of Doing Business I want to study up on the cyberpsychosis rules to see about using them as a model for how sorcerers lose their humanity as a result of trucking with dark forces.

All spells are rituals, to some degree. Some are relatively quick, some may take days, but none are able to be cast in combat. Sorcerers employ a variety of tricks and tactics to bring magic into combat, but no matter how the trappings may differ, mechanically, it all comes down to the same thing:

A Focus is an item enchanted to be a receptacle for spells. There are an endless variety of Foci. Some examples are:
  • Knotted ropes
  • Wands
  • Staves
  • Corked jars
  • Flash paper
  • Rings of power
  • Crowns or helms
  • Crystals
Pretty much anything, as long as it is of sufficient quality can be enchanted to hold at least one spell of modest power.

As a general rule, the more spells that are attempted to be placed into the focus, the more likely it will be destroyed in the attempt. Each spell increases the chance of failure, it isn't some flat rate. The relative power of the spell also has an effect.

Obviously, combat is not the only instance where a sorcerer may need to bring magical power to bear in short order. There are many other foci, such as those used in divinatory magic, that are designed for uses other than combat.

That's it for preliminary thoughts. I don't want to reinvent the wheel, so I want to keep the core systems as intact as possible, reskinning where necessary.

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