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The Glyphstone
2005-08-03, 08:22 PM
Out of curiosity, has anybody else read these books? They're young adult/kids genre, so the odds might be slim.

Anyways, I'm thinking about starting work on an alternate magic system based off how magic functions in these books. For those who haven't read them, here's a brief overview.
-There is a magical, universal language that is very originally called "The Speech". Everything in creation understands the Speech, and almost everything can speak it in some form or another.
-Being the universal language, the Speech was/is how the universe was first described, and thus created.
-Spells are written then spoken in the Speech, and by doing so, you can temporarily or permanently "redefine" the universe or some aspect of it to your specifications. More advanced knowledge allows you a greater vocabulary and more potent forms of the Speech, thus better spells.
-Spells are "paid for" with personal energy, which can be anything from a few minutes of fatigue to a year or more subtracted from one' personal lifespan.
(For a simple example of such a spell, in the first book So You Want To Be A Wizard, the main characters use a simple spell to "talk" to the air between two skyscrapers, convincing it that it is solid enough to walk on for a few minutes.)

How would you try to replicate such a system for a gameworld? The only certainty I've come up with is using Constitution as the primary stat for limits on spells somehow. This might eventually be used in a homebrew campaign setting I might write at some potentially future date.

Randomman413
2005-08-03, 08:45 PM
introduce a seperate pool of points to use. maybe...one half the HP? and for extremely powerful ones, require a Fortitude save. and MAN i need to get my hands on those books...

Umael
2005-08-03, 10:15 PM
Easy.

Play Mage instead of D&D.

...

That didn't help, did it?

*sigh*

Okay... one of the major issues about that system was that the younger you were, the more powerful you were. Kit and Nita (?) talk about how Nita's sister (can't remember her name) was so powerful (at one point she was arguing with a race, telling them that they had no need to move the planet... it was obvious that they were asking her to move the planet and that she had the ability to do so). Furthermore, Tom and his buddy wizard, being older, were not as powerful, and so they did not get involved in the major stuff.

That is how I remember it, anyway. Great for story purposes, but lousey for a game system (unless you want the PCs to start at 20th level and go backwards). So you probably want to scrap that idea.

Also, the system depended heavily on Charisma, since so much of what was done was through convincing things, animals, and people to behave. Thus, Charisma would have a lot to do with it.

Are you going to put in the big baddie of the story as well? Entropy given intelligence and diety powers and was there at the beginning sort of thing.

Back to the Constitution thing - I would say have most spells cost subdual damage, with a few spells doing real damage and some of the nastier effects permanently decreasing your Constitution (although keeping track of the years you lose would be good for the DM - do not forget racial modifers for these things, as humans were just as powerful as longer-lived races).

It also seems like the wizards have the choice of how much they put into a spell, meaning that a wizard could elect to put in extra damage for a more effective spell.

What about the Code, or whatever it was called? Are you going to include that as well, making the wizards function in their own way like paladins, or risk corruption?

Krilia
2005-08-03, 10:52 PM
I love the Young Wizards books. :)

1) You could develop something more like Force Powers in Star Wars. After all, it seems like with enough time they find and/or create a spell to do anything for some kind of cost.

2) You could also work out a mana based system, like the EQ D20 powers.

I think the first option is the better choice, and maybe have some kind of examples of different costs. The equivalent of force powers would indicate how good the different wizards are with different types of magic, like Nita with plants and Kit with machines (or the cats with gates). And then add in feats to replicate some of the abilities, I think, or have certain powers only show up after they have so many ranks in a particular skill set.

Basically, though, you're going to need to write up your own class(es). Maybe even prestige classes for advisory and senior wizard.

ETA: The poster above mentioned the ability to put some extra oomph into spells - perhaps you could throw some psionics in there as well. And don't forget that some items were better for some spells than others - that would probably reduce the energy cost, or perhaps just make it more effective.

heraldofi
2005-08-03, 11:43 PM
I actually made a post almost exactly the same as yours. (Down to the grammar, I was rather :o while reading yours)

I'll see if I can find the thread.

MrNexx
2005-08-04, 01:40 AM
How would you try to replicate such a system for a gameworld? The only certainty I've come up with is using Constitution as the primary stat for limits on spells somehow. This might eventually be used in a homebrew campaign setting I might write at some potentially future date.

*TOOT*

I actually adapted a system rather like that, back in 3.0, as an alternate psionics system. I adapted it from the Dragonlance SAGA magic system, to work with d20.

Check out www.editors-wastebasket.org/nexx/tsr/3epsi.html

It contains a rough system which you could probably work into something that would fit better.

The Glyphstone
2005-08-04, 06:10 AM
You know, I didn't actually put a great deal of work into this yet, it was just brainstorming.
As for relative power levels, sure, Darine got a big boost when she was younger, but that was because she was young and new. Tom and Carl might not get regularly involved in local stuff, but that is no guarantee that they're not actively wizarding - remember that quote in the third book "Would you get out of a car that you were driving?", which I think implies he has a lot of problems to deal with as a powerful Senior. Especially near the end of book 7, when Darine and the aliens go fix the Sun after finding out Earth's wizard command structure has dissappeared - read the Book 8 preview on the website, it turns out most of the high-ranking wizards in the universe were off doing some super-big intervention to destroy dark matter or something. Big stuff.

Charisma would probably be an important stat, but not essential. Maybe some sort of Cha-related check to reduce the energy drain taken, to show the "sweet-talking" as opposed to brute magic force? I was thinking subdual damage too, with real damage and possibly stat drain as well are good. Some short-term effects like fatigue would be handy as well, maybe with Fort saves to negate.

I'm still up in the air on the greater Powers. I don't want to make this a YW D20 clone, and also doing so would make it so evil players could not be spellcasters - takes away a lot of the fun, not to mention a bazillion spells with the [evil] descriptor.

As for taking inspiration from Force Powers and psionics, first I'll need to read those rules. I don't know how much psionics I'll incorporate, I don't think the idea of a limited energy pool to draw from really fits the imagery - A wizard could theoretically cast themselves to exhaustion, unconsciousness (Darine did this in book 4, holding open the timeslide) or even death.

Krilia
2005-08-04, 07:50 AM
How force powers work:

In Star Wars, you have wound points equal to your constitution, and vitality that goes up much like hitpoints. Vitality represents energy - taking vitality damage is dodging (thus using energy), grazes, bruises, that kind of thing.

Force powers are skills, and when you use one, you use up some vitality.

If you do decide to represent younger = more powerful, you could have a pool to draw from that doesn't go up with level.

Randomman413
2005-08-04, 02:04 PM
hmm...a seperate pool. its not hp, but you begin with...say...double your hp in this pool? and instead of increasing your hp, you could dump more into this pool. its a start...

endoperez
2005-08-04, 02:51 PM
Easy.

Play Mage instead of D&D.


Or Ars Magica, the system that inspired Mage. 4th edition happens to be free at http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=774 . It might have required registration to the system or something like that, but it was well worth it. That book has *depth*.

Outside of adventures, play happens one season at a time. Wizards spend years researching spells, and occassionally a new youth potion formula when the old one stops working. It doesn't actually make you younger, just stops aging, so if you miss it once, you just lost a year...

Has lots of other cools stuff, too. Under the effects of Dominion (church, Will of the One True God) magic is harder to work, just as in the areas controlled by the Fae or even those imbued by the Inferal...

I haven't been able to play it, but even if the rules won't work, the theme does.

Krilia
2005-08-04, 03:23 PM
Oh, another suggestion - go free form.

The Glyphstone
2005-08-05, 05:56 AM
Freeform's nice and all, but it kinda defeats the purpose of what I'm trying to do - craft solid rules for an alternate magic system, inspired by the system in the above series.

So far, I've thought of a few more ideas to throw around. I like the idea of an alternate HP pool to draw magic from, a bit like psionics now that I think of it - that you can restore by draining your HP. AS for classes, I'm thinking of three:
-Wizard (Int-based caster focused on good and life),
-Dark Wizard (evil version of the Wizard)
-and whatever I'll call the Druid equivalent, a more Charisma-based class that deals with using Speech to get the natural world to aid you.

Xvos
2005-08-05, 07:58 AM
I'm actually most of the way through a system based on the star wars force powers system for magic in D&D, I've also switched out the HP for VP as in the SW system for convenience and because I think its a better system. Mines based on Knowledge skill checks and groups of powers, I'll post a bit more on it when I've refined it a bit more if your interested.

Krilia
2005-08-05, 09:36 AM
Hmm, I think I like Xvos's solution better; I don't really see different areas of speciality as different classes, just perhaps like SW's Force Feats, that open up a new set of skills.

Randomman413
2005-08-05, 09:48 AM
yeah...since its based on words, each skill could be...say...a group of words. like animals could be a feat, and then small, medium, and large animals could be skills. and so on with other things.

The Glyphstone
2005-08-05, 10:49 AM
That does seem to work better. One "magic" class, which can then be specialized further. Posting it up would be great.

Randomman413
2005-08-05, 10:55 AM
haha! i win! and cant make classes very well, so will proceed to assist he (or she) who takes it upon themself to design such a class!

Krilia
2005-08-06, 10:27 PM
I'm tempted to suggest just letting your players pick what they want to specialize in, and making up the feats and their skills as you need them. :)

Randomman413
2006-08-16, 05:57 PM
RESSURECTION!

Lord Iames Osari
2006-08-16, 06:49 PM
How force powers work:

In Star Wars, you have wound points equal to your constitution, and vitality that goes up much like hitpoints. *Vitality represents energy - taking vitality damage is dodging (thus using energy), grazes, bruises, that kind of thing.

Force powers are skills, and when you use one, you use up some vitality.

If you do decide to represent younger = more powerful, you could have a pool to draw from that doesn't go up with level.

Or have wizards gain a pool of points = n^(100 - age). [The "100" part could go up or down, depending on how much magical power each point represents.] As wizards gain experience, they gain bonus points, but they don't get back to where they were until they reach high levels.

Vaynor
2006-08-18, 09:21 PM
Those books rock!

Also, maybe just give them words they know, and they can learn new ones from study or other wizards. ;D

Spakken
2006-08-21, 12:52 PM
I'm actually working on a system for that myself. Right now I've worked out that you could split every standard D&D spells into their schools, then split each school down in 5 to 7 different categories (I called them kernals, based on A Wizard's Dilema). From there, I figured that as you progress in the wizard, sorcerer, or cleric classes, you can gain kernals (perhaps condence the class, I'm not sure) and thus grant you basic knowledge of the universe and how to alter it (more vocabulary in The Speech in this case). From there you'd want to make a skill check, in order to speak the words, and make the motions of the spell (precisely like the Young Wizard series, magic's not always incredibly reliable, a spell always works, but getting it to do what you want is the hard part). I've been working on seperating the Spell Kernals and have had some hang ups (mostly around Conjuration, and Abjuration). But I hope to have a working model soon, perhaps you could help.

For more info on my Spell Skill system, see http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=homebrew;action=display;num=11551771 38