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Rowanomicon
2008-01-25, 04:31 PM
Im just starting the 3rd book (Farthest Shore) so please, if youre saying any spoilers fromt he 3rd book or later put it in a spoiler.

Anyway, whos interestd in helping me adapt the Earthsea series to the d20 system?
The most important thing, I think, is to develops a good way to make the magic system work.

Turanil
2008-01-26, 04:08 PM
Magic system: my opinion is that the best d20 game to model Earthsea would be True20 (www.true20.com/ (http://www.true20.com/index.php)). I think its magic system would fit perfectly (no division between arcane and divine, magical powers usable at will until caster is exhausted, etc.). Then, the three (highly customizable) classes (called "roles") of True20: the Adept, Expert, and Warrior would fit better with the kind of characters portrayed in Earthsea stories than bards, clerics, monks, rangers, and the like.

Alfryd
2008-01-28, 07:33 AM
Yeah, but I think the OP had in mind that there should be some method for approximating the idea that magic is based on the use of true names in the old tongue. That you could build up spells using a predefined vocabulary, with the difficulty of the spell varying with the complexity of the incantation and the subjects affected, and some dependency on the innate power of the caster. You'd also want something to approximate the notion of 'balance' or equilibrium, with each change to the world having an equal but opposite reaction that might not be easily anticipated.


Im just starting the 3rd book (Farthest Shore) so please, if youre saying any spoilers fromt he 3rd book or later put it in a spoiler.
Listen, if you want to discuss formulating rules based on aspects of magic revealed over the course of the series, you can't very well participate in that debate if you insist on not knowing what happens.
Read fast.

Telonius
2008-01-28, 08:37 AM
I wonder if the "Sanity" mechanic might not actually be a good one for approximating the need for "maintaining equilibrium." The fluff would have to be completely reworked for the setting, but the "sanity loss from spellcasting" in particular could model the dangers posed by getting magic out of balance in Earthsea.

MorkaisChosen
2008-01-28, 12:29 PM
The way to do the magic if you want to use D&D is the Truenamer class from Tome of Magic. I don't have a copy myself, but I know enough to see that it's a blatant ripoff of Earthsea.

Magnor Criol
2008-01-28, 12:35 PM
I think the idea's been around longer than the Earthsea series, so I don't think you can call it a 'blatant ripoff' of the series. That is exactly what their magic seems to be based on, however, at least the upper forms of it. I've not read through the Truename stuff, so I don't know how closely it lines up, but it shouldn't be hard to take its fluff and at least some of its mechanics to put them in use here.

Also, Alfryd is seconded - you need to read to the end of the series, there's some significant stuff regarding the magic of Earthsea.

Rowanomicon
2008-01-28, 06:23 PM
Well I'm a good chunk throught the third book now. I'm not ready every day as I'm currently in Guatemala on vacation, but they're pretty fast reading so it's no biggy.
Also, I don't care too too much about spoilers. I guess I just don't want anyone to ruin any big twists there might be for me. This series doesn't really seem like the "big twist" kind though.

While there may be some mechanics that can be taken from the D&D Truenamer it definitely wont work to just use it as it stands because, well, it sucks and is very cluncky and just generally not a well designed game aspect. That is simply the opinion of myself and some of my friends. They know it better than I do as all I did was glance at it.

The oldest usage of the idea of Truename magic that I'm aware of is in Pre-Judeo Egyptian Mythology.

Using the sanity mechanic is an interesting idea. The fluff would definitely have to be completely changed.

True20 looks interesting. It certainly seems like a better strating place than the D&D.

Truenames would definitely have to be an integral part of the magic system though.

Alfryd
2008-01-29, 12:15 PM
This series doesn't really seem like the "big twist" kind though.
Yes sirree. No major surprises in store in Tehanu...


Truenames would definitely have to be an integral part of the magic system though.
If you've ever played Ars Magica, you may recall that spells were composed from two different latin terms which essentially described what the spell did- for instance, to destroy some stone, Perdo Terra was the formula. It seems to me you could come up with something more extensive using terms from the old tongue, using generalised knowledge skills for the more obscured names and terminology.

For instance, if you wanted to describe a Fireball spell, you'd have words that say, in effect, "take the point that I strike with a beam, then summon fire in a spherical burst at that point."

So the hierarchy of terms would be:

beam-impact(burst(summon(fire)))

Or something similar. The more fire you summon, at greater ranges/AoE, costs more energy, while the complexity of the incantation determines the likelihood of spell failure. Most spells would be researched in advance and memorised to greatly reduce the likelihood of slip-ups, but you could, in theory, make one up on the fly.

Using the sanity mechanic is an interesting idea. The fluff would definitely have to be completely changed.
I'm not sure how it precisely correlates, though. I think some kind of cosmic karma or alignment mechanic might be a better way to look at things.

Rowanomicon
2008-01-29, 01:06 PM
Yes,
that magic systems sounds fairly good.

There definitely sems to be some real sence of "balance" that must be maintained. What I mean is that it's not simply a philosophy in those boks. It is very real and upsetting the balance makes a difference in the world. Ged just finished explaining about how when an act is lifted like a stone it makes the earth lighter and the hand heavier and when it is cast it changes the universe forevr wherever it strieks or falls.

magic_unlocked
2008-01-30, 02:32 AM
You know... what yer describing seems a LOT like a non-epic way of putting spells together. As a sort-of "balance" you could put them on a Mana system and have the Mana Cost equal to the spellcraft DC or mebbe 1/2 the DC.

Though, in order fer this to actually werk, you need to make up the "seeds" which would emulate the True Name aspect.

In my head, i see that each energy effect [acid, cold, fire, force, electricity, negative energy, positive energy, and sonic] would have a Base DC. Imagine it would be 2 to use the effect and +2 to add a d6 of damage or +1 to add an AC bonus. Epic rules have more info and such.

Anyway, that's my 2 cp

Rowanomicon
2008-01-31, 12:44 PM
The only thing about a Mana system is that a casters mana would have to regenerate at a reasonably fast rate as they don't seems to have a "well i can't cast anymore today" point. I think perhaps rules for casters becoming tired from overuse of magic though...

magic_unlocked
2008-01-31, 02:52 PM
Then use the vitilization variant from unearthed arcana. Using it, casters do have unlimited mana, though, they still have to rest to fully restore their mana reserves.

Alfryd
2008-01-31, 07:52 PM
The only thing about a Mana system is that a casters mana would have to regenerate at a reasonably fast rate as they don't seems to have a "well i can't cast anymore today" point. I think perhaps rules for casters becoming tired from overuse of magic though...
There is one notable example of magical power being depleted in the series, but I think you should finish the 3rd and start the 4th book first.

I think a more apt system would simply be that there's a limit to how powerful a spell a given mage can cast at a given level without overtaxing himself. I sem to recall that casting that large-area Fog spell on Gont was fairly tiring for the young Sparrowhawk?


You know... what yer describing seems a LOT like a non-epic way of putting spells together. As a sort-of "balance" you could put them on a Mana system and have the Mana Cost equal to the spellcraft DC or mebbe 1/2 the DC.

Though, in order fer this to actually werk, you need to make up the "seeds" which would emulate the True Name aspect.

In my head, i see that each energy effect [acid, cold, fire, force, electricity, negative energy, positive energy, and sonic] would have a Base DC. Imagine it would be 2 to use the effect and +2 to add a d6 of damage or +1 to add an AC bonus. Epic rules have more info and such.
Sounds like a decent idea, but you'd need to trawl through the books for a vocabulary of matching True Names. I seem to recal that Tolk is pebble and Hoeg is a... what? Cat? Weasel? ...something.

magic_unlocked
2008-01-31, 08:05 PM
Ugh... True names fer every single object imaginable. x.x

You know, a simple way around this would be to give things a DC to learn the true name. Possibly using rules from the Words of Creation feat in exaulted deeds or the true name rules from the True Name class; of which, i don't have ANY idea how that class works.

As for the non-epic spell seeds, when i mentioned it in my other post, i started to actually do just that. I have the Evocation school done... mostly. I'm on Abjuration at the moment. But, in order to keep the balance of power, why not do this:

Construction: To make a spell, you combine all the factors below. To find the equivalent spell level of the newly created spell, simply divide the Spellcraft DC in half, rounding up. You cannot create a spell that has a higher spell level than your caster level (-1 if you are a cleric, druid, wizard or other similar class). Creating these spells does not consume XP or GP

That's taken directly from what i have done for my non-epic spell seeds. I think it works and it keeps things balanced with the other spells, which is how i've modeled the Spell Seeds.

There's my 2 cp, though, it may actually be a sp. :smalltongue:

Rowanomicon
2008-01-31, 08:50 PM
I'm almost done the third book I expect ot finish it tonight, or possibly tomorrow.

There does seem to be a limit to a caster's casting ability. Perhaps it could be represented by regerating mana. Also, the more mana you have left the faster you regen mana. So if you cast a spell that takes only a fractio of your power then you're back at full very soon, but if you tax yourself to utter depletion then it lakes a long time to restore your power, but it is not simply an inability to cast when one is utterly depleted, it seems to drain life force.

Also Ged does not have to research things to find their truename he simply knows so I think a caster level check or knowledge (trunames) check, unless you already know the truename of something/one.
He tells Arren at the beginning of book 3 that he could know his truename if we wishd so apparently it is something he has to try to do, but it's not hard for him once he's the archmage.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-01, 02:19 AM
Hmm.... I admit I know nothing on Earthsea, however, I do know a bit on spell balance... roughly. If you want the flavor of "regenerating" mana, then use the vitalizing variant from Unearthed Arcana. I think it works nicely from what i can tell about this.

As for casting without mana, use another variant in Unearthed Arcana. You make a Concentration Check DC 20 + spell level. Failure results in you taking lethal and non-lethal damage equal to the spell level of the spell being cast. Even on a failure, you still cast the spell. If you want to emphasize that it is increasingly difficult to cast a spell with no more mana, then do this: DC = 20 + spell level + 1 per previous check. Also, you could have 0-level spells deal 1 non-lethal damage.

You mentioned that they already knew the True Names, no? Well then, use the non-epic spell seeds for spell creation to keep things balanced, but put in the fluff that they didn't have to research it. Kinda like how a sorcerer simply knows his spells.

Rowanomicon
2008-02-02, 04:57 PM
Where can I find these non-epic spell seeds?

It's not that they already know all truenames (although once they know one they don't forget it) it's just they they (at least the powerful ones) seem to be able to "find out" truenames without doing any research. They have to do *something* since they don't automatically see truenames, but they can do that *something* on the spot. I guess it's a spell (revealus truenamus?)

magic_unlocked
2008-02-03, 01:25 AM
Where can I find these non-epic spell seeds?

It's not that they already know all truenames (although once they know one they don't forget it) it's just they they (at least the powerful ones) seem to be able to "find out" truenames without doing any research. They have to do *something* since they don't automatically see truenames, but they can do that *something* on the spot. I guess it's a spell (revealus truenamus?)

OK. These non-epic seeds is something that i'm homebrewing. I have 1 school done and am working on another school at the moment. As for simply knowing Truenames, why not make it a know check? Since it does represent that you know something. It should be really high, at least, without research to truly represent that it's such a hard thing to do. perhaps the DC is 20 + (HD X 2)?

Alfryd
2008-02-03, 07:11 AM
Ugh... True names fer every single object imaginable. x.x
Well... yes. That's basically what spellcasting in Earthsea amounts to.

You know, a simple way around this would be to give things a DC to learn the true name. Possibly using rules from the Words of Creation feat in exaulted deeds or the true name rules from the True Name class; of which, i don't have ANY idea how that class works.
Oh, naturally you'd have diversified Knowledge skills for dealing with the true names of obscure subjects, such as little islets or rocky coves or rare species of beetle. Any specific true names would be used mainly for flavour.

It's also worth bearing in mind that True Names apparently don't apply everywhere equally. Estarriol mentions that a lot of the spells which worked fine on Gont go awry in the east, where he retires, and when he and Ged sail out on the most distant ocean, many of their spells (to catch fish, and the like,) don't work at all- the fish (despite being the same species), apparently have different names.

Another interesting proviso is that no single thing can have more than one True Name (which is why, for instance, you cna't, in practical terms, cast a spell upon all the water in Earthsea- every single stream or pond would have a different name.)

There does seem to be a limit to a caster's casting ability. Perhaps it could be represented by regerating mana. Also, the more mana you have left the faster you regen mana. So if you cast a spell that takes only a fractio of your power then you're back at full very soon, but if you tax yourself to utter depletion then it lakes a long time to restore your power, but it is not simply an inability to cast when one is utterly depleted, it seems to drain life force.
It seems like a fair notion.
Ah, yes. I also recall that it literally killed Nemmerle (an archmage, no less) to close the portal that Ged opened (which released the Gebbeth.)


He tells Arren at the beginning of book 3 that he could know his truename if we wishd so apparently it is something he has to try to do, but it's not hard for him once he's the archmage.
Yes, but he also mentions that there are wizards who have spent their entire careers seeking to discover the true name of a single stream, or one animal species, etc. Naturally, he's pretty good at it, but uncovering true names is by no means trivial.
How you'd guess this sort of thing is another matter, but it might be that they have a sort of developed intution for the subject, or that true names are somehow onomatopoeic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onomatopoeia).

One other interesting feature of Earthsea magic I recall is that, by default, a given spell is strictly an illusion spell. Just saying the true name of Diamond to a pebble will cause it to look like a diamond, but won't alter it's true nature, and it wears off shortly.

It might also be an idea to organise the Schools of Earthsea magic in accordance with the specialties the 9 masters of magic at Roke. I can't remember them exactly ATM...

magic_unlocked
2008-02-03, 08:43 AM
Seems good. But, as i may or may not have mentioned, I haven't read Earthsea. I'm here helping out with the balancing issues while you guys come up with all the fluffy fluff-ness and ofther fluff-based effects that revolve around fluffy-ness. Anyhow, I'ma hit the hay before more fluff comes about.

Rowanomicon
2008-02-03, 03:41 PM
Illusions are a tricky thing.
It seems that mages can change their species, but beyond that shapechanging is an illusion. So if one changes into another person or an inanimate object then it-s simply an illusion (even if it fools all 5 senses).
Please correct me if I am wrong.

I think the best way to make a game mechanic for truenames is to have a skill Knowledge (Truenames) and have the DCs be based on a creature's HD or caster level or an objects rarity. In otherwords finding out the truename necessary for using the mage wind would be about the easiest and finding out the truename of a powerful individual dragon would be the hardest, or maybe finding a trunemae for a Nameless One would be hardest...

You bring up good points about magic that I meant to bring up earlier, thanks.

I definitely think that magic sould be catagorised base on the Master of Roke
The ones I remembers are:
The Master Door Keeper (maybe not a school of magic)
The Master Changer
Summoner
Patterner
Namer

Alfryd
2008-02-07, 06:12 PM
I definitely think that magic sould be catagorised base on the Master of Roke
The ones I remembers are:
The Master Door Keeper (maybe not a school of magic)
The Master Changer
Summoner
Patterner
Namer
I just finished re-reading the first book, so I took some notes. Not all the masters entail a particular school of magic, but you got the major ones correct:

Master Chanter (lays, ballads, histories, epics and other narratives)
Master Hand (sleight of hand, illusion, and minor changing)
Master Windkey (weatherworking, navigation and other sea magic)
Master Herbal (alchemy, botany, healing)
Master Namer (Kurrem-karmerruk, learning the names of every last damned bloody thing in the Isolate Tower)
Master Changer (true transfiguration, transmutation, and shapeshifting)
Master Summoner (evocation of fundamental physical forces and matter, necromancy, teleportation)
Master Patterner (knowledge of the weave, balance, pattern and equilibrium, inhabits the Imminent Grove)
Master Doorkeeper (provides security)

and the Archmage himself. The exact nature of the Master Patterner's craft isn't explained in detail, as what's known is 'all hearsay', and wizards don't speak of it afterward. The book mentions there are certain Answerable Questions which can only be asked by the Master Patterner in the grove.

There are also certain minor subjects mentioned, but I'm unsure of how they fit into the above scheme. It's possible they intersect all disciplines. Most aren't fully explained, but might have their meaning gleaned from context.

The Great Runes/Further Runes/Runes of E (neccesary for all major, permanent spellcasting, or other feats of great magic)
(There are a couple of runes mentioned. Pirr protects the household from fire, wind, and madness. Simn improves tool use. I think the Tombs of Atuan gives a larger list, including the chief Rune that Ged recovered.)
Finding and Binding (Finding seems to be a kind of divination of location. Binding probably resembles enchantment.)
Tellers and Chanters (presumably related to master chanter. Telling might also be divination.)
Spellsmithing and spellwrighting (industrial applications?)
Heal-alls
Mending (possible medicinal uses? Ged cures cataracts)
Unsealing/Revealing/Opening
Charming (this does not relate solely to mental compulsion, but indicates any long-term spell bound to a particular object(s) or person(s,) as opposed to a Ward, which is permanent, and probably requires use of runes. Ged weaves a charm to protect a boat's owner from sea-hazards for a years, which takes him 24 hours and is pretty taxing. On the other hand, the freshwater spring he raised on the sandbar seems to have been permanent. Hmm.)

There are only a few True Names mentioned, which might be useful for flavour:
tolk- pebble
suk- feather
inien- sea
essa- foam
kest- minnow
hoeg- otak, whatever that is. Ged's pet, anyway.
Humans can't lie at all in the Old Speech. Dragons can. Silent casting does appear to be possible, in that the words don't have to be spoken aloud.

There are at least 3 major language groups- Kargad, Hardic and Osskilian, aside from the Old Speech, which Hardic descends from.

There are definite charms and techniques for extracting someone or something's true name, but these can all be countered by other spells (which typically make's finding a wizard's true name extraordinarily difficult.) In other cases, though, Ged can guess someone's True Name through intuition alone, such as with Yarrow (kest.)

Illusions are a tricky thing.
It seems that mages can change their species, but beyond that shapechanging is an illusion. So if one changes into another person or an inanimate object then it-s simply an illusion (even if it fools all 5 senses).
Please correct me if I am wrong.
It's not so much that shapeshifting is illusion by default (any more than other school of magic is illusion by default,) it's just that illusion spells can be used to counterfeit any other magical effect (though some are more difficult than others.) For an example, a Werelight is simply the illusion of illumination (which is good enough for most practical intents and purposes,) as opposed to evoking true searing radiance (which is a form of Summoning, used by Ged against the Gebbeth and when fleeing the Terrenon.)

(Having read the book again, though, I'm not sure spells are illusions by default. They're just much easier? I dunno.) it is interesting to note, though, that Ged's Fog spell againstt the Kargad raiders mentions mixing in a spell of illusion with the weather-working effects, and a specific word to 'activate' the enchantment. This suggests a quite modular framework for spell composition, though it was very taxing.

I think the best way to make a game mechanic for truenames is to have a skill Knowledge (Truenames) and have the DCs be based on a creature's HD or caster level or an objects rarity. In otherwords finding out the truename necessary for using the mage wind would be about the easiest and finding out the truename of a powerful individual dragon would be the hardest, or maybe finding a trunemae for a Nameless One would be hardest...
That seems fair enough, but I think you'd need some mechanism for allowing more specialisation than that. A given wizard might know a great deal about the true names of dragons, for example, but relatively little about herblore. I mean, the whole point to being a wizard is that everything you do depends on your knowledge of True Names.


I think there should also be some kind of mechanism related to pure pure research, (which allowed Ged to best Yevaud,) allowing you to seek out one particular true name ahead of time.

On an entirely different note, there's one particular problem with the setting as far as a conventional RPG is concerned. Wizards don't seem to be especially sociable creatures. I mean, all the adventures of wizards mentioned in the stories (including Ged) involve them travelling either alone or in very small groups- 2 to 3 people, at most. Also, non-wizards are essentially baggage as far as raw power is concerned. You might have a set of auxiliary Combat skills for emergency situations, but basically, anyone who isn't a wizard can't begin to compete in terms of raw power. Frankly, there's an awful lot of variation in power among wizards too.

The other issue is that traditional dungeon crawls for loot and XP really don't fit easily with the basic wizardly ethos of maintaining balance and equilibrium:

"...as a man's real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower; until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do..."
-The Master Summoner

Which suggest that an Earthsea RPG might have to deal with very small groups of players, and have a specific endgame resolution mechanic (which is probably useful in any case, since there are no options for bringing a character back from the dead.)
You might want to check out The Forge to get more advice on the subject.
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php

magic_unlocked
2008-02-08, 11:34 AM
Hmm.... I have a slight mechanical effect for illusions, if what you say is true, which, i believe it is. I would think, that, illusions that mimic the effect of other Earthsea magic, do so at a largely reduced effect. 20% for any minor illusion, 40% for any intermediate effect and 60% for a greater effect. I'll leave it up to you guys for deeming what actually is a Minor, Intermediate or Greater effect.

In standard D&D, illusions that mimic spells that actually do something to the physical world, are made of shadow-stuff. Perhaps, for earth-sea fluff, you have illusions offer a, i want to say "cheap", but that sounds a bit off. Anyhow, you get the idea.

But yes, there should be a mechanical effect for knowing someone/something's true name. Perhaps it's a skillcheck to see if you "gleam" the name from someone then maybe an Opposed Will Save? If truenames are as powerful as you say, then a Truename would not want itself known, even to wizards.

Rowanomicon
2008-02-08, 11:44 AM
Wizards tend to be the only ones who are capable of hiding their true names.

Illusions would certainly be easier to cast than a spell that truly does whatever it is the illusion seems to do.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-08, 11:54 AM
Hmm... then perhaps it's an opposed will save if the character/creature has knowledge of magic? And that's why I had the X%. It emulates that it's not actually a true effect. And, also, why i said it's up to you guys to decide what the effects entailed.

I've said this before, i haven't read the series. I'm just fascinated with this thread and want to do my part in helping you guys make this thing a reality. So, i'm helping out with the mechanics while you guys develop the fluff for the mechanics. :smalltongue:

Alfryd
2008-02-08, 06:14 PM
Hmm.... I have a slight mechanical effect for illusions, if what you say is true, which, i believe it is. I would think, that, illusions that mimic the effect of other Earthsea magic, do so at a largely reduced effect. 20% for any minor illusion, 40% for any intermediate effect and 60% for a greater effect. I'll leave it up to you guys for deeming what actually is a Minor, Intermediate or Greater effect.
I think the main difference between D&D illusions and those in earthsea is that even novice wizards can easily produce very compelling illusions, but even the best of them can't make them affect the world in a permanent fashion. That's the business of a Changing spell.

If truenames are as powerful as you say, then a Truename would not want itself known, even to wizards.
True names don't have any particular desires, but their owners may. One of the major social features of the setting is that people are very careful never to reveal their true name to anyone they don't trust implicitly. Ged is known as Sparrowhawk to all but 7 people on the planet (2 of them dragons.) I'm not sure exactly how the true-name extraction mechanic would go. The book mentions there are a lot of different methods- by force, by cunning, by charm, etc, each of which have specific counters.

I've said this before, i haven't read the series. I'm just fascinated with this thread and want to do my part in helping you guys make this thing a reality. So, i'm helping out with the mechanics while you guys develop the fluff for the mechanics.
Much obliged. I think the first order of business would be some method of deciding how to compose custom spells, and what the major spell components you'd put together would be, based on the schools of Roke.

Rowanomicon
2008-02-08, 09:36 PM
1. Master Chanter (lays, ballads, histories, epics and other narratives)
2. Master Hand (sleight of hand, illusion, and minor changing)
3. Master Windkey (weatherworking, navigation and other sea magic)
4. Master Herbal (alchemy, botany, healing)
5. Master Namer (Kurrem-karmerruk, learning the names of every last damned
6. bloody thing in the Isolate Tower)
7. Master Changer (true transfiguration, transmutation, and shapeshifting)
8. Master Summoner (evocation of fundamental physical forces and matter, necromancy, teleportation)
9. Master Patterner (knowledge of the weave, balance, pattern and equilibrium, inhabits the Imminent Grove)

Those are the master I think deserve a school of their own. The possible exception is the Patterner because we may not know enough to do it.

The Namer would deal with the various ways of learning truenames.

Alfryd
2008-02-10, 06:09 AM
Those are the master I think deserve a school of their own.
I'm not sure the chanter or namer would be a specific school of magic, though they might represent specific types of wizard.
But, as regards spell components, I was thinking of things like:

Binding (true speech: thessen) [object, location]
Binding attaches a given object (which may be either a physical item, body part, or a charm spell,) to a specific location. You must be able to specify these terms, using either their true names, concentration on the subject, or both.

So, if the true names for Arm and Earth were meom and dter, thessen meom dter would bind the subject's arm to the ground.
(If you knew the subject's true name was Erisen, you could specify that it was Erisen's arm in particular, which makes the spell much more powerful. If you didn't know the true name for an arm, you'd have to concentrate seperately on that term, which makes the spell much weaker.)


The possible exception is the Patterner because we may not know enough to do it.
I just finished the other 3 books, so I'm guessing you're close to finished yourself.
Ged does make 1 mention of a Patterning spell, when he repairs the Ring of Erreth-Akbe, to repair it "as if it had never been broken", as opposed to a standard mending/binding spell. I'm not sure if that's enough to go on, but Patterning seems pretty important.

There isn't as much data on the other runes as I'd like. Aside from Pirr and Simn, there's Ges, which grants endurance, the Chief Rune, which represents order, peace and rulership, and Agnen, the rune of ending. So, that leaves 4 others.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-11, 02:02 AM
Hmm... I think I have an idea. I know you guys want to have truenames as an integral part of casting, but lets look at this. Every spell requires a truename and near all spells in D&D have a verbal component. Why can't you let a player "make up" a true name but keep the effect to what that player wants?

I mean, it would be tedious for any of us if we had to remember all the verbal parts of the spell. It's why its simply there listed as a component and why the left the verbal parts of the spell vague in the small fluff-text.

MorkaisChosen
2008-02-11, 10:50 AM
It'd be a bit unfair to make every player remember a list of names, but maybe you could just have a list of the significant Names a given Wizard (or mage, or sorcerer) knows and make spells from those, with Knowledge checks for ones that aren't on the list.

What I mean is some basic words (Bind, Close, Mend, Heal- all the verbs) and then the caster has to make a check to see if he knows the word for the thing he wants to cast it on. The different verbs then become the Seeds for the spellcasting, and, since there wouldn't be too many of them, you could have a list of which ones your wizard knows.

Unrelated to the previous: casting limits could work something like this.

Simple effects can be performed at will (Werelights, the magewind, that sort of thing), while more complex ones tire the caster (could be represented by something like the Conditions Track from Saga Edition SWRPG). As the caster gets more tired, the simpler effects then begin to be tiring, and more complex ones even more, until they're basically unconcious.

Example using D&D spells: for a level X wizard, Magic Missile is effortless. He can cast magic missiles 'til the cows come home. If he then uses Polymorph Other, which moves him one space down our "condition track"l, he takes some Fatigue penalties to skill checks. Now, if he casts Polymorph Other again, it will move him TWO places down Condition and Magic Missile will now move him one step down.

How does that look?

Rowanomicon
2008-02-11, 11:32 AM
This is progessing interestingly, if slowly. I really dont mind slowness because Im on vacation and havent actually been reading at all lately so Im still near the beginning on Tehanu.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-11, 03:46 PM
Morkais, I think what you have suggested is awesome. From what i understand, it looks like it will work quite nicely. Now, we need to decide how to format this... condition. I'm of the opinion that the highest level spell you can cast moves you down 2 points, the next highest moves you down one point, and your third highest and lower does not move you down, unless you were moved at least one point down. And in order to prevent being moved down by a lower-level spell effect, you make a fort save of DC X.

Alfryd
2008-02-12, 12:47 AM
I mean, it would be tedious for any of us if we had to remember all the verbal parts of the spell. It's why its simply there listed as a component and why the left the verbal parts of the spell vague in the small fluff-text.

It'd be a bit unfair to make every player remember a list of names, but maybe you could just have a list of the significant Names a given Wizard (or mage, or sorcerer) knows and make spells from those, with Knowledge checks for ones that aren't on the list.
Oh, certainly. I was just giving some made-up examples for flavour. The more interesting aspect I was hoping for is that you would only have one or two dozen actual basic 'spells' in the repertoire. More powerful or subtle enchantments are researched by tweaking their variables (range, output/damage, DC, etc.) and by combining several spells into a single enchantment. For instance, to research somethign similar to explosive runes, you would Bind a Telling to a location, which invokes a Summoning of fire when the text is read, (using the rune Ges to signify permanency/endurance.) Different combinations of modular spells would give an infinitude of possible enchantments.

The other aspect would be that, the more specific you are in identifying the subject of a spell, the more powerful the spell becomes, and the less concentration is required. This why knowing someone's true name is very valuable, as it's unique, and thus very specific.

The other question is, what words count as basic vocabulary and which count as obscure?

Unrelated to the previous: casting limits could work something like this...
How does that look?

Morkais, I think what you have suggested is awesome... And in order to prevent being moved down by a lower-level spell effect, you make a fort save of DC X.
I agree. It pretty well captures exactly what happens in the books.

One thing, though... Fort saves. Since the game revolves mainly around wizardry and wizardly activities, the basic Str/Dex/Con/Int/Wis/Cha array might not be the ideal setup. I mean, absolutely everyone will pump Intelligence and dump Strength, so why have Strength (or even Intelligence) as primary attributes in the first place?

magic_unlocked
2008-02-12, 04:43 AM
One thing, though... Fort saves. Since the game revolves mainly around wizardry and wizardly activities, the basic Str/Dex/Con/Int/Wis/Cha array might not be the ideal setup. I mean, absolutely everyone will pump Intelligence and dump Strength, so why have Strength (or even Intelligence) as primary attributes in the first place?

I agree with this. Perhaps an alternate array? But, we do need con, as it improves HP. We'll figure something out.

-----
note: quote format may be messed up, first time using it.

Alfryd
2008-02-12, 04:56 AM
I agree with this. Perhaps an alternate array? But, we do need con, as it improves HP. We'll figure something out.
I agree that constitution crops up a fair bit, but 'hit points' may not even be especially useful in this game. You can probably keep track of wounds using the same condition metre that you use to track spellcasting ability (taking a spear to the shoulder crippled Ged's powers for a while,) but most spells would either do indirect damage, have specific counters, or kill you in one blow. Plus, since there's no mechanism for raising characters, death simply shouldn't be allowed to happen until you approach the endgame.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-12, 05:00 AM
True. But, we'd have to have stats if we want to allow other character classes into the game, otherwise, we'd have to adapt the classes to fit, which, is way too much work.

I think, that, while it may be against the series, you can allow D&D spells into the game, but have the player come up with something fancy, kinda like fake-latin. "explodre" for something like fireball. Or is it too blantatly against the magic of Earthsea to do this?

Alfryd
2008-02-12, 06:11 AM
True. But, we'd have to have stats if we want to allow other character classes into the game, otherwise, we'd have to adapt the classes to fit, which, is way too much work.
I don't think there's a need for other character classes, especially. Nothing else can really compete with a wizard there, aside from dragons. And we don't have the detail to deal with other classes in that setting anyway.

There are differing sources of magic. There are the Godkings of Karego-At, and the Old Powers of Earth, and... sigh...
The dragons and half-dragons- the latter of which is what would equate to a sorceror in D&D terms. They appear to pretty darned rare, though, and may be unbalanced.
Of course, the series does have examples of non-magic users having a significant impact on the plot- Arren, Tenar, Ged himself in the 4th book- but you'd need some way to quantify their impact in ways that didn't rely on raw power. But things like rangers, paladins, monks and barbarians? ...they don't seem to have useful parallels.

I think, that, while it may be against the series, you can allow D&D spells into the game, but have the player come up with something fancy, kinda like fake-latin. "explodre" for something like fireball. Or is it too blantatly against the magic of Earthsea to do this?
Oh yeah. Big time. The average D&D wizard in the earthsea setting would rape the Equilibrium so badly the Unmaking ensues.

MorkaisChosen
2008-02-12, 06:19 AM
I think the best example of how "normal" D&D classes are totally useless here is the beginning of A Wizard of Earthsea. Shiploads of Viking-style berserkers land- and are defeated by one self-taught magic user (and a little help from some peasants with pitchforks).

Con would be important, as I think it would be the main regulator for the conditions, and Intelligence would matter for your "vocabulary"- so we've effectively got Int mandating spells known and Con how many you can cast. Maybe a Wis-type effect for how skilled you are at measuring and maintaining Equilibrium.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-12, 06:20 AM
I surmised as much. Ok, other classes, out. so, this brings us back to statting out magic. Again, a non-epic seed approach seems best, but, it's gonna take hella-work to complete. So, back to the drawing board.

We agree that True-naming will be up to the player. So what about spell-effects? That seems to be the main issue here. I think we should start by making "effect schools". Like, anything that makes fire or protects from fire should be in a "fire school".

What says the thread?

magic_unlocked
2008-02-12, 06:24 AM
Con would be important, as I think it would be the main regulator for the conditions, and Intelligence would matter for your "vocabulary"- so we've effectively got Int mandating spells known and Con how many you can cast. Maybe a Wis-type effect for how skilled you are at measuring and maintaining Equilibrium.

So what you're suggesting is a M.A.D caster? Con for, essentially, spells per day, wis for spell DCs, int for spells known, and cha for all other effects?

Or am i wrong?

Alfryd
2008-02-12, 09:21 AM
...defeated by one self-taught magic user (and a little help from some peasants with pitchforks).
In fairness, Ged did have some local advantages, and he was unusually talented.

Con would be important, as I think it would be the main regulator for the conditions, and Intelligence would matter for your "vocabulary"- so we've effectively got Int mandating spells known and Con how many you can cast. Maybe a Wis-type effect for how skilled you are at measuring and maintaining Equilibrium.
I'm not certain exactly what intelligence would regulate, except to say it's so crucial you might not have it at all, since everyone will pump it to the max. You may want to split Int into things like Logic, Muse, Acuity, etc.

Here's a thought- you could have an attribute for each of the Great Runes?

It might be possible to have non-wizards in play, but you'd need to have an array of skills roughly equal in total complexity to the rules regarding spellcasting, and have them specialise in indirect conflict resolution. They would have the advantage that they don't have to worry so much about the equilibrium.

We agree that True-naming will be up to the player. So what about spell-effects? That seems to be the main issue here. I think we should start by making "effect schools". Like, anything that makes fire or protects from fire should be in a "fire school".
I don't have an immediate problem with players making up true names for obscure subjects, but once introduced they should try to use them consistently.

Evoking fire would come under the heading of a Summoning spell, but it's possible you could specialise in particular elements. Maybe this relates to specialised knowledge skills, or custom feats?

I'm going to try to rough out a basic suite of spells related to the various schools, perhaps with some examples on high to combine them.

MorkaisChosen
2008-02-12, 10:17 AM
Int would be affecting your knowledge of the True Names and the grammar and syntax to combine them, I think, if we're using D&D stats- effectively spells known. I don't have a clue what a M.A.D. caster is...

magic_unlocked
2008-02-12, 03:41 PM
Int would be affecting your knowledge of the True Names and the grammar and syntax to combine them, I think, if we're using D&D stats- effectively spells known. I don't have a clue what a M.A.D. caster is...

MAD = Multiple Ability Dependance

Alfryd
2008-02-13, 09:17 AM
Int would be affecting your knowledge of the True Names and the grammar and syntax to combine them, I think, if we're using D&D stats...
Yeah, but... that effectively determines whether your wizard rocks or sucks, (which would be fine, except there aren't many viable options apart from wizards.) You need to have a set of attributes that are all roughly equally valuable- to wizards.

Maybe you could have a conflicted attribute that increases the speed at which you can learn, at the expense of your wisdom. Reckless hunger for knowledge, that sort of thing. Maybe 9 masters of Roke = 9 attributes = 9 great runes?

Dexterity/Artifice seems to come up a certain amount, for somatic components, spellsmithing and the like. Simn seems a good match, along with the Master Hand or Master Windkey.

Wisdom, however you'd define it exactly, seems to come up a lot with respect to the balance, as you've mentioned. I think you'd need to remove the spot/listen benefits, though. Agnen, maybe? Patterning?

Constitution, as mentioned, is fairly important. Ges is the obvious match, as it grants endurance, and the Master Herbal.

Charisma crops up a bit in terms of managing internal emotional state, but I don't think that exactly correlates with the D&D definition. Maybe Empathy or Relation would be a better name?

Maybe just a system of initial merits/flaws that provide bonuses to various skill sets? As in, Charisma/Improved Charisma/Greater Charisma? With only wisdom/knowledge/power as basic attributes?

Rowanomicon
2008-02-13, 10:44 AM
I like the idea for one attribute for each of the great runes.

The thing about casting in Earthsea is that it is technically possible to create fireballs etc, but Wizards tend to keep the Balance.

The first and last lessons on Roke is to do only what is neccessary.

Non-Wizard characters could have great skill with a sword, and/or many other skills. I think it might be best to have non magical combat be a skill. so characters might have a Skill Combat (swords) then we could adjust defence so that the numbers are suitable.
There can be different DCs (basedon your opponent) to do different things in battle (press your opponent back, draw then forward or to the side, cut them and bring them down a condition level, trip them, etc).

The other skills can include sailing, lock picking, singing, dancing, etc, etc.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-13, 02:22 PM
I think not knowing the series is hindering me a bit, but oh well. I'ma still be here and help you guys out.

Ok, I like the attributes for the six runes... or whatever they're called. And what do you mean by "balance"?

Telonius
2008-02-13, 02:28 PM
Balance, Equilibrium ... in Earthsea, there seems to be some sort of law of conservation of Magic, or karma, or whatever you want to call it. Whenever you use magic, things get just a little bit out of balance, out of the natural order. Usually the consequences aren't too severe. Minor illusion magic, for instance, won't cause earthshaking consequences. It'll cause some ripples, but not really much harm done. But doing something like trying to summon the ghost of a powerful figure of the past, or trying to raise someone from the dead - Really Bad Things usually happen when you try that, and it usually takes great personal sacrifice from somebody to make it right.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-13, 03:47 PM
Balance, Equilibrium ... in Earthsea, there seems to be some sort of law of conservation of Magic, or karma, or whatever you want to call it. Whenever you use magic, things get just a little bit out of balance, out of the natural order. Usually the consequences aren't too severe. Minor illusion magic, for instance, won't cause earthshaking consequences. It'll cause some ripples, but not really much harm done. But doing something like trying to summon the ghost of a powerful figure of the past, or trying to raise someone from the dead - Really Bad Things usually happen when you try that, and it usually takes great personal sacrifice from somebody to make it right.

That's... really interesting. So there's repercussions to magic beyond backlash damage. How would a DM determine this... balance?

Lochar
2008-02-13, 03:57 PM
For each action, there is an equal but opposite reaction.

You summon the shade of a powerful person from eons past, his arch rival is given the chance to come forward as well.

You can dismiss both, but the arch rival doesn't appear where you are, so therefore you must go FIND the arch rival's shade to dismiss it.


Stuff like that.

Fireballs would leave physical reminders. The air where the fire was would be superhot for a while. Phatasmal Killer spells might set the phantasmal killer free, forcing you to kill it.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-13, 04:06 PM
That's interesting. That also seems like an interesting idea to apply to a standard D&D campaign.

Rowanomicon
2008-02-13, 07:24 PM
Spoilerific! On Balance.
Someone opens a hole between the living world and the world of the dead and it causes the magic to seep out of the world.

Alfryd
2008-02-14, 03:48 AM
I think I've come up with a setup for the attributes.

{table]Attribute | stasis | power | change
physical | Endurance | Speed | Artifice
moral | Wisdom | Relation | Passion
mental | Logic | Spirit | Muse
[/table]

The interesting aspect here is that attributes at opposite sides of the table are conflicted- that is, one comes at the other's expense. So, for instance, if you raise your Passion, Wisdom suffers, while raising Endurance cuts into Logic and Artifice.

Anyway, they match up with the runes (a couple made up) and schools as follows:

{table] attribute | rune | school | effects
Endurance | Ges | Herbal | resisting fatigue, injury etc.
Speed | Rul, the eye rune | Windkey | initiative and movement
Artifice | Simn | Hand | crafting, hand-eye coordination
Wisdom | Agnen, rune of ending | Summoner | truth, acceptance and restraint
Relation | Segmet, the King's rune | Doorkeeper | knowing who to trust, pursuasion
Passion | Ka, rune of birth | Chanter | morale, drive, emotional power
Logic | Mned, rune of memory | Namer | formal grasp of cause and effect
Spirit | Pirr | Patterner | knowledge of balance, concentration
Muse | Ob anen, the heart rune | Changer | creative thinking, inspiration[/table]

Of course, nothing's set in stone here, but it should give you an idea of the flavour.


You can dismiss both, but the arch rival doesn't appear where you are, so therefore you must go FIND the arch rival's shade to dismiss it.
Of course, most of the first book deals with Ged trying to outrun, then banish, a shadowy doppelganger that broke through reality during the middle of his ill-conceived summoning.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-14, 05:10 AM
That's interesting. And to alfryd, i like it. Lets run with it.

MorkaisChosen
2008-02-14, 07:29 AM
Niiiiice. So how would stat generation work? Do you assign X points between Physical, Moral and Mental and X between Stasis, Power and Change and then work our the nine stats?

magic_unlocked
2008-02-14, 07:57 AM
Well, why not have it be like standard d20? 4d6 drop lowest? At least, until we start to playtest this monster.

Though, that may be a little much. But, its simple. If we do this, i suggest that we increase the ability boost from every 4 levels, to every 3 levels, because, well, there's more stats and such.

Alfryd
2008-02-14, 09:29 AM
I was thinking, actually, that each axis would function a little like an alignment system. Change/stasis is similar to Chaos vs. Law.

You could also have a buy-point system. 1 Buy Point adds 2 to the chosen attribute, 1 to adjacent attributes, and subtracts 1 from opposite attributes. e.g, speed+2, endurance +1, artifice +1, relation +1, spirit -1.

Alfryd
2008-02-14, 09:38 AM
In any case, I finally have some basic example spell seeds worked out. Bear in mind this is still vast and ungainly and can probably be pared down for simplicity. I'm not exactly certain what Power and Skill would refer to yet, or what the various schools would be.

Spoilered for brevity's sake.

Name[subject or subject description, <title>]
* Skill 1, (+1 per descriptive term, +4 for new name)
* Power 1
* Muse 10 for new name
* instantaneous(spell duration)

A Naming is used to uniquely identify a single discernable object, material, or subjects , either for purposes of associated spellcasting, or to bestow a chosen True Name upon a subject which did not already possess one.

Subjects may be living creatures, locations, material items, or any other discernible object. The more specific you are in identifying the subject, the harder it becomes for that subject to resist your spells' effect(s), but the more skill is required.

-vague or ambiguous identification of subject(s) of distant or unknown whereabouts: DC -10, (Skill +5)
-reasonably fitting description of present subject(s): DC +0
-highly specific 'profile' of unique, immediate subject: DC +10
-unique True Name: DC +25

Inscribe[statement]
* Skill 3
* Artifice 3, +1 per 5 characters
* 2 rounds per 5 characters(permanent)

Inscribing a statement using Hardic runes allows you to communicate information to subsequent readers (assuming they are literate.) A Great Rune counts as 10 normal characters.

Bind[spell, location]
* Skill 3 (+2 with Great Rune)
* Power 2
* continual(moderate)

Binding a spell allows you to adopt the specified location, rather than the caster's, for purposes of determining the given spell's range, origin, area of effect, and so on. If the bound spell is continual, a Great Rune of matching school may be used to render the spell permanent. Once bound however, spells can no longer refer to their original caster (details per spell description.)

Invoke[spell, telling]
* Skill 5
* Power 3
* continual(moderate)

An Invocation will cause the given spell to be cast, once the specified Telling's statement(s) hold true.

Summon[type, energy]
* Skill 10
* Power 4, + 2x energy, (+50% per further round)
* instantaneous

A Summoning may be used to produce energy of the given type (either fire, lightning, sonic, light or force) at the point of casting. Summoned energy may be maintained indefinitely, but requires fresh power checks each round.

Telling[statement]
* Skill 8, +1 per element of statement
* Power 5
* continual(long)

A Telling spell will inform the caster whether the given statement is true or false, for as long as the spell lasts. The statement must be phrased using terms in the Old Speech. Subjective or ambiguous terms render the spell useless. Permissable terms are as follows:
-any Naming
-any verb
-and
-or
-is
-is not
-either ('a or b, but not both')
-any
-all


So, putting it all together, an Explosive Runes spell would operate as follows:


Name[Inscribe["I prepared explosive runes, bitch." + Simn], <runes>]
Bind[
Invoke[
Summon[fire, 5],
Telling["any person reads <runes>"]],
<runes>]

Thus, completing the spell without errors would require successful checks against the following DC:
Skill (4 + 3 + (3 + 2) + 5 + 10 + (8 + 1x4)) = 39
Power (1 + 2 + 3 + (4 + 2x5) + 5) = 25
Muse = 10
Artifice (3 + 1x7) = 10

And takes 7 rounds to complete (due to the inscription). So, you'd write up the final result like this:

Explosive Runes[location]
* Skill 39
* Power 25
* Muse 10
* Artifice 10
* 7 rounds inscription time(permanent)

An Explosive Runes spell deals 5 fire damage to any person within normal summoning range once the inscription is read.

You could probably get a significant reduction in Skill DC (say, -50%?) once you've memorised the spell.

Rowanomicon
2008-02-14, 12:42 PM
Alfryd,
I like all the things you've just come up with.

One thing though...

Speed.

It doesn't seem to fit with it's achool of magic/Master of Roke as well as the others do.

Also it leaves no attribute for strength.

So if someone wants to perform some feat of strength then how do we determine what they need to roll?

Perhaps the Physical Power Attribute should be more about strength, which would encompass runningspeed etc, while Artifice would stick to reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and working with your hands.

That would add everything strength related to the effects of the Physical Power Attribute and simply **** initiative to being an effect of Artifice (which I think fits).

Also, have you considered switching the Patterner and Namer to Logic and Spirit respectively?
I think, at least, that the difference between Logic and Spirit should be better defined as "grasp of cause and effect" and "knowledge of balance" are basically the same thing. The Patterner is certainly the one to put the greatest emphasis on The Balance with while The Namer is all about finding things' names.

So we should decide that either Spirit corosponds with the Truenames of things and therefore The Master Namer while Logic corosponds with cause and effect (Balance) and therefore The Patterner

OR

Logic corosponds with seeking knowledge and therefore The Namer while Spirit corosponds with the nature (patterns) of creation and therefore The Patterner.

Either could work really, but I think that we have to be clear one way or the other.

Personally I favour the first as I think Logic is more about cause and effect and deducing things than actual knowledge and studying and Spirit is more about the basic and true nature of individual things, which is their Truenames.

The Namer seems more studious while the Patterner seems more ponderous.

I think that each attribute should start as 8 and that players should get 10 points to place as they want (given Alfryd's method of what points do).

Alfryd
2008-02-14, 03:11 PM
Speed.
It doesn't seem to fit with it's achool of magic/Master of Roke as well as the others do.
Also it leaves no attribute for strength.
I think speed seems suitable, since the Windkey facilitates rapid travel (i.e, using the magewind.) 'Acuity'/'Reflex' might be a better name for it, but does it fit between endurance and artifice? I dunno. The idea is that adjacent attributes should be similar, and opposite attributes should conflict. Perhaps just 'Mind' or 'Trance'/'Insight' would be a better name for spirit?

I deliberately left out Strength. Wizards don't carry heavy weapons or armour, have few possessions, and if they have to do heavy lifting, their spells will be a hundred times stronger than themselves. You could model muscle-power (for the sake of non-wizards) using merits/flaws or feats like Strength/Great Strength/Tremendous Strength, etc, along with things like Agility, Keen Sight, etc.

So we should decide that either Spirit corresponds with the Truenames of things and therefore The Master Namer while Logic corosponds with cause and effect (Balance) and therefore The Patterner.
You raise some very valid points. Thing is, I think the Patterner forsees events using a kind of mystic trance or intuition, rather than abstract calculation. I think I already have logic for the Namer and spirit for the Patterner.

I think that each attribute should start as 8 and that players should get 10 points to place as they want (given Alfryd's method of what points do).
Hmm. In the worst case, you get a player who has the following distribution:
{table]28 | 18 | 02
18 | 08 | 08
02 | 08 | 08[/table]
Though I honestly wouldn't worry about it too much yet.

What did you think about the various spell components?

Rowanomicon
2008-02-14, 03:20 PM
Oh, I also wanted to note that no attribute can be raised above 18 or lowered below 3 for starting out.

I see your conundrum about schools/attributes/master. I'll think on it.

Your spell components looked good at a glance. I'll look closer when I can.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-14, 03:34 PM
The magic seeds are pure awesome. The fluff, however, is abovew my head. I thin k that, I don't have much input remaining for this thread, but i'll stick around.

Rowanomicon
2008-02-14, 03:41 PM
I think that you certainly can provide input in this thread even without reading the books, but I suggest that, if you have the time, you start in on the first one. If only for your own enjoyment.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-14, 03:44 PM
I never said I couldn't. ^^; I just said that I thought I didn't have much to input.

Lochar
2008-02-14, 10:34 PM
Of course, most of the first book deals with Ged trying to outrun, then banish, a shadowy doppelganger that broke through reality during the middle of his ill-conceived summoning.

Where do you think I came up with that? Granted, no one in their right mind actually wants to go after their shadow, but he eventually did.

Poor Quahog.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-15, 12:04 AM
Hmm... that sounds fun. It also opens up possible side-quests, huh?

Mal666
2008-02-15, 07:21 AM
it wasnt so much an evil doppleganger as much as his own shadow, his darker self. when he cast the spell that was beyond him, the spell animated his darker desires and set them free.

eventually he recombined with it. not necessarily defeating it, and so ends that patch of insanity :P that first book was very well written though.

MorkaisChosen
2008-02-15, 08:13 AM
Wasn't it a Nameless One? I'm sure there's something in the second book (forgotten the name...) that implied that...

Alfryd
2008-02-15, 12:29 PM
The magic seeds are pure awesome. The fluff, however, is abovew my head. I think that, I don't have much input remaining for this thread, but i'll stick around.
Thank ye kindly. I'd say it would be useful to have an 'outsider's persepctive', actually, if only to let us know if things have been explained clearly or not.

So. Since we have a couple of other folks familiar with the series by now, perhaps you'd have some ideas/feedback on how to flesh out the various schools in terms of spell components and mechanics?


Wasn't it a Nameless One? I'm sure there's something in the second book (forgotten the name...) that implied that...
I think Ged mentions that the shadow was originally akin to the Old Powers of Earth, but the act of entering reality, and the voluntary bond between him and Ged, gradually forces the creature to adopt his aspect (and, in fact, his name.)

Hmm... that sounds fun. It also opens up possible side-quests, huh?
That sounds like an idea.
e.g, whenever you fail a skill check during spellcasting, or generally screw up in a spectacular fashion, there's a chance of something going badly wrong, which then has to be corrected as part of the game, in order to restore balance to the world. But correcting that mistake requires further actions, which, in turn, triggers further side effects, so that you run the risk of a chain reaction. Each choice you make limits the freedom of action available to you, until you arrive at a point where the plot becomes effectively linear. That's the endgame, where permanent character deaths can finally occur, and the showdown between light and shadow plays out.

I've also been thinking that, since the books feature relatively small groups in action, you might actually play the setting with players on opposite sides, and the GM acting as referee, of a sort. I'm not yet sure how it could work out in practice, but, well, food for thought?

magic_unlocked
2008-02-15, 12:39 PM
Thank ye kindly. I'd say it would be useful to have an 'outsider's persepctive', actually, if only to let us know if things have been explained clearly or not.

So. Since we have a couple of other folks familiar with the series by now, perhaps you'd have some ideas/feedback on how to flesh out the various schools in terms of spell components and mechanics?


I think Ged mentions that the shadow was originally akin to the Old Powers of Earth, but the act of entering reality, and the voluntary bond between him and Ged, gradually forces the creature to adopt his aspect (and, in fact, his name.)

That sounds like an idea.
e.g, whenever you fail a skill check during spellcasting, or generally screw up in a spectacular fashion, there's a chance of something going badly wrong, which then has to be corrected as part of the game, in order to restore balance to the world. But correcting that mistake requires further actions, which, in turn, triggers further side effects, so that you run the risk of a chain reaction. Each choice you make limits the freedom of action available to you, until you arrive at a point where the plot becomes effectively linear. That's the endgame, where permanent character deaths can finally occur, and the showdown between light and shadow plays out.

I've also been thinking that, since the books feature relatively small groups in action, you might actually play the setting with players on opposite sides, and the GM acting as referee, of a sort. I'm not yet sure how it could work out in practice, but, well, food for thought?

You bet i'll stay here. And that does sound awesome. Y'know, I can't wait til playtesting starts up. And as for the spells, i can and will definately help you guys out with components.

Belial_the_Leveler
2008-02-15, 12:57 PM
You might be interested in the "Wheel of Time" method. Instead of basic seeds, you have actual spells but the spells are not of a fixed level. Instead there are specific ways to augment them. For example, Fireball would be a level 3-6 spell with lvl 3 being a pretty weak fireball and level 6 being much stronger.

Augmentable spells are more easy to implement than seeds. Why? Because if you have a single seed, say, "Fire", you have to include in the same seed a crapload of rules to cover fireballs, walls of fire, firestorms, continual flames, flame shields, flame weapons and so on. Instead, if you separate the rules into smaller, easier to handle "spells", things might work better. After all, you don't want your player trying to come up with a spell on the fly using seeds-each time sb casts, it would take 20 minutes to work out what he casts.


On the Balance subject, the only magic that is shown to have real and dangerous magical side-effects is summoning and Transformation and then only if you can't undo what you did. Other types of magic don't have magical side-effects even when used in a vast scale. E.g. the use of illusions is almost casual and has no dangerous results. The control of weather-even to the extent used to conjure up massive storms that can sink ships-has no magical side-effect at all and its physical side-effects are that you might disrupt the climate (which wizards don't seem to care about). The movement of objects-even to the extent of creating massive tidal waves and submerging entire islands doesn't seem to have disruptive results other than the destruction caused by the act itself. Applying protections and wardings is done casually too-Roc for example has mighty wards built in every one of its stones.
On the other hand, summoning something as small as a pie and transforming something as small as a stone is not done unless it is absolutely required.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-15, 01:27 PM
You might be interested in the "Wheel of Time" method. Instead of basic seeds, you have actual spells but the spells are not of a fixed level. Instead there are specific ways to augment them. For example, Fireball would be a level 3-6 spell with lvl 3 being a pretty weak fireball and level 6 being much stronger.

Augmentable spells are more easy to implement than seeds. Why? Because if you have a single seed, say, "Fire", you have to include in the same seed a crapload of rules to cover fireballs, walls of fire, firestorms, continual flames, flame shields, flame weapons and so on. Instead, if you separate the rules into smaller, easier to handle "spells", things might work better. After all, you don't want your player trying to come up with a spell on the fly using seeds-each time sb casts, it would take 20 minutes to work out what he casts.


On the Balance subject, the only magic that is shown to have real and dangerous magical side-effects is summoning and Transformation and then only if you can't undo what you did. Other types of magic don't have magical side-effects even when used in a vast scale. E.g. the use of illusions is almost casual and has no dangerous results. The control of weather-even to the extent used to conjure up massive storms that can sink ships-has no magical side-effect at all and its physical side-effects are that you might disrupt the climate (which wizards don't seem to care about). The movement of objects-even to the extent of creating massive tidal waves and submerging entire islands doesn't seem to have disruptive results other than the destruction caused by the act itself. Applying protections and wardings is done casually too-Roc for example has mighty wards built in every one of its stones.
On the other hand, summoning something as small as a pie and transforming something as small as a stone is not done unless it is absolutely required.

Hmm... that opens possibilities. But, wouldn't that be the same thing as making up new spells? Or do we take the spells we already have and but in clauses on ways to augment them?

So, if what you say id true, permanant Transmutation and Summoning spells are "taboo"? :smallconfused:

Belial_the_Leveler
2008-02-15, 09:20 PM
Hmm... that opens possibilities. But, wouldn't that be the same thing as making up new spells? Or do we take the spells we already have and but in clauses on ways to augment them?
Making augmentable spells results in much less work. Fireball, Delayed Blast Fireball, Firestorm, Flamestrike and Meteor Swarm are 5 spells. Having a single augmentable spell that can cover the above 5 spells is half the work with the added advantage that the augmentable spell not only covers the 5 normal spells with a single set of rules but can also cover 100 different combinations. E.g. if instead of four 40-ft bursts in a Meteor Swarm someone wanted two 80-ft bursts, they could do it with the augmentable fireball.

The advantage an augmentable spell has over a seed is that a seed has complicated rules of spellcraft/truespeech DC and needs a good deal of time to make the final spell which is bad for combat-the augmentable spell directly translates to spell level, no calculations required and no abuse/loopholes exist (if you do it right).
The advantage a seed has is that, given time, you can make more spell combinations than with an augmentable spell-but it can't be done during combat, it is unwieldy and has many calculations and there are possibilities of loopholes.

Here is an example of an augmentable spell (which happens to be the first spell in my own magic system too)



Fireball

Elementalism [Fire] 6
Power: 3
Complexity: 1 (change to truespeech difficulty equivalent in your system)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
Area: 20-ft.-radius spread
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Reflex half
Spell Resistance: Yes

A fireball spell is an explosion of flame that detonates with a low roar and deals 1d6 points of fire damage per talent level (maximum 10d6) to every creature within the area. Unattended objects also take this damage.

The explosion creates almost no pressure. You point your finger and determine the range (distance and height) at which the fireball is to burst. A glowing, pea-sized bead streaks from the pointing digit and, unless it impacts upon a material body or solid barrier prior to attaining the prescribed range, blossoms into the fireball at that point. (An early impact results in an early detonation.) If you attempt to send the bead through a narrow passage, such as through an arrow slit, you must hit the opening with a ranged touch attack, or else the bead strikes the barrier and detonates prematurely. The fireball sets fire to combustibles and damages objects in the area. It can melt metals with low melting points, such as lead, gold, copper, silver, and bronze. If the damage caused to an interposing barrier shatters or breaks through it, the fireball may continue beyond the barrier if the area permits; otherwise it stops at the barrier just as any other spell effect does.
Augment:
Damage Cap: +5 dice max damage per Power increase.
Area Change: Change to 40 ft cone, 120 ft line, 20 ft cube. +1 complexity. Shapeable (cube) 10 for +1 complexity, shapeable (cube) 5 for +2 complexity.
Area increase: +10 ft sphere, +20 ft cone, +60 ft line, +10 ft cube per power increase.
Additional burst: +1 burst per +1 power/complexity, damage overlaps.


So, you want to cast Meteor Swarm. You cast a fireball with 3 additional bursts, each with a radius of 40 ft instead of 20. This means +5 power, +3 complexity. So, Meteor Swarm is a Fireball with power 8, complexity 4 and the right choice of augments.

You want to cast firestorm on the oncoming enemy force. You cast fireball, change area to cube, +10 max damage dice, shapeable in 10 ft squares, +20 ft cube size, +1 additional burst. This results in a Power 8, Complexity 4 fireball that gives you two 40-ft cubes shapeable per 10 ft squares (or a total of 32 10-ft squares) that deals a maximum of 20d6 damage.

As you can see, it mimicks Firestorm perfectly and Meteor Swarm almost perfectly needing only 20 seconds of thought-that you'd otherwise spend searching for a specific spell in the PHB or you'd spend to decide which specific spell to memorise. Now you just keep the fireball rules before you any time you want to blast something with fire.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-15, 09:45 PM
Simple and elegant. I like it.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2008-02-15, 09:52 PM
You know, I might just steal that for my normal games, with a bit of tweaking.

Belial_the_Leveler
2008-02-15, 09:55 PM
So, if what you say id true, permanant Transmutation and Summoning spells are "taboo"?


Actually, any spells that have a real result and you can't reverse can end up bad-but that's not a rule hardwired in the magic. It is merely the natural consequence of your actions, even if it only is abuse of your power.

Transmutation is bad especially on humans-eventually you also adapt to the new form in mind so a wizard becoming a beast will eventually think like a beast and a wizard turning to stone won't be able to think at all-so you can't reverse that transformation. The greater the change, the faster you adapt. E.g. Ogion's master transforms into part of the earth's crust to help stop an earthuake. The change is so fundamental and extensive that it is irreversible-he ceases being a wizard and actually becomes part of the earth and thus can no longer reverse the spell. Transforming small things is bad in the long run. If every wizard transmuted stone to diamonds, diamonds would end up worthless. Transmuting crap into money is actually forgery-and a distasteful one at that, especially if you set it to expire after a day or so.

Summoning is bad because it is harder to banish than to summon and the closer the summons is to your limit, the bigger the chance of making a mistake. Ged attempted to summon a dead spirit-an act at the limit of his power that backfired and called an Old One. Because the banishment was beyond him (and beyond Nemerle) he got stuck with the Old One. Summoning small things is also bad because they come from the place they used to be. So, naturally, that pie you summoned came from somewhere. And by summoning it, you stole it from the nearby baker. Or the king's table.

Elementalism can cause its own problems. If too many wizards don't want to get wet in case it rains amd cast far too many cloud-moving spells, it can have two bad results: crops would suffer due to lack of rain and the rains that would fall in one place may end up falling in other places in addition to that places' standard rains causing floods. Raising winds to get a ship moving might disrupt the winds in other places-and while your ship sails, other ships might be rooted to the spot due to lack of wind. Or, if the wind is against you and you cause a favorable wind, the two currents might clash and cause a hurricane. Now, if instead of winds you play with heat and fire as the Master of Fire did by extending the duration of the day for hours at a time, the natural backlash can be higher. If you are powerful enough and you decide to start causing earthquakes that tear down islands or create tidal waves then the destruction you cause will certainly kill people-Morred and his Enemy nearly destroyed the Earthsea. And that is bad, generally speaking.

Raising wards doesn't cause problems on its own-but wards must be sustained and thus your available magical strength diminishes. E.g. Ged raised many wards in one place and had no energy for anything else. In addition, wards are visible only to the maker (unless you use Finding to sense them) and innocent people tend to bump into invisible, insubstantial things. If said things can strike them dead or trap them, then they are dangerous.

Illusions cause no problems of their own because they create nothing real. But using them to deceive people might be illegal. Using them to delude people that there's a bridge where there is not and killing them is generally bad for example.

Ditto for enchantments (curses, mind-control and the like). Such stuff are almost always illegal-especially if you use them to deceive people into writing off their property to you in their wills then killing eachother or if you use them to bind others to say what you want and don't say what you don't want (e.g. bind someone to accuse your rival before a court).

Finding causes no problems on its own. It is entirely up to the user to use the info for bad or good.

Patterns (alterations of reality) are serious stuff. When you can teleport entire forests and the people in them or open and seal doors to other worlds through the runes of power or tear off part of the world, cast it in another dimension and set the spirits of the dead to spend an eternity there and you make a mistake, Bad Things happen.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-16, 03:03 AM
Actually, any spells that have a real result and you can't reverse can end up bad-but that's not a rule hardwired in the magic. It is merely the natural consequence of your actions, even if it only is abuse of your power.

Transmutation is bad especially on humans-eventually you also adapt to the new form in mind so a wizard becoming a beast will eventually think like a beast and a wizard turning to stone won't be able to think at all-so you can't reverse that transformation. The greater the change, the faster you adapt. E.g. Ogion's master transforms into part of the earth's crust to help stop an earthuake. The change is so fundamental and extensive that it is irreversible-he ceases being a wizard and actually becomes part of the earth and thus can no longer reverse the spell. Transforming small things is bad in the long run. If every wizard transmuted stone to diamonds, diamonds would end up worthless. Transmuting crap into money is actually forgery-and a distasteful one at that, especially if you set it to expire after a day or so.

Summoning is bad because it is harder to banish than to summon and the closer the summons is to your limit, the bigger the chance of making a mistake. Ged attempted to summon a dead spirit-an act at the limit of his power that backfired and called an Old One. Because the banishment was beyond him (and beyond Nemerle) he got stuck with the Old One. Summoning small things is also bad because they come from the place they used to be. So, naturally, that pie you summoned came from somewhere. And by summoning it, you stole it from the nearby baker. Or the king's table.

Elementalism can cause its own problems. If too many wizards don't want to get wet in case it rains amd cast far too many cloud-moving spells, it can have two bad results: crops would suffer due to lack of rain and the rains that would fall in one place may end up falling in other places in addition to that places' standard rains causing floods. Raising winds to get a ship moving might disrupt the winds in other places-and while your ship sails, other ships might be rooted to the spot due to lack of wind. Or, if the wind is against you and you cause a favorable wind, the two currents might clash and cause a hurricane. Now, if instead of winds you play with heat and fire as the Master of Fire did by extending the duration of the day for hours at a time, the natural backlash can be higher. If you are powerful enough and you decide to start causing earthquakes that tear down islands or create tidal waves then the destruction you cause will certainly kill people-Morred and his Enemy nearly destroyed the Earthsea. And that is bad, generally speaking.

Raising wards doesn't cause problems on its own-but wards must be sustained and thus your available magical strength diminishes. E.g. Ged raised many wards in one place and had no energy for anything else. In addition, wards are visible only to the maker (unless you use Finding to sense them) and innocent people tend to bump into invisible, insubstantial things. If said things can strike them dead or trap them, then they are dangerous.

Illusions cause no problems of their own because they create nothing real. But using them to deceive people might be illegal. Using them to delude people that there's a bridge where there is not and killing them is generally bad for example.

Ditto for enchantments (curses, mind-control and the like). Such stuff are almost always illegal-especially if you use them to deceive people into writing off their property to you in their wills then killing eachother or if you use them to bind others to say what you want and don't say what you don't want (e.g. bind someone to accuse your rival before a court).

Finding causes no problems on its own. It is entirely up to the user to use the info for bad or good.

Patterns (alterations of reality) are serious stuff. When you can teleport entire forests and the people in them or open and seal doors to other worlds through the runes of power or tear off part of the world, cast it in another dimension and set the spirits of the dead to spend an eternity there and you make a mistake, Bad Things happen.

Ah, so that's how it is. Thanks fer the info.

Alfryd
2008-02-16, 04:30 AM
Augmentable spells are more easy to implement than seeds. Why? Because if you have a single seed, say, "Fire", you have to include in the same seed a crapload of rules to cover fireballs, walls of fire, firestorms, continual flames, flame shields, flame weapons and so on.
I certainly agree that augmentable spell effects are useful- I use one for the Summon seed- But I don't think augmentable spells, by themselves, will actually reduce total complexity by comparison with spell seeds, for two reasons:

1. You have to describe different spells for Fireball, Flame Strike, Flame Shield, and the like, which taken together are exactly as, or more complex than, the 'crapload of options' given for Summon[fire].
2. The' crapload of options' for tweaking Summon[fire] can actually be seperated as distinct spell seeds themselves, and thus re-used freely with completely different schools or effects, (in a fashion similar to metamagic feats.) This something you can't do with augmentable spells alone.

For instance, you can use the following:

Shaping[spell, path]
* Skill 2 or more, see text
* Power 5 per 25 square feet
* instantaneous

A shaping spell substitutes a given path, specified by the caster, for the spell's normal area of effect. (Typical paths include cone, wall, beam, and ball or circle, which may be specified at no further cost. More complex paths may have to be composed from other spells.)

You can then use this seed to compose Cone of Flame, Cone of Cold, Lightning Bolt, Electric Orb, Cone of Silence, Ball of Flame, Wall of Ice, or, heck, at higher levels, Forcecage.


Fireball, Delayed Blast Fireball, Firestorm, Flamestrike and Meteor Swarm are 5 spells. Having a single augmentable spell that can cover the above 5 spells is half the work with the added advantage that the augmentable spell not only covers the 5 normal spells with a single set of rules but can also cover 100 different combinations.
I entirely agree. But, by the same principle, that's exactly why I favour spell seeds- they allow you to extract common elements from differing spells and thus lower the total complexity of the rules regarding casting, while greatly increasing flexibility. I mean, your example is basically a crapload of options tacked onto fireball. Which is fine, but how is it any better than that same crapload of options, seperated as seeds, and available for application to any spell I like?

(Of course, blasting things with fire of any description is something earthsea's wizards don't do a whole pile regardless, so having fireball as a basic option may not accord with the setting.)

The advantage an augmentable spell has over a seed is that a seed has complicated rules of spellcraft/truespeech DC...
...Is there something particularly complicated about 'adding'?

Perhaps we could simply state that a given Seed has a default skill/power cost of 1 or 2?

After all, you don't want your player trying to come up with a spell on the fly using seeds-each time sb casts, it would take 20 minutes to work out what he casts.
I agree, but you can penalise this kind of behaviour by making spells you invent on the spot much more prone to failure and/or require additional skill checks (-which is entirely realistic.) Any spell which takes 20 minutes to compose, and you had not researched beforehand, is almost certainly going to backfire badly. There are certain spells that are legitimately intended to take quite some time to research and implement, such as defensive wards, persistant charms, spellsmithing, and the like, but those you would likely concoct between sessions, with a great many precautions thrown in.

If you like, you could simply have a rule saying that spontaneous casting of spells you haven't memorised is illegal, and not have to worry about in-game slowdown.


On the Balance subject, the only magic that is shown to have real and dangerous magical side-effects is summoning and Transformation and then only if you can't undo what you did.....
You seem to have corrected yourself on this point in your subsequent post, which I entirely agree with. However, another example of damaging knock-on consequences which has nothing to do with spellcasting itself was when Ged compelled Cob to follow him into the Dry Land, frightening him so badly that it spurred him on to attain his 'immortality' (at the price of his own death.) Ged mentions that he did this out of vanity and anger, and that this should have been the first sign he was doing something wrong.

So, naturally, that pie you summoned came from somewhere. And by summoning it, you stole it from the nearby baker. Or the king's table.
I don't think it's quite that simple, though you could arrange to summon a pie from a specified location, you'd have to know where it was in advance, or otherwise be able to identify the subject of the spell. It's possible that summonings of light/fire/sound/force and matter etc. actually eminate from primal elemental planes (which would fit better with the notion of necromancy at higher levels.)

Otherwise I find your analysis quite insightful and comprehensive. The question, of course, is how you would provide some narrative mechanism that makes the players actually care about knock-on consequences to their actions, and use that to structure and refine the underlying plot.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-16, 04:49 AM
Both options seem like they could fit. Perhaps we could somehow mesh the two together?

Alfryd
2008-02-16, 06:16 AM
By all means. As mentioned, I use augmentation myself for the Summon seed. But if the augmentation can be readily divorced from the spell itself, it should probably be a seed in it's own right.

Summon[type, energy]
* Skill 10
* Power 4, + 2x energy, (+50% per further round)
* instantaneous

A Summoning may be used to produce energy of the given type (either fire, lightning, sonic, light or force) at the point of casting. Summoned energy may be maintained indefinitely, but requires fresh power checks each round.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-16, 06:47 AM
Hmm.... that seems like it could be a seed in its own right, but i think you just said that.

Alfryd
2008-02-17, 12:16 AM
The advantage a seed has is that, given time, you can make more spell combinations than with an augmentable spell-but it can't be done during combat, it is unwieldy and has many calculations and there are possibilities of loopholes.
That is a quite legitimate difficulty, actually. I suspect, in Earthsea, there's an automatic balancing mechanism for grotesque rules abuse in terms of, well, The Balance. And Wizard vs. Wizard should be automatically balanced in any case. Bear in mind this is a setting where wizards have had a fair shot at permanently halting the Sun.


Maybe I should explain the system I was hoping for in some detail.

Between sessions, a player can research a spell (or spells,) composed from either basic seeds, previously memorised spells, or a combination of both (he writes up the result in Seed format.)

The first time this custom spell is used, the player makes a Logic check vs. skill DC to see whether he can recall it correctly. If he can't, then the margin of failure is added to the spell's Concentration DC for that casting. If he can, then the spell is memorised, and it's skill DC is permanently reduced. This process is repeated every session the caster tries out the spell (keeping the best of all checks thus far,) until he succeeds in memorising the damn thing. (If the caster would have reasonable opportunity to test the spell between sessions, he would gain a bonus to the check... bearing in mind Balance.)

Actually casting the spell requires a Concentration check vs. skill DC. Most spells will also have Power requirements. Power is an attribute that only wizards possess (10 by default, +1 per level or something like it- the base value can only be modified with great difficulty.) You must make a Power check against the skill's Power DC, or suffer power drain and/or fatigue, as per the system Morkai detailed earlier.

Composing an entirely new spell for immediate use without prior research requires a Muse check against (skill DC X no. of spell components). (Components may include already memorised spells, so part of the strategy would be choosing the right vocabulary to build upon later.) Thus, a spell with skill DC 10 put together from 3 components would have a Muse DC of 30- something only seasoned wizards would attempt with any confidence. If you have time to research the spell in advance, this DC is halved, (maybe more.) Thus it is possible for wizards to put together custom spells on the fly, provided they're made from off-the-shelf parts, so to speak. (This should eliminate lengthy spell composition in mid-combat, and prevent in-game slowdown.)

If you fail the Muse check, the spell cannot be cast (or researched) at all. However, if you succeed when you did not research the spell, you may treat the spell as if it were memorised.


Rowanomicon, have you any further ideas for matching up spell seed with the various schools? I think I have a decent fix for the attributes:
{table]Endurance | Action | Craft
Wisdom | Trust | Passion
Logic | Concentration | Muse[/table]
Since we have quite a few, I reckoned we could just use them to substitute for various commonly-used skills.
What I'm worried over is that some of the masters of Roke might not correspond to schools of magic per se (the Namer, Chanter, and Doorkeeper in particular, and there are certain forms of magic mentioned that don't easily fit within the jurisdiction of the remaining masters.)

Any thoughts?

Rowanomicon
2008-02-17, 11:21 AM
Well I was thinking, actually, that Naming, Chanting, and... Doorkeeping, wouldn't use the seed system.

Naming needs it's own mechanic for fidnign out names. Probably just a check modified by stat, the specificness and rarity of the name, the person/creature's HD (if it's a person/creature), the Dragon/Wizard's Will or something (if it's a Dragon/Wizard), any previous research, etc, etc

Chanting is a bit harder to give any real in game effect to. Perhaps we can borrow some D&D bard mechanics. It doen't fit the stories perfectly, but it's something.

I think the Master Doorkeeper's magic is pretty unique. It's about relations with others, it's about mastery of one's domain, it's about knowledge of the ways to get places, it's about consentual control over the comings and going of others. There's something really kingly about it I think.

The other thing is that the Chater and Doorkeeper's magic can be used by non-wizards as well. I think the Doorkeeper's is rarer, but still available to non-wizards.

Naming too, to a certain exptent. Non-wizards cannot give truenames and can only find them out through mundane methods, but I think even a non-wizard who know's someone's truename can hold some power over that person.

Alfryd
2008-02-17, 04:03 PM
That all sounds about right. To be honest, though I'm not sure the Chanter/Namer/Doorkeeper teach magic at all. (I mean, it's hard to imagine what school of enchantment the Doorkeeper teaches, given students only meet him twice.)

There are certainly non-wizard Chanters aplenty, but as far as I can tell all they do is memorise and recite poetry. I agree fully about the Chanter/Bard correlation. I was working a while back on expanded performance skills for a rather different project (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50985). ...But the important thing is that you could arrange for a successful oration to grant a relatively modest morale bonus to skill/attribute checks over the next 24 hours or so. (It seems handier than bursting into song mid-battle.)

Naming too, to a certain exptent. Non-wizards cannot give truenames and can only find them out through mundane methods, but I think even a non-wizard who know's someone's truename can hold some power over that person.
I think the only example given of this is when the Skiorh-Gebbeth nullifies Ged's power by saying his true name, but this does nothing to hamper Ged's non-magical abilities, which suggests non-wizards don't have much to fear from eachother. I seem to recall the Kargad islanders use their true names openly, (since they don't have spellcasters apart, I suspect, from the Godkings.)

Rowanomicon
2008-02-17, 06:59 PM
I don't think the Doorkeeper teaches the students, but his magic still exists. It's kind of something you either have or do not have in whatever degree. You don't learn it.

Chanting is learned and probably Truenaming aswell.

Chanting must have some magic inherent in it because non-wizard chanters forget their songs when magic disappears from the world.

I think singing even with non-wizards seems to be capable of having almost a restful effect. Perhaps removing one condition level with a high enough check.

I think there must be some reason that people protect their truenames so carefull beyond fear of the rare (and usually friendly) wizards and rather incompitent local witches. I can't remember any specific example though...

Truenames in the Kargad land kind of confused me as everywhere else you don't have a truename until a wizard gives it to you... Seems wierd to me. i thought maybe Tenar was not tenar's truename until ged gave it to her. he just decided to use her old name. or maybe wizards don't give truenames they simply see them and then tell that person...although we know they can take them away and give new ones...

Alfryd
2008-02-18, 03:43 AM
I would tend to think of the Doorkeeper simply as a sort of 'head of security' for Roke. If I were to name an associated school of magic it would be the Warding or Universal school. But what we need to find places for are:
Charming(including mind-affecting magic)
Mending
Finding
Binding
Telling
Spellsmiths/Spellwrights
Opening/Unsealing/Revealing
EDIT: also Sealing, Sending, etc.
Which are mostly minor magic, known by village witches and the like. It might also be a good idea to have a list of counters to various spells.

The ability to discover true names is certainly a form of magic, but I don't know if that's what Kurremkarmerruk teaches. Off course, it might be sufficiently important to warrant a school of magic regardless.

As far as I can tell, your true name is simply whatever name you truly think of yourself as having. Tenar never really thought of herself as Arha, even when she'd forgotten everything beforehand. I think Ged was able to rename Akaren specifically because her old name had lost all meaning to her, but it's hard to say.

Chanting must have some magic inherent in it because non-wizard chanters forget their songs when magic disappears from the world.
That is true, but I suspect this applied to any craft requiring skill and concentration- such as the weavers of lorbanery and the merchants of hort town. Everyone was affected to some degree or another.

I think singing even with non-wizards seems to be capable of having almost a restful effect. Perhaps removing one condition level with a high enough check.
Seems reasonable. Chanters might also have a bonus to recalling obscure (hisotrical?) information (again, like the bard,) and to certain forms of spellcasting (I think the master herbal uses a song-like spell at one point.)

Rowanomicon
2008-02-18, 03:10 PM
I think we could use the Doorkeeper and his associated attribute as adump for magic that does not fit into other school.

It seems to me that he has some power other than being the dude with the keys as he was pretty much unaffected by the events in the third book. It described him as just as happy as ever. Anyway, he just seems cool and like there's more than meets the eye. Plus he knows Ged's name.

Well in all lands except the Kargad lands (and probably the raft folk too) Wizards grant people their truenames. Althought this may simply be that a Wizards sees the truename that person already has and tells them what it is. Based on the Akaren though I would say that the Wizard actually gives it to them. That would then mean that kids don't have truenames until a Wizard gives them one... but that seems to contradict the Kargad people. It's all very confusing...

The weaver actually had mages making the sye s there was actual magic involved in that and it was the magic they had lost.
Other than that the only effect on lay-people was the general despair that was seeping into the world.

I definitely maintain that there is magic in song in Earthsea.

I agree about recalling history as Arren knew quite alot about legendary figures from all the songs he'd memorised.
The bard seems to be a very good base for chanters.

Alfryd
2008-02-18, 05:55 PM
Oh, the Doorkeeper's definitely a powerful wizard. So are all the masters. But I don't know if they all teach particular schools of magic as such.
In any case... If you have no particular objection to the seed system, I might move forward with detailing some of the other schools, and/or generally rounding out the examples. We cool with this?

That would then mean that kids don't have truenames until a Wizard gives them one... but that seems to contradict the Kargad people. It's all very confusing...
I think what happens in the Archipelago is that the culture conditions children to think of their use-name as temporary, and wizards simply find a true name that better suits their character, thus making it easy to accept when they come of age. The fact this name is given late in life allows them to keep that true name secret. (You could think of it as a 'name transplant'.)

What I suspect happened in the Kargad lands is that the Godkings (who evolved from high priests, such as Intathin, Erreth-Akbe's nemesis,) were originally mages who managed to monopolise the knowledge of true names, and banned all other knowledge of wizardry (and even literacy) among their subjects. This both kept out the competition, and allowed them free access to the true names of all their subjects, since they never bothered to adopt new ones as adults.

The weaver actually had mages making the says there was actual magic involved in that and it was the magic they had lost. I definitely maintain that there is magic in song in Earthsea.
If you're fixed on the interpretation, I won't argue much about it, as long as we can agree on in-game effects. I just don't see much about Chanting outside the mundane operation of cause and effect that you can call strictly magical. I think Chanters are more similar to the celtic bards than the modern D&D troubadour/minstrel- Chanters are pretty lawful, after all, but there's a fair deal in common. I think a set of specialist skills should be enough to cover it- and would allow for non-wizards' access.

Looking back at Turanil's suggestion (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3842686&postcount=2), maybe we can adopt True20's (http://true20.com/files/True20_quickstart.pdf) system of dropping attributes themselves and keeping their bonuses (since the former rarely pop up in any case. Then again, if we're using attributes for making checks directly ...Eh. I'll think it over.)

What did you think of the DM/plot structure/good/evil teams suggestions?

Rowanomicon
2008-02-18, 06:55 PM
Oh, I definitely agree that the Doorkeeper doesn't teach clases, but that doesn't mean we can't relate a school of magic to him and his related atribute.

I like the seed idea, definitely.

One thing is that some schools of magic (definitely finding truenames and probably also chanting) should not use it because straight checks are just easier to do and complication is not needed.

Hmm, I like your interpretation of how truenames work.

I don't think it would be a good setting to have players vs players with the GM being a ref.
In the first book tat would make it Gebbeth Vs Ged, but it doesn't detail that much about the Gebbeth.
In the second book it would be Tenar, ged, and maybe Manon Vs Nameless Ones and maybe the GodKing's High Priestess, and the Nameless ones don't do much of anything that we really see, and the High Priestess does little more.
In the third book it would be Ged and Arren Vs Cob. That is the most apropriate one, but Cob only shows up at the very end.

I just don't think it's right for this setting. I do, however, think that small groups should be the norm.

I don't have a lot of time for research as I'm on vacation and my only computer access is internet cafes (paid), but I think true20, form the little I know of it, maybe could be used as a basis to build on with what we already have.

I think all we really need to do is:
Attributes (done)
Seeds (covers most magic)
Naming
Chanting (both fairly easy)
Feats
Skills

Everything after that is specifics such as statting out dragons and creating sample spells and maybe specific items...

Alfryd
2008-02-19, 06:59 AM
Strictly, in the first book, you have Ged and Vetch versus Benderesk and Serret (though they get knocked out fast.) In the 4th, well... you'll get to that.

Of, course, the story focuses on the protagonists, but that doesn't mean the villains aren't active in the meantime. The complication this raises is that direct conflict or interaction between the two tends to be rare, so you'd either need to alternate sessions between factions, or have one faction handle appropriate NPC representatives while the other plays. Well, it seemed like an interesting notion at the time...

I just don't think it's right for this setting. I do, however, think that small groups should be the norm.
I suppose, but even groups of 4 players on a team might be pushing things, and 4-6 is the normal sweet spot. Maybe just one player could handle the evil side/NPCs, with seperate rules from the good faction, but different goals from the GM?

What I would very much like to see is some method of avoiding the typical railroad plot, once players get entangled in correcting the side-effects of their actions.

I think all we really need to do is:
Attributes (done)
Seeds (covers most magic)
Naming
Chanting (both fairly easy)
Feats
Skills

Everything after that is specifics such as statting out dragons and creating sample spells and maybe specific items...
Seems fair. We'll also have to do more R&D on setting/background- geography, economics, culture, history et prima donnas. I do have some ideas for the skill system, but the degree of complexity could vary a lot. I'll get back to it later, but perhaps you might check out this old post (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69668). Most of it can (and should) be thrown out, but you might let me know what's worth keeping.

Again, any other feedback or criticism would be welcome. Brutally critiqued, but nonetheless welcome. :)

magic_unlocked
2008-02-20, 04:48 AM
That is interesting, but you lost me around skill XP. I think that your post should not be read at 2 AM. x.x Anyhow, it looks a bit too complicated, kinda like what a wizard's spell book looks like to a non-caster.

I agree with you on the base seeds, if you need help with them, PM me, alright?

From what i gathered on the chanters, they look like bards. Why not use the bard but alter things to fit the campaign setting a bit better? But, that might be your job anyways since i have yet to actually read the Earthsea books.

Sooo.... Truenames are given to people by wizards? How does that work? And what does knowing a person's true name confer? I'm a bit fuzzy on that topic.

Rowanomicon
2008-02-20, 07:41 PM
Well, if you have 4-6 players then most can be Roke students and at least one will want to be some non-wizard character (which don't occur a lot, but I think should be possible for games).
One class should maybe be those people who know they are related to Dragons... don't know much about them yet, just a mention, but it sounds to me like they might have some power to them.
I also think that if someone wants to play a sword swinging or sneaky hero then we shouldn't have a rule set that makes them totally useless.

I agree about avoiding railroad plots. I mean, if/when the characters do something that creates backlash they will have to fix it. They can go on item rescuing quests and evil conquering if some dark mage or warlord is running a mock somewhere. At lower levels they will face random encounters such as other novice mages or malaligned witches, pirates, thugs, etc (are there any beasts really? I don't recall anything). At higher levels they will face things such as more powerful dark mages and witches, the dangers of the cavern's of the Nameless Ones (who says there weren't others hidden somewhere?), dragons, warlords, and larger groups of pirates/soldiers.

Not to mention that but they can also roleplay. ;)

Oh, of course we need to flacour out the world, but I was just talking about the rules system and I think most Gms and players would have read at least one book if they're interested in trying the system.

Don't have the spare time neccessary to read your skill post, sorry. I'm on vacation right now and using internet cafes.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-20, 08:57 PM
Well, if you have 4-6 players then most can be Roke students and at least one will want to be some non-wizard character (which don't occur a lot, but I think should be possible for games).
One class should maybe be those people who know they are related to Dragons... don't know much about them yet, just a mention, but it sounds to me like they might have some power to them.
I also think that if someone wants to play a sword swinging or sneaky hero then we shouldn't have a rule set that makes them totally useless.

I agree about avoiding railroad plots. I mean, if/when the characters do something that creates backlash they will have to fix it. They can go on item rescuing quests and evil conquering if some dark mage or warlord is running a mock somewhere. At lower levels they will face random encounters such as other novice mages or malaligned witches, pirates, thugs, etc (are there any beasts really? I don't recall anything). At higher levels they will face things such as more powerful dark mages and witches, the dangers of the cavern's of the Nameless Ones (who says there weren't others hidden somewhere?), dragons, warlords, and larger groups of pirates/soldiers.

Not to mention that but they can also roleplay. ;)

Oh, of course we need to flacour out the world, but I was just talking about the rules system and I think most Gms and players would have read at least one book if they're interested in trying the system.

Don't have the spare time neccessary to read your skill post, sorry. I'm on vacation right now and using internet cafes.

While this is an earthsea-campaign setting, i agree that there should be ways that allow non-Earthsea'ian-casters and classes into the setting. Well, you know what i mean.

Alfryd
2008-02-21, 07:57 AM
While this is an earthsea-campaign setting, i agree that there should be ways that allow non-Earthsea'ian-casters and classes into the setting. Well, you know what i mean.
I honestly doubt that's going to work. Non-casters of some variety we can probably accomodate. (Heck, there are speedbumps with accomodating women and white folk as equal participants, don't ask me about druids.)
To get you up to speed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthsea
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Other_Wind
Spoilers, naturally.
There's some very interesting information there, actually. 6 short stories and an extra book to deal with...*sigh*.

Sooo.... Truenames are given to people by wizards? How does that work? And what does knowing a person's true name confer? I'm a bit fuzzy on that topic.
There are three factors governing the effectiveness of a particular spell, and so, how hard it is to resist- the innate Power of the caster, their knowledge of true names or ability to otherwise identify the spell's target(s), and distance from the target(s). Knowing someone's true name cripples their own power and makes it much harder for them to resist your spell.

I agree with you on the base seeds, if you need help with them, PM me, alright?
Well, this seems a good a place for discussion as any, but I'm easy...

Alfryd
2008-02-21, 08:01 AM
I also think that if someone wants to play a sword swinging or sneaky hero then we shouldn't have a rule set that makes them totally useless.
Well, if a wizard is paralysed by terror of summoning eldritch horrors from beyond whenever they hiccup, low-powered characters can come into their own. In theory.

Okay. So we have a fatigue system (which can cover spellcasting limits, morale, injury, and unconsciousness/disability.) We don't need hit dice, since characters can't die. We need a skill system which covers attributes, expertise in true names, chants and herb lore, crafting skills, and non-magic-related proficiencies. Done right, we don't need class/levels. We have seeds for most spellcasting. And we need a system of qualities to cover starting aptitudes, race/gender, background, personality and feats or the equivalent.

We need to cover the major geographical divisions (-because that's how you'd specialise in knowledge of true names, chants, and herb lore.) We also need a pretty detailed setting so that the DM has enough info to handle players wandering off the beaten path. We need a method of handling long-distance travel and navigation, along with weather-lore and sailing. We need rudimentary combat and stealth rules, more on social skills, trade, currency, bartering and languages. Craft skills are important.


Don't have the spare time neccessary to read your skill post, sorry. I'm on vacation right now and using internet cafes.

That is interesting, but you lost me around skill XP. I think that your post should not be read at 2 AM. x.x Anyhow, it looks a bit too complicated, kinda like what a wizard's spell book looks like to a non-caster.
Well, the basic idea I wanted to keep is that skills improve with practice, rather than simply killing or 'defeating' things. e.g if a skill check succeeds (and wasn't an automatic success,) it gains 1 XP. When the skill goes up 1 level, similar skills can gain 1 XP, or otherwise benefit (from improvement to a common attribute, say.) We can rough out the details, but something like that.


At lower levels they will face random encounters such as other novice mages or malaligned witches, pirates, thugs, etc (are there any beasts really? I don't recall anything). At higher levels they will face things such as more powerful dark mages and witches, the dangers of the cavern's of the Nameless Ones (who says there weren't others hidden somewhere?), dragons, warlords, and larger groups of pirates/soldiers.
That all sounds about right. Ged mentions several other encounters with the Old Powers (capping the Black Well of Fundaur sounds eldritch, for instance.) I think there should be some options for non-graduates of Roke who are nonetheless casters (and possibly powerful, such as Serret.)

Oh, of course we need to flacour out the world, but I was just talking about the rules system and I think most Gms and players would have read at least one book if they're interested in trying the system.
Yes, but I think it's particularly important to do thorough research on the setting if the DM can't impose a standard railroad plot. If the players spontaneously decide that they want to sail clear to the Torikles from, say, Astowell, then the DM will really need all the help he can get as far as background goes. If you could take some written notes on economy, language, and the like, it would help later.

I was thinking... as far as introducing side-quests is concerned, that you could use the fatigue system to introduce plot twists when avoiding character death. I mean, if you read the books, there's a heavy emphasis on seemingly random events being 'predestined' in some sense, and lots of narrow brushes with death (Tehanu makes this almost explicit.) So any actions outside the Balance will come back to haunt you at points where character death would typically apply (conversely, serving the Balance can make the situation turn out much rosier.)

magic_unlocked
2008-02-21, 03:49 PM
Um... why will it be hard for say... a fighter to be in this setting? Or does the entire combat/skills system need to be re-worked as well?

Rowanomicon
2008-02-21, 04:12 PM
Yes, I think that just because similar heros have not existed int he books doesot mean that they cannot exist in the game.

If someone wants to be Conan the barbarian or Herculese type hero I think the rules should accomodate that.

Also, I will get much more deeply involved in doing work for this once I'm back at home a settled. I'm on vacation, but I also do not currently have a place to live so I have to get an apartment or something and get settled in and get my computer hooked up. I'm even hoping to get a dew computer soon. Lots of stuff goign on in my life, but I will do what I can when I can and it will eventually increase.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-22, 03:08 AM
Yes, I think that just because similar heros have not existed int he books doesot mean that they cannot exist in the game.

If someone wants to be Conan the barbarian or Herculese type hero I think the rules should accomodate that.

Also, I will get much more deeply involved in doing work for this once I'm back at home a settled. I'm on vacation, but I also do not currently have a place to live so I have to get an apartment or something and get settled in and get my computer hooked up. I'm even hoping to get a dew computer soon. Lots of stuff goign on in my life, but I will do what I can when I can and it will eventually increase.

Alright, we're not pestering you or anything. Ok, as for non-earthsea classes, what classes should be allowed and not allowed? From what I understand, it would be full-casters that would need to be banned. Unless i'm horribly wrong. >_>

Alfryd
2008-02-22, 04:05 AM
Um... why will it be hard for say... a fighter to be in this setting? Or does the entire combat/skills system need to be re-worked as well?

If someone wants to be Conan the barbarian or Herculese type hero I think the rules should accomodate that.
There's nothing within the rules (or, at least, how I'd imagine them,) to prevent it outright. It's just that most of the conflicts in the series are resolved through either magic, travel, or careful negotiation. There is some stealth using illusion, but very limited hand-to-hand combat, in cases where the mage is occupied or powerless.

Just don't expect non-casters to be equally powerful, or expect equally fleshed-out rules. (Great Cleave is not likely to make an appearance.)

Also, I will get much more deeply involved in doing work for this once I'm back at home a settled.
No pressure. I do have some good news- the Other Wind evidently describes a party with no fewer than 7 members (two of them dragons, with a Karg and 3 women,) so we needn't worry so much about limiting group size. Also, there used to be a Master Finder on Roke, and it appears that the Master Chanter does teach certain forms of magic.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-22, 04:08 AM
Um... i've heard the term Roke before. I assume it's the world earthsea is called? Or am i wrong? <_<

*ponders if he should read the books*

Alfryd
2008-02-22, 04:37 AM
The wiki should be sufficient. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthsea#The_School_of_Magic_on_Roke_Island) :)

Draco18s
2008-02-22, 05:27 AM
I wish Ursula would write more about Earthsea. Loved the books and was disapointed that there was no more when I finished.

On a tangental note, it may be worth looking at Irene Radford's novels, The Dragon Nimbus series when working on the mechanics of exaustive spellcasting. Her mages I would say opperate in a similar fassion and there's actually a high level of discussion on how magic works for and is perceived by the characters. Less world-balancing and less true-naming (if I recall correctly, truenames exist but aren't required for magic casting), but would provide more data to build mechanics on as they seem close enough.

Also a good collection of seri for those who haven't read them. And highly advanced technology does exist! The Stargods (and the series of the same name) deals with that much more closely. Read in the order they were written, it's best that myth be myth until you travel back in time to read what actually went on.

magic_unlocked
2008-02-22, 06:05 AM
Interesting. And I'll check out the link.

Alfryd
2008-02-23, 12:19 PM
On a tangental note, it may be worth looking at Irene Radford's novels, The Dragon Nimbus series... read in the order they were written, it's best that myth be myth until you travel back in time to read what actually went on.
I'll be sure to look out for them, but short of Amazon they seem to be tricky to come by these days. If it wouldn't be too much hassle, could you provide a summary of the mechanics involved? (Spoilered, if you like?..)


Well, I think I have a rough list of what the list of major spell seeds would resemble.

Enchantment (allows casting over prolongued period, spreading out skill and power costs)
Naming (fundamental)
Finding (divination of location)
Casting (like it says)
Binding (paralysis, attraction of objects, fixing)
Telling (divination of truth/falsehood)
Calling (summon existant creatures and objects)
Illusion (replicates other spells in sense only at much lower cost)
Mending (as standard, can be used to heal with enough skill)
Charm (long-term spell effects, spell storage?)
Ward (protection)
Summon (produce energy)
Sending (allows remote casting)
Invoke (triggers spell effects subject to a given condition)
Augment (allows for somatic/material components)
Change (transmutation/shapeshifting)
Abolish (antimagic/cancellation, dismissal and annihalation)
Pattern (spellcraft, heavy divination (plot-related?), also tied to Balance)
Making (produce matter and texture)
Weaving (combine several spells, spell storage?)
Sealing (permanancy)
Revealing (counters illusion, aids in spellcraft, acquires names)


All spell seeds have a default origin, range, duration, skill and power cost. Exceptions are noted when appropriate. I'll try and detail their effects later. Maybe it would be simpler just to decide what rune/attribute fits each seed, then assign schools retroactively.

Some of the spell schools are actually combinations of the above components. Weatherworking is a specialised form of binding, augmentation and summoning. Healing is speciliased form of augmentation and mending.

Oh, and I made a list of the Great Runes. (...I was bored.)
http://home.graffiti.net/alfryd:graffiti.net/ArtImages/ES_runes.gif

I was thinking, if we wanted to keep the skill system relatively simple, but fairly comprehensive, we could simply use a set of 12 skills for each pair of adjacent attributes. For instance, Charisma would be the sum of Trust and Passion, Instinct of Trust and Action, Acumen of Trust and Wisdom, and Will of Trust and Concentration. Like so:

{table]endurance|speed|action|artifice|sleight
fortitude||instinct||guile
wisdom|acumen|trust|charisma|passion
patience||will||inspire
logic|memory|concentration|compose|muse[/table]

Of course, I'm not entirely certain what all of these would do, but it might be possible to shoehorn the extra skill sets into this basic framework.

Rowanomicon
2008-02-23, 01:44 PM
I love it.
As far am I'm concerned we can make all skills fit into those 12 categories. They might even be more like secondary attributes.

However, whether we call them skills or secondary attributes doesn't really matter. I think with the magic system, the attributes, the secondary attributes (skills), and a creative use of feats we can have the system of character creation and advancement down pat.

As for feats I think it would be nice to have a system where the player can sit down with the GM and kind of make their own feats within a set of guidelines that we lay out to let payers really do what they want with their characters.
Of course we should write out a bunch of example feats just like we do with example spells (both lists will grow with time... and boredom).

Draco18s
2008-02-23, 03:19 PM
I'll be sure to look out for them, but short of Amazon they seem to be tricky to come by these days. If it wouldn't be too much hassle, could you provide a summary of the mechanics involved? (Spoilered, if you like?..)

Well, not having read the books recently, and not having access to them for at least another week...

There were several kinds of magic--what fueled it.

There was the standard go-to-school-and-learn-about-it-if-you-had-the-ability (like Earthsea) that was, as you learn in Stargods, more closely related to psionics (in the SciFi sence), but was "powered" by dragons (dragons exuded magic, but weren't really wizards themselves, kinda like Eragon).

Then there was bloodmagic, which like most bloodmagics written about is fueled by the pain and suffering of others or the caster. Caster had to have inborn talent first, but found that if he hurt himself he could channel the pain into making his spells better.

Then there were the gypsies. None of the characters being gypsies and only dealing with them occationally, it's hard to say exactly how their magic worked. I'd put them at "kind of like a druid" but they could only cast spells when they as a group performed rituals (but they were generaly god aweful powerful spells).

Then dragons, yeah, I know I said they weren't mages. But they could still cause you to halucinate and think you were doing something else. Always minor, but deadly (such as that cliff not being there, oops thousand foot drop you didn't see). Dragons exude magic and exist because their main food source is the leaves of this one tree, the tambooti. If a mage consumes the oil or breaths the smoke from the burning sap, his power increases exponentially and causes intense halucinations (nothing deadly or unreal, but I'd say something like pot--observations about the extremely mundane being very interesting).

Raw tambooti is a very potent drug and mages are taught to avoid it as it can really screw with your mind. More powerful spells, initially, but you need more and more later (but the same amount causes the same detatchment from reality) and in small amounts can even hamper a mage's ability to cast spells (inability to focus). Large enough doses can kill. (Trying to remember this next part correctly) One of the training missions is at some point they'd seal a would-be-mage in a room with only tambooti wood to keep himself warm through a cold night and he'd be told to study/meditate. Due to the mind-altering effects of the smoke, this was difficult, but possible and taught how to overcome the effects should it ever be used against the mage (as they can quickly become addicted to it).

Trying to remember more. I remember there being illusions which were far easier than real magic, I remember the main character being the first person to ever cause an object to teleport (the way a summon spell technically works) because he'd failed at being able to levitate a cup more than about 3 feet. Impenetrable barriers, turning creatures into non-living substances...

I'll pick up my copy of The Glass Dragon next week and see if I can find the section where the main character is in school.

Alfryd
2008-02-25, 08:00 PM
I love it.
As far am I'm concerned we can make all skills fit into those 12 categories. They might even be more like secondary attributes.

However, whether we call them skills or secondary attributes doesn't really matter. I think with the magic system, the attributes, the secondary attributes (skills), and a creative use of feats we can have the system of character creation and advancement down pat.
Glad to be of assistance.

As for feats I think it would be nice to have a system where the player can sit down with the GM and kind of make their own feats within a set of guidelines that we lay out to let payers really do what they want with their characters.
Of course we should write out a bunch of example feats just like we do with example spells (both lists will grow with time... and boredom).
I have no particular objection if it can be done- it sounds dandy in principle, and I certainly have some notions for example feats- but I'm not sure how to go about customisation guidelines. Do you have any particular ideas/requirements?


There were several kinds of magic--what fueled it.
It all sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it could be easily integrated into the Earthsea setting without stretching canon a bit. I was hoping more for an outline of the 'high-level mechanics' you mentioned, especially true names and the like.

There's no particular rush, if you want to wait until the books are back in a week (or a month,) I'm personally easy.

Rowanomicon
2008-02-25, 08:26 PM
The more I think about the more I'm not sure if a customisable feat system is possible...
I'll think more about it, but at any rate I would like to have an extensive amount of options for feats.

Draco18s
2008-02-26, 10:33 AM
It all sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it could be easily integrated into the Earthsea setting without stretching canon a bit. I was hoping more for an outline of the 'high-level mechanics' you mentioned, especially true names and the like.

There's no particular rush, if you want to wait until the books are back in a week (or a month,) I'm personally easy.

I was kinda spouting what I remember. I'll dig through the books at my earliest opportunity.

Alfryd
2008-02-26, 11:31 AM
The more I think about the more I'm not sure if a customisable feat system is possible...
I'll think more about it, but at any rate I would like to have an extensive amount of options for feats.
I don't mean to be dismissive, it's just a very open-ended question (similar to allowing a freeform plot, which I'm definitely set on.)
I'm not sure how much help it might be, but there's been some discussion on related topics over on the Forge:

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=25683.0
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=25825.0
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=25689.0

The following might also be helpful:
http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/liz-paper-2003/
http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/plot/proactivity.html
http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/personality.html
http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/moraltests.html
http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/roleplay/encouraging_rp.html

I realise you're net access is limited atm, but once you have cheap browsing, you might look 'em over.

As far as the basic arrangement of feats/qualities is concerned, I'd imagine the following...

Skills are something you do.
Qualities are something you are.
...and Attributes are somewhere in between. Every skill is matched to a pair of attributes (in line with the basic framework above.) Whenever you fail a skill check, that skill gains 1 XP. At the end of a session, this XP is granted to the skill's key attributes, and any qualities that you are training to aid that skill. When an attribute gains enough XP, it is raised by 2 points, adjacent attributes gain 1 point, and opposite attributes lose 1 point. When a trained quality gains enough XP, it can then be taken as learnt.

Example skills:

Climb [action, sleight]
Run [action, endurance]
Jump [action, sleight]
Skirmish [action, sleight]
Archery [action, sleight]
Throw [action, sleight]
Evade [action, sleight]
Swim [action, endurance]

Commit [logic, concentration]
Compose [concentation, muse]
Craft [sleight, sleight]
Persuade [passion, trust]
Feign [passion, sleight]
Intuit [wisdom, trust]
Sense [action, trust]
Fathom [wisdom, logic]

Recover [endurance, wisdom]

Farm [wisdom, trust]
Fish [wisdom, concentration]
Herd [wisdom, action]
Housekeep [action, action]

'Ranks' in these skills can actually, themselves, be taken as qualities (see below.)

Qualities come in 3 varieties: Innate, Background, and Trained, (and may be Assets or Drawbacks.) Innate qualities (whether assets or drawbacks) may only be taken during character creation. Background qualities must be taken either during character creation, or conferred as a consequence of role-play and character development. Trained qualities may be learned by the player as a result of practice in related areas. Some qualities may be either trained or innate, some may be either innate or background, and some may be either background or trained.

All Qualities have a cost which determines how valuable they are (in the case of Drawbacks, this cost is negative, allowing you to recoup the cost for other purposes.) Most have a measure of Rarity (always positive, but see under 'common' qualities,) which determines how outlandish this would be for the character. Many qualities interact with eachother to adjust eachothers' cost and rarity. During character creation, cost applies to all qualities, and neither Cost nor Rarity may exceed allotted XP. This helps to ensure that characters are reasonably balanced, without being too far-fetched. Typical characters would start with about 50 XP, and must choose a Sex, Race, Disposition, Profession and Homeland.

(Another consideration that might be worth looking at is to consider starting qualities relative to the party as a whole, rather than simply moulding each character in isolation, to help ensure each character has a niche to play, and coherent relationships to act out.)

Example qualities:

Fully or Partly Innate Qualities:

Ugly
Stupid
Frail
Clumsy
Absent-Minded
Inept [Attribute]
Male | Female
Full Figure | Great Girth | Slender
Stature [Great or Small]
Homosexual | Bisexual
Race [Human, Dragon, Half-Dragon]
Lifeline
Minor Power
Keen Sight | Keen Hearing | Keen Fingers | Keen Scent
Talent / Great Talent / Tremendous Talent [Attribute]
Power / Great Power / Tremendous Power
Intellect / Great Intellect / Tremendous Intellect
Strength / Great Strength / Tremendous Strength
Vigour / Great Vigour / Tremendous Vigour
Agility / Great Agility / Tremendous Agility
Perceptive / Very Perceptive / Extremely Perceptive
Handsome / Very Handsome / Extremely Handsome
Disposition [Impulsive, Balanced or Persistent, and Active, Spiritual or Contemplative]

Trained-only or Background Qualities:

Despised
Poverty
Youth
Illiterate
Marred / Badly Marred / Terribly Marred
Status / Great Status / Tremendous Status [Region or culture]
Wealth / Great Wealth / Tremendous Wealth [Region or culture]
Age / Great Age / Tremendous Age
Homeland [Region or culture]
Skill / Great Skill / Tremendous Skill [Attribute]
Learning / Great Learning / Tremendous Learning [Lore]
Profession [Rootless, Merchant, Soldier, Outlaw, Commoner, Noble, Scholar, Witch/Warlock, Sorcerer/Sorceress, Wizard]
Proficient / Very Proficient / Extremely Proficient [Skill description]
Familiar [Researched or memorised spell]
Specialised / Very Specialised / Extremely Specialised [School of magic]

(During periods when the player takes time off to allow their character to undertake long-term training between stories, rules similar to those during character creation apply to determine which skills/qualities the character could learn most easily. These are also intervals when new plot hooks are likely to unfold, depending on how high a profile the character has kept.)


I was kinda spouting what I remember. I'll dig through the books at my earliest opportunity.
I will say, the gypsies' communal casting does sound like something it would be nice to integrate, for the sake of joint-spellcasting, and the like.

Rowanomicon
2008-02-26, 05:16 PM
Looks very good to me.

I'll check out the discussions when I have the time (most likely next week or something).

Alfryd
2008-02-28, 12:24 PM
Incidentally, I realise this is all straying a little off the beaten path as far as typical d20 systems go. I can probably tweak previous suggestions to resemble a more conventional class/level based system, if that would be more comfortable.

I was thinking, actually, with regard to group integration, customising characters and getting the story going, you could have a 'prologue' session for the game. This would be similar to normal play, but no XP is gained for skill checks. The benefit being that if the a player feels the need (and has enough 'free' XP left over,) they can spontaneously decide that their character possesses a certain quality then and there during the session. For instance, if the character has to do some heavy lifting during the story, the player can spontaneously decide they possess Great Strength (or Frailty, if they want to establish a drawback.) Providing characters aren't allowed to contradict themselves in this regard, you could use this to help the party establish itself in an 'organic' fashion as the plot unfolds.

If you wanted some method to vet custom feats without resorting to straightforward GM say-so, you could allow players to 'vote' on suggested cost/rarity for qualities suggested by the player. There may need to be a couple of provisos though:
1. Each player writes down a specific cost/rarity.
2. Each player decides in secret, at the same time.
3. In the event of a tie, the GM's will prevails (s/he can also vote normally.)

Of course, this relies on the notion that players will agree to limit eachother's powers sensibly, to ensure each gets a fair amount of play, and that encounters aren't too effortless.

Also, on the subject of outlandish characters, I've put together a map of Earthsea's rough ethnocultural boundaries...
http://home.graffiti.net/alfryd:graffiti.net/ArtImages/earthsea_ethnic.gif
Yellow- Kargad. Pale-skinned 'nordics'.
Orange- East reach. Black/brown-skinned 'africans'.
Purple- Archipelagan. Red/brown-skinned 'amerinds'.
Grey- Osskilian. Relatively pale, black-haired. Middle east/mediterranean european.
Blue- South reach. Brown-skinned straight-haired, (similar to some SE-asians.)
Red- West reach. Brown/yellow/pale skinned (depends on latitude) 'east asians'. (-personal addition, not expressly mentioned in books.)

The Kargad islanders tend to be rare in the Archipelago, even after Lebannen's peace treaties, and speak a seperate language. They have no formal currency.

Osskilians are full citizens of the archipelago, but have their own language and use ivory counters for trade and barter. This is why a character's wealth is specific to a given region- currency valid on certain islands may be worthless or have greatly reduced value on others.

Labels on the map refer to specific sub-dialects with the major language groups. Anyone unfamiliar with them is likely to stand out as 'foreign' or 'outlandish', which has an impact on relation rolls on many islands. (For similar reasons, skin tone isn't an exclusively aesthetic consideration....)

Alfryd
2008-02-28, 12:29 PM
Oh, Morkai: Would you be able to flesh out your Condition system in a little more detail, given the current system of attributes? Also, any specific suggestions for fleshing out the magic seeds would be appreciated.

Alfryd
2008-03-01, 12:32 PM
Approximate demographics:
http://home.graffiti.net/alfryd:graffiti.net/ArtImages/earthsea_demographic.gif

White represents relatively prosperous, population-dense, urbanised and/or technologically advanced areas, black represents more backward locales. Red circles represent significant settlement, green circles represent the Great Ports (I had to make up locations for a couple, and I think Shelieth may be misplaced...) Circle radius indicates city size. The Great Ports (of which there are 9,) that I've been able to identify include Great Port and South Port on Havnor, Shelieth on Way, Berila of Enlad, Hort on Wathort, and O-port of O. I think.
The blue line encloses islands belonging to the Dragons, where it is extremely dangerous to venture. Yellow indicates Kargad waters.

Bear in mind, about half of this is half made up.

The Archipelago as a whole is an early iron age society, with bronze still in use in many areas, but the pervasive use of magic for medicine, navigation and the like means that it's structure is more akin to a traditional feudal society. I tend to imagine a cross between the Hopi, the Incas, and the early Romans or mycenean Greeks to get a feel for what the world resembles.
I was mistaken on the subject of currency- ivory counters are used by archipelagan traders, but many islands use individually minted counters (Andrad and Havnor, for instance.) The Osskilians use gold coins. I also missed one of the Great Runes- Sifl, which is painted on ships, (might replace Rul?)

Physical map:
http://home.graffiti.net/alfryd:graffiti.net/ArtImages/earthsea_physical.gif
Anyways, put together these should help give the DM enough information at a glance to narrate a passable description of any given island that the players care to visit. There's still a lot of individual data to colate, but the next order of business would be a graph for trade and communications, in case the players want to indulge in some trade/barter, simply gather information, or determine how far reputations (for better or worse) are likely to extend.

Rowanomicon
2008-03-01, 05:43 PM
Wow, you rock. Great stuff!

I was thinking that a bidding system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber_RPG#System) for traits could work well.

That wouldn't be for attributes though, but instead for things like Strength etc.

Alternatively we could simply expand the normal D20 Skill list to include things such as "Lifting" and use a check/DC system where Characters choose what they become better at as the level up. I like that option, personally.

EDIT: Now that I look at the table of Attributes and Secondary Attributes again I think you should switch the places of Trust and Wisdom. it just seems to me like that fits better with the placements of the Secondary Attributes and I also think Trust is more a solid thing like Endurance while Wisdom is more a power thing like Action.
The only secondary attribute that has their placement become a little less perfect is Charisma, other than that i think they become more perfectly placed.

EDIT2: Now that I look again again I also think that Logic and Concentration should switch spots.

Alfryd
2008-03-01, 10:10 PM
EDIT: Now that I look at the table of Attributes and Secondary Attributes again I think you should switch the places of Trust and Wisdom...
EDIT2: Now that I look again again I also think that Logic and Concentration should switch spots.
Some renamings might be in order, but bear in mind opposite attributes need to be conflicted, (e.g. passion/wisdom across, concentration/action.) Perhaps 'confidence' would be better than 'trust'?

What I'd like to do is A. flesh out the magic seeds in a little more detail, and B. start working out the specific mechanics for general areas of gameplay (combat/injury, stealth/recon and intel, sailing and navigation, trade and socialising, magic (done-ish), probably crafting, and long-term training.) Once that's done, we know what the characters' significant areas of specialisation would be, and can sort out balancing of attributes accordingly.

I was thinking that a bidding system for traits could work well.
That wouldn't be for attributes though, but instead for things like Strength etc.
Amber is supposed to be a very interesting system- particularly given an emphasis on freeform plot- but I haven't been able to get my hands on it so far. Attribute bidding may be a little competitive, but it's certainly worth investigation. *sigh* We need to playtest.

Alternatively we could simply expand the normal D20 Skill list to include things such as "Lifting" and use a check/DC system where Characters choose what they become better at as the level up. I like that option, personally.
Are you saying that you'd like to use a class/level/generic XP system, then?

Rowanomicon
2008-03-01, 10:31 PM
Well I think characters should level, yes.
After all Ged does not start out an Archmage and Arren does not start out a King.

Cob also got more powerful between books one and three.

If characters are students of Roke they should be allowed to advance to the position of Master over time, or at least get better at what they do. Similarly martial characters should be allowed to get better as the go.
If you want to be strength based then you should get stronger as you go, eventually ending up with legendary Hercules like might.

Suzuro
2008-03-02, 12:05 AM
Well, for one: Awesome! I haven't read Earthsea in a long time, but it was awesome, and I'm glad someone decided to start making something from it.

Two: To whoever asked, the spirit that Ged released, he mentioned something along the lines of "I met a nameless one, but I was able to discover it's name" And that is what led me to believe it was one of the old ones.

Three: The seed system seems cool, and flexible, but as has been said before, it is somewhat complicated, and you'd need some limit on the amount you could do. Some kinds of repercussions, and to speed up the process.

Also, I don't know if any of you have read it, but the first part of the Earthsea I read was a short story about the first Keeper at Roke. He went by Beaver, I believe and he was taught shapechanging, and it didn't seem to affect the world too much...

-Suzuro

Alfryd
2008-03-02, 08:09 AM
Well I think characters should level, yes.
After all Ged does not start out an Archmage and Arren does not start out a King.
Oh, absolutely, but character advancement *can* be accomplished by direct conversion of XP into skill levels and qualities, rather than XP => class levels => skill levels/qualities. (Cut out the middleman, so to speak.)

If you tie XP gained to particular activities, you can also hone 'realism'- insofar as no amount of sword-swinging will improve your knowledge of true names, or vice versa.

Three: The seed system seems cool, and flexible, but as has been said before, it is somewhat complicated, and you'd need some limit on the amount you could do. Some kinds of repercussions, and to speed up the process.
I'm looking into it. Thanks for the feedback.

Rowanomicon
2008-03-02, 02:10 PM
Right.
it would be more realistic if we took that aproach, and the principle remains the same: use the same rules for lifting/breaking stuff as you do got knowledge (nature).

Suzuro
2008-03-02, 10:03 PM
How would that work in game statistics though? You'd have this Knowledge (Whatever) Skills, but would you use those to learn the spells, or just have, say, the seed system and need to take a skill check when you cast the spell.

On a similar note, would it then be a higher check if the spell was made up on the fly. I don't exactly remember who suggested it earlier, but it was the idea that you prepare spells in between sessions or whatever, and then the check is something like three times as high if you use something on the fly.



-Suzuro

Alfryd
2008-03-03, 11:14 AM
On a similar note, would it then be a higher check if the spell was made up on the fly. I don't exactly remember who suggested it earlier, but it was the idea that you prepare spells in between sessions or whatever, and then the check is something like three times as high if you use something on the fly.
EDIT: apologies, I misunderstood your point here. Yes, you're essentially correct about how on-the-fly spell composition would be penalised.

Right.
it would be more realistic if we took that aproach, and the principle remains the same: use the same rules for lifting/breaking stuff as you do got knowledge (nature).
I don't mind using class and/or level mechanics if people are more comfortable that way- I have some basic professions roughed out in any case- but I don't want to charge too far ahead with a particular assumption if it's an open question.

How would that work in game statistics though? You'd have this Knowledge (Whatever) Skills, but would you use those to learn the spells, or just have, say, the seed system and need to take a skill check when you cast the spell.
I think, actually, that Lore skills (like true names, chanting, contacts, etc.) would not be improved through practice- only by long-term training between sessions or adventures. I think something similar might apply to composed spells.
(A not-insignificant issue is determining a reasonable DC for learning true names of various objects. What, exactly, counts as a DC 15 Old Speech check?)
The benefit to Lore skills might be they permit you to establish facts about the world independant of the DM.

Anyways. I'll try to get back to roughing out spell seeds, and various game topics, in the near future. For social skills, I had some (as usual fairly baroque) proposals (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51675) for relationship skills, (based in turn on Mr. Burlewe's diplomacy skill modifications (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/jFppYwv7OUkegKhONNF.html).)

Alfryd
2008-03-05, 12:45 PM
Well, I have a few more candidate spell seeds for critique. The rules on changing are a little vague I'm afraid- I'm mainly hoping to give a rough idea of the costs you can typically expect from using this spell for varied purposes.

Changing[subject, form]
* Power 2 per 10 kilos of material
* Skill 3
* permanent

A Changing is used to transform the subject into the chosen form. Power and Skill DC may increase depending on the nature of the subject, of the form, and of their relation to eachother.

{table]-simple substance (water, air, metal) | +0
-complex substance (wood, flesh, marble) | +3
-complex inanimate object or material (kettle, tapestry, small boat) | +5
-simple plant or unintelligent life form | +8
-complex plant or primitive animal with basic instincts (worms, fish, conifers) (weight modifiers halved) | +10
-higher animal with capacity for learning and memory (birds, mammals, cephalopods) (weight modifiers halved) | +13
-human or dragon (ignores weight modifiers) | +16[/table]

{table]-subject and form are already similar in weight, size, and kind | -1
-subject and form come from different categories | +1 per category difference
-subject and form are of more than 2x difference in size or weight | +1
-subject and form are of more than 20x difference in size or weight | +2
-subject and form are similar in kind, but different in attributes or innate qualities (age, strength, etc.) | +2 to +5 (doubled for dragons)[/table]

More complex forms may require separate True Name checks to specify correctly. It is impossible to Change a human or dragon into another specific individual, but possible to transform them into alternate versions of themselves.

Humans or dragons Changed into higher animals (or alternate selves) will gradually lose knowledge and understanding of their true selves. A Concentration check (of DC 2 per hour this form is maintained) must be made every hour to retain focus. Once focus is lost, the subject will forget all conscious knowledge of their former self, (but can retain a basic, instinctive recognition of friend and foe, safe places or dangers, food and water.) A Changing worked against half the Concentration DC in both Skill and Power will allow the subject to revert to their true self, but the subject is not considered willing when and if focus is lost.

Following reversion, the Concentration DC does not drop to zero, but drops by 2 each hour, lest the subject be changed into an alternate form again. An human or dragon transformed into a higher animal or alternate self initially retains their existing attributes, but loses all innate qualities in favour of those of the new form, for as long as the spell lasts. If focus is lost, they forfeit all access to their own attributes or qualities in favour of the form's, until such time as they can revert to their true self.

Any intelligent creature transformed into a lower animal, inanimate object, material or substance is lost irrevocably and instantly. Humans transformed into dragons or alternate selves make normal Concentration checks, but the DC increases per minute, rather than per hour. Dragons transformed into humans need not make such checks at all, but cannot transform into alternate selves.


Enchant[spell]
* Power 2x duration increment (see description)
* Skill 2x duration increment (see description)
* continual(short)

An Enchantment is used to cast a particularly difficult or taxing spell over a long period of time. For a given spell of fixed skill DC, you may divide the spell's total Power and Concentration DC by the number of rounds over which you perform the Enchantment. Each round requires fresh checks for both Power and Concentration against the spell's reduced DCs, PLUS the Enchantment's own. In addition, a Chant check must be made versus Concentration DC each round.


Sending[spell, location]
* Power 1 (+1 per 2x distance, x1 per duration increment)
* continual(short)

A Sending is used to project a given spell's origin to the chosen location as if it had been cast at that point. Each doubling of distance also doubles ALL the Sent spell's Power requirements. A Sending cannot cross water, but need not travel in a straight line. The Sending otherwise ignores material barriers. The caster automatically gains sight and hearing as if s/he were present at the spell's origin.

Suzuro
2008-03-05, 08:32 PM
Well, for the Changing, you were right, they are somewhat vague, but I think that it works well. It would seem that it's somewhat similar to polymorph any object, which isn't a bad thing. Also, I like the rules for losing humanity (Or dragonanity as it may be), but I'm curious about the "A Changing worked against half the Concentration DC in both Skill and Power will allow the subject to revert to their true self" phrase. Is that if someone else makes a changing check to revert them?

Sending looks good, I can't add too much to it.

On enchantments, I like the idea of splitting up the DC over multiple turns, or even minutes, but I don't know if it should be evenly split or not, maybe just modifiers? I guess it depends on how you want enchantments to be used. If they're to be really long, then, yes, evenly split the DC.


Here's my two cents. and a penny for your thought!



-Suzuro

Alfryd
2008-03-06, 12:56 PM
The Changing spell for reversion to true form can, in theory, be wrought by anyone. The only difference is that non-willing targets may attempt to resist the spell (see the Naming seed.) Of course, this assumes that the caster (external or not) can specify what their true form was (again, as per Naming.)

I'm hoping that Changing mechanics could be made a little more precise using a buy-point system for the form in question. E.g, if you want to change into an Elder Dragon, that's a cost/rarity of 150/200, permitting you to specify the skill/power DC on that basis.

There's a lot of specifics for the Enchantment that could stand revision. Say...
{table] DC / 2 | duration x4
DC / 3 | duration x8
DC / 4 | duration x15
DC / 5 | duration x30
DC / 6 | duration x60
DC / 7 | duration x100[/table]
etc. The danger is that even a novice caster might try to use Enchantment to cast a spell with a very high DC over, say, a couple of weeks, simply by splitting the DC down to the point where s/he can automatically succeed on every check. Up to a point, that's intended, but there should always be at least some chance of failure.

I'm think that I might revise Sending a little, too, in that you have to know the subject or location. Otherwise it essentially gives a very powerful scrying spell at very low cost. I might also let power costs increase in a linear fashion, rather than exponentially.

namo
2008-03-07, 07:32 PM
Interesting idea... I have read the thread but only skimmed through the mechanics, so my comments will be general. Oh, and I have just started to read the short stories from Tales of Earthsea, but I haven't re-read the main 4 stories in a while, so my remarks will be colored by that.

Don't be too attached to the 9 Masters of Roke and the corresponding divisions in magic. IMHO a lot of it are artificial categorizations superimposed on Truenaming to help the human mind understand it.
In fact, the Master Chanter didn't exist in the beginning : it was the Master Finder, but over time Finding was demoted to the position of "low-level art". In fact, the first Doorkeeper was also a Finder.

Now, even on Roke, Truenaming was not always the only source of power - witches there used to live in harmony with the Old Powers and tap them (as an aside, it seems like men and women wield magic differently - somewhat similarily to the chtonian/olympian - roughly Earth Mother/Sun - dichotomy). Oh, and Roke was founded by witches and wizards - the witches were actually prominent at first.

"The Finder", the short story I just read has some good examples of Bindings (compulsions) and Summonings (though it is hard to understand exactly how they work).


My first impulse would be to run it freeform, if I were to run it, but it will be awesome if we can build something. :smallsmile:

Alfryd
2008-03-08, 02:43 PM
I was able to glean most of what you mention from the wikipedia, but I would be very interested on any details you might furnish from the short store, which I am hoping to order from Amazon Any Day Now(tm).

Speaking of which, I would still love to hear from Draco18s on spellcasting mechanics.

Don't be too attached to the 9 Masters of Roke and the corresponding divisions in magic. IMHO a lot of it are artificial categorizations superimposed on Truenaming to help the human mind understand it.
That's a fair point, but I tend to think of them more as areas of magic that have been developed most heavily over time for practical purposes. On the subject of the old powers and male-female spellcasting differences, that's a more involved discussion, and I think I'll leave it for another day.

My first impulse would be to run it freeform, if I were to run it, but it will be awesome if we can build something.
I'm completely open to possibility, but I simply don't know a great deal about freeform systems or how to run them effectively, and most what's been worked out so far is fairly mechanical. I'm hoping to try out The Burning Wheel in the near future, since it's relatively rules-lite, has effective personality mechanics, and allows more for open plots (or so I'm told.)

Suzuro
2008-03-08, 03:37 PM
Just as an aside, "The Finder" was what brought me to Earthsea in the first place...!






-Suzuro

namo
2008-03-09, 03:39 AM
I finished reading the book - very nice. You should indeed read it.

There's an appendix with a short history of Earthsea and some thoughts about magic.

Here are two excerpts :

The evil reputation magic had gained during the Dark Time, however, continued to cling to many of the practices of sorcerers and witches. Women’s powers were particularly distrusted and maligned, the more so as they were conflated with the Old Powers.

Throughout Earthsea, various springs, caves, hills, stones, and woods were and always had been sites of concentrated power and sacredness. All were locally feared or venerated; some were known far and wide.

Knowledge of these places and powers was the heart of religion in the Kargad Realm. In the Archipelago, the lore of the Old Powers was still part of the profound, common basis of thought and reverence. On all the islands, the arts mostly practiced by witches, such as midwifery, healing, animal husbandry, dousing, mining and metallurgy, planting and growing spells, love spells, and so on, often invoked or drew upon the Old Powers. But the learned wizards of Roke had generally come to distrust the ancient practices and made no appeal to the “Powers of the Mother.” Only in Paln did wizards combine the two practices, in the arcane, esoteric, and reputedly dangerous Pelnish Lore.

Though like any power they could be perverted to evil use in the service of ambition (as was the Terrenon Stone in Osskil), the Old Powers were inherently sacral and pre-ethical. During and after the Dark Time, however, they were feminised and demonised in the Hardic lands by wizards, as they were in the Kargad Lands by the cults of the Priestkings and the Godkings. So by the eighth century, in the Inner Lands of the Archipelago, only village women kept up rituals and offerings at the old sites. They were despised or abused for doing so. Wizards kept clear of such places. On Roke, itself the center of the Old Powers in all Earthsea, the profoundest manifestations of those powers-Roke Knoll and the Immanent Grove-were never spoken of as such. Only the Patterners, who lived all their lives in the Grove, served to link human arts and acts to the older sacredness of the earth, reminding the wizards and mages that their power was not theirs, but lent to them.

THE SCHOOL ON ROKE
The school was founded in about 650, as described above. The Nine Masters or master-teachers of Roke were originally:
Windkey, master of the spells controlling weather
Hand, master of all illusions
Herbal, master of the arts of healing
Changer, master of the spells that transform matter and bodies
Summoner, master of the spells that call the spirits of the living and the dead
Namer, master of the knowledge of the True Speech
Patterner, dweller in the Immanent Grove, master of meaning and intent
Finder, master of the spells of finding, binding, and returning
Doorkeeper, master of the entering and leaving of the Great House

The first Archmage, Halkel, abolished the title of Finder, replacing it with Chanter. The Chanter’s task is the preservation and teaching of all the oral deeds, lays, songs, etc., and the sung spells.

Alfryd
2008-03-09, 08:33 PM
That's very interesting, actually. One of my major concerns was that Patterning spells seem to be very closely tied to the Immanent Grove- which would basically forbid women casters from accessing such magic, since they can't attend Roke. But if the Old Powers can all afford magic of this type, that levels the playing field somewhat.

I do think there's some friction between descriptions of the Old Powers in the earlier books and the description given here. The earlier books suggest that Powers such as the Court of the Terrenon, the Tombs of Atuan, or the Black Well of Fundaur were pretty well intrinsically evil from the get-go. (Admittedly, this is mainly Ged's opinion, but he's pretty open-minded as wizards go.)

As far as game mechanics go, this wouldn't matter especially. The point is, various Old Powers would have differing personalities, which suggests multiple centres of magical power.

Finder, master of the spells of finding, binding, and returning...
Excellent. This is just the kind of information we need. I don't suppose it mentions why Halkel banned women and the title of Master Finder?

namo
2008-03-14, 11:28 PM
I do think there's some friction between descriptions of the Old Powers in the earlier books and the description given here. The earlier books suggest that Powers such as the Court of the Terrenon, the Tombs of Atuan, or the Black Well of Fundaur were pretty well intrinsically evil from the get-go. (Admittedly, this is mainly Ged's opinion, but he's pretty open-minded as wizards go.)
I like it when authors make a character's POV matter, i.e. we get the good with the bad, the true with the false.
I agree that Ged gives us the impression that the Old Powers are always dangerous.


Excellent. This is just the kind of information we need. I don't suppose it mentions why Halkel banned women and the title of Master Finder?
1) It's not spelled out fully, but it has clearly to do with the misguided belief that wizards had to be celibate in order to achieve the purity required by the Art. In other words, it stemmed from sexism.

2) Because he (and other wizards) considered Finding a minor art.

Alfryd
2008-03-18, 07:31 PM
I reckon that Ms. le Guin may actually have changed her mind about the Old Powers over the 20 years or so between books. Heck, I suppose she's entitled.

I suspect celibacy may have been adopted for reasons more similar to those of the catholic clergy (to which earthsea's wizards bear some resemblance)- it helped avoid conflicts between the interests of the church and priests' offspring, when it came to property inheritance, and the like.

For whom it may concern, I've opened up a thread regarding freeform plot generation over on the Forge (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=25919.0). Do take a gander and throw in your two cents.