Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sorcery (Final...?), Part 2

Misfires are my favorite part of sorcery in Hekinoe. Weeeeeeee. Checking for unreliability is going to be an additional 3d check as part of casting a spell in Hekinoe, along with some modifiers and whanot. The main concept of sorcery and its use is that the more powerful the spell, the more unreliable and prone to misfire it becomes. So the more energy you try to power a spell with, the harder the spell is to control. The one nice thing about Pathfinder was the organization of spells into levels. I could just say X% per level and call it good. GURPS deals with percentages and success differently, so I have to create a different system to do it. The previous GURPS system I came up with was ok, but a one energy 1d fireball and a 2000 energy great wish carried the same chance of failure in that system, which is fucked up. So how do we work this out but make sorcery still feasible? A 3 or 4 is always a success in GURPS and a 17 or 18 is always a failure. So we're dealing with a range of 5 - 16. According to GURPS math people, a skill level of 5 has a 4.6% chance of success and a skill level of 16 has a 98.1% chance of success. In Pathfinder, wish had a 90% chance of failure when unmodified by the various hand holding wipe your butt and tell you that you're special things I created so they didn't cry.

Eric is they. The one that would have cried, if that wasn't clear. Hehe, I kid. Mostly. Probably. 37% sure I'm kidding. Definitely 100% sure that I am 37% sure I'm kidding. That sounds right. 

Let's get this out of the way first. 

Regional Sorcerous Unreliability
  • The Known World: 13
  • Orcunraytrel: 16

Orcunraytrel is about as safe as you can get in terms of sorcery. So we'll have it sit at 16. A spell or supernatural thing might misfire, but more than likely it'll be fine. At the other end of the spectrum we have The Known World, where sorcery is fucked all to Hell and sits at 13 (if I remember my notes correctly there is one continent where it is more fucked up). I want this system based on the amount of sorcerous energy used, not the amount of extra energy used. I want that 2000 energy great wish to be almost impossible to turn into a spell in The Known World and I want that one energy fireball to be pretty easy to turn into a spell, thought calling it safe would be ridiculous.

There's a problem though. GURPS magic is divided into two sort of unofficial styles: enchantment college spells (which are used to enchant items and perform semi-permanent magic) which take a lot of energy and time (seriously, that 2000 energy great wish takes 20 hours to cast, I think you can halve it to 10 though), and all the other colleges of magic which typically has a much low energy cost (except for resurrection, which costs 300 energy) and takes only a few seconds to cast. I think the longest casting time I've seen was four hours. The way I've previously established magic items working is that there's a chance of misfire whenever they are used, but up until then they're fine just sitting around slowly getting more unreliable). I think what I want to do is establish separate charts of energy use, one for enchanting purposes and one for regular spell casting. 

Sorcerous Energy Use Unreliability Penalties (Non-Enchantment College)
  • 1: 0
  • 2 - 6: -1 
  • 7 - 11: -2 
  • 12 - 16: -3 
  • 17 - 21: -4 
  • 22 - 26: -5 
  • 27 - 31: -6 
  • 32 - 36: -7 
  • 37 - 41: -8
  • 42 - 47: -9
  • 48 - 52+: -10

One thing to keep in mind is that as you increase your skill level with a spell, you reduce the energy cost. This starts at a skill level of 15 reducing it by 1 energy, 20 reducing it by 2, 25 by 3, and so on. If I use this chart, most daily adventuring spells are going to fall into the -1 to -4 penalty range, which leaves spellcasters functional but still presents some risks. These penalties may look yucky when you consider the misfire check works by rolling 3d and getting below 13, however, I'm going to add in the following technique: 

Careful Caster
Hard Technique
Default: regional misfire-1 to -10
Your knowledge of sorcererous theory and your experience with a variety of practices and traditions has granted you increased control over the unreliable energies of sorcery that you wield. This technique allows you to buy off the penalties to your misfire checks. Unlike most techniques, this is not purchased on a per skill (spell) basis, instead it is purchased on a per college basis. Characters may purchase this skill up to +4 on their own. Further increases must be taught or earned via down time practice and experimentation.

So let's explain what this means. Karl really likes the great healing spell, which restores all of a subject's hit points and costs 20 energy to cast. Twenty energy puts Karl at a -4 to his misfire check in The Known World, reducing it from 13 to 9. In preparation, because he is a conscientious and not self involved douchenozzle of a sorcerer, Karl purchases the Experienced Caster: Healing College technique at default+4 for 5 points. So basically any time Karl casts a healing college spell, he reduces any penalties to misfire checks by up to 4 (but never to better than the region's normal misfire chance). So Karl can use his 20 energy great healing and roll against a misfire chance of 13. Yay! Just to be on the safe side, Karl decides he wants to learn Careful Caster: Healing College at default +5. Looking at the technique cost table we see a hard technique at default+4 costs 5 character points and default+5 costs 6. So Karl needs to practice long enough to get one character point because that's the different between the two levels. Improving skills and such through training requires 200 hours per character point. Since Karl is basically teaching himself through practice, every two hours he practices counts as a single hour. So he needs 400 hours to get that character point. He can't practice during adventures and he can't practice for the seven days he needs to administrate to Freebooter's crossing. Since he's one of the leaders of the settlement and the fort, I'm going to say he really only has 8 hours of free time on a non-adventuring, non-administrating day. So it would take around two months to gain that character point (50 8 hour sessions of practice and whatnot). The hourly total could be modified due to hiring a teacher that had Careful Caster at default+5. 

Moving on, I was considering adding in an additional penalty to the misfire check for time spent casting. I guess I still am, but I'm not sure. Regardless of how many techniques you purchase and how little energy you spend on a spell, you'll still only have a maximum of an 83.3% chance of pulling a spell off without complication in The Known World. Don't get me wrong, 83% is good, but it isn't 100%, and it is basically a flat 20% chance of misfire for all spells (1.9% if we're talking about Orcunraytrel). A fireball carries a base chance of 15% to misfire in The Known World in Pathfinder, and you can reduce that down to 10 - 12% pretty much right off the bat at character creation. I'm debating on whether or not I want to add an advantage and disadvantage for moving around your misfire chance. I feel like it would need to be in the 20 - 50 points range. We'll see I guess.

An additional concern related to sorcerous misfires is the unreliability of supernatural abilities like Gob's ability to summon, manipulate, and move through shadows. These sorts of supernatural abilities will first of all have the magic limitation for -10% to their cost. They will then be used as normal, except you'll make a misfire check against the sorcerous unreliability of the region (16 in Orcunraytrel). There will also be an enhancement/limitation pair:

Reliable Supernatural Ability
You may add this enhancement to any advantage with the magic modifier. When rolling against the sorcerous unreliability of your region to see if the ability misfires, you add a +1 to the region's unreliability level when using this ability.

Unreliable Supernatural Ability
You may add this limitation to any advantage with the magic modifier. When rolling against the sorcerous unreliability of your region to see if the ability misfires, you reduce the region's unreliability level when using this ability by -1.

If I'm doing it for supernatural magic crap, I should probably do it for regular old magic.

Reliable Sorcery
25 points
Through practice, you have been able to eke out a little bit more reliability from your spells. When you cast a spell, increase the regional sorcerous unreliability you roll against by 1.

There should probably be a disadvantage as well.

Unreliable Sorcery
-25 points
You were never able to truly exert your will to control the chaos of sorcery. When you cast a spell, decrease the regional sorcerous unreliability you roll against by 1.

I suppose it goes without saying, but don't try and take this as a disadvantage if you aren't planning on casting spells a lot. That would be real real dumb.

Alright, so there is a bit more about sorcery. The third part will delve into enchantment college spells  and the item based forms of spells you find in the other colleges. 

No comments:

Post a Comment