Thursday, March 29, 2018

Editing and Magic

In making my way through the edits of Sentinels of Echo City, I've noticed a few things:

1. Changing the mechanic from adjusting the roll to adjusting the challenge is much, much cleaner. The language flows so much better. I have just made about 30 edits where the language went from 'taking a penalty equal to your PWR modifier' to 'target 20+ your PWR modifier'. It speeds the language up quite a bit, and feels more intuitive. Not sure why I ever went with the other way...

2. The use of the word 'target' was very nebulous. The target was the person/place/thing you were trying to affect, but it was also the number you needed to roll... now, the second instance has been replaced with Challenge Rating (CR). Instead of rolling a check target 20, you now roll a check CR 20.

3. I am surprised at the number of really small typos that had made it through. I did several edits before publishing, but I've still found at least a half-dozen little errors that bother me. I am under no delusion that I will catch them all this time, but I will be closer...

AND NOW... MAGIC!

In thinking about how magic works, it seems like there should be three options, and those options would be tied to three different attributes:

Sorcery is similar to how it is portrayed in Absolute Powers. You can replicate other traits, and you use PWR as the filter for it. This would be the simplest and most flexible option for including magic in your games. If you just want a really broad magic system that is easy to use, sorcery is your jam.

Wizardry is going to be closer to Saga of the Splintered Realm magic, but also more in line with Harry Potter magic. You learn actual spells, and you cast those particular spells. Right now, I'm thinking of two things that distinguish it:
1. Wizardry is tied to INT, not to PWR. It is not your personal power you are drawing on; you are using your knowledge of occult lore to activate ancient powers. I might decide to tie this in some way to runes or something like that. I kind of like the magic system that I worked up for Cupcake Scouts, and might try to modify that a bit here.
2. I am thinking it's a spell point system, with a number of points per turn, and with spells rated by cost. As a wizard 5, you could cast spells of up to level 5 (spells go to level 6 like in SSR), and you'd have a base of 15 + INT modifier points per turn (5+4+3+2+1).  A spell costs a number of points equal to its level; as a wizard 5 with INT 14 (+4), you would have 19 spell points per turn, and could try to cast 1 spell of level 5, 4 spells of level 3, and 1 spell of level 2 (for instance).

Mysticism is more like natural magic or eastern magic... something a monk might use. This would be tied to CHA as the attribute. You force your will upon the natural world, communing with it. This would be more aligned with wicca or witchcraft (in the traditional sense). Druidic magic, almost. I don't know if this hews closer to sorcery or wizardry in its mechanics. Somewhere between the two... you know charms or incantations, and you roll checks to activate them.

I don't want the magic section to be too long (I'm thinking no more than 6-10 pages total), but it should be robust enough that it gives you significant flavor and variety. Again, I like that you can go with the simpler sorcery, or you can get fancy with wizardry or mysticism, as fits your play style. I am also thinking that the Wizardry component would reverse engineer nicely to Saga of the Splintered Realm, assuming that you'd be willing to cut the XP table there in half the way I'm doing for this version of Sentinels...