The topic itself is interesting, but. . . \ what is the point of the semantic debate about whether low magic can exist in DnD . . . OR low magic can exist in DnD-withoutmagic-makes-it-nearly-DnD-but-not-quite-so-it's-D20?
Honestly, who gives a rakshasa's _ss? What do you guys gain by winning the naming rights to whatever game you end up playing?
I'm gonna say something provocative and bizarre here. Maybe somebody will agree.
In a certain important sense *Ars Magica* is a low-magic campaign setting and system. Yes, it's a given that magi are extremely powerful and can do amazing things with magic.
- The vis mechanic functions as an effective limiting resource on the *amount* of magic.
Taken together, the whole system works well to emphasize how wondrous and rare magic can be. While not exactly "low magic," the system preserves many attractive elements of a low magic campaign.
Unfortunately, AM is such a niche system that it's very hard to get people to play it :(
Your AC is the friendly fighter.
Your job is to not get in melee range. Stand back and misfortune/slumber/evil eye/cackle until the target is asleep or dead.
A witch is perhaps the best caster at first level because your primary combat actions (hexes) are unlimited, as long as you have fresh targets. No need to worry about running out of spells.
I'm not so sure about Ars Magica - compared to 3.5 or PF. Sure, making a Magus involves a lot of scaling point-buy for talents, but other than that?
. . . Whereas in PF, we now have to worry about metamagic feats (which are a way of sneaking in customizable spells through the back door), feat chains, bloodlines, etc. Then in 3.5, planning your character out *long in advance* so as to qualify for a prestige class. In some respects, Ars Magica seems simple.
It may not be hitty enough, but battle herald? The fluff is really cool, IMO.
Jeff de luna wrote:
PFS makes it easy to play often without having to commit to a weekly group. I teach high school, and I have to be flexible with my time in the evenings and weekends.
Dorje Sylas wrote:
My interest in this concept is as much flavor as to become teh sh!xxOrs. I couldn't really care less for "optimization" as long as the class can hold its own. Why carry around all the baggage of another class? Make the flavor more general and open to as many character concepts as possible. I don't wanna play Aragorn with a new trick or two - I went to play an Elven noble, a Mage's champion, or a sorceror's brother.
Arcane trimmings on a warrior can provide the basis of many, many character ideas. But it will be easier to do this as a brand new base class with its own archetypes.
The more I think about it, the more a solution (to me) would be full BAB, WITHOUT spellcasting in the traditional sense. I can see something like a witch's hexes being adapted to provide the arcane flavor and crunch (they they would have to be a lot weaker).
I think it's possible if the spells are limited to SLA special powers rather than true casting. . .
I *like* it. I like it a lot. A lot more than the current Magus class.
I'd use Paladin as a model, giving arcane buffs and utility *abilities* in exchange for smiting. For spellcasting, one could limit the list to prevent some really abusive combos. I'd be particularly leery about giving high direct-damage, save/die, and AOE control spells.
For me, the appeal of the class is more about flavor than optimization - there are a lot of warriors in fantasy who have what might be classified as arcane abilities too.
- Minor SLA's (1x/day) that look like some of the wizard's school-based abilities or sorc bloodlines.
For fluff, an inspiration might be the warders from The Wheel of Time. Definitely warriors, but not necessarily mundane.
I just played my first PFS mod with a witch last night.
He's the librarian at the local arcane academy. He found a book in which the writing is different every time he opens it. The book is his communication to his power.
He's a bit eccentric. He has a habit of writing notes in the book every time he meets someone, as if he is cataloging them. His owl keeps him on the straight and narrow, however.
I'd like to see an alternate alignment system. The only axis is "adherence to cultural norms of morality." The reason is that a practice which is upstanding and moral in one setting is considered barbaric in another. For instance, judicial torture was widely accepted as a "good" practice in the European Middle Ages. On the other hand, infanticide was acceptable to some Asian cultures.
So the question (for a regular alignment system) becomes - what do we precisely mean by saying "good?" It's a fairly empty term without a cultural context.
Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
Interesting. . . this is an important issue to me so I did some reading in the PFS player's guide. Here's what it says about chronicle sheets:
So does Josh's quote above contradict this or not?
I am not a GM, but it seems to me that the rule as laid out in the play guide is more than reasonable.
Chris Kenney wrote:
How do you feel about a player (me) showing up with scanned chronicle sheets from the online PFS play using a VTT?
I'm the guy who was sitting next to the fellow you mention in the post above when you enforced the "must have hard copy" rule. . . so this isn't just a rhetorical question :)
- would you accept a link to the web page discussion about the adventures as credentials?
Lunge (Combat)You can strike foes that would normally be out of reach.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6.
Benefit: You can increase the reach of your melee attacks
by 5 feet until the end of your turn by taking a –2 penalty to
your AC until your next turn. You must decide to use this
ability before any attacks are made.
_MY_ characters in _my_ game?
I think not.
I don't have a problem so much with alignments on an individual basis, but when alignments are applied to *whole countries* it bugs me. It stretches realism/verisimilitude for me to imagine an entire nation that is OK with itself being evil.
I also find that fantasy books with this trope (The great Eeeeevill from the North/East/West has Awakened! Oh noes! ) aren't nearly as good as the ones with a grittier, greyer take on morality. Tolkien, of course, excepted.
Shar Tahl wrote:
The bolded part *implies* that you can still move while lure of heavens is in effect. . . hence, it still has a horizontal component. Without movement, you wouldn't leave tracks anyway.
I would houserule that someone with this revelation could move their base speed at whatever height appropriate to their level.
Here's statblock courtesy of Herolab.
ClerArcher CR 1/2
The basic idea is a solid archer with respectable utility spellcasting.
The obvious weak point is - crappy vs. undead due to low CHA. But - hey - roleplaying jerks is a feature, not a bug!
Ion Raven wrote:
Fighters can also pack on hundreds of pounds of adventuring gear (and fight in it) without much problem, and knock down walls and other obstacles in a wholly fantastic way.
I priced out a similar idea . . . the thread is about two weeks old or so.
On stats, I'd be inclined to reduce strength for wisdom. If you're pumping str simply for damage, I'd go with temporary buffs. IMO the extra spells and higher level spells would be worth it. But I guess it's really a question of balance - your build seems to be more on the archer side of the spectrum than the cleric side.
For domains, travel is really, really nice.
Also, a 7 INT character would be painful (for me) to roleplay, but that's a personal thing.
In the long run, the most flexible and powerful (and quickest, depending on style) solution is to master photoshop. OR, for FREE, GIMP.
CC is interesting, but it
Some people do get amazing results with CC, however.
I also like Fireworks for maps, although photoshop has more flexibility.
Not sure there's much of an argument there. Whom are you attempting to paraphrase?
There is an enormous distinction between modern, controlled-experiment scientific research (parapsychology, however flawed) and academic study in general (which, in a Dnd world, might include "vancian" magic.)
Eh. . . I beg to differ. Medieval and renaissance alchemists were interested, ultimately, in spiritual enlightenment. They most certainly did not use rigorous, controlled experimentation, systemic testing of hypotheses, or any of the other hallmarks of truly scientific thinking. In contrast, Rhine and other parapsychologists really thought they were doing legitimate, controlled scientific research. HUGE difference.
Excellent point. I'd suggest the term "mystic arts" myself.
I'm building a trip-dedicated controller build for PFS. . .
The idea is to use the polearm archetype, a guisarme (reach + trip) and combat reflexes to get ~4 AOO's per turn, threatening 45 squares, keeping enemies on the floor. Add in combat patrol and other feats to taste. It's been fun on the 2 adventures I've used him.
The fluff of psionics is based on 19th century/early 20th century academics who tried to *scientifically* research parapsychological phenomena. The Rhine Research Center, formerly a part of Duke University, led the way. Much of the terminology and flavor of psionics is drawn from this source. So, for me personally, the term "psionics" is an ATROCIOUS fit for anything belonging in a fantasy game. Indeed, psionics is anti fantasy because the original psi researchers tried to quantify and demystify "strange" powers and experiences. Psionics saps the lifeblood out of fantasy.
I challenge the idea that videogames are responsible for people not liking Vancian magic. Firstly, I remember reading alternative RPG spell systems (grounded in mythology and history) that were mana-based as early as 1986.
Secondly, most of the fantasy series I referred to were written before any MMORPGs or anything more sophisticated than the "Ultima" series of B&W games.
Thirdly, LOTS of writers, especially good ones, DO explain how magic works. Robert Jordan and Katherine Kurtz do particularly well. The Deryni books were written long before mass-market videogames were popular. Conversely, there are books written from a "Vancian" perspective, namely, the Dragonlance series. These were and still are very popular. Yet it's pretty clear that the system of magic described in those novels really isn't that influential on other authors.
I think we see mana-based systems simply because, for most people, they are more intuitive and accessible than Vancian. This would have been true (was true) in the absence of videogames.
Let's admit that the appeal of the Vancian system is the ease with which it can be used at the table. Don't get me wrong - this is a great point in its favor. But, flavorwise, it just doesn't work for most people without a whole lot of rationalizing.
1) viable Non-vancian magic system based on mana or fatigue.
2) Spell design/customization options beyond metamagic (which I find to be clunky).
3) More-than-cosmetic differences between arcane specialties.
4) Location-based magic such as ley lines
5) Lots of magic items and abilities that don't merely mimic modern technology, but have weird, interesting, and unpredictable powers.
I'm contemplating going with a lore oracle for pretty much guaranteeing success on all the knowledge checks one finds in PFS. +20 to a knowledge roll would certainly help earn those extra PA's.
But mostly, the revelation that ties AC/Reflex to CHA is pretty amazing! Always on, no need to waste a spell slot and lose a round to buffing.
Too bad the lore oracle's abilities are fairly meh otherwise.
Dork Lord wrote:
It doesn't make sense to use one author's name because many authors use it? Just a guess.
I've sometimes thought of a mana-based system as a "hydraulic" model, but that's certainly not the prettiest term.
Dork Lord wrote:
I know of none who goes so far as to *quantify* in numbers the amount of magic that they can control. Then again, how many authors write about hit points, saving throws, and D20s? If by "power point" you mean "mana" or some analog of it, there are plenty. Many authors conceive of magical force as a type of supernatural fluid subject to the law of conservation. . . ie, mana.
Off the top of my head, Robert Jordan, Trudy Canavan, David Eddings, probably Raymond Feist, George Lucas, and many others. Heck, any story in which the protagonist is a budding mage normally uses the 'mana' model.
As much as I dislike Jordan's writing on literary grounds, his conception of magic is very elegant.
Tolkien (and George Martin) actually have very *low* magic worlds, by fantasy standards. Which is probably one of the reasons why I like their books.
Your interp. of a wizard's actions makes sense, I'll admit, but it's a lot less elegant (to me) than alternative systems.
You are correct - it's all a matter of interpretation and preference.
I am curious though - the reason I chose the "music" analogy is because it resonates with how I imagine magic to work, and also somewhat similar to how it's portrayed in literature. I could have chosen other activities, such as dance, athletics, etc.
Do you know of any real-life human activities that work on a "Vancian" model? In other words, an activity in which you store finite amounts of expertise on a daily basis? I can't think of any.