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Organized Play Member. 87 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 4 Organized Play characters.


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Liberty's Edge

When I played during HS, we usually listened to the soundtrack to the movie Glory. It works really well.

Also, the band Dead Can Dance *feels* medievalish but is accessible enough that most people could listen to it for gaming. Real medieval music is *great* but the one time I tried bringing some to our group, they didn't get into it at all :(

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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?

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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.
- Outside of the hermetic order, magic is extremely rare for mortals. In creatures, it is alien and interesting.
- No magic malls.
- The character creation & advancement system forces the characters to spend scarce resources to get to mastery in any single discipline of magic. The analoq to spell schools (magic arts) has a much greater impact on the game.

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 :(

Liberty's Edge

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.

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Helic wrote:

It's all relative. Some folks think D&D is complex, but games like Ars Magica or HERO absolutely destroy it in terms of character generation complexity (and math). Or Shadowrun. But I've seen hugely incorrect character sheets in something as simple as Jovian Chronicles (where you get X points for stats/perks and Y points for skills, usually 30/50, and the math still doesn't add up).

Often it's a consequence of the noodling process, where you fiddle with the numbers during character creation (again, and again, and again) and things get lost with all the changes. That's usually why I re-make my character sheet from the ground up after I'm satisfied with my character, just to weed out the errors.

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.

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Darktoasty wrote:

I'm in the market for playing our primary tank/melee character but am looking for some more unique ideas other than the standard fighter, barbarian or paladin.

I had been playing a half-orc inquisitor, which was fun, but he got pasted.

I dig the feel of a lot of the newer classes and half been considering the Magus or even Summoner (niether are token tanks but both can be worked into the roll (and role) if built right.

Druid came to mind as well with shapechanging and what not.

I'm nor a huge fan of dipping into tons of classes for one character, usually preferring to progress in a base class, but I'm open to ideas.

Unique is key. For instance my Magus idea is a halfling with a falcutta. I've considered a eleven alchemist / master chymist.

I have 9 levels to work with.


It may not be hitty enough, but battle herald? The fluff is really cool, IMO.

Liberty's Edge

Lists of spells and items are NOT "half the system." Maybe by page count, but not in terms of "critical rules necessary to play the game."

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1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Yes, if a witch wants to spend all her actions over several rounds adding evil eye penalties to the same target, she can do so.

That's all kinds of special, right there! I had just assumed that a witch could only use the hex once/day/target, like slumber. Good to know!

Liberty's Edge

Jeff de luna wrote:

Production values.

Good story.

I liked the "look" first and was very pleased with the thought and creativity in the first AP. Paizo has the best writing, hands down, in rpgs.

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.

Liberty's Edge

I'd say that, since it's harder in PFS to really truly develop and RP a character (at least in my experience so far) - there is more incentive to develop multiple characters. So, if the cap keeps more experienced players filtering back down to help us noobs, that's a good thing.

Liberty's Edge

Shouldn't it be "archknight?"

I see "arc" knight and start thinking about geometry :P

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For fluff reasons multiclassing into battle herald would be a lot of fun. It preserves a lot of the same flavor but reduces dependency on a mount.

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Dorje Sylas wrote:

My contention is that a Ranger core line-up can be reconfigured with a sub-class to be Arcane in both feel and flavor.

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).

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seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Kingbreaker wrote:

I'd use Paladin as a model,

I started to do this earlier and stopped. I would never allow anything close to what I came up with in game. Paladin+ Arcane is way,. way to good.

Ranger I still say is the way to go here. Paladin is just too much.

I think it's possible if the spells are limited to SLA special powers rather than true casting. . .

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joela wrote:

I must have missed that thread. What niche, exactly does this "arcknight" fulfill that the paladin and ranger -- and their archetypes -- can't fill?

ARCANE casting + dedicated warrior.

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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.

BAB 20
- Lvl 4 spell casting from very narrow palettes of spells (like a witch's patron spells).

- 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.

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I'm in the same boat. I played a witch for the fist time last wednesday and my GM correctly reported it via the number I gave him (Thanks Chris!)

Unfortunately I played the mission as an Osirion, but it's registered as Chelaxian.

I'll send you an email Josh.

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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.

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I just started pnp roleplaying again after a 16 year hiatus. I play once weekly online pFS, and once bi-weekly tabletop PFS. When I can make it.

I'd love to find a regular ongoing campaign for once every week or every other week.

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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.

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Enevhar Aldarion wrote:

Unfortunately, what individual GM's may say does not really matter since Joshua is the head of the Pathfinder Society and his word is the law. Here is his post from earlier in this thread:

Joshua J. Frost wrote:
Just like you have to have the physical copies of your chronicle sheets, you must also have the physical copy of your character sheet.

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:


Additionally, online play for Pathfinder Society is
permitted. Online play includes a number of different
methods of play. There’s Play-by-Post, there are a variety
of online digital game tables, and you could even play
using webcams and a voice over IP system. So long as your
Game Master can get you all of the required paperwork (by
fax, scan, or otherwise),
online play is a legitimate method
of playing in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Check
the Pathfinder Society Organized Play messageboards
at for additional details about several active
online groups playing around the world.

[my emphasis]

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.

Liberty's Edge

Dabbler wrote:
In all seriousness, the katana is rated by the professionals as the deadliest overall personal combat weapon ever devised.

Ya know, videogame designers.

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Chris Kenney wrote:
MisterSlanky wrote:
Herald wrote:
Chances are that your character sheet will not have a watermark. I would say that while I would except a character sheet electronicly, Your PFS scenario sheets are used as you proof of record keeping. The scenario sheets should always be hard copies. (Which makes the electronic character sheet a bit moot, but what are you going to do.)
Unless you're one of the crazy folks that constantly scan everything and get rid of paper.

While I think it's a little much to require a physical character sheet (and even if that's going to be the case, I'll probably still continue to play from Herolab in the future,) the chronicle sheets are another matter. Electronic images are ludicrously easy to manipulate, and someone willing to use time and talent could easily make real-looking chronicle sheets just from the scans. They could also eliminate those little 'X' marks over their negative boons, or over those positive boons they've already used.

No physical chronicle sheets, no valid character. I'd accept one or two printed scans from online games because I have little choice, but there'd better be writing from you for your purchases that session.


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?

Liberty's Edge

Simple suggestion:

Leave the hex as-is when placed on opponents with equal or lower HD than the caster's witch levels.

Change it to staggered against higher-than-caster-level opponents.

Liberty's Edge

LilithsThrall wrote:

How about an ability which gives you a +5 to you reach - simulating superior combat movement?

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.

Liberty's Edge

Magic Using Classes
- Wizard - Gandalf, Anything from Harry Potter
- Sorcerer
- Cleric
- Druid

Combat classes
- Barbarian - Conan
- Fighter -
- Paladin -
- Monk. Somewhat.
- Ranger - Aragorn

- Rogue

Does everything
- Bard.

HUGELY oversimplified but hopefully useful.

Liberty's Edge

Aelryinth wrote:

Alignment is the fundamental concrete upon which the world is based.

From a Player standpoint, you are of course dependent upon the DM to interpret things.

From a character standpoint, your PC's live in a world where Good is Absolute, Evil is tangible and real, and what you do in life directly and certain as gravity affects where your soul goes.



_MY_ characters in _my_ game?

I think not.

Liberty's Edge

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.

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"i'll play a half-celestial drow noble monk"


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Matthew Morris wrote:

We have players who occasionally use D12s to hit.

Not on purpose they just grab the wrong die, don't realize it, then curse their luck all night.

guilty :(

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Shar Tahl wrote:

Lure of the Heavens (Su): Your connection to the skies above is so strong that your feet barely touch the ground. At 1st level, you no longer leave tracks. At 5th level, you can hover up to 6 inches above the ground or even above liquid surfaces, as if levitating. At 10th level, you gain the ability to fly, as per the spell, for a number of minutes per day equal to your oracle level. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be spent in 1-minute increments.

Here is the total description of the Revelation.

It does not say "As the spell", so it's not certain if it has the same constraints. Levitate spell has no horizontal motion. I just need to be sure I am not using the abilities wrong.

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.

Liberty's Edge

To me, this sounds like the person in question and her boyfriend need to be the ones having the chat - especially if she is present simply to control him. Control in a relationship is often a bad thing.

I don't think it's an in-game issue but a relationship issue.

Liberty's Edge

Here's statblock courtesy of Herolab.

ClerArcher CR 1/2
Male Human Cleric 1
CG Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +6; Perception +4
AC 19, touch 14, flat-footed 15. . (+4 armor, +1 shield, +4 Dex)
hp 10 (1d8+1)
Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +5
Spd 40 ft.
Melee Unarmed Strike +1 (1d3+1)
Ranged Longbow +4 (1d8)
Special Attacks Agile Feet
Cleric Spells Known (CL 1, 1 melee touch, 4 ranged touch):
1 (2/day) Bless, Command (DC 14), Longstrider
0 (at will) Detect Magic, Guidance, Read Magic
Str 12, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 7
Base Atk +0; CMB +1; CMD 15
Feats Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
Traits Hunter's Eye: Longbow, Reactionary
Skills Acrobatics +1, Climb -2, Diplomacy +2, Escape Artist +1, Fly +1, Perception +4, Ride +1, Spellcraft +4, Stealth +1, Swim -2
Languages Common
SQ Aura (Ex), Channel Positive Energy 1d6 (1/day) (DC 8) (Su), Cleric Domain: Liberation, Cleric Domain: Travel, Liberation (1 rounds/day) (Su), Spontaneous Casting
Combat Gear Longbow, Buckler, Chain Shirt;
Agile Feet (6/day) (Su) For 1r, you ignore difficult terrain.
Aura (Ex) The Cleric has an aura corresponding to his deity's alignment.
Cleric Domain: Liberation Granted Powers:
Cleric Domain: Travel Granted Powers: You are an explorer and find enlightenment in the simple joy of travel, be it by foot or conveyance or magic. Increase your base speed by 10 feet.
Hunter's Eye: Longbow You do not suffer a penalty for the second range increment when using a longbow or shortbow.
Liberation (1 rounds/day) (Su) Act as if you had freedom of movement for 1 rounds/day.
Point Blank Shot +1 to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at up to 30 feet.
Precise Shot You don't get -4 to hit when shooting or throwing into combat.

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!

Liberty's Edge

Ion Raven wrote:

I think I'll ignore the fact that it's automatically assumed that I'm a guy...

Anyway, yes I am complaining of unfairness. Fighter in fall, wizard uses feather fall. Fighter in lava, wizard either flies or uses superior fire resistance. While the wizard gets to bend the laws of reality the fighter gets what? the ability to hit things. A fighter is also more vulnerable to mind affecting, the fighter can't dodge like the rogue who takes half damage from a fireball on a failed reflex save. The rogue who can deal ridiculous amounts of sneak damage by bluffing or flanking. While every other class can do amazing things, the fighter is limited by the DM by what they believe is within human limits.

I don't know if certain DMs don't get and thus they can't comprehend the concept of strength and endurance training. After coming so far with a caster that learned to shift planes and a rogue who can jump 20 feet in the air and a monk who can decimate building with his fists why in the world is this normal mook of a human even considered an equal when he can't even survive a fall? Is the fighter under some sort of muscle atrophy where no matter how hard he trains his muscles and skin will never toughen up?

Yes I believe in keeping the suspension of disbelief, but I want to call this favoritism disbelief. Sure the ranger can hide RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES, but the fighter, surviving from a fall off of a cliff... man that is sooo unrealistic >.> Now let's go fight some gods!


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.

Liberty's Edge


3) Human cleric of Erastil
Alignment: NG
Domains: Plant, Feather
Stats: S 14 D 18 C 12 I 07 W 14 X 12
Starting feats: Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, WF: Longbow, Deadly Aim, Manyshot, Quicken Spell...

Great combination of abilities and spells in those domains -- Entangle, Barkskin, FLY! --, and free longbow proficiency. What's not to love for an archer?

Too bad all my ideas are going to be horrible at skills, but hey, can't have everything.


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.

Liberty's Edge

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
a) is clunky to work with, and
b) produces "generic" looking maps without a lot of personal style, until you put the time into to master it. IMO the same amount of time put into GIMP will serve a mapmaker much better in the long run.

Some people do get amazing results with CC, however.

I also like Fireworks for maps, although photoshop has more flexibility.

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ProfessorCirno wrote:

I'm still somewhat amazed by the argument.

Psionics are anti-magic because it involved science and experimentation and an attempt to "normalize" and catagorize the supernatural.

Vancian casters are magical because they involve science and experimentation and their spells are an attempt to normalize and catagorize the supernatural

Wait, what?

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.)

Liberty's Edge

LazarX wrote:

Parapsychology was once called a "science" only in the way that Alchemy was thought to be a "science" in a bygone age. The term has fallen out of favor once parapsychology was exposed as the pseudoscience and general quackery it was.

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.


But that's not why I'm advocating getting rid of the name. What Paizo is thinking of creating is going to be different enough from D20 Psionics that a different name might encourage everyone to think of it as a fresh start and not endlessly compare it to the old. After all the only thing that Paizo's psionics will have in common with the old is the name, so why not junk the name as well?

Excellent point. I'd suggest the term "mystic arts" myself.

Liberty's Edge

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.

Liberty's Edge

hida_jiremi wrote:
LazarX wrote:
1. First... dump the name psionics. Consider something that might be more attuned to a fantasy setting such as mentalism, mystic, channelling, I'm sure other possibilities exist.

I really don't get how this whole "psionics isn't fantasy enough!" thing got started. Yes, psionics are generally more associated with science-fiction... but they're still a fantastic element of sci-fi, which is why "no psionics" is one of the standards for hard sci-fi. There have been lots of fantasy novels and settings with psionics, either by that name or as "psychic powers," particularly in horror/fantasy and dark fantasy settings. And it's even sillier a dichotomy when you remember that the very earliest incarnations of D&D freely mixed fantasy and science-fiction! Some of the first adventures for the game were about finding a crashed spaceship, or fighting robots, or taking over the drow goddess' FREAKING GIANT MECHA I KID YOU NOT. *breathes*

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.


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Magathus wrote:

But I didn't intend to enter this thread simply to list all the things I hate about vancian magic; I'd rather brainstorm with other fine people here about reasonable alternatives to it which would be fun and interesting.

Despite my above comments, I'm not a huge fan of plain old magic points, I just consider them vastly preferable to spell slots and all the other spell mechanics baggage from previous editions. But frankly, however you do it, both magic points and spell slots are just plain boring. Either way, you essentially have a pre-set amount of magic you can use, and then you're done. However you do it, it boils down to pacing your rate of fire to manage your ammo, which makes sense for, say, an alchemist, but makes for a really dull spellcaster who casts until his battery dies, then he's just a guy with a stick. Nothing interesting about that mechanic.

Pretty much every fantasy novel I've ever read portrays magic as highly dangerous for the practitioner, or at least extremely draining on one's mental endurance. So why don't we see that in the core spellcasting classes?

I like the suggestion about actually using the fatigued status as the limit on magic; the more you use, the greater your chances of incurring fatigue would be a good start. Now we have an actual trade off and some risk involved, which makes it much more interesting than just shooting until you run out of bullets...and it fits with most literary depictions.

Better yet, have spells actually cost hit points which can only be healed by we're talking serious cost/benefit analysis, and you have a built-in limit. Magic costs you life force, so choose wisely. As wizards gain levels, aside from getting more hp they could eventually cast lower level spells for free; eventually a wizard can cast level 1 spells at will, as I always though high level mages should be able to, but their most powerful magic would always be something with a very direct cost...

I also really like the idea of being able to cast all you want, but the...

Awesome ideas!

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ohako wrote:

7. A duelist who was cursed into the shape of a frog-person, and isn't particularly keen on changing back again (ex Frog from Chrono Trigger, or Porco Rosso).

I actually had a character like that in. . . 6th grade. . . 25 years ago!

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seekerofshadowlight wrote:

I think this needs addressed. People often forget that "mana" was not always the "norm". At the time when the game was created Vancian was no less the "norm" then any other system of magic. It was the first or one of the first to have game rules written around it. Even if the game rules are a bit more flexible and more complex them the ones used in Jack vances books.

As time went on video games spread the idea of a "pool" of magic. Over the last 30 or so year other games have embraced that idea as have writers and gamers.As many of them were exposed to the "pool" concept though video games and the like and less though books such as the dying earth.

However writers as a whole do not explain how the magic works, you the reader often try and "fit" it into a context you understand. Which over time had become "mana" as that is the system most of us have the most exposure to. Even if that "system" is never the same from game to game.

Honestly Vancian casting is no less magical and illogical then a "mana" system. It is just a style that was not supported by the mass media and did not become as widely known is all. Well less known outside of people who play d&d anyhow

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.

Liberty's Edge

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.

Liberty's Edge

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.

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Dork Lord wrote:

So why doesn't the power point/mana system get a fancy name? Maybe "Feistian"... Ok, I've been being slightly facetious but on some level I'm serious. I really have to chuckle every time I hear the word "Vancian", anyway.

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.

Liberty's Edge

Dork Lord wrote:
R_Chance wrote:
Dork Lord wrote:
*Really wants to know who originally decided to call it "Vancian"*
Gary Gygax. He specifically related the magic system in D&D to that of Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" books. Hence, "Vancian".

Thank you. It's odd though. I've been playing D&D for the better part of two decades and this is the first time I've ever heard the "Vancian" term. Admittedly I've never heard of Jack Vance or "Dying Earth" either. I'd have to say the most widely known Fantasy author of my age has been Salvatore. -His- stuff I know, heh.

Is there a well-known author who widely used a Power Point System in his or her Fantasy novels?

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.

Liberty's Edge

poizen37 wrote:
Kingbreaker wrote:

4) Vancian casting strikes me as completely, totally illogical. A great musician doesn't forget their best performance piece after playing it more than once a day. . . why should a mage?

I used to agree with you completely until I had it explained thusly:

Casting magic takes a serious amount of time and effort for those to whom it does not come naturally (ie - sorcerers, etc). Magic is by nature ritualistic and far too time consuming to be of use in combat for wizards and other preparation based casters. As such, they are actually casting their spells when they prepare them, and holding the energy until such time as they need to release it, hence why the spell disappears from the mind when it is cast.

Now, if you want to argue that Sorcerers should have a point system and not be bound by a Vancian style magic, I will politely bow out as the above explanation no longer applies.

Your interp. of a wizard's actions makes sense, I'll admit, but it's a lot less elegant (to me) than alternative systems.

Liberty's Edge

- Alternate rules for damage-reduction armor as opposed to AC(which would make a dexer based on *not being hit* a truly viable concept)

- Mass combat and siege rules

Liberty's Edge

Kabump wrote:
Kingbreaker wrote:

4) Vancian casting strikes me as completely, totally illogical. A great musician doesn't forget their best performance piece after playing it more than once a day. . . why should a mage?
This argument is the one I see thrown around quite a bit, and quite frankly it just doesn't fly with me. Magic is NOT math, musical ability, science, what ever. Its magic. It doesn't exist, and as such it can be define infinite many ways, all of which are valid. I can absolutely see magic being something you have to study every morning to imprint the magic into your brain. Why does it not make sense that casting such powerful manipulations of the natural order wouldn't be used up when used? It makes perfect sense to me, you spend time commuting the the magical energies and rituals to your brain, where it is stored until its used. So while a lot of you think this concept doesnt make sense, thats fine. Its all a matter of preference. Never really used psionics or the point bases systems, but I have nothing against them. I just dont want two different systems in my game, as I feel the point based systems gives to many advantageous over someone using the slotted system. Im sure someone will come in and take offense to that comment and start telling me how im wrong: dont bother. Ive heard the arguments and doesnt change my mind.

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.

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