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Author Topic: Mythras Conan  (Read 4268 times)

crkrueger

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Mythras Conan
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2016, 05:35:47 AM »
Quote from: Madprofessor;928433
Very cool thread. Thank you.  

For me, magic in the Hyborian age is tough to portray well in an RPG.  I mean, there is magic or supernatural in all of the REH stories, it is a primary theme, so it is not exactly rare.  However, magic users are never protagonists.  Magic is not reliable, scientific or formulaic.  There is no reason behind it.
I'm not sure that you can claim "no reason" behind it.  The Laws of Magic may not be the Laws of Science, but that doesn't mean they are completely random and chaotic.  The Sorcerers and beings Conan encounters seem to have at times quite complicated sets of rules they must follow even if they don't make sense to the uninitiated.  Take for example, "Beyond the Black River", where Conan understands enough to make use of the Rune of Jhebbal Sag, and the conversation between the Forest Devil and Conan in where the demon explain's Conan's trespass and why his soul is forfeit.  Not magic as weird physics, but a sense to it nonetheless.

Quote from: Madprofessor;928433
So the instant you create a "magic system" for PCs to use you lose some of the unknowable strangeness that characterizes it.  On a literary level, magic, like civilization, is unnatural, an abomination, and therefore inherently evil.  It represents the unknown and the unknowable.  In Conan's world, conquest is easier than understanding.
Yeah, that's always the Big One, PC Magicians, Yes or No.  I can completely see the argument for NPC magic only, but at the same time, you lose the capability of players making that choice, deciding to read that book or not, to burn that scroll or save it...to find out if best intentions and magic will always pave the Road to Hell or not.  I made my choice and crossed that Rubicon, now I just have to make it as S&S as I can.

Quote from: Madprofessor;928433
Invariably, someone want's to play a sorcerer though, which means revealing some fraction of the unknowable to the players and losing some of the mystery. Oh well.
I'm taking some inspiration from DCC, d20 Conan and RQ Chaos magic, trying to come up with a good set of corruptions that can occur with Sorcery.  As far as Priests go, any Theist who doesn't spend a goodly amount of time propitiating their deity appropriately is going to find calling on them a very bad idea.


Of course, there's always the setting consequence, of being alienated, hated, burned at the stake, crucified, hunted by the Black Ring or other sorcerers who want to steal your knowledge, power and soul, etc... :D
« Last Edit: November 04, 2016, 05:43:42 AM by CRKrueger »
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

Yes, Sean Connery's thumb does indeed do megadamage. - Spinachcat

Isuldur is a badass because he stopped Sauron with a broken sword, but Iluvatar is the badass because he stopped Sauron with a hobbit. -Malleus Arianorum

"Tangency Edition" D&D would have no classes or races, but 17 genders to choose from. -TristramEvans

daniel_ream

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« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2016, 03:55:41 PM »
Quote from: CRKrueger;928546
Not magic as weird physics, but a sense to it nonetheless.

Not magic as weird physics, but magic as legal contract.  Pre-D&Dized fantasy, magic (both fictional and as practiced in the real world) was pretty universally seen as the result of a pact between the magician and some form of intelligent otherworldly power.  Which means that magic works only so much as the two of you are still in agreement on the terms.
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crkrueger

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« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2016, 08:41:32 PM »
Yeah, that's definitely a huge chunk of it.  Also there's evidence of things that may be totally alien, but work because that's just how they work.  The Rune of Jhebbal Sag is one example, the Master Words & Signs Pelias knows are another.
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

Yes, Sean Connery's thumb does indeed do megadamage. - Spinachcat

Isuldur is a badass because he stopped Sauron with a broken sword, but Iluvatar is the badass because he stopped Sauron with a hobbit. -Malleus Arianorum

"Tangency Edition" D&D would have no classes or races, but 17 genders to choose from. -TristramEvans

Madprofessor

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« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2016, 11:12:48 AM »
Quote from: CRKrueger;928537
I don't restrict Magic Points, just Magic Point regeneration.

So how do you handle MP regeneration?

I have been tinkering with a few ideas that eliminate "natural" MP regeneration as functional power healing altogether. It seems to me that one of the best ways to make magic "rare" but powerful is to restrict access to MPs so that acquiring the power to cast a spell is half the equation of sorcery (the other being the acquisition of knowledge, the spell itself).  Just because you know a spell doesn't mean you can cast it, you need to gather the MPs to make it work.  Rituals, sacrifice, arcane connections, devices,  meditation, contacting spirits or demons, waiting for the stars to align, etc are used to generate the MPs used to power spells. I am however unsure how far to take the idea.  Maybe there is no generic MPs at all, that power gathered is always for a specific purpose or spell.  Maybe characters should not have MP pools at all and should be manipulators or gatherers of sorcery rather than vessels. Mythras is perfectly capable of handling that kind of mechanical alteration as a setting rule.

A complication is that to get really flavorful with this kind of mana accumulation you almost need separate MP rituals for each spell in each magical tradition.  For example, a scrying spell might require contacting and negotiating with a raven spirit for a shamman of Jhebbal Sag, but an adept from Vendhya or Khitai might draw his power by emptying his consciousness and filling it with the void of the cosmos or something.  It would of course be a lot of work to detail this all out.

Quote
As far as healing goes, the Heal Wound Galdrar (Galdrar is a song where you're singing a runescript) requires binding the wound, and the healing occurs over time until the next dawn.  It costs 1 Magic Point per Point of damage healed, so is pretty costly, not something you do to "top up", especially with the slow regen.  Traditional healing is always used first.  It takes the normal number of minutes for Healing Skill plus an additional minute per hit point healed, so very much not a combat spell.

Even though the Seidr spells aren't Theism per se by the rules, they are taught to the Seidkona by the Cult of Ymir, so it is seen as part of their religion, but more knowledge taught by Ymir rather than a miracle performed by Ymir.  As such, it's probably better considered a unique type of Sorcery. Now, I made the religion pretty dark and bloody, with lots of blood sacrifices and rituals, so even though the MP expenditure is high, it can be offset.

For example, the Vanir hunter took a nasty Serious Wound to the chest (that aforementioned Pict Shark Arrow).  The Vanir had a couple of Barachan sailors that they had taken captive as thralls.  The Siedkona and Shaman did a healing ritual (Using their Rites: Ymir skill).  The Seidkona carved runes of healing in her hands and began singing the Heal Wound Galdrar, while the Gothi carved the song runes into the chest of one of the thralls.  The Seidkona healed the hunter drawing the power to do so from the sacrificial thrall (using her Seidr skill)  Once the healing was done, she cut out the beating heart of the thrall and offered it up to Ymir to place it smoking on his board (using her Exhort skill).  An icy wind rose, the heart erupted into blue flame and disappeared, leaving a rime of ice on the Seidkona's hands.  When the ice melted, her hands were healed and the next dawn, the Hunter's wound was only Light, and he was fully healed within a couple of days.  Basically a Seidr casting augmented by properly performed religious ritual, but no "Miracle Casting" by RAW.  

Of course, if she had failed her Exhort roll...attracting Ymir's attention and not pleasing him is generally considered to be a Bad Thing. :D  

So the sacrificial healing ritual isn't going to be a quick repeat I don't think.

This is very flavorful and appropriate.  It's not far off from what I am shooting for.  The trouble I am having is how to approach these kind of modifications systemically.  My hunch here is that you are approaching magic and spells on a case by case basis as they come up in play rather than a system wide set of house rules.  Is this correct?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 11:15:08 AM by Madprofessor »

Madprofessor

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« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2016, 11:30:35 AM »
Quote from: CRKrueger;928546
I'm not sure that you can claim "no reason" behind it. The Laws of Magic may not be the Laws of Science, but that doesn't mean they are completely random and chaotic.

Yes, I probably overstated my case about the mysteriousness of sorcery. In fact, gaining a glimpse into the workings of some particular supernatural weirdness is a powerful and common theme in REH and S&S stories.  It just seems like every supernatural effect has its own logic.

Quote
Yeah, that's always the Big One, PC Magicians, Yes or No.  I can completely see the argument for NPC magic only, but at the same time, you lose the capability of players making that choice, deciding to read that book or not, to burn that scroll or save it...to find out if best intentions and magic will always pave the Road to Hell or not.  I made my choice and crossed that Rubicon, now I just have to make it as S&S as I can.

Magic is S&S is fun so I tend allow PC magicians as well.

 
Quote
I'm taking some inspiration from DCC, d20 Conan and RQ Chaos magic, trying to come up with a good set of corruptions that can occur with Sorcery.  As far as Priests go, any Theist who doesn't spend a goodly amount of time propitiating their deity appropriately is going to find calling on them a very bad idea.

Yeah, that is a tough one.  There is always a sense that magic is inherently unnatural and therefore evil and dangerous, but I have yet to come up with a very convincing set of consequences for tampering with dark powers besides the social implications of: "being alienated, hated, burned at the stake, crucified, hunted by the Black Ring or other sorcerers who want to steal your knowledge, power and soul, etc."

daniel_ream

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« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2016, 12:15:42 PM »
Quote from: Madprofessor;929319
A complication is that to get really flavorful with this kind of mana accumulation you almost need separate MP rituals for each spell in each magical tradition.  For example, a scrying spell might require contacting and negotiating with a raven spirit for a shamman of Jhebbal Sag, but an adept from Vendhya or Khitai might draw his power by emptying his consciousness and filling it with the void of the cosmos or something.  It would of course be a lot of work to detail this all out.

Mythras/RQ6 really doesn't do a good enough job of explaining what to do with the tools they give you.  Tuning MP regeneration is probably the biggest customization tool and they don't give enough examples.  It's extremely hackable, but you're given a set of hand tools and asked to build a house.

Depending on how much editing power you want to give your players you can always just say "Regenerate X MP with an appropriate ritual" and let the player come up with something.  You might want to set some guidelines like minimum time or expense.  I tend to really dislike the term "magic system" because the vast majority of non-D&D-inspired fantasy magic is not a predictable system of magical physics, but rather idiosyncratic, unpredictable, and risky. After all, as you say...

Quote
The trouble I am having is how to approach these kind of modifications systemically.  My hunch here is that you are approaching magic and spells on a case by case basis as they come up in play rather than a system wide set of house rules.

...it's thematically appropriate for each spell to be unique.

Quote from: Madprofessor;929326
[...] but I have yet to come up with a very convincing set of consequences for tampering with dark powers besides the social implications of: "being alienated, hated, burned at the stake, crucified, hunted by the Black Ring or other sorcerers who want to steal your knowledge, power and soul, etc."

Again, don't think of magic as physics ("I do X, I always get Y with no other or unpredictable consequences") but as a contract with an otherworldly power.  In exchange for those MP, occasionally that entity you're entreating with is going to demand you do something.  And if you refuse, he's not just going to stop giving you MP, he's going to eat you because fuck, he's not running a charity here.  All that supernatural power running through a mortal frame might cause issues - maybe all your body hair falls out (sorcerors are always bald), or your nads shrivel up, or your body fat and muscle tissue gets consumed by the power until you're not much more than skin and bones.  Maybe all food tastes like ashes, or the sorceror is consumed by lust he can never consummate (cf nads, shriveled) which explains why they're always kidnapping nubile young maidens.  Just docking points from CON as each spell makes the sorceror older a la The Golden Voyage of Sinbad works.
D&D is becoming Self-Referential.  It is no longer Setting Referential, where it takes references outside of itself. It is becoming like Ouroboros in its self-gleaning for tropes, no longer attached, let alone needing outside context.
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Madprofessor

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« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2016, 01:56:40 PM »
Quote from: daniel_ream;929335
Mythras/RQ6 really doesn't do a good enough job of explaining what to do with the tools they give you.  Tuning MP regeneration is probably the biggest customization tool and they don't give enough examples.  It's extremely hackable, but you're given a set of hand tools and asked to build a house.


...hmm, never thought of it that way, but I think you're right.  The RQ6 magic system is basically a toolbox.  Of course, it has enough bones that you could play it straight without much trouble.  It's greatest feature though is that it's adaptable, and even though there are pages of suggestions for tool use, you need a fairly clear picture of the final product before you can begin to build.

Quote
Depending on how much editing power you want to give your players you can always just say "Regenerate X MP with an appropriate ritual" and let the player come up with something.  You might want to set some guidelines like minimum time or expense.


...or come up with something for them.  Either way, if you want that "idiosyncratic, unpredictable, and risky" S&S vibe, I think your stuck coming up with something different for each caster/spell/magical tradition.

 
Quote
 I tend to really dislike the term "magic system"...  ...it's thematically appropriate for each spell to be unique.


Exactly, as soon as you say "this is how magic works," you have lost the magic of it.  In such a case, it seems almost futile to develop and detail the whole of the "magic of the Hyborian Age."  You almost need to focus simply on the unique magical structures for each PC and NPC sorcerer that have a direct impact on the game/region you are running, developing new uniqueness as the PCs encounter them letting the other magics of the world remain in darkness.  

 
Quote
Again, don't think of magic as physics ("I do X, I always get Y with no other or unpredictable consequences") but as a contract with an otherworldly power.  In exchange for those MP, occasionally that entity you're entreating with is going to demand you do something.  And if you refuse, he's not just going to stop giving you MP, he's going to eat you because fuck, he's not running a charity here.  All that supernatural power running through a mortal frame might cause issues - maybe all your body hair falls out (sorcerors are always bald), or your nads shrivel up, or your body fat and muscle tissue gets consumed by the power until you're not much more than skin and bones.  Maybe all food tastes like ashes, or the sorceror is consumed by lust he can never consummate (cf nads, shriveled) which explains why they're always kidnapping nubile young maidens.


Yes, but as a game, you can't really be too arbitrary with the consequences for PC sorcerers, can you? I mean, you don't want to just come out of the blue and tell a PC that his nads shriveled up due to a spell failure do you?  You at least need a chart or something where you can point and say "these are the things that could happen to you if you take it too far" or something.

 
Quote
Just docking points from CON as each spell makes the sorceror older a la The Golden Voyage of Sinbad works.


Yes! Fantastic movie! and I love how it portrays sorcery! Eye of the Tiger too.  Again though, CON docking as aging works great for a particular sorcerer, spell, or tradition, but you wouldn't want it as a blanket rule.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 01:59:23 PM by Madprofessor »

daniel_ream

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« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2016, 03:42:40 PM »
Quote from: Madprofessor;929364
Yes, but as a game, you can't really be too arbitrary with the consequences for PC sorcerers, can you? I mean, you don't want to just come out of the blue and tell a PC that his nads shriveled up due to a spell failure do you?

I think that you can.  For one, Mythras isn't a "balanced" game to start with.  One bad roll when you're out of Luck Points and your warrior PC can be short a limb for good.  Second, it's thematically appropriate - all S&S/Conan magic is inherently corrupting and nasty, and the PCs should understand that going in.  Power has a price, and if they're not willing to pay it, don't play a sorceror.

Quote
You at least need a chart or something where you can point and say "these are the things that could happen to you if you take it too far" or something.

Nope.  I think that undermines the trope of sorcery being inherently dangerous.  You don't want players playing the odds like that; as a sorceror, the character would know what sorts of things might happen in fiction terms, and the player should be aware of that, but that's as far as it goes.  And the last thing you want is something like the GURPS Unlimited Mana chart where PCs can ration their spellcasting to avoid breakpoints on the chart.

Quote
Again though, CON docking as aging works great for a particular sorcerer, spell, or tradition, but you wouldn't want it as a blanket rule.

I think it's a trope of the genre that there are lots of different kinds of magic that all look and feel different, yes.
D&D is becoming Self-Referential.  It is no longer Setting Referential, where it takes references outside of itself. It is becoming like Ouroboros in its self-gleaning for tropes, no longer attached, let alone needing outside context.
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crkrueger

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« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2016, 03:13:05 PM »
Quote from: Madprofessor;929319
So how do you handle MP regeneration?

Short answer is 1MP/week natural regen.  So doing that healing spell, if there wasn't a way to mitigate the MP loss, would have taken months to recover from.  There are other sources of MP regen I can get into more later.

Quote from: Madprofessor;929319
This is very flavorful and appropriate.  It's not far off from what I am shooting for.  The trouble I am having is how to approach these kind of modifications systemically.  My hunch here is that you are approaching magic and spells on a case by case basis as they come up in play rather than a system wide set of house rules.  Is this correct?
Pretty much.  I'm going on a spell by spell basis to see whether I allow it, how I alter it, and if there will be any special techniques concerning the spell like rituals, etc taught by the Cult in question (if the PC belongs to one).  The players don't even bother reading the magic section.
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

Yes, Sean Connery's thumb does indeed do megadamage. - Spinachcat

Isuldur is a badass because he stopped Sauron with a broken sword, but Iluvatar is the badass because he stopped Sauron with a hobbit. -Malleus Arianorum

"Tangency Edition" D&D would have no classes or races, but 17 genders to choose from. -TristramEvans

Pete Nash

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« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2016, 04:17:42 PM »
Its great to see this thread. I of course have my own set of house rules for RQ6 Conan, but I like reading how other's apply the rules to satisfy their own interpretations of the Hyborean Age.
The Design Mechanism: Publishers of Mythras

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crkrueger

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« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2016, 05:08:32 PM »
Quote from: Pete Nash;929621
Its great to see this thread. I of course have my own set of house rules for RQ6 Conan, but I like reading how other's apply the rules to satisfy their own interpretations of the Hyborean Age.

Hi Pete, I'd like to hear your Hyborian Hacks if you feel like sharing anything.
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

Yes, Sean Connery's thumb does indeed do megadamage. - Spinachcat

Isuldur is a badass because he stopped Sauron with a broken sword, but Iluvatar is the badass because he stopped Sauron with a hobbit. -Malleus Arianorum

"Tangency Edition" D&D would have no classes or races, but 17 genders to choose from. -TristramEvans

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« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2016, 06:28:24 PM »
Maybe I'll send you a copy of my own Conan magnum opus one day. But for obvious reasons I haven't released my personal notes so as not to upset Paradox, nor undermine Modiphius' heroic efforts.
The Design Mechanism: Publishers of Mythras

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” ― George Orwell
"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness." ― Otto von Bismarck

Madprofessor

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« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2016, 10:06:40 PM »
Quote from: Pete Nash;929653
Maybe I'll send you a copy of my own Conan magnum opus one day. But for obvious reasons I haven't released my personal notes so as not to upset Paradox, nor undermine Modiphius' heroic efforts.


Thanks for stopping by Pete! Of course I understand, but it's still a real shame you can't share.

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« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2016, 02:53:30 AM »
What I can say is that my personal hack is...

1) Based solely on the original Howard stories

2) Has a 1MP/Month regen rate, with options for quick but risky drawing of MPs from things like sacrifice

3) Uses the Bad Things Happen table from Monster Island if you rush incantations, rather than casting ritually

4) Has a comprehensive spell list of neigh every magical effect listed in the stories (and despite misinformed opinion of S&S tropes there are a lot)

5) Does not offer characteristic bonuses to particular 'races', but instead grants different cultural skill packages

6) Tries its best to grant stats to all the odd weapons and armour of the Hyborean Age

7) Doesn't have too many monsters, as most of those encountered in the tales are already incorporated into Mythras

8) Doesn't incorporate 'Corruption' rules per se, since in my opinion Howard's world view was that it was power that corrupts, not magic. There are a lot of corrupt kings, tribal leaders, non-spell casting priests and so on. Instead I give guidance on how to use Passions to reflect this

I think those were the salient points when I threw it together.
The Design Mechanism: Publishers of Mythras

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The Butcher

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« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2016, 05:38:02 AM »
Thanks for sharing, Pete.

You sure you can't post #4 in full? ;)