This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Author Topic: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]  (Read 2291 times)

Ocule

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 190
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #60 on: September 14, 2021, 12:57:10 AM »
For one of my games I'm going for a non-Vancian magic system, part of the changes I'm doing is dividing the magic into White (No corruption), Gray (Moderate Corruption) & Black (Full Corruption).

This means White gives you zero corruption points, Gray gives you half the corruption points and Black Gives you all the corruption points. White = Zero Corruption, Gray = 1/2 Corruption & Black = 1 Corruption.

This is (or was) going to be tied to the type of spell: Healing, Protecting, etc spells = White, while Harmful spells = Black & Gray fell on the gray zone inbetween. But...

What if you use human sacrifice in your healing spells?

So, Magic is but a tool, Type of spell does matter, but Intent and means also matter, maybe even more in most cases.

So my question is this:

What type of spells would you guys say ARE definetely Black magic regardless of the intent/means?

I think the real question here is what is corruption and why can magic corrupt. What is black magic and white magic also in metaphysical terms.

Like mythos any spell even healing runs the risk of sanity and other terrible costs. In lankhmar it’s more intent based. In warhammer all magic can corrupt but undisciplined magic is the most open to corruption. Even if altruistic.

So in your setting what is black magic and why does magic corrupt. Also what is the corruption?
Read my Consumer's Guide to TTRPGs
here. This is a living document.

Forever GM

Now Running: Deadlands (SWADE)

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3232
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #61 on: September 14, 2021, 01:17:11 AM »
For one of my games I'm going for a non-Vancian magic system, part of the changes I'm doing is dividing the magic into White (No corruption), Gray (Moderate Corruption) & Black (Full Corruption).

This means White gives you zero corruption points, Gray gives you half the corruption points and Black Gives you all the corruption points. White = Zero Corruption, Gray = 1/2 Corruption & Black = 1 Corruption.

This is (or was) going to be tied to the type of spell: Healing, Protecting, etc spells = White, while Harmful spells = Black & Gray fell on the gray zone inbetween. But...

What if you use human sacrifice in your healing spells?

So, Magic is but a tool, Type of spell does matter, but Intent and means also matter, maybe even more in most cases.

So my question is this:

What type of spells would you guys say ARE definetely Black magic regardless of the intent/means?

I think the real question here is what is corruption and why can magic corrupt. What is black magic and white magic also in metaphysical terms.

Like mythos any spell even healing runs the risk of sanity and other terrible costs. In lankhmar it’s more intent based. In warhammer all magic can corrupt but undisciplined magic is the most open to corruption. Even if altruistic.

So in your setting what is black magic and why does magic corrupt. Also what is the corruption?

In my setting:

White Magic is harnesing the wild energies leftover by the creation of the universe.

Black Magic is making deals with the devil so you get the spell to work (sacrifice, torture of people and animals).

Grey Magic I'm having trouble in defining it.

Corruption therefore comes because of making deals with the devil and or because of the type of spell (For example entrhalling someone corrupts, never mind the source of power)
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

Ghostmaker

  • Chlorine trifluoride
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2264
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #62 on: September 14, 2021, 08:05:19 AM »
So I've been reading Stross's Laundry Files. Here's a wrinkle to toss in: what if corruption isn't a result of magic use but a side effect?

In Stross's books, trying to do sorcery without an intermediary implement runs the risk of drawing microscopic extradimensional critters to you -- as a result, too much magic done from the hip can give you brain damage, as those critters try to take bites out of your brains. Eventually you develop something like Alzheimer's.

King Tyranno

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #63 on: September 14, 2021, 08:56:14 AM »
The thing I've always noticed with binary magic systems divided into good and evil is the same issue with pretty much any Star Wars RPG with Jedi. That the evil spells are always cooler and more useful. It doesn't matter what penalties you put on the evil spells. They always end up used more. And the good spells get ignored.  Evil magic is always stuff like fireballs, lightning, and other attack spells. Cool stuff. But good magic is just support buffs and heals. Now heals should be useful right? But in practice, every player I've had in my group would rather memorize and use the fireballs over the healing spells. DnD solved this by dividing the spells into classes. The healer playstyle is Cleric. Most of the "support" spells get bundled into divine magic for Clerics. And Wizards get the all powerful archmage playstyle and get the fireballs and lightning. That's a decent way to sort things out. If you just have wizards who can choose heals or attack magic. 99% will pick attack magic. Whereas someone looking to be a support character is more likely to pick a Cleric that can't do attack spells anyway. If I may, I will suggest an alternative.

Instead of dividing into binary black and white. Why not divide into elements? Specifically look into Chinese medicine and acupuncture as they have a lot of info on the elements and how they affect both the body and nature. Maybe add some buffs or debuffs based on how much of one element you use. A magic user who uses the fire spells a lot gets buffs to using fire magic. But this causes debuffs to charisma, stealth, and any kind of speech skills as the magic user becomes more temperamental and quick to anger. While Metal spells increase constitution but lower dexterity and so on. It's still different from Vancian magic whilst not dividing into easy binaries. A metal spell is just as useful as a fire spell. And you are more encouraged through mechanics to specialize into something different than just the side with all the cool spells or the naff side with the boring spells.

Also it avoids the issue of characters trying to bring nuance into a binary system. Alignment can already be an embuggerance to that as is.

David Johansen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • D
  • Posts: 5521
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #64 on: September 14, 2021, 09:39:08 AM »
We all know the real difference is that your eyes glow red when you cast evil spells.
Fantasy Adventure Comic, games, and more http://www.uncouthsavage.com

Ocule

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 190
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #65 on: September 14, 2021, 10:20:48 AM »
Hmm so white magic draws on ambient energy/mana/yourself

Black magic deals with demons, human sacrifice, curses and other unsavory things.

How about this, White magic deals with angelic beings, benevolent spirits etc

Black magic draws from demonic sources, fallen angels etc.

Grey Magic doesn't use a middle man and exposes the caster to the raw unfiltered energies of the universe. This is where we will find alot of common folk magic, etc.

You'll have to figure out how they consider fae magic, animist magic, nature magic etc. The source for this is ceremonial magic based on Goetia

Thats just one take, Star wars is based on whether it's from serenity or passion.

Dresden files has a list of very solid "this is black magic even if used for a good reason" laws of magic

Warhammer tends to color all their winds of magic but all magic is corrupting except divine magic. Dhar is "dark magic" but is actually magic formed from combining different magic together to produce an effect, and is highly corrupting due to it's chaotic nature. Also anyone who deliberately uses chaos magic and consort with daemons.

DCC i believe is in the boat of all arcane magic is corrupting.

Read my Consumer's Guide to TTRPGs
here. This is a living document.

Forever GM

Now Running: Deadlands (SWADE)

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3232
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #66 on: September 14, 2021, 07:53:41 PM »
The thing I've always noticed with binary magic systems divided into good and evil is the same issue with pretty much any Star Wars RPG with Jedi. That the evil spells are always cooler and more useful. It doesn't matter what penalties you put on the evil spells. They always end up used more. And the good spells get ignored.  Evil magic is always stuff like fireballs, lightning, and other attack spells. Cool stuff. But good magic is just support buffs and heals. Now heals should be useful right? But in practice, every player I've had in my group would rather memorize and use the fireballs over the healing spells. DnD solved this by dividing the spells into classes. The healer playstyle is Cleric. Most of the "support" spells get bundled into divine magic for Clerics. And Wizards get the all powerful archmage playstyle and get the fireballs and lightning. That's a decent way to sort things out. If you just have wizards who can choose heals or attack magic. 99% will pick attack magic. Whereas someone looking to be a support character is more likely to pick a Cleric that can't do attack spells anyway. If I may, I will suggest an alternative.

Instead of dividing into binary black and white. Why not divide into elements? Specifically look into Chinese medicine and acupuncture as they have a lot of info on the elements and how they affect both the body and nature. Maybe add some buffs or debuffs based on how much of one element you use. A magic user who uses the fire spells a lot gets buffs to using fire magic. But this causes debuffs to charisma, stealth, and any kind of speech skills as the magic user becomes more temperamental and quick to anger. While Metal spells increase constitution but lower dexterity and so on. It's still different from Vancian magic whilst not dividing into easy binaries. A metal spell is just as useful as a fire spell. And you are more encouraged through mechanics to specialize into something different than just the side with all the cool spells or the naff side with the boring spells.

Also it avoids the issue of characters trying to bring nuance into a binary system. Alignment can already be an embuggerance to that as is.

I get what you're saying but that would break my setting.

Edited to add:

In my game those who delve into black magic are hunted down by the PCs.

So it's not just about the penalization, that's there to provide what I think would be good RP for the MU and his budies.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 07:57:14 PM by GeekyBugle »
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3232
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #67 on: September 14, 2021, 07:55:17 PM »
Hmm so white magic draws on ambient energy/mana/yourself

Black magic deals with demons, human sacrifice, curses and other unsavory things.

How about this, White magic deals with angelic beings, benevolent spirits etc

Black magic draws from demonic sources, fallen angels etc.

Grey Magic doesn't use a middle man and exposes the caster to the raw unfiltered energies of the universe. This is where we will find alot of common folk magic, etc.

You'll have to figure out how they consider fae magic, animist magic, nature magic etc. The source for this is ceremonial magic based on Goetia

Thats just one take, Star wars is based on whether it's from serenity or passion.

Dresden files has a list of very solid "this is black magic even if used for a good reason" laws of magic

Warhammer tends to color all their winds of magic but all magic is corrupting except divine magic. Dhar is "dark magic" but is actually magic formed from combining different magic together to produce an effect, and is highly corrupting due to it's chaotic nature. Also anyone who deliberately uses chaos magic and consort with daemons.

DCC i believe is in the boat of all arcane magic is corrupting.

The thing is I have my not-Cleric class already getting it's "powers" from God. If I'm gonna allow a MU I need to make them really different.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3232
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #68 on: September 14, 2021, 07:57:41 PM »
We all know the real difference is that your eyes glow red when you cast evil spells.

This is THE truth.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

tenbones

  • Poobah of the D.O.N.G.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4973
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #69 on: September 15, 2021, 04:59:50 PM »
For one of my games I'm going for a non-Vancian magic system, part of the changes I'm doing is dividing the magic into White (No corruption), Gray (Moderate Corruption) & Black (Full Corruption).

This means White gives you zero corruption points, Gray gives you half the corruption points and Black Gives you all the corruption points. White = Zero Corruption, Gray = 1/2 Corruption & Black = 1 Corruption.

This is (or was) going to be tied to the type of spell: Healing, Protecting, etc spells = White, while Harmful spells = Black & Gray fell on the gray zone inbetween. But...

What if you use human sacrifice in your healing spells?

So, Magic is but a tool, Type of spell does matter, but Intent and means also matter, maybe even more in most cases.

So my question is this:

What type of spells would you guys say ARE definetely Black magic regardless of the intent/means?

Intent should have no bearing on corruption. White/Gray/Black as you've posited them here (which I think is perfectly fine) are indicative of *methodology* as a well as fundamental source.

This assumes there are something akin to absolutes of good/evil represented by the presence (or lack thereof) of corruption. So that's how you should design around it. Black magic should be *useful* and *alluring* if only for the purposes of acquisition or effect (or both). You need to decide within your setting what the "standard' is in terms of Magical availability - this will help you dial in whether Black is easier to progress in, and White is merely the standard progression. Or will you do it by power-level, where Black is efficiently attained but White is more powerful pound for pound.

Panzerkraken

  • Jigab Ohjingeo
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 636
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #70 on: September 15, 2021, 06:02:40 PM »
Not directly tied to an answer, but as food for thought, Tenbones' description brought to mind Lois McMaster Bujold's more recent works (the Penric books/novellas) where the magic system is tied to the amount of chaos intrinsically applied in its use; she describes "Upstream" (or was it Uphill?) magic as magic that moves towards Order (healing, repairing, creating) while "Downstream" magic is injecting chaos into an action (destroying, heating, etc). Uphill magic is a LOT harder to do, and in the setting the caster has to absorb the chaos into himself, then dissipate it later to restore himself to a balance.

I could see that in what you've described as a sort of balancing act, with Corruption replacing Chaos in the equation. A "White" sorcerer would never use corruptive magic, their effects are all tied to healing, repairing, and ordering of things. Used in their methodology, they have a "Casting Difficulty" of x2, and a "Corruption Mod" of x0.  A "Black" sorcerer would never use White magic, and their effects will all be focused on destruction, disordering, etc.  They would have a "Casting Difficulty" of x0.5 and a "Corruption Mod" of x1. A "Grey" sorcerer might sit permanently in the middle (Diff x1, Corr x0.5), or be able to use "Pure" effects on a sliding scale depending on what Difficulty they were willing to accept. ("Quicker, easier, more seductive, the Dark Side is...")

All of that was sort of to frame that I think the Effects should be the deciding factor of the White/Gray/Black scale, not the specific spell. While a Black Sorcerer might throw a Fire Bolt, a White Sorcerer might prefer a Cold-based spell with the same damage degree, simply because frozen things are more ordered than heated ones. While a White Healer might just use golden light to heal, the Black Priest may perform a blood sacrifice (causing a death) to cause someone to be healed of damage (with the death there's more corruption/evil/chaos in the world, so it's a win for that side..) I think you could get away with giving the entire list to all grades of magic, and then tailoring the effects to match the particular style of the caster.
Si vous n’opposez point aux ordres de croire l’impossible l’intelligence que Dieu a mise dans votre esprit, vous ne devez point opposer aux ordres de malfaire la justice que Dieu a mise dans votre coeur. Une faculté de votre âme étant une fois tyrannisée, toutes les autres facultés doivent l’être également.
-Voltaire

palaeomerus

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 247
  • If my stats are all 9s then how am I a 3/10?
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #71 on: September 15, 2021, 09:31:46 PM »
We all know the real difference is that your eyes glow red when you cast evil spells.

So it's like hot sauce in a Warner Brothers cartoon?
Emery

Slipshot762

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • S
  • Posts: 317
Re: Magic is but a tool... And yet... HELP! [No Politics please]
« Reply #72 on: September 16, 2021, 04:09:08 AM »
We all know the real difference is that your eyes glow red when you cast evil spells.

So it's like hot sauce in a Warner Brothers cartoon?
Let's just say that the somatic component of fireball is a cheek spreading pantomime whilst the verbal component is yelling "BAZINGA!".