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Thoughts on World Creation: Magic Part 2

Tweet Magic Part 2 – Meta Magic Meta magic is one of my favorite aspects of a magic-rich fantasy world. Imagine naval warfare without submarines and sonar. Imagine cyberpunk without netrunners. That’s how I see fantasy without meta-magic. I’m paraphrasing and borrowing the term from Steve Jackson Games’ GURPS. In there magic system is a college of magic called “meta-spells.” These are, simply put, spells about magic. The simplest example would be a dispel magic spell — a mage equivalent of disarming a trap. But meta magic can go much deeper than that, and it should. If magic is pervasive in your setting, and the stakes are high enough, it should be routine to make sure certain magical countermeasures are in place. Let’s take a look at a┬áhypothetical scenario: a king is hiring the party to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Advice, Alternate Views, General Gaming

Thoughts on World Creation: Magic

Tweet My continuing series on fantasy world creation. There are a couple of very important questions a GM must ask about magic during the world creation process. Simply slapping magic on top of a┬ámedieval setting just doesn’t ring true. Something as powerful as magic is going to change civilization in some way — or be changed by it. Mages: Corner Practitioners or Feared Outcasts? This is critical. How does the average person view mages? Are they like a modern day doctor? Can you find one on every corner? Is the a Magic Item Mart(tm) down on Market Road, run by a friendly gnomish enchanter? Or do average people look on powerful mages with fear and distrust? Perhaps there’s justification for a distrust of mages and magic. After all, can you really trust someone who can … Read entire article »

Filed under: Adventure Design, Advice

From the Archive: Spell Casting by the Book

Tweet Note: This article was originally co-authored by Stu Venable and Bill Roper in 1998 . It appeared on the old Happyjacks.org, and previous web pages, such as the now defunct www.gnn.com/~sturv. The article deals with alternate rules for the default GURPS 3rd Edition magic system, though it may have applicability in other systems. Doing it By the Book An Optional System for Casting Spells from Spell Books. By Stu Venable and Bill Roper The uselessness of magical tomes in GURPS has always been a sore point for players with a preference for mages. With 200 hours of study needed to gain one point in a new spell, learning magic while adventuring can present some serious logistical problems. Here we present optional rules for GMs who want to give mages more … Read entire article »

Filed under: Alternate Views