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Gurpsifying WoW: Mage basics

I’ve put quite a lot of thought into the idea of running a World of Warcraft inspired game in GURPS. The more I read into the story of Azeroth, though, the less I liked it for tabletop. I’m unlikely to ever run it myself, but I guess it would be a shame to leave all the time spent on gurpsifying WoW to waste. Thus I’m going to post some of my thoughts, unpolished and unplaytested as they are.

First off: mages.

Required books: Magic.

Spells cannot be powered with Fatigue nor Hit Points, but with a dedicated Energy Reserve*. Should I refer to it, I’ll call it “Mana Reserve” to link to the WoW resource but keep it distinct from the GURPS concept of mana. I intend to keep the mage spell list very restricted, similar to the one in the computer game, so every character with Magery gets Mana Reserve 15 for free. You cannot get points for reducing your Mana Reserve.

Magic Rituals: Skill has it’s usual effect on spell cost and casting time, but regardless of skill, you need to make a 2-handed gesture and speak a couple quiet words to cast a spell. Magery stays at 10 points per level (you don’t get a discount for Dance or Song limitations). On Azeroth you aren’t prone to Low Mana or No Mana Zones, so the pros and cons cancel out in my opinion.

I find the Magery and Effect rule very important and assume it’s in use.

Holding a Melee or Missile spell is very important for GURPS mages. You can cast an offensive spell, rest, and then go into the dungeon armed with a 9d fireball and full energy. If you find the option unfitting to the world and intend to ban it, I suggest rising the starting Mana Reserve to 20.

All mages have Code of Honor (mage’s) for -10 character points: never wear armor other than cloth. Don’t teach magic to anyone who does. Any respectable mage would react poorly to an idea of using heavier armor. (Code of Honor is the closest fit I find, though you might reword it as Disciplines of Faith, Vow, or a custom Tradition or Uprising disadvantage. It’s a cultural thing, and something that is just wired into each magical adept’s world view). Should a player want to play an armored mage, you may use any combination of Unusual Background, negative Reputation, and Social Stigma. You might even use the New Inventions rules in-game to make the character come up with an idea of this revolutionary tactic.

I haven’t put much thought into enchanting, but I think Staff and Powerstones should be available.

As I mentioned earlier, the spell list should be cut a lot: only the spells that are part of Arcane, Fire and Frost specializations, and Enchanting profession, are available – I’m going to discuss them in separate posts.

Gnomasz out, cheers!

*) Energy Reserve is a concept explained in Powers, Thaumatology and some other supplements. It’s a separate energy pool for powering spells and abilities in place of FP. It costs 3 points per level, it has no 1/3 threshold and can never drop below 0. It recharges at the same rate FP does, though it does so even if the character isn’t resting.

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Posted by on November 20, 2017 in GURPSifying World of Warcraft

 

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Gurpsifying WoW: Resurrection

Here I’m toying with how to represent some spells from World of Warcraft in GURPS. Today: resurrecting spells.

It’s not hard to notice that the GURPS Magic Resurrection spell isn’t suitable for WoW feel or for it’s world:

  • it’s too costly and time consuming for how often it’s being used in the computer game;
  • introducing it would raise many questions on why wasn’t X brought back to life.

This could be solved in a couple of ways. We might borrow from D&D 4, where the more important a character is, the harder they are to raise from the dead: to the point where resurrecting a warlord is impossible, but raising a PC is trivial (for a hero). This explanation starts to crumble, though, when the PCs take on the titans and the old gods.

I prefer to look at what role those spells actually have in the game: they quickly bring back to fight characters who’d need a couple of minutes to come back themselves. In GURPS – that’s Awaken. Assuming that the “resurrecting” spells merely wake up the unconscious solves the above issues nicely. (It also makes the game actually potentially deadly, but that’s not a bug, it’s a feature).

The Awaken spell could be included in the spell lists of resurrecting spellcasters as-is, but it might also be tweaked to better suit the world:

  • change it from area to regular, with no effect on cost;
  • non-combat resurrect: change the casting time to 10 seconds;
  • remove the stun and fatigue countering, but reduce the HT penalty for subjects unconscious because of damage and poison;
  • might also be combined with some healing (there are many options for this).

There’s one thing Awaken can’t deal with, as far as i know: Mortal Wounds. You might leave it as-is, or combine it with Stop Bleeding, making Resurrection a Very Hard spell. I prefer something in-between: Resurrection stays a hard spell and cannot deal with Mortal Wounds. But a perk is available: Glyph of Miraculous Resurrection: your Resurrection spell can awaken a mortally wounded character. This feat costs 10 energy. The mortal wound is automatically stabilized. The target awakens only on a passed HT roll, as usually.

Oh, one last thing: I feel like seeing a Spirit Healer while unconscious might be useful. Maybe with the Dreaming skill?

Tinker on, Gnomash out. Cheers!

 

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in tips & tricks

 

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Changing spell magic to build a world

This is an example on how to shape the magic in your GURPS game by selecting available spells and changing their prerequisites, and why a weak spell can sometimes be considered high-tier.

I’ve been playing some WoW lately. There are three schools of magic in the game and they’re all focused on damage dealing. There are differences in their play patterns, but they inevitably end up being compared on the ground of damage per second. That made me wonder if the developers would dare to truly differentiate the three specializations and make one of them a tank. And, for example, one (fire) focused on area damage and the last one (arcane) on single target damage. That idea brought me back to thinking about the Fireball in GURPS Magic.

Fireball is the second least cost-effective missile spell in the book. I cry every time I compare it to the Stone Missile, which has better accuracy, damage, and range. It seems like the only meaningful reason to take Fireball is to get to the Explosive Fireball. Why then can you buy one without the other? If Explosive Fireball is worth the power tax (it really isn’t), this spell should be more expensive, and not the previous spells weaker. Because if you don’t pick up Explosive, you just end up with a couple spells that are weaker for the sake of something that shouldn’t bother you. That’s a poor guidance for players who’d like to pick up just a few spells from the 1000 without reading the whole book and making tabs on the way. So how about we put the normal Fireball after the Explosive one in the prerequisite chain?

It doesn’t make sense in a vacuum, but it does a lot when you think about it in terms of two different magic schools. Let’s say we want Earth to be the single-target damage college and Fire – the area damage one. With prerequisite chains something like this:

  • Earth: (1) Some regular damage spell, (2) Sand Jet, (3) Mud Jet, (4) Stone Missile;*
  • Fire: (1) Create Fire, (2) Rain of Fire, (3) Explosive Fireball, (4) Fireball;

a dedicated fire mage who wants a fall-back single-target spell might pick-up the weaker Fireball or pay more precious points to get to stronger Stone Missile, which would really make him a generalist. That means more expensive Magery and less points for energy, and energy is our beloved mayhem.

Gnomash out, cheers!

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2016 in tips & tricks

 

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