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Tékumel Style Magic For Savage Worlds
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siefertma
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:17 pm    Post subject: Tékumel Style Magic For Savage Worlds Reply with quote

I'm working on my own SW conversion for Tékumel: Empire Of The Petal Throne and I've hit a bit of a snag: the magic system. Now, I realize that I should just be able to plug in the various SW spells into but I'm not satisfied with the result, it just doesn't "feel" right for the setting.

This is how magic and magic use tends to work in the EPT setting:

1. Magic use is tightly controlled by the various temples. Magicians are taught a few spells and they eventually specialize one the one or two spells they master.

2. Magic comes in two separate varieties: Psychic, where the mage casts the spell with the power of their thoughts, and Ritual where special rites and incantation are necessary. Magicians can use BOTH kinds of spell.

3. Certain spells are universally known to all temples (like Healing for instance), others are specific to particular temples, and some spells are such closely guarded by their respective temples they are only taught to those with the proper skills and the right social standing in the Temple.

4. Magic is VERY powerful with many combat spells will kill a target outright.

5. Magicians can't have a lot of metal on their person when casting. Anything more than 60 grams will cause a backlash that will kill the caster.

6. Magic use expends "Pedhétl" (Mana, Magic Points, etc).

With all this in mind, does anyone have any suggestions, or am I making this more difficult than it has to be?
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Control
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know any thing about this setting other than what you provided. With that in mind...

1. If Magicians only have access to one or two spells I'd suggest having each spell grow in power or versatility as they increase in rank if that it appropriate to the setting, and lower the starting powers for the magic AB to one.

2. Psychic and Ritual magic can be handled by trappings indicating what materials and how much time a spell requires without much difficulty.

3. I would recommend providing each temple with it's own spell list much like those provided by different religions in other settings, and they can all have the common spells. Those very rare spells might also require an edge (and the GM's approval)

4. It is often argued that the bolt spell is to powerful, and it can kill a single target outright. This might already fit the power level you need for combat. Trappings (fire, ice, lightning, etc) can turn the bolt blast & burst powers into many other spells.

5. The metal feedback would need to be a specific setting rule, perhaps an automatic wound per 20 grams of metal with a vigor roll to reduce or resist the wounds. Or you could inflict d6 damage per 10 grams opposed by toughness just like any other damage.

6. You may need to adjust the number of power points available to get the feel you are looking for. If casting a single spell exhausts the magician then 5pp is fine, if they can cast repeatedly you might not need to make changes. If one magician can turn the tide of a battle single handed then you might need to raise the starting PP, the amount you get if you purchase additional PP's, or reduce the time it takes to regain power points.

I hope this helps or at least gives food for thought. And there will undoubtedly be other advice soon enough.
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fanchergw
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The comment about 1 or 2 spells puts me in mind of AB: Super Powers from the core book. The caster would need a separate skill with each one and have to buy each spell after the first with the New Power edge.

Otherwise, I agree with much of what Control has said.

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siefertma
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The primary source I'm using for my info on Tekumelyani magic is Guardians of Order's Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne rules. (Love the setting, HATE the overly crunchy rules!) Characters learn spells appropriate to the knowledge of magic, social status, and religious affiliation and can buy various "enhancements" (e.g. increased area effect, increased damage, improved results, specialized results) as they improve.

One of my initial ideas was to use a variation of the superpowers system in Necessary Evil to help create the spells and work in power point usage. The primary problem is 1) finding the right T:EPT-to-SW fit for the spells, 2) trying to work in every single variation of the spells, 3) working out the points values of every spell and variant.

I'd LOVE to keep this as simple as possible, but the more I look into this the more and more difficult it becomes.
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siefertma
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Control wrote:

1. If Magicians only have access to one or two spells I'd suggest having each spell grow in power or versatility as they increase in rank if that it appropriate to the setting, and lower the starting powers for the magic AB to one.


One of the many problems with GoO's rules was that they didn't include any sort of character examples to work with. So outside of the rules on how many spells a starting PC can have (Equal to the PC's Intellegence for the "Gritty" Realism level and twice that for the middle and high fantasy levels) there's not a lot I can go with.

Control wrote:
2. Psychic and Ritual magic can be handled by trappings indicating what materials and how much time a spell requires without much difficulty.


One idea I had was to have ONE AB, but two arcane skills: Psychic Magic and Ritual Magic.

Control wrote:
3. I would recommend providing each temple with it's own spell list much like those provided by different religions in other settings, and they can all have the common spells. Those very rare spells might also require an edge (and the GM's approval)


That goes without saying.

Control wrote:
4. It is often argued that the bolt spell is to powerful, and it can kill a single target outright. This might already fit the power level you need for combat. Trappings (fire, ice, lightning, etc) can turn the bolt blast & burst powers into many other spells.


Well, the GoO rules makes no distinction between PC and NPC as SW does. I guess we can give the Wild Cards a bit of an edge while the mooks die horrible screaming deaths.

Control wrote:
5. The metal feedback would need to be a specific setting rule, perhaps an automatic wound per 20 grams of metal with a vigor roll to reduce or resist the wounds. Or you could inflict d6 damage per 10 grams opposed by toughness just like any other damage.


The rules I've seen are a bit more cut and dried. Anything less than 60 grams, you're ok. Anything equal to or more and there is a good chance you're fried.

Control wrote:
6. You may need to adjust the number of power points available to get the feel you are looking for. If casting a single spell exhausts the magician then 5pp is fine, if they can cast repeatedly you might not need to make changes. If one magician can turn the tide of a battle single handed then you might need to raise the starting PP, the amount you get if you purchase additional PP's, or reduce the time it takes to regain power points.


See my post above about my idea of modifying the NE super power rules into a magic system. The one thing I'm finding daunting is the prospect of "reinventing the wheel" and re-writing the entire magic system from scratch a prospect I doubt will please a lot of Savages who are expecting Fast, Furious, and Fun.
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GreenTongue
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My partial conversion may give some ideas you can use.
http://home.earthlink.net/~djackson24/Delbert6a.htm

*It is however for the original rules.
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Y'all Of Cthulhu
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GreenTongue wrote:
My partial conversion may give some ideas you can use.
http://home.earthlink.net/~djackson24/Delbert6a.htm

*It is however for the original rules.
=

This thread got me looking around for some Tekumel stuff as I've had some interest in the setting previously, but I didn't quite feel satisfied playing with any of the previous systems or conversions...until this one! Cool

Seriously, this setting has always looked intriguing to me and with this conversion and the pdf's which are currently available on rpgnow, this would be totally playable.
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siefertma
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tékumel is a setting that I would LOVE to see officially Savaged! It really breaks out of the clichéd, Eurocentric fantasy paradigm so often plagarized from Tolkien.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

siefertma wrote:
Tékumel is a setting that I would LOVE to see officially Savaged! It really breaks out of the clichéd, Eurocentric fantasy paradigm so often plagarized from Tolkien.

Well if anyone is up for doing it I believe that Professor Barker might be willing to bestow a license upon someone who cares about the setting just to see it remain actively in print and attract converts.

I agree with you that the setting is awesome due to its mold-breaking abilities. Mr. Green The whole Tolkien-Rip-Off Syndrome is something that keeps me away from a lot of fantasy settings and literature. I remember reading about half of the first Wheel of Time book and saying, "Okay, I just can't take it anymore! This is blatant!" Laughing
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siefertma
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I have it figured out!

I going to have to throw out the traditional SW spell book. While I can hear the howls of indignation from the Savages, I really can't think of any other way to handle the magic in this setting. So many of the spells have no direct SW's analog that it's ultimately wiser to start from scratch.

OK, the spells have all the basics: Rank, Power Points, etc. Many spells have have various levels that can be purchased using one of the level up options provided the character reaches a particular rank and/or has the right religious affiliation. Some spells are "Temple Spells" where your PC must get permission from their Temple (not an easy thing) or receive the spell as a reward from some service. Spellcasting will have one skill. To cast Ritual Spells PCs will have to met certain requirements while Psychic Spells will just require line of sight.

Magic is going to be VERY powerful. Most of the combat spells can kill an Extra outright. Wild Cards will have a chance to save.

Well?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I gave my link but, I will be interested to see what you come up with.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

siefertma wrote:
I going to have to throw out the traditional SW spell book. While I can hear the howls of indignation from the Savages, I really can't think of any other way to handle the magic in this setting. So many of the spells have no direct SW's analog that it's ultimately wiser to start from scratch.


While I confess I'm not overly familiar with the setting, I find this a bit hard to believe. Most of the powers in Savage Worlds are very basic and can be applied in a number of situations. Here's an example regarding the TV version of The Dresden Files. In one scene, Harry is interrogating a man held in police custody. He doesn't want the police to know what questions he'll be asking, so he casts a spell that causes the surveillance camera to go out. Now on first glance, it may appear as if this wouldn't be covered by the Core Book powers. But when you get down to it, it's simply the Obscure power with technological trappings. Even then, one of the Fantasy Tool Kits (I believe the Worldbuilder) has a whole bunch of new powers which could satisfy your needs.

siefertma wrote:
Most of the combat spells can kill an Extra outright. Wild Cards will have a chance to save.


A 3d6 Bolt already does this. Even without taking acing into account, 3d6 averages at 10-11, more than enough to Incapacitate your typical Toughness 5 Extra.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, I'd have to say that I don't see anything in the original post that is far off what SW already has available.

As written...
Fewer more powerful spells? Check.
Uses points to cast? Check.

Setting Rules or Trappings...
Restricted power lists? Check.
Casting trappings (no metal)? Check (could also increase power of spells).
Specialized spells? Check (New Trademark Spell Edge).
Psychic magic and Rituals? Check (standard AB and Ritual Magic from Sharkbytes/Green's Guide to Ghosts).

I'm not certain but the ability to kill someone "outright" where Wild Cards might have a chance to "save" feels like a holdover from a hit point type of system where (unlike SW) attacks could have a maximum effect that could make such a "one-shot kill" impossible in many instances.

I could be wrong, but if so, there's no real reason to add "save or die" powers to SW when there is not really such a thing as an attack that could not potentially cause death to begin with.
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siefertma
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sitting Duck wrote:

While I confess I'm not overly familiar with the setting, I find this a bit hard to believe. Most of the powers in Savage Worlds are very basic and can be applied in a number of situations.


Clint wrote:
You know, I'd have to say that I don't see anything in the original post that is far off what SW already has available.


Pardon me for sounding snippy, but I thought that, then we wouldn't be having this conversation, would we?

From the previous, official, canon RPGs (i.e. Swords & Glory, Gardisayal, and Tekumel: Empire Of The Petal Throne) I've seen, magic in the Tekumel setting is far too nuanced and structured to just be shore-horned into Heal, Blast, Bolt, Dispel, etc. For instance: In SW "Heal" handles both wounds and poison/disease, in Tekumel one spell handles damage and another cures poisons. There is no guarantee that the spellcaster is going to know BOTH to justify cramming both into SW's Heal. Also, will the basic spells will handle minor wounds and moderately deadly poisons, higher level of the spell will heal more damage or cure more dangerous poisons the the lower level spells wouldn't. Some of those levels are known to specific temples (and they aren't sharing), and even then there a member might be barred from learning them because they're of a lower rank, a member of too low a clan, or the high priest who knows the spell just doesn't like your PC's face. (Yes, politics in the Tsolyanu Empire can be that petty.)

As for the damage issue; the canon material clearly states KILL in most of the combat spells. Not damage; not wound; but kill, slay, vaporize, crumble to a fine powder never to be reanimated. My "saving throw" suggestion was merely a concession to the gamers who would whine and pout if their PC was unfortunate (or stupid) enough to be caught in blast radius of a "Doomkill" spell or touched by "The Gray Hand." How am I supposed to figure out damage dice for spells that have only one possible result AND keep the rules true to canon.

I'm faced with two choices here, either A) I add a slightly (note the word "slightly") higher level to complexity to the magic rules to suit the canon, or B) dumb down the setting to suit the rules and risk hacking off myself and fellow Tekumel fans.

What's it going to be guys?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

siefertma wrote:
Clint wrote:
You know, I'd have to say that I don't see anything in the original post that is far off what SW already has available.


Pardon me for sounding snippy, but I thought that, then we wouldn't be having this conversation, would we?


I suppose that depends on someone's point of view. As I said above, I didn't see anything in the original post that led me to believe what was desired wasn't already available in the system from some source (or close to it).

If the ritual rules from Sharkbytes or altering ABs and powers based on trappings haven't been mentioned (even if only to say they have been discarded as usable), then I don't think it surprising to have it come up in the discussion.

As an example, Healing in SW can heal wounds, diseases, and poisons, but that's only one trapping of the power. If Barrier can be altered from a physical manifestion to a fiery damaging field, then I think it's certainly possible to say that Healing could be broken down into trappings that only allow one each of its different effects. And the same could be applied to Greater Healing, thus turning 2 healing powers into potentially seven or more (more if powerful versions of the spell might exist that do combine effects).

From the above post, that doesn't seem to have been considered as an option; yet it is one already available.

Sorry, if the advice seems inappropriate, but it is only based off the information that has been given about the setting and it's rules. And even at this point, I have yet to see anything in what has been posted that exhibits something not already available for SW in some way (though it may require applications of trappings and Setting Rules). Not to say it isn't possible that these things have already been considered and discarded, just that it has not been stated in this thread as such.

Although, I will presume that the above reply is relating as much and that any further advice of that nature is undesired.

Sorry for the inconvenience and best of luck with your conversion.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

siefertma wrote:
I'm faced with two choices here, either A) I add a slightly (note the word "slightly") higher level to complexity to the magic rules to suit the canon, or B) dumb down the setting to suit the rules and risk hacking off myself and fellow Tekumel fans.

What's it going to be guys?

Personally, if you can't shoehorn the setting into the core rules then I'd go for Plan Alpha. Wink

A lot of RPG settings can be slipped straight into the core rules and run great, but there are others that probably can't. I have a feeling that EPT is one of the latter.

Besides, don't most of the official and third-party settings add Edges, Hindrances, Powers and whatnot? I don't see how keeping the SW mechanics yet dropping a new list and type of spells is all that different.

Who knows, after playing around with some new magic rules you might decide that some things can be handled better with core rules as is or stolen from another setting.

I would more than likely give Clint's advice of perusual of Shark Bytes a look first before undertaking such a monumental task. In the end though, EPT is a very nice setting which is well known by its devotees, and its uniqueness in both style and form are what have kept it from being planted successfully within pre-existing systems. It's just too different in the world design AND gaming approach to find an easy fit.

Mr. Green
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siefertma
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sigh... you know, it's really disheartening to have one of the game designers telling you that your ideas are full of... well.. full of stuff.

I give up. Sorry I brought the whole thing up.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even though T:EPT may not easily convert to Savage Worlds, the original TSR version is certainly not _that_ hard to do.
I see the original as a wonderful PULP setting more than an exotic cultural setting. As long as everyone has fun, what's the problem?
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siefertma
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem is that I wouldn't be having any fun, and neither would the Tekumel fans I know. I want to play EPT using SW because it's one of the easier generic game systems that doesn't have the crunchier rules of previous Tekumel rules. If you mess with the canon's magic paradigm, then it's no longer Tekumel. It would just a dumbed-down parody that has the name "Empire Of The Petal Throne" scribbled across it in crayon.

But hey, the Savages have spoken. I give up.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

siefertma wrote:
Sigh... you know, it's really disheartening to have one of the game designers telling you that your ideas are full of... well.. full of stuff.

I give up. Sorry I brought the whole thing up.


You asked for opinions and ideas - Clint gave you his - if they don't match up with your own personal views and ideas, then feel free to ignore them, I'm sure Clint won't mind.

Equally, if you're not interested in any opinions and ideas that differ from the ones that you already have regarding an EPT conversion - then why ask for them?

If you want a perfect recreation of the canonical magic as portrayed in EPT as you see it then, pretty much, you're going to have to create that magic system from scratch as nothing that anyone else has created or had input into will perfectly match your view of how things should work.

The folks here are just trying to offer ways that they would/could use the SW magic system as it stands, or with minor trapping tweaks fit what they believe, from your posts, you are after.

I'm not adding any ideas of my own, as all the thoughts I've had would simply echo other posts that have already been made, none of which would recieve any positive response from you, as they wouldn't be saying what you want to hear.

Listen to the opinions that have been given, or not, as you see fit, but bear in mind that you asked for them - others were simply giving you what they felt you had asked for.
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