Swapping Magic Out

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islan
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Swapping Magic Out

#1 Postby islan » Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:41 pm

Because you can only get so many spells over the course of play in Savage Worlds, it seems rather important to keep the list of spells very tight with little overlap.

But what if you want a setting that has multiple versions of Bolt/Blast/etc, each with their own uses that would give a spellcaster good cause to want to take the same spell multiple times, just with different trappings each time?

I'm thinking that maybe in such a case it would be better to allow a spellcaster to swap out spells, thus allowing them to have a larger collection of spells but are only able to have a number prepared at any given time equal to the number of Powers they have. Of course such a thing would need some good flavor involved in the setting.

What do my fellow Savages think?

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#2 Postby dugfromthearth » Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:48 pm

that depends

viziers are educated men who command sorcery and know the weakness of their foes. They are planners. They know that zombies are more affected by the Fires of Heaven and that stone golems are more affected by Brittle Bolt. So a wise vizier researches where he is going and when he is headed to the Plains of Dread which is swarming with zombies he prepares his Fires of Heaven spells.

vs

Some wizards are lazy and seek the easiest path to power, even if that power is lesser. Other wizards seek only power and are willing to take risks to get it. Lazy (or cautious) wizards learn Simmering Bolt which costs 1 less power point but does -2 damage. Aggressive wizards learn Blazing Bolt which costs normal power and does +2 damage but has an additional -1 to spellcasting.

Basically - are you adding variety in the spells so that spellcasters are different from each other and have different styles, or so that spellcasters can make more choices when they prepare for an adventure and to make preparation more important?

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#3 Postby kreider204 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:49 pm

I'm starting up a PbP game with an old D&D buddy - we're playing in Greyhawk, but with Savage Worlds rules. In order to capture some of the flavor of the old D&D magic-user, I'm letting him swap out spells or trappings between adventures. We're just starting, so I'll let you know how it works in practice, but I don't see why this should be a problem, at least not for our setting.

I'm also giving him a generic "Cantrips" spell - 1 PP lets him create any low-level, practical spell effect (freshen food, cast a small light, dry clothes, etc.) He didn't have to choose it as one of his spells, it was just a freebie.

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#4 Postby skylion » Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:18 pm

Well, this is the beauty of Savage Worlds. As so far as the trappings go, the GM isn't limited to what is "set in stone"; so any player, GM willing, can go with your plan, or similar.

I wouldn't allow it in my game thou. I am not comfortable with the idea of disposable spells. They all build on one another, no matter what system you are using. Even in D&D 3.x you are a wise wizard if you keep a few low level spells slotted in.

Luckily, SW sees no such limitations. In fact, the engine of the simple bolt spell is usable all the way up too Legendary; with the right trappings and edges.

I've run high fantasy where I allow for at least two trappings with combat magic. The Fantasy Companion made that allowance more streamlined.
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#5 Postby kreider204 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:29 pm

Oh, I was going to say - you could limit the number of choices by giving the PC a spell book and letting them add spells here and there (e.g., coming across scrolls they can copy down). That gives them greater variety, but within reason.

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#6 Postby islan » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:01 pm

Yeah, I was thinking that it would perfectly for a D&D-type game. Not sure if the spellbook angle will work with the setting that I'm thinking of, but maybe it will.

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Re: Swapping Magic Out

#7 Postby Clint » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:35 am

islan wrote:But what if you want a setting that has multiple versions of Bolt/Blast/etc, each with their own uses that would give a spellcaster good cause to want to take the same spell multiple times, just with different trappings each time?

I'm thinking that maybe in such a case it would be better to allow a spellcaster to swap out spells, thus allowing them to have a larger collection of spells but are only able to have a number prepared at any given time equal to the number of Powers they have. Of course such a thing would need some good flavor involved in the setting.


Hmm, I'm not sure how we get from a setting with multiple versions of the same spell with different trappings to swapping out for any spell. Or am I misunderstanding and it is only changing out the trappings for those powers taken and not switching to entirely different powers.

Switching out trappings provides a bit of flexibility, but switching out entire powers takes it from flexibility to super silly putty that can be a gun or a grenade or wings or poison/boosters and so on.

Depending on the exact nature of the setting, I'd say it could be handled as easily as...

A character can change the trappings of a power by spending 1 PP and making an Arcane Skill roll (with normal effects of backlash if they exist).

And if using the Fantasy Companion trapping info, you could even go further to...

On a success, the power has a new Minor Effect trapping and on a raise, it may have a Major Effect trapping.

The character can still change a Bolt from ice to fire, but the raise might allow an extra benefit in a specific situation.
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Re: Swapping Magic Out

#8 Postby islan » Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:00 pm

Clint wrote:Hmm, I'm not sure how we get from a setting with multiple versions of the same spell with different trappings to swapping out for any spell. Or am I misunderstanding and it is only changing out the trappings for those powers taken and not switching to entirely different powers.

Switching out trappings provides a bit of flexibility, but switching out entire powers takes it from flexibility to super silly putty that can be a gun or a grenade or wings or poison/boosters and so on.


That's what I thought at first two, but what if they want two different versions of Bolt at the same time? And it doesn't make any contextual sense to say "you learn all Bolt spells that there possibly are" all at once.

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#9 Postby fanchergw » Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:17 pm

Why not just make a setting rule where once they know a Power - or a spell using that power, if you're using spell lists ala D&D - they automatically learn a new trapping version of that Power at each Rank increment. So lets say they know an icy version of Bolt and a sunfire (great against undead) version of Blast. The next time they move up a Rank, they can then pick a lightning or magical daggers version of Bolt, and an acid or water version of Blast to add to their grimoire. Alternatively, if you want to spread it out more, let them pick one power / spell at each level-up and learn one new trapping version of that power.

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#10 Postby ogbendog » Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:36 pm

I toyed with the idea that if you take elemental manipulation, or light, or obscure, you could, for 1 pp, add approriate trappings to any combat spell, lighting for air, rock, fire, etc.

so a fire mage has Elemental manipulation fire, adn all his spells can have fire trappings if he wishes.
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#11 Postby islan » Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:39 pm

*mistake post*

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#12 Postby kreider204 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:41 pm

Islan: Check this out, esp. the "No Power Points" part near the end.

http://lordofweasels.net/savageworlds/WftP2.pdf

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#13 Postby Mike McCall » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:08 pm

A note that may or may not be relevant: if the concern is the number of spells overall, and not a question of trappings and variations, keep in mind that the limit is not on the number of powers a character has, but rather or the number of slots a character may spend on the New Power Edge. There are easy ways to deal with this:

- Make more readily available grimoires which allow characters to learn a power for free.
- Let them take New Power every level-up if they want.

Which isn't to say that the swap-oout is necessarily a bad idea. But it's good to look at alternate approaches.
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#14 Postby shadd4d » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:42 pm

Mike McCall wrote:- Let them take New Power every level-up if they want.


You can do that normally at the cost of not raising an attribute; it's basically buying a new edge. The only one that is limited is new powerpoints, which is rank limited at once per rank or per two level ups when legendary.

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