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Adapting MtA style magic to a mundanes setting

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  • Adapting MtA style magic to a mundanes setting

    Happy 2020 y'all. Had an idea bouncing in the back of my mind for a horror/noir setting for a long time now. Deadlands noir rekindled my urge to do that project. Though similar, my setting idea has some key differences. Like instead of the alt history of Deadlands, I was thinking like a ravenloft-like purgatory with Lovecraftian inspired horrors. But the biggest difference was I wanted a MtA like magic system. I recently happened on this post and it helped, but its clearly not for a setting where nonmage pcs are working along side the mages. So I think I need to make some changes to power it down or (preferably) slow the progress of gaining power. I'm thinking one thing is requirements for taking the edge and for gaining ranks in arcana skills. One requirement I've thought of is Knowledge (Physics) d10 or d12 to take the edge at all. This is since in the setting magic is the act of subverting the laws of physics and forcing your will on reality. Theres other things I've thought of for slower progress but I'd like some options on the subject in general. Just to give me some different angles to explore. Thanks

  • #2
    Welcome to the forums!

    Cool idea. Although I do not think I agree the high skill requirement. A d10 or d12 in Physics would be approaching a Master's Degree level of knowledge. A skill this high would include memorizing specific formulae, understanding esoteric theories, and probably even having a couple of your own theories published in peer-reviewed journals. Conversely, having a working knowledge of the laws of reality (enough to know how to subvert them) seems like it would be more intuitive and "ingrained". In order to fly, for example, you would need to know the basic principles of gravity, but not be able to calculate the precise gravitation forces within an open system. Creating a fireball would be an intuitive comparison between ambient temperatures, but not the specific heat index of the thing you are attempting to burn.
    You follow me?

    That said, I would give the magic Edge a d8 Smarts requirement instead. That's slightly higher than the average human's understanding of physics and reality, but it doesn't require 6+ years of higher education. It's also a much lower investment on the player's part. A d12 skill is going to eat up 5 skill points, minimum! That's at least a third of a starting character's total skill point allotment, and that doesn't even include the fact they still need to buy dice in the arcane skill itself. That's going to be a heavy price to pay, so unless magic is a serious game-changer in the setting, I would scale back the requirement.

    Hope you found this helpful.


    • #3
      You can also make the Spellcasting roll take the lower of Spellcasting and Science traits


      • #4
        Hey. Happy my original post was helpful. I think the easiest ways to make it more suitable for gaming with mixed non magical characters are:

        1 The arcane background gives access to only one arcana (not three) at d6 or d8
        2 Any further arcana requires a new edge and gives the arcana at d4
        3 Raising an arcana skill costs twice as much as raising a regular skill
        4 Limit advancement in an arcana skill to d8 at novice and seasoned level, d10 for veteran and heroic and d12 at legendary


        • Ocule
          Ocule commented
          Editing a comment
          Did you ever get a chance to playtest your idea? it looks like a decent starting point, i've also considered how i would run a mage style game in savage worlds. Though my likely conclusion didn't really try to replicate the magic system and instead had learned powers as rotes, and ritual magic being the norm. With a mechanic to improvise a spell kind of similar how deal with the devil in DLTWW allows a huckster to cast a spell they dont know. Then including dynamic backlash.

          Other ideas i was kicking around was arcana as edges chains or character rank, or a supers style template where the powers are simply ranked, or to do it like you did with each arcanum being its own skill.

          Alternately doing a noun + verb system might also be worth doing

        • scifirabbi
          scifirabbi commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes. I used it for a mash up of Mage and Achtung Cthulhu. Worked great!