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Working on a Power to mimic Transmutation from FMA

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  • Working on a Power to mimic Transmutation from FMA

    Now I have been working on a power to mimic transmutation in a way similar to how it was portrayed in Full Metal Alchemist and while basing it in part on the Shape change power i think that was a good idea I just don't know where to go so instead of just staring at it and trying to will it into something I figured I'd ask you those who have more brains and experience in such matters.

    So do you guys have any thoughts, opinions or questions? Cause I think i've hit a wall.


    Rank: Special

    Power Points: Special

    Range: Touch

    Duration: Permanent

    There are many tales and legends of Sages and Wizards who could change one item into another and it was the goal of many medieval alchemists to change lead into gold or create the universal solvent or the prima materia and it was either this power they used or seeked for such ends, and while this power can change lead into gold, turn a stone wall into flower petals, Oil into tea, mend a broken body but using it to heal puts great strain on the body and mind of the target and it can even make a whole animal or person although they lie motionless for they are corpses since it cannot bestow life but it can use existing life since it does not exstringush it.

    This power can be a very expensive one for casters due to its potential but should the keys of creation be cheap?

    Size of Area Transmuted
    Cost Rank Area
    0 Novice Size of one person
    1 Novice Small Burst Template
    2 Seasoned Medium Burst Template
    4 Veteran Large Burst Template
    6 Heroic Half a city Block
    8 Legendary City Block

    Type of Matter Transmuted
    Cost Rank Matter
    2 Novice Similar to similar (Oak to pine, Honey to Molasses, Marble to sandstone) Can not affect gasses or change organic into inorganic or vice versa (wood into stone)
    3 Seasoned Same as above but can affect gases and change organic into inorganic or vice versa (Stone into wood)
    4 Veteran Can create state changes such as solid to liquid or gas to solid
    5 Heroic Can seamlessly meld inanimate objects together
    6 Legendary Can fuse living beings together

    Complexity of Transmutation
    Cost Complexity example
    1 This is deconstructing an object
    2 Simple Geometric Shape with no moving parts ( A wall or window)
    3 As above but with simple moving parts (Hinges, locks arms and legs)
    4 An Object with intricate moving parts (Clockwork objects, firearms, fingers, vains)
    5 An object with interactions at the near molecular level (Chemicals, Medicines, a nervous system)
    6 An object with interactions at the near atomic level (Alchemical solutions, a human body)
    What's wrong with Insanity? If we were all sane the world would be boring indeed.

  • #2
    I'll start by noting that trying to mimic the entire magic system* of a setting with a single power is a bad design decision.
    Using it as a Trapping for existing powers is generally a better approach. For example, burst could be a pulse wave of transmutations, turning the various things in front of the alchemist into their component elements, or wood, or whatever; creatures that are Incapacitated are fully transformed, Wounds would have a partial transformation trapping, and healing those wounds would be described as magically returning the material to body parts or the body overwhelming the material and using the life force of the character to slowly transmute it back into normal flesh. Or using transmutation on a person's skin to become invisible using a limited transformation. Or using transmutation to remove an illness (healing) or to restore a missing limb from a well carved prosthetic (greater healing).

    Personally, I'd base the parts that aren't covered by other power on elemental manipulation, with all the bigger stuff being a Ritual (per the Horror Companion). Because excluding things that should be deeds of legend (transmuting base metals into gold, a statue of a dog into a living dog, or a corpse into a living person), transmutations are going to be as small scale as the effects of elemental manipulation.

    As for this creation:
    A Novice caster can turn a life-sized human statue of lead into gold (similar to similar) for two Power Points. Who needs a philosopher's stone?
    A character has to be Veteran before they can transmute water into ice or water into steam.
    Both of those seem like they are opposite what the flavor text (and source material) would lead me to expect.

    *I'm aware that transmutation is only 80 to 95% of the magic in the setting.
    Last edited by ValhallaGH; 12-31-2017, 02:45 AM.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


    • #3
      That is some very good insight. thank you
      What's wrong with Insanity? If we were all sane the world would be boring indeed.


      • ValhallaGH
        ValhallaGH commented
        Editing a comment
        Glad to help. I look forward to the next iteration.

    • #4
      I think you should simply make use of a good Trapping masquerade, masking the original SW powers (and tricks, and test of will etc.) as Transmutations for Full Metal Alchemist based game.
      Also, if you think about it, most characters shows up just a couple of "powers" during the show. Roy Mustang probably has just a Bolt+Fire trapping, and a Elemental Manipulation with a strong Fire flavour (ie you use things like Earth manipulation calling it "Fire distraction" etc.).
      Want to return a loved one from the death? Zombie power with some trappings. Want to turn that wall in water and pass thru it? Teleport with trapping. Etc.
      "Balance is the key, Trapping is the word." - - Lord Lance

      Proud reviser of the SAVAGE FREE BESTIARY


      • #5
        PS: Zadmar came with an edge that let a "mage" to expend 1 Benny to get access to a power he could normally acquire during Advancements, for a 1 use only. This is very cool and useful for games that emulate that kind of anime, so your players can use various powers during the sessions, but paying the Benny price. This should assure they'll make cool and original things just sporadically during a session, presumably during main scenes, or when they need the "out of the box thinking" moments.
        "Balance is the key, Trapping is the word." - - Lord Lance

        Proud reviser of the SAVAGE FREE BESTIARY


        • #6
          I'm going to stress what ValhallaGH already said... Don't try making this a single power. Trappings are a very important part of the SW game system, and most of what you want to do can be done with existing Powers. And don't forget, the Powers aren't written in stone; you can always alter them slightly to fit the theme of the setting.

          Getting to the crux of the matter, there are some odd imbalances in your proposed system (Val pointed out the more glaring ones). This might be an error with the wording. For example, "similar to similar" should probably cover natural changes in states: water ---> ice, and water ---> steam. A raise should be able to skip states: ice ---> steam.

          Also, there is no taking into account the value of the materials. Lead to gold (the ultimate goal of the alchemists) can be accomplished by fledgling Novice. :/
          I'm not that familiar with the show, so I don't know how relevant that point is, but it seems odd. Other rules systems that have Transmutation spells require you to burn XP proportional to the difference in value. The SW equivalent is probably spending a Benny.

          Now, I will say that if you want to overhaul the entire magic system, the OP may be a good start. It just needs some rebalancing.