Monday, 30 March 1998

Original Stats: The Mage

When we first started looking at putting together the Mage in our system, we had 3 players who tried magic, Mattius the Thaumaturge, was an experimenter, he had no real spells, just things he picked up along the way, Reym the Elven Mage/Fighter, who had some augmentation for combat, and finally Sutekh, the sprite, who had a range of natural abilities, but not specific magics.

Remember, this was back in 2nd Edition Rules, The Amalgamation of all systems had begun, but magic was far down the list.. so in order to make a playable game, I just hobbled together the spell lists, averaged out some spells and levels to match something clean, and ended up with a hodgepodge of mismatched rules that made little to no real sense..

which is magic, when you think about it.

Magic is either science or its Not

My First big problem was that I was reading far too much Science Fiction at the time, Issac Asimovs stories of Azazel the 'Demon' using high level technology to create the effects, which seemed like magic. 

In '96 I went to a community college to get a degree on Computer Science and was learning about databases.. one thing I put together was a structure of 'cause & effect' for spells.

Then at the Same College I met some teachers, who put me onto some Professors at University, who were very keen to discuss how magic could work under the laws of Thermodynamics, Electromagnetism and Looking into Spirituality and how it could be represented in a magical system.

Now, while I have remade the rules of Combat several times, Archery several times, Stealth several times, Magic remained the same system for many many years..

Here's how it worked then, and still does for Version 3..

All spells, based on their school, had a difficulty level to study, A Study requirement, an Imperfection level to cast spells. The Caster would roll for cast spell, if passed, they had an imperfection chance %, but if failed, this value was increased by the spell difficulty x The failure result.

Back then, Magic worked on a number of d8s  x the spell level. so 1st level spells could fail up to 8 pts (if you had no score) and the highest 16th level spells, could theoretically fail by 128pts. We were experimenting with varied dice pools at the time.. my colleague was trying to make a 3d8 version of the whole system, arguing if 2 dice gave a good bell curve, 3 dice would be better.

Again though, Maybe because the magic was so broken, or so difficult to learn a spell, or the number of players I had was so limited, I needed a group to play some mages..

So the OS team were born.. 5 Mages, down on their luck, driven out of town after town for some shocking trickster attempts, vowed to return to vent their revenge, sought out some powerful magics and blew themselves to smithereens when the imperfection failed far too much. But in that time, I did manage to clean up the magic rules from v2 to v3.

v3.5 is another story for another day.. 

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