Magic

Disclaimer: The following material consists of rulings on GURPS originally posted to electronic discussion forums, newsgroups, and mailing lists by Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch. Some of these statements have been taken out of context, or have been altered for clarity or brevity; therefore, these are not "official" rulings, and neither Sean Punch nor Steve Jackson Games is responsible for the accuracy of the modified content.

These were collected by Travis Foster c. 2004-2005.

Alchemy

Utility of Alchemy compared with Magic

06-10-2005, 01:55 AM forums.sjgames.com Re: GURPS Alchemy - Any Takers?

I think the basic idea is that off-screen guys with Alchemy at 20+ and nice labs brew elixirs in big batches, and then the PCs buy them at crazy prices. The skill and rules to use it are there for PCs who have the downtime, sure … the same way rules for inventions and enchantment are there. Lots of things aren't really useful on the hyperactive time scale most games seem to favor.

Also note that most elixirs produce long-lasting effects for 0 FP that a wizard would have to pay many FP per minute to maintain. They fill a different niche.

06-17-2005, 01:49 PM Re: GURPS Alchemy - Any Takers?

FWIW, I eat my own brand of dogfood here: In the campaign I run, the party alchemist uses a combination of Alchemy (at level 20 or so), Gizmos, and Quick Gadgeteer for his work. This lets him keep up with the mages, miracle-working priest, and shapeshifting shaman in the "impossible things before breakfast" department.

(The "house rules" I use for him are letting him exploit his Artificer and High TL traits to design better lab facilities that give bigger bonuses; allowing Less Sleep to shave a few hours a day off time requirements; and adding bonuses for his Versatile advantage and the Weird Science skill to attempts to invent new elixirs.)

Spells

Explosive Fireball

08-31-2004, 12:35 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: I think I must be Making a Mistake W/Explosions?

As for Explosive Fireball, the way it worked in 3e was that it only did full damage to the target struck. It did 1d less to everyone in the same hex as the target or in an adjacent hex — or 2d less to those two hexes distant. It magically stopped doing damage past that range, no matter what. See p. M38. So a 3d blast worked like this:

Target: 3d (10.5)
Target Hex: 2d (7)
1 Hex Out: 2d (7)
2 Hexes Out: 1d (3.5)
3+ Hexes Out: 0d (0)

In 4e, damage is full in the target hex, whether you're struck or not, and divided by three times distance in yards past that, out to yards equal to twice the dice of damage. So a 3d blast would work like this:

Target: 3d (10.5)
Target Hex: 3d (10.5)
1 Hex Out: 3d/3 (3.50)
2 Hexes Out: 3d/6 (1.75)
3 Hexes Out: 3d/9 (1.17)
4 Hexes Out: 3d/12 (0.875)
5 Hexes Out: 3d/15 (0.700)
6 Hexes Out: 3d/18 (0.583)
7+ Hexes Out: 0d (0)

The effect is that you can blow up everyone in a single hex much more effectively (10.5 vs. 7), do only half as much damage at 1-2 hexes away, but have a chance of wounding people at 3-6 hexes distance who could ignore the blast in 3e.

Force Dome and Create Fire

08-30-2004, 05:28 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: Mages even more overpowered

Originally Posted by Pagan

Can't argue with official rulings :-)

Bah, sure you can!

Originally Posted by Pagan

But this does beg the question, has force dome been re-worded so it only affects the mage and any willing participants or can it still affect enemies. (Just not allow one to bbq them)

If you manage to throw a big Force Dome around your enemies, they are trapped. If you then cast Create Fire in there, they will take damage each turn. My official ruling was only that you cannot suck the air out, really. And IMO, the GM should allow potential prisoners use the diving-for-cover rules to bail out of a Force Dome before it forms.

08-30-2004, 08:57 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: Mages even more overpowered

Originally Posted by Kaell

Well, if in fact the air is always warm, fresh, and clean inside of it. To me, 'warm' means about 65-80 degrees F, fresh means free of smoke as well. Fire is hotter than that, ergo no fire inside force dome.

The air right above the fire is comfortable, breathable, and smoke-free. The fire itself, being magical and fuelless, burns just fine. So if you could levitate just above it, you'd avoid the barbecue. Otherwise, everything in the fire would be a little crispy.

Resurrection

And PC Mages

06-16-2005, 02:56 PM Re: 3rd edition question

An accurate (but possibly unpopular) answer would be, "They can't." The Resurrection spell isn't there for PCs to play with. It's there for the GM to use as a plot device, with an energy cost intended to silence players. If you actually want Resurrection cast by PCs to be a routine occurrence in your games, I'd recommend lowering the energy cost to a level you're happy with. At 50-100, a single wizard with the support of a village could cast it ceremonially. At 30-50, the wizards in a PC party could cast it cermonially — because in campaigns where resurrections are commonplace, they're likely to be archmages with huge Powerstones and superhuman FP scores in any event. At 20-30, a single, powerful wizard could cast it. Below 20, it would be a bad joke even in the goofiest fantasy game.

Mages, Cost of

08-25-2004, 04:10 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: Mages even more overpowered

Originally Posted by Kuroshima

That means, unless you allow for magery to go over 3, you've greatly increased the number of points it takes to have a decent mage, while reduced the number of points it takes to build a decent warrior…

Yep. And that was the goal. Wizards at N points were about as potent as warriors built on 2N to 3N points in 3e. I think we're closer to parity in 4e. A warrior who buys up ST and focuses on 2-3 weapon skills will be far tougher in a fight than a mage. But note that wizards can become healers, sages, spies, thieves, etc. by spending 1 point on each of a few extra spells. Warriors are mostly just good at fighting. It's the fact that wizards are fundamentally generalists that makes them more expensive. Don't just look at combat effectiveness. That's not a useful or fair comparison.

Missile Spells and Magery

09-03-2004, 07:10 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: Working with magic, rules ?

Originally Posted by Ellie the Technomancer

The only real drawback is that it severely limits Magery 1 and 2 Mages, restricting them to 1d damage every 2 seconds and 4d damage every 3 seconds respectively, instead of 3d and 6d damage every 4 seconds.

I don't know about that … you can put up to Magery energy points into your Missile spell per second, for up to three seconds, no matter what your Magery level is. So we get:

  • Magery 1: 1 second = 1d, 2 seconds = 2d, 3 seconds = 3d
  • Magery 2: 1 second = 2d, 2 seconds = 4d, 3 seconds = 6d
  • Magery 3: 1 second = 3d, 2 seconds = 6d, 3 seconds = 9d

So Magery 1 wizards are no worse off than in 3e. Yeah, you could argue that the "free" attack ability in 3e made it possible to deal more damage … but 3e wizards had to deal with Snap Shot and missing unless they aimed. In 4e, the time the 3e wizard needed for Aim is used for Attack.