Moral and Ethical Ambiguity, Part 3 of 4 – Virtue
Ok, so we've chatted a bit about Morality and moral codes (back in part 2).…
Image via WikipediaHi all…
Ok, first of all I have to say we’re having a VERY cool discussion on the last post.
I’ve been rattling around some thoughts about how to set these rules in motion… One of the comments that didn’t make it into the comments (gotta love technical glitches) was that if this is more of a framework book (and that *IS* the goal here), it needed to go beyond the traditional fantasy approach to magic. What about technology? What about modern/futuristic settings? And just providing the rules isn’t enough – there has to be enough info/examples that a GM could run a one-shot to figure out how the rules work or just play.
So bumping this up to a higher vantage point, I thought we’d approach this from a very vague guideline and then provide a number of example implementations. My brain has been going insane with some of the many things we could do (from magic in a fantasy sense, to psychic powers, to mutant abilities, to cybernetics and beyond).
That said… Let’s kick this off…
A new field of wizardry (whether arcane, divine, natural, technological, psychic, etc.) is merely a skill for the character to obtain. In some cases (for example with a magical item or a new cybernetic implant), the skill is gained for free and the player can spend XP to enhance specific spells or abilities associated with the skill. In other cases, the player can spend XP to enhance the skill or specific spells.
Each field of wizardry must have a number of qualities. Is it external or internal to the caster? For example, does the magical energy come from force of will, from a set of magical ingredients, or from a higher power?
Once that is decided, we must determine the amount of energy involved.
If it comes from ingredients, how much energy do the ingredients hold? Is it quantity or quality that counts? What’s the difference between a rock used for a spell and a flawless diamond?
If it comes from a higher power, how much power gets filtered down to the vessel (caster/priest) on the material plane? Is it a powerful god? A benevolent spirit? A philosophical ideal? The embodiment of nothingness? A disembodied spirit or the soul of a living being? Weight this on a scale of 1 to 10. This would be an exponential scale.
If it’s the naked will of the caster, how do you measure that? Is it their Reality Check? With a higher RC, they have a better grasp of the reality of what they are doing with magic. An RC of 10 means you could model entire universes (small ones of course) in your mind, while an RC of 1 implies that you don’t even believe it when someone picks your number in line at the deli (the one you chose that they circulate through starting at 1).
Then we have to decide how much of that energy the caster can actually wield before “burning out”. For technological things, this would be like burning through a battery. In the case of a caster, this would be measured by the amount of magic (points/pool) the caster could use or how many spells they could use a day (possibly RC per day? number of spells = skill level or combined # of points in the skill and spells?). For a priest, he or she is guiding a huge amount of the higher being’s power through themselves as a vessel (possibly) and will also get tired. How do we gauge that? Faith + Conviction per day?
Note that these are all very preliminary and incomplete thoughts, so take from them what you will. But I thought I’d dump them out there as food for thought.
I’m interested in, mechanics aside, rough guidelines on how to provide balance. Yes, a well placed bullet or arrow can always kill a focused mage, but that’s not always the best answer.
Thoughts? Concerns? Criticisms? Throw it up here in the comments and let’s see what sticks!