On the topic of minis. Why not use a laptop and maptool or some other battle coordinator thing?
Anyway, reading up on the magic system in Ars Magica
... I wonder if there is an easy way to work that spell system into something like 4e? Mostly because I really really like 4e.I was thinking something like:
-Introduce some sort of mana/prana system (perhaps a derived statistic based off primary statistics, maybe introduce some feats to increase it or affect mana/prana pools). This could be similar to how Psionic Power points are setup. But I suspect will be a much larger number since these points would power regular spells too.
-Introduce spell cost system based on spell effects to easily balance them with encounter/daily/at-will powers (although at-wills would still have a cost so they may be slightly stronger). Again, spell costs could be similar to how power points are used. It seems like it should be fairly easy to invent balanced spell costs based off the damage dice, number of targets, technique/form affinity, whatever.
-Removing all the current magic classes, all magic is preformed as hermetic magic using a system similar to Ars Magica magic.Principles on which the magic casting will be based:Equivilent Exchange:
The magic that would be preformed by players would not be "True Magic"
which makes the impossible possible (Creo ex nihilo, True Ressurection, True Immortality, etc.) so all magical feats incur a material or energy cost at the very least equivilent to some arbitrary measure of how much 'stuff' the magical feat does. You may be able to shoot a fireball with just mana/prana but you'd probably need a material cost and also mana/prana to regenerate someone's limb.Affinities:
Based off the Ars Magica Techniques and Forms, magi should be able to choose techniques and forms to specialise in, which would reduce the cost to cast spells, explained as the magi being more efficient at converting the material/energy cost into the spell. This allows characters to make magi that are close to whatever class they want to play just by choosing Techniques and Forms that those classes would be associated with (Druids with Herbam and Animal forms, for instance). In terms of world building, affinities could be due to some sort of intrinsic nature within people (people just randomly are associated with forms/techniques) or bloodlines of magi (House Whoever being associated with the Ignem form).Magic is Hard and Complex:
Magic takes lots of training and is complex as hell. Skilled mages could probably pull off basic low level combat spells without the need for a huge amount of preperation. However, very powerful spells (or magi who aren't skilled, or don't have any affinity for magic) would require the inscribing of magic circles to work as a focus/control/manipulator for the magical energies. A player could even make a magi who isn't great at magic but spends a lot of time preparing magic circles on paper talismans for use in battle (ie. they're not skilled enough to control the magical energies for a simple fireball, but they wrote out a good hundred or two paper talismans with the appropriate magic circle to allow them to whip out the talisman and use the spell in battle easily). Maybe particularly strong magi could use those shiney instant runes to preform strong magic without preperation.Magic is available to everyone:
Despite being hard and complex, magic should, in general, be available to anyone. As long as you can go through the apporpriate steps, even if you don't have the skill to do it, the magic should work if the magic is controlled by a magic circle. That being said, a character may not have enough mana to cast a spell (I do not suggest Cast from HP
), or may not be able to get into the appropriate mindset to initiate the spell with the incantation. Basically, you don't have to be special to do magic. But you probably do have to be special to do it well.On spell costs:
Spell cost will generally be made up of two different things.Mana/Prana:
Life Force, Magical Energy, whatever. You need it to cast spells, the stronger/harder the spell, the higher the energy cost. Prestidigitation type effects may not cost anything significant, or just some minimum cost.Material Costs:
Generally for higher level spells, or complex non-combat rituals... you may need to provide a material cost to complete the spell. This might be just literally chemicals, compounds, or other things. I guess in general they'd have to be similar to whatever the magic is going to produce.Magical Focus:
The preperation or drawing of magic circles, this isn't a cost in the terms of a cost that is required to fuel the spell, it's just something the magic user might need to do. Preperation can replace a skill deficit, if you can't control the forces but you can initiate the spell and pay the costs then this preperation lets you cast it. In this way most people should be able to cast low level magic if the magic is prepared beforehand. However non magi may not have enough mana/prana or may not be able to initiate higher level spells even if they are prepared beforehand.
There is a third 'cost' but they're less an actual cost in terms of the equivilent exchant but just something that taxes the magic user.Incantations:
Mostly mystic poem things. They're less "Divine Words"
that are required to actually manifest the magic and more chants that help the magi get into the right 'state of mind' to cast the spell. This means the incantations will be different for different people and different flavours of magi. The druid will tend to talk about nature and shit, a psyopath serial killer magi might spout bloody poems, etc. The harder or more powerful the spell the longer the incantation.
'Flavour' can be the literal in-universe explanation for the existance of magi who appear to be of a 'different class'. Druids are Wizards are Sorcerors are Mages are etc. etc. They all do the same magic (with different affinities/prefered spell types) they just have a different aesthetic.Possibilities:Feats:
Increase mana/prana feats, affinity feats (reduce costs for certain techniques/forms), reduced incantation (increased control of the magical energies) or speed incantations (Just speaking faster for the same effect), speed preperation (quick drawer), a feat that increases your mana/prana pool a lot but forces you to rely on magic circles for all spells (In-world this could be the shtick of a specific house/bloodline of casters).Paragon Paths:
Increased Affinity Paths, Magi who uses Instant Runes, Magi who specialise in Cast from HP or convert HP to prana/mana. Magi that specialises in low level spells.Epic Destinies:
True Magic anyone? Use of 'Divine Words' to superceed incantation/preperation (these -would- be super magical words that most people can't understand that would manifest the magic directly, although would not circumvent prana/mana cost... completely at least).World/Plot Points/Stories:
Magi Bloodlines (so many story possibilities in this, ranging from stuff to do with inbreeding to keep the bloodlines pure to generic house wars and conspiracy stuff). Artificial mechanisms for increasing people's mana (maybe unethical experiments to try and make regular people better magical soldiers). Mass production of preprepared magical circles to supply a militaristic state. Organisations conspiring to cast epic magic that requires many casters (due to prana/mana requirements) and huge and complex magic circles. Traditionalist Household/Bloodline-valuing magi vs individualist/merit-valuing magi. Trying to attain true magic or the ability to use divine words, stuff like that. This world could also easily include stuff like homunculi and alchemists as they'd be easily related to this magical system.
Any thoughts? Possible complications, issues or downsides? These ideas are basically a fusion of some of the ideas from Ars Magica and the Nasuverse's functional magic. I think a good magic theory allows for more interesting world and gameplay and the idea of Techniques and Forms from Ars Magica allows essentially an infinite variety of spells for players to tinker with while hopefully not being too difficult to balance.