Friday, April 20, 2018

Designers Notes: Names Have Power

Personal Stuff

Names Have Power is my fourth published article for Pyramid, but is actually the first one of those to be written. I wrote it for issue #3/66 The Laws of Magic and was disappointed it did not make it in, but it was up against some strong competition.
I wrote it with the help of fellow authors in a now defunct writers group and thought it was good.
Looking back at it some 4 years later and with more experience plus Steven Marshes notes, it left a lot to be desired. Especially in organization, as I tried to cover as much as I could in as short a space as possible.
We left a Powers as Magic section on the cutting room floor as the editor found it too confusing, partly because I tried to explain an entirely new magic system in 212 words!
As much as I like that system I would have gone with Sorcery had it been published when I sent in this article. Since other constructions for magic as powers were left in those systems could still see benefits from this article.
Also cut out and moved around was some stuff on Syntactic or Symbol magic.
My goal in writing this article was to give the GM and players options to add True Names to a campaign, regardless of the magic systems in use.  This article achieves that and I am proud to have written it.  In fact, though I am happy and proud of every article published so far, this one was more personal than the rest. After 4 years seeing it in print makes me very happy indeed.

What the Article is About

True Names are an important concept in several magic traditions and fiction, from Egyptian lore (which inspired the Path of Ren for Ritual Path Magic) to various Symbol and Rune systems and perhaps most notably the Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin.
GURPS Thaumatology has some information on the topic, but I was happy and proud to be able to expand on it. I hope the readers find this article worthwhile.
What is in it?

  • Researching True Names using the Invention rules and other methods.
  • GURPS Magic spells and related notes.
  • Optional rules for Ritual Path Magic, including a new Path.
  • Modifiers for Magic as Powers.
  • Some ideas on Symbol Magic
  • A discussion on various Traits, including some new ones,
  • Some fluffy flavor text that is meant to explain and inspire the use of Names as power.

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