Skills as Powers
So I have been pondering this idea off and on for awhile now and two recent interactions over the past few months have brought some of this to the fore and coalesced a few things.
I like GURPS Powers and a powers based magic system is intriguing. It has the benefit of being inherently balanced when compared with other powers based character types. It does have disadvantages compared to tech based types though, especially as tech level increases.
was probably the first book to attempt top deal with the disparity between buying stuff off the shelf and building it with powers. Basically you paid for the difference between the starting equipment and what it could do better.
I later suggested and others have debated the value of a cost reduction for powers that duplicate gear such as dividing the cost by 5 (based on the internal payload only, alternative ability pricing, or costs character points modifiers). We also have the Accessory perk.
GURPS Power-Ups 1: Imbuements
by Sean Punch aka Kromm also approaches this in a way with using powers to modify weapons. Later expanded on in Pyramid articles to include armor and other gear.
Christopher Rice also created Metatronic Generators, first introduced in Pyramid #3/46 Weird Science. Its seen a few additional articles and more in his campaigns and hopefully will someday see a full treatment as a standalone supplement.
Recently someone asked for help in converting Shadow Run and Earth Dawn to GURPS and he wants to use Sorcery as the core spell system but a skills based magic system for additional subsystems.
Also I have started playing a non cinematic gadgeteer in our "one shot" campaign while one of our regular players has been working extra hours during the holiday season. This is a horror campaign where we started off as 75 point everymen and progressed very rapidly to 150 point characters and have only just started to slow down in growth.
Combining both these things for inspiration and looking over old material I thought I would post this as yet another example of how GURPS can do something in many different ways, depending on what the group wants.
You back? Good, here are some related ideas....
- Its Pure Chemistry, Pyramid #3/28 Thaumatology II by Christopher Rice allows Temporary Enhancements for potions and such.
- The Magic of Stories, Pyramid #3/13 Thaumatology by Kelly Pedersen is built around Book/Path magic but could be inspirational here.
- The Daughter of Necessity, Pyramid #3/46 Weird Science by Roger Burton West is a powers based approach to invention and Gadgeteer that is also inspirational. Specifically it has a way to determine Complexity (used for invention) based on the trait costs and then applies that to skill rolls.
- Sufficiently Deranged, Pyramid #3/122 All Good Things by Phil Masters. The first half of the article works well with devotional magic and time spent and could be a useful part of the converted magic system for my friend. The second part is based on Syntactic Realm Magic (GURPS Thaumatology, same author).
These ideas can be merged into a skills as powers system, including magic, weird science, alchemy, story telling, etc.
The Story Teller
This individual can tell a story, sing a song, recite a poem, or even give an impressive speech that can shape reality! Take an appropriate skill such as Enthrallment or Musical Influence, add in supporting skills such as specific story specialties (The Magic of Stories), music, poet, or writing specialties (perhaps even Artist) taking the role of weird sciences (Sufficiently Deranged) and determine effects and skill penalties using Boil and Bubble: Magical Ability Defaults from Skill, Daughters of Necessity, or one of the other systems above.
This lets a character achieve effects based on the story told, mood generated by music or art, etc.
The Spirit Worker
This individual works by gathering spirits of various types and persuading them to do specific things. Take an appropriate skill such as Ritual Magic (Spirit Worker) and add specialized skills based on types of spirits, Otherwise, see Story Teller above.
As above but start with Thaumatology and add different magical specialties. The colleges in GURPS Magic are a perfect example and already suggested as Hard skills using the Ritual Magic option (p. B242).
The Chi Specialist
Why not something similar for martial artists? Go with Esoteric Medicine (manipulating your Chi) or perhaps Body Sense and various Chi skills, perhaps treating the five Taoist elements as separate sciences with optional specialties.
The possibilities are endless, but this is a blog post not a GURPS article or supplement. Besides most of the mechanics are already described in the referenced material!