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[RoP] Magic outside of Spells Lists

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  • [RoP] Magic outside of Spells Lists

    Is there a room for the characters to know or discover spells outside of normal spells lists? If what, how could it work? Some Known Arcana rolls?

    For example, in final of our Pirates of Pugmire game I was thinking that both kingdoms of Pugmire and Mau would send their armada with expert sorcerers to appease the Acid Sea that is troubled by Vortex that my players unleashed on the whole area and is not 'jumping' around the Sea. Pugmire and Mau sorcerers would device the spells that could contain it - if players will help with it. ( Still not having good idea what would it be... )
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 05-04-2020, 01:10 AM.


    My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
    LGBT+ through Ages
    LGBT+ in CoD games

  • #2
    There's totally room for something like this to happen - it's your chronicle, and you can introduce whatever is going to work and be fun, and just about any example of the genre has somebody learning a new type of magic to solve a plot problem - but I wouldn't expect to find any rules suggestions for it, as it's going to be very unique to the situation.
    In my Pugmire chronicle, I've let my PCs do all sorts of crazy magic stuff not written into the system - and I've 'shown' them how to do much of it as they've advanced through the plot. They haven't actually learned any new "spells", but they've done several unique rituals.

    It sounds like the situation you're describing would be a unique ritual to solve a specific problem, not necessarily a new spell that could be added to their lists. And for accomplishing it, I recommend some kind of Skill Challenge that's spread across smaller goals - like finding rare components, discovering ancient spells of man, repairing a Masterwork, etc. There's a lot of inspiration you can find throughout fantasy and scifi, but if you want some quick, varied suggestions I recommend "Once Upon a Time" - they do, like, several multi-step unique spells each season, so you can get a lot of different ideas of what to incorporate.


    If you're looking for rules recommendations, the very best system I've found for adjudicating rituals is in the Dresden Files RPG "Paranet Papers" supplement. They have a section called "cheer saving thaumaturgy" that is just golden - and can be pretty widely applied to any system. The basic idea is this: describe what the spell is trying to accomplish, then define what could possibly prevent them from succeeding - such as needing more knowledge, parts, energy, a way of interacting with the target, etc - and allow the players to take short scenes / side quests to resolve each issue. When there's nothing in their way, they can do the thing.
    I love this system so much; I use it for basically everything. I have yet to find advice for adjudicating a custom ritual that is anywhere near as good. And it's actually served as a good basis for a lot of other systems, like crafting and wide-scale politics.


    If you do want something that could end up on the players' spell lists, I'd recommend sticking to D&D 5E spells, and only 1st - 5th level magic. You can probably adapt ideas from other places, but I haven't noticed any "make your own spell" guidelines in 5E, so it could be pretty hard to squeeze into the existing system. But 5E has a ton of spells which weren't converted to Pugmire, so you can easily pick up some as examples of other creatures' magic, lost Arts of Man that can be rediscovered, or the unique invention of one of your PCs.
    It should definitely be an epic quest for a player to invent such a thing - the resolution to a story arc or a side quest of extraordinary scale and challenge. As for the how, I suggest examining the origin of the magic and figuring out how it works in the setting. Remember that in Realms of Pugmire, magic is the left over technology of Man - that underlying each spell is a scifi justification for how it's working. If you decide what that might be, you can sketch out some of the things that would make the spell possible and how the character can learn it.

    For example, Wind Wall is a 3rd level Druid spell. Cat Ministers can cast Wall of Magic, which is very similar, but doesn't quite replicate this spell. In particular, Wind Wall diverts projectiles and gaseous creatures. It's described as strong winds being released from the ground, so it could be something like releasing pressurized gases from deep in the earth, or having nano-bots in the air generate / become a flurry of air, or creating a low pressure spot in the atmosphere that causes air to rush forward into the gap. With any of those explanations, the character will have to learn complex & specific scientific laws, identify (or create) an artifact which lets them do that, and incorporate that into their Focus or their Voice. This probably starts off as a unique ritual (as above), but with the option of "when you Refine your spell-casting, you can permanently buy this effect as a 3rd level spell".
    Incidentally, Control Weather is an 8th level Druid spell, which would let them quell the storm (at least for a little while), but I do not recommend letting characters buy 8th level magic - it's beyond the system constraints in Realms of Pugmire. But they might discover than an ancient Archmage of Man devised this spell, and discover a way to replicate it, once, with great difficulty, to resolve the plot arc. Maybe requiring something like a dozen arch-mancers channeling the spell together while the PCs use a Masterwork to guide the effects.


    Good Luck!
    ~Seraph Kitty


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    • #3
      Additional advice from a really skilled GM friend of mine, on specifically how to make it very satisfying to the players:
      When you design the skill challenges which would make this ritual possible, make 1 per PC at something they're very good at and can take the lead, so that everyone gets the spotlight. Plus add in 1 challenge based on a skill no one is good at, and get them to work together.
      Also have a very epic, detailed description of the ritual when you narrating it, making sure that it emphasizes how unique and scary this kind of spell is, as well as highlighting how every PC's contribution made it possible.
      This will not only help build it out into a appropriate challenge with a variety of sub-quests, but also makes sure that everyone has ownership and satisfaction for its resolution, not just one PC whose the arcane specialist.


      Second Chance for
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      • #4
        For this plot, I run with NPCs armada wanting to perform those spells - as PCs are more concentrated on the beating the main villains in the giant Vortex they summoned with their actions - and NPCs want to save world from PCs mistakes. But coming back to general topic...

        Originally posted by Seraph Kitty View Post
        When you design the skill challenges which would make this ritual possible, make 1 per PC at something they're very good at and can take the lead, so that everyone gets the spotlight. Plus add in 1 challenge based on a skill no one is good at, and get them to work together.
        The problem is with 'no one good at' part - RoP rules, like D&D 5E let's only to give by the teamwork Advantage to the roll, simply by other characters helping you. It's not having teamwork support like Chronicles of Darkness or Storypath engines, where everyone partaking in teamwork actions are slightly helping to achieve the teams success. Truthfully, it's a bit problem for me with RoP rules as written.

        Was thinking some on the alternative for 'complex teamwork' in RoP - Maybe add +5 bonus to roll for every other team member that help with it? But it surly be in other topic for it - so move this discussion here.
        Last edited by wyrdhamster; 05-07-2020, 03:55 AM.


        My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
        LGBT+ through Ages
        LGBT+ in CoD games

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        • #5
          If you can find a situation where the best roll in the party is a +1 (or +0, or -1) with advantage, that can still be a tense situation, especially if they know it'll be a Hard (DC20) check, and you'll probably have people looking around for other ways to boost that beyond the advantage for team work. Also, there's plenty of actions where you can say teamwork simply isn't possible, or force them to use a group check instead.

          The goal for this isn't necessarily to make something exceptionally challenging for the party, but to get them to roll skills they're bad at, to fumble around with situations they aren't used to dealing with, to lean on each other to scrape by rather than show off their main talent, and/or to use a creative work around.
          Like, even if the challenge has a low enough DC to be well within the party's ability (DC 12, but the highest bonus is 0 or -1), it can be enough of a spotlight to provide tension (or humor), and can be a creative challenge for you as the GM. Providing the situation itself, especially if that skill wouldn't ordinarily fit with the overall goal, can be enough all on it's own, even if the roll itself is easy.


          Second Chance for
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