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Thread: Shek-Pvar Burner (long)

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    Default Shek-Pvar Burner (long)

    After some time of private thinking I decided it was best to openly discuss my attempt to make a BW magic system suitable for use in HârnWorld. I appreciate all constructive ideas on this.

    Shek-Pvar Burner
    The Ancient and Esoteric Orders of the Shek-Pvar constitute the bulk of all magic users (called Shek-Pvar) on Kethira, the world of Hârn. The orders predates even the oldest known civilized realm and the use of magic is as old as the world itself. According to Pvaric Philosophy Kelestia, the cosmic all, can be described in terms of six elemental principles: air, earth, fire, metal, spirit and water. The elements are complex and encompass a wide range of sub-principles; earth is more than the dirt under our feet -- it's also the realm of life, growth and decay for example. There is also a seventh (pseudo) element -- the realm of neutral magic. The elements are usually organized on the Pvaric Wheel like this:
    [IMAGE REMOVED SINCE I CHANGED WEB HOST]

    Since the elements require vastly different mindsets when working with them, six sub-orders, called convocations, of the Shek-Pvar has emerged, each focusing on a different element. The SP are further subdivided into smaller groups called chantries. Chantries (working much like Ars Magica's covenants) consist of a group of Shek-Pvar (usually) of the same convocation living and often working together. Beyond the chantries, there is little central organization.

    Skills
    How magic works in terms of skill use depends on which incarnation of the HârnMaster rules set you use. There are four different variations of the rules (HM1, Shek-Pvar, HM Magic and HMG: The Shek-Pvar) and even though they are highly compatible in general, they all take slightly different approaches. HM1 and Shek-Pvar (which is more or less an expansion of HM1's magic system) treats each spell as a separate skill while HM Magic treats each convocation as a separate skill with an additional skill covering neutral magic. Since I don't own Kelestia's latest HMG supplement I cannot implement ideas from that module in these rules. An interesting feature of SP and HMM is the discussion of Form and Principle. When casting spells a mage first builds a form and when it has been built, he summons the suitable principle and pours it into the form to complete the spell. It is also said that Wild Magic is the result of summoning of Principle without Form. Since BW uses a system where two exponents are added when casting a spell, the use of Form and Principle makes perfect sense in BW terms.

    When using magic, the Shek-Pvar relies on three separate skills and, in some cases, his sheer willpower to control the forces of creation and shape and bend them into doing his bidding.
    Form (Will)
    With the Form skill the Shek-Pvar shapes the esoteric container which will hold the elemental principles. How the form is shaped depends on the Shek-Pvar's Taint (see Traits below) and the facets employed by the spell.

    Principle (Will)
    This is the actual summoning of elemental power; it is with Principle that the Shek-Pvar taps into the streams of magic and commands them to enter his Form.

    Pvaric Philosophy (Will)
    Pvaric Philosophy is a school of thought mainly focused on answering questions regarding "what is" and "what is it's nature" and of course the convocational principles. Magic theory if you like.

    Traits
    As in BW only a select few can wield magic. Using the SPB, characters require the trait "Gifted" in order to be able to develop the skills Form and Principle. Pvaric Philosophy does not require the Gifted trait. Just being Gifted is not enough though. Few, if any, can use their Gift successfully without proper instruction. Before learning anything else, students learn self-discipline and how to use their inner key to open the secrets of the elements. This process of introspection and study attunes the student to one of the convocational elements and Taints his aura. This Taint is expressed in a separate trait which comes free of cost. If a Tainted trait is not taken the gift is considered to lie dormant.

    Taint of Lyahvi
    The character is attuned to the element of Air.
    Taint of Fyvria
    The character is attuned to the element of Earth.
    Taint of Peleahn
    The character is attuned to the element of Fire.
    Taint of Odivshe
    The character is attuned to the element of Water.
    Taint of Savorya
    The character is attuned to the element of Spirit.
    Taint of Jmorvi
    The character is attuned to the element of Metal.

    Each of the Taint traits has a similar effect: they modify the spell Ob depending on which element they summon with Principle. The Primary element suffers no Ob modification; Secondary and Neutral Elements suffer a +1 Ob/+3 Syll. modification, Tertiary Elements suffer a +2 Ob/+6 Syll. modification and the Diametric Element suffer a +4 Ob/+12 Syll. modification. The syllables modification reflects the fact that using the mindset and "language" of fire it is very difficult and complex to command principles tied to water.

    Wild Magic and Formalized Magic
    There are two ways of casting spells in SPB: using Wild magic and Formalized magic. Formalized magic is probably the most common method since it's easier and far, far safer. This method employs the use of formalized spells thoroughly researched to produce a specific effect. Wild magic is more or less improvised and when casting Wild spells the Shek-Pvar summons principles without having created a Form. Instead he employs his sheer force of will to shape the magical energies. In BW terms, Wild Magic is the same as non-distilled Abstractions while Formalized magic are spells distilled once.

    When casting Wild spells, pool the character's Will and Principle exponents.

    When casting Formalized spells, pool the character's Form and Principle exponents.

    Facets and building spells
    Due to the importance of elements/convocations and the use of Form & Principle, elements in SPB aren't treated as other facets. They are the origin of the spell, it's heart and driving principle.

    Element [Obstacle/Syllables/RP]
    • Air [+4/+8/10]
      Air, light, illusion, etherealness
    • Earth [+3/+12/10]
      Earth, life, growth, decay
    • Fire [+3/+12/10]
      Fire, heat, energy, dryness
    • Water [+4/+8/10]
      Water, cold, darkness, moisture
    • Spirit [+5/+4/10]
      Spirit, knowledge, mind, meaning
    • Metal [+2/+16/10]
      Metal, mineral, artifice
    • Neutral [+3/+10/10]
      metamagic

    Another option here would be to treat all elements equally in terms of ob, syllables and rp cost since the Taint will modify ob and syllables further.

    Impeti [Obstacle/Syllables/RP]
    • Influence [+2/+4/2]
      Influence can be seen as a weaker form of control. Think of it as telling the element what not to do instead of exactly what to do.
    • Enhance [+3/+8/3]
      The enhance impetus is used to strengthen an already present element. Making a sad person more sad or a wind blow harder for example.
    • Tax [+4/+16/4]
      With tax, a spell weakens an element present. Taxing spells can decrease winds, make awake people tired and suffocate a fire.
    • Control [+5/+32/5]
      Using control, a spell can do very specific things. An arrow can be made to hit a target, a fire can be told to burn down a specific house and metal can be shaped into a precise form.
    • Create [+6/+64/6]
      This impetus summons an element or elemental principle where there is none. Light in darkness, spontaneously combusting fire etc.
    • Destroy [+7/+128/7]
      With the destroy impetus, a spell can vanquish a present element. Make a stone crumble to dust, cast an area into darkness or drain a lake.
    • Transmute [+8/+256/8]
      The transmute impetus allows a spell to change one element into another. This is very difficult since the elemental principles are so different. Using this imeptus a Shek-Pvar could also alter the way an element works. Make rain fall upwards and fire chilling for exmaple.

    Origin, Duration and Area of Effect
    As in MB.

    Spell casting failure
    Wild spells
    • No successes: Unwanted summoning
    • Failed by 3 or more successes: Outright Tax
    • Failed by 1 or 2 successes: Automatic garbled transmission (no Element variance)
    • Met Obstacle: One ring varies d6 steps (1 impetus, 2 origin, 3-4 duration, 5-6 area of effect)
    • Exceeded Obstacle: No variance

    Formalized spells
    If obstacle is not met, roll a DOF to see what happens. 1 garbled transmission, 2-6 harmless dissipation.

    Casting spells carefully and patiently
    As in MB.

    - - - - - -
    Alright. These are my thoughts so far. I need to do some sample spells as well and I'll also be thinking through some new LPs (since the skills have changed).
    Jocke Andersson
    BWC.357 -- BWR.056

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    Jocke, I think that you're off to a great start! I really want to be able to add substantively to this discussion, but I need to bone-up on spell casting in BW, NRC's The Shèk-Pvâr, and by the looks of some of what you wrote down here, Ars Magica. I do really like what you have so far.
    Tony Hamilton

    Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies.

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    This looks awesome Angaros. Still have to dig out my HM books to give you come feedback, now just a quick note.

    Facets costs. I would base cost of them on Pvaric Wheel, which means your "element" facet would cost 10RP (as YOu stated), but if you want to get more elements it will be harder (more expensive) , thus Your Secondary ones will be at 11RP, Teritiary at 12RP, and you'll have to pay 13RP for Diametric element. Why? You mentioned Chantries, and said that each one is focused on study of just one element, so it makes sense (at least for me ) that getting other elemental facets is a challenging task.

    But still this stuff must be playtested and as soon as you'll came up with LP's for BW Shek-Pvar, we could start playing with numbers to nicely balance everything.

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    Jocke,
    this is AWESOME. Great work.


    I'm with Dro on the elements. I think your primary taint element should be X rps (prolly 15, actually) with a few syllables/actions attached. Each additional element costs +5 rps or something and has it's own syllablic cost. But Obs should be based on that snazzy wheel plus impetus and the other facets.

    -L
    "Athos—Porthos, farewell till we meet again! Aramis, adieu forever!"
    --D'Artagnan

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    Thanks guys!! I was a bit worried I would get cut down from behind, drenched in slow-burning tar and thrown in the desert or something. I agree with your input on RP cost for the various elements, it's a good idea. If you're gonna do some reading Durgil, you might take a peek in Nobilis as well. Rebecca did some great thinking there and it serves as great inspiration to what you can do with magic (even if what the Powers of Nobilis can do is out of reach of most magi).
    Jocke Andersson
    BWC.357 -- BWR.056

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    so what are your sources, btw? is this your own work? is it straight from Harn?

    -L
    "Athos—Porthos, farewell till we meet again! Aramis, adieu forever!"
    --D'Artagnan

    Check out my latest project:

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    The background info about elements, convocations, Shek-Pvar, chantries etc. is all Hârn. I've only tried to translate the setting-specific material into BW terms and that work has been inspired by HârnMaster rules, Ars Magica and Nobilis. There's stunningly little information about the Shek-Pvar in terms of cultural and philosophical background material -- most of what is published is rules. There are a couple of chantries described in the published material and some general information about the Guild of Arcane Lore (a recognized guild that has some Shek-Pvar members) can be found in the HârnWorld supplement. Once I get these rules to work I'll probably modify them slightly to fit my personal taste better. I'd replace the metal element with a matter element for example, to come closer to some neo-platonic and aristotelian ideas. The wheel could then be transformed into a more interesting three-dimensional shape (looking a bit like the NCS color model). I'd also define the neutral realm a bit further and would love to do some more thinking on facets and how to use elements when casting spells. I've got some very aristotelian thoughts in my head (aaagh, get them out!) about the "nature" of elements and their natural purpose/direction/x... A Swedish guy named Erik Sieurin did some wonderful work on elements for a game called Khelataar. It was supposed to go into the 2nd edition magic rules, but the developers filed for bankrupcy before any revisions could be posted. The rights for Khelataar have been aquired by a devoted fan though and the game may come to life again soonish.
    Jocke Andersson
    BWC.357 -- BWR.056

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    Jocke,

    I strongly you encourage you to make your "personal taste" the basis for these rules. Go for it, man! Make them unique. Honestly, there's no reason to design stuff like this unless you love it.

    I don't understand the need for Earth and Metal, either.

    -L
    "Athos—Porthos, farewell till we meet again! Aramis, adieu forever!"
    --D'Artagnan

    Check out my latest project:

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    Quote Originally Posted by abzu
    I think your primary taint element should be X rps (prolly 15, actually) with a few syllables/actions attached. Each additional element costs +5 rps or something and has it's own syllablic cost. But Obs should be based on that snazzy wheel plus impetus and the other facets.
    My first thought was 10 point base and 5 point resource increment for each step beyond your element, but after second thought i figured out that it would be kinda harsh for players.

    And really if you got Your own ideas how HM magic should work push them forward, you really do not want to port HM magic into BW, if you have something much cooler up your sleeve.

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    Default If someone asks you if your a god...

    Quote Originally Posted by Angaros
    If you're gonna do some reading Durgil, you might take a peek in Nobilis as well.
    My BW Larp rules actually have a good deal of inspiration from Nobilis. great game.

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