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Chaoswarrior
Strategoi


Joined: 18 Jul 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Kentucky

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:12 pm    Post subject: Advice Reply with quote

I've ran so many 3.5 and pathfinder games, I could do that in my sleep, but I need some help with Wayfarers.

I have a group of PC's that are currently working for the surveyor's guild. One of them is playing a hermetic caster that keeps his spellcasting hidden, only to use it when really needed. They just went to 1st skill level.

The character playing the hermetic caster wants to know how new spells are aquired. I told him he has to learn them, but he thinks he should get a new spell added to his spellbook every level. I told him that wasn't going to happen and he now wants to know how rare/easy it's going to be for him to find new spells.

I don't want to make adventures just so that he can find new spells, but at the same time, if I don't then he may never find any. I ran the niven creek adventure and now I have them going to another town to investigate grave robbings so there are little spellfinding opportunities looming ahead.

How do you all dish out or make new spells available for hermetic casters? I just don't want to unbalance a game I am just learning and go back and have to change what I broke.
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Gregory Vrill
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Joined: 06 Jun 2008
Posts: 1021

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great question.

Generally I like to make mages work to get their spells. Some spells are so disruptive to the game that to let the players choose when they are available can mess up whatever plans you have for them. These spells generally involve information and travel, such as Scry, Fly, and the worst of them- Teleportation. In my experience, Teleportation instantly changes the flow of control in the game from "you tell them where to go" to "they tell you where they're going." When you're ready for this stage in the campaign, it's fantastic and allows for a new world-scope dynamic to emerge, but if it happens too soon, it can really f*ck things up.

So at some point this leads exactly to the dynamic of "we're going on this quest so our mage can get this spell", which is fine with me, and can add a lot of richness to the game. The times I've had games get to that stage, that's the point when you realize just how mercenary and amoral your PCs are (or are not).

Anyway, granting access to Teleportation at 6th Circle is a bit beyond what you're talking about. I'd make sure the player doesn't feel that he was cheated, but you also want to try not to give him too many spells. Try to find that sweet spot to keep him hungry.

I usually start the PC mage with three nominally terrible spells. Command Sting, Sense Magic, and Vermin for example. I like starting them with a command, in order to allow the progression of more powerful command spells and how that fits into a general theory of magic in my game world. Sense Magic is a prereq for a lot of 'puzzles' or hooks into adventure. And I like summoning magic, also from a 'magic theory' angle that eventually leads most mages to be like "who are these guys and where are they coming from?"

In the very first adventure, sometimes I like the PC mage to witness a more badass mage, maybe the first minor subvillain who casts Fly and flies away- promise of better spells in the future. And generally I have them stumble across either an enemy mage with four spells (two they have, two they don't), or an old scroll or something in the first adventure or two. Dishing out the new magic as a reward for challenges overcome, but always granting some trickle of new spells so that the player doesn't feel bitter. Doesn't have to be a new spell every single game session, generally new spells come when old knowledge is obtained or other spellcasters are killed.

You can always throw a few bandits at them with a bandit caster who knows a spell or two your PC doesn't know, or if they're investigating grave robbings, some minor lichling that has a couple 1st circle, maybe a 2nd circle scroll.

But I set the tone early in the game, that my game worlds (like Twylos) are kind of 'mid-magic', not quite low magic (e.g., wizards are super rare) and definitely not high magic (e.g., everyone has a magic power). Just depends on what you guys like.

Honestly, the Hermetic spells in Wayfarers aren't going to be game breaking until at least 3rd or 4th Circle, but Teleportation is the real game breaker if you're not ready. The Time magic has some potential for this (even Minor Timeportation, 2nd Circle), but usually it's so weird and new that it's difficult for the PCs to really exploit it in a harmful way.
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Chaoswarrior
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Joined: 18 Jul 2013
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Location: Kentucky

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback.
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Metathiax
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Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 321
Location: Montreal, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

New spells are learned by one of two ways in my game :

- Copied from scrolls and books found by the PCs (details found on page 20 of the GM's book).
- Researched as new spells according to the Dweomercraft rules found on pages 10-11 of the GM's book. The spells listed in the Player's book can be replicated without further adjustments.

This way, spells can be earned either by adventuring or by spending the resources gained in-between adventures. In my opinion, the players and GM should have some shared control of spell acquisition so that the game remains fun and balanced.
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Chaoswarrior
Strategoi


Joined: 18 Jul 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback.

I've read the books, but this system works a lot different that Pathfinder and 3.5. I know those systems like the back of my hand. But I really don't want to have to go back and take away spells because I was "loosey goosey" with them and it got out of hand.

I just wanted to know how you all handled it, because the books really don't give a sense of how or how often things are done. Yeah they must be learned or made, but we are just learning the system and don't know what rate could lead to a quick out of control downward spiral.
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Metathiax
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Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 321
Location: Montreal, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, acquisition of new spells can have an important impact on a campaign. I believe that many of the complaints heard about magic imbalance (all that LFQW stuff) originate from the fact that games like 3.XE D&D and Pathfinder put most (if not all) of the power in the players' hands by giving them plenty of ways to ignore the restrictions found in prior D&D editions.

In my mind, you know when you have found the right rate for your group when the players who usually like to play arcane casters still enjoy playing wizards-like characters while remaining hungry (but not starved) for new spells. This feeling cannot be easily written down into definitive rules and will vary from a group to the next.

It really needs to be learned through play. If your spellcasters are legitimately frustrated and tend to lag down in their ability to contribute to the rest of the group's success, then by all means give them the opportunity to learn some new spells. On the other hand, you might have to slow it down if they take their spells for granted and steal the show from the rest of the group.

It is far easier to make adjustments with a steady trickling of spells from a game session to the next than by backing up later on in the campaign.
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