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Josh Sawyer reveals some information about Project Eternity's attribute scores


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I don't argue against anything in particular that you've said, really. I'm simply referring to a baser meaning of strength/power than you are. So, while correct in isolation, the thing you're referring to (as I said above to PrimeJunta) is more total effectiveness than the individual, sheer contribution of Strength that only really makes sense to represent in a numerical quantification system of abstraction (RPG ruleset).

 

 

Yes, but I would argue that we can and should use effectiveness in the case that someone wants a physically weak but magically strong mage. Whereas for a pure strength check you might as well use strength even in the case that it also affects magic.

 

These are two separate problems and they are solved by the proposed systems as long as we don't demand them to be solved by the exact same measure.

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I disagree. So long as one attribute represents any portion of both physical strength AND magical power simultaneously, then the design is devoid of any and all just-magical-power checks (of any sort) or just physical power checks. At least, as far as I can tell (I'm not omniscient, :) ).

 

It's not a huge deal, no. But it's a simple matter of "is it totally fine that the two are never actually separated, or is it not fine because we want stuff in the game that actually needs them to be separated?"

 

When you just talk about damage and combat, everything seems dandy enough. But, there are plenty of typical PnP-inspired skill/stat checks and such that don't have anything to do with accuracy or damage, really (again, see holding up heavy thing so people can get out from under it example above).

 

I'm looking for input here on something I have yet to see any evidence of being untrue. With all due respect, I don't think telling me that a single stat that represents both things (a la "Power") is somehow still allowing for the independent representation of both capabilities is helping anything. What would be excellent (and I truly mean this... I know text can be misleading with tone, but I'm not being sarcastic or snide here) would be for someone to explain to me how the things I'm referring to either don't have any reason to be represented in the game, and/or how tethering them together is not at all problematic.

 

I honestly can't think of anything that suggests this, though, again, I don't know all things, so... *shrug*.

 

The best thing I can think of, so far, based on the proposed systems above, is to separate it by class. You're a Warrior? Well then your Power = Strength. You're a Wizard? Your Power = Magical Potency. Then, any "strength" checks, for a Wizard, could (I suppose) go against physical strength-based skills. You know, "If you've trained to 50 with melee weapons, then part of that involves physical conditioning, so you're stronger than another Wizard with only 1 melee weapons skill." And vice versa with the Warrior. Some kind of magical aptitude skill or some such...

 

Still, it's kind of weird to measure one character's physical state-of-being by a skill, and another's by a stat. And it's kind of de-levels the whole Strength thing by class. You can't have a 7-foot-tall, 280lb Wizard who just happens to not really hone his physical skills that much (maybe he is inherently large-framed, and grew up hauling heavy things about for some manual-labor overlord, until he eventually got into magic? But he still has no real knowledge or experience with swordplay, for example).

 

So, I have no idea. It just seems very, very much so, that using any kind of stat to represent two distinct things wouldn't work well. I gave examples of this, as well (like a stat that governs both base Strength AND base Accuracy, or base Strength AND base Agility, etc.). A problem with either of those examples would be the exact same problem with Magi-Strength.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I disagree. So long as one attribute represents any portion of both physical strength AND magical power simultaneously, then the design is devoid of any and all just-magical-power checks (of any sort) or just physical power checks. At least, as far as I can tell (I'm not omniscient, :) ).

Yes. Absolutely. While the two problems I mentioned are concrete problems, this is a meta problem and as you correctly state we have to see if it translates to real problems:

 

It's not a huge deal, no. But it's a simple matter of "is it totally fine that the two are never actually separated, or is it not fine because we want stuff in the game that actually needs them to be separated?"

 

When you just talk about damage and combat, everything seems dandy enough. But, there are plenty of typical PnP-inspired skill/stat checks and such that don't have anything to do with accuracy or damage, really (again, see holding up heavy thing so people can get out from under it example above).

Well, here is the crux. Holding up heavy things isn't a problem in the system where the attribute strength really means physical strength and your magic aptitude (i.e. magic damage) is *also* influenced by your strength. Can he hold up that heavy boulder? Strength check -> Yes. Does the boulder revolt because your strength also influences magic? Obviously not. So before I accept your meta problem as a problem I'd like to hear about a concrete example of a check that would be nice to have but can't be done in such a system.

 

Obviously a system that defines "strength" as "soul strength" would be different. A boulder lifting strength check would be at least problematic (maybe need an extra skill or some reality-defying handwaving to explain that your soul strength lifts that boulder).

Edited by jethro
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Very interesting points being made here. I'd just like to say a couple of points that might be worth considering:

 

1. Strength checks are often based in our real world way too much. Have no rogue and want to open that door? You can bash it in with Strength, but cannot blast it open with a force wave. Want to intimidate that NPC? Doesn't matter if you're an epic sorcerer with flames around your head, if you don't have Strength it won't work. Debris falling on your head? Again, solve it with brute force, you cannot use your magic to stop the debris mid-air.

The point is: in many situations physical and mental power should not be different. So the one-stat-approach has this advantage.

 

2. The DnD system is uneven because of one single thing: warriors can not cast spells. No matter how useful intelligence is made for them (additional skill points etc.), wizards will always benefit more. At the same time, wizards can technically become good at fighting, so Strength IS useful to them.

So maybe DnD has the wrong idea when it tied magic to a single stat for each class. It's easy to conceive a system where Strength is just as important to spellcasting as Intelligence - magic IS a mental ability, but it LEAVES through your body, so controlling its flow could well require body strength.

 

3. Many fantasy settings already do this, especially Eastern stuff like Avatar or Dragonball, where the holistic philpsophy is very present.

 

My point is, we're still thinking too much in DnD terms. Tying an ability to a stat was a PROBLEM that DnD had. Combining it with another fundamental stat can solve that problem, just as tying the ability to more than one stat could.

Imagine this:

STR determines the focus of a spell. (Low STR - chance to split the beam and hit your team members)

DEX - chance to hit.

CON - Mana/Stamina depletion.

WIS - defense against magic

INT - strength of the spell

CHA - amount of spell slots

 

This is just a rough idea but if no stat is a dump stat for wizards/sorcerers, it's almost impossible to turn them into dump stats for other classes. You could totally overpowee INT now by tying it to talents and skills, so that warriors gain a lot by taking it - since spellcasters don't rely on it so much anymore.

 

EDIT: Sorry for all the edits, my phone is horrible.

 

@JFSOCC: That's irrelevant to the point (theyre still Eastern in spirit) and it's not true for Dragonball, whixh is a Japanese manga.

Edited by Fearabbit
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3. Many fantasy settings already do this, especially Eastern stuff like Avatar or Dragonball, where the holistic philpsophy is very present.

those are both western shows, made for western audiences.

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3. Many fantasy settings already do this, especially Eastern stuff like Avatar or Dragonball, where the holistic philpsophy is very present.

those are both western shows, made for western audiences.

 

 

 

You must be thinking of some other show. Avatar is US, but Dragonball is fully japanese, even had manga success before being made into animated.

 

Anyway.

 

I can totally see the appeal in making a simple, easy to grasp system.

To the tune of (while not knowing what OB is actually doing):

 

- One stat for doing and sustaining damage

- One stat for connecting and avoiding hits

- One stat for having "knowledge" skills

- one stat for being a talker and performer

 

Then you can make a huge bunch of combinations and can probably make an educated guess of how it's going to work.

Unlike some other system like e.g. Arcanum where you probably have a hard time deciding if you'll need willpower or beauty?

That is, hard time in the first time before you know what you'll need and what makes what.

 

Of course, even in my example you'd basically have 2/4 dump stats, based on whether you're making a talker or a doer.

Which makes me suspect Obs is planning something else then.

 

Basically, the fewer and the more general stats there are, the easier the game is to balance and get into,

but at the same time there are going to be less nuances to character building and less possible results.

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Well, here is the crux. Holding up heavy things isn't a problem in the system where the attribute strength really means physical strength and your magic aptitude (i.e. magic damage) is *also* influenced by your strength. Can he hold up that heavy boulder? Strength check -> Yes. Does the boulder revolt because your strength also influences magic? Obviously not. So before I accept your meta problem as a problem I'd like to hear about a concrete example of a check that would be nice to have but can't be done in such a system.

Whether or not someone could pass the check to hold up heavy things, in the given system, is not the problem. The problem, to put it the best way I can in this current context, is simply "When WOULDN'T someone be able to pass a check like that, and would that type of check even be of any significance anymore?"

 

I mean, a character who's literally a completely weakling, both physically (with weapons and real-world physics force) AND non-physically (magically, mentally, etc.) wouldn't really be very viable. Sure, everyone doesn't have to be the strongest. But, anyone with any power in either form would be able to do everything (in regard to such checks).

 

I realize it's still not an "Oh no, there's a hole in the space station glass and we're all eventually going to get sucked out of it" problem, but... I dunno. I mean, maybe it's just not a big deal? Maybe, in practical application, there really aren't very many situations/examples that are ruled out by a distinction between the two values.

 

Something just still feels really, really wrong with it, and I can't quite put my finger on the exact spot of rot on the otherwise healthy fruit. Any amount of power, as represented by a single stat, automatically contributes to both pools, unless you restrict each character (by class or what-have-you) to access to only one pool (physical power or non-physical power). That's just... weird. And, never even needing to check one when you couldn't just check the other seems additionally weird.

 

But, I can't really seem to come up with anything concrete here, so maybe I should just sleep on it for a while, haha.

 

Very interesting points being made here. I'd just like to say a couple of points that might be worth considering:

 

1. Strength checks are often based in our real world way too much. Have no rogue and want to open that door? You can bash it in with Strength, but cannot blast it open with a force wave. Want to intimidate that NPC? Doesn't matter if you're an epic sorcerer with flames around your head, if you don't have Strength it won't work. Debris falling on your head? Again, solve it with brute force, you cannot use your magic to stop the debris mid-air.

The point is: in many situations physical and mental power should not be different. So the one-stat-approach has this advantage.

I agree with that sentiment, exactly, all the way down to "physical and mental power shouldn't be different." In respect to mental power arbitrarily being 100% useless in the given situations, yes. They shouldn't differ in that manner. However, if they weren't somehow different, then what would prevent them from being the exact same thing (Strong Warrior can just convert the force of his muscles directly -- 1:1 -- into quantity/heat/intensity of magical summoned flames, IF both Warriors and Wizards have access to both physical and magical means)? Or, if a Warrior can't really use magic like a Wizard (which is typical), then what would stop a Wizard from simply telekinetically wielding a sword with phantom hands with the same effective force as a strong, muscular Warrior, all day long, WHILE being an ultra-potent badass at magic spells that DON'T generate physical force?

 

Just because a Wizard is very magically powerful, and can generate vast amounts of lightning, this doesn't mean that he can generate the same amount of telekinetic (physical) force as someone with the same abstracted numerical value in Strength instead of INT or Power or whatever. Nothing dictates that.

 

Yes, a Wizard who can blast foes to the ground should be able to bash in a wooden door. But not a Level 1 Wizard, just because he has 18 Intelligence (DnD example). Maybe he can burn the door, or melt the lock/hinges, etc, sure. But what if they're enchanted or something? Oh, well, he's got Power now, instead of separate Strength and Intelligence ratings, so if magic-only is lessened in effectiveness, he can just physically shoulder the door down, since nothing prevents Power from representing his ability to do that.

 

See... something just feels really, really strange about all that, to me. Maybe I'm just crazy...

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I agree with that sentiment, exactly, all the way down to "physical and mental power shouldn't be different." In respect to mental power arbitrarily being 100% useless in the given situations, yes. They shouldn't differ in that manner. However, if they weren't somehow different, then what would prevent them from being the exact same thing (Strong Warrior can just convert the force of his muscles directly -- 1:1 -- into quantity/heat/intensity of magical summoned flames, IF both Warriors and Wizards have access to both physical and magical means)? Or, if a Warrior can't really use magic like a Wizard (which is typical), then what would stop a Wizard from simply telekinetically wielding a sword with phantom hands with the same effective force as a strong, muscular Warrior, all day long, WHILE being an ultra-potent badass at magic spells that DON'T generate physical force?

Just because a Wizard is very magically powerful, and can generate vast amounts of lightning, this doesn't mean that he can generate the same amount of telekinetic (physical) force as someone with the same abstracted numerical value in Strength instead of INT or Power or whatever. Nothing dictates that.

 

Yes, a Wizard who can blast foes to the ground should be able to bash in a wooden door. But not a Level 1 Wizard, just because he has 18 Intelligence (DnD example). Maybe he can burn the door, or melt the lock/hinges, etc, sure. But what if they're enchanted or something? Oh, well, he's got Power now, instead of separate Strength and Intelligence ratings, so if magic-only is lessened in effectiveness, he can just physically shoulder the door down, since nothing prevents Power from representing his ability to do that.

 

See... something just feels really, really strange about all that, to me. Maybe I'm just crazy...

 

 

Well, I said "they shouldn't be different in many situations". Big difference. And my assumption right now is that warriors can't cast spells while wizards can't fight as well as a warrior. If a warrior could convert his muscle strength into magic, then he wouldn't be a warrior in this system, he'd be a wizard, and he wouldn't be trained in close combat but in spellcasting.

("What would stop a wizard from telekinetically wielding a sword?" - Why a telekinetic sword? He can just pick up a sword and fight with that. But his high Power stat won't help him in either case, because he still sucks at swordfighting.)

 

I'm playing the devil's advocate here because I hope the system will be different, but: if warriors and wizards gain their strength from a single stat that is a combination of Willpower (mental) and Strength (physical), then they're still fundamentally different because they were trained differently. That's the idea behind classes, you've been trained in a certain kind of combat and while you have some wiggle room when you level up, you basically carry on with your training.

Put differently, yes - the warrior has all the necessary requirements for becoming a wizard. Only, he didn't. A long time ago. So now he uses these same requirements for something entirely different.

 

And concerning the example with blasting in the door as a level 1 wizard: You're thinking in DnD terms again when you say that 18 INT won't help there. The "Power" stat doesn't mean "For a wizard this is equivalent to 18 INT". It means literally that your magical aptitude is at its maximum. Level 1 or no, your magic is strong enough to blast through that door. Because, in response to your "nothing dictates that a wizard's telekinetic force is equal to the physical force of a warrior just because he's magically powerful"... the game could dictate that, if it wanted to.

It's a new kind of abstraction, and the game could basically say exactly that with its Power stat.

 

In Avatar, the people who bend the elements are pretty buff guys, trained in martial arts and all that jazz. There are still sword masters and other fighters who can win a fight against them, even if their physical strength isn't so different from one another. But one person relies on his Earthbending or whatever, while the other relies on his sword.

In Avatar, that's basically the whole difference. Like I said, if we stop thinking in DnD terms then many of these objections vanish.

"But what if I want to play a weak, intelligent, powerful mage?" Well, if you can't do that because magic requires physical strength, then sorry, not possible. Doesn't mean the system doesn't make sense, just that it's different.

 

 

All that being said, I wouldn't be happy about all that either. I like the classical attribute system. Which is why I like my proposition of tying different aspects of spellcasting to all the attributes so much. Magic shouldn't be an ability tied to nothing but Intelligence, because then we can't use Intelligence for "intelligent behavior in stuff other than magic" anymore without breaking the system and overpowering wizards.

 

But seriously, that system up there in my other post? I just might have to make a game with that, I kinda want to see it.  :grin:

(Though it does raise the question... if every attribute is, in its own way, as helpful as all the others... then why bother distributing points differently? Wizards really give me a hard time with their exclusive spellcasting. I'd love for STR to simply make the character stronger and have that be beneficial enough to make it a good decision.)

Edited by Fearabbit
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Well, I said "they shouldn't be different in many situations". Big difference.

That's my bad. I flat-out overlooked that, somehow. I know it was right there, in my face, haha. I don't really have an excuse, but I AM making these posts in between work tasks, so my mind isn't exactly 100% free of distraction. I try to take my time, and re-read things, but... you know. Only human. :). Again, apologies.

 

And my assumption right now is that warriors can't cast spells while wizards can't fight as well as a warrior. If a warrior could convert his muscle strength into magic, then he wouldn't be a warrior in this system, he'd be a wizard, and he wouldn't be trained in close combat but in spellcasting.

("What would stop a wizard from telekinetically wielding a sword?" - Why a telekinetic sword? He can just pick up a sword and fight with that. But his high Power stat won't help him in either case, because he still sucks at swordfighting.)

 

Who says the Wizard is required to suck at swordfighting? That's the thing. And "why telekinetically wielding a sword?"? Because, if he were physically weak, but magically not-weak, then he'd be most effective with magic, than with the physical capabilities of his body. I was talking about how if physical strength could translate into magical power, then the opposite would have to be able to occur, too. If so, a Wizard could have the body of an 11-year-old boy, and still go toe-to-toe with melee weaponry against an Ogre, using nothing but his magical power. Then, on top of that, he could ALSO cast spells using pure magical power, without converting it to physical strength. Just seems like AN inconsistency, to me, at the very least.

 

I'm playing the devil's advocate here because I hope the system will be different, but: if warriors and wizards gain their strength from a single stat that is a combination of Willpower (mental) and Strength (physical), then they're still fundamentally different because they were trained differently. That's the idea behind classes, you've been trained in a certain kind of combat and while you have some wiggle room when you level up, you basically carry on with your training.

Put differently, yes - the warrior has all the necessary requirements for becoming a wizard. Only, he didn't. A long time ago. So now he uses these same requirements for something entirely different.

But, look at martial arts: Even a 4-foot-tall man who my 6-foot-1 pansy self could probably throw through a wall if he was standing still can take me down with martial arts skill, but it's not because he somehow produces the same strength as a physically larger/stronger combatant. It's because he's more efficient. He's more precise, and uses my momentum against me, and dodges a lot, and strikes in such a way that a lot of force is not needed (throat, nose, pressure points, etc.). Strength and skill are not the same thing. Even with magic, a Wizard could have all the power in the world, and not be able to direct it or focus it worth a damn. He could be completely unskilled, so that he can either set an entire village on fire whenever he tries to knock over an apple from 20 feet away, or do nothing at all (refrain from magickry).

 

A 700lb, pure-muscle person can swing a sword so hard he can probably snap the blade off in your pelvis, IF he hits you. But, he doesn't need to be able to hit you well to be able to swing the sword very hard, and vice versa.

 

You see, strength/power, in terms of an RPG stat, isn't a measure of how effective you are with your power. It's SHEERLY a measure of your capability to generate an amount of power/force. Nothing more. That's what makes stats work so nicely. They are like your fantasy world biometric measurements. A super intelligent brain is kind of like a high CPU clock speed. But, the smartest person in the universe who doesn't know a language at all isn't going to be able to solve a riddle in that language. Meanwhile, a less intelligent person who DOES know that language could feasibly solve the riddle. The language knowledge is the skill. Inherent stat value plus skill = effectiveness.

 

For a single stat to directly represent all power is just weird. Unless your muscle tissue literally produces magical energy whenever it moves (almost like static electricity), how can you even do that? How can I write down a dimension that's both my height and my weight at the same time?

 

"I'm 73."

"... years old? Inches tall?"

"... Yes. I'm 73 hei-ge."

 

What if tall people were ALWAYS older than short people? Always. You can write a fictional world in which that's true. Sure. It just HAPPENS to not be true in the real world. But, it also goes against the idea of unique distinctions between specific factors of living entities. It's... strange.

 

In Avatar, the people who bend the elements are pretty buff guys, trained in martial arts and all that jazz. There are still sword masters and other fighters who can win a fight against them, even if their physical strength isn't so different from one another. But one person relies on his Earthbending or whatever, while the other relies on his sword.

In Avatar, that's basically the whole difference. Like I said, if we stop thinking in DnD terms then many of these objections vanish.

"But what if I want to play a weak, intelligent, powerful mage?" Well, if you can't do that because magic requires physical strength, then sorry, not possible. Doesn't mean the system doesn't make sense, just that it's different.

In Avatar, Toff was tiny and blind. Physically, she could barely hurt anyone. Non-physically, she was ridiculously powerful. Her physical and elemental power were not one in the same. If you told her to just physically rip a big boulder out of the ground, without bending Earth, she couldn't do it. And yet, she could throw a friggin' small mountain at you if she bent. You see, unless everyone can't help but use magic (if physical effort/force and magical/fictional effort/force are LITERALLY the exact same thing), then you're dealing with two separate capabilities. And if these two separate capabilities are ALWAYS identical, that's WEIRD!

 

Am I going crazy here? My arm's muscle fibers exist independently of any magical ability I could have. They need only a tiny electrical impulse from my brain in order to MECHANICALLY, PHYSICALLY contract in an elaborate fashion and generate raw, physical power that transfers through my arm into whatever I "use" my arm upon. Then, separately, I could generate some fire with my mind and some fictitious ability to use fictitious energy that is not inherently real-world physical energy (which my arm already uses, and still uses in fictional settings) to generate that fire. If I punch you, I can punch you AND burn you, or I can just burn you, or I can just punch you.

 

It's not impossible to make a world in which I MUST punch you with a certain amount of might to be able to burn you, but... why? There's a difference between a somatic component and the actual application of physical, muscle-generated force.

 

I don't know how else to describe it. Unless your fiction quite literally merges the two things (so that all physics is inherently re-written to become magic), the marriage of physical force's rating and magical force's rating for a given entity is purely arbitrary and prevents a lot of RPG character factor variety from existing for seemingly no benefit/gain at all.

 

All that being said, I wouldn't be happy about all that either. I like the classical attribute system. Which is why I like my proposition of tying different aspects of spellcasting to all the attributes so much. Magic shouldn't be an ability tied to nothing but Intelligence, because then we can't use Intelligence for "intelligent behavior in stuff other than magic" anymore without breaking the system and overpowering wizards.

Well, apparently we at least share the same sentiment regarding such a system, even if I'm possibly just going crazy and there's not actually a flaw/disconnect in it. Yeah, I like the idea behind your proposition. And the problem I'm trying to put my finger on is almost the exact same thing as the tying-Intelligence-to-magical-prowess thing. Can it be done? Sure, it WAS done, for a lonnnng time! And I think it caused a problem: You couldn't make a Wizard whose intellectual capabilities weren't equal to his magic-harnessing capabilities. That would be like if Strength automatically determined a DnD Warrior's aptitude for combat strategy. "The more weights I lift, THE GREATER MY UNDERSTANDING OF WARFARE GROWS!!!". Haha.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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One thing that I always thought should be important, is that a character's defense (AC or similar) should be computed largely based off of their skill with their weapon being held. Agility plays a role in dodging and defense, but is extremely minor compared to fending attacks with your weapon. Armor also plays almost no part in avoiding attacks, but rather diminishes their impact. I understand that using armor as a means of avoiding attacks is rooted in D&D "hit to damage" simulation, and that misses are not miss so much as they are non-damaging strikes.

 

That being said, I idealize a charater's melee defense as a composite score resembling: Melee Defense = (Martial Skill + Relevant Attribute + Relevant Bonuses). The same would apply to just about any other defense statistic. For magical defense, resisting spells might resemble: Magic Defense = (Spellcasting Skill + Relevant Attribute + Relevant Bonuses). Mind you, different attributes might be used to resist differen spells. All forms of defensive "responses" or "rolls" would take this format.

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That's my bad. I flat-out overlooked that, somehow.

 

Not a problem at all.  :)

 

 

Who says the Wizard is required to suck at swordfighting? That's the thing. And "why telekinetically wielding a sword?"? Because, if he were physically weak, but magically not-weak, then he'd be most effective with magic, than with the physical capabilities of his body. I was talking about how if physical strength could translate into magical power, then the opposite would have to be able to occur, too. If so, a Wizard could have the body of an 11-year-old boy, and still go toe-to-toe with melee weaponry against an Ogre, using nothing but his magical power. Then, on top of that, he could ALSO cast spells using pure magical power, without converting it to physical strength. Just seems like AN inconsistency, to me, at the very least.

 

Well maybe the wizard won't suck at swordfighting, but he's gonna have more skill in spellcasting, and he's not gonna have the benefits from the fighter class. So using the sword telekinetically, he may be able to do some damage, but he's essentially giving up the potential power he would have if he used his magic in a different way, which would be more effective. That's what I meant.

On the other hand, now that you've planted this image in my head of a feeble mage telekinetically wielding a huge greatsword and dealing massive damage, I think it's kind of awesome. :D 

 

 

 

Am I going crazy here? My arm's muscle fibers exist independently of any magical ability I could have. They need only a tiny electrical impulse from my brain in order to MECHANICALLY, PHYSICALLY contract in an elaborate fashion and generate raw, physical power that transfers through my arm into whatever I "use" my arm upon. Then, separately, I could generate some fire with my mind and some fictitious ability to use fictitious energy that is not inherently real-world physical energy (which my arm already uses, and still uses in fictional settings) to generate that fire. If I punch you, I can punch you AND burn you, or I can just burn you, or I can just punch you.

 

It's not impossible to make a world in which I MUST punch you with a certain amount of might to be able to burn you, but... why? There's a difference between a somatic component and the actual application of physical, muscle-generated force.

 

You had me with Toph. I was thinking of all the other warrior-like benders. So, bad example, my bad.

 

But I think it doesn't change the point I'm trying to make. Sorcery in most fantasy settings is dependent on your willpower, a mental ability. The more you can concentrate on these magical energies, the more you can shape them to your liking. Your body has nothing to do with it, and the magic is just... there, I guess.

 

Now imagine this: A fantasy setting in which the magic you want to use is not just there, it has to be created first, or accumulated in your body. And that could happen in many ways. One of them, just as an example: By contracting your muscles and becoming very, very tense, you open up the magical flow in your body, and the magic that is present in each and every cell of your body can flow into your chakras, where it can be accessed.

It's a stupid example but I just want to emphasize that magic can be anywhere in a fantasy setting. In this case it means: The stronger the muscles are that you contract, the more magic flows, so you need strength to become a spellcaster.

 

In that scenario it also wouldn't have anything directly to do with physics. It's just a correlation that you can also use your strength to generate more physical force when striking someone. And you wouldn't need to punch someone to burn them, either - it's not the physical force that causes the magic to happen.

And while a wizard would have mastered using his body strength to this effect, a fighter would have mastered using it for direct combat. I'll go even further: The fighter has to move while fighting, which disrupts the magical flow, so that he cannot access it. The wizard has to stand still and cannot fight. Thus, the very same basic attribute represents both a spiritual and a physical strength because they are linked, even though they are fundamentally different in how you use them.

 

(Again, a reminder that I don't prefer a system like this. I just don't think it is inconceivable or that it wouldn't make sense - within the logic of its own fantasy setting it could make perfect sense.)

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Well maybe the wizard won't suck at swordfighting, but he's gonna have more skill in spellcasting, and he's not gonna have the benefits from the fighter class. So using the sword telekinetically, he may be able to do some damage, but he's essentially giving up the potential power he would have if he used his magic in a different way, which would be more effective. That's what I meant.

On the other hand, now that you've planted this image in my head of a feeble mage telekinetically wielding a huge greatsword and dealing massive damage, I think it's kind of awesome. :D

I thought that same thing when I inadvertently gave my-self the crazy mental image of that. :)

 

But, be all that as it may, the variance in skill and the lack of all the things a Warrior can do (class-based abilities, etc.) is still all completely separate and supplementary to a person's inherent physical strength. In reality, and in the portion of reality that's being represented in such fictional settings, involving people with anatomically realistic bodies, and muscle cells, and a base of real-world physics, gravity, all that jazz.

 

You had me with Toph. I was thinking of all the other warrior-like benders. So, bad example, my bad.

I was pretty certain I had spelled her name wrong, haha.

 

But I think it doesn't change the point I'm trying to make. Sorcery in most fantasy settings is dependent on your willpower, a mental ability. The more you can concentrate on these magical energies, the more you can shape them to your liking. Your body has nothing to do with it, and the magic is just... there, I guess.

No worries. Bad example for that particular point, but, even if I haven't conveyed it very well this whole time, I do comprehend that point, and it IS valid. I mean, there's stuff in reality that's just kind of "Because science," heh. I know HOW electricity works, but I don't know WHY it exists. Why are particles even able to become charged? Why doesn't stuff work a different way?

 

But, the only thing I will say to that is, knowing that a fictional world was constructed for a reason, I don't see the real-world logic/value in constructing a fictional world thusly. It seems to arbitrarily merge two things into one thing. Forget about magic, for the moment, and just think of fictional marriage of real-world "stats." What if the usage of your muscles allowed you to utilize your thought power? Every muscle cell in your body, whenever used, actually gave you mental CPU power. How silly would that be?

 

"You're either muscley and a genius, or you're feeble and an idiot."

 

I dunno, even dealing with completely fictional energies and capabilities, like magic power, it just seems like an inconsistency in the world. Surely there are 1,000 other distinct features of people in this fictional world in which there are people and animals and plants that, while different in specifics, are heavily based on real-world earth's population of living entities. More specifically, in a fictional world (such as P:E) in which you're blatantly claiming to represent all of these factors as "human"(oid) stats for characters, why are there unique, independent fluctuations in EVERY other aspect of people (speed, perception, intelligence, flexibility, height, weight, voice sound, etc.) -- not to mention aspects of the entire plant and animal populous, as well -- but somehow physical musculature always = magical potential?

 

Isn't that a bit disconnecting?

 

In that scenario it also wouldn't have anything directly to do with physics. It's just a correlation that you can also use your strength to generate more physical force when striking someone. And you wouldn't need to punch someone to burn them, either - it's not the physical force that causes the magic to happen.

And while a wizard would have mastered using his body strength to this effect, a fighter would have mastered using it for direct combat. I'll go even further: The fighter has to move while fighting, which disrupts the magical flow, so that he cannot access it. The wizard has to stand still and cannot fight. Thus, the very same basic attribute represents both a spiritual and a physical strength because they are linked, even though they are fundamentally different in how you use them.

That... I dunno. That seems to make doubly less sense. For one thing, it does have to do with physics, since it's the conversion of physical energy into magical energy. If you just had a bunch of cells in your body (or different properties of existing, realistic cells in your body), and didn't need to make use of mechanical muscle cell function to create magical energy, that would be a different story. It would be a completely fictional source (that happens to reside in your body) fora completely fictional power, all outside of physics.

 

I'm really not trying to be nitpicky. Truly. I realize that it seems that way. It's frustrating just TRYING to pinpoint just what I'm getting at, without sounding all "well... technically...". But, as it stands, the operation of muscle cells generates physical force. So, if you contract muscle cells in order to generate magical force, then you're either making physical force, then converting it into magical force (why the middle man?), or you're always generating magical force equal to your physical force (why are you always physically fatiguing yourself by having half the energy you produce go to waste?).

 

In a world like this, what would prevent ANYONE from becoming a Wizard, instead of a Warrior? "Hmm, I can either use my muscles to hurl fire at people and generate forcefields, or I can use my muscles to just do what normal muscle strength allows me to do." There's no trade-off. Hence the "Wizard telekinetically going all Star Wars Kid with a two-handed sword" example comes back into relevance, haha. Why would ANYONE try to physically throw knives at other people if, by the exact same token of their inherent capabilities, they could simply telekinetically hurl magical, flame-lectric knives at people? Or, people could just paralyze you, and now you can't do anything. "Silence" would be Paralysis. There wouldn't be a single person in existence who couldn't be "Silenced" from using magical ability. Not to mention, you couldn't have, say, Ogres, in the world, or any beast with substantially larger counts of muscle cells, or they'd be invincible. Everything would have to fall within the same rough size/musculature. And the only way to become more magically powerful would be to physically work out a bunch. Which you'd do every time you used magic, because you'd always use your muscles to wield magic.

 

Do you see where this leads? It's not as simple as "Muscles equal both... *dusts off hands*... problem solved, because the lore says it makes sense." These aren't just simple, nitpicky things. They're at the very core of the functionality of the fiction in question. You can make a fictitious world in which 4=5, but all other numbers are the same, but... I don't even know how to fathom that. How do we even relate to a world like that?

 

That's what I'm getting at. There's a disconnect there. And, no matter how many times you slide something into the gap to close it, you leave a gap where you just slid from. There's some kind of logical inconsistency there, like an unbalanced equation, and it radiates throughout the entire fabric of that reality's logic. I don't know how to describe it other than with all those questions/examples above. It's all of them, but I don't know what it is.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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In a world like this, what would prevent ANYONE from becoming a Wizard, instead of a Warrior? "Hmm, I can either use my muscles to hurl fire at people and generate forcefields, or I can use my muscles to just do what normal muscle strength allows me to do." There's no trade-off. Hence the "Wizard telekinetically going all Star Wars Kid with a two-handed sword" example comes back into relevance, haha. Why would ANYONE try to physically throw knives at other people if, by the exact same token of their inherent capabilities, they could simply telekinetically hurl magical, flame-lectric knives at people? Or, people could just paralyze you, and now you can't do anything. "Silence" would be Paralysis. There wouldn't be a single person in existence who couldn't be "Silenced" from using magical ability. Not to mention, you couldn't have, say, Ogres, in the world, or any beast with substantially larger counts of muscle cells, or they'd be invincible. Everything would have to fall within the same rough size/musculature. And the only way to become more magically powerful would be to physically work out a bunch. Which you'd do every time you used magic, because you'd always use your muscles to wield magic.

... or bypass all that by saying that there's some inborn, genetic (or XxX~SoUlPoWeR~XxX) component that prevents everyone from doing it, or from doing it the same way. Because, y'know, class system with no multi-classing. All the gasoline in the world isn't going to help if some people are born with waterwheels instead of internal combustion engines. Fiction is handy that way.

 

Also, "or people could just paralyze you" is a pretty silly thing to say. "Oh, hey, it's Pazuzu the Dread Mage! It's cool, guys, we don't have to go through the whole laborious effort of preventing him from talking, we just have to paralyze him now!"

 

EDIT: And again, sheer hitting power is not the only way to measure something. Gate all the cool metamagic powers behind int, or... hell, anything.

Edited by Tamerlane
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Whether or not someone could pass the check to hold up heavy things, in the given system, is not the problem. The problem, to put it the best way I can in this current context, is simply "When WOULDN'T someone be able to pass a check like that, and would that type of check even be of any significance anymore?"

 

I mean, a character who's literally a completely weakling, both physically (with weapons and real-world physics force) AND non-physically (magically, mentally, etc.) wouldn't really be very viable. Sure, everyone doesn't have to be the strongest. But, anyone with any power in either form would be able to do everything (in regard to such checks).

Why should someone with neither physical nor mental abilities be good at anything, especially adventuring. The malnutritioned village idiot has not much of a career choice, no surprise here.

 

That is just what "no dump stats" also means, it is the inherent disadvantage. It means that you can play a jack of all trades who is good in everything but excellent in none (but you will not win difficult fights with a party full of jacks). It means that if you have a *strong* deficiency in any stat (not only strength) you have an achilles heel. In D&D terms it would mean the best mage builds would select attributes that are important for his school of magic and an Illusionist would need different attributes to be at max than a fire mage. Similarily the best fighter build for using a hammer would push (probably) strength, while a fencer would push Dex and a dual-wield fighter Dex and Int. They usually would leave least important stats at 6 to 8, anything below would constitute a hindrance, deficiency, a crippling disability.

 

But to directly answer your question: A strength check would still make sense, but you can't expect the class to tell you who is the weakest. The fire mage would be stronger than the agile fencing master (as well as the illusionist mage). If you find that unbelievable then you have played too much D&D (as we probably all did) ;-)

 

 

But, the only thing I will say to that is, knowing that a fictional world was constructed for a reason, I don't see the real-world logic/value in constructing a fictional world thusly. It seems to arbitrarily merge two things into one thing. Forget about magic, for the moment, and just think of fictional marriage of real-world "stats." What if the usage of your muscles allowed you to utilize your thought power? Every muscle cell in your body, whenever used, actually gave you mental CPU power. How silly would that be?

 

Well, this is actually true for your heart and lung muscles. They allow you to think. How silly is that eating and drinking allows you to think? Before you answer, yes, not exactly the same, not a direct relationship, but it is in the same ballpark. Concentration is impossible when you have a fever, your body influences your mind. When we think about the somatic component of D&D mages we have a direct example of physical effects doing magic. Explanation?

 

More specifically, in a fictional world (such as P:E) in which you're blatantly claiming to represent all of these factors as "human"(oid) stats for characters, why are there unique, independent fluctuations in EVERY other aspect of people (speed, perception, intelligence, flexibility, height, weight, voice sound, etc.) -- not to mention aspects of the entire plant and animal populous, as well -- but somehow physical musculature always = magical potential?

 

You mean as in D&D "physical muscular strength always = fighting potential"? We know that isn't true. And again, what we know about PE is only that "physical musculature always = magical potential damage". No, we don't even know that, we only know  "physical musculature + X always = magical damage".

 

In a world like this, what would prevent ANYONE from becoming a Wizard, instead of a Warrior?

(...)

That's what I'm getting at. There's a disconnect there. And, no matter how many times you slide something into the gap to close it, you leave a gap where you just slid from. There's some kind of logical inconsistency there, like an unbalanced equation, and it radiates throughout the entire fabric of that reality's logic. I don't know how to describe it other than with all those questions/examples above. It's all of them, but I don't know what it is.

You try to get a detailed picture of how magic works. Did you realize that you have accepted many magic systems without this stringent cause and effect chain? For example, if magic is the recitation of some textual formula, why isn't any idiot who can remember these phrases able to do magic? Oh, he is if someone just gives him the spell book? Strangely that doesn't work in D&D, a warrior can't use a spell book. Not even with high INT, so what's keeping him off? Doesn't that sound strange.

 

Doesn't it also sound strange that the uttering of some silly words creates a magic effect? Where's the logical explanation for that? Sound begets magical effect, physical sound waves somehow becoming magic. And it really is the sound wave (it isn't just a helper to make your thoughts coherent) because you can't cast the spell when you are muted.

 

Simple, there is no explanation for that. The disconnect you are critisizing is not in some small gap, the disconnect is all there is and we all accept that. Hey, it's magic. And we accepted it long ago and just don't realize anymore what logical conundrum it really is.

 

------

Now why is "strength influences magic damage" so hard for us (yes, we probably all have a problem to get used to that) to accept?

 

The most important reason IMO: Just like Tolkien planted Elves and Dwarfs into fantasy and set our expectations, early fantastic literature (wasn't it Tolkien as well?) told us how magic works is and we all have that picture of the studied bearded fellow in a long robe ingrained in us. What Tolkien planted, D&D cemented. We often analyze PE magic by using assumptions we got from magic as known from Tolkien or D&D. Not only that, PSI and wish fullfillment (religious or genie in a bottle) works the same way.

 

The other reason is that combining body with physical fighting and mind with magic is such a convenient, natural fit. It has a lot of advantages, for example that "mind workers" have a use as adventurers (in reality "mind workers" in a medieval era would simply don't do combat or adventuring work). It made it easier to *not* explain magic, the mind is still a mystery to us.

 

Naturally there is a risk involved in not using the established and doing something against the users expectations. If the user doesn't adapt he won't like it. But the same can be said about movies and if no one tried something new we would watch "Ben Hur 53: Ben is back with a vengeance" in cinemas right now

 

In the end explaining how magic works is secondary in importance to the internal consistency of the magic and should PE work well as a RPG system nobody will make much fuss about explanations (after all there are other accepted RPG systems with weird/unusual attributes). If not, this will be just another nail to seal the coffin.

Edited by jethro
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Just a quick response to Lephys:

 

You made lots of real world comparisons and also mentioned physics. You think there's a problem when magical energy is connected to something physical like muscle contraction.

 

To which I say, there's no way to avoid that because literally everything in our world is "physics".

In DnD and many other settings, wizards utter incantations to create magic. But that's just sonic waves! Particles in the air that are oscillating. How can that lead to magic?

 

For every implementation of magic you will find something disconcerting like this, because magic can't exist in the real world. You always have a 4=5 equation somewhere, because you take the real world and put something new on top.

 

If, as in your example, muscles made us geniuses, then in that world we wouldn't even look human. Your whole biological system works differently if the brain is scattered all over the body. You wouldn't need a head to store the brain and the most important senses in. But the setting wouldn't reflect this. 4=5.

 

The point is that if you look deep enough, none of these settings make any sense from a scientific perspective. And it's not ranked - they all don't make any sense in exactly the same way. The question is how obvious it is to you.

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Why should someone with neither physical nor mental abilities be good at anything, especially adventuring. The malnutritioned village idiot has not much of a career choice, no surprise here.

 

That is just what "no dump stats" also means, it is the inherent disadvantage. It means that you can play a jack of all trades who is good in everything but excellent in none (but you will not win difficult fights with a party full of jacks). It means that if you have a *strong* deficiency in any stat (not only strength) you have an achilles heel. In D&D terms it would mean the best mage builds would select attributes that are important for his school of magic and an Illusionist would need different attributes to be at max than a fire mage. Similarily the best fighter build for using a hammer would push (probably) strength, while a fencer would push Dex and a dual-wield fighter Dex and Int. They usually would leave least important stats at 6 to 8, anything below would constitute a hindrance, deficiency, a crippling disability.

true, but what I dislike is that some classes, historically, have had preset dump stats. there was always that one attribute which you simply couldn't take as a mage/rogue/fighter, and there were attributes that you simply could not *not* take. I'm perfectly ok with dump stats, as long as they're based on my choices, not class pigeon-holing. I'm looking forward to this new attribute system.

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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At the obvious risk of being misunderstood here, I'm just going to say that you're all still missing my point. And, while I could try to address every single thing that's just been said in response to my last post, it wouldn't really accomplish anything but to potentially further confuse the conveyance of my actual point.

 

I'll try one more time, and if I still just can't make any sense to anyone, then so be it. (I do not mean that in any anger or anything. Just, really, it happens. If I can't convey my point clearly enough, then I'll stop wasting threadspace trying and trying to no avail, and just confusing people more, 8P).

 

Okay, muscle operation = physical energy. Force. Power. Whatever you want to call it. Our muscle fibers produce mechanical energy, when used. That is basically, simply what we refer to as one's physical "strength." Yes, we COULD refer to other factors all mashed into that, like mental resolve, and the ability to literally push our muscles to the point of tearing our own ligaments, etc... But, that's beside the point. No matter how much extra stuff CAN be applied and described by the word "strength," the power our muscles can generate is definitely represented by strength, at the very least.

 

Okay... so, we're saying "Hmm, suppose magic energy/force/power was also generated by our muscles." Cool. So, 1 engine, 2 powers. Maybe some people can't generate magical energy, and some people can. Muscles are just what does it. Doesn't mean all muscles do it. Okay, still cool. There aren't any people who can use magical energy but NOT physical energy, right? I mean, no one's muscles will like, contract to produce NO mechanical energy, but will make magical energy out the wazz. Correct? How would your muscles even contract if they couldn't mechanically operate?

 

So, we've got 2 types of people: People who, when flexing an arm, can produce mechanical arm power (relative to their arm's muscle mass), and people who, when flexing an arm, can produce mechanical arm power AND magic power.

 

So, at this point, I have to ask "What are the differences -- ANY differences at all -- between mechanical energy and magical energy?" Are they exactly identical? I mean, If I have enough strength in one arm to punch through a thin wooden door, then does that mean that I possess the capability (in just that arm's worth of muscle fibers) to produce EXACTLY the same amount of magical energy/force to knock a hole in the door with magic? Or, can I, say, rip the whole door off with magic, but only punch through it? Or, can I always spontaneously create fire and electricity and ice and stop people's hearts and summon ethereal animals and render people paralyzed and stuff, with magic? Can I always attack from a range, with magic? Just hurl lightning bolts and firebolts and projectiles at people? Using the SAME exact amount of muscle power as I would use to mechanically be able to do far less than that?

 

There are only 2 possibilities: Magic is more efficient/useful/potent/versatile than physical/mechanical power, or magic is EXACTLY as useful as physical power and can only do/accomplish the exact same feats as physical power. What I mean is, if I can throw a given rock 50 feet with my arm, then I can only throw that same rock that same distance, with all of my mustered magic power.

 

Well, if it's literally exactly as useful/capable, then why wouldn't you just use your physical capabilities? OR just magical capabilities? Not to mention that, in the context of a class system and such, ALL people who can work magic (for whatever reason) will possess twice the capability of people who can't. They won't just do something DIFFERENT. They'll do something EXTRA.

 

That's just the thing. The reason magic works in any fiction is because it's something DIFFERENT and DISTINCT. Oh, you're frail? You can use some power OTHER than physical power to knock me on my arse! You're tied up and can't move? You can access MAGIC to actually fray the ropes or something, or burn through them, etc.

 

If your ability to do something magically is always exactly the same as your ability to do it physically, then what's the point? If the two are different, but derive from the same thing, then why wouldn't you just use the best energy? "Hmmm... I could walk over there, OR I could teleport, using my muscle magic. I could actually physically use this scythe to reap this field, OR I could just reap the whole thing in half the time with magic power! 8D! I'm gonna use my muscles, either way, so why not?!"

 

Basically, the entire point of magic is that it's an alternative to physical means. I mean, you take reality, and you add magic. That's what we do in fiction. I can plow a field. OR, maybe IF magic existed, IT could be used to accomplish the plowing of this field! It's something that is inherently an alternative to physical, mechanical effort. When you have to USE mechanical effort to access magical power (as a direct correlation -- as in the more mechanical effort you have at your disposal, the more magical power you have at your disposal), then what's the point in the two even both existing at all?

 

Same with stats. That's the whole POINT of stats. You can be good at one, but lousy at another. Merging them sort of defeats the very purpose of that, in the first place. Why don't we just have 1 stat, called simply "Awesomeness." It'll derive all other things. Maybe we sprinkle some skills on top, so that Awesomeness is just the base, and the skills determine the rest.

 

Obviously extreme and silly, but the principle is there. Why even say there's physical strength and magical strength, as separate things, if they're both fueled by the exact same source? At that point, you might as well just have "Power," and say that there aren't actually two separate things. There's just one thing. Everyone has some measure of Power, and everyone can perform all actions/abilities, because there's no such thing as "magic" or "non-magic" abilities. Just abilities.

 

And no. For the record, you couldn't have 4=5 in any world, without having a paradox. What happens when you pick up 4 apples? A 5th one always spawns into existence? Even once you have 5 things, there are still 4 things there, then 1 thing. Therefore, you'd just infinitely have apples spawning into existence, because there'd always be ANOTHER set of 4 apples, but there couldn't be, because in that world, 4 would equal 5.

 

You can change the names of numbers, and the methodologies of math all day long, but you cannot change the fabric of counting. I'm not talking about a metaphorical facet of a fantasy world, like "Our heads are actually in our stomachs! 8D!" that is for some reason being equated to a literal paradox. I'm talking about a literal paradox. Such as Strength = not-strength.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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There are only 2 possibilities: Magic is more efficient/useful/potent/versatile than physical/mechanical power, or magic is EXACTLY as useful as physical power and can only do/accomplish the exact same feats as physical power. What I mean is, if I can throw a given rock 50 feet with my arm, then I can only throw that same rock that same distance, with all of my mustered magic power.

No.

 

Hypothetical: magic is more useful/potent/versatile, but has separate drawbacks that purely physical power doesn't have. Hypothetical: there is **** that magic just can't do (Horror of horrors!). Hypothetical: pretty much anything, because you can do that when you're making up a setting.

 

 

Well, if it's literally exactly as useful/capable, then why wouldn't you just use your physical capabilities? OR just magical capabilities?

Why did Gandalf sword people? Was he not the ballingest wizard in the land? Why didn't he just cast Time Stop? Maybe magic isn't a "do everything easily" option in a lot of fiction? Maybe using the same stat as a basic measurement of power doesn't make everything equally useful and capable in the exact same arena at all times?

 

 

That's just the thing. The reason magic works in any fiction is because it's something DIFFERENT and DISTINCT. Oh, you're frail? You can use some power OTHER than physical power to knock me on my arse! You're tied up and can't move? You can access MAGIC to actually fray the ropes or something, or burn through them, etc.

Oh, you spend your time learning how to manipulate the wind instead of fencing? Okay, now you can do (wind magic thing) to compensate for how crappy you are at (sword thing).

 

See, here's a fundamental problem you're having. You're simultaneously trying to hold magic up as DIFFERENT and DISTINCT, yet every example you're giving of magic is "something a normal person could do, only your hands stay cleaner". DIFFERENT and DISTINCT isn't using magic to burn through ropes. That's a strength check by different means, and that's why you're having trouble with this whole damn thing. Of course they're going to be too similar if you your every example is doing the same damn thing slightly differently.

 

 

If your ability to do something magically is always exactly the same as your ability to do it physically, then what's the point? If the two are different, but derive from the same thing, then why wouldn't you just use the best energy? "Hmmm... I could walk over there, OR I could teleport, using my muscle magic. I could actually physically use this scythe to reap this field, OR I could just reap the whole thing in half the time with magic power! 8D! I'm gonna use my muscles, either way, so why not?!"

Why did Gandalf stab dudes? Why did Greek gods need a blacksmith?

 

 

Same with stats. That's the whole POINT of stats. You can be good at one, but lousy at another. Merging them sort of defeats the very purpose of that, in the first place. Why don't we just have 1 stat, called simply "Awesomeness." It'll derive all other things. Maybe we sprinkle some skills on top, so that Awesomeness is just the base, and the skills determine the rest.

Don't do this, dude. Jesus, you kn-

 

 

Obviously extreme and silly, but the principle is there. Why even say there's physical strength and magical strength, as separate things, if they're both fueled by the exact same source? At that point, you might as well just have "Power," and say that there aren't actually two separate things. There's just one thing. Everyone has some measure of Power, and everyone can perform all actions/abilities, because there's no such thing as "magic" or "non-magic" abilities. Just abilities.

What the actual ****?

Edited by Tamerlane
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So, we've got 2 types of people: People who, when flexing an arm, can produce mechanical arm power (relative to their arm's muscle mass), and people who, when flexing an arm, can produce mechanical arm power AND magic power.

 

So, at this point, I have to ask "What are the differences -- ANY differences at all -- between mechanical energy and magical energy?" Are they exactly identical? I mean, If I have enough strength in one arm to punch through a thin wooden door, then does that mean that I possess the capability (in just that arm's worth of muscle fibers) to produce EXACTLY the same amount of magical energy/force to knock a hole in the door with magic? Or, can I, say, rip the whole door off with magic, but only punch through it? Or, can I always spontaneously create fire and electricity and ice and stop people's hearts and summon ethereal animals and render people paralyzed and stuff, with magic? Can I always attack from a range, with magic? Just hurl lightning bolts and firebolts and projectiles at people? Using the SAME exact amount of muscle power as I would use to mechanically be able to do far less than that?

 

There are only 2 possibilities: Magic is more efficient/useful/potent/versatile than physical/mechanical power, or magic is EXACTLY as useful as physical power and can only do/accomplish the exact same feats as physical power. What I mean is, if I can throw a given rock 50 feet with my arm, then I can only throw that same rock that same distance, with all of my mustered magic power.

 

There is the third possibility: That magic does totally different things than physical excertion and can't replicate what you can do with your arms and legs and vice versa. With magic you might be able to grow plants but with your arm you can hit an enemy with a sword. How do you compare the usefullness of these two things?

 

Even if we compare things with a similar effect the comparision isn't easy: Man with bow will do a lot of damage to normal enemies but much less to skeletons and none to ghosts. The same mans fire bolt spell might make much less damage but will hurt skeletons and ghosts. You can have 40 arrows with you for a fight but only 5 fire bolts before your mana is spent. The range may be different, fire bolts might ignore armor... How do you compare their usefullness/potency ?

 

You might have a spell to throw a rock much farther than you could physically, but the same spell could do nothing with a piece of wood or metal. It might even be that the rock must have a specific shape to be affected by that spell. It might be that you can throw that rock only at specific things... D&D magic worked this unphysical way. PE magic probably too.

 

Consider a diesel engine powering a saw and an electrical generator that drives a computer. The saw can cut almost anything to shreds. If the engine generates more power the saw can cut faster. The computer on the other hand can't cut anything, it's abilities can't be compared to the saw. It doesn't even run faster if the engine generates more power. It works different to the saw. Is it more powerful? Depends on the job. Does saw or computer make the other obsolete? No.

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No.

 

Hypothetical: magic is more useful/potent/versatile, but has separate drawbacks that purely physical power doesn't have. Hypothetical: there is **** that magic just can't do (Horror of horrors!). Hypothetical: pretty much anything, because you can do that when you're making up a setting.

I'm honestly confused by the application of this directly to my quoted section. But, I will say that I was false. I left out a possibility. 3) Magic is less useful than physical capability.

 

Basically, it's either better, equal, or worse, is what I was getting at. Just for what that's worth.

 

Why did Gandalf sword people? Was he not the ballingest wizard in the land? Why didn't he just cast Time Stop? Maybe magic isn't a "do everything easily" option in a lot of fiction? Maybe using the same stat as a basic measurement of power doesn't make everything equally useful and capable in the exact same arena at all times?

The very reason you're asking "Why did Gandalf sword people?" is QUITE LITERALLY the basis of my point. If the use of his arm muscles to swing that sword COULD'VE been used to generate a fireball, don't you think he would've just fireballed everyone? The reason he sworded people was that magic DIDN'T come from his muscle use, but swording DID. So, he has a finite amount of magical "stamina," we'll say, AND a completely separate-yet-also-finite amount of PHYSICAL, NON-MAGICAL stamina. Therefore, in order to conserve his magical stamina for more dire circumstances, he resorted to his physical capabilities.

 

If your physical body's capabilities were the source of BOTH THINGS, then why would Gandalf ever sword people?

 

Instead of throwing "Umm, not necessarily" at me, could you please (I'm sincerely asking) explain how what I'm saying is wrong, and how using one stat that represents both your burlyness AND your magicalness simultaneously doesn't lead to what I'm describing, and isn't at all problematic? I'm explaining how it is, which apparently isn't making any sense. But, I think an actual counter-explanation would help more than simply pointing out that "It could just work differently, somehow, *shrug*".

 

 

Oh, you spend your time learning how to manipulate the wind instead of fencing? Okay, now you can do (wind magic thing) to compensate for how crappy you are at (sword thing).

The wind isn't magic. It's just moving gas particles. If you spent the same amount of time learning to manipulate the wind as you did learning how to use a sword, then you could just manipulate the wind with as much might as you could put behind a sword swing.

 

Who do you think wins THAT duel? The Wind God or the Sword Duelist? You think a group of people who's all "Hey, we actually have the ABILITY to control the elements, themselves, but we actually just spent all our time learning how to swing swords at other people who we're assuming will be wielding swords against us, in close range" is going to tell another group of people who decided to master control of the elements that they're NOT going to do whatever the crap they please? "We'll stop you... *leaps*... with our MELEE RANGE SHARP METAL THINGS!"

 

See, here's a fundamental problem you're having. You're simultaneously trying to hold magic up as DIFFERENT and DISTINCT, yet every example you're giving of magic is "something a normal person could do, only your hands stay cleaner". DIFFERENT and DISTINCT isn't using magic to burn through ropes. That's a strength check by different means, and that's why you're having trouble with this whole damn thing. Of course they're going to be too similar if you your every example is doing the same damn thing slightly differently.

*sigh*... With all due respect, it's only a "fundamental problem" when you're not actually grasping the point. Yes, if the point were that the RESULTS of magic were different, that would be a problem. But it isn't. Magic circumvents physical means. "Oh no, I don't have any tools with which to create enough friction to start a fire!" Hey, guess what? with fictional magical energy, you can still start a fire. You don't physically strike flint against steel, taking advantage of the physical properties of both materials to cause sparks. You don't generate enough friction to cause extreme heat. You use fictitious, doesn't-really-exist energy to ignite something. Now, it might still be regular fire after that, all within the realm of physics. But, what was outside of the realm of physics was that magical energy was used to start it. Meaning energy that doesn't actually exist. Meaning energy that isn't your muscles' mechanical energy, because that already exists.

 

 

Here's another one for ya... physical muscle cells make magic. So, a Wizard studies the application of magical energy in enhancing physical muscle cells. Strength buff. You use magic to make yourself stronger, which grants you greater magical potency, which allows you to make yourself even STRONGER, which allows even GREATER magical potency, and so on and so forth. Or, ya know, transformation magic. "I'm now a 30-foot dragon, with 7,000,000,000,000,000 more muscle cells than I just had! World = PWNED!"

 

Disconnects? Pssh... what was I thinking.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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There is the third possibility: That magic does totally different things than physical excertion and can't replicate what you can do with your arms and legs and vice versa. With magic you might be able to grow plants but with your arm you can hit an enemy with a sword. How do you compare the usefullness of these two things?

That's not possible. If magic did "totally different things," then it wouldn't react with the physical world. I can grow plants with soil and seeds and water and nutrients. Magic can maybe do this faster, or circumvent physical causes with its own causes, but it isn't "doing something completely different."

 

Also, in the context of P:E, if magic couldn't harm an enemy thing like a physical attack could, I'm not sure it'd work at all. "You're a magic class... but you do COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS than all the non-magical people do." How could that even be a class?

 

You can have 40 arrows with you for a fight but only 5 fire bolts before your mana is spent.

Exactly. You can have 40 sword swings in you, before your stamina is spent. or only 5 firebolts before your mana is spent. Why? Because your mana is not your physical ability. It's a separate thing.

 

How silly would it be if your firebolts were powered not by mana, but by the number of arrows you had in your quiver? "Hmm... I can launch 40 arrows with my bow, or I can launch 40 firebolts with magic... *ponder*".

 

Consider a diesel engine powering a saw and an electrical generator that drives a computer. The saw can cut almost anything to shreds. If the engine generates more power the saw can cut faster. The computer on the other hand can't cut anything, it's abilities can't be compared to the saw. It doesn't even run faster if the engine generates more power. It works different to the saw. Is it more powerful? Depends on the job. Does saw or computer make the other obsolete? No.

I don't see how this example is very relevant to the issue at hand. An engine powering a saw, and a completely separate engine powering a computer... A more apt analogy for everything I've been getting at this entire time would be a saw, and a magic saw, hooked to the same generator. Every time you turn on the gernerator, it makes power for both saws. So, you can either use the physical saw, and hope you get a nice cut, or you can use the magical saw (with the exact same power source) to cut in a magical way.

 

Does one render the other obsolete? I should hope so.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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And no. For the record, you couldn't have 4=5 in any world, without having a paradox. What happens when you pick up 4 apples? A 5th one always spawns into existence? Even once you have 5 things, there are still 4 things there, then 1 thing. Therefore, you'd just infinitely have apples spawning into existence, because there'd always be ANOTHER set of 4 apples, but there couldn't be, because in that world, 4 would equal 5.

 

That's the whole point I was making. You can't have 4=5 in a logical world such as ours, which is exactly why we don't have magic. Please read that part of my post again, it wasn't saying "4=5? I see no problem with that!", it was saying "Everytime you put magic on top of reality, you produce a 4=5 situation, so your only choices are to either accept that, or to not have magic at all".

The 4=5 thing is obviously a metaphor, though. A general statement that there's a paradox, not the specific case of having 4 apples in your basket that are also 5 apples. Though that situation is one that wouldn't be implausible in a world where everything we know is turned upside down because of magic.

 

The point of magic is to change the laws of physics in a way that would produce a paradox in our world. And I'm not saying that in defense of the "muscle strength = magic" setting, but in defense of any fantasy setting with magic in it. There is no difference at all between casting magic with your physical strength and casting magic with your mental strength when talking about whether that system makes sense or not. Neither of them makes sense in the real world, no matter how well you explain it.

 

Also, I think you're constantly switching between two questions: "Is it a logical implementation?", and "Is it balanced?".

The answer to the first question is "no, and it can never be", and the answer to the second question is "a fantasy setting doesn't have to be balanced in any way, only a game has to be balanced". A system where mental and physical power rely on the same stat may well be unbalanced, but it is not less logical than any other fantasy setting. If it's more efficient to use magic to plow your field instead of doing it by hand, and all farmers have the ability to use magic without problems, then in that setting I guess farmers plow their field with magic. Now where's the logical fallacy in that?

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That's the whole point I was making. You can't have 4=5 in a logical world such as ours, which is exactly why we don't have magic. Please read that part of my post again, it wasn't saying "4=5? I see no problem with that!", it was saying "Everytime you put magic on top of reality, you produce a 4=5 situation, so your only choices are to either accept that, or to not have magic at all".

 

The point of magic is to change the laws of physics in a way that would produce a paradox in our world. And I'm not saying that in defense of the "muscle strength = magic" setting, but in defense of any fantasy setting with magic in it. There is no difference at all between casting magic with your physical strength and casting magic with your mental strength when talking about whether that system makes sense or not. Neither of them makes sense in the real world, no matter how well you explain it.

 

Also, I think you're constantly switching between two questions: "Is it a logical implementation?", and "Is it balanced?".

The answer to the first question is "no, and it can never be", and the answer to the second question is "a fantasy setting doesn't have to be balanced in any way, only a game has to be balanced". A system where mental and physical power rely on the same stat may well be unbalanced, but it is not less logical than any other fantasy setting. If it's more efficient to use magic to plow your field instead of doing it by hand, and all farmers have the ability to use magic without problems, then in that setting I guess farmers plow their field with magic. Now where's the logical fallacy in that?

That isn't at all the point I was making, and I don't agree. Magic isn't inherently a paradox. It could simply be something that COULD exist, but doesn't. Like a unicorn. A unicorn doesn't not-exist because it's logically impossible.

 

Look at an atomic bomb. Who the hell would've thought there was THAT much energy in atoms? That doesn't even make much sense. Magic and science are almost the same thing, except magic represents interactions with physics that don't actually exist. It's theoretically possible to build anti-gravity stuff to hover about. That's levitation. The only difference is that it's not done by magical power. Just really fantastical science.

 

In other words, all paradoxes are things that don't exist, but all things that don't exist aren't paradoxes.

 

The fact that we can't manipulate ethereal energy into telekinetic force doesn't mean that for such energy to exist would be a paradox. We turn lightning into force with electric motors. The only difference being that lightning happens to exist. Magical energy doesn't.

 

Sure, there are plenty of magical systems out there that make no sense. That doesn't mean that magic, inherently, can't color inside the lines of logic.

 

Nothing HAS to be logical, no matter whether it's fictional or real. A person in the real world can go stab someone else in the face, because rainbows. But that doesn't exactly get us anywhere, now does it? Nature doesn't DECIDE to be logical. It just is. 4 is 4, and 5 is 5, because. We didn't design reality, but we design our own fictional realities, and you're suggesting that attempting to have them make sense is folly?

 

Again, I go to a unicorn. Simply because a unicorn doesn't actually exist in real life, does this mean that if I'm going to put a unicorn into a fantasy world, it doesn't matter if it just arbitrarily floats upside down everywhere for no reason at all, or walks like a regular horse? I'll just put in a flying squirrel that, when angered, has the ability to expand to 73 times the size of the planet upon which it dwells, annihilating the world. Because fiction, right? Let's just throw reason out the window, because we couldn't possibly design a reasonable world.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I just have to butt in here:

 

You guys are talking about purely subjective stuff. It's just as easy for something in real world physics to go against common sense as it is for magic to seem real. It really just depends on the knowledge and expectations of each individual and the depth of the design. Logic isn't something nature is subjugated to, it's a human designed way of thinking. 4 is 4 and 5 is 5 because we decided it is so. You have to remember that the only way people perceive reality is through our limited senses. We developed "prosthetics" to sense things we normally cannot, but that still means we perceive through our senses in the end.

 

And there's another issue, how detailed the design should be. Just as for some people it's not enough for magic to just be, it might not be good to try and explain it in too much detail (ask most Star Wars fans about midichlorians). The systems needs to be designed relative to the world it is placed in and the audience it is meant for.

 

Besides you can rationalize almost anything related to magic, just throw more fluff at it. That squirrel doesn't sound any more fantastic than the 6 squirrels supposedly making up the Lady of Pain from Planescape. And a unicorn floating upside down? I challenge it with a floating blob of flesh with a big mouth and a dozen eyes that shoot lasers!

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The wind isn't magic. It's just moving gas particles. If you spent the same amount of time learning to manipulate the wind as you did learning how to use a sword, then you could just manipulate the wind with as much might as you could put behind a sword swing.

 

Who do you think wins THAT duel? The Wind God or the Sword Duelist?

Well, (lets substitute God with Mage to make it more sensible) the wind will hinder the duelist, fatigue him a bit, but if the wind isn't stopping him from reaching the mage the mage will die, fast. So the answer is it depends, on how strong the wind ist and how good the mage can concentrate it on the duelist and stay out of it himself. You are assuming quite a lot if you think you can give a definite answer to that question, for example that the same amount of learning wind spells will produce as much deadly wind force as a fatal hit with a weapon

 

That's not possible. If magic did "totally different things," then it wouldn't react with the physical world. I can grow plants with soil and seeds and water and nutrients. Magic can maybe do this faster, or circumvent physical causes with its own causes, but it isn't "doing something completely different."

 

Also, in the context of P:E, if magic couldn't harm an enemy thing like a physical attack could, I'm not sure it'd work at all. "You're a magic class... but you do COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS than all the non-magical people do." How could that even be a class?

I didn't say that magic had no physical consequences. But obviously magic doesn't follow physical laws, there are so many contradictions that finding holes is outright trivial.

 

You should ask any magic system in existence how it works. If magic can create physical things from air and move physical things, then ANY mage would simply create a knife before the enemies throat and move it forward a bit. In any RPG magic system this isn't possible because otherwise magic would be overpowered, so there are strange limitations. Limitations that don't follow any physical rules

 

 

Consider a diesel engine powering a saw and an electrical generator that drives a computer. (...)

I don't see how this example is very relevant to the issue at hand. An engine powering a saw, and a completely separate engine powering a computer... A more apt analogy for everything I've been getting at this entire time would be a saw, and a magic saw, hooked to the same generator. Every time you turn on the gernerator, it makes power for both saws. So, you can either use the physical saw, and hope you get a nice cut, or you can use the magical saw (with the exact same power source) to cut in a magical way.

 

Does one render the other obsolete? I should hope so.

 

Sorry, this might be my fault with english technical terms. I was assuming that the diesel engine drives the electrical generator to convert the motors movement to electricity. So I had only one engine, powering the saw and a converter.

 

Now, you propose the magic saw. But in every magic system ever used in any RPG it never was a magic saw, but only a magic can opener or a magic cutter. Magic never worked exactly the same as physically hitting things with swords. There still was a physical effect but it never followed the same rules as a physical attack.

 

And you seem to be saying because magic is now powered by muscles, it must follow the same rules now. But it doesn't. If it did you couldn't make the wind blow with a spell because you can't pysically.

 

That isn't at all the point I was making, and I don't agree. Magic isn't inherently a paradox. It could simply be something that COULD exist, but doesn't. Like a unicorn. A unicorn doesn't not-exist because it's logically impossible.

 

Look at an atomic bomb.

The atomic bomb looks like magic but even when it looked like it you couldn't produce a paradox that would violate physical laws. If it did you would have had to change the pyhsical laws because there was a bug in it. The bomb is and was never paradoxial

 

All magic used in RPGs had paradoxes or it wouldn't have worked, it wouldn't have been balanced. You might postulate a magic system that was paradox-free and still not overpowered but this has no relevance to D&D, PE or anything else out there. Your ideal was never reached in RPGs. PE shouldn't have to as well.

 

Do you want to say that the verisimilitude of the strength->magic system is weaker than with a mind->magic system? Sure, nobody denies that. Do you want to say that a strength-magic system is outright impossible to explain with the usual hand-waving done in all existing magic systems? Wrong. And you certainly can't prove it with examples that create paradoxes. Because every magic system in existence has them.

Edited by jethro
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