beccaelizabeth (beccaelizabeth) wrote,

GURPS, spells, elements, religion, ramblings

The thing with GURPS is that I think I like it for its versatility and flexibility and diversity
and the way there's a rule for just about everything
and then when I sit down and decide what things to actually use
I simplify.

Like last time I looked at Elemental magics I decided on a really short list
Sense/Seek, Purify/Ignite/Freeze, Create, Shape, Jet, Breath
And then for dragon story purposes Shapeshifting, with a lot handwaved, because otherwise dragons would lose intelligence in dragon form.

Breath attacks would have to be invented for some colleges, so I made up a breath attack for Air that was based on Concussion. Just because I like things tidy and consistent between colleges.

But if I'm not playing dragons this year then the Body Of spells actually do follow that chain or shorter, so a one college mage can just turn themselves into their element. Body of Air and Body of Wind are two different levels of badass. So there could be like a battle form of each element. Which seems superfluous for Fire, but in terms of direct damage fire has everyone beat anyway.

So instead of a whole complicated two page tree of elemental spells per element, I've made them simple syntactics.

Seek, Purify, Shape, Create, Jet, Breath, Body of, Body of harder.

Eight spells per element.

And if I use the secondary elements as just colleges in their own right
those being mud, sand, acid, and lightning
then there's eight spells for each of eight elements.

... secondary elements is overstating it, but there's mud jet and sand jet, and can you imagine a mage just getting really frustrated because once the earth mage fights the water mage for a while nothing around them responds to their magic because it's neither of them's element.

So it's simple, tidy, predictable
and these qualities appeal to me.
... why on earth am I using GURPS?

Also that system leaves out Ice as an element, or Metal, and that's on purpose because then Ice and Metal mages turn up and just confuse the locals entirely. Then it's clear whoever taught the system does not in fact know things. They're like medieval science, trying hard but not hardly there yet.

Earth spells have Body of Stone but not Body of Earth. And obviously you'd want body of stone. But it would be more logical to make it like Air spells, where the squishier version is easier and earlier.

But then there's a level which mages aren't keen to teach, because they're never entirely sure if someone got the hang of the spell or just, like, died. And if they get it right they become one with their element, which is nifty cool as an experience, and they can learn all sorts of things, like paying attention to the Seek spell often enough to have an extra discerning sense about their element, and maybe they can travel anywhere their element is, which would be cool but probably too badass for a game. But a lot o the time mages go in and don't come out. So it's difficult to impossible to know if someone died or just went off to be dirt for a while.

Purify Earth has a lot more prereqs than Purify Water and you need a spell from another college, one that isn't even Elemental. If elementalists are a seperate sort of magic then Earth mages wouldn't be able to do that at all. And it seems odd, because it just makes dirt into really good growing dirt. Why so complicated? Except really pure water is H2O, and really pure Earth is one of the most complex substances you can get that isn't strictly speaking alive, since it's good rich plant 'food'. So, logical, but awkward. So maybe there's a way for elementalists to cooperate with plant mages? But each on their own would lack required understanding.

So what's the second spell in the Earth chain?

Well the equivalent function is Earth to Stone, which is similarly low in the chain, and shifts existing components around to make a slightly more intense and useful version of the substance.

But it ises entirely different language, which is going to vaguely bother me.

See this is why I read about chaos so much, I am orderly to the point where slight differences in phrasing just bother me, it's ridiculous.

But you can't change the other Purify spells to match earth to stone. Purify is clearly the correct word for the Air and Water versions. No good for Fire either, though Ignite is doing the similar least effort moving things a little more towards its element thing.

The urge to make magic consistent enough to fit in matching boxes is neither helpful nor rational.

And yet I waste time on it anyway.

I also got a whole string of plots out of the Air sequence, started writing them for Clint/Coulson, had my computer epic crash instead, got weirdly superstitious about it, and then went off the MCU.

I should totally salvage that plot chain though. It made plenty good sense. I could drop it in many other places.

When inventing religion for the new fantasy world I... first decided that world without Jews would put me in bad company and so clearly Jews got Banestormed there, and then I read a lot of fics about Captain Cold, and then I ended up with a corner of plot about Cold as jew in a fantasy world, but I have absolutely no idea how to write it without just copying that one fic I rad, I don't even know enough to start learning more.

This is how I end up writing nothing, my failure to be omniscient enough to be a narrator.


Fantasy world religion, based on the months of the year, so there's twelve different gods. Except secretly there is a thirteenth, who is god of gates and doors, beginnings and endings, and intercalary days, because I always incite Janus. But if they had Gate magic my plots would work out very different. So.

Twelve gods who grant their priests twelve spells each, except there's secretly thirteen and so each priesthood has a secret spell.

I made the craft gods, so guilds and priesthoods are very mearly the same thing. Except that would lock out the monotheists. The monotheists call the polytheists Wheelers, after the wheel of the year, and the polytheists say the monotheists are the Makers, because they're worshipping the one who made the whole universe rather than the gods who moved in later and thought of neat stuff to do with it. Maker magic keeps the world working in its expected ways, so it looks like having no magic at all, but being resistant to all other magic. Wheeler magic can do lots of useful things, specific to their deities.

But since I invented them all I've forgotten most of who I invented, so possibly they were not compelling.

I know they send out Bards to tell the stories of all the gods, who travel in little two wheeled carts with statues of the gods along the sides. And the wheel is the symbol of the gods of Luck and Judgement, but it means very different things for them. Like wheel of fortune is a popular betting game run by priests of Luck, but there's an outside chance of rolling Death as your reward. But for Judgement the wheels of justice grind slow and lift you up and grind you down life after life in accordance with your actions. Wheel of rebirth and so forth. And they sound like they'd be enemy gods, but they're both in the same temple precinct, and they know that luck is how you deal with the slow grind of judgement, and judgement is how you cope with the ups and downs of luck.

But as to who all the statue gods would be I had a much harder time dredging those out of memory. Twelve seems to be many.

But there are green ladies of the garden, who are herbalists and know no healing magics but are your best bet at healing without risking becoming the Silent.

And there are Red ladies, who I don't really know yet but somehow they have all the Spider themed Marvel heroes working for them, including Black Widow. Thinking up a religious justification for that seems like a challenge. And the spider silk spell might be their secret one, or it might in general be all shapeshifting and animal themes. But I think in general they ought to be like the gardeners and represent the crafts of animal care? ... but extending the same gentle guidance and occasional need for slaughter might get you a back room of kick ass. Still. Veterinarians and superspies seem thematically jarring.

The blue ladies are all about the sea. Fish and nets and so forth. Ships and similar. Crafts to do with water.

And I've forgotten two more on the ladies side...

Battle and Victory are one either side. Lady Victory with her shield, looking like Peggy Carter.
Battle on the men's side has the symbol of the Banner.

I don't know, doesn't seem like they'd all fit together, and I'm still one short.

the green man is the wildwood and the red man is the hunter.

... blue man I don't know, but the Mason is opposite the sea lady. ...I'm sure there's a way to make that work via stonehenge bluestones.

there's also a Carpenter, maybe? and a gold lady who gets all the metalwork and smithcraft.

I remember the fibrecrafts were going with spiders, but that means red has a really wide range. logcally connected via sheep, but still.

luck and judgement and battle and victory don't seem to match all them other colors bits.

like there's crafts, and growing things, and leading armies, and the judgement lot.

I feel like they're oddly weighted. But they're for a much less urban society.

Okay, I didn't get as far as trying to figure out spell sets, and this computer needs recharging. I'll post this and come back to it later.

Pantheons are hard though, you really need to go back and forth with your plot and figure out who you need, and twelve seems too many and too few.

Four are for living things, four for crafts, and four for ways of organising humans. That could work.

Ugh, power plug.

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Tags: bunnies, fantasy, gurps, religion
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