Posts belonging to Category Magic systems

Reprise: How to Keep Mind-Reading from Breaking a Plot

Originally posted on June 2, 2010.
While I’m not too fond of dealing with mechanics as a whole, there are some that just appeal to my problem-solving nature: ones that can drive a GM crazy, but might just take a little sideways thinking. And not long ago, I caught on to a comment [...]

Nonvisual Magic Step By Step

One of my players recently asked me how I did nonvisual magic in my games. I covered the topic before, about a year ago, but since then I’ve had time to refine my technique a bit and think about the process, rather than just the descriptors, of my effect/sense descriptions.
I start with the outline, well [...]

Magic Between Cultures

I’ve noticed that in many of the books I read, magic is rather similar to physics, in that it works the same way no matter where you are and where you came from. Sure, you might get cases where it seems to work differently due to other factors, rather like the way gravity differs between [...]

In the Un-Real World: About Those Old Stories….

The world isn’t what you expected it to be. Things, generally supernatural, are pretending to be completely normal and hiding everywhere from the sewers to your neighbor’s preschool. And you’ve just figured this out and are trying to figure out how to make sense of it. Grasping at straws in the process is a perfectly [...]

Magical Location Design: Ravyn’s Guide to Geomancy

In yesterday’s post about creating magical locations based on their purpose, I mentioned the possibility of the purpose being to channel magic, and said I’d discuss it later. “The following day” counts as later, don’t you think?
Like necromancy’s slow shift from “My divinations require a corpse of some sort, preferably fresh” to “OMG FEAR MY [...]

Nonvisual Manifestations of Magic

A long time ago, I asked a question: why do we always see magic? The answer I originally worked with was that it was easier, since people are visual; I know the English language has more sight-words than sound-words or taste-words or scent-words. But sometimes, it makes sense to make someone’s arcane senses pan to [...]

Untouchable Concepts

In any world, there are some things you don’t question. They are, and that’s all there is to it. Or at least, that’s what everyone says. (Which of course means that some main character, particularly if what we’re dealing with is a game because those things beg for PC questioning, is going to question them.) [...]

Creating Ambiguity

Yesterday, I talked about how ambiguity in the creation of a world can make it more interesting than clear right/wrong binaries can. But how does one go about making a world in which these things are clearly ambiguous?
To understand that, it helps to understand how not to do it.
It’s pretty easy, and pretty common, to [...]

A Case for Ambiguity

One of the things I’ve noticed about many created worlds, and felt that it might be good to reverse the trend of at some point, is that there isn’t much vagueness. In our world, you have a lot of things that may or may not be real or effective depending on who you ask, from [...]

How to Keep Mind-Reading from Breaking a Plot

While I’m not too fond of dealing with mechanics as a whole, there are some that just appeal to my problem-solving nature: ones that can drive a GM crazy, but might just take a little sideways thinking. And not long ago, I caught on to a comment by Callan on Living Dice’s GM Misery Index, [...]