Amazing Adventures & Magic

Amazing Adventures is Pulp Role Playing: Hard-boiled detectives, fedora-wearing action heroes, and steampunk gadgeteers rocketing to battle . . . .
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dachda
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Amazing Adventures & Magic

Post by dachda »

Grey Elf,

Was wondering what the design process was behind Spell Burn. Psychic burn makes sense as it represents the risk the Mentalist takes when attempting to use an ability more powerful than their current expertise in psionics. But spell burn is a chance with every spell an arcanist attempts to cast, not only could the spell fail to go off, but the caster takes damage. The 6th level arcanist in the book's example is casting a lvl 3 spell so has a CC of 18. But even with +6 for caster level, +5 for prime, and +3 for ability score, that is still a 15% chance of failing to cast the spell AND taking subdual damage as a result.

For those players used to C&C magic, where a caster has no chance of failure unless interferred with, this seems rather harsh. Could you explain the reasoning behind this, and maybe smooth a few ruffled feathers?

Thanks.

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Relaxo
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Re: Amazing Adventures & Magic

Post by Relaxo »

I'm not Jason, but my best guess is this design was to better fit the tone of pulp fiction and Appendix N type fantasy or fantasy/pulp where magic is dangerous to use.
These aren't fire and forget artillery weapons, they are Forces Man Was Not Meant to Exploit. And those who do, do so at their own risk.
Something like that.
Bill D.
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Ronin77
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Re: Amazing Adventures & Magic

Post by Ronin77 »

I agree with Relaxo on this one. One idea that could help too depending on your setting is foci. Items of power that could give bonuses to a "type" or individual spell. While these should never totally remove the danger of spell casting it could make it a little more reliable. Again it depends on your setting and if Foci fit into it or not.
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Jason Vey
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Re: Amazing Adventures & Magic

Post by Jason Vey »

Yep, Relaxo and Ronin have it. If you don't like spell burn, feel free not to use it--it shouldn't hurt much. But the VASTLY increased flexibility spellcasters in AA have needed to be offset, and on average you shouldn't fail to cast a spell very often. I'd argue that only 15% chance of taking damage is pretty damn good odds (using the same example as you).

When you do, however, it's dangerous. You're channeling arcane energies from the wild spaces between spaces through your very body to wrest control over the laws of physics--that energy can burn you.

Hell, if I was using the Sanity rules in my game, I might actually attach a Sanity check to many spells on top of the chance for burn. Magic should be scary, mysterious, and dangerous in a pulp game. It's not a spellslinger thing like in C&C.

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Relaxo
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Re: Amazing Adventures & Magic

Post by Relaxo »

yeah, adding sanity risk as well makes it very pulp, IMO.
It's why the real world isn't teeming with Magic users (that you know of). recall these pulps stories are nominally in our real world.

sort of.
Bill D.
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Ronin77
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Re: Amazing Adventures & Magic

Post by Ronin77 »

Or if your a big fan of the Dresden-verse its dangerous and fatiguing. Fatiguing if it works or not.
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dachda
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Re: Amazing Adventures & Magic

Post by dachda »

Thanks all, that gives me a better idea of what's what with Pulp magic. Trouble is none of the pulp stuff I've read had any magic. 'Cept perhaps some Lovecraft(?). And I've never played any other pulp RPGs.

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Jason Vey
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Re: Amazing Adventures & Magic

Post by Jason Vey »

Also keep in mind that "pulp" as used in Amazing Adventures isn't just relegated to a certain subgenre of stories published in the 20's and 30's in cheap magazines. The term has grown widely in popular use, and now includes the Saturday Morning Serials-style film tales of the 50's, radio serials of the 40's, even through things like Indiana Jones and some comics. The Dresden Files, in many ways, would qualify as a modern take on pulp. But even many of the stories published in the pulp magazines of the era included elements of the supernatural, and even THOSE magazines showed a wide variety of story types. Remember, Conan was pulp as well as the Cthulhu Mythos.

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