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9/17/2015 9:04 am  #21


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

Blackadder23 wrote:

I hate to belabor this point, but Conan drinks a healing potion at the end of "Xuthal of the Dusk" and is restored from what Howard describes as a state of near-death to full health.  Also, a sorcerer throws magic missiles (or really wimpy fireballs) at Conan at the end of "The Scarlet Citadel".

Call me crazy, but I think there's definitely at least a very slim chance that maybe some of the ideas about "sword & sorcery" that are circulating on the internet may just possibly not 100% be based on a close reading of the literature.

Absolutely.  You'll notice in my first post, I said:
" If I were to run a campaign set in Lankhmar, I'd do the same and just make up whatever magic stuff/powers the protagonists/antagonists needed."

There is magic, in the form of spells, items, creatures, gods, etc... in almost all of our favorite fantasy literature.  But...what you don't see in the literature is the persitance of many of those items.  For example, in Leiber's Bazzar of the Bizzare, there is a web of true seeing, which allows the protagonists to see through the alien huckster's illusions.  You don't see that again in any of the other stories.

Back in the early 2ks, there was a lot of talk on ENWorld about no/low-magic and grim/gritty settings.  I don't think either of those make good terms.  I think "magic scarce" from the PC point of view is what many may actually mean.  To expand on that, magic as a utility/feature of the PCs is scarce.  Magic (perceived, anyway) abounds in the world around them, and antagonits often use magic agsainst the PCs (see Conan and Thoth Amon for a literary example.)
 

 

9/17/2015 9:11 am  #22


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

mabon5127 wrote:

The system is a game and not necessarily a simulation of the literature.  Re-jigger to taste and if you're having fun then the recipe works.
 

Bingo.  This is a tangent: but one recurring theme on the interwwwebz that always makes me roll my eyes is when folks say they want to run <insert system> in an Appendix N/Pulpy way.  Almost without exception, there is discussion immediatley following about wanting to keep fireball, etc... either because the "M-U dibbers" of the world need to be placated or, you know, fireballs and lightning bolts are just too dang fun.  I think a lot of people say they want to run/play a game based on a particular set of App. N sources, but in reality, they really don't.

D&D and it's offspring are not very good simulations of real-world or fantasy world particulars.  And that's just fine.  D&D is the grandpappy of a whole genre, which is a mishmash of various sources PLUS what we ourselves bring to it.

 

9/17/2015 9:30 am  #23


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

Blackadder23 wrote:

I hate to belabor this point, but Conan drinks a healing potion at the end of "Xuthal of the Dusk" and is restored from what Howard describes as a state of near-death to full health.  Also, a sorcerer throws magic missiles (or really wimpy fireballs) at Conan at the end of "The Scarlet Citadel".

Call me crazy, but I think there's definitely at least a very slim chance that maybe some of the ideas about "sword & sorcery" that are circulating on the internet may just possibly not 100% be based on a close reading of the literature.

The "healing" potion seemed to give a "false" strength yet the wounds remained.  A much darker and S&S feel!  The wimpy Fireball was a thrown globe that IMO was more alchemical than magical.  This too in the spirit (at least my vision) of S&S.


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

9/17/2015 9:33 am  #24


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

Yeah, I think the actual literature supports more magic than people realize, but like mabon5127 said, do what you want to make it fun because it's a game, not a simulation of literature. 

Personally, I like a game with full magic and super science. I want magicians casting lightning bolts at laser rifle wielding undead Nazis as drunk barbarians charge in with battle axes of freezing. In the background, tank golems with golden eagle heads guard a crashed flying saucer and mi-go with crystal scimitars fight a WWII ranger platoon. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

9/17/2015 9:40 am  #25


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

Chainsaw wrote:

Yeah, I think the actual literature supports more magic than people realize, but like mabon5127 said, do what you want to make it fun because it's a game, not a simulation of literature. 

Personally, I like a game with full magic and super science. I want magicians casting lightning bolts at laser rifle wielding undead Nazis as drunk barbarians charge in with battle axes of freezing. In the background, tank golems with golden eagle heads guard a crashed flying saucer and mi-go with crystal scimitars fight a WWII ranger platoon.http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

The reality is that the players like the BOOM spells so.... they stay.  The Warlock has a lightening bolt now and loves to blast folks so I give him that opportunity once in a while!!


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

9/17/2015 10:40 am  #26


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

For the weird science part I enjoy it a lot, and I don`t really care in making some ``magical`` stuff becoming alchemichal (realism, right?). I am looking foward a more Songs of Ice and fire-tier, that is why my relutance to put fireballs that appear on your hand. I am not saying that exactly this is sword & sorcery, but you get what I mean.

     Thread Starter
 

9/17/2015 11:05 am  #27


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

mabon5127 wrote:

Blackadder23 wrote:

I hate to belabor this point, but Conan drinks a healing potion at the end of "Xuthal of the Dusk" and is restored from what Howard describes as a state of near-death to full health.  Also, a sorcerer throws magic missiles (or really wimpy fireballs) at Conan at the end of "The Scarlet Citadel".

Call me crazy, but I think there's definitely at least a very slim chance that maybe some of the ideas about "sword & sorcery" that are circulating on the internet may just possibly not 100% be based on a close reading of the literature.

The "healing" potion seemed to give a "false" strength yet the wounds remained.  A much darker and S&S feel!  The wimpy Fireball was a thrown globe that IMO was more alchemical than magical.  This too in the spirit (at least my vision) of S&S.

Maybe the 'potion' was a liter of whisky?http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/nerdy.png


I filled my palace with deadly traps so trap admirers will come and visit me

AFS magazine - pulp literature meets old school gaming http://hallsoftizunthane.blogspot.com/
 

9/17/2015 12:13 pm  #28


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

I don't want to get into a long argument, because people are going to do what they want to do (and that's the way it should be).  I'll just say that I don't see anything in the text of "The Scarlet Citadel" that suggests Tsotha was using "alchemical devices".  That interpretation, while certainly both reasonable and defensible, seems to arise from starting with the premise that the sorcerers in Conan's world don't use "offensive" magic.  Otherwise, one might just as easily assume Tsotha was summoning balls of energy through sorcery.  To me, "shimmering globes" held in the hand sound an awful lot like what we see on the cover of the Moldvay Basic rules... http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

9/17/2015 1:39 pm  #29


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

Blackadder23 wrote:

I don't want to get into a long argument, because people are going to do what they want to do (and that's the way it should be).  I'll just say that I don't see anything in the text of "The Scarlet Citadel" that suggests Tsotha was using "alchemical devices".  That interpretation, while certainly both reasonable and defensible, seems to arise from starting with the premise that the sorcerers in Conan's world don't use "offensive" magic.  Otherwise, one might just as easily assume Tsotha was summoning balls of energy through sorcery.  To me, "shimmering globes" held in the hand sound an awful lot like what we see on the cover of the Moldvay Basic rules... http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png

Completely agree!


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

9/17/2015 2:50 pm  #30


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

JorgePedraboa wrote:

For the weird science part I enjoy it a lot, and I don`t really care in making some ``magical`` stuff becoming alchemichal (realism, right?). I am looking foward a more Songs of Ice and fire-tier, that is why my relutance to put fireballs that appear on your hand. I am not saying that exactly this is sword & sorcery, but you get what I mean.

BTW Welcome to the board!!
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

9/17/2015 4:30 pm  #31


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

Scalydemon wrote:

mabon5127 wrote:

Blackadder23 wrote:

I hate to belabor this point, but Conan drinks a healing potion at the end of "Xuthal of the Dusk" and is restored from what Howard describes as a state of near-death to full health.  Also, a sorcerer throws magic missiles (or really wimpy fireballs) at Conan at the end of "The Scarlet Citadel".

Call me crazy, but I think there's definitely at least a very slim chance that maybe some of the ideas about "sword & sorcery" that are circulating on the internet may just possibly not 100% be based on a close reading of the literature.

The "healing" potion seemed to give a "false" strength yet the wounds remained.  A much darker and S&S feel!  The wimpy Fireball was a thrown globe that IMO was more alchemical than magical.  This too in the spirit (at least my vision) of S&S.

Maybe the 'potion' was a liter of whisky?http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/nerdy.png

One would hope thats all it was!!
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

9/17/2015 7:03 pm  #32


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

Maybe the "fireballs" were also bottles of booze... http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.png


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

9/17/2015 7:19 pm  #33


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

mabon5127 wrote:

Have HP come back more quickly with a rest and swig of ale or even more with a nights sleep.  The system is a game and not necessarily a simulation of the literature.  Re-jigger to taste and if you're having fun then the recipe works.
 

In my heresy I have all HP recover overnight...because that seems pulpier to me. It also means clerics are there for divine reasons, not medicinal.


"He combined insouciance and flair with dignity; his repartee coruscated with brilliant allusions and turns of phrase; when aroused his wit was utterly mordant."
Jack Vance, The Last Castle
 

9/17/2015 7:38 pm  #34


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

rhialto wrote:

In my heresy I have all HP recover overnight...because that seems pulpier to me. It also means clerics are there for divine reasons, not medicinal.

Interesting. I guess you don't find players abusing it, saying they want to "camp" after every battle? Or have you made other changes to discourage that behavior?


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

9/18/2015 3:45 am  #35


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

Chainsaw wrote:

rhialto wrote:

In my heresy I have all HP recover overnight...because that seems pulpier to me. It also means clerics are there for divine reasons, not medicinal.

Interesting. I guess you don't find players abusing it, saying they want to "camp" after every battle? Or have you made other changes to discourage that behavior?

No abuse, and since we switched to D&D 5e (another heresy, I know) those healing rules are very similar, and generous (but as I said, IMHO, pulpier). I run a game for some dads and their children (including mine), and believe it or not the kids keep the adults in line...http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


"He combined insouciance and flair with dignity; his repartee coruscated with brilliant allusions and turns of phrase; when aroused his wit was utterly mordant."
Jack Vance, The Last Castle
 

9/18/2015 6:28 am  #36


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

rhialto wrote:

Chainsaw wrote:

rhialto wrote:

In my heresy I have all HP recover overnight...because that seems pulpier to me. It also means clerics are there for divine reasons, not medicinal.

Interesting. I guess you don't find players abusing it, saying they want to "camp" after every battle? Or have you made other changes to discourage that behavior?

No abuse, and since we switched to D&D 5e (another heresy, I know) those healing rules are very similar, and generous (but as I said, IMHO, pulpier). I run a game for some dads and their children (including mine), and believe it or not the kids keep the adults in line...http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

I do the same.  The only HP that they don't get back overnight are those taken "into" their CON.  They really don't abuse this and it allows the Priests to be more than just a healing machine.  Of course camping in a "dungeon" can be dangerous!


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

9/18/2015 9:28 am  #37


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

rhialto wrote:

Chainsaw wrote:

rhialto wrote:

In my heresy I have all HP recover overnight...because that seems pulpier to me. It also means clerics are there for divine reasons, not medicinal.

Interesting. I guess you don't find players abusing it, saying they want to "camp" after every battle? Or have you made other changes to discourage that behavior?

No abuse, and since we switched to D&D 5e (another heresy, I know) those healing rules are very similar, and generous (but as I said, IMHO, pulpier). I run a game for some dads and their children (including mine), and believe it or not the kids keep the adults in line...http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

Great - glad that it has been working well! I played 4E for a while when it first came out and I'm glad for the experience, though I eventually moved away from it and back to O/AD&D.

mabon5127 wrote:

I do the same.  The only HP that they don't get back overnight are those taken "into" their CON.  They really don't abuse this and it allows the Priests to be more than just a healing machine.  Of course camping in a "dungeon" can be dangerous!

Makes sense. Using some dangerous wandering monster encounter rules probably helps limit the tendency to camp after every battle.

In any case, over the years I have found that there's often such a great variance of house rules, playstyles and personalities from table to table that discussing a single rule or house rule in isolation almost seems pointless. I mean, you have to do it that way, really, because it's not practical to preface every comment with a huge list of caveats. Still, you always have to keep in the back of your mind, "Maybe it works for them in the context of other circumstances that may not be true for my game."
 


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

9/19/2015 5:14 am  #38


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

francisca wrote:

This, in turn, requires significant changes to adventure design to compensate for the radically-reduced durability of the PCs. Which is a good deal more trouble than just saying "this magic doesn't exist".

Okay, I'm really confused by this.  Are you talking about existing adventures?  I mean, I wouldn't run the G and D series without magic, for example.

Yes, and that was exactly my point.  In a no-magic game, adventures (whether homebrew or published) must be designed differently than in a magic-filled game.

Successfully removing magic from a D&D-family game takes more than just saying "no more magic!" You must also make other changes along with it:  Have fewer combats, with time for characters to rest and heal between them.  More carefully consider the number and strength of enemies in each combat, since there isn't readily-available in-combat healing to make up for strong opposition.  Don't run published modules, such as the G and D series.  Etc.

No, it's not rocket science.  But it is more complex than simply declaring magic to be absent and continuing to do everything else in the default way.

 

9/19/2015 12:20 pm  #39


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

I think it's worth pointing out that Jeff has never made any secret that AS&SH is heavily inspired by "the original fantasy roleplaying game", with all the tropes that suggests, and in fact Gary Gygax prominently features on the list of influences along with Lovecraft and Howard.  Other people have called it "Conan the RPG", but Jeff never claimed this as a design goal.  Of all the pulp writers, Clark Ashton Smith's influences seem to me to be by far the most prominent*, and Smith's worlds of Zothique and Hyperborea are much more "magical" than Conan's Hyborian Age.  Just something to think about.

* - As a lifelong fan of pulp fantasy, I would put the mix in AS&SH at about 50% CAS, 20% HPL (mostly monsters and gods), no more than 10% REH (very little beyond some race names and apes), and 20% "other".  Howard's gods didn't even make the cut, except for Ymir and a disguised Crom.  This is not "Conan the RPG" in my opinion.


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

9/19/2015 12:42 pm  #40


Re: How to make the game... Less magic

Blackadder23 wrote:

I think it's worth pointing out that Jeff has never made any secret that AS&SH is heavily inspired by "the original fantasy roleplaying game", with all the tropes that suggests, and in fact Gary Gygax prominently features on the list of influences along with Lovecraft and Howard.  Other people have called it "Conan the RPG", but Jeff never claimed this as a design goal.  Of all the pulp writers, Clark Ashton Smith's influences seem to me to be by far the most prominent*, and Smith's worlds of Zothique and Hyperborea are much more "magical" than Conan's Hyborian Age.  Just something to think about.

* - As a lifelong fan of pulp fantasy, I would put the mix in AS&SH at about 50% CAS, 20% HPL (mostly monsters and gods), no more than 10% REH (very little beyond some race names and apes), and 20% "other".  Howard's gods didn't even make the cut, except for Ymir and a disguised Crom.  This is not "Conan the RPG" in my opinion.

 
I think the breakdown is correct.  The tag line of the game is " A Role-playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy" sort of stating the influence of CAS.  I appreciate the game stoking an interest for me in CAS and HPL, as I had not read them before.


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

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