NEWS

Roleplaying new spell research, any advice?

  • 3 Replies
  • 197 Views

Senko

  • *
  • Ace Runner
  • ****
  • Posts: 2483
« on: (01:22:25/03-06-19) »
So I've a fairly good grasp on the out of character interaction between GM and Player as well as the rules side of new spell creation in the sense of GM defines a spell does X but I'm struggling a bit on the creation role play side and rules for same so I figured I'd ask for ideas/advice on how you'd go about it.

Lets say you have no lightning bolt/ball lightning spell and a mage is inspired to create lightning bolt from a thunderstorm what would you have them do? I'm thinking . ..

1) Arcane research look into spells and arcane lore to define the magical formula.
2) Electrical research look into the theory of electricty, lighnting effects and the like to get an idea of the physical manifestation.
3) Develop a spell formula and test it . . .

Its step 3 where I start running into trouble. Would you have it work perfectly, fizzle and do nothing, explode in their face, generate sparks but not a proper lightning bolt for a few attempts. How do you work out if a spell research succeeds or fails? Have them roll to learn a new spell without telling them what they actually need for your "lightning bolt" spell?

Any advice or suggestions appreciated.

Kiirnodel

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Ace Runner
  • *
  • Posts: 1405
« Reply #1 on: (04:54:13/03-06-19) »
First, some clarification.

Are you trying to just learn an existing spell without a formula, or are you trying to invent a completely new, unique spell?

Creating brand new spells from scratch isn't covered in the rules, and neither is writing out your own spell formulas. It just hasn't been included in the 5th edition rules.

If we go back to 4th edition, the rules have a pretty well laid out system for spell design, which includes rules for designing your own spells, with modifiers for doing it from scratch or after observing someone else spellcasting. And that would include creating spell formulas for existing spells. Those rules are in the 4e book Street Magic.

I recommend avoiding trying to invent your own new spell as the 5th edition rules for spells doesn't follow the same sort of formula (drain calculation is very different). But the thresholds for creating spell formula would hold pretty well, the scale of thresholds and intervals didn't change very much between 4th edition and 5th.


Aside from creating the formula, as far learning spells from those formulas, the rules are pretty straight-forward (pg 299).


The thing you might be overlooking is the time required for this. Creating your own spell formula from scratch is not an easy (or quick) task. Just to give you an idea, the test for creating a Combat spells is Threshold 12 with an interval of 3 months. To put that in perspective, a character with a dice pool of 12 in Arcana (the skill you would need to use for creating a new formula), would take on average 4 intervals to complete that task. So in total, that is a full year to create your own formula. As opposed to going out and buying the formula from a local talismonger for 2,000 nuyen and it would take maybe a week (assuming you fail on a first attempt). The delivery time is only 2 days (threshold 8).


Reaver

  • *
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 5980
  • 60% alcohol 40% asshole...
« Reply #2 on: (17:04:13/03-07-19) »
First, some clarification.

Are you trying to just learn an existing spell without a formula, or are you trying to invent a completely new, unique spell?

Creating brand new spells from scratch isn't covered in the rules, and neither is writing out your own spell formulas. It just hasn't been included in the 5th edition rules.

If we go back to 4th edition, the rules have a pretty well laid out system for spell design, which includes rules for designing your own spells, with modifiers for doing it from scratch or after observing someone else spellcasting. And that would include creating spell formulas for existing spells. Those rules are in the 4e book Street Magic.

I recommend avoiding trying to invent your own new spell as the 5th edition rules for spells doesn't follow the same sort of formula (drain calculation is very different). But the thresholds for creating spell formula would hold pretty well, the scale of thresholds and intervals didn't change very much between 4th edition and 5th.


Aside from creating the formula, as far learning spells from those formulas, the rules are pretty straight-forward (pg 299).


The thing you might be overlooking is the time required for this. Creating your own spell formula from scratch is not an easy (or quick) task. Just to give you an idea, the test for creating a Combat spells is Threshold 12 with an interval of 3 months. To put that in perspective, a character with a dice pool of 12 in Arcana (the skill you would need to use for creating a new formula), would take on average 4 intervals to complete that task. So in total, that is a full year to create your own formula. As opposed to going out and buying the formula from a local talismonger for 2,000 nuyen and it would take maybe a week (assuming you fail on a first attempt). The delivery time is only 2 days (threshold 8).

Keep in mind to that the interval assumes you are doing nothing else intensive during that time! (So a year away from doing Runs!).

Given the fact that spell formulas can be easily bought online or from a talislegger, makes me wonder why someone would spend an entire year of their life making their own Lightning bolt formula that does EXACTLY the same thing as the one he could have bought online.  <Shrug>

(Also keep in mind once he has the formula, he still has to learn to CAST it! Separate tests, and checks, and time! Yes, even though you created a formula, it doesn't mean you 'know' it to use it... yes its very odd..)

Now, if you are looking at creating your own unique spell... Well I'd love to see what you come up with, and maybe we can help balance it out for you. But as a general rule, this is a path you probably don't want to go down..

Quote
3) Develop a spell formula and test it . . .

Its step 3 where I start running into trouble. Would you have it work perfectly, fizzle and do nothing, explode in their face, generate sparks but not a proper lightning bolt for a few attempts. How do you work out if a spell research succeeds or fails? Have them roll to learn a new spell without telling them what they actually need for your "lightning bolt" spell?


Did they pass the threshold of the creation test AND the learning test? Then the spell works! Describe it as you choose.
If they did not, then they failed to properly learn the spell and it fails.. Describe it as you choose. 

Hard to really be more accurate then that, as a what happens when a Spell fails depends on the spell. A combat spell probably would fail in some way related to the spell, so a Fireball spell might just make a big cloud of thin smoke (no vision modifiers), a lightning bolt might ground itself harmlessly to a metal structure, an invisibility spell might make the character GLOW until dropped... etc.
« Last Edit: (17:10:26/03-07-19) by Reaver »
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

Senko

  • *
  • Ace Runner
  • ****
  • Posts: 2483
« Reply #3 on: (22:36:37/03-11-19) »
@Both
For this question its more the first example of Kirnodel's. That is I'm not trying to invent the DND spell such and such for use in this game just work out how you'd roleplay someone doing the research for a new spell. So the spell has been made/designed in the rules but the character is going to research and develop it in game. This honestly isn't even really intended for character to use to create a new spell so much as for world building. A player might adapt it at some point I just personally like to have an image at least in my head of a player would go about something as it helps me figure out what's involved in the off camera corp world. Is there paydata research on a new spell they can steal, can they insert false information in a research source (bribe an expert on electronics for the lightning bolt spell or forge a fake occult text), is there going to be failed attempts at spellcasting that can tip a competitor off they need this person "rescued" or eliminated that sort of thing. Its why I posted this in general rather than rules. Of course there are also times a character might invest the time and effort such as wanting to keep no possible link that can tie any of their identies to a spell used in something that is going to be high profile. Hopefully this makes my intent clearer.

@Reaper
No no specific spell intended for this just world building as I said. So you have to successfully create the spell then successfully learn it odd and I can't see how you wouldn't know it works unless you learnt it but thanks I can factor that into the stages of research. Plus it gives a gutsy competitor a window to hire a team to retrieve the spell when its inventor can't even cast it to prove its theirs.

So failure is spell dependant I can work with that thanks.