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Author Topic: Mages: Inherent ability or Spellbooks?  (Read 1987 times)

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Mages: Inherent ability or Spellbooks?
« on: January 21, 2009, 01:33:03 PM »
Jigaru's post in Original Magic/Spells got me thinking:  How does everyone who plays mage characters interpret the performance of magic?  The two main archetypes that are most often represented are the spellbook-toting type who have to memorize their spells before they can cast, and those who have magical powers as a natural ability, and who have to learn how to use this ability to properly cast spells.  (A good comparison would be the D&D classes Wizard and Sorcerer.)

I recognize both archetypes, and in one gameworld use both, though by and large I like to use the 'natural ability' type.  To me, these create more balanced characters, and makes them more realistic, because they have had to overcome the obstacle of lack of knowledge and control in order to master themselves.  Plus, since my mages use themselves as a source of power, they are limited by their own frail mortality and their own strength of will, rather than having endless supplies of power.  (Plus, I don't like playing frail little things who have devoted all their life to studying books.  I like my characters to have meat on their bones. ;) )

I tend to think of magic as another set of muscles within the body, like the ones used for general motor skills.  When we first start learning, we learn to crawl, then walk, and then run as we learn better control and coordination and strengthen ourselves.  As in athletics, there are some who will naturally be better than others.  Those who wish to have more than just basic control will take lessons and practice, thus setting themselves above the untrained.  And then there are the superstars, those who have either been highly gifted, or have worked long hours to perfect their skill, many times both, and so are masters above almost all others.  Just like there can only be a few superstar athletes, there can only be a few super powerful mages.

I dislike the "I draw my powers from a higher power" type, because those mages don't own their powers, they merely borrow them.  There's seldom any personal investment (there are exceptions, of course, but not everyone takes that into account).  There's no personal growth, just a "Hey you, can I borrow this?"

Despite my bias, I still like to hear how people play their mages, or think mages should work, so that I can keep my characters realistic (and therefore able to provide the best gaming experience possible).  So people agree?  Disagree?  Have a completely different 'system'?  I'm curious!  Lemme know!

Offline Lord Palatine

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Re: Mages: Inherent ability or Spellbooks?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2009, 02:55:29 PM »
I'm in the inherent camp, either you can do it or you can't and books aren't the key to magic.  Then again, I don't use materiel components either.

Offline AnEmperor

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Re: Mages: Inherent ability or Spellbooks?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2009, 03:49:57 PM »
My mages will vary by roleplay, and usually based on the world's characteristics.  I'm not a big fan of spellcasting from a book because I like lots of action, so I try to blend spellcasting abilities into combat.  If I'm the enemy, I will not give you the time to cast it if I can prevent it.  Besides, my characters would prefer to degrade their opponent with malicious words than recite a complicated spell :D

Lone Wolf Jigaru

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Re: Mages: Inherent ability or Spellbooks?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2009, 11:47:23 AM »
I tend to utilize the inherent ability myself; the 'power from a higher power' thing is really kind of an experiment for me. =/ though, I also believe in complete freedom for imagination purposes; if you  can find an idea and balance it with sufficient drawbacks, I think you should go for it. XD and i sound like I'm arguing now, don't I? =/ oh well. quick bit of clarification; the drawing power from a higher power thing is, for me, balanced by a) the seals, and b) the mage's own inherent ability....the less natural 'talent' they have, the less power they can draw from the 'higher' being. Just my thoughts. :o sorry if I sound argumentative >.>

Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Re: Mages: Inherent ability or Spellbooks?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2009, 12:58:09 PM »
You don't sound argumentative at all!  The point of this thread was to open a discussion about the different methods of playing spellcasters, and so far we're getting some very good input.  And I definately agree with the balances to any system.  Of course, there are going to be the occasional super-powered characters who have spent a lifetime studying and learning, but I like those as villains rather than as PCs, simply for the joy of taking them down (bwahaha).  Plus, it gives players a chance to be creative with their seemingly 'lacking' skills in comparison.

Lone Wolf Jigaru

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Re: Mages: Inherent ability or Spellbooks?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2009, 01:33:09 PM »
lol...well, glad my random ideas are sparking interest in things, at least. XD

Anyway, generally with any super-powered character I make, such as Baketsou, I also either create an inverse, or talk with a friend or someone so they can make the inverse...a super-powered character who happens to oppose my own. In this way, it presents a constant challenge because both characters battle on equal footing, which means that despite your superpower-edness, the player still has to search for the flaws and chinks and creative uses of those powers in order to make headway. For Aysea, I am still working on the opposite, though I'll probably post it up somewhere once I get it finished so that whoever wants can use it against me. :o yeah. Though, for Alysea the primary balance is actually her own personality...she acts like a hyperactive anime teenager XD the slowness to be serious or angry means that when she fights, she's almost constantly at her lowest 'level' because she believes it's a game. This would allow a determined opponent to take her out, if he/she was quick enough :o -is talking too much. sowwy >.>-

 

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