GreyGriffin
 member, 194 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Tue 24 Apr 2018
at 19:42
Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
If you're okay stapling a large number of Aspects onto people, FATE seems like a decent fit.  Otherwise, pure point-buy systems are probably a safe bet, if you are of a mind to do a lot of fudgy recalculation.

Characters who frequently change are kind of rare.  Gamma World and Mutant: Year Zero come to mind, but I don't have a lot of experience.  If you can tame some of the Palladium system's more ridiculous excesses (are you ready for a Scroll-of-Errata style houserule pamphlet?) you might also look at TMNT and Other Strangeness, if it's that core to your game concept.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1334 posts
Tue 24 Apr 2018
at 20:51
Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
d20 is very good for this sort of thing, very good, but it does require that you look at the rules as flexible guidelines and not as limitations nor definitions. Sadly, a lot of players treat d20 like chess, which is wrong (according to the d20 rules themselves). Still, d20 is very suitable.
tmagann
 member, 524 posts
Tue 24 Apr 2018
at 21:55
Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
Have you considered Risus? Very light rules, while still having some, and you can have pretty much any effect that you want.
bythenumbers
 member, 59 posts
Tue 24 Apr 2018
at 22:13
Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
In reply to tmagann (msg # 6):

I'll say it, like I always do: Cortex Plus. Cortex Prime is coming out soon, and the various versions of Plus will give you an idea of how the system works and can be hacked for whatever you feel your setting needs.
Nintaku
 member, 590 posts
Tue 24 Apr 2018
at 22:29
Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
Cortex Plus and Fate Core or Accelerated Edition are really the ideal candidates here. C+ and FAE specifically are rules light (though C+ can have more bits tacked on as needed). If you're looking for fairy tale stylings, you might try looking at the free setting book Nests. The setting itself is about adults who get called back to the imaginary world they used to play in as kids to save it from danger, and includes a lot of fairy tale stylizations. There are also bits you don't need, but you can pick what does appeal to you from the setting without much trouble.

Fate relies on Aspects, descriptive traits, to distinguish things. You could have a character with Haughty Noble as a high concept and Beloved of the Court as another aspect, but then have a witch turn him into a Snarky Llama by changing his Beloved of the Court aspect.

Die rolls use gimmicky D3s called Fate Dice, which give results of -1, 0, and +1 to add some randomness to your numerical traits. Fate Accelerated assumes you have six such numbered traits called Approaches, representing how your character handles threats. They're listed from +0 to +3, meaning numbers are always pretty small.

For extra mechanical distinction between characters, there are Stunts, little rule-breaks. If you're familiar with D&D, they're like Feats but less complex. Each one gives you a +2 bonus to something specific, or lets you change the narrative once per session (there's ways around that language for PbP).

It's probably the quickest route to what you want. Cortex Plus can probably handle it with a little more work, but you'd also be getting a little more randomness and meat in your system for the effort. I can explain about that more if you'd like too, but that one requires understanding what you're going to be doing a lot more clearly.
PaulK
 member, 226 posts
Wed 25 Apr 2018
at 19:46
Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
The Dresden Files Accelerated iteration of Fate might be a good one for this.  More crunch than the base Fate Accelerated but still not too complex.  I think the concept of Mantles would be very good for modelling transformations.
PCO.Spvnky
 member, 356 posts
Wed 25 Apr 2018
at 20:11
Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
If you are looking for ultimately versatile magic system look at Mage the Ascension....:)
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1335 posts
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 00:18
Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
Found it, d20 World of Darkness by Monte Cook has a great and very flexible magic system that is built around the building of spells, instead of premade spells.
Nintaku
 member, 591 posts
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 00:26
Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
They said they're looking for a system wherein characters commonly change abilities. D20 and Storyteller have a lot advancement but not a lot of lateral change, so I it doesn't look like those fit what was requested very well.
PCO.Spvnky
 member, 357 posts
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 00:43
Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
Life and Mind spheres are all that is needed for that.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1336 posts
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 07:54
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
Nintaku:
They said they're looking for a system wherein characters commonly change abilities. D20 and Storyteller have a lot advancement but not a lot of lateral change, so I it doesn't look like those fit what was requested very well.


What makes you say that? Rules are not rules, they are a "language" for communicating about the game world and the things within, such as characters.  And it isn't like rebuilds is some strange impossible thing. Even in The Gamers film had one player get all his character's levels altered from one class to another.

Seems a serious waste to look at everything so inflexibly.

Besides, they can take just the magic system by itself and use it with another system if they want.

I seriously doubt any existing system will be perfect, which means they are going to be bending something somewhere.

This message was last edited by the user at 07:56, Thu 26 Apr.

Nintaku
 member, 592 posts
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 08:03
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
DarkLightHitomi:
What makes you say that? Rules are not rules, they are a "language" for communicating about the game world and the things within, such as characters.  And it isn't like rebuilds is some strange impossible thing. Even in The Gamers film had one player get all his character's levels altered from one class to another.

Seems a serious waste to look at everything so inflexibly.


Yes, that is technically possible, but it's hard to do and involves reworking almost every element of the sheet, of which there are many. It changes hit points, multiple class abilities across several levels, attack bonuses and AC, weapon and armor proficiencies, feats (based on prerequisites). Then changing race does affect ability scores, along with race-specific abilities.

Changing all of that once in a character's lifetime is drastic and takes time, usually done between sessions because otherwise it would eat a game. Doing it on a regular basis as part of the game's conceit is inconvenient at best, potentially game-breaking at worst (I have had players who have trouble simply leveling up, and one of our Roll20 games had the GM and I have to help him figure out his animal companion's stats several times because he kept forgetting how it worked and rewriting them wrong. That's a single player, leveling up once, causing four sessions of headaches because of bad math in one place during a number change.)

It isn't a matter of thinking inflexibly, it's a matter of looking for ways to facilitate what the game is about rather than ways to make it more difficult by being so inflexible as to use systems that aren't designed for the game's needs. The simple act of looking to use a system with the sought after elements already part of the design philosophy takes a lot of time and effort away from number crunching, and potentially makes the whole thing easier on everyone, unless the number crunching was part of the fun. I didn't get that impression from the original request.

This message was last edited by the user at 17:58, Thu 26 Apr.

Alyse
 member, 624 posts
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 09:14
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game

This message was deleted by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 10:24, Thu 26 Apr.

V_V
 member, 714 posts
 You can call me V, just V
 Life; a journey made once
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 12:44
Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
In reply to Gamergirl (msg # 1):

dX. That's the short of it.

Read HERO, then reverse the rounding headache and turn it into a nuanced system based on vanilla stats (about eighty of them) that to mix and match with relative power. You can make a LITERAL god, that can destroy planets, all the way down to peasant children (comma humor intended).

It takes quite a bit of starting understanding, but AFTER you start, oh boy it's easy! Leveling up isn't XP driven. There NO XP, only CP, whcih directly translate to stats. I mention HERO because that in the Yin to Yang of dX, same idea though, make ANYTHING.

If you want a catch all sorcerer who can literally do anything with magic, there is an attribute called Dynamic Powers, which allows rapid cherry-picking on the spot of other attributes, it a GREAT deal of power....but you can't make any one effect all that great. You can call on anything....but nothing is impressive by itself. Or, alternatively, you could have someone with other attribute and then say, Dynamic Powers Keys, or Cats, and then they'd be able to say, gain super skilled lock-picking skills, or negate a fall off a wall. You don't have to make Dynamic power the only source of magic though, it's good to all or nothing, but it can be alright for hedge magic to round of things like summoning comets and earthquakes, when all you want to do is warm a cup of tea and clean the dust off your clothes.

There is an alternative attribute, called Power Flux. Especially if you don't like Dynamic Powers, Power Flux allows those savvy player to have the same sphere of influence (my examples were MAgic for the expensive one; or Cats of Keys for the cheaper one) Instead of instant pulling from a hat, you can "repurchase" attributes every interval (most new GMs make it an hour, or day. It can be up to 6 months or low as a few seconds [though I know the system almost my heart and I require minimum of a minute]).

Then...after the catch all low power, high versaility, you can wall walls, summon transports, like a giant wagon, summon fiends or elementals, sense truth and enemies, teleport, imprison...the list goes on.

It's FREE TOO! LEGALLY free! The business went under (sadly) but it's still legally downloadable for free. So you have nothing but time to lose by trying it, and no player group has an excuse UNLESS their downloads are limited bandwidth (one user on here has a warning of that in his bio). Barring bandwidth limitations, no one has an excuse not to have the same book.

It's a toolbox system though. It requires you to make EVERY NPC if stats will ever come into play. THAT is the one flaw. Their catalogue of antagonists and NPCs frankly sucks. I would be glad to Rmail you my friend Anne's, and my monsters', mages', and cultists' stats though. We have close to seventy different creatures made, and I'd be glad to make you more to get you started. They're all VERY well documented so you can audit them if you so choose. It's very seldom that my stats are off by even one point.

Best of luck though!

I'm actually thinking of running a similar game is dX myself, but I'm not a dog in the manger. I'm crossing my fingers more people will eventually enjoy dX.

This message was last edited by the user at 12:45, Thu 26 Apr.

PCO.Spvnky
 member, 358 posts
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 15:15
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
In reply to Nintaku (msg # 15):

Mind 4 Life 3 (Life 4 for perfect transformation and needing less successes) extended ritual would allow you to completely reallocate MOST of the attribute and ability dots on the character sheet.  If you wanted to become a Were creature and add the delirium effect you would need prime 2 and spirit 3.  Admittedly itwould have to start a a midlevel of power game but from the description this isn't going to be a peasant game anyway.  The only thing that limits the magic in a mage game is an individuals imagination.  Make it the Sorcerer's crusade and you already have mythical creatures hanging out.
steelsmiter
 member, 1880 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 15:20
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
I know GURPS has advantages that are literally for characters that commonly make lateral changes to their abilities, and I have never seen a magic system of any power level that can't be handled by 4e's Thaumatology or Powers lines straight out of the gate (there's also Pyramid articles specifically for Fairy Tale Magic).

Of course GURPS is not rules lite.

This message was last edited by the user at 15:40, Thu 26 Apr.

DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1337 posts
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 18:04
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
In reply to Nintaku (msg # 15):

That is a very inflexible way of thinking.

Firstly, that is using rules as absolute laws.

Second, if your making changes on the level of class, then you'd be rebuilding the entire character no matter what system you're using. And d20 is not difficult for rebuilds, even without using tools like auto-calc excel sheets.

It only seems that way when you can't see past the availability of minutia to realize that minutia is not required.

And for the magic systems I specifically suggested, the magic system of d20 WoD and Spheres of Power, you don't need classes, and they can rather easily be fitted into other systems and are also easily rebuilt.

------

Reply to #17

Hero was insanely complex, right up there with Rifts and Palladium. Might be easy for those familiar, but it takes a bit to wrap your head around it. Doesn't have much in the way of support for the things I use systems for though.

Never heard of it being called dx though.
Nintaku
 member, 593 posts
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 18:33
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
In reply to DarkLightHitomi (msg # 20):

I still don't think that using a rules medium/heavy solution counts as rules light for the purposes of the original request. I also don't see how choosing to use a hammer to turn a screw is "flexible thinking" when you've got a screwdriver handy.

Using Fate Accelerated to handle full on fairy tale transformations is as easy as swapping out an Aspect, or if you want to get really into the nitty gritty, swapping a pair of Approaches. As mentioned earlier, Dresden Files Accelerated already has this sort of thing built right into the game, and it can be done in the middle of play without taking time away to recalculate a sheet.

Regarding dX, it's Guardians of Order's proprietary system (or it was until White Wolf ate them). What used to be Big Eyes, Small Mouth was scrubbed of anime references for Silver Age Sentinels, then reworked into Tri-Stat dX to be a totally generic toolkit for any genre. It's a point-buy system, rather like HERO/Champions, but it's much lighter. I'd call that one rules-medium, myself.



In reply to PCO.Spvnky (msg # 18):

That is a thing, but Storyteller was only rules light in the 80s. Also that just explains how a player character could achieve those effects, not how much work a player or GM would have to do to actually rewrite the sheet to represent a knight having been, for instance, turned into a goat. Or an emperor into a llama.

I maintain that changing a "Beware the Groove" aspect to "I'm a Llama" is much faster, easier, and closer to the rules light solution asked for.
PCO.Spvnky
 member, 359 posts
Thu 26 Apr 2018
at 18:46
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
Fusion with a VPP could be a useful game system to look at also.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1338 posts
Fri 27 Apr 2018
at 02:52
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
In reply to Nintaku (msg # 21):

Both Spheres of Power and D20 WoD's magic system could be used fairly lightly with any other system of choice.

Also, complete d20 is not that heavy, but you can seriously and easily pare it down (such as stripping out classes, feats, and such) and get a light yet robust set of mechanics to use (Ability scores and skills, with combat simplified to skill vs skill checks).

Heck, I could have a d20 slim version done over a single weekend. The neat thing about that though is all the additional yet purely optional stuff available to cherry pick from all the d20 content that's ever been put out.



---
At msg #22

A what now?
PCO.Spvnky
 member, 360 posts
Sat 28 Apr 2018
at 15:00
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
Variable Power Pool.  Fusion is a very simplistic system that is used for superheroes.  The VPP allows characters to make a character that doesn't have set abilities but can change them at will.
V_V
 member, 716 posts
 You can call me V, just V
 Life; a journey made once
Sat 28 Apr 2018
at 23:13
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
In reply to DarkLightHitomi (msg # 20):

No, no, dX is NOT Hero. It's the exact opposite in terms of complexity. I personally HATE HERO. It's just the closest in terms of a toolbox system. You can use it for any system and any genre. See msg #21. It's a tri-stat system.

As for rules-medium...hmmm...maybe I've just never played a rules-lite game then. dX was always our rules-lite system. The only thing lighter (to us) was freeform. So I'll have to check out some of the suggestions given for rules-lite. We talking three pages summaries, or something?

This message was last edited by the user at 23:16, Sat 28 Apr.

Mr_Qwerty
 member, 60 posts
 Tagmar, D&D, oWoD
 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sun 29 Apr 2018
at 12:49
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
Mythras (formerly RuneQuest 6) has rules for spirits and spirit magic which handle fairies just fine, for turning most monsters into playable races, and is classless, which means you don't have to worry about class powers, just change a bunch of skills and passions (bonds with other PCs/NPCs/Organizations) and you're golden.

It's a pretty rules-heavy system, though. If you fancy more customization and less rules, any superhero system can be used.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1342 posts
Mon 30 Apr 2018
at 00:15
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
In reply to V_V (msg # 25):

Most 3 page, or less, systems are not really systems, they are inspiration.

I would consider complete d20 to be a rules medium system, but it can easily be pared to be rules light or even rules very light.

The majority of d20 is content and options, and to me that doesn't increase a system's weight. To me how light or heavy a system is, is all about how much you are using the system at any one time. A combat round for example is applying rules to turn structure and attack rolls and modifiers and multiple math calculations gets very heavy, but a simple roll and look up a number on your sheet is very light.

Of course, this also means that rules light for the player could in theory be rules heavy for the gm.

But it also is affected by how the system is used. D20 you could just stick to the basic modifiers, or you could account for every tiny thing, leading to a big difference in how heavy the system seems based on how deeply you account for things.

As for my claim about making a slim d20, I could make a d20 slim version on just a few sheets if you wanted. The real question though would be what style magic would be desired.
Elyshian
 member, 3 posts
Wed 2 May 2018
at 18:39
Re: Need advice for a high magic, rules lite game
What about something like Nobilis 3rd Edition? That could work for what she's asking for.