Tell Me About Magic World! (d100 newbie)
Hello Fellow Geeks!
I am a seasoned geek who has played and mastered many role-playing games over the years. My current favorites are Savage Worlds and Vampire the Masquerade (none of this newfangled Requiem business.) I love V:tM for the atmosphere and flavorful setting and Savage Worlds for its ease of preparation and support of multiple genres. I do not like "new wave" RPG's like FATE or Cortex because I believe that the meta functions those systems provide are things that should be in place by default with a good group.
Despite nearly two decades of rolling bones, I've never come across a d100 game group or had much reason to explore that system. However, I have been looking to go back to my roots with a medium rules complexity fantasy RPG that supports a Tolkienesque feel with a touch of swords and Sorcery mixed in. I love exploration and adventure with moderate action. I dislike running focused dungeon crawls for more than a quick diversion. I spotted Magic World on Amazon at a steal of a price, read the interesting description, and armed with a bit of extra Christmas cash I placed an order for a print copy.
As a complete newbie to d100 in general and Magic World specifically, can some veterans tell me how it plays? What themes and styles do the rules support? Will the magic system support subtle magic or is it all sparkles and flash (I HATE Vancian magic systems)? I've read the BRP quick start PDF for a taste, so I know the basic rules of task resolution. What I am most interested in is simply advice, stories, and discussion with those who have played this game.
I'd say Magic World is a pretty good place to start in BRP if you're a fan of Savage Worlds. The systems are obviously different, but the sensibilities are similar. Magic World offers an easy to understand and flexible set of mechanics tied in with a fantasy setting that operates as a decent platform to run all types of fantasy stories from. It's actually a re-imagining of the old Elric game, with the magic system taken from there too - although it's not specific to Moorcockian fantasy anymore. The setting material in the back suggests House affiliations, similar to Vampire Clans but not as many. It is a very self contained game, however.
Originally Posted by DarthSunshine
With regards to the magic system, it uses 'Sorcery' which is a pretty powerful system. You need to have a prerequisite high POW score, but if you qualify the system is flexible and can be fairly unrestrained. There isn't any 'fire and forget', and the scholarly approach to learning through Grimoires and the study is not compulsory (you could receive magic as a 'gift'). The spells are controlled by the expenditure of Magic Points. If you like dark fantasy there's a lot of it within the book - demon summoning, etc - and the effects can be quite flashy. There is an Advanced Sorcery supplement due soon that collates a wide variety of expansions to the core book, along with a host of alternative magic systems and styles.
The types of stories you can play are varied, but one thing I like is that you can play a wide variety of non-human characters. Basically, any intelligent creature in the bestiary could be played as a PC template, within reason (or GM approval). While this is true in most of the BRP-based fantasy games, it's explicitly made into a feature for Magic World. Beyond this, it's worth noting that most BRP games are cross-compatable to a degree - each has their own variations, but they all 'speak the same language' if you know what I mean.
Last edited by TrippyHippy; December 31st, 2013 at 22:13.
Magic World features a very sleek implementation of BRP, with a ruleset further improved from the acclaimed Elric! game. Some notable features are:
- Simple yet rich chargen based on cultural background and professional occupation of the adventurer. Character development is not limited by profession, but professional skills are slightly favored. As with BRP at large, a character is defined mostly by his/her skills.
- A fast flowing and deadly combat system. Not very tactical, but rich enough in options to stage exciting combat encounters
- A simple magic system (Sorcery) based on magic points expenditure, with a good choice of spells and rules for summoning elementals, demons and spirits,
- An allegiance system that can be used to assign meaningful in-game effects to the affiliation of characters to gods or cosmic forces (standard forces are light, balance and shadow). It creates a secondary avenue for character progression (towards apotheosis!) and helps the GM in creating NPCs that are priests or agents of cosmic forces, giving them cool powers beside magic.
- A bunch of very classic monsters from mythology and fantasy: halflings, harpies, jabberwocks, krakens and lamias as well as manticores, minotaurs and dryads make their appearance, together with orcs, satyrs and trolls...and several other well known critters.
- Full sailing rules including structural damage to ships, navigation fumbles, shipboard combat and more
- A mini-setting (The Southern Reaches) with an interesting background and a slightly celtic vibe
-Finally, it should be noted that, while MW only uses BRP/Elric! Sorcery, it is 100% compatible with the other power types in the BRP "Big Gold Book". This can be quite useful to change the flavor of the game and create the kind of fantasy that you like. For instance, for an over-the-top action game in D&D4 style just give BRP superpowers to everybody in addition to sorcery. Or add "Mutations" to a dark fantasy games. "Psychic powers" if you want psionics as a source of power alongside 'Sorcery', or the 'Magic' spells if you want to have wise "white mages" vs. the darker "sorcerers", and so on.
-A little warning: the book is nice but not perfect - there are a few annoying typos and on 2-3 occasions rules descriptions are unclear. You can find extensive errata and rule clarifications on these very boards.
All in all there is a lot to enjoy in MW!
Last edited by smiorgan; January 1st, 2014 at 01:38.
Thank you for the very informative replies. There seems to be a great deal that I will take well too with MW and I'm glad I made a good entry level choice for the d100 system.
The allegiance system you mention has caught my attention and sounds like it would work well for my group. The magic also sounds like something I wkuld enjoy, especially if there are options in the generic BRP book or that Advanced Sorcery supplement that would all for a more subtle touch.
I don't mind straightforward combat. Despite the fact my group likes Savage Worlds, none of us like minis or battle grids. We like to play comfortably while sitting around the living room. MW/d100 seems like it would support our olay style well.
The only issue I can see is that my group will have to get used to a more deadly game. They are spoiled by Savage Worlds and Vampire. I may have to take it easy on the combat until they adjust.
BRP has a very simple standard solution for that: double the hit points of the PCs. It works!
Originally Posted by DarthSunshine
Note that this will not make combat easy.
A PC with CON 18 and SIZ 10 would normally have 14 HP - (CON+SIZ)/2 - and major wound 7, make it 28 HP and major wound 14. PC is just a little bit tougher but not much. Now, imagine that Mr. Big Thug attacks the PC. He rolls a 05 and scores a critical with his sword. The PC fails the parry. Big Thug rolls double damage, 2d8+2+1d4, ignoring armor. The blow can deal up to 22 dmg that goes straight to the character, not enough to kill the tougher PC but from 14 up it will be a major wound, possibly incapacitating or permanently crippling the PC.
Last edited by smiorgan; January 1st, 2014 at 12:26.
If your looking for savage world feel in play you can use the mook rules in the BRP pulp supplement Astounding Adventures- basically mooks have a percentage that is rolled anytime they are hit if they fail the roll they are down/out/dead/ect. If they make the roll they are still fighting(up). Important villians use the regular rules with hit points. You could also use the double hit points for characters explained above for PC's.
Originally Posted by smiorgan