A Different Way to Reduce Power Level

With discussion about lowering the power levels cropping up regularly (as it did in this topic), I thought I'd share an idea I've been toying with recently.

Like some others, I find the "difficult Arts" solution a bit too severe, and it does have some side effects (like making Magic Theory disproportionally strong).

I was looking for a way to tone down the higher-level magic while not crippling magic at low levels. So I had this idea of playing with the notion of the magnitude of an effect vs its spell level.

Right now, the magnitude of an effect is equal to its level divided by 5, rounded up. So spell/effect levels 1 to 5 are 1st magnitude, 6 to 10 is 2nd magnitude, etc. When modifying the parameters of a spell (range, target ans duration), this adds/reduces the level by 5 (or 1 for levels below 5).

What if we did things the other way around? Start magnitude at 1 for a level 1 spell. Each parameter change (from the basic) adds 1 magnitude.

Then, calculate the spell level as the xp to get that magnitude. So a magnitude 5 spell is level 15 -- this is the equivalent of a current level 5 spell. This seemed a little rough on low-magnitude spells, so I modified this a little for the first 5 magnitudes (the "variant").

The following table summarizes the current spells levels vs the proposed spell levels by magnitude:

[table][tr][td]Current Magnitude[/td][td]Current Level[/td][td]New Magnitude[/td][td]New Level[/td][td]New Level Variant[/td][/tr]

As you can see, this has a huge impact on high-powered effects, making them much harder to invent, learn and cast. Otherwise, there are very few things that need to be modified on the abilities, arts, virtues and flaws, spellcasting, or lab rules.

The most obvious changes are (with harsher versions in italics):

  • For enchanted items, use magnitudes as for a spell to determine the effect level, and then add modifiers for frequency of use, penetration, etc.
  • Longevity rituals are unchanged since it is not an effect level (still use Lab Total / 5 as a modifier to aging rolls). (Or use the lab total as a level and look up the magnitude to be used as a modifier for aging rolls. For example, a lab total of 91 is magnitude 13, so the modifiers to aging rolls is 13.)
  • Things that use the magnitude (such as the vis cost of rituals) can simply be adjusted to use magnitude - 4 (minimum 1) instead. (Or use magnitude directly if you want rituals to cost more raw vis.)

I'm thinking about trying this out (using the "variant" column) the next time I start a new saga.

Did I miss anything? Thoughts?

I think it makes computing levels more complex than it already is and thus won't use it, even though the results are interesting. :confused:

I guess it might not be that bad if you use very little spontaneous magic or have a software to help computing level.

'Double the current spell level.'

It does roughly the same but far easier to calculate. :laughing:

This is a well-thought-out system, but for my money it is definitely overkill.

You essentially put all high level-non-rituals (and ALL level 50+ rituals, barring cooperation) out of the hands of any but strict specialists. And casting a high-level ritual under this system will bamboozle the specialist, too, without a specific magical focus.

Of course, from your initial post you and I kind of have the opposite approaches here - I'm looking to ease down magi powerlevels 'right out the gate' while still making it possible for seasoned wizards to wield high-level magics without requiring tight specialization. This approach will definitely work spectacularly for what you intend! :slight_smile:

I still like my brilliant idea better than all the spiffy tables. :stuck_out_tongue:

Maximum Spell Level = 5 x Ability Score in Magic Theory.

Yes , a lot of Puissant (Magic Theory) and Affinity (Magic Theory) will result.

Why is New Level a quadratic function of New Magnititude?
NL = [(NM) x (NM + 01)]/02
210 = [20 x 21]/02

Wouldnt an exponential curve work better?
My very rusty maths is not up to testing the hypothesis however.

You increase cost by 50%.

Spell level 50 requires MT10, anything higher is ritual.
MT9 -> 10 = +50 (275 total)
Art25 -> 30 = +140 (TeFo 20+30 = 675)

At MT10, Puissant is barely better than Affinity and saves you 95 xp.
At Art30, Affinity is better and saves you 155 xp, 205 xp if you spend 25 years in the lab, bleeding 1 xp per season.

Yes, does that sounds good to you?

  • level 5 = +32 (63 total)
  • level 10 = +1024 (2047 total)
  • level 20 = +1048576 (2M total)
    Even with fractional powers, +32 for lvl10 vs +1024 for lvl20 is excessive. :mrgreen:

"Quadratic", by definition, refers to a polynomial where the highest power of the variable that appears is 2.
[table][tr][td]NL = [(NM) x (NM + 01)]/02 = (1/2) NM^2 + (1/2) NM[/td][/tr][/table] fits that description.

Answering a few comments (which are very much appreciated), not necessarly in order...

I didn't look at it from the mathematical side. It started off as thinking about magnitudes (which are not consistent at low level regarding the guidelines) and the parallel with Arts vs experience points, which use the pyramidal progression.

Since the pyramidal progression is used extensively in the system, it made sense to me to use it for the spell levels too. It seemed to have too much of an impact on the first few magnitudes (making current low-level spells much higher), so the variant seemed to make sense.

Is it really that much more complex?

Right now: Start with the base. Add one level for each step of chage in RDT until you reach level 5, then 5 levels afterward.

With this change: Start with the base level, add 1 magnitude for each step of change in RDT, look up the level on the table. This is the same table as you would use for experience in the Arts, BTW, unless using the variant.

With the variant: Same, except that magnitudes 1 to 5 are level 1 to 5, and after that it's the Arts' experience table minus 10.

It looks the same at high level, but it is quite different at low levels. I also find it interesting to gradually make it more difficult to attain higher-level effects.

I'll admit that I'm more of a fan of gritty, down-to-earth sagas. I like to see players use low- to mid-level magic inventively (and to make their lives easier) than racing to get earth-shattering power. I'd like high-level spells like Hermes Portal to be exceedingly rare.

One thing I would probably get rid of -- the high-level spells requirement to be a ritual. I'd keep the requirement for permanent Creo to be a ritual. Also, a spell invented as a ritual would reduce its magnitude (something like a -4 magnitude, to a minimum of 1). Haven' played with the numbers yet, though.

Thanks again for all the comments. :slight_smile:

What about making a rule that above level 50 (or some other number) an increase in magnitude adds 10 levels to the effect (instead of 5)?

That seems to stretch out the spell levels at high level, while not being too complex/different to calculate. It does make calculating the magnitude of an effect a bit trickier --- but a table can solve that problem.