[quote=”Kelemelan” post=2776]Basically you don’t like magic that is magic, hey 😉 😛
If it’s all defined and controlled, it sounds very much like science to me. 😉
Magic is more like Art in my mind, but fine, it’s your world. :)[/quote]
Even art has rules.
Colour mixes, forced perspectives, quadrants (photography specifically). You can slap some paint on a brush and drag it across paper, it might be “yours”, but it likely isn’t going to accomplish what you want without following some well-established conventions.
More specifically though it’s required in writing to keep the story grounded. Why would a reader ever worry about the safety of the characters if magic has no limitations? As long as they have a competent mage with them they’ll never be in danger from most worldly threats. Magic becomes a plot device rather than an element of a grounded world.
And therein lies one of main things that sets high-fantasy apart from other types of fantasy.
If you’re going for a Greyhawk/Forgotten Realms/Golarion
/whatever setting than it doesn’t overly matter. But if you’re going for something a little darker and more relatable to the reader, you need to tone that down.
Even magic Lord of the Rings was significantly less powerful than that (there was a great article written quite a while ago called “Gandalf was a Fifth Level Wizard”).
Otherwise when something bad happens to a good character the reader goes “Why didn’t the sorceress just teleport them out?” rather than “Oh Shit! Even the sorceress can’t deal with that!”
If you pick and choose when that sorceress can teleport based on when it’s convenient for the plot it becomes incredibly transparent to the reader, leads to aforementioned “deus ex machina”, and frankly, is bad writing. Quite a few fantasy works fall victim to this line of thought; “It’s magic! It doesn’t need to be explained!”, and the author finds themselves using magic as a convenient solution to the MC’s problems rather than having it as a living, breathing part of the world.
I’m not saying you have to spell out your magic system to the reader, but it makes for a far more interesting work if you as the author put your characters in a position where you want to solve by magic, reference your notes, and realize you can’t (or realize they can try and it will likely fail). Now you actually have to write your characters coming up with a solution to that problem or situation -giving you a ton of opportunities for character and plot development- rather than just using some wand-wavium and *poof!* next chapter. Snore.
If you want a very high level of magic where demons or super-mages or other outworldly stuff is involved, great, that’s your story. But it doesn’t work at all in a lower fantasy setting.
At the end of the day, all my characters I’ve posted in this thread are part of that setting, where magic has consistent limitations.
Note that I never used the word freeform, I said max freedom would be up to the GM, and I’m using such powers (I’m using them anyway, but still 😛 ), so if a game gave me the power to do anything I wanted, I’d feel extremely comfortable. So why bother ? It makes things easier for you. You don’t have to develop everything about the rules, and all things considered, you can always add that later if you need or want to. What’s the rush ?
My perspective is, for instance: If you developed something for d20 I wouldn’t be interested because I’m not using d20 (I’m using some OGL clones or so, but not d20/D&D itself so, not interested). However, a setting without system could be interesting because I wouldn’t have to get rid of all that useless rule system I’ve no use for. If the setting or scenario or whatever itself is fun, I’d buy it. I already bought several of these.
Of course, that’s only me talking 🙂
Well, I like rules 🙂
I like complexity and gritty.
But more specifically my world has rules that govern how certain things in it work. Thus there has to be a framework that can be used to place hard limitations on those aspects.
Otherwise it ceases being my world and is just some rando-generic fantasy setting.
No offense meant but did you try to look out of the D&D/d20/OD&D/AD&D/D&D Next/etc bubble ? All things considered, you can always add that later if you need or want to. What’s the rush ?
I have, I’m also looking at OD6 as it strips out a lot of the magic complexity and other stuff. Haven’t gone too far outside of that because, like I mentioned in the previous post, I don’t really have the time to learn a completely new system to the point where I can extensively houserule it without breaking it.
Designing a system from the ground up is complicated. It’s not a simple matter of “just add stuff if you need it”. Regardless of how simple or complex it is, everything has to work together. So simply saying “Huh, I need a rule to govern this, lets add one!” can have significant consequences across the entire game. You need a base framework to work from.
Most d20 based systems are horrible to modify for this reason -the underlying math is stupid complex, hard to understand, and often isn’t balanced well anyway.
D&D Next (5e) actually fixes a lot of this. It’s really an elegant evolution of the classic d20 genre into more modern conventions. You can actually invent a monster in that and balance it properly in 10 minutes or less. I’ve borrowed some aspects from that in one of my other boardgame projects.