Whateley Academy Tabletop RPG - Character Templates

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10 months 2 weeks ago #65933 by FlynnDanger
FlynnDanger created the topic: Whateley Academy Tabletop RPG - Character Templates
Hi all,

I wanted to start pitching in to help make a TRPG system for the Whateley Academy universe.

One of my main ideas for the system is that it will be a point-buy system, similar to Mutants and Masterminds, but more tailored to the WAU. And because point-buy systems can be complex sometimes, depending on what the player wants, I thought it would be good to have a few Templates for people to either build off of or use as a guide when making a character.

So my question is: What is the bare minimum Power Ranks, Special Features, and Flaws a character would need to have to be classified as the following: (I've already made some guesses but they could be completely wrong
- Sidhe (I'm guessing at least Wiz-1, EX-1, Iron Vulnerability, Synthetic Allergy, Magic Senses)
- Weres (Maybe EX-2, Regen-3, Shifter-2[t, p, n], Heightened Senses: Smell, Silver Vulnerability, Infectious Bite)
- Blaster ( any of the following [External Energizer-2 or higher / Wiz-1 or higher / TK-2 or higher])
- Brick (any of the following [EX-3 or higher / TK-3 or higher / Regen-4 or higher / Internal Energizer-2 or higher])
- Siren (I'm actually not sure about this one besides some ESP with a limitation on the target being able to hear you or damaging effects for power screams.)
- Speedster (any of the following [EX-4 or higher, Internal Energizer-2 or higher, Warper-2 (e, g, i, r, t) or higher])

I'd also like to discuss Templates for non-mutant supers, like Imbued, Modified, etc. But if we can get the above hammered out, I'll have a better idea of what to do with the rest.

Also, just for clarification, all Templates are optional. They're just a way to speed up character creation or give the player a jumping off point. A player can create a Wizard without being a Sidhe or a high Regen character without being a Were.

Also, since Templates will be used as a guide to meet the base requirements for that concept, the Player will have points left over to customize their character (either by doubling down in the chosen Template by increasing the base ranks higher or by branching out into different powers, Talents/Feats, Skills, or Handicaps/Flaws)

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10 months 2 weeks ago #65945 by Kristin Darken
Kristin Darken replied the topic: Whateley Academy Tabletop RPG - Character Templates
I'd recommend starting with the basics instead of jumping right to advanced character templates. Sidhe are both rare and complex... they're like dropping a tiefling arcane archer into an old school D&D game (you know, the one where 'elf' was one of the five classes).

To start with, figure out what the Whateley mutant trait ratings translate to in whatever point system you're using. If the Exemplar ratings DO X ... then the point cost to buy the mutant trait at that rating is Y (and for Exemplar, rank 1 is probably going to be a negative point value because it counts as a limitation on core stat advancement). Do that for all your traits.

Recognize that 'some' traits are going to apply skill/ability multipliers - in Universe, being a Mage gives you the ability to cast spells... ANY spell that you have Essence available for. That doesn't mesh with how most point based RPGs handle spells (they tend to handle them more like abilities) as a balance mechanism. Decide whether you want spells (and gadgets and devices) to be locked into your point system for balance purposes... or to leave them 'free' cost to reflect the way the Universe is written.

Once you have the foundation costs of baseline stats (core stats can't be purchased outside of baseline human, only raised through the purchase of traits) and of core traits, then you can more easily look at things like Sidhe and Were... which, while technically not mutants, can be viewed from the perspective of a Package deal (ie, Sidhe is by itself an Exemplar 3 with commonly Mage, Psi or Avatar traits - so, say all Mage/Psi/ESP/AV trait costs at .9 ... in exchange for common mythological flaws - allergy to iron, bound by their word, Sidhe honor and tradition, active Sidhe world magick)... And then work out what the package itself costs.

Things like Brick, Blaster, Speedster, Siren... are roles that people play and can be built in a variety of ways (outside of comic books, these are called tank, dps, mover, and controller roles and their jobs are to take the hit, be the hit, control position on the field, and control the people on the field). You're missing three other common ones - healer and buffer (sometimes the same, in settings where active healing is less common). In fact, at one point we worked out how many different ways you could make a 'brick' or 'tank' character in the WU... and its pretty much 'all the ways'. :P

Fate guard you and grant you a Light to brighten your Way.

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10 months 2 weeks ago #65948 by null0trooper
null0trooper replied the topic: Whateley Academy Tabletop RPG - Character Templates

Kristin Darken wrote: Recognize that 'some' traits are going to apply skill/ability multipliers - in Universe, being a Mage gives you the ability to cast spells... ANY spell that you have Essence available for. That doesn't mesh with how most point based RPGs handle spells (they tend to handle them more like abilities) as a balance mechanism. Decide whether you want spells (and gadgets and devices) to be locked into your point system for balance purposes... or to leave them 'free' cost to reflect the way the Universe is written.


I've had the impression that even with the Essence available (somehow) the mage has to know the spell well enough to set the stage props, wrangle the actors into place, to cast from a spell-book that the mage can read, and still have the discipline to hold the gathered energies in place until it does or doesn't do what was intended. Those who know the principles well enough and/or have the Will and Intent, can improvise more or less, although the more that isn't explicitly specified in ingredients, chants, phase of the relevant planets, etc., the more risk to the mage's body, mind, and soul, with each mistake compounding the risk and damage of all the previous bobbles. Of course, the mage may be starting with a handicap in understanding the language and conventions of the tradition that recorded the spell.

These are some of the things that counter-balance magic in narrative that few authors not writing a textbook on the subject want to pile into their stories. However, if the "oops" results cause explosions, dinosaurs, or Batman, the more the merrier.

Another way to look at it: no matter how high the SURG rating, do you really want your vascular surgeon to turn out to be a first-year med student browsing WikiHow for the procedure, translated to Pig Latin for the anesthetist to follow along, and deciding that 50% cotton/50% polyester quilting thread is close enough to a professional suture material?


It might help to consider the time that would have to go into prepping spells the way She-Beast or Diamondback have done. a) That kind of work does not go right unless the practitioner takes their time, minds their p's and q's, and then verifies that the outcome is what was intended, b) skipping meals and pulling overnighters only works for devisors - and for a short time - before they have to pay the piper, physically and academically, c) after taking out 8 hrs. sleep, 1 hr getting ready for the day, 6 hours for classes, 3 hours blocked out for meals, M-F there's 6 hours left for work-study, papers, actual study, socializing, entertainment, sim runs, detention, learning one's powers, and any other projects. Some times, the materials might not be easy to obtain by the time you need them. That's life.

It's up to the game designers how to factor the various things into whatever fudge factor is needed to keep what's essentially "crafting" from either grinding things to a halt, or breaking the system altogether.

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10 months 2 weeks ago #65949 by Astrodragon
Astrodragon replied the topic: Whateley Academy Tabletop RPG - Character Templates

null0trooper wrote:
These are some of the things that counter-balance magic in narrative that few authors not writing a textbook on the subject want to pile into their stories. However, if the "oops" results cause explosions, dinosaurs, or Batman, the more the merrier.


*Ahem* *cough*

I love watching their innocent little faces smiling happily as they trip gaily down the garden path, before finding the pit with the rusty spikes.

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10 months 2 weeks ago #65950 by FlynnDanger
FlynnDanger replied the topic: Whateley Academy Tabletop RPG - Character Templates
Thanks for the feedback so far.

I guess I was putting the cart before the horse abit with this thread. Can't believe I forgot about the Support/Buff and Healer templates.

In regards to the discussion of how the system will use Magic.

Magic is usually the most versatile powerset in any setting because it can do anything any other powerset can do. I want Magic to keep its versatility, but not be so powerful that the Wizard overshadows everyone in the party.

I kind of like a blending of what you guys have suggested. Wizards can improvise spells on the fly, but it costs more and/or has a higher chance of Miscasting (causing Hobgoblins or other weird effects). But, the more a Wizard researches a spell, the easier it becomes to cast and the chance of mishaps dramatically decreases.

This means that the higher someones Wiz rating, the more often they can improvise spells (since they just recover the expended Essence so quickly), but when they go "opps" its a big "OPPS!". On the other hand, a lower Wiz rating means that the caster has to play it smarter. They have to research spells, prepare stuff in advance, etc. So the team can be sure that their Wiz-2 teammate will have pretty consistent casting with few mishaps, but they won't get many big finishers or "I have just the spell to fix this" situations.

Hopefully this is in line with in-universe lore.

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10 months 2 weeks ago #65951 by null0trooper
null0trooper replied the topic: Whateley Academy Tabletop RPG - Character Templates

Astrodragon wrote:

null0trooper wrote:
These are some of the things that counter-balance magic in narrative that few authors not writing a textbook on the subject want to pile into their stories. However, if the "oops" results cause explosions, dinosaurs, or Batman, the more the merrier.


*Ahem* *cough*


When any of the options is Batman, alway go with Batman!

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10 months 2 weeks ago #65953 by Kristin Darken
Kristin Darken replied the topic: Whateley Academy Tabletop RPG - Character Templates
I agree, there IS still a skill component and a lore/knowledge component. Also split off from abilities depending on how you are handling the point system. Spellcrafting. Ritual casting. Essence manipulation. Essence Conversion. Imbuing Power, Enchanting, etc. And lore from as broad a topic as "The Magick of the Sidhe Court" to a specific spell "Tranference of Raw Essence to the Adjunct Ev'eleer, 4th Magus of the Realm of Fire, in exchange for Fire aligned Essence at the rate of 1:2.1"

Lore would be checked in connection with preparation phases, Skill / technique would be checked in actively casting a spell. Your power level would cap how strong any given technique could become. or perhaps how many total levels of techniques you could have.

That's "one" way to do it. It's hardly the only one, of course. :)

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10 months 2 weeks ago #65957 by FlynnDanger
FlynnDanger replied the topic: Whateley Academy Tabletop RPG - Character Templates
While we are on the subject of Magic, I did have a question or two about some of the classifications in universe. Some of these may sound down, but I'm trying to understand how I need to work things to make the various Magic classifications feel different without just saying "The demon throws fire at you....but its EVIL fire!"

1. What is the difference between Infernal and GOO magic?
1a. Does one corrupt the soul while the other corrupts the mind?

2. What sets Fae magic from other magic systems, besides the fact that Sidhe are the only known practitioners? Is it the fact that a Fae magic user can draw Essence from the world around them to power pretty scary spells?

3. What is the difference between Conjuration, Evocation, and Invocation?
3a. In the wiki, both Conjuration and Evocation are listed summoning magic and both can summon demons/elementals.
3b. Is Invocation more like Divination, but you're phoning the spirits instead of trying to do it yourself?

4. How screwed would a young mutant be if they manifested a WIZ rating, but with a particular specialty in Necromancy? (This is more of a question of if this becomes a GM only magic like Mythos/GOO)
4a. It seems like not even Whateley's neutral stance allows for its use/teaching on its grounds.
4b. Are Seances counted as Necromancy?

5. What is Wicca's specialty in magic terms? From what I've seen, it seems to be kinda like Abjuration. Banishing evil spirits, etc.

6. I am confused about how Charms are phrased in the wiki. (Not really a question, but I'm not sure what "they have a specific effect on some target(s) independent of the charm itself" means.)

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10 months 1 week ago - 10 months 1 week ago #65970 by null0trooper
null0trooper replied the topic: Whateley Academy Tabletop RPG - Character Templates

FlynnDanger wrote: 1. What is the difference between Infernal and GOO magic?
1a. Does one corrupt the soul while the other corrupts the mind?


1. Mythos sorcery is a way of manipulating things used by Great Old Ones and their pawns. It's as much a science and a technology as it is magic. Infernal magic is magic as practiced by infernal beings.

1a. This is a false distinction. With all magic, you pays your bets and you takes your chances. However, comprehension of Mythos sorcery is incompatible with a sane mortal mind.

FlynnDanger wrote: 2. What sets Fae magic from other magic systems, besides the fact that Sidhe are the only known practitioners? Is it the fact that a Fae magic user can draw Essence from the world around them to power pretty scary spells?


Warning: Spoiler! [ Click to expand ]



FlynnDanger wrote: 3. What is the difference between Conjuration, Evocation, and Invocation?
3a. In the wiki, both Conjuration and Evocation are listed summoning magic and both can summon demons/elementals.
3b. Is Invocation more like Divination, but you're phoning the spirits instead of trying to do it yourself?


Part of the confusion comes from evoke and invoke are synonyms in common use, and conjure includes both and more.

Warning: Spoiler! [ Click to expand ]

FlynnDanger wrote: 4. How screwed would a young mutant be if they manifested a WIZ rating, but with a particular specialty in Necromancy? (This is more of a question of if this becomes a GM only magic like Mythos/GOO)
4a. It seems like not even Whateley's neutral stance allows for its use/teaching on its grounds.
4b. Are Seances counted as Necromancy?


More of the Gen2 freshmen are written as having been trained into specializations than Gen1 froshes, but that doesn't mean that each magician is limited to a specialty from outset any more than each devisor or gadgeteer.

Warning: Spoiler! [ Click to expand ]

FlynnDanger wrote: 5. What is Wicca's specialty in magic terms? From what I've seen, it seems to be kinda like Abjuration. Banishing evil spirits, etc.


Warning: Spoiler! [ Click to expand ]


Granted, I've never seen a Neo-pagan book of magic that didn't have multiple blessings, protective spells, and wards... but treating living religions in mechanical plusses and minuses is a fast way to upset a lot of people without there being a need for it.

FlynnDanger wrote: 6. I am confused about how Charms are phrased in the wiki. (Not really a question, but I'm not sure what "they have a specific effect on some target(s) independent of the charm itself" means.)


Guess what's another word with multiple meanings in English!

Warning: Spoiler! [ Click to expand ]

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Last Edit: 10 months 1 week ago by null0trooper. Reason: more stuff as I went along.

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10 months 1 week ago - 10 months 1 week ago #65972 by FlynnDanger
FlynnDanger replied the topic: Whateley Academy Tabletop RPG - Character Templates
Thanks for the clarification, null0trooper.

So just to be sure:
1. Infernal magic can only be used by Infernal beings. Its just the way demons, devils, etc express magic.
*True Mythos magic can only be used by beings from the Mythos. Trying to learn Mythos magic is only for the truly deranged/insane because only they can make some sort of sense out of it. Even then, they aren't using True Mythos magic, just what their mortal minds can kind of grasp.

2. Fae magic, like Infernal or Mythos, can only truly be used by a Fae creature, something that is NOT human and NOT Sidhe, but a classification of spirit/entity.

3. Invocation: Caster "summons" an entity to themselves, sometimes literally by way of possession.
*Conjuration: Caster creates the entity, object, etc. as part of the spell.
*Evocation: Caster summons something that is, if not sentient, pretty dang close.

4. I guess I confused interest for aptitude. Mages will pursue the areas of magic that they like or feel will help them reach their goals. Like any person, just because you have an easier time understanding something, doesn't mean you have to make that your career. And if you're interested in something, naturally your going to be better at it because it isn't a chore to learn. So you don't mind putting in the work.

5. Yeah, I'll admit that I don't know alot about Wicca. I hope I didn't offend anyone with this question. If so, I apologize for my ignorance.
But you're right, probably best to leave out specific religious practices as forms of magic and just leave that to a character decision thing. Like "X's character is a WIZ-3, but also happens to practice Wicca" which will influence the way they cast spells, but not the in-game effect. More of a roleplay thing.

6. Charms are enchantments with more limited effects or uses. Like how a Dream Catcher will stop malevolent entities from entering your dreams, but won't really stop a fireball from roasting you. Or like how an arrow enchanted with a Light spell on it can't be used and then later used again without re-enchantment. The activation of the Light spell used up the Essence stored in the arrow.

If I'm still messing something up let me know.
Last Edit: 10 months 1 week ago by FlynnDanger.

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