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Vancian mages are more versatile than wizards because they may wear armor, they don't have to spend experience on learning spells, they may use a wider variety of spells, and they use their spells at no ST cost during play. They can't use staffs, however, which limits them to their ST for preparing spells and can only use the spells which they have stored, making them ultimately less powerful than wizards. Vancian mages tend to use mundane techniques more than wizards, some most relying on their wits and their skills and using magic only when they need to get out of a jam.
Heroic talents are double, as with wizards
May wear armor
Cannot create staffs or use ST stored in them
Do not need to learn spells but must use a spell book and can only store spells of their IQ or less
Spell storage requires 5 minutes of preparation, after which each spell takes an additional minute and may only use ST which has not been used yet that day and is not invested in spells (available ST is replenished with at least 6 hours sleep after at least 12 hours awake).
ST for variable ST spells must be specified at storage time
May release an unused spell as an action and reclaim the invested ST to be used for storing other spells
Spell book starts with one spell for each IQ point
No cost to use stored spells
Storing a spell doesn't cause damage or fatigue, it just uses up points based on ST which would otherwise be available for storing other spells.
Interesting concept. Of course when I started playing, it was D&D versus TFT, or Vancian vs. ST-based magic. I always enjoyed both games. D&D was more high fantasy and TFT was Sword-and-sorcery. I never really looked into bringing Vancian, fire-and-forget mechanics into TFT, as that was part of each game's flavor.
But I like what you have done here. It seems pretty simpla and straightforward, and adds another dimension to spellcasting. Not sure about lifting the armor restrictions, but playtesting would tell that tale.
One potential problem I see is designating the strength of spells beforehand, ie storing a 3ST fireball. You might just want a 1ST, but you are stuck with the big blast; and vice versa. But the larger problem, I think, would actually be spells that use a bigger variable, like Heal Wounds and the Death spell. You would have no way of knowing how many ST you need to heal before hand, nor the ST of the opponent you want to slap the Death spell on. Maybe you would set aside a "pool" of ST for these particular spells when you are memorizing?
Interesting take - thanks for posting this!
Also, since they can use armor (and weapons -- I left that out by accident), they can use those to supplement the magic. I think that's a decent balance in exchange for not getting a staff -- they can use weapons and armor, but they're still not as good as a hero character, since they have to pay double for the talents. In Legends, it seems to me that experienced hero characters will eventually end up with sizable weapon skills, since they're cheaper than attributes of 11 or higher. Vancian mages end up paying through the nose for these, but they get to use potentially a much larger variety of magic than wizards.
I think a decent strategy for fireballs or lightning is to store a couple at different ST levels, like 2 and 4. That would give you maybe 4 or 5 more ST to invest in other spells (with ST 10 or 11), like reverse missiles, iron flesh, or illusion. After an encounter, you can reorganize your remaining spells by spending the required 6+ minutes.
Another important work that has vancian magic is the second chronicles of Amber. Merlin "hangs spells" on the logrus and the pattern so that he can use them later.
The original reason armor hampered magic from TFT was that iron interfered with magic; it had nothing to do with gestures. Silver armor didn't hamper magic. Normal iron weapons also hampered magic in TFT as well, but don't in Legends. I think the idea that armor interferes with gestures might from D&D.
Note that I'm not trying to emulate D&D with this system. I'm just trying to create an alternative magic system that uses spells-per-day instead of a ST cost and allows mages to use weapons and armor. I expect vancian mages will be more like bards or rangers from D&D in that they're not as good at fighting as warriors and not as good at magic as wizards. They're somewhere inbetween heroes and wizards.
Maybe that description makes them sound unattractive, but I like the idea of a rogue with a few tricks up his sleeve.
You don't want vancian mages to have to spend 2 or 3 hours in the morning preparing their spells for the day. That would just make for silliness.
I think this is one of the strengths of a looser set of rules, almost guidelines, rather than a rigidly defined set of rules. We have gone over doing "advanced" rules for several years, on the boards and in our internal conversations at our secret antarctic base. It is because of this kind of innovation and personalizing of the rules that we are leaning strongly toward keeping them as simple as they are. I really like this kind of tinkering, treating LAW more like a toolkit.
Good stuff, zot, I want to hear how this character concept plays out for you. Keep us informed, please!
Alchemist/Artificer introduces the option for other characters to use the spells. This changes the flavor of the mages a lot and makes them much more of a "buffing" character for a party
We started OHM today (3 characters, 34 pts, 5 skills). I played a vancian mage: ST 11 DX 11(9) IQ 12, sword +1, bow +1, enchanting +1, short sword, long bow, leather armor (and a bunch of spells). I played him pretty much like I expected -- supplementing weapon usage with spells (assist and illusion so far).
The other characters are a wizard and a warrior (with the werebear spell). The wizard;s staff allowed him to use magic a lot more than my character, which is also what I expected.
So far, so good.