I had an interesting conversation with +GodBeastX the other day about how I might go about creating a magical system that would be good at creating a “combo-chain.” I totally misinterpreted what he said and the conversation devolved into other methodologies on how to do what he wanted. But it sparked an idea of my own. So the basic concept is this: some forms of fictional magic rely on separate energy reserves to use, while simultaneously sapping another energy reserve. For example, if all magic is broken into “fire wizardry”and “ice wizardry” then your “fire mana” fuels your fire spells, but also decreases your “fire mana.” In order to increase your limit you must then use your ice magic. (Note: This concept draws on the idea of “Long-Term Fatigue” presented in GURPS After the End 1: Wastelanders by +Pk Levine.)
The Basic System
Use the following steps to determine the starting energy pools available. This depends heavily on how magic is broken down into groups. Note, while colleges can be individually groups – it would extremely complicated and hard to keep track of. Further, these rules assume that all casters get this reserve of energy for free, but that regular FP cannot power spells at all.
1. Determine the number of “power groups.” A power group could be as simple as “light magic” and “dark magic” or as complicated as the “wu xing” where one element counters another and nourishes yet another.
2. Determine which power groups oppose one another. Continuing our example from above, light magic opposes dark magic, while in the wu xing wood opposes earth and is in turn is opposes by metal.
3. To determine the starting power reserve divide the total number of power groups into 10; round all fractions to the nearest whole number. For example, if magic is divided into the classical four elements then the starting power reserve for each element would be 10 / 4 = 2.5 or 3 when rounded up.
4. To determine the character point cost of purchasing a higher reserve divide the total number of power groups into 3 and round up. For example, continuing our example to increase the light or dark power reserve would cost 2 points (3 /2 = 1.5 or 2 points).
How It Works
When casting a spell the energy for the spell is drawn from your power reserve just as if it were FP. Each point of power reserve spent also increases your accumulated power residue (APR) by one. The maximum size of your power reserve is reduced by your total accumulated power residue. For example, if you had a power reserve of 10 and cast a spell that cost 3 PR then you’d also accumulate 3 APR.
Getting rid of APR from a power reserve requires that you spend points from its opposite. PR recover at a rate of 1 point per 10 minutes.
Other than how the magic itself is fueled nothing else changes. Because of how PR and APR interact with one another you must use opposite forms of magic.
Changing how APR are shed could create entirely different systems. For example, imagine if the only way to shed your APR in a magic system featuring the four classical elements is to spend time in or near your element and they are shed at a variable rate. For example, you might get back 1 APR (Fire) every two minutes for being near a volcano, 1 APR every five minutes for being in a raging inferno of a burning house, 1 APR every ten minutes for being near a bonfire, and 1 APR for being in a hot (but not humid) environment. Being immersed in water or in an arctic environment means it’s impossible to shed APR.
Picking Over the Bones
The idea of using LFP for other things is starting to grow on me quite a bit. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Long-Term Fatigue Points are an absolutely brilliant idea (kind of like +Douglas Cole‘s Control Points). I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can repurpose them for.