Author Topic: Magickal Spook Factor  (Read 9845 times)

gotdamnmiracle

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Magickal Spook Factor
« on: January 07, 2019, 06:38:21 PM »
I feel like this deserves its own thread. Can we compile some ideas to accomplish making magick users actually scary (again? I'm not sure if they ever were). This includes roleplay from both perspectives, doc changes, coded additions, whatever really.

I'll start.

In the other thread I mention incentives for magick users to want to take advantage of mundanes, these could include borrowing statistical advantages using some curse or using them in the craft of certain components.

Perhaps also magick could be more fluid. Currently it works similar to something out of WoW where you use up your mana and it refills over time. I think it shouldn't. Not naturally. If you use up your mana it won't refill ever outside of certain conditions. As a result of this all magick users should be given the ability to defile. The gem controls and bonds this making their defiling abilities null and the only way gemmed users can regain mana within the city is in their temples. Elemental defiling is a lot less potent than that of sorcerers and can only be used to pull from the land or others if they are willing. Any attempt to defile someone who doesn't offer to will fail (nosave). Suddenly you have evil dune-witches and culled gemmers. Also this makes the neutering aspect of the gem a lot more pronounced.

If any of this is too IC I will remove it immediately, but this is a suggestion nothing, to my knowledge, related to the game.

What are your ideas?

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The Lonely Hunter

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 07:04:08 PM »
If you actually play based on the available documentation, magick is plenty scary. The problem isn't with the game.
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gotdamnmiracle

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 07:10:43 PM »
If you actually play based on the available documentation, magick is plenty scary. The problem isn't with the game.

Please try to be constructive.

If the problem is that the players don't get it then it should be designed in such a way that they do. Perhaps this means making the documentation more available or specific?

If no one could figure out how to use a type of screwdriver properly you wouldn't say that all those people are morons, would you?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 07:16:51 PM by gotdamnmiracle »
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Brokkr

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 07:23:23 PM »
Magick is designed to be mysterious.  It is thus hard to discern which board warriors know what they are talking about, and which do not.

I think one thing the other thread pointed out pretty clearly is that for some people, magickers being scary is all about if they can kill your character or not.  Making them spooky won't necessarily make them scary to such people.


Lizzie

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 07:46:15 PM »
Part of what used to make magick spooky, to me, is that I (the player) didn't know much at all about it. Unknown = mysterious = potential for max spook.

Once I knew how it worked, by playing mages, a lot of the mystery was eliminated, and therefore a lot of what made it spooky.

On the other hand, now I KNEW what mages could do, and that added a different aspect of spookiness, because I knew the significance and level of scary "stuff" it could do.

And then the magick aspects were split off and the main guilds eliminated, and that meant "things a, b, and c" that I knew "element #1" could do, they no longer can do all together. No single mage can do all of those things anymore. And that reduced my sense of "spook" even more.

Now, as a player, there's no spookiness at all involved. As a player, I know what these things can do, but more importantly, I know what they can't do. It was the combination of things they could do that made them as spooky as I felt they were, even after I learned what they could do and the mystery was removed.
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gotdamnmiracle

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 07:59:26 PM »
Magick is designed to be mysterious.  It is thus hard to discern which board warriors know what they are talking about, and which do not.

I think one thing the other thread pointed out pretty clearly is that for some people, magickers being scary is all about if they can kill your character or not.  Making them spooky won't necessarily make them scary to such people.

Ah. Okay. So I think I may have a misunderstanding of the fundamental elements you're trying to foster with them. Is the binary scary/not scary okay? Or do we want a general feeling of magick=bad stuff, similar to how a lot of people view radiation in real life?

It feels a lot easier to empathize with the current magick user because they're usually just normal dudes who are misunderstood. I mean, there's a reason the X-men franchise is so beloved. So the disconnect occurs because we're told to do one thing, but know another. (Treat them badly, they often aren't bad). I just want there to be some reasons for the magick user to be a "bad" guy. I know of none specific to them other than those available to everyone such as material wealth and psychopathy, I guess. Not very appealing. Doesn't the corrupting search for power seem appropriate?

I don't foresee my indie elementalist on a search for immense power getting much staff support in the current iteration of the game.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 08:04:21 PM by gotdamnmiracle »
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Brokkr

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 08:06:55 PM »
You perceive the X-Men that way because you are the reader, who sees their side.

In Arm, you are not the reader.  You are the common person that votes for politicians to persecute them, because you hate them and don't care to see their side.

It isn't the magicker that needs the reasons (although they exist).  It is the common man, who doesn't really need any reason other than their own ignorance, close mindedness and prejudices.  Which gives rise to a far more complex flavor of scary than simple binary scary/not scary. It is meant to be an unfair, stifling environment, not one where modern sensibilities of fairness come into play.

RogueGunslinger

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2019, 08:47:34 PM »
If you want magickers to be scary you need people in game acting like they are scary. Because it's not just their "power" where fear is derived from. It's their mystery, their foreignness, and most importantly the superstitious parts of the culture that has taught you since childhood that the bad things happen because of magick and magickers.

That's where the majority of the spooky nature of magickers come from and it's really in the players hands to represent that fear and ignorance.

Cind

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2019, 10:25:31 PM »
I still think witches are pretty scary. But a few things have changed in the past few years:

It is now a lot more advantageous to be unmanifested for a game year or more in order to train your stealth or combat skills, or make powerful friends as a socialite, than it is to come out of chargen with a gem or as a rogue. This began when mages became subguilds, but is a lot more pronounced with the guild changes, where people with dangerous jobs are a lot more likely to survive to the point where they can be witches.

Because people are playing more unmanifested witches, they are making friends, and from past experience most of my mundane friends still remain my friends after I become a witch. They don't necessarily huggle me in public, but they're there when I need them. When its 'your' witch, its less scary.

Recently there have been a couple or more groups openly utilizing nonmundanes as integral parts of the group. While this could happen anytime, it is a bit unusual and while it is scary when said group is after you, it helps give magick more 'normal' points.

Tuluk is closed--- meaning all those people who are hyper-sensitive to making friends with witches or even doing business with them are gone, leaving the more fluid cultures of Allanak, Luir's and Storm that are all more likely to allow witches to do small business tasks and be awkward friends with.

The 'place to be' is now Allanak--- easily the world's most witch-friendly culture, if for nothing else because the quarter is there, and all that means for the witch population and ease of witch living.

When summoned by the Arm into a combat zone, witches are no longer the defenseless merchants of the group, and are combatively useful much more often. I haven't been in the Arm lately, but this has probably meant more witches being used by the Arm.
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Greve

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2019, 12:39:34 AM »
People stop acting like magick is scary because they haven't seen magick be scary for such a long time. Players simply aren't exposed to it in any way that leaves an impression. For all the things that were controversial about the design of the old sorcerers and elementalists, they most certainly gave players a reason to care. It's not that trying the classes removes some Lovecraftian fear of the unknown. It's about the fact that magick just isn't a thing that matters anymore. You can ask players to read the documentation until you're blue in the face, but if the game they play never reflects what's written there, they won't adhere to it.

Magick characters have been reduced to a shadow of their former selves. Remember Plainsman? Black Tembo? Lord of Storms? Quick? These are legendary entities that people still talk about to this day, and it's not always because they were exemplary roleplayers. It's because they embodied the very thing that the documentation tells us: magick is a terrifying, world-destroying force of which people live in perpetual fear. Except these days, since magick characters don't fit that bill, people don't have that reaction. It has been turned into something that players don't feel compelled to care about.

People now know that a sorcerer is limited to one path of magick and therefore can't live the defiler life. You can't survive being a world villain without the whole catalogue of spells, it's as simple as that. And elementalists are reduced to a handful of spells grafted to a mundane class, and often the magick part represents nothing but a stat boost or some similar gimmick. This means that these characters have to be played in a way where the magick aspect is a sidenote, a token trait that probably doesn't even justify the social stigma and is therefore kept out of sight and mind. It stops mattering to people because they never see it.

If full elementalists and sorcerers are brought back to the game, fear of magick will follow. Players weren't afraid solely because some piece of supplementary literature said they ought to be. They were afraid because they'd seen the power wielded by those characters and knew what it could do to them. Now they know that this is no longer the case, and while you can suspend your disbelief for some amount of time, eventually you neglect it if the realities of the game don't match the documentation. It would be the same thing if people stopped playing elves: sooner or later, folks would forget to hate them.

This, coupled with declining player numbers and thus density of magickal occurrences, has cost the game one of its key features. Add full elementalists and sorcerers again and I think it would bring a boost both to player numbers and to the way they treat this aspect of Zalanthas. The magick subguilds don't need to be removed, they're fine for what they are. They just shouldn't have replaced the actual mages that carried the torch of magick roleplay.

X-D

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2019, 01:18:28 AM »
While I mostly agree with Greve, I don't agree that full elementalists need be returned to the game...certain tweeks to what there already is should do it. Like, Since Drov and Elkros are no longer in game, return the spells that they stole from the other 4 elementalist back to them...and even split up the the rest of the spells where feasible to them. I can think of a certain 2 spells that drov got that whiran used to get that would make the illusion aspect of whira quite a troublemaker.

Next, put some real work into a synergy to each of these subs, I think I see a bit of the work done already to ruk and whirans, and I approve...just a bit more to each of them for utility and survival and should be good.

Lastly, increase mana regen some or the mana pool...The usefulness/utility/scariness of MANY spells is directly related to how often they can be cast.

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tapas

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2019, 01:27:52 AM »
Heh heh. Board Warriors.

It's one of the more salient disconnects of the game's mechanics. I've seen plenty of emnity and hatred of magickers. Emotions ranging from disgust to disquiet. But fear? Nah. Tough Guy Mcfly gonna break yo' face if you do any spooksy shit.

And I got two reasons for that.

1.The powers that be will pop any magicker that tries to be spooky in their roleplay. Gemmed cantrips in the bar? Expect a templar. Emoting cantrips outside? Expect arrows, or Faceroll the dwarf.

2. The mechanics are generally well understood by the playerbase. Every player knows that you need to be in the same room as you to cast a spell on them. They know you need to be standing. And that if any spellcasting happens the crimcode will go apeshit on you. They know that they could probably kill you just by face rolling before you have a chance to react. They know that killing you solves the problem every time.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 01:30:40 AM by tapas »

Cind

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2019, 07:26:15 AM »
I think Greve kind of hit the nail on the head. Remove the ability of witches to be frightening, and the playerbase will follow.
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The Lonely Hunter

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2019, 08:58:05 AM »
I keep seeing people go back to mechanics and meta information. Remember, this is an RPG. It doesn't matter what they can do code-wise, they are magickers. Any minor display or even suspicion of magickal ability (did you argue with your neighbor before you got sick? 'gicker!") should be RPed according to the docs, not according to how many skillz you know they have.
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number13

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2019, 11:26:11 AM »
>Tough Guy Mcfly gonna break yo' face if you do any spooksy shit.

Violence is an appropriate response to fear.

If you want to be creepy, then be creepy. Be something that no one else is allowed to completely understand. If you hang out in the taverns all day, or train away with the Byn, then people will understand your character, in some part. Creepy lives on the edge of perception, not in focus. Creepy is making someone wonder, and come up with wild speculation, leading to dread.

Creepy is not yanking someone over a pit with your ranged spell. That's not creepy. That's lame bullshit. I never felt an ounce of fear in those situations, just eye-rolling cringe, and a desire to rage quit.

There are mundane elves and one particular mundane noble I've RPed with that were 10000% more creepy than any full-class elementalist. That templar that used to talk through his NPC...that's was creepy. Personally, I think I had the most success being creepy with a character that had just one special super power, pathetic PvP potential, and no magical abilities whatsoever.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 11:30:13 AM by number13 »

Eyeball

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2019, 06:17:33 PM »
People would fear mages more if they had some spells that (1) worked at a distance, and (2) caused some kind of non-lethal, but negative, effect. Maybe as simple as receiving a message like "a shocking pain stabs through your head" or "you have a sudden vision of a horribly twisted, screaming face" once in a while.

ABoredLion

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2019, 06:46:28 PM »
Creepy does not usually mean scary, and the point that a few people have brought up that sort of plainly hangs in the air is that no matter how well played and to the documentation you could be, or were, if you are a magicker it's not fear people greet you with for the most part. They're usually quite ready to play up the scorn and such. (Because that can give them plenty of reason to commit violence and other things)

But genuine fear? That a magicker might sneeze and then suddenly you lose the ability to have kids? Or they might laugh, and flames crackle, and your flesh gets covered in boils for weeks? That they might make the ground rumble when they're displeased, and you need to go offer food to the land or your home might get swallowed up by the ground? I've played for five years, and I've never seen this fear played out like this to a degree that's reasonable, not from the staffers I've played alongside, not from the players that I've worked under, not from the various other people I've been involved with distantly.

While I as much as any other think it's a shame that story can be ignored for code often, that's been a thing of trouble for ages and the only time people (at large) can be found to reasonably react with fear to something is if it poses a threat to them or their wants/plans on an IC basis. In the other thread, I spoke of deadliness to a PC being relative to danger, and a great example was drovians. Drovians were stupidly deadly -- not because they were capable of coming out of nowhere with one or two drov-buddies and killing you. It's because they were untouchable for the most part. They could learn everything that made you tick, while remaining safe. The danger of a magicker is relative to how easy they are to kill, because anyone in this game, anywhere, has a way to be killed, but when you start removing all of the basic options, and making it difficult to kill them in a forward confrontation, while they're also stupidly strong in general confrontations, they start becoming these immovable, dangerous obstacles that are capable of messing up your plans or actually killing whoever back if it comes to it.

If you're getting dragged into a hole by a magicker, and your only response is, 'That's lame.' then yea, I can understand why you feel that way. But you're never going to be afraid to begin with, so I think you should probably be removed from the metric for measurement involved. Creepy can inspire fear...but creepy inspires it OR unease relative to how much danger is perceived, which is similar but a little different. Fear (as it is defined) is about perceived danger and threat to you invoking a response. If you don't have the response, then you don't have it. That's fine. If you don't have the response and your PC doesn't react like their life is in danger, then you're doing something wrong.

This is all really just a food for thought kind of thing, while we're debating it, but I don't think magickers should feed off of the land or other people. That goes against everything we know about the documentation and the lore. As it is, if I kept to the documentation entirely though, and played a magicker out in the open, there'd be no allies anywhere, no friends, no real interaction past a certain point, except through others, and for various reasons, this is a hard thing to string together. Roleplay is only fun when you're interacting with people. While you don't necessarily need many, you need a handful of consistent people part of a story (or a handful of changing people that are replacing others dying) to keep things interesting or actually happening. Otherwise, Armageddon becomes a solo-RP experience in between hack-and-slash animal murder, or shopkeeping.

I don't think staff are too judgmental when it comes to people interacting with magickers, but what do I know. That's the job of other characters in the game world, to varying degrees. Important to remember that everyone develops organically (I hope) with things that drive them to do the things they do.

Edit: Giving more distance based spells to everyone would up the terror factor, for sure. And I don't mean 'one room over'. If a Krathi could send a little homing missile that would look for someone within X room distance (even if it dealt very little damage), everyone would shit their pants I think. We get into trouble there with all sorts of balance issues though. I don't think echoing 'a sudden vision of blah blah blah' is a good idea, due to that being a nice trick of the ye olde Jedis that we don't want to take away.

The7DeadlyVenomz

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2019, 07:09:44 PM »
Code: [Select]
A Viv working magick around you might dehydrate you and suck the water from your waterskins.
A Krathi working magick around you might scorch your clothes, or catch them on fire.
A Rukkian working magick around you might cause you to sneeze dirt or be blinded by dust.
A Whiran working magick around you might knock you off your feet because of sudden gusts of wind, or blow something you're holding off in a direction.

I've always liked the idea of being around magick potentially being a coded detriment for mundanes. It's not something the magickers would try to do - it's something that would just happen around them when they cast spells that they couldn't help. Perhaps they could protect a few companions from these effects, but for the most part, just being around a casting mage would be scary code-wise for mundanes.

Code: [Select]
A Viv might curse you to always be thirsty for x IG hours.
A Krathi might curse you with a weak bloodburn.
A Rukkian might curse you to move slow for x IG hours.
A Whiran might curse you to be unable to listen for x IG hours.

I've always loved the idea of curses being a real thing, with overlapping curses between classes that made figuring out what sort of mage had cursed you hard or impossible. There wouldn't be a message telling you who had cursed you. You would just start experiencing these detrimental effects, and you would have to beg a magicker to uncurse you before the timer ran out. You wouldn't want these curses to be unplayable effects, just hindrances that just made the idea of being around a magicker unpopular.

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Heade

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2019, 08:37:50 PM »
The following reply was from another thread, but I think it's applicable to this one:

Let me give you a better example.

You're a Person. It's real life. You've done a little hunting before, and are out in the plains, hunting with your small calibre rifle on your motorbike it's a sunny day, and everything seems fine, even if the woods are a -little- quieter than usual. Suddenly, you hear a growl and turn, and there before you is a fully grown, snarling Lion,  standing on two feet, with a pair of fucking plasma firing AK-47's in his hands with opposable thumbs and itchy trigger fingers. Your buddy you've been hunting with guns his motorbike away firing a round at the obviously magical lion you've discovered yelling at you to run.

You gonna stand your ground and try and take it down with your .22 rifle, or get the fuck out of the way of the plasma firing AK wielding Lion? Because, I know what I'm doing, I'm running as far away from the motherfucker with the AK's, because if the lion can appear like that in the open, holding AK's like Rambo that shoot fucking lasers, I don't want to be anywhere near it.

Because that essentially what you should be picturing whenever your scenario occurs.



Apologies if I rambled, Its late, I had a long day, and I'm trying to cut chocolate and some other shit from my diet.

I don't think this is a valid comparison. IRL, we "know" magic to be mythical, so seeing something like that, that challenged our idea of reality is a completely different thing than seeing a magicker in Zalanthas.

In Zalanthas, magick exists, and everyone knows it. Sure, it's supposed to be rare and mysterious, but it really isn't all that rare. And if you're playing a character that is in a position where they're forced to amiably deal with magickers on a regular basis(such as certain Militia positions), there is only so far you can go with the whole "magick is scary" thing before you can't ICly justify it as really being that scary any more.

The lack of rarity is making magick mainstream in Armageddon. Mainstream things aren't that scary, unless it can actually hurt you.

I understand that having a completely dynamic magick system isn't something that's possible with our current system. So, we currently have a static system that is meant to represent a dynamic "reality" IC.

Maybe we could let magick subguilds "custom craft" a spell effect or two within their given element over the lifetime of a magicker. This would allow them to better represent the fact that magick, in the gameworld, is a dynamic thing, and not static. It'd be supported by the code, and would work to ensure that each individual magicker holds some wonder and mystery, where people don't necessarily know the full extent of their capabilities.

I'd also like to discuss ways to make magickers more rare in general. It's really tiring playing a mundane in a position where you learn who many of the secret magickers are, and it ends up being just about EVERYONE of any note.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 08:39:43 PM by Heade »
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MeTekillot

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2019, 09:44:25 PM »
Add magick spells that permanently debilitate instead of just giving you temporary debuffs. Nothing really scratches someone's fear like the possibility of permanent disability. Seeing something you used to be able to permanently affected for the worse? That's true fear.

On the same token, let people become permanently more formidable as a result of magick, with magick being the only counter to remove said strength.
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ABoredLion

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2019, 10:01:21 PM »
I definitely wouldn't recommend random effects on people surrounding them at this point. Most of the effects you pointed out are actually already covered in the more dangerous and involved things that some magickers do. Whether or not they hit allies is super dependent on the thing in question, let me tell you what, heh.

That aside, my point (and the point of this thread) isn't to give people more reason to kill magickers. It's to give them a reason to fear them, and I think little curses might have some merit if they affect people from a distance, but do I want random curses and effects just slung around? No. I don't really think that's accurate to how hard it is to utilize magick to an effective degree in the game world and the effects of mana.

Contrary to what everyone is saying, I haven't seen some massive wealth of magickers everywhere, constantly involved in everything. As someone who has wandered around and known a lot of people, while there was the occasional magicker cropping up, I didn't see literally 'all' or even half the most powerful well known people turn out to be magickers. I'd be curious to see how statistics would back that up, or deny it, but I think addressing these issues is a derailment of the thread.

In a world where you're constantly dealing with magickers on many levels (of power) and they're supposed to be something scary for a variety of reasons, you need a reason for that. Not that they might accidentally do something to you. That they might intentionally do something to you. If it's only ever that random, no-name commoners with no power or influence or skill that are scared of magickers, then of course we've got this problem. By this logic, every bynner doesn't need to fear them with a little training.

The only way to still inflict the fear in these types to the degree recommended (where violence isn't a go to, or even ready made back up option) is to make them codedly incapable of committing that in a way that is easy.

Permanent disabilities due to being hit with certain spells or effects could be an interesting way of dealing with this, to some degree though, dependingly. Or something similar. Having a way to grow stronger due to magick as well that could be permanent might be good.

Brytta Léofa

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2019, 10:06:56 PM »
+1 to everybody upping their roleplay and thinking beyond the code.
+1 to everybody who plays a spooky character, wiggly or not.
+1 to giving mages additional avenues for harming with you on the sly.
+1 to giving mages ways to cause lasting harm without killing you.

Y'know,
+1 to giving mundanes ways to cause lasting harm without killing you, too.
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Lizzie

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2019, 10:10:30 PM »
I've tried to RP fear of mages, or rather, fear of magicks (and by extension, people who can wield them). I've tried leading by example in public places. I was met with the overall attitude that my fears were unfounded because no one they know, has ever told them about anyone THEY know, who was ACTUALLY cursed in any way shape or form by any mages - and therefore - it's just a myth and my character is an idiot for believing it.

It makes me pretty sad, and annoyed, and frustrated, because I'm TRYING to roleplay according to the docs and get counterpointed by the actuality of the present IC game environment, and there's really no defense against that.
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RogueGunslinger

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2019, 10:43:04 PM »
+1 to everybody upping their roleplay and thinking beyond the code.
+1 to everybody who plays a spooky character, wiggly or not.
+1 to giving mages additional avenues for harming with you on the sly.
+1 to giving mages ways to cause lasting harm without killing you.

Y'know,
+1 to giving mundanes ways to cause lasting harm without killing you, too.

Hell yeah.

Jihelu

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Re: Magickal Spook Factor
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2019, 11:02:51 PM »
I've tried to RP fear of mages, or rather, fear of magicks (and by extension, people who can wield them). I've tried leading by example in public places. I was met with the overall attitude that my fears were unfounded because no one they know, has ever told them about anyone THEY know, who was ACTUALLY cursed in any way shape or form by any mages - and therefore - it's just a myth and my character is an idiot for believing it.

It makes me pretty sad, and annoyed, and frustrated, because I'm TRYING to roleplay according to the docs and get counterpointed by the actuality of the present IC game environment, and there's really no defense against that.
I've seen this kind of thing happen.
It hurts my heart.