Magic System Toolbox
So, Evil Hat released a preview of the Magic System Toolkit yesterday and people went crazy. I don’t mean burn peoples house down kind of crazy, but dropping everything they were doing and reading this like a madman...madwomn...madperson? kind of crazy.
A lot of people (me included) have been looking forward to this, in hopes of seeing what kind of magic systems could be used with Fate Core. Yes, you could always break down the Dresden Files, but the magic system in that game can be a bit confusing for some people and I have not really heard of people going that route all that often.
I know I wasn’t.
I had been planning on using magic as a skill for a long time now. So, when I read the toolkit yesterday and saw that a lot of my ideas were almost identical to the ones that Rob made…well I was both vindicated and irritated. Vindicated cuz it is nice to know that I am thinking along the same lines as the creators of the game. Irritated cuz I had thought I was being original in my thoughts and now I am wondering if I need to twist them around again.
I do have an issue with feeling like I need to make something original. I am aware of the trappings of that, but after years of creating mechanics to only find out that someone had already done them…it is something that bothers me. Yes, I know…I need to let it go and move on. Just find what works and there will always be something you can tweak to make it your own.
I do think a lot of people are complaining about what is not in it. Which is ridiculous since (a) it was only a preview, and (b) it is designed to only help you, not do everything for you. Suck it up people and stop whining.
Last night’s playtest
So, a few people got online last night via hangout and gave the system a test drive.
The magic system was the stormcaller example they gave in the toolkit. The idea is that there are 5 great storms that are constant and our players could tap into those storms with a specific element. My character could call forth lightning and the other three could use earthquake, glacier, and inferno. So, with this magic system you have to choose stormcalling as a skill and you use it do all kinds of things. Set up barriers, attacks, maneuvers, etc.
We were failed government experiments that escaped and were out to find the truth.
My character was Derek Storm (yes, I stole the name from Castle)
Thunder is my name
My ex wants me to die
Shoot first ask questions later
I will clear my name
Walks in the shadows
So, we ended up casing a place that had the information. I snuck in and managed to get lost. The others sat outside and thought of was to get into the building. Ideas were: setting it on fire, calling the cops and then beating them up and taking their uniforms, charging in. They eventually set a dumpster on file and paid a fate point stating they had already procured firemen suits.
So we fought out way to the vault where information was supposed to be. All kinds of elemental stuff happening. The fire guy kept...well setting things on fire. Ice guy used ice to put up a barrier (which trapped me on the wrong side of it with 9 guys and “my ex that wants me to die.”. Earth guy did some cool thing with reaching into the building and opening up walls and such.
We got shot a bit, and I eventually killed my ex...or did I?. She had it coming, so leave me alone. The last thing I did was punch a large hole in the wall and then used air to jump across to another building.
All in all, we had a good time. The system flows much quicker than DFRPG does (which as much as I love the game is a great thing). There is a lot to tweak about it…but that is part of the fun.
The one piece of advice I have is that you may want to stop before you run the game and get a clear definition of what you want the magic to do. Not because it is hard to figure out or anything, but mostly so you are prepared for the questions that are likely to come.
To me the barrier thing kind of got confused with how blocks used to work in previous Fate games. I like the block option, since it handles differently than someone having to get past an obstacle to be able to move. But that is just me.
This kind of thing will probably be a non-issue once you have played with it a few times.
Saying that, the barriers are damn cool and a lot of fun to handle in the game. The great thing about Fate is getting to say how you want the scene to go, and adding that to the game makes storytelling that much more fun.
Overall, we had a great time and I am excited about running my own session of this.