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Looking for a rpg with a robust magic system

Oct 15, 2020 4:40 am
Ok I am working on a campaign that all the players are mages. I would like a game that is not rules heavy but the magic system is fairly comprehensive.

Some I am looking at

Ars magica but seems to rules heavy and setting specific

Genesys might be good but know nothing about it.

D6 fantasy seem a possible choice but would require a lot of work crafting spells as it is more a toolbox than a comprehensive system.
Oct 15, 2020 5:20 am
World of Darkness: Mage the Ascension or Mage the Awakening is definitely right up that alley. WoD is rules-light with lots of lore. Check it out!
Oct 15, 2020 6:56 am
I agree with Azerin. Check out WoD Mage. I have played it a few times, would play again :)
Oct 15, 2020 8:12 am
It depends on what you want for a magic system.

I tend to have a favor Ars Magica's Verbs and Domains, while simplifying it, because i'm not willing to play researchers in magic fields.

WoD's Mage is cool too, but I won't call it simple, it asks for a lot of abstraction.

In Fate, especially in the toolkit, there are a few magic system described , and they're good too, one of them is a declination of Ars Magica's by the way.

A game in french has a very good system too. "La Brigade Chimérique". It's more designed to run superpowers, but depending on what you want to do with your magic, it does wonder. I used that system before, and it is as simple as efficient.

Finally, if you want to test something turnkey, i would suggest you have a look at Maze Rats.
Last edited October 15, 2020 10:03 am, a total of 2 times
Oct 15, 2020 9:54 am
Totally forgot about FATE, Delio
Oct 15, 2020 1:07 pm
What exactly are you looking for in your magic system, what do you want it to accomplish? What kind of game are you planning on running? Will your campaign affect what sort of magic flavor you need?

I could suggest a bunch of systems, but not knowing anything about the game you're planning on running, most of them might not be what you're looking for...
Oct 16, 2020 2:39 am
It is a mage academy style game, where the magic is controlled by nobility (as magic runs in families and those with magic have become essentially nobility). So the players will be in the academy so they will be learning their magical abilities while also facing political and social problems as well as danger from other sources.
Oct 16, 2020 2:59 am
I'm going to go with Ars Magica on this one. The game is pretty straight forward, but unfortunately, the writing in the book is really dry. It's a drag to read and makes the game feel very cumbersome, but the mechanics are very similar to World of Darkness games from the early 90's.
Oct 16, 2020 4:09 am
How dependent is the Ard Magica and Mage to its setting as I am going to be fantasy setting for the game. I won't be using their settings so will it make much of a difference. From what I remember of the games they are fairly closely tied to their lore.
Oct 16, 2020 4:29 am
I've run Mage in a past setting (renaissance Russia), and it works just fine. There is a lot of brilliantcosmology built into the game setting, but the system itself is robust. My wife used the base Storyteller system that underpins the World of Darkness to run a campaign based on David Eddings' Belgariad with little issue.
Oct 16, 2020 5:48 pm
To be honest, I'm not sure @Viking1031. It's a good question. Ars Magica treats European history and all its fairy tales and myths as literal truth (angels really do protect churches, fairies cause mischief where they can, demons are actively trying to possess/corrupt people, and so on...), so it's more or less fantasy already. Depending on where you were to go with that, I'm not sure it would be much of a stretch to re-create in a homebrewed setting.
Oct 16, 2020 6:12 pm
GURPS could work well. It has a college-based magic system with some spells overlapping in two or more college of magics. This might allow for your players to specialize in a certain type or style of magic. Plus, you also have social advantages you can give your players to simulate nobility.

The downside is that, well it's generic and universal and as such, might feel a bit dry for what you're trying to accomplish. Also, getting familiar with the flowchart of which spell is required as a prerequisite for what other spell can be a bit of a chore to familiarize yourself with. I know I've often shied away from playing mages in GURPS precisely because of that... Also, to make workable mage, you might feel you'll need more than the standard 100 points array, though a possible work around for all those problems is to simply make your players all "Johnny-one-spell"...
Oct 16, 2020 6:57 pm
Viking1031 says:
It is a mage academy style game, where the magic is controlled by nobility (as magic runs in families and those with magic have become essentially nobility). So the players will be in the academy so they will be learning their magical abilities while also facing political and social problems as well as danger from other sources.
I'm gonna chime in to tout the Genesys RPG here.

It's magic system is very open/flexible and getting more and more robust as more official and community made content is released.

The type of game you describe sounds ideal for Genesys.
Last edited October 16, 2020 6:58 pm, a total of 1 time
Oct 16, 2020 7:40 pm
I'm unfamilier with the magic system in Genesys @emsquared. Where could I learn more?
Oct 17, 2020 5:44 am
Fantasy Flight Games was the company that made Genesys, it's a good game and here is the link to their page:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/6/Fantasy-Flight-Games?src=browse6
Oct 17, 2020 1:41 pm
runekyndig says:
I'm unfamilier with the magic system in Genesys @emsquared. Where could I learn more?
rune, Genesys is basically the same system as the FFG Star Wars rpg, with the Star Wars scrubbed off. But the magic system is one thing that is completely different over what the Force was.

They did away with "Force dice", and made the magic system completely skill-based like everything else. Broadly, at a glance, you have a base set of general "spells" similar to the basic Force Powers but even more general (Attack, Conjure, Augment, Heal, etc.), and adding things like Range, or number of targets, or effects (like Qualities like Pierce and Burn and things), etc. add Difficulty die to the base spell casting check Difficulty.

As for where to learn about it... aside from the core rulebook, there are some community made supplements out there that you might be able to glean bits from on the official forums.
Last edited October 17, 2020 1:42 pm, a total of 1 time
Oct 18, 2020 5:39 pm
Someone had mentioned GURPS in an earlier post, which I definitely second. The GURPS Thaumatology supplement contains several optional systems for running magic. You can do Vancian magic, rituals, magical powers, syntactic magic, and ways for adapting real world occult concepts into a game. The problem is that GURPS is a fairly crunchy system, at least I think it is. But GURPS Thaumatology, combined with GURPS Magic, let your model almost any magical style you can imagine.
Last edited October 18, 2020 5:40 pm, a total of 2 times
Oct 20, 2020 4:03 pm
Thanks for the input.
Right now I am thinking Genesys as it also has a good social interaction rules.

I am going to check Mage and Ars Magica out further still.

Anyway whoever uses Genesys, I have to look but are the dice identical to the Star Wars game (as the SW dice are supported here.)
Oct 20, 2020 4:29 pm
Yeah, the Genesys dice are the same, just with more generic logos, so you can easily convert the results.
Oct 20, 2020 5:01 pm
Viking1031 says:
Anyway whoever uses Genesys, I have to look but are the dice identical to the Star Wars game (as the SW dice are supported here.)
You can use the built in swrpg dice roller here for Genesys, yes. No conversation necessary.

The dice are mechanically identical they just have different symbols, the mechanical balance and symbol placement on the dice are identical.

So if you know how to "read" the star wars dice, you know how to read Genesys dice. And you can use the star wars dice roller here for Genesys.

You just won't ever use the white/Force die.

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