Mechanics – Making Magic

Now that we’ve given you a basic explanation of the setting, it’s time to get to know the game mechanically. Because “Mod” is short for “Modular”, we’ll start with the game’s magic system, a modular system that lets you assemble your own spells on the fly.

Instead of creating a list of spells for players to choose from, we’ve instead created smaller pieces, Magic Parameters. They’re little things like “Range +1m” or “+1 Damage” or “Push 3m down”, which a player can freely mix and match. The number and value of the parameters dictates how difficult the skill roll is, and magic is a skill like any other. It also dictates the spell’s mana cost, which limits how many spells a person can cast without setting a limit on the spells themselves. On the player’s end, a system like this leaves a lot of room for strategic improvisation, for the exactly-perfect spell for the situation, and also leaves the players free to determine the spell’s flavor elements, like names and visuals, for themselves. On our end, smaller pieces are easier to balance and create, so we don’t have a need to populate a huge list of unique effects and make sure everything balances properly.

Have you ever taken a spell you never wanted to use just to fill out your spell list? Here, there’s no need to even make a spell list – you can create the spells you want as you need them, and you only need to set them in stone if you want a specialty. Any spell you use is the best spell you can use for the job.

Here’s some examples, pulled from the classic Mod elemental system. In City Limits, the Manifestation Control and Daemon skills take the place of the elemental magic, and each has unique mechanics we’ll be learning more about later. For now, though, I’m a classic Water Witch looking to shove someone to the ground and hold them there in a cloud of dark blue with the power of the deep seas.

Crushing Pressure
10 (Base difficulty)
Push Down 1m (+4)
Bind (+3)
Total skill roll required: 17
Mana cost: 7

Or, as I usually put it in my spellbooks (and how it’ll read on the spellsheets we’re putting in the books):

Crushing Pressure (7)
Water 17
Push Down 1m
Add Bind

Now, let’s say I’m fighting someone in an elevator and trying to escape. Pushing down may not work, but pushing away might! In which case, I can freely modify the spell.

Breaker Jet (5)
Water 15
Push Away 1m
Add Bind

Ideally, this will shove them out of the elevator and hold them there while the doors close. Good save, me! Another encounter in which I am the hero. This, incidentally, is how I play Mod; using the system’s flexibility to strategize and control encounters on the fly. Here’s one Dustin might make;

Flurry(9)
Wind 19
Finesse Weapons +2
Haste

And here’s one Kersten might make:

Hammerfall (8)
Lightning 18
+16 Damage

What would you do if you could tailor your spellbook to your play style?

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

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