Saturday, June 4, 2016

Wizards & Wastelands - Thoughts on Power Level

The next step in sorting out this setting is making templates. Since this is a post-apocalyptic setting at its core, it makes sense to begin with After the End and work from there. Since there is a good dose of Monster Hunters, I’ll be borrowing from there as well.

Looking at the first chapter of GURPS After the End – Wastelanders, I see the first decision I need to make is the power level. Obviously, I can do what the book does and start with a low-level template and add lenses to build it up to a suitable power level. But rather than just copy the book, I’m going to aim for a certain power level out of the gate. This should give a more tailored feel that does what it’s supposed to straight out.

Wizards and Wastelands is not a high-powered setting. Survival in the wastelands and operating near the Nazi strongholds should be difficult. It should be an accomplishment for the players when things go smoothly. Setting the power level too high will trivialize this, so I’m going to aim for a power level of 150 character points, like in Wastelanders. Once this initial write up is finished, I’ll go back and reassess this decision and adjust accordingly. Even after revision, I am currently anticipating no more than 200 points per template and really aiming for 150. Players should have a real chance of failure at tasks, and they won't need too broad of capability outside of basic survival. I think this will suffice.

It's worth noting, though, that ritual path magic is an expensive magic system. I suspect that typical starting wastelanders won't be able to afford Ritual Adept. This will constrain them to working magic slowly and relying on more mundane skills in the heat of the moment. This will should promote forethought and planning, neither of which particularly contradicts many depictions of wizards, so I'm okay with this. Moreover, it promotes the idea of the wizened type who just knows things. Similarly, I will probably pull in Divine Favor for some sort of faith-based wastelander, and while that's not as pricey as RPM for its effects, its reliability is somewhat lower. Again, I think this is doable on 150 points, though it will be tight. One Monster Hunters archetype that might not be possible are inhumans. These, like mutants, will probably have to be reserved for higher point-total games, though I'll see if I can't dilute some of them down a bit. Maybe I can pull off sometime more akin to DF racial lenses.

Next time, I’ll consider what niches are appropriate for adventures. While Wastelanders covers the standard post-apocalyptic fare, this is where I already know I’ll need to expand options. I will need niches that cover various supernatural aspects of the world.

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