Episode 79: Council of Guilds and Disgustingly Rich People

This month, Mike and Roger get into character, and look at the differences between Fantasyland and mediaeval Europe.

We mentioned: Tékumel at the Bundle of Holding (until 1 July), Hall of Blue Illumination, Paranoia 2016 at the Bundle of Holding, Mongoose Publishing (who now seem to be producing mostly Traveller stuff), Notes for a new Vampire game, Stuart MacBride’s Oldcastle novels, Whartson Hall, Przemysław Cypryański playing my Vampire character, Sufficiently Advanced, Farflung, Twenty Palaces by Harry Connolly, Ars Magica, The Time Traveller’s Guide to Mediaeval England, and Cthulhu Confidential.

It was, apparently, Armand Emmanuel de Plessis, Duc de Richlieu who said to his wife when he found her in bed with her lover: “Madame you must really be more careful. What if somebody else had found you like this?”

Here’s our tip jar.

(We do get free access to the Bundle of Holding contents, but this happens whether or not we plug them.)

Music by Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com.

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I respectfully request that Mike doesn’t do TOO quiet a character voice in my Vampire game, unless he wants most of my GM utterances to be “What? Could you please repeat that?” :grinning:

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Roughly twenty five minutes in and I’m starting to think that Roger is subtly running Michael through a Voight-Kampff test.

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Did I pass?

(Turtles, turtles, turtles all the way down… But right side up so that doesn’t count.)

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…sure. Sure, of course you did. Nothing to worry about here.

(sidles away nervously)

Oh good, a new one to listen to.

Mongoose are doing less of higher quality and price for Traveller, and just announced the Sea of Thieves RPG
The Traveller stuff is lovely but expensive.
It’s also their house game of choice so they grok it.

I am a valued listener again!

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In terms of characterising magic-users, I agree that the way they see the world is an important cue.

One point to consider is whether it differs from non-mages. Is it a setting where everyone is aware of magic, spirits etc., but only a few learn to use magic? Do spellcasters have senses that other people simply don’t? Is their entire understanding of reality fundamentally different?

You talked a bit about what spellcasters pay attention to, such as the effort of spellcasting or nearby spirits. I think we can expand on this too, along the same lines as a skilled soldier being instinctively alert to surroundings, lines of fire, whether other people seemed to be armed, routes of escape and so on. So we might instinctively note the presence or absence of iron (blocks magic), amber jewellery (stores mana, probably a mage), or wand-shaped bulges in the sleeve. That beggar’s gait is the smooth glide of one used to floor-length robes. This dancing partner has the precise footwork of someone very accustomed to stepping around magic circles without breaking them.

Sources of ‘fuel’ are another thing you might instinctively pay attention to. Fatigue-based mages might, like Pratchett’s wizards, want heavy diets to fuel regular casting. Classic D&D wizards should never pass up the opportunity to scavenge rare components, browse a market or herbalist, or gather components during a journey - and they’d likely have a practiced eye and hoarding tendencies as a result. Spirit-wranglers might consider the local spirits’ reaction to everything they do, potentially having odd habits as a result to keep everyone on side.

Wizards who have to scribe intricate diagrams probably have hobbies like knitting to improve their dexterity, the way surgeons do. Someone used to entreating spirits for aid might be really diplomatic, with a keen sense of everyone’s interests in a situation and how they can be traded off. A devil-binder might instinctively keep up a front of implacable confidence, because you have to make them think you’ve got the upper hand - or be very superstitious and over-cautious in everyday things due to the risks they constantly run.

Sorry, that got very long :frowning: