Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Post
  • Reply
ConfusedUs
Feb 24, 2004

Bees?
You want fucking bees?
Here you go!
ROLL INITIATIVE!!


I love when magic and tech mix.

I don’t care if it’s wizards with computers or stereotypical “any sufficiently advanced tech...” stuff.

Gimme more poo poo like Pern’s “dudes riding dragons with flamethrowers on their backs” and the Coldfire Trilogy’s long lost Earth artifacts. Inject the Obelisks from The Fifth Season straight into my veins. Burn everything about Lord of Light straight into my retinas.

Talk magitech to me.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Hodgepodge
Jan 29, 2006


One of the original colonists who are effectively gods in Lord of Light is a Christian guy who went off in a huff and raised an army of the dead due to the whole "let's become literal false gods" thing not really being compatible with his religion.

Hodgepodge
Jan 29, 2006


40k might be the lowest hanging fruit here, but Dark Heresy is the very best of the setting and is great at technomagic imagery. The Malatek Stalker (a playable advance package):

quote:

The chosen assassin and favoured agent of the outlawed and malign Phaenonite faction of the Inquisition, the Maletek Stalker is a living fusion of murderous skill, profane technology and the power of the warp. These dark weapons given form are nightmarish shadows that serve only the Phaenonite cause, sowing terror and death among the faction’s enemies, and by their very diabolic nature epitomise the horror and malice of the Phaenonite doctrine.

Maletek Stalkers are built rather than made. First, the Phaenonites select a trained killer of consummate ability from the ranks of their tried and tested servants. This candidate must also be of considerable mental and physical fortitude to stand a chance of surviving the process, and the Phaenonites have long known that a body and soul that has already felt the touch of Chaos is likely to yield the best results. The candidate is then taken by the sect’s Dark Magos and hereteks and subjected to a series of nightmarish occult rituals and a grueling series of cybernetic and bionic implants. Not all those chosen survive the heretek’s attentions, but those that do are profoundly transformed, their killing powers drastically augmented and possessed of a daemon’s taste for slaughter.

The Stalker’s augmetics are twisted mockeries of those gifted to the Machine Cult’s priesthood, attuned and powered by the malefic energies of the warp, which suffuse the Stalker’s body with unnatural vigour. These systems react more like flesh than metal, and thanks to the malign power that courses through them can even heal when damaged, and have been seen to scar and weep steaming blood, and may even ‘evolve’ as time progresses to better reflect the dark soul within. The most potent and terrible effect of the Stalker’s maletek implants, however, is to allow the assassin to feed on the lives taken to bolster his own, ultimately acquiring an unnatural hunger for murder even the Phaenonites find hard to control.

Hodgepodge
Jan 29, 2006


From Lord of Light:

quote:

Taraka of the Rakasha was uneasy. Flitting above the clouds that moved through the middle of the day, he thought upon the ways of power. He had once been mightiest. In the days before the binding there had been none who could stand against him. Then Siddhartha the Binder had come. He had known of him earlier, known of him as Kalkin and had known him to be strong. Sooner or later, he had realized, they would have to meet, that he might test the power of that Attribute which Kalkin was said to have raised up. When they had come together, on that mighty, gone day when the mountaintops had flared with their fury, on that day the Binder had won. And in their second encounter, ages afterward, he had somehow beaten him even more fully. But he had been the only one, and now he was gone from out the world. Of all creatures, only the Binder had bested the Lord of Hellwell. Then the gods had come to challenge his power. They had been puny in the early days, struggling to discipline their mutant powers with drugs, hypnosis, meditation, neurosurgery — forging them into Attributes — and across the ages, those powers had grown. Four of them had entered Hellwell, only four, and his legions had not been able to repel them. The one called Shiva was strong, but the Binder had later slain him. This was as it should be, for Taraka recognized the Binder as a peer.

habituallyred
Feb 6, 2015


The Empire of the East trilogy. Terrible books with plots and characters that manage to rip off Star Wars and Lord of the Rings at the same time. But the setting is perfect for magitech. The best example is the fallout bunker in the second book. Drone medivac helicopters return anybody wearing a special collar to a pool full of life essence.

ConfusedUs
Feb 24, 2004

Bees?
You want fucking bees?
Here you go!
ROLL INITIATIVE!!


Hodgepodge posted:

From Lord of Light:

I love Lord of Light. I bounced off it hard as a kid, but I was young and stupid.

Musluk
May 23, 2011




Lipstick Apathy

*tenderly whispers 'magicite' into the $3k microphone*



How about Numenera? I think it kinda flopped post kickstarter launch but I'm not sure. Basically it's earth a billion years in the future, the society collapsed about 8 times and everywhere is full of ancient nanotech, which the locals use/revere as magic.

Since the tech is unreliable, it allows some mysticism that's missing from most vancian magic type of roleplaying games.

ConfusedUs
Feb 24, 2004

Bees?
You want fucking bees?
Here you go!
ROLL INITIATIVE!!


Musluk posted:

*tenderly whispers 'magicite' into the $3k microphone*



How about Numenera? I think it kinda flopped post kickstarter launch but I'm not sure. Basically it's earth a billion years in the future, the society collapsed about 8 times and everywhere is full of ancient nanotech, which the locals use/revere as magic.

Since the tech is unreliable, it allows some mysticism that's missing from most vancian magic type of roleplaying games.

I never got to play Numenara sadly. I did pick up the new torment game based on the setting but god drat was the performance terrible on my PS4.

It’s literally the only game I have ever stopped playing because the port was so bad.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




Rise of Legends!




Rise Of Legends!!





RISE OF LEGENDS!!!


Barudak
May 7, 2007



Numenara the tabletop game suffers from the magitech feeling really boring or too vague to be useable, along with a terrible terrible combat resolution system. Numenara the videogame suffers from being overloaded with jargon that seems magical and mystical but functions pretty boring and mundanely, along with a terrible combat resolution system.

I also had to look up a strategy guide to figure out where I could sleep in the game, which revealed the inn was an insane system mastery trap which is just so loving monte cook it hurts.

Error 404
Jul 17, 2009


MAGE CURES PLOT

Barudak posted:

monte cook

Oh yeah, wasnt this whole tabletop game basically a d&d 3.0/3.5 homebrew because that's literally the only system Cook knows?

Hodgepodge
Jan 29, 2006


Another great thing about Lord of Light is that the main character's ideology is Accelerationism.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Error 404 posted:

Oh yeah, wasnt this whole tabletop game basically a d&d 3.0/3.5 homebrew because that's literally the only system Cook knows?

I will give Numenara credit, its not a pure homebrew since there are quite a lot of unique things bolted onto the chassis of 3.5. as well as under the hood quite a few fundamental changes like how casting and health works. The issue is all the unique stuff is terrible

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




Barudak posted:

I will give Numenara credit, its not a pure homebrew since there are quite a lot of unique things bolted onto the chassis of 3.5. as well as under the hood quite a few fundamental changes like how casting and health works. The issue is all the unique stuff is terrible

Ah the ol, "it's not lazy but it should have been" problem

Error 404
Jul 17, 2009


MAGE CURES PLOT

Barudak posted:

I will give Numenara credit, its not a pure homebrew since there are quite a lot of unique things bolted onto the chassis of 3.5. as well as under the hood quite a few fundamental changes like how casting and health works. The issue is all the unique stuff is terrible

Yeah, thats kind of a Monte Cook trademark.

Its D&D, which is bad, except where he tries to do something different, then its worse.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



The number of enemy descriptions in Numenara that are "monster does weird thing" followed by "there is no explanation, the monster cannot be talked to, cannot be mind read, will leave no evidence when it dies, and always fights to the death" is staggering. This is only slightly offset by the piles of mystical artifacts that get purple prose about being compressed dreams from a dead world from the future and then end up being just Sword+1.

There are a couple of neat things in the setting but they feel like accidents.

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



Yeah I both tried the new Torment game and picked up some cheap pdfs for Numenera when it was on HumbleBundle and while it's an intriguing concept with beautiful concept art, it doesn't seem to translate well to an actual game in either case.

----------

Which is a shame because it's all just an attempt to bring D&D aesthetic back full circle to Jack Vance's Dying Earth series, which was foundational to tabletop RPGs (the entire spell slot system is ripped from there) and definitely one of the ur-examples of Magitech in sci-fi/fantasy:



What's most interesting is that the original novel is a collected bunch of short stories published around 1950 (e.g: it technically predates The Lord of the Rings), yet the original definitely walks the line between sci-fi/fantasy the best. The subsequent three books are varying degrees of good and enjoyable, but lean much harder on the technology being inscrutable aesthetically and mechanically from "traditional" swords n' sorcery fantasy:

The first book however, is much much easier to parse as a ruined sci-fi world where all of the inhabitants just accept most technology as magic. I first read it in 2010 and it was shocking how easy it was to parse things like a wizard's pocket dimension as an interplanetary terrarium without any real major leaps in inference:



One of the later stories in the first book involves a gigantic nanomachine computer avatar mashed up with a mass psychological delusion that leaves a bunch of medieval-level peasants unable to parse anyone wearing certain colors, and it somehow works.



It's a short read and definitely one of the places to start if you like your sci-fi/fantasy blended smooth, and have a fondness/tolerance for the purplest goddamn prose you've ever read.

Musluk
May 23, 2011




Lipstick Apathy

Barudak posted:

I will give Numenara credit, its not a pure homebrew since there are quite a lot of unique things bolted onto the chassis of 3.5. as well as under the hood quite a few fundamental changes like how casting and health works. The issue is all the unique stuff is terrible



Welp, that's a shame.

grate deceiver
Jul 10, 2009


Lord of Light owns.

Creatures of Light and Darkness has a similar vibe and is also very good.

ConfusedUs
Feb 24, 2004

Bees?
You want fucking bees?
Here you go!
ROLL INITIATIVE!!


Welp, gonna buy me some Vance.

Feldegast42
Oct 29, 2011



Can't have a Magitech thread without one of the classics











Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



ConfusedUs posted:

Welp, gonna buy me some Vance.
Definitely pick up the collected edition of the 4 Dying Earth novels. The first novel "The Dying Earth" is the best one for Magitech, but the second "Eyes of the Overworld" is a really great read about the prototypical Chaotic Neutral "gently caress everything" (in both senses of the word) Rogue/Bard.



Like the first novel it was originally a bunch of short vignettes stapled together for publishing, only this one follows the same character--Cugel-- as he goes from misadventure to misadventure. He starts by trying to steal from a Wizard (e.g: one of the few people on Earth's final days to master a reasonable amount of the dead technology everywhere, thus capable of "magic"), and is thus conscripted by the Wizard to go on a fetch quest a full continent away and make his way back to said Wizard.



Cugel is arrogant, vain, greedy, cruel, horny, idiotic, and an absolute delight to follow. He gets his stupid rear end in deep trouble every single place he goes and it's a very fun read to watch him fall for obvious traps, get himself caught, and then barely escape by the skin of his teeth again and again and again, sometimes failing upward but usually being lucky to break even.

Gygax himself cited Cugel as a key influence on forming the Thief archetype in early D&D in a 2001 essay, although like everything with Gygax that sort-of thing is under more scrutiny now that most of the involved parties are dead and thus no longer competing for credit. Either way Vance and Cugel were very obviously influential on D&D no matter who specifically integrated their features-- as was said before the Spell Slot system is ripped wholesale from "The Dying Earth" where it's made implicitly clear that "magic" are really voice-activated commands for ambient/wearable technology in ancient dead languages that are sounded out phonetically, thus even a great Wizard can only recall a handful at any given time and even a slight mispronunciation can cause horrible unintended effects. That whole "mispronounce a spell and poo poo goes wrong" comes into play at the end of "Eyes of the Overworld" btw, and it's one of the funniest last chapters to a book I've ever read. To this day there are still a few magic items/spells that are direct lifts from The Dying Earth in 5e D&D-- the spell "Prismatic Spray" and the magic items "Ioun Stones"-- so it's really weird just how forgotten/underappreciated Vance's work is.

--------


After "Eyes of the Overworld" comes "Cugel's Saga" which was written some 15 or some odd years after "Eyes" and while it's technically more of the same, you can feel the long structure cause the story to drag a lot. It also gives Cugel a happy ending of sorts which he really does not deserve. There are some genuine highlights, but I would just read until you get bored, skim until it grabs your interest, and only read those bits.



Last comes "Rhialto the Marvellous," which is largely unrelated to the prior books and focuses mostly on a group of Wizards discussing the Ioun Stones and other artifacts of the literally dying Earth. It's still got a lot of Vance's trademark charms-- arrogant men being arrogant idiots and getting what they deserve, charming worldbuilding, crazy purple prose that uses a bevy of words you've never heard before or since-- but it's an air truffle of a thing and doesn't really build on the world or the Magitech aspect in any terribly interesting ways. I would recommend it, but only if you truly loved The Dying Earth up to this point and have to have more.

----------

There are other collections out there by my understanding, of fan-fiction set in Vance's Dying Earth world, but I can't speak to their quality. It's one of those things I've always meant to check out but never got around to.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply