Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sorcery: Dancing Object

Like this.
It's a popular trope in movies with magic to make servants out of objects. Like Merlin in The Sword in the Stone, or the Sorcerer in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Dancing Object is the ability to make a normally inanimate object able to do one repetitive task for one hour. Let's put together a spell to emulate this spell from GURPS: Magic, p. 144

So first off, we need to consider what an inanimate object can do, and what it can't do by itself. From the description of the spell, all objects can do a task that the object could do if it had mobility. So, it is a little different than growing arms to carry buckets, for example.
Using this book for inspiration.
It can do repetitive task, but it is hard to give it an exact ST. We should give it enough to do something  It only listens to one command then performs it over and over. Putting that together, the template given to an inanimate object might be:

Animated Object

30 points
Attribute Modifiers:  DX+6[120]; IQ +1[20]
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers:  Basic Move +4[20]; Basic Speed -1.5[-30]; Per-1[-5]; Will-1[-5]
Advantages:  Lifting ST 5 [15] 
Disadvantages:  Automaton[-85]; Short Term Obsession(Follow My One Order) (CR: Constantly)[-20]

That's pretty skimpy, but a lot of the skill rolls are usually simple enough to be an automatic success. Well, when we apply it, it will at least get the Magical power modifier, so it will be a bit cheaper. Let me know if you see an deadweight in this template. The accessibility of the advantage needs to only work on inanimate objects and we can probably save some points by making it touch range as well. The spell then would look like this:

Dancing Object

Keywords: Buff, Obvious
Full Cost: 38 points
This system for more details
to help understand these specs
Casting Roll: Roll against best melee skill or DX plus bonuses for Sorcery Talent and bonuses for attacking an item that obviously can't resist. An inanimate object cannot resist.
Range: Touch.
Duration: 90 Minutes.
An object will come to life and listen to exactly one simple command before performing it for 90 minutes. The object can not be confused, or misdirected, but expect monkey paw-like shenanigans from wry GMs or clever Wizard esquires.
Statistics: Affliction (Sorcery -15%; Extended Duration, 30x, +60%; Fixed Duration, 90 Minutes, +0%; Accessibility, Inanimate Objects Only, -10%; Range, Melee, C, -30%; Advantage, Animated Object(Magical), +270%) [38]

Other Thoughts and Closing

I discussed with someone else, and was wondering if maybe TK was necessary to move? But if it is, it is difficult to tell how much to put into the template. I think just giving something that ordinarily couldn't move "Move +4" means it can now move 4 yards a second, no explanation needed, end of story, but fluff can say, for example if the bucket somehow scoots smoothly across the ground, tips from one corner to the other, jumps repeatedly, prefers rolling when empty, etc. The spell, being sorcery, is normally taken as an alternate ability, so obviously it is 19 points in most cases. This still seems a bit expensive to me, so if anyone knows any cheap point grabs, let me know.
Also, Brainstorm, you can't maintain two alternate abilities simultaneously, but if you learn Dancing Object at it's full cost, then you could learn an array of cheap afflictions to teach slightly more difficult skills, like Housekeeping, Gardening, etc. You could of course, then only have one type of smarter servant active at a time, but you might be able to get all the housekeeping done in one iteration, and all the gardening done in another.


  1. If it is a mundane task that is very easy and there is no risk you can figure your automaton will get a skill modifier up to +10, or maybe not even need to roll. That means that you can get rid of most of that Dexterity.

    1. That is an interesting thought. I think I could reasonably spare 4 DX, which would save 80 points, get back 20 points since we don't need to subtract speed anymore, and make it a net savings of 60 points, making it a 30 point template, and make the affliction spell cost 38. I think I got the skill wrong too, it should be an unarmed melee skill, so best of DX, brawling, etc.


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