Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ritual Path Magic: Martial Artist...?

The cartoon wasn't terrible I think.
Not great, but not terrible.
First off, I like Ritual Path Magic. Second off, I do think it can work for a high paced game. Thirdly, it can work, but I'm slightly wary of recommending it for that purpose. However, I have a player that is considering it for a martial artist type of character, so here we are. Let's see what kind of abilities might behoove such a character.

Existing Resources

First off, let's not be a dumb schmuck and pass up all the spells that already exist and can be pretty useful. In the main book itself, we have:
  • Amplify Injury (p. 39)
  • Death Touch (p.41)
  • Diamond Mind (p.41)
  • Dreamcatcher (p.41)
  • Feral Rage (p.42)
  • Ghost Shirt (p.43)
  • Haste (p.44)
  • Hinder (p.44)
  • Resist Magic (p.48)
  • Serpent's Grace (p.49)
  • Wallwalker(p.51)
  • Weaken Blood (p.51)
Then we also have the project ritual file. That can be found here, and means that a lot of spells from the GURPS Magic book might be usable easily as well. This probably includes spells mostly from the mind and body colleges. As of this writing, the author says he is still working on some overhauls, so there is a possibility that some of the numbers in this document are out of alignment.

How do we make it work for a Martial Artist then?

Focus probably on the Path of Body, Path of Mind, and... unfortunately the Path of Magic. Most spells that are useful for a strong warrior come from the first two, but in order to turn the casting into a charm to use for later, Path of Magic is needed. A different alternative is the Alchemy approach as this creates a potion that can also be used, and in drinkable form, this is a one turn maneuver (provided it is ready) and it might be possible to avoid the need for Path of Magic... except we trade that need for the similarly stunted Alchemy. 6 in one hand, half a dozen in another? Carefully consider whether ritual adept is needed then. You won't be needing to cast any spells very fast because the ones you will need to use quickly you are much better off using charms or elixirs for. That considered, look at the article in Pyramid #3/66, Ritual Path Specialists and look at the relevant talents and limitations to the Ritual Path Magic Magery advantage, and think about what you may or may not need. You probably, for example, might not need casting outside of a lab/charm workshop, you might be able to limit yourself to the three specified colleges, and you might like to consider the talents included that match those paths, particularly, Mentor and Neuormancer combined.

Final Thoughts: Alternatives

Three big obvious alternatives stick out to me for a "martial artist" magic user, and that's because of their focus on combat and speed. The first is Imbuements, which can add crazy effects to mundane attacks. It could be expensive to learn, but consider using Wildcards if you want a bunch of abilities. The next would be Sorcery, maybe possibly modified to a "Chi" hybrid, that has the chi advantages and drawbacks instead of those associated with magic. The final one would be the "cinematic" chi skills. They might not be as rock-em-sockem as the other obviously supernatural approaches, but it is an option to consider, and not necessarily a bad one.


  1. The first thing that popped into my head is that it evokes a Naruto-style ninja-sign-weaving sort of mechanic.

    1. That could be a possibility, but I think you'd need either super high tier RPM users that can swallow -10 penalties for instant usage (or who bought the techniques for same) Or you need to rejigger the system so that gathering is much faster/less energy is needed. Maybe a setting switch that all spells require 1/5 energy and gather 5 times faster, but all characters are required to specialize according to one "narrow tradition" as per the discussions of Higher Purpose. Unusual Backgrounds are needed to buy additional narrow traditions... or a modular ability, which would be super expensive, which emulates the ability of some characters to swap between different stolen abilities.


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