A thought on costs.

I was thinking a bit about magic systems. Specifically, I was thinking about ways to differentiate power and finesse in a magic system while at the same time increasing the cost of having l33t powers. Dresden Files does something like this by having 3 different skills for magic, for instance.

Then I was thinking about how to break down what a skill is costing you.

Obviously, a new skill costs you skill points. This mostly goes without saying, because it is just so obvious. If you've got two or three skills for your magic system, you need to spend the points to buy them all up individually. That's expensive, but it can be used to justify magic being more powerful than other abilities, because it does cost so much.

Then this little voice way toward the back of my brain was like, "Psst. Hey. Taking up slots is a cost, because they mean you can't use those slots for other things." And I was like, duh. Obviously.

On more careful consideration, I realized, hey! In theory, you could break a magic skill into two skills, but you could just have whichever one was rated lower cost you the slot rather than the points. So if you buy the magic power skill up to 4 and want the magic finesse skill at 3, you don't have to pay for the second one. You just have to give up one of your 3 slots. You still have those points to buy other skills with, but you have to satisfy the pyramid, so you're giving up the ability to have a normal skill at 3 so that your magic has a 3 rated finesse.

It's essentially a halfway step between having one magic skill and having two magic skills.

The mirror solution would be having a sort of ghost skill that doesn't take up a slot, but which costs points. You only lose the slot for the higher rating of the two magic skills. So if you want magic with a power of 4 but a finesse of 2, you pay 6 points but only lose the 4 slot in your pyramid.

(And, no. I'm not sure exactly what power would do or what finesse would do. I chose those two to use as examples.)
Shared publiclyView activity