From The Past – Squirrel Magic in GURPS

Since I have been obsessing about magic in my RPG for the last couple of months, I thought I would resurrect this blast from the past. I think it was from about 1998, on the usenet group rec.games.frp.misc.

Someone voiced the opinion that GURPS was not truly universal. “Show me the GURPS basic set in an environment where magic consists of coaxing millions of invisible squirrels to do things for you”.

Note from the future. The basic argument is ridiculous anyway, because a generic system does not have to provide you with all settings there and then, that is infinite and impossible, it just has to be capable of modelling them consistently and playably for the game.

I asked if that the world where good uses invisible RED squirrels and evil uses GREYS. or is it the world where vice versa is the case. Apparently it is vice versa.

Alright, this is a patently silly argument but I knocked up a basis for such a college in about 5 minutes. Here is a slightly expanded idea that I hope shows there is no idea so ludicrous that GURPS can’t make it work for an RPG, so here goes, The College of Squirrel Command.

However lets play with it. In this world each spell consists of three stages
1) Summon
2) Direct
3) Dismiss

First you summon, then you direct and the third part is persuading them to go away.

Skills.

SUMMON INVISIBLE SQUIRRELS Mental H.
This spell summons the Mana of this world, personified by the invisible squirrels.

DIRECT invisible Squirrels Mental H.
This spell commands the Squirrels to do your bidding.

RESTRAIN Mental H
This spell ensures that the squirrels mass against your target and attempt to hold them down. Whilst one squirrel isn’t very strong, millions might just do it.

INVISIBILITY
The mage induces the Invisible Squirrels to cover his body and conceal him.

Unfortunately no mage ever uses this more than once, as the squirrels, being invisible, do not conceal him in the slightest, and those Squirrel bodies get HOT.

FIREBALL
This requires physical components to perform. The mage must provide his own Squirrel powered pump, a long hose and a tank of petroleum. While some of the Squirrels power the pump, the others run to the target and aim the nozzle of the hose at him, the one at the front should light the petroleum. This spell is fraught with difficulty as mistakes in timing can lead to squirrel roast or, even worse, an exploded Mage.

LIGHTNING BOLT
The Squirrels are commanded to rub against each other until a powerful static charge is created. At this point the Squirrels point at the target and the mighty bolt is unleashed. However even with a large quantity of Squirrels it is hard to achieve high damage with this.

FEAR
The squirrels drum their little paws on the stomach of the target, making him feel that he has “butterflies” in his stomach and that he must be afraid. The demoralised target runs away.

HEADACHE
A variation on the FEAR spell. The squirrels jump up and down on the head of the target causing pain, misery and tension.

FLIGHT
The squirrels pick up the Mage and run along the ground carrying him. To others it looks like he is flying, although very low, and impresses them and THAT’s what’s important.

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