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Fantastic Traveller

Basically, start with a cosmology. How does the universe work? Who or what makes it work? Your magic system(s) will flow from that.

It will provide you with a lot of other valuable information too.

Actual game mechanics shouldn't be a major drama once you've got the concepts right, although "feel" is important too.
dunno if it was mentioned in the other thread, but it sounds like starting off with FFG's Dragonstar setting might be a good idea.

Given that magic can replicated technological effects (and sometimes they can just blend into one anyway) you probably want to decide which came first. Is it like Shadowrun, where we had technology and then magic suddenly appeared? Or did technology develop in a magical universe as a counter to magic? or something else?
I was thinking of a place where technology failed, possibly as a result of a colony way out there, large enough to have a remnant population survive and then repopulate - without tech, and find that there's (rather rarely) magic. Oh, and there're odd metal things, look vaguely like a sailing ship, up in the sky, which look like they've been shot at - and odd ruins with unknown, hard, non-metal non-rock, very smooth things with glass parts in them...
Originally posted by Jame:
I was thinking of a place where technology failed, possibly as a result of a colony way out there ...
That sounds very much like "Midworld" by Alan Dean Foster, "The Miracle Workers" by Jack Vance and, to a much lesser degree, Larry Niven's "The Integral Trees".

Both Foster and Niven describe some degree of adaptive mutation and evolution. In "Midworld" the process also involved humans entering into symbiosis with certain native life-forms which permitted the adaptation to be extremely fast.

In both novels people learn to adapt local flora and fauna as technology substitutes (gas-filled seed pods get a lot of use in both novels).

Magic is non-existant in Niven's work and Foster limits his to mainly an empathic connection with the forest world.

Vance goes in a different direction. Technology has decayed to a medieaval level (although small amounts of star tech still linger) and talented psionicists called "jinxmen" can produce the appearance of magic through telepathy.

Here, it's the natives who are modifying local lifeforms to combat the human interlopers and the humans must rediscover science to combat them.
Many moons ago Digest Group Publications were going to publish a game of their own called A.I. Technology as Magic.
It was going to be set on Earth in the far future, filled with nanotech, gene manipulation and near godlike AIs, but no faster than light travel or communications.

A brief summary of the background is that the Earth develops nanotechnology, genetic engineering etc. and advances to a level on a par with GURPS Transhuman Space or Centauri Knights.
A.I. controlled STL probe/terraformers are sent out to the nearest stars, and while they are away there is some sort of war or cataclysm and only a few survivors are left. Communications with the probes are shut down.

When communication with home is lost some of the AI STL ships that have been sent out want to find out what has happened to the Earth, and turn back.
When they arrive home and find the devastation they reason that the Earth is more important than their previous mission. Each one lands or somehow establishes a power base on Earth and begins the task of restoration.

However they all have different ideas and agendas on the best way to achieve this. Essentially they are the 'gods' of the setting.

Players can take the role of servants of the AIs, and may be human, modified human, modified animal, or even sentient equipment.
A.I. Sounds like a cross between Transhuman Space, Centauri Knights, and GURPS Reign of Steel.
Yeah, also AI had technomagi, too.
They'd been toying with the idea since the early 90's.
Last I heard, the original data was lost, and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named had solicited some aid to reconstruct the game back in the mid-late '90s.


On the mechanics side, which system are you talking about? If you are using T20, it shouldn't be too difficult to fold the d20 magic system back in. If you are using CT/MT, then things get a lot more complicated.
Check out the "Thieves World" supplement, now woefully OOP, that introduces magic to CT.

Someone probably has the references somewhere. Alas, mine is gone, or I'd provide the details myself.

Good luck,
There's an article in Challenge 46 by Charles Gannon - "Just Like Magic" - which uses psionics to explain magic in MT for low TL worlds, some of which may develop "Magocracies".