As those of you who read yesterday's post know, I finally had a chance to run a scenario from Time Heroes of Fate at a convention yesterday. During the course of play, I noticed one thing. Future Tech (and Magic), are either over- or under-powered. In my initial laying out of the Magic/Future Tech skills, I didn't greatly specify how they are used. I spoke of them in context of being rolled to pull of spells/devices (stunts), but that's about it. I didn't really clarify if that's the only situation they could be used in, or if they were some kind of "uber-skill." And to be honest, I hadn't really thought of it one way or the other until it came up in play. During the game I just used GM fiat to determine if something could be done or not, but I knew that I was going to have to sit down and look again at how Magic and Future Tech are used.
Magic as a Skill Supplement
This is the idea that hit me full-force as I was looking over my blog a short while ago.
You can still use stunts for whatever spells/devices you and your GM can think up. However, the skills can also be used on their own, but only to supplement other skills. What I mean to say is, you can use Future Tech/Magic to perform the task of another skill, but ONLY up to the rank you have in the skill (whichever is lower).So if you have a Magic of +4 (Great) and a Burglary of +2 (Fair), you could use Magic to pick a lock but you would only add your Burglar rank of +2 to the roll. If the skills were reversed (Magic +2 and Burglary +4), you would still only add 2 because that's the lower of the two skills.
I'm also thinking to limit how many skills Magic/Future Tech can be used for. Even being used in place of another skill when something makes that skill unavailable, combined with rolling them with spells/devices it still seems pretty powerful. If I opt to limit the amount of skills, I'm currently thinking of allowing the player to link their Magic/Future Tech with one "regular" skill per rank in Magic/F.T. So, if a wizard had a Magic of +2 (Fair), she could link it with two skills and use it to supplement them.
How is this useful, you ask? It allows you to perform an action in a situation where you normally couldn't. Say you're held up against a wall by a thug, restrained. Just behind him is a perfectly-sized vase with which to clock him in the head. You have a Fighting of +2 (Fair) and a Magic of +3 (Good). Since you're held firm, you couldn't normally use fight to smash the vase onto the thug's head. However, being restrained doesn't prevent you from using your Magic, and so (since the Fighting skill is lower at +2) you roll and add +2, levitating the vase full-force into the back of the goon's skull.