Generic, Endlessly Applicable Roleplay System (3rd Ed.)
Magic is wielded both by good mages, fighting against the forces of chaos, and by evil sorcerers, seeking to use their powers to destroy their foes and dominate others. Similar to these sorcerous powers are the holy (and unholy) Divine Spells of devout priests and clerics, channeling the power of their gods to bless and blast, smite and heal.
To successfully cast a spell or Divine Spell requires a successful roll against your rating in Sorcerer or Priest. If you do not have either of these, you may not attempt to cast spells. Also, mages cannot use priestly Divine Spells, and priests cannot cast Sorcerous Spells, although it is potentially possible for a character to have points in both these Specialities, if the GM allows it. If you fail, you have misremembered the words and gestures required, or your god has not responded to your Divine Spell, and it simply fails to work. However, you still lose the Power cost of the spell or Divine Spell.
The easiest and smallest spells, and the cheapest to make in terms of energy and concentration, consist of a word or short sentence, and a gesture or two. More demanding, powerful powers require paragraphs of words and complex gestures and hand movement, and are much harder to make correctly. The most powerful require lengthy, complicated rituals, and a single word or gesture made incorrectly would mean that the entire spell would fail.
Spells costing 1-3 power take effect immediately.
Spells costing 4-6 power take 1 full turn to cast, taking effect during the next turn.
Spells costing 8 power take 1 minute to cast.
Spells costing 10 power take 5 minutes to cast.
Spells costing 12 power take 30 minutes turns to cast.
If the caster is attacked or otherwise distracted during this time, the spell will fail, costing the caster the normal amount of Power.
In the event of a critical success, you have done the spell exactly right, or your god has found you especially worthy and, if it has a numerical range of effects, works to maximum effect. Any spells or Divine Spells that do not have a range of effects, such as Deflect, simply work as normal.
However, when you’re channeling the divine might of a god, or bending the laws of physics with nothing more than sheer will, disasters can and do happen. In the event of a critical failure, roll 2d10 on the table below:
|2||The caster permanently loses 3 Power as their body is wracked with sorcerous energy.|
|3||The caster completely and permanently forgets one spell, chosen at random from the lowest point-cost spells they know.|
|4||A discharge of energy causes 1-10 Dur of damage to the caster.|
|5||The caster loses half their current Power (rounding down) in addition to the cost of the spell. This will recover as normal.|
|6||The caster loses 1 Knowledge, which will recover as normal (i.e after 1 week)|
|7||The caster loses consciousness for 1-5 hours as their body and mind are strained by mystic energies.|
|8||The caster is afflicted with a splitting and distracting headache, and is at -2 to all rolls until they get a full night’s sleep.|
|9||An enormous clash of magical thunder leaves the caster completely deaf for 1-5 hours.|
|10||The spell affects the caster instead of the intended target. Where this would make no sense, such as Charm Person, then nothing happens.|
|11||The spell affects the nearest person to the caster rather than the intended target.|
|12||The spell works as normal, but costs twice as much Power as usual. If the caster has insufficient Power, any remaining Power points are deducted from the caster’s Durability.|
|13||A discharge of energy causes 1-5 Dur of damage to the caster.|
|14||The speaker’s vocal cords are strained by the words of power, and the caster is left mute (and therefore unable to cast any spells) for 1-10 hours.|
|15||Mystic energies sear the caster’s eyes, leaving them blind for 1-5 hours.|
|16||The caster loses 2 Knowledge, which will recover as normal (i.e. 1 per week).|
|17||A rift in reality is created, through which a demonspawn appears. This will attack the caster, and anyone else who’s nearby, and will last for 5 minutes or until it’s destroyed.|
|18||The caster permanently loses 1 rank of the Speciality used to cast the spell.|
|19||The caster’s Power is reduced to 0, and will recover as normal.|
|20||The caster permanently loses 2 Knowledge as magical energy fries their brain.|
It takes years of dedication and rigorous study to master even the rudiments of sorcery or divine spell casting, and develop the inner strength and concentration required to cast spells. As a result, unless the GM specifically allows it, a character cannot take both Sorcerer and Priest as Specialities. Priests of gods who are specifically linked to sorcery, such as Hesketh in the Caledain setting, may potentially be allowed the take Sorcerer as well, but should be very tightly restricted in the spells they can learn, such as Detect Sorcery, Counter Sorcery etc.
(Design Note: This is to maintain character balance, and reinforce the differences between the spell lists, rather than allowing a character who takes both Specialities from picking and choosing the cheapest or best spells from each list)
For a wizard to cast a spell requires large amounts of energy, and they draw this from their very lifeforce. Apprentices spend long hours learning to refine and channel this potent energy into a form that can be more efficiently transformed into magical power.
Priests require inner calm, concentration and faith, channeling the pure essence of their deity in order to bring their Divine power into reality. Novices must meditate and sit through vigils of contemplation, learning to achieve this level of religious devotion
In game terms, both kinds of character work in the same way. Your character will have a starting reserve of Power, gained from the years he spent being taught magic or trained in the mysteries of his faith. Each point put into Sorcerer or Priest gives the character 3 Power points to start with.
The character can increase this (which your character does not have to do if they so choose), by sacrificing Attribute Points at character creation. Every Attribute Point increases the character’s starting Power by 3 points.
Power recovers at a rate of 5 points a day, assuming reasonable amounts of rest and food.
A sorcerer or priest will start with 3 Power points worth of spells for each rank he has in the Sorcerer or Priest Speciality. Beginning characters may only take spells costing 5 Power or less. The spells available to a character may well be restricted, especially in the case of priests, who should only take spells linked in some way to their god’s areas of influence. Sorcerers may belong to guilds or orders that only teach certain spells, or they may only have access to a single spell-book or small library which will limit which spells they could have learnt.
Unless stated in the spell description, all spells have a range of 12 feet, and last for one minute. The range can be increased by 5 feet or the duration can be increased by 30 seconds per extra point of Power spent when casting the spell.
The spells available are listed below:
Although for the purposes of the game rules spells have been given brief, functional names, GMs and players should be encouraged to come up with more colourful ‘in-character’ names for their spells. ‘Alesha’s Blessing of Peaceful Rest’ is much more interesting and appropriate to the goddess than the Divine spell ‘Sleep’, and ‘DiMaggio’s Dragonfire’ sounds much more impressive than ‘Fireball’.
Giving interesting names to spells could include multiple names for one spell, especially in the case of divine spells used by priests of different gods. The ‘Aurician Catechism of Knightly Courage’ and the ‘Marnossian Prayer of Righteous Indignation’ can both be names for ‘Courage’. Likewise, two different wizards could know sorcerous spells with differing cosmetic effects, but which in game terms are identical. ‘Heraklion’s Wings of Light’ and ‘Messindra’s Counter-Gravitic Conveyor’ could both easily cover the ‘Flight’ spell.
For some examples of renamed spells, see the Geometrical Alterations of the Anno Geometrica setting.