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Magic Edit

The Basic Structure of Magic Edit

Every magic spell is made up of many different elements. The two key elements are the type of magic and the arcane knowledge involved in the spell. There are four basic types of magic, each with a separate skill devoted to it: alteration, apportation, conjuration, and divination. Alteration causes a change in an existing object, entity or condition. Apportation deals with movement. Conjuration creates an object, entity, or condition. Divination perceives and interprets information. The skills are akin to verbs in sentences. The magic skill used in a spell determines what basic effect the spell will have. To create a spell may require several such “verbs.” For example, conjuration to create an effect and then apportation to move it to its target. However, most magicians do not create their own spells but instead learn them from a grimoire (magical tome of stored spells).

Types of Magic Edit

Divination Edit

The pattern and result knowledges of a spell limits divination magic. When used to gather or discover information, the pattern knowledge is the type of information you are discovering; the result knowledge describes the target of inquiry. Detect folk evil is a divination/darkness spell, with a result of folk. The spell looks for a pattern of darkness within folk. When used as a communication spell, the pattern is the source or medium of the information conveyed, while the result knowledge represents the recipient of the information. When used as a spell's divination component, the spell trips the trigger condition when it detects the pattern knowledge. Because a divination component is not a full spell, divination components cannot detect the full range of information that divination spells can. For instance, detect angry dwarf is a possible variant of the detect folk evil spell. A divination component could be set up to detect anger (with darkness as a pattern) or a dwarf (with folk as a pattern), but the trigger could not be set for only angry dwarves. A divination component lacks the full state path, and the trigger can only be set for information wholly covered by its pattern knowledge.

Apportation Edit

Nature concedes the apportation of physical mass. A chair moved by magic remains moved even after the spell expires, unless another force moves it. Air apported out of a volume would remain outside the volume, but air would rush to fill a vacuum no longer maintained by magic. Attributes moved by apportation magic return to their original object or kindred once the spell duration ends. Other intangible properties return if they cannot naturally be gained or lost in a short period of time. Climbing, Running and skill values are examples of intangible properties which return to the object or kindred once the spell duration ends. Properties which can be gained and lost quickly, such as shock points and spells, do not return at the end of the spell.

Alteration Edit

Modification describes a type of alteration spell that changes a target by degree. The spell can amplify or decrease an attribute or quality of the target. Modifications may use any knowledge as a mechanism and produce real (as opposed to an illusory) effect. But these changes have bounds. Sorcerers soon discovered that modifications can only affect attributes of a target that are variable from one target to another target of the same type. If the quality does not exist in the target type, a modification spell cannot produce that quality in the target.

Example: Human beings vary in Strength from one another, also in size and weight. Modification spells can increase or decrease these qualities. No human being is naturally transparent, so a spell making a woman transparent cannot be considered a modification spell. Mages also discovered the practical limit to modifications. The limit values cap the natural range of variation in kindred. Attributes may be temporarily boosted by use of the Speed Push or Power Push tables.

Modification spells cannot boost an attribute past the larger of these two values (which vary from character to character): -The limit for that attribute, -The attribute plus the maximum gain possible from the Speed Push (+2) or the standard Power Push table (+6), whichever is appropriate.

For instance, the limit for Strength is 15. A character with a Strength 13 could be boosted to a 19; a character of Strength 7 could go to a 15 through modification. The limits on modifications do not apply to knowledges other than kindred.

Transformation
Transformation is a term to describe a type of alteration spell, one which changes the target into a different kind of element, kindred or knowledge. A transformation is also necessary if a spell would increase, or decrease, attributes of kindred beyond the range of a modification. Changing a man into a frog or a beam of light is obviously a transformation. SO is changing a man into a dwarf; a dwarf may be kindred, but most dwarves would forcefully disagree with you if you said they were human beings. Sorcerers have long taught their apprentices the rule of thumb that if two types of objects are different enough to have different names, then they are different in kind. This is a consequence of the Law of Observation:

"A difference named is a difference observed, and therefore wholly real."

Transformations must have an essence knowledge as the spell mechanism to produce real effects. Transformations without an essence knowledge as a mechanism are illusions. The final result points of a transformation spell must equal or exceed the greatest attribute difference between the original and the transform. It is easier to transform a dwarf into a human than into a giant.

Conjurations Edit

A conjuration creates or destroys a pattern. It can create a pattern from nothing, or reduce a pattern into nothing. All conjurations are transformations, involving the creation of something out of nothing. Conjurations with real effects must have an essence knowledge as the spell pattern or mechanism (both of which may be essences). Any other conjuration is illusory

Grimoire Spells Edit

Casting a grimoire spell only requires the one magic skill necessary for the most important component of the effect. Secondary effects are subsumed into the spell at the time of its design, making them unnecessary for purposes of casting the spell. For example, altering a small ball of pitch into a blazing ball of flame is the most important element of a fireball spell; moving the fireball is secondary. While the magician who designed the spell would have to take into account the problems of moving it (apportation) and accuracy (divination), once designed and formed into a grimoire spell these effects are “built in”; casting the spell only requires the alteration magic skill.

The Primary Rule of Magic Edit

Magic is not physics, or chemistry, or biology. It is a distinct discipline with its own rules. Magic works by extending the will of the spell caster, interweaving it with nature and coming up with a result. The primary rule of magic is a spell will have no positive effect without being willed by the caster; negative or non-effects are generally a result of insufficient control and will. Thus magic and technology are at odds at a fundamental level. Technology works with natural laws, while magic intervenes in those laws. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. Magic can accomplish spectacular feats beyond the possibility of even sophisticated technology, but is limited by the primary rule of magic. To those raised in a technological society, the very workings of magic make no sense. A magically propelled bullet could be deadly within the range of the spell, but once it reached the end of the range it would fall straight to the ground. Out of the range of the mind that powered it, the bullet has no velocity, no momentum, and no physically measurable force whatsoever. But within the range of the spell, such concepts as friction, angular momentum, and other crucial underpinnings of science have greatly reduced meanings. In a sense all magic is impossible, in that magical effects can create effects at odds with the local laws of nature. When the magic wears off, physical laws resume and things go back to what’s considered normally possible. However, magic is real in that when magic takes effect, supernatural forces can affect the natural. A rock split by magic will not miraculously reseal itself when the magic wears off. “Nature concedes the destruction of anything, the construction of nothing” is a magician’s maxim. Magic and natural law can work together. For example, magicians quickly made the messy discovery that wounds could be healed easily through use of alteration magic, but they would reappear when the spell wore off. When more effort was put into the spell design, a solution was found: instead of just closing the wound, if it is repaired at the same fine level as the natural healing process, then when the spell wears off, the healing will have proceeded in accordance with natural laws

Arcane Knowledges Edit

The arcane knowledge used in a spell determines how the spell effect will manifest itself. If spells are sentences, arcane knowledges would be nouns and modifiers. Arcane knowledges are like skills in that characters have adds in the arcane knowledges they know and adds can be purchased in game play like a normal skill. But arcane knowledges do not fall under any attribute and they are rarely used in play like a normal skill. Arcane knowledge may not be used unskilled, a character may not learn or cast a spell that requires an arcane knowledge that she does not know. Simply possessing an arcane knowledge may not be enough to allow a character to cast a particular spell, some characters may need to purchase multiple adds in a knowledge in Order to use and learn the grimoire spells they want. See “Acquiring Spells” later in this chapter for more information. A great number of effects may be constructed from these arcane knowledges, which are believed to be universally consistent from nation to nation.

Essences Edit

The Essences are believed to be at the pinnacle of the natural Order, and are often required to perform the most spectacular effects possible with magic. Essences are the most difficult of the knowledges to work with, requiring great skill and patience. The Essences, for reasons as yet not understood, cannot be combined with apportation magic but work fine with the other three magic skills.

Death: The essence of corruption and non-existence as well as death.

Life: The essence of creation, renewal and purity as well as life.

Time: The essence of change and chaos as well as time. Time and True Knowledge are complimentary forces in the same way Death and Life compliment each other.

True Knowledge: The fundamental aspects of physical properties and “true nature”, that which resists change or remains unchanged. It is “Order” to Time’s “chaos.”

Principles Edit

The Principles are pure forces of a high Order. When used in pure form, they conform well to the will of the magician. Magical theoreticians believe darkness, light and magic all to be the result of interplay between the Essences: Darkness is the product of death and time, light is the result of time and true knowledge, and magic is the result of time and life.

Darkness: Encompasses spiritual as well as physical darkness. Negative emotions and thoughts such as fear and greed or confusion and doubt are part of Darkness. Physical darkness is not merely the absence of light, it is a condition in its own right.

Light: Encompasses spiritual as well as physical light. Positive emotions such as love, loyalty and bravery are part of Light.

Magic: Embodies change in the living and unliving. Magic is one of the most important arcane knowledges used in the design of spells.

Mixed Forces Edit

The Mixed Forces represent a bridge between the Essences and Principles and the knowledges below them, as well as combinations of elemental forces. They are difficult to handle, but they have great applications in the hands of a skilled magician.

Inanimate Forces: Encompasses the forces which affect elements —heat, electricity, magnetism, forces which bind elements together and forces which make them appear as they do.

Living Forces: Encompasses the forces that energize and control the health and vitality of all living creatures.

  

Arcane Knowledges Edit

 

The Essences

-

The Principles

-

The Mixed Forces

-

The Elements

-

The Kindred

-

Process Theorem Knowledges

Death

Darkness

Inanimate Forces

Air

Aquatic

Cast Time

Life

Light

Living Forces

Earth

Avian

Control

Time

Magic

 

Fire

Earthly

Duration

True Knowledge

 

 

Metal

Elemental

Range

 

 

Plant

Enchanted

Speed

 

 

Water

Entity

State

 

 

Folk

 

 

Elements Edit

The Elements are often easy to work with, even for a beginning mage. All the Elements are considered to have a small spark of life, but it is life without spirit.

Air: Includes all substances that are gasses at room temperature (except water vapor, which is considered to be Water.)

Earth: Includes glass, ceramics and other materials made primarily from earthen components that are not metallic in origin.

Fire: Includes any form of combustion. Nuclear reactions (fusion reactors, atomic bombs, etc.) are not included, those are considered Inanimate Forces.

Metal: Includes all substances found in the earth that, unlike substances under the Earth knowledge, are pliable when heat is applied.

Plant: Plants are considered Elements because even though alive, they are without mind or spirit. The knowledge includes all that grows on dirt, water and sun alone as well as anything derived from such life.

Water: Includes water and all other liquids, though some liquids are considered a mixture of Water with another Element and could be affected by either Water or the appropriate knowledge for the other component.

Kindred Edit

The Kindred are the living beings and creatures that possess a spiritual life-force separate from the physical body. The Kindred are often easy to work with and many minor magicians will be able to use them.

Aquatic: Covers all marine life including amphibians.

Avian: Includes all flying creatures, including insects, birds, flying reptiles and flying mammals such as bats. One notable exception is dragons; they fall under Enchanted.

Earthly: Covers all creatures that live on or in the ground that have not transcended their “primal” or “animal” natures. Creatures such as humans are considered Folk because they have overcome these “primal urges” that still dominate related creatures such as apes and chimpanzees.

Elemental: These are beings composed directly of elements that possess intelligence and/or spirit that sets them apart from the Elements. Each of the Elements can have elemental life forms. This knowledge rather than the corresponding Element knowledge affect such life.

Enchanted: Encompasses all creatures that subsist on or weave magic into the core of their being. Dragons, unicorns and faeries are examples of enchanted creatures.

Entity: Creatures that violate the natural Order of life, whose existence is at odds with nature, are covered by this knowledge. Ghosts, undead, golems and demons are all considered Entities

Folk: Covers intelligent beings whose defining relationship is with others of their kind, rather than with an element or the supernatural. Humans, dwarves, elves and giants are all Folk.

Process Theorem Knowledges Edit

The process theorem knowledges are different from the other knowledges in that there are no spells based these theorems. Instead, the theorems are used primarily during the spell design process. Magicians also use them to manipulate grimoire spells, a process that lets them “fine-tune” the values of a spell when it is cast. Manipulating spells is covered later in this chapter.

The Principle of Definition Edit

An important rule of magic is the Principle of Definition. This states that a character or object may not be subjected to two active spells at the same time if both spells are based on the same arcane knowledge. An active spell is one which still has time left on its duration. A mage may replace one spell with another, but a target cannot be under two spells using the same knowledge at the same time. For example, a character under the effect of a strength spell could not be affected by a languages spell without losing the effects of the strength spell first, for each spell uses the folk knowledge. Many forms of defensive magic are based on the Principle of Definition. A spell using the Fire arcane knowledge that protects against magical fire would prevent any other Fire knowledge spell from having any effect on the protected character as long as it is weaker than the protection spell. A spell cast upon a target has “strength” equal to the effect value of the spell. When another spell of the same type is cast upon the target, the new spell’s effect total is compared to the effect value of the previous spell. The spell with the higher total takes effect, and the other spell is immediately dissipated. If their totals are the same, the first spell remains in effect.

Synonymous Knowledges Edit

The restrictions of the Principle of Definition have frustrated mages for years, and ways around its restrictions have been sought for untold centuries. After extensive research and experimentation, some mages discovered a solution: synonymous knowledges. Synonymous knowledges are arcane knowledges which are nearly identical to the known, existing knowledges, but use slightly different definitions of the same concept. Using these parallel knowledges, a mage can design spells that will get around the Principle of Definition.

For example, a mage who has the Fire knowledge and a synonymous knowledge he calls Combustion can have two flame based spells active upon himself (or another character or object) at the same time, even though both are essentially using the same knowledge. A synonymous knowledge would also let the mage completely ignore any defensive spells or magical barriers that operate on the Principle of Definition. Our mage with Combustion could design a version of a fireball spell that would ignore any Fire knowledge defensive spell that relies on the Principle of Definition to prevent another spell from affecting a target.

Synonymous knowledges require a sizable amount of effort and time to research properly, so they are zealously guarded and quite rare. Should a character gain access to knowledge of a synonymous knowledge, he must learn it from scratch; despite being so close to another knowledge, a synonymous knowledge is a distinct knowledge - it just happens to work in the same way as its synonyms. Also, all-new spells must be designed for use with the new knowledge, a character cannot simply cast a Fire spell with the Combustion knowledge. He will have to design a version of that spell that uses Combustion instead of Fire as its knowledge.

Acquiring Spells Edit

A mage begins the game with 12 additional skill points, usable only for arcane knowledges and spells. Each point not used for arcane knowledge entitles the mage to an additional spell; for example, if a player uses eight of his character’s bonus skill points to buy arcane knowledge adds, he may buy four spells. During the course of the game, a mage may learn new spells from a grimoire. At the end of an Adventure a mage can automatically learn 1 spell for free he has the prerequisites for. In addition he can learn additional spells at a cost.To do this, he must have undisturbed access to a grimoire and either spend one possibility or six weeks studying the new spell (studying is the only way Mook magicians can learn new spells.) Once a grimoire spell has been learned, the mage does not need to read the grimoire again in Order to cast the spell. Spells can also be cast by reading directly from the grimoire without having to learn the spell first, but this is more difficult than casting a learned spell. Mage player characters are assumed to have access to a grimoire before the game begins, and so may purchase additional spells with Hero Points if they wish. Some characters may also have a grimoire of their own, possibly containing additional spells they haven’t learned yet. A character with a grimoire of their own can copy spells from other grimoires into their own book without having to learn it first, but each spell requires a week to transcribe.

What Can Be Learned Edit

A character’s magic skills and arcane knowledges determine which spells he is capable of learning; many spells require a high degree of skill and cannot be learned by just anyone. Besides having the necessary skill and knowledge, the character must possess a certain level of ability before a spell can be learned.

Each spell write-up has a skill requirement that lists the necessary magic skill, arcane knowledge and a number. To determine if a character can learn the spell, his appropriate magic skill plus his adds in the specified arcane knowledge must equal or exceed the number given. If the character’s total isn’t high enough, he cannot learn the spell. (He can still attempt to cast it directly from the grimoire though.)

Example: Alan wants to know if Terrill can learn the spell Conjured Fireball. In the spell description, the skill requirement is “conjuration/fire . Terrill has a conjuration magic skill value of 13 and he has +2 adds in the Fire arcane knowledge for a total of 15. This is less than the number given in the skill requirement so

Terrill cannot learn the spell.

Casting Spells Edit

To cast a spell that the character has learned, she generates a spell skill total with the appropriate magic skill and compares this total to the spell difficulty as listed in the spell description. The arcane knowledge required for the spell is not included in the casting total. Example:Terrill wants to cast his Away Sight spell. It is a divination spell and has a difficulty of 11. Terrill’s divination magic skill is 15. His adds of Light, the arcane knowledge required for the spell, are not figured into his casting total. Alan rolls an 8, which gives Terrill a skill total of 13. The spell is successfully cast.

Casting from a Grimoire Edit

Characters can cast spells directly from a grimoire without having to learn the spell first. If they are capable of learning the spell (i.e., they meet the skill requirement of the spell) then they may attempt to cast the spell with a +4 penalty added to both the difficulty and the backlash.

Example: Terrill has come across a grimoire that contains the Haste spell, a spell he does not know. It has a difficulty of 11 and a backlash of 16. Terrill meets the skill requirement of the spell so if he were to attempt casting it directly from the grimoire it would have a difficulty of 15 and a backlash of 20. Characters may also attempt to cast spells directly from a grimoire that they cannot learn (i.e., they do not meet the skill requirement of the spell) but it is much more dangerous. The character must still possess the required magic skill and arcane knowledge of the spell; even from a grimoire it is impossible to cast a spell without the right basic abilities. The difficulty of the spell is not increased but the backlash is increased by +8. Additionally, there is a chance that the spell will prove to be too powerful for the mage and she will lose control of its effects. If the character successfully casts the spell but does not get at least a success level with her casting total, she loses control of the spell.

Example: The grimoire that Terrill found also has the Conjured Fireball spell in it. Terrill cannot learn the spell yet but he does have both conjuration magic and the Fire knowledge. The spell’s normal difficulty is 6 and the normal backlash is 19. If Terrill were to try and cast this spell from the grimoire, the difficulty would remain 6 but the backlash would increase to 27. If Terrill casts the spell but his casting total isn’t at least 13 (seven result points is a success), the spell will go off but it will not do what Terrill wants, he will have no control over the effects.

When a spell goes out of control, the exact effects are up to the gamemaster. Essentially anything the character would normally determine for the spell, such as its target, is out of his hands. If the spell normally gives the magician control over aspects like duration, shape of the spell effect, determine targets for an area effect spell, anything that the magician would normally determine should be determined randomly by the gamemaster.

Backlash Edit

When a character attempts to cast a spell, regardless of whether it is successful or not, the next step is to determine the consequences of the spell’s backlash. Backlash is the natural resistance of the supernatural to being manipulated, a type of feedback unleashed when the caster attempts to work magic. Backlash is a damage value that is compared to the casting skill total; the amount by which the backlash number exceeds the casting total is read as result points on the Combat Results Table. Damage taken from spell backlash is normal damage with possible mental consequences (see “Mental Damage Effects”.).

Example: Terrill successfully casts his Altered Fireball spell with a casting skill total of 12. The backlash of the spell is 21. Becky looks up 9 result points (21 - 12) of damage on the Combat Results Table and Terrill takes a Knockdown K/O 3 damage result. If the character is casting a spell that she has learned, she is partially protected against bad casting totals causing large amounts of backlash damage. If the casting skill total is less than the caster’s Mind, their Mind value is used instead.

Example: Terrill casts his Altered Fireball spell again but Alan rolls poorly, generating a skill total of only 6. Because Terrill has learned the spell, his Mind attribute of 11 is used to resist the backlash instead of his skill value of spell caster takes backlash each time he attempts a spell, regardless of whether or not it is cast successfully. To successfully cast a spell the caster must still be conscious after checking backlash. If he is knocked unconscious (or killed) by the backlash, the spell effect fizzles out of existence before fully forming.

Mental Damage Effects Edit

When damage is taken from a spell’s backlash, it can have mental consequences. Even though this type of damage is treated the same as physical damage, it has additional mental effects and is called mental damage. When a character is KOed by mental damage, the character loses the ability to use the arcane knowledge required for the spell that knocked him out. This does not include falling unconscious from accumulated shock, only from KO conditions. The character does not have to take the full KO condition from mental damage, an O from backlash combined with a K from physical damage or vice versa will still cause the character to lose the use of the knowledge. Even after the KO damage has been healed, the knowledge doesn’t immediately return. The character must wait 24 hours or be treated specifically for the loss of mental abilities. The Refresh miracle (see Chapter Twelve) can be used for this purpose, as can the psychology skill. If the character suffers wound damage from backlash and his wound level becomes heavily wounded or greater, the character loses both the arcane knowledge and the appropriate magic skill used to cast that spell. He will not regain either until 24 hours have passed or he has received treatment as mentioned above. Additionally, his wound status cannot be healed to better than wounded until he has restored his skills.

Spell Bonus Edit

If the character is still conscious after backlash from a successful spell, the spell works. Every spell description has a section labeled “Bonus Number to:”. The bonus number generated while casting the spell is added to the part of the spell listed in the Bonus Number to, increasing the effectiveness of some part of the spell.

Example: Terrill successfully casts Away Sight. His bonus number was +2. The spell description says that the bonus goes to range, so the spell’s range value of 13 is increased to 15.

Types of Spells Edit

Most spells are cast directly, meaning that they take effect immediately and the effect is controlled by the spell caster. Not all spells are like this though. Some spells can be placed into objects or other people, allowing someone other than the mage to control the effect, while others may need to remain functioning even when the magician is not present, such as a warding spell that protects the magician’s home while he’s away adventuring. There are three other types of spells in addition to those cast directly; focused, impressed and wards.

Focused Spells Edit

Focused spells are spells that place their effect into an object so that the effect originates from that object rather than from the spell caster. Focused spells are most commonly used to create magic items such as protective talismans and enchanted weapons. They are also used to give the recipient of a spell effect control over that effect. Using an item with a focused spell effect requires no special knowledge or abilities. Control of a focused spell effect does requires the same magic skill used to cast the spell, though the person does not need to possess the arcane knowledge and they do not have to make a skill check of any kind.

Example: Terrill buys a magic sword that has a flaming blade effect focused into it, which can be turned on and off by anyone holding the sword if they have the alteration magic skill and know the command word. Even if he tells his fellow adventurer the command word none of them could turn the flames on or off because none of them have alteration magic. Terrill could activate the sword’s flames and then give the sword to one of his friends and the sword would continue to burn for them because using the effect does not require anything special from them to operate.

Spell Charges Edit

It is possible to create a special type of focused spell, one that allows a magician to focus spell patterns rather than spell effects into an object. Additionally, this special type of spell allows for more than one spell pattern of an arcane knowledge to be focused into an object. These multiple patterns are commonly referred to as “charges”. For example, an item that can hold fourteen spell patterns of the Fire arcane knowledge is said to hold fourteen Fire knowledge charges. A spell pattern is in essence the spell itself; it is what brings the magical effect into existence. By placing the pattern into an object, it becomes possible for anyone with the right magic skill to cast the spell, even if they do not possess the arcane knowledge normally required for casting the spell.

Example: Terrill comes into possession of an “air wand”, a wand enchanted to hold spells of the Air knowledge. This particular wand contains four charges of the Floater spell. Even though Terrill does not the Air knowledge, he does have the apportation magic skill so he can use the wand to cast Floater up to four times While it would seem that having multiple spells of the same arcane knowledge in an object violates the Principle of Definition, the Principle only prohibits active spell effects of the same knowledge affecting an object simultaneously, not spell patterns. The Principle of Definition would prohibit an object from being able to hold spell patterns of two different knowledges though, because the spells used to enchant the object would be of the same knowledge. Spell charges cannot be held indefinitely by an object though; the spell used to enchant the object has duration like any other spell. When that duration expires, any charges still in the object are lost. Permanent magic, as described later in this chapter, can be used to get around this restriction to create magic items that will indefinitely hold their charges (though the charges will still have their normal durations, they won’t be permanent.) To fill the charges of an enchanted item, the magician must cast each spell he wishes to place inside the item. As long as the spell is cast successfully its pattern is placed inside the item. Backlash damage is assessed normally, so items that can hold a large number of charges are usually filled over a spread out period of time to avoid taking excessive amounts of backlash damage all at once. Activating a charge is usually a simple action, such as speaking a command word or performing a ritualistic action like rubbing a finger over a certain part of the object. The spell patterns placed into the enchanted object do not have to be focused spells; they can be any type of spell. They can even be impressed spells.

Impressed Spells Edit

Impressed spells are cast normally but their effects are held in check and then released at a later time of the magician’s choosing. This allows a spell to have a lengthy casting time but still be useful in fast-paced situations such as combat. For example, Conjured Fireball is a powerful combat spell but has a cast time of one hour, making it impossible to cast in combat. But because it can be impressed, the mage can prepare ahead of time by casting the spell long before the battle even occurs and then holding the effect in check until he needs it. To impress a spell, the caster rolls to beat the difficulty number and calculates backlash as for a normal spell. Any backlash damage is taken when the spell is initially cast, not when the effect is   released. The bonus number generated when impressing a spell is not applied to the bonus number to portion of the spell. If the spell is successfully cast, it is impressed into the magician’s mind. The spell may then be released within a combat round (ten seconds) at any future time. A mage may hold in his mind as many impressed spells as the total of his adds in conjuration magic and the State arcane knowledge. The two together are a measure of his knowledge of the spell impression process. He may impress several different spells or he may impress the same spell several times, in any combination. Once impressed, a spell remains impressed until it is released or until the mage chooses to dissipate it in Order to make room for a different impressed spell. There is no time limit on how long a spell can remain impressed.

Example: Terrill has +2 adds in his conjuration magic skill and no adds in the State arcane knowledge. He can carry two impressed spells in his mind at any one time.

When releasing the impressed spell, the caster must roll again to generate a bonus number, which is then added to the bonus number to portion of the spell. Since difficulty and backlash have already been checked, the mage never takes backlash from releasing an impressed spell. If the impressed spell requires using the magician’s casting skill total to determine if a target is hit, as is the case with most combat spells, the bonus number from this second roll is used to determine the skill total. It is possible to impress spells into objects or into other people, allowing someone other than the spell caster to release the spell effect. Impressed spells to be placed in objects or other people need to be designed for that purpose; it cannot be done with a regular impressed spell. Unlike focused spell effects, impressed effects do not require any particular magic skill to control. For the rules on how to impress spells into objects or other people, see the Aysle sourcebook.

Example: If Terrill’s flaming sword used impressed magic rather than focused magic, then anyone who knew the command word could turn the flames on and off, it would not require the alteration magic skill to do so.

Warding Spells Edit

Warding spells are an advanced form of focused magic that foreshadows some elements of impressed magic. A warding spell is cast normally, almost always focused upon an object or location, but the effect of the spell does not go into effect immediately. The spell can be programmed to “trigger” its effect when it detects a certain condition or event. Most wards are used as traps and alarms and the trigger can be defined as the lack of a certain condition or event too. For example, a mage may set an alarm ward on the door to his library that is triggered when a certain word is not spoken before the door is opened. A ward can hold its effect indefinitely. The duration given in a ward spell description indicates how long the effect lasts once it is triggered. Once triggered, a ward spell expires like a normal spell, it does not “reset” and keep functioning (but see “Permanent Magic” later in this chapter for information on ward spells that can reset themselves.) Warding spells do not automatically detect whatever condition has been programmed as their trigger; a ward has a detection value built into it by the magician who created the spell. The detection value of a spell is equal to the divination magic skill plus the adds of the knowledge to be detected of the magician who designed the spell.

Example: A magician with divination magic 15 and +5 adds in Folk designs a ward that is triggered when it detects dwarves (who are covered by the Folk knowledge.) His ward spell will have a detection value of (15 + 5) 20.

When a ward might be triggered by a condition, the gamemaster generates an action total for the ward using its detection value. The normal difficulty to detect a condition is 8. Characters who have the divination magic skill may attempt to magically circumvent detection by wards if they are aware of the ward and know what arcane knowledge it is set to detect. a character trying to avoid a ward generates an “active defense” total with his divination magic skill (minimum bonus number of +1) and that becomes the difficulty for the ward to detect the character.

Example: Magoth knows that the doorway to the evil wizard Salbane’s library has a ward that detects if a password is spoken before the door is opened. Magoth generates a divination magic skill total that   represents his knowledge of how wards work and his ability to skirt the edges of its trigger, hopefully doing well enough to keep the ward from detecting that the door was opened without the password being spoken first. If the character knows or suspects that a ward is present but does not know what it is set to detect, he may still generate a divination magic total to try and avoid detection but has a -3 penalty on the attempt.

If there are multiple occurrences of the trigger condition, the ward gets the appropriate Many on One modifier for the number of possible trigger conditions. Example: Salbane has placed a ward in a corridor that detects metal weapons. Magoth is carrying his sword and brass knuckles, two metal weapons, so the ward gets a +2 bonus to its detection total.

Illusionary Magic Edit

When most people think of “illusion spells”, they think of something that creates a false perception or a belief in someone who views the illusion - there’s a pit in the ground where there really isn’t one, a doorway is concealed by the appearance of a blank wall, and so on. While Torg does have spells that do things like this, “illusionary magic” is used in Torg to refer to something more than that. Illusions are magical “cheats,” they’re shortcuts in conjuring magical effects that let the effect be created without expending the magical energy necessary to create the full reality of the effect. Illusions can run the gamut from fully illusory (the false perceptions mentioned above) to something that is almost real (a bridge over a chasm that can actually be walked across.) There are only two types of magic that can be illusionary, conjurations and transformations. Spells that divine, move or modify something within its natural limits are never illusionary.

The difference between a transformation and a modification is that a modification can only work with what already exists in the target. You could modify a dwarf so that he appears to be a different dwarf but you couldn’t modify him into being a frog, doing that would require transformation magic. The extent to which a conjuration or transformation is illusionary depends on the type of arcane knowledge involved. Conjurations and transformations that use the Essences are always real. The “cheating” comes from using a knowledge below the Essences; the spell is easier to cast but this comes at the cost of its effect being “less real” than it would be if an Essence was used. How “real” an illusion is to those who view it can depend on the belief of others who see the illusion. Belief provides the illusion with reality, and as long as there is belief, the spell effect is for all intents and purposes real. This effect is temporary, though - as soon as the belief ceases (either because the believers leave the area or because someone disbelieves and becomes convinced that the object is an illusion), the illusion vanishes as well. For this reason a mage could never conjure an illusion where no one else is around, leave, and expect it to still be there when he comes back at a later time. Without observers, illusions cease to exist. To disbelieve, a character generates a Mind or willpower total. Willpower can only be used outside of round play to disbelieve illusions, during round play characters must rely on their base Mind. The difficulty number to disbelieve depends on the type of arcane knowledge used in the spell. The difficulty to disbelieve when a Principle is used is 15, with a Mixed Force it is 12 and with a Kindred or an Element the difficulty is 8. Some spells may further modify the difficulty to disbelieve; this will be indicated in the spell description and either a modifier or a difficulty value will be provided. Additionally, the number of beings who do believe the illusion increases the difficulty for anyone else to disbelieve; this is because the possibility energy from their belief makes it “more real”. The Modified Difficulty column of the One on Many chart is used to determine the difficulty increase based on the number of believers.

Example: An army of conjured skeletal warriors confronts a party of six characters. One of the Characters wants to disbelieve but his five companions believe the magic is real. Using the One on Many chart, because his five friends believe the skeletons are real the single disbelieving Character has the difficulty raised to DN+8. (Note that the number of skeletal warriors present has no effect on the difficulty of disbelieving since it is a single spell effect being disbelieved.) Illusory spells which affect a mental state, such as a charm person spell which succeeds in charming its target, may not be disbelieved by the target character without prodding from a different character. This is because, by definition, the emotions produced by the spell feel real enough to negate any desire to question them, and an objective viewpoint is needed to allow disbelief. Characters are only allowed one chance to disbelieve an illusion. If they fail the check, they have no choice but to believe that the illusion is real. An illusion’s effect value is a measure of how much of the illusion is real. The lower the effect value, the more the spell relies on pure illusion, and the less “reality” it contains. An illusionary spell with an effect value of zero is completely illusionary and would be unable to directly affect anything, though it might still be believed to be real until it was interacted with and there was no effect. The disguise self spell is an example of a completely illusionary effect, as soon as someone touches the disguised character they will realize that the appearance does not match what they feel and the spell is broken. Conversely, an illusion with a nonzero effect value is somewhat real and can have a possibly significant effect. For example, an illusionary bridge with an effect value of 15 could hold up to of weight. Its appearance may be of a bridge that can hold more or less than that amount, but that has no actual bearing on the reality of the spell effect. The gamble for the caster of an illusion is that successful disbelief in an illusionary spell dissolves the spell effect completely – and not just for the disbeliever. Thus, even the caster of the spell is required to make a disbelief check if he wants to use some portion of the illusion as though it were real. The caster would be safer if many people around him believe in the illusion, as it will now be more difficult for him to disbelieve his own spell.

Example: A mage casts a spell to create an illusionary bridge. His army starts across the bridge, thinking that it is real, and it becomes “more real” as they cross. The mage, knowing that it is an illusion, must roll for disbelief before crossing himself. The fact that 100 men believe in the bridge increases his difficulty to DN+20 so he’s probably safe. Note that the caster only has to make a disbelief check if he wants to use the illusion himself; if the mage in the example stays off the bridge, he never has to make a disbelief check and there’s no risk of him undoing his own spell. It’s only when he sets foot on the bridge that he would have to make a disbelief check. Any physical effects from an illusion prior to disbelief are real because the illusion is real until that point. A wall torn down by an illusionary dragon will still be torn down if someone disbelieves the dragon afterwards, soldiers who cross a river on an illusionary bridge will still be on the other side, and someone squashed by an imaginary boulder is still squashed, and so on.

Permanent Magic Edit

Almost any magic spell can be made permanent by the spellcaster at the time she casts the spell. Making a spell permanent requires that the spellcaster have the conjuration magic skill even if the spell being cast is not a conjuration spell. This is because to make a spell permanent a lasting link between the spell pattern and the natural world must be created, and creation requires conjuration. Backlash is always compared to the casting total, the spellcaster’s Mind is never used if the casting total is less than her Mind. Each creation of a permanent effect is in some way unique, enough so that it cannot be refined and formulated like a normal grimoire spell. When making a spell permanent, the caster has a choice. He may choose to make the effect permanent or he may make the spell pattern permanent. A permanent effect is just that; a fireball would burn forever, a disguise would last forever or until dispelled, a man transformed into a frog will stay that way, and so on. The casting mage has whatever control over the spell is built into the spell but no more.

A permanent spell pattern means that the potential to cast the spell has been made permanent. It is most often used in the creation of magic items, such as a ring that would allow someone to cast the Mage Light spell or an amulet that contains the Strength spell. Using the item would require the appropriate magic skill to activate the effect but the arcane knowledge is not required. Impressed and warding spells can also be made permanent but it requires a bit more effort. Both the effect and the pattern must be made permanent, which means the spell has to be successfully cast twice, both times with the negative modifier. If both castings are successful, the spell will go into effect like normal. When the impressed spell effect is released or the ward is triggered to release its effect, the spell recasts itself using the normal casting time of the spell, and the effect will again sit suspended until released. In this way, wards can be made which “recharge” themselves after being triggered and magic items can be made with impressed spells in them so that the item can be used to cast spells over and over again without requiring the user to have an appropriate magic skill.

Spell Manipulation Edit

A magician who knows all of the process theorems listed in a spell description has the ability to manipulate the spell and change some of the values of the spell. The effect cannot be changed, a spell that changes a man into a frog cannot be manipulated to turn him into a goat, but the magician can change the values of the spell’s backlash, difficulty, effect value, range, duration and cast time. A spell that does not have any process theorems listed can be manipulated by any spellcaster. There are four basic ways that a spell can be manipulated. A spellcaster manipulates a spell prior to casting it, essentially increasing the casting time of the spell. Each type of manipulation requires one round and the player does not roll the die to cast the spell until after all manipulations have been finished.

Change Cast Time Edit

The spellcaster may increase or decrease the cast time of the spell. Increasing the cast time gives the

spellcaster points to allocate to effect value, range and/or duration while decreasing it requires taking points

away from those three values. It is a one-to-one exchange for effect value and duration, and range. The effect of a spell may not be raised by more than 6 through manipulation.

Example: A magician wants to cast detect magic to locate the source of an enchantment affecting an area. He suspects that the spell he’s looking for is powerful and wants to increase the effect value of his spell so that he can gain more information about the other spell. He’s not in any hurry he decides to extend the cast time. The normal cast time is 7 (25 seconds). He elects to increase this to ten minutes, a value of 14. This increase gives him (14 - 7) 7 points to add to the effect value, raising it from 10 to 17. The manipulation takes one round so the total cast time on the spell actually becomes ten minutes and ten seconds.

Shift Complexity Edit

The spellcaster may reallocate points from difficulty to backlash or vice versa.

Example: A magician wants to cast the lightning spell (backlash 19, difficulty 11) but is worried about the damage the backlash might cause so he decides to shift points from backlash into difficulty.

He moves six points and in the next round he can cast the spell at backlash 13, difficulty 17.

Shift Spell Values Edit

The spellcaster may reallocate points from the effect value to range and/or duration, range to effect value and/or duration or from duration to range and/or effect value. Effect and duration points are exchanged on a one-to-one basis but range points count twice as much - two points of effect equal one point of range and so on.

Example: Right before casting his lightning spell, our magician realizes that his target is slightly out of range. He decides to spend another round manipulating the spell to increase its range. Because range points are worth twice as much, he will need to sacrifice two points from effect value and/or duration to increase the range by one He decides to take one point from duration and one point from the effect. The one point increase in range is enough to let him strike his target. He has now spent two rounds manipulating the spell and can cast it in the next round.

Increase Backlash Edit

The spellcaster can increase the backlash of the spell to increase the effect value, range and/or duration of the spell as well as decrease the cast time. The amount the backlash is increased by is read through the Power Push table, the resulting value being the amount that the other values may be changed (the shock damage of the push is ignored.) This manipulation can only be performed as the spell is being cast, it does not add a round to the cast time and would have to be performed after any other manipulations.

Example: Our magician who has been manipulating his lightning spell decides at the last second that he’s more worried about his enemy surviving his attack than what the spell’s backlash will do to him (the whole reason he did the first manipulation!) He can’t afford to reduce range and doesn’t want to reduce the duration any further. He feels that he has already spent enough time manipulating the spell and can’t afford to increase the cast time any further. The only thing left to do is increase the backlash in exchange for increasing the effect value. He begins to cast the spell and performs the manipulation while casting the spell.

His current backlash value on the spell is 13. He increases this by six points, back up to its original backlash value of 19. On the Power Push chart, six result points are a +3 modifier. The effect value, previously manipulated to 19, is now increased to 22. With this manipulation completed, casting total is finally generated.

Grimoire Spells Edit

Backlash is how powerful a force surges through the magician as he casts his spell. Backlash is a damage value that is compared to the spell total. The magician must survive the backlash (stay conscious) to successfully cast a spell.

Difficulty of the spell is the difficulty number required for a successful cast. “Successful” means the spell’s effect value is used, not necessarily that the spell affects its target.

Effect value' is the effect value of the spell, if any. Effect values are usually compared to an attribute of the target of the spell to determine its effect. A fireball spell, for example, uses its effect value as a damage value that is compared to the target’s Toughness. A spell that turned a man into a frog has its effect value compared to the target’s highest attribute to see if the spell successfully affects the target or not.

Bonus Number' to lists the part of the spell to which any generated bonus number is added. While usually added to the effect value, the bonus number could be added to duration or range, depending on what the designer of the spell wished. Negative bonus numbers are added to the appropriate value.

Range is the greatest distance over which the spell effect may be projected. The range is measured from the caster of the spell unless the spell is focused, in which case it is measured from the focus object. A range of self means the spell may only affect the caster. A range of touch means the caster must make physical contact with his target for the spell to take effect.

Duration is how long the spell effect lasts.

Cast time is how long it takes the magician to cast the spell. In round play, a spell meant to strike an enemy target (someone on the other initiative side) must have a cast time of 3 (four seconds) or less in Order to have a chance to hit their targets in the same round in which they are cast. Spells which have a cast time of 4 (six seconds) may be used on a friendly character (same initiative side) during the same round as the effect takes place. Spells with cast times longer than 4 will not take effect until the next round (or possibly later depending on the cast time.) Cast times greater than 23 (ten hours) cannot be done in a single stretch. The magician is assumed to be casting six to eight hours a day for an extended period; this is the maximum cast time which can be done repeatedly with little chance of error. A mage may be able to go 24 hours straight for one spell, but has little chance of going 12 hours a day for a month without making a mistake which would ruin the spell (and possibly himself).

Manipulation lists the process theorems that are necessary to manipulate the spell. A magician must know 'all of the listed theorems in Order to manipulate a spell.

Whenever a spell description says something like “limited to a man-sized or smaller target,” that means the spell is limited to a specific mass, 100 kilos, which is the size of a large, but not huge, man. Other restrictions may be inferred from the knowledge that generated the spell. A spell based on folk knowledge, for example, could not affect dogs, regardless of their size. If a spell is described as having a radius, all targets within that radius are affected by the full value of the spell.

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