Introduction to the Lemurian Magic System
Magic is my favorite part of fantasy role playing games. I want
to include in these rules some of the things that I think other
magic rules systems lack. Namely, I want to put the mysterious
and supernatural feeling into the use of magic in the game. I
resent how magicians are loaded with spells, which they can effortlessly
discharge. The spells have a fixed range, effect and so forth.
Magic becomes a kind of artillery, mages a kind of gun. Similarly
for magic items: they work predictably, like a machine. I believe
most rules have stuck to this conception of magic due to a lack
of imagination and also a desire for hard and fast rules.
What I have endeavored to include provides the player and game
master with a flexible approach to magic. Spells do not always
function, and if they do, they may not always function in the
same way. Mages must be creative, as spells almost always
require some missing variable to be set at the time of casting.
They must also be careful, because if they mess up or try to cast
a spell too ambitious for them, they can suffer tremendously,
or even die. Magic occurs in different forms, can be cast in different
ways, used to make scrolls, magical artifacts, and so on and so
The weakness of my magic rule system is that it may appear too
complex at first, and it may be too open ended. My whole approach
to rules, as noted in the introduction, is to turn away from the
hard and fast and to open up general guidelines through which
a gamemaster can arbitrate. I invite you to use merely some of
it, as the pieces can easily be separated from each other.
The following words are used with little or no explanation in
what follows, so I will define them now.
- Time units:
- yr = year, mo = month, wk = week, dy = day, hr= hour, min
= minute, mt = melée turn (3 seconds long, 20 to a minute),
sec = second.
- Distance units:
- mi = mile, yd = yard, ft or ' = foot, inch or " = inch.
- Save = normal:
- Spells do not necessarily achieve their intended result, even
if they are cast sucessfully. The victim of an enchantment or
magical damage rolls a "saving throw" as well as a magic
resistance roll. If either roll is successful, then the effect
is resisted. For many spells, this indicates no effect.
For others, a save means half damage. If both a save and
a magic resistance are successfully rolled, then no damage
or effect occurs. For some spells, there are multiple effects
In these cases one magic resistance is rolled, and two saves.
(eg. Walking through a wall of fire and lightning entails a magic
resistance roll and a save vs. fire and lightning. Say a character
has a 25% magic resistance, a 50% fire resistance and 13 save
required against magic. The player successfully rolls the magic
resistance, but fails both saves. The character suffers one quarter
of the fire damage (half of half) and half of the lightning damage.)
- This is a confusing and overused word. There are 13 spell
levels, one through thirteen. These indicate increasing difficulty
and power. There are 20 Mage levels, from novice to master.
I limit the number of possibilities so that there will be no temptation
to or idea of continual increase in skill. Most importantly, every
mage will stand in a fixed position of power and knowledge to
every other. Mage levels are determined by the "Skill Rank"
in Ritual (see below).
- per level:
- This means per level of the mage: If the mage is 13'th level,
5' per level would be 65'.
- per level over:
- This is more complicated, refering to how the mage's level
compares with that of a given spell. Multiply the spell level
by two. Every level of the mage over that number is one "level
over." A seventh level mage casts a first level spell with
a duration of 3 mt + 1 mt "per level over." This means:
7 - (2 x 1) = 7 - 2 = 5 "levels over." The spell lasts
3 + 5 = 8 mt.
- Skill Rank:
- As for mage levels, they ascend from 1 through 20. Each new
level may only be obtained with spending a certain number of skill
units. For notes on this, and a list of percentage chance of success
at a given skill level, see the skill system.
- Skill Unit:
- Characters begin with a certain number of skill units that
a player allocates to buy skills at particular skill ranks (they
need not be at rank one to start with). These skills advance when
the character uses them, through points that get awarded at the
end of each game. See the skill system for further information.
- Will Power:
- A mage has a certain number of will power points (WP) with
which to cast spells. Unless otherwise stated, a spell costs 1
WP per level of spell. At first level, a mage has as many WP as
their EGO, then they add EGO/3 points per level over. These points
may only be recovered in certain ways. There are different options
that a game master may decide upon for the way magic works in
- Mages must meditate and replenish their power in special sanctuaries.
In other words, they recover WP only between games, or after weeks
spent "at home."
- Mages recover all of their WP every time they get a full night's
sleep. I do not like either alternative. 1 is too limited, 2 is
excessive and cheapens the use of magic by making it common. So
I suggest 3:
- Mages must imbue themselves with energy which requires much
time, as in 1. They recover up to half of their energy after being
undisturbed for a full day, and up to 2% per level after merely
sleeping (always rounding up to whole WP points). Finally, they
can recover most if not all of their WP by basking in the magical
energies of a place of magical power (see below under the skill
"Ambient Magical Force.")
- Additionally, the game master may decide that spell casting
requires a temporary use of Lifeforce. For every 3 levels of spell,
the character loses 1 Lifeforce point. These are regained at one
per mt. This poses no serious problem unless high level spells
are used rapidly, in succession, or if a mage suffers an undead
or demonic attack after they've cast a high level spell. Mages
would tend to age faster, need more sleep and run risks of being
easier to kill in their temporarily weakened state. (See the Lifeforce
- Damage Point:
- Characters do not have "HIT POINTS" in the combat
system presented by this book. Instead, they suffer wounds. It
still makes sense to speak of damage points, however. When a fireball
is cast, a certain amount of magical fire energy is released.
The amount of damage suffered by those beings within the fireball
will depend on how large they are. (Damage is not divided among
those within the fireball.)
- Wound Class:
- Wounds come in only a few kinds: Light, Medium, Heavy and
Critical. They add in a simple way (L + L = M, M + M = H, H +
H = C), a critical wound equals eight light wounds, four medium
wounds or two heavy wounds. L + C = C+, M + C = C++, etc. These
"critical plus" wounds indicate death, (some races survive
more wounds than others, if they have more life force.) The results
of these injuries are described in the chapter on combat. Additional
suffering caused by magical forms of damage are described below.
There are different formats to spells. Most involve an intended
victim that will be enchanted. These "targeted" spells
require the mage to know where the victim is, either from line
of sight, seeing their silhouette or reflection, or perhaps some
enhanced other sense. Cones and beams must be aimed. A roll of
a 1 on a d20 will always miss, and if the mage is flying (and
is not a flying creature) or otherwise disoriented, a roll of
less than 4 will miss. Balls and bolts leave the mage's hand as
a small energy packet and extend toward where they were aimed.
If it encounters any obstacle (a rock, an invisible wall of force,
etc.), it will detonate out to its full radius at that point.
Cones will splash, lightning bolts will ricochet. Finally, there
are spells that effect points, planes and volumes, (such as fixed
radius fields, walls, and pits.) These must be placed. The player
specifies where the spell is to (ideally) manifest, then attempts
a placement roll, 20% + 5% per level. If successful, the effect
occurs exactly where desired (limited by the spells overall range.)
If this roll is missed to a certain extent, the percentage off
will determine how much the miss occurred by.
Spell placement is at a point determined by the caster.
|Roll missed by:||Number of feet off target (roll):
|81-90||25% spell range or 5d12 (the greater)
|91-98||50% spell range
|99||Maximum possible spell range
For direction, roll d12 twice. The first roll is which direction
on a horizontal plane the spell went wrong. 12 is considered
directly ahead, ie. the spell overshot the mark. 6 (o'clock)
means that it fell short. 3 is to the right of the target from
the perspective of the caster, and 9 to the left. Next the another
d12 is rolled to determine the height and other characteristics
of the spell placement failure.
|1||Same height, just ahead, behind, to the left or right of the target, as per first roll.
|7||The spell goes off too high (interpret the distance roll above this way)
|8||The spell goes off too low (interpret the distance roll above this way)
|9||The spell goes off too high (roll the same distance selected above) and still apply the result from the distance selection roll.
|10||As 9, but the spell goes off too low.
|11||The spell goes wild. It is centered on a random point. The first roll will determine where the spell was centered. If the original intent was to place it out 100' from the caster and a 3 was rolled for the first d12, the spell is 100' out, but at 90 degrees to the right of where the caster intended (+ or - based upon the severity of the failure in placement roll.)
|12||The spell goes off centered on the mage (+ or - the number of feet indicated by the severity of the failure in the placement roll.)
I have included several different types of magic in this publication:
General magic, Shadow magic and Illusionist magic, as well as
several other types: Space, Time, Rubble, Earth, Air, Fire, Water,
Necromancy, Demonic Wizardry, Alchemy, Void, Darkness, Light and
Void. A mage of one type of magic cannot work with magic of any
other type. They can of course cast counterspells or dispels against
it, but no spells from the other branch. Most forms of magic include
offensive, defensive, sensitive, movement and special spells.
General magic is of course the most versatile, but it is often
less powerful than the specialties. Illusionists suffer many limitations
as their spells have virtually no real effect except on the thinking
beings (including animals.) But Illusionists have the greatest
flexibility to improvise while casting spells, as the precise
form of the illusion is left to his or her discretion (though
the effects are rigidly delimited.)
How does spell casting work? The short answer is that a player
selects a spell, rolls to see if it works, determines the results
of the spell (by reading the spell description), maybe the spell's
victim can attempt a save and a resistance roll. Lastly, the player
deducts the WP cost of the spell. The long answer will explain
what that means.
A mage knows certain spells (the skill "Book Casting"
indicates that the character will have studied the spell a minimum
of d6 days per level of spell.) These spells can be cast by reading
them from a book, inscription tattoo, etc. And there are other
alternatives described in the Magical Skill section. In order
to prepare to cast a spell, the mage must first select a target,
like any one in combat. A spell must be concentrated upon, which
takes 1 mt, if it has not been already. (Impromptu spells that
are memorized as a "contingency" need not be concentrated
upon; the mage is assumed to always be concentrating on them.)
Finally, the spell is cast. If it is cast from memory, this requires
only two mt. The first round the mage must build up the spiritual
resources necessary, the second, he or she releases them. If the
spell is cast from a book or scroll, the ritual takes longer.
Other mages may cast counterspells during this time.
The mage must maintain total concentration or they will fumble
their spell (roll percentile dice and consult the fumble table.)
Concentration can be broken by distraction (loud noises, flashes,
being bumped, etc.) The mage must roll EGO x 5 + level + spell
practice bonus in order to not to fumble. If the mage is wounded
while casting, roll to avoid fumbling by wound class: Light: EGO
x 4, Medium: EGO x 3, Heavy: EGO x 2, Critical: EGO x 1. The same
bonuses apply as for distraction.
Each spell has a base chance of success (which every player should
calculate for their mage's spells in advance of the game). Normally
that number will have to be rolled (or greater) on a d20. In some
cases bonuses and penalties apply, which will modify the number
required. A naturally rolled (no bonuses added) 20 almost always
succeeds, whereas a naturally rolled 1 will normally fail.
|Caster Level 1-2
- 20A means roll a 20 then roll greater than 50%
- 20B, roll a 20 then greater than 80%
- 20C, roll a 20 then greater than 95%
- 1D, roll anything but a 1, or a 1 and greater than 50%
- 1E, roll higher than a 1, or a 1 and greater than 20%
- A roll of 20 then 100 on %ile dice always succeeds.
- A roll of a 1 then less than 06 on %ile dice always fails.
- The bonuses, listed below, add or subtract 10% per + to values
- Ex. Base roll 20A, with a +6, the mage must roll a 20 then
greater than 50%. The +6 gives a 60% bonus, so the roll need only
be a 20. The extra +1 is lost, the required roll does not go below
- + bonuses for caster (special ability, etc.)
- +2 fresh (no will power points yet used)
- -1 low will power (between 1/2 and 1/4)
- -2 low will power (between 1/4 and 1/8)
- -4 less than 1/8 will power remaining
- +1 to +4 "practice", 1 skill unit per +1
- + bonuses for tools, preparation, etc.
- -1 light wound -2 medium wound -3 heavy wound -5 critical
There are 6 possible outcomes to casting a spell. The spell can
succeed or fail. The player may roll a 1 or much lower than they
need and fumble the spell. If the player rolls much lower than
needed and rolls a one the fumble can be of an extreme kind, adding
+50% to the die roll. This normally only happens when a spell
that is beyond the character's capacity to control is attempted.
Finally, if the player rolls a 20 and or exceptionally good, certain
bonuses may be chosen. If a 20 is rolled and the player only needed
to roll a 7 (or less) an superb result ensues (several bonuses
may be applied).
Spell Casting Roll Resolution Chart
A "Roll" means the number appearing on the die before
bonuses & penalties. The "Total" is the number including
bonuses & penalties.
DISASTER Both of the conditions that produce a fumble are true.
---Roll on the fumble table, adding 50% to the die roll.
---Spell fails, unless otherwise indicated.
FUMBLE Roll on the 20 sided die was a 1, when base roll required
was greater than a 1.
Total was 13 less than required.
---Roll on the fumble table.
---Spell fails, unless otherwise indicated.
SUCCESS Total was the number required or higher.
BONUS Roll was a 20 and the base roll required was less than 20.
Total was 13 more than required.
---Spell succeeds plus any one of the following (choose)
- Spell has twice the range.
- Spell has twice the duration.
- Spell has twice the radius, area or cone dimensions.
- Victims save at -5 vs. the spells effects.
- +1 bonus with spell in the future (see bonus table)
- 1/2 more victims (multiple target spell), or divide damage
(for fireballs, etc.) by one person less.
- Roll 1/2 to full damage, or full damage if already true.
SUPERB Both of the conditions that produce a bonus are true.
---Spell succeeds and choose any 3 of the above conditions or
double the damage done.
The player should jot down which spell was used, and how much
will power it used up. If Lifeforce is required for casting spells
(an optional rule mentioned above), the caster should keep track
of how many points were expended and then subtract one from that
number every melée turn that goes by afterward. If the
mage's LIF attribute gets too low, he or she will age and so on
(see the Lifeforce table in the Character chapter.)
Damage resulting from combat spells
Some spells require damage to be rolled, or include random factors.
Before these are rolled, check the resistances of the intended
victims. If they are immune to the effects, there is no sense
in rolling the dice (which takes time.) Saving rolls and magic
resistance should be attempted. Again, the need to roll damage
may be undercut, if both rolls are successful. If the spells will
indeed have an effect, damage should be rolled, and reduced due
to the victim's resistance rolls, special abilities, magical protections,
etc. Points of damage must then be translated into wounds. Five
points of fire will completely consume a mouse, but hardly even
phase a giant. Both damage and size are determined on an absolute
scale, so the following chart will yield the appropriate wound
class of the injury:
For use in the 'Wound Class' damage system. (points of damage
are not recorded, rather, wound classes. This is to reflect the
fact that larger creatures can sustain substantially more damage
than small ones.
Size (Rows) vs. Damage Points (Columns) translated into Wound
t = melée turns, m = minutes, _ = C+ wounds henceforth
These wounds will normally occur over the entire body of the victim
unless inflicted by a magical weapon (such as a flaming sword
or a frozen acid lance, etc.) If the damage inflicted is to a
particular part of the body, refer to the chart in the Combat
System chapter which describes the effects of wounds to individual
parts of the body. If the damage is incurred to the entire body,
then the results are as follows:
||(or % wounded)||
||AGL or die!
Other aspects of magical damage are discussed in the following
chart. Overall minuses affect combat bonuses (attack, defend),
perception rolls, skill rolls and movement speed. Each -1 equates
to -5%. The penalties listed in the following chart occur in addition
to those listed above. Only poison (slow acting) and radiation
incur no immediate combat penalties. Unlike a "hit point
based system" where characters may suffer much damage before
anything "happens" to them, this system brings the symptoms
of burns and so forth into play. If violent fantasy is what we're
doing, let us give the fantasy some teeth.
|+ SPATIAL||LIFE, EGO
|+ TEMPORAL||LIFE, EGO
The 'Resist' column is used the following way. Roll a 'saving
roll' or succumb to the listed effect For 'Light wounds', ie.
under 25%, roll the the attribute listed on a 20 sided die. If
there are two attributes listed, combine the two attributes in
an 'average' for the purposes of this roll. To resist the effect
of a 'Heavy wound', ie. up to 50% damage, roll 20 - (attr/2) to
save. To resist a 'Grievous wound', up to 75% damage, roll 20
- (attr/3) and a 'Critical wound', ie. up to 100%, roll 20 - (attr/4)
to save. Round up for the fractions. If the saving roll fails,
the penalty is applied to the categories listed. All penalties
listed with a '*' cause the suffer to lose consciousness if the
save is failed, or suffer the penalty if the save is made. Undead
disruption causes uncontrollable 'frenzy' for the number of melee
turns rolled. In a frenzy, the individual becomes erratic and
utterly violent. The VOID effect, if not resisted has a chance
of utterly eliminating one of the victim's components (roll randomly
on a d4: 1=SOUL, 2=MIND, 3=EMOTION, 4=MYSTIC CAPACITY)
How to design a mage
A mage, like any character, is given skills through spending skill
units. Along with any other skills the player selects, a certain
set of skills must be obtained in order for a character to be
able to use magic. First, the character must be "initiated,"
a long and arduous process (requires
10 skill units for a "General Mage" and 8 for a "Specialty
Mage." ) Such training provides only the basis for magic,
not the ability to use it. For actual spell casting abilities
and so forth, further training is required. The mage must acquire
the "Ritual" skill. The rank of this skill defines the
level of the mage, ie. a mage with 13'th rank Ritual skill is
a 13'th level mage. The mage's knowledge of spells is also acquired
through spending skill units. First, the mage learns the "Book
Casting" of a spell, then it can be memorized as "Impromptu
casting" or the mage can learn how to "Rune Cast"
it. This is described below. Mages may also develop their general
magical abilities with other skills. The only way a mage can increase
their level is by casting their most advanced spells, and gaining
experience with them. This is also described below.
To achieve the best possible results in creating a mage, a player
should work closely with a game master. The game master inform
the player what sort of teacher the character could have had,
and then help to fashion the knowledge and resources of the given
mage. Not every spell is available to every mage, nor do they
all have the financial resources to write scrolls or make magical
tools at first level. This should be determined by the mage's
social background and through the character's biography as dreamed
up by the player and coerced by the game master into the gaming
world context (and in particular, the needs of the game - scenario).
Skill units required for knowledge of the skill included in brackets,
as well as prerequisite skills.
Spell Casting Abilities:
- Ritual: [3 per skill rank]. This defines the
level of the mage. It also allows any spell that is known to be
cast in a methodical way, in minutes instead of melée turns,
at an overall bonus of +2 to the die roll for success. It is
the prerequisite for any other spell casting. At least five
points need to be spent on spell practice in order to obtain the
next level. The spells that are practiced must be no less than
half the mage's Ritual skill rank. For example: In order for a
third rank mage to become a fourth rank mage he or she must spend
5 skill units on Spell Practice, on spells that are at least 3/2
= 1.5 (round up to) 2, ie. second rank. This means the mage must
use their more difficult magical spells in order to advance in
- Spell practice: [1 per spell] For every point
spent, a +1 bonus is given to the casting of the spell in question,
up to a maximum of a +4 bonus. The bonus can only be added for
spells that were actually used in an appropriate situation (not
sitting at home writing a scroll, for instance.) Spell practice
is required to advance in caster levels (see Ritual above.)
- Book Casting: [.2 per spell] Spells are contained
either in a book or inscribed on some other media. The words and
symbols are recognizable to the caster, who can in a short ritual
(1 mt + 1 mt per 3 spell levels) cast the spell. Book casting
ability implies the caster "know the spell." Preparing
to cast a spell from a book takes 1 mt if the book is open, and
all is prepared, or d3 + 1 mt otherwise.
- Scroll Casting: [.5 per spell, already known]
Given time (1 day per spell level), and expensive materials (cost
should be as high as a week of high expenses or more than a month
of frugal expenditures), and a ritual casting. The effect of the
spell is bound into the scroll 90% + 1% per 2 levels after first.
Reading the scroll requires as much time as book casting, though
the mage need not know the spell on the scroll he or she reads.
The caster commits one fourth the will power points that the spell
costs: these points can only be recovered when the scroll has
been read or destroyed. The effectiveness of the scroll is kept
secret: it depends upon the die roll for casting at the time it
was written. Some fumbles will need to be played out at the time
of writing the scroll, others will remain latent until the scroll
- Rune Casting: [.5 per spell, already known]
A mage casts a spell in a ritual way, while carefully drawing
runes and leaving physical signs in a given position. The appropriate
amount of will power is expended, and the dice are thrown for
the casting roll. Unless a fumble is rolled, the result is kept
secret from the caster. Any time later, up to five hours per caster
level squared, the caster may activate the spell, centered exactly
on the rune. Such activation requires only concentration, one
melée turn and a proximity of 100' per level of caster.
Mages may set up triggers for their runes: Mages of rank 5-9:
Runes go off on contact, 10-14: Runes go off when crossed, except
by particular specified individuals. The rune can also contain
any detection spells the mage knows (detect undead, for example),
and this can cause the rune to go off, too. 15-18: Runes can have
complicated trigger events, such as when a particular door opens
or a given word is spoken, etc. They may also simply have a fuse
and go off after a stated period of time up to the duration of
the rune, 19-20: Other mages may be given the ability to trigger
- Impromptu Casting: [.1 per spell, already known]
Spells can be kept in memory, allowing them to be cast as though
they were read from a book. A mage can memorize a maximum of one
spell per INT point at the same time. The mage selects two spells
+1 for every 3 ranks attained, as "contingency spells."
These may be cast with no prior concentration. Otherwise, the
mage must spend 1 mt concentrating on a given spell. Then the
mage takes one round to spiritually prepare and another to cast
it. (This is still considerably faster than a Book or Scroll Casting:
1 mt to select a spell in a book or ready a scroll, then the d3
+1 mt required for performing it.)
- Covert Casting: [.25 per spell, known as impromptu]
This allows a spell to be cast stealthily, without making much
noise and without it seeming to be a spell casting at all (mage
seems to be talking to himself and gesturing as part of the conversation;
in some cases the mage can pretend to be conversing with others.)
Success is 75% + 3% per mage rank, half that against mages.
- Gesture Casting: [.25 per spell, known as impromptu]
The mage can cast a given spell without being able to speak, merely
through bodily movements and concentration. The mage must be over
7'th rank. This takes as much time as ritual casting. Casting
chance is -2.
- Concentration Casting: [.5 per spell, known
as gesture] The mage can cast a spell even when paralyzed, merely
by concentrating completely on a given spell. The mage must be
over 15'th rank. The spell casting takes one minute per level
of spell, squared, and the mage must not be distracted during
that entire time. Casting chance is -4.
The success chance for these skills is 60% + 2% per mage's level
over first. This is reduced by 3% per level of mage under that
of the magic in question, or 10% per level if the magic is masked
or made subtle in any way.
- Recognize Magic:  The mage notices the presense
of magical forces within an area of 100' + 25' per level over
that when the skill was attained. The mage will know only d20%
about the magic (1-5% when it starts and stops and where it is
located, 6-10% what kind of magic it is, 11-15% whether it is
offensive, defensive, etc., 16-20% whether it is successful or
not.) The mage obtains this information through 1 mt of concentration
after realizing that something is going on. This skill is useful
for perceiving places of power (see Ambient Magical Force, below.)
- Analyze Magic: [2, recognize magic] The mage
concentrates on the magic for d4 +1 mt and learns another d20%
(21-25% what or who is the source of the magic, 26-30% what is
its general effect, 31-35% how long will it last and does it require
the caster to concentrate on it, 36-40% who has been effected
by it / what has the magic already done?)
- Magical Empathy:  The mage develops a sense
of other spell casters and magical devices: roll as for "Recognize
magic," but as the mage or device producing its magical effect,
not after. This is a perception, requiring only that the mage
have spent at least one mt concentrating on one being (includes
all that beings magical items) previously. Empathy can be directed
only toward one target per 4 mage levels. Foreknowledge of other's
next moves allows counterspells and so on.
- Investigate Magic: [1, analyze magic] Given
d6 hours, the mage meditates on a given enchantment (whether an
object, being or place) and learns 1-100% about it, +3% per level
over when this skill was first obtained. The game master adjudicates
what is learned, given the quality of the roll, but there are
a few guidelines: 1-10% Only that the object is magic. 11-25%
what kind of magic, how powerful (in broad terms), 26-50% the
effects of the magic, when active, 51-75% any limitations or triggers
associated with the magic, 76-95% most if not everything, 96%
everything, even if the magic is "MASKED," in which
case lower rolls would not determine it.
- Investigate Masked Magic: [4, investigate magic]
Mage must be at least 10'th level. Success with this skill determines
the truth about an enchantment, including whatever magical masks
were used to misleade anyone investigating it.
- Resist one's own magical effects:  For an
additional .5 will power expended, any given spell may be cast
so that it does not effect the mage that cast it in any way. If
this spell is one that is a contingency spell, it must be memorized
as such. When casting a memorized spell, the mage will either
always include this self-resistance, or never. It requires 1 mt
to change the way one casts spells.
- Passive Magic Resistance:  The mage has an
additional +10% magic resistance, +1% per level of mage.
- Active Magic Resistance:  The mage may concentrate
on a given spell completely for d4 + 1 mt. The spell must be effecting
the mage personally. At the end of this time the mage will get
another saving roll. This does not always work, chance of success
is 50% + 5% per level of caster over the resisted magic, -10%
per level beneath it. In addition, each attempt requires 1 will
power per level of magic resisted whether successful or not.
- Counterspell: This is actually a family of spells.
The mage must either successfully use Magical Empathy on another
mage or guess what they are up to. Counterspells require a shorter
time to cast than spells, so they are practical to use in a magical
combat between two mages. Requires 1 WP. A mage may cast Counterspells
and Dispels as though they were contingency spells, even if they
are not, if they are memorized.
- General Hindrance  Casting time: 2 mt. Chance
of success as Active Magic Resistance above. A given mage has
a -3 chance of successfully performing a given spell, -1 additional
per 4 levels of caster. This effects only the currently performed
- Formal Counterspell  Specifically against
one form of magic (fire, water, air, shadow, illusion, etc. For
a complete list, see the General Magic section.) Success is 60%
+ or - 7% per level difference between mages. The caster has a
-5 chance of success, -1 additional per 3 caster levels.
- Absolute Counter [.25] This is a combination
of a particular kind of magic as above, in a given format (such
as a wall of fire, a bolt of fire, or a bolt of acid. These spells
require 3 distinct absolute counters.) A mage may research the
absolute counter to any spell, which is quite usefull against
an opponent than is known to rely on a particular one. Success
is 75% + or - 5% per level difference between the mages. Success
reduces the chance of success by -7, -1 per 2 levels.
- Dispelling [twice the cost of the already
known counterspell] A dispelling counterspell may be cast after
a given enchantment has already taken effect. It requires the
same time as a normal spell and requires 1 WP per 3 levels of
spell to be dispelled. Chances are the same as counterspells.
(See Counterspells for notes. There is no "General Dispel
Magic" spell which dissipates all forms of magic.)
- Undistractibility  Mages commonly
need to devote complete concentration to their work. Controlling
certain spells, and all spell casting, becomes dangerous if the
mage gets distracted. This skill allows the mage to continue with
what he or she is doing despite suffering damage, hearing terrible
noises, etc. (Wound modifiers to skill roll: L: -5%, M: -20%,
H: -35%, C: -50%.)
- Final Striking  Many magical devices
contain charges, such as wands and staves. When some shock of
energy destroys them, d20% of the energy contained releases in
a 6d6' radius, or the normal range of the damage of the device,
if listed. If a mage intentionally destroys an artifact with charges,
this energy can be released in a directed manner. If the skill
roll is made, 5d20% of the energy is released at once, if not
only d20%. This exposion will always occur in a radius around
the device, but if the mage is successful, there will be a 1 mt
delay until the device expodes.
- Ambient Magical Force  Certain places
have imbued magical energies. These may take an active form, say
in a magical fortress filled with walls of fire, heat mirages
and molten golems. In such a place Fire magic energies would be
available. In other places, due to "mythic era" events
or massive magical occurences, residual or potential magical energies
may exist. In such place, there are two possibilities: RAW ENERGY
and FOCUSSED ENERGY. Raw energy may be used to replenish the mage's
depleted will power, supplement the working of a given spell or
to power it (instead of the mage's will power). For each level
of mage, 1 WP can be used for a given spell, and up to 25% of
his or her total power, requiring 1-20 hours. Very strong sources
of power allow for more energy use/restoration and shorter time
requirements. Focussed energy takes on a given characteristic
when activated: Ex. a volcano might have lots of latent fire magic.
When brought to its final form, the volcano erupts. In every case
the game master must plan on "Places of Power" beforehand.
For raw energy specify (a). How much will each mage may draw from
it, how much total (over a period of time, and ever), (b) whether
it can be drawn into the casting of particular spells, (c). what
kind of magic is it? For focussed energy: (a). What is the end
effect? (b) What spell level equivalent in difficulty is the releasing
of the effect? (c) Any risks, etc. if the magic is improperly
or incompletely released.
- Disbelieving  Many forms of magic
allow the creation of unreal (yet still dangerous) phenomena.
Illusionists do this, obviously, but also Shadow mages, Time mages,
Space mages, and so on. The disbelief ability creates a PASSIVE
resistance to lesser illusions (first and second level spells).
If the skill is rolled, then one must roll 50% +5% per level of
this skill over the illusionist, -5% per level under. If the mage
wishes to disbelieve ACTIVELY, then the resistance roll can be
made directly, but this resistance must be applied to a particular
phenomena. Disbelief will also reveal masked or hidden objects,
such as by invisibility, silence, etc.
- Magical Tools [1 per tool made] A magical
tool helps the mage with the casting of a particular spell (or
family of very similar spells, such as Polymorph Self and Polymorph
Other, etc. Tools can only be used by the mage that made it, and
only for memorized spells. They have d3 + 1 of the following abilities
(roll how many, you may choose one more than once): (a). +1 spell
casting chance, (b). -20% distraction chance, (c). add 10% to
range, or duration, or damage, (d). -33% chance for other mages'
MAGICAL EMPATHY roll, (e). Resist the magical effects of the given
spell, 50%, no extra will power cost, (f). Spell is as if a "contingency
spell," the mage need not spend an extra round concentrating
- Repair Magical Artifacts  The mage must be
atleast 2 levels above that required to make the artifact. The
process requires months, and is very expensive. Normally wands
and storage devices cannot be repaired, although they can be recharged
(a 25% original, yet also permanent, will power expenditure).
- Artificing Drawbacks: Expensive (GM
should fix a price for a given project - and it should be high),
permenant use of will power and Lifeforce (number of items
that can be made for one life force point noted in parentheses).
An item requires one month per will power cost to construct, minimum.
Note that the Lifeforce is not 'drained' out of the mage, but
rather irrevocably linked with the item. If the item is destroyed,
that much of the Mage's lifeforce is lost. Thus, if a Mage has
10 Lifeforce and has created 4 items at 14'th level, and all these
items are destroyed, the Mage now has a Lifeforce of 9. The will
power (or mana points, or spell points, etc.) are permanently
expended in the creation of the artifact.
|Minimum Level||Will Power
||# items/1 Lifeforce||Item descriptions (examples of what a mage can make)
||+ weapon, 1 detect ability, low level spell per day
||protection (to +4 in all, +1 per 2 levels over)
||triggers, single spell storage devices (explosive gems)
||3 low level spell powers per day, 1 mid level, wands
||bag of holding, 50% resistence|
||constant low level power (flaming weapon, etc.)
||Immunity, create static power at will (walls, fields
||Spell turning, staves (store spells AND yield powers)
||Several low & mid level spell powers/day, 1 high level spell constantly, anti magic shells
||Intelligent items, magic force jars, dimensional portals, spell eating, prismatic wall creation
Notes about magic items
Magic items should not be too prevalent in a game. For one thing,
mages will not be too eager to construct them as it costs them
so much of their resources. For another thing, too many magic
items ruins the game. Characters begin to matter less than what
the characters possess. The goal of games becomes ever increasing
acquisition and personal gain. Finally, the games tend to escalate.
In order to compensate for the players growing collections of
magical artifacts, each combat encounter must become ever more
difficult. In order to give the players a sense of fulfillment
and conquest, the rewards increase. Soon, the characters become
living museums, superheros from comic books, completely disconnected
from a normal range of power in a given world.
I suggest that the game master, as part of the creation of the
world, decides what the most potent items are (perhaps 5 to 10).
Very briefly what are they, what are their powers (vaguely, even)
and their limits? For what reason were they created? Where are
they now? After this is done, it is easy to put all the lesser
artifacts into place. They would have been made as part of the
same conflicts, or for lesser ones (greater artifacts should always
be tied into history). Finally, limit to a small figure the number
of high level mages that are alive, and that have ever lived (perhaps
only one or two living masters, and ten in the whole course of
history.) This necessary means that not so many items will have
ever been made.
Saves for magic items
Magic items, like characters, must save when they are exposed
to extreme magical force. They will not normally be damaged by
falling or battering (unless by a magic weapon.) But in the case
of a magical attack, whether it be rot, fire or wind, items must
save or be destroyed. (See "Final Striking" above for
notes on what happens to wands, etc. when destroyed.) Damaged
items can be repaired, see the skill described above.