Saturday, June 22, 2013

Magic, or at least, 1st level.

So, not dead, again, but work is taking me plenty of places and the end of summer is busy with gardening and fruit.

And I've been finally reading through the large collection of random RPG papers and pdfs I have stashed away.  Finally bought all of the Fight On! magazines, and printed off some of the old 1st Ed pdfs I bought from the wizards site, just before they pulled them the first time.

One of the things I started on was working out a coherent yet mystical magical system.  Challenging, but none of the systems I've used before have satisfied me entirely. Mainly either too few or too many spells, and everyone gravitates towards the impressive ones (sleep, anyone?). And the gotta-catch-em-all exponential increase of Rolemaster...

So I've developed a quick and dirty list of 100 first level spells (well, 103 so far, due to inspiration striking a little too late). Nothing overpowering or game changing, I hope. Each first level mage gets three upon starting, all the result of a d100 - probably roll six times and take the three most desirable.

The number of spells the aspiring mage can learn at each level is dependent on their Psychic Talent. This 3-18 stat is nothing like D&D's wisdom - it's more of a psychic awareness or sensitivity, and the Dragon Warriors mailing list has been discussing how to play a character with a really low (or high) PT. recently. Somewhere between 4 and 7, although 7 needs superhuman stats, so not for 1st levels.  Intelligence gives the chance of learning a new spell from its tome, from 50% to 90%. I possibly got this idea from something I read in Holmes, or at least one of the old D&D rulebooks. So two stats give how many you can learn and how easy to learn.

Spells are complicated little beasties - the manipulation of energies and other dimensions requires diagrams, equations, poetic phrasing and goodness knows what else, so the instructions how to cast a spell take up a book about the size of a text book - a large text book. It takes a week of studying at home, or two weeks studying every night while adventuring, to learn, and at the end, the roll to learn is made. Tough but them's the breaks. Add extra time without a teacher, for difficult or obscure texts or spells, and unsuitable study conditions.

And I don't use Vancean magic - once you know a spell, you can cast it until you're sick of it. Or, usually, till you run out of power. That's one reason why it takes a while to learn it.

Anyway, here's the first 20. More later

1. Detect Enchantments - any active magic within a few metres will be apparent to the caster. Not passive things like enchanted items unless they are doing there thing at the time.

"So if YOU didn't cast a spell just now, and YOU didn't either, and you haven't drawn that dagger, then what's THAT?"

2. Glow - the next object touched by the caster glows softly until the next sunrise.

"Next time, don't cast it with an itchy nose..."

3. Change Aura - alters the way you are detected magically

"No" said the Elven Seer, "those are not the druids you are looking for"...

4. Flame - gout of flame to engulf (and slightly burn) an opponent.


5. Lock - causes an ordinary lock to lock itself. Infinitely reversible.

 "If cast multiple times, the mage may forget whether the door is locked or not." The Nosgoan Text, verse 4:16:2

6. Weakness - target is at -2 to STR and all physical actions.

 "The trick was catching him lifting that anvil above his head"

7. Detect Undead - Can detect all the creepy little (and big) things in sight.

"That one's dead, that one's dead, that one's... RUN"

8. Mist Armour - appears as some sort of cloak around target. Absorbs 2-5 damage from magical attacks then vanishes.

"Higgins - the idea of the spell is to both provide protection, and let your opponent know you are warded. So I suggest you practise a form for the spell that does NOT resemble a feather boa"

9. Symbol of Watching - glyph placed on solid surface. Anyone passing causes a mental alarm to disturb or wake the caster, who must remain within 20m of it. Can cause restless nights if misplaced.

"Tonight, let me know where the guard is patrolling. Didn't sleep longer than 15 minutes at a time last night..."

10. Phlogiston Dagger - blade of fire that can be wielded as a +1 dagger or thrown at +3.

"How was I to know it was an oil warehouse?"

11. Presence - subtle aura makes the target seem more impressive. +2 to charisma.

"This time, I'm making sure his singing gets us free beer."

12. Eye of the Eagle - extra sensitive sight. +2 to perception.

"It's impressive that you can see those bandits, but did you know it makes your eyes glow funny?"

14. Legerdemain (stolen from Fight On!) - any one object carried or worn (within reason) is invisible.

"No, you cannot 'wear' the horse..."

15. Replica - target appears as a copy of a person that is within the sight of the caster

 "I'm sure I was talking to you just a moment ago, your Majesty."

16. Shadow - target appears as in shadow, and gets +4 to stealth, more if really shadowy.

"Thom, don't look now, but I think that shadow is watching us."

17. Suggestion - gives +2 to one attempt to convince or lie to someone.

"You ARE attracted to one-eyed, short, ugly..."

18. Desalinate - removes basic impurities from a litre of water (i.e. makes it drinkable.) Can be reversed. Does not purify the liquid, only just does enough to make it drinkable.

 "I know it won't kill me, but it tastes disgusting..."

19. Frost - coats all surfaces within a few metres with a chilling, slippery frost.

 "And that's how we kept the meat so fresh..."

20. Glyph - leaves an invisible mystical mark that contains a short message. To read, must cast this spell on it.

"Oh, very mature..."

More next time - 83 more to work through...

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