Monday, May 28, 2012

Chainmail based Magic

 Here we go. My magic rules for a more Chainmail based game. So far I really like the look of them, so, please be gentle.

Magic Use
In any discussion of magic, there are two things that must be understood:
  1. Magic is special;
  2. Magic is unpredictable
Any two-­bit conjurer of cheap tricks can light a candle or make a noise seem to originate from somewhere else. Then again, so can an innkeeper, by walking across the room, or a petty entertainer, by throwing his voice.

A Wizard can command flames to race across a battlefield and explode in the midst of his enemies. He can create the sounds of hordes of trolls crashing through the woods. He can command unseen forces and use them to do things beyond mortal capability.

To the common folk a person capable of casting even two or three spells is mysterious and powerful, worthy of fear and respect.

The Nature of Magic and Its Use

The term “spell” encompasses several different factors aligned to achieve a desired effect. No spell is ever cast exactly the same way each time it is cast, even by the same caster. The rituals required; the specific hand gestures, chants and phrases, and material components are all dependent on factors such as stellar alignment, the seasons, the caster's specific location, and many other
minute factors. The caster must commit to memory all of these intricate requirements in order to successfully cast a spell. Everything that powers and influences a spell is constantly in motion, motion that must be understood and accounted for.

This variability is accounted for by the Casting Table. Sometimes a spell will work perfectly, taking effect immediately. Sometimes the caster has to make adjustments during the casting. In this case, the spell is successfully cast, but doesn't go into effect until next turn. Then there are times dreaded by all wizards, when they are able to make on­-the­-fly adjustments, the spell is cast, but it is no longer usable until the wizard studies the spell anew, making certain adjustments for changes in  the ritual variables.

Spell Casting

Spell are grouped by relative power into Ranks. There are six ranks, successively more powerful. A caster can cast virtually any spell he knows, regardless of level and rank. There is a chance that if a wizard should attempt a spell too far beyond his ability, he could suffer greatly. He may cast any spell he knows as often as he wishes, until the Casting Roll indicates it must be
A wizard may know a number of spells equal in rank to his level, plus his INT bonus. Thus, a 2nd level wizard with an INT bonus of +2 may know 4 ranks of spells. This could be a single 4th rank spell, two 2nd rank spells, or any combination he desires.

Wizards Command Magic

If the number of spells a wizard may know seems limiting, it should be remembered that wizards are more than capable of modifying the casting of their spells on the fly. Players and  referees should work together to keep wizards' use of magic flexible. If a wizard knows Fireball, for instance, he should be able to use it to light a candle across the room, start a campfire or fireplace, or anything that is not intrinsically more powerful than the Fireball spell itself.

Studying Spells

In order to learn a spell, to know it and be able to cast it, a wizard must spend time committing all the many intricacies of its casting to memory. This is a mentally taxing prospect, and very time consuming. It requires one day per rank to learn a spell. This may be reduced by the INT of the wizard, but never to less than one day.

If a wizard wishes to memorize a different spell than one already known, he must also spend time purging the unwanted spell from his mind. This requires meditation and mind-control to accomplish. It is not a simple matter of "forgetting" something that one puts so much effort into remembering. It requires one day per rank to purge a spell from the wizard's memory. This is not reduced by any faculty of the character.

Casting Spells

When a wizard wishes to cast a spell, the player rolls 2d6 on the Casting Table. There are three possible outcomes, with two potential variables. The spell may be cast successfully, taking effect either instantly, at the wizard's initiative point, or it may be delayed until the same point in the following turn. The spell may simply fail. The spell may succeed but become unusable. The spell may fail with catastrophic results.

Note that the effects of rolling a “red” number or a “2” for Catastrophic casting occur when the indicated number is rolled unmodified. For example, a 7th level wizard is casting a rank II spell, with a +2 bonus. The roll is a 4, with the bonus the casting roll is a 6, indicating that the spell takes effect immediately. However, the unmodified roll was a 4, which indicates that the spell may not be
cast again until restudied.

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