Looking for a magic system

Hello all,

Would any of you know of a magic system in a fantasy RPG that has the following characteristics (whether or not the system is actually good)?
- A check of some sort is necessary to cast a spell
- Taking longer to cast a spell makes casting the spell easier (bonus to spellcasting check?)
- HPs can be sacrificed to increase spellcasting check roll
- Casters can theoretically cast an infinite number of spells per day
- Not a "build-a-spell" system
- Casters (can) have a specialty

Thanks in advance for any information!

AR
 

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Quickleaf

Legend
True20 does most of that. It's the system inspired by Green Ronin's Blue Rose setting, designed by Steve Kenson who also did Mutants & Masterminds.

The system involves selecting powers (think of them as groups of related D&D spells housed under the same mechanic) and getting a rank in those powers.

You make a power check for many powers, sometimes the target makes a save.

On of the supplements had options for long ritual casting for a bonus.

You don't build spells, the powers are pre-defined. You choose individual powers, so you could create a thematic caster, and the system has some examples of doing that.

There is no hard limit to how many times you can use your powers, but many of them are fatiguing, meaning that you can cast yourself unconscious if you're not careful.

Since True20 isn't an HP system, there is no option to burn HP for spellcasting power. However, the game *does* have Extra Effort rules that could be used to create your own house rule...basically take automatic fatigue for some increased effect or spellcasting bonus.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Yikes. That's really specific. I can't think of a system that news all those requirements.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
"The Black Company Campaign Setting" for 3.5 by Green Ronin is sitting on my shelf and your want list reminded me of what I remembered about its magic system (just reading, not playing). I'm not sure what the line is between customize/tweak a spell and build-a-spell though.

An overview of the magic system by a playtester is at:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/showth...-Company-Playtester-discusses-the-magic-rules

Some reviews that mention the magic system are at: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?119733-The-Black-Company-Campaign-Setting

It's compared to some other systems in:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?170507-Elements-of-Magic-BCCS-True-Sorcery-and-True20
 

Hyper-Man

First Post
Hello all,

Would any of you know of a magic system in a fantasy RPG that has the following characteristics (whether or not the system is actually good)?
- A check of some sort is necessary to cast a spell
- Taking longer to cast a spell makes casting the spell easier (bonus to spellcasting check?)
- HPs can be sacrificed to increase spellcasting check roll
- Casters can theoretically cast an infinite number of spells per day
- Not a "build-a-spell" system
- Casters (can) have a specialty

Thanks in advance for any information!

AR
Fantasy Hero & the HERO System could easily do this but Like True20 it doesn't use Hit Points (it instead uses uses BODY, STUN and ENDurance). HERO is a point build system and there are plenty of prebuilt spells available (HERO System Grimoire) that can be modified with all of your world's requirements. And since the system shows you how the existing spells are designed 'under the hood' there is no guessing required when changing something. The core rules give you the same access to see HOW stuff was built as the designers had.
 

ppaladin123

Adventurer
I think the Hellfrost campaign setting for Savage Worlds has a alternate spell casting system that ditches spell points but makes it increasingly harder to cast without some sort of sacrifice. I don't remember the specifics though.

And I think the magic user in Iron Heroes worked kind of like this too but magic is far more limited and chaotic in that system and it has other issues. Could provide inspiration though.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
- A check of some sort is necessary to cast a spell
Cast spell contest fails if it's not higher than 10.
- Taking longer to cast a spell makes casting the spell easier (bonus to spellcasting check?)
Combining cast spell actions (using more than one at a time) allows you to use the higher roll (like a bonus).
- HPs can be sacrificed to increase spellcasting check roll
Simple house-rule. Normally, though, metaphysical points are sacrificed to create the spell.
- Casters can theoretically cast an infinite number of spells per day
You really want to enable infinite spellcasting?
- Not a "build-a-spell" system
The spells presented aren't build-a-spell, they're build-a-theme. Like, your Cure spell could be a laying-on of hands, or it could be words that offer motivation.
- Casters (can) have a specialty
This is up to the caster and GM. You can accomplish this with spell choice, or hero point usage. Also, there are two different perks that allow you to (try to) cast spells that you don't know by heart:
Spell Implement: use a spellbook or musical instrument to cast additional spells.
Divine Intervention: make a prayer check to see if you can cast a god-approved spell. If it doesn't work at first, pray harder.

The game system, if you're interested, is named in my signature.
 

True20 does most of that. It's the system inspired by Green Ronin's Blue Rose setting, designed by Steve Kenson who also did Mutants & Masterminds.

Thanks for the information. I played a little of M&M, so I know a bit about the system and yes it would apply to my situation. I'll look into Blue Rose.

AR
 



The game system, if you're interested, is named in my signature.

Cool, I'll check it out.

You really want to enable infinite spellcasting?

Well, some systems seem to make it possible, so I'm thinking it's not a totally idiotic idea :)

Also, what I'm looking for more and more in a RPG is a way to play that is similar to how fantasy fiction is represented in books and movies. My favorite series in Steven Erickson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, and the mages and priests in these books can basically cast spells all day long if they want to (although they do get tired). Same thing in Wheel of Time, or in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy, or in Bakker's Prince of Nothing series...

I totally get that this makes spellcasters powerful - as they should be - but it makes them preferred targets.

Thanks again for all the suggestions, I'll read up on them asap.

AR
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Cool, I'll check it out.

Well, some systems seem to make it possible, so I'm thinking it's not a totally idiotic idea :)

Also, what I'm looking for more and more in a RPG is a way to play that is similar to how fantasy fiction is represented in books and movies. My favorite series in Steven Erickson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, and the mages and priests in these books can basically cast spells all day long if they want to (although they do get tired). Same thing in Wheel of Time, or in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy, or in Bakker's Prince of Nothing series...

I totally get that this makes spellcasters powerful - as they should be - but it makes them preferred targets.

Thanks again for all the suggestions, I'll read up on them asap.

AR
One more suggestion, since you're already familiar with M&M. There was a supplement put out called Warriors & Warlocks geared toward the sword and sorcery genre. I know there were spell rules in that book, and here's a review: http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14273.phtml
 


The magic system in GURPS and GURPS Magic has much of the stuff in your system requirements, either by default (skill system, not a build-a-spell, the possibility to specialize in magical colleges) or via rules presented as possible options (unlimited spellcasting, spending resources to improve spellcasting). GURPS Thaumatology also presents a bunch of other possible magic systems.
 


Thondor

Explorer
I believe both HARP and Runequest meet a lot of your requirements. But I don't really know either system very well.

Perhaps someone else can speak to the specific points.
 

Because I know my players and they tend to get bouts of analysis paralysis :) They sometimes have trouble choosing between the few spells they know, it would be cruel of me to add an extra step to spellcasting.

AR

Makes sense. Maybe I need to be a bit more aware of player accessibility. I tend to ignore that particular aspect of systems (though I'm sensitive to speed of play, and intuitive resolution systems).
 

Krensky

First Post
Hello all,

Would any of you know of a magic system in a fantasy RPG that has the following characteristics (whether or not the system is actually good)?
- A check of some sort is necessary to cast a spell
- Taking longer to cast a spell makes casting the spell easier (bonus to spellcasting check?)
- HPs can be sacrificed to increase spellcasting check roll
- Casters can theoretically cast an infinite number of spells per day
- Not a "build-a-spell" system
- Casters (can) have a specialty

Fantasy Craft does almost all of this out of the box.

- Spellcasting is a special case of the skill rules, with DC being determined by the highest of the spell's level or the target's defenses )Defense and Spell Resistance).
- All the Spell Conversion (ie, Metamagic) feats have a make the spell worse (longer casting timee, shorter duration, lower effect, spaller area, etc) to lower the level by one (reducing the spell point cost and Spellcasting DC) or to pay extra spell points to boost it.
- Not out of the box, but there's a few easy ways to do it and some have been detailed on the Crraft Games forums.
- In theory, yes. Spell points are fully restored at the end of a scene, the length of which is determined by the GM. Note that spellcasters aren't more powerful then non-casters, they're jjut powerful in different way and are usually more flexible if they built their spell list for flexibility.
- Nope, spells come from a list.
- Both soft (spells known) and hard specialties (different classes) are possible. At the moment the only base caster is the generalist mage, although previews of the Conjurer and Reaper (um... master of time, space, and artifice - Dr Who is one of the wink and nod examples, and a necromancer) have been released, and the Channeler and Seer (blaster and diviner) from Spycraft 2.0 give a fairly good idea what those look like. We're waiting more or less patiently for the designers to finish with the grimor in the magic sourcebook.

Now, pulling the system out separate from the full system will be tricky, but I suppose it's possible.
 

Jhaelen

First Post
Would any of you know of a magic system in a fantasy RPG that has the following characteristics (whether or not the system is actually good)?
- A check of some sort is necessary to cast a spell
- Taking longer to cast a spell makes casting the spell easier (bonus to spellcasting check?)
- HPs can be sacrificed to increase spellcasting check roll
- Casters can theoretically cast an infinite number of spells per day
- Not a "build-a-spell" system
- Casters (can) have a specialty
Well, with the (optional) exception of 'Not a "build-a-spell" system', Ars Magica's magic system has all of these characteristics.
 

Hello all,

Would any of you know of a magic system in a fantasy RPG that has the following characteristics (whether or not the system is actually good)?
- A check of some sort is necessary to cast a spell
- Taking longer to cast a spell makes casting the spell easier (bonus to spellcasting check?)
- HPs can be sacrificed to increase spellcasting check roll
- Casters can theoretically cast an infinite number of spells per day
- Not a "build-a-spell" system
- Casters (can) have a specialty

Thanks in advance for any information!

AR

From memory that's pretty close to the GURPS magic system out of the box other than that you use fatigue rather than HP until you're out of fatigue. It's been years since I've played GURPS however.
 

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