Posts tagged ·

rpg magic


Magic System: how many spells is enough?


When I’m gaming and I’ve got a magic user I like the concept that the character can, with enough time, make spell effects on the fly. Throughout almost all the inspirational fiction the magic user is not very limited in their magic variety: just their power. They can come up with something for most any situation. I like this. What bothers me is that in the RPG sense it needs to be codified and defined. Probably to keep rules lawyer/munchkin types in line.

What do you think of magic systems with a limited series of defined spells?

What if the magic system has a limited series of defined spells and a guide for making new ones as required?

In my experience most GM’s will make up new spells without batting an eyelid – every time a new magic item comes about a new spell has to also come about to make said item.

I’m very interested in people’s thoughts on magic system ‘enumeration’.

Related Posts:

Magic-system Progress


In the post about Simple 2d6 for Khara Thel I stated about two weeks. There’s far more work involved than I initially outlined. Each religion that I mention has to have basic tenets listed to get an idea of how Grace can be managed and the religious caster’s relationship with their deity. Each school of magic craft needs descriptions and game mechanics. I’ve never had to describe much of this previously because I could just name a few spell lists from Rolemaster and it was done.

With a less-organised magic system to draw on I have to create the organisation of said magic system as I develop the text. This takes a lot of effort and validation. Although I have a bit of time I’m not writing much on this. The repair and painting of my house’s front and rear decks is taking more time – especially in light of the up and down weather at the moment.

Magic, as it is forming up, is looking quite good but needs more playtesting particularly through character generation. The numbers are good for raw spell casting but how they interact between magic craft types is unknown. Religious casters will use a similar number scheme but how Grace governs magic, via the caster’s relationship to the deity, means a tight behavioural restriction and subsequent motivation to the deity’s tenets.

It’s a case of chipping away continuously with the time I do have.

Here’s a simple outline of Araytor the Defender. A religion suitable for adventuring characters.

Araytor – the Defender
Basic Tenets

  • Defend the weak, innocent, meek, and good.
  • Destroy the attackers, tyrants, thugs and brutes.
  • Be honest in all your dealings with those who have not wronged you or the weak.
  • Generosity to those truly in need, be it coin, water, food, or a lesson so that they may help themselves.
  • Peace must be strived for and opportunity to make peace is the highest work.


With a low singing chant the caster takes on the aspect of the defender, unto the death. Wounds are accumulated at half the normal rate (damage inflicted is halved) and Tuf is +6 or raised 12, whichever is more. Melee skill is increased by the SM of the Spellcraft check, missile defense from aura of power is AV of Grace + SM of Spellcraft check, and all Perception checks are +6. The Doomchant lasts until the caster is killed or the defense is complete. When the defense is complete, all charges are safe from the threat, the caster has a chance of dying. Wound penalties are doubled, since the halving wears off, and this may kill the caster if it exceeds their Tuf which is also reduced when the spell wears off.
Grace Required: 10
Base Difficulty: 13
Range: Self
Duration: special (see text)

Related Posts: