Archived Magic

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Magic spends mental and/or physical pools. Which ones will depend on what kind of mythos we decide on.

Spells: use as skill feats. You pay exp to learn a spell, it has requirements in terms of magic skills to learn.

Freeform magic. Player states an effect they want to acheive, GM has them make appropriate magic skill checks, we have some sort of guidlines that translate that skill result into effect and cost.


Proposed Magic System

Magical effects are created by pulling magical energy from somewhere (see Power Source) and shaping it in your mind into the effect you want. In order to shape magic, your mind needs to understand in some manner how to acheive the effect you want. Where this understanding comes from affects how you cast magic.

Caster Types

Sorcerer (Metaphor)

Sorcerers shape magic by working with a metaphor for magic. Different kinds of sorcerers use different metaphors and thus will be better at different things. Examples of metaphors include, but are not limited to

Scorcerers are in general fairly good at doing magic quickly, and can do some very impressive things where their metaphor applies well, but can also be fairly limited because they can only see magic through this lens.

Sorcerers will tend to think magic actually works in the way their metaphor says it does, and often get in fights with other casters because they way they do magic seems wrong.

Sorcerers use artistic skills to do their magic


Monks learn how their bodies interact with magic naturally and don't so much consiously choose to draw upon magic as just have it pervade and aid what they do. The will often call magic Ki. Costs of this kind of magic will tend to be low, but the effects will be less flashy.

Monks use body skills to do their magic.


A cleric shapes magic with the aid of their god. This could either take the form of them channeling energy to their god and then getting back a formed spell, or divine guidance on how to structure it.

Clerics can often do some very complicated things that other mages cannot because they do not actually have to understand what they are doing, they just have to have faith that their god does. They tend to be less versatile though.

Other limitations/drawbacks?

What skill do clerics use to cast magic? Do they instead just put exp into a "Devotion" pool that affects what magic they can do? Something else?

Scientist Wizard

Shapes magic by actually understanding its nature. For them, a spell is kind of like some combination of a computer program, an engineering diagram, and a solution to a physics problem.

Scientist Wizards can do very little magic quickly because their method of casting requires careful understanding of many factors. However, they can acheive a broader range of effects than most other mages. This tends to make them good utility casters and buffers before combat, but they can't do hardly any magic in the heat of combat.

Wizards tend to be the best at counterspells and metamagic (magic affecting other magic) because they understand magic at a deeper level and can poke at other's spells in a way that is outside the abstraction the other uses and thus very hard for them to resist. Thus the one thing they can do effectively in combat is disrupt enemy mages.

Wizards use intellectual skills to cast their magic


Warlocks also try to understand magic at its basic level. However rather than thouroughly grocking a spell and having their mind consiously shape it like a wizard, warlocks take a shortcut and burn a pathway directly into their mind. This pathway allows a warlock to acheive magical effects quickly since they do not have to mentally structure the spell each time.

Burning pathways into ones mind is kind of harmful to your sanity, so warlocks usually only have a small number of different spells they can cast, but they tend to cast them well. Warlocks will also tend to be ranging from a bit quirky, to outright insane. Warlocks cannot use freeform magic.

Warlocks can potentially use magic that any other caster does if they can figure out how that person does it and burn the path into their mind. There might be clashes if the metaphors are drastically different.

Warlocks are probably mostly npc casters, since their advancement is a little weird and it tends to mess them up.

I am not sure how warlocks interact with the skill system.

Power Source

Not completely decided on yet. Options: (All of these could have mental pool costs for magic in that doing this energy movement with your mind is hard mental work, options for physical cost are listed with them)

cast spells

Does magic break the second law of thermodynamics? Is magic some antientropic concentration of energy, or is it created by some other process but still obeying thermodynamics?


There will be a second tier magic skill in each first tier that has a magic type associated with it.

Spells will require some amount of ranks in both the magic specific skills, and in the more general skills.

For example a wizard spell might require 5 ranks in shape magic, 3 ranks in project magic, 5 ranks in math, and 2 ranks in biology. (These skills may not actually exist, I just said something as an example).

Restrictions on Magic

The biggest restriction on magic is that you have to be able to understand and in some manner visualize the effect you want to create. Different casters differ in how they do this understanding and visualization, but in order to shape magic you must have some conception of what you are trying to accomplish (with the possible exception of clerics).


Sympathetic magic (affecting something based on possesing a part or likeness of it): No intrinsic sympathetic affect, but possing a part, doll will generally aid your understanding/visualization.

Physics Type Things:

In general so restriction of magic by ontological reductionist criteria. However, for some people (wizards) this may apply.

conservation laws that magic can break: Nothing proposed yet, please add proposals

Buying Magic Ranks

Buying ranks in the two magic first tiers is different than normal skills. Your aptitude modifier is not (10+aptitude)/

Jason's Proposal


The various "schools" of magic, which allow you to accomplish various action verbs. From the German for "changes."






The stuff of which the magical universe is made; suitable nouns upon which your magic can work.






Adjectives and adverbs? Skills that affect how you or others perform their magic.




Another Idea by Tom

Here is another magic skill tree Jeff and I wrote up a while ago. It is probably bigger than it needs to be (having a full 4 first tier magic skills), and possibly too universal (the game we played with it we found that magic could do anything, possibly to too great of a degree)

[** Probability] [*** Penetrate Uncertanty (Farseeing)] [*** Resolve Uncertanty (Luck)]

What Thomas Is Using

After some consideration of what systems would work best for the setting I am writing, I have ended up selecting Tom's first proposal (with the five different types of casters), with some modification.

Metaphorics will work pretty much as proposed, though having them use Social instead of Artistic will be considered after playtesting.

Monks will include psions. In-universe, they work more or less the same way, what monks do with their bodies, psions do with their minds. Normally they cannot do flashy stuff, but they can sometimes learn esoteric techniques that allow some flashy effects. Will often do stuff with crystals.

Divine magic will exist in some form or other, but I don't know what form. For in-universe reasons, very few PCs will be divine casters, so this has low priority.

Arcane magic will work pretty much as described.

Warlock magic will be called 'Inherent' and will include a catch-all of stuff that doesn't fit elsewhere. There will be a reasonably developed system for PCs to use it, but it will be weird. It will mostly not interact with skills, and will almost entirely be specific spells bought with XP. It will be possible to learn spells that allow very basic freeform magic not keyed to any skills, but this will be limited and the effects almost entirely at the discretion of the GM.

Priorities are currently Inherent (which will be used for some racial powers as well), and Monk/Psion, which is the kind of magic 90% of the PCs will use for games in the coming year or so.

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