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barrataria

d6 Fantasy magic, via SRD/D&D spell list

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I have been working on a streamlined force power system for SW, and have to get around posting it at the Rancor Pit so that everyone can make fun of me.

 

Part of the reason for that project was to have a similarly streamlined magic "system" for d6 Fantasy, and as I'm hopeful of using it in a game for my niece and others in the near future, I'm going to work on it now. It's part of a greater attempt to make a D&D-looking d6 game I can use for future games too.

 

It will be a bare-bones type of guideline, with 4 or so levels of basic difficulty ("apprentice", "master", "wizard", and "lord"), and illustrative types of spells at each level. Players can then try to cast each spell at higher or lower levels of power (say, put more creatures to sleep than the old sleep spell would) and have a higher difficulty for that. The simplest spells (say detect magic) will be easy to cast and virtually costless; higher "order" uses of magic would have increasing CP cost requirements (in addition to the indirect cost of burning dice to reach the higher difficulty numbers).

 

I like the spell acquisition aspect of D&D, and having a long list of spells as a resource for me will be useful... and I already know all the D&D spells and have a cleaned-up version of the SRD spells from another forgotten project. I can introduce them slowly in the game, and as we work through them hopefully kinks/problems will work themselves out. Players won't be limited to those spells, and won't have the list, but can still discover scrolls or items with "canned" spells they can use. For new players, I think that's a useful crutch to lean on as the game begins, and if they want to cast a particular spell differently there's a rough mechanic to do that which would be refreshing and challenging for me after years of "no, the range of magic missile is 240 yards so you can't do that".

 

I recall a thread about using D&D magic in d6 here but I had no luck at all in finding it. If anyone has done something like this and discovered major problems, I'd be interested in hearing about them and how you resolved them. Thanks in advance.

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I've done a fair bit with various magics in D6. From dedicated spells, a la D&D, to fashionable spells using power points (I called it conjuring) to a variety of others. A chunk of my material is found in the supplement Magic & Miracles and I have plans to eventually get more stuff out there.

 

I'd have to see some of the mechanics of how you work your magic before I could accurately assess if there could be problems in the mechanics of your system.

 

I'd be willing to chat more about the various magic mechanics, as I've dabbled in a lot of different variety for D6, it's just that I'd need to understand your mechanics a little more.

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For new players, I think that's a useful crutch to lean on as the game begins, and if they want to cast a particular spell differently there's a rough mechanic to do that which would be refreshing and challenging for me after years of "no, the range of magic missile is 240 yards so you can't do that".

 

Sounds like Grimace has a lot of experience on this topic so he can probably give you better direction but I'll throw out an idea that came to me while reading this part of your post.

 

What if you list your spells with minimum attributes (a short range, low damage, one target etc), a low Spell Point cost, and the attributes of the spell that can be boosted. Then, players can double any attribute of the spell for doubling the Spell Point cost.

 

For example, Magic Missile costs 1 Spell Point and fires at something within 10 meters for 1D damage. If a player wants to fire at something 20 meters away for 4D damage, the spell point cost would be 5 (1 point to cast, 1 point to double the range, 3 points to add 3D damage).

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What if you list your spells with minimum attributes (a short range, low damage, one target etc), a low Spell Point cost, and the attributes of the spell that can be boosted. Then, players can double any attribute of the spell for doubling the Spell Point cost.

 

Thanks, that's more or less what I have in mind. I'll group the spells into low-level (0-3 or so), mid level (up to 6th) and high level, each level with a base difficulty and CP cost. Then, if a player wants to change an attribute that would add +2 or so to the difficulty, +5 for two attributes, etc. Or in some cases a higher level spell could be cast in a more limited way and be "cheaper" (say a fireball doing half damage at half range, or some such).

 

I want it to be definite enough so I'm not totally ruling by the seat of my pants, flexible enough so that the players can use their imaginations more, and itemized enough so that players won't have "imagination block' during the game, as happened to me when I played a wizard character in a game with a loosy-goosy magic system.

 

I'll try and get something up for you all to look at here. Thanks again for reading.

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I'm looking forward to seeing what you have in the works in terms of mechanics and ideas, barrataria. I think I know what you're shooting for, but I want to make sure before I offer any more comments.

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Still figuring things out as I go, I thought about clerical magic and went through those spell lists. I've grouped them into 5 rough categories, which will serve the same function as the magic "schools": healing, harming, warding, blessing, cursing. Some of the spells (mostly druid spells, but others like blade barrier and flame strike) will fall under a school of magic.

 

I'm taking a trip at the end of the week and should have some time to think through how to work this into the pantheons I created for the campaign world (originally for C&C) and what D&D "clerics" would look like switching to this system. Clerics of "good" deities (yes I know! not worrying about alignment yet) will not learn the harming or cursing devotions, and those serving demons or devils/evil deities won't learn healing or blessing devotions.

 

In terms of "templates", there will probably be three... a "healer" (for healing/good god's servitors), a "cleric" (with blessing devotions), and a "monk", who will start with the warding devotions. Once I get someone playing one of these, I can think through how a developing character will (or if they will) gain devotions from the other disciplines.

 

At this point I'm thinking the basic "devotion" (i.e. spell) mechanics will work the same for these characters but there will probably be a smaller range of difficulty (2 or 3 difficulties rather than the 4 for magic-user spells).

 

Sorry for the piecemeal posts but I'm excited to finally be figuring this out and getting closer to running a game with it!

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That's fine, posting things piecemeal. Trust me, I've been working on a magic system for a long time now and I understand the thought process. Even though I'm going a different direction with my system, I can attest that Grimace has a mighty fine document with his Magic & Miracles. It's at least worth taking a look at for brainstorming for ideas. And for the price it's listed for such an attractive PDF, it's totally worth it.

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Thanks cheshire, you guys are good sports :)

 

This is the first whack at the explanatory text for the magic system. It may give a better indication of what I am going to try; once I finish the table I'll figure out how to show you that. Anyone is welcome to use it in their home game, but please do not include it in a book you publish electronically for your profit or the profit of others (like POD publishers or advertisers on blogs).

 

Also, I am intending to call CP "Mana Points" in this game. No force/fate/hero points.

 

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Magic-using characters may attempt any sort of magical manipulation possible to those who have studied the appropriate school of magic- but their chance of success may be small or non-existent. The DM will determine, based on a player’s description of the intended magic use, an appropriate difficulty number for the intended casting, and advise of any additional requirements for casting the spell.

 

Spells are categorized by relative magic power level into four groups. Apprentice-level castings are the most basic and simple manipulations of magic, and casters may use them repeatedly, if not at-will. Magician-level spells are more difficult, but still common for most trained magists and requiring only basic components or preparations and requiring little exertion of Mana. Wizard-level spells are more powerful and very difficult to cast, requiring greater preparation or sacrifice but causing great damage or radical transformations of reality, draining greater Mana from the caster. Finally, Wizard Lord-level spells are the most powerful spells that can be cast, and then only by the most accomplished masters of magical schools at great cost to their treasuries, Mana totals, and their very bodies and souls.

 

All spellcasters must have a focus item to cast any magical manipulation. This may be a staff, an amulet, a ring, or some other item. Players should select their focus item as guided by the DM appropriate to the game. [campaign-specific flavor examples of crafted feather totems and others]

 

For easy DM reference, spell classifications and guidelines appear on the following table. As with all matters in a [d6 fantasy] game, DMs should be mindful of keeping the game moving at a brisk pace by making quick decisions and picking a target number to resolve a situation, but also keep track of such rulings so that future spellcasting attempts by player characters and NPCs will be consistently handled.

 

A listing of sample spells by school, and suggested casting difficulties, is included in Appendix . DMs should generally not share this list with players; their characters should only be able to fashion magicks they have seen or that they can imagine. The DM can introduce new spells from the list to spur player imagination as needed, perhaps via magical scroll or item recovered during an adventure or from an NPC in the campaign.

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This is what I'm thinking for schools of magic... as requested above feel free to use in your game but please do not include in a published rulebook.

 

==========================

 

There will be 11 different skills, or "schools", of magic. Until I think of others. But I think these groupings have broken the spells into manageable, and similar-sized, groups, and logically so.

 

Abjuration: spells for warding, enchantment of objects, dispelling magic or extraplanar creatures

 

Apportation: magic moving creatures long or short distances, flying, teleportation, etc.

 

Divination: magic to detect, predict, and find things.

 

Earth: spells controlling plants, animals, and the earth (partly for conversion purposes; 3E adventures seem big on druids, which can be wizards trained in earth magic with pets)

 

Elemental: spells controlling or summoning air, earth, fire, water, and weather.

 

Illusion: spells blurring reality or perception, creating visual, thermal, sonic effects to deceive senses

 

Luminency: spells that create or manipulate light, including sunlight, and color

 

Necromancy: spells creating darkness or speaking with, animating, controlling the dead or withering the living

 

Sorcery: conjuring fantastic items, creatures, and phenomena

 

Transmutation: changing properties of already-existing beings and matter

 

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Actually, typing this list out has made me think again about combining the darkness spells with necromancy... I'll have to look again to see if there are enough interesting spells to make two schools out of that into one. [EDIT: Not too many darkness spells, so I think I'll leave them in necromancy as "black magic".]

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Feel free to use or adapt for your home game, but please do not include in a published work as requested above.

 

Each magical skill can be used at one of four levels: apprentice, magician, wizard, and wizard lord.

 

Apprentice-level spells are in the nature of cantrips, creating minor magical effects of short duration. The base TN for these is 5. There are no special requirements or preparations required, although the caster must have his or her focus item (staff, wand, amulet, etc.) to channel Mana properly. There is no Mana (character) Point cost to those that do not directly affect another being; those cost 1 MP to cast. Generally, SRD spells of 0-1 level fall into this category.

Magician-level magicks are more common, and more powerful, with greater effect and longer duration. The base TN for these is 10. Each costs 2 MP to cast. These spells require some special effort or preparation, like a common material component, casting within visual range only, pronounced and loud incantation, minor stun damage to the caster, or are limited to a single casting per day. Generally, SRD spells of 2-4 fall into this category.

 

Wizard-level spells are more powerful yet, and can only be cast with correspondingly greater sacrifices. While apprentices and magicians might attempt these in extremis, they may not survive the ordeal. The base TN for these is 20. Each costs 5 MP to cast. They require a great deal of effort or preparation, such as two of the Magician-level strictures, a major material component, major special preparation, sacrifice of blood or treasure, fasting or chastity or other deprivation, result in Incapacitation, or are cast only once per week. Generally, SRD spells of 5-7 fall into this category.

 

Finally, Wizard Lord-level spells are the most powerful magicks in the game world, available only to the most powerful (or foolhardy) spellcasters and extraplanar beings. Permanent, world-altering spells are of this type. The base TN for these spells is 30. Each costs 10 MP to cast. They require extremely costly sacrifices or preparations, such as two of those for Wizard-level spells, major sacrifice (human, unique jewelry, fabulous gems), may attract unwelcome attention of supernatural beings, cause the caster damage or death, can be cast only in certain locations (or a unique location) in the world, or are limited to one casting per month. Generally, 8th- and 9th-level spells in the SRD fall into this category.

 

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Getting close to a working copy now, and hopefully will be able to try these out in the next month or so to see if the TN and MP cost numbers work right. I hope to see imaginative spell-casting, lots of cantrip-type magic cast by magic-users (and reliance on magic instead of weapons or items), and tough choices for spellcasters whether to save MP for more magical skill, burn them to cast spells, or burn them for dice rolls.

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