ARRGS – Magic

Magic is the ability to harness supernatural energies and manifest effects from those energies. This manifestation of power is often termed “spellcasting” and is divided into categories based upon the source believed to be providing the energy for spellcasting.

Arcane spells are said to come from raw magic, divine spells come from the gods, while nature spells come from nature itself (the life force of the planet and all creatures upon it). However, the distinction between these sources and the spell lists derived from them may well be a humanoid construct as there are magic users (known as sorcerers) who believe they derive power from a pact with powerful beings (similar to how clerics form a pact with a god) or from power within themselves (similar to how druids believe they harness the life force of everything around them).

Preparing Spells

Spellcasters obtain the ability to cast spells by learning to store the magical energies needed to power a spell within their bodies. This storage potential is represented by selecting Caster Level Options which grant spell slots (increasing in level and number), with each gain in Caster Level allowing storage of more energy and the ability to memorise and cast more spells of greater power.

A spellcaster may store any spell he knows from any Spell List he has access to into a spell slot he possesses, each Spell List uses the same spell slots (they do not get their own number of spell slots, so a spellcaster that knows how to cast Arcane, Divine, and Nature spells can still cast only as many spells as any other spellcaster with the same Caster Level).

Any spell can be stored in a spell slot of any level, the spells scale in effect depending upon the level of the spell slot used to store them (representing how much magical energy is used to power the spell). Thus a fireball spell stored in a 1st level spell slot is much smaller and does less damage than a fireball spell stored in a 5th level spell slot.

See the Caster Level table below for a list of spell slots obtained at each Caster Level.

SpellSlotsBySpellLevel
CL1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10th
11
22
321
432
5321
6332
74321
84332
944321
1044332
11544321
12544332
135544321
145544332
1555544321
1665544332
17655544321
18665544332
196655544321
206665544332
216665554432
227666554433
237666555443
247766655443
257766655544
267776665544
277776665554
287777666554

Rest: The act of storing spells in a Spell Slot occurs during a Rest. It takes a limited portion of time; usually 1 hour at the end of a Rest (after a character has slept and eaten), to store a spell in a Spell Slot. The act of sleeping resets the storage of Spell Slots, and the preparation after sleeping stores spells within those Spell Slots.

Spell Notes: A spellcaster always keeps notes about the spells he has learned so that he may prepare them for casting. These notes take different forms depending upon the character’s background; a studious wizard will keep a spellbook, a travelling cleric will have a prayer book, a wild witch will have scrawls on bark, and a hedge wizard may have a few scattered pages of scribbles.

A character prepares his spells using these notes that he has acquired throughout his career. Without these notes he is unable to prepare his spells into Spell Slots. A caster’s notes are not magical writings (unlike spell scrolls) and cannot be used to cast spells from directly, unless the spellcaster takes the time to deliberately enchant the pages of his notes into spell scrolls.

Spell Retention: A spell that is not cast during the day remains in a stored Spell Slot until it is cast, or until a character changes the spell stored within that Spell Slot during a Rest. If a spell is not cast it can remain available almost indefinitely.

Casting Spells

In order to cast a spell, a spellcaster must first possess a spell stored in a spell slot (which in turn requires a character to have a Caster Level).

Casting a spell requires a Skill check with the following formula:

Skill Check: Check (1d20 or 10) + Skill + Ability Bonus + Inherent modifier, + Augmented modifier, + Assisted modifier, + Magic modifier, + Tech modifier, + Size modifier, + Circumstance modifiers, – Check penalty

Criticals
Any check that achieves a natural, unmodified roll within the Critical Range of that check may achieve critical success. The character must first perform a Critical Confirmation roll which is another Skill Check (with the same modifiers), if the Critical Confirmation roll achieves success then the character gains the Critical Bonus, if the Critical Confirmation roll is within the Critical Range then the character gains the Critical Bonus and may attempt another Critical Confirmation roll to gain another Critical Bonus.
Critical Range: The Critical Range of any check is by default a natural 20 on a 1d20 dice roll. This Critical Range can be modified by Options, Magic, and Equipment, for instance many weapons have a greater Critical Range (19-20).
Any time a check is rolled, if the natural result (before any modifiers) is within the Critical Range, then the character must roll a Critical Confirmation check which, if successful, grants a Critical Bonus to the character.
Critical Bonus: A Critical Bonus is obtained by achieving critical success on a check. The Critical Bonus is a 1d6 (this can be increased or decreased by other effects such as Options and Magic) which may be applied to any one beneficial roll related to the check being performed that achieved critical success. A beneficial roll could be the damage roll made after a successful Attack check, or the monetary amount rolled following a Barter check, or it could be used to increase the check result itself which achieved critical success, providing that by increasing the check result the character receives a bonus of some sort based upon the measure of success.

Casting a spell is always an Action (see Combat for more details on Actions and Reactions). A character that wishes to cast a spell must perform the necessary Skill Check as above and the Skill Check result must equal or exceed the base difficulty to cast the spell, plus the Defence Check result of the person affected by the spell.

If the spell does not affect another person then the Skill Check result need only equal or exceed the Base Difficulty required to cast the spell. Characters who do not wish to resist the spell’s effects (because they are beneficial and or cast by an ally) can be said to have a Defence check result of 0.

Base Difficulty: All spells are complex incantations requiring the mixing of multiple components to achieve the desired result. This is represented by a Base Difficulty that the spellcaster’s Check result must equal to or exceed in order to manifest the results as desired.

The Base Difficulty of any spell is equal to 3 x the spell level the spell is to be cast at. Further modifications can be added to the Base Difficulty by altering the parameters of the spell while casting (see individual spells for details).

Spell Slots: Every spell to be cast must be stored in a Spell Slot. Spell Slots are obtained by increasing the Caster Level of a character through Options (see Classes section and Options section for details of Options).

During a Rest, a character may select which spells to store in which Spell Slots. When a spell is cast (whether the Skill check succeeds or fails) then the Spell Slot is consumed and the character must wait for a Rest in order to replenish that Spell Slot and store that spell in it.

Area Spells

Area Spells are a special category of spells that affects an area larger than a single square.

Area spells usually occur as a result of a spell being cast which has an Area component, or as a result of a creature of Gargantuan or greater size casting a spell (a creature’s weapons are normally 2 or 3 size categories smaller than the wielder and so a Gargantuan creature’s spells would affect an area larger than 1 square).

To cast an Area spell perform the Skill check as normal, but against the value of 10 (the Defence check of the target square – not the occupant of the square), plus the Base Difficulty to cast the spell. If successful the spell strikes the target square and other squares in the area of effect, the Skill Check is rerolled and then compared against the appropriate Defence check of all occupants of those squares (if any) within the area of effect. If the Skill check  fails to beat the Defence value (but exceeds the Base Difficulty required to cast the spell) then it misses the original target square and randomly strikes another target square (roll 1d8 to determine the compass point direction, starting at North, and roll 1d4 per Range Increment to determine the number of squares it moves in that direction) and the Area spell is then resolved as normal (reroll Skill check and compare to Defence checks of all occupants of squares within the area of effect).

Ranged Spells

Some spells can be made at a distance because it is a spell or other ability with a Range attribute.

Range Increment: All ranged attacks have a Range Increment, this is the distance at which attacks are most effective. Attacks made outside the Range Increment suffer a cumulative -2 penalty to the Attack Check (applied as the Range modifier) for each multiple of the Range Increment they exceed after the first. So, for example, a weapon with a Range Increment of 3 squares is used to make an attack at a distance of 10 squares. This Attack check suffers a -6 Range modifier, the first 3 squares are within 1 Range Increment and suffer no penalty, squares 4-6 suffer a -2 penalty, squares 7-9 suffer a -4 penalty, and squares 10-12 suffer a -6 penalty.

Vitality

Manifesting magical powers is physically and mentally exhausting, this is represented in a loss of vitality whenever a character casts a spell.

Casting a spell causes a character to lose 1 point of Vitality per spell level of the spell being cast. If this reduces a character to zero or negative Vitality then the character gains the Disabled condition as normal. If the character is reduced to negative Vitality equal to their highest Ability Score then they are dead.

Spell Description

Specialisation: This indicates the school of magic and any descriptors (in parenthesis) applicable to the spell. These are used by the Skill to determine if a character’s specialisation in that Skill is applicable to this spell (thus allowing them to gain the full Skill bonus to their Skill Check).

Caster Level: This indicates the Caster Level required (if any) in order to learn and prepare this spell

Components: This indicates any components required to cast the spell; Verbal, Sacrifice, Somatic, Material, Focus.

Verbal components include words (in the magical language) or sounds. Sacrifice components are Vitality or Experience points that must be sacrificed to power the spell. Somatic components include movements of the body or spellcasting foci. Material components include random unnamed components costing 1 sp per Spell Level that are consumed during spellcasting. Focus components are additional materials that must be present during spellcasting but are not consumed (and may be used to cast other spells).

Range: This indicates the range within which a target or point of origin may be selected for the spell.

Touch: The selected target must be within Threat Range of the caster.

Close: The selected target must be within 5 squares per Spell Level + Ability Bonus.

Medium: The selected target must be within 10 squares per Spell Level + Ability modifier.

Long: The selected target must be within 20 squares per Spell Level + Ability modifier.

Target: This indicates the end destination of the spell effect. Valid targets include; Self, Individual, Area

Individual: Spells with a target of Individual affect another individual (or individuals) within Range that may or may not include the spellcaster.

Area: Spells with a target of Area are cast at a square (or group of squares) with a single square as the point of origin. The point of origin has a Defence check result of 10, if the Skill check result fails (but exceeds the Base Difficulty), then the Spell may suffer misdirection and affect a different point of origin and area of effect (see Area Attacks above).

Area: This parameter can only usually be present if the Target is Area. The Area parameter includes a type of area and a number of squares. In general, all targets within the area of effect are effected by the spell (see Area Spells section above). Valid areas include; Burst, Cone, Line, Custom.

Burst: A ring of squares centred upon the point of origin (O), the number of squares is the radius of the ring in a N, S, E, or W direction.

Cone: A cone of squares beginning at the point of origin (O), the number of squares is the distance from the point of origin to the leading edge of the cone.

Line: A straight line of squares beginning at the point of origin (O), the number of squares is the distance from the point of origin to the end of the line.

Custom: A custom shape determined by the caster, the number of squares is the total number of squares in the shape. All squares in the shape must be connected to another square in the shape on at least one edge.

Duration: This parameter indicates the length of time the spell persists for. Valid durations include; Instantaneous, Control, Scene, Permanent

Instantaneous: This spell takes effect within a fraction of a second.

Control: This spell lasts as long as the spellcaster performs the Control Spell manoeuvre to maintain his control over the spell.

Scene: This spell lasts a number of Scenes as indicated by a numeric value. If the characters are not directly participating in the Scenes (they happen offstage) then the spell lasts a number of hours equal to the number of Scenes (or longer if the GM decides).

Permanent: The effects of this spell are permanent.

Effect: This details the initial effect of the spell and what happens if the Check is successful or not.

Check: This parameter determines the Skill check used to resist the effects of this spell. This is usually a Defence (Fortitude, Reflex, Willpower) check (see Combat section for using spells against opponents).

Additional (Secondary, Tertiary, etc) Effect: This effect is always triggered by an event. When the event occurs perform the Additional Check (with all the same modifiers as the original Check), which if successful incurs the Additional Effect and or Damage.

Area Effect: This effect is incurred by all those standing in the area of effect at every End of Round. The Area Check is made at each End of Round during the Area Duration, those within the area of effect that fail to resist its effects suffer the Area Effect detail.

Continuous Effect:  This effect is incurred at every End of Round. The Continuous Check is made once when the spell first takes effect, if successful then the Continuous Effect is incurred every End of Round until the character uses the appropriate Defence manoeuvre (see Combat section) to resist the effects of the spell.

Fail: This indicates what happens if the required Check fails to meet or exceed the Base Difficulty needed to cast the spell successfully. Valid values are:

Negates: The spell fizzles out harmlessly without any meaningful effect.

Partial: The spell fails to function as desired, but persists with a lesser effect.

Development: This section details how a spell can be subtly altered during casting to increase the potency of the spell or change its effects. These alterations can be selected multiple times. Each development increases the Base Difficulty required to successfully cast the spell (beyond the normal 5 Base Difficulty per Spell Level).

Spells

Energy Arrow

Specialisation: Evocation, additional specialisations based upon energy used for Damage Type

Caster Level: 2

Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material, Focus (steel dart worth 10sp)

Range: Long (20sq per spell level + Ability modifier)

Target: Individual

Duration: Instantaneous

Effect: You infuse the dart with elemental energy and propel it towards the target. If the Check is successful the spell deals damage as detailed below.

Check: Reflex Defence

Damage: 1d4 (Acid, Cold, Electricity or Fire, choose one) damage per spell level + Ability modifier

Fail: Negates

Secondary Effect: If the Primary Check was successful, at the next End of Round perform the Secondary Check, if successful the spell deals additional damage to the target as detailed below.

Secondary Check: Fortitude Defence

Secondary Damage: 1d4 (same Damage Type as Primary Damage) damage + Ability modifier

Secondary Fail: Negates


Development

+1 damage                                                                                +2 Base Difficulty

Increase Damage dice by 1 step                                         +5 Base Difficulty

Change Damage Type (Acid, Fire, Cold, etc)                   +5 Base Difficulty

Add additional Damage Type                                             +10 Base Difficulty

+1 sq Range                                                                              +2 Base Difficulty

Add continuous effect (see below)                                   +20 Base Difficulty


Continuous Effect: If the Primary Check was successful perform the Continuous Check, if successful then at each End of Round the spell deals additional damage to the target as detailed below. This replaces the Secondary Effect.

Continuous Check: Fortitude

Continuous Damage: 1d4 (same Damage Type as Primary Damage) damage + Ability modifier

 

Aid

Specialisation: Enchantment, Good, Luck

Caster Level: 1

Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material

Range: Touch

Target: Individual

Duration: 1 Scene per Spell Level

Effect: The spell grants the Target a +1 Magic bonus per Spell Level + Ability modifier) to a type of Manoeuvre (this manoeuvre must require a Skill Check or the spell effect is wasted); Attack, Defence, Movement, etc.

Check: Willpower Defence

Fail: Negates

Secondary Effect: If the Primary Check was successful, perform the Secondary Check, if successful the target gains +1d6 Vitality, this may increase Current Vitality beyond Total Vitality.

Secondary Duration: Instantaneous

Secondary Check: vs. Willpower

Secondary Fail: Negates


Development

+1 sq Range                                                                                    +2 Base Difficulty

+1 Magic Bonus                                                                             +5 Base Difficulty

+1 Vitality                                                                                        +2 Base Difficulty

Increase Vitality Damage Dice one step                                +5 Base Difficulty

 

Alter Shape

Specialisation: Transmutation, additional specialisations based upon Type of creature the target is transformed into.

Caster Level: 3

Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material (tissue matching the race of the desired creature)

Range: Touch

Target: Individual

Duration: 1 Scene per Spell Level

Check: Fortitude Defence

Effect: The spell transforms the target, changing his features, size, gender, and body shape into a different person (of the same subrace). The caster may choose to transform a creature of 1 HD (see Monsters section) per Spell Level (plus Ability modifier).

Anyone with reason to view the target with suspicion has a chance to recognise the individual through the new appearance. In these circumstances the viewer would make a Perception Skill check against your Deception Skill check (but with a Magic bonus to the Deception check result equal to the Spell Level).

Fail: Negates


Development

Change Size category by 1 step                                             +5 Base Difficulty

Change Subrace                                                                         +5 Base Difficulty

Change Race                                                                               +10 Base Difficulty

Change Type                                                                               +20 Base Difficulty

+1 sq Range                                                                                  +2 Base Difficulty

Gain Option (from desired creature)                                    +2 Base Difficulty

 

Animate

Specialisation: Necromancy, Good

Caster Level: 5

Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material, Focus (objects to be animated)

Range: Close (5 sq per Spell Level + 1 per Ability modifier)

Target: Area

Area: Burst (radius 1 sq per Spell Level + Ability modifier)

Duration: 1 Scene per Spell Level + Ability modifier

Area Check: Willpower

Area Effect: The spell allows you to imbue inanimate objects (including plants, household items, even skeletal remains) with a spark of positive energy, enough to give a semblance of life and allow the objects to move and obey simple commands.

You may animate up to a total of 1 HD per Spell Level + Ability modifier within the area of effect in this way (see Monster section for details of Animated creatures, you must meet the HD requirements of the animated creature – determined by its size – in order to animate it). The total number of HD to be animated may be spread among objects in any way you choose, but beware that objects of a certain size require more HD to animate.

You are in control of all animated creatures at the start of the spell and may issue them with a single command. When the duration ends the objects become inanimate once again.

Area Fail: Partial, individual objects may resist the spell’s effects (if they are magical or held by another creature), but other objects can still succumb to the spell’s effects. It is not expected that unattended objects will be able to resist (and thus have a Defence Check result of 0), attended objects use the Defence Check result of the being carrying or touching them.

Control: Using the Control Spell manoeuvre will allow you to give the animated “creatures” a new command.


Development

+1 sq Range                                                                                    +2 Base Difficulty

+1 sq Area radius                                                                          +5 Base Difficulty

+1 HD                                                                                                +1 Base Difficulty

 

Animate Dead

Specialisation: Necromancy, Evil, Undeath

Caster Level: 5

Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material, Focus (bones to be animated)

Range: Close (5 sq per Spell Level + 1 per Ability modifier)

Target: Area

Area: Burst (radius 1 sq per Spell Level + Ability modifier)

Duration: Instantaneous

Area Check: Willpower

Area Effect: The spell allows you to imbue dead bodies with a spark of negative energy, enough to give a semblance of unlife and allow them to move and seek out living beings to slay.

You may animate up to a total of 1 HD per Spell Level + Ability modifier within the area of effect in this way (see Monster section for details of Skeleton and Zombie creatures, you must meet the HD requirements of the animated creature in order to animate it). The total number of HD to be animated may be spread among the remains in any way you choose, but beware that some skeletal and zombie creatures require more HD to animate.

You are not in control of any undead animated in this way, they will immediately seek to attack any living being they can sense and will wander in a group randomly until they encounter living beings to attack. These creatures can be controlled later by other means.

Area Fail: Partial, individual remains may resist the spell’s effects (if they are magically protect), but other remains can still succumb to the spell’s effects. It is not expected that unprotected remains will be able to resist the spell’s effects (and thus have a Defence Check result of 0).


Development

+1 sq Range                                                                                    +2 Base Difficulty

+1 sq Area radius                                                                          +5 Base Difficulty

+1 HD                                                                                                +1 Base Difficulty

 

Antimagic Field

Specialisation: Abjuration, Magic

Caster Level: 10

Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material

Range: Touch

Target: Area

Area: Burst (radius 1 sq per Spell Level + Ability modifier)

Duration: 1 Scene per Spell Level + Ability modifier

Area Check: Skill (Arcana, Religion, Nature, whatever skill is used to cast the magic coming into contact with the Antimagic Field)

Area Effect: On a successful check (made against every magical item, spell or effect within the area) the Antimagic Field dispels all magic within the area of effect that has a Spell Level equal to or less than the Spell Level of Antimagic Field (this includes other Antimagic spells). Magical items and other permanent magical effects only have their magic suppressed until the Antimagic Field expires.

Those magical items, spells and effects that successfully resist the Antimagic Field are unaffected by it (unless they leave and re-enter the field).

Anything magic; spells cast within or into the Antimagic Field, magic items brought into the field, and any Spell Like Abilities that are manifested within or into the field are subjected to the Secondary Check as below.

Area Fail: Negates

Secondary Check: Skill (Arcana, Religion, Nature, whatever skill is used to cast the magic coming into contact with the Antimagic Field).

Secondary Effect: Whenever any of the following occurs perform the Secondary Check; spells cast within or into the Antimagic Field, magic items brought into the field, and any Spell Like Abilities that are manifested within or into the field are subjected to the Secondary Check.

If the Secondary Check is successful and the magic is of the same Spell Level or less as the Antimagic Field then it is dispelled (permanent magical effects and items only have their magic suppressed.

Secondary Fail: Partial, the magic resists and is not dispelled, but the antimagic field continues to function.


Development

+1 sq Range                                                                                    +2 Base Difficulty

+1 sq Area radius                                                                          +5 Base Difficulty

 

Armoured Skin

Specialisation: Abjuration, Defence

Caster Level: 2

Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material

Range: Touch

Target: Individual

Duration: 1 Scene per Spell Level + Ability modifier

Check: Fortitude

Effect: The spell grants the Target a +1 Magic bonus per Spell Level + Ability modifier to the target’s Reflex Defence checks.

Fail: Negates


Development

+1 sq Range                                                                                           +2 Base Difficulty

+1 Magic Bonus to Defence Reflex checks                                  +2 Base Difficulty

+1 Magic Bonus to DR (Bludgeoning, Piercing, or Slashing)  +2 Base Difficulty