–Magic & Damage–


Those initiated in the secrets of magic refer to it as the Art and all who practice the Art depend on the Weave – the fine mesh of primal energy that binds together the material world. The spells these mages work depend on an understanding (learned or intuitive), of the hidden workings of the Weave. The caster plucks directly at the strands of the Weave to create the desired effect. Whenever a magic effect is created, the threads of the Weave intertwine, twist, and fold to make the effect possible and in places where the Weave is damaged or torn, magic works in unpredictable ways – or not at all.

— The Schools of Magic —

Academies of magic group spells into eight categories called schools. Scholars, particularly wizards, apply these categories to all spells, believing that all magic functions in essentially the same way, whether it derives from rigorous study, an arcane gift or is bestowed by a deity.

Abjuration spells are protective in nature and often come in the form of arcane glyphs and sigils that ward against intruders or those intent on harm. They create magical barriers, counter spells, negate harmful effects, harm trespassers and banish creatures to other planes of existence.

Conjuration spells involve the transportation of objects and creatures from one location to another. Some spells summon these things to the caster’s side, whereas others allow the caster to teleport to another location. Some conjurations create objects or effects out of nothing, such as clouds of poisonous fog or sticky webs. In keeping with the feel of the school the aspects conjured up are typically weird and sometimes hazardous to both friend and foe.

Divination spells reveal information, whether in the form of secrets long forgotten, glimpses of the future, the locations of hidden things, the truth behind illusions, or visions of distant people or places.

Enchantment spells affect the minds of others, influencing or controlling their behavior. Such spells can make enemies see the caster as a friend, force creatures to take a course of action, fall into a deep slumber or even control another creature like a puppet.

Evocation spells draw magic from the Weave in it’s raw, elemental form before shaping it for desired effect. Evokers can tap the elements to fire spells of searing heat, crackling lightning, bitter cold or pure energetic force.

Illusion spells deceive the senses or minds of others. They cause people to see things that are not there, to miss things that are there, to hear phantom noises, or to remember things that never happened. Some illusions create phantom images that any creature can see, but the most insidious illusions plant an image directly in the mind of a creature.

Necromancy spells manipulate the energies of life and death. Such spells can grant an extra reserve of life force, drain the life energy from another creature, create the undead, or even bring the dead back to life. Creating the undead through the use of necromancy spells such as animate dead is not a good act, and only evil casters use such spells frequently.

Transmutation spells change the properties of a creature, object, or environment. They might turn an enemy into a harmless creature, bolster the strength of an ally, allow the caster to become light as a feather or meld into stone, make an object move at the caster’s command, or even enhance a creature’s innate healing abilities to rapidly recover from injury.

These schools function just like aspects and can be invoked in the standard way, e.g. create an advantage to enlist the aid of thematically appropriate cantrips. In order to have access to a school you must choose a stunt that recognises magical aptitude in this area and in order to choose a magical stunt (as listed here or developed between player and Dungeon Master), you must have at least one aspect that describes a gift or qualification in the Art. Also, the player must decide on an appropriate spellcasting profession for his or her character – Scholar is appropriate for those who have served apprenticeships or studied at temples or academies whereas Mystic is much more suitable for those ‘blessed’ with strange insights and help from beyond.

Each stunt describes a particular type of mage and will determine what schools you may invoke. In addition it also provides a number of signature spells that function like stunts but have their own rules restricting usage (these rules can always be waived at the cost of a fate point).

There is always a price associated with casting one of these spells however – the mage must either accept one shift of mental stress, use a boost or create an advantage on his turn to begin the ritual, casting the spell on his next turn. If the latter is the case there is always the prospect of active opposition to the roll, and a hostile mage does not need to be in the same zone as the caster if he can detect a spell being cast. N.B. Such a counterspell may only be attempted by a mage possessing the relevant stunt. Some spells also require material components and while sometimes mundane they can demand the sacrifice of rare and expensive items from precious stones to exotic monster parts.

Unless stated otherwise, magic effects stay in place as long as makes sense, just like situation aspects. Lasting effects may be dismissed by their invoker as a free action. If however, the dismissal is attempted by another mage then an overcome roll is required with the caster’s spellcasting profession providing the difficulty. If the original caster is present he may always invoke the relevant school to add +2 to that source of passive opposition.

Provided a PC has access to the School of Divination aspect then it makes sense that they might create an advantage using their spell-casting profession to uncover magical aspects in a scene. Those aspects may describe the lingering effects of spells, the presence of prohibitive magic in the form of wards or even the state of the weave itself when wild magics run unchecked.

Of course if the Player Character has access to the Detect Magic spell as described in the Freeport Companion then there may be no need to go to the dice but even if a magical aspect is revealed it’s effect may continue to influence and affect the scene: just like any other game or situation aspect. How to remove that aspect will be decided between players and Dungeon Master.

— Magical Items & Attunement —

Magical items have remarkable properties and some must be attuned to. If a PC has an aspect suggesting proficiency in magic – then even handling the item is enough to give them the sense that they have something extraordinary in their possession. Casting the Identify spell then reveals its properties (independent wizards and priests  sometimes provide this service for a fee). Alternatively, the PC may create an advantage to learn the true nature of the item. If this fails then they must wait until one scene has lapsed and try again, fail again and the PC must wait one whole session, failing further – a whole scenario must be completed before another attempt can be made. The nature of the item may decide which profession is relevant in this situation, e.g. ancient magical inscriptions may need to be deciphered using Scholar before an item’s magic becomes usable.

DMs may waive this requirement in instances where an item seems a natural fit for a character, e.g. a warrior picks up that enchanted sword – it feels just right for her. As a rule of thumb, a creature can be attuned to no more than three magic items at any time – DMs may permit exceptions for main NPCs.

— Damage —

Different attacks, damaging spells, and other harmful effects deal different types of damage. It’s a mechanic that adds more rules to the game to but it allows for more strategic combat suitable to the genre, so for example monsters and foes may have aspects detailing vulnerability to certain damage types with PCs uncovering these aspects by making appropriate actions. Players make note on the Extras section of their character sheet what type of damage their equipped weapons deal.

The damage types follow, with examples to help a DM assign damage type to any effect:

Acid. The corrosive spray of a black dragon’s breath and the dissolving enzymes secreted by a black pudding deal acid damage.
Bludgeoning. Blunt force attacks—hammers, falling, constriction, and the like—deal bludgeoning damage.
Cold. The infernal chill radiating from an ice devil’s spear and the frigid blast of a white dragon’s breath deal cold damage.
Fire. Red dragons breathe fire, and many spells conjure flames to deal fire damage.
Force. Force is pure magical energy focused into a damaging form. Most effects that deal force damage are spells, including magic missiles.
Lightning. A lightning bolt spell and a blue dragon’s breath deal lightning damage.
Necrotic. Necrotic damage, dealt by certain undead and some spells, withers matter and even the soul.
Piercing. Puncturing and impaling attacks, including spears and monsters’ bites, deal piercing damage.
Poison. Venomous stings and the toxic gas of a green dragon’s breath deal poison damage.
Psychic. Mental abilities such as a mind flayer’s psionic blast deal psychic damage.
Radiant. Radiant damage, dealt by a cleric’s flame strike spell or an angel’s smiting weapon, sears the flesh like fire and overloads the spirit with power.
Slashing. Swords, axes, and monsters’ claws deal slashing damage.
Thunder. A concussive burst of sound, such as the effect of the thunderwave spell, deals thunder damage.

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