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Edward
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PostSubject: Magic   Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:01 pm

If you've looked at the application form, you've probably seen the field labelled 'Magic'. There's some funny fields under it--what are Max Preps and Schools? If you play a spellcaster, you're probably very interested in learning what these mean, how they'll affect your character, and how to fill them out.

Skuldhellir's magic system is a little bit different. It's designed to give you a huge range of creativity without allowing outright godmoding. Magic is powerful, but it's also very flexible; even if you do have every spell your character can cast all sorted out, if they're even an average magician, they'll probably learn a lot more over the course of roleplay. We've taken this into account, and have devised a way to let you get creative with your magic without exceeding your character's bounds.

Instead of requiring that you list each spell, its effect, and the required number of preps needed to cast it, we have a system based around two things: innate ability and learned expertise.

The Basics of Magic in Skuldhellir

Magic is powerful. There's an entire guild in Skuldhellir dedicated to its study. There's a lot you can do with it if you know how; if you're creative, you can invent new spells, or put old ones to interesting new uses. Nearly anything can be accomplished with magic.

There are limits, though. No dwarf, furre, man or creature has ever mastered magic. Magic is physically taxing; it drains your energy and your strength, and if you don't know what you're doing, it could be in vain. You might have the magical potential of the most powerful magician that ever lived, but if you don't know how to control it, it might be worth nothing at all! You may know everything about every nuance of magic, but if you don't have the innate ability to use it, the knowledge will be of no use to you.

There are people with all ranges of magical ability. Some people can hold and channel more of it at once, some can hold less; some are better at bending it to their will, others are better off relying on the pure power. Some need focuses like wands and staves, others concentrate better when their hands are free. The way magic is used changes dramatically from person to person and culture to culture, but at its core, it's all exactly the same--voodoo, witchery and shamanism are all just as magical as the professional arts taught in universities. An apprentice, though inexperienced, is using magic no less than a master wizard.



The most powerful spells allowable in Skuldhellir are 10-prep spells. A character can't cast a spell that's higher than 10 preps. Trying to will result in the magic tearing away from their control and devastating them, rending them limb from limb with pure, raw energy, or turning them into a horrible abomination that would live mere seconds before dying painfully.

10-prep spells signify the epitome of magical power as achieved by mortals. Because of this, they are very difficult and very taxing. 10-prep spells may also require rituals, rare reagents, difficult incantations and sometimes multiple people. They are not to be trifled with, but they're also hard to cast, no matter how skilled the characters involved may be.

The Wizard's Guild has restricted spells this powerful from public use. A character that wishes to attempt to channel this much magic must obtain written permission from the guild itself, and find an area far from Skuldhellir, where any error won't accidentally devastate the town, to try; failure to do either before casting the spell will be labelled a criminal offense, and the character will probably be hunted down and killed except under very rare circumstances. Tread lightly!

There's much you can do with weaker spells, though, and this is encouraged. Magic is not akin to fighting; it is not about sheer power, rather, it is about creativity, wit and thought! The intelligent spellcaster will quickly learn that it is far more quick, prudent and skillful to use a weak spell to trip an opponent into a fire than to conjure up a fireball and fling it at him. Cantrips (1 prep spells) are a mage's greatest asset and strength, and I wholly encourage my fellow spellcasters to learn how to use and love all of those seemingly insignificant magics that're taught at the beginning of an arcane education. They're much more useful than you'd think.

----

1. Max Preps

On the application form, you'll see a field that says Max Preps (1-10). This is how you gauge your character's innate magical ability. Generally, a character who is more magically inclined will put a higher number here, and a character with little to no magical ability will have a much smaller number. Basically, the number that you pick and put here is the highest number of preps your character can ever cast at once without being destroyed by the magical power. 10 isn't taboo or restricted! Your average wizard, elemental or other magically inclined race or class would rate a 10. The number you pick here is added to your character's strength score on every number sheet mediators write for that character. An extra 10 points can be hard to balance out, so if you think your character might not necessarily be that capable, even if they ARE a pure spellcaster, you can bump the 10 down to 8 or 9 instead.

2. Schools

If you're familiar with tabletop pen and paper games, you might've heard the term 'schools of magic'. What classifies a school of magic? Generally, a school is a group of specialized spells that all have something in common. The Elemental School of Fire contains spells that are all related to the creation, control and manipulation of flame, and possibly heat, too, to an extent. The Dimensional School of Space contains spells related to the bending of physics, gravity, and dimensions.

Your character can specialize in a number of these schools, decided by the maximum preps you chose earlier. If you're a pure spellcaster, you likely have 10. Now, count each prep from your max prep count as being 1 point. If your max preps are 6, you have 6 points; if your max preps are 10, you have 10 points.

Divide those points between any number of schools. You can put a maximum of up to 5 of your character's points into any one school. This is because the largest amount of magic a mortal can gather without any possibility of losing control is the equivalent of 5 preps.

Imagine each school you pick, now, as symbolizing your character's knowledge, practice and study with that particular type of magic; perhaps it's even an innate ability. 5 indicates mastery; 1 would be appropriate for a beginner. With this in mind, a character can start out as a master of a maximum of two schools of magic, assuming they take 10 preps for their Max Preps count. If you want to play a character that's an elemental master, consider putting 5 points into Fire magic and 5 into Ice. If your character is a beginner necromancer but pretty good at warding magic, put a 1 in the Dark Arts and a 3 or 4 in Warding.

NOTE: You don't have to use up every point, it's simply an option. It's perfectly acceptable to have a character who can cast up to 10 preps, but only has a 2 in one school of magic. That's 8 extra points to allocate to new schools as your character learns more magic IC!

NOTE 2: There is no 'spell list'. If you can think of something your character could do with the type(s) of magic they are specialized in, by all means, stick an appropriate prep level on it and go ahead and try it!

3. What's this do?

So, you've gauged your character's magical potential, and given numbers to show how skilled they are with certain types of magic. What was the point of that? How does this come into play IC?

We've already discussed magical potential, and how characters can cast spells with preps up to the number chosen for their Max Preps field. The key word, there, is 'can'.

For every prep your character tries to cast, there is a small possibility of failure, decided by rolling a d20 with a modifier. Specializing in schools reduces this possibility of failure.

For example, if your character has 5 points in the Fire school of magic, they can cast fire magic with up to 5 preps perfectly, without being required to roll a die to see if they fail. HOWEVER, even if their Max Preps score is 10, or anything at all above 5, they STILL have to roll a die for every prep after 5 to see if the spell fails.

This possibility of failure is pretty small--if you have, say, 3 preps in a school, you can probably get away with casting a 4-prep or even 5-prep spell from that school without failure. The chance will be there, just not as likely as it would be if you tried casting with 6, 7 or 8 preps. (Assuming your Max Preps count allows you to even try to go that high!)

The dice:
No matter your Max Preps or the points you have in the school you're casting from, if you roll below 5 on a failing roll, your spell instantly fails.
First prep after maximum for the spell's school: 1d20
Second prep after maximum for the spell's school: 1d20-1
Third prep after maximum for the spell's school: 1d20-2
etc.

NOTE: Even if your character has NO POINTS in a school, they can try to cast a spell from that school at a -5 penalty starting at the first prep and growing more severe by 1 with every point after.

4. Backfires

What happens if your spell fails? A magical backfire occurs. These scale in significance depending on how many preps the failed spell had gotten up to. If you're trying to cast a 5-prep spell, but the spell fails at only 2 preps, you won't take a backfire as strong as 5 preps, but rather only as strong as 2 preps.

Here's a few loose ideas for backfires. Creativity is definitely encouraged, though, based on the nature of the original spell! The duration of these can depend on the number of preps that backfired, or your character can go looking for a cure from the Wizard's Guild if it doesn't wear off.

1) Explosions
2) Caster gets temporarily turned into an adorable, fuzzy creature
3) Caster is unable to speak any recognizable language for a while
4) Caster is stuck floating a few inches off the ground and has to 'swim' furiously to get around
5) Caster thinks he/she is a pony
6) Caster believes he/she is perpetually being chased by bees
7) Caster is temporarily paralyzed
9) Caster instantly falls asleep
10) Caster temporarily looses feeling in an arm or a leg
11) Whenever the caster takes a step, some ridiculous noise sounds loudly to anyone within five feet of them

Feel free to suggest more!

O HI ARE YOU DONE YET?

Yes, I am! If anything was unclear or if you have any questions, please drop me a PM right here on the forums or whisper me on Edwarde in-game.

Happy spellflinging!

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oli kaiken nähny, kaiken kuullu, kaiken tiänny


Last edited by Edward on Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Heimdall
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PostSubject: Re: Magic   Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:37 pm

6) Caster believes he/she is perpetually being chased by bees
7) Caster is perpetually being chased by bees

8D

Very clear and good! It may look long but it's easy to process, and therefore a quick read. Other possible backfires:
- Small, temporary transmogrifications (altered hair/eye/skin colors, gender, etc.)
- Magical allergies
- Temporarily blinded, deafened, muted, etc.

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Lauren
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PostSubject: Re: Magic   Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:06 pm

- Roses blooming from the scalp
- Turning into a three legged dog. With one eye. Always answering to the name of "Lucky"
8B

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they'll still 'old ya dear in their 'earts.
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Ulrin Lightbringer
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PostSubject: Re: Magic   Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:48 am

- Caster start throwing up yucky animals like snails. HP fails ftw!
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Lares
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PostSubject: Re: Magic   Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:40 am

- If the spell should turn the enemy into stone, it does work! Just the enemy is STILL moving and nigh-invincible!
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