Yet Another Sorcery System (very long)

From: David Cake (
Date: Tue 09 Nov 1993 - 11:40:31 EET

Here is my own try at a fancy, all singing all dancin' sorcery system, adapted
from the RQ4 Sorcery draft. Comments welcome, particularly from Burton
Cholinski, Paul Reilly, and those associated with the previous Sorcery draft.
                                                        Dave Cake



        This is my own very rough draft of a sorcery system. It is based on both
the RQ4 draft, Burtons Cholinskis system, previous unpublished ideas of
my own. The basis is separating out the effect of the spell and the
intended target into two separate skills. These target skills are called
studies, the name taken directly from Burtons system (I contemplated
other names - forms, domains, realms - but stuck with study because
people seemed to like it. I am not attached to the terminology myself,
and would probably prefer domain).
        Note that this is very far from a finished draft, as will become
obvious. There are a number of places where there is further work to be
done, or where I have made a decision but I think that the matter is
still very open to debate. Scattered through the text are a number of
places where there are authors annotations delimited by three asterisks
at the start and end (***). These are places for me to explain my
reasoning, and are put in to encourage people who wish to debate my
decisions to understand my perspective.
        The two main thrusts of my ideas are to give RQ sorcerers a broader
range of abilities (if still often specialised) and to maintain
compatibility with the RQ3 sorcery rules.
        I (obviously) acknowledge both Burtons system, and the RQ4 draft as the
source of many of the ideas and specifics. I would also mention the
Chivalry and Sorcery Basic Magick system as an influence, and
particularly Ars Magica (though I came up with the basics before I read
Ars Magica). I would also like to mention Colin Watsons Rune Sorcery
system as another system that basically tries to achieve the same thing,
though I wrote this before reading his system. (Apart from this
        I differ from Burtons system by not trying to make the system cover all
the existing spells, by making much more of an attempt to maintain RQ3
compatibility, and by wanting to retain the existing RQ3 ritual magic
system. I value RQ3 compatibility a great deal, certainly more than
Burton or some of the supporters of his system do. I also felt that many
of the combinations that made up spells were somewhat forced. I
particularly value maintaining the basics of the RQ3 Enchant system,
rather than Burtons all purpose Permanent.
        The main way I differ in philosophy from Colin Watsons Rune Sorcery system
is in the nature of the generalised skills, and in that I do not try to
apply the generalised skills to everything. I also have consciously
avoided Gloranthan Runes for most things. This is partly because I wanted
to have more specificity (I wanted skills for emotions, senses, very
specific substances like bone and iron) and partly because it appears
that Greg Stafford is moving away from the concept of the Runes as an
integral part of Gloranthan magic, particularly sorcery. I have more or
less retained them for the elements (which appear to be a concept
established in the West) but not much else. Some of the rune combinations
assigned to spells came across as very forced, IMHO, and certainly not
wildly intuitive. Generally though, I rather like Colins system, and his
actual mechanics are certainly a viable alternative to mine, as far as I
can see, and in some ways prefereable (though they make for tough
        Apart from the addition of studies, I differ from the draft in many
small ways. The main difference is that I retain much more of the RQ3
Ritual magic system than the draft. I am also quite happy to be a bit
more lenient than the draft was on the amount of manipulation, and I am
actually in favour of logarithmic rather than linear Duration and Range,
as the amount of manipulation possible is generally rather reduced so it
rather unlikely that anyone is going to be casting week or month long
spells (at least not in most campaigns). It also makes the true Magus,
who has the skills well over 100% that enable him to make his spells last
for months and have a range of kilometres, the object of fear he should
be. Another change is that I am very much in favour of Multispell as a
generally available skill, rather than unique to the Carmanians, partly
for RQ3 compatibility, and partly because it is too useful and important
be restricted to a comparitively minor school of sorcery.
        I really like what I have seen of the Paul Reilly et al 'Second soul'
system, and if people like this system, then I would like the two systems
to be integrated into one.
        The most obvious criticism of this system is that it makes sorcery more
complex. Unfortunately I can't see any way of simplifying it without
losing the basic concept or introducing inconsistencies. I actually don't
think it is a real problem, even with these rules playing a RQ sorcerer
is no more complicated than playing a Shadowrun magician or an Ars Magica
mage, both sucessful magic systems.


Sorcery is the third major form of RuneQuest magic. Sorcery acts by
manipulating the natural laws and forms of the Universe. The basic arts
of sorcery consists of a large number of skills of various types. These
skills are generally divided into sorcery spells, general magical skills,
sorcerous manipulations,
studies, and miscellaneous skills. Miscellaneous skills are those skills
that have no direct magical effect, but that are often learnt by
sorcerers as part of their training (such as lores and some crafts). It
is the responsibility of the sorcerer not only to know how to manipulate
the laws of the world, but to know the worlds natural laws as well. It is
also common for sorcerers to study the various inhabitants of the
otherworld, to study history and legend (and theology for Malkioni), and
to study craft skills that aid in enchanting.
General magical skills are those skills that are common to all types of
magic, and are necessary for certain magical operations. They are
Ceremony, Summon, and Enchant. Spells are those skills that are necessary
to cast magic directly. Studies are those skills that are necessary to
cast a spell on a particular type of thing. Note that the term 'studies'
is a rules term, not in common use in Glorantha. Sorcerous manipulations are
skills that enable properties of spells other than what is affected to be
changed. The most common (known by almost all schools of sorcery) include
Range, Duration, Intensity and Multispell. Other rarer skills include
Speed, Ease, and Combine, for example. Again, these are not necessarily
the names by which they are known in Glorantha.
        What skills are available for teaching varies wildly by what school of
sorcery the sorcerer is a member of, and his status according to that
school. The bulk of schools in Glorantha divide their magic into Low
magic (including easy spells and the Intensify manipulation) and High
magic (all other spells and manipulations known to the school), and teach
High magic only to those with the status of Wizard or Noble. Many skills
are not known by all schools. The only major school that does not really
have the High/Low distinction is the Vadeli (who talk about Sailors
magic, captains magic, fishers magic, etc. and have no specific sorcerer
class). Other schools may think of things differently. Among Carmanians,
for example, the term Low Magic generally refers to the spirit and divine
magic used by the peasantry, and the term High magic may also include non
sorcerous magic that is restricted to the nobility (such as some Lunar
divine magic).


        This is highly culture dependent, but here are some guidelines.

      The most common form of sorcery is Low Magic, the simplest and easiest
of sorcery spells. These spells are also known as cantrips. In regions where
sorcery is the dominant form of magic, almost everyone learns some Low Magic.
Many people also learn the skills of Intensity and Ceremony. Someone who knows
only Low Magic is called a student or novice. An acolythist is an apprentice
in training.

      If a foreigner or stranger wants to learn low magic, he or she
needs to find a sorcerer willing to teach it and make a traditional gift worth
at least 100 L. If the GM wishes a method to quickly abstract finding a willing
teacher, a character who spends a season searching in a civilized culture
succeeds on a roll of POWx5. A character who spends an entire year searching
in a primitive, nomadic, or barbarian culture succeeds on a roll of POWx1.

      In theory, anyone can study High Magic spells. In practice, only the
upper classes learn it.
      Only those of apprentice rank and above may learn manipulation skills
other than Intensity. The most common manipulation skills are Range and

      To become an apprentice, an applicant must have a magic skill bonus of
at least +10 percent and Read Own Language at 25% or better. (The +10 magic
bonus is needed to learn advanced manipulation skills.) Some schools or
masters have other requirements as well, such as social class, kinship, or
gender. The applicant must find a sorcerer interested in taking on an
apprentice, and convince the sorcerer to take him or her on as a student. The
GM can abstract this as a POWx3 roll made once a year if searching in a
civilized culture. (Sorcerers in a primitive, nomad or barbarian culture will
rarely stay there long enough to take on apprentices.) If accepted, the
applicant must donate a point of POW in an apprentice bonding ritual to the
master or the master's familiar to establish a bond. An apprenticeship
traditionally lasts at least 7 years, at the end of which the apprentice
learns how to create a familiar for him or herself.

      An apprentice who has completed an apprenticeship and created a familiar
is an adept, although some cultures have different terms.


Skill in a sorcery spell determines two things:
1) It is the maximum percentage chance of successfully casting a spell.
2) It sets the total amount of manipulation which the caster can put into
the spell (to be split among Intensity, Duration, Range, and
so on). Divide the sorcery spell skill by five, rounding to the nearest
whole number. This is the total amount of manipulation which the sorcerer
can add to the spell. For example, someone with 2% in a spell can not put
any manipulation into it, and can only cast the basic 1 point spell. (All
spells automatically have one point of intensity.) With 5%, the sorcerer
can add one level of manipulation (round up). Someone with 100% in a spell
can add twenty levels of manipulation.
*** Note the change from spell/10 to spell/5. I put this is because I
thought that the TOTAL manipulation in a spell was not a play balance
problem in RQ3, and I thought that spell/10 was unnecessarily
restrictive. Note that the amount of any single manipulation remains
manipulation/10, so this change does not actually increase the amount of
any single manipulation available, unless spell skill is less than half
the amount the manipulation in question. ***

        Skill in a sorcery manipulation (such as Intensity, Range, Duration) sets
the maximum amount of the manipulation that the sorcerer can use. Divide
the manipulation skill by ten (rounding to the nearest whole number). That
number is the maximum amount of that manipulation which the sorcerer can
use with any spell.
        Example: A sorcerer with Neutralize Magic 76%, Intensity 64%,
Duration 38%, and Range 51% can cast Neutralize Magic and add up to 8
total levels of manipulation (7.6 rounded), using up to a maximum of 6
levels of Intensity (6.4 rounded), 4 levels of Duration (3.8 rounded), and
5 levels of Range (5.1 rounded). A typical high-powered spell might be
Intensity 7 and Range 2. (Remember that a base spell is Intensity 1.) The
chance to successfully cast the spell is 75%, regardless of the amount of
manipulation used.

        *** I thought that I would include it here for completeness ***
This manipulation lets a caster cast more than one spell at a time. It works
faster than casting them one at a time. Each level of Multispell lets a caster
cast one additional spell. The sorcerer sets the amount of manipulation
(Intensity, Range, Duration) he or she will use, and then decides how much
Multispell to use. All spells must have the same manipulations. However, Touch
spells gain no range this way, and Instant spells gain no duration, even when
combined with ranged or temporal spells. The time needed to cast the spells is
calculated as if a single spell were cast: 3 SR + DEX SR + Total manipulation
used in SR (including Multispell). All the spells go off at the same time.
Roll once for all the spells to see if they succeed. Depending on the spell
skills involved, the caster may succeed with some and fail with others. The
magic point cost of the casting is equal to the normal cost for each spell
multiplied by the total number of spells cast, regardless of the success or
failure of individual spells.
      The caster can direct each spell at a different target if all targets
are within range and sight of the caster. The caster can also cast them all at
the same target. A caster can also use Multispell to cast spells on each
other, such as casting Ward Magic on a spell to make it difficult to detect
with Detect Magic or Mystic Vision. If Neutralise Magic and another spell
are combined using Multispell, the Neutralise Magic affects defensive
spells after other Instant spells are resolved, but before other Temporal
spells are resolved.
*** that last point needs to be resolved one way or another, and I
thought I would make it a useful technique, but I decided that allowing
it to clear the way for other instant spells makes it too good (there is
very little reason not too, if you have a high Neutralise magic). ***
      Multispell is a Hard Magic skill, and can only be learned by a
character with a +10 or greater Magic bonus.

        *** I made it Hard where the draft had it as Very Hard, because I
conceive as Multispell as being a very common spell among experienced
sorcerers, an essential tool. However, it probably doesn't make that much
difference, as a little Multispell goes a long way (30% skill allows you
to combine 4 spells in one), so maybe Very Hard is OK. ***

        In melee, a sorcery spell cast goes off at: 3 SR (preparation time) + the
sorcerer's DEX SR + the total MP used in SR. At that time, the player or
gamemaster rolls to see if the spell succeeds. A spell that takes more

than 10 SR to cast takes 1 melee round for every 10 SR, and then goes off
in the next melee round at the SR remaining. (For example, a 21 SR spell
takes two full melee rounds and then goes off on SR 1 of the third round.)

Example: A 16 DEX sorcerer adds 2 levels of Intensity, 1 level of
Duration, and 1 level of Range to a Smother spell. This costs him 1 (base)
+2 (added Intensity) +1 (added Duration) +1 (added Range) = 5 MP. It
results in a 3 Intensity Smother spell with a duration of 20 minutes and a
range of 50 meters. The player rolls on SR 3 (preparation) + 2 (DEX) + 5
(total MP used) = SR 10.


Studies are divided into various groups of equivalent things.
Spells which require a study will typically require studies from a
specific group or groups. Studies are generally Easy or Medium skills.

        Wood, Cloth, Bone, Bronze,
        Fire, Water, most Rune Metals, Darkness, Earth, Air, Lunar, Flesh
        STR, CON, SIZ, APP, INT, DEX

Easy (for humans)
Medium (for humans)
        Smell, Touch, Taste, Hearing
Hard (for humans)
        Darksense, Elfsense, Earthsense
        Humans, your own species, common domestic animals, common spirits
        Wild animals, other intelligent species, uncommon spirits
        Demons, very unusual species.
        *** how easy these should be is really a question for play balance. The
        real question is where humans and other intelligent species go. It may
        well be that intelligent beings should be Hard (to make Dominate and
        Shapechange difficult spells), but then Detect Human and various other
        similar spells would be probably too difficult. Personally I do not
        think that it is a problem, because it will be unusual to cast Dominate
        at any high level (because of Intensity/10 limit). Perhaps Dominate
        could be rewritten if it is seen as a problem? Rarity of spells is a
        related issue - Dominate Human, formerly rare and exotic, becomes common
        -but usually less powerful. ***

Some spells have two part names, and often the subject will be
generic rather than specific. There are two forms. If the generic is in
angle brackets (<>) then this indicates the spell requires a study to
provide a subject. If the subject is in square brackets ([]) then this
indicates that several variants of the spells exist.

Attach, Glue, Holdfast, Lock, Patch
Ranged, Temporal, Passive
Creates a 10 cm x 10 cm patch which glues two objects together with a STR
of 5. Each additional Intensity adds either another 10 cm x 10 cm to the
area (which the caster can shape as desired) or another 5 STR to the
spell. Once someone or something overcomes the spell's STR, it is broken.
The spell cannot affect living tissue or living vegetable matter.

Bless [Tool or Weapon]
Saint's Touch, <Tool or Weapon> Secret
Touch, Temporal, Passive
Makes a specific weapon or tool 5% more effective for the duration of the
spell. Each additional Intensity adds another 5%.
        With a weapon, the spell adds to either the attack or the parry
percentage with that weapon for that melee round, at the wielder's option.
With a tool, it adds to skills that use that tool, but only for the
duration of the spell. Long jobs take many castings of the spell or long
        The spell has no effect on a different weapon or tool. Thus, Bless Spear
has no effect on a broadsword or a hoe.
        The spell does not increase the knowledge of the tool user in any way, it
simply makes the tool's use more effective. Bless Plume lets you Write
better in the sense of better-formed characters, not in the sense of
better choice of words.
        The spell affects a tool or weapon with an ENC of 6 or less. It takes
twice as many Intensities to affect a tool or weapon with an ENC from 6 to
12, three times as many to affect a tool or weapon with an ENC from 12 to
18, and so on.
        *** I do not really know how to fit this into the Studies system.
        Suggestions are welcome (I like the spells - a nice low power bladesharp
        style spell, with mundane uses as well). One suggestion is that skill in
        using the implement counts as the study (so Sword attack or
        Craft:Blacksmithing counts as study for Bless Sword or Bless Blacksmiths
        Hammer respectively), which has the effect of making skill VERY
        important. Another option is just to leave this spell with multiple
        version, or use the appropriate <substance>. ***

Detect <Species>
Dowsing, Sense, Unmask, Witch's Eye
Ranged, Temporal, Active
If the caster concentrates, he or she sees a glow around each spell target
that is within spell range. No one else can see this glow. The
spell penetrates 1 meter of dense substance (such as earth, wood, or
metal) per point of Intensity. It can be cast without any species study,
in which case it acts as Detect Life.

Enhance <Sense>
Dog's Nose, Long Ear, Saint's Sight, Secret of <Sense>
Ranged, Temporal, Active
If the target of the spell concentrates, the specific sense that the spell
affects (Sight, Hearing, Smell) becomes more effective. Multiply the
effective range at which the sense functions by the Intensity plus one.
For example, a character with an Intensity 3 Enhance Sight can see 3 + 1 =
4 times as far as normal.
        Senses that are 0 range become more sensitive as well, but the effects
are not as precisely defined. Taste allows you to taste things at lower
concentrations, touch allows you to feel finer details of the surface,
etc. A bonus of +5% to appropriate skills may be appropriate, but often
the effects of these unusual spells will be left to the GM.
Increase <characterisic>
Banish Frailty, Enchance <Characteristic>, Secret of <Characteristic>,
Taste of Solace
Touch, Temporal, Passive
This spell adds 1 point per Intensity to the appropriate characteristic
(STR, CON, DEX, APP), to a limit of double the current characteristic.
Such increases do not affect experience or research rolls.

Restore <Substance>
Crafter's Secret, Shortcut
Touch, Instant
Repairs 1 point of damage per Intensity. A shattered or severely damaged
item needs a successful Craft [as appropriate] roll as well, to make it
functional again. If the caster fails the Craft roll, the amount by which
the roll is missed shows how badly put together the object is.
*** an excellent example of a spell that integrates very nicely with both
the Studies system, and the normal skill system ***

Treat Wounds
Xemela's Touch, Balm
Touch, Instant
The base spell stops bleeding from a wound. Each two points of Intensity
heal 1 point of damage in a location. For example, a Intensity 4 spell
heals 2 points of damage in a location and stops the bleeding from that
wound. An Intensity 3 spell stops bleeding from one wound and heals one
point of damage. The caster must touch the part of the body he or she is
healing. The spell cannot restore severed limbs.

High Magic spells are Medium skills, unless otherwise stated. The format
lists the name by which the spell appears in Zzabur's Blue Book first,
then several other common names for the spell.

Animate <Substance>
Man of <Element or Substance>, Walking (Thing), Zombie
Ranged, Active, Temporal
Animates 3 SIZ per Intensity of a solid substance, or 1 cubic meter per
Intensity of a non-solid element (fire, water, air). The animated thing
has a base movement rate of 1 meter per round. The caster can increase
this with additional Intensity: each level of Intensity used for this adds
1 meter per round to the movement rate. The animated object has a chance
to do any action equal to the caster's DEX x 3 or skill (such as Climb or
Jump), whichever is greater. As a rule of thumb, an animated solid
substance (including earth) does damage equal to 1d2 per 3 SIZ if it lands
a blow, animated air and water causes 1d4 points of knockback damage per
cubic meter, and animated fire causes fire damage based on its size (as
per the Fire and Heat table on page ??).

Boost Damage
Cleave Iron, Damage Boosting, Talor's Sword
Ranged, Passive, Temporal
Affects any tool or anything that can be used as a weapon (such as a fist
or sword). Each level of Intensity adds 1 point to the damage that object
does when it strikes. (Simply touching someone or something with the
object does not cause damage.) The base spell affects a weapon of up to 6
ENC, and the caster can use additional levels of Intensity to affect
bulkier weapons at the rate of one level of Intensity per 6 additional ENC.

Boost Range
Bless Bow, Boost Missile, Bull's Eye
Ranged, Passive, Temporal
Allows a missile weapon to fire missiles out to the maximum range of the
spell with no range penalties (that is, a base range of 25 meters, plus 25
meters for each level of Range).

Cast <emotion>
Ranged, Passive, Temporal
Causes the target to be affected by the appropriate emotion. The precise
effects depend on the emotion. In all cases, an INT x 1 roll allows the
target to realise that they are affected by the spell (higher if they are
expecting it), and they can attempt to dispel or otherwise counter it.
Opposite emotions cancel out. The next few spells are examples of
particular emotions.

Cast Confusion
Cause Confusion, Perplex, Flabbergast, Stupefacation
Ranged, Temporal, Passive
When cast upon a target with normal INT, every time they attempt to use a
skill or cast a spell there is a 10% chance per Intensity of spell that
they forget what they know of the skill or spell. If a skill has a base
chance of greater than 0%, it can be used at its base chance of success
(base plus bonus) only. If the target of the spell succeeds in an INTx1
roll when he or she is first affected by the spell, he or she realizes
that they have been affected by the spell, and can attempt to dispel or
otherwise magically counter the effects of the spell.

Cast Courage
Enrage, Make Peasant Fight, Vision of Rage
Ranged, Passive, Temporal
Increases the chance to hit in melee by half again, when cast on a being
with normal INT. The target cannot parry or cast magic other than attack
spells. He or she can still Dodge, but at half skill. Characters outside
of melee (such as missile users) attack and Dodge normally. Each
additional level of Intensity adds 5% to the chance to hit and subtracts
another 5% from Dodge. If the target of the spell succeeds in an INT x 1
roll when first affected by the spell, he or she realizes that the spell
is in effect, and can attempt to dispel or otherwise magically counter the
effects of the spell. Each Intensity of Cast Fear cancels one Intensity of
Cast Courage.

Cast Desire
Cause Love, Love Hex, Vision of Beauty, Wandering Eye
Ranged, Passive, Temporal
This spell causes its victim to see a target of the caster's choice as
sexually attractive, adding 1 to the target's effective APP for each
Intensity of the spell. Both victim and target must be within range of the
spell. If the victim fails a roll of his or her POW vs. the effective APP
of the target, the target can seduce him or her. If the victim of the
spell succeeds in an INT x 1 roll when first affected by the spell, he or
she realizes that a spell is in effect, and can attempt to dispel or
otherwise magically counter the effects of the spell. Of course, a victim
is seduced more easily by someone he or she would be attracted to without
the spell, and it is very hard to make the victim go to bed with someone
who would ordinarly be repulsive to that person. Each Intensity of Cast
Desire cancels one Intensity of Cast Malice.

Cast Malice
Curse of Hate, Traitors Heart, Cause hatred, Create Enemy
Ranged, Passive, Temporal
This spell causes its victim to see a target as an enemy. It does not
create blind fury, or make them attack them immediately, but it does
cause unreasoning resentment. Both Victim and target must be in range of
the spell. The effects of this spell are highly roleplaying dependent. It
is difficult to overcome strong friendships and love with this spell,
though it can make things difficult temporarily. Each Intensity of Cast
Malice cancels one Intensity of Cast Desire.
*** I stuck this one in for completeness really, but I rather like it. ***

Cast Fear
Cause Fear, Evil Eye, Frighten, Turn Foe, Vision of Fear
Ranged, Passive, Temporal
Lowers morale of a being with normal INT. If the target believes the
situation is bad, he or she attacks at only half percentage, and can cast
only defensive and healing spells. An Intensity 2 spell causes this effect
regardless of whether or not the target believes he or she is outclassed.
Every level of Intensity beyond the first 2 subtracts 5% from the target's
chance to attack. If the target of the spell succeeds in an INT x 1 roll
when first affected by the spell, he or she realizes that the spell is in
effect, and can attempt to dispel or otherwise magically counter the
effects of the spell. Each Intensity of Cast Courage cancels one Intensity
of Cast Fear.

Conceal <substance, species>
Hide, No Sign, Shield, Veil
Touch, Temporal, Passive
Each level of Intensity of this spell blocks one Intensity of the Detect
or Show spell it is specific for. In other words, an Intensity 3 Detect
Malice spell (or a spirit magic Detect Enemies or Divine Find Enemies)
will not detect an enemy who is shielded by an Intensity 3 Conceal Malice

Cloak <Sense>
Silence, No Smell, Hide
Touch, temporal, Passive
Each level of Intensity makes you more difficult to detect with that
sense, adding +15% to appropriate skill rolls, though only if that sense
is used to detect you.
*** This replaces Conceal [Object, Self, etc.] which I thought seemed to
obviously designed as a skill enhancer spell. This spell fulfills a
similar purpose with more style, and fits in better with studies. An
option would be instead of +15% on stealth skills, -10% on Perception
rolls to detect.***

Conceal Soul
Belittle, Inconspicuousness
Touch, Temporal, Passive
This spell decreases its target's apparent POW and MP by 2 points per
level of Intensity. This increases Stealth skills as if the target's POW
were actually lower.

Decrease <Characteristic>
Make Frail, Neutralize <Characteristic>, Reduce <Characteristic>, Weaken
Ranged, Temporal, Passive
This spell subtracts 1 point per Intensity to the appropriate
characteristic (STR, CON, DEX, APP or Move). Decrease Vigor is Instant,
and causes the target to lose 1 level of short term fatigue for every two
Intensities of the spell used (for every 10 points or fraction thereof
over 20 SIZ, reduce the effective Intensity by one).
        *** If move is on the RQ3 scale where human Move is 3, should only
        subtract intensity/3 from Move ***

Dominate <Species>
Beguile, Charm, Fascination, Puppet
Ranged, Temporal, Active (until commanded, then Passive)
Spell description as per RQ III.
*** As noted, Intensity/10 limit makes this much less useful (it is
difficult to even Dominate a Pow 10 simple spirit). However, the study
system probably means spells like Dominate Human are far more common. ***

Illusion of <Sense>
Fantasy, Phanom <Sense>, Reify Thought
Ranged, Temporal, Active
As per RQ III, but maximum effect at 10 Intensities (as per the Chaosium

Invoke <Air, Dark, Earth, Fire, Light, Stone, Water>
Berm, Brighten, Flare, Fountain, Shroud, Summon <Element>, Wall of
<Element>, Wind
Ranged, Instant/Temporal
Causes some of a specific element to appear where there was none before,
depending on how common the element is to the surroundings. If it is
common, 1 cubic meter per Intensity appears; if it is uncommon, 1/2 cubic
meter per Intensity appears; if it is rare, 1/5 cubic meter per Intensity
appears; if it is normally impossible, none appears. The caster can
distribute the amount that appears as he or she likes, but it can not be
less than 1/10 of a meter in any dimension. Invoke Light and Invoke Dark
can create barriers that one cannot see through. Elements that are not
normally native to the surroundings (tyically Dark, Light and Fire) will
only remain for the duration of the spell, then vanish (Fire however, can
spread naturally if summoned onto or adjacent to flammable material).
Elements normally found in the surroundings (typically Air, Water and
Earth) remain even after the spell expires.

        Some guidelines:
Common Uncommon Rare Impossible
Air from air. Air from water. Air from earth. Air from fire.
Water from water. Water from earth. Water from air. Water from fire.
Earth from earth. Earth from fire. Earth from water. Earth from air.
Fire from fire. Fire from air. Fire from earth. Fire from water.
Dark from water. Dark from earth. Dark from air. Dark from fire.
Light from fire. Light from air. Light from water. Light from earth.

Invoke <other substance>
Ranged, Instant
This spell brings some of the substance within range to the caster. Thus
if cast were none of the substance is within range, it does nothing. It
does not usually effect the substance if held by someone (Intensity
matched vs. MP). Thus Invoke Iron is generally only useful if in an area
with a lot of unworked Iron (but it makes a nifty mining technique).
*** I am a bit iffy about this spell. Comments welcome. I decided to
generalise Invoke Element. ***

Form <Substance>
Craft, Mold, Shape, Transform
Ranged, Temporal, Passive
Forms 1 SIZ per Intensity of 3 AP of the appropriate substance into a
temporary rough form. When the spell ends, the laws of nature hold sway
again, and the substance attempts to revert to its original form, often
with only partial success. Each additional level of Intensity can affect
another point of SIZ or an additional 3 AP of the substance. Affecting 6
kg (1 SIZ) of 6 AP bronze takes a total of 2 Intensities. The spell must
affect the entire object for it to work.
*** Probably embodies the study system, this spell is the most basic
representation of the concept. ***

Cripple, Enfeeble, Paralyze
Ranged, Passive, Temporal
        Strikes at a random hit location. If the caster succeeds in a MP vs. MP
roll, and the spell has an Intensity equal to or greater than half the HP
in the location, the target cannot use the location. Targets struck in the
head, chest or abdomen suffer the same result as if the location had
fallen to 0 HP, even though no actual damage or bleeding occurs.

Project <Sense>
Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, Floating (Eye, Ear, Nose), <Sense>
Projection, Spy Ranged, Temporal, Active (if moving or sensing, otherwise
        Lets the caster project the specified sense out to the maximum range of
the spell. If the caster moves out of the maximum range, the spell ends.
The caster can move the viewpoint at a base speed of 1 meter per melee
round. Each additional level of Intensity adds 1 meter per melee round to
the base speed. The spell cannot penetrate more than 1 meter of dense
substance (not necessarily contiguous) per Intensity (movement slows by 1
meter per round for every meter of dense substance, until it reaches 0).
The viewpoint is immaterial - one can detect it magically and dispel it,
but other magical spells or physical attacks have no effect on it. When
focusing on the projected sense, the caster cannot make normal use of the
sense. For example, a sorcerer using Project Sight cannot see what is in
front of his body, only what is in front of the projected viewpoint.
Project Touch only causes the caster to lose the sense of touch from his
or her hands.

Mystic <Sense>
Analyze Aura, Eye of Truth, Magesight, Wizard's Sight, Mystic Vision
Ranged, Temporal, Active (when using, otherwise Passive), Smell Magic,
Smell Soul, Hear Power, Song of the Soul

        Augments the target's sense so that they can sense the aura of Magic
Points of a creature or spirit, and can tell whether the Magic Points are
within 5 of his or her Magic Points, less than that, or more than that.
        In addition, the caster can sense magic, with greater detail at higher
levels of Intensity. The basic spell gives only a rough idea as to the
strength of the magic. At 5 intensities, the target begins to sense
something of the basic purpose of the magic, and at 10 Intensities, the
target may get ideas as to the nature of the magic. Lore skills, such as
Magic Lore, or Sorcery Lore, can greatly enhance one's ability to
understand the magic (see skills).
        Any layer of dense substance blocks the
ability of the caster to see Magic Points, and each meter of dense
substance blocks 1 Intensity of magic detection. Barriers and the
surounding aura affect other sense differently. For example smell is not
necessarily blocked by barriers, but is easily drowned out by powerful
auras nearby.
        An appropriate sense roll may be necessary to discover details or other
hard to sense things, usually scan for sight. This severely restricts the
usefulness of this spell for some senses for most humans.

Neutralize Magic
Dispel, Reduce Magic, Remove Blessing, Remove Curse, Unhex, Valkaro's
Glance Ranged, Instant
As per RQ III.

Regrow, Restore Wholeness, Xemela's Tears
Touch, Temporal, Passive
The base spell allows the caster to reattach a newly severed organ (within
the normal time limits). The spell will otherwise cause a maimed or
severed organ to regrow at 10% per season per Intensity (if this was not
done so already, roll 1d100 to determine the percentage of the limb that
was maimed or severed). Note that the spell needs to be recast often
unless the caster greatly extends the duration.
        May be able to Regenerate damage to senses (blindness, deafness, etc.)
if combined with <sense> study. To heal unusual ailments requires
<Human>, and to heal injuries to other races may require <race>.

Regain Life
Miracle of Healing, Wizard Balm, Xemela's Salve
Touch, Instant
Each Intensity heals 1 of location hit point damage or 1/3 HP of general
HP damage (that is, each point of general HP damage requires 3

Remove Life
Venom, Neutralize Life, Reduce Life, Swift Curse
Ranged, Instant
Does 1d2 per Intensity in general HP damage to its target.

Resist Bleeding
Armor of Paslac, Knight's Bandage
Touch, Temporal, Passive
Each Intensity keeps a single wound from bleeding. Wounds treated with
First Aid or a healing magic do not resume bleeding once the spell
duration expires. One can cast the spell before or after the wounds occur.

Resist Death
Bar the Gate, Preserve Breath
Touch, Temporal, Passive
The target of the spell does not die after taking twice his or her total
HP. Each Intensity lets the target go one HP below his or her HP as a
negative number before dying (though the target is still unconscious if at
0 HP or below). For example, a character with 11 HP, who normally dies at
-11 HP, only dies at -14 HP or beyond if he or she has a 3 Intensity
Resist Death spell. cast on him or her. In addition, the spell adds its
Intensity to the target's MP for the purposes of resisting death magic
(Remove Life, Disruption, and Sever Spirit are all examples of death

Resist Disease
Cure Malady, Ward Disease, Xemela's Holy Kiss
Touch, Instant
Each Intensity gives +5% to the character's next roll to resist the
effects of a disease.

Resist Poison
Antidote, Antivenin, Neutralize Venom, Ward Snakebite
Touch, Temporal, Passive
Each Intensity of the spell negates 3 HP of poison damage. The spell
decreases by one Intensity for every 3 HP of poison damage so negated. The
spell has no effect on poison damage suffered before casting the spell.
One can cast it before exposure to the poison, or after exposure but
before the damage has occurred.

Shapechange <Species> to <Species>
Alter Shape, Shapeshift, Transform <Species> to <Species>, Twist Form
Ranged, Passive, Temporal
The spell must have a an Intensity of at least 1 for every 3 points of SIZ
of the target, and must succeed in a Intensity vs. MP roll if the target
is unwilling. For example, to affect an unwilling SIZ 13 target takes a
minimum 5 Intensity spell (that overcomes the target's MP with its
Intensity). The target's SIZ remains constant, regardless of the new form.

Show <Life, Emotion, Species, Substance>
Light of Truth, Revelation
Ranged, Temporal, Active
These spells act like their equivalent Detects, except that targets within
range of the spell visibly glow with a soft light visible to all
(including the targets). Without an appropriate Study it acts as Show Life.
        *** I removed Show Magic because it created a special case that I didn't
        like much, and because I didn't like it much (stick with Mystic Vision)
        but if other people like it, make it an option for casting without a
        Study, or separate into two separate spells (Show [Life, <species>,
        <emoption>], and Show [Magic, <Substance>].***

Skin of Life
Breathe Underwater, Miner's Blessing
Touch, Temporal, Passive
As per RQ III, except requires 1 Intensity/3 SIZ to function.

Choke, Strangulation, Wear Down
Ranged, Passive, Temporal
Divide the number of melee rounds between Fatigue rolls made by an
affected character by the Intensity of the spell plus one (rounding up).
Thus a Smother Intensity 1 would require a roll every three melee rounds
(5/(1+1), a Smother Intensity 4 every round (5/4+1), and a Smother
Intensity 9 two rolls per round (5/9+1).

Tap <attribute>
Consume, Ruin, Sorcerer's Touch, Steal Life, Zzabur's Curse
Touch, Temporal, Passive
Each Intensity permanently drains a point of the specified attribute and
adds it to the caster's attribute for the duration of the spell. Since
temporary POW is MP, each point of POW drained adds 1 MP to the caster for
the duration of the spell. As per the normal stacking rules, only the
highest Intensity spell will have effect - a a Tap STR 7 and a Tap STR 5
add only 7 STR to the caster.
        *** I don't really like this version of Tap that much, but maybe it will
        be improved when integrated with the Paul reilly et al. Second Soul

Escape, Gate, Return, Wizard Gate
Ranged, Instant
Each level of Intensity teleports 3 SIZ that the caster touches (or him or
herself) to a specific previously enchanted area within range of the
spell. If the caster has several areas within range, he or she can choose
the one to which to teleport.

Silent Speech, Wizard Tongue
Ranged, Temporal, Passive
As per RQ III.

Travel in <substance>
Fly, Swim, Valkaro's Wings, Valkaro's Fins
Ranged, Temporal, Active
This spell moves 3 SIZ per Intensity through or on the appropriate medium
at a base speed of 1 meter per round. Additional levels of Intensity can
be used to add 1 meter per round of movement per Intensity. Travel in
Water can add to the target's natural movement rate if he or she is
swimming or running along the surface of the water. If the substance
moved through is solid, an additional Intensity of AP/3 is required.
        ***While obviously this spell is mostly used as Fly or Swim, I rather liked
the other option that are opened up with this new definition. I like some
of the true oddities that are possible (sorcerous smiths who can also
travel through Iron walls, or woodland magicians who can walk through the
walls of huts or hide in trees. If anyone really doesn't like it, just
specify that Travel in <substance> only affects substances with AP 0.***
Ward Blow
Damage Resistance, Resist Damage, Wizard Armor, Turn Blow
Ranged, Temporal, Passive
Each Intensity of the spell adds one point of armor protection to the
whole body or object, which acts as normal armor.

Ward Magic
Avert, Resist Magic, Spell Resistance, Turn Hex
Ranged, Temporal, Passive
As per RQ III Resist Magic.

Ward Spirit
Ghost Armor, Spirit Resistance, Turn Demon Ranged, Temporal, Passive
As per RQ IV Spirit Screen.


*** In contrast to the Sorcery draft (and Burtons ideas), which had very little use for the
standard Enchant and Summon skills, I make extensive use of them, even
more than the RQ3 rules. This is partly because I really like the idea of
a unified ritual magic system, and partly because it seemed to work
really well. In fact, I think that Enchant/Summon skills + studies works
better than Enchant/Summon skill + Enchanting/Summoning spells. ***

        Some ritual spells involve special skills for that spell, but many use
spells or studies whose usefulness is not confined to Ritual magic.
Virtually all Ritual magic involves one of the common Ritual skills,
Enchant, Summon, and Ceremony. There are other Ritual skills, but they
are less useful.
        All Enchanting skills are limited to a maximum POW expenditure of the
minimum of Enchant and any required skills, divided by 10 to any one
enchantment. So to Enchant
a 10 POW point item (such as +50% to a Hard spell) requires the caster to
be 100% in the spell and 100% in Enchant.
        However, this is the limit on any single enchantment, and manipulation
counted as a separate enchantment for this purpose. The total POW on all
Enchantments is Enchant divided by 5. So with 100% enchant, you could
make an item that was +50% to a Hard spell and also +3 to Intensity and
+2 to range.
        *** I will have to think about exactly Multispell works in with this ***
        Restrictions and extensions to the enchantment (such as restricted use,
enchanting an area, and triggering actions add to the POW cost of enchanting
the item, but do not count against the Enchant/5 limit.
        *** this is just my feeling, and fits in with my general philosophy that
        you should not restrict people to much if they want to do something that
        is about as powerful but more interesting. I think that it is actually a
        moot point most of the time, as Enchant/5 is probably far more than most
        people are interested in spending on an item. ***


Banishment (funeral ritual)
Blessing (blessing ritual)
Open Seas (as per GoG--Dormal)
Worship Invisible God (as per GoG)

*** All are Ceremonies. I would probably only classify Open Seas as true
'Low Magic', I would imagine that Banishment, Blessing, and Worship are
usually presided over by someone with some ecclesiastical status. ***


Apprentice Bonding
As per RQ III.
*** Probably a separate Easy spell. Or integrated with the Paul Reilly,
et al. system ***

Create Familiar
As per RQ III, but use POW to create familiar stats (1 for 1) instead.
*** Definately uses the Paul Reilly system. ***

Divination [Various]
Various divination spells, of varying effectiveness. Some rely on saints, and
others rely on natural laws.
        *** I am not sure whether this should be a Ceremony spell, with a
        supplementary skill, or a new Ritual skill of its own. ***

Enchant <Substance>
Enchant Iron, Silver, etc.
Rune Metals are enchanted with the effects described in Elder Secrets.
Substances other than Rune Metals generally gain few advantages above the
unenchanted material, but that is only a generalisation. The one
universal advantage is that creatures hit only by magic weapons may be
affected by the enchanted material, though this is not relevant for all
        There are many unusual substances that gain special abilities when
enchanted this way. Some examples include certain elven plants, special
crystals, and parts of certain rare animals.
*** So rather than a special Enchant [substance] skill, your ability to
enchant rune metals, etc. relies upon knowledge of the appropriate
<substance> study, and Enchant skill. Suggests that studies of Rune
metals may be closely guarded secrets. Perhaps the major ability of the
Third Eye Blue is that they have Study of Iron is well known among them,
as well as Enchant, and they can thus Enchant Iron? ***

Homing Circle
I would make this simply the combination of Teleport and Enchant skill.

Enchant Spell
+20% per point of POW to a specific Easy spell skill.
+10%/point to a specific Medium spell skill
(+5%/point if Hard, +3%/point if Very Hard).
Limit of Enchanting is lowest of spell ability and Enchant skill. To make
items that work in response to a trigger condition without requiring a
casting action gets only this %age, so needs the chance to be raised to
100% to work all the time. However, items should not get Fumbles or
automatic failures or
criticals usually. There may be some ways to modify this chance for such
items (doubling the %age for spells that are normally ranged where the
item works only by touch is one option, that makes such items not
prohibitively expensive). For spells involving studies, as usual the
spell chance is the lower of the two skills, assuming that items must
have the spell in them completely specified before creation. It is
possible that there might be some way to create an item where the spell
is not specified - such as a Shapechange <species> to Gorp item, where
the user must supply the first study, for example. Items that are
activated by triggers rather than casting must have a well-defined source
of magic points (preferably either the user, or some source built into
the item).
        *** I feel that the way triggered items worked was a badly defined area
        in RQ3. On my reading of the rules, it seemed that you had the choice of
        creating an item that allowed you to cast the spell at you base %age, or
        that allowed you to cast it 100% of the time that a trigger condition
        was met, and one was just so much more sensible that the other
        (especially as triggers could be code words etc.). This should be
        adressed in the new rules (it was only a big problem with sorcery anyway).
        Spell Items created this way can be manipulated normally, at the standard
cost of 1 point of POW per point of manipulation.
        Example - Jane the sorceress wishes to make a magic stick that causes
        people to become weak when she hits them with it. She has the spell
        Decrease <characteristic> at 80% and the Study of STR at 54%. She also
        has Enchant at 67%. The lowest of all these three skills is 54%, so that
        limits the amount of POW she can enchant the stick with to 5 points,
        which would enable her to enchant the stick with +50% to POW. She
        also wants to expend the extra POW point to make it triggered, which
        does not count against her 13 point (67/5) on maximum enchantment. This
        would give her a stick that instantly casts a Decrease STR when the
        trigger condition is met (striking someone hard) at 50%. This is not
        very reliable, but as she does not want her item to be able to cast the
        spell at range, and Decrease STR is a ranged spell, she gets to double
        the chance to 100%, so her item works every time (no automatic failures
        for triggered items, so even on a 96-00, so no point rolling). She also
        thinks that Decrease STR Intensity 1 is a bit of a waste of time, so the
        decides to add some intensity. The minimum of her intensity and spell
        skills is her Study of STR at 54%, so she can add up to 5 points of
        intensity. That is pretty good, and she does so. She has now accounted
        for 10 of her possible 13 points of enchantment (5 for cast chance, and
        5 for intensity), plus 1 more. She has three remaining, and contemplates
        making the item power itself by adding a 3d10 points of magic point
        storage for another three points of POW (she knows how to make MP
        matrixes), but she decides that 11 points of POW is more than enough to
        spend at one time, and decides that the item will draw mp from the user.
                She creates her stick. She has a chance to create it of 67% (her
        Enchant skill) but she wisely decides that a bit of Ceemony is a good
        idea, and spends two weeks of fasting and meditating before finalising
        the enchantment. Her item is created sucessfully, and she now owns a
        stick that casts Decrease STR 6 (1+5) on whoever she strikes with it.
        She finds that two hits generally reduces most barbarian warriors to
        near helplessness, three always works, and one is enough to convince the
        average thug that they picked the wrong victim. The spell normally must
        overcome the targets magic points, but hers are higher than almost
        everyone she meets (except when she expends a lot, such as when she hits
        someone three times with her stick). It takes her a few years to recover
        from her massive POW expenditure, though. Her stick counts as a
        singlestick, so in addition it does 1d6 (and may have damage boost cast
        on it), and is wielded with light club. It also makes a nice walking
        *** Perhaps there should be some sort of more complete system that lets
        you play around with the properties of spells in items? Lets you swap
        around properties like ranged and passive/active, and triggered and
        maybe even properties like 'requires a mp vs. mp roll' (eg items that do
        not require a resistance roll, but require you to physically strike them).
        Just a passing thought. It might make some logically reasonable things
        possible - shackles that dominate whoever wears them, for example. ***

Summon <species>
Various summonings. All that is necessary is Study of <species> and
Summon skill, not a specialised summon spell. Only otherworld creatures
can be summoned.



This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Sat 05 Jul 2003 - 20:30:22 EEST