View Full Version : New Magic System

04-09-2012, 02:32 PM
Hello all,

I've been working on a new style of magic system and I could use some feedback. I'll give you a summary here, but the full system is available in the link below.

http://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/2423015 - Download the No Mans Land preview.

The goals of the system were to make a flexible but structured system that balanced spell casters and non-spell casters. Spells can be created on the fly in a matter of seconds once you know the rules and follow the formula.

Spell casters are artists of a single school of magic. They can do anything within that school's influence as long as they have a high enough skill. However, you can learn multiple schools of magic.

The second concept is that you can create new spells during play and follow a basic formula to come up with the spell level (spell rank). You start with the base effect and assign it a rank and then you can make the spell larger, more powerful, etc by increasing the rank.

You can only cast spells that are equal to or lower rank than your skill in the school of magic you know. Additionally, casting spells causes fatigue, which prevents spell casters from dominating the battlefield.

Anyway, I could use some eyes on the system to see if there are areas for improvement. Any help is greatly appreciated.

05-10-2012, 10:56 AM
I followed your link, and didn't see a document for magic. So I looked in the Core Rules, and didn't see a magic chapter.

But your magic system sounds cool. The reason I'm wary is because damage-causing spells are pretty easy to build a graduated-system for, and mind affecting spells can be built on an attacker-to-target basis, but there are lots of spell types that don't fall into those categories (like Animate Plants, or Locate Object), which means you'll need tables. More tables equals slower gameplay.

05-11-2012, 07:51 AM
This is the link that includes the magic system: http://www.scribd.com/doc/87047582/Playtest-No-Mans-Land-0-01


05-17-2012, 08:58 PM
i think that one of the best ways to adjudicate a skill based system is to set max limits on each characteristic of the spell, per level. similar to the max damage cap per spell level table, but for every characteristic. for example, spells have the characteristics of range, area, target, duration, casting time, save, spell resistance, stat equivalent effect, damage, and so forth. for each school there would be a skill.

spellcraft is used for identifying, but also for metamagic. for each advantage granted by metamagic, it must incur a larger penalty to another characteristic or two of the spell, something like a twice the penalty as the advantage granted, or equal penalty to two characteristics as the advantage gained. each change to the spell has a cumulative dc. penalizing characteristics could lower dc, raising characteristics could raise dc.

for mimicking feats, you could have the cap be associated with the number of prereqs, and assign which spell levels can mimic how many prereqs for a given feat effect.

you can set max caps on each spell level and/or max caps per caster level. the max per cl would determine how powerful a spell the caster can produce. the max per spell level would determine the normal maximum without metamagic regardless of cl.

with a master table showing what characteristics can be achieved at what levels controlling the numbers, the descriptions are left to the players and dm.

hmmm, inspiration upload. sorry if i seemed to ramble or didn't make sense. i made that all up just now in the time it took me to write this post.

05-23-2012, 12:09 PM
Those ideas are similar to what is already included in the system. The metamagic and spellcraft ideas don't translate over cause you can invent any spell you can think up that fits your school of magic. Also, feats don't apply either since the magic system is based on a non-d20 system.

Lemme give some examples:

Effect = 3d6 fire damage (Level 3)
Duration = Instantaneous (+0)
Range = Line of Sight (+2)
Area = 4 meter sphere (+1)
Total Level = 6

Rot Flesh
Effect = 2d6 damage (Level 2)
Duration = Instantaneous (+0)
Range = Touch (+0)
Area = 1 target (+0)
Total Level = 2

Chain Lightning
Effect = 3d6 damage (Level 3)
Duration = Instantaneous (+0)
Range = Line of Sight (+2)
Area = 4 Targets (+2)
Total Level = 7

In order to cast a spell your skill rank in the school of magic must be at least as high as the spell's total level. You can increase the effect, range, duration, target area, and other features of the spell to make the spell more powerful or reduce them to make the spell a lower level.

05-23-2012, 09:19 PM
which is why i suggested the changes i did.

what governs the range of modifications possible?

05-25-2012, 03:34 PM
That depends on the school of magic that you know. Necromancy deals with life, death, and spirits. Protection deals with defensive spells, wards, etc. Hypnotism deals with charms and the like. If you can justify it working via the context of your school of magic then you can do it. Use metamorphosis to create a fireball from a torch or candle. Or summon the energy via Conjuration.

You could potentially be skilled in several schools of magic, but of course you won't be as gifted as other specialist casters.

You can combine the effects of two or more schools but you use the lowest caster level for casting the spell. I didn't mention before that you can use rituals to attempt to cast spells that are beyond your normal ability. The Skill level/spell level limit is for combat casting. Casting spells via a ritual requires time, money, and materials and you have to roll a skill check to cast the spell. Fail by 1-4 and nothing bad happens. Fail by 5+ and something bad will happen. This is dependent on the GM, but usually you'll take damage equal to the failure plus drain and maybe a bad side effect. So its generally not a good idea to try and cast spells without the proper skill.

The Clone spell has a spell rank of 20 so its Target Number to cast via a ritual is 50 (20 x 2 +10). The ritual is based on your skill + attribute + time spent. An expert has a score of 8+ and the attribute is typically 8+. So you'd have to be an epic skill to do that.

Spell Rank: 20
Effect: Create Clone
Effect Rank: 9
Range: Clairvoyance (4)
Target Area: 1 Target (0)
Type: Physical and Intangible
Defense: Resist Magic
Duration: 3 Years (7)
Magical Ability: Metamorphosis and Necromancy
Description: This spell creates an exact duplicate of a target but it lacks a soul and is incapable of taking actions on its own. When the original creature dies, its soul is instantly transfers to the clone and the original retains all memory of its last moments before death.

The Clone spell requires both Metamorphosis and Necromancy.

The clone does not require sustenance and is in a state of suspended animation. However, it does need to be in a safe place so that when needed, the clone can survive. If the clone is not used before the duration of the spell ends, then the clone dies.

Common Enhancements: +1 Rank – Extend duration to 30 years.

06-19-2012, 11:31 AM
I like the magic system. I think it covers a lot of bases that many systems ignore without being overburdened with extra rules.

I personally might tweak the fatigue situation, but short of that every other tweak that I might make would come down to my individual character's use of the existing rules. For example, in this system I'd probably play a mage obsessed with lightning and I'd keep balls of energy floating around me. I'd probably ask if I can mutate the spell. I.E. my ball of energy can either fire a lightning shock at a distance or be used as a shield.

The thing that I always warn about when not defining spells is that you play the rock, paper, magic missile game with resistances where the only difference between two given spells is how they are resisted. So you use bolt(fire) against the ice demon then bolt(lightning) against the metal monster and then bolt(water) against a fire elemental. The same 3 spells, just having to be rock, paper scissored to gain some rolling advantage. Same goes for healing. One spell heals x while another spell heals y. The last spell heals x and cures y but does not cure z.

But open magic effects does have lots of role playing advantages so it's totally give and take.