MODIFIED 2023-07-01: Minor cleanup, note explaining this.
Despite my intention to make the Midlands the simplest of the Polar Continent’s three regions, it ended up with some of the most complicated notes on magic. Therefore, this post will back up and discuss magic on the entire continent, and maybe beyond.
Why So Complicated?
But first, why am I complicating my life by importing or inventing new magic systems? Isn’t One Magic enough? (Or, if I go that route, aren’t the three “traditional” OpenQuest systems enough?)
Let Magic Be Diverse
RuneQuest and its successors have always supported a diversity of magic systems. Unlike The Most Popular Role-Playing Game(tm) tweaking or replacing the magic system won’t “break the math”, and unlike a certain Generic, Universal system it doesn’t require a degree in accounting.
Like the original three systems1 of Personal Magic2, Divine Magic, and Sorcery, each type of magic I’m defining reflects a different philosophy and culture of those practicing it.
Let Magic Fit the Theme
In Godsplat a dying god offers his body to his new worshippers to make magical products. On the Polar Continent indigenous civilizations wage battle anti-magical monotheism, whether through a cold war of subtle magic or a military machine fueled by alchemy. In the temporarily peaceful Midlands druids and secular mages find themselves outclassed by magically empowered women and their patron demigoddesses.
All these would be ill-served by modeling them with the exact same roll-and-cast system that the player characters use.
Let Magic Be Magical
While cut-and-dried magic systems like One Magic fit a game, one longs for magic to feel magical. Hence I’m introducing semi-improvised systems like alchemy and ritual magic, or wholly improvised systems like subtle magic and the diversity of magic in Zanathar. I’m giving NPC demigoddesses mysterious powers that don’t fit the rules, and anti-magical clerics and warrior-monks systems that stray outside the lines the default magic system must color within.
Obviously I’m not going to implement these all at once. I’m going to go after the most used ones first, but if a particular setting starts to click with me or prospective players I’ll drop those to fill in systems they’ll need first. (Because nothing sucks more than a GM’s vague magic system.)
Magic in Erebus
Erebus magic can be anything, so the standard systems would fit just fine.
But you know, I just can’t help myself … so I’ll add Hedge Magic, Ceremonial Magic, and Spirit Magic.
Practitioners of “Spirit Magic”, commonly called shamans, communicate with beings from unseen realms, notably spirits of nature and of the dead.
Shamans of the Olgur and northern Dorland reportedly intercede with the Spirit World to heal members of their tribe, protect its warriors, secure good luck, punish the tribe’s enemies, and speak with assorted spirits. Accomplished shamans can bind spirits and use them in battle, or manipulate the spirits of corporeal beings.
Common folk in southern Dorland frequently use the term “seer”, “witch”, or “wise woman” for a shamaness (or priest or mage).
Magic in Godsplat
While the priests of foreign gods hold sway elsewhere, near the Lake of the Fallen God His power holds supreme.
Rites of the Fallen God
Chosen acolytes and priests of the Fallen God have artistry to turn His blood, flesh, and bone into useful substances and tools, power over the God’s Spawn, and knowledge of the God’s wisdom and will.
Rites of the Misbegotten
Those changed by unauthorized contact with the God or their descendants can master their own warped flesh, sniff out their own kind, command their own kind, and convert others into freaks like themselves with the blood of the God.
Magic in Kutheria
Kutheria will use magic we’ll discuss below, where it flows more logically:
- Hedge Magic, including Faerie Lore and Herb Lore, for those people who can’t afford a magician.
- Lesser Magic, i.e. Common Magic, i.e. the SimpleQuest One Magic System.
- Greater Magic, i.e. alchemy and ritual magic.
- Religion, also straight from SimpleQuest.
- Psychic Abilities.
- Wizardry, discussed below.
- “Sorcery”, just to give the setting some bad guys.4
Discussed previously, this is basically space magic translated to fantasy using a different system from regular magic, just because.
Magic in the Midlands
Unlike the rest of the Continent, the people of the Midlands use magic as part of their daily lives. Below are the most common forms of magic in the Midlands.
Alchemy and Artificing
While anyone with the right spells can create a potion, scroll, or charm, only Artificers, sometimes called Alchemists in other lands, can do the following:
- create potions, amulets, and charms for which no spell exists, simply by using the magical properties of the natural world.
- forge weapons and armor of rare magical minerals like orichalcum, mithril, and adamantine.
- build wondrous and cunning devices of which a mundane master of mechanisms could not even dream.
Artificing and alchemy are two different specialties, but each one knows the methods of the other.
Alchemists and Artificers must first find or invent the formula5 for the item they want to create. Unlike magic spells, artificers (and alchemists) can simply keep these in a book or cabinet and refer to them when necessary. Should they lose the formula for a potion, scroll, charm, or artifact, they must attempt to recreate it from memory6, copy it from someone else’s papers, or else reinvent it from scratch.
Building a magical artifact needs:
- A lead artificer with Lore (Artificing). Alchemists concentrate on one-use or expendable charms, potions, and amulets7 but know something of the artificer’s art. They may therefore substitute Lore (Alchemy) at a -20% penalty.
- A formula for the item they want to create.
- The correct materials for the artifact.
- The Craft and/or Mechanisms skill to create a tool or device according to the formula. An Artificer must make a magic item themselves or with assistants, interleaved with spells and rituals; they can’t simply “enchant” a spell into an off-the-shelf item.
The success of the project depends on the lowest of the lead Artificer’s skills – Lore (Artificer), Craft, or (if needed) Mechanisms – but the result will be reasonably permanent.8
Alchemical Potions, Charms, and Amulets
Creating an alchemical potion, charm, or amulet7 needs:
- A lead alchemist with Lore (Alchemy). Artificers concentrate on permanent tools and devices but know alchemy, so they may substitute Lore (Artificing) with a -20% penalty.
- A formula for the effect they want to create. Having a spell on a scroll will help in creating a formula, but someone must still use Lore (Alchemy) to create the formula first.
- The correct ingredients for the item.
- The Craft skill to prepare ingredients and components that will go into the final product. Alchemists can have other alchemists prepare those ingredients, but final assembly requires the lead alchemist succeed at a check of the lower of Craft and Lore (Alchemy).
An alchemist can brew potions or make items with no spell equivalent, brew multiple doses of a potion at once in alost exactly the same time, and construct multiple charms or amulets with only a little more effort by first preparing the substrate material (clay, wood, bone, etc.) then treating them with alchemical preparations one by one.
Magical Charms, Potions, and Scrolls
As noted in SimpleQuest and the OpenQuest Companion, creating a one-use charm, scroll, or potion with magic only needs a magician with:
- A spell they want to imbue into the item.
- One or more of the spells Create Charm, Create Potion, or Create Scroll, depending on form.
- Materials to construct a charm, potion, or scroll that will take a “spell imprint”.
- Time enough to use one of the latter spells.
Nearly everyone can work magic, and nearly everyone who uses magic uses Common Magic. Unlike the more systematic arts of Zanathar, Common Magic consists of discrete spells that one must learn individually. Casting a spell takes only a few seconds, fast enough for combat, and usually the effects last only a minute or so.
Some rare spells last longer, sometimes permanently, and have more profound effects on the world.
In other parts of the Polar Continent the Taluists have stamped out magical knowledge and training, but in the Midlands (as in Vanaheim) common magic hasn’t died out.
Bards may learn alternate versions of certain spells – emotion-affecting spells, buffs, debuffs/curses, and anti-magic – which the bard can cast while singing.9 Unfortunately these Bardic versions require the caster to sing them. To use the same spell without singing the Bard must learn it all over again. Such is the life of a Bard.
Elfkin have powers indistinguishable from magic. If they’re trained in magic at all they know the “Mindspeech” spell which allows them to speak without using words. (Somehow they all know this one instinctively.) Learning other “Trained” spells requires, well, training.
In addition certain spells, including ones unknown to normal magicians, just pop into their heads at a certain point in their development. Some of these include:
Hear Thoughts: The caster can hear the surface thoughts of all people around him. Usually this results in a cacophany of voices yammering about rubbish, but sometimes a single important thought rings out.
Reverie: The caster can experience one selected memory of a target they are touching. The target can resist with Persistence; otherwise the caster will see the memory play out as if they were there, invisibly.
See Around Corners: Once cast, this spell activates once when the magician is seconds away from danger. It grants them a brief vision of the source and nature of the danger. The magician has a +20% to Perception checks to avoid the foretold surprise.
The Drenn use strange sciences to craft their artifacts. This gives their works both extraordinary properties beyond human Artificing and a certain terrible fascination.
While the Enchantresses do all (most?10) of the Enchanting, the PCs will become the ones enchanted, so I’ll need rules about how that affects them.
Essentially the pillars of Enchantment (not enchanting, which is a synonym for what I’m calling artificing) come from Celtic myth in general and King Arthur Pendragon 4th Edition in particular:
- Emotion Control: influencing the emotions and thus behavior of the subject.
- Glamour: creating a realistic but illusionary “sub-reality”.
- Healing: a mix of accelerated natural healing and magical insta-healing.
- Prophecy: the ability to foretell the future, which isn’t that hard if you’re the GM’s mouthpiece.
- Protection: defense against magical and physical attack.
- Summon Faerie: since they are cousins.11
- Travel: moving quickly along “ley lines” or the like to cross leagues in an afternoon.
- Weather Control: creating an almost natural thunderstorm or clear day within a few hours.
BTW, Witches will get the same treatment if I can’t come up with a clever but simple system to make their spellcasting different … so probably Blessings, Curses, Healing, Necromancy (the summoning a ghost kind, not the reanimating the dead kind), Weather Control, and maybe an animal familiar.
“Hedge Magic” isn’t really magic, per se. It’s a body of knowledge useful for those who live at the edge of the wilderness. Those in these rural precincts must deal with wild animals and bored fae on top of all the strains of farm life. One can’t run to the witches for every problem, and Hedge Magic gives serfs and free farmers some defense against the supernatural.
The Lore (Faerie) skill covers extensive knowledge of the fae and their realm of Faerie. Most unofficial wise folk need to know what these beings are and how to drive them away.
The Lore (Herbology) skill covers the medicinal and magical uses of plants. Unlike Natural Lore it concerns obscure and magical uses for plants, not simply whether they’re edible or poisonous. A herbologist can also compound some potions according to “formulas”, much like Alchemy. Certain plants and plant preparations repel animals and fae.
This form of magic uses slow, careful rituals rather than the sudden burst of magical energy required by spells. As slow and complicated as they are, they can achieve profound effects.
To work Ritual Magic, a practitioner needs:
- A ritual to perform.
- All the necessary props and conditions.
- A Religion or Lore skill in the ritual’s tradition to perform it. If you don’t have that, at least the Performance skill can sometimes really sell it to the Powers That Be.
Mechanics are as yet unspecified. As of this writing I’m considering a step to “raise the power” for the ritual based on ambient magical energy and then a skill check to see if the ritual worked. Other concerns – optional material components, place and time, assistants – factor into “raising the power”, not the final skill roll.
Witches practice an idiosyncratic system of spells, rituals, and formulas, some of which only work (or work as well) when an awakened witch performs them. Witches don’t use magic often, but it’s impressive when they do.12
The Religion (Witchcraft) skill represents the knowledge of witch-craft: rituals, formulas, and the unique hybrid of ritual and spell that witches can perform.
Witches’ magical advantage lies in the “raise the power” step of ritual magic. Power flows through witches in a way other practitioners can’t match, to the point where a lone witch can work rituals that a group of normal ritual magicians would struggle with. (Not that Zanathar’s magical researchers and eugenecists haven’t tried.)
Because of this, witches can shorten the time of some rituals and cast them as if they were spells. (Or in some cases cast them as a combat action.) Others call this “fast-casting”.
Witches also understand magic in a way that most others can’t. While others improvise rituals, thanks to “fast-casting” they can effectively improvise spells, or at least their hybrid “ritual spells”. The resulting spell has variable effects, but that’s not bad for a few minutes thought and a few seconds of incantations.
Witches can even affect the parameters of common magic spells to some extent. One witch said she couldn’t affect regular spells because they were “tight little knots”, and thus some have dubbed their improvisational magic “spellweaving”.
If I run out of time I might hand-wave witches the same way I plan to hand-wave the Enchantresses: the best magic system is no magic system.
Magic in the Polar Regions
The Polar Nomads practice some magic, mostly common magic but also Animism.
Many Drenn live in the Polar Mountains. Apparently they prefer the cold.
Magic in Rurikania
Because the Taluan Faith has banned the practice of magic, officially there is no magic in Rurikania.
Unofficially three groups vie for supremacy in Rurikania:
- The Eastern Taluan Faith, i.e the Taluist clergy backed by their Templars.
- The “Enlightened Magi” who use a combination of Subtle Magic, Alchemy, and Ritual Magic to perform magic without tipping off the Templars.
- The Highborn nobles and others who secretly practice “sorcery”, i.e. Common Magic.
This style / discipline of magic replaces explicit spells with principles of emotional and mental manipulation and subtle shifts in phenomenal reality. Only the most sensitive users of magic even perceive it as magic.
Taluism rose to become the sole official religion in the Eastern Empire and a dominant force in the West. It has done so through four methods:
- The “Dominion”, the community of believers whose mere presence interferes with the working of magic.
- “Initiation”, which empowers the believer with magical resistance.
- The Rites of Talu, special rituals whose effects block magic or create areas where the Dominion is higher.
- The Templars, warrior-priests who hunt and kill magicians and magical creatures, or “sorcerers” and “demons” as the Taluists call them.
While the High King of Midland has restricted Taluists to one small island in his domain it’s possible they may sneak ashore. Anyway, it’s unlikely they’ll make converts in Midland …
This may be the pseudo-skill that powers the anti-magical abilities of Initiates. Unlike other skills, it only increases when the believer follows the laws of Talu, and decreases if the believer blatantly disregards them. It’s analogous to the Allegiance mechanic in BRP.
As Taluists are NPCs, I’m loath to make their powers dependent on yet another percentile value. If Taluists become PCs, though, I may replace the “simple” solution for the Rite of Abjuration – just raise the Dominion level – with an Opposed Roll between Magic Casting and Faith (Taluism).
While priests and lay people invoke prayers from the Book of Rites, the magician-hunters called Templars need more direct enhancements. They developed a system of “disciplines” that makes them faster, stronger, and more perceptive than most people. Some call them the Hounds of Talu, although it’s unclear if the Prophet would approve their current behavior.
Regardless, all the Kings have categorically banned Templars from setting foot on Midland soil, as nearly all Midlanders use magic. So nothing to worry about, eh?
Magic in the Westlands
Magic in the Westlands repeats ideas and systems seen before:
- Alchemy and Artificing in the Northern Kingdom.
- Common Magic in Vanaheim and parts of the Northern Kingdom and Aesland.
- Polytheistic religions in Vanaheim with remnants in the Northern Kingdoms (Aesir, Disir) and Aesland (Aesir).
- Taluism and Templars
In Aesland the worship of the old gods has been swept aside by the new cult of the Bear Shirt.
Adherents of this cult venerate the bloody War God by donning shirts made of bear fur and surrendering their reason to their leader. The Bear Shirts or Ber-sarks then rain down violence and death upon the targets of their rage, justly or not, with superhuman strength, inhuman ferocity, and subhuman concern for their own safety let alone those who may cross their path.
The Lemurians trade across the multiverse in black galleons packed with strange devices. Yet the key to traversing the multiverse lies with the Wayfinders, a bloodline of Lemurians who can sense where the walls of the world are weak – particularly in otherwise empty ocean – and open a portal through the weak spot to another world.
Wayfinders have other uncanny abilities too: sensing magic, sensing beings in the dark or while blindfolded, knowing what’s about to happen seconds, minutes, or hours before it does, and shooting an arrow into the center of a bullseye without even looking. As might be expected they’re also preternaturally good sailors, although their habit of climbing down the sides of the ship to feel the waves is sometimes disconcerting.
Magic in Zanathar
Note that, except for Wizardry and possibly Thaumaturgy, all these forms of magic could be implemented as specializations of Ritual Magic: summoning otherworldly entities, binding them, making them give the invoker stuff or do stuff. (Sounds risqué …)
This loathsome practice summons beings from the infernal realms or even more terrible places to do their summoner’s bidding. Some diabolists have even bound demons into swords, armor, and staves.
The Magi or Magians of Rurikania used to make pacts with lesser gods. This proved to be the priest-magicians' undoing when the Taluan Templars could sense the magical power they kept in reserve.
Enough Magians escaped to Zanathar and the eastern Midlands that the practice thrives today. Many children of Magian have become students of the Great Wizard or lesser thaumaturges. Mageia is dying out.
This even more loathsome practice summons spirits of the dead either to answer questions or, worse, inhabit their own or others’ remains. The “revenants” thus produced become gruesome and inhumanly resilient soldiers.
This controversial but benevolent practice summons beings from the supernal realms to assist and advise their summoner.
Thaumaturgy – literally “wonder-working” – involves principles underlying magic. It starts by learning a particular school of magic so thoroughly that one can improvise new spells for it.
Wizardry could be considered an advanced Thaumaturgy: a system of knowledge that classifies all magic into one of a few broad principles, then manipulating and combining those principles to create new spells. (Some say there are six principles, others nine, still others ten. One account talks of an entire language of magic with nouns and verbs.)
Zanathari believe in magic, not religion, but a few native religions persist, mainly among older people and the lower castes.15
The Lightbringer is a comparatively new religion dedicated to the proposition that the eponymous prophet has come to bring enlightenment and joy to all. Escapees from Lightbringer compounds tell of pitiful conditions, daily harangues by their “teachers”, and a gloomy creed of endless reincarnation and suffering unless one abjures all desire and pleasure.
The Nine Icons
Faith in the Nine Icons has persisted for centuries, although rationalists continually ask why. The Nine Icons fit very abstract, enigmatic archetypes, but the whole religion smells more of superstition than fervent belief.
The “Truth” believes in telling the unvarnished truth about all things, no matter who it hurts. They are rational skeptics, and not very popular.
By far the most popular religions involve the so-called Immortals, heroes who have ascended to the Realm of the Gods and who still watch over the mortal world. Generally there’s an Immortal for anyone looking for a patron or role model, with more being “discovered” all the time.
Magic Systems and Rules
Below I’ve summarized all the new skills, spells, and systems introduced above, by region and by system.
Erebus needs one or two new skills.
- Arcane Magic
- Ceremonial Magic
- Divine Magic
- Hedge Magic
- Spirit Magic
The setting of Godsplat will require a few new skills.
- Faithful of the Fallen God
Kutheria needs a few specialized skills.
- Hedge Magic
- Lesser Magic
- Greater Magic
- Psychic Abilities [new]
- Wizardry [new]
As the Lemurians show up in a few worlds, we’ll treat them separately;
Polar Continent Skills
The magic systems above will require the following skills in OpenQuest or SimpleQuest. I’ve put stars next to critical ones for that area’s central conflict.
- Magic Casting ☆
- Alchemists and Artificers
- Bards and Druids ☆
- Hedge Magicians
- Theists ☆
- Witches ☆
- Magic Casting
- Religion (Polar Gods)
- Enlightened Magi ☆
- Taluists ☆
- Northern Kingdoms ☆
- Western Theocracy ☆
- “High Sorcery”
- “Low Sorcery” ☆
- Religion (Mageia) [new]
- Wizardry ☆
The variant magics above will need whole new systems.
|5||G K M R W Z||Alchemy ☆||Barbarians of Lemuria/Everywhen, The Fantasy Trip|
|5||G M W Z||Artificing ☆||Barbarians of Lemuria/Everywhen, Clockwork & Chivalry|
|1||W||Berserking||King Arthur Pendragon|
|3||K Z||Diabolism ☆||Demon Summoning in Advanced Sorcery, Elric of Melnibone|
|2||M||Enchantment||King Arthur Pendragon|
|3||E K M P||Herbology||Advanced Sorcery, The Titan Herbal|
|3||G K M R W Z||Mutations||Mutations in BRP and Warhammer Fantasy|
|2||Z||Necromancy||Advanced Sorcery Necromancy|
|5||K||Psychic Abilities||Psionics in HarnMaster, BRP, Luther Arkwright|
|1||G||Rites of the Fallen God||Alchemy, One Magic|
|1||G||Rites of the Misbegotten||Mutations, One Magic|
|5||E K M R Z||Ritual Magic ☆||Sorcery in Barbarians of Lemuria, other inspirations|
|2||E P||Spirit Magic||OpenQuest Shamanism, Mythras Animism|
|4||R||Subtle Magic ☆||Enlightened Magic, First Circle|
|2||R W||Taluism ☆||Ars Magica Divine Power, HarnMaster Religion|
|1||R W||Templar Arts ☆||One Magic, Mythras Mysticism|
|3||Z||Theurgy||Call of Cthulhu & Dark Streets summoning spells|
|4||Z||Thaumaturgy||GURPS Book/Path Magic, GURPS Ritual Paths|
|4||L M P||Weird Science||Invention in Everywhen & Clockwork & Chivalry|
|1||L||Wayfinding||Mythras Mysticism, BRP Psychic Abilities|
|5||M||Witchcraft ☆||Renaissance SRD, Clockwork & Chivalry, Ghosts of Albion|
|5||K Z||Wizardry ☆||Ars Magica, Mage, HarnMaster Shek-P’Var|
D = expected difficulty to implement and test.
Mechanically, though, systems will use a small number of patterns. Here’s how each system will be related:
A single “Ritual Magic” mechanic with multiple magical disciplines branching off from it.
- Ritual Magic (list of common rituals)
Improvised effects (with examples!) riffing off one or a few basic themes. The more complicated ones will have non-skill “principles” or “spheres” to indicate what the magician can or can’t do.
- Subtle Magic (emotions, perceptions, coincidences)
- Thaumaturgy (spell effects based on a path or book)
- Weird Science18 (pseudo-skill “principles”)
- Witchcraft17 (metamagical abilities)
- Wizardry (pseudo-skill “spheres” and “rotes”)
General rules for making and inventing “formulas”, and a library of formulas with a type of preparation (herbal preparation, potion, charm, amulet, or artifact).
- Alchemy (making potions, charms, amulets)
- Artificing (making artifacts)
- Herbology (making quasi-magical substances from natural ingredients)
- Weird Science18 (inventing strange artifacts)
As described previously.
- Psychic Abilities (psychic talents)
Rite (Ritual Lite) Group
Enumerated abilities that usually take some time to activate and based on a Religion or Lore skill.
- Berserking (single ritual to go especially Berserk)
- Rites of the Fallen God (ichor use and control)
- Rites of the Misbegotten (manipulate other Misbegotten)
- Taluism (finite number of short rituals)
Either Common magic spells or abilities that work like spells.
- Bardic Magic (sung spells)
- Elfkin Magic (mentalist spells)
- Enchantment (spell-like effects)
- Mutations (some of which the user can’t turn off …)
- Spirit Magic (spirit-related spells and Shamanism skill)
- Templar Arts (“But they’re NOT magic!”)
- Wayfinding (skill or set of spells)
- Witchcraft17 (“ritual spells” and spell-like abilities)
In addition each magic system will require the following “extras”:
|religions||gods||archetypes provided by SimpleQuest or OpenQuest Companion.|
|guilds||to be written.|
|orders||to be written.|
|schools||to be written.|
|existing spells||Bardic Magic||chosen.|
|new spells||Elfkin Magic||to be written.|
|Spirit Magic||to be converted.|
|Witchcraft||to be written.|
|entities||Diabolism||to be “borrowed”|
|Mageia||to be “borrowed”|
|Necromancy||to be “borrowed”|
|Theurgy||to be “borrowed”|
|formulas||Alchemy||to be written or “borrowed”.|
|Artificing||to be written or “borrowed”.|
|Herbology||to be written or “borrowed”.|
|invocations||Mageia||to be written.|
|paths||Thaumaturgy||to be written or “borrowed”.|
|rites||Fallen God||mostly written.|
|rituals||Ritual Magic||to be written.|
|- Diabolism||to be added.|
|- Mageia||to be added.|
|- Necromancy||to be added.|
|- Theurgy||to be added.|
|- Thaumaturgy||to be added.|
|- Witchcraft||to be added.|
|- Wizardry||to be added.|
|rotes||Wizardry||to be defined.|
|spheres||Wizardry||to be defined.|
|witchcraft||Witchcraft||working on new concept.|
OpenQuest, Newt Newport, D101 Games, 2023.
OpenQuest Companion, Newt Newport, D101 Games, 2022.
SimpleQuest, Newt Newport, D101 Games, 2023.
OpenQuest 1 & 2
Clockwork and Chivalry 2nd Ed., Ken Walton & Peter Cakebread, Cakebread & Walton, 2013
Pirates & Dragons, Peter Cakebread & Ken Walton, Cakebread & Walton, 2014.
Renaissance SRD, Ken Walton & Peter Cakebread, Cakebread & Walton, 2011.
Advanced Sorcery, Ben Monroe ed., Chaosium, 2014.
Basic Roleplaying (BRP), Jason Durall, Chaosium, 2008.
Enlightened Magic, John Snead et al., Chaosium, 2014.
Elric!, Lynn Willis et al., Chaosium, 1993.
Elric of Melniboné, Lawrence Whittaker & Pete Nash, Mongoose Publishing, 2010.
Legend, Lawrence Whittaker & Pete Nash and Gareth Hanrahan, Mongoose Publishing, 2011.
Luther Arkwright, Lawrence Whittaker & Pete Nash, Design Mechanism, 2015.
Magic World Revised, Ben Monroe ed., Chaosium, 2015.
Mythras 3rd Printing, Pete Nash & Lawrence Whittaker, Design Mechanism, 2018.
Ars Magica 4th Edition, Atlas Games, 2003 (digital only).
Barbarians of Lemuria, Simon Washbourne, Beyond Belief Games, 2015.
Everywhen, Garnet Elliott et al., Filligree Forge, 2018.
The Fantasy Trip: In the Labyrinth , Steve Jackson, Steve Jackson Games, 2020.
Ghosts of Albion, Amber Benson, Christopher Golden, et. al., Eden Studios, 2008
GURPS Thaumatology version 2.0, Phil Masters, Steve Jackson Games, 2022.
HarnMaster 3rd Edition, N. Robin Crossby et al., Columbia Games, 2008.
HarnMaster Gold: The Shek-P’var, N. Robin Crossby et al., Kelestia Games, 2009.
HarnMaster Religion, N. Robin Crossby et al., Columbia Games, 2008.
Mage: The Ascension Revised, White Wolf, 2004.
Mage: The Awakening 2nd Edition, Onyx Path, 2016.
The Pendragon Campaign 1st Edition, Greg Stafford, Chaosium, 1985.
The Titan Herbal, Andrew Wright, Arion Games, 2017.
Warhammer Fantasy 2nd Edition: Tome of Corruption, Robert J. Schwalb, Cubicle 7 Entertainment, 2009
Five in Mythras: Folk Magic, Animism, Mysticism, Sorcery, and Theism. ↩︎
Because I don’t want to do orcs. ↩︎
Also called a “pattern”, “procedure”, or “blueprint”, but we will use “formula” for all creations of an artificer. ↩︎
If the Artificer creates a lot of the same item, they will usually remember how to make it. Most experienced artificers can make healing potions in their sleep. ↩︎
An item usually worn as a pendant. When someone casts malign magic of an anticipated sort at the wearer, the amulet nullifies it then, usually, breaks. Amulets can sometimes stop multiple spells, but they only have a finite capacity. ↩︎ ↩︎
Potential spells include Babel, Befuddle, Berserk, Countermagic, Demoralize, Dispell Magic, Enhance (Skill), Enhance Unit, Fanaticism, Fear, Hinder (Skill), Ironmind, Read Emotion (when hearing someone else’s song), Restore Energy, Radiant Appearance, Sap Energy, Rout, Scare, Talk To Animal (in song, like a Disney princess), Tongues (while singing … and rhyming). ↩︎
Some full Druids fancy themselves “enchanters”, and may even have a few of the powers to back it up. But an Enchantress can conjure a realistic illusion with a wave of her hand, while an Archdruid might struggle to make a single convincing illusory person. ↩︎
Both fae and Enchantresses are Blessed Ones. Notionally, Enchantresses are distaff parallels to Middle Earth’s “Wizards”, which in the lore were Maiar (lesser divine beings) who took corporeal form to shepherd the mortal world. ↩︎
This version of witches is my homage to Terry Pratchett, whose witches weren’t cackling mischief-makers but helpful if terrifying ladies who do everything from care for the sick to stop vampire invasions. They do indeed know major magic but think it’s gauche to show off. Plus a bit of “headology” is easier than whipping up an actual cure-all. ↩︎
For a while I was referring to this as a kind of “Mysticism” because of all the Jedi Mind Trick / Cloud Men’s Minds vibes. I converted all the other “Mysticisms” into spells or rituals but in the end I simply can’t shoehorn this into Lore or Religion because this will be improvised spell-less magic. ↩︎
For a while I called this Mysticism because the Mythras system inspired the Templars, but in the end it’s just spells. Even if I have to invent a few of them. ↩︎
Zanathar’s castes are, in rough order of power and importance, royalty, ministers, magicians, scholars, warriors, free peasants, serfs, and outcasts. (Zanathar outlawed slavery, but serfdom is nearly as bad.) The caste system has definite racial overtones; nobility and royalty aside, Mageborn outrank “half-mages”, who outrank baseline humans, who outrank “lowborn” (peoples of smaller size and variable cognitive ability), who outrank mutants. ↩︎
The club no one wants to join and nobody wants to be in. ↩︎