Magic

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The following rules govern magic and any other supernatural ability or effect. The section describing what magic can do is also used for creating special abilities.

What is magic?

Magic in Swords of Infinity refers to any of the eldritch abilities wielded by wizards, sorcerers, witches, and the like. It is the most versatile force in the game, capable of controlling the elements, summoning creatures from other planes, and much more, but the rituals that enable its use can become very expensive. These Magic rules do not cover the sleight of hand and tricks performed by a stage magician, but instead those would be covered a combination of Skill Checks.

Storyteller's Note: These rules are also used for any other form of special ability that resembles magic, such as psychic powers or a martial artist's ability to manipulate Qi.

How to Cast a Spell

The steps require to cast a spell are very similar to making physical attacks and are detailed below.

  1. Before a character can cast a spell they must perform a ritual that enables spell casting. The ritual costs one action, during which the spell caster can sacrifice any number of Value Levels in items or currency. For every Value Level sacrificed in this way the character can cast spells for 10 rounds.
    • This ritual does not need to be performed before each spell cast, but must be repeated when the character's spell casting ability expires.
    • Partial Value Levels can be sacrificed to gain spell casting ability for less than 10 rounds (e.g. a half value level would give 5 rounds of spell casting ability).
  2. Once the ritual is complete the player must make an intelligence based Success Check. The target number is the character's Intelligence, plus any modifier from the character's spell focus, plus any intelligence specialization in the specific School of magic being used.
  3. If the Success Check is successful the player may then make a personality based Power Check. The maximum power of the spell is the Character's Personality, plus any modifier from the character's spell focus, plus any personality specialization in the specific School of magic being used. The results of this Power Check determine the effects of the spell.

Modifying Spells

By default a spell only affects one target for one round. However, a spell caster can spend gain additional targets and duration by reducing the power of her spell as described below.

Modification Power Cost Outcome
Duration
  • 1 Round: 10
  • 2 Rounds: 30
  • 3 Rounds: 60
  • 4 Rounds: 100
  • 5 Rounds: 150
The spell lasts for additional rounds without the need for channeling
Area of Effect 5 The spell affects an additional 5 ft square and becomes Untargeted

Targeting Spells

Spells that have not been modified to affect additional area are considered Targeted and affect the Damage Target of the caster's choosing. Spells that have been modified to affect additional area affect anyone that enters that space and are considered Untargeted, creatures that leave the targeted area are no longer affected.

Channeling Spells

A spellcaster can extend the duration of a spell substantially by Channeling it. Channeled spells last for as long as the caster maintains them and take effect immediately after they are cast. It costs one additional action to cast a channeled spell and costs an action every round thereafter to maintain it.

Casters can channel power up and equal to their Mental Resistance score. Another caster with a specialization in the same School of Magic can assist in channeling the spell, increasing the maximum power of the channeled spell by their own Mental Resistance score, this costs the assisting caster one action every round that they assist in this way. Using the Disrupt technique against any participating spellcaster causes the channeled spell to end.

A spellcaster can add to the power of a channeled spell by casting another one of the same type, this costs one action, as usual. The description or area of effect of a channeled spell can be modified any time power is added to it, or by succeeding in a Mental Resistance check against the total power of the spell.

What can magic do?

As virtually limitless as magic is from a narrative perspective, in Swords of Infinity it can cause the following mechanical effects described below.

Cause or Heal Damage

Spells can cause or heal damage equal to the result of the caster's Power Check. Damage dealt this way is reduced by the target's armor, and can be further reduced by a successful block, the damage is dealt to the Damage Targets of the caster's choosing. Damage healed with magic can affect multiple Damage Targets at once, so if damage is completely healed on one Damage Target any remaining spell power can roll over to heal other injuries.

Regeneration

Destroyed limbs can be regrown with a spell power of 100 or more, they cannot be regrown incrementally with lesser spell powers.

Resurrection

Returning the dead to life requires a spell of power equal to or greater than 100 times the target's Experience or Difficulty Level and a corpse that is intact and free from decomposition. Resurrecting a creature whose body has decomposed will instead summon their spirit as a ghost.

Storyteller's Note: Resurrected characters might develop Defect Traits as a consequence of being pulled back from the dead, particularly if they have died multiple times.

Alter Ability Scores

Spells can increase or decrease ability scores by an amount determined by the table below (this table uses the same scale as purchasing Skill Specializations). Targets of such a spell have the opportunity to defend themselves by making either a Mental or Physical Resistance Check depending on whether it is a mental or physical Ability Score that is being affected. If the target rolls a Resistance that is higher than the spell's power, then they are safe from its effects, otherwise they suffer the full amount.

Ability Score Change Power Point Cost Power Cost to Next Level Total Spell Power
1-10 1 10 10
11-20 2 20 30
21-30 3 30 60
31-40 4 40 100
41-50 5 50 150
51-60 6 60 210
61-70 7 70 280
71-80 8 80 360
81-90 9 90 450
91-100 10 100 550

Change Items

Spells can change raw materials and items from one substance into another with a power equal to or greater than 100 times the Value Level of the raw materials or items being changed. The change is permanent and requires a spell of equal or greater power to reverse. Altering raw materials and items does not change their Value Level, while its size and shape may change it remains the same value as the original item (e.g. a five Value Level block of lead is transformed into a five value level nugget of gold).

Summon Monsters & Items

Spells can summon monsters, characters, and items from far-off places with a power equal to or greater than 100 times the Value Level, Difficulty Level, or Experience Level of the target being summoned. The summoned creature or item is permanently brought to the caster's location, and requires another spell of equal or greater power to send it back to where it came from. The summoner is not calling for a generic copy of an item or creature, but a specific member of that type, and therefor the caster must have intimate knowledge about its location and, in the case of creatures, its name. Summoned creatures are not under the control of the caster, and so will require further spells or coercion in order to gain their cooperation.

These same mechanics can be used in reverse in order to teleport a character to another location, but likewise the caster must have intimate knowledge about the location being teleported to.

Storyteller's Note: Summoned items are not created, but instead they are brought from another place, in many places this will be considered stealing and, in a magical world, someone will be able to track that item down and attempt to retrieve it.

Animate Constructs & Corpses

Spells can animate corpses and constructs to give them life. In both cases the mental Ability scores of the animated dead or object are given by the power of the spell, the caster assigns points from the spell's power to the creature's awareness, intelligence, and personality scores until all points have been spent and all mental Abilities have scores. Unlike summoned creatures, an animated creature is under the caster's complete control and is not permanently animated, the duration that the creature is animated for can be changed using the rules for modifying spells above.

Animated creatures automatically receive the "Animated" trait:

Animated: This creature is animated using magic, it does not need to eat, sleep, or breathe. The creature is under the direct control of its creator, and she makes Mental Resistance checks on the creature's behalf.

Magical Constructs

Magical Constructs are just magically animated devices, and so their physical Ability Scores are given using the device crafting rules.

Animated Dead

Animated dead maintain the physical Ability Scores that they had when they were alive.

Storyteller's Note: Skeletons and Frankenstein monsters are Magical Constructs created from organic materials, they do not count as animated dead.

Cause Narrative Effects

Spells can cause one or more narrative effects. Each narrative effect costs 10 spell power and has a default duration of one round unless the spell is modified to last longer. Narrative Effects that target one or more characters can be defended against using either the character's Mental or Physical Resistance, depending on which one the Storyteller decides is more thematically appropriate to the Narrative Effect.

Some Narrative Effects, especially those created by Divination spells, give characters the ability to use their Skills to accomplish something that otherwise would not be possible (e.g. using the Necromancy Skill to divine the future).

Move Things

Spells can move objects 1 foot for every 1 point of power. It is up to the spellcaster whether this movement is gentle or violent, and unwilling targets may make a Physical Reistance check to resist the movement. Violently thrown targets that collide with a solid object while in motion take 1 point of damage for every foot traveled.

Perform Techniques

Spells are able to emulate the effects of combat and social Techniques (e.g. Knockback, Calm, etc.). The target is able to use their Physical Resistance or Mental Resistance to resist these effects, as usual.

Defending Against Magic

There are three options for defending against the negative effects of spells: Counter Spells, Blocking, and Resisting.

Counter Spells

A spellcaster that is facing off against another is able to pit her magical might against her opponent's. To do this she casts a spell as usual, and reduces the power of her opponent's spell by the power of her own, potentially negating it completely. This technique can also be used to prevent damage from physical attacks by weapons. Casting a counter spell borrows one action from the following round, and so the spellcaster would only have one action available to her on the following round after casting a counter spell.

Blocking

Spells can be blocked using the usual Blocking rules. The power of the spell is reduced by the blocking character's weapon size power bonus and affects the target of the defender's choosing.

Resisting

Depending on the effect of the spell, it can be resisted using either Physical or Mental Resistance (i.e. Physical Resistance for physical damage, and Mental Resistance for spirit damage). If the defending character's rolled Resistance power score is equal to or greater than the power of the spell it does not affect them, otherwise they suffer the full force of its effects.

Physical Resistance is typically only used to resist damage from area of effect spells.

Schools of Magic

Spell casters must specialize in specific schools of magic that, in addition to providing the narrative theme of the spells, give them access to some of the magical effects described in the section above. Each spell school also has a trait that further differentiates its use from other schools.

The following list describes some example schools of magic and what they are capable of:

Vitaturgy
The magic of life, Vitaturges are capable of healing wounds, cause plants to grow, and breath life into inanimate objects.
Effects: heal physical damage & regenerate limbs, control plants, alter ability scores, cause Narrative Effects related to life.
Trait: Vitaturgy spells cast on plants receive a +10 bonus to Success.
Transmutation
The magic of change, Transmuters are able to alter matter at will and enhance the capabilities of their allies.
Effects: cause physical damage, change items, animate magical constructs, create Narrative Effects related to the transformation of matter.
Trait: Casting Transmutation spells as permanent enchantments requires a sacrifice 10 less than it normally would.
Necroturgy
Power over death and spirits, Necroturges are capable of animating corpses and commanding spirits.
Effects: cause physical damage, animate corpses, resurrect the dead, create Narrative Effects related to spirits and the dead.
Trait: Necroturgy spells cast on Undead creatures receive a +10 bonus to Success.
Elementurgy
Control over the elements, Elementurges are capable of commanding fire, wind, water, earth and more.
Effects: cause physical damage, create Narrative Effects related to the elements.
Trait: Elementurgy spells receive a +10 bonus to Power if there is a significant source of the element in use present.
Psychoturgy
Mind affecting magic, Psychoturges are able to influence the minds of others.
Effects: cause or heal damage to the morale Damage Target, create Narrative Effects related to controlling or reading minds.
Trait: Psychoturgy spells can be hidden as part of a regular conversation with a successful Stealth Skill check.
Conjuration
Control over space, Conjurers are capable of opening portals between worlds and summoning extra-planar beings.
Effects: cause physical damage, summon or teleport creatures & items, create Narrative Effects related to summoning or teleportation.
Trait: Spellcasters receive a +10 bonus to Mental Resitance checks made when modifying a channeled Conjuration spell.
Illusion
Light magic, Illusionists are capable of making people disappear, change the appearance of their surroundings, and shoot laser beams.
Effects: cause physical and mental damage, create Narrative Effects related to illusions and light.
Trait: Targets of Illusion spells do not automatically make a Mental Resistance check to resist its effects unless they have reason to believe they are under the influence of a spell.
Thaumaturgy
The power of the faithful, Thaumaturges are capable of channeling the abilities of a greater being.
Effects: Varies
Trait: Thaumaturgy effects depend on the entity providing the powers.
Example Thaumaturgy Powers: A devotee of Poseidon would be able to control the sea, its creatures, and cause earthquakes. They would be able to cause physical damage, and create Narrative Effects related to the the sea.
Divination
The power of knowledge, Diviners are capable of gaining information through premonition or clairvoyance
Effects: cause Narrative effects related to predicting possible futures, seeing the present, or getting a glimpse of the past.
Trait: Divination Skills (e.g. Necromancy, Tyromancy, etc.) can be used to glean information from Divination spells with increased success.

Enchanting

Spells can be added to items of high enough Value Level for later use, this is called Enchanting and it is a good way for spell casters to pass along their abilities to others. All enchantments have a trigger condition and an effect, as described below.

Item Capacity

Items have a capacity for enchantments based on their Value Level that, if exceeded, will cause the item to be destroyed; they are capable of holding an enchantment of power less than or equal to 100 times their Value Levels.

Storyteller's Note: Art can be added to materials with low Value Levels in order to create magic items with more potency, this is how items such as scrolls or wands are created and is a good opportunity to play up the intricate carvings or written runes on these items in your story.

Trigger

Every enchantment needs a trigger condition that will cause the stored spell to activate. This trigger is entirely up to the enchanter, and may even require Skill Checks. Characters are able to discern the triggers of unfamiliar enchantments with a successful arcane knowledge Skill Check.

Storyteller's Note: Have fun with players that are experimenting with unfamiliar enchanted items, just because they know how to activate it doesn't mean they know what the item will do, and some wizards like to leave booby-traps.

Effect

An enchanted item's effect is the spell that is cast once the trigger has been activated. The target of the spell can be predetermined by the enchanter, or left up to the activating character, but this must be decided when the enchantment is created.

Activating an enchantment uses up its power and removes the enchantment from the item, additional charges can be purchased by reducing the power of the effect by 10 for each additional use beyond one (note that this still counts against the total capacity of the item).

Permanent Enchantments

Enchantments can be permanently bound to items so that they can be repeatedly and indefinitely activated. Permanent enchantments are much more difficult to create than temporary ones, take longer to cast, and call for a substantial sacrifice to be made.

Sacrifice

A permanent enchantment requires a sacrifice of life force from a sentient life form that manifests itself as either a permanent penalty to one or more Ability Scores or unhealable damage to one or more Damage Targets. This sacrifice can be split, it does not need to come from a single Ability Score or Damage Target, and it also does not need to come from a single person. If multiple creatures are participating the sacrifice can be evenly shared among them as long as they are willing participants of the ritual (i.e. 100 grateful villagers can each sacrifice 1 point of vitality to help create a permanent enchantment of 100 power). The willingness of the participants can be coerced or forcefully obtained through Charm spells, but control must be maintained on everyone involved for the duration of the enchanting process.

Storyteller's Note: The most powerful magical artifacts were created by forging a pact with a powerful entity, such as a dragon, demon, or demi-god, for whom this sacrifice would comprise only a small fraction of their total power. Many of these entities reward their champions in this way, but remove the enchantment should they fall out of favor.

Casting Duration

The process of making an enchantment permanent requires a ritual that takes one round per point of power in the enchantment in addition to the time taken to cast the spell. If the sacrifice is coming from a creature or creatures other than the spell caster, they must participate in the ritual and remain a willing participant for its entire duration.

Removing a Permanent Enchantment

The enchanter can spend an action at will to remove a single permanent enchantment that they created. This can be done from anywhere in the world.

Permanent Enchantments after Death

Permanent enchantments continue to function after the death of the spellcaster and can no longer be removed from the item.