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Spells

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This category uses the form Spells.

Magic controlled through Spells and Powers. These are effectively the same kind of ability, wielded by different kinds of Casters using Dark Power or Shadow Magic. Wizards and Sorcerers cast spells reminiscent of traditional fantasy mages as well as creating modern tools and equipment. Adepts use innate Powers reminiscent of comic-book superpowers or magical creatures.

Learning Spells

Learning Wizard spells is a matter of study with a teacher or spell book. It takes one hour per DC of the spell to learn to cast it reliably – bearing in mind the rules for the ‘New Spell’ complication.

Sorcerers tend to create their spells on the fly, but they can teach and learn from each other. Teaching a sorcerous spell is somewhat risky to the teacher and student as it requires a mental connection using MMP or DMP.

Adepts relationship to Magic is through innate abilities. Think mutant, superhero, or magical creature. These abilities are fixed, focused, and tend to be visited on the character, rather than being something chosen or sought.

Unalloyed access to raw Magic could end the world in short order: summoning a lethal dose of botulism toxin is quite simple, for example. Any halfway competent Caster could summon an aerosol version across a kilometre of New York or Tokyo and kill millions. This reality lead to an urgent effort to impose some restrictions on Magic. IOTA immediately locked the interface layer with an absurdly long cryptographic key that even Droo can not hack. To gain access to the Magic interface, a potential Wizard must prove that they understand the Power they could wield. So far this VR program is called Wizard School. It is about as difficult as getting a driver's licence. The school is an immersive VR game that walks potential Wizards through the dangers and Powers of Magic. Any sophant that passes the Wizard Trials gains access to Magic.

Unfortunately, Sorcerers and Adepts do have unalloyed access to raw Magic.

  • Sorcerers ignore the magical interface, instead merging their minds directly with the core machinery of Magic (which tends to drive them mad in short order). More often than not, Sorcerers create new spells on the fly, opting for simpler brute force effects rather than the subtle detailed majesty of wizardry. Sorcerers can teach spells to each other by joining a mind meld before joining with Magic using DMP.
  • Adepts have no conscious connection to Magic or to the Dark Power. Their abilities feel like natural extensions of their being. Magical creatures - like Dragons and Centaurs must be Adepts to survive at all. Adepts can not usually teach their powers to others. In cases where the magical effects are essentially the same - an Adept and a Wizard using telekinesis - the characters can teach each other how to use the power more effectively. They just can't teach the power itself.

Casting

The core of Casting a spell is relatively simple, and applies to all casters:

  1. Choose an approach or stunt to cast the spell. For Adepts spells are often called Powers and may be an actual stunt.
  2. Determine the DC of the spell based on its complications. This is usually predetermined outside a gaming session, during character creation or advancement.
  3. Roll against the DC. If the spell DC is higher than the Caster's roll, the Caster takes stress equal to the difference or lets the spell fail and takes half damage. If the spell fails there may be side effects. In most cases a failed spell results in no effect. On occasion the spell can cause a side effect or complication instead of the intended effect.

Magic is not for everyone. The prerequisites are fundamental to the technology itself, and can not be altered.

  • Casters must
  • The Caster must be connected directly to Magic by being physically in the region of Magic or have the MRO
  • Sorcery can not be achieved unless the Caster's brain includes a quantum computer with over 700Qbit capacity.

Shared Casting

Wizards have several options for sharing the burden of a spell.

Practice

If they have time to practice together they can divvy up the casting cost equally among all casters by practicing. The base time for practice is 1 hour per DC, so ten Wizards would need ten hours to practice a DC100 spell. Each individual makes a roll against that DC using any appropriate approach or stunt to reduce the practice time. For example, one of the ten casters might roll using Clever +4, and get a total of 6 against the DC of 10. That means that wizard needs to practice for 4 hours to learn their part of the spell. If 20 wizards were to learn the same DC100 spell, they would start with DC5 each. If a wizard rolled a 6 against that DC the extra point can be spent in assisting another caster, reducing their practice time by an hour.

The New Spell complication may apply, but the Unpracticed complication should not be applied.

Wizards are able to create spells of vast power by having many casters participate in the casting. This is analogous to distribution of labour in a project team or construction team. A group can learn to cast a spell together by practicing for 1 man-hour per DC of the spell (after adding complications for new spells and newly learned spells).

Spell Costs

There are four types of spell cost:

  • Base Cost: The raw cost of the spell before any multipliers are applied. The Base cost of a spell is usually the same for anyone who would cast it.
  • Final Cost: The spell cost after multipliers other than Unpracticed and New Spell are applied. For example, a spell with Source:Adept will be ¼ the final cost of the identical spell with Source:Wizard. This cost does not include additional costs for flexible complications.
  • Casting Cost: This is the final DC that the Caster rolls against to see if the casting is successful - and how much damage they take as a result. Unpracticed and New Spell are applied to the casting cost.
  • Operating Cost: This is the ongoing drain on the caster's energy reserves for spells with a variable duration. At 1 point per second, the ambient energy can be drained fairly quickly.

For most spells the casting cost and operating cost are all the player needs to worry about.

Each DC of casting cost of a spell depletes the magical energy available to the caster, either by draining their Energy Pool or by using up the ambient magical energy field. The casting cost also represents the baseline damage that the caster will take for casting the spell. The caster's roll reduces this damage. For example, if Sutton were casting Miasma of Incandescent Plasma at maximum power and range, the DC is 18. He casts the spell using a stunt, for a total of +7 on his roll. If he rolled a 1 and used an aspect and a Fate Point to get a bonus +2 his total roll would be a massive 10 - but he would still have to deal with 8 points of damage. Casting damage can be split into two before it is applied. Sutton could soak the cost of the spell as one 8 point consequence, or one 4 point physical stress slot and a 4 point consequence (since he only has 1 and 2 point mental stress slots). Even with his Celestes healing factor, using that power at maximum hurts quite a bit.

Most casters have access to more than enough Power to kill themselves.

Magical Energy

Wizards, Sorcerers, and some Adepts draw their power from the Magical field created by Shadows. Each type of Caster engages with Magic in a unique way. For all of these Casters the amount of energy they can access is limited by the ambient Magic in the particular location at a particular time. They run out of energy when the local field is exhausted, and are subject to the effects of magical weather. Some Adepts have energy pools that are independent of normal magic, accessed through something like the MRO.

Magic has an average 'density' of one Duclos per cubic metre, usually written as 1Duc/m3. Most Casters can access that energy from within about 3m, or about 100 Ducs. Distributed consciousnesses may have access to larger pools of Magic depending on the volume of the distributed mind. Many AIs cover large areas, so they may have access to very large Duc reserves. For example Google has hardware that spans the globe. In theory it could access something on the order of 1015Ducs of Magical potential. Of course Google does not have the capacity to survive a spell using even 102Ducs, so this is not a likely scenario.

When a spell is cast the Magic in that area is expended. This energy returns at a rate of 1Duc/minute. Heavy spell Casting in a region can deplete Magic quite quickly. In a Magical conflict that draws heavily on the Magic in a region, the tides and winds can be life and death knowledge.

Tides

Magic is subject to gravitational effects - especially tides. For more realism, you can consult tide charts to get a sense of how much the density of Magical energy increases or decreases over a day. For simpler game play:

  • Solar Eclipse: 10Duc/m3
  • Sun and Moon in the same quadrant of the sky: 3Duc/m3
  • Sun or moon only: 0.75Duc/m3
  • Lunar eclipse: 0.5Duc/m3

Large masses like mountain ranges and giant ice shelves increase the density of Magic slightly. For more realism look at gravitational surveys to see what the relative high and low gravitational fields look like around the globe. For simpler game play:

  • In the mountains: 1.1Duc/m3
  • On a plain: 0.9Duc/m3

Pressure

Magical energy has weather that does not appear to correspond to anything in the natural world. At any time the GR can roll the fate dice to determine a multiplier for how quickly the magical energy refreshes:

  • -4: x¼
  • -3: x⅓
  • -2: x½
  • -1, 0, 1: Normal
  • 2: x2
  • 3: x3
  • 4: x4

Wind

There may also be a wind, or flow to Magic. Choose the direction and speed of the wind for narrative reasons, or roll fate dice for the speed of the flow.

  • -4 or +4: >16m/s or 60km/h
  • -3 or +3: 8m/s or 30km/h
  • -2 or +2: 4m/s or 15km/h
  • -1 or -1: 2m/s or 7km/h
  • 0: <1m/s or 3km/h

Casters who are downwind in a slow wind can easily sense upwind Casters using Magic, but can also have the reserves of Magic depleted before they can access them. To determine wind direction using dice, a d8 is recommended with 1 being a North wind (blowing ;from; the North) and 2 being NE, 3 E, etc.

Creating Spells

Creating spells and powers is trickier then using them. Magic users can do this on the fly, but it takes practice to do this quickly during game play. In most cases it is better to come up with spells outside of game sessions whenever possible. Characters may create a new spell or power at any time they could create a new aspect or stunt.

Spells and Powers are defined through a spell description and a set of complications. Complications determine the casting costs and difficulty of casting a spell, along with important elements of the spell operation. Each spell description is a combination of a name, high concept, trouble, relevant aspects, and complications:

'''[[Name]]''' ([DC]): [high concept] [trouble]. [Aspect(s)]. [Complications].;
  • High Concept: Name the spell and briefly describe the core of what it is supposed to do.
  • Trouble: Describe what happens when the spell goes wrong, or a significant risk of using the Power. What is the biggest risk it when using it? This can be appended to the high concept.
  • Other Aspects: A spell may have several narrative aspects usually describing how the effect operates.
  • Complications and Casting Cost / DC: Complications determine the DC of a spell. Most spells have complications describing the range, volume, mass, damage, and spell components, and whether the DC is W, S, or A (Wizard, Sorcerer, or Adept). Additional, less common complications have exponential costs, or require judgment calls from the GR.

For example,

  • '''Fireball''' (W12): Fuel Air Bomb that sucks all the air out of the area. The explosion blows out, then in, then up. Range: 30m (DC3). Volume: cylinder 3m radius, 2m height (DC6). Damage: 3.;
  • '''Firestorm''' (S7): Napalm Rain of unquenchable, spreading, sticky fire. The fire burns and burns and burns... Range: 10m (DC1). Volume: circle 3m in radius (DC3). Damage 3 per round for 3 rounds.;

Complications round out the description of a spell or power and determine the Casting cost. The baseline complexity for a 0DC spell would be to summon or reshape a simple, pure substance such as water, silicon, graphene, or sugar within the immediate area. (Note that the baseline simplicity and purity of substances created with Magic can be very valuable. Look at the properties of pure iron crystals and then imagine a sword made of one.) Spell effects are quite varied, so add complications to the list as needed.

The DC and narrative flavour of a magical effect will vary widely depending on whether it has the Wizardry, Sorcery, or Adept complication. Wizardry tends to have a high casting cost, but wizards can work together to cast. Sorcery costs are lower, but they risk their sanity with each spell. Adept powers have the lowest DC, but they are very wasteful of magical energy.

--- Data for Category:Spells stored in Special:CargoTables/SPELLS with the Form:Spells and Template:Spells

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