Thursday, June 20, 2013

FAEntasy: Magic

Finally, we are getting to another interesting bit of the rules. As a means of diving into the mechancis, I am going to tackle the five questions that the magic toolkit tells us to ask of magic. As source material, I'll consider the original game and include some comments on Old School+ games.

Note: FAEntasy assumes you are using the red dice and blue dice rules for weapons and armor from the FATE Toolkit. Why? Because I think it is cool.

1. Tone: In the original source material, magic is neutral force that can be used for good and evil. Usually this is reinforced by having a neutral goddess (or rarely, god) present in the setting. Magic is also usually divided into divine magic available to clerics and arcane magic available to wizards and their like. In some Old School+ games, arcane magic is portrayed as a source of chaos, while divine magic is seen as a force of order or law. In FAEntasy the tone will determine how you cast your magic. Are doing it carefully like a cleric (or druid), flashy like a bard, forcefully like a sorcerer or clever like a wizard?

2. Costs: Magic is tiresome, slowly wearing the wizard out, until he can't cast anymore spells. At least the associated fiction talked about magic in those terms. In game terms, the wizard or cleric ran out of spells sooner or later. For FAEntasy, this means that casting spells and using magic causes stress (and maybe consequences). For now lets say: each spell causes the caster exactly one stress. This may not seem like much, but remember: there is oly one level-1 stress box.

3. Limits: Arcane magic usually cannot heal people, but is devastating when attacking. Divine magic on the other hand is quite handy for healing people, damaging and destroying the undead or protecting someone from harm, but not as powerful on the attack. These limits translate into a number of rules for FAEntasy magic:

  • Arcane magic cannot restore consequences.
  • Divine magic can restore consequences or rather speed-up healing. With a Fair (+2) result, a cleric can completely heal a mild consequence. With a Great (+4) result, she can turn a moderate consequence into a mild consequence. With a Fantastic (+6) result, a severe consequence can be turned into a moderate consequence. Successive castings can heal grievious consequences.
  • Divine magic can resurrect people, but it is Legendary (+8) difficulty and the cleric will take an extreme consequence twisting one of his aspects, except the hight concept aspect.
  • By taking additional stress, an arcane mage can turn normal fate dice into red dice when directly attacking with his magic. The maximum number of dice he can swap is equal to his casting approach.
  • Clerics can only do that, when attacking the undead.
  • By taking additional stress, any spellcaster can turn normal fate dice into blue dice, when directly defending against an attack that causes stress. The maximum number of dice he can swap is equal to his casting approach.
  • Apart from these rules, magic can be used to either create an advantage, overcome an obstacle, attack or defend according to the normal rules for the four actions in FAE.

4. Availability: Magic is usually not part of everyday live. But there are temples around and wizards for hire. So you can expect at least a couple of spellcasters to be part of an adventuring party, but hiring one is still not cheap, depending on services requested. I'd suggest at least a Great (+4) difficulty when seeking help at a temple or tower. The more difficult the magic sought, the higher the difficulty goes.

5. Source: Here some campaigns diverge wildly. It could be planes of negative and positive energy, an invisible web of power stretching over the land, growing things,  pure chaos, the gods & deities or your own inner conviction.

This is it. These are the basic rules for FAEntasy magic. In the coming posts I am going to elaborate further on divine and arcane magic.

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