Magic and magic-users have existed for many centuries. Ancient texts show that magic first rose to promise during the later part of the Canan Empire. Loose bands of sorcerers, wizards, and magical creatures rising to protect chosen kings, princes, and forests alike. Some individuals seeking only power or fame also dotted this magical landscape. Giving the well-established Deryni and other adepts, which had been around far longer, both a new powerful ally and enemy.
With magic the Canan Empire grew to its largest size and like all things eventually fell to decay. From the ashes of the Empire rose the Kingdom of Adan and a magic-user and Adanian nobleman named Robert Joseph Cordan.
Lord Robert Joseph Cordan rose to power within the Adanian magical community. He supported the King of Adan and he supported the ideals of the Kingdom itself even more. His loyalty to the Crown and Kingdom won him a Royal Charter to fond Adan’s first and premier institution of magic. The Order of Spectral Magicians.
Since the rise of the Kingdom of Adan the Spectral Magicians and those wizards that came after them were the leaders of the magical arts. For much of that time the Spectral Magicians held sway from their stronghold in the eastern mountain region known as Kirsh. And over time, due to many unauthorized experiments of the Order, that region is thought to be haunted and forbidden. Eventually the Spectral Magicians abandoned the Kirsh stronghold and held a coup and took over the Kingdom of Adan, murdering the royal family and it’s heirs.
Teara Adan uses a modified version of Omar’s The Gramarye for it’s magical system.
Start with the Gramarye, and add the following concept. Each time you cast a spell, you add the mana spent on that spell to your “tally”. If your tally passes your “threshold”, bad things happen. (Roll 4dF, add the result to the number of points your tally is above your threshold, and look up the sum on the Calamity table.) Each day, your tally decreases by your “recovery rate”.
It costs one supernormal power (i.e. two gifts) to have the ability to cast spells. This grants a Mana Threshold of 20, a Recovery Rate 6 mana per day, and a Spell Mana Limit of 6 mana (see below).
Mages are limited as to amount of mana they may spend on a single spell. By default, this “Spell Mana Limit” is 6. If a mage casts a spell which costs greater mana than his Spell Mana Limit, he immediately rolls 4dF, adds the difference between the mana cost of the spell and his Spell Mana Limit, and applies the result on the calamity table. Note that this is the limit on how much mana the spell caster may spend at one time, including any mana pulled from Mana stones. If the spellcaster uses props to reduce the mana cost of a spell, he may cast more powerful spells without passing his Spell Mana Limit. Conversely, if he attempts to cast a spell which is not known to him, the higher mana cost of that spell does count against the caster’s Spell Mana Limit.
For the cost of 3 Fudge Points, a mage’s Threshold may be increased by 10, or the Recovery Rate may be increased by 3, or the Spell Mana Limit may be increased by 3. Or these can be increased during character creation as Attribute Levels. The GM may wish to set a limit on how much high any of these numbers may be at character creation.
The Calamity Table is replaced by one which is more likely simply to have personal consequences for the mage, and less likely to have environmental consequences.
A “Known Spell” is one that a mage has scribed into his spell books; it is assumed that the mage regularly studies these spell books so as to refresh his knowledge of these known spells. A spell may become known one of three ways: it may be copied from another scroll or spell book, if the mage takes a few days to study it intensively; it may be taught by a mage who already knows the spell; or it may be derived by the mage through a long and arduous process of spell research.
Note that a “Known Spell” is not a character skill, and need not be purchased with experience points. Each player should keep a list of those spells his character knows. The GM may want to limit the number of spells known at character creation (e.g. to 10, or such that the sum of the standard mana cost for casting all known spells is no more than 40).
The normal mana costs determined using the system described in the Gramarye is what it costs to cast a known spell. For spells which are not know, there are three types of spells; whenever any given spell effect is proposed, the GM decides in which class the spell falls.
- “Simple Spells” are the most basic spells– the sorts of things that any spell caster in the world might be expected to know. These are generally the relatively low power (and low mana cost) spells. The mana cost of casting a simple spell that is not one of the mage’s Known Spells is 2 higher than normal. (Equivalently, the difficulty of the spell is one level greater– Good instead of Fair, for example.)
- “Ordinary Spells” are most spells. These may be improvised by a mage with skills in the necessary college(s) and realm(s). The mana cost of casting such a spell when it is not a Known Spell is 4 higher than normal. (Equivalently, the difficulty of the spell is two levels greater– Great instead of Fair, for example.)
- “Esoteric Spells” are those the GM wants to limit. These will generally be the most powerful spells, or the spells which have the most far-reaching effects. These spells may not be cast at all unless they are known spells. At the GMs option, all spells from a given college or realm may be considered Esoteric Spells.
Resistance: many spells may be resisted. Any spell that comprises a physical attack will normally resisted by armor, unless specified otherwise by the spell. Area attacks (fireballs, lightning bolts, that sort of thing) should allow creatures to make a Dodge (or equivalent) roll to reduce the damage of the attack by one half. Any Control or Knowledge spell directed at a sentient but unwilling target is resisted by the target’s Will; treat this as an Opposed Action between the caster’s skill and the target’s Will. (Very skillful casters, and powerful mages with enough mana to reduce the Difficulty of the spell, are naturally much harder to resist.) Any other spell which, in the GMs judgment, is similar enough to these should be similarly resisted (e.g. Movement spells to teleport another away). A spell like any of these which can not be resisted will have that noted in its description (e.g. Smite in Omar’s Gramarye Spells.
Magic Items, like characters, also have a Threshold and a Recovery Rate. For “found” items, the GM can tune this to the mana costs of using a given item to regulate how many times it may be used in a day. For player-created items, suggestions will be forthcoming.
Some magic items have a permanent enchantment on them which is always “on”, in which case the concept of Mana Threshold and Recovery Rate is not relevant. For magic items which (effectively) cast spells, use of a magic item increases the item’s tally, not the caster’s. If a user attempts to push the item over its Threshold, the item either simply doesn’t do anything, or (at the GM’s option) turns to dust or otherwise comes apart. Most of the time, an item’s owner will know how close to its tally an item is.
Some magic items may be usable by mages, i.e. those with the supernormal power that grants the general ability to cast spells.
Mana Stones, as in the usual Gramarye, provide an extra reservoir of Mana which a character may draw on without counting the mana pulled from the stone against his own personal Mana tally. Mana Stones may have varying recovery rates, but typically they will be low (e.g. 1 point per day). A mage who holds a mana stone will know how much mana it currently holds (but not necessarily its capacity).
There are two sorts of illusions. Those created with the “illusion” realm are actual projections (of sights, sounds, etc.). They will always be seen or heard by anybody capable of seeing or hearing. However, when touched, it will become immediately obvious that they are insubstantial. Such illusions cannot, for example, do damage to one who is “fooled”; however, they are not dispelled by the touch of an unbeliever. One’s hand simply goes through the illusion, and the illusion remains as long as the spell as in force. Whether or not anybody is fooled by an illusion is up to the GM. The fooling ability of an illusion might be automatic if there is no reason for the viewer to doubt the reality of the illusion. If there is reason to doubt, it may be an Opposed Action between the viewer’s Perception, Intellect, or appropriate knowledge skill and the caster’s performance, knowledge, fast-talk, or other appropriate skill. (It will generally not be a contest against the caster’s effective skill with the spell.)
The other sort of illusion isn’t created with the Illusion realm at all, but is rather constructed as Control Mind. In this case, the illusion will not be seen by anybody who isn’t a target of the spell, but exists only in the mind of the one looking at it. A powerful enough spell of this sort can do damage to the person it fools, as the person’s mind will psychosomatically inflict damage upon his own body corresponding to what he believes the illusion is doing. This sort of illusion spell always is resisted, as an Opposed Action between the caster’s skill with the spell and the target’s Will.
Animation: This collage is used to animate the dead or objects. This is not done by the Spirit College.
Illusion Realm: The Illusion Realm is only an average skill, not a hard skill, because it has a more limited scope (as described above) than the standard Gramayre version of this realm.
Air Realm: This realm includes all lightning spells. This matches the D&D philosophy; in Planescape, the Quasielemental Plane of Lightning is adjacent to the Elemental Plane of Air.
Machine Realm: This realm is used to affect machines of all types with magic.
Multiverse Realm (H): Specifically for Planescape, there is one additional important realm: the “Multiverse” (or, if you prefer, “Planes”) realm. This is the realm that allows a spells effects to reach into a plane other than the plane where the spell caster is located. So, while a teleport spell would be constructed as “Move Body”, a spell which moves the character to another plane would be “Move Multiverse”. A spell that temporarily (or permanently?) blocks a gate would be “Break Multiverse”, and a spell that creates a gate (costly even if temporary!) would be “Create Multiverse”. A spell that banishes summoned creatures to their home plane would be “Control Multiverse”.
The GM will probably wish to make most or all of the spells in this realm Esoteric Spells.