Okay, be warned. This contains math.
So in my system I wanted to create a freestyle magic system. You come up with the spell, you choose from the choices in the system the best choices that describe what your spell is, and then spend the allotted amount of points to cast your spell. When making your pool of energy (normally called Orenda or Mana) you take the Ability Score associated with the abilities of your character. With the Magic class I use the score that represents Wisdom for normal D&D/Pathfinder.
My Ability Score system runs on a 1-10 scale. 5 is obviously the average so for all sakes, the current wizard casting these spells has a 5 Wisdom.
When making your mana pool you take the associated score (Wisdom: 5) and multiply it by 2. (10) and add 2 points per level of the character. (12) So the current average character has a 12 mana at first level.
Your score is a very important part of casting spells as well. Not only does it make a big decision in the effects of your spells, but it determines how the spell affects you afterwards.
In most fantasy or sci-fi, when a magic user casts a spell it has a drain on the person. This is not shown in D&D or Pathfinder except in making the user incapable of casting more spell until they rest for the next day. No limitations to the character or balancing act to show how the use of their power can be deadly.
In this system as you cast spells using a mana cost higher than your ability score you can negatively effect your character. That is still in the works but it can effect your character anywhere from causing the character to become sickened, dazed, or go unconscious. It can even begin to deal damage if you stretch your limitations.
Let me show you the different parts of the system and take you through the creation of a spell. Let’s make a standard Fireball Spell, Mage Hand, and Cure Light Wounds.
(For those who don’t know what these spells do, a fireball is an exploding ball of fire, mage hand allows you to pick up a small amount of weight and move it around, and cure light wounds just heals a small amount of damage.)
First, you would choose the type of action the spell would be considered.
Attack – 0
Impair – 0
Enhance – 0
Service – (-1)
Creation – 5
These can be defined as such:
Attack: Spells intended to deal damage.
Impair: Spells intended to hinder a target with a negative modifier.
Enhance: Spells intended to improve a target with a positive modifier.
Service: Spells intended to only perform an actions, normally not intended to cause damage.
Creation: Spells intended to manifest an illusion, item, or creature from nothing, or alter its base form.
For our Fireball it would be considered an Attack spell. The number after the choice is the amount of energy it would cost from your pool to cast, so the attack spell would not take any more energy to cast than normal.
For the Mage Hand, it would be considered a Service spell. It costs (-1) energy so it will actually lesson the amount of energy required to cast. Since these spells are not intended to cause damage to targets and are only just off-hand tasks for most wizards it is easier to cast.
For the Cure Light Wounds, it would be considered an Enhancement spell. Once again, like the Attack, it costs no more energy than normal to cast.
For clarification, the reason I even make the first 3 cost 0 is due to Service reducing the cost of a spell, and Creation being worth so much.
Okay, next up we would need to choose the Element of the spell we are casting. I have a base list of Elements currently with a cost of energy, but there are so many more elements and combinations of elements to explore within this. So far I’m trying to keep it simple. Here is the current list.
Blood – (-1)/ 2% health
Arcane – 0
Fire – 1
Water – 1
Air – 1
Earth – 1
Light – 1
Dark – 1
Arc – 2
Ice – 2
Plant – 2
Solar – 2
Metal – 2
Glass – 3
Storm – 3
Life – 3
Okay, starting with Fireball again we will choose the obvious option of Fire. This costs 1 point. So at this point we are at a cost of 1.
With Mage Hand, it has a few choices here. We could call it an air spell, but we could also go the cheaper route and just go straight Arcane. With Air it would be using the currents of the air. If I was trying to move a flag or fan this may be my choice. Let’s say I’m trying to move to me, moving something with the might of arcane energy seems more efficient. So we are still sitting at 0 for it.
Cure light wounds however is a toss up. I haven’t yet assigned damage outputs for the elements, and really when I get there healing spells will have differences. Life is a high cost and may be able to actually repair damage done to a body. Since we are purely curing small damage we will go with a light spell, which can also be considered Holy. So we are also sitting at 1.
Next up we will choose the Area of Effect, or where, how, and who you plan to hit.
Area of Effect:
Self – 0
Touch – 1
Range: Missile – 2+1/increment
Ray – 4+1/increment
Cone – 3+2/increment
Blast – 5+1/length increment, and/or +2/width increment**
Definitions for such:
Self: Spells that only affect the caster.
Touch: Spells that affect targets the caster can physically touch. (Personal range.)
Missile: A spell that focuses at one focal point of energy. Normally the size of a ball.
Ray: A continues beam like spell.
Cone: A wave like spell that can affect multiple targets.
Blast: A spell that explodes from a focal point and can affect multiple targets. **Length Increment refers to the range in which you intend to land the projectile. Width represents the blast radius.**
For the Fireball we are going to have to use a Blast spell. I’m only trying to hit a few targets and they aren’t more than 25ft away so I don’t need to add increments. So it costs 5 points for the blast. That puts us currently at 6 points.
The Mage Hand will be across a room. This has been a source of argument among peers but I’ve decided it would count as a Missile effect. You would fire your energy at the object and focus to pick up what it hits. Seems easy enough. Some said it should count as a ray, but I feel like that’s more Fishing rod tether than ‘move inanimate object’. That costs 2 points, no increment, so we are up to 2 points currently.
The Cure Light Wounds would depend on who I’m trying to heal. For sake of easiness, let’s say I am within grasp of my ally. I would cast a touch spell. Costing 1 more point moving my total to 2 points.
Next we would add any Benefits to the spell we need.
Silent – 1
Still – 1
Quickened – 3
Strong – 3
Weak – (-3)
Lingering – 2+1/turn
Lasting – 1 +1/minute
Everlasting – 10 + 15% health
Silent: Spells that can be cast without the need for oral components.
Still: Spells that can be cast without the need for somatic components.
Quickened: Spells that can be cast out of sequence. (Ex. You can cast a quickened spell on another person’s turn, or before someone takes their action.) Cast at a thought.
Strong: Doubles the output of a spell. (Doubles damage, duration, etc.)
Weak: Halves the output of a spell.
Lingering: To be used with attack spells, continues to cause a fraction of the base damage.
Lasting: To be used with Impair, Enhance, or Service spells. Continues the effect of the spell for a longer duration.
Everlasting: Causes a spell to stay indefinitely, until removed/canceled by the Caster, a negation spell, or other forces.
I don’t think I need any benefits for any of my spells, but if I did need a stronger fireball, cure, or need to pick up a heavier weight I could always add the Strong benefit doubling the output of the spell. Each benefit has what it does and is self explanatory. To clarify for Silent and Still spells, all spells require an oral and somantic component.
Next we would choose the Duration it takes for the spell to cast.
Instant – 0
Delayed – 3
Charged – (-1)/turn*
Definitions of such:
Instant: Spells that cast as soon as the spell finishes.
Delayed: Spells that cast when a certain parameter is met. (Timed, word activation, movement, etc.)
Charged: Spells that have extra time devoted to them to allow for a lower mana cost. *When charging a spell with the Everlasting benefit, you substitute turns for minutes when calculating time. *
This is the point where your spell selection is starting to cost you. You’ve possible already added a few benefits and have spells costing most of your energy pool.
Most all spells cast as and Instant spell. No wait time, just cast on your turn when you made it. It’s when you have a spell that costs too much energy that you decide to charge it for a few turns to lower that amount. (I like to think Dragonball Z-esque, just don’t charge it for several sessions while screaming.)
For the sake of everything let’s say we are charging the Fireball for a turn before we cast. This moves us from a 6 point total down to a 5 point total. This will keep us from having any harmful effects to our character as our Wisdom is a 5. (See top of post)
The Mage Hand and Cure Light Wounds spells are currently only going to cost us 2 points each.
So this is where the system takes a turn for the big and bold users.
Magnitude is how strong you need the spell to be.
Magnitude goes from 1-5 and multiplies everything in the spell (Mana cost, damage output, weight pick up, etc.) by the amount of magnitude you choose. Make that fireball a magnitude 2 spell and it is now a 10 cost (5×2=10) spell that now has double the area of effect, and does double the damage. Magnitude also is the deciding factor for how much an Enhance, Impair, and Service spell can have as an Output.
Here is a the table for it.
|1.||Base DMG||-5%||5%||Weight: / Decibels:
(Score): x 2 / x5
1 hour/ 2 (Score)
|2.||X2||-10%||10%||(Score): x 4 / x10||2 hours/ 2 (Score)|
|3.||X3||-15%||15%||(Score): x 6 / x15||3 hours/ 2 (Score)|
|4.||X4||-20%||20%||(Score): x 8 / x20||4 hours/ 2 (Score)|
|5.||X5||-25%||25%||(Score): x 10 / x25||5 hours/ 2 (Score)|
For Clarification on Health, the health system is based off of the idea that every character will have 100% health. They don’t have a number that represents a vague amount of health points. They just are at a percentage of health. Things do % damage, and so everything is just subtracting an amount of damage, or adding, from a number between 1-100. I feel this is pretty simple in itself. This will be further discussed in another post about the character process.
Back to the magic system though, we now see what our spells would be doing as Magnitude 1 spells. With that our Fireball would be doing it’s Base Damage output and cost us 5 points of energy.
Our Mage Hand would only be able to pick up 10 pounds! Well what if I needed to pick up more than a cup? Like a barrel of water? Make this 2 cost spell a magnitude 5 spell and we are now picking up 50 pounds for 10 points of energy! (2×5 once again equals 10) What if I need more than that though!? Well add that Strong benefit on there. That’s 3 points at magnitude 1, but 15 points at magnitude 5. (5×3=15) Add that to my already 10 points of energy for the spell and I’m at a 25 cost mage hand spell that picks up 100 pounds! While it’d be nice to toss a halfling or gnome around that’s a bit to much for my cup of ale. I’m going to stick to my 2 cost mage hand right now. But now you understand a little more how Magnitude works.
For the Cure Light Wounds, the healing amount would be the Base ‘Damage’ of the spell. Once again, I don’t have damage outputs yet, but am working on that.
So yeah, that’s my magic system in it’s pre-alpha glory. Questions, comments, concerns, and straight up thoughts are appreciated. I’m trying to develop this for my new Mythe and Lejend Tabletop Roleplaying Game and this is my favorite piece of the system so far.
Feel free to post your own spell creation to see how well it holds up!
Thanks for Reading!