Magick in Play

This is a walk-through of the entire process and proper procedure for all practitioners of magick, PC and NPC, in casting every type of magick in RoM, and all of the ways in which a magick’s effect or manifestation is measured and can be manipulated. Here, all the in’s and out’s and special circumstances are detailed.

The Declaration

In the same way detailed in the rules for Tactical Play & Armed Combat, casting any charm, regardless of Art or form, starts with a declaration, made during the Declaration Phase of play, normally.

Once you state your character is starting to cast a magick during play, he does so. In exactly the same manner established for the use of all the other mundane/worldly skills and abilities in the game, the player has his character start the process of casting a magick in the context of the game by announcing his intent to do so to the GM. This is equally binding on the GM in regards to his NPC’s. This includes any Mystic channeling a Feat and any Avatar Ascending to the Light so he can invoke a miracle, whether by Prayer or Rite.

The name of the specific charm being cast should be written down beforehand and passed to the GM for his reference at this point since none of the other characters in the practitioner’s presence (PC AND NPC) will know what it is he is attempting to cast, unless the charm being performed was discussed with them beforehand (which must necessarily have been done in character) OR one or more of the observers are practitioners themselves of the same magick-wielding Trade and having the same skill in their portfolios in order to recognize it.

Both GM and player must grab a piece of scratch paper and jot down the POT and what all the other parameters of the application of the charm are to be, especially the target(s)/recipient(s), DUR and the points on which any AoE dweomers are centered. For PC practitioners, the GM should always ask to see such a slip of paper if the player doesn’t volunteer it so he keep up with what is going on. The player must always choose the charm his character is casting before he begins to cast it, because the formula for each is distinctly different.

Always double-check the description of any charm to be employed before announcing its use in play to be sure it actually does what you want it to. 

There is no changing horses in mid-stream when casting charms. 

In combat situations, you may have time to check out the description of the charm while you wait for the end of the Casting Time before rolling for the success of the casting, but then if it doesn’t do what is wanted, it is then too late, the only thing to do is abort the casting, precious tactical time wasted.

During the regular adventure phase of play, on the other hand, the GM may take his time while players are expected to have all their facts in order and decisions made: specific Art/charm used, form, POT to be gathered into it, AV to cast, the target(s)/recipient(s) and the specifics of what it is intended to do according to its specific application.

IF you are unsure about how a given charm can be applied, it is your responsibility to speak with the GM to get clarification.

The GM and the other players are not likely to thank you for stating your character is beginning to cast a charm and then making them all sit and wait while you scramble to get all the pertinent information together. They want to get the success or failure of the casting established and the effects of the dweomer manifested so they can get on with the story.

The player’s choice of magicks is not the GM’s problem, any more than the GM’s choice of NPC magicks is the players’ problem. This is why the GM is reminded just as strongly to double check the description of the charms he wishes to employ before he notifies the party that a NPC has started moving to cast it (with cantrips being the only notable exception to this, as they include no incantation or gestures to cast).

While some fudging of actual parameters of a charm on the GM’s part is understandable and sometimes necessary to keep the NPC’s from looking like complete buffoons from time to time, the charm itself should never be changed once started.

No PC magicker would be allowed to get away with the same, so the GM must allow himself to be bound by this rule as well.

In the process of casting, the practitioner clears and composes his mind and begins the incantation and gestures (Low ritual & Common spell Magick). This sets up the desired vibration, enabling the practitioner to begin gathering and drawing the mana to him to power the charm. Most practitioners of average or low MSS start their castings with eyes closed in order to shut out distractions and concentrate on drawing the mana. Those of higher MSS are able to focus on their spiritual sight to look for more sources of mana to reach out to than just the native eddies and flows around them, able to disregard what their physical eyes see except when it poses some sort of physical danger to them.

As the power is drawn and the final POT is established, the caster impresses it with his will and intent as he weaves it into the pattern of power required to contain and control it and manifest the desired effect or dweomer (according to its description).

 

The Limits of Magick

Although much more freely applied in play than many other RPG’s, all magick in RoM has at least a few limits upon its presence and the extent of its effects in the game world. This fact is illustrated by the Forms between which the charms are divided to start with: Low (rituals), Common (spells) and High (cantrips) already discussed, also Casting Times (CTM’s), Range (RNG), Duration (DUR) and, where applicable, Area of Effect (AoE), as follows.

Various terms are also used throughout the descriptions of the individual charms to define their effects, such as raw STA, modified STA, Build, and the rest of the attributes used to describe the PC’s, as well as the Tactical Attributes of M-RES and P-RES, in addition to time noted in Pulses and/or CS’s, RoA’s, and a number of others. Of these, STP’s, or “Structure Points“, are used primarily for the GM’s benefit (discussed in “The GM’s Toolbox”) to measure how tough an object is to break or tear down. There are a number of charms that affect STP’s, strengthening or weakening whole structures or just the materials they are made from, and many dweomers are quantified in STP’s.

Each STP is equal to 10 points (BP’s) of the normal damage inflicted by a character either by normal mundane means or Common Sphere magick. 

STP’s describe the physical game world and most commonly define the difficulty of certain tasks undertaken by the PC’s, as opposed to being a part of the knowledge, background, skills, or abilities that the characters can use to influence events in the game.

 

Magicks in “Opposition”

Many of the magicks in The Compendium are noted as being able to “Oppose” assorted other magicks. Such magicks are said to Oppose when their effects embody opposite influences, or close enough to opposite as to make little or no difference. This is true when they manipulate opposing elements such as fire and water or earth and air. Most charms are presented with their opposites in the descriptions, as they are sometimes the two sides of the same skill (i.e., whether the Art is used to freshen a piece of fruit or make it rot are flip sides of the same coin according to the Law of Polarity in magick, therefore, the same skill).

When an charm is cast upon the dweomer of its opposite, it suppresses its effects, subtracting its POT from it.

The power of any given cantrip, aria, spell, prayer, rite or ritual of the same Sphere of Power and the same POT are considered equal in power, for all intents and purposes. If one opposed the other, each would cancel out the other’s effect, DUR in the end determining which dweomer would outlast the other.

Opposing charms may be laid one atop the other until one has eliminated or reversed the effect of its opposite with a total POT greater to that of the target magick.

When practitioners face off, the charms woven in opposition can be built up like the layers of an onion, often devolving into a simple test of stamina to see who can handle more POT (has greater skills) and outlast whom, because dispelling gets a little more complicated.

Charms that are noted as being Opposed can always be used as Dispelling charms, as follows.

 

Dispelling Magicks

While the procedure for determining the outcome of an attempt at dispelling is similar to that used in comparing magicks in opposition, it is carried one step further. Where dweomers in opposition try to suppress or mask one another’s effects, a caster attempting to dispel a dweomer is actually attempting to loosen and break the pattern of Power of which it is composed, to completely unbind it and permanently disperse it altogether.

A practitioner must use a Dispelling for the Art used to create the target dweomer in order to accomplish this task, or any charm noted as Opposing the target dweomer but, again, cast by means of the same Art. The Dispelling itself must first be successfully cast, according to normal procedure, before any attempt at Dispelling is resolved.

This is handled as a Contested Roll, in the same manner as attuning a magick, cache, Touchstone, etc., in a series of rolls. Each roll assumes a CS of time has passed. The contest continues until the Dispelling practitioner either succeeds or fails. He may not break off and start again once he has engaged.

The AV to Dispel an existing charm is equal to [(MGT att. mod.) + (applicable Dispelling SL) + (1 per 4 points of POT)].

The DV to Dispel an existing charm is equal to that charm’s [(SL) + (caster’s MGT att. mod.) + (1 per 4 points of POT)].

If the Dispelling is successfully cast but fails to actually dispel the target dweomer, it has no effect whatsoever, except to trigger any Wards or other protections wrapped around the dweomer he is attacking, (if applicable). Dispellings that fail to succeed against their target dweomers simply dissipate. They do not suppress as do those cast in Opposition, since that was not the intent behind their weaving.

When a character wishes to dispel a dweomer that has an AoE of a measured physical surface or region, his Dispelling charm (whether a true Dispelling or an Opposing magick used for that purpose), must be cast upon the “nodes” of the dweomer at the center of the AoE. The “nodes” are the knot(s) formed by the pattern of a charm when loosed, where it is anchored fast to the material world. This is the point from which the center of the AoE is measured. This includes such magicks as “Cloud of Fog” or “Cloud of Dust;” “Alarum Charm;” “Circle of Silence;” “Circle of Light/Darkness;” “Circle of Glare/Gloom;” “Temperate Charm;” “Ensorcel Fog & Mist;” “Ice Slick” or “Oil Slick” or “Slick Stone;” “Phantom Maze;” “Plant Maze;” “Ravenous Mire;” “Rainstorm;” “Snowfall;” “Rain of Poppies;” “Reign of Seasons,” and so on.

The nodes can be located with a “Reveal” if the practitioner looks for them once he has discovered the field of magick, providing the nodes are within sight, or they may be “felt” through the Sense Magick Spirit Skill.

 

Optional Rules

Overexposure to Magick

The dangers inherent in the use of magick can be subtle. The greater one’s exposure to magick, the greater is the danger. Many characters get used to the idea of having a Wizard around and enjoying the benefits of his knowledge and Power, falling into the habit of surrendering to it on a regular basis. Although it doesn’t occur to most, they are actually allowing the Wizard to repeatedly impose his will on them and wrap them in his magick, willingly waiving any attempt at resistance that might be made. Over time, their effective HRT score AND their M-RES towards that particular Wizard gradually erodes and crumbles away.

When a character constantly allows a Wizard to cast his magick upon him, the character’s effective HRT and M-RES scores towards any and ALL that practitioner’s magicks is gradually lowered.

 For every (recipient’s HRT) points of POT in magick any one creature or being receives (willing or not) from the same practitioner within the span of (caster’s HRT + TR) days, its effective HRT and M-RES scores are reduced by 1 point.

The HRT score as reduced by exposure to the practitioner’s magick is plugged into the equation for determining M-RES, accelerating the progress of the process. Those benefitting from the charms of multiple practitioners of magic in the party may end up with several different M-RES scores, one for each of the practitioners whose charms they receive benefit of.

Members of the trades practicing magick are just as susceptible, but have a bonus of (TR) to the (HRT) allowance in POT they may accept without penalty.

IF the subject’s HRT score drops 5 or less towards any given practitioner as a result of the application of this rule, he loses any ability to try to resist any will-binding or spirit or perception-altering charms cast on him by that practitioner and any Contested HRT Roll he might otherwise be granted to break free of the same. In addition, he must make successful HRT checks on d100 to resist even the mundane suggestions and persuasive abilities of the practitioner in question in everyday situations (GM’s discretion), especially attempts to manipulate or dominate him by the use of mundane Siver Tongue or Player skills or raw CHM.

IF the character’s effective HRT score drops to zero (0), he loses any ability to try to resist even the mundane suggestions and persuasive abilities of that practitioner, especially the use of mundane mundane Siver Tongue or Player skills or raw CHM. He must simply acquiesce and follow all suggestions as agreeably as is normal for his personality.

IF the subject’s M-RES score reaches zero (0) in regards to any given practitioner’s charms due to a common practice of accepting them, he loses any further recourse to M-RES in regards to any works of magick cast by that practitioner which he might otherwise be entitled to, until such time as this penalty wears away and he is restored to normal M-RES.

Only time spent free of that practitioner’s works of magick and personal influence (even simple presence) allows the gradual restoration of a character’s agency and ability to resist, but only after the last of the magicks of the Wizard in question still affecting the character have expired.

Once this occurs, the penalties fade at a rate of 1 point every [(caster’s TR) + (CHM att. mod.) + (HRT att. mod.)] days, during which time he must remain free of that practitioner’s magick and shun his company (keep him farther than AWA yards away).

Animals, even those domesticated, may not be coaxed or coerced to waive their M-RES by any means; the caster must always make a check vs. an animal’s full M-RES to affect it, regardless of whether they are kept for domestic service or as pets or not. The only exception to this rule lies in ensorceling creatures or beasts that have been subdued by a Witch or Druid’s dweomer binding them in friendship or service (GM’s discretion).