Magic Guide

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Magic Basics

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Magic appears in many ways in Lorithandar. Adept powers never take the form of incantations or spells as they are a direct and physical release of the magical energies in the characters body. Channelers, Shamans, Mages, and Sorcerers all use magic through some form of prayer, incantation, ritual, or spell.

Depending on what sort of character you are playing you may have access to special abilities or spells. These should be chosen and recorded after you have finished picking [Statistics], [Skills], and [Merits]. Additional spells and abilities can be purchased with experience points. Because Lorithandar is a growing world of epic fantasy there is no limit to the abilities which may be found. If there is a power or ability you think would be fun or interesting discuss it with your Storyteller to have the ability added. The abilities available in the book are only a starting point.

Casting Rolls

The success (and magnitude) of casting a spell is determined by a Casting Roll. This roll consists of the primary casting attribute (e.g. Intelligence or Willpower) + the casting skill (e.g. Channeling/Sorcery/Magecraft/Shamanism) + Rank in the discipline being cast (Domain/Seed/Sphere/Spirit). Some spells always require a cast roll to determine their effect (e.g. Identify or Energy Blast) while spells which create a static effect are assumed to be successful if cast in out-of-combat situations (e.g. Physical Enhancement, Basic Creation). If these spells are cast in combat they require a cast roll to ensure they are not botched. At least 1 success is necessary to complete the spell. Failing to do so means the spell is botched, meaning the mana for the spell is expended, but the spell does not take effect.

Spell Types

Offensive Spells

Resisted

A caster directs his spells against the bodies or minds of his targets directly. Physical obstacles between the caster and his target don't matter. As long as the caster can perceive the target at all he can target it.

  • Resisted spells are subject to modifiers from the targets Resistance.
Aimed

An aimed spell is a bolt or beam directed against a target's physical body. The target does not get to resist the magic. The target's armor and other ranged attack modifiers are applied to the casters spellcasting roll, since the target benefits from the armor, cover, and going prone just like avoiding an arrow or similar ranged attack.

  • Aimed spells that propel a physical projectile at the target, such as ice shards or shadow daggers, receive the target’s Armor modifier and any Cover as a modifier against the spell roll. Dodge is not allowed, as the magic of the spell is able to unerringly aim the projectile despite the target’s movement.
  • Aimed spells that manifest as an energy discharge, such as a magic bolt, or a lightning bolt, receive the target’s Magic Armor as a modifier against the spell roll.
Area

An area spell is capable of dealing its effect (often damage) to a large area. These spells often benefit from the same defenses as Aimed spells, but some forms of protection will be ineffective. (ex. Misdirection)

Area spells are defined by the Range (distance) and Area (shape). For example Energy Blast creates a cone starting at the caster extending 5 yards distance and 3 yards wide at its furthest end. Fireball hurls a fist sized ball of flames up to 10 yards x Rank (or until it impacts a target) where it explodes in a 4 yard radius. Area effects such as fire spells will tend to exhibit basic fluid dynamics, such as hurling a Fireball into a cramped hallway will cause the explosion of flames will expand up and down the hall further than its default radius. Lightning spells can be conducted through materials like water and metal causing the Shock effect to targets touching the material.

Targets within an area of effect can provide partial cover to targets behind them. If two guards rush at a sorcerer and he unleashes an Energy Blast, the first guard will suffer the full effects, but the second guard might take reduced damage (-2 dice) from partial cover as his hapless companion soaks some of the blast.

Area spells may also be impacted by the Source casting it. A general rule of thumb is that Magecraft is more precise and exact. With a successful Knowledge: Magic roll a Mage can identify the edges of an area effect before it is cast, for example to exclude friendly targets who are near the edge. On the contrary, Sorcery is too random for even experts to exactly judge the edges of their spells. Seed: Energy is particularly notorious for this. At the Storyteller's discretion the exact border of the distance/shape can fluctuate based on the number of successes. A general rule of thumb is 1 yard in any direction.

Defensive Spells

Armor

Armor spells are spells which provide a barrier of some sort to all attacks of a given type. Armor spells are typically manifested as encasing the bearer, protecting them from all directions, and may have varying benefits. Armor spells typically provide protection from some or all of the following damage sources. (Physical Melee, Physical Ranged, Magic Aimed, Magic Area of Effect, Magic Resistance) Some Armor spells will provide additional benefits beyond these basic protections. If an Armor spell indicates that it offers Physical Armor its bonuses apply to both Melee and Ranged attacks unless otherwise specified. If an Armor spell indicates that it offers Magic Armor, its bonuses apply to Aimed, Area, and Resist attacks unless otherwise specified.

Shield

Shield spells are spells which provide a directional defensive benefit. Shield spells manifest as a physical shield, typically strapped to the bearer’s arm. Unlike actual physical shields, Shield spells do not require a free hand to wear, however they also do not provide any armor piercing negation either.

Detection Spells

Sight

Sight spells are spells which enable the bearer to see effects or auras that are not within the standard spectrum of light, or are beyond normal upper and lower distance limits of sight. Sight spells do not pierce anything which light can not pierce. For example a mage with Mage Sight and Infravision active standing in a city street would be able to see the magical aura of someone’s magic armor, but not the minor aura of a figurine in their backpack. They would be able to see the heat signatures of people in the street, but not inside a shop the next street over.

  • Line of sight must be unbroken for a Sight spell to enable the caster to see the effect or aura.
  • If a target is currently hidden via Stealth, such as in the shadows, but has an otherwise unobstructed line of sight to the Sight spell bearer, the Sight spell bearer must still pierce the target’s stealth via a perception check.
  • Sight spells may be able to pierce Concealment magic if the Sight spell is appropriate for the Concealment type. For example, Mage Sight which detects magic auras will not pierce Cloak of Night invisibility, the bearer would need Detect Invisibility. Additionally, the Sight spell must be at least equal rank, in which case an opposed roll is made, or greater rank, in which case the Sight pierces it automatically.
  • If a target has magical Concealment in addition to skill based Stealth, the bearer must pierce the Concealment spell first, and then pierce the Stealth with a Perception check. A failure to pierce either prevents the Sight spell bearer from seeing the target.
Sense

Sense spells are spells which enable the bearer to use non-sight senses to detect the presence of beings or auras. This sensing may be magical or physical in nature, and may use touch, taste, smell, or mental power. They manifest as an “awareness” of the existence of the appropriate sensed target in a general direction and general distance.

  • Sense spells ignore line of sight, however they do still require an unbroken line of medium between the bearer and the target. For example, Tremorsense requires an unbroken line of earth/stone/wood between the bearer and the target. Sense Undead requires an unbroken line of the magic’s weave between the bearer and the target.
  • Sense spells do not allow the bearer to have a precise knowledge of where the target is. The degree of precision allowed may vary based on your Storyteller’s preferences, but is usually a general direction and general distance.
  • Sense spells do not convey anything more than a statement of existence. They do not convey actions, intent, or descriptions of the sensed target. If the Storyteller allows it, Sense spells may convey an approximate rank by the intensity of the sensation for some mental senses, such as Sense Undead.
  • Sense spells are usually not sufficient to prevent a sneak attack since they do not convey intent or actions. Sense spells are never sufficient enough to enable hitting a concealed target without penalty since they do not convey anything about what the target is wearing, or even what size and shape the target is.
  • Sense spells typically ignore magical concealment, although there are exceptions
Conceal

Concealment spells are spells which hide the bearer from natural site or magical Sight (as defined above). Concealment spells do not replicate or replace Stealth, but are a magical interruption of sight, sound, smell, or aura in between the bearer and the viewer.

  • Concealment spells will typically define what senses they protect from. For example one Invisibility will make the bearer unable to be seen, but not unable to be heard. Another may mask the sound of footsteps, but not the smell.
  • Concealment spells are typically only able to be effective if the bearer keeps their actions covert and simple. Overt actions such as casting a spell, stabbing with a dagger, or running will break magical concealment.
  • Concealment spells will be pierced by appropriate Sight spells of higher rank
  • Concealment spells are safe from piercing by inappropriate Sight spells, or of appropriate Sight spells of lower rank.
  • Concealment spells may be pierced on a failed opposed roll by appropriate Sight spells of equal rank.

Spellcasting Attributes

Magic is the primary spellcasting attribute. The innate magical capacity of a spellcaster determines the limits of their skills in particular arcana, and their progress towards enlightenment and ascension above the mortal plane. The magic score applies to resistances against any Pattern spells as well as determining the maximum Mana and Mana per/turn of a spellcaster. Players have a cap for their arcana equal to Magic + 1 until Rank 6 (which requires Magic 6), with the exception of Trolls who will have a cap equal to their Magic score.

Defense against Magic

Defense applies to any spell when the caster is in melee range of the target, as the target can physically knock the caster's hand aside or throw themselves out of the way. Defense also applies to a handful of spells which manifest slowly or visibly enough to dodge.


Armor will only apply to items it could conceivably affect... for example, the 'Acid Wave' spell is affected by armor as the acid would land on the armor protecting the player's skin. A lightning bolt would not be reduced by metal armor, but a spell that shoots waves of ice shards might be. Magical armor or spell armor might be able to protect against a variety of spells however only Aimed Spells can be affected by Defense or Armor as Resistance Spells affect the person directly and are resisted instead. Standard armor and even standard spell armor does not prevent spells of mind control, paralysis, or energy drain as these spells are generally Pattern Spells. Besides standard resistance, countermagic is the only way to combat Resistance Spells.

Counterspelling

Mages and Sorcerers are able to counterspell magical effects from other Mages and Sorcerers. In order to counterspell, you must have a readied action to counterspell with an appropriate spell or seed. Opposed casting rolls are made, if the counterspell roll exceeds the other spell, the spell is snuffed. Ties go to the spell being countered.

Not all spells or effects may be counterspelled. The spell or effect must be external in nature and have some sort of cast action even if it is a Fast Action. Most Adept abilities, many Channeling abilities, and some Shamanism abilities do not meet these requirements, and thus may not be counterspelled. All Magecraft spells and Sorcery Seeds are subject to counterspelling.

Some examples of abilities that may not be counterspelled:

  • Hide in Plain Sight
  • Manifesting a Spirit
  • Passive bonuses to stats like Prowess and Environmental bonuses
  • Recovering lost Vigor
  • Fire Domain's immunity to fire effects

Some examples of abilities that may be counterspelled:

Mana

Mana represents the “pooling” of magical energy that spellcasters are able to achieve in their own bodies. This energy is difficult to manipulate, but is crucial for casting spells, channeling divine energies, and manifesting spiritual powers.

Characters have Mana equal to their Magic x 10. Mana recovers with rest, replenishing daily to full.

Additionally certain places in the world (called Hallows or Ley Lines) have currents or wellsprings of magical power. Casters can draw on these places of power with a successful casting roll (Intelligence + Casting Skill) to restore mana.

Mana Cost

Spell Rank Standard Mana Cost Ward Mana Cost Healing Mana Cost
Rank 1 0 1 2
Rank 2 1 2 3
Rank 3 2 3 4
Rank 4 3 4 5
Rank 5 4 5 6

Spell Descriptors

Some spells grant special descriptors such as an item enhancement, or damaging spell. Various descriptors have bonus effects in addition to their base damage or enhancement dice.

Spell Descriptor Bonus Effect
Fire Applies Burning to target.
Frost Applies Frost to target.
Lightning Applies Shock to target.
Concussion Applies Concussion to target.

Spell and Effect Stacking

As a universal rule of thumb, spells do not stack if any of the following are true for the 2 spells or 2 effects under consideration:

  • The spells or effects use the same modifier description and are applied to the same roll, statistic, attribute, or ability. (ie. Moral bonus, Enhancement bonus, Armor Penalty)
  • The spells or effects are from thematically or conceptually the same effect. (ie. Fear Aura from Adept's Dragon Discipline and Fear Aura from Shaman's Ghost Spirit)

When two spells or effects that do not stack are applied at the same time, the stronger spell or effect will take precedence, and be applied first. If the effect is not applied (ie. the target resists), then the lesser effect is still active and may be applied. The current casting rank is used for the evaluation of which is more powerful, not the rank that the spell or ability can be first obtained at. If they are at the same casting rank, then the Storyteller will make a decision on which will be applied first. If a weaker effect is already applied, and then a stronger effect is applied that can not stack, the stronger effect replaces the weaker effect. If this effect is a hostile act subject to a resist roll normally, then the target(s) may roll a resist roll against this stronger effect. Passing this resist means that the weaker effect remains in place, failing is means that the stronger effect replaces the weaker.

For example: Taazrhokal, a Dragon Adept with Terror Aura (a fear aura effect), and Penance, a Shaman with a fear aura from an imbued Ghost spirit are attacked by three bandits from different directions.

  • Bandit 1 runs in, passing into both Taazrhokal's aura and Penance's aura at the same time. The bandit rolls a resistance roll against Taazrhokal's aura first, as it is the stronger of the two. If the bandit fails the check, the bandit becomes Shaken, and is not affected by Penance's aura. If the bandit passes the check, the bandit then has to roll a resistance roll against Penance's aura.
  • Bandit 2 runs in, passing into Taazrhokal's aura first, and rolls a resistance roll. If the bandit fails, the bandit is Shaken, and will not be affected by Penance's aura if the bandit later enters Penance's aura while under the effect of Taazrhokal's aura. If the bandit passes, and later enters Penance's aura, the bandit will have to roll a resistance roll against Penance's aura at that time.
  • Bandit 3 runs in, passing into Penance's aura first, and rolls a resistance roll. If the bandit fails, the bandit is Shaken, if the bandit passes, the bandit is not affected by Penance's aura for 1 hour. If the bandit later enters Taazrhokal's aura, the bandit rolls a resistance roll against Taazrhokal's aura, regardless of whether or not the bandit passed or failed the roll against Penance's aura. If the bandit fails this roll, and had previously failed the roll against Penance's aura, the bandit's fear level increases by 1, from Shaken to Panicked. This is as if Penance's aura no longer applied, so Taazrhokal's Terror Aura increases the fear level from normal two steps to Panicked. If the bandit passes the roll against Taazrhokal's aura, but had failed against Penance's, the bandit is still Shaken from Penance's aura.


In all cases, the Storyteller makes any decision on what stacks and what does not.