Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pages from the past pt.2 - Rune Magic

More scans today and this time relating to a magic system.  One thing that was a lot of fun for both players and me in my old game was the custom magic systems.  I was out of love with Vancian magic at the time and taking a page from the more free form power effects found in Marvel Superhero so I wanted something very organic.  I developed a couple frameworks (Spirit magic, Musical magic and probably most used was the Rune Magic) and let the characters come up with their own spells and gain higher ability in them based on how much XP they invested.

The Runes
There was one rune caster in the campaign named Lök, who was the guinea pig for the system and I think did a great job figuring out how to work it.  Here's some clippings from his spell books.
Lök's spell book - his known runes
The spell book was broken into two parts, the first being a list of the Runes that he understood or could use in casting. The interesting thing was that the runes were broken into verbs and nouns.  Gaining a new Rune would open up a whole bunch of new combinations with existing ones and was a great cause for celebration.

The second part of the spell book was the actual incantations that he had used.  The first time a spell was attempted it was very hard to cast, requiring a roll for the caster's magic skill and a result equal to a RED on the chart (picture a three colour Marvel Superhero chart something like this).  After spending XP on it a spell would shift to Yellow and finally to Green which meant it was well known.

Lök's spell book - early spells
Spells could use the same runes in them for different effects, but they were unique once crafted. The number of points used to cast the spell would determine it's effect based on whatever modifiers required e.g. amount of damage, material hardness, length of effects, etc.  He made some very popular spells like his Firewater spell with which he could make a really flammable alcohol and then light it up.  Once he acquired the rune for Earth he really went to town, becoming pretty formidable in combat as well.
Lök's spell book - later spells
It was a fun magic system and it worked pretty well considering we were basically play testing it on the fly.

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