Thursday, February 20, 2014

GURPS101: Spell Kits For Casters - The Gatemaker

"One man only had perished in the fire. When the last of the Hydes was buried in this place of shade and stillness, the sad urnful of ashes had come from a distant land; to which the family had repaired when the mansion burned down. No one remains to lay flowers before the granite portal, and few care to brave the depressing shadows which seem to linger strangely about the water-worn stones."

-- H. P. Lovecraft, The Tomb (1922)

In a previous post, I talked about various "wizardly" archetypes and how you might create them using RPM. In this post (and successive ones if it proves popular), I'm going to outline the best spells to take for Ritual Mastery, a possible list of conditional spells/charms/potions/etc., a list of traits, and a typical course of action for such a character in combat. Let's start with the Gatemaker:

Higher Purpose (Gate) adds to spells...

  • sense gates, extradimensional portals, time shifting doors, etc.
  • create gates inside of targets to cause damage.
  • actually create gates (as you stated above).
  • give a bonus to Active Defenses by creating a portal in front of you.
  • ...that allow you to physically spy on others (think GURPS Magic's Wizard Eye).
  • ...that allow you to move physical portals elsewhere (or their destination).
  • ...that change the destination of another gate spell case by someone else.
  • ...and so on.


Ritual Mastery/Conditional Spell List:

  • Conjure Gate (see below)
  • Create Pocket Dimension (GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic, p. 40)
  • Distant Attack (see below)
  • Fast Port (see below)
  • Phase Bolt (see below)
  • Redirect Attack (see below)
  • Spatial Anchor (see below)
  • Track Traveler (GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic, p. 40)


Character Traits:

  • 3D Spatial Sense or Absolute Direction (Magic, -10%) [5 or 9].
  • Absolute Timing or Chronolocation (Magic, -10%) [2 or 5].
  • Compartmentalized Mind 1 (Limited, Path of Crossroads only, -30%*; Magic, -10%; No Mental Separation, -20%) [20/level].
  • Damage Resistance (Force Field, +20%; Limited, Path of Crossroads or Teleportation effects, -40%; Magic, -10%) [3.5/level].
  • Detect (Spatial Anomalies; Magic, -10%) [9].
  • Energy Reserve (Mana Reserve; One Power, Path of Crossroads only, -50%*) [1.5/level].
  • Higher Purpose (Gate) [5/level].
  • Jumper (Time; Magic, -10%) [90].
  • Magery (Ritual Path; Limited Scope, Path of Crossroads, -30%) [7/level].
  • Racial Skill Bonus +1 to +3 (Path of Crossroads) [2/level]. GMs may allow specialist casters to possess this trait (see p. B452 for details), though he should probably require them to start out with it. He may even allow the Natural at (skill) trait.
  • Resistant to Teleportation or Path of Crossroads (+3 or +8; Magic, -10%; Switchable, +10%) [5 or 10].
  • Ritual Adept (Limited Scope, Path of Crossroads, -30%) [28].
  • Skills: Area Knowledge, Body Sense, Hidden Lore (Gates or Particular Dimension), Innate Attack (Projectile), and Navigation/TL (any).
  • Temporal Inertia (Magic, -10%) [14].
  • Unaging (Magic, -10%) [14].
  • Warp (Magic, -10%) [90].
* Even if the caster has no points in any other Path, he still receives this discount because he can use other Path skills at default.

Tactics in Combat:
The Gatemaker is actually quite good at combat, perhaps owing to the fact that he can move around so quickly, summon gates into targets, and redirect damaging attacks. You're going to want to have several charms worth of Redirect Attack and Phase Bolt spells if you plan on being in combat often and the occasional Fast Port or Conjure Gate spell when things go pear-shaped. Additionally, Gatemakers will want to some skill in unarmed, armed, and ranged combat if they can afford it - especially when using the Skirmish Porting technique (see below). Casters will also find this extended Speed/Range chart useful for long-range spells.

New Technique:

Skirmish Porting


Default: prerequisite skill-5*.
Prerequisite: Any unarmed combat, Melee Weapon, or Ranged Weapon skill; cannot exceed prerequisite skill.

           When making teleporting and making a Move and Attack (p. B00) you use this technique instead of your regular skill and ignoring the skill cap on melee attacks.
* For ranged weapons add the Bulk Modifier of your weapon to this penalty; you may then buy this penalty off, though if you use another similar weapon your technique level can never grant you a net bonus to skill.

New Rituals:

Conjure Gate
Spell Effects: Greater Create Crossroads.
Inherent Modifiers: None.
Greater Effects: 1 (x3).

This spell creates a gate that delivers the caster (and anyone else who weighs 300 lbs or less and who steps through it) up to 500 miles away to a destination of his choosing when he casts the spell. The gate lasts for 10 minutes or whenever the caster ends the spell.

Typical Casting: Greater Create Crossroads (6) + Speed, 500 miles (34) + Range, 500 miles (34) + Duration, 10 minutes (1) + Subject Weight, 300 lbs. (3). 234 energy (78x3).

Distant Attack
Spell Effects: Lesser Create Crossroads.
Inherent Modifiers: Damage, Special.
Greater Effects: 0 (x1).

This spell allows the caster to attack any subject up to 50 yards away with a weapon he already has in hand or using unarmed attacks. This attack can do no more than 3d+2 (the average swing damage of ST 20). This effect lasts for 10 minutes.

Typical Casting: Lesser Create Crossroads (6) + Damage, 3d+2 (10) + Duration, 10 minutes (1) + Range, 50 yards (8). 25 energy (25x1).

Fast Port
Spell Effects: Greater Create Crossroads.
Inherent Modifiers: None.
Greater Effects: 1 (x3).

This spell creates a gate underneath or beside the caster that is close enough to step through. It delivers the caster to a spot of his choosing up to 100 yards away instantly. This can be cast as a Blocking spell (GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic, p. 00) - doing so allows you to make a special Active Defense roll (Path of Crossroads / 2) +3. Success means you dodged the attack and take no damage. Failure means you were still affected, but end up in your new location. Critical failure means you take 1d injury as parts of your body are left behind at your old location.

Typical Casting: Greater Create Crossroads (6) + Speed, 100 yards (10) + Range, 100 yards (10) + Subject Weight, 300 lbs. (3). 87 energy (29x3).

Phase Bolt
Spell Effects: Lesser Create Crossroads.
Inherent Modifiers: Damage, Internal Impaling (Selective Effect).
Greater Effects: 1 (x3).

This spell teleports pieces of your target out of his body in bloody chunks and spray of gore. If he fails to resist this spell he takes 3d impaling damage that ignores DR. You may only use this spell on targets who are within 50 yards of you. The caster may target specific Hit Locations if he wishes.

Typical Casting: Lesser Create Crossroads (6) + Damage, Internal Impaling 3d (Selective Effect, +20%) (12) + Range, 50 yards (8) + Subject Weight, 300 lbs. (3). 29 energy (29x1).

Redirect Attack
Spell Effects: Lesser Create Crossroads x2.
Inherent Modifiers: None.
Greater Effects: 0 (x1).

This Blocking spell (GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic, p. 00) allows the caster to create a temporary gate in front of him and another anywhere within 100 yards of him allowing to redirect any physical or energy attack that is not a cone or area-effect.

Typical Casting: Lesser Create Crossroads (6) + Lesser Create Crossroads (6) + Range, 100 yards (10). 22 energy (22x1).

Spatial Anchor
Spell Effects: Lesser Destroy Crossroads.
Inherent Modifiers: Area of Effect + Bestows a Penalty, Spatial effects.
Greater Effects: 0 (x1).

This ritual gives a -5 penalty on all skill rolls with abilities that involve teleportation, dimensional hopping, etc. within 20 yards of the chosen area. This includes most Path of Crossroads effects and these effects persist for 24 hours, though it may be renewed normally.

Typical Casting: Lesser Destroy Crossroads (5) + Area of Effect, 20 yards (12) + Bestows a Penalty, -5 to Spatial effects (32). 49 energy (49x1).

Note: Just as a warning - if I find a place for any of the following spells within my official body of work I'll take them down and point them as a reference to whatever text they end up in.


  1. So, talk to me about Selective Effect on Phase Bolt - what's that about?

    1. Simply put, it allows you to target hit locations with maledictions. You wouldn't need this if it were for a external damaging spells - but because it's a internal one (the equivalent of a Malediction), you need it. See Innerportation (GURPS Psionic Powers, p. 70) and Selective Effect (GURPS Power-Ups 4: Enhancements, p. 16).

    2. I figured that might be the case, but hadn't seen that spelled out anywhere before. I stopped my searching at Powers, and didn't think to dive into the Power-Ups series for elucidation.

  2. No worries. I've read all of my GURPS books at least a dozen times and I cycle through them on a biweekly basis to keep my knowledge "fresh." :-)

  3. Very cool. Might inspire me to write up that hobo gate mage.