Here’s another installment of Ritual Path Magic Miscellany – today I’m talking about spell requirements, renewable charms, and techbane magic.
Requirements for Spells
Some spells might require specific ingredients, components, gestures, or motions to even cast. To simulate this, use the following rule:
- If a spell requires a series of complex hand gestures or foot motions this gives a reduction of 2.5% – if it requires both this is worth 5% instead.
- If the spell requires you proclaim a specific incantation, mantra, poem, etc. in a loud voice (making Stealth impossible), this gives a reduction of 5%
- If the spell requires a separate invocation, ritual, or rite to be performed before the spell itself is cast, use the following:
- If it takes 1d additional minutes of concentration this is worth a 1% reduction
- If it takes 1dx5 minutes this is worth a 2.5% reduction.
- If it takes 1d/2 hour this is worth a 5% reduction
- If the spell requires a totem, foci, fetish or similar device worth at least 0.5% of starting wealth (e.g., $100 at TL8) this gives a reduction of 5%. If it costs 5% of starting wealth (e.g., $2,000) this is worth another 2.5%.
- If the spell requires special components that are used up when the spell is cast (successful or not) use the following:
- Very Common Component: Gives a 2.5% reduction for a component costing at least 0.1% starting wealth. Example: powdered agate, malt liquor, paperback books.
- Common Component: Gives a 5% reduction for a component costing at least 1% starting wealth. Example: powdered cubic zirconia, 10 year scotch, early printing of book.
- Uncommon Component: Gives a 7.5% reduction for a component costing at least 5% starting wealth. Example: sapphire, 25 year scotch, first printing of a book
- Rare Component: Gives a 10% reduction for a component; almost always must be found or made. If not costs 50% of starting wealth. Example: yellow diamond, 50 year scotch, original annotated copy of book by author.
Renewable Charms & Magical Resonance
Charms are typically objects that can be easily destroyed thus activating the magic within. Things like tiles, paper, string, knots, and other similiar forms are common place. But what if you want to create a charm that is not easily destroyed or something you want to keep on your person? How then would the effects be activated? Simple. Treat a charm on a non-destroyable surface normally, but add a Lesser Sense Mind effect to know when the wearer wants the spell to take place.
If using such rules, consider adopting the rules for Magical Patina (GURPS Thaumatology, p. 88) , but treated years as times its been used for a magical spell as a charm, e.g., 10 times of casting a spell on a particular bracelet gives a +1 to casting rolls to do it again. Thus an old bracelet that holds a shield spell gets easier to cast that spell (and others) on it the more often it’s used.
The Dresden Files popularized the idea that magic and technology doesn’t get along in the modern fiction reader’s mind, but it’s not the only place it’s been done. This can be done as either a penalty to rolls around technology or results in technology having a malfunction number when used around someone who is a caster.
First, if the caster suffers penalties in areas of high technology/industry figure the penalty as follows.
- Casters suffer no penalty when in an area that has machines or devices of (Campaign TL – 4).
- Caster suffers a penalty of -1 in an area that has machines or devices of (Campaign TL – 3).
- Castrer suffers a penalty of -3 in an area that has machines or devices of (Campaign TL – 2).
- Castrer suffers a penalty of -5 in an area that has machines or devices of (Campaign TL – 1).
- Castrer suffers a penalty of -7 in an area that has machines or devices of (Campaign TL).
- Castrer suffers a penalty of -10 in an area that has machines or devices of (Campaign TL + 1).
For the latter, use the above method, but halve the penalty (round up) and apply it as a Malfunction Number to devices within the area when using magic. Devices all start with a Malfunction Number of 18. The GM should apply this only once, but should use against devices the PCs might find useful or would bring dramatic tension. For example, if caster’s working a spell, his cellphone (a TL8) device might have a Malfunction Number of 14 (18 – 4). It might be fine for a while, but eventually you’re going to accidentally text Satan.
If this is a feature of the setting not having problems is worth +50% on both Magery and Ritual Adept. If it isn’t, having these problems is -20% for the second option and -25% for the first.
Picking Over the Bones
And a few more rules. These are from the vault and a few were inspired by others asking me questions. I think I have one more post in me for these little micro-rules for RPM and then I’ll see how the posts fair to determine if I write up any more in this format.