Boil and Bubble: Ritual Path Magic Miscellany

Today’s post is a small collection of random rules add-ons for ritual path magic designed to change the system’s dynamic and give it a bit of extra flavor.

Curses! External Afflictions and RPM

Damaging spells can be “external” based spells meaning the caster must succeed on a skill roll such as Brawling or Innate Attack to affect a target (who then gets an Active Defense). But what about afflictions? By the book afflictions are straight up “internal” spells meaning they work like your typical malediction in GURPS. This isn’t always the case with fiction GMs wish to emulate. Some magic flings curses at targets just as if it were an external spell – you get a chance to dodge or block it normally, but at what cost? After some playing with this is in my own campaigns halving the final energy value of the affliction seems to work perfectly. So you can fling a curse at someone to cause a heart attack, but it’s visible and “solid” so it can be dodged or blocked just like an external damaging spell.

This may also be used for spells that bind up a target. In such cases, halve the spell effect (almost always Create or Control) cost instead. If adding Bestows a Bonus to increase the ST rating of the binding effect, halve that if it gives a better energy discount.

Counter Charms/Magic Shields

Some fiction (I’m thinking Harry Potter in this instance in particular) allows casters – sometimes in a duel – to throw a rapid “counter charm” to negate the spell being used against them. RPM makes blocking spells like this difficult to do (and with good reason). Using this rule external effects (non-Malediction type effects) can be quickly countered without the usual -10 to rolls to instantly gather energy for a blocking spell. This allows a caster to dispel an effect before it hits him.

The GM may decide that he wants casters to have “shields” – another common thing in fiction. This allows the caster to attempt to make a special Parry against an external effect equal to the lower of his Path of Magic or the spell’s controlling Path skill divided by 2 +3. This costs 1 FP to use and gives the caster “magical DR” equal to half his Path skill against this effect. Failure means the defender is hit by the spell normally. Treat critical failures as a critical success on the spell itself – you opened yourself up to the magic!

Magic is Draining

Ritual Path Magic doesn’t really use resources – in fact, it makes them difficult, if not impossible to use via voluntary sacrifice. What if magic drains the caster? In such cases, instead of multiplying the cost of energy for a spell the Greater Effects Multiplier reduces the caster’s FP instead. Optionally, and less drastically, the GM could say that each spell cast requires 1 FP. Treat everything else about spellcasting the same including keeping the normal effects of spells with Greater effects in them.

GMs may even decide to treat such FP loss as “long-term fatigue points: (per GURPS After the End 1: Wastelanders, p. 15) meaning the FP lost to magic in this requires the caster to get a full night’s rest to recover

Picking Over the Bones

I’m likely to do more of these grouped “micro-rules” posts as not everything I write can reach my prefered 300-500 word posts. These are some stragglers I had sitting in my Evernote files (I’m still working on getting those into shape and more organized), though the countering magic rules came from a conversation I had with one of my Patreon patrons. What do you think of these RPM add ons? Too much detail? Not enough? I want to know.

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  1. I’m all fr countermagic options. I like mages dueling each other and my own rules systems tend to support that idea.
    The use of Greater Effects as a personal FP cost is also nice.

    • I too like magic duels – I did literally write a system about it after all. The FP rules for Greater Effects is basically the backbone of my Ceteri magic rules and I can say it lets magic do a lot, but contains it too. Very pleased with how they turned out.

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