Boil and Bubble: Ritual Path Magic Skill Levels

Anders sent me a PM the other day and asked a pretty simple question: What do skill levels mean for Ritual Path magic casters? You’ve got your shiny copy of GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic and you’ve just bought GURPS Template Toolkit 1: Characters…but now what? You’ve got your skill level description from p. 12 of the latter, but how do spells interact with it? You could probably extract an approximate idea of what the skill levels mean by making a few assumptions…

…that each level comes with a appropriate level of Magery and Thaumatology since your Path skill can never exceed the lower of his Thaumatology skill or (12 + Magery level).
…that each level assumes you can cast a spell with energy equal to your Safe Threshold Level x1.5 + Mana Reserve (if any).
…that Ritual Adept, is for this chart out of the equation, most serious casters are going to have it, but having the moxy to pull off a big spell doesn’t need it.
…that a character has actually put points into the skill (e.g., he isn’t defaulting it).
…that the spells listed are not the only ones they can cast, but the one’s they can reliably do so under pressure and not in ideal circumstances.

Going from there we might get something like this:

Path Skill Level
8 to 9
Typical of characters just learning magic; can cast Track Traveler reliably (4 energy).
10 to 11
Typical of characters who are still learning, but capable; can cast Minor Healing (7 energy).
12 to 13
Typical of characters who are conversant in spellcraft, but is not yet a master, but capable; can cast Babble On (13 energy).
14 to 15
Experienced Journeyman
Typical of characters who are extremely conversant in their craft and well on their way to mastery; Needed for most combat magics; can cast Pentagram Trap (25 energy).
16 to 18
Typical of characters who are the respected masters of their craft; can cast Create Pocket Dimension (81 energy).
19 to 20
Typical of characters who are eminent masters of their craft; can cast Live Off The Land (121 energy).
Legendary Archmagi
Characters are can do nearly anything in their craft; can cast Call Spirit (139 energy).

Again, the example spell isn’t the only spell they can cast – just the ones they could reliably toss out when needed. A character with Path of Undead-12 could still try to cast “Call Spirit” though it might be harder for him and have a quirk or two – a character with Path of Undead-21 just makes it look easy. Or, put another way, a true master of his craft make the hard look profound and the simple look hard.

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