Adventures in Theia
New Rules for Sorcery
Quick Summary of Changes
- Sorcery requires a “Cast Magic” skill instead of a 16+ POW requirement
- There are magic traditions besides basic sorcery and these tend to be culturally based (See the Advanced Sorcery Supplement): Dvergar are masters of Rune Magic. Keltic Druids and Pictish Drunes wield Fey Magic, Hyperboreans are the great summoners of the world, Stygians are well known to practice necromancy, and Kurgan and Mountain Pict witches and warlocks are the only known masters of Deep Magic. The basic sorcery outlined in the main rulebook is most commonly practiced in Acadia and Illyria
- Priests and favored laymen of cults and religions may be restricted in the starting spells they know — check each god for an approved list (or get GM approval in the absence of a spell list).
- Casting Shadow magic (harmful spells) will gain your character points of allegiance to Shadow. If your Allegiance score gets high enough, further castings risk corruption.
Casting Skill vs. Power 16+
The rules as written require a 16+ Power characteristic to cast spells (page 22). Instead spell casting is now a knowledge based skill with a 0% base chance (modified by the knowledge category bonus).
Certain occupations like Sorcerer, Shaman, Priest & Cultist get ‘Casting’ as an occupation skill (choose an existing occupation skill and replace it, or make ‘Casting’ a personal speciality skill). Characters of other occupations can spend ‘Personal Interest’ skill points in ‘Casting’ if they like. N.B. If you choose not to distribute points to the ‘Casting Skill’ during character generation, it can always be acquired later on through training if the character can find a willing teacher (a teacher must have a minimum casting skill of 50%+).
Spell Casting: Criticals, Specials, & Fumbles
Because ‘Casting’ is a skill it is subject to the same rules as other skill rolls with respect to levels of success and failure; a critical success consumes no magic points. A special success consumes half magic points. A normal success behaves as you would expect. A failure consumes no magic points, but fails to manifest. Lastly, a fumble drains the caster of Magic Points and fails to manifest.
N.B. Casting rolls are only necessary when your character is under duress.
Black Magic & Corruption:
Sorcerers who cast black magic – necromancy spells, daemonic summoning or spells that cause direct harm (mental or physical) add shadow points to their Allegiance score – 1 point per Magic Point(s) spent. If or when a sorcerer reaches 100 points in Shadow, thereafter, whenever he attempts to cast black magic, he must pass a Luck roll or suffer some form of psychic or physical corruption, usually in the form of lost characteristic points: 1 point per MP of the spell attempted (75% chance) or the sorcerer acquires a Chaotic Feature from the table on page 213 (25% chance). A fumble causes both effects.
Both types of corruption are permanent, but might be restored through normal or extraordinary means (exercise, surgery, successful resistance rolls, divine intervention, etc.)
Casting spells directly from scrolls or grimoires
In the course of the game there may come times when a character with no magical proficiency will try to cast spells from a scroll or another sorcerer’s grimoire without prior knowledge of that spell. This requires no casting roll, but does require a language roll and an INTx3% roll to decipher the script and to properly enunciate the strange syllables required for sorcery.
If either roll fails then the spell fails to manifest and cannot be attempted again until the Language skill or INT increases. If either roll is fumbled, then the spell takes effect, but in some detrimental way. Typical effects include: reversals, mixed up targets, total loss of Magic Points, etc. (GM’s discretion).
Casting a spell from a scroll or a grimoire wipes the arcane formulae from whatever surface it is written on, thus it is almost always only attempted by only the most desperate of individuals.
Base Range: a number of MV = sorcerer’s POW Your sorcerer character may wish to have a familiar. This is a special animal or other creature that enjoys an extraordinary relationship with the sorcerer. A familiar aids in magic and provides other useful abilities. To gain a familiar, your character must first capture or befriend an appropriate animal. This can be a creature from the bestiary.
The creature’s SIZ cannot be more than 1/4 your character’s POW, rounded up. For example, if your character has POW 16, he or she is limited to creatures of SIZ 4 or lower. All sorcerers are taught the ritual of binding a familiar, though the gamemaster may require an untutored sorcerer to seek the knowledge out in some grimoire or from a mentor. Once the creature is captured, your character must live in close proximity with it for three months. During this time your character cannot be away from the creature for more than a day at most. Each day is spent in ritual preparation, establishing a supernatural rapport with the creature. At the end of this process, your character must spend a point of permanent POW and defeat the creature in a POW vs. POW resistance roll (using your POW total before the point is spent). This is known as binding the creature. When the ritual is completed, all of your character’s current magic points are expended, but now he or she has an unbreakable magic link with the creature. If the resistance roll fails, the creature can never be taken for a familiar, and the POW point is lost.
A successfully bound familiar is unfailingly loyal to the character, and never willingly betrays him. Your character will always know where his or her familiar is (and vice versa) unless they are somehow shielded from each other. While the familiar is within range (defined as your character’s POW in meters), your character can:
- Drain the familiar of some or all Magic points, using them instead of the sorcerer’s own. If the creature is reduced to 0 magic points, it will go unconscious.
- See through the familiar’s eyes and utilize its other senses for one combat round, including use of any special detection (night vision, etc.) that the familiar possesses. This costs 1 magic point per POW rounds.
- Substitute his or her INT or POW for the familiar’s to defend the familiar against magical attacks against the familiar while it is in range. If the creature is outside the power’s range, the creature’s natural INT or POW are used instead.
Send telepathic messages or commands to the familiar. It will obey these, even if placing itself in danger or certain death. This costs 1 magic point per command.
- Speak through the creature’s mouth, if possible. The voice that emerges will sound like your character as if imitating the familiar (for example, a cat will emit a voice like the familiar’s owner speaking in a mewling ‘catlike’ voice). This requires your character to make a successful Idea roll to successfully convey information through your familiar in this manner—failure at this means that the familiar is unable to speak that round or make legible sounds. This ability costs 1 Magic point per sentence expressed (the gamemaster determines what constitutes a sentence).
The familiar is free to leave the basic range and does not leave the service of your character if it does so—it has simply passed beyond the range your character can take advantage of any of the abilities listed above. When your character wishes, the familiar instinctively returns to his or her side. Sometimes familiars assume recognizable aspects of their owner’s mannerisms and appearance, at the gamemaster’s discretion. These can be drawn from distinctive features (from page 34-35), personality traits, or even the results of major wounds. If a sorcerer can make a Difficult Idea roll while examining a familiar, and if the owner is known to the sorcerer, he or she can determine to whom the familiar is bound to. For example, a sorcerer’s familiar (a cat) has taken on a slight limp, as the sorcerer was injured with a major wound that never healed. A rival and colleague of the sorcerer, seeing a limping cat, may make a Difficult Idea roll. If successful, the second sorcerer recognizes the animal as the first sorcerer’s familiar. Your character can only have one familiar active at any one time. If your character attempts to turn one sorcerer’s familiar into is or her own, he or she must perform all of the above preparations, and then beat the combined total of the original owner’s and the familiar’s POW in a POW vs. POW resistance roll to seize command of the familiar creature. If successful, the familiar changes owners. The original owner immediately knows that the familiar is lost. The owner of a familiar can dismiss it at any time, instantaneously and without any roll required. After this, the animal resorts to its normal intelligence and capabilities, though it will retain memories of what it knew of its previous owner. Another sorcerer can then take the exfamiliar and make it his or her own familiar, potentially learning some of the previous owner’s secrets. For this reason, an unfortunate truth is that amiliars are rarely dismissed—and if so are immediately imprisoned or killed to prevent any betrayal of knowledge. A familiar that is never released from service, and serves for at least a year, will live as long as the sorcerer who bound it; and will die at the end of its CON in days after it’s binder dies.