More Om Magike for M200

Those that practice Miracles were mentioned in the previous post. This post provides a bit more detail. I also include a bit of rationale for the magic system as a whole.

In Microlite20, every spell as a DC target. This makes both Clerics and Magi skill-based spell casters. In earlier D&D there are no skill-based spell casters in the standard rules. Adding one to Andras or any retro-clone has a much different effect than doing it in Microlite20.

The same is true for any Mana based system. It doesn't exist in earlier D&D, but all spell casters in Microlite20 use their hit points as a mana pool. Varying how the mana is used doesn't do much in Microlite20. In fact, it looks like a record keeping nightmare. (Am I going to cast this as a 6th level Thaumaturge or save a point and cast it as a 4th level one?)

The classes themselves, however, offer an intended tradeoff. This is the element I want to keep. Over time, a Thaumaturge has to pay more to cast the same spell as a Wizard. At 15th level, a Thaumaturge will pay 9 points for a full Magic Missile while the Wizard will pay only 3. The gap closes as spell reach higher levels. At 21st Level, both the Thaumaturge and the Wizard pay 19 points for a 9th level spell. Yet, even at this high level, the cost for the Thaumaturge will continue to increase.

I also want to keep the feel of miracle magic. In other words, Shamans have strange and fearsome powers and Psions are regarded as atheists by the Priests. I like the idea that Psion create an issue of faith for a priest. This is further enhanced by the other changes that will make psionic ability much more similar to Priest spells.

Many telepathic abilities are similar to divination. A psion can determine a person's thoughts, discover the history of a place or item, travel astrally to be in a place far away in order to gather information and much more. Psions can heal. Psions can create things in a similar fashion as the gods (though not nearly as powerful as the gods). There's more, but you get the idea. Many abilities are already similar, so tweak the rest of the Priest spells to fit for psions.

Lastly, just like Priests can have various domains (or spheres in 2nd Edition), I have changed the Psionic disciplines from six to many. Just like 2e had Priests of Specific Mythoi, the framework is in place for GMs to create Psions of a Specific Path. This makes individual psions different based upon which school they attend. This is optional, just like the Specific Mythoi rules, but for a flavorful campaign, it feels a lot more fun.

Shamans are intended to be fun for the GM. I've almost ported over the D6 Fantasy Spell Building system to D&D. Since that spell building system has options for group casting, big effects, day-long rituals, etc, it becomes easier to build spells that just don't fit into the Vancian system.

For example, to create a spell that places a wall of force around an entire village isn't effectively possible. The spell caster would have to be a triple digit level spell caster to get a diameter that large. Using the spell builder, however, longing casting time and community help can make it possible. Not only that, it can provide a good measure of the appropriate level of this kind of spell.

Work continues on. Hopefully the next post will provide the new disciplines for psions and detailed examples of shaman spells.

Om Magike for M20-ish

I had mentioned Om Magike as a project for Andras previously. I have since found that doing the crunchy stuff in Microlite format helps me get to the point and stop writing a bunch of flowery prose that can't be used in a game.

Why M20-ish? Because it uses my d20+d10 mechanic. I've called it M2010 in other places, but will call it M200 for this point on. The 200 is what rolling a 30 will look like. Two hundred is also the number of possible die rolls using d20+d10. As mentioned previously, rolling d20+d10 provides an interesting bell curve as well as other possibilities in opposed rolls.

One last thing to mention: the text of the post is alpha. The downloadable pdf will have been edited. Today is the grand theory of magic and some crunch for the various classes. The next post will have examples.

Overview of Magic

The use of magic exists along a continuum. At one extreme, there is an intuitive understanding of the essence of magic. The force of magic in the universe is an organic part of the universe and exists inside everything. In this extreme, magic is a relationship between the spellcaster and the universe. The nuts and bolts of how magic works remains an awe-inspiring mystery. Practitioners of this type of magic are called Thaumaturges. At the opposite extreme, magic is a force to be wielded. Magic is controlled by precise ritual. These rituals are discovered through careful study and exacting experimentation. For spellcasters in this end of the continuum, magic is a skill in the same way that working leather is a skill. Practitioners of this form of magic are called Arcanists. Near the middle of this continuum are Wizards. They have the trappings of the Arcanists, specifically books with arcane formulae, various experiment, long hours of study and the like, paired with the outlook of the Thaumaturges. In other words, Magic is seen as a force that is barely understood. It is not controlled, but can only guided through a relationship with the force of magic itself.

Races for Magic Using Classes

Thaumaturges are rarely human or dwarvish. Most are elves and other fey creatures. Human spellcasters tend to be Arcanists. Dwarves, Gnomes and Halflings can also be Arcanists. Exiled Elves can also be Arcanists; details about Exiled Elves will be provided in more detail elsewhere. Wizards are always human or half-human, but uncommon. Wizardry was discovered/invented by a human many generations ago. Its usage has a relatively short history as compared to Arcany and Thaumaturgy. Powerful Wizards are greatly feared as their power has the potential to exceed that of the eldest Elven thaumatuges. Despite this, Wizards are sneered as either too sloppy in research or killing the beauty of magic through that same tortuous research.

Miracles or Divine Magic

The working of miracles also exists along a continuum. Priests align themselves with a chosen deity or pantheon and draw power from this relationship to work miracles. Purists (called Psions by Priests) search for power within the Soul and draw power from it to manipulate the universe. Purists do not believe that they are performing miracles, but to common folk, the distinction between a Priest and a Purist is minimal. Both spend time in meditation to recharge their ability to work wonders. Between the two extremes are the non-human shamans. Shamans gain power from many different places, including primal forces of nature, deceased ancestors, collective consciousness, unique landmarks, and more.

Shamans are differentiated from Priests and Purists by their ability to invoke the sources of their power directly. Their invocation usually takes the form of hours-long rituals, using rare materials and a vast number of songs. These powerful invocations have been known to make entire villages disappear or cause the ground to roil beneath an invading army's feet.

Thaumaturgy

Thaumaturges are able to use magic governed by their Magnitude and Mana. Magnitude is a measure of the character's level of power and the potency of magic. Mana is the character's reservoir of metaphysical energy and the Thaumaturge's connection to the source of magic.

Magnitude influences both the spell levels that can be cast and the spell's casting cost in Mana.

Starting Mana is Magnitude + MIND Stat. At each level, the Thaumaturge adds their MIND bonus to their Mana.

The cost for casting a spell is Magnitude + the Level of the spell.

FULL CASTING

Full Casting is when a character unleashes a spell with her full capacity. The amount of Mana required is equal to her Magnitude + Spell's Level.

For example, a 5th level Thaumaturge casting Magic Missile with this method allows the spell to function normally. The character's level determines its range and other bonuses. It would cost 4 Mana (3 for her Magnitude and 1 for the spell's level) to cast the spell.

DEMI-CASTING

Demi-Casting can be used when a character is trying to conserve Mana, or only needs less than the full mana required to cast a spell. The Thaumaturge may selectively reduce his or her Magnitude, as long as it is not lower than the Spell's Level. The benefit is that the Mana required is less than normal. However, the drawback is that the spell is considered casted at 2 levels lower for each 1 point of reduction in Magnitude.

For example, if a 7th level Thaumaturge casts Magic Missile uses full casting, the spell to functions normally. The spell is cast using 7th level to determine range and other bonuses. It would cost 5 Mana (4 for her Magnitude and 1 for the spell's level) to cast the spell. To cast it with less Mana, using only 4 Mana, the effective casting level would be 5h level. Using only 3 Mana, the effective casting level would be 3rd level.

Demi-casting is also used for spells that do not have level-based effects. Knock is always cast as if the Thaumaturge lowering their magnitude to 2. For all Thaumatureges, casting Knock always costs 4 Mana (2 Magnitude plus 2 for the level of the spell.)

Periapts

Thaumaturges are able to create a periapt that can store Mana. A Thaumaturge can create a periapt that stores up to the thaumaturge's Magnitude in Mana. Thaumaturges can use any periapt with stored Mana, even if the amount of stored Mana exceeds their Magnitude.

Arcanist

Arcanists has a new skill called Spellcraft. When attempting to roll under the target number given for a spell, the Spellcraft rank can be added to the target number.

GMs Note: This requires that all spells have a difficulty rating. Using the Spell Creation system, spells may vary in difficulty ratings, including numbers over 30 and less than 2. In general, use the table below to assign difficulty ratings to spells:

Spell Level Difficulty Rating
1st 30
2nd 25
3rd 20
4th 15
5th 10
6th 5
7th 0
8th -5
9th -10

Arcanists take subdural hit point damage per standard M20 rules when successfully casting a spell. When a spell fails, the Arcanist loses 1 hit point and may attempt the spell again.

Optionally, an Arcanist can also use the Mana rules like a Thaumaturge. Arcanists, however, cannot create periapts to store mana.

Wizards

As per standard M20 rules.