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Rune Magic System for The Black Hack

A very rough draft of a Rune Magic system for The Black Hack

Every rune belongs to a clan of three runes. In this example, the Abrogation rune belongs to the Shield clan.

The image in the top left is the rune itself.

Each rune provides 10 to 14 spells. To cast a spell, roll d12. Compare the roll to the chart: a white box means success, a black box means failure.

For example, casting Dispel Magic, roll d12. A roll of 6 or 7 and the spell will fail, otherwise, it will be a success.

Eggs are magic items specific to Rune Mages. An egg can either guarantee success with a spell or a specific roll. Looking at the chart, a Rune Mage using this rune would be very interested in an egg that makes rolls of 6 and 7 successes.

Whether an egg affects a spell or roll is determined when it is discovered as the egg attunes to the Rune Mage. In other words, you can't go to a magic shop to find a 6 Egg or a Spell Resistance egg. If your world has magic shops, they wouldn't sell unattuned ones because once a Rune Mage touches one, the egg would be useless.

This rune chart is completely filled out. Usually, a player would begin with the Rune, Clan, Name, and all 1st level spells. The rest of the spells become available as the character levels.

The roll to add a new spell could add a spell from the same rune or for a spell from the same clan of runes. It could add one spell, two spells, or replace an existing spell.

More to come. Thoughts welcome.


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  1. K Yani

    Why 6 and 7 as a failure, not 1 or 12 (as it is more common). Is this so that in case of switching from d12 to 2d6 there was a bigger chances of failure?

  2. John Payne

    K Yani The failure chart matches the rune itself. It just so happens that this one covers the 6 and 7 results.

  3. John Payne

    K Yani Here’s a different rune in the same clan. Notice that the Resistance spell is always successful (no black squares), Endure Elements, though, fails on a roll of 7, 8, or 9.

    I didn’t finish this rune’s spells, but I wanted to give you an example of a different one so that it makes more sense.
    drive.google.com – Rune Protection.pdf

  4. K Yani

    John Payne Thank you for the explanation, it is more clear now.

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