Spellcasting Rules (System)

Casting a spell works similarly to activating a gimmick. To cast a spell, you simply pay the spell’s Pool Point “casting cost.” Casting a spell counts as a normal action. You must direct the spell at a single opponent or target. You may cast multiple spells during your turn by paying the casting cost of each spell and suffering the multiple action penalty for each time you cast a spell, however, you must cast the same spell each time (you may not cast different spells in the same turn) and you may cast no more than one spell on the same target in a single turn.

Note that if you possess the MultiSpell gimmick, you may cast multiple spells during your turn at a reduced casting cost, you do not suffer the multiple action penalty, and (provided that you’ve purchased this option of the MultiSpell gimmick) you may cast different spells. Refer to the MultiSpell gimmick for specific information on the ways in which it modifies the normal spellcasting rules.

Attacking With Spells
There are two ways in which spells reach their targets. Most spells are invoked: the mage simply calls them forth and they automatically strike the desired target (or manifest in the desired location) without requiring the mage to roll to strike. Only targets that are behind full cover or otherwise out of the mage’s reach or line of sight are safe from invoked spells. To avoid an invoked spell’s effects, the target must beat the mage in a contested Resolve check. Tied checks are rerolled. Examples of invoked spells include: Command, Illusion, Invisibility, Teleport, and Zombie. Area effect variants of directed spells (see the following paragraph) also count as invoked spells.

A few spells are directed: the mage aims them at the desired target, they physically traverse the distance between the mage and the target (typically in the form of a magical beam or blast of energy), and they must strike the target in order to take effect. To strike a target with a directed spell, the mage rolls a Firearms check. All situational modifiers apply. To avoid a directed spell’s effects, the target must successfully dodge the attack; an attempt to parry a directed spell automatically fails unless the target possesses an energy-based defense gimmick (such as Abjuration Aura or Holy Aura) that allows him to safely parry energy-based attacks. Examples of directed spells include: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Ice, and Lightning.

Defending Against Spells
There are a number of methods by which defenders may attempt to avoid the effects of incoming spells: withstanding, dodging, parrying, and evading. Each method of defense is described below.

Withstand: Only invoked spells may be withstood. When struck by an invoked spell, the defender rolls a Resolve check contested against the mage’s Resolve check. If the defender wins, he withstands the power of the mage’s spell and avoids its effects. If the mage wins, the spell takes effect. Ties are rerolled.

Dodge: Only directed spells may be dodged. The defender uses his Dodge Defense Total when attempting to dodge a directed spell. If the Final Total of the mage’s Firearms check is less than the defender’s Dodge Defense Total, the defender dodges the spell and avoids its effects. If the Final Total of the mage’s Firearm’s check is equal to or greater than the defender’s Dodge Defense Total, the spell strikes the defender and takes effect.

Parry: Only directed spells may be parried. The defender must be protected by an energy-based gimmick (such as Abjuration Aura or Holy Aura) in order to attempt to parry an incoming directed spell. The defender uses his Melee Defense Total or Brawling Defense Total (depending on if he is using a hand-held item or his body, respectively) when attempting to parry a directed spell. If the Final Total of the mage’s Firearms check is less than the defender’s Defense Total, the defender parries the spell and avoids its effects. If the Final Total of the mage’s Firearm’s check is equal to or greater than the defender’s Defense Total, the spell strikes the defender and takes effect.

Evade: Only area effect spells may be evaded. When a defender is caught within the area of an area effect spell, he rolls a Reflexes check with a –2 penalty to avoid the effects of the spell. If the spell is used as part of a sneak attack, the defender’s check suffers an additional –2 penalty. If the mage’s actions currently suffer the multiple action penalty, this penalty is instead added as a bonus to the defender’s Reflexes check. If the defender succeeds, he evades the spell and avoids its effects. If the defender fails, he suffers the normal effects of the spell.

Spell List

This section lists and describes all mage spells. Each spell entry describes the cinematic appearance of the spell and explains how the spell works within the rules. Each spell entry also lists the spell’s Pool Point activation cost, casting style, type, and tier immediately following the spell’s name. Spells with asterisks after their names are energy-based spells.

Barrier* (8PP/Invoked/Defensive/1-3)
Create a spherical barrier of shimmering magical energy with a five-foot radius around yourself or one other creature or object of up to large size within 25 yards for three turns. Nothing more than the surrounding atmosphere can enter the barrier unless you allow it to do so.

A barrier is immune to damage from normal brawling, melee, and firearms attacks, but energy-based attacks damage it normally. A barrier has a number of Health Points based on its tier, but no Resistance Factor. A barrier created by a Barrier 1 spell has 10 Health Points. A barrier created by a Barrier 2 spell has 15 Health Points. A barrier created by a Barrier 3 spell has 20 Health Points. If the barrier is destroyed, the protected character must roll a successful Reflexes check with a –2 penalty or suffer the remaining damage. The protected character may Resist this damage normally.

Blind/Silence (6PP/Invoked/Status/2)
Cause an opponent within 25 yards to immediately go blind or become unable to speak and make sounds for the next three turns. A blinded character suffers a –3 penalty to strike and a –1 penalty to Defense Totals against incoming attacks and directed spells. These penalties do not stack with penalties for fighting an invisible character. A silenced character cannot speak, cast spells, or activate gimmicks that require him to speak, play music, or otherwise make noise. Note that a silenced character still makes noise when he interacts with the environment (such as when he dives into a pool of water or kicks open a door), so he gains no bonus to sneak.

Command (8PP/Invoked/Mental/2)
Force an opponent within 25 yards to carry out your spoken commands to the best of his ability for three turns. The opponent must understand your language and be within hearing distance of your voice in order for you to control him. You cannot make the opponent take an action that causes him to directly harm himself, but practically any other command will be immediately obeyed. Damaging the commanded opponent or giving him a self-destructive command instantly ends the spell; if the spell ends in this way, the opponent becomes immune to further Command attempts from the same caster for the remainder of the scene.

While under your command, the opponent retains his memories and may speak normally (unless you command him to do otherwise). A command to sleep, be still, or surrender forces the opponent to stop fighting, though if the opponent is attacked or grabbed, the spell instantly breaks and the opponent may defend himself normally.

Dispel (4PP/Invoked/Neutral/1-3)
Automatically end an active spell within 25 yards or remove the status imposed by a status spell on a target within 25 yards. If the caster of the spell is also within 25 yards of the dispelled spell, he becomes unable to cast that spell again for one turn. Casting this spell directly on a mage or other spellcaster has no effect. Casting this spell on a magical item prevents the spells on that item from operating for three turns.

The maximum tier of a spell that Dispel can remove is based on Dispel’s tier. Dispel 1 can remove only tier 1 spells. Dispel 2 can remove tier 2 and lower spells. Dispel 3 can remove tier 3 and lower spells. Note that, as with any invoked spell, Dispel requires the caster to roll a contested Resolve check against the caster of the spell to be dispelled.

Elemental Protection (6PP/Invoked/Status/1-3)
The first tier of this spell makes you or one other creature of up to large size within 25 yards immune to one type of elemental damage of your choosing for the remainder of the scene. This totally protects you from normal sources of damage from the chosen element, though magical sources of damage from the chosen element still inflict normal damage. Thus, someone protected from fire can walk into a burning building or swim around in lava without suffering damage, though he takes normal damage from a Fire spell and a dragon’s flaming breath attack. You may be protected from only one element at a time. If this spell is cast on someone who is already protected by this spell, the receiver must choose which spell to keep.

Elemental Protection 2 makes you or one other creature immune to both normal and magical damage from one type of element. Elemental Protection 3 allows you or another creature to absorb damage from normal and magical elemental sources. While protected by Elemental Protection 3, each time you would normally be damaged by your chosen element, you instead regain three Health Points.

Fire* (6PP/Directed/Offensive/1-3)
Fire a blast of fiery energy at a single opponent within 50 yards and roll a Firearms check to strike. If the attack strikes, it inflicts an amount of damage based on its tier. A Fire 1 spell inflicts 10 points of fire-type damage (plus Luck Die result). A Fire 2 spell inflicts 12 points of fire-type damage (plus Luck Die result). A Fire 3 spell inflicts 14 points of damage (plus Luck Die result).

You may also cast this spell to affect an area. When you cast an area effect Fire spell, a ball of flame with a 10-foot radius instantly explodes at a location of your choosing within 50 yards. You must actually be able to see the area in order to target it with this spell. Opponents who fail to defend themselves suffer damage based on the tier of the spell, as described in the previous paragraph. Casting the area effect version of this spell takes up your full turn (thus, you may not use MultiSpell when casting the area effect version of this spell). The area effect version of this spell is delivered as an invoked spell.

Note that there are multiple elemental versions of this spell: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Lightning, and Ice. Of course, the Narrator may also choose to add or remove certain elemental spells depending on the role he wants elemental magic to play in his game.

Fly (4PP/Invoked/Neutral/2)
You or one other creature of up to large size within 25 yards becomes able to fly through the air at up to MR 16 (60 mph) for the remainder of the scene. At the end of the scene, the effects of the spell slowly wear off, allowing you to float safely to the ground. You may fly a distance of up to your normal move each turn as an instant action or up to your full move each turn as a full-turn action. You may carry no more than three times your carrying capacity and remain airborne.

Haste/Slow (8PP/Invoked/Status/2)
You or one other creature within 25 yards gain either increased or reduced speed for three turns. When hastened, your MR doubles; you gain a +1 bonus to all brawling, melee, firearm, and directed spell attacks; you gain a +1 bonus to your Defense Totals and Reflexes checks; and you suffer only half the normal multiple action penalty (rounding up) if you attempt multiple actions in a single turn.

When slowed, your MR is reduced by half; you suffer a –1 penalty to all brawling, melee, firearm, and directed spell attacks; you suffer a –1 penalty to your Defense Totals and Reflexes checks, and you suffer double the normal multiple action penalty if you attempt multiple actions in a single turn.

Illusions (6PP/Invoked/Neutral/2)
You create false images of characters, creatures, or objects up to 25 yards away. Illusions are simple three-dimensional visual images that can also produce sounds (as appropriate). At initial purchase, an illusion can be no greater in size than a wagon. If you possess the Metamagic gimmick, you may spend Pool Points to increase the total size of an illusion exactly like an area effect spell (up to the size of an elephant or very small cottage). If you perform attacks with an illusion, the Narrator determines the attacking illusion’s statistics. However, attacking illusions always rely on your own combat skill scores when attacking.

Onlookers must actually interact with most illusions in order to determine whether or not the illusions are real. Once an onlooker interacts with an illusion, the Narrator rolls a secret Resolve check for the onlooker contested against your Resolve check. If the onlooker succeeds, he recognizes the illusion for what it is and it no longer affects him. If you succeed, the onlooker believes the illusion to be real.

An onlooker that believes in an illusion is affected by that illusion exactly as if it were real, save that the illusion cannot support the onlooker’s weight or provide him with nourishment. An onlooker reduced to zero Health Points while suffering from illusionary damage is stunned for one turn and the illusionary damage instantly fades away. A stunned onlooker suffers a –2 penalty to all actions and Defense Totals. Note that in most cases, another character may convince an onlooker that an image is illusionary by simply walking through an illusionary wall or allowing an illusionary attacker to successfully land a (harmless) attack.

You must maintain concentration to create and maintain an illusion. While concentrating, you can perform no other action save for movement and defensive maneuvers. While concentrating, you can change, remove, or add new illusions (up to the maximum illusion size), if desired. If you are damaged by an attack while maintaining an illusion, your illusion automatically ends and you cannot cast this spell again until two turns have passed.

Invisibility (6PP/Invoked/Neutral/2)
You or one other creature of up to large size within 25 yards becomes totally invisible for three turns. You may also cast this spell on one or more objects that are within five feet of one another, hiding them from view. You can make up to 125 cubic feet (a 5’ x 5’ x 5’ cube) of material invisible with a single casting of this spell. If an object is too large to be fully made invisible, the spell has no effect.

While invisible, you gain at least a +3 bonus to hiding and sneaking checks. Opponents suffer a –3 penalty to strike an invisible character and a –1 penalty to Defense Totals against physical attacks made by an invisible attacker. If you perform a sneak attack against a defender while you are invisible, however, the –1 penalty to a defender’s Defense Totals does not apply.

Petrify (8PP/Invoked/Status/3)
Cause an opponent within 25 yards to immediately turn to stone for the next three turns. A petrified character is unable to sense the outside world, move, activate gimmicks, and cast spells. However, the petrified character gains a +10 bonus to his Resistance Factor and is immune to mental spells and elemental-type damage for the duration of the spell. A petrified character has an effective Defense Total of seven and may not attempt defensive maneuvers against attacks.

Polymorph (8PP/Invoked/Status/3)
Transform an opponent (including his gear and weapons) of up to large size within 25 yards into a harmless animal of medium or small size for three turns. You must transform the opponent into an animal that will not be killed by its environment (that is, you can’t transform a man into a fish while on land, but you could transform him into a sheep or frog). The transformed opponent retains all his memories and Health Points and he can move and act normally, but he cannot use any gimmicks or cast spells. Damaging the transformed opponent instantly ends the spell; if the spell ends in this way, the opponent becomes immune to further Polymorph attempts by you for the remainder of the scene.

Provide (2PP/Invoked/Neutral/1)
Conjure enough food and water to provide a normal meal for up to three creatures of medium size. The food appears within 20 yards, is of average quality, hot (if desired), and stays fresh for a full 24 hours, regardless of all but the most extreme environmental conditions.

Teleport (8PP/Invoked/Neutral/3)
You or one other creature of up to large size within 25 yards instantly vanishes and reappears anywhere you desire, regardless of your current distance from the desired location. You must be very familiar with or have a clear mental image of your destination in order to perform the teleport; otherwise, the spell automatically fails. The spell also automatically fails if you attempt to teleport to an imaginary location. You may not teleport yourself or anything else into an area already occupied by solid matter. This spell may also be cast on one or more objects of up to a total of 125 cubic feet in size within a 10-foot radius, teleporting them as described above. If an object or creature is too large to be teleported, it is neither teleported nor harmed in any way.

Zombie (8PP/Invoked/Status/3)
Place the aura of the undead on a creature within 25 yards for the remainder of the scene. Instead of regaining Health Points when he receives the benefits of healing magic (including spells, gimmicks, and healing potions), a zombied character instead loses Health Points. A zombied character may regain Health Points only by resting over time. Of course, once the zombie status is removed, the opponent may again be healed through magical means.

If someone attempts to use healing magic on a zombied opponent, the opponent may attempt to defend himself from the healing magic as if it were an attack. If the opponent wins, he avoids the effects of the healing magic. If the opponent loses, the healing magic has its normal (reversed) effect. Such damage may be Resisted normally.