Magic

For your convenience, you can return to the Main Rules page here.

For your convenience, you can return to the Section Eleven here.
You can also get to other parts of section eleven:
I. Extras
II. Templates & Musts
III. Powers
IV. Morality
V. Stunts
VII. Fear & Perseverance
VIII. Horror
IX. Curses

Magic

Instead of writing a comprehensive magic system, I prefer to give guidelines on what you as the player need to do to write your own magic system. I have both IC & OON reasons for doing this.

IC: magic is mysterious, and very few practitioners agree on how it works. Thus, there are several approaches to magic. Yours may be an old tradition, or it may be steeped in scholarship and philosophy. Or is may be almost spiritual and shamanistic. Regardless of what it is, it is yours, and so it has a degree of uniqueness.

OOC: Fate Core has the ability to develop rules (as Extras) for almost anything one can think of. I think a player would enjoy the ability to create a rules set which his PC will use. I also think it will be entertaining if more than one magic system is created. Ultimately, the Hermetic Rote Magic system is one magic system. What you create will be different from that, and will be another system. Maybe there will be 3. Or more. Who knows what NPCs will do.

So, here is what we have in this section. First, there are guidelines on what your magic system can do. I have even written a sample magic system. Second, I have detailed an adapted magic system from Dresden Files RPG. Because Evocation and Thaumaturgy are very different from each other, I have thought of each as its own magic system for this campaign. This leads, inevitable, to the thought that “YES, you can know more than one magic system” (so long as you do not have Rote Magic. That power does not go with other spellcasting systems.)

The guidelines, then…
1) Magic is not ubiquitous.
2) Magic is not cheap.
3) Magic must have an internal logical consistency.
4) Magic always requires more than one skill to use.
5) Magic always requires a Corruption roll.
6) There is no “Faith based” magic.

Here is a sample system created with these guidelines. Let’s call it Epiphany.

Epiphany
Epiphanists often manifest minor magical effects without meaning to before fully awakening, usually in times of stress, but these events are not always recognized for what they are. Usually, a dangerous situation or intense emotional event triggers the development of their powers, and that event can color their perception of these powers for the rest of their lives. An epiphanist who awakens due to life-threatening danger or mental trauma will often feel as if they’re reliving a shadow of that pain each time they use them; some get over it, but not all. For this reason, many latent epiphanists who are recognized as such beforehand instead become sorcerers or occasionally theurgists, choosing to train their latent powers with care rather than waiting for them to painfully erupt. Even those who have their first epiphany under better circumstances, such as a moment of joy or act of heroism (a difference which is often more dependent on their perception than anything) are less hesitant to use their powers, but it can still take some effort to enter the proper frame of mind, especially in times of danger.
Limiting Skill: Will. An epiphanist needs to be in a trance state to use his powers fully. Entering trance is an Overcome action, and requires a Resolve roll against a base difficulty of 1 (circumstances can increase or reduce this). On a failure, the cost for success could be a mental hit equal to the difference, while success with style can be used to perform some minor magical action to justify the benefit. While in trance, the epiphanist’s Alertness skill is -2 to represent the concentration required to stay in trance. Outside of a conflict, you can take a few moments to enter trance without rolling. An epiphanist cannot remain in trance indefinitely, any more than a soldier can be prepared for an ambush every moment of the day; his concentration will lapse after a few minutes of not using any powers. It is also possible to be knocked out of trance: when she takes stress, she rolls Will to see if she stays in her Trance. Certain maneuvers may also negate or prevent trance.
Since Magic requires a special skill, we will call it Insight.
Once you are in trance, you can then access your abilities. Let’s assume this epiphanist is in touch with her own consciousness and uses that. She can:
- Use her magic to heal. Roll Insight instead of medicine or psychology to provide medical or psychological treatment. (This would be an Overcome action.)
- Use her magic to harm. Roll Insight as an attack against the mind of another. This is a weapon 2 attack. (Alternatively, you can allow a higher weapon rating at the cost of taking mental stress.)
- Use her magic to hide. Roll Insight to cloud the senses of another person. (This would be a defend action.)
- Use her magic to find an advantage. Perhaps you momentarily release your consciousness to see someplace else, giving you an Aspect on that location.
So, this particular brand of magic is pretty versatile but also easy to use. So long as your consciousness is interacting alone or with another person’s conscious (or unconscious) mind, you have a good deal of variety on what you can do. You can use this for all 4 of the actions, which reduces your dependency on other skills and even lets you substitute your special skill for two other special skills (medicine & psychology). With these details, we can write up the extra.

Epiphany
Permissions: Spellcaster template
COSTS: -4 Refresh. Also, you have access to and must use the special skill Insight to power your magic
You can use this extra to tap the potential of your conscious and subconscious mind to achieve effects in your body, affect your immediate environment, or cause effects in those nearby you (same zone). There is a risk inherent to this magic in that you sometimes make mental contact with other people. If they are not what they seem, this could cause a Horror roll if some of their thoughts “leak” into your mind.
Options: You have access to a power called Refinement. For -1 Refresh, you can expand the use of this power to allow you to tap into an additional element or to create/find a focus item which gives you a +1 to Insight for one type of action (Overcome, Advantage, Attack, Defend).

On to changes for Evocation & Thaumaturgy. These changes are given to bring these systems (and each one is really its own system) in line with the guidelines above, specifically:
1) Magic is not ubiquitous.
2) Magic is not cheap.

How these systems work is relatively unchanged. Substitute Will for Conviction and call Discipline a special skill, and they work largely the same. For Thaumaturgy, change Lore to Occult Lore and you are nearly done. Allow every Thaumaturgical caster the option to get one free tap into whatever the world’s dark aspect is (maybe Evil Abounds) as one last change. Other than that, we are done with Thaumaturgy. You may have noticed the dramatic increase in cost from the DFRPG to this game. This is because Thaumaturgy is… Just. That. Good. It is not combat magic, but if you can conceive of a spell, you can do it.

Evocation is still pretty good, still pretty fast & dirty. We just want to reduce some its versatility to reflect the fact that magic is not ubiquitous. To do so, we make the following changes:
- There are more than 5 elements, and you still know 3.
- Focus & enchanted items are removed. These can be gained back with Refinement.
- No hexing. That ability doesn’t exist
- No ability to cast/create rote spells
- If you limit your effects to UNDER your Will, you take 0 stress when using the Overcome or Seek Advantage actions.
- When “gathering power” for the spell, if you spend one round gathering power and cast in a second round, you can reduce the stress taken by 1.

So, what are the elements:
Elements
Instead of the 5 element in the Dresdenverse, this setting has 12. These 12 elements are more limited than the 5 of the DFRPG. The 5 elements in DFRPG can be used for ideas, but should not be used as authoritative sources.
If you have the Channeling power, you know one Element and it is your primary element. If you have Evocation, you know 3 elements. The effects of each element are in the table below. Please note that this list is not meant to be exhaustive, but it is designed to give you an idea of what each element can do. Additionally, most effects will not belong to more than one element. In DFRPG, one can use Air to summon electricity in the form of lightning or Earth to summon it as geomagnetic force. In Gothic Fate, Lightning is the province of Nature.

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Magic

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