Parent Pages: Rules : Advantages

This page is still under construction. Do not use.


5 Points + 3 points/level
This is an alternative to Magery and can be taken as an Alternate Ability to it.

You do not learn spells from a book. Instead, you improvise them on the spot. Sorcerers are generally self-taught users of magic.

You have a pool of points, similar to the Modular Abilities Advantage, allowing you to use any Mental or Physical Advantage as a spell.

The level of this Advantage directly determines the maximum point value of Advantage you can cast. The point value of an Advantage determines how many FP are required to use it as a spell. Limitations reduce point total, but Enhancements are added later and do not increase it. Thus, Limitations can indirectly reduce the FP cost.

Casting a spell costs 20 FP for your maximum-sized spell, but this scales according to the size of an individual spell. Always round the final cost up.

For example, you've got this Advantage at level 80 and you're using a 45 point Advantage as a spell. This is (45/80) * 20 = 11.25 FP, which rounds up to 12 FP. For a more detailed explanation of this, see p. P101 under the heading, Costs Fatigue. If you wish to keep the cost easy to calculate, always buy levels of this in nice, round numbers, such as 10 or 20 at a time. This will greatly simplify things for you.

All spells have a default duration of 1 minute for passive Advantages like Chameleon or 1 use, for instantaneous Advantages like Innate Attack. Spells may be maintained by paying half the original fatigue cost when the duration of the spell would naturally expire (round FP cost up). You must be conscious to maintain your spells.

Casting a spell requires a roll vs. the specialty of the Magic skill most appropriate to the effect being produced. The caster chooses if they use a basic or specific college skill, but the GM decides exactly which college(s) it fits into. The Skills for Everyone rule (see p. P162) applies to spells, but the required Skill is the Magic specialty used to activate it and in most cases can be the activation roll.

Failing to activate a spell uses no fatigue. Critical failure uses the fatigue and requires a roll on the Critical Spell Failure Table (p. B236). Critical success casting a spell uses no fatigue and maintaining it only costs 1 FP.

Modifiers may be added to a spell by taking a penalty to the activation roll. This is -1 per +10% of Enhancements and -1 per -10% of Limitations. These may be improved as a Hard Technique (see below).

Without Modifiers to Sorcery, casting a spell requires speaking, hand gestures and very common, reusable material components.

To use Threshold instead of FP, like Threshold-Limited Magery, note this as Threshold-Limited Sorcery. This would be an appropriate alternative for a self-taught Witch, along with the No Spell Components and Requires Talisman Enhancements.

Special Enhancements

  • No Gesture Components: You do not have to make hand gestures to cast spells. +10%.
  • No Material Components: You do not require material components to cast spells. This is often combined with Trigger (see p. B115) to represent casters that require more expensive/rare material components. +10%.
  • No Speech Components: You do not have to speak to cast spells. +10%.
  • No Spell Components: This is just all the enhancements to remove spell components added together, for your convenience. +30%.

Special Limitations

  • Can't Maintain Spells: You cannot maintain your spells past their initial duration. You may not side-step this in any manner. -30%.
  • Dark-Aspected: See p. B67. Time of day is irrelevant, but any light greater than candlelight or starlight causes your spells to immediately fail. This does not affect permanent spells. -50%.
  • Day-Aspected: See p. B67. If the sun isn't up, your spells immediately fail. This does not affect permanent spells. -40%.
  • Musical: You must play a musical instrument to cast spells. -50%.
  • Night-Aspected: see p. B67. Your spells immediately fail while the sun is up. This does not affect permanent spells. -40%.
  • No Armor: For some reason, you're unable to wear armor and cast spells at the same time. Gloves, boots and anything DR 1 or less is fine. Anything more will prevent you from casting spells. -45%.
  • One College Only: You may only cast spells from a single college. Sorcerers that specialize in a specific college of magic often take additional levels of Sorcvery with this Limitation. Any Hard college is -40%. Any Average college is -50%. An Easy college is -60%.
  • Requires Body Components: You have to make torso movements (belly dancing, anyone?) to cast spells. -10%.
  • Requires Facial Components: You have to make facial expressions to cast spells. -5%.
  • Requires Foot Components: You have to make simple foot movements to cast spells. -10%.
  • Requires Complex Foot Components: You have to make complex foot movements, such as dancing, to cast spells. -20%.
  • Requires Talisman: You require a special object attuned to the purpose to cast your spells. These cannot normally be bought and must be found or made specifically for you. This object can be almost anything, but must be in contact with your skin for you to cast spells. Common choices for a talisman are wands or jewelry. Without your talisman, you cast spells at -10 to Skill. Enhanced talismans that provide bonuses to spell-casting may be available at the GM's option. Some sorcerers have been known to build their homes as a massive talisman. Having a talisman with a positive SM gives an equal bonus to casting spells. The GM is the determiner of how a talisman is found or made, but it should always be personalized to the character. -30% if you must touch your talisman with any bare skin of your body. -40% if you must touch it with your bare hand.
  • Solitary: See p. B67. -40%.
  • Song: You must sing to cast your spells. This cannot be combined with No Speech Components. -10%.
  • Spells Require Consciousness: You must stay conscious for your spells to continue working. If you lose consciousness for any reason, all of your spells immediately fail. This doesn't affect permanent spells. -20%.
  • Spells Require Sight: You must be able to see your spells or the targets of your spells for them to continue working. If they get out of your sight or you close your eyes for any reason, they immediately fail. This does not affect permanent spells. -35%.
  • Wild Magic: You cast your spells in a very non-traditional and dangerous manner. Please read this for more information. -40%.

Many of the Magery modifiers from GURPS Thaumatology are also quite appropriate.

Material Components

Unless you take the No Material Components Enhancement, you must gather a set of material components for each college you wish to cast. These are normally unceremoniously dumped into a pouch, hung from the Sorcerer's belt and then clasped during casting. They only need to be held, so a container will not interfere.

These components are easy to find or gather (household items and/or odd bits from around the house), but should be unique to the individual. They always match the college in question, somehow.

If components need to be gathered in game, use the Scrounging skill.


Sorcery Techniques are fairly unusual and pose a few problems for proper record keeping on a character sheet.

Here are the issues that must be resolved for the sake of record keeping:

  1. Most of the time they're generic
    • They can default to any specialty of the Magic skill or even Magic!
    • With few exceptions (as noted below) they can be used with any spell Advantage
  2. Leveled Modifiers can be improved to higher levels of the same Modifier without buying a new Technique
    • This means that buying off a lower level of a Modifier reduces the penalty to use a higher level
    • This makes noting the skill level practically meaningless

The solution that seems to work best is to record these techniques as leveled Advantages that cost 1 point base and 1 point per level. This is the approach that I'm taking with this wiki and in the GCS files (character sheets, templates and libraries) within.

Techniques Everyone Should Have

In nearly all circumstances, a Sorcerer should pick up the Malediction Technique at any level. It's a common, basic assumption behind how a great many spells are supposed to work in many types of fiction.

Free Enhancements

It should be noted that +0% Enhancements and many Special Effects (see p. P113) are free and require no Technique. They can always be applied without a Skill penalty and allow a Sorcerer a great deal of freedom to make their spells look however they like (see Cosmetic Effects on p. P113). Some can be quite useful, as well.

The biggest benefit of this is great flexibility in choosing, on the fly, Skills to attack with and whether or not to use Tight-Beam Burning Attacks (see p. 399).

However, zero-point trade-offs (as described under the heading Minor Benefits and Drawbacks on p. P114) should normally involve two skill penalties, instead of being free. The GM needs to watch out for this kind of thing, but most of the time this can be waived away as a -2 penalty.

The GM should allow this kind of creativity if the character in question has Traits and/or Skills that can justify it. For example, shifting the sound a spell produces to the ultrasonic (to make it unnoticeable to most humanoids) should be treated as a paired Enhancement and Limitation, unless the character has Ultrahearing (implying a bit of knowledge of that auditory range).

Black-Listed Modifiers

In all cases, the GM should always disallow Limitations that are meaningless. For example, limiting a single-target spell to only work on the single target it's being cast at is not a Limitation. This would likely be a case of the player trying to reduce FP costs by using a meaningless Limitation.

The following example Modifiers should not be allowed on spell Advantages. Exceptional cases may be listed in the Exceptions column. As always, the GM has final say and can override this.

Modifier Explanation Exceptions Reference
Accessibility This is normally going to just be a cheat to reduce FP cost or try to produce results similar to the Selective Area Enhancement
Suggest this modifier to players instead
Modifying an Advantage to change it's spell college should normally be allowed
For example, turning a Paralysis inducing Affliction into a Necromancy spell that only works on Undead should be allowed
Aspected It's too easy to pick something that fits the current situation This could be safely combined with Extended Duration P110
Costs Fatigue There are already rules intended for increasing the base power of an Advantage
These Extra Effort rules should be used to temporarily increase the level of Sorcery, instead
This could be safely combined with Gadget Limitations and/or Extended Duration B111
Emergencies Only This could be added in an emergency just to reduce FP costs It should be allowed if the player is thinking ahead, probably combined with Extended Duration B112
Environmental It's too easy to pick something that fits the current situation This could be safely combined with Extended Duration or be used to change the college of the spell P110
Limited Use Doesn't make sense most of the time Allowed in combination with Gadget Limitations and/or Extended Duration B112
Maximum Duration Usually meaningless Can be combined with Extended Duration to represent an ability that lasts a long time, but can only be used for shorter periods P111
Minimum Duration Usually meaningless Can be combined with Extended Duration to represent an ability that lasts a long time, but must be used for at least a given length of time P111
Pact This would be abuse of the rules, every time B113
Reliable Taking a penalty to skill to increase skill makes no sense
The GM should suggest a Technique to buy off penalties built-in to advantages instead
The only time this makes sense is in combination with Gadget Limitations; allowing the caster to take a penalty to make the item easier to use P109
Specific This is a variation of Accessibility that is also easily abused Modifying an Advantage to change it's spell college should normally be allowed
The Magnetic Limitation from Telekinesis is an example of something like this that should be allowed
Takes Recharge Meaningless most of the time Can work in combination with Extended Duration B115
Terminal Condition Most of the time, this will just be abused with conditions that are there just to reduce FP cost This is more meaningful in combination with Extended Duration P112
Trigger Very easy to abuse
The caster could just use whatever materials are on hand
Could work in combination with Gadget limitations B115
Unique Spells aren't unique; they can always be cast again B117

Modifiers With Extra Notes

The following Modifiers require a little extra attention from the GM.

Modifiers noted as “Specific” are specific to the Advantage used and cannot be improved as a general Technique. For example, Accurate must be improved for every single Advantage it could be applied to, including Affliction, each individual form of Innate Attack (burning, cutting, etc.), and any other ranged ability requiring an attack roll. Any Modifier that is listed along with a particular Advantage should also be treated the same way, with very few exceptions.

Modifier Notes Reference
Accurate Specific B102
Advantage (Affliction) Each Advantage is a separate technique B36
Can Carry Objects Specific P108
Cosmic Specific B103
Disadvantage (Affliction) Each Disdvantage is a separate technique B36
Extended Specific
This is a separate technique for each sense/material/energy/whatever it affects
B41, B63, B72, P66, P70, P95
Extended Duration (Permanent) If used at the +300% level to give PCs new Advantages, then they must pay points for them or the GM is free to arrange for them to vanish at some point in the future or arrange to balance them with new Disadvantages B105
Gadgets To be useful with attack Advantages, Extended Duration is normally required, since attacks normally last 1 second B116
Melee Attack The Enhancement and Limitation portions of this are separate Techniques B112, P103
Negated Advantage (Affliction) Each Negated Advantage is a separate technique B36
Negated Disadvantage (Affliction) Each Negated Disdvantage is a separate technique P41
Negated Skill (Affliction) Each Negated Skill is a separate technique Affliction
Once On, Stays On Stays active until the spell ends
For example, a wizard shapeshifts into the form of an eagle and is killed; they return to their normal form when the spell's duration lapses
Reduced Fatigue Cost Specific
This can never reduce the FP cost of Sorcery itself
Reduced Time Specific
One level of this can be used to reduce casting time to zero; this can be useful for spells used as an active defense
Reflexive Specific
This can reduce casting time to zero, as Reduced Time does, but it does not allow the spell to cast itself automatically; it can, of course, cause the Advantage to switch itself back on later, before the spell ends
Skill (Affliction) Each Skill is a separate technique Affliction
Time-Spanning Specific P109
World-Spanning Specific P109
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