Parent Pages: Rules

Spells

The spells contained in this wiki are not normal GURPS spells. They're built like collections of normal Advantages with lots of Modifiers, using a completely redesigned Magery Advantage. The template page for these may be found here. The spell lists are available here, here and here. Looking at some examples may illustrate what I'm getting at better than reading this, but read on anyway, as it will explain how to build your own.

All spells have a default duration of one minute or 1 use, as per the Costs Fatigue limitation on p. B111 and a casting time of 1 second to activate or the time normally required to activate the underlying Advantage(s), whichever is greater. Time required to cast may be modified with either Reduced Time or Takes Extra Time. Preparation Required may be applied for spells that require some separate step (like drawing a summoning circle). Reducing a spell's casting time to zero might allow it to be used as an active defense, along with suitable modifiers.

Spells require two Limitations: Spell Components (see below) and Magical (worth -10%).

Treat spells exactly like equipment. They must be purchased or found. Mages must buy their spells with initial money, earned money, or as Signature Gear. Their cost may be determined using the rules in the section on Commonality (see below).

Intellectual property and copyright laws may apply to sharing spells in some campaigns. In others, free spells might be found on the Internet, but will likely be only common or uncommon and will often have unfixed bugs. This kind of thing depends entirely on the setting.

Variable Strength Spells

Some spells have multiple levels, providing more punch for casting at a greater point value. Additional levels of a spell are noted at the bottom of the game mechanics block (gray background box).

When figuring the monetary cost of a such a spell (see below), use the lowest level of the spell.

Permanent Spells

For the sake of brevity, the default assumption for a spell with the Extended Duration (Permanent) Enhancement at the +150% level is that the spell can only be ended through the Neutralize (Magic) Advantage, or through the subject of the spell being moved through a No Mana Area.

Spell Components

This is actually a collection of other limitations, summed together for brevity and because these may account for no more than -40% worth of Limitations. At a bare minimum, one of the following is required:

Component Value Notes
Body -10% This requires torso movements: think along the lines of belly dancing; this one is extremely rare.
Facial -10% Eye brow movements, tongue movements, facial expressions, etc.; please describe in detail.
Foot -10% to -20% -10% is simple movements, such as bouncing a leg; -20% is complex dancing.
Hand -10% Waving your hands in the air; doing simple things with objects.
Verbal -10% Speaking words; please describe in detail, including the language required.

In addition, material components may be added for a point break. Follow the rules for Trigger on p. B115. I interpret “exposure to a specific substance or condition” to mean touching the required materials. Bump the rarity up by a notch if the materials are used up in the casting. Please describe the material components in detail and if they're used up, describe how they're used up.

Illegal materials are the only exception that can push Spell Components past -40%, but first add everything up as though the material components were legal. If this goes beyond -40%, add half of the material component value to -40% for the illegality.

Requirements

Some rare spells have requirements that must be met before they can be cast. These can be Advantages, Disadvantages or minimum skill levels (in the form of Attribute+Modifier). The most common form of this is the requirement for the caster to have Unusual Background (Enchanter) to cast Enchantment spells.

This is a Limitation on the spell itself, worth the absolute value of each of the required traits added together. For skills, the number of points required to attain the desired level without any kind of Talent is the value to use, unless the Talent is also a requirement.

For example, a spell requires Trained by a Master [30], Code of Honor (Professional) [-5] and Thaumatology at IQ+2 [16]. This combination makes the Requirements worth -51%.

Currently, this is used for enchantment spells to give the requirement for Unusual Background (Enchanter) and to restrict certain spells to priestly spell-casters. It may find other purposes in the future.

If a particular requirement can be met in more than one way, then the highest value requirement should be reduced by 1/5 the value of it's alternatives. For example, if a spell has a requirement of Trained by a Master or an Unusual Background worth 10 points, it's worth -28%.

Wiki Tags

Spells are categorized for searching, with links to the colleges on the Spells by College page, but only so long as you properly tag their pages. All spells must be tagged with 'spell', one of the commonality tags and at least one of the basic college tags. They should also be tagged with appropriate specific college tags.

These are the basic college tags: 'charm', 'creation', 'divination', 'illusion', 'life', 'meta', 'protection', 'summoning', and 'transmutation'.

Commonality

These are the commonality tags: 'common', 'uncommon', 'rare', 'very rare', and 'unique'.

Common spells are available anywhere spells are sold. They're easy to obtain and usually cost about $10 per point.

Uncommon spells are just as easily available, but are 5 times more expensive than a common spell of similar point value.

Rare spells, if they're sold at all, will be auctioned for a minimum of 25 times the price of a common spell.

Very rare spells are not normally sold. If they are, they will be auctioned for a minimum of 100 times the price of a common spell.

Unique spells are never sold. Their owners guard them jealously. These are usually written by their owners for their own use. Usually to give them an edge against opponents, as their unique spells will not be familiar to anyone but a close friend.

Printing presses, photocopiers and computers make the cost of copying very small and eventually inconsequential. Once printing presses are available, spells normally come in books of ten or more at one tenth the price.

Commonality Price Notes
Common $10 x point value Available nearly anywhere
Uncommon $50 x point value Available nearly anywhere
Rare $250 x point value Sold at Auction: Price is the minimum bid
Very Rare $1,000 x point value Sold at Auction: Price is the minimum bid
Unique - Not available at any price
Printing Press x1/10 Spells often come in mass-produced books

Sub-Spells

Sub-spells bear the 'sub-spell' tag instead of 'spell' and may have different tags from the parent spell, but they should always share the same commonality tag.

Learning Spells

Learning a new spell first requires that you have the ability to read the language it's written in. This requirement may be waived with an assistant to translate the spell, or a teacher willing to explain it to you in terms you'll understand.

Spells are most often written in Latin, but Egyptian, Greek and a smattering of other languages are sometimes used. Spells are only written in Common when they're intended for teaching purposes, such as a book of harmless spells for apprentices to study from before they've learned Latin.

Second, you make a skill roll against the highest appropriate specialty of the Magic skill. Success indicates that you understand the spell and may prepare it for use.

Researching New Spells

Use the design rules on p. B473 for this. Use the following table to determine complexity:

Points Complexity
1 to 89 Simple
90 to 359 Average
360 to 809 Complex
810 or higher Amazing

Testing requires a properly equipped lab, as per the rules on p. B474. Determine the retail cost as though the spell were very rare. Use this for purposes of prototyping.

Retail versions of a spell are simply a matter of cleaning up and copying the written version of the spell.

The spell will start out as Unique, at least until the character starts sharing it. The required skill is an appropriate specialty of the Magic skill. If the spell fits in multiple colleges, one roll against the lowest of them is required.

Extra Effort

Any spell may benefit from Extra Effort. You may trade extra effort for Effect, Enhancements or Skill.

Each 5% increase in a spell's base effect costs 1 energy and -1 to the activation roll. This cannot be used for spells whose advantages already have a way of trading energy for increased effect or for those with additional levels that already do so (unless trying to exceed the highest level). For more detailed rules on how this is used, see p. P160.

Each 5% of Enhancements added costs 1 energy and -1 to the activation roll. Any valid Enhancements for the underlying Advantages may be added, including Extended Duration. This is often how permanent curses are inflicted by wizards on their opponents, sometimes as a dying action.

Energy may be traded for skill. Each +1 to the activation roll costs 1 energy, to a maximum of unmodified skill+4. Penalties unrelated to extra effort come off skill after this.

These may be combined in a single casting, allowing a wizard to double the energy spent on Effect or Enhancements to counter the skill roll penalty.

Alchemical Equivalents

In addition to the recipes listed in GURPS Magic, any spell in this setting may be prepared as an elixir. This requires a formulary equivalent to the spell, which costs the same as the spell itself. Attempting to use a spell as a formulary imposes a -3 penalty to the Alchemy roll. Researching the formulary equivalent to a spell costs half as much if the character already has a copy of the spell to start from.

The cost of a formulary is the same as a spell of the same point value. The one major difference is that formularies usually drop all non-material spell components and then recalculate the point value from there.

Completely new formularies not based on a spell may be researched just like a spell, but they do not use the Spell Components Limitation for anything other than material components.

Each second required to cast becomes one week to prepare, with a minimum of one week. These recipes default to Alchemy at -1 per 50 points of spell. Retail cost is determined as normal (see p. M213). Materials cost $100 for every 30 points of spell, plus the cost of any materials called for in the spell itself.

Enhancements may be added as desired, but this imposes a -1 penalty to the Alchemy roll and adds $100 of materials for every 5% in enhancements.

Spells that require FP beyond that needed to activate the spell (like most healing spells) may include energy stored for this purpose, with the addition of $25 per FP to the retail cost. Elixirs may not draw FP from their users to power these additional effects.

Spells that affect the caster may be prepared as a potion or powder. Spells that affect others can be prepared as a grenade, replacing the roll against any specialty of the Innate Attack skill with Throwing.

Spells based on the Healing Advantage can be prepared as a potion, powder or ointment. If such a spell has the Blood Agent Limitation (like the Heal spell), then it can only be prepared as an ointment.

Spells that summon Allies are prepared as a grenade that's hurled against the ground, causing the creature(s) in question to appear in a puff of smoke.

Spells that produce Allies via the Constructed Enhancement become alchemical processes that eventually produce the Ally. The final stages of such a preparation can be held off, storing the incomplete ingredients like a potion. Instead of drinking it, the alchemist drops the last ingredient into the container and then pours it over whatever materials normally go into the spell.

The following Limitations require additional detail:

Preparation Required

This requires the user of the elixir to go through the required preparation before it's used, or the elixir is wasted.

Spell Components

All non-material components should be treated as levels of Takes Extra Time if working from a spell instead of a formulary. The average formulary instead drops these components.

Material components are most often mixed into the elixir, but occasionally are simply boiled in the mixture or left to sit in it for a time. This depends on whether or not the components are normally used up in casting the spell.

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