Spell Casting Types

Anonymous's picture
November 16, 2007 - 10:58pm
Okay, once again I find myself talking on a subject I care nothing about, but which occurs to me while I was reading something else (Believe me, when I get these ideas, they come to me all at once in a split second flash).

I was thinking that the types of magic users could be defined by the type of magic they use. In fact, you could make it in the tradition of Star Frontiers in that they can specialize in one type of magic, but be able to use other forms of magic at a disadvantage. I believe you have 2 or 3 of these in your document, but I thought of several others. Here are the types I was thinking of:

Plains Magic
- acquired by tapping into a portal to a different plain

Spiritual Magic (holiness) - acquired through prayer

Necromantic Magic (wickedness) - granted by the dead and demons

Nature Magic - acquired through nature worship

Prestidigitation - Illusions and trickery (modern magic)

Signs Magic - Use of signs and symbols to produce effects

Alchemy - Use of chemical reactions and elemental trade

You might even show how these types of magic can be combined to perform more effective magic, and also have some spells that can be used by more than one.

Also, you don't have to call them by the traditional names of "sorcerer", "wizard", "magician", "illusionist", "druid", "necromancer", "alchemist", "cleric", etc. You can give them any name you like that sounds cool. But, of course, it's your project, so do as you like.

SmootRK's picture
November 17, 2007 - 8:42am
I really like this idea.  I had originally been thinking simply along the lines of arcane/divine/psionic divisions, but this is a very interesting way to redefine things, especially since most magic rules don't translate well into SF otherwise (usually being level based, and vancian style casting).

Since we are defining magic by groups called Spell Skills (with thematically related spell sub-skills), I think this can work quite well.  I especially like the concept of redefining the 'sets' of magic differently and not using the 'school' divisions that are pre-existing with that other game that uses 20-sided dice.

I haven't had much time to actively do much new writing on this lately, but I will definitely factor in this line of thinking into my efforts.  Anyone else have suggested breakdowns of magic, specific spell-skill suites, or ideas otherwise?  One area that I would like to add to the mix is some sort of tech magic... sort of digging for 'steampunk' kind of mix of crude/primitive technology and magic.  I think I have a sourcebook (pdf) or two to look at for that stuff.
<insert witty comment here>

Anonymous's picture
Corjay (not verified)
November 17, 2007 - 11:53am
I forgot about psionics, though psionics (mentalist) has very specific hard-to-meet requirements.

I like the tech magic (steampunk) idea.

Anonymous's picture
Corjay (not verified)
November 17, 2007 - 12:09pm
If you can make these mix-n-match to create combos, then you can shoot for them to make what your idea of the level of power was supposed to be made when combined, and make each individual spell weaker. This way, an apprentice knows only small tricks, but after the apprentice's reservoir of spells grows, they begin to learn how to combine them to become more and more impressive.

Anonymous's picture
Corjay (not verified)
January 5, 2008 - 10:44pm
I was inspired by the new D&D 4e, they're providing "implements" that help channel magic and produce certain effects. What I came up with was this:

Focusing Devices:
Sticks (wands, canes, and staves) - channel power, increasing success rates and even damage.
Orbs - allowing clairvoyance and clairaudience spells to be channeled, increasing success rates and distance.
Gems - concentrate and eminate power, as well as release delayed effects when crushed.
Metals - Absorb and Eminate power.

Anonymous's picture
Corjay (not verified)
January 6, 2008 - 4:02am
Alright, I wrote up the different types to explain them with some limitations and some combination suggestions. I've also decided to split up the subject into Types of Magic and Means of Casting. All might be considered skills. Maybe we can come up with a decent way to mix and match these.


There are several types of magic. Spell casters learn each of the different types as its own skill set, but may combine them to create new and more effective magic:

Types of Magic
Mental Magic (Psionics) - This is the power of the mind used to move objects, communicate telepathically, see on the other sides of walls and read the past in an item. Anything the mind can accomplish, mental magic can do.

Nature Magic - acquired through nature, this skill allows a spellcaster to draw upon the earth's energy zones, tap into living energy from trees and creatures, and communicate with animals. This spellcaster is often concerned with living organisms of all kinds. It is also the means by which organisms are manipulated to form new creatures in combination with alchemy.

Necromantic Magic (wickedness) - granted by the dead and demons. While some believe this magic to be provided by the dead, it is known by others to be provided by the demons. The dead are merely a tool for both channeling and fooling the living to do their bidding and unrighteous acts. It is the antithesis of spiritual magic. A spellcaster with the necromantic magic skill cannot also have the spiritual magic skill.

Plains Magic - acquired by tapping into a different plain. This is used to draw energy or grab creatures from another plain, or open a portal to another plain. Lots of powerful effects can be acquired through plains magic, but when a spell fails, it may do more than fizzle, so be warned.

Spiritual Magic (holiness) - acquired through prayer. This is power granted by a diety to perform righteous works. This may include destructive magic, but only in so far as it destroys a wicked being (Referee's discretion). Spiritual magic is highly susceptible to the whims of one's deity. The stronger one's faith and reliance on their deity, the greater their connection to that deity. Even if the deity does not grant the favor of a specific magic, they may still communicate the deity's intentions or reasoning to the spiritual spell caster in the place of the spell, but never at the peril of the spellcaster. The spiritual spellcaster is also subject to random contacts from their deity. The opposite of spiritual magic is necromantic magic. A spellcaster with the spiritual magic skill cannot also have the necromantic magic skill.

Means of Casting
Alchemy - Use of chemical reactions and elemental trade. Essentially science and chemistry. This can be combined with other powers to generate special elixers and compounds that wouldn't otherwise be able to work as effectively.

Body Signs - These involve configurations of the hands and body in ways that help channel the energies in spellcasting. Not to be confused with rituals.

Incantations - These are words spoken or sung in a particular way and order (often identified as chanting) designed to invoke magical energies and facilitate a connection to otherworldly realms.

Rituals - These are movements, deeds, and actions demonstrated to show obedience to a deity or spirit's laws and order (not to be confused with body signs). If everything in a spell is done exactly right, but a ritual is not performed according to a deity's specifications, the caster may find that the spell fails to please the one whom they invoke. It may also fail if done in an incencere way.

Symbols - Use of symbols to produce effects. The spell caster learns many symbols that possess different types of energy and produce different effects. Some bind organisms, others bind spiritual energy, and still others assist in joining, restructuring and suspending.