Spells as Powers

So I already said that I don’t use the regular magic system, not because it is bad, but because it just seems too different to me. I prefer to use advantages to represent magic spells and such, so I take a more ‘magic as powers’ approach. As I understand it, this is similar to the approach taken in the Sorcery version of magic. There currently is no Wizard in our party of PCs, but I’d like there to be one at some point, so I decided to start fleshing some things out. As always, this is all coming from Basic and Powers.

Power: Magic (-10%)

I just use the magic modifier from Powers. It is good and fits into a fantasy campaign. Thus it is affected by magic resistance and so on.

Common Modifiers:

There are many ways to build spell-like powers. Here are some of my assumptions and how they are modeled mechanically. This is not the only way to go. In fact, I want to make another kind of magic based on the Spirit modifier sometime. But that time is not today.

Spells take time. In genre, wizards need to sometimes make elaborate productions in order to get their magic to work. Either Limited Use, Preparation Required, Takes Extra Time, or Requires Recharge could make sense. Personally, Takes Extra Time is what I will normally use, since I imagine magic as a careful manipulation of forces.

Spells are obvious. I will generally use the modifiers Requires gestures and Requires magic words from Powers. It again fits my imagination, and it separates magic from something like psionics which would happen at just a thought. This makes it so wizards can be meaningfully restrained, as well.

Spells are tiring. Most magic will have Costs Fatigue on it. I might make some small spells be essentially free, but not too many. Some magic spells might have Requires Concentration as well.

Spells normally ignore mundane defences. Malediction will be common, but magic that creates a physical object to deal damage will not.

 Example Spells:

Force Bolt (-15%): Innate Attack, 1d cr (Double Knockback, +20%; Takes Extra Time 1,-10%; Requires Gestures, -10%; Requires Magic Words, -10%; Costs Fatigue 1, -5%)

This is a simple and weak spell which costs 4.25/lvl. At a low level, double knockback does not add much, but at high levels adds a lot.

Fire Rain(+70%): Innate Attack, 1d burn (Area Effect, 4 yds, +100%; Overhead, +30%; Bombardment skill 12, -10%; Takes Extra Time 2,-20%; Requires Gestures, -10%; Requires Magic Words, -10%; Costs Fatigue 2, -10%)

This spell is expensive at 8.5/lvl, but it does what it is supposed to do.

Sleep Spell (+180%): Affliction 1 (Sleep, +150%; Malediction, +100%; Takes Extra Time 3,-30%; Requires Gestures, -10%; Requires Magic Words, -10%; Costs Fatigue 4, -20%)

This spell shows how hard it is to build an affordable sleep spell. This costs 28 and puts one target to sleep. Old timey DnD had a level one sleep spell affect multiple HD of monsters. It made Magic Missile look like crap. A slightly more affordable spell is a dazing one.

Daze Spell (+100%): Affliction 1 (Daze, +50%; Malediction, +100%; Takes Extra Time 2,-20%; Requires Gestures, -10%; Requires Magic Words, -10%; Costs Fatigue 2, -10%)

Still a lot at 20 points.

Darkness (): Obscure 8 (Defensive, +50%; Takes Extra Time 2,-20%; Requires Gestures, -10%; Requires Magic Words, -10%; Costs Fatigue 2, -10%)

This comes in at 16 and is a decent defense. It could be a frightening attack too, with a wizard with melee attacks.


Innate attacks are cheap enough and a stunning affliction is reasonable. Damage resistance could be made ok and some other things as well. Area effects and strong afflictions are very hard to get at a reasonable cost. There are probably movement and sensory powers which are easily in range. This approach will require further thought.




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