Nights In Lankhmar
OLD -- Magic
The magic systems in BRP are a muddled mess. We’re probably going to be making stuff up as we go along. For now, here is the Cliff Notes version of the house rules:
There are two paths of Magic: Wizardry and Divinity. Wizardry will use the “Magic” rules from the BGB and Divinity will use the Sorcery rules from the BGB – except when I change them here.
We are combining the spell lists from tMB and the BGB. People who practice Wizardry can get spells from both “Wizardry” (tMB) and “Magic” (BGB). People who practice Divinity can get spells from both “Divine Magic” (tMB) and “Sorcery” (BGB), although the “Divine Magic” spells will require scrutiny. In the case of conflicting versions of similar spells the BGB takes precedent.
In order to cast magic you sacrifice 80 skill points from your starting Personal pool, leaving you with 50. You must pick a profession that reflects the full-time dedication to the practice of magic; “Healer” would probably work while “Assassin” wouldn’t.
Every spell has a Base cost, which is the amount of power points you need to spend to make the spell work. Most spells have a base cost of 1. For certain spells you can expend more power points to make the spell stronger. (Details below.)
Quick tip: You’ll probably want to spend some points in Grapple and/or Brawl. There are a lot of spells that require you to touch your target.
Wizardry can heal and Divinity can cast lightning bolts. The main difference is the approach to the end result. Wizardry is fast and flexible but less reliable than Divinity, requiring practice to get the formulas correct. Divinity is very reliable but takes longer to perform and does not allow for as many options as Wizardry (i.e., you may not know as many spells in the long term). There is a reliable if expensive path to gain additional Divinity spells, while learning Wizardry spells requires luck and bribery. Divinity also requires that you are a devotee of a particular god and will strive to maintain the same Allegiance as the god has.
Rituals are common to both Wizardry and Divinity and I’ll think about them later. You will not start the game with any Ritual-type spells.
Each spell is a separate skill that you can improve and spend points on during character generation. You learn new spells by finding them on scrolls, in grimoires or by finding a teacher. INTelligence determines how many spells you can commit to memory at one time – you can cast the same spell over and over as long as you have the power points to do so, but you can only recall so many “recipes” at one time. You can have INT/2 (round up) spells memorized at any one time.
Memorizing a spell is called ‘readying’ the spell, while clearing a spell from memory is called ‘dismissing’ the spell.
Casting a spell costs power points. The amount of power points you spend in a spell determines the spell’s level. Increasing the level of the spell will increase its effectiveness, typically increasing duration, range or dice pool. For example the Heal spell takes 3 power points for 1d6 worth of healing. If you spent 9 power points to cast it you would heal 3d6 worth of damage.
The time it takes to cast a spell is the level of the spell in Action Ranks. If you act on Rank 15 and you are casting a 2nd level spell that spell occurs on Rank 13. Wizardry spells count as Powers within an Action Rank.
You start with 7 base levels of spells in your grimoire with a starting skill in each spell of (INT x 2). You can spend points from your Professional and Personal pools to increase the skill rolls. NOTE: The book recommends (INT x 1) to start with and I may adjust this as needed. You have been warned!
Example – Thesane has an INT of 16 so her starting spell skill will be 32%. She decides to spend her 7 levels of spells on Heal(3), Illusion(1), Blast(2), and Enhance(1).
You must have a POWer of 16 or more to use Divinity. If your POW drops below 16 you cannot use Divinity until your power goes back up.
You do not need to roll to successfully cast a Divine spell, nor do you have to ready or dismiss them like Wizardry. You can learn a maximum of spells equal to your INTelligence score.
You learn additional spells by spending time learning at a temple from someone willing to teach you the spell. You must donate 200 Bronzes per level of the base spell, spend 1 week x base cost of the spell praying and meditating, and then make a roll based on your deity’s Allegiance x2. If you fail the roll you can choose to either not learn the spell or lose a point of POWer (keeping in mind you can gain power back over time). If you chose not to learn the spell you must wait 1 month x base cost of the spell before trying again.
Example – Volya, a priest of Losivya, wants to learn the Flames of the Sun spell which costs 4 points. She must spend 800 Bronzes at a temple of Losivya and learn from another priest there. After 4 weeks she tries to gain the knowledge. Losivya’s allegiance is to Light, and Volya’s Allegiance score for Light is 44, so Losivya must roll 88 or less. Sadly she rolls 99. Volya’s power is only 16 and so she decides against learning the spell because otherwise her power would drop to 15 and she couldn’t cast anything until she rose back up to 16 POW. Volya then tries to learn Moonrise which costs just 1 point. She spends 200 Bronzes and, after a week, rolls again. This time she rolls a 21 and so Volya learns the spell.
Divinity, like Wizardry, requires expending Power Points to work. Some spells have a fixed cost while others have levels. If the spell has levels you can expend more power points to gain the additional benefit(s). For example, Cloak of Night (BGB, pg. 130) will add +20% to Hide for 1 power point, +40% for 2 power points and so on up to a maximum of level 4 (4 power points, +80% to Hide).
Divinity spells take a full round to activate on the same Action Rank. You cannot act in the subsequent round before your spell is complete, but you can act on the same Action Rank.
Example – Voyla wants to cast Muddle on another priest. Voyla’s INT is 12 and she rolls a 4 for her initiative, so she goes on Action Rank 16. She begins casting while the other people take their turns for the remaining Action Ranks; Voyla’s spell will go off at the start of Action Rank 16 next round. For the next round Voyla rolls a 7. Normally this means she would act on 19 (12+ 7), but because she’s still casting she won’t act until 16 after her spell occurs.
You start knowing 6 levels of spells. The spells must be level 1 or 2. Spells that have variable effects count as level 1 spells. For instance you could know Mindblast(2), Heal(2), Fury(1) and Sorcerer’s Soul (1).