Saturday, June 5, 2010

Gieden, Chapter Two, Magic

Ok, so now that I've given all nine magics, this is how you use them. From the original text:

Let’s skip ahead for a minute and pretend you’ve already built your character. You have a good understanding of your character’s views on magic, and you’ve assigned the magic type and magical resistance scores. Now what?

When a situation arises that causes you to call on magic, you will:

* Decide what it is your character needs to do.
*Decide how much magical power this task requires
(identify what rank of magic you’ll be casting).
* Describe the scene to your Game Master. Include what magic you’re calling upon, how you’re focusing the magic, and how you wish the magic to appear.
* To determine success, roll one die for each dot you have in the magical discipline being used (regardless of what Rank you are currently using).
* Finally, you subtract the Rank of the magic you used from your Magical Resistance score. (Fury magic, Protection magic, and special circumstances may alter the magical cost.)

For Example:
It’s been a long hard battle, and Stephanie’s character, Alise, finds herself surrounded by the cries of the wounded and dying. She traverses the battlefield, healing those she can, but being careful to use her magic sparingly; her goal is to save as many lives as possible before her magic threatens to consume her.

Stephanie is using Healing magic, but in most cases she decides to only use the Rank One ability. She has 4 dots in Healing, so she gets to roll 4 dice each time she tries to heal someone, regardless of the magic’s Rank.

The first person Alise comes to isn’t mortally wounded. Stephanie describes Alise bending over the person, placing her hands on their wound and channeling white magic into them. She tells the Game Master that Alise is using Rank One Healing and then she rolls 4 dice, scoring 2 successes. Rank One Healing heals ½ box per success, so she hasn’t helped this person much, but they will survive. Stephanie marks 1 box off of her Magical Resistance score.

The next person that calls out to Alise is in very poor shape; one of their arms has been severed. Stephanie grimaces. She knows that she will have to use at least Rank Three Healing. She describes Alise locating the severed arm and bandaging it into place, then placing her hands over the bandages and channeling magic. Again she rolls her 4 dice, this time scoring three successes. Rank Three Healing heals 1 box per success and can re-attach severed limbs, so for this poor soul, Alise has truly worked a miracle. Stephanie marks 3 boxes off of her Magical Resistance score, and Alise moves on, continuing her mission of mercy…

Special Situations:

Magic will almost always work as listed above, but there are several situations that bear mentioning.

Extended Actions – If you only have one dot in a magical discipline, then you would normally only be allowed to roll one die when using that magic. It may seem strange, then, that Rank One magics often do not damage or heal a full box. If your magic only heals ½ a box per success, and you only get to roll one die, how can you ever actually heal anyone?

The answer is that you must use an extended action. You spend one or more rounds building up the magic. During this time, other Gieden may notice a slight glow or light gathering around your character. This glow will be the color of the magic you are summoning. You must concentrate fully on the magic, and cannot walk, fight, or dodge while calling the magic forth. For every round that you spend building up the magic, you gain a number of dice to roll equal to your highest rank in the magic you are casting.

For instance, if Tyra, a Rank One Healing magic user, concentrates a full round before casting, then she may roll 2 dice instead of 1. Three rounds of concentration would give her 3 dice to roll. If Tyra was able to use Rank Three Healing, then she would gain 3 dice for each round that she concentrated.

1)Because this could be misused by those who have attained a high number of ranks, and because a caster can only summon so much magic at a time, once a caster has 10 dice available to them to roll, they have summoned the maximum amount of magic that they can handle. Concentrating for more rounds has no effect or will backlash, possibly causing a Taint (see Chapter Five).

2) At the end of each round of concentration, the caster must spend a number of Magical Resistance points equal to the rank of magic they are summoning.

3) A caster who is summoning a protective barrier or using magic in some other sustained way is actually using the magic each round and they get no extra dice to roll. They still pay the Magical Resistance points at the end of each round.

Interrupted Casting – When gathering magic in an extended action, or when using magic in a way that is not automatic, such as sending a black ball of destructive energy from the caster to its target, it is possible for magic to be interrupted. If a person is attacked, knocked unconscious, or otherwise prevented from casting, completing, or controlling their magic, then the magic fizzles and fails. The player must still subtract the rank of the magic from their character's Magical Resistance score, even though nothing happened.

Joining Forces – Two or more characters that use the same form of magic may choose to cast simultaneously and join their magics together. (In this case, harming magic that affects an area around the caster will not harm either caster.) The casters receive information about each other via their magical link; they will know what general direction the others are in, whether or not the other person or people are injured, and get a general ‘feel’ for the others, as well as a one-word description of the others’ dominant emotion, for example, ‘fear’, ‘determination’, or ‘anger’.

Keep in mind that Joining Forces does not multiply the magic. For instance, Rank One Healing heals ½ box of damage per success. Imagine that Marcus and Stephanie are both playing characters who can heal, but their characters are not working together. They are both casting Rank One Healing, and on the same target. Marcus has 2 successes, healing 1 full box, while Stephanie gets 3 successes, healing 1 ½ boxes. The target of these actions is healed 2 ½ boxes, which will get rounded down to 2. Now imagine that their characters are working together. They get the same number of successes, so the target is still healed a total of 2 ½ boxes, and it’s still rounded down to 2. The only difference is that Marcus and Stephanie’s characters get a ‘link’ with one another that transmits certain information, as listed above, and casting simultaneously means the recipient gets the full healing instantly (instead of Marcus having his character cast, then saying ‘Ok, Steph, it’s your turn’, and then Stephanie doing the same).

The main benefit of joining forces happens when one caster knows how to use magic in a way the other does not; for instance, one subterfuge user knows telekinesis, but needs more power. There's another subterfuge user in their group, so the second user can lend the first power, even though they don't, themselves, know how to cast telekinesis.

Fighting for Control – If a character wishes, they may join forces with another caster, as listed above, but then attempt to wrench total control of the power from the other. This process sometimes takes several rounds, but it can pay off big. For example, Joe’s character Tal sees a black ball of destructive energy heading for him. He does not have the Anti-Magic or Protection disciplines, and he fears that he cannot dodge in time. He calls forth his own destructive energy and joins it to the energy already heading his direction. This gives him several things: he now knows some things about his attacker (see Joining Forces, above), and if he’s lucky, he may be able to wrest control of the magic from his attacker.

To fight for control, Joe would first tell the Game Master of his intention. The Game Master would then have both Joe and the attacker roll as many dice as they had dots in the applicable magic; in this case, in the Destruction Discipline. The attacker would begin 2 ‘points’ ahead. Each success he rolled (vs. 6) would give him one more ‘point’. Each success rolled by Tal would subtract one ‘point’ from the attacker. This goes on, round by round, until one of the two casters is hit by the magic or gives up and flees. If the point total gets to 10 points, the energy hits Tal, doing as much damage as if Tal had Joined Forces with the attacker. If the point total gets to -10, then the energy hits the original caster with the same strength as if Tal and the caster had Joined Forces. Until the total reaches either 10 or -10, the energy would hover in the air between them, nearing Tal as the point total raised and nearing the attacker as the point total fell. Each round that this went on, Joe and his attacker would have to subtract the rank of the magic they were using from their magical resistance score. If someone’s magical resistance hit zero or below, they would instantly lose control of the magic, as well as receiving the usual penalties.

Magical Resistance Falling Below Zero: See Chapter Five, The Tainted.

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