Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Magical Benefits and Taints

Just to keep everything organized, today I'm going to skip around through the sourcebook and gather the side effects of magic, beneficial and otherwise.


Beneficial Magical Side Effects

Anyone who works magic for a long time runs a chance of developing a magical side effect. If your character has a dot in three or more magical disciplines, or has five dots in any one discipline, then the Game Master may assign a magical benefit. These are fairly rare in the world of Gieden, and often, they are assumed to be another form of Taint. This can cause trouble for the character if others discover their abilities. If a magical side effect is part of your character concept, then that should be discussed as early as possible with your Game Master; in some cases, a magical side effect can take the place of a Weak Advantage (or even a Strong one, depending on the effect).

Examples of magical side effects are:
Seeing auras, feeling the energies of people or places, occasional uncontrolled telepathy, prophetic dreams or trances, an unnaturally strong connection with another individual, a gift for palmistry or other methods of divination, past-life memories or occasional out-of-body experiences when sleeping.


A person’s body can only withstand so much magic coursing through it; if it surpasses that limit, it is destroyed. In game terms, that means when a player’s Magical Resistance score falls below zero, their character loses a body part or is destroyed entirely.

The first time a character uses magic, a bond is formed with a Nuameii. As the character loses more and more of itself, more of the Nuameii comes through, until eventually the character is gone and a new Nuameii is born.

At the beginning of the game, each player assigns a certain number of dots to the stat called Magical Stamina. This number, times two, decides the character’s Magical Resistance score. Each time magic is cast, a number of dots equal to the rank of the magic used are deducted from the character’s Magical Resistance score. Each night as the character sleeps, its Magical Resistance score returns to its maximum.

Magical Resistance is represented on your character sheet by the small circles in the outer ring of the large wheel. (See my last post.)

There are only three other things to keep in mind.

The first is the character’s attitude towards the destruction of its body. Most people resist this, for obvious reasons. They may roll their determination score (vs. 7) to avoid losing body parts upon their Magical Resistance score falling below 0. However, this can only be done once per day, and it costs one permanent Determination point, whether or not it succeeds. If they fail their roll, their body takes damage and they get -5 to all rolls for the remainder of the day. If their body is ever completely destroyed by magic, the resulting Nuameii will be an entirely separate creature with no ties to or memories of the character’s life.

Some people accept that they will eventually be destroyed by the magic they wield. These characters can not roll determination to avoid body parts being destroyed, but if they ever are destroyed entirely, then they can roll a Determination check (vs. 7), to take over the body of the Nuameii that they summon. If they succeed, then they have all the memories of their previous life, but they now have the statistics of the Nuameii body that they inhabit. All is not rosy, however. Being destroyed by magic is not easy on body or soul; just like those who resist destruction, losing a body part causes the character to take a -5 penalty to all rolls for the rest of the day.

The second thing to keep in mind is that the magic the character is summoning when they receive their first Taint determines the color of that Taint--and all other Taints that follow. For instance, if a character receives their first Taint by using Fury magic, the Taint will be red. All further Taints will be of the same color and type, regardless of how they are gained.

Finally, the part of the body that is destroyed depends on how the character was focusing the magic. If it was through an outstretched hand, they may lose the hand, or even the entire arm. Some characters allow the magic to merge with their breath and scream it into the world; they may lose their tongue, or worse, their voice. Some characters simply focus their intent on the target of the magic--this may destroy their eyes, or in a truly bizarre twist, their head. The amount of damage to the body depends on how badly they overstep their magical resistance score.

So, for example:

Andrew is playing a character named Finnius, whose specialty is Destructive magic, but who also knows a little Healing. Andrew decides that Finnius resists the idea of his body being destroyed. He also assigns Finnius 3 dots of Magical Stamina, giving him a Magical Resistance score of 6.

During a major battle, Finnius uses Destructive magic twice; once at rank Three (which deducts 3 points from his Magical Resistance score), and once at rank Two (which deducts 2). This leaves him with only 1 point of Magical Resistance. After the battle, he realizes that he must heal himself or die. He wants to do it quickly, using rank Two Healing, but his body cannot withstand that amount of magic (his Magical Resistance score would end up at -1). He decides to chance it and hope he succeeds at his Determination check. Andrew describes Finnius focusing the magic onto his body through his hands.

Unfortunately, when he rolls his Determination none of the dice show 7 or above, so Finnius loses a piece of himself. The attempt also costs him one permanent Determination point. Since he is channeling through his hands, they take the brunt of the damage, but since his Magical Resistance is only at -1, the Game Master decides that only one of Finnius’s hands is lost. Since it was Healing magic that destroyed Finnius’s hand, and this is his first Taint, the new hand is white. At the beginning of the game, Andrew said that Finnius's personality meant that his Nuameii was a wolf, so now the Game Master describes Finnius’s left hand as a white paw. Now, any future Taints will be white wolf parts, regardless of what kind of magic creates them. And if Finnius dies using magic, a new Nuameii will be born; a white wolf with no ties to Finnius whatsoever. For the remainder of the day in which Finnius loses his hand, the trauma causes him to make all rolls at a -5, although his health level is unaffected.

On the other hand, Marcus is playing a character named Art, who specializes in Elemental magic. Marcus assigns him 4 dots of Magical Stamina, giving his character 8 Magical Resistance points, and he decides that the character is accepting of the fact that his magic will one day destroy him.

Art gets into a particularly bad situation, and although he normally would not be so reckless, he decides that he will win at any cost. He uses Elemental magic three times; once at rank Four and twice at rank Three. This last spell puts his Magical Resistance score below zero (8 - 4 = 4; 4 - 6= -2). He was channeling the magic through his eyes, by focusing on his targets.

Marcus may not roll Determination, because Art is accepting that he may one day become a Nuameii.

The Game Master decides that Art loses both eyes. The trauma of this loss will cause Art’s rolls to be at a -5 penalty for the rest of the day. The color of Elemental magic is green, and Art is linked to a Werewolf, so the Game master describes Art's new eyes as green, glowing, and highly unsettling.

If magic ever destroys Art’s body entirely, he will roll Determination to gain control over the Werewolf Nuameii that will be left in the aftermath, and if he succeeds, all his statistics will be that of a Werewolf but his mind will remain unchanged. If he fails, the Werewolf will have no memories of, or associations with, Art’s life.

To simplify:
*Magical Stamina score x 2 = Magical Resistance score
*Subtract the rank of any magic used from the Magical Resistance score (Fury Magic and Protection Magic are special; read those sub-sections for details)
*If the Magical Resistance score falls below 0, then a Taint may be received
*The Taint’s color is determined by the type of magic used to receive the character’s first Taint
*Those that resist being destroyed may roll Determination vs. 7, and then spend 1 permanent Determination point to avoid a Taint. Those who accept it roll Determination vs. 7 to gain control of the Nuameii they summon if they are destroyed.

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