Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Free-form magic via spell components

She didn't giggle much, but the birds teetered a bit.
People who have kept abreast of me for a while know a few things about me: I like humor in RPGs, I like resource management, I like free-form magic systems, and I giggle a little when I write words like "abreast."

Pause for giggle break.

Okay, so I'm combining some of those things into the following spell-casting system.
  • There are no spell slots, so you can cast all day.
  • Component casting is the only kind of casting. I want greedy wizards scouring dungeons and flea-markets alike.
  • To cast a spell, you sacrifice one or more spell components (they melt like cotton candy in the mouth of the æther). You also need the ability to speak and gesticulate.
  • You have to roll to see how effective your spell is.
    • The higher you roll, the better.
    • Rolling a 1 means the spell backfires or consumes more components than you were expecting. Also, I say have a table of like 120 spell mishaps and you have to re-roll that spell die on it, cause great hubris preceedeth the fall.
    • More valuable components give larger dice for you to roll. A whole fleece is better than a bit of wool. A dragon's blood is worth at least a d60, doncha think?
    • In D&Dish games, where some sort of spell save could be mustered, you can roll your spell die vs the target's relevant save inverted (old school) or 10+stat+level (new school) and try to roll high. If you do, the spell affects them.
  • Magic circles, sacrifices, extra casters, and cauldrons could bump up your spell's die-size. The costlier the better.
  • The caster tries to justify a magical effect (the spell) based on the components they sacrificed to it as well as their scarcity/value. Puns and jokes are absolutely allowed, nay, nigh-requisite. For instance (some of these are adapted from a popular RPG):
    • A copper penny to read someone's mind.
    •  Combining sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter to make an explosion.
    • Socks to make an electric shock.
    • A tower model that helps you babble in any tongue.
    • Chalk or dust to see invisible things.
    • Sand to induce sleep.
    • A dousing rod to gain the favor of a water elemental.
    • A steak to command a carnivorous animal, or a leash to command any kind.
    • A whistle to summon the hounds .
    • A bit of fleece to trick someone or induce slumber.
    • Beans to create a gust of wind.
    • A bit of gold to create a zone of silence.
    • Wire or a mother's bell to create a message over great distance.
    • A log to make a shadow-clone.
    • An abacus might counter a  spell.
    • Shrooms to undergo an astral journey.
That's about it. Any component ideas or holes in the system? Make a comment!
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