Alternative Magic System for WoDu

I am trying to create a magic system to use in my World of Dungeons games that is:

  • simple
  • has a Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell vibe
  • levelless
  • favors creativity/roleplay over math

Magic

Types

magi can cast spells in the following ways…

  1. Learned: +int - cast a number of known spells (equal to your level) or from texts (eg. scrolls, books)
  2. Arcane: +wis - cast experimental spells spontaneously by intuition/feel at disadvantage (until you cast it successfully in combat)
  3. Ritual: (requires Ritual) - 1+ hours time to cast; various components; more powerful spells take longer
  4. Bargain: +cha (requires Summon) - you employ the services of a demon, fae etc… be careful!
  5. Cantrips: (requires Cantrip) - parlor tricks can be powerfully effective!

Mechanics

magic takes effort and stamina (con) and thus can be painful if overused

  • 2d6+int/wis/cha
  • cast spells up to your number of hd+con
  • after casting hd+con number of spells, you take 1d6 damage for each spell cast (regardless of outcome)
  • spell damage is 2d6+level
  • spell damage increases +1d6 at 5th and 10th levels
  • spells are restored after resting in comfort and safety

Thoughts are most welcome…

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Hello, that’s the mechanic. In what “play framework” do you want it to take place ? Like, problem solving ? What function will these magic settings (pain etc.) serve ? Is it, like I suppose, to balance effectiveness ? In which case, what is the effectiveness of spells ? of other means of solving problems ? and what’s the cost like with these other means ?
Do you see where my questions are leading ? This sounds a bit like SR1 magic to me, definitely not my playstyle so maybe all the answers are obvious.

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Hello, that’s the mechanic. In what “play framework” do you want it to take place ? Like, problem solving ?

Not sure I understand the question :thinking: This is just a replacement for the magic system in the existing WoDu. So… when a pc uses magic.

What function will these magic settings (pain etc.) serve ? Is it, like I suppose, to balance effectiveness ?

Not effectiveness but having some constraints to the amount of spells you can cast. You can attempt to case > hd+con but it’s gonna literally hurt.

In which case, what is the effectiveness of spells ? of other means of solving problems ? and what’s the cost like with these other means ?

I’m not following :thinking:

Do you see where my questions are leading ? This sounds a bit like SR1 magic to me, definitely not my playstyle so maybe all the answers are obvious.

I’m not sure I do… and I’m not familiar with SR1 magic :slight_smile:

Thanks for the feedback!

Sorry, I don’t know World of Dungeon enough to be of any help.

I think part of @dereel’s question is, what feeling and circumstances would magic be involved with? Do you want a feeling of danger, sacrifice, risk involved in magic?

There are many systems and if you can express the “problem” you are specifically trying more clearly, this will help guide you to your answer.

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There are many systems and if you can express the “problem” you are specifically trying more clearly, this will help guide you to your answer.

Ahhh… good call.

So, some of my players just immediately fight the quicksilver/mage-in-a-bottle vibe of WoDu. Fair… so the goal is to give WoDu some options.

  1. learned magic should be a straight-up replication of a more OSR 5e? Maybe?
  2. arcane is a throw towards Jonathan Strange; I want to offer the ability to: if not straight up create spells, then maybe to always be enhancing them? Also, any new spells in my game likely get added to the list :slight_smile:
  3. Ritual is essentually WoDu Ritual
  4. Bargain == WoDu’s RAW magic system

I’m liking the idea that:

  1. different magics logically take different attributes: thus it’s really hard to min/max
  2. it’s mostly easy/intuative?
  3. it uses existing mechanices
  4. magic is hard; dangerous; damaging?

Magic is hard work and takes a toll on the caster. In my game, you probably don’t want to go with the feeble old wizard trope :slight_smile: Using HD basically for spell slots seems logical… but if they want to cast more, they’ll take damage.

FWIW, here’s what I ended up with: https://brine.dev/#post?s=a_magic_system