Hi! I went back to redesign my old fantasy heartbreaker and wanted to make magic somewhat interesting to both roleplay and crunch a bit. So far I’ve got this:
System would use d20+bonuses (from 1 to 6 top), important stats for casters are WILL, and maybe CONSTITUTION or INTELLIGENCE (I’ll explain later)
Now, there’s no starting spell list. Instead casters research their spells and then make a list. The research basically consists on figuring an answer for three questions:
-From where does the power come from? If it’s internal, the value will always come from the caster’s WILL, but she will spent a point of CONSTITUTION each time she uses it (recovered on a rest). If it comes from an item, it gets a fixed value too, and an amount of charges. If it comes from an enviromental source, the caster either uses the value 1 or rolls a d6 to see how much power she can get from it. If the roll goes above her WILL, the magic goes out of her control, meaning the GM changes a variable from the spell at random.
The power can even be stolen from another living being by succeeding a WILL check. The value then is equal to that being’s WILL value and that being loses a CON point.
How is the spell triggered / controlled? Just explain what does your character do. It should be a somewhat obvious gesture, with either words, runes, material spent, a focus, etc. The thing here is that it can be interupted.
What is the effect? Here come the variables defined for the spell (and the part where I’ve got more trouble with). Here the caster divides the power between all/most of them or leaves some to the default. The power can be directly pour into Damage, increase the Range fromTouch to Close and then to Far (+1 point for each step). It can increase by 1 per opponent affected or area affected if it affects only the enviroment. Duration can be increased from instantaneous to check (a failed check ends it) to whole scene. If effect is a buff/debuff the power goes up by each point of bonus or penalty added, except that this magic can’t modify the WILL value of any being.
The spell still needs to be aimed and cast against the target, so there’s always a d20+PERCEPTION check to hit anything with it. However, anything that gives the caster a link to their target counts as an additional +2 bonus to hit (like a personal object, their true name, blood, etc).
I like the direction this is going but I do want to make it simpler. Also, I see potential for breaking the game here despite my best intentions. Like, if power sources can be multiple (it makes sense to carry an item, use a ley line and your own intter power to fuel a spell) or spells with additional duration can be cast and have their effects piled up. I’m still unsure to limit things a bit more or just simplify it and call it a day.