Magic has three parts: Power, Focus and Effect.
Magic comes from a source of power. This is usually defined by the magical tradition to which the character belongs. For example, the source of a sorcerer’s magic is a magical bloodline the character has inherited (Innate), the cleric tradition calls upon the power of divinity through prayers and devotion, and the Blood Magus transforms the life-force present in blood into harnessable magical power.
Once you are capable of gathering or tapping into magical power, it must be focused and shaped before you can wield it effectively. There are many different focii one can use to cast. Many traditional magic wielders utilize a talisman such as a wizard’s staff or mystic amulet. Monks and other contemplatives often use meditation to wield chi. Bards tap into the primal music, warlocks and witches can focus magic through a eldritch gaze, many magic users can unlock magic using rituals — basically, the things you do/use when you actually wield magic are your focii.
Finally, when the energy is gathered and focused, you can use it to unleash an effect. This can be considered the type of magic you are using or spells you are casting. Effects can be Elemental such as fire, water, ice, lightning, metal, etc. They can be energy based, manipulating positive or negative energy, light, gravity, magic itself, or sound. Change effects can target the Body, Spirit or Mind. Planar effects can be widely varied, but must relate to the plane of origin into which you are tapping. Divine magic can do anything within the scope of a given deity or spirit’s portfolio. There are other source magic effects out there, such as Fey, Draconic, Aberrant, Unholy, and more. Finally, the most abstract forms of magic have concept effects. Examples are below.
Tradition is a rough term for “type of magical person.” A sorcerer is a different tradition from a warlock, witch, druid, untrained, psion, wild talent, etc. Some examples are given below.
Different traditions lend themselves to different focii, schools, and other specifics of magic.
- Modern term for spell caster. A mage is someone who takes an open-minded, experimental approach to magic. They develop their own theories and techniques for harnessing, focusing, and directing magical energy.
- A Mage must buy each Focus and Effect separately by spending technique points. They are limited to the schools and focii they purchase. We recommend figuring out a specialty or niche for your Mage and sticking with it.
- Living fonts of magical power. A sorcerer’s mystical bloodline makes them a living conduit for supernatural energies.
- Sorcerers should choose a Magical Heritage (the source of their power). They gain that source as a Focus technique and, if applicable, as an Effect technique. They also pick two additional effects related to their mystical bloodline.
- Sorcerers may purchase additional schools at double the normal price
- Practitioners of ancient and mysterious occult traditions. Wizards shroud themselves in mystery, pouring over tomes of lore, memorizing the positions of stars and learning the names of magical entities. Wizards use a combination of arcane theory and invocation to cast magic.
- Wizards gain the Talisman focus and either the ritual or spellbook focus. Wizards must use their talisman to cast spells on the fly, relying on their spellbooks or rituals for more complicated magic. They also gain the Mana effect and two other effects of their choice.
- Arcane power gained through a pact with a being of terrible might and inhuman agenda. Though this is a swift path to power, it always comes with a price.
- Warlocks pick a Patron who grants them their power. This gives them the Pact focus, one other focus appropriate to the Patron, and also grants 1-2 effects. For Fey or Fiendish patrons, this is usually the Seelie/Unseelie or Demonic/Diabolical effect. For other patrons, it may be appropriate to select two more narrow effects.
- The Warlock gains a new Foible: Bound to (name of entity). Warlocks usually use the style dice they gain from this foible to achieve greater feats of power.
- By focusing the power of supernatural entities or forces through their bodies, channelers become a conduit to something great. Unlike the sorcerer, Channelers do not have fonts of power within their own auras—they simply have the ability to shape power, either from an extraplanar source or ambient energy.
- Channelers can either shape raw power from a source, or they can become a vessel for the entities themselves.
- Channelers gain the Channeling focus and either the Empathy or Spirits focus. If they take Spirits they can pick two appropriate source Effects and if they pick empathy they should pick two Elemental, Energy or Change effects.
- Religious servants of a higher power, priests call upon their divine lords to be instruments of their will.
- All priests gain the Prayer focus, which is their default. They also gain the Divine Effect appropriate to their deity. They may acquire other Effects appropriate to their religious devotion. Any other Focii they acquire should have an explanation and be tied to specific Effects (and may be more appropriate under alternate fortes entirely)
- Oneness with nature grants power over it. Druids may serve as advisors to kings, village wise ones, or terrifying protectors of the land.
- Druids pick two Primal Effects and one Elemental, Energy or Change effect. At any time they may use a style dice to cast an elemental effect they do not normally possess. Druids usually pick up additional Elemental, Energy, Primal and Change effects as they progress.
- A tradition that teaches how to communicate with spirits—natural, ancestral and supernatural. Shaman serve as healers, spiritual guardians and advisers to their civilizations.
- Shamans gain the Spirit Guardian, Talisman and Ritual focii They also gain the Spirit effect along with two other effects appropriate to their culture.
- Discipline of mind, body and spirit lead to enlightenment. Monks unify physical movement and training with mental focus to unlock supernatural abilities. Years of training and self-control are required.
- The Monk forte includes acrobatics and martial arts, along with the Chi focus and a single change Effect (Mind, Body or Spirit). Monks frequently pick up other effects appropriate to their monastic tradition—elemental, shadow, energy, and so forth.
- Scholars who study the interaction between worlds and dimensions, and use mathematics principles to create arcane constructs that can channel and shape energy from those worlds. While they possess no innate power, their knowledge of arcane glyphs and runes makes them powerful.
- Geometers gain two of the following three focii: Rune, Tattoo, Ward. They also gain two effects of their choice. Geometers have the special ability to use Style Dice to learn specific runes they encounter, allowing them to generate limited, specific effects outside of their known Effects.
- Craftspeople of literally supernatural skill. Artificiers incorporate mystical reagents, invocations and rituals when they forge weapons, armor, potions and other items. While their ability to wield magic on the fly is limited, their ability to imbue physical objects with power makes them terrific allies.
- Artificers gain Two of the following focii: Alchemy, Construct, Tattoos, Talisman, Scrolls, Techmage. They may pick two effects of their choice. Artificers cannot wield spontaneous magic—the closest they get is creating talismans imbued with controllable effects they pre-determine.
- Artificers gain the special ability to spend style dice to create temporary enchanted objects, to assist their allies.
- Wild Mage
- Blood Mage
- Sympathy: The creation of symbolic links between two objects, allowing actions performed on one to affect another
- Runes Similar to sympathy, mystical runes can create symbolic links that tap into sources of power beyond our own. Rune Magic depends a lot of geometry, language, and the interplay between different runes.
- Tattoos Similar to runes, but inscribed upon the body to store magical energy for later usage. The magical logic/syntax of Tattoo Magic is related to rune magic but sufficiently different that mastery of one does not grant the other.
- Arcane Archery/Gunmage
- Blood Magic
- Power Stones/Crystals
- Eldritch Gaze
- Primal Music
- Planar: (X)
- Deity (X)
- Spirit (X)
- Domain (X)
- Entity (X)
- Patron (X)