martedì 27 marzo 2018

Recharging Spells a Vancian optional system for AD&D and OSR

Art by Luigi Castellani from the "Spears of  the Dawn" free art pack
This article presents a variant magic system for Old School systems that use fire and forget (or vancian) magic. 

It is a streamlined version of the italian article "Memorizzare, Caricare e Lanciare incantesimi" (which is full of options built on this same rule).

In this system the mage don't lose memory of the spell when cast but only lose the magic energy charged in the spell, memorization works as usual (15'xlevel of spell to be memorized after a night sleep) but we will call it spell locking, casting spells works as usual, the big difference is in charging spells (spell caster have 30 points/day that can be used to charge spells), charging take about 1'xlevel of spell and can be done after a turn or more is gone without spell casting.

The system in a nutshell

1) Spell Locking

2) Spell Charging
3) Spell Casting

1) Spell Locking

In this system memorization is permanent (spell locking) until the spells memorized are changed with a new memorization. Spell locking follows the usual rules for memorization: the mage must be rested, needs his books, needs about 15'xlevel of spell to lock a single spell. 
Optionally it could be wise to enforce the rule of bulky and expensive books, so that the mage has to get back at his tower/library to change spells.
Notice that a spell must be "locked" multiple times to allow multiple casting during a single battle.

2) Spell Charging

After spells have been locked in the spell-caster mind they must be charged. 
Spell casters have 30 "Charge Points" each day (they regain them after a full night of sleep).
To charge a spell the magic user need to concentrate for 1 minute per spell level (so if you want to charge 3 first level spells you need 3 minutes, 3 3rd level spells you need 9 minutes, 2 1st and 2 2nd need 6 minutes). Spell charging can happen only after 1 turn has elapsed from the last spell casting (Optionally the lag can be upped to 1 turn per level of the highest spell used).

3) Spell Casting

Charged spell can be cast as for normal rules (the only difference is that only the charge will be lost, the locked spell will remain ready to be charged again).

Designer Notes

This system introduce a big change in the economy of spells while keeping the system almost identical during combat.
The idea is also to give a little more power to low level spell caster (since they will be able to use more spells during the day), while keeping high level spell caster in check but more "adventurous".

Notice that if a spell caster want to be able to cast 2 times the same spell in the same battle he have to "lock" it 2 times, just as before when a magic user that wanted to be able to cast 2 lightning bolt needed to memorize it 2 times.

I chose 30 "charge points" considering that in 1st edition a magic user could memorize up to 8-12 hours (32-48 spell levels), from this I considered a number that was level independent.

Obviously you can change this number to better suit your campaign and fine tune the level of magic.

martedì 13 marzo 2018

Nature of AD&D magic (1st edition love)

This little essay was one of the many post I did on ", sometimes I just remember I wrote something and go hunting for it... this one I published in 1996 it was 2nd edition era, but the difference between 1st and 2nd edition magic whre really minimal. here the original article:

The article was written in character as something a mage of AD&D would write to explain things to his pupils

From the viewpoint of a mage
-- What is memorization
memorization is the ability to give magical energy a shape and to lock
such energy to our aura arcana
-- What happen when you cast a spell
when you go trought the right ritual of casting (V,S,M) you release
such energy which make the spell happen
-- Why we need spellbooks
unfortunately, the ability to shape energy was not meant for mortal to
fully understand so we must resort to our book which we write after
long hour of study, trough such study we understand how to make
symbols that when reviwed start in our inner self a chain reaction
which shape the magical energy and lock it to our aura arcana.
to make thing worse such symbols are different for each mage, indeed I
must still find the book of another mage which I can read w/out 'read
magic'. I think that this is due to different emotional and
intellectual response to different symbols, so each one of us have a
different way to reach the same result.
(( In brief for each spell each mage write his personal symbolism that
when studied in the morning, activate his uncoscious ability to
understand and shape magical energy and to lock to his arcane aura,
sort of a machine language for the brain ))
-- Why we can memorize more spell when we grow in power
This is because we became more intimate with our aura arcana which
seem to get larger in response to our delving deeper in the secrets of
-- Why we must rest before being able to memorize again
This is because when we cast a spell our aura arcana get disturbed and
till it go back to undisturbed you cannot lock any more spell, as
proved from experience the aura arcana get back to undisturbed state
after 8 hours from your last casting, but only if you sleeped (indeed
it seem you must dream to get rid of the final disturbance created by

hope this was of some use to you, incidentally all this teory is just
to give a rationale to the rules about magic as are in PHB and DMG.
So what do you think, how you rationalize this, (and if you don't care
ok fine for me)
have fun