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.

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