Cosmic Peril Fantasy: Magic
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Magic (or Psionics) in CPF is primarly a skill check to use a certain spell, requiring a sign, costing spell points, having a miscast risk, and rewarding the user with supernatural utility powers.Overall limitations of magic in this game:
- In combat, magic is generally not quite as reliable, damaging or as repeatable as using weapons and combat skills.
- Magic is not allowed for all settings and campaigns. There may even be campaigns in which magic items and npc magic-users exist, but players are not permitted this luxury. Some campaigns may ban some magic schools.
- Magic can be very powerful, regardless of these limitations. With enough arcane power, you can:
- Browse and select alternate universes
- Switch souls
- Kill with a word
- Become immortal
- Make people instantly disappear never to be found again
- Boil or freeze the ocean
- and more...but at your peril.
- To use magic, a player must invest in the "Caster I" talent at character creation. This talent, and its upgrade "Caster II", each grant 1 free level 1 arcane skill.
- Level-1 of an arcane skill offers only a minor core power. Higher levels offer more spells and enhanced core powers.
- To cast magic, a player must spend spell points equal to the spell's level, and cannot if they do not have enough SP stored.
- To cast magic, a player must make an arcane skill roll. This is generally 2d8 + skill level and any other modifiers. Players may succeed, "upcast", critically succeed, fail, or critically fail, with magical consequences for each.
- Higher level spells are more difficult to cast, even for masters of the skill.
- Casting magic requires a visible sign. This could be pointing or hand gestures, brandishing of an arcane focus, glowing eyes, or some other obvious sign. By default, it is an obvious 1-handed gesture, arm out and palm extended towards the target area.
- Some ongoing spells require maintenance of concentration, a resource of which the typical caster has 1. If subjected to any distraction during concentration such as combat or turbulence, there is a risk of losing concentration and a Meditation check must be rolled. By default, the caster must be conscious to maintain concentration.
- Critical success (two 8's on 2d8): You get the intended effect plus multiple bonuses.
- Upcast (result < Crit, and result >=TN+2): You get the intended effect plus a minor bonus.
- Success (result>=Spell TN or TN+1): You get the intended effect.
- Failure (result < Spell TN): You get less than intended effect or an unwanted effect. The GM may offer you a choice.
- For example, would you rather burn your enemy AND friend with your fireball, or kill the enemy only but realize this was not actually a fireball but something else?
- Would you rather pour all your last spell points into this spell to teleport away to safety, or trust the gods to take you someplace safe enough?
- Would you rather strain your body (-3 hp) and scream out loud to cast this, or accept a subpar result?
- Critical Failure (two 1's on 2d8): You get a horrific supernatural disaster. It won't kill you instantly, and it might even have some indirect use, but it will not be a 'good thing'. You are rewarded with 1 XP, however.
- For example, if you have level 2 in Teleportation and level 2 in Necromancy, you would have 5 + 4 + 4 = 13 spell points maximum.
- Main Action Spells: Most spells can be cast by spending a main action (around 6 seconds of gesturing).
- Attack Spells: These spells are cast in combat when you intend to damage an enemy, usually via some sort of arcane projectile. Unlike other spells, you roll versus the target's defense value rather than the spell's own target number. Low rolls with attack spells can cause backfiring. This is because magic is more dangerous to use than ordinary weapons.
- Ritual Requirements: While a ritual is optional for most spells, some spells have a minimum ritual time requirement. These spells are often more powerful than others. The details of the ritual are up to the player but you can assume it requires a clean, secure and quiet area, and your caster will be very busy for the duration.
- Note that the casting TN increases faster than your skill level does, meaning that even master arcanists will be challenged to properly execute the most powerful spells. This is because spells are more powerful than mundane skills.
|Arcane Spell Levels||Spell Point Cost||Casting Target Number||Chance for success with +X||Chance for success with +8|
|1||1||10||+1: 56%||+8: 100%|
|2||2||12||+2: 44%||+8: 95%|
|3||3||14||+3: 33%||+8: 84%|
|4||4||16||+4: 23%||+8: 67%|
|5||5||18||+5: 16%||+8: 44%|
|6||6||10||+6: 9%||+8: 23%|
- Gain the favor of strange gods, alien entities, and mysterious spirits to aid in your casting. Pray to make cosmic contracts. The ancient beings who created magic can manipulate it as easily as breathing.
- As an electromancer, cast in a power station, or cause nearby lightbulbs to explore in your ritual. As a necromancer, cast in a graveyard or tomb, and pre-arrange a circle of skulls. Etc.
- Carefully prepare the casting area beforehand, using specific work, specific time, and specific ingredients. If you can specifically explain how you are doing this with time and resources, the GM may give you +1 to the roll. The GM's role here is to reward roleplay and expenditure of time and resources with a +1.
- Design an elaborate and lengthy ritual for the casting involving singing, dancing, chanting, art, etc. (Ritual described with 1+ sentence of detail, and spend at least 1 hour of in-game time on it: +1 to roll)
- Get the help of another player or non-player caster who knows that same school of magic to aid you, for a +1.
- As a sorceror, embrace wild magic.
- As a sage, seek out truth.
- As a witch, destroy and pollute the earth around you.
- As a cleric, defend the flock.
- Search out places of power where many dimensions intersect, and casting is easy.
- Locate words of power and write, shout, transmit them in all possible ways, whatever the consequences.
- Avoid psionic storms...or embrace their untameable power.
- Explore and experiment in-game for more ways.