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 as reliable or repeatable as using weapons and combat skills.
- Magic is generally less effective against machines, computers, and robots, compared to the use of the Computers and Crafting 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:
Risks and Requirements of Magic
- Browse and select alternate universes
- Switch people's brains
- Design your own lifeforms
- Make people instantly disappear
- Summon a supervolcano
- and more...but at great risk.
- 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. Usually, maximum spell points = 2 * the sum total of your arcane skills. Lost spell points are restored at 1 per 4 hours of meditation or rest, or faster with the Meditation skill.
- To cast magic, a player must make a arcane skill roll. This is generally 2d6 + skill level + your Spirit statistic. Players may succeed, 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, established as part of casting style. 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.
- 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.
Students learn their very first arcane power by drawing upon one of three casting styles. These are as follows:
||You are entrusted with magic power by an unknowable metadimensional entity--a being, place, concept or element, and this relationship can confer potentially unlimited benefits as long as it is positively maintained. The player and GM negotiate the details of this relationship. You can mentally attempt to communicate with them anytime, but you also gain the special spell "Invoke Entity" to formally request their presence and aid.
||By performing favors for one specific patron entity--setting fires for the fire god, liberating prisons for the freedom god, planting seeds for the nature god--you can gain advantage on casting, refreshed spell points, and potentially other benefits that your request.
||If you take actions opposite to your patron's wishes, you may receive no benefits or be punished with disadvantages.
||You have gained arcane power purely by intense focus and sharpening of your own mind.
||You have more spell points than others, at 3 * your total arcane skill levels.
||You will struggle to cast higher level spells because you have no spell power resource to call on.
||You were born with blood magic. You can push yourself to cast more and more powerful spells by sacrificing your own life energy.
||At any time, you can choose to spend your own health points or statistics to gain an equivalent amount of spell points or spell power. You can also choose to knock out, mortally wound or kill yourself for a bigger power surge.
||You cannot benefit from health point healing spells (although you can cast them on others).
||Your magic sucks out the natural life energy of the world around you, leaving lands barren and cursed where you cast great spells.
||You can choose to gain +x to your spell roll or +x spell points at any time (with X capped at your highest arcane skill) by harming the environment in a radius of x^3 meters.
||It is possible in this way to create an environment in which you and your allies cannot survive. Steps of harm are lush > barren > toxic > demonic, with each usage progressing downward. Depending on the context, the damaged regions may heal or worsen over time.
Once you have selected a casting style, you cannot change it.
There are 11 Arcane Skills, or schools. Their powers are listed on the spells page
||Viewing of the past, future, and alternate realities. Modifying these, changing the flow of time.
||The use of arcane ice and cold primarily to destroy enemies, but also as a tool.
||The use of arcane lightning primarily to destroy enemies, but also as a tool.
||Creating sensory illusions to deceive other living things.
||Detecting & dispelling magical effects, modifying and upgrading other spells, combining and triggering spells.
||Spells that primarily create undead minions but also provide tools related to death, bone, and poison.
||The use of arcane fire, heat, and smoke primarily to destroy enemies, but also as a tool.
||Healing, harming, reshaping and otherwise modifying living biological creatures.
||Moving objects without touching them, and transforming or changing things on a molecular level.
||Reading minds, mental communication, mental harm and healing, and mind control.
||Instant translocation of yourself items, vehicles, animals, and others, with some restrictions.
Spell points are the fuel used for arcane casting. Mentalists have maximum spell points equal to 3 x their total arcane skill levels, and others have a maximum equal to 2 x total skills.
All casters can regenerate spell points at a base rate of 1 per 4 hours of meditation or rest (travel does not count as either). Casters who have levels in the Meditation skill can regenerate spell points equal to their skill level in Meditation per hour of meditation..
There may be other ways to refresh spell points as well, explore and discover.
Types of Spells
- Main Action Spells: Most spells can be cast by spending a main action (around 6 seconds of gesturing).
- D20 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 a d20 versus the target's armor class to hit them. You cannot, however, use the Fighter talents with these spells. Unlike weapon attacks, 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 for the duration.
There are 6 spell levels, each level corresponding exactly with a level of arcane skill in a given school. Each time you buy a new level in an arcane skill, you get two bonuses: (1) The core spell for that level and (2) one free new spell from that level or lower, if available.
- Note that the casting TN increases faster than your skill level does, meaning that even master arcanists will be challenged to execute the most powerful spells.
How can I increase the chances of a successful casting?
|Arcane Spell Levels
||Spell Point Cost
||Casting Target Number
||Chance for success with +X
||Chance for success with +8
There are many known ways to increase your chances of a successful casting, and many more are unknown. Here are several possibilities:
What are the possible outcomes of my casting roll?
- 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, sacrifice your own blood, or that of others using the 'black magic' talent.
- As a channeler, serve your patron with blind faith.
- As a ravager, destroy and pollute the earth around you.
- As a mentalist, get the Mental Overload talent and melt your brain for more power on-demand.
- 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.
How can I modify my spells?
- Critical success (two 6's on 2d6, or 20 on d20): You get the intended effect plus a major bonus.
- Success (result>=Spell TN): You get the intended effect, plus a minor bonus based on the margin of success.
- Failure (result
- Critical Failure (two 1's on 2d6, or 1 on d20): 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.
You can easily modify your spells by investing in the Metaphysics skill, which will grant many explicit ways to do so.
Alternatively, you can always try to "up-cast
" a known spell--meaning, cast it at a higher level with a higher target number, to try to get an additional effect with it. Ask your GM.