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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:
  1. In combat, magic is generally not as effective as using weapons and combat skills.
  2. Magic is generally not as effective against machines, computers, and robots, compared to the use of the Comnputers and Engineering skills.
  3. 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.
  4. Magic can be very powerful, regardless of these limitations. With enough arcane power, you can:

Risks and Requirements of Magic
  1. To use magic, a player must invest in the "Caster I" and/or "Caster II" talents to alllow arcane skill investment. Note that these talents each grant 1 free level 1 arcane skill.
  2. Level-1 of an arcane skill offers only a minor core power. Higher levels offer more spells and enhanced core powers.
  3. 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 6 hours of meditation or rest.
  4. To cast magic, a player must make a arcane skill roll. This is generally 2d6 + skill level + stat modifier. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 Mental Saving Throw must be rolled. By default, the caster must be conscious to maintain concentration.

Casting Styles

Students learn their very first arcane power by drawing upon one of three casting styles. These are as follows:
Casting Style Casting Statistc Unique Advantage Unique Weakness
Channeller Wisdom You are entrusted with magic power by an extradimensional entity--a being, place, or aspect, and this relationship can confer potentially unlimited benefits as long as it is positively maintained. You gain the special spell "Invoke Entity" to commune with your extradimensional ally. You have the lowest pool of spell points.
Mentalist Intelligence 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.
Sorceror Charisma You were born with blood magic, and you are able to willfully sacrifice your own health points (HP) to either improve your casting results or to use as spell points. You have a finite amount of blood.

Once you have selected a casting style, you cannot change it.

Arcane Skills

There are 8 Arcane Skills, or schools. Their powers are listed on the spells page.

Spell Points

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 rate of 1 per 6 hours of meditation or rest, and there may be other ways to regenerate them as well..

Spell Levels

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.

Arcane Spell Levels Spell Point Cost Casting Target Number Chance for success with +X Chance for success with +8
1 1 8 +1: 58% +8: 97%
2 2 10 +2: 42% +8: 97%
3 3 12 +3: 28% +8: 92%
4 4 14 +4: 17% +8: 72%
5 5 16 +5: 8% +8: 42%
6 6 18 +6: 3% +8: 17%

How can I increase the chances of a successful casting?

There are many known ways to increase your chances of a successful casting, and many more are unknown. Here are several possibilities:
  1. Carefully prepare the casting area beforehand, using work, time, and ingredients. (Player spends an item such as chalk or candles to mark the area: +1 to roll)
  2. 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)
  3. Gain the assistance of other magic-users to aid in the ritual. (At least 1 other magic-user participating in a 1-hour ritual: +1 to roll)
  4. As a sorceror, sacrifice your own blood, or that of others using the 'black magic' talent.
  5. As a channeler, serve your patron with blind faith.
  6. As a mentalist, get the Mental Overload talent and melt your brain for more power on-demand.
  7. Search out places of power where many dimensions intersect, and casting is easy.
  8. Locate words of power and write, shout, transmit them in all possible ways.
  9. Avoid psionic storms.
  10. Explore and experiment in-game for more ways.

What are the possible outcomes of my casting roll?

  1. Critical success (two 6's on 2d6, or 20 on d20): You get the intended effect plus a major bonus.
  2. Success (result>=Spell TN): You get the intended effect, plus a minor bonus based on the margin of success.
  3. Failure (result < Spell TN): You get less than intended effect or an unwanted effect.
  4. 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 2 XP, however.

How can I modify my spells?

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.