Magick drains a practitioner of energy, of the very stuff of life itself. In this system the magick user has a pool of energy equal to his hit points. Each spell cast drains this pool, affecting the caster. If this pool is drained by 50% the character becomes fatigued, after 75% is drained the character is exhausted. If the pool is completely drained the character becomes unconscious and cannot be revived until she has had 8 hours of rest or has had her hit points restored through magical or mundane means. This pool is restored whenever the character regains hit points, by an equal amount, or through 8 hours of uninterrupted rest. During that time the character need not sleep, but may not take any actions that may be mentally, physically, or spiritually taxing.
There are four ways to apply drain:
Option 1: Each spell costs a number of points of drain equal to its spell level, with two 0-level spells costing 1 point of drain. This is the cheapest option for spell casters, and the one most likely to encourage the use of magick in a campaign.
Option 2: Each spell costs 1d4 points of drain per spell level, with 0-level spells costing 1d2 points of drain. This is a good standard for a campaign with "average" spell casting. Many low level spells can be cast, but higher-level spells will still be a risk.
Option 3: Each spell costs 1d6 points of drain per spell level, with 0-level spells costing 1d3 points of drain. At low levels this will mean that PC magick users likely only cast one spell a day, and only when necessary. At higher levels, PCs may choose to risk casting multiple low level spells, but will save higher level spells as a means of last resort.
Option 4: This option produces a sliding scale for the price of magick. 0 to 2nd level spells cost 1 point of drain per level, 3rd thru 6th level spells cost 1d4 points of drain per level, and 7th thru 9th level spells cost 1d6 points of drain per level. This option encourages the casting of low level spells, while keeping higher-level spells rare.
Similar to the First Price, this system is also based on the idea that spells are cast using the caster's own energies, but at a higher cost. Rather than draining a pool of energy, spells damage the caster's abilities. Spells cost 1 ability point per spell level, with 0-level spells costing the same as 1st level spells. To mitigate this, GMs may allow PCs to ignore a number of points of ability damage per day equal to their number of Magick Mastery feats. Thus a PC with Magick Mastery 5 might choose to ignore 1 point of ability damage on the first spell she casts in a day and another on her second spell and then 3 points on her last spell, paying the difference in ability point drain.
In most cases, damage should apply to a PC's Strength, making them weaker and weaker with each spell cast. GMs may apply the damage to other ability scores, making spellcasting even more dangerous. Point losses in Constitution will mean that a PC pushes herself toward death each time she casts a spell. Magick use could affect a PC's mental state, damage can apply to Intelligence, Charisma, or Wisdom (or all three). As always, the GM should make clear to the players how he will apply drain during character creation, as it will affect game balance.
A word of caution is necessary. Reliance on a single ability score for drain tends to create a disproportionate amount of practitioners with a high score in that ability. Using Strength exclusively, for example, will increase the amount of physically strong practitioners. To dissuade this, a GM may wish to drain a number of ability scores and randomly determine which one gets drained.
In more fantastical settings, magick draws from the ambient energy of reality (manna). In this setting, a Practitioner applies manna to his spells first, before spending any of his own reserves. Each spell costs 1 point of manna per spell level, with 0-level spells costing the same as 1st level spells. How this cost is paid depends on where the spell is cast.
Every environment has a Manna Rating (MR) of 0 though 9. Spells whose costs are equal to or less than the Manna Rating of the environment can be cast for free. Spells whose costs exceed the Manna Rating of the environment have their costs reduced by the MR. The remainder of the cost is paid by the spell caster. This remaining cost may be applied in one of three ways.
Option 1: Additional costs are paid via the First Price described above. Option 2: Additional costs are paid via the Second Price described above.
Option 3: A Practitioner has a reserve of personal Manna energy equal to her Charisma modifier plus her Wisdom modifier. This can be used to pay the manna cost for spells, but once it is gone it takes 8 hours of uninterrupted rest for the pool to regenerate. At the GM's discretion other things may increase this pool. This option is best for high magick and high fantasy settings.
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.