mperial Age magick campaigns can be as diverse ftas their source material and the GMs who run them. Take a little time to think about the level, nature, and prevalence of magick in a campaign world and most importantly how it shapes the nature of that world. Consider how the rules presented above can apply to create that world. Consult with players on the kinds of PCs they wish to run and the kind of adventures they wish to play. Finally, choose the appropriate Practice and set the highest number of Magick Mastery feats allowable in the campaign. If necessary establish the difficulty of each school of magick, add a Price system to the magick, and its time to play!
The options presented in the book should allow the GM to create a wide range of settings, campaigns, and adventures. Players will find the options for PCs equally versatile. However, so many options can quickly become overwhelming. Below are three sample campaigns, along with suggested PCs for each.
Imagine a world where Queen Victoria is courted by Sidhe Princes, Unseelie sympathizers stir up trouble in the contested Welsh countryside, and gremlins and brownies are seen working in the ditches of London alongside Irish immigrants. Such a setting would be ripe for high magick adventures. PCs could be members of the Royal Society of Magick and Tecknology, changeling knights of the realm, or members of the Iron Lords, nobles dedicated to keeping Albion safe from machinations of the fey.
Donna, the GM, decides that Illusions and Enchantment are the epitome of fey powers, while fireballs and summoned monsters are less appropriate. She chooses the Third Practice for her campaign, establishing Abjuration, Enchantment, and Illusion as Easy Schools; Divination, Transmutation, and Necromancy as Average schools; and Conjuration and Evocation as Hard schools. She does decide, however, to create a Feat that allows a PC with the Religious starting occupation and strong ties to the Anglican Church to use Conjuration magick as an
Average school. She is also going to allow Magick Mastery feats all the way up to 5 for all of them, but makes them available only to Smart, Dedicated, and Charismatic heroes as bonus feats.
Since she wants lots of spell casting she decides to use the Third Price and makes the Manna Rating of most of England a 2, with certain parts of London rising to a 3. She decides that Stonehenge and a few other sites are major Ley Nodes, granting a +2 bonus. Right now she has no plans for the PCs to journey to the Fey Lands, but sets them as MR 6. She then decides that she likes magick to cost something, and so uses the first option in conjunction with her chosen Price, telling the PCs they have a manna reserve equal to their hit points and that each spell costs 1d4 drain per spell level to cast above the MR. She then tells her players that they are all Special Agents of the Crown dedicated to investigating Unseelie threats.
Janica, one of her players, decides that she wants to make an investigative PC that uses magick to discover threats to the realm. She creates a Dedicated 3 Hero and takes Magick Mastery (Divination) as her bonus feat and follows the Insightful talent tree. Donna allows her to use the Skill Emphasis to apply to Divination. She uses her character level feats to give her PC proficiency with the rapier but mostly wants to stay out of fights so she takes Dodge and Defensive Martial Arts to avoid being hit.
Another player, Erick, wants to be a master of disguise and deception, a former con artist now working for the government. He creates a Charismatic 2/Fast 1 Hero. He takes Magick Mastery (Illusion) as his bonus feat at 2nd level and Fast Talk and Evasion as his Talents. He also takes Deceptive and Creative as his first level feats and then decides that Personal Fire Arms Proficiency is probably a good idea for the 3rd level feat.
The third player in this campaign, Stephen, does not want to be a magick user. Instead he imagines a special unit of soldiers dedicated to protecting the Crown's Magick Practitioners. He takes 3 levels of Tough hero, planning on making Bodyguard at 4th level. Even though he knows the feat has some drawbacks, Stephen figures that Anti-Magick Field is appropriate for going up against Unseelie wizards.
In elegant drawing rooms and secluded castles throughout England, learned gentlemen and sophisticated (and somewhat scandalous) ladies gather into covens and cabals like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, The Children of the Manifold Path, and the Eyes of Nabu. While the old men in London map out the fate of the world, their counterparts in Edinburgh conspire to steal their secrets out from under them. This is a world much like our own, but a world where adepts and initiates struggle over occult secrets and territory while holding back the darker things of the night. PCs can start as neophytes in the world of the occult, recruited by mentors and family members or simply stumbling in after finding arcane books or encountering supernatural creatures. At higher levels PCs might be a band of werewolf hunters sponsored by the Church, the rising stars of a secretive cabal, or even the plotting secret masters of British politics. This is a setting of high conspiracy and dark magick where nothing is as it appears to be, and the world is what the Practitioner can make it.
Cole, the GM, likes the social intrigues such a world presents and chooses to use the Second Practice for the setting, making the study of magick one all encompassing discipline. He also chooses Option 2 of the First Price to represent the spiritual and physical drain of casting spells, but still allowing for the occasional magical battle between rival factions. He sets limits the purchase of Magick Mastery to 5 feats, and makes them available as bonus feats open to all PCs. He also includes the Fourth Practice and tells the players that there are Incantations available for rare and powerful spells. Once he has the parameters of his world defined, he instructs the players to create first level inductees to a group known as the Ancient Esoteric Order (AEO) who meet at the Owl Club in London.
Brent decides that he wants to be the outsider in the group, deciding that his PC was a street urchin brought into the club by a wealthy London merchant. He tells Cole that the merchant found him after he stole one of the merchant's volumes of magick, but not before he had a chance to learn a spell or two. Brent's PC sticks out like a sore thumb in the blue blood atmosphere of the Owl Club. He takes Criminal as his starting occupation, making sure to put his second highest ability score in Intelligence, and takes one level in Fast Hero. He takes Magick Mastery and Nimble as his feats.
Francis, on the other hand, wants to be the epitome of a good AEO Member, with a long-term goal of moving into the leadership role currently held by his uncle. His PC is a Charismatic Hero Dilettante, relying on his charm and money to get him places in the world. He takes Magick Mastery only because he cannot belong to the club without it, and boosts his spending power with the Windfall feat.
Miranda is all about the Magick. She plays a PC who has earned his way into the AEO through pure hard work and study. She decides that he was a medical student who got drawn into the occult. She takes a level in Dedicated Hero with the Student background, maxing out Treat Injury and taking the Healing Knack as her talent. She also takes Magick Mastery and Surgery as her feats.
There is always someone in a group who does not want to play a practitioner, even in a game devoted to magick.
Thomas is that player in this group. He and Cole decide that Thomas can be a retainer of the AEO, a former soldier who now works security at the club and occasionally accompanies the group's agents on missions. He goes for the Military occupation with Personal Firearms Proficiency, 1 level of Strong Hero with the Melee Smash Talent, and selects the feats Quick Draw and Point Blank Shot.
There are Things that Man was not meant to know and unfortunately someone is always trying to learn them. In this setting daring investigators try to hold back the Things from Beyond Time and Space and allow the world to live on in ignorance one more day. PCs can be brave archaeologists uncovering ancient secrets in Egypt or Nepal, or they might be students at Oxford drawn into the hidden world through the machinations of a campus cult. They could even be agents of the immortal John Dee, trying to contain the horrors he unleashed three hundred years before. This is a setting of unearthly horrors, and the heroes who would hold the unfathomable at bay.
GM Peter decides that the magick of the setting is easy but costly. He chooses the First Practice as the standard for magick in the world, but uses the Second Price. He decides that there is no mitigating influence through increased Magick Mastery, rather the use of spells slowly erodes a Practitioner's health in the form of Strength damage. He sets the standard for magic in the world low, limiting Magick Mastery feats to four, but he also decides that any PC with ranks in Knowledge (arcane lore) can attempt to use an Incantation if they dare. He also emphasizes to his players that any spell casting must apply at least one of the Laws of Magick if it is going to work at all. He tells them that they are all 5th level PCs and members of an expedition to a hidden valley in the Antarctic sponsored the Royal Society.
Most of his players wisely choose mundane PCs who wish to have as little as possible to do with the Eldritch Horrors they have seen. One chooses to be a rugged military man who is leading the expedition, another is a reporter for a London paper that is co-sponsoring the search, a third is an historian from the British Museum, and another an explorer with a criminal past who was hired to aid the trek to the lost land. The fifth player, Emma, likes a dark streak in her PCs. She and Peter come up with a back-story for her PC. She is the daughter of the explorer who first found the hidden valley and joins the group in search of her long lost father. She has, however, been doing research of her own and has begun to explore the hidden mysteries of the artefacts the first expedition brought home. She is a Smart Hero 5 with two Magick Mastery feats and a desire to learn all the secrets the world holds.
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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.