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Free form magic

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:29 am
by HedgeWizard
Hi all,

I’ve been getting back into the AFF vibe and have been turning my mind once again to the topic of free form magic. Some of you might remember my posts on Philisophical Magic, well I have pondered some more and come up with some improvements.

Basic system:

Combine Noun and Verb and describe what you want to achieve, set casting difficult and magic point cost based on on that.

Air: Air, wind, weather…
Water: Water, rivers, lakes...
Fire: Fire, heat, passion...
Earth: The ground, rock, soil, stones…
Soul: Soul, free will, spirits…
Body: The body of a humanoid being
Animal: Animals of all shapes and sizes
Plant: Plants, growing things…
Image: Pictures, reflections, illusions…

Create: Grow, heal, repair, create from nothing…
Destroy: Destroy, wither, crumble, kill…
Transform: Change, modify…
Command: Give orders, place under your control…
Perceive: See, view the real form, detect…

Players take Nouns and Verbs as individual special skills. They can only use the Nouns and Verbs which they have and the size of their possible effects is based on their ability.

Difficulty / Magic Points Cost:

Difficulty and Magic Points Cost is calculated by multiplying the Effect By the Range, add to this the time spent casting.

Diff/MP Cost = (Range x Effect) + Casting Time

The maximum value for range and effect is half the value the noun or verb being used (whichever is lower) divided by two rounding down.

Size of effect (example with Body I Transform!):
0 Insignificant (change eye colour) OR 1 Stamina point damage
-1 Small (change facial feature) OR D3 Stamina point damage
-2 Medium (change face for someone else) OR D6 ST point dam
-3 Large (change size of body) OR 2D6 ST point damage

Range (Use common sense here)
-1 Close (Touch, Same Room)
-2 Medium (A bow shot away)
-3 Long (as far as you can see)

Casting Time (time spent pondering the target)
0 >1 day
-1 6 hours to 1 day
-2 Less than 6 hours
-3 Less than 15 minutes

To cast:

Target number = Magic + Higher of Verb and Noun - Difficulty

Spells can be prepared in advance and then stored in an appropriate object. An object can only have one spell stored in it at any time. Preparing the spell is as usual (you can take your time usually). By then you must roll again to cast it but only with the a Difficulty equal to the effect value rather than the full value. Once cast the object is empty of magical power.

All casters can use Ensure and double their MP cost to avoid rolling on the Oops table.

Re: Free form magic

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:34 am
by HedgeWizard
Some results of this:

Minor magic (I.e. skill level of 1 in Verbs and Nouns) becomes part of a natural continuum of magical ability rather than a separate skill.

You can make adventures around learning magical abilities. For example making them search out special forests to enjoy plants, magical pools to understand water etc.

Elves become magical as they should be. Instead of giving them Minor Magic 1 give them level 1 in two Nouns and two Plants.

Let me know your thoughts!

Re: Free form magic

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:50 pm
by Dawndeath
Sounds similar to the Ars Magica magic system, which I've always really liked. May have to try this out - I think it could work very well with the general 'feel' of the FF world.

Re: Free form magic

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:41 pm
by HedgeWizard
You are right with the reference, that was a big insperation.

Here is the background which I shared previously (However use the rules above). It also has a special Oops table which was created in collaboration with some of the fine people here: ... c.pdf?dl=0

Re: Free form magic

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:46 pm
by HedgeWizard
I am pondering more on the effect of casting time on spell cost/difficulty. Not quite happy with it. Any thoughts would be welcome.

Re: Free form magic

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:54 pm
by Ruffnut
Looks really good so far!!

Re: Free form magic

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:09 pm
by HedgeWizard
I’ve been playing with the rules and found the solution. Casting time no longer penalises you if you go quick but rewards you if you take your time.

Magic Point Cost = Range x Effect (always positive ranging from 0 to 9)

Difficulty = Range x Effect (result always negative giving 0 to -9)

If the caster takes their time they get a bonus to their spell casting roll.

Time spent preparing
+1 15 minutes to 6 hours
+2 6 hours to one day
+3 more than one day

This means that the final difficulty (assuming they take at least 15 minutes) ranges from -8 to +3.

The result is that a spell caster can get off spells quickly if they need to but is rewarded for taking their time if they can. It also means that junior spell casters (Wizard’s apprentices I’m looking at you!) need to spend time preparing even the simplest of spells.

I’m going to work on a proper set of rules like I attached previously and share them with you all.

Re: Free form magic

Posted: Thu May 23, 2019 6:22 pm
by HedgeWizard
For those that are interested in using this here they are at last! ... df?dl=0&m=