Magics of ErethMagics of Ereth:
There are three main aspects to magic. First off you have your Focus, this determines what sort of magical effects you can create (i.e. do you throw fireballs or heal wounds). Next you have your Casting skill, this both determines what level of spell you can cast (novice, apprentice, journeyman, or master) and what you do to cast them(do you say magic words or scribe magic symbols). Finally you have your Channeling, describing where your magic comes from (is your magic provided by your god, or do you need your specially prepared staff to cast a spell) it also determines how tiring it is for you to cast spells(whether or not you take drain damage). There is one other magic skill called Enchanting (making magic items) and it has it's own section later on.
You also have a Magic Endurance. This is determined by your magical aptitude. If it is your primary aptitude you have a magic endurance of three, if it's your secondary your magic endurance is two, and if you don't have any aptitude you've only got one magic endurance(but you probably won't need it either so don't worry too much). Magic Endurance is mostly used for drain (damage taken from casting high level spells).
Your Focus is probably the most important aspect of your magic. It pretty much governs what you can and can not do magically. Most magic users only have one Focus, though some very powerful ones will have a secondary Focus usually with a different casting method as well. The purpose of a Focus is mostly to avoid spell casters completely dominating the game, if a single character can do everything the characters don't need to work together and everyone would want to be a magic user. We have a number of example Foci provided below, but feel free to suggest different ones to the pooh-bahs.
Elemental: spells dealing with the four elements; earth, air, fire, and water.
Some Foci will be more or less useful and versatile then others. Elemental is probably the most common Focus on Ereth, and it does allow for a wide range of effects. Healing is a close contender for most common Focus, it may not be a very broad range of effects but it's always needed, particularly by adventurers. Summoning and Illusion can be really cool, but they can also be really hard to represent in live action (so don't try to make a character who summons monster unless you can get a bunch of friends to show up and be your summoned minions).
Put simply, Casting is what you have to do to cast a spell. This prevents someone from wandering around flinging fireballs with a thought, which though kind of a neat effect is just a little too powerful. It also makes it harder to cast a really powerful spell then a weak one, this can give an opponent a chance to react and perhaps stop you from casting, or maybe just run away, again keeping spell casters from being gods. We have a few examples for this as well.
The most important thing about your Casting is your level in the skill, as that determines the highest level of spell you can cast. In other words, you must have master level Casting to Cast a master level spells. It is a skill and has a level like any other.
Eaxmple Casting Methods-
Graphomancy: this is the writing of magical symbols to cast spells. There are standard runes and circles taught in various cultures of Ereth but feel free to come up with you own. If the symbols used for the spell are altered or disrupted the spell will end. It is possible draw out most of a symbol in advance and just finish it when you want to actually cast the spell, just make sure your symbols don't get messed up. The level of the spell to be cast will determine how many elements there need to be in the symbol (and yes we know elements is a somewhat nebulous term, if you want something more exact talk to the pooh-bahs).
Novice requires 3 elements.
Dramaturgy: this is the use of performance for Casting. Typically used with singing or poetry, The level of the spell to be cast determines the number of lines to the song or poem.
Novice requires 1 line.
Sorcery: easily the most common form of Casting, this is the speaking of magic words to cast a spell. The level of the spell to be cast determines the number of words used.
Novice requires 4 words.
In general don't worry too much about being exactly right about how many words(or whatever) you actually use, or if you get exactly the right words, we don't pay very close attention so as long as it seems to take you long enough to cast the spell we aren't likely to notice. As far as disrupting someone casting a spell, if you damage them they will probably need to start over if they were talking (maybe not though) but thats about it (no other penalty) other Casting methods will have different ways they can be disrupted, for the most part just use common sense (could you really keep singing that magic song if you just fell in a pit trap). There is no penalty for having the spell you are trying to cast disrupted, other then the spell not taking effect.
Channeling is the act of drawing energy from something to use for magic. It basicly means there is some requirement that must be met for you to cast a spell. It also determines whether of not you take drain. It is a skill and has a level like any other.
If you cast a spell that is lower in level then your Channeling skill then you take no drain. If you cast a spell at the same level as your Channeling skill you take one drain. If you cast a spell at a higher level then your Channeling skill you take two drain. Drain comes off your magic endurance first and the does damage as if you had been hit in combat except that it can not be healed by magic.
Most people have a single Channeling method, but it's fairly common to have a very low level in a second.
Example Channeling Skills-
Divine (from a god or similarly powerful being): One of the most common methods of channeling. The only requirement is that your deity not be angry with you. How likely your deity is to notice what your doing is determined by your channeling level. Novice, your diety will probably notice if you grossly violate it's tenants (say a servant of an honorable warrior type god going around and slitting people throats while invisible, not that that sort of thing has ever happened...).
Apprentice, your diety will notice any major trangressions (so no breaking that vow of chastity).
Journeyman, you need to watch yourself pretty well as your diety will probably notice if you doing anything it really doesn't like (so don't go drinking with demons or anything like that).
Master, well you don't have to exactly be a saint, but don't be too far off cause your diety keeps a pretty close eye on you (so no taking your gods name in vain, or anything like that).
Public (from a group): You need an audience to do magic. The people need to actually be focused on you, not nessesarily rapt attention, but looking or listening and aware of what you're doing. The level of spell you want to cast determines how many people you need.
Novice level spells only need 1 person paying attention.
Personal (from yourself): You get your magic from your own body, all you need is yourself, but you tire much more quickly then if used a different channeling method. Some spells may even cause wounds to open. The level of the spell you cast determines how much you are drained or wounded( important note: this is in addition to any drain normally taken!).
Novice, no actual drain unless you would normally have some for casting this level of spell, it just tires you a little (roleplay it).
Natural (from nature): Your magic comes from Ereth itself. Generally you will need to be in contact with the ground and/or near plant life to cast your spells. The level of the spell determines just how close you need to be, and just how much you need to be close to.
Novice, in arms reach of a house plant or the ground.
Physical (from objects): You draw your magic from a certain type of object. Gems are the most common object to channel from, but almost anything is possible (if you choose something other then gems work out the details with the pooh-bahs). Objects channeled from in this manner will usaully break after they are used for a while (the pooh-bahs will let you know if this happens). You must be physically touching the object to channel from it. The level of spell determines how large/valuable the object must be (we use gems/glass as an example below).
Novice, almost anything; bits of glass, large rocks, chips off of precious gems.
Spells are the actual magical effects you are capable of. Every spellcaster will have a list of spells they know. It is possible to learn spells from others with similar foci to yours or through research(membership in the Mages Guild will help a lot with either). You will also start with a number of spells, no hard and fast rule on how many, just whatever seems reasonable.
Every spell will be identified by focus and casting in addition to its other effects, it is possible to adapt a spell from one casting method to another, but generally not to another focus.
The other characteristics of spells are range/targeting, duration, and effect.
There are three standard range/targeting options(though others may be possible). Personal, meaning a spell only effects its caster. Touch, which means you must be in physical contact with your target(but don't try to actaully touch people in combat, if you need to use a touch spell in combat use a very small boffer weapon and pretend it's your hand). Proxy Based, which means you throw a spell proxy, a bit of cloth filled with cornstarch (ask the pooh-bahs about spell proxies and we can show you what they are and tell you how to make them). There are other ways in which spells are targeted and/or spells that have different ranges and those will be noted under the spell descirptions. If you want to come up with your own talk to the pooh-bahs about it.
Durations are actually really easy, there are only two, instant and sustained. Instant spells just cause and immediate effect, like healing a wound or causing one. All other spells are sustained which means they last as long as you keep them going the only restrictions on this are that you may not cast any other spells while you sustain a spell, that you must fufill your channeling requirments for the entire time you sustain the spell, that you must be conscious to sustain a spell, and that you must remain near your target to sustain a spell, this is purposely vague. If your in the same room or within shouting distance outside it works as long as you can let your target know whether or not your still sustaining the spell you're in range. Other durations are covered by enchanting. This may seem somewhat limiting but avoids any confusion as to how long spells last or any problems with spells going on when there isn't anybody to tell someone who wanders into the area where its happening what's going on.
Effect is what the spell does. This will be described in the spell description.
There are four spell levels; novice, apprentice, journeyman, and master (well there's also legendary but we're not gonna worry about that here). Novice level spells do extremely minor effects, they can never effect combat meaningfully, and they can never directly harm someone in any significant way, being able to magically light your cigarette or salt your food are about the limits of these levels of spells. Apprentice level spells can actually do some significant effects, heal, deal, or prevent a level of damage in combat with a touch or personal range, personal invisiblity, and other things like that are about the upper limit of apprentice level spells. Journeyman level spells start to become very powerful, at this point one could fling a ball of fire, give protection equal to that of heavy armors, perhaps even temporarily create a zombie. Master Level spells can allow for very impressive magics, things well beyond the reach of non-spellcasters, area of effect attack spells, protection greater than any armor, and curing of virtually any non-magical disease are all within the ability of master level casters. Or course, any partilcular caster will only be able to do a limited range of these effects, so no one person would be able to accomplish all those tasks.
Other General Magic Rules:
These are other restictions and limits on how magic works.
1. No instantaneous teleportation, it's a pain in the ass, makes things take way to long, and creates time discrepancies between players, so you can't do it. If you want to teleport it takes as long as it takes you to get there to work.
2. No moving through walls type spells. Anything that would allow you character to avoid an obstacle that you the player can not is really hard to simulate so we don't allow it.
3. No spells that can not be quickly and easily dealt with in game will be allowed. If you would have to stop a combat to explain your spell to people it can quickly become really annoying because if you have a few spellcasters all doing that sort of thing a five minute combat can end up taking hours, and it's just a pain so we don't generally allow it.
4. No instant death spells. It's unfair to non-magical type fighters if mages can take them down with a single spell, and if we allowed it before long everyone would be playing a magic user.
5. Except in exceptional cases damaging spells will only do one damage, the same as if you had been hit with a weapon. This is mostly to keep combat easy to keep track of, and to avoid confusion as to how damaged someone should be.
6. This has been mentioned before, but it is important so here it is again. You can not magically heal damage caused by drain from casting spells. It just doesn't work, drain damage must be healed naturally over time (unless you've taken a fairly huge amount of drain damage it will all be healed within a month).
Example Spells by Focus-
Fireball (novice), tiny ball of flame from a finger, about the equivalent of a lighter. Sustained, touch.
Fireball (apprentice), a ball of fire surrounding your hand, can do damage in combat. Sustained, touch.
Fireball (journeyman), you can fling a ball of fire, does damage. Instant, proxy based.
Fireball( Master), fling an exploding ball of fire, does damage to about a five foot radius. Instant, proxy based.
Stoneskin (apprentice), one point of armor(takes damage before you do). Sustained, personal.
Stoneskin (journeyman), two points of armor. Sustained, touch.
Stoneskin (master) four points of armor. Sustained, touch.
Extinguish Flame (novice), put out a candle or equivalent amount of fire. Works on any appropriate sized flame in your vicinity without the need for a spell proxy. Successive castings may allow for the extinguishing of larger fires. Instant. Extinguish Flame (apprentice), as above but small campfire/fireplace sized flame.
Extinguish Flame (journeyman), as above but bonfire sized flame.
Extinguish Flame (master), as above but can put out an entire small house on fire.
Heal Wounds (apprentice), heal one wound( one hit in combat). Instant, touch.
Heal Wounds (journeyman), heal one wound. Instant, proxy based.
Heal Wounds (master), heal one wound. Instant, works at range without the need for a spell proxy(hits automatically).
Detect Disease (apprentice), allows the caster to tell what diseases the target is currently suffering from. Instant, touch.
Cure Disease( journeyman), cure one disease. Instant, touch.
Cure Disease (master), cure all diseases afflicting target (even magical ones). Instant, touch.
Nuetralize Poison (apprentice), temporarily remove effects of poison, but they will come back when spell is lifted, and does not heal damge already done by poison. Sustained, touch.
Nuetralize Poison (journeyman), remove all poison from the body of the target, does not heal damage already done. Instant, touch.
Nuetralize Poison (Master), purges all posions from body of target, and heals damage already done by poison short of death. Instant, touch.
Wither Limb (apprentice), one damage to targets limb (your choice of which limb). Instant, touch.
Wither Limb (journeyman), one damage to targets limb (your choice of which limb). Instant, proxy based.
Wither Limb (master), make one of targets limbs useless, as if it had taken two hits in combat (your choice again). Instant, proxy based.
Create Zombie/Skeleton (journeyman), animate one corpse, basicly a mindless servitor. Sustained, touch.
Create Zombie/Skeleton (master), animate up to three corpses, basicly mindless. Sustained, touch (must be touching all bodies that are to be animated).
Control Undead (apprentice), control one mindless undead. Sustained, touch.
Control Undead (journeyman), control one mindless undead. Sustained, proxy based.
Control Undead (master), control one undead (even sentient ones). Sustained, proxy based.
Armor, same as stoneskin (see above). Turn Undead (apprentice), cause one mindless undead to be unable to get within ten feet of you. Sustained, proxy based (must hit undead to be turned).
Turn Undead (journeyman), cause one mindless undead to flee from you. Instant, proxy based.
Turn Undead (master), cause all undead in a ten foot radius to flee. Instant, proxy based.
Protection From Magic (journeyman), spells targeting the target do not take effect (the target is still vulnerable to area of effects though). Sustained, touch.
Repel Demons (apprentice), no demons may touch you. Sustained, personal
Repel Demons (journeyman), no demons may approach to within ten feet of you. Sustained, personal.
Repel Demons (Master), no demons may approach to within ten feet of target. Sustained, touch.
Invisibility (journeyman), target can not be seen (cross arms over chest again). Sustained, touch.
Invisibility (master), you can not be detected (by sight, hearing or smell, though you can still be tracked), anyone attempting to wildly swing they're weapons near you will miss. Sustained, personal.
Phantom Wound (apprentice), target will think they have taken one hit to a location of your choice. Sustained, proxy based.
Phantom Wound (Journeyman), target will think one of their limbs has been disabled. Sustained, proxy based.
Phantom Death (Master, target will think they have been dealt a killing blow, causes unconsciousness while sustained. Sustained, proxy based.