Magic in the setting of Kartazia follows the same basic rules as GURPS Magic, with a few changes. These relate to the way in which items are enchanted, the existence of magical Essence, changes in Magery, and templates which regulate the status quo of mages.
Magic around the world:
- Mages in Kartazia use Formulaic spells, which is GURPS Magic default.
- Mages from Adara (Sharians) use syntactic spells.
- Mages from Hokaikko and Tamshara use symbolic (runic) spells, with house rule changes
- On Obrogand (Maenars), mages use the house rules for Innate Magic Powers.
- On Alhaira there are no organized mages, but psychic powers are wildly spread.
To make a mage in Kartazia:
- Purchase Magery (at least 5 points).
- Purchase Status 2 (10 points).
- Buy the “Demonic” language at least in level 2 spoken, and 2 written (4 points).
- Buy the skill: Thaumatology (Magic Theory).
- Choose a magical learning center (no point cost).
- All spells require the user to perform gestures and speak some mystical words, regardless of their skill level. A mage who wants to suppress either gestures or words can do so at a –4 penalty. To suppress both, they roll at -8. Syntactic spells always require words, but no gestures (they can’t be suppressed). Symbolic spells always require gestures, but no words (they also can’t be suppressed). Innate magical powers may be cast without gestures or words.
- All Magical effects require the user so spend at least 1 point of energy, regardless of skill level. A magic spell does have its energy cost reduced according to skill level, but this cost can never go below 1 to cast. The cost to maintain can be 0. Innate magical powers must also always have a cost, but this cost can be paid in energy, hit points or in some other way (such as temporarily decreasing an attribute).
- Some spells do not exist in the Kartazia setting. Any other spell which requires one of the spells below is also unavailable. Syntactic and Symbolic magic also cannot reproduce these effects. They are:
Ancient History Aura Blink Blink Other Borrow Language Borrow Skill Cloud Vaulting Compel Truth Control Person Divination Dream Projection Dream Sending Dream Viewing Echoes of the Past Enslave Ensorcel Exchange Bodies Exorcism Flight Flying Carpet Gift of Tongues Great Haste Halt Aging Hide Emotion Hide Thoughts History Images of the past Invisibility Lend Language Lend Skill Lich Mind Reading Mind Search Mind Sending Move Terrain Persuasion Plane Shift Possession Powerstone Prehistory Ressurrection Retrogression Sanctuary Scents of the Past Sense Emotion Sense Foes Sense Life Soul Golem Soul Rider Spell Stone Steal Youth Telepathy Teleport Teleport Other Timeport Truthsayer Vexation Youth
- There are no Powerstones.
Essence and Enchantments
In Kartazia, magical creatures can be hunted down and killed for the extraction of something called “Essence”. Essence is a coalesced form of magical power which can be used in powering up spells and to perform enchantments. In fact, the only way to perform enchantments in Kartazia is through the use of essence.
Magical creatures are taken from the list of “Magi Nation fantasy bestiary for GURPS”, which categorizes creatures in power levels ranging from 1 (the weakest), to 12 (the strongest). A creature yields a number of points of essence equaling 1/5 of its power level. A group of creatures also yields a number of points of essence equaling the 1/5 of sum of their power levels, so 5 level 1 creatures can be killed for 1 point of essence.
To extract essence, a mage needs the “enchant” spell and an empty crystal or jewel. A crystal can hold a number of points of essence which equals at most its value in carats. Once a crystal is full, any attempt to add more essence to it expends the essence.
Only a dead magical creature can be harvested for essence. However, there are some intelligent magical beings (such as dragons) which can voluntarily give of their essence (at the expense of losing their magical powers for a few days). These beings, however, are rare, and rarer still are those willing to bargain their own essence.
Essence points can be used in a number of ways. To use essence, a mage must be in physical contact with the jewel that carries it.
- Essence can be used to power up spells, giving extra energy to a mage. One point of essence yields up to 20 extra points of energy for spells. Once used, this energy is gone. The mage can choose to spend less than 20 points of energy from one point of essence, but in doing so, that point of essence loses a fraction of its power and can only be used in the future to power up spells with the remaining of its energy.
- Essence can be used to enchant items. One point of essence grants the mage 200 energy points for an enchantment. Excess energy is always lost, so an enchantment which requires less than 200 points of energy will still use 1 point of essence to be performed. Once used, the essence is gone.
When enchanting items using essence, a mage must spend 1 hour per point of essence used in the enchantment. There are no “quick and dirty” or “safe” enchantments. All enchantments in Kartazia depend on essence to be performed.
A mage is limited in the number of points of essence he can use at any one time. A mage can only use in any one magical effect a number of points of essence which equal twice ( their “Thaumatology” skill (IQ/VH) minus 10 ). So, for instance, a mage with Thaumatology 16 can only use up to 12 points of essence in any single magical effect ( that is twice 16 – 10), which means that he, alone, can only enchant an item with an enchantment of up to 2400 points of energy,
Mages can pool their knowledge together and perform ceremonial spells or enchantments (for ten times the usual time that they take). When doing so, each mage can use up to its maximum number of essence points, which greatly increases the number of essence points that can be used in a given task.
It is not trivial to identify someone with magical aptitude. There are no spells for this, and people with Magery do not stand out, in general. It is very possible that someone with a very strong magical aptitude can spend their whole life unaware of their true potential.
If a trained mage spends time with someone who has an untrained aptitude, he may sense that person’s aptitude. That requires at least one week of constant contact.
However, magery is hereditary, so it is possible to get a hold of people with aptitude by simply following up on their family trees.
If a couple has the same level of magery, their sons will all have their magery as well. If a couple’s magery level differ, their sons will be born with the highest of their parent’s magery minus one.
It is possible, but rare, for a couple with the same level of magery to have a son with one level of magery above their one (even a couple with no magery can bear a child with magery 0). That is something that happens 1 in 10000 times, and explains why sometimes people with aptitude show up in populations where no one has any aptitude at all. A son with two levels of magery above their parents is something unheard of.
An individual can only be naturally born with up to 4 levels of magery. Mages with magery above 4 are not unheard of, but are also not naturally occurring anymore.
Sometimes, an individual’s magery will, in fact, manifest itself in odd ways that make him stand out. There are some drawbacks to magery that are known to run in some magical families. A player creating a mage character can choose one of the drawbacks below and add it in its character. The points he gains from this drawback are not counted towards the limit of disadvantages that a character can start with:
Frightens Animals, -5 points.
Aura of Disquiet: -15 points
- These mages irradiate an aura of uneasiness that make people instinctively suspicious of them. This only affects other mundane, intelligent beings. Mages, animals and magical creatures are unaffected. The others may not be able to explain exactly why, but the mage seems to be a very strange person of which they have to keep away from. This gives the mage a -3 penalty in all social interactions.
Lasting Presence: -10 points
- People just “remember” the mage. Even if he was trying to be very quiet, discreet and even if he did nothing strange at all, those who saw him will have a clear recollection of him, what he did and who he was. It’s as if his presence was too much powerful to be oblivious of, and subconsciously, people will retain his image in mind. This only affects other mundane, intelligent beings. Mages, animals and magical creatures are unaffected. This drawback gives the mage a -3 penalty in stealth, camouflage, disguise and acting, and in any activity which requires him to be discreet or to pass as someone else.
Attraction of Equals: -10 points
- This mage cannot help but find the company of other bizarre, odd characters. Magic itself warps chance around the mage, and he always finds himself close to other mages, or wrapped up in exotic plots, or travelling through lands filled with arcane dangers. He is a magnet for all things arcane, and most of the things he attract he would rather stay clear of (if he knows what’s best for his survival). Mages with this drawback are primary targets for all magical beasts. If a magical opponent or danger can choose who to strike at, it will always strike at this character first.
Other Shadow: -5 points
- This character’s magical essence shows clearly… in his shadow. If seen closely, his shadow will be that of someone entirely different, usually a magical creature with horns, tail or bat-like wings.
Anyone with Magery can purchase the advantages below, known by mages as “Magical Boons”:
Arcane Music: 10 points
- These mages gain benefits when casting their spells with music. If such a mage is performing music (either sung or played) when casting his spell, he may roll his “performance” skill along with his spell and keep the better of the two results, when it comes to determining the target’s resistance.
- If the mage is singing, he may embed the words for casting a spell into the music. If he does so, anyone using thaumatology in trying to identify which spell is being cast will have to overcome the mage’s margin of successes in his performance skill.
Arcane Combat: 10 points
- These mages gain benefits when casting spells along with martial arts movements. If this mage is performing a martial arts movement (be that in combat or not) when casting a spell, he may roll his fighting skill along with his spell and keep the better of the two results, when it comes to determining the target’s resistance.
- The mage may embed the gestures for casting a spell into the martial arts movements. If he does so, anyone using thaumatology in trying to identify which spell is being cast will have to overcome the mage’s margin of successes in his fighting skill.
Magic corrupts. This is a known issue among all mages, and the force which impels mages towards corruption is known as Hubris: an overbearing pride which takes holds of careless mages and drives them ever so towards insanity and destruction. The great necromancers of old, or, more recently, Arix Zaharion, crazed mages who wanted to rule a lifeless world, are clear examples of what happens when a mage lets Hubris take control.
Current theories state that Hubris is the result of the flow of magic slipping between the mage’s intentions behind a spell. A spell’s power always flows towards its intended target. So, then the caster’s intention with the spell is directed entirely at him, then he will feel the bulk of the spell’s power, and, just as magic warps nature, he himself will become warped in return.
If, however, a spell’s intention is directed outwards, then the spell’s power is dissipated and the major warping force will occur in reality alone, and the mage will be relatively free of its effects. Therefore, spells that are cast whose main goal is to benefit the mage, alone, may incur in Hubris. Also, spells which incur guilt will also incur in Hubris. These are the two great causes of Hubris: Selfishness and Guilt.
How it happens:
Whenever a mage casts a spell with selfish intent, or a spell that may not be selfish, but which will bring him guilt, then he will feel the effects of Hubris. Also, a mage always feels the effect of Hubris when he suffers a Critical Miss on a spellcasting roll. Hubris is noted as “points” in the character sheet. A character must take note of how much Hubris points he’s got so far.
Below, a list which indicates which intentions behind a spell can cause Hubris to the mage. This is not a definite list, but rather a guideline for the GM. The golden rule is: Selfishness, Guilt and Critical Misses will cause Hubris. Usually, a mage only gains one Hubris point with a given action; although the GM may determine that a given action will give him 2, or 3 points.
A mage gains hubris when he casts a spell:
- That lies or that backs up a lie.
- That kills an innocent victim
- That kills someone not proven guilty.
- That steals.
- That tortures someone, physically or mentally.
- That enslaves someone’s will.
- That causes someone to do something directly against his beliefs.
- That causes someone to kill himself or someone else.
- That summons a demon, for whatever reason.
If, however, the mage does any of those things without the use of magic, then he does not gain Hubris out of that.
Indirect use of magic also grants Hubris to the mage, such as for instance: summonning a skeleton and ordering it to kill someone.
Individuals using magically enchanted items that perform the actions above will also gain Hubris.
Hubris warps the mind before warping the body. Every Hubris point that a character gains counts as 1 character point. These points do not change the character’s point total, and they are automatically used in pre-determined ways, granting the character new disadvantages, sometimes removing existing mental disadvantages, and eventually even granting him some advantages.
These advantages and disadvantages are “Hubris Warps”: they can be lost by losing his Hubris points.
Hubris Warps occur on three levels.
On level 1, all Hubris points will be used to “buy off” the mental disadvantages of a given list. When the character has no more disadvantages from that list, he will move on to level 2.
On level 2, the character will start to gain mental disadvantages from a specific list. This happens until he accumulates 50 points in Hubris Warp disadvantages. Then he moves on to level 3.
On level 3, the character starts to gain physical disadvantages and supernatural advantages, or may continuing gaining mental disadvantages, although he MUST take at least one physical warp when he reaches level 3. This goes on until he gets 100 warp points. At that point, he is considered to be in “level 4”: he will still accumulate Hubris points, but they will no longer warp him.
If a character already has a disadvantage listed on the “level 2 warps”, he will not gain that disadvantage again when progressing through Hubris level 2, but it will also not be taken into account in determining his number of warp points.
Mages who reach Warping level 4 are known as “The Damned”. It is not a crime to be one of the Damned, but it also does not give you any friends… Most people know what this means and will avoid contact with these individuals.
Hubris Level 1: mental disadvantages that the character loses before anything else.
- Easy to Read
- Sense of Duty, any.
- Pacifism, any.
- Code of Honor, any.
- Guilt Complex
Hubris Level 2: disadvantages that the character gains.
- Powerlust (greed over Power)
- Intolerance (to incompetent underlings)
- Low Empathy
Hubris Level 3: physical and supernatural warps.
- Weird Tattoos: 15 warp points.
- This character’s body is covered in eerie, weird tattoos which keep changing shape. They are usually shaped in the way to scare off whoever the character is interacting with. Weird Tattoos give the character a -6 penalty in all social interaction rolls. However, they also form a magic barrier around the character, and he gets a +10 bonus to resist all spells which are not beneficial to him. This includes attempts to find him with information spells.
- Hairless: 5 warp points
- This character has no body hair, down to his eyebrows. However, he also has a layer of energy which protects him against temperature hazards. This character can safely withstand any of the planet’s extreme temperatures. He could walk naked on the poles, or dress as heavily as he wanted in the desert. He is not, however, immune to fire or cold damage.
- Rocky Skin: 15 warp points
- This character has big chunks of rock jutting out from his skin, or sometimes covering entire portions of his body. They are grotesque to look at and cause him a -6 penalty to reaction rolls. However, this character also has a natural DR of 8, and can purchase as much more as he wants. Is he reaches DR 20, then all of his body is considered to be covered in rock.
- Black Veins: 15 warp points per level
- This character’s veins flow with corrupt power and are as black as sin itself. They show up under his skin a little more intensely than normal veins, and are odd to look at closely. His blood emanates a strong aura of suspicion which makes anyone close to the character uncomfortable. He will always be the first to be accused of anything, and any problems will be pinned down on him if they can.
- However, all that power in his veins also grant him some advantage, and the character’s magery is 1 point higher for every level of this warp that he has. He can only have at most 3 levels of this warp.
- Glowing Eyes: 10 warp points
- The character’s pupil glows with a red or sometimes yellow light, a disturbing sight in the dark, and a very odd thing during the day. This gives him a -3 penalty on reaction rolls. Superstitious people will simply run away from him. However, this also gives him Dark Vision.
- No Reflections: 10 Warp Points.
- This character casts no images on mirrors (and neither does his clothing). That can be a pain when setting up for parties. The absence of a reflection, however, has other implications, and this character’s mind is immune to reading, probing or any form of manipulation.
- Deformed Skin: 10 warping points.
- This character’s skin is horribly deformed. He has no chance of a normal social life with this warping. With this deformity, he gets a -5 penalty to reaction rolls. He is also unable to bear children.
- However, his skin, so infused with magical power, effective becomes a powerful defense against magical damage. A character with this deformity takes only 1/4 of any damage from magical sources (after counting any DR due to armor).
- Lifeless Body: 10 warping points per level.
- The character’s body contains less and less life energy as this warping progress. His skin is lighter and lighter, until it becomes cadaverically light, and then proceeds to become dry, wrinkled and brittle, like a mummy’s. Each level gives him a specific set of advantages and disadvantages:
- Level 1: Character’s skin is pale. His body loses vital points (he cannot be targeted for a vital point attack).
- Level 2: Character’s skin is white with some dark spots of decay. His body becomes homogeneous (he gets no extra damage from impaling or cutting damage).
- Level 3: Character’s skin is dry and brittle, like a mummy. He does not fall unconscious when going to negative Hit Point values, but rolls against death normally.
- The character’s body contains less and less life energy as this warping progress. His skin is lighter and lighter, until it becomes cadaverically light, and then proceeds to become dry, wrinkled and brittle, like a mummy’s. Each level gives him a specific set of advantages and disadvantages:
Every mage can sense his own Hubris, and knows in which level he is. Although there are no known ways of sensing someone else’s Hubris, a mage’s own creeps under his skin like an everlasting filth which soils all of his actions. Luckily for them, though, there are some ways to lose one’s Hubris.
Refrain from Magic
- If a mage refrains from using any magic, or any magical item for one week, he loses 1 point of Hubris.
- If a mage meditates over his actions, who he is and what he should be doing out of life, he loses Hubris at the rate of 1 point per each 50 hours of meditation.
- As a character learns more about life and about himself, he may lose some misconceptions that he previously had, and get rid of Hubris. He may spend one free character point to get rid of 1 point of Hubris.
- A character’s actions may bring him further away from the hold of Hubris just by themselves. Examples:
- If a character which has money gives away all of his wealth to the poor, he loses 5 points of Hubris.
- If a character actually puts himself in danger for no other reason than helping those in need, he loses 1 point of Hubris.
- If he succeeds in helping those he set out to, he loses another point.
- If a character sticks to the Truth at the expense of personal gain, he loses 1 point of Hubris.
- Any action that the GM feels that should be considered “virtuous”, performed by the character in the spirit of helping others without regard for personal gain or loss, is worth the loss of 1 point of Hubris.
The Origins and Source of Magic
It is said that thousands of years ago, way, way before the Valonian Age, Kartazia was a dead world ruled by pure elemental forces, and not a speck of life over its surface. There were, however, uncountable demons which ravaged the land.
In that time, to make way for mankind, the One Power sent out angels who descended from Heavens and fought the demons. The angels won, and the demons were imprisoned for eternity in the Netherworld. Volcanoes ceased to erupt, water cooled down, the air became breathable, life was allowed to surface, and with it, came mankind.
But the demons, enraged for having lost their world to mankind, swore revenge in secret, and seek out, even today, to return once more and bring about an end to life as we know it.
The demons, imprisoned in the Netherworld, organized themselves under the banner of twenty three dark lords, twenty three archdeamons who rule the infernal planes. These archdeamons found a flaw in the structure of their prison, and allowed the very mankind they hated to use part of their powers to their own ends.
They allowed that, because in doing so mankind would irrevocably corrupt itself, and the archdeamons would grow in power, until the day in which they will be powerful enough to tear down their prison walls and return, once gain, to the world of flesh.
This is magic. It’s the power that the archdeamons, imprisoned in Hell, allow mankind to use in order to gain strength out of our own corruption.
That is why magic corrupts. This is the source of Hubris. This is why there has been so many insane mages over history.
Each archdeamon fuels one of the known schools of magic. Their names are also the names of the magical runes used in Hokaikko and Tamshara.
One exception exists to this, and one alone: Healing spells. It is said that when demons first taught magic to humans, one angelic lord decided to allow mankind to use his power, in order to balance out the demonic influence. Thus, the magic school of healing takes its power from an angel who, it is said, is to this day walking around the world. For this reason, healing spells do not incur in Hubris, regardless of why they are used. Also, when a mage refrains from using magic in order to lose Hubris, he can use healing spells normally, because by nature they do not corrupt.
Rituals and the Demonic Language
Every mage must know an additional language in level 2: the Demonic Language, which is the language in which all magic rituals are performed. Healing spells doesn’t have to be performed in the demonic language, though, but there is also no problem in doing so.
If a mage wants to read and write magical texts, he will also have to learn to read and write Demonic, at least in level 2.
Because it is demonic power that fuels magic, there always has to be a ritual associated to magic: to connect with a specific archdeamon’s power. And because they are imprisoned in another plane, the mage always has to spend some energy to get his spells to work.
Mages in the Kartazia Continent:
By the Antithaumatocratic pact of 1636, mages are forbidden to own land and to assume positions of command in a nation’s hierarchy. However, the same pact grants the mages some privileges. Mages are subject to a different law, passed on by their schools. When a mage commits a crime, he can only be judged and condemned by his peers: mages from the same school where he learned. If an offending mage has no school, he can only be judged by a tribunal of other mages, usually assembled for this purpose alone.
Karazian nations are also obliged to give free food and free housing to any mage of their own nationality. This is regardless of whether the mage actually performs service to them or not. Granted, the food and housing given may not be the best, but no mage will beg on the streets in Kartazian soil.
This template of privileges and prohibitions is accounted for as a “Status 2” (10 points), that every mage character must pay for in Kartazia.
Magical Learning Centers
A mage character in Kartazia can choose to be trained by one of the magical Universities. Training in these schools give access to special techniques that enhance their use of magic, but also comes with a price of its own in terms of commitment to the school’s agenda.
Mages are allowed to teach spells to one another as they please, but as a mage learns a School’s secret techniques, he is forbidden to pass these on to other mages not of his school. Failure to abide by this law usually results in death. Also, when a mage that enter the inner circle of a given school (the standing in which they learn its magical techniques), he is considered from that moment on to be a citizen of that nation (regardless of his birth nationality). In this condition, providing magical aid to a rival nation is considered an act of treason. This is a duty of -20 points.
A magical school is also a patron which provides supernatural training not available anywhere else in the world. This makes them a 20 point patron. Therefore, a mage doesn’t have to pay any points to be trained by a specific University, but once one is chosen, they have to stay with it for life. Usually, the only way to leave association with a university is through death.
The magical universities of Kartazia are:
The University of Roslan, in Yorglen
Rogue and Esoteric, the University mages are a wild bunch which incorporated some of Yorglen isles’ animic pagan beliefs into their own version of magical theory. Their country’s fame for being pirates and scoundrels also marks them as being less than trustworthy.
However, they are known to possess some techniques that go way beyond the usual scope of magic, and are greatly sought out for magical espionage purposes. The court at Yorglen is also widely known for its great use of magic in international affairs.
Magical techniques taught at the University:
Hidden Magery: 10 points
- With this technique, a mage’s magery does not show up. Other mages will never identify this individual as a mage no matter how long a time they spend on his company.
- This technique also allows a mage to suppress his magical drawback, if he has one. He must spend 1 point of energy per minute that he wants his drawback suppressed.
Secret Name: 30 points
- These mages have a secret name, which only they know, and in day-to-day affairs they use a pseudonym that has no relation to who they really Are. This causes them to not be easily identified by other spells or powers. Any form of magically locating the mage will suffer a penalty of -15 in addition to any other modifiers (such as long range modifiers or magical protections).
- This technique does not hide spells or enchantments that the mage perform, only he himself.
Renaming: 15 points
requires: secret name
- With this technique, a mage can change the name of an object or person. In changing their name, all magical connections that they had formed will be lost. This means that other people will not be able to magically locate the target with his previous name, description, or personal item.
- The mage can only change the name of magical objects if he overcomes their power with his Willpower – 5. He can only try this once per week in a given item.
- Intelligent beings can only have their names changed if they consent with the operation. Even then, the target must spend 1 free character point in order to consolidate the change.
- After a renaming, the target begins forming new magical connections as usual.
Eternal Name: 10 points
- These mages can forge permanent mystical connections with things, by giving them what is called an Eternal Name. To do that, they need something of relevance to a specific target: a connection with them.
- For instance, a permanent connection could be made between a person with a piece of his clothing, or between a soldier and his sword, etc. This technique only allows for the creation of connections with living beings.
- To forge such a connection, the mage needs both targets before him and one point of essence. He spends this essence in an eight -hour ritual, and from that moment on, both targets are irrevocably linked.
- When someone holds a connection, for all magical purposes, it is as if he was also touching the other half of the connection. That can be used by a mage to allow him to cast spells very far away as if he were touching those individuals.
- A living being can only have one object forged as permanent connection with him. If someone attempts to forge a second connection, the first will be severed. Also, a sentient being can always resist any attempt to forge a connection with him if he is conscious: such connections can only be forged with his consent.
- To create a permanent connection with an enchanted item, the mage’s willpower must overcome the item’s power, otherwise, all attempts will be futile: no roll is needed.
Everlasting Presence: 15 points
requires: Eternal Name.
- This technique allows for the creation of permanent connections with places and objects, much like “Eternal Name” connects living beings. To that end, the mage needs something that belongs to the place or object that he is connecting to, and the actual presence of the object or place that’s the target of the connection.
- The mage spends 1 point of essence in an eight-hour ritual and forges the connection. To create a permanent connection with an enchanted item or with a place that’s magically protected, the mage’s willpower must overcome the item’s or spell’s power, otherwise, all attempts will be futile: no roll is needed.
Ephemerid Connection: 20 points
requires: everlasting presence.
- This technique allows a mage to create temporary connections to far away places without actually being there. To that end, he needs a compendium of astrological references, pen and ink, paper, and eight hours of uninterrupted work. Characters with “Eidetic Memory” can do without the astrological references, and those with “Intuitive Mathematician” can calculate the connection in one hour.
- Once the mage finishes his calculus, he can establish a connection between two points in space. If he (or anyone else) stands in one of them, he can cast spells in the other place with which he made the connection.
- This connection lasts for two hours, and it cannot be made permanent.
- Places protected by magic are still protected and any spells cast on them must overcome this protection.
The Thaumaturgical Assembly of Lieran, in Lionar
Known for their mutants and guns, the Thaumaturgical Assembly is home to Kartazia’s greatest alchemists. Their potions are prized among all nation’s nobility, and their borders with the Morandas Forest serves as an ever increasing supply of exotic plants and species for study.
The Assembly mages are often seen in the company of the mutants they create, a specialty of this school and a closely guarded technique. And although there are mutants that are not in league with the Assembly, it is safe to assume that it does have some sort of hold over most of them.
Magical techniques taught at the Assembly:
- The assembly teaches Alchemy, whose rules can be found here.
The Seven Schools of Brynenberg, in Zaitsan
It is just to be expected that the nation which develop the Uron-Tashra would have the best center of technological studies allied with magic. The Seven Schools are known for their close integration of technological with supernatural, and many a great scientist are graduated there along with their fabled technomancers.
Mages of the Seven Schools study in their curriculum much more than just magic: they are also well verse in mathematics, chemistry, physics, engineering and architecture. Their labs are filled with clockworks, steam and gunpowder, in contrast with the putrid vials and herb-scented incenses of other mages.
Magical techniques taught at the Seven Schools:
Lasting Spell: 20 points per level.
- Each level of this technique doubles the duration of spells cast by the mage, as long as they are not instantaneous or combat spells
Spell Maintenance: 30 points.
- This technique lowers the maintenance cost of all of the mage’s spells in 1 point of energy. This technique can only be purchased once.
Versatile Concentration: 15 points.
- A mage with this technique can act normally while maintaining an ongoing spell. He can cast other spells without penalty, and even recover his lost energy while maintaining ongoing spells.
Automatic Maintenance: 15 points
requires: versatile concentration and spell maintenance
- This technique allows the mage to reduce his maximum number of energy points and give constant energy for the maintenance of spells.
- If he reduces his maximum energy by X, he can maintain an ongoing spell which requires X points of energy to be cast (not maintained). This cost does not take into account the reduced maintenance cost for high skill level.
- While the mage maintains his maximum energy lowered, he can keep his spells ongoing – even if he is asleep or unconscious.
The Arcane College of Deenar, in Luksenar
The mages of the Arcane College at Luksenar have excelled in the crafting and repairing of magical artifacts. Being so close to the Morandas Forest, they are in no lack of essence for their experiments. The Arcane College is one of the most prolific centers where the “perpetuum mobile keys”, the main source of magical power in Kartazia, are made, and money from these sales have made them the richest of all mages.
Magical techniques taught by the College:
Invisibility Spell: Mages from the College can learn the Invisibility spell and its derived spells.
Spiritual Enchantment: 10 points
- This mages can enchant an object by infusing in them part of their spirit. This may greatly reduce the item’s energy cost to enchant (and therefore: its essence requirements), but it has the off side of inexorably linking the object to the mage.
- The mage can spend free character points and reduce an enchantment’s energy cost: every 1 character point gives him 250 energy points for enchantment purposes, only. This can allow them to enchant items without using any essence at all.
- An item thus enchanted becomes a permanent connection to the mage (and this technique allows the mage to have more than one connection to himself). Whoever holds the item will be, for all magical purposes, as if he were touching the mage itself. This makes these items a very vulnerable point if they fall in an enemy’s hands.
Personal Enchantments: 20 points.
- These mages can reduce the overall Essence cost of any item they enchant by 25% if they are enchanting an item that they crafted themselves, such as, for instance: a sword that they forged, a staff that they carved, a jewel that they lapidated, etc. If this enchantment is performed in a ritual with other mages, the bonus still applies, but it can only be applied once.
Fixed Magic: 20 points.
- This technique allows a mage to enchant items instantaneously, as long as he has the required essence at hand.
Reforge: 5 points
- This technique allows a mage to reenchant an item in the intent of increasing the power of an already placed enchantment. To that end, he must spend 1/10 of the enchantment’s original energy. The reforge process adjusts the enchantment’s power to the current skill level of the caster.
Essence Smelting: 5 points
- This technique allows a mage to unmake an enchanted item and extract its essence. To that end, his Magic Theory skill level -15 must overcome the item’s resistance, if it has any.
- A smelt item yields to the mage at the least a number of essence points which equal half the essence with which it was created.
- The mage can still obtain additional essence up to the maximum number of essence points used in enchanting the item. Every 2 points by which his Magic Theory surpasses skill level 14 grant him one more essence point that he can extract from the item, if it has more essence to be extracted.
- Evidently, a mage cannot extract more essence that what was used in creating the item in the first place.
Focus of Power: 1 point per level, up to twice the mage’s Magic Theory– 10.
- This technique allows a character to enchant a Focus of Power. A focus is an enchanted object which is connected to the mage which created him. A mage can only have one focus at a time. If he dies, his focus becomes a common enchanted item.
- A mage and his focus are two halves of the same body, regardless of distance. A mage can always cast spells through his focus as if he were physically standing in its place. If a spell is dependant on distance, the effective distance from the mage to the target is the smallest of the mage’s or his focus’ distance.
- A focus of power is also an enchanted item. Every character point spent by the mage in making it grants the focus 250 points of energy in enchantments, up to a limit of twice the mage’s Magic Theory – 10.
- When enchanting a Focus of Power, a mage is able to enchant spells that he does not know himself, if he at least meets the prerequisites for these spells.
- It takes as long as it takes for a traditional enchantment to infuse a Focus of Power. A mage can change his focus at any given time. If he does that, the previous focus loses its power and he must spend time enchanting the new one.
The Academy of Parasciences of Dvorensk, in Tergovia
Tergovian mages are fearless combatants, and the Academy of parasciences is notorious for graduating the most exceptional of battlemages. Their secret techniques make them a force to be reckoned with in any battle, and the simple presence of Academy mages has been enough to avert more than one war in the past. As with all things tergovian, they are also often used as a diplomatic leveraging tool.
Magical techniques taught at the Academy:
Optimized Magic: 20 points
- These mages can perform tradeoffs of magic energy for time to cast, being thus able to cast spells much more quickly for a greater cost. Whenever they increase the spell cost to cast by one time, their time to cast is reduced by half.
- For instance, casting an “Analyze Magic” spell costs 8 points of energy and takes 1 hour. If a mage with this technique spends 16 points of energy, he can cast it in half an hour, and if he spends 24 points of energy, he can cast it in 15 minutes. For 40 points of energy, the mage could cast an “Analyze Magic” spell in 3 minutes and 45 seconds.
- This technique does allow a mage to cast damage-dealing spells which require concentration in less time. Thus, a mage who can cast a 6d fireball for 6 energy points in 2 turns could cast a 6d fireball for 12 energy points in 1 turn.
Magic Celerity: 20 points per level.
- Each level of this technique reduces the time to cast of all of the mage’s spells by half, in addition to any modifier by high skill.
Penetrating Magic: 5 points per level.
- Each level of this technique adds 1 to the margin of successes of the mage’s spells, when it comes to determining target resistance for such magics.
Independent Magic: 10 points.
- These mages are able to perform tradeoffs of energy to skill without the need to enter a ceremonial casting with other mages. This allows them to cast this spells in their original time to cast.
Combat Mage: 15 points.
- This technique allows a mage to perform normal-duration spells as blocking spells. It only works on spells which are not normally blocking spells, and only on spells which take 1 second to be cast (including attack spells).
- When using a spell as a blocking spell, the mage must spend half its usual cost to cast or 1, whichever is greater. Damage spells used as blocking spells cause half the damage that they normally would in 1 turn of concentration,
- Area spells can be made blocking.
- Information spells cannot be made blocking.
- These spell’s duration is always instantaneous (less than 1 turn of combat). When calculating this spell’s cost to cast, divide the original cost to cast without applying any modifier due to high skill.
- If the mage use these spells to escape an attack, he must succeed in a blocking roll which equals half his skill level with the spell plus 3. This technique DOES allow a mage to cast as many blocking spells as he can per turn, as long as he has enough energy for that.
- Successive blocking spells in a given turn are subject to a cumulative penalty of -2 in their blocking roll.
- A blocking spell cast through this technique does not count toward the limit of 1 spell that a mage can cast per turn.
- For this technique to be useful, it must be used over a feasible spell. For instance, to escape a sword strike, the mage can cast a blocking fireball. This would damage the weapon attacking him, and possibly destroy it. However, a fireball is immaterial, and as such, it would not prevent the movement of the actual attack. So, if the blocking fireball’s damage was not enough to destroy the weapon, it would not prevent the attack. However, if the mage were to use a blocking “stone missile”, he would deflect all of the attack, because since the stone missile does have physical substance, it would interpose the attack no matter how much damage it caused to the weapon.
The Center of Occult Studies of Nolla, in Venara
Venarans are notorious travelers, even before the time of Loren Venar, and their mages are all driven by an endless wanderlust. They are adventurers, historians, archeologists, colonizers. They are always the first to look for ancient cities and lost treasures, and also the first to use these to surprise everyone else.
Magical techniques taught at the Center:
Flight Spell: Mages from the Center can learn the Flight spell and its derived spells.
Great Haste Spell: Mages from the Center can learn the Great Haste spell and its derived spells.
Move Terrain Spell: Mages from the Center can learn the Move Terrain spell.
Sanctuary Spell: Mages from the Center can learn the Sanctuary spell.
Manasensitive: 15 points
- These characters are manasensitive: they can sense essence at a distance. Manasensitivity is very rare, and highly treasured among mages. It is possible for someone to be a manasensitive and not have magery.
- A manasensitive individual can sense essence from afar. In a successful IQ roll, it can sense a concentration of essence that is as much meters away as its margin of successes, even if he cannot see the source. If he touches an object infused with essence, he can sense how many points are there.
- A manasensitive person who knows nothing of magic will sense a strange affinity with certain places, objects or people, and may come to obtain vortexes simply because he “likes” these things, out of an unexplainable sense of familiarity.
- Manasensitives can find essence and vortexes by accident as they travel.
- Whenever a manasensitive individual travels for a distance of 1000 km or greater by land, he rolls 3d for each full 1000km that he travelled.. Results are checked on the table below:
Roll: Result: 3 or 4 A vortex of 4 points per month. 5 A vortex of 3 points per month. 6 A vortex of 1 points per month. 7 2d points of free essence lying around (usually on a magical beasts’ corpse). 8 1d points of free essence lying around (usually on a magical beasts’ corpse). 9+ Nothing found.
- This roll is subject to the frequency modifiers below:
Modifer Frequency: -1 Places with high use of magic 0 Places where magic is known and taken for granted +1 Places where magic exists, but at the hands of a few +2 Places in which magic is little known and feared +3 Places where magic is legendary and almost never withnessed -1 If the character travelled through a region never before explored. 0 If the character travelled through dense jungle, deep desert, swamp. +1 If the character travelled through little used routes and paths. +2 If the character travelled through widely used roads.
- If the character finds a vortex, roll 1d. If the result is “1”, it’s a mobile vortex (an object), if the result is a “6”, the vortex is in the body of a magical creature they find along the way. For any other value, the vortex is a fixed location. Found vortexes usually have an amount of 1d+1 points of accumulated essence.
Personal Vortex: 10 or 15 points per level.
- A character can start the game with a personal vortex. This vortex can be a place (for 10 points per level), or an object that belongs to the character (for 15 points per level).
- Each level allows the vortex to produce 1 point of essence per month.
- At the beginning of the game, these vortexes start with 1d+level points of accumulated essence.
Spiritual Essence: 15 points
- These mages can extract essence out of their own spirit, burning up spent character points and coalescing them in points of essence, and transferring this essence to a crystal that they may be holding. Every 1 character point yields 1 point of essence. They can only use their own character points to this end, and only points that were already spent.
Essential Imprinting: 20 points
- These mages have the ability to enchant people and animals as if they were inanimate objects. Targets of such enchantments can use the powers they were enchanted with normally.
- To that end, the mage must have the target with him during the enchantment process, or a connection with it.
- Targets of such enchantments have the change to incorporate these enchantments as innate magical powers, and thus prevent them from ever being disenchanted. To do that, they must spend free character points to purchase a power that has the same effect as the magic they were enchanted with.
- A mage that performs an enchantment in a person or animal gains the ability to perform any spell he wants on that target regardless of distance, for ever. The reverse is not true, so only a mage who has absolute trust upon someone else will allow him to perform an imprint.
- When the target of this effect dies, all of his enchantments wear off. Incorporated magical powers, however, remain active even after the physical body has died.
The Great Archives of Velusia
The Great Archives of Velusia boast of graduating the best, greatest mages of Kartazia, and they may just be right. Even after the Velusian Imperium, the mages of Velusia continue to be among the most versatile of spellcasters. After all, centuries of concentrating the magical knowledge of Kartazia did pay off.
The Archive mages, as they are called, are also notorious for seeking desperately to learn the magical techniques of other schools. It is said among small groups that the Archives do have, in fact, all magical techniques ever discovered: they just don’t divulge that.
Magical techniques taught at the Archives:
Magical Potency for <School>: 15 points.
- This technique reduces by 1 the cost to cast of all spells of a single school of magic. It can only be purchased once for each school.
Cautious Magic: 15 or 30 points.
- With this technique, a mage only suffers a critical miss when casting spells on a roll of 18. Rolls of 17 may be errors or successes depending on the mage’s skill level. If this technique isto be applied to enchantments, it costs 30 points, otherwise, it costs 15.
Parallel Magic: 30 points per level.
- The mage is capable of casting more than one spell simultaneously. Each simultaneous spell is cast at a cumulative -5.
Archmage: 40 points
- These mages are able to alter their spells so as to cast them with less energy than usual. This greatly complicates the spells, because the mage is actually making their structure to feedback upon itself. Thus, the higher the decrease in energy cost, the higher the penalty that they must deal with in their skill level.
- For every -3 skill modifier that the character assumes when casting a spell, he can cast it with 1 less point of energy. This does work with combat spells.
- The player must announce how much energy he is decreasing before making the skill roll.
- Every 2 points of energy saved in the cost to cast also save 1 point of energy in the cost to maintain.
Reverse Archmage: 10 points
- With this technique, an archmage is able to determine how much energy he is saving from his spells after making the skill roll, and before applying the energy loss.
Spellmastery: 20 points
requires: Thaumatology 20+, Archmage.
- This technique expands the current magical theory and allows a mage to customize each of his spells in powerful ways. With this technique, a mage may develop "magical perks", which are 1-point advantages that enhance the way a single magic spell is used. Magical perks must be purchased separately for each spell that is to be altered.
- A magical perk cannot be taught: it is a deeply personal variation of a spell that draws its power from the mage's unique personality, being much more akin to a work of art than science. Therefore each mage must develop their own perks through a laboratorial process. Access to a magical laboratory and library is essential in the development of magical perks. If the character has "Eidetic Memory", he can do without the library, but he can never do without the laboratory. It takes 1 month of study to develop a magical perk, or 1 week if the character is to spend character points in the perk.
- A Magical Perk can do ONE of the following effects below:
- Divide the casting time of a spell by 2. This perk can be bought repeatedly, doubling its effect each time. A spell's time to cast cannot be brought below 1 second with this perk.
- Reduce the energy cost to cast a given spell in 1. This does NOT affect the cost to maintain a spell. This perk can be bought repeatedly, reducing 1 in the energy cost each time.
- Increase by 1 the margin of successes of a spell when it comes to determining target resistance.
- Increase the range of a regular spell: its penalty becomes 1 per each 2 hexes instead of 1 per hex of distance.
- Allow the caster to cast this spell as a blocking spell for half the energy cost and half the effect (which means half damage for damage-causing spells). In this case, the spell duration becomes instantaneous. This only affects spells whose time to cast is 1 second.
- Allow the mage to cast the spell without the need for gestures.
- Allow the mage to perform a tradeoff of energy to skill without the need to cast this spell ceremonially.
- Allow the mage to cast the spell without words.
- Allows a missile spell to be cast without the need for an "innate attack" skill roll. The innate attack skill roll is replaced by the caster's spell roll when it comes to determining the penalties for a ranged attack. Such spells cannot be aimed at specific parts of the body and always deal damage to the torso.
The Parachronic Convention of Asimaar, in Arden
The mages of the Convention are the most secretive, and the most effective of mages. Known to be pacifists and highly philosophical mages, the Convention is nevertheless expert on protection and meta spells. Also, they bear the frightening suspicion of employing a great number of psionic mages: a combination as powerful as it is disquieting. All in all, if you ever manage to find one of these, better to stay away from them.
Magical techniques taught at the Convention:
Extended Range: 15 points.
- This technique extends the reach of a mage’s regular spells. Usually, a regular spell is subject to a -1 penalty for each meter of distance to the target. With this technique, the penalty is that of the range modifiers table for ranged attacks.
Excluding Area: 10 points
- With this technique, a mage can exclude from the area of effect of his area spells one or more targets at his will. This works for area spells, but also for explosive damage spells, allowing the mage to specify some targets that will not be damaged by the explosion.
Malleable Area: 15 points
requires: Excluding Area.
- This technique allows a mage to use his area effect spells malleably. With it, the mage is not required to cast such spells on a circular area, but an area of any shape as long as the number of covered hexes remains the same,.
- Such areas can be shaped at the will of the mage, with the only limitation that they must be on a continuous perimeter: one cannot split a spell’s area of effect with this technique.
Area Spell: 20 points.
requires: Malleable Area.
- This technique allows the mage to cast any regular spell as an area effect spell. All targets within the area will suffer the same effect of the spell, as if it had been cast singularly over each of them.
- The cost of the spell is its cost to cast, per hex radius.
- For the purposes of this technique, each affected individual occupies one hex. You cannot “squeeze” two people in a hexagon to get the most of this technique.
- This technique does not affect damage-dealing or attack spells.
Spontaneous Learner: 10 points per level.
- With this technique, a mage may purchase spells ignoring some or possibly all of their prerequisites. Each level of this technique allows a mage to ignore one of a spell's prerequisites. With enough levels, a mage may end up being able to purchase most of GURPS Magic's spells directly. The maqe may determine which prerequisite he is not considering when learning a new spells.
- Learning spells spontaneously is harder than usual, and takes twice as long (regardless of the level of this technique that is being used). This means that a spontaneous spell requires two months of study to be learned through the aid of a teacher, or four months with the aid of a book. If the player is spending character points in learning such spell, it takes 2 weeks of study to learn it.
Intuitive Magic: 30 points.
requires: Spontaneous Learner level 2.
- These mages are capable of improvising on a spell's effect and alter it in small ways, in exchange for a penalty in their skill roll. This technique allows for a manipulation of a spell's basic parameters: Time to Cast, Range, Duration and Area. A spell's cost to cast cannot be altered through this technique.
- This technique affects such parameters in the following ways:
- Each -3 in the skill roll reduces the spell's time to cast by half. Further decreases are exponential.
- Each -2 in the skill roll increases the spell's range by 100%. Further increases are linear.
- Each -5 in the skill roll increases the spell's duration by 100%. Further increases are linear.
- Each -3 in the skill roll increases the spell's area of effect by 100%. Further increases are linear.
- A mage using this technique must declare which modifier he is using in his spells before attempting the spell roll.
Reverse Intuition: 10 points.
requires: Intuitive Magic.
- This technique expands "Intuitive Magic", and allows a mage to declare the modifiers he is going to use in his spell's parameter after the skill roll was made.
The Temple of Light in Darkness, of the Church
The other schools of magic doesn’t seem to be the least bit concerned about the fact that magic is, in fact, an infernal power, and there are a number of hell lords who grow stronger with each mage that allows corfruption to seep in. In the temple of Light in Darkness, however, things are not like that. The spiritual development of mages is of the utmost concern to this school, whose greatest goal is the victory over Hubris.
Church Mages believe that, just as Hubris fuels the hell lords, every mage who reaches enlightenment actually weakens them a hundred times over. Therefore, mages trained in the Tower of Light are usually very spiritually concerned. They are among he most heroic of mages, the most selfless and altruistic of spellcasters. Their true battle is that of the spirit, and it happens within each one’s heart.
However, they do not use that as an excuse to demand moral behavior of others. Rather, the corruption of the other mages only serves to strengthen their beliefs that they should strive even harder to be a better mage, because if one of them achieves the final victory over Hubris, hundreds, no, thousands of other mages’ corruption will be redeemed by them.
Magical techniques taught at the Temple:
No-Ritual Magic: 10 points.
- These mages never have to make gestures to perform their spells. This technique cannot be combined with Wordless Magic, and it also does not affect symbolic (runic) magic.
Wordless Magic: 10 points.
- These mages never have to speak to perform their spells. This technique cannot be combined with No-Ritual Magic, and it also does not affect syntactic magic.
Subtle Magic: 5 points
- These mages can cast their spells without running the risk of critical misses, as long as they perform what is known as “subtle magic”
- If the magical effect occurs in a way as not to appear supernatural to potential witnesses, the magic is considered to be subtle. A subtle spell is an effect that can be explained within the natural laws of the context it is inserted into. For instance: a mage casting lightning from his hands cannot be explained. A lightning falling from the sky can. The GM is the final arbiter in these matters.
- For a spell to be subtle, it doesn’t matter how many people witness the event, what matters is the effect itself, whether it’s witnessed or not.
- A critical miss in a subtle spell is always considered a simple failure.
Empty Magery: 10 points.
- The mage and his spells do not “register” as being “magical” for other sources of detection. Information spells which intend to analyze or identify this mage’s spells are subject to a penalty of -15, in addition to any other magical protection or penalty they may have.
- This technique applies to a mage’s magery, his spells and enchantments, but it doesn’t prevent that he himself becomes a target of magical detection, for instance.
Magic Immunity for <School>: 5 points.
- The mage becomes immune to the effects of any spell from a given school, if cast at him. This technique must be purchased separately for each magical school. No resistance roll is required: if the mage is targeted by such spells, he is automatically successful in any resistance roll. This does not prevent magical damage from attack spells, such as "fireball", but does prevent direct damage from resisted attack spells, such as "frostbite".
- The mage may consciouslly waive this immunity for a specific spellcast (thus allowing him to receive the benefits of a healing or enhancing spell).
- This technique does NOT work on enchantments or powers from magical creatures.
- The mage may purchase immunity against psychic powers just as he does for magical schools.