Of Reclaimed Renown
The magic of this world, Tonoril, is substantially different than standard Pathfinder/D&D. Aether, to use the proper term, is the latent force that exists in all the known Realms – the ability to draw it from those Realms and shape it in this one, is what makes one a user of magic. Note that Spell Resistance is extremely rare – it’s far more common for creatures to be capable of drawing Aether themselves.
The key limitation on magic, compared to standard D&D, is that wielders of it are largely restricted to magic related to their Path – the connection with a Realm that determines what they’re capable of casting. Wielders of the Path of Fire, for example, can hurl fire, manipulate it, conjure it, and the like. They’d have no ability to manipulate earth or enchant a blade to be particularly sharp. Particularly powerful mages can learn to wield multiple Paths, but this is extremely rare – nobody in Tor’Vik has been able to do so in your lifetimes.
The key improvement on magic is flexibility. Path spell lists are drawn from all available spells, and Shaping allows additional flexibility within the Path theme (see below). My goal is to have players use magic creatively and as part of their character, rather than as a statistical addendum and checklist of spells to keep track of.
Magic primarily comes in three forms:
- Patterns, which are traditional D&D spells, except there are no components required. Knowledge of these is rare and highly valued, with Patterns of more than the second or third Circle being rare treasures indeed. Mages get a fixed number of Pattern slots to cast each day, similar to a sorcerer
- Shaping, which is the drawing in and forming of raw magic into whatever the wielder desires and is capable of.
- Each caster starts with a pool of Strain equal to 1 + their casting stat modifier. At each level-up, they gain Strain equal to their new caster level. For example, a 3rd level Mage with a Wisdom of 16 would have 9 Strain (1 + 2 + 3 + 3).
- In order to Shape an effect, the player tells me what they’d like to do. This can replicate Patterns, although it’ll always be easier and more efficient to use a Pattern. I’ll assign a Strain cost, and a Caster Level check DC, both of which will be known to the player. The player then decides whether to proceed, and if so, makes a CL check. On success, the effect happens, and I’ll inform you of the result. On failure, the player takes 1d4 damage per point of Strain spent. If this knocks the character unconscious, they must make a second CL check at the same DC – failure to do so indicates an Aethersurge, as they’ve drawn in more magic than they can handle, and they receive another 1d4 damage per Strain spent. Exhausting oneself while Shaping is extremely risky.
- Simple uses cost 1 or 2 Strain, and frequently have DCs around 5-8. This would something like creating a non-damaging fire in your hand to act as a torch, providing a +1 Luck bonus to a single skill check, or hardening a blade to increase it’s damage 1 by for a brief time.
- Moderate uses often cost 3-6 Strain, or variable costs, and frequently have DCs in the 9-14 range. This could be hurling a bolt of lightning, using magic to understand a language of strange writings, or drawing darkness into an entire room
- Several New Feats are available to help & empower mages in this system
- Channeling, which is grabbing pure Aether and ripping it into his world. This can either be used to deal damage (Touch or 30’ Ray, DC11+Strain spent, Dmg 1d4/Strain, Max 5d4), or to heal (Touch, DC11+Strain spent, Heals 1d4/Strain, Max 5d4).
Also note that anyone with an Int/Wis/Cha of 14 or higher has access to a Path. Their Strain pool without a caster level is halved (Minimum 1), but gaining a Caster Level later brings them up to their full Strain. Players that qualify for this do not have to pick a Path at the start of the game, and can do so at any level-up, as their connection to the path manifests.
Known Paths, and their relative rarity in Tor’vik, are listed below. If additional information is commonly known, it’s included as well.
- Summon spells for creatures don’t exist. Calling does, but opens actual portals to Realms, and is considered reckless and foolhardy
Paths & Abilities & Spell Lists:
Google Drive Link (Open with Google Sheets or Excel, the Drive preview is garbage)