Performing Magical Feats
When a character wishes to perform magic, the player should describe to the Gamemaster the magical results the character wishes to achieve. The more detail included in the description, the better. Scholarly magic depends heavily on the magician’s concentration and clarity of thought, and if the player isn’t paying much attention to what the character wishes to accomplish, the GM may assume the character isn’t, either.
The player may also describe the magician character’s actions, and aspects of the ritual being used to perform the magic feat, if desired. Including poetic incantations (especially if it’s good poetry) and other “flavor” in the description of the ritual may be worth bonuses to the character’s skill.
There are several aspects that should be considered for each magical feat:
- Skill required (Difficulty Level)
- Mana required (power points that will be used)
- Time to perform (from an instant to years)
- Materials required (if any)
Optional modifying circumstances (lots possible)
Skill: The more complex the desired results, the higher the Difficulty Level the GM should set for a magical feat. Difficulty Levels start at Fair for simple magic, such as creating but not controlling fire, or speaking with a spirit that’s already “awake” and interested in communicating. Difficulty can range up to Legendary or even beyond, for god-like magical feats. Some “trivial” magic may have Difficulty Levels of Mediocre, but any magic requiring power points should be of at least Fair Difficulty.
Once the Difficulty Level is set, the player rolls against the magician’s Scholarly Magic skill. Use the lowest skill if the feat requires more than one Scholarly Magic skill.
Example: Enchanting a Staff of Dragon Summoning and Control requires skill in Artificing, Conjuration, and Mesmerism. An enchanter with Artificing: Mediocre, Conjuration: Fair, and Mesmerism: Good would roll on a skill level of Mediocre.
Mana: The more powerful or all-encompassing the desired results, the more power points will be required.
“Trivial” magic may require so little mana that power point use isn’t even tracked. This doesn’t mean a mage can go around popping off trivial spells all day, though, since even trivial spells requiring no power points will fatigue the mage.
Note that the Difficulty Level and the mana required are not related; one measures complexity, the other power.
Creating a small colored flame that dances in a pattern that recreates an ancient battle between wizards may be of Legendary Difficulty, but require only one power point.
Note also that some magical feats require more power points than any but the most Legendary Wizards have access to. Such feats are possible, either through pooling the power points of more than one magician, or drawing on “mana vessels” containing stored power points (see Artificing). Some rare materials are natural “mana vessels.”
Time: Generally speaking, the more complex the magical feat desired, the greater the time required in preparing.
This is usually true of powerful spells as well. Complex, powerful spells should take a lot of time to prepare.
You can trade Time for Difficulty Level, if you wish. The less time you take in preparing the magical incantation, enchantment, or other feat, the greater the Difficulty Level. Likewise, increasing the preparation and casting time may, at the GM’s option, lower the Difficulty Level.
Materials: If the GM wishes, magical feats may require the use of materials related to the effects desired; sulphur or coal for fire, a feather for a flying spell, and so on. Some magical feats may be performed with nothing more than the magician’s concentration or some words of power; others may require rare and precious materials.
Modifiers: The GM may apply any modifiers desired.
Examples include bonuses for using special materials (or using materials at all if not normally required); for performing magic in naturally magical surroundings; for applying any “laws of magic” the GM allows (if they have the Wizardry skill). Penalties may be applied for distracting circumstances, or the GM may require a Willpower roll for the mage to avoid becoming distracted and possibly losing control of the magic he’s wielding.
The GM judges whether a feat is within the character’s capabilities if not, she should warn the player that attempting greater magics than the character is ready for is dangerous. The GM also determines what the actual result will be. Magic in Fantasy Fudge is an art, not a science; and the same “spell” cast in the same way may have varying results.
In general, the greater the success in performing a magical feat, the closer to the desired effects the results will be. Spectacular successes may carry unexpected benefits, such as less time required to cast, lower power point cost, and the like. Abysmal failures should be spectacular, as well. Use your imagination, but don’t allow the results to outright kill the character (unless he’s a sorcerer)!
Less abysmal failures will produce unexpected and possibly unwanted results, including greater power point cost with little or nothing to show for it.