The Gramarye A Magic System for FUDGE

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desired effect. The character's effective skill level for the spell is that of the lowest skill he is  
 
desired effect. The character's effective skill level for the spell is that of the lowest skill he is  
 
using. If a character has more than one Realm that would affect the spell (e.g. Transform  
 
using. If a character has more than one Realm that would affect the spell (e.g. Transform  
Body to Stone when the caster has both Body and Earth), use the higher Realm skill with a 1  
+
Body to Stone when the caster has both Body and Earth), use the higher Realm skill with a +1  
 
level bonus to the skill.  
 
level bonus to the skill.  
  
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Example: Back to Baldor's Fireball spell. Since he wants to incapacitate these goons, he  
 
Example: Back to Baldor's Fireball spell. Since he wants to incapacitate these goons, he  
figures the fireball will need to do 10 damage. According to the Modifiers chart, that's 5  
+
figures the fireball will need to do 10 damage. According to the Modifiers chart, that's +5  
mana. He's in a hurry, so he won't mess with the casting time, but it's long range ( 2 mana)  
+
mana. He's in a hurry, so he won't mess with the casting time, but it's long range (+2 mana)  
and will affect several targets ( 2 mana). The base Difficulty is Fair. Total mana required: 9.  
+
and will affect several targets (+2 mana). The base Difficulty is Fair. Total mana required: 9.  
 
Since Baldor only has a Great Mana (6), he needs to come up with three more mana to help  
 
Since Baldor only has a Great Mana (6), he needs to come up with three more mana to help  
 
him cast the spell.  
 
him cast the spell.  
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Spell Effect Is:
 
Spell Effect Is:
  
0-1
+
+0-1
  
 
Mediocre
 
Mediocre
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2-3
+
+2-3
  
 
Fair
 
Fair
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4-7
+
+4-7
  
 
Good
 
Good
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8-15
+
+8-15
  
 
Great
 
Great
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16-31
+
+16-31
  
 
Superb
 
Superb
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32-
+
+32-
  
 
Legendary
 
Legendary
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Change the number of targets or area covered: -1 Small -- a bread box  
 
Change the number of targets or area covered: -1 Small -- a bread box  
  
0 One -- one person  
+
+0 One -- one person  
  
1 Few -- 2-4 people, a closet-sized space  
+
+1 Few -- 2-4 people, a closet-sized space  
  
2 Several -- 5-10 people, a whole room  
+
+2 Several -- 5-10 people, a whole room  
  
4 Many -- a small crowd, a small building  
+
+4 Many -- a small crowd, a small building  
  
8 Great -- large crowd, a large building (or more)  
+
+8 Great -- large crowd, a large building (or more)  
  
  
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Note: A spell that affects multiple targets should not be selective; it affects everyone in the  
 
Note: A spell that affects multiple targets should not be selective; it affects everyone in the  
 
area in which it is cast. In other words, the mage shouldn't get to selectively shoot multiple  
 
area in which it is cast. In other words, the mage shouldn't get to selectively shoot multiple  
targets for 1 mana to avoid casting the spell once for each target.  
+
targets for +1 mana to avoid casting the spell once for each target.  
  
  
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Change the range: -1 Touch -- must touch target, requires to-hit roll  
 
Change the range: -1 Touch -- must touch target, requires to-hit roll  
  
0 Close -- in close fighting range  
+
+0 Close -- in close fighting range  
  
1 Short -- within thrown weapon range  
+
+1 Short -- within thrown weapon range  
  
2 Long -- within sight or powered weapon range  
+
+2 Long -- within sight or powered weapon range  
  
4 Extreme -- out of sight of the caster (or more)  
+
+4 Extreme -- out of sight of the caster (or more)  
  
  
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2 damage: 1 mana  
+
+2 damage: +1 mana  
  
1 defense: 1 mana  
+
+1 defense: +1 mana  
  
Has no mundane defense (armor, etc. doesn't stop the damage or effect): 2 mana  
+
Has no mundane defense (armor, etc. doesn't stop the damage or effect): +2 mana  
  
Heal all wounds by 1 level: 2 mana  
+
Heal all wounds by 1 level: +2 mana  
  
 
Each level of Health sacrificed: -2 mana  
 
Each level of Health sacrificed: -2 mana  
  
Increase Duration one level on Time Chart (see below): 1 mana  
+
Increase Duration one level on Time Chart (see below): +1 mana  
  
-1 level Difficulty: 2 mana, or increase Casting Time level on Time Chart (see below)  
+
-1 level Difficulty: +2 mana, or increase Casting Time level on Time Chart (see below)  
  
1 level Difficulty: -2 mana, or decrease Casting Time level on Time Chart (see below)  
+
+1 level Difficulty: -2 mana, or decrease Casting Time level on Time Chart (see below)  
  
 
Using appropriate props: An appropriate decrease in mana cost  
 
Using appropriate props: An appropriate decrease in mana cost  
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Sample portions of rituals include fasting, special cleansing or confession, performing a  
 
Sample portions of rituals include fasting, special cleansing or confession, performing a  
 
special service or quest, praying at a specific location, etc. A simple ritual grants the mage a  
 
special service or quest, praying at a specific location, etc. A simple ritual grants the mage a  
1 mana bonus. The more involved and inconvenient the ritual, the greater the bonus the GM  
+
+1 mana bonus. The more involved and inconvenient the ritual, the greater the bonus the GM  
 
should award.  
 
should award.  
  
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Base value:
 
Base value:
Similar prop (Law of Similarity):       1 mana
+
Similar prop (Law of Similarity):       +1 mana
Contagious prop (Law of Contact):       2 mana
+
Contagious prop (Law of Contact):       +2 mana
  
 
Value multiplier (multiply by base value):
 
Value multiplier (multiply by base value):
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Personal meaning bonus (add to multiplier):
 
Personal meaning bonus (add to multiplier):
Meaningless to owner:   0 (hair clippings)
+
Meaningless to owner:   +0 (hair clippings)
Minor meaning to owner: 1 (a ring)
+
Minor meaning to owner: +1 (a ring)
Major meaning to owner: 2 (a ring given by a lover)
+
Major meaning to owner: +2 (a ring given by a lover)
Priceless to owner:     3 (a hand, severed)
+
Priceless to owner:     +3 (a hand, severed)
  
  
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Example: Using a gold chain stolen from the target, given to him by his wife on their wedding  
 
Example: Using a gold chain stolen from the target, given to him by his wife on their wedding  
 
night, a mage casts a spell of Binding (mind control) on his target. Since the mage is binding  
 
night, a mage casts a spell of Binding (mind control) on his target. Since the mage is binding  
(chaining) the target to his will, the chain is Similar ( 1); since the target wore it, it is  
+
(chaining) the target to his will, the chain is Similar (+1); since the target wore it, it is  
Contagious ( 2). The chain is of minor value but has major meaning to the owner (x 4). The  
+
Contagious (+2). The chain is of minor value but has major meaning to the owner (x 4). The  
 
total value of the chain is 3 x 4 = 12 (the amount of mana it contributes to the spell -- a  
 
total value of the chain is 3 x 4 = 12 (the amount of mana it contributes to the spell -- a  
 
powerful prop!). If the chain has been enchanted properly, it can be used more than once;  
 
powerful prop!). If the chain has been enchanted properly, it can be used more than once;  
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Example: As previously stated, Baldor needs 9 mana to cast his Fireball spell, but he has only  
 
Example: As previously stated, Baldor needs 9 mana to cast his Fireball spell, but he has only  
 
6. Luckily, he has with him a supply of small balls of bat guano mixed with sulfur, made just  
 
6. Luckily, he has with him a supply of small balls of bat guano mixed with sulfur, made just  
for this purpose. These are Similar (they burn readily) and gain him 1 mana. But he is still 2  
+
for this purpose. These are Similar (they burn readily) and gain him +1 mana. But he is still 2  
 
mana short and cannot cast the spell without finding another source of mana. Fortunately for  
 
mana short and cannot cast the spell without finding another source of mana. Fortunately for  
 
Baldor, he has a 2-point mana stone (see Making Sources of Power, p. 93) to make up the  
 
Baldor, he has a 2-point mana stone (see Making Sources of Power, p. 93) to make up the  
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Fireball
 
Fireball
  
Create Fire, Good effect ( 5), long range ( 2), several targets ( 2). Total mana: 9.  
+
Create Fire, Good effect (+5), long range (+2), several targets (+2). Total mana: 9.  
  
 
Creates a ball of flame, which streaks toward a point defined by the caster and explodes,  
 
Creates a ball of flame, which streaks toward a point defined by the caster and explodes,  
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Guardian Beast
 
Guardian Beast
  
Create Magic beast, Good effect ( 4), lasts 1 day ( 6), small area ( 1).Total mana: 11.  
+
Create Magic beast, Good effect (+4), lasts 1 day (+6), small area (+1).Total mana: 11.  
  
 
Creates an invisible guardian to guard an item or area. If anything enters the area and moves  
 
Creates an invisible guardian to guard an item or area. If anything enters the area and moves  
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item, the Beast will attack with the abilities of a powerful dog, with a fighting ability of Good  
 
item, the Beast will attack with the abilities of a powerful dog, with a fighting ability of Good  
 
due to being invisible. The Beast will not stray more than a couple feet from the guarded item.  
 
due to being invisible. The Beast will not stray more than a couple feet from the guarded item.  
For 1 mana, the Beast can guard (and roam) an entire room.  
+
For +1 mana, the Beast can guard (and roam) an entire room.  
  
 
Sample prop: A crystal figurine of a dog or similar beast (-3).  
 
Sample prop: A crystal figurine of a dog or similar beast (-3).  
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Create Zombie or Golem
 
Create Zombie or Golem
  
Find (Know) Spirit, Great effect ( 8), long range ( 2), takes 1 hour (-8). Total mana: 2.  
+
Find (Know) Spirit, Great effect (+8), long range (+2), takes 1 hour (-8). Total mana: 2.  
  
Move Spirit, Good effect ( 4), long range ( 2), takes 10 minutes (-6). Total mana: 0.  
+
Move Spirit, Good effect (+4), long range (+2), takes 10 minutes (-6). Total mana: 0.  
  
Control Spirit, Great effect ( 8), lasts one day ( 6), takes 1 hour (-8). Total mana: 6.  
+
Control Spirit, Great effect (+8), lasts one day (+6), takes 1 hour (-8). Total mana: 6.  
  
 
Causes a dead body, skeleton, or sculpture to be imbued with the spirit of a dead man and  
 
Causes a dead body, skeleton, or sculpture to be imbued with the spirit of a dead man and  
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Tanglefoot
 
Tanglefoot
  
Control Body, Mediocre effect ( 1). Total mana: 1.  
+
Control Body, Mediocre effect (+1). Total mana: 1.  
  
 
Causes target to stumble and possibly fall.  
 
Causes target to stumble and possibly fall.  
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Wizard's Eye
 
Wizard's Eye
  
Know with Magic, Good effect ( 4), small room ( 2), extreme range ( 4). Total mana: 10.  
+
Know with Magic, Good effect (+4), small room (+2), extreme range (+4). Total mana: 10.  
  
 
Allows the caster to see things at a distance and through mundane obstacles as though he were  
 
Allows the caster to see things at a distance and through mundane obstacles as though he were  
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Scry Shield
 
Scry Shield
  
Break Magic or Protect from Magic, Fair effect ( 3), small room ( 2), lasts one hour ( 4).  
+
Break Magic or Protect from Magic, Fair effect (+3), small room (+2), lasts one hour (+4).  
 
Total mana: 9.  
 
Total mana: 9.  
  
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Grasping Hand
 
Grasping Hand
  
Move with Magic, Fair effect ( 2), small target (-1), short range ( 1), lasts 2 minutes ( 2).  
+
Move with Magic, Fair effect (+2), small target (-1), short range (+1), lasts 2 minutes (+2).  
 
Total mana: 4.  
 
Total mana: 4.  
  
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Portal  
 
Portal  
  
Move Body, Great effect ( 8), extreme range ( 4), lasts 10 minutes ( 3), takes 1 hour (-8).  
+
Move Body, Great effect (+8), extreme range (+4), lasts 10 minutes (+3), takes 1 hour (-8).  
 
Total mana: 7.  
 
Total mana: 7.  
 
or  
 
or  
Move with Magic, Great effect ( 15), extreme range ( 4), lasts 10 minutes ( 3), takes 1 hour  
+
Move with Magic, Great effect (+15), extreme range (+4), lasts 10 minutes (+3), takes 1 hour  
 
(-8). Total mana: 14.  
 
(-8). Total mana: 14.  
  
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Binding
 
Binding
  
Control Mind, Great effect ( 8), extreme range ( 4), lasts 1 season ( 9), takes 5 hours (-10).  
+
Control Mind, Great effect (+8), extreme range (+4), lasts 1 season (+9), takes 5 hours (-10).  
 
Total mana: 11.  
 
Total mana: 11.  
  
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Tongues
 
Tongues
  
Communicate with Body, Fair effect ( 2), lasts 1 hour ( 4). Total mana: 6.  
+
Communicate with Body, Fair effect (+2), lasts 1 hour (+4). Total mana: 6.  
  
 
Allows target to speak to any living being that has a formal language. (To speak to creatures  
 
Allows target to speak to any living being that has a formal language. (To speak to creatures  
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Phantom Swarm
 
Phantom Swarm
  
Control Mind, Good effect ( 4), lasts 2 minutes ( 2). Total mana: 6.  
+
Control Mind, Good effect (+4), lasts 2 minutes (+2). Total mana: 6.  
  
 
Causes the target to believe he is being attacked by a huge swarm of stinging insects. Unless  
 
Causes the target to believe he is being attacked by a huge swarm of stinging insects. Unless  
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insects, he will take one Scratch of psychic damage every round. (Psychic damage disappears  
 
insects, he will take one Scratch of psychic damage every round. (Psychic damage disappears  
 
at the end of the spell duration, and cannot cause death, but in all other respects acts as normal  
 
at the end of the spell duration, and cannot cause death, but in all other respects acts as normal  
damage.) A critical success at the attribute check ( 4 on the dice, or a result beyond Superb)  
+
damage.) A critical success at the attribute check (+4 on the dice, or a result beyond Superb)  
 
will cancel the spell prematurely.  
 
will cancel the spell prematurely.  
  
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Thought Speech
 
Thought Speech
  
Communicate with Mind, Fair effect ( 2). Total mana: 2.  
+
Communicate with Mind, Fair effect (+2). Total mana: 2.  
  
 
Allows caster to mentally communicate with another intelligent humanoid.Note that it works  
 
Allows caster to mentally communicate with another intelligent humanoid.Note that it works  

Revision as of 20:25, 10 April 2007

Gramarye version 1.0, Copyright ¸ 1997 by Carl D. Cravens.

Thanks to: Karen Cravens, Michael Feldhusen, Jason Knight, Scott Raun, and the users of the 
fudge-l mailing list. 

Note: The original version of The Gramarye was first published in A Magical Medley by 
Grey Ghost Press, Inc. See http://fudge.phoenyx.net/gramarye/license.html for information on 
reproducing The Gramarye. 

gramarye (GRAM-uh-re) n. [Archaic] magic; occult knowledge 

Introduction

The magic system presented here represents the pseudo-scientific approach of a mythical 
medieval alchemy. Many GMs running games in pseudo-medieval European settings will find 
this system adequate for their uses with little modification. 

The World-View

The world this system is designed for is similar to a mythical medieval Europe. The typical 
sorcerer sees magic as a scientific force to be manipulated through scientific (to him) means. 
He divides the world into four basic realms -- solids, liquids, gases, and energy -- which he 
calls earth, water, air, and fire. All things are made up of one or more of these elements. (A 
man's flesh is made of earth, his blood of water, his breath of air, and his spirit of fire.) He 
divides living things into three different realms as well -- body, mind, and spirit. This world-
view governs the way a sorcerer approaches magic. 

How the Magic Works

The basic elements of magic are divided up into Realms (areas of control, such as Fire, Water, 
Spirit, and Body) and Colleges (types of control, such as Control, Healing, Creation, and 
Transformation). In order to cast spells that manipulate one of these Realms, a character must 
have a skill for that Realm and a skill for the College that he desires an effect from. 

To cast a spell, the character chooses a College and a Realm and combines them for the 
desired effect. The character's effective skill level for the spell is that of the lowest skill he is 
using. If a character has more than one Realm that would affect the spell (e.g. Transform 
Body to Stone when the caster has both Body and Earth), use the higher Realm skill with a +1 
level bonus to the skill. 

Basic Rules

The character must have a knowledge skill (Easy) of his type of magic -- such as Rune Lore, 
Sorcery, Elven Shamanism, Gypsy Dance Magic, etc. -- which is equal to or greater than his 
highest magic skill. This skill represents the background knowledge that the mage must have 
before learning to cast spells. 

At the GM's option, a character may take only a sub-College or sub-Realm for a decrease in 
the difficulty of the skill. 

Example: The Animal Realm allows the caster to affect all animals and is an Average skill. A 
character could take Animal/Birds as an Easy skill and be able to affect only birds. (The 
Animal Realm is optional; the GM may require the purchase of sub-Realms of Body/Animal, 
Mind/Animal, and Spirit/Animal -- all Easy skills -- to replace it.) 

The Colleges and Realms

These Colleges and Realms are based on the world-view of the setting. See Modifying the 
System, p. 95, for a discussion on altering the Colleges and Realms available in a given 
campaign. 

Colleges

Breaking (e.g. weaken, harm, dispel) 
Breaking is destruction and undoing. Almost anything can be broken, though some things are 
harder to break than others. 

Communication (e.g. speak, read) 
Communication is about willing communication. Thought Speech (Communicate with Mind) 
is okay, but Read Minds is a Knowledge spell instead (Knowledge of Mind). 

Control (H) (e.g. bind) 
Control is making something perform an action that it could perform of its own volition or 
through natural events. It cannot make a stream of water flow up-hill, for example. Control 
can, if the GM allows, influence natural events, such as causing an earthquake along a fault 
line or causing a fire to spread more quickly. 

Creation (H) 
Creation is making things. Create combined with any of the life-based Realms will be off-
limits in most campaigns. Create Spirit (or any other life) is usually something restricted to 
the gods, for instance. 

Enhancement (e.g. strengthen, repair) 
Enhancement is making something better. It can repair broken items, make a man stronger or 
faster, or grant a "blessing" that gives the party an edge in combat. Enhancement is usually 
temporary. 

Healing (H) (e.g. fertility, growth) 
Healing is the repair, growth, and reproduction of living things. 

Knowledge (H) (e.g. see, hear, find) 
Knowledge is learning things that are unknown. It allows the caster to see things across long 
distances, read minds, or learn the history of an object or the true name of a dragon. 

Movement 
Movement is the transportation of things through space. Examples are psychokinesis, flying, 
moving faster than normal, and teleportation. 

Protection 
Protection is preventing the intrusion of damaging objects, spying spells, unwanted visitors, 
the weather, etc. 

Transformation (H) (e.g. shape, transmute) 
Transformation is changing the size, shape, or chemical composition of something. The GM 
should keep strict control over the Transformation College; it should not be able to do things 
that are the domains of other Colleges. It cannot heal, hurt, control, or otherwise change 
anything but the physical nature of the target. Transformation is usually permanent. The more 
you transform something from its original state, the harder the spell. Transforming a man into 
a goblin is fairly easy; they're both living humanoids. Transforming a man into a mouse is 
harder, requiring both a mass and form change. Transforming the man into a statue is even 
harder, requiring an element change. Transforming the man's body into stone while leaving 
him mobile is harder yet because this is a natural state for neither man nor stone. 

Realms

Air (e.g. gas) 
Air is any gaseous substance. 

Animal 
Animal is any non-intelligent living creature. It overlaps with Body, Mind, and Spirit. 

Body (H) 
Body is the physical body of any living creature. 

Earth (H) (e.g. solid) 
Earth is any solid, non-living substance. 

Fire (e.g. energy) 
Fire is any form of energy. 

Illusion (H) (e.g. images, light, darkness, sound) 
Illusion is any form of sensory or mental illusion. 

Magic (H) (e.g. mana) 
Magic is pure mystical force. If it can't be done with any other Realm, it can be done with 
Magic. Beyond the obvious (Detect Magic, Dispel Magic), Magic is a catch-all area. If a 
mage wants to affect something and that something isn't one of the Realms, the mage 
probably needs to use Magic. A Telekinesis spell that can move anything is Move with 
Magic. The Magic Realm is flexible and can reproduce effects from other Realms (although 
with slightly different results). For instance, Create Dog using Create Animal will produce a 
real dog while Create Magical Dog using Create Magic will produce a magical dog with 
magical properties. (See Guardian Beast in the sample spells.) Spells created through the 
Magic Realm that reproduce effects from other Realms should cost more mana, be more 
difficult, and/or have radically different effects. The Magic Realm should not be a general 
substitute for other Realms. 

Mind (H) 
Mind is the mind of any living creature. 

Plant 
Plant is any plant matter, living or dead. 

Spirit (H) 
Spirit is the life-force of any living creature. The Spirit College works well for creating 
zombies, golems, or any other animated thing, provided the setting allows for summoning and 
binding a spirit to animate it. 

Time (H) (e.g. past, future, history) 
Time is the past, present, and future. The GM should keep careful control over this Realm. 

Water (e.g. liquid) 
Water is any liquid substance. 

Mana

It is assumed that characters (or at least mages) have a Mana attribute or gift which has a 
numerical value and represents the amount of mana the character has available at one time 
(excluding magical devices). The character's mana is used up as he casts spells, and it 
recovers at a moderate rate. (In most cases, a wizard who exhausted his mana supply would 
recover it in a matter of minutes.) The recommended method for this system is a Mana 
attribute, with Terrible = 1 mana and Superb = 7 mana, and a recovery rate of 1 mana every 
25 seconds (5 combat rounds). 

The basic system presented here assumes a certain level of power and frequency of magic. 
These levels can be easily adjusted by changing the base difficulty of spells, changing the cost 
of magical skills, making a gift of Magical Aptitude a prerequisite to buying magical skill, or 
changing the availability and recharge rate of mana. 

Adjusting the amount of available mana is the GM's primary tool for adjusting the overall 
power level of the system. For example, if the GM wants to eliminate the need for props and 
lower the average casting times of spells, she simply needs to raise the amount of mana 
available. 

Choosing the Elements

The player first determines what he wants the spell to do, then looks at the lists of Colleges 
and Realms for a pair that describes (very roughly) the desired effect. The player should 
realize that not all spell effects can be wrangled out of a limited set of Colleges and Realms. 
For example, Create Animal is not a substitute for Locate (Know) Animal followed by 
Control Animal; Create creates things. 

There are times when more than one Realm may produce the desired effect. Ice is a solid and 
therefore affected by Earth, but it is also water and affected by Water. It's up to the GM to 
decide where she'll let this overlap occur. Some GMs might decide that ice is only water and 
is unaffected by Earth spells, or that ice is no longer a liquid and unaffected by Water spells. 

Also note that Move Body, for example, is not a spell; it is a combination of a College and 
Realm. The player should name the spell he desires before telling the GM which elements he 
will use. A Haste spell, which makes the target act faster, would require Move Body. The 
player would say, "I cast Haste using Move Body," not "I cast Move Body." 

The player may want to keep a "spell book" of the spells his character uses often, and to give 
a copy to the GM. This way the spell doesn't have to be described every time the character 
casts it. This will also save the time of recalculating the spell's casting parameters. 

The GM may require more than one Realm for certain effects (e.g., Transform Body to Stone 
may require both the Body and Earth Realms). Sometimes a spell will consist of two or more 
spell effects strung together. A Summon Wolf spell might require two separate skill rolls -- 
Locate (Know) Wolf and Control Wolf. 



Example: Baldor the Brilliant wants to cast a huge ball of fire at a group of advancing 
warriors. He combines his knowledge of Creation with his knowledge of Fire to throw a 
Fireball spell. 

Putting the Spell Together

A basic spell has close range, does zero damage or some other minor effect, affects one man-
sized target or one cubic meter of material, takes five seconds to cast, lasts for five seconds (if 
appropriate), costs zero mana, has a Difficulty of Fair, and requires the caster to make magical 
gestures or incantations. 

The final cost, Difficulty, and casting time of a spell is determined by the GM. See Spell 
Effects, below and right, for rough guidelines. (These are guidelines to help choose basic 
costs and casting times; they are not strict rules.) The GM should not allow any spell that she 
thinks may be unbalancing. The GM may declare that certain spells' Difficulty Levels may 
not be lowered below a certain point for game balance purposes. For example, the GM may 
declare that Knowledge spells can never be easier than Fair, regardless of the time or mana 
spent casting them. Likewise, the GM may decide that certain spells require a certain length 
of casting time or a certain amount of mana regardless of resources available to the caster. 

It's difficult to give detailed guidelines for determining a spell's basic level of power. The best 
way to do so is to compare the desired effect with an existing spell or the suggested Spell 
Effects. (Note that the level of effect of a particular spell is influenced by the world. For 
example, if talking to spirits is a common occurrence in your world, it probably shouldn't be 
of Great Difficulty.) 

Once the GM determines the basic cost for a desired effect, see the Modifiers table (p. 90) to 
refine the cost, duration, exact spell effect, etc. of a specific spell. 

Example: Back to Baldor's Fireball spell. Since he wants to incapacitate these goons, he 
figures the fireball will need to do 10 damage. According to the Modifiers chart, that's +5 
mana. He's in a hurry, so he won't mess with the casting time, but it's long range (+2 mana) 
and will affect several targets (+2 mana). The base Difficulty is Fair. Total mana required: 9. 
Since Baldor only has a Great Mana (6), he needs to come up with three more mana to help 
him cast the spell. 



Spell Effects

Cost

Spell Effect Is:

+0-1

Mediocre



Breaking: Shatter fragile material (crystal). Cause minor discomfort.



Communication: Speak local dialect of known language. Empathy.



Control: Cause target to sneeze or itch.



Creation: Simple illusion (simple stationary image or sound).



Enhancement: Amplify voice. Make a person beautiful. Repair fragile material.



Healing: Relieve minor fatigue or Scratches. Heal minor infection.



Knowledge: Provide information obtainable through simple observation.



Movement: Cause fire to spread more rapidly.



Protection: Shield from weather. Act as cloth armor.



Transformation: Make a man look like another man.


+2-3

Fair



Breaking: Shatter or tear soft material (leather, wood).



Communication: Speak unknown language. Telepathy with like mind.



Control: Cause target to do something it's inclined to do.



Creation: Detailed illusion (stationary person).



Enhancement: Temporarily increase one of target's attributes by one level..Repair soft 
material.



Healing: Cure major infection or minor disease.



Knowledge: Provide information obtainable through simple mundane means.



Movement: Move something telekinetically. Allow target to levitate. Allow target to cling to 
walls like a spider. Cause target to travel faster.



Protection: Shield from severe storm and light weapons.



Transformation: Turn a man into a goblin.


+4-7

Good



Breaking: Shatter resistant material (stone, bone, fragile metal).



Communication: Speak with being with no language (animals). Telepathy with alien mind.



Control: Cause target to do something it's mildly against.



Creation: Complex illusion (person or dragon fighting).



Enhancement: Temporarily increase one of target's attributes by two levels. Repair resistant 
material.



Healing: Cure major disease or poison.



Knowledge: Provide information the caster could have obtained through complex, lengthy, or 
dangerous mundane means.



Movement: Allow target to fly. Allow target to walk through walls.



Protection: Shield from heavy weapons.



Transformation: Turn a man into a mouse.


+8-15

Great



Breaking: Shatter hard material (hardened metal).



Communication: Speak with spirits, trees, or rocks.



Control: Cause target to do something it's strongly against.



Creation: Very complex illusion (band of knights fighting a dragon).



Enhancement: Temporarily increase one of target's attributes by three levels. Repair hard 
material.



Healing: Reattach severed limbs.



Knowledge: Provide information the caster could not have obtained otherwise.



Movement: Allow target to move from one location to another instantly.



Protection: Shield from most weapons.



Transformation: Turn a man into stone.


+16-31

Superb



Breaking: Shatter mythical material (mithral).



Communication: Speak with extra-planar being



Control: Cause target to do something it would never do under its own will.



Creation: World-altering illusion (change entire setting).



Enhancement: Temporarily increase one of target's attributes by four levels. Repair mythical 
material.



Healing: Regrow severed limbs.



Knowledge: Provide information no one could have obtained otherwise.



Movement: Allow target to move from one plane to another.



Protection: Shield from most magical effects.



Transformation: Turn a man into living stone.


+32-

Legendary



These spells are earth-shaking and rare. They destroy powerful entities, wreck nations, sink 
continents, and unleash terrible evils on the world. 



Modifiers

(add all that apply to specific spell's mana cost) 

Change the number of targets or area covered: -1 Small -- a bread box 

+0 One -- one person 

+1 Few -- 2-4 people, a closet-sized space 

+2 Several -- 5-10 people, a whole room 

+4 Many -- a small crowd, a small building 

+8 Great -- large crowd, a large building (or more) 





Note: A spell that affects multiple targets should not be selective; it affects everyone in the 
area in which it is cast. In other words, the mage shouldn't get to selectively shoot multiple 
targets for +1 mana to avoid casting the spell once for each target. 



Change the range: -1 Touch -- must touch target, requires to-hit roll 

+0 Close -- in close fighting range 

+1 Short -- within thrown weapon range 

+2 Long -- within sight or powered weapon range 

+4 Extreme -- out of sight of the caster (or more) 





+2 damage: +1 mana 

+1 defense: +1 mana 

Has no mundane defense (armor, etc. doesn't stop the damage or effect): +2 mana 

Heal all wounds by 1 level: +2 mana 

Each level of Health sacrificed: -2 mana 

Increase Duration one level on Time Chart (see below): +1 mana 

-1 level Difficulty: +2 mana, or increase Casting Time level on Time Chart (see below) 

+1 level Difficulty: -2 mana, or decrease Casting Time level on Time Chart (see below) 

Using appropriate props: An appropriate decrease in mana cost 

Not using gestures or incantations: Double mana cost (after all other bonuses and penalties to 
mana cost, before prop modifiers) 





Time Chart

Each level of the Time Chart is a rough approximation of five times the previous level. Use 
this chart to determine time modifiers both for spell duration and casting time. 

1 level = 2 mana or 1 Difficulty Level. 

1 Second

5 Seconds (one combat round)

25 Seconds (five combat rounds)

2 Minutes

10 Minutes

1 Hour

5 Hours

1 Day

1 Week

1 Month

1 Season

1 Year





Extending the duration of a spell is at the GM's option; some spells are too powerful or make 
no sense if they last longer than a moment. 

Props

Props are things the mage does or uses to help make the spell work. Props may take the form 
of rituals, invocations, and gestures; or they may be physical props that apply the magical 
laws of Similarity, Contact, or Sacrifice to provide the caster with mana bonuses. 

Physical props are normally consumed in the casting of the spell. To create a prop that is not 
consumed by the casting, the mage must enchant it. (See Making Sources of Power and other 
Wizard Tools.) 

Rituals, Invocations, and Gestures

A ritual is something the caster does to cast the spell before he actually begins casting. 
Sample portions of rituals include fasting, special cleansing or confession, performing a 
special service or quest, praying at a specific location, etc. A simple ritual grants the mage a 
+1 mana bonus. The more involved and inconvenient the ritual, the greater the bonus the GM 
should award. 

Invocations are magical words or prayers spoken aloud during casting. Gestures are magical 
signs or motions made by the caster with his hands or body during casting. To cast a spell 
with neither gestures nor invocations doubles the mana cost. (Casting a spell with both 
provides no bonus.) 

Magical Laws and Physical Props

The mana cost of a spell can be paid for, in part or whole, by applying the Laws of Similarity, 
Contact, and Sacrifice. The Law of Similarity says that similar things affect each other, like 
produces like, or effect resembles cause. The Law of Contact says that things once in contact 
with each other still have an effect on each other when they are separated. The Law of 
Sacrifice says that giving up something of value to the caster or the target makes the magic 
more likely. 

The Law of Similarity

To apply the Law of Similarity, one must use material components that are similar to the 
desired effect. Examples are a feather for a flight spell, a bit of sulfur for create flame, a 
drawing of a wolf to summon a real wolf, a twig to be broken during casting for a spell that 
breaks down the wooden castle gate, etc. 

The Law of Similarity depends completely on world-view. If the mage does not view a 
particular item as being relevant to his spell, then that item is not Similar, regardless of the 
knowledge the player has. For instance, the player may know that sulfur burns readily, but if 
his character knows nothing of this, a pinch of sulfur will do nothing for his flame spells. 

The Law of Contact

To apply the Law of Contact, one must use material components that have once been in 
contact with the target of the spell; the longer or more personal the contact, the better. 
Examples are the victim's hair and nail parings used in a death spell, a piece of jewelry worn 
by an enemy in a spell of defense to protect the mage from that enemy, a piece of the castle 
gate to be broken with a spell, etc. 

The Law of Sacrifice

To apply the Law of Sacrifice, the component must be of personal value to either the caster or 
the target of the spell and fulfill one of the other Laws. Examples are a family ring, a lover's 
lock of hair, the tooth of a dragon, etc. (A dragon's tooth is valuable to the caster if he had to 
go to great pains to get it. It is hardly valuable if he walked down to the corner store and 
picked one out of a bowl full of them.) 

Determining Bonuses of Physical Props

The same object may meet the requirements of both of the first Laws, such as hair clippings 
used on a voodoo doll. The hair of the victim fulfills the Law of Contact while the doll itself 
fulfills the Law of Similarity. Using props will provide extra mana for the spell. The caster 
may use as many different props as the GM feels reasonable, but duplicates (props that serve 
identical functions) are generally disallowed. 

Base value:
Similar prop (Law of Similarity):       +1 mana
Contagious prop (Law of Contact):       +2 mana

Value multiplier (multiply by base value):
Worthless:      x 1 (the feather of a sparrow)
Minor value:    x 2 (the feather of an eagle)
Major value:    x 3 (the feather of a gryphon)
Priceless:      x 4 (the feather of unique creature)

Personal meaning bonus (add to multiplier):
Meaningless to owner:   +0 (hair clippings)
Minor meaning to owner: +1 (a ring)
Major meaning to owner: +2 (a ring given by a lover)
Priceless to owner:     +3 (a hand, severed)



Example: Using a gold chain stolen from the target, given to him by his wife on their wedding 
night, a mage casts a spell of Binding (mind control) on his target. Since the mage is binding 
(chaining) the target to his will, the chain is Similar (+1); since the target wore it, it is 
Contagious (+2). The chain is of minor value but has major meaning to the owner (x 4). The 
total value of the chain is 3 x 4 = 12 (the amount of mana it contributes to the spell -- a 
powerful prop!). If the chain has been enchanted properly, it can be used more than once; 
otherwise it is destroyed (or made magically worthless). 

Example: As previously stated, Baldor needs 9 mana to cast his Fireball spell, but he has only 
6. Luckily, he has with him a supply of small balls of bat guano mixed with sulfur, made just 
for this purpose. These are Similar (they burn readily) and gain him +1 mana. But he is still 2 
mana short and cannot cast the spell without finding another source of mana. Fortunately for 
Baldor, he has a 2-point mana stone (see Making Sources of Power, p. 93) to make up the 
difference. 

Casting the Spell

To begin casting a spell, the mage must have the desired components at hand, be able to recite 
or perform any incantations or gestures, and have the necessary mana available. 

Once he has started casting the spell, an unintentional interruption of the spell results in 
failure as though he had failed his skill roll. If the mage is wounded, he should make a 
Willpower (or similar) check to avoid interruption (wound penalties apply; -1 for Hurt, -2 for 
Very Hurt). The mage may voluntarily release the spell at any time before actually finishing it 
at no penalty. The source of mana -- whether the mage himself or some other source -- does 
not recover mana while casting a spell. When the spell is complete, the player must make a 
skill check against the Difficulty of the spell for the spell to succeed. 

Once cast, the mage may "hold" the spell and not release it right away. It costs 1 mana every 
five combat rounds to hold a spell, during which time the mage may cast no other spells and 
he, or any device providing him mana, regains no mana. 

Spells normally do not require a to-hit roll and get no bonuses to damage for relative degree 
of success, that being the nature of magic. A spell either does its damage or it does not. If the 
GM desires, she may require to-hit rolls for all targeted spells and may allow increased 
damage based on the relative degree. 

If a spell may have an extended duration, the mage may continue to maintain that spell at a 
cost of one mana per base time unit of the spell. The base time unit is the amount of time the 
spell was set to last when cast. There is no limit to the number of spells a mage can maintain 
except his available mana. The mage does recover mana while maintaining spells. 

Spell Failure

The game master may use penalties for spell failure as a means to control the more powerful 
spells. A player who would risk a 90% chance of failure on an extremely powerful spell 
would be more reluctant if failure probably meant the death of his character . Spell failure 
penalties are optional. If it is extremely dangerous to use magic, this can greatly change the 
tone of the campaign. If the GM wishes to use penalties for spell failure, the risks that their 
characters may take should be made clear to the players. 

Generally, the more powerful the spell, the greater the penalty for failure. Examples of 
penalties are loss of mana, loss of consciousness, temporary loss of magical ability, damage, 
unexpected spell effects, etc. The penalty should be related to the type of spell cast. 

Defense Against Spells

A character gets no defensive roll against a spell; whether or not he gets hit is a function of 
the mage's success at casting it. A character may take multiple levels of the gift Magic 
Resistance, which acts like armor against magical damage and reduces the effects of other 
magic at the GM's discretion. (The GM may allow Magic Resistance to reduce the mage's 
chances of success with some spells.) 

Creating Magic Items

This magic item creation system is simply a suggestion. The GM is encouraged to modify or 
replace the system as necessary to adapt it to her own campaign and personal preferences. 

To create a magic item, the mage must perform lengthy rituals involving the Colleges and 
Realms necessary for the effects he wants the item to have. For instance, to create a sword 
that increases the wielder's skill would require Enhancement and Body. 

A good guideline for item creation time is to take the mana cost of the desired spell and 
square it. The mana needed at the end of creation is the mana cost of the spell doubled. (If the 
final mana cost of the desired spell is 5, it would take 25 days to create a magic item that 
could cast that spell and would cost 10 mana.) This produces a magical item that allows a 
person to cast the item's spell at the same casting time, mana cost, and other requirements as 
normal. Essentially, it grants the user the ability to cast that particular spell as if he were a 
mage with the proper skills, even if he isn't. To create an item that requires no mana, double 
the creation time. 

To create an item that requires no skill roll, double it again. If the player suggests limitations 
on the item, such as single-use, the GM is encouraged to reduce the creation time and mana 
requirements. 

When the character has reached the end of the creation period, the chance of successfully 
finishing the item is the same for successfully casting the basic spell. If the item has more 
than one spell, roll for each spell as it is enchanted into the item. To increase the chance of 
success, the caster can modify the casting cost of the creation in the same ways as an ordinary 
spell. 

Making Sources of Power and Other Wizard Tools

Mana stones and other items that store mana are important tools. They provide the mana 
necessary to cast large spells, or to cast a large number of spells in a short time. The suggested 
average for a mana stone is three mana. 

Creating a mana stone usable with any form of magic requires Control and Magic for a Bind 
Mana spell. The more mana the stone can hold, the more mana the Bind Mana spell will 
require. To create a mana stone that works with a specific kind of magic require s only that 
particular College or Realm. (Thus a character with only Plant and Animal magic could create 
a "mana stone" useable only with the Plant and Animal Realms.) 

A mana stone recharges at the same rate as the caster's personal mana. A character may carry 
any number of mana stones, but can use only one at a time. The user will recover all of his 
mana before any of his stones recharge, and when in close proximity to other stones, only one 
mana stone will recharge at a time, largest to smallest. 

Another important tool is the item which reduces the mana cost of every spell of a specific 
type. Generally, these are enchanted props. Their mana value is calculated as normal for a 
prop, but being enchanted they are not consumed in the casting of the sp ell. Enchanted props 
are made in the same way mana stones are, but enchanted props do not contain mana; they 
reduce the mana cost of any spell they apply to. 

To create a mana stone or enchanted prop requires a number of days equal to the mana bonus 
plus one for every College or Realm it can be used with, doubled. The mana cost of the 
enchantment is equal to the number of days required to cast it. Sample Spells All sample 
spells have a base Difficulty of Fair. Most of them are low in detail; it's up to the GM to 
decide exactly what happens. Remember that props are always consumed unless they have 
been enchanted. 

Sample Spells

Fireball

Create Fire, Good effect (+5), long range (+2), several targets (+2). Total mana: 9. 

Creates a ball of flame, which streaks toward a point defined by the caster and explodes, 
causing 10 damage to all in its area. 

Sample prop: Small ball of bat guano and sulfur (-1). 

Guardian Beast

Create Magic beast, Good effect (+4), lasts 1 day (+6), small area (+1).Total mana: 11. 

Creates an invisible guardian to guard an item or area. If anything enters the area and moves 
toward the guarded item, the Beast will begin barking as a warning. If someone touches the 
item, the Beast will attack with the abilities of a powerful dog, with a fighting ability of Good 
due to being invisible. The Beast will not stray more than a couple feet from the guarded item. 
For +1 mana, the Beast can guard (and roam) an entire room. 

Sample prop: A crystal figurine of a dog or similar beast (-3). 

Create Zombie or Golem

Find (Know) Spirit, Great effect (+8), long range (+2), takes 1 hour (-8). Total mana: 2. 

Move Spirit, Good effect (+4), long range (+2), takes 10 minutes (-6). Total mana: 0. 

Control Spirit, Great effect (+8), lasts one day (+6), takes 1 hour (-8). Total mana: 6. 

Causes a dead body, skeleton, or sculpture to be imbued with the spirit of a dead man and 
come under the control of the caster. 

A three-part ritual magic, each part must be completed successfully before the next part can 
begin, and the parts must be cast in immediate succession with no recovery of mana in 
between. It is best to cast the spell in an area where a spirit is expected to be found, otherwise 
the range of the spell will need to be increased. 

This spell assumes the use of spirits (tormented souls that have not left this realm for one 
reason or another) to animate non-animate objects and is a combination of three spell effects. 
(To animate things purely by magical force, the addition of an Animation College may be 
useful. Otherwise Move with Magic (a Superb effect) should suffice.) 

If the GM wants to control the use of this spell, requiring valuable props (such as a body part 
of the spirit being captured) or simply raising the basic cost of the spells should be effective. 

Tanglefoot

Control Body, Mediocre effect (+1). Total mana: 1. 

Causes target to stumble and possibly fall. 

Sample prop: An ounce of strong drink (11). 

Wizard's Eye

Know with Magic, Good effect (+4), small room (+2), extreme range (+4). Total mana: 10. 

Allows the caster to see things at a distance and through mundane obstacles as though he were 
standing at another place. 

Sample prop: A small magnifying crystal which the mage looks through (-2). 

Scry Shield

Break Magic or Protect from Magic, Fair effect (+3), small room (+2), lasts one hour (+4). 
Total mana: 9. 

Prevents spying by magical means anywhere inside its area. Treat attempts to spy through the 
shield as opposed actions, spell skill vs. spell skill. 

Sample props: A human eyeball pierced with an iron nail (-6), or a gem coated in lead (-2). 

Grasping Hand

Move with Magic, Fair effect (+2), small target (-1), short range (+1), lasts 2 minutes (+2). 
Total mana: 4. 

Allows the caster to move a small amount of any substance without touching it. 

Portal 

Move Body, Great effect (+8), extreme range (+4), lasts 10 minutes (+3), takes 1 hour (-8). 
Total mana: 7. 
or 
Move with Magic, Great effect (+15), extreme range (+4), lasts 10 minutes (+3), takes 1 hour 
(-8). Total mana: 14. 

(Note: Move with Magic is a more costly spell because it can move anything. Move Body can 
move only a person or animal with personal possessions.) 

Creates a gate to anywhere the caster knows well, which anyone may pass through, one 
person at a time. 

Sample prop: A doorway or appropriate passageway to pass through (-1), or if the target 
location is in a forest, a branch from a tree of that forest (-2). 

Binding

Control Mind, Great effect (+8), extreme range (+4), lasts 1 season (+9), takes 5 hours (-10). 
Total mana: 11. 

Allows the caster to bind the target to his will. The target will carry out the caster's commands 
at all times, even when out of sight of the caster. The target may break the control when told 
to do something he is strongly against if a Willpower or simil ar attribute check is successful. 

Sample prop: A gold chain, of great personal value, given to the target by a loved one on a 
very special occasion (-12). 

Tongues

Communicate with Body, Fair effect (+2), lasts 1 hour (+4). Total mana: 6. 

Allows target to speak to any living being that has a formal language. (To speak to creatures 
without a formal language is a Good effect.) 

Phantom Swarm

Control Mind, Good effect (+4), lasts 2 minutes (+2). Total mana: 6. 

Causes the target to believe he is being attacked by a huge swarm of stinging insects. Unless 
target passes a Willpower or similar attribute check or would normally be immune to stinging 
insects, he will take one Scratch of psychic damage every round. (Psychic damage disappears 
at the end of the spell duration, and cannot cause death, but in all other respects acts as normal 
damage.) A critical success at the attribute check (+4 on the dice, or a result beyond Superb) 
will cancel the spell prematurely. 

Sample prop: A hornets' nest with larvae inside (-4). 

Thought Speech

Communicate with Mind, Fair effect (+2). Total mana: 2. 

Allows caster to mentally communicate with another intelligent humanoid.Note that it works 
only at Close range for five seconds if the caster doesn't add more mana to increase range and 
duration. 

Sample prop: A garment stained with the target's blood (-3). 

Modifying the System

World-View

The way magic works in a particular setting is a function of that setting and how its populace 
views the world. If magic in one world is a "scientific" skill, requiring careful research and 
experimentation, a sorcerer in that world would have a different world-view than a sorcerer in 
a world where all magic is done by petitioning spirits to carry out the sorcerer's task. The 
"scientific" sorcerer might see the world divided into the classic elements of earth, air, fire, 
and water, while the "spirit" sorcerer sees only animal, man, and divine spirits. Another 
sorcerer might petition his deity for magic and be able to cast only spells that fall into his 
deity's domain. 

Before the GM can customize this system to his setting, she must first decide on a world-view 
and a "philosophy" of magic to base the system on. Basically, she must decide how or why 
magic works and how the sorcerers of the world think magic and the rest of the world works. 
This world-view need not be universal. Just because the humans think in terms of written 
spell formulas, laboratories, and specific steps doesn't mean the elves do. Feel free to create 
different magic systems for different cultures and ways of thinking in your campaign. 

Additional word ideas

One of the drastic modifications to the system is to change the set of words available. The 
following are examples of words that the GM might find useful in his campaign. 

Animate - If binding spirits to inanimate objects to animate them doesn't work, you might 
need this College. 

Matter, Energy - If you need to manipulate generic matter and energy directly but want the 
element Realms to be specific, these Realms might be necessary. 

Demonic, Divine - If these supernatural elements are a big part of your campaign, you might 
want these as separate Realms. 

Food - This Realm is an example of just how specific the words can get. 

Language - Another specific Realm that is currently covered under the catch-all Magic 
Realm. 

Machine - If you're playing cyberfantasy, this is an important Realm.


Carl D. Cravens
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