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This modification adapts Buffy-style magic mechanics to the beautifully deranged world of Unknown Armies.
While I believe the UA magic system adds flavor to the game and feels appropriate for a modern setting, I like my magic systems a bit more flexible.
I happened to buy UA and the Magic Box for the Buffy line of games by Eden Studios about the same time and the following mod was born.
Build any spell you want using the rules from the Magic Box book. Buy the Magic Box for the details. I don't want to step on any copyrights.
Note the power level (1 to 7+).
The number of participants needed, casting time, scope, duration, and spell requirements modifiers are determined as per the Magic Box. The effect strength is also determined as per the Magic Box regardless if you are using the specific (mind, conjuring, or manipulation) tables or the summary effect table.
The only modification is the HARM/Heal effect. The following desired wound/restore magnitudes use the following mechanics:
magnitude game effect
noticeable melee damage per UA rules
severe firearm damage (smallest combo of the magic roll) Ex: roll = 5,2 ; damage/restore = 25pts body/soul/mind/speed
major firearm damage (largest combo of the magic roll) Ex: roll = 5,2 ; damage/restore = 52pts body/soul/mind/speed
awesome damage/restore = magic skill Ex: magic skill = 70% ; damage/restore = 70pts body/soul/mind/speed
If the damage/restore effect is applied over time, just dole out the damage/restore points per game scene. For stat increases/reductions spread the effect points among the desired stats.
Using the spell
Remember the power level.
Take the power level and multiply it by 5%.
This percentage represents the number your magic skill roll must be over to succeed. Feel free to experiment with other multiples. I think something around 5% to 7% is good.
This is in addition to the requirement that you roll under the magic skill.
The 10's digit of the magic roll is the success level. Use this for the success level in duration as per the Magic Box.
Failing the magic roll could provide bad mojo at the GM's discretion. Magic users have a great deal of themselves tied up in each casting. Pick a governing stat (body, mind, speed, or soul) for the caster or for each casting to represent how the caster is tied to their casting.
Body would show a physical connection. Representing a channeler or a spell that is physically stressful like an incantation to absorb the heat of a burning building.
Mind would show a mental connection. Representing a telepath or a spell that manipulates other's minds like a fear enhancing spell.
Speed would show a physical connection. Representing a ritual dancer or a spell that effects mobility like a spell to increase running speed.
Soul would show a spiritual connection. Representing a worshiper of a dark god , an iron-willed hermetic, or a spell that charms or beguiles.
Rolling below the target percentage can be treated as a simple fizzle while going above the magic skill should reduce the governing stat by the margin of error (Rolled % - magic skill %). See Simon's example below for better details. These failure effects are cumulative. Being reduced to 0% in a stat may represent near death, debilitating confusion, paralysis, or insanity depending on the story need.
Magic skills can have any name. If the GM wants generic and flexible magic users, a simple name like Sorcery will suffice. The GM may want to limit the scope of magic to specialized skills like Demonology, Mind Tricks, or any other sphere of his choosing. In these cases the GM should make sure the effects built by characters with these limited skills fall within the sphere of the skill's influence.
Our young practitioner of the dark arts Simon attempts to create a magical disguise for himself to flee from his latest crime scene. The baying of hounds and the flickering of torches heralds an angry mob.
After doing the math he decides the power level for the spell is 5. Simon has a Soul-based Warlock skill of 45%. He must roll under the 45% and over (5x5% = 25%). Simon is rushed and has killed babies in another life. Karma gives him the finger and he rolls 60%. Simon has failed to cast the spell because he exceeded 25% and will suffer for his over-reaching because he exceed his skill of 45%. Simon looses 15% from his soul stat until his confidence and mental health is restored.
Simon, distracted by paranoid visions of demonic shadows dancing just out of sight, stumbles off to find another means to escape the scene before the authorities arrive.
That's all for now. I have been sitting on this rough outline for a new UA magic system for a while. Hopefully, it will provide someone someone inspiration for their games.
darkthorn | profile | Dec 11, 07 | 12:28 am
Well, I can see the good in it. I just do not know if I like it any better than the current rules in UA. Just to get it straight, you want to change it so that magick is no longer tied only to spirit (I kinda like this part), make a per spell minimum roll (IE the need 25 or higher but under your magick score), and make it so that you loose points off the ability for failed rolls.
Alatain | profile | Dec 11, 07 | 2:10 am
darkthorn | profile | Dec 11, 07 | 1:49 pm