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Is there any system which has a mage class/magic system dedicated to astrology so I could play a court astrologer using the planets and constellations to divine the future?


I would like to mention that I already know about the Sidereals from Exalted. Also, I'd prefer it if the astrology references real-world constellations like Aries, Libra, etc., although fantasy versions -- The Minotaur, The Medusa -- are also okay. Fluff is important for this question, and more fluff is better, like the previously mentioned Sidereals.


Abilities/spells I would like the class to posses:

  1. Create a astrological reading which would foretell real events from the future, if I use this on a NPC for example and I would get "This person should avoid travelling by see for the next month while the sun is in the sign of ..." I'm happy with that.
  2. For the caster himself, in combat I could determine that Mars is in the zone of ... for a ally and give them a buff for attack something along these lines.
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A reskin is not what I need but a astrologer class or astrology mage school/college/domain. –  George Bora Nov 28 '12 at 13:44
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Closest I can think of for 3.x is the Sublime Chord from Complete Arcane, which requires ranks in Profession(Astrology), but doesn't really use them. –  KRyan Nov 28 '12 at 14:17
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Despite Burning Wheel having an nice astrology mechanic, I can't recommend it for this particular purpose—it's nothing like a buff laser. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 28 '12 at 18:03
    
As this is a system-recommendation question, please adhere to both the FAQ and the rules for subjective questions as outlined in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective and on our Meta. In particular, all responses should be based on actual experience and contain references and examples whenever possible. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Nov 29 '12 at 0:15
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From your question, I don't see why you don't just play a Sidereal. Is it about diversity, or about the real-world setting? Something else entirely? –  Urs Reupke Nov 29 '12 at 6:43
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As this is a game-recommendation question, please adhere to the FAQ, the rules for subjective questions as outlined in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective and our rules for game recommendations. All responses must cite actual experience or reference others' experiences!

6 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The German game The Dark Eye has several archetypes (called "Professions" in the rule set) in the latest (fourth) edition which are partially or fully concentrated on astronomy. Of course it being a point-buy system, nothing forces you to stay in that niche. If you wish so though, there is a wealth of information about heavenly realms as well as rules for divinations based on astrology.

Aside from several of the mage archetypes - mostly of the "court mage" kind - including astronomy and astrology (no difference in the background) as part of their education and several other mystic archetypes which incorporate astrology into their field of work, there is also a specific non-magical "Astrological Expert" (German: "Sternkundiger") variant of the "Scholar" (German: "Gelehrter") archetype.

Downside: Most of it is only available in German.

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I know a bit of German and learning is easy for something you love to do. –  George Bora Nov 28 '12 at 17:17
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Ars Magica Fifth Edition, with The Mysteries (for Astrological Magic), Lords of Men (for feudal interactions), and Art and Academe (for Mundane Astrology)

In the supplement, The Mysteries (Revised Edition) there exist rules for specific divinations as well as rules for astrologically linked magic. My players are currently using these rules and they work well. Divinations are mostly about predicting present intentions instead of future events, but the system works really well for the kinds of vague "future" predictions that astrologers like to parse. It's quite possible to detect the intentions of bandits along a road, or estimates of weather potentials.

In the supplement, Lords of Men there exist rules for courts, court structures, and fantastic discussion of the feudal system.

As GMJoe notes: Art and Academie also has some rules for astrology as practiced by mundanes in the setting. Given the nature of Mythic Europe, such astrologers can actually obtain reasonably accurate and useful results - though they are nowhere near as explicitly magical as Hermetic Magi. With the core book and these two supplements, there is an excellent basis for exploring the potentials of a court astrologer.

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'Art and Academie' also has some rules for astrology as practiced by mundanes in the setting. Given the nature of Mythic Europe, such astrologers can actually obtain reasonably accurate and useful results - though they are nowhere near as explicitly magical as Hermetic Magi. –  GMJoe Nov 29 '12 at 1:22
    
In the same lines Mage: The Ascension or event better Mage: the sorcerers crusade could let you play an Astrologer with Time magic focused on watching the skies. –  Random Nov 29 '12 at 7:09
    
+1 If you want a magic system, you won't go far wrong with Ars. –  Rob Nov 29 '12 at 10:51
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I will recommend WFRP 2e (second edition) and the mages from the Celestial College of Magic, masters of the Azyr, or more commonly called Blue, Wind.

I wrote about the Azyr Wind last April for Blogging A-to-Z 2012 in A is for Azyr. Reprinted below with my permission. :)

The Celestial Mage can perform both outlined requirements in the college's taught lore, known as the Lore of the Heavens.

  1. Omen and Premonition provide the sort of divination on NPCs you might seek
  2. The First, Second and Third Portents of Amul, as well as Fortune's Renewal, provide mechanical benefits in play for various test re-rolls, for player or companions.

In each case, the fluff text applies directly to your sought after "feel." I would recommend the Realms of Sorcery for additional information. RoS is also an excellent sourcebook for running a magical college/school campaign in the Warhammer universe.

Enjoy...

A is for Ayzr

Scholars are drawn to the words: Astrometeorological Thaumaturgy, the magic of the stars. Masters of the Blue Wind of Magic, Azyr, are the Astromancers, or as the commoner might say, white knuckled and sweating in fear of a darker future glimpsed in a black irises of a passing master of the blue wind, Celestial Wizards.

Astromancers or Celestial Wizards are adept star readers, weather manipulators, and tellers of the future (to insult them is to toss them in lot with Strigany charlatans called "fortune tellers"). They are most often seen in Altdorf in clean and, often of the finest cloth, tailored midnight blue robes; such are the rewards to apprentice, journeyman and master astromancer alike in the employ of the rich seeking knowledge of the future. Both a boon and curse, astromancers are duty bound to honesty and complete transparency. To learn the hour and circumstance of your sponsor's death must be told, if asked.

Astromancers look for signs in all things around, above and below. The Celestial College's most public of tomes, if only for the magics most common use, describe Elemental, Mystical and Cardinal schools.

A practitioner of the Elemental school is known to conjure storms of electrical energies from the very Aethyr, fierce winds, even curse and doom persons. Mystics are masters of precognition, even minor abilities have been witnessed in speaking with birds or causing the sun to break on a rainy day. Cardinal astromancers mix the mystical practices with the elemental, striking a fearful balance often sought on the battlefields of the Old World.

The Celestial College in Altdorf is known for its stringent admission exam, though rarely are those with the Aethyric abilities outright dismissed, remedial education may be in order. However, strong relations with the Order of Light will often find wanting applicants with a letter of introduction to the Order. Astromancers also enjoy excellent relations with the Cult of Verena, many Celestial Wizards being faithful adherents to the cult.

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Not so much wouldn't, but couldn't, because I didn't know enough about this aspect of the setting. I'm glad you pointed out the thematic aspect because WFRP in 2E or 3E seems to be a good fit for George's requirements. –  Simon Gill Nov 28 '12 at 21:54
    
It was more of a tease, as I see you may consider WFRP a go-to system. As I do. We disagree on the edition I suspect. :) –  javafueled Nov 28 '12 at 21:58
    
It's certainly fun and I think 3E is the best of the class-based games I've ever played. Hand o' cards makes for an interesting experience but it isn't the only good part of the game. I'm reasonably sure 2E has those good parts too ;) –  Simon Gill Nov 28 '12 at 22:14
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The games that come to mind are Fantasy Wargaming and Dragon Quest... but since DQ is skill driven...

Fantasy Wargaming (The highest level of all)

This is a combined RPG and miniatures combat wargame rulebook. There are 3 classes, and multiclassing is common.

The magic system does make use of constellations and astrology, as well as material resonance, for a variety of uses.

I can't say the game is much fun - I certainly didn't enjoy it enough to run more than 4 hours of it - but it is nicely detailed there.

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There's no problem with DQ being skill driven for this question. –  George Bora Nov 29 '12 at 18:09
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The Astrologer Profession in Rolemaster (Rolemaster Classic) covers what you want, I believe. It is one of the core classes in Rolemaster.

From Character Law p58.

Astrologers are Hybrid spell users who combine the realms of Channeling and Mentalism; they have concentrated on spells which pertain to gathering information. Their spells deal with detection, communing, precognition and communication.

The class has dedicated spell lists (specific to the class) allowing them to:

  • Command people with their voice (Way of the Voice)
  • Receive visions on topics in dreams (Holy vision)
  • Speak with people at distances (Far Voice)
  • Locate people (Starsense)
  • Look into the future and the past (Time's Bridge)
  • Create light and light based attacks (Starlights)

Note: I personally as a GM always kept this profession as an NPC class myself as it was a very awkward thing to manage (players knowing the future) Although the information in Holy Vision is vague and Time's Bridge has a very limited duration (rounds and minutes)

The Astrologer class also has very cheap skill costs for skills such as: Astronomy, Navigation and Divination.

And for some clarification, in Rolemaster there are three classical realms of magic:

  • Mentalism: The power of the mind, almost like psionics but through magic.
  • Channeling: Wielding the power of one's god.
  • Essence: The raw power of magic itself, classical mage stuff.

There is also the optional Arcane realm, but let's not complicate things ;)

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One possiblility is the Oracle from Pathfinder, with the Heavens mystery. They get a number of astrology/star related class features, including Star Chart, which allows you to consult the stars to answer one yes or no question per level, once per day.

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