Questions about the nature of magic in a game. Use [spells] for questions on specific spells or [spellcasting] for how magic spells are cast.

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46
votes
10answers
11k views

Medieval problems in a magical world

This is a bit of a broad question, but I will try to narrow it down to this: When GMing a medieval fantasy, and conflicts arise between the medieval times and the magical world (mostly D&D and ...
32
votes
7answers
3k views

How does D&D Vancian magic make sense in-game?

One thing that bugs me about Vancian Magic in D&D as I understand it is the following: How is "fire and forget" remotely believable when I can slot and ready more than one "copy" of a spell? Say ...
32
votes
9answers
5k views

What should a GM do about players using magic in unforeseen game-breaking ways?

Firstly, a quick anecdote. In our most recent Pathfinder session our cleric jokingly mentioned he will soon be able to summon 1d3 dolphins. Another player then mentioned that some dolphins (orca) can ...
23
votes
8answers
1k views

Making magic “magical”

When I work with settings that contain magic, whether traditional fantasy or others, I always perceive something of a tension when trying to portray the magic between the following factors: Magic ...
22
votes
2answers
387 views

How to handle the magical girl genre in Fate Core?

I'm a newcomer to Fate Core, and working out a magic system is daunting. I have read over the core and glanced through the system toolkit as well, but some experience-based advice would be helpful ...
21
votes
3answers
954 views

Are there ways to concentrate on more than one spell at a time?

Are there any ways to maintain concentration on more than one spell at a time, or to interrupt and reconcentrate on a spell? I do know the general rules says it can't be done, but the general rules ...
20
votes
16answers
1k views

Why aren't magocracies and theocracies dominant in D&D settings?

Anyone has (or has links to) well thought-out, logical explanations for why magocracies and theocracies are not the dominant forms of government of D&D worlds? I'd also be really interested in ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I handle astral security?

When a shadowrunning team tries to break into a facility protected by magic, it seems to me as a GM like the team's biggest liability is getting past magical security. If a mundane B&E character ...
18
votes
10answers
766 views

What RPGs treat magic as being common?

Some fantasy RPGs treat magic as arcane and thus rare, possibly subject to suspicion by the masses. Other games treat magic as somewhat more prevelant but not ubiquitous. At some point in this trend, ...
18
votes
8answers
595 views

How do I create a sense of mystery about magic?

Magic in so many games is something mechanical and fully understood. Assuming I control the setting (and have a group of players willing to try new rules), how do I make magic something mysterious? ...
18
votes
2answers
659 views

Does GURPS Thaumatology require GURPS Magic?

If I picked up the sourcebook GURPS Thaumatology, would I need GURPS Magic? There seem to be a lot of negative reviews of 4th-edition GURPS Magic and nothing but rave reviews of Thaumatology.
17
votes
7answers
614 views

Fantasy and magic in a primarily realistic setting

I'm running a game that's best described as "medieval fantasy," in the sense that we're actually trying to have the lives of people in the setting strongly resemble the historical Middle Ages. There ...
17
votes
1answer
445 views

History of the Wish Spell

A friend of mine was wondering about the history of the wish spell in Dungeons and Dragons. It is his suspicion that the spell “only” exists because they needed something for genies to cast to work in ...
16
votes
10answers
735 views

What would you pick as the “four elements” of mind? [closed]

Good evening! I hope this isn't too vague, this is my first post on RPG Exchange (I see some cool conversations here, I'm happy to be a part). While doodling about with a magic system I'm ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

How to help my low-level spellcaster PCs feel more useful

My party right now consists of a pair of incredibly optimized characters (a half-orc fighter and a ranger/scout), one fairly well optimized character (a swashbuckler who's thinking about mutliclassing ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

How to Reconcile the MERP/RM High-Magic System with the Low-Magic Middle Earth Setting?

Our group is regularly playing in Tolkiens Middle Earth universe, and we use a combination of MERP extended with Rolemaster as our system. And from what I gathered online, this seems to be a popular ...
15
votes
5answers
636 views

Replicating Modern Technology using Magic-Punk

This is generally a system-agnostic question, as I'm trying to build a feel for my world, and I can add to it whatever rules I need to later. The world is a 1930s setting, very ...
14
votes
3answers
660 views

Do magical beasts have a magical aura with regard to Detect Magic spell?

The description for Detect Magic doesn't explicitly cover this. Some monsters, like the Ankheg, are categorized as magical beast, but don't have any magical or spell-like abilities. If they are ...
14
votes
3answers
738 views

How should one-word “commands” work in languages other than English?

In various versions of D&D, there's a cleric spell called "Command" where the cleric compels an enemy to obey a one-word command. Typical commands might be "sleep", "flee", "surrender", ...
13
votes
11answers
835 views

How can non-magical healers be useful when magic healing is available?

In many roleplaying games the prerequisite to perform magic healing is knowledge, and during action it is mostly limited by magic capacity and sometimes time. Meanwhile the prerequisite to perform ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How the heck does magical darkness work in Pathfinder?

I'm having a lot of trouble trying to divine the intent of the darkness spell in PF. It starts off easily enough: This spell causes an object to radiate darkness out to a 20-foot radius. This ...
13
votes
2answers
426 views

What happens to a character who breaks a Law of Magic and is about to hit 0 refresh as a result?

In DFRPG, you have the 7 laws of magic, which if you break you automatically have to add it as a power. Lets say we have a focused sourcerer who's used 6 of their 7 refresh, and they break one of the ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

How do I implement freeform magic on a system? [closed]

i'd like to ask you if any of you has ever played an rpg where players we're entitled to make their own spells, and how it turned to be. Also, i'd like some answer to a problem concerning this topic ...
12
votes
2answers
946 views

What would happen if you use Disjunction on a golem?

What would happen if a character were to cast a Mage's/Mordenkainen's Disjunction on an iron golem? Would it stop functioning because Disjunction has removed its magic? Or would its spell immunity ...
12
votes
2answers
319 views

How does the duration “concentration” work when using scrolls and power stones?

I'm playing a Pathfinder game as a Psion, and am considering making some power stones (effectively scrolls) of Control Light. Control Light, unlike Darkness, is a "Concentration" duration power. Does ...
12
votes
2answers
499 views

Using biomancy on yourself as the caster

I have a question on thaumaturgy biomancy. I'm planning on using it to boost myself in strength, armour, claws, spider climbing etc. The rules talk about using it this way but give no real examples. ...
12
votes
1answer
202 views

TDE / DSA - Koschbasalt / Blaubasalt vs Magic Traps

I hope there are even Das Schwarze Auge/The Dark Eye Players around here... Is it possible to neutralize magic traps (Traps created by applicatus or similar spells, not arcanovi) using Koschbasalt ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Why take Linguistics if you can cast Comprehend Languages?

Given the nature of the spell Comprehend Languages in Pathfinder, is there any particular advantage to taking Linguistics for a character who can cast it? Especially given the chance of severe (or ...
11
votes
5answers
514 views

How to distinguish between arcane and divine spellcasters?

I'm making a setting where there's a large cultural importance placed on whether you're a divine or arcane caster. I was wondering if detect magic (or any other plausible and simple method) could ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What happens when Detect Magic is used upon something that is magically invisible?

Does a simple casting of Detect Magic reveal the presence of magical invisibility?
11
votes
3answers
717 views

I want to build a castle, with magic!

Rather, one of my players, a Terram Magus, wants to be able to construct a castle or equivalent fortification without using creo magic in an Ars Magica 5th edition game. The rules for crafting with ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Can low level priests cast high level spells off scrolls?

I am a DM with a 2nd lvl priest. I want my priest to be able to cast a remove disease spell off of a scroll that he will find. Can he do this? Where is the rule?
11
votes
2answers
159 views

Can you use a Power to do Suppressive Fire?

Can Powers be used for Suppressive Fire? For example, can you cast a Bolt Power to do Suppressive Fire on an area?
11
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I increase resistance to drain?

My Aztec shaman character, Chimalli, is primarily a spirit summoner, using Willpower (5)+Charisma (7) to resist drain. He has one level of the Focused Concentration quality (+1). Is there any easy ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

Does casting a spell require a check to succeed?

If my character is a spell caster, and he is not wearing any armor, is there any chance to fail casting the spell? I'm wondering specifically about normal circumstances: There is nobody who can attack ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Can the Create Water spell create “running water”?

In our current Pathfinder campaign, my party is (probably) dealing with a Vampire; one of the vampire weaknesses is to take damage in "running water". We have multiple Clerics and a Druid in the ...
10
votes
1answer
549 views

Can I choose to increase the casting time of a spell?

When a character casts a buff with a casting time of 1 standard action and a duration of one round, the buff expires at the beginning of their next combat round (is this correct?). So they do not get ...
10
votes
1answer
363 views

What are the specifics of the Summoner's eidolon summoning ritual?

The summoner class casts a one minute ritual to call forth their Eidolon. From the PFSRD: A summoner can summon his eidolon in a ritual that takes 1 minute to perform. Have Paizo ever stated ...
10
votes
2answers
555 views

How does Empowered Evocation work with Magic Missile?

Empowered Evocation (PHB 177) reads: Beginning at 10th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier to the damage roll of any wizard evocation spell you cast I have an evoker with a 16 ...
10
votes
2answers
156 views

Do Area Spells really not affect anyone you can't see?

The spellcasting section specifies (emphasis mine): Area Spells: Area spells can be cast on a specific target or a point in space that you can see. Unless noted in a spell, the area of the ...
10
votes
1answer
380 views

Recommendations for game mechanics that emphasize reagent or component based spellcasting

I'm researching spell component systems for a 3.5e campaign. In 3.5e, spell components are an inconvenience at best and a waste of time at worst. I'd like to homebrew a solution drawing from mechanics ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Looking for a nice magic system to convert to FATE

I'm playing around a lot with the FATE system at the moment (particularly with Diaspora) and I'm now looking at how I might apply it to a fantasy setting. What I'm looking for is a nice magic system ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Creatively targeting summoning spells

Me and my party have a plan in our upcoming session, that will need some clarifications on how summoning spells can be used. Its all about creative targeting with the Summon Monster I spell, let me ...
9
votes
3answers
908 views

What is thaumaturgy?

I keep getting conflicting reports on what exactly thaumaturgy is. Some sources say it's a form of divine spellcasting. Others say it's a form of summoning. Others still say it's a method of ...
9
votes
6answers
464 views

Is there any system which lets me play an astrologer mage?

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
475 views

Heavy duty Excavation aka Stone to Mud in 5e?

I seem to be at a loss here. Either I can't find a spell that works here or I am not seeing it. What method would a wizard (or other spellcaster for that matter) use to excavate a part of a dungeon? ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Do metamagic feats increase a spell's casting time in Pathfinder?

In D&D 3.5, there was a rule that a spontaneous spellcaster had to spend extra time casting a spell if they chose to apply a metamagic feat. Is this also true in Pathfinder, or was this limitation ...
9
votes
2answers
470 views

Resources containing practical, yet non-combat, non-adventuring D&D spells

Continuing the train of thoughts emerging from the discussion of this previous question (about magocracies and theocracies in DnD), I'd like to know if there are any good official or unofficial ...
9
votes
3answers
537 views

What does it mean to “master” a path of magic?

In Anima: Beyond Fantasy, magic is divided up into paths, some of which are opposed to each other. The rules quite clearly state that it costs twice as much to advance along a path opposed to one ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the exact rolls and totals for a direct combat spell?

As a Shadowrun 4E GM, I have had a couple of arguments with players about exactly how the magic system works. Suppose a player goes to cast a spell like a Force 6 Powerbolt at an enemy. Exactly which ...