Questions about the nature of magic in a game. Use [spells] for questions on specific spells.

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50
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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 ...
37
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
34
votes
10answers
6k 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 ...
31
votes
7answers
5k views

Creating a city made of illusion that won't be quickly figured out

We are playing DnD5e in custom world. This is going to be my first time as DM. Currently I'm trying to get my first adventure together. My idea was to trap my players in the city, which is just an ...
30
votes
9answers
9k views

How do I keep spellcasters from casting while in jail?

Interesting situation came up in my session. The players captured a wizard NPC and put him in jail. Then came a long discussion about what measures needed to be taken in order to prevent said wizard ...
28
votes
2answers
912 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 (...
26
votes
17answers
2k 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 ...
25
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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 ...
23
votes
5answers
5k 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
4answers
4k views

Can a Spiritual Weapon be summoned within someone's body?

A little bit out of left field I know, but someone in my game tried to summon a Spiritual Weapon within an enemy's body. Now, strictly speaking the range of the spell is 60' and doesn't say anything ...
20
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
7answers
837 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 ...
18
votes
10answers
956 views

What RPGs treat magic as being common? [closed]

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
734 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
5answers
1k views

Replicating Modern Technology using Magic-Punk [closed]

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 pulp/noir/steampunk-...
18
votes
2answers
920 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.
18
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 ...
17
votes
5answers
645 views

Is magical force visible, generally?

A Magic Missile is visible, a Wall of Force is invisible, and a Tenser's Floating Disk is... which? Specific beats general, but what's the general rule for visibility of magical force? Magic ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Can spells with a verbal component be cast underwater if the caster can't breathe water?

My party recently tipped over a boat of enemies into what was essentially rapids and trapped the enemies in a cube of force underwater. The warriors inevitably drowned as they had no way out. However, ...
17
votes
1answer
663 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
683 views

How to introduce the levelless, cost-based spells of Cthulhu d20 into D&D 5e

Cthulhu d20 has a magic system in which spells aren't tied to classes nor to levels. Anyone can learn and use a spell, if they're willing to pay the price, which usually comes in the form of a ...
16
votes
10answers
929 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 developing,...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Does a sorcerer's metamagic work for non-sorcerer spells?

Can a multiclass sorcerer/cleric use the Metamagic class ability with non-sorcerer spells? For example, using Twinned Spell when casting cure wounds to heal two creatures instead of just one?
16
votes
6answers
3k 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
1answer
2k views

Do your spells end when you die?

I linked to this answer in a 5e question, attempting to bring support for the idea that, if you cast an open-ended spell, like Magic Mouth, it could remain after you die. Someone pointed out that, as ...
16
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
1k 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", "undress",...
15
votes
3answers
4k 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?
15
votes
2answers
855 views

When exactly does a concentration spell end from casting another one?

This came up last night in our D&D session. Situation: a wizard cast Evard's Black Tentacles, which when the creature fails their dexterity save they are restrained by the tentacles. This spell ...
15
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
576 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 ...
14
votes
11answers
1k 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 non-...
14
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
921 views

Can I counter an Antimagic field with Dispel Magic?

Counterspell section of SRD states: "If the target is within range, both spells automatically negate each other with no other results." Antimagic field description of SRD states: "Dispel magic does ...
14
votes
3answers
1k 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
2k views

Is it possible to interrupt spellcasting in 5e?

As this blog post suggests, there seems to be a hole in the D&D Basic rules. Maybe. The rules for readying an action state: When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right ...
14
votes
2answers
299 views

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 ...
13
votes
3answers
617 views

Does an Evocation shield have a reactive utility to it?

Say that Player X is 2nd in the initiative. 1st is the Black Court vampire that is in a rage and taking a swing at Player X. Player X gets a built in defense [Athletics/Fists + 4dF] but can Player X ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Can a Cleric leave spell slots open to prepare later?

In another question, it's explained that Wizards can leave spell slots blank to be prepared later. I want to know if a Cleric can do the same thing: can a Cleric leave spell slots open when they first ...
13
votes
1answer
632 views

Where can I find a system-neutral herbal designed for RPGs? [closed]

I'm looking for an herbal for RPGs. I'm not looking for a list of herbs and their real uses or reputed uses (as in the question “Reputed Magical Effects of Real-World Herbs”). What I'm looking for an ...
13
votes
1answer
815 views

What happened to the Permanency spell?

As the title asks, I'm curious about why the permanency spell isn't in 5e. It's not in the PHB, DMG, or any forum page on the interwebs. It's been incorporated into various spells like True Polymorph ...
13
votes
1answer
373 views

Can a water elemental move through Bigsby's Interposing Hand?

I'm a wizard and I like everything to go my way. Recently we ran into a situation on a boat in which we were attacked by a trio of Water Elementals. I thought this was a fine time to test out the ...
12
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
2k 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
746 views

What happens when my dead wizard decides to planeshift out of the afterlife?

So, I know that if my High Elf Wizard dies he goes to the chaotic-good afterlife plane or whatever. That's clear. He leaves a body behind, and gets a brand-new afterlife body in the chaotic good ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Can a Sorcerer use Sorcery Points to create spell slots higher than he can cast?

At level 6, a Sorcerer may have a maximum of 6 Sorcery Points. This is enough to create a level 4 spell slot. Would the Sorcerer be able to create a level 4 spell slot, even though he only knows level ...
12
votes
2answers
771 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
3answers
535 views

What is a spell?

Many systems and settings specify what a spell consists of, where its power comes from, and what forms it takes from inception to casting. Earthdawn's weaving and spell matrices in particular come to ...
12
votes
8answers
1k views

Why are high ability scores mandatory to cast spells?

After reading this answer, I was once again struck by the fact that a Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 spellcaster, no matter his level, is unable to overcome the limits imposed by his ability scores. Like ...