I was wondering why powerstones rise quadratically in price and linear in value. Instead of a 10pt PS for 1,900$ I could get 3 5pt PS for 595$ each and save 115$ for having 5 extra net mana in the end.

I know that I can only use one powerstone per spell and it must be touched by the wizard. But this still seems to make smaller powerstones better if you're not going into really, really big spells. Or am I missing something?

EDIT: What I meant by "really, really big spells" was something like resurrection, i.e. extraordinary magical feats, but not boosting a spell. I only thought of putting more energy into a fireball or something, but apparently increasing the area of effect for area spells can easily increase the needed mana by a lot for a single, "simple" spell (I wasn't aware of this). Thanks for the answers!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wait, could it be because of the 6 feet recharge rule? So, a 10pt PS would recharge 1 Manapoint per day, while 3 5pt PS would recharge 1 Manapoint each after 3 days, but not before that? \$\endgroup\$
    – SK19
    Aug 2, 2019 at 7:27
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    Aug 2, 2019 at 7:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Did I make a mistake or did you just write that because of "New contributor"? \$\endgroup\$
    – SK19
    Aug 2, 2019 at 9:52
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2 Answers 2


@JohnDallman gave a good answer about why larger stones cost quadratically more -- but why would a large Powerstone be worth that exorbitant cost?

Because, for a single casting, you can only draw on a single powerstone -- that doesn't make much difference if you need to cast one spell and can rest up afterward, or don't need to draw a lot from the Powerstones and can do most of the casting from your own FP and Energy Reserve (if you have the latter).

On the other hand, if you want to cast a spell like, say, Resurrection (ethical concerns re: necromancy aside), which costs 30 FP, you need at least an 8 point Powerstone even if you have HT 12 (hence base 12 FP), 3 points of Extra Fatigue (Spellcasting) and a 10 point Energy Reserve (which would be a pretty good caster, likely above 250 points total). A handful of two point stones won't get poor Edgar the Unlucky back on his feet...

This also applies to large Area spells. If you manage to sneak up on a room full of goblins, and want to take them all down at once, you need your Stench to fill the whole room -- and at 2 points per hex of radius, that adds up to more fatigue than most beginning casters can expend at once. Even a 2-point Powerstone won't let you pull off that 7-radius spell -- you're going to need a five pointer to stay functional after casting.

  • \$\begingroup\$ FP is based on HT, not ST in 4e, and there's a preference to call those Fatigue Points (FP) and not the ambiguous 'Fatigue'. (I can't currently comment on whether spells are the same in 4e, but that part is likely fine.) Also, generally, 'ER' (Energy Reserve) is the more formal term for a mana pool at least in 'regular' GURPS (I don't remember whether DF uses 'mana' as a term.) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 2, 2019 at 11:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ DF does use "mana" and "mana pool", as I recall, but DFRPG might not (the game I'm in started as 4e/DF and "upgraded" to DFRPG (about 95%, anyway) when it came out. I'll really miss affordable Cornucopia Quivers... \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Aug 2, 2019 at 12:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ It seems I greatly underestimated the potential cost of area spells, as they are hardly used in my campains. This explains it very much! \$\endgroup\$
    – SK19
    Aug 3, 2019 at 17:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SK19 Yep, a spell you can cast for free (due to skill discount) for a single hex can be exhausting, even crippling, if you make it big enough to cover a large room. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Aug 3, 2019 at 19:09

The quadratic pricing comes from the enchantment rules. Powerstones are made by taking a gem, making it into a 1-point stone, making that into a 2-point, and so on. But there's a chance of failure on each operation, which gives the 'stone a quirk, and critical failure will destroy it. There's an example on p. 17 of GURPS Magic, while the full enchantment description is on pp. 69-70.

The 6-foot recharge rule means that you have to let powerstones out of your immediate control to get them to recharge as quickly as possible. That makes larger 'stones more attractive, simply because it's easier to keep track of them. This applies both to their energy content (fewer things to track) and their location, especially if other members of your party, carrying your stones to separate them for charging, get bored and start swapping them around. Been there, done that.

Since spellcasting energy is the primary resource-tracking that GURPS magicians have to do, some players are happy to cope with complexity if it gets you more total power for less money, while other prefer to keep things simple.

"Quirks" are individual peculiarities of powerstones, named by analogy with the quirks (1-point disadvantages) of GURPS characters. Most of them are restrictions on the stone's recharging or its usage. A badly quirked stone might only recharge while immersed in flowing water, but only be usable for casting fire college spells at night-time. The GM creates stones' quirks in any way they find appropriate.

Adventurers generally prefer Powerstones without quirks, and usually have the money to pay for them. Magicians who don't adventure can have physical security for keeping their 'stones safe while recharging, and can more easily cope with quirked stones, because their working environment is more predictable.

Having an aspect of the game be an emergent property of the (fairly simple) enchantment rules, rather than changing the rules to produce a specific style of gameplay is an example of the difference in philosophy between GURPS and modern editions of D&D. It did happen that way round: the calculations for Powerstone costs were done for an article in Roleplayer magazine, some time after the enchantment rules were first published.

I left out expensive spells because the OP was discounting them, but @Zeiss Ikon's answer shows how you can suddenly find yourself needing an extra 10 or 20 energy, and a medium-large powerstone is a life-saver under those circumstances.


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