I'm currently playing an apprentice-level wizard in a GURPS 4/GURPS Dungeon Fantasy/DFRPG hybrid campaign online (campaign has been running since long before DF/DFRPG appeared and has many legacy situations, as well as a few legacy rules in place, but generally bows to official rulings). My character has the Mana Enhancer 2 advantage (consuming almost half his character points), which means in the Normal Mana level of the general campaign area, his effective mana is Very High Mana.

Relevant to this question, on M6 in Very High Mana, "a mage who spends FP to cast a spell on his turn gets those FP back at the beginning of his next turn." This allows even an apprentice with few spells to pull some nice tricks (at the risk of any given casting being his last), but one I've been called on is that apparently, by the strict wording of Very High Mana, this instant recovery of spent FP only applies for casting and not for maintaining a spell.

Thus, if (with an effective mana pool of 11 FP) I cast a radius 5 Create Fire (skill 15 gives -1 FP discount at casting and for maintenance, so casting cost 10 - 1 FP, 5 - 1 FP to maintain), I don't need to roll to remain conscious and on my next turn I'm not fatigued -- but any internally reasonable mechanism by which I would regain my casting FP this way seems as though it should also apply to FP spent to maintain a spell.

It was presented to me as a balancing point for the Mana Enhancer 2 advantage, but to me this seems adequately balanced by the fact that, in Very High Mana, any casting failure is treated as a critical fail, and genuine critical fails are "spectacular disasters." With base skill 15 (very reasonable for an apprentice wizard) and using the "Alternate Magic Rituals" rule from M9 to gain effective skill 16 (with 2 second casting time for most spells), failure will only occur on 17 or 18, and true critical fail only on 18 -- but that's still a crit fail of one kind or the other on one casting in 54, with honest dice, vs. one in 216 for Normal Mana and the same effective skill.

So, tl;dr, is there an official ruling from SJ Games or a line editor (or other rules authority) on whether instant FP recovery in Very High Mana applying only to casting, not maintenance, is an intentional limitation or an omission? And if this differs between standard GURPS and Dungeon Fantasy or DFRPG, which ones are which?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Skill level 15 is a lot more than "apprentice wizard" level. That's well into "master wizard" level. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Sep 11, 2022 at 20:39
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 Advantages that can't be improved in play need to be lifetime levels at chargen -- and IQ is expensive, too, but (at least in this game world) it's relatively easy to add spells when you have a couple XP to spare. IQ 14 and Magery 3 gives base skill 15, which at least used to be the recommended level for a wizard PC (we're playing on 250 points, BTW, but it's a 100 point advantage). \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Sep 12, 2022 at 9:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, and the starting characters in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy have similar levels of competency in their specialities as the Navy SEAL templates from that one "play Navy SEALs in the Vietnam War" splatbook. You're not an apprentice wizard, you're an elite badass. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Sep 12, 2022 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 Sure -- but one with only twenty or so spells, built on the "apprentice" lens rather than full "wizard" template. That 100 point advantage... Short on template skills for Wizard, too. Backstory is he was third year at the Guild academy when they found out about the Enhancer, and tried to make him into a Coppertop. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Sep 12, 2022 at 11:25

2 Answers 2


Here's an answer from the GURPS line editor, on the SJ Games GURPS forum:

The intent behind very high mana is that any personal FP spent on magic regenerates one second after being spent. Whether "spent on magic" means "cast," "maintain," "contribute," or some other thing is merely arguing over semantics, being a rules lawyer.

The intent behind critical success is completely different. It's a link between the roll to cast and the results of casting, so it's quite clearly applicable only to the energy you had riding on the dice roll to cast, and thus to casting. On the other hand, it's all energy and not just personal FP . . . and it's a case of "never spent in the first place," not regeneration.

The two cases aren't meant to be symmetric or related in any way. About all they have in common is that a caster ends up with more FP kicking around.


It's always up to the GURPS GM to specify how magic works in their campaign.

The default way GURPS 4e works is that bodily fatigue points (not powerstone FP) spent on spells (both casting and maintaining) get used normally in Very High Mana conditions, but then that fatigue is restored at the beginning of their next turn. So there is still a limit and an effect, but it comes back at the start of each turn.

If you want a published rule wording that makes this slightly more explicit, see GURPS Dungeon Fantasy RPG Spells book, page 7, Mana section:

Very High Mana: [...] A wizard who casts a wizardly spell recovers any personal FP used (not other energy) a second later - on the caster's next turn, in combat.

(i.e. it still mentions casting rather than maintaining per se, but note "any personal FP used", which maintenance costs would be. But mainly, noplace ever says maintenance costs aren't just more spellcasting fatigue.)

Since you have a long-running campaign world, your GM might also want to consider that the way Very High mana worked in earlier editions, was that casters with Magery could cast (and maintain) spells with NO cost!

But the GM can, of course, have magic work however they like.

But if they make maintenance but not casting cost lasting fatigue under Very High mana based on the literal wording, that'd be an unintended-by-the-authors wording-based house rule.

As far as "balance" goes, it is a very steep power boost to go from High to Very High mana (not to mention Normal to Very High), so a GM may well want to moderate or limit the effects, but they're free to do so however they want. Making maintenance cost fatigue, but not casting, seems to me like an odd choice. I'd instead maybe look at reducing the rate of magic FP recovery to ST/2, or Magery x 2, or something.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .