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A mage PC in the play-by-post Dungeon Fantasy campaign I'm playing in cast Body of Air on herself, in order to rise above a brewing combat. She then tried to cast Stone Missile, but the GM commented that she couldn't do that because Body of Air gives the "No Fine Manipulators" trait while in effect (hands are made of, essentially, air currents). He said she wouldn't have trouble throwing the missile, because that's an "innate attack" (additionally, the missile of a missile spell isn't material according to multiple game designer clarifications I've read), but that she couldn't cast the spell.

By standard rules, with skill 15 or higher, a PC caster should need to speak one or two soft words, or make a quick gesture in order to cast a spell (except for spells that specify some special movement or incantation requirement), and it's been my understanding that the PC in question has base skill 15 or higher (not my PC, so I'm not certain, but the OOC discussion reinforces this belief).

Is there a rule I'm missing that would prevent a PC under the effect of Body of Air from casting a spell that needs only a couple words?

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The GM has overriding authority, but it does seem worth asking him about that rule (Basic Set p237, "Skill 15-19", GURPS Magic has the same rule on p8). The -1 to effective skill for having Body of Air running doesn't by RAW affect the ritual requirements, which depend on base skill and ambient mana level.

I agree with your interpretation, and the basic Dungeon Fantasy template for a Wizard has IQ15 and Magery 3, so would have Stone Missile at 16. This doesn't prove that this character has the spell at that level, but it seems plausible.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Isn't skill for "mental-hard" spells IQ-3 + Magery? That would then be base skill 15 for unaltered 250 point template Wizards, right? Checking because I have a wizard built from template in another group, for whom GCS calculates skill 15 for all spells that aren't Very Hard. \$\endgroup\$ – Zeiss Ikon Nov 15 '16 at 14:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's IQ-2 plus Magery, per Basic Set p170. \$\endgroup\$ – John Dallman Nov 15 '16 at 14:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, now I have to check my GCS sheet -- I'm not near my books right now, or I'd have just looked it up. The particular Wizard I'm playing may have had to give up a point of Magery or IQ due to an expensive race template, however... \$\endgroup\$ – Zeiss Ikon Nov 15 '16 at 14:36

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