I have decided to venture into building a completely tweakable magic system based on a new set of game mechanics entirely of my own making. The system is skill-based (As opposed to stat-based, if you know DnD you know what i'm talking about). Magic is a innate skill and has no material compoments, but has always somatic and sometimes verbal ones. It is based on weaving the "Wyrd", an ethereal warp that surrounds and permeates the game's reality and that only people with the gift (mages) can see and touch. Magic is currently subdivided into 6 "skills" or magic schools/talents: - Elemental (fire-water-air-earth) - Mind/Illusion/Dream/Chrme - Blood Magic and Necromancy (sacrifice-based magic and reviving the undead) - Nature Magic (life, plants, animal, druidic stuff in DnD) - Enchantment (enchanting objects, potions, scrolls, and everything really) - Divination (knowing the future, the past, and seeing in other places) My idea is that i want mages in the game to be able to be able to pull off anything that they can come of and within the limit of their magic abilities. Magic when mishandled will be deadly for mages but they can try anything they want to, their life is always at stake. There are for each "school" 7 skill levels that can be attained. The higher the level the more powerful the mage.

I would like to build a system based on quick flowcharts to calculate the mana required for their spell. This should be easy to calculate as is done in game and should not slow the party down too much. Ideally a mage character has a fowchart table that allows him/her to quickly tell the DM "I want to cast a spell that does :..... and the mana cost should be ....., is it ok?" He then rolls the appropriate dice which determine how well he performs and how much mana/lifeforce the spell drains from him/her.

The thing is: does any such system already exist? I would love to have the flowchart multipliers already worked out. The mana cost of a spell should vary from 5 (trivial, like simple tricks) to 100 (divine skill).

Thanks in advance for the help Andrea


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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a lot to all trying to help. To curiosity i would definitely restrict healing to natural school spells. Bringing time back would be too complex to limit to the wound area. Ideally to keep things simple one could just stick to effect level, but of course it means what is considered complexity. My idea was to devise a set of multipliers depending on -distance; - force; -timing (non-immediate spells being more expensive); -duration; -ability to cast in peace or affected by time, noise or movement constaints... and the like \$\endgroup\$ – Andrea Campisano Jan 6 '17 at 12:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ To all above people who have commented with partial answers or 'this isn't an answer but...'. These will get deleted. If you have an answers, please post them as answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Jan 6 '17 at 13:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Wibbs please educate me, as one of the "offenders". If someone says "I want to know how much hobbits weigh", and I don't know how much hobbits weigh, but I tell them they might be able to find it in the Monster Manual, which I don't own and so I can't give them the answer they seek, how is that not a valid comment to tell them where to look? \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Jan 6 '17 at 13:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually that's a bit of a shame, some of those comments were helpful @Wibbs \$\endgroup\$ – Andrea Campisano Jan 6 '17 at 13:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Because its an answer masquerading a comment. This is a bad thing, because comments sidestep a large amount of the quality control that answers are subject to, including voting down and the ability of other site users to edit them. It is established site policy for moderators to delete comments that contain part or complete answers, particularly for questions that are or are going to be closed. I was just warning users who had posted these types of comments that this was going to happen shrug \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Jan 6 '17 at 13:52

Ars Magica is probably the most famous free-form magic system, from which others have been made following a similar formula.

Basically, the spellcasting system is based on 15 Arts, which are divided between 5 Techniques (create, destroy, transform, etc) and 10 Forms (fire, water, plants, animals, etc). The combination of a technique and a form will create the magical effect, which follows a table so the GM and player can know the limit of the spell effect created.

Shadows of Esteren is another system where spellcasters are free to do whatever they want with their powers as long as the spellcasting table is respected. The system has a single skill for spellcasting for each tradition (basically, arcane, divine and druidic) and their limitations are very similar to each other.

The power of the magical effect and what it's limit will be depends on how much energy you put into it and if you can beat the difficult class with a skill check using the proper spellcasting skill.

Trevas RPG is a brazillian game system and setting that borrowed from both Call of Cthulhu RPG by Chaosium and Ars Magica. It has both a d% dice system for skill rolls and a magic system very similar to Ars Magica's.

Basically, you have 3 form atributes (create, change and destroy) and a variety of "arts" (fire, water, light, shadow, plants, humans, spirits, etc), and by combining their effects you will create the spell. Each of those form atributes have a limitation on a spellcasting table aswell, and the arts have a generic limitation that works the same for all of them. Then, the book describes what to expect from each rank on those arts, instead of focusing on specific spell effects. The spell system also features rituals, which can be learned and requires a certain ranks on one or two combination of form and art to work.

Sadly, it's only in portuguese, but it is worth mentioning.

Mage, The Ascension has a spell system similar to Ars Magica's aswell, but it is a bit more restricted on what you can do, but still favors the creative players. The character has ranks on spheres, which are basically magical skills available only to mages, and depending on his rank, the amount of things and the limit of his powers will change.

I would say that, if you want to create a free magic system, it's worth to take a look on both Ars Magica and Mage, the Ascension for ideas. As you can see, Ars's Magica spawned a lot of ideas and new magic systems, so it will be mentioned everytime someone asks for a spell system that is free or "different from D&D's"

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, very helpful. It appears i have a lot of reading to do, and probably a lot of adapting too (including testing my Poruguese skills). Too bad but good to have some help here. I'll come back and ask again when at the next stage, possibly on this same thread so to avoid double-posting. P.S.: if someone's interested in this set of rules and wants to try, i'd be happy to oblige, although it's currently written in Italian, i'm planning to translate it at some point. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrea Campisano Jan 6 '17 at 13:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Much as I hate to tout the awful 'Monte Cook's World of Darkness', the magic system in there is very freeform. Also, the systems from Mage the Ascension and Mage the Awakening are very freeform as well, by design. Of course Ars Magica is already mentioned (though I might quibble over it being the 'most famous' as it has been eclipsed long ago in popularity by both of White Wolf's Mage games. You might also look at the FATE-based magic system from the Dresden Files RPG for a FATE flavor. \$\endgroup\$ – user47897 Oct 30 '18 at 20:41

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