Witchcraft Magic SystemEdit
Magic permeates the world that uses the Witchcraft System. Nearly anyone can find a spell and cast it, if they can read the text of the spellbook, collect the proper reagents, and properly pronounce the magic words. In places rife with mystical energies , it appears that many folks know about and practice at least a little magic.
But magic is both difficult and dangerous to practice with any degree of potency. Even practiced witches and warlocks cast with great caution. It takes only a slight mispronunciation, an incorrect wave of the hand, or slightly stale reagent to render a spell inoperable or, worse yet, deadly. Uncontrolled magic wreaks havoc, with unpredictable and usually grave results.
Magical powers manifest in two separate, but connected ways. First, Ritualistic Magic is available to anyone performs the proper research, preparation and spell casting. The second, Witchcraft, represents potentially more powerful and dangerous method of magic used by those with innate magical abilities. In game terms, these characters access Mana, a source of inner, mystical energies.Finally, remember that witchcraft plays pretty fast and loose with magic--which is good for TV writers but sometimes difficult to incorporate into role-playing. I would hope that players won't abuse the system--which could quickly imbalance game play. But, GM's should be mindful of character who are accumulating too much magical power and using magic too often. Magical addiction and other karmic retribution awaits the magic-abuser.
Ritualistic magic involves nearly all spells that are cast from reading a scroll or book, or reciting memorized words while inside a specially prepared area (such as a circle of power, a pentagram, a blessed tabernacle, etc.). They always require three main elements: 1) A magical text; 2) Symbols and/or magical reagents; and 3) Recital of an incantation. Because magic rituals exist for nearly any kind of spell, these rules focus on the process of researching and casting a ritual rather than specific spells which may be cast. GM's and players should use their imaginations as new problems arise. Magic often provides assistance, and perhaps even a final solution, but will never simply fix all the characters' problems. Even if the success of a mission depends upon the casting of a Ritual, there will be ample action and danger in gather the needed materials or distracting the villain to provide time for the casting to take effect.
Research the Problem A character must first Research the spell to be cast. This usually begins with an inquiry or statement as to what the desired effect will be. The GM will then decide the difficulty of the research--depending on the obscurity and age of the spell, the power of the intended result, and means of research available to the character.
Then, the character will roll a Research check against the Difficulty. If successful, the character will find the necessary texts and a list of needed materials.
Example: Grabazzar, a Grand Demon, has escaped his mystical prison inside a specially-prepared urn and is slowly turning the fine townspeople of Fresno into mindless zombies. Lector must find a binding spell that will trap the demon once more. The GM decides that since Grabazaar has been trapped once before, it will not be too difficult to find the same spell again. He tells Lector that the Research will be a Difficulty of Moderate (15) and take 2D6 hours. He will have to consult with contacts, dig into the library, or do some other form of research to learn the proper incantation. Lector succeeds in his Research and finds an old Binding Demons for Dummies in the bargain bin at his favorite occult bookstore. From the book, he finds the incantation and a list of necessary objects, including a crystal ball, four black candles, a pentagram design to be drawn on the floor, and some herbs needed as garnish.Gather the Goods
Once the character has researched the problem, she must still acquire the necessary materials. This may require additional research, investigation, bargaining, theft, or manufacturing time. Example: Lector has no problem finding a crystal ball, but it must be first blessed with an alchemical concoction made of cocoa leaves, mint, and honey fresh from a beehive (he'll save the leftovers for a dessert to celebrate the casting). The GM tells him it will require an Easy (10) Alchemy check to properly mix the ingredients and create the smoke necessary to treat the crystal ball.Say the Magic Words Once the materials are gathered, they must be properly put into place and the magic words must be incanted properly. If the text is in an Ancient Language, the GM will have the character make a Language: Ancient check. Then, the character must make an Arcana check.
Again, the GM adjusts the difficulty for the degree of preparation, the complexity of the spell, and potency of the outcome. If the character has Mana, he may add twice the value of those dice to the Arcana check (representing the fact that some characters have a more innate, and therefore potent, ability to cast magic). If the check is successful, the spell will be cast and the desired effect will manifest (hopefully). Example: The GM tells Lector that the only version of the spell is in Babylonian, so Lector will have to make a Language: Ancient check of Moderate (15) to even read the spell. Lector succeeds after a bit of practice. Next, he prepares the pentagram, lights the candles, sprinkles the herbs, and sits in the middle of the area read to chant the Binding spell. He rolls his Arcana Skill of 5D and adds 2D because he has 1D in Mana. The GM tells him he needs a Difficult (20) check to succeed. Lector manages a 21! He barely casts the spell, just as the Grabazaar was directing his zombie horde to eat their own children. The little burg of Fresno is safe once again!
Botching the CastingEdit
Given their complexity, spells are easy to mess up. And when you mess up with magic, you usually mess up bad. When a casting fails, it will either have no effect at all (it just sort of fizzles out) or it will go wrong in some unpredictable and unpleasant way. Generally, the worse the failure, the more grave the consequences. If a character Botches (rolls a 1 on the Wild Die, followed by a 6 on the subsequent roll), then something spectacularly wrong has occurred. The demon villain will be strengthen, the Slayer will be turned into a toad, you'll open a rift to some hell-dimension full of hungry, drooling dog-men. You get the picture. So be careful kids.
The Costs of Casting All magic has a cost associated with it. Sometimes, the spell will be so trivial that the caster will not notice the loss. But when a major spell is attempted, the character will exhaust herself with the effort. Whenever a spell is attempted, the caster (or casters) must make a Resistance check against the Difficulty of the spell. She will suffer exhaustion as if it were Wound Levels if her roll is less than the Difficulty number (i.e., as if the Difficulty Level value were damage and the Resistance roll were a Constitution check). No actual damage will be done, but the character will suffer the appropriate penalties to all her actions until she rests (1/2 hour per "Wound" Level). If she reaches Incapacitated or Mortally Wounded, she will pass out for a brief period (1/2-1 hour). If she suffers enough "damage" to be "Dead", she will fall into a coma and require medical assistance. Finally, if Mana are used, the character will suffer the exhausting effects of tapping into her inner energies as well (-1 to all actions for 1/2 hour for each Mana Die used). And Tgis Is A Load Of Crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Witchcraft is the study and practice of focusing one's inner energies through spells and mystical powers. The strength of a character's magical energies is represented by the attribute Mana. Few people can tap into their Mana and even fewer master it with any real skill. The use of inner energies expands the possibilities and powers for a magic user, but also increase the dangers and temptations. Acolytes should tread with care, remembering that for each magical action, there is an associated reaction--a karmic cost--that must be repaid in some way. (Please note: Witchcraft in the game--like that in the show--has no relation to real-life witchcraft, wiccan practices, or, frankly, anything real at all. No offense to practicing witches--and if you're looking for accuracy, look elsewhere! Have fun...).
Gaining Witchcraft SpellsEdit
The Mana Attribute represents the character's inner energies and her power to manifest them. For each 1D a character has in Mana, she may pick a Spell to cast at will. Until she successfully casts the spell once under duress (i.e., combat or in distress--not just practicing), 10 is added to the Base Difficulty given for the spell. It's one thing to master an ability during long hours of practice, but it's another to do so under pressure. Though resembling magical "powers" more than Ritual spells, Witchcraft spells still require magical words (usually some Latin-sounding word) or magical reagents (which can be as simple as cooking spices or as rare as aged frog eyeballs).
Improving Mana and Witchcraft SpellsEdit
While easier to improve than other Attributes, Mana is difficult to nurture and advance (costing 3x the current value to improve). Most characters will have to employ character points when using Witchcraft--representing personal investment of energies into the casting. As the character gains more Mana, she will have more dice to roll when casting the a known spell.
The Costs of CastingEdit
For each 1D of Mana used in a spell, the character must reduce ALL Attributes (and consequently, all Skills) by one "pip" until she has rested for 1/2 hour per "pip" lost (thus, a character with a Dex of 3D+1 would only have 3D until he rested. If he made another casting, he would have 2D+2, etc.).
Botching a CastingEdit
Like Ritual Magic, Witchcraft is dangerous and unpredictable when miscast. But because the caster is drawing upon inner energies so much more with Witchcraft, the danger to her is even greater. Thus, not only must the caster check against Exhaustion as a Ritual caster must do (see above), but the caster may suffer physical damage. She must make a Constitution check against the number of Mana spent and will take physical damage as if it were an attack.
The Taint of Black ArtsEditMagic casting requires interaction with forces well beyond human control and, often, comprehension. Some of these powers are "dark" and corrupt the human soul. Over-use of magic and manipulation of malignant powers may result in a kind of addiction to the magic and even drive a good person towards the dark side.
When the GM decides that a caster is either dabbling in forces she cannot control or is abusing her magical gift, the GM should give the caster a Bad Karma point and may force the caster to make a Willpower check (Reduce the caster's Willpower skill by 1D for each Bad Karma point. Difficulty should depend on the degree of abuse and should increase with cumulative uses of the power). Failure will result in a temporary "dark flash" in which the caster will act "evilly" (this will likely reveal itself as cruelty, selfishness, orcontempt for loved ones). Often, the taint will manifest as physical changes to the person: eyes will go black, creepy veins will sprout up all over their skins, etc.If the caster persists in casting black magic, she will accumulate Bad Karma and turn to the dark side completely. Then, she will only be saved through the efforts of her friends or loved ones.
Below is a short list of some of the Witchcraft Spells you might use in your game. GM's should probably tinker with them a bit, to increase Difficulties when appropriate, add potential derivative powers and, perhaps most importantly, create costs and consequences to particular magics. A good rule to remember: each action has an opposite and equal reaction. All magic comes with karmic costs that will eventually be revisited on the caster.
Casting Time: 1D6 rounds:
Duration: 5 minutes + 1 minute for every 5 points above the Target Number.
Description: With Cloak, the caster may obscure a target from detection. The specificity and thoroughness of the Cloak depends on the Difficulty Number attempted.
|Diffusion||Easy (10)||Creates a static field around the target about 1 city block in radius (1/4 mile). This field disrupts any technological or magical method used to track the target (they will point towards the diffused "sphere"). Furthermore, it adds 10 to any other Tracking attempts (such as by scent). It has no affect on visual observations however.|
|Shadows||Moderate (15)||Covers the target in a magical shroud of shadow, permitting the target to hide in available shadows--even in daylight. This adds +3D to Stealth attempts during the day and +5D at night. Note, this spell does not affect sounds or scents from the target.|
|Invisibility||Difficult (20)||Renders the target completely invisible to visual detection by normal humans (or those with equivalent eyesight). The target and his personal belongings will be invisible, but will still be detectable by touch, scent and sound.|
|Blankness||Very Difficult (25)||Completely erases the target from detection by sight, scent, sound and touch. Furthermore, it adds 10 to any attempts to locate the target through electronic, magical or psychic means.|
Casting Time: 1D6 rounds.
Duration: The item is permanent.
Description: Permits the caster to virtually create something from thin air. In fact, the item is "conjured" from some other place in the universe (you cannot create one thing without destroying something else). So, Conjurers should be careful when using this spell, as the karmic costs may build up over time. The more complicated and large the item conjured, the more difficult the casting. Furthermore, this spell leaves a "magical resonance" in an area, making it obvious to other magic users that a spell has been cast there recently.
|Size/Complexity of Item||Difficulty||Examples|
|Very Small/Very Simple||Easy (10)||Pencil, a piece of food, some water, bandages, some rope.|
|Small/Simple||Moderate (15)||Wooden stake, flashlight with batteries, pair of shoes.|
|Medium/Simple Mechanics||Difficult (20)||Bicycle, a human-sized cage (fits one), crossbow|
|Large/Moderate Complexity||Very Difficult (25)||Machine gun, a cage that fits 3-5 humans, a piano|
|V. Large/Very Complex||Extremely Diff. (30)||A small automobile, a computer.|
Casting Time: 1 round.
Duration: 5 minutes +1 minute for every 5 over the Difficulty; may be negated by a successful Willpower check or certain negating magics.
Description: Grants the ability to manipulate the emotional state of a target or targets. The Difficulty increases with the intensity of the emotions and the Willpower checks of any unwilling targets.
|Easy (10)||Induces a moderate mood shift in any direction desired by the caster.|
|Moderate (15)||Forces the target into the mood of the caster's desire. The target will attempt to act on the impulses of her mood unless she makes an Easy Willpower check (may make one each minute).|
|Difficult (20)||Completely possesses the target's emotional control. During the duration, the caster may change the target's emotions at will, making them as mild or fierce as desired. The Target may attempt to resist with a Willpower check of Moderate once per minute.|
|Each additional 5||Spreads the effect of the Difficulty out an additional 10 meters from the point of casting, expanding the caster's sphere of influence.|
Casting Time: 1D rounds. Duration: 15 minutes +5 minutes for each 5 attained above the Difficulty level attempted.
Description: The caster may "bless" a target and bestow a variety of heightened sensory powers.
|Nightvision||Easy (10)||The target can see as well in complete darkness (including underground) as he would during the day.|
|Jacked Senses||Moderate (15)||Increases the acuity of all of the target's physical senses, granting a +3D to Search and Tracking rolls.|
|Complete Sight||Difficult (20)||Grants the ability to see through objects as if they were not there ("X-Ray vision"), as well as to see invisible or ghostly objects.|
|Farsight||Very Difficult (25)||Permits the target to "see" anywhere on Earth where she has been before (and can visualize). People in that spot may make a Difficult Instincts check to see if they get the "feeling they are being watched."|
Casting Time: 2D6 minutes.
Duration: Can foresee one "event" or get a general impression of a future occurrence.
Description: This represents a somewhat limited ability to see the future ("Always in motion is the future"). The Difficulty Number selected will depend on the specificity sought and the distance over time before the event will occur. Difficulty:
|Moderate (15)||The character may foresee vague impressions from the future, with a few tantalizing details ("A political figure in Sunnydale will become your enemy...he will attempt some evil, to become a....wait, I'm losing the vision...")|
|Difficult (20)||The character might predict specific events of general concern (it will rain next week) or vague notions regarding a particular person ("Xander will get...married!").|
|Very Difficult (25)||Here, the character may learn some very specific information about a particular person ("Buffy will die at the hands of the Master"). However, remember that the future is always fluid, and omens and portents should never be construed literally.|
Casting Time: 1 round.
Duration: 1 action.
Description: Harm may manifest itself in a variety of ways: electrical blasts, disintegrating rays, invisible blows. Regardless, they all do the same thing: they hurt people and things. In case you're wondering, this is not a nice spell--considered by all to be "black magic" and active use of it--even for good--is likely to get you into some dark trouble sooner rather than later. If the character Complicates while casting this spell, she will suffer its damage effects.
Difficulty: Moderate (15).
Damage: 2D of damage for every 1D of Mana used to cast this spell + 1D for every 5 points above the Difficulty Number. Magical Armor has no effect against this spell, but magical shields and items may deflect it.
Casting Time: 1D6 rounds.
Duration: Permanently heal one Wound Level on a target.
Description: Perhaps one of the oldest of magics, Healing is a potent and useful "white magic" spell. However, it may only be cast upon a target once per day.
Difficulty: Very Easy (5) for Wounded; Easy (10) for Wounded x 2; Moderate (15) for Incapacitated; Difficult (20) for Mortally Wounded. Heroic (50) to save a character who has been Killed within the last 3 minutes. The Difficulty can be reduced by one level if another person joins hands with the caster and "lends" them some of their strength. The "lender" will be at -1D to all actions for an hour after helping and must also make a Constitution (or Endurance) check. Failure will result in the lender becoming exhausted and needing to sleep for about 1 hour or she will suffer -2D to all actions for 3 hours.
Casting Time: 2D6 minutes.
Duration: Will see one "event" or "scene" attached to a given place, object or person.
Description: With this spell, the Caster may seek to read the past of a person, object or place by touching it and concentrating. The character will "experience" images in her mind. The clarity of the experience increases with great success of casting. A minimal success may leave the caster with a vague impression of what occurred, while a fine success will be like she was actually there in the room when the event occurred.
Difficulty: Easy (10) for events within 24 hours. Moderate (15) for events within 1 week. Difficult (20) for events within 1 year. Very Difficult (25) for events within 10 years. Heroic (50) for events within the past few thousand years.
Casting Time: 1D6 rounds..
Duration: Until the target of the spell is found or visited, but the caster must continue to concentrate on this spell (-1D to all other actions).
Description: This handy spell evokes various methods of guidance and tracking. There is usually a physical manifestation to guide the caster--such as a small ball of light leading the way, a glowing arrow pointing in the right direction, etc. Diffusion and other obscuring magicks are fairly common to counter this spell.
|Guide||Easy (10)||Invokes a small ball of light that will lead to a specified location that the caster has been to before.|
|Scout||Moderate (15)||Creates a Guide that will lead the caster to a specific person, even if that person is in a place the caster has never seen.|
|Mapper||Difficult (20)||Provides the caster with the knowledge of where a particular person, place or object may be located and the best method for getting there (might even include a bus schedule and time table).|
|Trans-Locater||Very Difficult (25)||The caster may attempt to track a person or thing across dimensions and have at least a vague idea how to the appropriate dimension.|
Casting Time: Instant
Duration: 1D6 Rounds Description: Involves powers over lights and visible radiation, permitting the caster to invoke illumination and even "shape" light into images.
|Illuminate||Easy (10)||Illuminates a room or an area outside equal to about 50 meters in diameter. This will be normal light, but not sunlight.|
|Hologram||Moderate (15)||The ability to create a realistic-looking "sculpture" of light. It may look like any object or person, but may not be extremely large (say no bigger than a car--GM's may increase the Difficulty for larger objects). The object will appear real, but will be intangible, silent and without odor.|
|Flare||Difficult (20)||Creates a streak of light that will blind anyone looking at it for 1D6 x 10 minutes (including the caster--so close your eyes). Note that this light is not "sunlight" and will not burn vampires.|
|Sunshine||Very Difficult (25)||Conjures a small ball of radiation that emulates sunlight--some say it's actually a small part of the sun (but they don't know much about physics...). Regardless, it will hover near the caster and illuminate the area. Furthermore, it will burn any vampires within range of its rays.|
Casting Time: 1D6 minutes.
Duration: Permanent: until the victim succeeds in making a Willpower check against the Spell's Success Number or the caster stops concentrating on the victim.
Description: With this creepy spell, the caster may invade the mind of another and control it, just as a puppeteer pulls his toy's strings. The victim may make a Willpower check against the spell each round to break free from the control. The victim will get +5 to their roll if being forced to do something highly disagreeable to them (like attack a friend), but will suffer -5 to their roll if doing something that is pleasurable (use your imagination). The caster must focus on the victim for the entire duration of the caster--any other actions are at -2D. Finally, this is pretty dark mojo, so it will rack up some karmic debt with continued use.
Difficulty: 10 + an initial Willpower check by the victim.
Casting Time: 1 action.
Duration: Variable (see below).
Description: Power to create and control flame.
|Spark||Easy (7)||A simple little spell that will act like a lit match (or strong lighter). It must be cast on something that will readily burn by itself--candles, gasoline, etc. Alone, it will not do any damage (even to a vampire).|
|Radiator||Moderate (15)||The character may manipulate ambient temperature levels, increasing them 10 degrees + 10 degrees (F) for every 5 points above the base difficulty level. At over 110 degrees, targets must begin making Endurance checks to avoid getting tired (-1D to actions). at 120, targets must make Difficult Endurance checks to avoid -2D to all actions.|
|Flame Wall||Difficult (20)||Conjures a wall of burning flame approximately 15 feet long and 3 feet thick. The wall will burn for 10 rounds and do 5D damage to anyone who attempts to pass through it.|
|Big Bang||Very Difficult (25)||Standard big, fiery explosion. Causes 5D + the amount of Mana Dice used in the casting (CP's cannot be added to the damage). Will affect all targets within 5 meters, and radiate damage out, doing -1D for each additional 5 meters beyond the first 5. Will also ignite combustible material, make a lot of noise, and cause a bright flash.|
Shield Casting Time: 1 action.
Duration: 1 minutes + 1 minute for every 5 above the Difficult number.
Description: With this spell, the caster may conjure a variety of different forms of protection against an appropriate myriad of attacks. The shields will manifest themselves in different ways, depending on the attack (and perhaps the whim of the caster or the GM).
|Armor||Easy (10)||Creates a thin barrier around the target (or caster) that will deflect kinetic-based attacks (like punches, bullets, wooden stakes). This will add +2D to the Constitution roll to resist damage and an additional +1D for every 5 points above the Difficulty Number attained when the spell is cast.|
|Shield||Moderate (15)||Expands Armor to form a bubble around the caster and anyone with 3 meters of her. Extends the same effects, but will also protect against heat, cold and electrical damage. Provides no protection against most magic.|
|Mystic Barrier||Difficult (20)||Acts as a Shield, but extends the same protection against magical attacks.|
|Pacifistic Bubble||Very Difficult (25)||Makes it impossible to commit violence on another being with 20 meters of the caster. Anyone attempting to do so will have to make an Extremely Difficult Willpower check (30) and suffer 10D of stun damage.|
Casting Time: 1 action.
Duration: 1 action; may be kept "up" by concentrating on the object, but the caster suffers a -1D to all other actions while doing so.
Description: Ah, the old classic. This is the ability to move objects with the mind. It may manifest in a variety of ways, all appearing to be different spells (spells to open doors, close window shades, throw a bunch of knives, etc.). But when it comes down to it, it's good old Telekinesis at work. Difficulty:
|Very Easy (5)||Lifting a single object that weighs less than a pound (a pencil, a set of keys, etc.) and performing a simple action (spinning it slightly).|
|Easy (10)||Lifting an object that weighs under 10 lbs or a few small objects that will move in concert; performing moderate actions (like throwing them at a target).|
|Moderate (15)||Lifting an object that weighs under 100 lbs or multiple small objects that will move in concert; or performing complicated actions (like opening a lock, driving a car, etc.)|
|Difficult (20)||Lifting an object that weighs under 300 lbs or moving multiple smaller objects in complicated ways.|
|Very Difficult (25)||Lifting very heavy objects (under 2000 lb) or moving multiple smaller objects in extremely complicated and apparently random ways.|
Casting Time: 1 round when linking to people with whom the caster is familiar. 1D6 rounds when the target is unfamiliar.
Duration: 5 minutes +1 minute for every 5 above the Target Number.
Description: Another old classic, this spell represents the ability to broadcast the caster's thoughts into the mind of another and receive thoughts broadcast back at her. The Difficulty increases with increased range or if the target attempts to hide her thoughts (to "think in whispers"). Difficulty: Add the Range Difficulty Numbers to the target's Willpower roll, if the target attempts to hide her thoughts.
- Range: Easy (10) for up to 20 meters; Moderate (15) for up to 100 meters; Difficult (20) for up to 1000 meters. Very Difficult (25) for up to 10,000 meters.
Transmogrification Casting Time: 1D6 rounds.
Duration: Variable. See Difficulty below.
Description: This powerful spell permits the caster to turn one creature into another or to otherwise alter the creature. At low levels, the spell will inflict only minor changes. But at higher levels, it is possible for the caster to literally turn a man into a toad (or back again). At any level, this is an extremely potent magic which should be cast with care. Furthermore, it will be obvious to spellcasters that magic has been cast in the area for up to an hour after this casting. Finally, a Complication when attempt this spell will visit the desired result on the caster or one of her allies.
|Mask||Easy (10)||Mildly (and relatively painlessly) rearranges the face of the target to make him look like someone else. He will retain his same voice, build, and eye color. Duration: 10 minutes + 5 minutes per 5 points above the Difficulty.|
|Shaping||Moderate (15)||Can radically change the appearance of the target, so that a small man may become tall, or even for a woman to appear as a man. Mind you, these are real changes! Duration: 5 minutes + 5 minutes per 5 points above the Difficulty.|
|Shapeshift||Difficult (20)||Transforms the tarot into another kind of animal. Duration: 5 minutes + 5 minutes per 5 points about the Difficulty.|
|Ex. Difficult (30)||Not only shapeshifts the target, but will do so until the spell is countered somehow. If this is cast on a being who has already been Transmogrified, the being will regain her original form (like Amy the rat-girl).|
The Witchcraft Magic System was originally created for the fan Role Playing Game Buffy D6.