Using Magic in The World of Cartyrion | World Anvil

Using Magic

Magic is an integral part of any fantasy role-playing game, and Laurels & Loot is no exception. The magic system of the game is based upon a "Six Energies" model, with supernatural elements of Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Vitality, and Depletion. The first four of these are self-explanatory. Vitality Energy instills life and vibrancy, while Depletion Energy drains away these things. Other game systems refer to these as Positive and Negative energies. All magical effects are the result of tapping into these six energies, drawing the correct amounts of each to create the desired result.

Any character is inherently capable of accessing the Six Energies to manipulate them, but that capability must be nurtured by education, training, and practice. There are five different paths by which characters can gain the ability to bend the flows of the Six Energies to their wills. These five Magical Disciplines are Arcane Magic, Bestowed Magic, Inner Focus, Nature Magic, and Tonal Magic. Mastery of each Discipline is obtained by pursuing one of five Acquired Specialties as outlined below:

Arcane Magic is the understanding of how certain runes and patterns shape the Energies to achieve a desired effect. Runes etched or carved into a surface, or often simply traced in the air, often accompanied by certain uttered sounds produce a wide variety of effects. The Arcane Understanding Acquired Specialty provides the knowledge to do so. Some characters access magic by dedicating themselves to a powerful, supernatural patron of some sort, By learning the proper rituals, supplications, pleadings, and prayers, those who seek Bestowed Magic learn the secrets of how to ask these patrons to produce magical effects at their behest. Pursuing the Patronal Intercession Acquired Specialty grants this access. The Inner Focus Discipline is devoted to learning certain physical and mental exercises that allow a character to tap into the Energies already flowing within themselves. Characters who pursue the Inner Strength Acquired Specialty learn to manipulate the Energies within themselves to temporarily alter their own physical nature and capabilities.
Some characters have a more sensitive "feel" for the flow of the Six Energies in the nature that surrounds them than others. They learn to sense how energies can be selectively drawn from elements of nature around them create magical effects. These practitioners of Nature Magic learn the meditations and awareness exercises taught by the Power of Nature Acquired Specialty to master the Energies and produce wondrous effects. Anyone who has felt captivated by a talented musical performance may well have gotten a taste of what the Tonal Magic Discipline can offer. Instead of runes and patters, characters who pursue the Power of Music Acquired Specialty learn how the combination of sounds - sometimes harmonic and sometimes dissonant - can produce magical effects similar to those possible by practitioners of other specialties, as well as some unique effects of their own.

Elements of Spellcasting

All spellcasting requires some combination of an Audible sound or utterance, a precise Gesture, or a Material component. In many instances, practitioners of different Disciplines may produce similar, if not identical, effects through the use of different elements, but every spell will require at least one, often two, and occasionally all three. Required elements are listed with each spell description.

Spells with an Audible element require that the caster be in an environement where sounds can be generated and transmitted, and that the caster is capable of generating those sounds. Magical effects which paralyze or somehow restrict the caster's movements, or which or generate an area of Silence around the caster preclude this.

Spells with a Gesture element require that the caster have at least one free hand (other than the one holding the spellbook if the spell was not prepared and is being read - see below), and that the movement of that hand and arm are unrestricted. Being Restrained may or may not preclude this, subject to Gamemaster ruling.

Spells with a Material element require the caster to hold a specified item or material in a free hand. These will often be items of considerable value, and will be consumed during the casting of the spell whether or not the spell triggers successfully. Material elements, when needed, will be clearly specified in individual spell descriptions.

Spellcasting and Stamina

Casting a spell drains Stamina Points; the number of points lost is randomly determined based on the spell's level:
  • Cantrips do not drain any SP
  • Spells of Level 1 or 2 drain 1d4 SP
  • Spells of Level 3 or 4 drain 1d6 SP
  • Spells of Level 5 or 6 drain 1d8 SP
  • Spells of Level 7 drain 1d10 SP
  • Spells of Level 8 drain 1d12 SP
  • Spells of Level 9 drain 1d20 SP

  • In order for a spellcasting effort to succeed, the character must have sufficient SP available as indicated by the die roll for the spell. If the character has at least as many SP as indicated on the die roll, the casting succeeds and the effects are adjudicated. SP is reduced by the die roll amount, and if the character is reduced to 0SP, they are Exhausted and no further spellcasting - not even Cantrips - may be attempted until SP are regained.

    If the die roll indicated a drain that exceeds the character's remaining SP, the spellcasting attempt fails. The character's SP is reduced to 0, and any excess drain indicated by the die roll inflicts Injury Damage to the caster. The caster is also Exhausted, and is not capable of further spellcasting - not even Cantrips - until SP are regained. (It is not necessary to heal the Injury damage before regaining the ability to cast spells.)

    Some spells will indicate that they can be cast with strengths associated with higher Tiers than usual. When this is permitted, the effects of the spell will be enhanced in some way (more damage, wider area of effect, etc.), but the SP drain associated with the effot will also be increased. Individual spells that permit this will contain necessary details.

    Spell Rarity

    Most of the spells that characters will employ are Common in availability, but others are Rare. C


    Regardless of the Acquired Specialty and type of magic involved, the knowledge of how to cast a spell - how to combine Audible, Gesture, and Material elements in order to unlock the magic of the world - must be written down and stored in a Spellbook in order for a character to make use of the spell.

    Spellbooks might go by different names, depending on the Acquired Specialty involved. Practitioners of Patronal Magic, for example, may call them prayer books, or books of rubrics; those trained in the Power of Music might refer to "magical scores". In all cases, though, these are small, bound tomes in which the instructions for casting magical spells are recorded in some shorthand or language known only to those skilled in the appropriate Specialty. Each spellbook can hold at most eight spells and occupies one Inventory Slot, but a character can own as many spellbooks as they wish.

    A Character's First Spellbook
    When a character completes the training to acquires one of the five magical Aquired Specialties, they receive a spellbook with six entries in it. Characters who acquire a magical Specialty during character creation also begin with one of these spellbooks. (In the event a Human character begins with two magical Specialties, they start with one such spellbook for each.

    These initial spellbooks each contain three Common Cantrips (Tier 0) and three Tier 1 Spells. One of the Cantrips is always that Discipline's variety of Detect Magic; the player is free to choose the remaining two cantrips and three spells from the lists available for that Discipline.

    Adding Spells to Spellbooks
    Each time a character levels up, two additional Common spells or cantrips from the appropriate Specialty can be freely added to a spellbook that has room to accept them. Selected spells must be at or below the maximum castable Tier for the character's level.

    In addition, spells can be discovered as Loot during play; such spells may be either Common or Rare. These discoveries may be in the form of spellbooks or magically-prepared scrolls.

    Players can copy spells into their spellbooks from other spellbooks or scrolls, but doing so takes one full day of downtime per spell level. Cantrips require one full day as well. If a magical scroll is used as the source, the writing on the scroll vanishes as it is being transcribed. In all cases, the character must be of sufficient level to cast the spell in order to be able to transcribe it.

    Preparing and Casting Spells

    Before setting out on an adventure, your character may prepare a number of spells in advance equal to their INT bonus. Prepared Spells can be cast without having the spellbook in the character's hands, or even nearby. These spells will still require their Audible, Gesture, and/or Material components, but it is not necessary to be handling the spellbook in order to cast them. Prepared Spells can be cast as many times as the player wishes, subject only to the Stamina limitations described earlier, until the next Downtime.

    Alternatively, any spell in a spellbook can be read from a Spellbook in order to be cast. This, of course, requires that the character have the Spellbook readied in-hand, and not simply in their inventory. Readying a Spellbook is an action that requires one combat turn. One free, unrestrained hand is required to hold the Spellbook during the casting. If the spell has Gesture and/or Material components, the other hand must also be free and usable as well.

    Unless its description indicates otherwise, casting any Cantrip or Spell requires a character's full Action phase of their turn. They may use their movement before or after the casting, as with any other Action.

    Spell Descriptions

    Full descriptions of the requirements for casting and the effects of each Cantrip and Spell in the appropriate section of the Appendix:
  • Arcane Magic
  • Bestowed Magic
  • Inner Focus
  • Nature Magic
  • Tonal Magic
  • Credits

    The Laurels and Loot Rule System is published by Bob O'Brien
    It is available to all in accordance with the Creative Commons (Attribution) license
    (Creative Commons 4.0 International License)

    Laurels and Loot Rules are derived in part from the following sources:
    Knave 2.0 TTRPG System Rules published by Ben Milton
    in compliance with
    (Creative Commons 4.0 International License)

    The banners on these pages was composed with art attributed to:
    b0red from Pixabay (treasure chest image)
    Gordon Johnson from Pixabay (laurels image)

    The side panels are composed with art attributed to:
    Evelyn Chai from Pixabay (dungeon passage)


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