Below is an example, and a draft mind you, of what we are working on for the Dead Queens of Morvena adventure setting for Savage Worlds. We’re looking for feedback from Savage Worlds gamers about this setting. Is that you? Then check this out and let us know what you think in the comments below! Answer me this: would you use this?
Arcane Background (Occultism)
Requirements: Smarts d8
Arcane Skills: Hex Magic (Smarts) and Ritual Magic (Smarts)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 3
Occultism uses a combination of ancient rituals and obscure hexes to weave magic that can have powerful and long lasting effects. This is the magic of studied sages and wizards; that of clever charlatans and bards. The distinction between the two main aspects of Occultism, rituals & hexes, lies in mainly in the method of casting. Thus, there is a distinct spellcasting skill for each. Characters receive a d4 skill die in both Ritual Magic and Hex Magic when first gaining this edge but must raise each skill separately thereafter.
Rituals are procedural in nature. They take more time to cast, require a spell book, and usually require additional components beyond the spellcaster’s incantations and gestures. Rituals also generally leave a lingering magical “halo”, called a nimbus, on the things they affect. Each caster’s nimbus is unique too, making it possible (but not easy) to discover who cast the ritual long after it was completed with spells like Detect Arcana.
Ritual Magic is the required skill wizards use to cast rituals. Each ritual requires that the caster must know the ritual, have their spell book on hand, and use the material components listed in the ritual’s trappings. The skill roll to cast a ritual is made at the end of the casting time, but the power points and the material components are used at the beginning of the ritual.
Ritual Drain: If a critical failure is rolled for the Ritual Magic roll, then the power point cost of the ritual is doubled what is listed in SWEX. If this results in draining all the caster’s power points to zero or below, then the caster is shaken and the excess power points are treated as physical damage that can result in additional wounds, or worse.
Spell List (Rituals): Armor, Barrier, Beast Friend, Boost/Lower Trait, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Dispel, Environmental Protection, Greater Healing, Healing, Light, Puppet, Shape Change, Speak Language, Teleport, Zombie.
The casting time of a ritual is based on power point cost of the spell and the caster’s Ritual Magic skill die. For each ritual, divide the power point cost by the caster’s Ritual Magic skill die type and round up, then multiply that number by the power point cost and the Rank tier of the spell. The result is the number of rounds required to cast the spell
For example: Tycard the Invincible has a skill of Ritual Magic d8. He wants to cast an Armor Ritual that lasts 8 combat rounds. Simple: it costs him 7 power points and takes him 7 rounds to cast the ritual. Later that day, he wants to cast another Armor ritual that lasts 18 rounds. This would cost him 17 power points and takes just over 5 minutes to cast (51 rounds).
In another example, the witch Myrna has Ritual Magic d10. Her friend is in dire need of healing, so she decides to cast Greater Healing (a 3rd tier, or Veteran level, spell). The cost of the ritual is 10 power points but it takes her 3 minutes to cast.
Hexes are incantations or gestures that take effect immediately and rarely last more than a few minutes. They require no components, and the caster must only have a single hand free and the ability to speak clearly to cast them. Only the most powerful hexes leave behind a caster’s nimbus, making these spells a favorite among casters with questionable ethics.
Hex Magic is the required skill used to cast hexes. If either die rolls a 1 on the skill roll, then a Hex Mishap has occurred.
Hex Mishap: If the Hex Magic die rolled a 1, then a Hex Mishap occurs. Roll on the Hex Mishap table below. If a critical failure was rolled (“snake-eyes”), then the Hex Mishap roll suffers a -4 penalty. This is usually a bad thing, but with all the strange words and complex gestures associated with casting hexes, sometimes one hex’s failure becomes another hex’s success.
Spell List (Hexes): Armor, Beast Friend, Blast, Bolt, Boost/Lower Trait, Burrow, Burst, Deflection, Dispel, Elemental Manipulation, Entangle, Fear, Fly, Invisibility, Obscure, Light, Puppet, Quickness, Speed, Stun, Telekinesis, Teleport.
Roll 2d4 plus the character’s Hex Magic die on the table below whenever a Hex Mishap occurs. For example – a character with Hex Magic d10 would roll 2d4 + 1d10 on the table below.
2 or less
|The spell backfires horribly. The spell targets an unintended target determined at random and its effects are doubled. The caster suffers damage equal to the power point cost of the spell and is shaken.|
3 – 4
|The spell backfires and targets an unintended target at random. The caster is shaken.|
5 – 7
|The spell misfires and targets an unintended target.|
8 – 12
|The spell fizzles and fails.|
13 – 15
|The spell fizzles, but the power point cost is halved.|
16 – 17
|The spell fails quietly but the power point cost is zero.|
18 or more
|The spell misfires, and costs the caster no power points. The GM chooses another spell from the caster’s available spells at random. This second spell targets at random and costs zero power points.|
- 7 power points ÷ d8 = 0.875 ≈ 1 x 7 x 1 = 7 rounds
- 17 power points ÷ d8 = 2.125 ≈ 3 x 17 x 1= 51 rounds or 5m 6s
- 10 power points ÷ d10 = 1 x 10 x 3 = 30 rounds or 3 minutes