Magic in Post-Myth

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<metadesc>Grim and gritty D&D campaign with tones of dark fantasy. Uses alternative D&D 3.G rules for free-form character creation.</metadesc>


Incantations are the most basic form of working with magic. They are rituals, time-consuming and unpredictable things that can go very wrong for the unprepared. Any character can cast incantations, even several can join to help, but it is not without its dangers. Incantations differ from spells in that they are more raw and unpredictable, are lengthy and require preparation, but can be cast at anytime and their effects are potentially more powerful than a caster at the same level is able to create

To cast incantations, all a character needs is enough ranks in Spellcraft and in a relevant Knowledge skill (most commonly arcana, religion and nature). This makes Spellcraft a useful skill even for those who are not spellcasters themselves.

  • Any Sorcerer/Wizard spell can be cast as an incantation, as long as the character has access to the spell formula, and ranks in Knowledge(arcana) and Spellcraft.
  • Divine spells don't have written formulas, so can only be cast by characters that have access to those spell lists from their classes. Any spell in the list can be cast as an incantation at anytime, if the character has ranks in Knowledge(nature or religion). Nature incantations, however, cannot be performed in realms other than the Material or Spirit worlds (there are no spirits elsewhere).
  • Bard and Witch spells also have no formulas, and can only be cast as incantations by characters who have access to those spell lists. Any spell from the list is available to be cast as an incantation at anytime (for witches, they must have their familiar assist them in the casting). For bard spells, instead of rolling Knowledge(arcana) however, you must roll Perform checks for the incantation.

Any spellcaster can cast any spell he knows as an incantation, at anytime as long as it is one of its known spells (for spontaneous casters, requiring no written formula) or spell it has scribed in a spellbook (requiring reading from a written formula). A caster can also cast spells it has prepared as incantations without needing to refer to a formula. Spontaneous casters, if they wish, can also have a spellbook in which to scribe spells not part of their spells known list, to cast them as incantations.


To cast an Incantation: roll a number of Knowledge(arcana) checks equal to the level of the spell, one each round as a standard action, then in the following round you release the magic with a Spellcraft check
Caster level: equal to Spellcraft check result minus 12 (can go quite high).
DC to resist: 10 + level of spell + Cha mod + 1 per each 2 points your Spellcraft check beats the casting DC

To cast a spell in this way means a character must use its full incantation. The incantation is the full spell formula, normally scribed on spellbooks or scrolls, for arcane characters. For divine characters, they either receive this knowledge orally (Druids and Rangers especially) or via visions and dreams (Oracles). The character’s Knowledge skill is tested at this point. Speaking the incantation properly requires a number of successful Knowledge checks, and a character makes a check each round.

When the incantation is successfully completed, the magic starts to take shape and requires Spellcraft to be controlled. If the character is successful, the spell takes shape in his mind and is ready to be cast.

Incantation (nº of successful Knowledge checks = level of spell)
   1 check per round, 2 successive failures lead to spell miscasting.
   Success on required nº of checks = Incantation successful, spell ready to be cast.
Casting: Spellcraft check (generally standard action, depends on spell) to cast the spell.
DC of Knowledge and Spellcraft checks = 12 + (spell level x 2)

For every round of incantation, the character must make a skill check of the relevant Knowledge skill. A failed check does not mean the spell is lost, only that you need to repeat that part of the spell the next round. A character may fail any number of skill checks: it will only mean the spell takes longer to cast. Two failed checks in a row, however, mean the spell becomes out of control, and can miscast, make the caster suffer backlash, etc: depending on how far you are into the incantation, the worse it will be. Also, if during the whole process, the caster’s concentration is interrupted, the spell might get out of control: it requires a Concentration check DC 15 + level of the spell to maintain hold of the spell.

After Spellcraft check is successful, you have the following options:
1: Cast spell immediately
2: Delay and increase caster level; +1 bonus to caster level on a successful Spellcraft check DC = 15 + spell level, you may repeat it each round, a failed check means the spell is lost harmlessly.
3: Spend Action Points to increase caster level; +1 bonus to caster level per point spent, can be used together with the above options 

After the spell becomes complete, it may be cast in that round, or may be held on for as many rounds as the caster dares, by succeeding on Concentration checks (DC 15+ level of the spell) at the beginning of her turn, which increase by +1 each round. Each extra round the spell is held also adds a +1 bonus to the final caster level of the spell. Failure in any of these checks means the spell is lost and it dissipates harmlessly. However, if the spell is a touch spell, you can hold the charge in your hand indefinitely (after you increase the caster level through Spellcraft, if you wish).

Additionally, a character can spend Actions Points to reduce the incantation casting time, with each point reducing the invocation by 1 round (min 1 round).

By using the Aid Another action, each successful check by an assistant (reading the same or equal formula) grants a +2 bonus on the caster's skill check.

If there is no immediate danger, a character can take 10 in the skill checks, if the result is high enough to automatically succeed.

Magical Traditions


Witches are the most common practicioners of the magic arts. They have made contact with a supernatural entity (or an entity has some interest in them) and through a magical creature called a familiar, a witch is taught the secrets of magic.

Members of any race can learn magic like this through a familiar, but they are always, to varuing degrees, beholden to this (often) unknown patron. Sooner or later, it will come to collect its due.

Among humans and dwarves, witches are widely persecuted, but many still make a living in the fringes of society, being contacted by those who need their help on less-than-legal issues. Among the magical races of elves and gnomes, however, pacts with the spirits are common and many practicioners dedicate their lives to a spirit's cause, while working magic for their poeple (or themselves).

There are entities out there other than spirits however. Witches can always be (sometimes unwittingly) pawns of some dark, evil power, unaware of the consequences of their actions until it is too late.


Sorcerers are those who possess the Gift: they are magically attuned, spontaneously manifesting magic, and as such they can skip the incantation of spells they have mastered through practice (essentially, their ‘known spells’ list), casting spells at a minute’s thought.

All Gnomes have the potential to develop their magic through the Sorcerer class. They must choose either the Arcane or the Fey bloodline.

Elves are also sensitive to magic, to a lesser degree, and generally become receptacles of the Spirits' power, generally against their will. They can have any bloodline listed.

If you wish to be a human or dwarven sorcerer, you can choose to be a Changeling instead (see below), which offers the option of casting spells like one if you choose adept or eldricht godling.


These are represented by the Wizard class, and must take the Bonded Item option of Arcane bond, with additional bonuses from the Item Familiar feat.

Philosophers are specialist spellcasters of the Milesian Empire who approach magical theory in a reductionist way: each singular aspect of incantations is dissected into its geometrical and mathematical formulation, and endlessly studied. Through a bonding with a specially enchanted item (called in slang as a 'Bloodstone'), they gain the ability to concentrate magic, that they can put to use later. Philosophers are driven to understand the universe, and why arcane incantation and metaphorical inferences hold power when conjuring up a spell.

The 'Bloodstone' is an enchanted item, which can be an amulet, a wand, a ring, a weapon, that always contains a piece of a magical, blood-red crystal. It must be carried on the spellcaster’s person, either held or close to his body, and without it a Philosopher has a very hard time casting spells.


These are represented by the Oracle class.

Prophets do not acquire their powers through study: they are chosen by their respective gods for their devotion, offering them access to supernatural abilities in exchange for their eternal service. Prophets are miracle-workers walking the World: they channel the divine energies of their god, and can shape it in virtually any way. This is manifested in the immense list of spells they can choose from: they can pick any spell from their list, and cast it using their Knowledge(religion) and Spellcraft skills, using its full incantation (or prayer, in this case).

Normal creatures cannot channel divine energy until they have been accepted, which means that written divine spell prayers are useless in the hands of any non-prophet.

Song Magic

This is represented by the Bard class, and because it has such versatile archetypes, it can be a multiclass choice that can fit the flavor of many different character concepts, without necessarily making the character a 'wandering minstrel'.

Certain rhythms and intonations, just like a spell’s invocation, have the power to call magical energies. It’s a tradition followed by many spirits, and Gnomes and especially Elves. Songs of power are passed on from generation to generation, and are the main practice of magic among elves. In truth, many elves, especially warriors, are skilled to some degree in song magic.

Bard spells always have a verbal component, which must include some form of singing or performance. Somatic components require playing an instrument, and cannot be cast if the bard is not able to generate music with one. For this purpose, any instrument that can be called such is usable. Bardic music, likewise, requires a performance and usage of an instrument, but once underway, only the performance is required (whether requiring an instrument or not, like singing).

Specific instruments lend themselves to particular types of song magic. Masterwork versions generally are much better at this enhancement.


  • Drum: morale bonuses to attack & damage increase by 1 (3 for masterwork).
  • Fiddle: morale bonuses to saves vs charm & fear increase by 1 (3 for masterwork).
  • Flute or Pipes: +2 bonus on Perform checks to use countersong ability, +1 DC to fascinate and charm effects (double for masterwork).
  • Lyre or Harp: can target one more target than normal with bardic music effects (2 for masterwork).
  • Horn: morale bonuses to damage and saves vs fear increase by 1 (3 for masterwork).
  • Lute or Mandolin: bard level counts as 1 higher for bardic music effects (2 higher for masterwork).


These are represented by the various version of the Godling class(clever, eldricht, clever and mighty.

Changelings are mortals that possess strange powers, usually in one way or another connected to the Spirits of the World. Be they blessed by the spirits by birth, or sired by a warlock, or fey offspring(or even some other dark creature) or perhaps a immature fey left under mortal foster care, they are out of place. Their parents quickly realize that something is off, for the child shows peculiar behaviours, and manifests his supernatural gifts of magic spontaneously. Occasionally, the spirits pay visits to the youngster. This has prompted many such parents to suspect their true child had been switched by a fey child, and sometimes these children are disposed of, either abandoned or slain.

Changelings possess many strange powers: some can influence other people’s thoughts, others can bestow curses or command the forces of nature. They are reckless and wild-tempered, possessing a strangely captivating attitude (be it mesmerizing or frightening).

The Godling class allows for the choice of various supernatural abilities, and the variety of classes is there if you prefer a more martial character, or one who casts spells as a sorceror, etc.

Dream Magic

Among the elves, a tradition of interpreting dreams has always been passed on from generation to generation. Dreams and nightmares sometimes hold fragments of greater truths and events yet to happen, that reverberate through the higher planes of thought. Interpreting the meaning behind these hidden messages is accomplished through Dreamtelling.

Dreamtelling is a trained ability that anyone can acquire, which allows the use of Knowledge(arcana) to interpret the metaphorical (or plain) imagery present in a dream, either from the practitioner or another. The DC increases with the practitioner’s unfamiliarity with certain historical events unknown to him or cultural symbolisms not his own. Success on the check grants an insight similar to an augury spell. If you beat the DC by 10 the answer is as helpful as a divination spell, if you beat it by 20 its as powerful as a commune spell. Even if you don’t succeed on the check, the result might still be sufficient to interpret a few symbols, that further research may help understand better.

Dream Magic is not limited to interpret dreams, however. Those learned in the art can become aware within their own dreams, and change their dreamscape as they see fit: shape the environment, their own appearance and of the characters in the dream, and even gain advantage over entities invading their dreams. Experts can even navigate dreamscapes, jumping into the dreamscapes of other dreamers. Masters in these techniques can penetrate the dreams of their enemies and extract sensitive information (a method employed extensively during the Crimson Century of the Man-Elf conflict), and those that are spellcasters can affect the living dreamer with certain spells from within the dream. There are tales of veterans of Dream magic that have travelled through regions beyond dreams, into the astral realms of higher entities: gods, demons and angels.

To begin to learn how to perform dream magic, you must first learn the Lucid Dreaming skill.

Feat: Lucid Dreaming You gain the Lucid Dreaming skill as a class skill.

Skill: Lucid Dreaming (Wis or Cha) trained only

Use this skill to realize you’re dreaming, consciously direct elements within a dreamscape, and move into other dreamscapes. Each use is a standard action.

Task DC
Realize you’re dreaming 5
Change one aspect of your dreamscape 15
Change one aspect of another’s dreamscape 20
*Another additional aspect.An aspect includes background features such as lighting, terrain, architecture of a given building, vegetation or other innocuous characteristics. +5
Directly affect objects relating to yourself or other dreamers. You can create mundane items, including weapons or armor, or make them disappear. You can also affect the terrain in ways potentially hazardous to other dreamers, such as opening a pit under their feet. If you want to affect another dreamer which is versed in Lucid dreaming, you must succeed on an Opposed Lucid Dreaming check against his. 25
Change your personal appearance. You can change into the likeness of any creature within 2 size categories of your size. Only your appearance changes, your abilities stay the same. 20
Metamorphose into another creature. You can change into another creature you have met, and use any ability you witnessed the creature use. 25
Create a supernatural effect. You can manifest any sort of spell-like effect which you have witnessed previously, which creates a physical effect, with a caster level equal to your Lucid Dreaming result minus 10. Illusions, Divinations and Enchantments cannot be created in this way. 12 + (level of spell x 2)
Depart one dreamscape for another. You can travel into any other dreamscape owned by another creature, but you must have something that connects you with it. If you have met the subject before or know him well, the task is easy. If you never met the subject, you must have some sort of object that connects you to him.
* You know the subject well or have met him/her 15
* Likeness or picture 24
* Possession or garment 22
* Body part such as hair or nail clippings 16
* Take a willing or grappled dreamself(ves) with you +10
Waking up 10

Time flows faster within dreams. For every 10min spent in a dream, only 1 min passes in the waking world. Experiences within dreams become but memories upon waking, so any injuries taken, or items/ability uses spent are only in a character’s mind. But those versed in dream magic can bend these rules to an extent.

A dreamer within his own dreamscape does not normally suffer any damage upon waking up if he was injured within a dream (or even if he died). But when travelling outside their personal dreamscape, a dreamwalker takes a risk: any damage suffered translates into nonlethal damage upon waking up. Furthermore, if you had reached Staggered HP within the dream, you wake up fatigued; if you were reduced to negative HP, you wake up exhausted. If your dreamself is killed while outside your dreamscape, you wake up immediatelly, screaming, and take 1d6 Wis drain.

Skilled dreamwalkers can invade other dreamers’ dreamscapes and physically injure them or even manipulate their minds. The darkest dream magics allow one to kill a dreamer from within a dream, or even to possess them.

--Nuno (talk) 23:39, 4 July 2012 (BST)