There’s been lots of talk about the magic rules in LotN since I posted that manifesto thing. Who knows why, but the magic rules are what people have focused on.
So, I thought I’d make a simple summary of how magic works.
– What we call hedge magic are simple rituals that can be learned without any magical talent whatsoever. It has no chance of going bad, it just doesn’t work if you make a bad roll.
-Magical disciplines are what actual sorcerers use. They are broken up into levels or tiers.
-Low tiers contain simple spells which have no drawback if you fail. Failure is just failure.
-Higher tiers contain complex spells which have more effect and are dangerous. Failure when casting might be dangerous.
-Every discipline has a method of preparing a spell to avoid or mitigate the chance of disaster when casting. Preparation takes time.
In conclusion, a sorcerer has to rely on minor effects most of the time unless they’re willing to take a huge risk. Why do we do this? I dislike the idea of magic as a universal tool or the best tool for a job. Older editions of D&D were built like this: a wizard could at almost any time replicate something that was another character’s focus. It’s boring, since why would you really play anything except a wizard in such a game?
Instead, you get narrow disciplines that can be very powerful. However, being the best skin-changer or doomsayer in the North doesn’t make you all-powerful: you can do something no one else can, but it doesn’t mean you can apply it to all situations.
Calling down lightning or making someone kill themselves with their own sword is a fairly powerful effect. That’s why we want to make it into something that you don’t do on the fly. You need to prep, unless you’re willing to take a huge risk. I think this gives magic more impact on the whole, especially considering the role of magic in the setting.
What’s the role then? Simple. Magic is mostly unknown in the civilized world. Magic is a function of the Unnatural, stemming from the same source from where the malicious skogsrå and the murderous näcken comes from: the unnatural bleeding into the empty spaces of the world. The further away from civilization you go, the more you get people who can work with forces like this. It’s something to be discovered, maybe sometimes fought and maybe it’s not even a good thing for people to be messing around with. It resists definition to some degree.
And here’s a few teasers of magical disciplines I’ve been working on.
- Fire magic
- Dream magic