Read Magic

Read Magic

Read Magic

I’m trying to hammer out a custom move that recollects the old school Read Magic spell. The idea is that magical writing—like in NPC spellbooks, scrolls, and on the walls of the dungeon—is inherently unintelligible without the spell, and possibly dangerous. Some scrolls you find in the dungeon might be spells that you want to add to your spellbook, but others might be cursed, and you don’t know until you cast Read Magic and see where the chips fall!

Here’s my rough draft.

When you examine a magical inscription in a book, scroll, weapon, or other object, roll +INT. On a 10+, I will tell you what magic it contains without invoking it. On a 7–9, [TBD].

Here’s the trouble I’m having: On a miss, I want to invoke any curses—but not every inscription will be cursed. I thought about having the spell misfire on a miss, but I wasn’t sure what to do with a partial success.

Does this seem to harsh? “On a 7–9, the inscription is invoked for good or ill; you pick a target and I will tell you what the magic does.”

I reckon I could just create a custom move for cursed inscriptions on a case-by-case basis, but I’m interested in capturing the suspense of reading an unknown scroll and seeing what happens.

3 thoughts on “Read Magic”

  1. “On a hit, I will tell you what magic it containts. On a 7-9, you also invoke the inscription and trigger its magic with mere moments to direct it or bring it under control.” 

    (i.e. on a 7-9 expect to defy some danger, probably by thinking quickly.)

  2. My first thought on a 7-9 is something like “You are able to determine the intent of the magic, but don’t understand how to trigger it without further research and study”.

    This also might be a candidate for a “choose two:” type result:

    On a 7-9, Choose two:

    * You identify the specific magic involved

    * You involuntarily invoke the spell, but can decide where it is triggered

    * The magic becomes unusable afterward

    [My example may not be well written, just some “top of the head” ideas for a multiple choice outcome.]

Comments are closed.