14 thoughts on “What’s your favorite system for magic or magicesque mechanics?”

  1. My favorite system to read and sigh about dreamily is in Freebooters on the Frontier, but I highly doubt I could get me players to play with it. It basically has you randomly roll to generate D&D-ish spell names, and then spend spell points every time you cast to flexibly tailor the effects. Sounds like great fun to me, but way too fiddly for my group.

    My favorite fictional “system” for (or explanation of) magic is kind of hinted at in the Amber books. Not just the way immortal demigods can alter the world at will (but that is cool too), but the way Merlin describes “hanging” a spell, if I remember the term right—like he did the ritual prep and now just has to trigger it, like a mousetrap—always made way more sense to me than “memorizing.”

    But I bet some other folks will reply and make me go “oh, I wish I’d remembered that one. I do rather like that one.”

  2. Yeah Freebooters and Maze Rats have a similar system that I love. You just get a spell named, say, “Smoldering Rot Tentacle” and you have to explain what sort of effect that has when you use it and spend power on it

  3. First edition Mage: the Ascension, where your character has understanding of the basic forces of reality and you explain on the fly how you apply them to create your effects. If you have the right players, it’s amazing, but finding the right players is a bitch and a half.

  4. Aaron Griffin​​ I tried to open, but it’s not working. I’ll try on my computer later.

    When you get the spell, do you have to describe what it can do right when you get it or is it pretty fluid?

    Ie smoldering rot tentical attacks someone in this fight, but I can later use it to heal an undead follower, etc.?

  5. I love Sorcerer’s system, and its minor adaptation into World of Dungeons.

    Beyond that, Burning Wheel’s magic system makes me very happy: I love that trying to learn spells is always colored by your own abilities, and that an inferior student may make spells harder for themselves by learning them poorly. I likewise love that a failed spellcasting test could mean many things: nothing happens, or you open a portal and summon a god/demon/spirit, or (my favorite) that you roll on the Wheel of Magic and discover what incredibly outlandish backlash your errant spell wreaks.

  6. Aaron Griffin I love that pdf. Once I saw what the freebooters did to magic I knew that it could work with DW. I saw in the pdf that it mentioned Arcane Accident, is that the same list that is in freebooters?

    Thanks for the share.

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