Sunday 18 July 2010

Arcane Background options: Memorized powers

Much as many people have a hatred of D&D's Vancian magic system, it definitely has a quality of its own, which isn't replicated by the Power Points system of Savage Worlds. One of the most prominent, and most interesting, features of the D&D magic system is the necessity for magic-users to memorize spells in advance. This is one thing which I actually miss about the system, as it requires players to make tactical decisions on which spells will be needed. This option for AB characters is my attempt to bring back some of the feeling of the Vancian magic system, while not radically messing with the core powers system in SW.

Characters with Arcane Background: Magic, Miracles or Spirit-binder can choose to cast spells either spontaneously (as in the normal rules), or by memorization, as follows.
  • Instead of spending Power Points and casting spells on the spur of the moment, some magic-users must spend time in study, meditation or prayer in order to imprint the magical formulae for spells into their minds. When memorizing a spell, a character must spend the required Power Points as normal, including any Power Points needed to extend the spell's duration. Memorizing spells takes one hour (regardless of the number of spells memorized).
  • Casters who memorize spells cannot cast spells spontaneously, thus they have to choose carefully, in advance, which spells they will need. When they have cast all spells they have memorized they cannot use any powers until they get a chance to memorize more spells.
  • They regain Power Points at the normal rate, and, given enough time, are free to study and memorize spells as soon as they have Power Points available. However, the Power Points taken up by a memorized spell do not recover until the spell has been cast.
  • The counterbalance of the limitations of this form of spell casting is that characters gain double the usual number of powers. So, for example a beginning character with Arcane Background: Magic who casts spells by memorization knows 6 powers (as opposed to the standard 3) – having a much broader repertoire than a spontaneous caster. This rule also applies to the New Power Edge, which grants two new powers to spell memorizing casters.
  • Characters with the Wizard Edge should make a Spellcasting roll at the time of memorization, to determine if the power's cost is lowered. This is in addition to the normal activation roll at the point of using a memorized power.

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