Willpower Clerical Magic System
This is a clerical magic system based on my
Willpower Magic System. Refer to that
document for details about magic in general that are not explained here.
In this document, "clerical magic" refers to magic cast with the aid
of a deity, as opposed to "wizardly magic" cast through intellectual
knowledge of magic.
This system uses some ideas from S. John Ross's
Mana magic rules.
The guiding principles of this clerical magic system are:
- Clerics may be granted dispensation to cast clerical spells by
the god/s they serve.
- Clerics do not need any understanding of fundamental magical
theory to be able to cast clerical spells. This "background knowledge"
comes from divine inspiration. Clerics may, however, invest in genuine
knowledge to learn spells like a wizard.
- Clerical magic is cast by invoking force of faith on the natural
world through learnt rituals.
- Clerical spells have no spell prerequisites. More powerful spells
are, however, still more difficult to learn than more basic ones.
- Clerical spell lists are restricted by the cleric's god. A cleric
may learn other spells through study, and may even cast them as a
wizard would if his general magical knowledge is high enough, but the
cleric's god will not grant aid in casting "foreign" spells.
- Clerics can also learn wizardly magic intellectually like any
person, but their deity will not assist in wizardly castings, and may
Disapprove of the practice.
The Power Investiture advantage behaves basically as listed in
GURPS Compendium I. Power Investiture is required to be able
to cast clerical magic. It grants a +1 bonus per level to spell skills
which are approved by the deity. This is cumulative with any Magical
Power Investiture does not give a bonus to any skills other than
deity-approved clerical spells.
This skill is required for any true cleric. A character's
effective skill level (i.e. after modifiers) in a clerical
spell can never be higher than his level in Theology, though the base
skill level may be higher. Thus anyone who wants to be a competent
clerical spellcaster needs to know the tenets of his religion well.
Note Theology skill does not receive any bonus from Power Investiture.
The cleric must learn the details of his religion through hard work.
Any spell can be learnt by any cleric, regardless of prerequisites
listed in standard GURPS books. However, to avoid cleric characters
learning only the most powerful spells, each "skipped" prerequisite
exacts a cost of 1 on the final skill level of a spell. A deity
may grant special dispensation where a standard prerequisite
spell is not amongst the spells that deity normally grants.
Casting spells does not (usually) cost the cleric fatigue points.
Rather, the cost of a spell is added to a running Tally. When this
Tally reaches or passes a certain Threshold value, the nature of
reality in the universe can be disrupted, usually in negative ways, and
sometimes disastrously. The further above the Threshold the Tally rises,
the worse the effects. Generally though, the spell will still work if the
spell skill roll is made. Disasters are side effects of using too much
magic in too short a time.
Casting a spell always requires a Will roll, the Clerical Will
roll. Clerical Will is normal Will plus any Power Investiture bonus. The
game procedure for casting a spell is as follows:
In normal cases, steps 2, 3, and 4 can be skipped and the defaults
assumed, which result in no modifiers to the rolls.
- Declare the spell to be attempted.
- Declare level of gesture and incantation to be used (see below).
- Declare any extra willpower to reduce spell cost (see below).
- Declare any special effort to reduce spell cost (see below).
- Make Clerical Will roll, using bonuses/penalties determined in steps
2 and 3.
- If Clerical Will roll succeeds, make spell skill roll to determine
success of casting, applying bonuses/penalties determined in steps 2 and 4.
If the Clerical Will roll fails, the spell cannot be cast on this attempt,
but the cost of the spell is not added to the Tally. If the Clerical Will
roll is a critical success, the spellcaster may take either a +3 bonus
to the spell skill roll, or reduce the final cost of the spell by 1.
If the Clerical Will
roll is a critical failure, the spell cannot be cast on this attempt,
and the spell's cost is added to the Tally!
- If the spell skill roll succeeds, the spell works as intended, and
its cost is added to the Tally. If the roll fails, the spell fails, and
1 point is added to the Tally regardless of the spell's cost. If the roll
is a critical success, the spell works particularly well, but its cost
is still added to the Tally. On a critical failure, the spell backfires,
and its cost is added to the Tally.
Modifying the Casting Process
Gestures and Incantations
Normally casting a spell requires speaking words of power and
making physical gestures. This requirement does not reduce automatically
with higher skill levels. A spellcaster may however use sheer willpower
to attempt magic with reduced ritual components. Refer to the following
Normally a spellcaster will be assumed to be using the normal gesture
and incantation levels, which result in no Clerical Will modifiers. The
player may however declare an attempt to use different levels of gesture
and incantation to cast a spell. The gesture and incantation levels may be
chosen independently. Add together the modifiers and apply them to the
Clerical Will roll. If the Clerical Will roll succeeds, also apply the
same modifiers to the spell skill roll.
|Extravagant. Full arm and leg movement.
||Loud and clear.
|Normal. Full arm movement.
||Normal speaking voice.
|Subdued. Wrist/hand movement.
||Soft speaking voice.
|Tiny. A finger or two.
||A whispered word or two.
Cost Reduction by Exerting Faith
The cleric can exert his own faith more forcefully in an
attempt not to upset the delicate balance of magic and nature as much.
He may expend Fatigue (and/or hit points
in an emergency) in units of 3 to attempt to reduce the spell cost by
1 point for each 3 Fatigue/hits spent.
Normally a cleric will be assumed not to be expending Fatigue. If
the player declares a Fatigue expenditure, the Fatigue is immediately
spent. This gives a penalty to the Clerical Will roll equal to a third
of the Fatigue points spent, rounded up. However, if the Will roll is
made, the spell cost is reduced by 1 for each three full Fatigue points
Cost Reduction by Special Effort
The cleric can make a special effort not to upset the delicate
balance of magic and nature by attempting to fit the spell into the
local mana flow.
The cost of a spell added to the Tally can be reduced by 1 point
for every -3 penalty the caster takes to his effective spell skill,
representing the difficulty of conforming the spell to the mana flow.
This does not affect the Clerical Will roll.
Instead of a spell skill penalty of -1 per hex for Regular spells,
the penalty is determined from the Speed/Range Table. Add 2 to the
range in hexes, so that touching counts as a "range" of 2 and has a
Example Clerical Spellcasting
Brother Bob has been called upon to heal an injured farmer. He knows
the Minor Healing spell (a spell approved by his god) at level 16.
His Will is 12, his Theology skill 14, and he has Power Investiture 1.
He decides to impress the bystanders by gesturing enthusiastically
(+1 bonus) and chanting loudly (+1 bonus). He does not want to
overload the local mana flow so chooses to take a little special care
to manipulate it less than normal (-1 penalty). He lays his hands on
the injured farmer (0 range penalty). He makes his Clerical
Will roll at 12 +1 (Power Investiture) +1 (gesturing) +1 (chanting)
= 15. He rolls a 4, making a critical success! The spell roll is now
16 +1 (gesturing) +1 (chanting) -3 (extra effort) = 15. However, his
Theology skill is only 14, so he rolls against 14. The roll is a 14,
and the spell succeeds, healing the farmer 2 hit points. Normally
this would cost 2 points added to the Tally, but the extra effort
reduces this by 1, and the critical success on the Clerical Will roll
reduces it by another 1 to 0! Bob nearly didn't make the spell roll,
though, and should try to increase his Theology skill a bit for next
GURPS is Copyright
Steve Jackson Games Incorporated.