Fantasy AGE’s magic system is getting a bit of a polish for the new edition. The fundamental rules are the same, but there are more spells and options for spellcasting characters. This preview is going to be a bit more straightforward, as we’ve made various adjustments across other AGE books, and took those efforts and adjusted them some more for the upcoming core rulebook. Many of these got their start in the old Fantasy AGE Companion¸ but in each case we’ve revisited the spells and other rules to examine game balance and clarity of writing.
Let’s take a tour.
More Spells and Arcana
The Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook includes 19 magic talents—seven more than the old Basic Rulebook: Air Arcana, Beast Arcana, Cold Arcana, Death Arcana, Divination Arcana, Earth Arcana, Enchantment Arcana, Fate Arcana, Fire Arcana, Healing Arcana, Heroic Arcana, Illusion Arcana, Lightning Arcana, Power Arcana, Protection Arcana, Mind Arcana, Shadow Arcana, Water Arcana, and Wood Arcana.
In addition, each Arcana has multiple spell possibilities, so two mages with the same Arcana can possess different spell selections.
Example Spell: Tree Form
Requirements: Wood Arcana (Master)
Spell Type: Enhancement
MP Cost: 12
Casting Time: Major Action
Target Number: 15
Your body transforms, taking on the form of an animated tree.
This transformation lasts for the remainder of the encounter or until you choose to end the spell (a free action). You gain the following statistics as your body turns into that of a gnarlwalker (see Chapter 9).
Abilities: Constitution 6, Dexterity 0, Strength 6, even if this would reduce your ability ratings. All other abilities retain the caster’s usual ratings.
- Focuses: Fighting (Branch Blows), Intelligence (Natural Lore).
- Other Statistics: You gain an Armor Rating of 8 from the monstrously tough hide special quality. This doesn’t stack with worn armor, however.
- Special Qualities: You gain the gnarlwalker special qualities of big, made of wood, many branches, mighty and lethal, monstrously tough hide, and voice of the green.
- Your new body doesn’t impede your ability to cast other spells. However, your clothing and worn equipment are absorbed into your tree form, reappearing when you return to your usual form.
In this case, we not only included this spell in the core rules (there was an earlier version of it in the Fantasy AGE Companion) but made a dedicated creature for both the spell and the GM’s general use instead of reskinning the walking dead, as the precious version did.
Alternatives to Duds
In the last edition of Fantasy AGE if you failed a casting roll, you lost the magic points and got nothing in return, which leads to some dud results for mage characters. The new rules include an option to save a failed spell by spending more magic points, and a spell failure now costs less than a normal casting.
Introduced in prior AGE material, minor arcana join the core Fantasy AGE rules. These minor utility spells just cost 1 MP each, and they allow mages to do a number of convenient things outside the purview of action and high sorcery.
Example Minor Arcana: Mage’s Compass
Mage’s compass tells the mage unerringly where a cardinal direction (usually north) lies, and the time until the next sunrise or sunset. The direction cannot use as its reference point a specific geographical location beyond a cardinal direction or the equivalent in worlds that have unusual dimensions.
The idea of “divine” versus “arcane” magic is an RPG neologism that was never especially prevalent in supernatural beliefs or fantasy fiction until popular RPGs conceived of the split. In some respect Fantasy AGE has always cleaved to an older tradition from sword and sorcery where gods and demons are simply part of the practice of magic. However, divine magic as a category is popular! That’s why we’ve added options for spellcasters who concentrate on magic from the gods, but these rules are optional. We’re Fantasy AGE, so we do things our own way.
Other Amazing Feats
We still haven’t talked about stunts, creatures, GMing material, and a number of other revised and new parts of the new Fantasy AGE core rulebook. Maybe next time!