As a fan of magic of all kinds I love it when someone puts something detailed like this up. It is not extravagantly so but enough to wet the perverbial whistle. I agree with axlerose in that it seems more of a flashy thing that actual mechanic wise, but if they could somehow become a mechanic that made them unique without bogging down gameplay that would be wonderful.
And on a side note, I think the idea of Embuing is a grand idea.
I'd like to note that, while not required, it should be extremely hard, if not impossible, for a mage to use more than one style at once. Otherwise it opens the field to powergaming of a nasty type. Perhaps the shape of the energy used in each style interferes with that of the others, or some similar reason.
Oftentimes found in tomes of forbidden magic, rituals (1) are the magic most favored by cultist the world over. Long, complex, often requiring numerous participants and a sacrifice or two their effects can vary widely, from things as mundane as causing your neighbors crops to fail (2), to summoning Elder Evils from their slumber (3). Of course magic like this, ancient spells out of books that have been copied by hand dozens, if not hundreds, of times are extremly dangerous to the casters and anyone in the immediate vicinity. If the spell fails because the cultists were interrupted by a gaggle of adventurers, the spell will backfire, releasing all the pent up magical energies in a burst, the effect of this release is unpredictable (4).
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1 Often called Incantations or Circle Magic
2 Rituals of this nature are best cast near midnight on the night of the new moon
3 Determing the best day to cast spells of this nature regularly involves long and complex math, and there's often only one opportunity to summon any particular Elder Evil during the average mortal's lifetime, the next time the stars are likely to be aligned correctly to attempt such a casting is actually Dec 21, 2012. Luckily enough for evil cultist, there are a plethora of Elder Evils.
4 Possible side effect include but are not limited to: Drymouth, dizzy spells, periodic tunnel vision, sudden adult death syndrom, wandering elbow, reddening of the hair, sudden urge to leave the room, heart attack, nostalgia, waxy build-up, sprocketing of the clavicle, sudden onset psychosis, and muscle cramps. A sudden fear of everything may occur, rarely resulting in fainting. Symptoms of grapheme-color synaesthesia have been reported. Other side effects include severe aging, liver failure, skin failure, facial cancer, arthritis of the fingers, knees and jaw, the growth of additional eyes, male pregnancy, anal bleeding, the sudden loss of all bone tissue, extra-oral tooth growth, retina detachment, DNA detachment, tentacles, and leg stiffness. Do not take part in Ritual Castings if you are or may become pregnant.
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I love the style of this sub. I already decided to use the Oscillator magic-user sub-class in chat, but the details here take it up a notch. Very scholarly, in that wizard-y way. Footnotes are nice. Good stuff. Look forward to the tables. Can't wait to see what Moon has to say.
A post on an entirely extraneous game mechanic like this, for me, forces the issue of what these types of rules bring to the game. I am personally conflicted on things like this. Using this in game does not add a new narrative tools, not really, it could potentially slow the action done and it is more details with which to argue. Why do we need spell mishap tables and do we need to invent new constraints on players ability? Does adding these sorts of specific constraints improve the versatility of the playing experience? Do we need more rules?
Yet at the same time, I like these things that add to the “realistic feel” of the game. Saying I cast a spell, has an empty feel to do it, if you can describe the process by which a spell is cast and by extension how that spell can be miss cast you make the game world richer. The gaming group paints a better picture for the collective imagination when the process by which a character acts is more detailed then swing and miss. Also these details give the players more tools with which to exploit the world. When there are more strings attached to in game concepts and items; the more likely a player can unravel it and that is a good thing. So I am torn on what the net result of these types of things will be on the game. Further study is no doubt needed.....
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Okay, about this post: It is well written and straight forward. Chaosmark assumse so much about the nature of magic and casting that this almost seems like a system specific expansion. We may as well pull back the curtain and post some casting time and spell per day numbers. Yet the general concepts are developed enough, each type of casting, that player can easily envision them and use them. A well organized and useful post