As the cold, chill wind howled through the narrow gorge, the war-wizard swore. It was a dead end, and slow though their pursuer may be, there was no escape now. Not with a greviously wounded man, as his normally-armored guardian was now. As the shaggy white beast bore down upon them, he threw aside his cloak and tunic in a single, practiced motion, revealing flesh that glittered with the presence of a hundred runes welded to it. And then, he cried out.
'Come, beast! Come and face the silver flame of Jurad!' Setting one hand upon a rune upon his chest, and the other over the rune upon that first hand, his hands burst forth into a searing, silvery light, arms with which to face his foe...
The rune slivers are a magic system meant for a low-to-medium magic world, depending on the DM chosen availabity of runes and those with the ability to fuse them to the body.
Casting the rune-magic is a fairly simple endeavour. One places a hand upon one's name room, which is always enscribed upon the head, and the other upon the rune to be evoked, and wills the power forth. Be it granted by the gods, by the arcane forces, whatever, this is all that is involved in active spell casting. Preparing for it, however, is quite another thing.
To begin, the wizard must have bonded at least two runes to his body: The name-rune, and the rune with which he means to cast. The name-rune is carven for him by one of an elite set of wizards (world specific organization(s)), and then, like any other rune, the surface skin of the body is cut away in a flap so that the rune may be inserted into the skin, and then the skin is resealed by the master. No anesthetics may be used during the proceedure, for to be drugged when the body is adapting to its mystical presence is certain to make the link impossible to use properly while sober.
The name rune is exactly as it is named. It is the wizard's mystical name, and very few of them are repeated. It forms the basis of the fusion between the wizard's body and the ability to draw magic forth from the world, and though it does nothing by itself, it is utterly essential as an enabler of the magic. The name rune must be placed as close as possible to the center of the mind, the forehead, or over the center of emotion, as near to the heart as possible. No other places may serve as the seat of the name. Should the name rune somehow be broken, the pain will be beyond excrutiating - many wizards die or go mad from the agony. Should the wizard survive such an attack, he will not be able to cast spells until the name-rune is replaced.
Other runes may be placed upon the body as desired, though in all cases, the rune's location upon the body may effect what is finally allowed. A rune of the wind, for example, placed into the forehead, may allow farsight or the sensing of the weather, while a the same rune placed into the hands may allow swifter attacks, and in the feet, a swifter runner. Generally, for 'spectacular' effects, such as the throwing of lightning or fireballs, the rune must adjoin the name-rune, and no more than half a dozen runes may adjoin the name-rune.
While a persistant effect may persist, a wizard may only close the circle between his body, mind, and the mystic over one rune at a time - That is, he cannot clutch at a cluster of runes and effect them all at once. He must be able to touch the rune grafted to his body with the bare skin of his hands.
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? Responses (11)-12
Owch...a painful way to gain magic.
Yes, but an interesting one.
One thing that I miss is some limitation on the total amount of effects produced - a wizard can't hurl spells all day long, after all.
Besides the usual mana points and whatnot, I see two possible effects:
- the caster becomes fatigued through the channeling of magic, or even damaged in case of overdose
- the rune becomes warm, then warmer, then hot depending on the rate of casting, and cools only slow down. Mediocre casting can be very handy in winter, but don't forget this is in effect your skin... ouch. (Others effects are possible for different runes.)
More opinions and ideas sought.
Would the bind of the rune to the body leave behind scars?
Do all the runes need to be attached by someone else or can you atact ones to yourself after you have a name-rune?
Because they can only have about 5/6 spectacular effects, and can't activate them all at once, does that mean that they'll generally be beter fighters than the sterotypical wizard?
Does knowing the true name of the wizard give the 'masters' a deree of power over him?
I like this idea and may use it for my next campaign. Good job Siren
Mechanically this would be fairly easy. The ability to have runes would be a gift/ trait/ feat. Each time it is taken, it grants two more runes. Each rune grants a magical power, which then requires some kind of skill (concentration, magecraft, etc) to properly control. So why you might have a rune of light, you can't generate the Glory Shining (Destroys everything Darkness alligned) unless you roll obscenely well and have drama dice (or some other boosting mechanic) or enough skill to do so.
(Mana Points or Fatigue would make this system so much easier to use).
I could see this system being one of thresholds, prerequisites that continue to stack. So to get Arrow of Fire (allowing for all kinds of cool powerful fire missiles), you would need Fire-2 (which required Fire-1) and The Bow Gift.
Each body part would have its own advantages most likely. Some are stealthy (certain back parts), some are faster (arms), some are more powerful (chest or forehead), some are easier to use (legs), some runes might have to be located on certain parts of the body (Like AIR 2 must be on the shoulders, as it allows flight on magic wings).
Each Rune would have a 'size'. Each mage would then have a body chart, with how many spaces each part of their body has. That way you can control the 'encumbrence level' of the magics, not everything could be on the fast arms or powerful chest. Players would have to plan their magics.
The location system is also used to determine if spells are being cast or can be cast given the current game situation.
This magic system also requires hit locations to be used, as mangling the right arm of the mage will limit his ability to cast from that arm.
Note: Blue Rose's Arcanum has the basics that could be used for such a system.
I hadn't really wanted to delve too deeply into the background mechanics of the system - Every DM and group are going to have their preferred method of limiting the mage's potential. Personally, I prefer fatigue.
Moon brings up a number of good points, and I have nothing but an enthusiastic nod to them.
Pariah, how many high level, spectacular spells can a typical mage ever pull off? Two-three a day in the majority of systems? There's only so many Melf's Improved Meteor Shower and Wishes a wizard can pull out of his rabbit-hat, after all. But yes, these folks may be a little less scholarly. Another thing that this allows for is the 'physical adept' caster. A caster may have a series of runes inserted into his body that do not allow for big flashy effects, but instead, they make him faster, stronger, more durable, give him hands of flame or steel instead of flesh - a different sort of mage indeed.
The full power of the True Name should be left up to the GM, but yes, I would suspect that knowing the True Name would be some form of hold over the caster.
Long have I pondered reading this and finally I have. A bump from the dust of ages this is a greta idea and one I wish I would have thought about myself.
I like, inspires all sorts of nifty ideas, as well as spawning a list of basic runes. Good job.
An excellent approach - I like it!
Very interesting, I like it!