Thursday, September 26, 2019

Chalice World Magic

As a player and GM I tend to favor kitchen sink settings and Chalice World fits the mold in several ways. Different magic systems give the players wider strategic choices and can add color to different cultures. This article discusses the various systems in use for the setting but may be useful as a high level overview for their use in your settings.

Affinity Magic

This is a home brew system and the rules are available to my players but not online. Basically its a tiered system with Path Magic for the non mages and peasants, Ritual Magic (GURPS Basic, not the RPM kind) for the adventuring and professional mages, and capped with Realm Magic for legendary mages. However the colleges, paths, and realms are all replaced by Affinities (which are like college/path skills from Easy to Very Hard depending on breadth) and rituals e created using in house rules, mostly template driven.  Its actually a lot simpler than it sounds and very flexible.
It works for specialty or broadly capable mages and priests.
The Commonwealth has a well organized magic guild that supports society and interacts with most professions and trades. The primary religious order is pantheistic and uses the same system (Just swap out Magery for Power Investiture).
The Crystal Kingdom also uses Affinity magic but on a more industrial level. They use dragon lines (ley lines)  and mana basins to direct and store energy. This allows its members to draw upon extra FP to fuel their spells, typically 1 to 3 FP but higher is possible. Especially for troops who get a bonus.

Aesthetic Magic

Elves use magic based on artistic skills. I havent decided yet but none of the current published systems work exactly the way I want for this and have tried adapting various systems. Low priority since the players are all in the Commonwealth and no one has yet wanted to play an elf.
I tried a version of RPM but found it too versatile for what I was looking for. Currently working on a mix of High Craft and Hedge Magic from GURPS Thaumatology. This will be either a home brew system or one that is heavily tweaked. The idea though is that its based on mundane skills ratcheted up to cinematic levels.

Imbuement Magic

GURPS Power-Ups 1: Imbuements introduced a system for enhancing non character point based traits such as attacks with a weapon. Its been further expanded in Pyramid articles.
Imbuement skills are used in two primary ways, and as written. As Chi skills and magic skills. The main magic Imbuements are by the Dwarven Federation in combination with Sigil Magic.
Imbuement Magic is specialized and FP intensive but effective in combat.
A list for this category in the GURPS Wiki can be found here.

Incantation Magic

This is a variation on Ritual Path Magic, making it an Effects based system. It may be the most versatile system in the setting. However it can take time at the table so players should have prebuilt incantations  covering most expected uses.

Ren (Name Magic)

Ren Magic is from the First Kingdom and an ancient magic based on knowing True Names. Its rare now, but can be learned in the Shattered Lands.

Sigil Magic

GURPS Thaumatology introduced Symbol magic and Sigil Magic is based on that but with some expansions and setting switches. This is the primary magic system of the Dwarven Federation but is mixed in with increased tech level and Imbuements when refered to in the campaign. The idea is that higher tech items are built and used with symbols to empower and control them. The sstem is so reliable its built a increased tech level and powers things like trains. Warriors use more symbol magic as with Imbuement Skills and finally advanced users are more like what players would expect from mages but based on Symbol Magic rather than the spoken word. Its versatile but takes time to set up and several skills to work on so most specialize.


GURPS Thaumatology: Sorcery is a powers based magic system. As a general rule powers based systems are less flexible and more point intensive than magic systems, though potentially more powerful. Especially in combat. The Sorcery system has a lot of prebuilt spells, both RAW and fan made and its GURPS Wiki entry is here.
Sorcery in Chalice World is more an individual thing and not widespread. There are a couple of guild houses that teach it (mostly so players can learn it during play if they want) but it is not common.

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