Saturday, 14 September 2019

Magic in Dreams of Dragons

So a brief look at the magic system in Dreams of Dragons, since I hear the kids are all about wizards.

First and foremost, the core of the magic system should seem quite familiar to players of Drakar och Demoner or the original Magic world:

Each spell is a skill, which is trained like any other.
Casting spells requires a skill check and depletes magic points.

When you cast a spell, you select the Effect Level (EL) you want, which is used to determine damage, size of target, healing etc.
You can also burn EL's to increase the range and duration.

This allows us to have a single "Fire" spell instead of f.x. having a multitude of interchangeable attack spells that just vary slightly in damage, range etc.

The higher the EL, the harder the skill check of course and the more magic points are expended.
This allows "utility" spell casting to be used quite a lot during a scenario, while big, "screw this guy in particular" spells will be harder and more limited.

In terms of setting logic, spells are typically taught from big, ancient Librams: Dusty tomes containing all the permutations and logic interpretations of how a given spell operates.
A single Libram may hold only 4-6 spells as each takes hundreds of pages.

When your character is created, they select one Libram they were educated in at the academy and you have those spells.

"Learning" a spell is the process of your character understanding it and fitting it into their own world view. Your own spell book then is basically like taking notes in class.

Characters can learn from other spell books as well, but its a slower process because first you have to figure out and understand that wizards magical paradigm.

Of course not all wizards are book-worms. Village witches, tribal shaman etc. don't learn this way.
Instead, they use what the educated wizards somewhat derisively call Cantrips:

These are the same spells but are basically pre-configured: A Cantrip is learned at a specific EL and is always used in the same fashion without any choice over how the levels are spent.
Think of it as a single practical application of a scientific formula.

This allows the spell to be taught in a matter of weeks (instead of months) and to people without the patience (or inclination) towards memorizing and analyzing a 200 page treatise on the nature of the ethereal cosmos.

So there you have it. Magic. Woot.



  1. >This allows "utility" spell casting to be used quite a lot during a scenario, while big, "screw this guy in particular" spells will be harder and more limited.

    I like that. Been playing a sorcerer in our D&D 5e campaign, and the pool of sorcerer points (for metamagic) runs quite like that. I could definitely see using a system such as that for magic in general.


  2. How much solo-play opportunity will there be?