Monday, November 30, 2009

On the Nature of Magic in Athanor

At first, I had thought there would be no magic in Athanor, at least not at first. One version of Athanor used the magic system from Grim Tales, while another used the D&D 3.5 version of rituals as presented in Unearthed Arcana. Another version used powers from True20, and still another tried to use psionics or psychic powers.

I have had trouble with magic and Athanor.

Part of me wants to dismiss with magic entirely, and be purely Sword and Planet. Another part of me wants difficult and grim rituals, and be heavily Sword and Sorcery, but in the end I decided to go with something that makes for easier game play and sacrifice a little flavor.

So what is magic on Athanor? Here are three options for why it exists in game:
  1. Athanoran magic was purely psychic in nature. Thus magic-users have developed and trained psychic ability, rogues have a wild latent talent, and fighters have no psychic talent.
  2. Athanoran magic involves binding spirits in service to the caster, which is why limited numbers of spells can be prepared. Casting spells involves commanding spirits to do a task. Failure to control a spirit means that it is freed from its bonds and obligation.
  3. Athanoran magic is achieved by creating matrices of magical energy in the mid of the caster which allow direct, specific manipulation of matter and energy. The matrices are fragile, and failure to maintain proper control and guidance will cause the matrix to collapse.
Why it exists in metagame reasons, however, is to maintain a certain level of chaotic possiblity in the game, and to keep things just a little more interesting in play.