Sorcery and Ritualism

Sorcery and Ritualism are the two magic skills used by Awakened in Savage FeyTale to invoke magical powers.  They are only required for invoked powers.

Sorcery is used to create hexes, raw emotion and will forced into magic.  Sorcery is Spirit-based.  Sorcery is fast and well-suited for combat magic.  Hexes are the most straight-forward and dynamic style of invoking magic.  When hexes backlash, they hit the caster harder.

Ritualism uses focus and a gradual accumulation of energy to weave magic.  Ritualism is used to cast spells or rituals.  Spells take a minute or two to cast.  They are not appropriate for combat magic, but last longer and are less dangerous to cast than hexes.  Rituals take hours to cast and require a dramatic task roll.  While rituals can be very dangerous, they also allow the caster to adapt powers to needs in the story line in ways that are usually impossible.

Hexes (Roll Sorcery)

Casting a hex requires only one casting method and one simple action.  Invoking powers through Sorcery without at least one method applies -2 to the power modifier.  To cast a hex, describe the method of invocation, the element and power framework used.

Channeling skill can be used as a multi-skill with Sorcery (roll 2 skill die, one for channeling, one for sorcery, and one wild-die which can replace either), allowing the Gifted to use essence quickly with a hex.  (See Channeling & Essence for more details)

Hexes represent most of the Savage Worlds powers the way they work from the core books.  They have a Power-Point cost as described, work as described, take a single action to cast and last their normal duration.

The skill modifier for a Hex equals Magic Power – Power Points (MP – PP); if a sorcerer with Magic Power 3 casts a hex costing 5 Power Points, their casting modifier is -2.  If the same sorcerer were to cast a hex costing 2 Power Points, their casting modifier would be +1.  Any time a caster tries to invoke a hex with a negative power modifier, they take a Magic Fatigue level (which can be erased through use of essence), regardless of whether the hex is successful or not.

Casting a hex backlashes any time Sorcery Skill die comes up 1 or is modified below 1.  Casting hexes with a higher power modifier is more dangerous.  When sorcery backlashes, the caster immediately loses 1 Sanity and is shaken.  This can cause a wound.  On a critical failure, the caster loses 1d4 Sanity, is shaken, suffers a level of Magic Fatigue (in addition to any already taken) and loses control of their hex (the game master decides what happens to the hex).  The use of a Benny can prevent the loss of control of the hex, but not the other side-effects.

Spells (Ritualism Skill)

Spells take a few moments to cast, usually a minute or two, and involve the gradual focusing of magic into a structured form.  Casting a spell requires two methods from the Gifted’s Arcane Background.  For example, if a necromancer who knew how to invoke their powers through incantation and sacrifice wanted to cast a spell, they might chant for a minute or two and cut themselves to invoke their magic.  Using Ritualism without methods applies a -2 power modifier for each method unavailable.

To cast a Spell, describe the two methods of invocation, the element and power involved in the spell and start the methods.  After a minute or two, make a Ritualism check, modified by power modifier.  If power modifier (Magic Power – Power Points) is negative, take a Magic Fatigue level (which can be prevented using essence), regardless of whether the spell is successful or not.  Success means the spell is cast.  Failure, it is not.  Spells backlash whenever the skill die comes up a 1 causing the casting to lose 1 Sanity and be shaken (this can cause a wound).  Spells do not also backlash when the modified roll comes up 1 or less, making them a less dangerous way of invoking more difficult powers.  On a critical failure, the caster loses 1d4 Sanity and suffers an immediate level of Magic Fatigue, but does not lose control of the Spell.  This makes spells less dangerous to others than hexes.

Spells last far longer than hexes.  Powers that have a duration in rounds last 10 minutes per round when cast as a spell, powers that normally last minutes are extended to hours, and powers that normally last hours last an entire day.  Spells can be maintained after their duration through concentration (-1 to other actions), or by making another Ritualism check to extend the duration.  Throughout their duration, spells are constantly on, but they can be immediately ended at the will of the caster.

Rituals (Ritualism Skill)

Rituals are dramatic tasks as described in the Horror Companion (Page 26).  Rituals take 10 minutes per Action to complete and require 5 Actions.  Raises can complete a ritual ahead of time.  Failure on any of the tests causes a Magic Fatigue level and extends the ritual time.  If a character wants to use Essence during a ritual it must be Activated (see Channeling) and available at the start of the ritual.  Activated essence does not cause a penalty to Ritualism rolls for a ritual.  Activated essence can be used to negate magic fatigue or to enhance rolls during the ritual.

For more interesting narration, divide the caster’s methods up between the actions creating the ritual.  For example, if a caster uses drawings, chanting and gestures to implement magic, a ritual might require 3 actions rolls on drawing taking most of the time, and 1 action roll on chanting and gestures each.

Rituals backlash when the dice come up as a critical failure on any of the rolls; otherwise they fail like any dramatic task.  Ritual backlash causes the loss of 1d4 points of Sanity, a level of magic fatigue and often an unusual side effect (Narrator’s discretion).  Failing a ritual without Backlash may result in the loss of a point of Sanity and perhaps some side-effects (Narrator’s discretion).  Spending a Benny may prevent any Sanity loss from failing a ritual, but not the other side-effects.

At the game-master’s discretion, rituals may also require rare components, such as expensive herbs, rare stones, or even something more usual (“What do you mean you need a young priest, and an old priest?”).

For the challenge of invoking a power using ritual, the caster can:

  • Increase Magic Power: Triple the caster’s magic power for the purpose the ritual casting.  This is most useful when attempting rare powers with high power-point costs (such as the Greater Healing power).
  • Extend Range: Double the range of a power by invoking it in a ritual.  Through the use of a symbolic link (an unusual component personally tied to the target), the caster can invoke the power at a range of Smarts in miles, ignoring any sight restrictions.
  • Extend Duration: Any power can be extended to last one day or 1d4 days (rolled at time of casting) with the right unusual components and a -2 power modifier.  Powers extended through a ritual are linked to an object; they can be turned on and off through their duration using the object.
  • Increase Effect: Casting a ritual can increase the damage of a power by +2d6 or by +4d6 with the right unusual components.  Rituals can also increase the effect of a power by +2 (or add +2 to any opposing roll).  Effect can be increased by +4 with the right unusual components.
  • Adjust the Power: Rituals can be used to adjust powers to do unusual things that help further the story, such as creating a Bolt spell specifically tied to an enemy’s weakness, or a protective spell that is also attuned to get the caster through specific magical wards.  Rituals used this way always require some unusual components that tie the ritual to the story line.


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