Monday, 17 September 2012

Dungeon Frost Hell World Part Fifteen: Magic

There are several types of magic in the world. Those available to players are outlined in several sections, including under the relevant Factions and Professions entries. This post gives a brief run-down of the types of magic available, some that are not available, and some effects such as the Hellfrost effect and the Siphoning.

Playable Magic

Clerical: Divine magic, granted by the gods. Use the DW rules for clerics, with notes found in the sections for Priests and Paladins in their Factions and Professions entry.

Druidical: Druidical magic is nature-based, and uses the excellent spell list created by a poster on the DW forum. See Old Order Druid for details in the Factions and Professions entries. Humans cannot practice the primal magic that goes into druidical magic, and some druids prefer to focus instead on shapeshifting.

Skaldic: Skaldic magic is song-magic, less powerful and narrower in focus than other types, but it still has its uses. See the Skald in the Factions and Professions entry for notes.

Heahwisardry: Also know as High Magic, this form uses the DW rules for wizards, with notes found in the section for High Wizards in the Factions and Professions entry.

Elementalism: A more primordial magic, elementalism has fewer spells, and most elementalists specialize in one or two elements, thus limiting their spell choices even more narrowly. It can be quite powerful, however, and is the most common form of magic practiced in the world. See the Factions and Professions entries for Convocationist and Unaffiliated Elementalists.

Rune Magic: Used entirely by Frost Dwarves, rune magic depends on having time to carve or draw runes on objects or walls, the ground etc, in order to take effect. It is usually very temporary, but skilled adherents to the art can sometimes make their runes permanent. See the entry for Rune Mages in the Factions and Professions post.

Non-Playable Magic

Hrimwisardry: Also known as Ice Magic, this is the magic used by the Frostborn sorcerers that accompany the Hellfrost hordes. It is often destructive, based on effects relating to ice, cold and snow, and its practitioners often find they face outraged and terrified mobs when they cast their spells in the civilized realms. Its effects are affected by the ambient temperature, and so as the Hellfrost creeps gradually closer, it becomes more powerful.

Solar Magic: Believed to be a dead art, solar magic was practiced by the Selari people, a dead kingdom now, and would have been perhaps the best defense against the Hellfrost. That the Selari were destroyed first by the Hellfrost hordes suggests that Thrym realized this and made them his first target, wiping them out before they could organize against his forces.

Necromancy: The Liche Lord and his followers were masters of this dark art, and with his imprisonment, the practice of this unholy magic has been thoroughly banned, its texts destroyed wherever they are found, and its practitioners put to death (and their corpses burnt). Still, within the shadows, a few necromancers are found...

The Hellfrost Effect

With the coming of the Hellfrost and decreased temperatures, some magic has been waning. The clerical spells of Sigel and Kenaz, and the elementalist Fire school are suffering the most, while Ice Magic is seeing its power increase. The following rules are in effect for these magics:

Hearthlands in Winter (now 4 months of the year) and Winterlands in the rest of the year: All the above named spells are cast at -1, except for hrimwisardy, which is cast at +1. All damage dice are reduced by a dice type (eg D8 becomes D6), with hrimwisardry spells increasing by a dice type.

Winterlands in winter (now 6 months of the year): All the above named spells are cast at -2, except for hrimwisardry, which is cast at +2. Damage dice are reduced or increased by 2 types (ie D8 becomes D4).

Hellfrost lands: All the above named spells are cast at -4, except for hrimwisardry, which is cast at +4. Damage dice are reduced or increased by 4 types.

In all the above cases, a D4 is reduced to D3, D2 and then 1 point of damage. Any further reduction causes no damage at all to be done.

The Siphoning

A more recent magical effect has been named the Siphoning. Sometimes when a wizard casts a spell, it takes more out of him than it previously did. Thus, whenever a mage casts a spell and rolls either a 7-9 or a natural 2, one of the following occurs:


  • You draw unwelcome attention to yourself or put yourself in a spot. The GM will tell you how.
  • The spell disturbs the fabric of reality as it is cast - take -1 ongoing to Cast a Spell until the next time you Prepare Spells or Commune.
  • After it is cast, the spell is forgotten. You cannot cast the spell again until you Prepare Spells or Commune.
  • All your ongoing spells are cancelled immediately (you can only choose this if you have ongoing spells active).
The last one is an addition to the normal rules. On a 7-9, you choose, on a natural 2, your GM chooses.


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