Magic Questions And Answers
Q) I have no idea how one gets to use the spells. The Spell Point costs and all make sense, but I can't find the specific mechanic for creating a spell-user. Warriors have Spell Points, but how do they get to use them? I can't grok how even Magicians get their skill with whatever school of magic. Frankly I'm just not getting it.
A) More people have the POTENTIAL for spells, but simply have not been trained to USE that potential. Hence, many Characters have Spell Points they just cannot use . . . yet. Think of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars IV, not having yet been trained to use The Force. Thus, a Warrior can build up Spell Points, he just cannot use them until he acquires the Power of Spellcasting, either through Story Points or whatever other means your Game Master allows. As for Wizards learning them, they have spent their life studying them (as opposed to a Warrior studying swordplay, for example). A Character Class is a summary of a life's work.
Q) Hello and greetings. If one is to play an adventurer, how many Spell Points would you start with if you were to get Spellcasting? When you envisioned the Warrior Class, what magic school would they use? Does a non-Wizard class have to pick a school of magic?
A) Adventurers don't start with Spell Points. While all Character Classes are sumamries of a life thus far, and thus have more power but are also more locked into one way of being and thinking, the "adventurer class" is really the story to make on your own, the story to come. Thus, an Adventurer Class must gain Spell Points through Experience and other means. It is possible one could know the craft of spellcasting and not yet have the power to wield it (simply the flipside of having the power but not the training). The Classes are somewhat generic as well. The Warrior Class could just as easily wield one school or "Art" of magic as any other. No specific one was envisioned. While it seems more logical to say Warriors would wield Red magic for its many combat-related spells, a Warrior could just as easily be a defender and wield Green magic, using it only when his sword fails, to promote healing, etc. It comes down to story. That said, a non-Wizard is not restricted to a school of magic. Neither is a Wizard for that matter, for if a Wizard gains Spellcasting as a Power, it allows him to learn spells outside his lifelong-training in one Art.
Q) On Table 34, a Sorcerer's ability to 'drain life' is listed as a 2 for 1 ratio, but in the accompanying text it's listed as 3 for 1. Which is it?
A) This is a typo in some books. The true ratio is 2 for 1. That is, 2 Spell Points to Drain 1 Health Point (or restore one lost in such fashion). This has been corrected in newer prints of the game.
Q) How long does a spell last if it is given no specification?
A) As a rule of thumb, any spell lasts until the caster attempts (whether he succeeds or fails) to cast any other spell.
Q) The Necromancy spell, Mortal Clay; when a person is turned to stone, wood, or any other common material, do they die? Is it reversible? If someone was turned to stone, such as from a spell, Basilisk gaze, Medusa, etc (I know those may not be in Fantasia but are examples) would Mortal Clay be usable for changing them back?
A) When someone is turned to stone, wood, etc. by a 'Mortal clay' spell, he lives, he's just in limbo. If the spell is ever dispelled, he returns to life in the same condition as when the spell was cast. As far as using it to undo another spell or the magical effect of some monster, that does not work, as one cannot lay one spell on top of another, and even if he could, he would turn someone entirely into flesh (no bone, no blood, etc.) just as the spell originally turned everything into stone, or wood, etc. The same would be true for trying to use a 'fireball' spell to open a door sealed with a 'shutting spell', as the fireball would destroy the door, not the spell upon it.
Q) The 'Transform' spell changes people into animals and monsters of human size; does that include wolves, large birds of prey, horses, etc? What type of animal constitutes human size? Also, if I wanted to transform myself into an animal or monster of human size, would I be able to change myself back since I retain all my mental abilities?
A) Transforming into 'human size' is a grey area. Horses would be fine, as they are nothing special, so it doesn't have to be T-1000 exact mass/volume. Just nothing 'much' bigger, like, say, a Troll. Plus, in this other form, you generally keep your mind, but a mind's special abilities depend on the situation. If you turned yourself into something, you would retain everything, and easily be able to change yourself back, as you can always undo your own spell with no difficulty. However, if you were involuntarily transformed into something, you would keep your mind and even your ability to speak, but not special things like, say, your spells.
Q) With the 'Animate object' spell,
is the object sentient, or does it simply do what I tell it to? An example you sited was
making a wand able to speak, so does the caster make its words or does it have an
intelligence? If I wanted to make a table or chair walk, would it obey my commands
indefinitely (until damaged), or would it only carry out the first task I intended for it
A) Animating objects can work both ways, depending on what is being asked, the defining difference being whether or not the Character gains a statistical advantage thereby. Thus, one can have the benefit of the doubt with storytelling until it asks a question of game balance. Harmless tricks are the limit of something becoming sentient, such as Disney Merlin's teapot and 'sugar boy'. Otherwise, indeed if it will make a statistical difference, such as a sword being able to fight on its own, objects do only what they are told, thus the flying sword taking the caster's own Turn to command.
Q) Why bother to risk dispelling a 'shutting spell' when one could use Spell Resistance against it for much less cost and no risk?
A) There are many reasons why would want to dispel a 'shutting spell' rather than resist it. First, one may have Spellcasting but not Spell Resistance. But more importantly, resisting it means one gets to pass through, but him alone, leaving the door shut for others, and perhaps even himself should the party come back to it later, while dispelling it opens the door for everyone, forever.
Q) Don't Wizards and other Magicians have a severely limited amount of spells in this game?
A) That is a matter of perception. They have spell 'effects', which can be dozens of different spells to the imaginative role-player, just as 'longsword' on the equipment list represents swords from various different cultures. But the real question here is power. However, for all that Mages are the ultra-powerful classes in many other RPGs, Fantasia is not about acquiring powerful Characters. Rather, it is about storytelling. And if you look at Wizards and other Magicians, classically, mythologically, they are always guides, mentors and the like, guiding fighters and other 'lesser' types of people to become the truly powerful heroes. In fact, if you look at the reverse side, what is the archtypical villain in fantasy? A Wizard. A why? Because he desires power. Lots of power! And that the power has corrupted him. And so, having a lot of spells is not the answer to enjoying playing a Wizard or any other Magician. This is a role-playing game. Play the role of the mentor, the guide or the old sage if that's what you want, but not so you can do all kinds of cool stuff and take up half the rulebook making imaginative decisions for you. How did Gandalf say it? "Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks?"
Q) How can one resist a 'final strike' spell?
A) The 'Save' against a spell is not always a direct matter of resisting an offense. For example, why would anyone want to resist a healing spell? The Save in such a case as that might be for the evil Wizard pouring pain that Round into the one being healed to deny the healing spell from a distance, to defy the will of the healer, and so continue to punish his victim. Now, this does not mean that anyone present with Spell Resistance can somehow block spells directed at others. It means that whoever is directly involved in the spell during its casting can defy its power. In a similar example, one can 'resist' invisiblity by way of seeing through it, defeating its magic, rather than having to resist some blow from the invisible character. In the case of a 'final strike', it's every man for himself. A perfect example of this is the destruction of Sauron on Mt. Doom during the prologue of the 'Fellowship of the Ring' film; Sauron's dying spell laid low the Orcs because they could not resist spells, while Elves and Numenorean Men (whom I'll presume had Spell Resistance due to their close association with magic and Elves) managed to walk away unharmed.
Q) I have a Bard in my game who is just gaining ridiculous amounts of XP by singing the 'Watchwood Melody' every night when the party makes camp on long wilderness treks. Should this be allowed, or am I not reading the rules right?
A) Bardsong, like Skills and many other actions that merit XP awards, can be used only at the discretion of the GM. In the case of the Watchwood Melody, it is a good rule of thumb to allow it only if there is indeed potential danger for the camp that night, or if the camp is outlined as a specific Encounter, or simply have one such Check last for several nights and need to be re-made only after it has truly served to protect the party. Indeed, if one just uses their magic every night on a journey that lasts weeks or even months, the XP will build too quickly. As GM, simply say "There is no need to use your magic this night", and leave it at that. This can occur with many different spells and skills, and every GM has his own way of governing them.
Q) Doesn't the way Magicians regain Spell Points (by high Casting Rolls) make them too powerful?
A) You must be one of those magical adventurers who possesses a rare copy of the original print run of the game. Only thirty such books were printed, and as a special bonus to those brave souls who helped give rise to New Dimension Games, their Magicians were given added power. In all other versions of the game, when a spell is cast, the Spell Points are used, and that is it. But for those who OWN such a special copy of the rules where one is granted return Spell Points, their brave sacrifice to the world of NDG will grant their Character (and their Character only) this reward of power. Note that this does not apply to any NPCs if the owner is being GM.
Q) Since a Magician can draw upon Spell Points to replace Health Points, doesn't a 'ring of power' make one invincable?
A) No. One can only draw off of one's own Essence to restore his life, as a ring is a seperate source of power, and 'only' avails with spellcasting itself (and detecting magic).
Q) In combined spell casting efforts, does only one Magician need to know the spell while others contribute Spell Points?
A) No. In a combined spell casting effort, all participants must know the spell being cast.