Fireborn: Dark Phoenix
There are some significant changes to the standard Fireborn spellcasting, as follows.
Firstly, casting spells is possible by any character who possesses an appropriate spell Symbol; however the spell effects are very limited. Enhancing these to useful levels requires multiple spell Symbols, and the Manaweave Power. See ‘New Powers’ below for further details. Note that the ‘Casting’ Edge of core Fireborn no longer exists.
Secondly, spells are no longer divided into ranks and specific templates with casting options attached; instead, spells are based on Spell Symbols which can be linked together to alter the effects of the spells they generate. There is much greater scope for players to create their own magical effects; but doing so is dangerous, requires significant AP investments, takes time, and drains resources that regenerate slowly. While this could replicate powers, it’s safer and simpler to just acquire the power if it’s something you want to do regularly!
Spells are created by a mage ahead of time by assembling their assorted Spell Symbols – these are actual, but ephemeral, magical objects of significant value – into codices and sequences called ‘spells’, bonding the symbols together so that they can be charged with Mana and erupt with magical force in a precisely predetermined way.
Characters have “Spell Slots”, equal to their Earth score. This is the number of spells they can keep prepared at any one time and ready for use; otherwise they must break up a spell to prepare a different one. The maximum size of a Spell Slot is 1 symbol; this can be raised with the Manaweave power.
It takes a mage 1 minute to un-bind a Spell, separating it into constituent symbols that can be re-used; but creating a new spell requires study time to calculate how to craft it (see Spells) unless the character already has written instructions on how to prepare the spell, and the minor rituals of binding the spell symbols into a new format take 10 minutes per Symbol involved. Single Symbols still need 10 minutes’ preparation to ready them for spell use.
The Gather Magic mental action must be done as a single action, with a base TH of double the number of symbols used in the spell; if it succeeds, the character may note down any “Overkill” successes beyond the TH for the spell to spend on Casting Options for that spell later. If a character fails to Gather Magic successfully, they pay a Mana Cost equal to half TH.
The Weave Magic physical action can be performed slowly, adding successes gained over multiple turns; however the TH (equal to the number of symbols used) is increased by one for each Overkill success the character acquired on Gather Magic, and by one for each physical action the character has already spent trying to cast the spell.
Once a character has finished casting a spell – or ultimately failed to cast it – the Mana cost is calculated. The base mana cost of all spells is equal to the TH of the Gather Magic action plus any overkill successes gained; plus the number of symbols in the spell multiplied by the number of Weave Magic actions it took to cast it. If the spell fails (for instance, if the character is incapacitated before finishing the casting), the character still suffers full Mana cost; if the character voluntarily abandons the spell it is assumed they make a more controlled release of the magic and the Mana cost is thus halved.
The Mana cost total is compared to the character’s Mana Pool and it is calculated whether Mana Drain occurred (it usually will, even if only a little). If the Mana Pool ever has -8 Drain levels in it already, all extra Drain levels from that spell become Wounds; thereafter Mana Cost is compared directly to the character’s Health Chart rather than their Mana Pool, until such time as their Mana Pool is not fully Drained. In both cases, Karma may be spent to prevent the Mana becoming physical wounds at a rate of 2 karma per wound negated this way.