Fireborn: Dark Phoenix
At their core, all spells have the same Template, unless otherwise specified (or if the desired effect would not sensibly need the parameter, e.g. creation of a small rock from thin air does not have a ‘target’)
Target: Self or Touch (Object)
Duration: Instant, or 1 round (GM’s discretion depending on intended effect)
Type: Action or Ritual
In each spell there is a single Primary symbol, chosen by the caster, and multiple Secondary symbols. The Primary symbol determines the major casting options available; the secondary symbols each add one relevant thematic effect and/or one appropriate casting option, at the GM’s discretion. It is possible for spells to require multiple instances of the same symbol if it is not the primary symbol.
There are too many possibilities in spell options to invent them all ahead of time; some symbols will be required for particular template changes, but once in place the caster can make ‘ad hoc’ modifications; the GM will determine a suitable TH increase to represent this. For instance, attempting to make a Fireball spell might lead a player to request that the target become a sphere of 3m base radius and that the range become (say) 20m base; the GM might then say that this set of modifications is worth a TH increase of 2, on top of requiring the Void symbol to be included twice (once for range, once for area effect).
Symbols are divided into the Triadic Concepts, as follows. Some example effects are included; the symbols could also include the inverse effect (e.g. Creation can disintegrate matter, Body can cause injuries, etc), or other relevant effects that remain true to their concept. However, upgrading significantly beyond these base effects may require a Ritual or similar (i.e. rather than simply incrementing them using casting options, changing them to a notably better base effec – such as changing Energy from damage to disitegration, or Body from transferring wounds to healing them outright).
Basic effects listed below might be thematically appropriate to change to related symbols – for instance a Body symbol might be able to cause 3 damage to an enemy, or a Soul symbol to cause 3 Mana Draw to an enemy, by analogy to the Energy symbol.
“Matter” High Concept
Basic Effect: Create 1KG of basic uniform matter in a space that contains nothing denser or more solid than liquid water. It creates stable and common naturally-occurring materials only. The created object is in a simple geometric shape.
Basic Effect: Reshape up to 1KG of soft material (e.g. clay); this may require Fire (Crafting) tests to produce particular detail (e.g. art objects, mechanisms)
Basic Effect: Conjures enough energy to deal 3 elemental damage (The spell becomes Typed with the chosen element).
“Life” High Concept
Body: Template changes to “Target: One Willing Physical Creature”
Basic Effect: Transfer a minor wound between the caster and the target (Note that actual healing requires a rank 1 ritual
Mind: Template changes to “Target: One unwilling and/or ephemeral creature”.
Basic Effect: Impose a -1 mental penalty
Soul: Template changes to “Target: One willing and/or ephemeral creature.
Basic Effect: Automatically stabilise a Dying creature
“Aether” High Concept
Void: Template changes to “Range: Trivial” or “Range: 5m” (caster’s choice), and casting options for Area become available. Area may include or exclude the caster (their choice)
Basic Effect: Reduce distance penalties for Senses tests by 1
Entropy: Template changes to “Duration of some effects can be a base of 1 minute, 1 hour, or 1 day (GM discretion)”. Casting options to increase Duration become available.
Basic Effect: Increase a Gait by 1 step
Knowledge: Template changes to : “Type: …or Reaction”.
Basic Effect: A minor hint is given which grants a reroll on a specific related test. This does not foretell the future nor uncover secret information.
Some spells may require multiple symbols with thematic links between them to function. A spell that turns a soldier into an angry tiger who turns on his fellow troops, for instance, would require both Body and Mind symbols to function (Body for physical change, Mind for mental change) – and the caster would likely want to include some Void (to allow the spell to act beyond Touch range) and Entropy (to increase the duration) as well, making for a high TH spell already. If the target were significantly different in size to the average tiger it might require more or less mass, which in turn would require a Creation symbol.
The TH to create a spell from scratch is equal to 5 plus the minimum TH required to cast it, all multiplied by 5. Every 30 minutes the caster then makes an Air(Casting) test, with successes accumulating towards the total required to complete the spell research; the spell is researched once the cumulative successes reach the TH. The caster is assumed to keep notes on the process in some format; these permit the caster to skip research the next time they wish to prepare the spell.
To create a spell effect, the caster first needs an idea of what the spell is supposed to do, decide what symbols are therefore needed for thematic effect and utility. For instance, a mage might want to open the locked door of someone’s house. He might decide that the best way is to create a key that opens it, which suggests the Creation symbol. He then realises that he needs to create the object in a specific shape (suggesting the Form symbol) and that he doesn’t know what shape the key should be, so finding it out might be a Knowledge symbol ability (since the lock is physically present he doesn’t doubt it’s a viable use). Finally, he realises that the duration would be one round, probably too little to open the door, so he might need an Entropy symbol to add duration. By this time his spell is four Symbols long, and already takes an above average caster to achieve it; but he feels confident.
He could, of course, find a piece of key-sized metal, and avoid using Creation at all – then he might be able to achieve the same effect using the Form symbol to reshape the metal temporarily, and more easily.
In the end, these rules are intended to be guidelines for an open-ended system of magic that can do amazing things (albeit with heavy investment). The GM is the final arbiter of whether something is permissible.
Standard casting options:
Range A: 1(u) Increase specific Range by one increment.
Duration A: 1(u) Increase spell’s duration by one increment
Duration B: 15(30) The spell becomes a ritual. Spell duration becomes Permanent (until dispelled), or Instantaneous if the higher cost is spent (subject to GM discretion).
Target A: 3(u) Add one additional target to the spell’s main effect. Ignore this option if the target is an area rather than specific.
Area A: 2(u) Increase spell’s radius (or length if a Line effect) by one increment