Prototype Play Test Release 2 – Magical Struggles

This is a second in the prototype series, working toward the creation of a Magic system for use with All Us Gamers and specifically for the Adventure Cycle.

This prototype relies on The Inner Core rules, On Aptitude, The Book of Struggles, the injury system in the Combat Toolkit and the spell system from the previous prototype article.

As with the previous prototype chunk, this is unlikely to be the final form of these rules. When the magic plugin for the adventure cycle is released much of this will probably have changed. This is just the current direction that development is taking. Play tester feedback may change it.

Play testers, and a commenter on Facebook, have noted some appearance of complexity in the previous spells notes. Feedback is useful and is so noted. There is already a partially streamlined version and the visual chart in particular is undergoing some tidy up and enhancement to make the fairly simple step of working out a spell casting needed, and its cost, quite obvious with no mental gymnastics required. That will be re-published in a while.

On the To Do list:

0 complexity spells.

Spell Specialisations:

  • Imposition – Getting others to agree or be obedient by overcoming their Will.
  • Enchanting – imbuing things with magical properties and Will of their own.
  • Life – spells that alter or effect living things.
  • Transform – change living and material things to different forms.
  • Knowledge – spells about knowing and informing.
  • Force – spells of physical force to hold, lift, push, or break things.
  • Elemental Force – Manipulating, creating and dispersing elemental material.

Please send detailed feedback to, along with your full name as you would like it to appear on my acknowledgements list in the about page (

This release is about giving characters the ability to interfere with the casting of spells, and of spells that have been cast and are being maintained by focus. A sorcerer can detect spell casting and focus, and may attempt to take over the spell to either close it down or redirect it. Other sorcerers may join in the struggle over a spell to help out either side.

Detection of Spells

When a sorcerer is casting a spell, or actively managing a spell including using focus to sustain a spell, another sorcerer may detect the spell if all of the following apply:

  • the effect of the spell is, or will be, in line of sight of the detecting sorcerer.
  • the detecting sorcerer has at least 1 aptitude in the specialisation for the target spell, or 3 aptitude in the sorcery profession.
  • the detecting sorcerer has at least 1 available Willpower.

Effect of Detection

If there is currently no struggle over the spell, the detecting sorcerer may initiate one against the caster.

If there is a struggle in progress over the spell the detecting sorcerer may join in on one side or the other.

If the detecting sorcerer has no focus available then they don’t know the exact spell being cast, the target of the spell (if any), who is casting it, or their amount of available Willpower.

If one focus is available to the detecting sorcerer then they will know the spell and its target.

If two or more focus are available to the detecting sorcerer then they also know who the spell caster is and how much Willpower they have available.

Struggle Complications

During a magical struggle the complications have these effects:

Savage – a psychic punch – exhaust 3 Willpower as if required for a spell cast.

Painful – a psychic shove – exhaust 1 Willpower

Soft – miscalculate – DN +2 for 1 moment

Setback – fumble the powers – DN +2 for 3 moments

To continue participating in the struggle each moment a sorcerer must have either control of the spell or at least 1 available Willpower.

Pre-Cast struggle

A pre-cast struggle is when the struggle begins before the cast action is resolved. The struggle will be to go ahead with or prevent the spell, or to control the spell from the moment of casting.

If a pre-cast struggle begins within one minute of the time before the casting action is resolved, then the first struggle moment is at the time of the casting action, otherwise the struggle will run in six second moments.

Prior to the cast action itself an advance means either the caster may continue to attempt the cast or the opposition blocks the cast and it must be restarted if the caster still wants to cast the spell.

At the time of the cast, an advance by the caster means the spell is cast at the level of success the caster just achieved. An advance by the opposition means the caster must expend the base Willpower for the spell but the opposition may cancel the spell or take the spell over act as if they themselves had cast the spell. Only one person may be the caster.

If the struggle has not advanced at the moment of casting then the casting is delayed for a six second moment and the struggle goes another round.

If the caster runs out of the necessary base Willpower before the spell is cast, then the spell cast halts immediately with no effect.

Post-Cast Struggle

A post-cast struggle occurs after a spell has been successfully cast and before its effects cease to be actively managed due to spell duration or focus. The goal will be to maintain or take control of the effects of a spell in progress, or to shut the spell down.

The default struggle moment is 6 seconds.

On an advance by the sorcerer currently in control of the spell they may direct the spell behaviour. If they need available focus but have run out then the spell dissipates.

On an advance by the opponent then control of the spell changes hands and the opponent may direct spell behaviour. Again, if they need available focus but have run out then the spell dissipates.

If the struggle continues then the spell proceeds on autopilot, not directed by a sorcerer specifically. If the controlling sorcerer has run out of focus and it is needed to sustain the spell then the spell dissipates.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: