Chronicles of Neverael
The mechanical basis for magick is pretty simple.
Witchsight: Activating or actively using Witchsight is a simple Sense + Eerie roll. You need only roll this when trying to perceive something that is particularly hard to sense or something which is trying to hide itself from your senses. Otherwise, you need simple declare “I Witchsight it.”
Essence Manipulation: The manipulation of raw essence, independent of any magickal uses you might have in mind for it, is a roll of Command + Eerie. Moving essence from one place to another, infusing a weapon with essence, and such are all accomplished via this roll. You need only roll this when trying to do something that you have never done before or trying to do something particularly daunting – such as interrupting the flow of essence in a wardstone to gain access to the Blacklands (Requires a roll of 3×10 or better – for reference’s sake).
Magickal Disciplines: There are over a dozen distinct magickal disciplines in the world of Neverael. The vast majority of individuals only ever build any true skill in one or, rarely, two. Each different magickal discipline is based on a different combination of Stat + Magickal Skill. Sometimes, through different advantages, a character might use a different stat in combination with the magickal skill in question – such as BODY + Elementalism (Garick Nevarn uses this combination for his magick).
Each Magickal Discipline has an associated advantage of the same name which must be taken in order to begin buying points in the associated skill. Magickal Disciplines cost 5 character points during character generation or 5 XP during play. Characters may not acquire more than one such advantage without GM approval.
Aleithomancy = SENSE + Aleithomancy Skill
Alkhemy = KNOWLEDGE + Alkhemy Skill
Channeling = COMMAND + Channeling Skill
Cryomancy = COMMAND + Cryomancy Skill
Druidism = SENSE + Druidism Skill
Summoning = COMMAND + Summoning Skill
Elementalism = CHARM + Elementalism Skill
Illusionism = CHARM + Illusionism Skill
Necromancy = COMMAND + Necromancy Skill
Oneiromancy = CHARM + Oneiromancy Skill
Runemastery = KNOWLEDGE + Runemastery Skill
Warging = SENSE + Warging Skill
Wyrding = CHARM + Wyrding Skill
Magickal Techniques: Magickal Techniques are specific uses you learn for your magick which you develop into a signature move. Most Summonings require you to forge a magickal technique in order to use that Summon. Mechanically, a magickal technique magick-tech is a specific effect that you roll bonus dice for when you perform a regular magickal check involving that thing.
For instance, Dualla knows the Beast Archetype Summons for Bast the Cat Queen – she has developed her affinity to this summons enough that she was able to purchase the “reliable” magickal technique for it – she adds +2LD to her COMMAND + Summoning pool when calling forth Bast. This means that, barring unusual circumstances, she will ALWAYS call Bast. Pretty neat, huh?
Some magick-techs work by directly affecting the base dice pool used to activate the effect – a few are enhancement magick-techs which can, once activated with the base pool, be applied to another specific skill and have that skill gain it’s benefits.
For instance, Drig knows the Fool’s Luck enhancement magick-tech – on a successful roll of his CHARM + Wyrding skill he can add his Fool’s Luck magick-tech bonus of +1MD to any one skill specified at the time of it’s activation.
Anima/Animus and Essence Expenditure: Most simple, cosmetic magickal effects don’t cost anything to use – they’re just for fun anyway so why bother? Using witchsight doesn’t expend essence nor does using the simplest of magickal techniques (like Rasen healing pinpricks and scrapes). However, here are some guidelines for the expenditure of both the common resource of essence and the rare resource of Anima/Animus.
Baseline Magickal Effects always cost 1 or more essence to activate. Most only cost 1 to activate but might require further expenditure to maintain their effects – usually at a rate of one additional essence every round or so.
Chargeable Magickal Effects always cost 1 to attempt to use but may be “pumped” with as much essence as one desires when activated to enhance their effects. Dualla’s summons of the High Archetype Justice during the fight with Fenris had a chargeable effect – Gaze of Judgment – which she pumped as much of her available essence into as possible to increase it’s damage. Chargeable effects obey the rule of Max Essence Expenditure per Round equals Anima/Animus value.
Anima/Animus expenditure is almost always on a case-by-case basis. The creation of any permanent essence imbued item or “magick item” requires the expenditure of Anima or Animus. Anima and Animus can only be recouped by spending XP to buy back the lost points. This creates a natural magick item economy – keeping such things rare and useful.
Many contracts or deals of a lasting or permanent basis between a character and a supernatural being require the expenditure of Anima or Animus to seal the deal. Such deals usually have very obvious benefits to them.
There are other ways to spend essence, some of which I have no doubt not even thought about as of yet. Just keep an open mind and don’t get too attached to the mechanics – we’re using a flexible system for a good reason.