The natural world is defined in Harath by various things: Natural Laws (i.e. physics, mathematics) and by Metaphysicical Laws (magic, paranormal, etc.). All things in Harath have symbologies attached to them. These symbols exist in the common psyche of the universe. Each object has a unique symbol or rune attached to it.The runes however, are not identical between people. Rather than thinking of a rune as a fixed symbol denoting the object, think of the rune as the union of the global unconscious and each individuals personal interpretation of that object. This makes runes a richand diverse group upon which there can be no communication. No two people have the rune set, though most of the runes are very closely related. This manipulation of the runes by ones mind is commonly called casting magic.
Manipulating the runes (hereafter called spell casting and spells) in Harath is accomplished by combining an action rune with an object rune. For example, to heal a comrade the caster would cast the Heal Rune and might focus it with the Human rune. Keep in mind that these rules are the metaphysics of what is happening, not necessarily the caster’s explanation of what is happening. Casters can lean “spells” in one of two ways; they can learn an action rune thoroughly (Create, Heal, Break, etc.) or they can learn an object rune (Weapon, Human, Elemental, etc.).
For a player’s character to cast a spell they need to define the spell’s volume and shape, the distance the center of that volume is from the character and the intensity of the spell. These numbers are then looked up in the Spell casting tables. These three things are added together to determine the potential drain of the spell. For example, a spell with a range of 2, a radius of 3, and an intensity of 10 would have 15 potential drain. The caster then rolls their rune skill. Each success will reduce the drain by one. The resulting number if then subtracted from the character’s Mental Fatigue. If the spell above was cast with 8 successes by a character with 10 MF, they would have 2 MF left after the end of the spell.
There are two ways that a caster can create a spell failure: The caster can take more drain than they have or they can roll 0 successes on their spell roll. Each has different results. If they are able to cast the spell, but the spell takes more drain than they have mental fatigue. When the caster reaches -MF, they will pass out and potentially burn out the mage. They will have to roll a Mana roll with a target number of 5 and achieve a number of successes equal to the number of points below -MF. For each unmet success, their Mana will be reduced by 1. If a character is reduced to 0 Mana they’re brain will be fried and they no longer retain the ability to put thoughts together. They character will continue to live through autonomic processes, but is in a coma-like state. Heal spells may restore this loss, but each Mana restored will take 10 Power. Healing spells of this type are resisted by the character’s Con. The spell will still occur, however, it’s effects are reduced. The total potential drain of the spell is reduced by the amount of missed successes. First points are taken from Intensity, until that reaches 1, then from the radius of the spell, and finally from the range of the spell.
If the character, however, fails to achieve any successes, then they have not released the spell at all. The Magic is left uncontrolled through the character’s body. This is a bad thing and is treated the same way as if the character went below -MF. However, they need to achieve one success for every point in the spell.
Example 1: When Appolonius cast is Heal Human spell he used a total of 10 potential drain (Range: 0, Radius: 0, Intensity: 10). When he cast the spell he had 1 MF left out of 6 MF. Unfortunately, for him, he only 1 success, thus reducing the drain to 9. This left him with a total of -8 MF, 2 below his -6 MF lower limit. The first thing to happen is that Appolonius passes out from the fatigue. The second thins is that he must roll a Mana roll (TN: 5, Skill 6) and obtain 2 successes. He only obtains one success, therefore two things happen. first, he permanently loses 1 Mana point, reducing him to 5. Second he could not complete the spell as planned. The total potential drain of the spell is reduced to 9. This lost point is taken from the intensity of the spell.
Example 2: If Appolonius had not achieved a success with his Heal Human roll, then he has lost control of the spell and was unable to push it out of his body. He now must roll a Mana roll (TN: 5, Skill 6), but now he must obtain 10 successes. Surprisingly, he obtains 5 successes, therefore reducing his Mana by 5. He is left with a Mana of 1. He is alive, but will have a tough time in everyday life. Certainly, his days as a mage are over.
Where appropriate, a player can name one skill a Centering Skill. This means that while the caster is casting the spell, they must be performing the centering skill. Each success (target number of 5) on the centering skill acts as bonus dice to the spell roll. For example, Georghe the priest picks chanting as their centering skill. They have Chanting 6 and roll 2 successes. When Georghe rolls his dice for his prayer he will add two bonus dice. Fighting skills can be used as a centering skill, but not to attack someone. this might be a kata or pre-defined set of practive moves that the caster uses. Some popular centering skills are Meditation, Play [Instrument], Singing, Chanting, and Rhyming.
Almost all magic is resisted. To resist a spell, the victim rolls on an appropriate statistic (or skill), against a target number of 5. Each success is multiplied by the resisting statistic. This number is then subtracted from the power of the spell. If there is any power left, then the spell affects the victim. Note, that if the GM wishes to speed things up, they can use the average amount of success for this roll for NPC’s. To do this use the following equation or table:
In Harath, there are four basic ways of creating magic. They each have their own way of interacting with the runes, and consequently have different advantages and disadvantages.
Divine magic users do not cast magic directly. Instead they use the Theology skill to pray to their Gods and/or goddesses for the spell via a prayer. The god or goddesses ability to answer this prayer depends on where (or when) the caster casts the spell, and the godd(des)’s own predilections. The divine magic-user’s only skill is in Theology, and this skill can be concentrated in magic use, thus allowing bonus dice to every spell that the priest or cleric casts.
Physical Adepts (often shortened to just Adepts) are characters who focus magic internally to develop to their utmost potential; physically, mentally, and spiritually. As Adepts unlock new abilities, they become honed physical machines, using their magic to enhance their close combat abilities. There are four schools adepts in which can be initiated:
Sorcerers cast magic by combining magical elements with power words. This is the witch of Shakespeare or Disney, Merlin, Gandalf, or any of the “typical” sorcerers of legend; complete with eye of newt and tongue of bat. Sorcerers are generally the most magically knowledgeable of the three types. They are required to learn the Magical Theory skill.
Shamans are similar to Divine casters in that they do not actually cast magic themselves–other than a form of the Summon rune, called Conjuring. While Shamans don’t actually cast runes, they don’t worship Spirits or Gods either. Rather, they revere them and believe that Spirits are part of the natural whole. They work magic by giving favors to the Spirits and asking them for support. Whereas a priest will ask for a God(dess) for a boon and that boon may appear, the god(dess) themselves do not appear. Shamans see the spirits that perform services all the time. Shamans are on a much more personal basis with the spirits than a priest with a god(dess).
Psychics cast magic through force of will. They unconsciously force the runes into action by their minds only. They do not need to learn any extra skills, but sacrifice the most amount of drain of all the magical types.
Below is a side by side comparison of the four types of magic types:
|Potential Drain||Range + Radius + Intensity||No spells are cast by shamans, however spirits may cast spells on the shamans behalf. These are treated like Sorcerous magic, but the spirit takes the drain.|
|Drain Taken||Potential Drain – Ss on skill roll|
|Power multiplier 1||Successes||Will||Magic Theory|
|Limitations||Must be in God’s domain||Cannot use unknown runes||Must use spell components||Can not cast magic per se; totem limitations|
|Advantages||Can use any spell that their God can cast; bonuses on holy ground||Can use totems||Can use Spell Abilities and cast spell using unknown runes||Can conjure spirits that cast spells; limited drain; totem advantages|
|Ritual Magic Use||Yes||No||Yes||Yes |
|Primary Skill||Theology (God)||None||Magic Theory||Theology (Pantheon)|
|Secondary Skill||Ritual Magic||None||Ritual Magic||Conjuration|
|Tertiary Skills||Astral Theory, Leadership (Religious)||None||Meditation, Astral Theory||Astral Theory, Meditation, Ritual Magic|
|Other Skills||Meditation||None||Craft Skills, Science Skills||Craft Skills|
1 Power = Intensity x Power Multiplier
fn2. Since Shamans don’t cast spells, they cannot specialize in Spell Ceremonies, Enchanting, Anchoring, or Alchemy.