The Realm of Strife is a land where the Spiritual powers flow freely. There are many who have learned the arts and rituals to tap into this powerful force that manifests itself in what is generally referred to as magic. The source of these spiritual powers is a highly debated subject.
The druidic conclaves hold that the spiritual powers are just an extension of the divine powers of the gods. However the Colleges of Magic, the domain of Mages, Battle-mages, and Wizards, claim that it is a physical property of creation itself, invisible much like the wind, but with effects clearly evident in the world around it. These practitioners of the Spiritual arts spent long hours in study learning how to manipulate and control these forces. The savage tribal Shamans have also learned to tap into the Spiritual force known as magic, claiming it to be a primal energy in existence since the beginning of time, made manifest in creatures such as Elementals. There are also those who believe that it is more the art of focusing inward toward one’s own innate spirituality, and then channeling that Spirituality outwards. Runeweavers and Assassins are the followers of this belief, often spending a great deal of time in mediation to focus and strengthen their spirituality.
Regardless of the source, magic is not inherently good or evil, though it has been used for both great evil and great good over the course of history. Despite this, it deals with forces that the common person cannot comprehend and as such is almost always viewed with some measure of distrust or skepticism.
Spirit classes are those with the ability to attune themselves with the spiritual world; allowing them to control and manipulate these sources of spiritual energy with a wide range of effects.
- Schools of Spirit Powers
- Spirit Points
- Tier and School Restrictions
- Learning New Powers
- Retaining, Swapping Out, and Re-Learning Powers
- Methods of Casting
Schools of Spirit Powers
The spiritual powers of magic are broken down by Domain and School of Magic (also sometimes referred to as a School of Spiritual Arts). Each School of Magic is associated with a polarity rooted in either Order, Balance, or Chaos. Each School of Magic can be further subdivided into a School of Powers (sometimes also referred to as a Subschool or Spell School).
Clink on any of the Schools of Spirit Powers to see a list of Powers specific to that School. A full list of Spirit Powers can also be found the Full Spirit Power List page.
|Domain||School of Magic||Polarity||School of Powers|
Disciplines & Archetypes
To the untrained eye Spirit Powers may appear to lack be a wild and chaotic array of spells with no semblance of structure. However most Spirit Powers can actually be identified by an Archetype which governs the general form and function of a spell. These Spell Archetypes are then further categorized into five broader Disciplines:
For details regarding Spirit Disciplines and Spell Archetypes see the Spirit Disciplines & Archetypes page.
The Laws of Magic
The spiritual energies of magic are present in every object and being throughout the Realm of Strife. The most basic tenants governing its use are commonly referred to as the Laws of Magic. Foremost of these laws, is the strict adherence to a single School of Spirit powers. While the Mage Colleges often see themselves as the ultimate authority on magic, and therefore the upholders of its laws, the truth is the the Laws of Magic existed long before the Colleges.
The true masters of magic are the Dragon Flights, for each was forever marked by a single School of Spirit Powers. As such the Dragon Flights often see magic as a gift bestowed upon mortals at their behest, and just as easily revoked if it is not treated with respect. Though some Dragon Flights are more active in this duty than others.
Some flights allow mortals free reign to manipulate and experiment with these spiritual energies, while others tolerate little interference (see Codex of Creation – Dragonkind for more details). In exchange for allowing mortals to dabble in these powerful universal forces, the Dragons demand that the mortals ensure they are governed properly. As such, any character that does not submit to one of these governing bodies is typically hunted down and eliminated by the Mage Wardens, increasingly so as they grow in power, lest the Dragons decide mortals are not worthy to wield such powers.
All Spirit powers require a certain amount of Spirit points in order to cast. Spirit points are usually simply referred to as Spirit. Spirit classes gain a larger pool of spirit every time they go up a level. At anytime a Spirit class may choose to use HP instead of Spirit to power an ability (some restrictions apply for certain powers). The amount of Spirit gained each level by Spirit classes is as follows:
- +2d6 per level for Full Class
- +1d8 per level for Mixed Classes
(apply Intellect bonuses: 20-19=+3/level, 18-16=+2/level, 15-11=+1/level, 6-0=-1/level)
Additional Rules for Casting from Health as a Shaman
Due to the Shaman’s direct connection with Elemental Spirits, which they invite to reside within themselves, casting from health can anger the Elemental Spirits. As such, when Shamans cast from health there is a 10% chance per Tier that the fury of elements will possess the caster with an enraged elemental. While possessed by the enraged elemental, the caster always attacks (or moves to do so) the nearest target, friend or foe, and has all the additional powers of an elemental of the same Tier (see later section on ‘Communing with the Elements’). The effect must be dispelled or the Shaman knocked unconscious to quell the Spirit. At their second title Shaman’s gain a free-cast instant ability called Spirit drumming that if used prior to casting from health will prevent the spirits from getting enraged.
Tier and School Restrictions
Unless choosing the path of an outlaw among their own kind, all practitioners of the spiritual arts must obtain their first Title before they can gain access to spiritual powers beyond the generic Tier Zero Powers.
|Class||Tier and/or School Restrictions|
|Mage, Battlemage, Wizard||Tier 1, can only use common (these can always be retained)|
Tier 2+, must choose a school to lock into (retroactive)
|Assassin||For all Tiers, can only use powers dictated by guild, some guilds may brave the ire of the Mage Colleges and freely mix Spirit schools, but most choose to not draw attention to themselves|
|Shaman||Tier 1, direct entry, choose one school from Natural or Elemental base category|
Tier 3, can branch into 2nd school, as above (not-retroactive)
Tier 5, can branch into 3rd school, as above (not-retroactive)
|Druid||Tier 1+, direct entry, as dictated by the spirit/faith alignment of the Druid’s Conclave (see ‘Systems of Faith’ supplement)|
|Runeweaver||For all Tiers, can choose a single school each Tier, it can be the same or different that previous Tiers, but allows access to powers from that Tier/School combo only. Each school and Tier that they choose is tattooed onto their skin, known as a ‘Root Tattoo’ (i.e. If choosing Tier 2 Water, use a blue eagle tattoo for the Rite of the Sapphire Eagle)|
Note: See the Titles Section for more details on the Rites and associated Root Tattoos for Runeweavers
Direct Entry: means the caster selects a single school to enter and lock into at Tier 1, disallowing the caster from learning any powers from another school (i.e. do not start in Tier 1 Common unless locking into Common/Mana)
Retroactive: means the caster can learn powers from the Tier that the school becomes available and may also learn powers from previous Tiers
Not-Retroactive: means the caster can learn powers from the Tier that the school becomes available but may NOT learn power from previous Tiers
Learning New Powers
The nature in which different classes interacts with the spirit world is unique and as such most have their own method for learning new spirit powers, as outlined below:
|Class||Learning New Powers||Summary of Further Requirement|
|Mage, Battlemage, Wizard||Academic||Intellect test at -1 Intellect/Tier|
|Assassin||Academic||Intellect test at -1 Intellect/Tier|
|Shaman||Communing with Spirits (Elemental or Natural)||Complete task or defeat the Spirit in combat|
|Druid||Communing with Deity/Sacred Text||Test against the average of Intellect and Wisdom at -1/Tier|
|Runeweaver||Spirit Tattoos||20% failure per power from the same school, 5% if tattooed by an elder Runeweaver|
The academic approach to learning new powers is utilized by Mages, Battlemages, Wizards, and even Assassins. In order to use the Academic method the caster must have access to the appropriate Tier and School of the power, through their Mage College, College of Wizardry, or Assassin’s Guild, or choose the path of an outlaw (renegade, sorcerer, or freelancer respectively). Either way, the caster must then proceed though the following procedure.
First the caster must find, purchase, or be given a scroll for that selected power. Scrolls are often awarded to students of the spiritual powers by their masters, in exchange for the completion of tasks or errands. Then the caster must attempt to cast the power by consuming the scroll AND expending the Spirit cost. Next the caster must pass an Intellect test at -1 Intellect per Tier of the power they are attempting to learn.
If failing: The scroll is destroyed and any damage and/or negative effects are inflicted on the caster or on a nearby (unintended) target.
If succeeding: The power works as intended and is now available in the memory of the caster, and can now be used at will while it remains in the caster’s memory.
Alternately: If the power is taught by a Mage/Battlemage/Wizard Spirit Teacher, no scroll is required and any failure is contained by the teacher.
Communing with Spirits
Shamans commune directly with the spirits that they see as the source of their powers, whether elemental or natural. As such, they have no need for scrolls, or even teachers, to learn a new power. Instead, in the early stages (Tier 1-2), Shamans enter a trance state where they can walk with the Spirits within themselves. In later stages (Tier 3+) they can choose to talk directly to Spirits without the need for a trance. If they can locate a Spirit capable of using the power they seek, they may request that the elemental teach them the word or phrase in the Elemental or Primal tongue to activate that power, gaining Mastery over that particular power. Some Spirits will ask the Shaman to complete some kind of task or quest in return for the knowledge. Tasks vary from very minor to extremely complex depending on the Tier and/or Spirit cost. A spirit that its pleased with a particular Shaman may even go so far as to gift them with a Talisman that can be used to easily commune with that spirit at any time.
However, some spirits may be less cooperative and decide they are not willing to share their knowledge with an undeserving Shaman. In these cases the Shaman may decide to forcibly wrestle the knowledge from the spirit by defeating it in combat. Some shamans go a step further, seeing appeasement of the Elemental or Natural spirits as a waste of time and effort, and therefore always choosing to force the spirits into submission. This can be a rewarding path to power, but it is also a dangerous one. Disrespecting the spirits quickly earns the distrust of other Shamans and ire of the elemental and natural spirits alike, typically leading the Shaman down the path to becoming an outlaw among his own kind, the wild Untamed or the reviled Dervish.
For a particular shaman the spirits take the form of the associated power they seek. For Elemental Shamans, this would be the Elementals, or in the case of Wild Shamans they take the form of Treants. Celestial Shamans are very rare and commune with Celestial beings embodied in the Constellations. The relative power of these spirits in these forms is as follows:
- Tier 1: Elemental Spawn or Treant Sapling or Star Spawn
- Tier 2: Lesser Elemental or Lesser Treant or Lesser Celestial Being
- Tier 3: [Middling] Elemental or [Middling] Treant or Greater Celestial Being
- Tier 4: Greater Elemental or Greater Treant or Star Child
- Tier 5: Elder Elemental or Elder Treant or August Celestial
- Tier 6: Prime Elemental or Ancient Treant or Celestial Ancient
See Codex of Creation – Denizens for more details.
An elder Shaman (i.e. Spirit Teacher of the appropriate level) can act as an advocate during communication with the spirits. The presence of an advocate will often convince the elemental spirits to waive any required task or combat. However, sometimes the spirits ignore the advocates or deem the younger Shaman not worthy of the elder Shaman’s endorsement. As such there is a 10% chance per Tier that spirits ignore the advocate and demand a task be completed none-the-less, or simply refuse to teach the Shaman. At that point the Shaman must choose to accept the spirits wishes or challenge it in combat without the assistance of the advocate.
Communing with Deity/Sacred Text
For Druids, learning new Spirit powers is also a process of communication. This communication can take the form of direct contact with their deity through prayer or rituals, or through reading and mediating upon the sacred texts of their particular Faith or belief system. In either case, the process of learning a new power is similar to the academic approach taken by Mages, Battlemages, Wizards, and Assassins. However no scrolls are necessary, as the communication with their deity and/or their sacred text fulfills this role. Also, instead of passing an intellect test they instead use the average of their Wisdom and Intellect stats, at -1 per Tier of the power they are attempting to learn.
If failing: There are no negative effects, however the druid may not attempt to learn any new power for one full day.
If succeeding: The power is now available in the memory of the Druid and can now be used at will while it remains in the Druid’s memory.
Alternately: If the power is taught by a Druid Spirit Teacher, any failed Intellect/Wisdom test can be re-rolled once per day.
Runeweaver have their own unique system for learning new powers. For these mysterious practitioners of the spiritual arts, each new power that is learned is first recorded on the canvas of their skin, in the form of spiritually charged tattoos. The tattoos for individual powers are added as a subset of the root tattoo representing the School and Tier of the power. (see example below). Runeweavers learn new powers by physically tattooing it on their own flesh; however they must have an example to follow, either from a text/scroll or from another Runeweaver’s existing array of tattoos. They must also use a special enchanted ink, created by combining normal tattooing inks with enchanting components. This can be purchased or created by the Runeweavers or their mentor with the Enchanting Secondary Skill. Even with the correct materials and an example to follow, the tattooing process is far from simple and there is a 20% failure rate per power tattooed for a given School, (i.e. 1st Water power for T1 Water = 20% failure, 2nd Water power for T1 Water = 40% failure, 1st Water power for T2 Water = 60% failure, etc…). If a mentor Runeweaver (i.e. a Spirit Teacher possessing the tattoos in question) does the tattooing, then the failure rate is reduced to 5% per power. Either way, if failing a tattooing attempt, the Runeweaver does not learn new power and must wait 1 week for the skin to heal before trying again.
Retaining, Swapping Out, and Re-Learning Powers
With the exception of Runeweavers, all other Spirit users are restricted to retaining a set number of powers in their memory. At any point during combat or while adventuring the powers retained in memory are the only ones accessible to the caster. This does not necessarily mean that once a power is learned and retained in memory that it is not possible to swap out or re-learn powers.
Due to the limit on the number of powers that most Spirit classes can actively retain, any time they learn a new power when the casters memory is full it forces an existing power out of your memory. In a sense, the power is over-written. The over-written power can be any power the caster chooses, other than a Tier 0. This over-writing applies regardless if at one point in time the caster already knew the power; if they do not currently retain knowledge in their memory of the power they must essentially re-learn it. The frequency at which these tasks are possible varies depending on the class. The chart below summarizes how each class retains, swaps, and/or re-learns powers:
|Class||Retaining Powers*||Swapping/Re-Learning Powers|
|Mage, Battlemage, Wizard||Memory: 1 +1 per level||Personal Spirit Book|
|Assassin||Memory: 1 +1 per level||Guild Spirit Book|
|Shaman||Mastery: 1 +1 per level||Same as Learning a New Power|
|Druid||Memory: 1 +1 per level||Same as Learning a New Power|
|Runeweaver||As per Spirit Tattoos: 1 +1 per level per school||Spiritual Attunement|
*Does not include Tier 0 powers, which are always known, by all classes, at all times
Personal Spirit Book
Personal Spirit Books are used by Mages, Battlemages, and Wizards. While they may vary greatly in size and complexity, they remain the personal property of the Spirit user and typically cannot be read by anyone other than their owner, sometimes even driving an unauthorized reader mad. These casters use their Spirit Books as a means of simplifying the process of re-learning and over-writing powers currently in their memory. So long as a power is recorded in the caster’s Spirit Book, the Tier 0 power ‘Memorize Power’ can be used to successful return a power to memory from the Spirit Book without having to go through the process of learning the power (as outlined in the previous section). All rolls and requirements are waived. See the description of ‘Memorize Power’ in the Spirit Powers section for details on the frequency at which it can be cast.
Essentially this allows Mages, Battlemages, and Wizards to learn as many powers they desire for the task at hand while using a Spirit Book to store excess powers without having to re-learn them. Spirit Books can store as many powers as there are pages available, where the # of pages required for a given power is equal to the tier of the power. To transcribe a power to a Spirit Book the caster must have level 1 Scholar. Transcribing takes a half rest and takes one known power from memory and permanently records it in the Spirit Book. Under no circumstances can Spirit Books be used to directly cast powers; only powers in memory can be cast.
Guild Spirit Book
Regardless if they claim their motives are nefarious or noble, all Assassin’s Guilds share one thing in common: their business is death. Their approach to the spiritual powers is a pragmatic one; they are simply another tool to get the job done. As such, before pursuing a mark, Assassins will spend the time to learn the powers they feel will be most useful for the job at hand. Once in the field however, it is forbidden by Guild law for Assassins to revise their list of powers, and therefore Assassins are likewise forbidden to carry or even own personal Spirit Books. Instead a Guild Spirit Book is provided as a communal resource for members in good-standing of a particular Assassin’s Guild. Other than their ownership, Guild Spirit Books function in the same manner as the Personal Spirit Books used by Mages, Battlemages, and Wizards, as does the use of the Tier 0 power ‘Memorize Power’.
The mystical tattoos of the Runeweavers have set them apart from all other systems of retaining spirit powers. Because any new power that they learn is physically tattooed onto their skin, it becomes a part of them. Runeweavers have no need to memorize powers in the traditional sense, and as such they also have no need for Spirit Books. Likewise, successfully adding a new tattoo to learn a new power does not over-write any previous powers, as they are not stored in memory. However this does not mean they can use all of the powers etched on their skin in tattoo form at all times. The root tattoos must be activated in order for the Runeweavers to use the powers. This activation is known as Spiritual Attunement (which causes the activated tattoos to glow the appropriate color). Runeweavers can only be attuned to a single school at any time, meaning the caster can only use powers from that school, regardless of any root tattoos from other schools. If they have more than one root tattoo for a school, meaning more than one tier for a given school, being attuned to that school allows access to all the Tiers of the School which they have root tattoos for. To switch which School of Powers they are attuned to, Runeweavers can use a special Tier 0 power called Spiritual Attunement, which costs an instant and a small amount of Spirit. When Runeweavers meditate to gain back Focus (which costs one round in combat or a 1/2 rest outside of combat) they may activate Spiritual Attunement at the same time, see the section on ‘Focus‘ for details of meditation.
Methods of Casting
All Spirit classes cast their powers using a combination of some form of verbal command, sound or incantation paired with a casting gesture of some kind. This means in order for a spirit power to be successfully cast both components must be performed. Therefore in order to prevent a Spirit class from casting you must interfere with one or both of these functions. As such spirit classes will be prevented from using their Primary Skills (aka Spirit Powers) if they are Silenced, Winded, Stunned, Immobilized, Incapacitated or Unconscious. in combat this means they are susceptible to skills or abilities that inflict these types of Crowd Control (CC) effects.
Outside of combat, in a roleplaying sense, these types of effects can be induced upon Spirit classes to prevent them from casting. Examples would be tying a gag around their mouths, binding their hands and feet, dosing them with potions, or even just getting them extremely drunk. However, care should be taken when using methods such as this to prevent or restrict a Spirit class from casting. A well experienced a Assassin can cast a spell with a mere whisper and subtle nod of his head, and bound Runeweaver could still use a finger to draw a Rune of Power in the dirt. As always GM discretion plays a role in deciding how well a method performs in preventing a Spirit class from casting, and a good GM allows players to fail and learn from their mistakes rather than spoon feed them the foolproof method to imprisoning that renegade Mage to collect on his bounty.
All Spirit classes are generically required to use both a verbal/vocalized component and a physical component in order to use their Primary Skills (aka Cast Spells, aka use Spirit Powers). However, from a roleplaying perspective there are significant differences in the methods that different Spirit classes use to fulfill these requirements, based on their particular philosophies and approaches to the Spiritual arts. The methods listed below are typical of each class, but exceptions may exist within them.
|Class||Verbal/Vocalized Component||Physical Component|
|Mage||Memorized incantations, usually spoken in long form (aka Mage tongue), in fanciful, ancient, or obscure dialects||Elaborate casting gestures made with one or both arms/hands|
|Battlemage||Memorized incantations, usually spoken in short form (aka Battle tongue) and in their native tongue||Simple but forceful casting gestures, often made with a weapon|
|Wizard||Memorized incantations, usually spoken in the original corresponding language of creation (aka Dragon Tongue)||Casting is physically channeled through an inanimate object, usually a staff, sword, or knife|
|Assassin||Memorized incantations, usually a barely audible whisper (aka Silent tongue)||Subtle casting gestures with any part of the body, often going unnoticed to those who don’t know what to watch for|
|Shaman||Speaking or chanting a word or phrase taught to them by an elemental or primal spirit (aka Elemental or Primal Tongue)||Ritualistic gestures that mimic the movements of the elemental/primal spirits that empower them|
|Druid||Chanting or singing to invoke the powers they serve||Casting gestures that rhythmically match their chanting or singing and evoke a sense of the power they serve|
|Runeweaver||A short yell, shout, or sharp exhaling of breath that accompanies/activates the traced runes (aka Kiai or Kihap)||Construct or trace runes in the air and/or on a surface (that correspond to their tattoos), using their fingers, hands, arms, legs, feets, or sometimes even their whole body|