Spell Burn: How Necessary is It?



Hey Hey!

Quick nooblet question.

How necessary is Spell Burn in your ICRPG games?


It’s not. Our group used it for about the first year, and we really haven’t used it since. I don’t think you’ll see any issues if you leave it out of the game. We certainly haven’t had any.


Is Spell Burn basically a Counter against Munchkinism then?


There was some initial fear that because mages use a higher die category for effort than a D6, that mages would seem too powerful compared to melee fighters. That fear ultimately didn’t bear out in over five years of playing.

In master edition, spellburn is listed in the DM section, but it’s not part of the initial rules. I would consider it an optional rule. I don’t know that it prevents munchkinism per se, but I would consider it as a DM for the reason stated in the book: if you have one of those Johnny-one-speeds at the table that spams the same spell over and over, to the detriment of immersion.


I’ve found it more necessary when I run sword and sorcery games which are, by definition, not very high fantasy. If you’re going heroic/high fantasy, and you’re cool with mages casting that often in the setting, don’t worry about it.


The thing I like is that it’s presented as an optional lever to help reign in a situation if it pops up.

Hankerin streamed a game of Warp Shell several years ago, and you can still find it on YouTube. The Torton gunner had a crazy plasma rifle that was steamrolling a lot of the encounters, so Hank threw on a spell burn die to see if it would overheat. I think that was a good example of when to use it.