The Cost of Magic



The Cost of Magic

When you’re playing a wizard, nothing is less heroic than trying to cast a spell and having happen, so we’re going to change that. Casting a spell will always do something; it might miss; it might do the wrong thing; it might do the right thing to the wrong person; it might take its toll in corruption or blood. When a spell caster fails the casting check, they roll on this chart:

  1. The wrong target
    1.A random object or point in space
    2.A single foe
    3.A single ally
    4.The caster
    5.An area centered at a random point that does not include the intended target
    6.An area centered on a random ally
    7.An area centered on the caster
    8.Roll twice

  2. The wrong effect
    1.An opposite sort of effect
    2.A different sort of effect of approximately the same power
    3.A slightly more dangerous effect
    4.A less dangerous effect
    5.A much more dangerous effect
    6.A largely cosmetic effect

  3. The wrong effect and the wrong target

  4. Pay the toll:
    1.Roll again. Spell automatically miscasts in the same way; DM may set conditions to restore ability to cast properly, or create new spell
    2.Gain a visible mutation or mark of the arcane
    3.Merge with random piece of loot; cannot empty slot in inventory; even - loot is no longer usable, odd - loot still functions
    4.Lose random loot: even - destroyed, odd - dropped and thrown away from caster
    5.Lose ability to cast spell; DM may set conditions to regain
    6.Lose 1 point in the wizard’s lowest stat other than Int
    7.Lose 1 Int; DM may set conditions to regain
    8.Gain a curse; curses should have conditions set for removal, and need not apply all the time; it is important that the PC cannot tell people that they cannot do/or must do something because they are cursed; they also should not be able to tell others how to lift the curse; possible curses:

    1. Cannot say or write your own name
    2. cannot lie
    3. cannot tell the truth
    4. cannot pay full price
    5. cannot touch a dead body
    6. cannot pay less than the requested price
    7. every foe you kill comes back as undead
    8. cannot heal by non-magical means
    9. Cannot travel by road
    10. Fall in love with the next living thing you see
  5. Wrong target and pay the toll

  6. Wrong effect and pay the toll

  7. Wrong effect, wrong target, and pay the toll

  8. Wrong target, wrong effect, and pay 2 tolls, or 1 toll twice


I feel like if this were broken down into rolling 2 dice, one describing the ‘category’ of the blowback and the other the adverse effect proper, it’d be more usable. A d40 table feels unwieldy.


It wasn’t a d40 table when I posted it :frowning: Let me fix!


Yeah, the fix presents itself much better, much more usable too.


But, rolling a d4 and a d10 is super fun!