Rules of Magic


  • The kind of magic is part of the high concept
  • One or more refresh is spent on “Magic Sphere” stunts, where each sphere has a strong thematic element with a limited focus, and one or more requirements limiting the character.
  • The player must take an appropriate “controlling skill” used to cast spells, like Discipline in Dresden Files – this is the Magick skill
  • The Magic stress track and base power are based on another skill, like Conviction in Dresden Files – we will use Will for this

Base Rules

The player can use their controlling skill alone for “small magics”. These would include single target attacks. However, the effect is only the difference between the attack and defense rolls; there is no additional power like a weapon. Note that even with a control skill of 4, there is a reasonable chance that using small magic to place an aspect on the scene will fail.

The player can use their controlling skill and take a minimum of 1 point of magic (mental) stress for more powerful evocation spells. These can affect multiple targets (either a zone or selected targets), and get the weapon bonus based on the power skill. Additional points of stress add to the power, but in any case, the player’s controlling roll must at least equal the total power of the spell (Will + added stress), or they will take damage equal to the difference.

Very powerful magics can be done through rituals. Rituals are made up of many small elements, each of which is an aspect that can be tagged by the caster. Thus the ritual is likely to consist of the caster making a series of Maneuvers to place Aspects on the scene, concluding with the caster tagging all of them in order to control the potentially vast power that has been summoned. Note that not all the aspects must be created by the person who casts the spell, and that many of these aspects would be subject to removal by opposing characters. Also, if the caster suffers a consequence during the ritual, they must immediately make a control roll against the power summoned so far.
So the process for ritual magic is:

1. Determine the power necessary for the effect
2. Perform any number of maneuvers to place Aspects on the scene
3. Cast the spell. At any time, the caster can choose to cast the spell. Their controlling roll total must equal the power defined in step 1, or they will take that many shift of damage.

To keep magical healing from overwhelming the drama of a story, it is more difficult to restore stress or consequences than it is to cause them. Any magical actions from a healing sphere performed for any other effect have no penalty. Removing stress taken has a difficulty of +1. Reducing a consequence taken by 1 degree (e.g. Moderate to Mild) has a difficulty of +2; consequences cannot be reduced further than 1 degree in a single game session.


Example of minor magics:

The wizard Glamrogan casts a “Magic Missile” at an Orc. His Magic skill is 4, versus the Orcs Athletics of 2. Both their rolls are average, so the Orc takes a 2 stress hit.

Example of powerful evocation:

the Fire Mage Algernon sends a wall of fire to sweep through an area as a zone attack. His Magic skill is 5, and his power skill is 4. He rolls -2 on his fate dice, and so decides to spend a fate point rather than take the damage of a failed spell. This moves his result to 5; minus the 2 shifts for a zone attack, that gives 3 shifts to divide among the targets in the zone, plus the weapon 4 from his power against each target.

Example of a ritual:

The evil necromancer Maladjusted has decided to raise all the bodies in a graveyard as undead under his control. The power requirement has been calculated to be 28, so he and his assistant have been busy laying out unholy symbols, desecrating the graveyard, sacrificing animals, and summoning the power of the gods of the underworld. This has added 9 aspects (with a fate point each) on the scene. When a dagger in the back causes Maladjusted to take a minor consequence, the GM must roll his Magick skill to control 18 points of magic. The GM uses 7 of the available fate points to do so, leaving Maladjusted in a poor position to finish casting the spell.

Examples of healing:

The PC Brother Aethelburt has a Sphere of Healing . During a combat, his friend Dirk Voulge has used all 3 of this physical stress boxes. Brother Aethelburt ‘s Magic skill is 4, and his power skill is 3. Brother Aethelburt decides to heal Dirk’s stress, spends one magic stress point to cast an Evocation, and rolls +1 on his Fate Dice for a total of 5. The GM decides the difficulty of healing in a melee is 3, and rolls a -1 on the Fate Dice for a total of 2. This gives a total of (5 -2 =) 3 shifts, +3 for power which takes it to 6 shifts, -1 for difficulty, leaving 5 shifts. Dirk’s player now erases the check marks in the 2 and 3 stress boxes.
After the combat, his colleague Sir Dunstan has taken a Serious Consequence of ‘Sucking Chest Wound’. With the +2 difficulty modifier for consequences, Brother Aethelburt will need 8 shifts to reduce it to a Moderate consequence of “Healing Chest Wound”, and decides to use a ritual to ensure it works.

Examples of spheres:

Fire sphere: Required – Wear No Armor

Healing sphere: Required – Limited Armor, Required – Obliged to Heal

Demonology sphere: Required – Regular sacrifices to the demons, Required – Empathy of 1 or less

Rules of Magic

High Fantasy Fate brendensparks JayLoucks