Religion in Fantasy Worlds
This post was inspired by a post at the KORE rpg blog about the topic.…
No matter what form the magic takes – arcane, divine, or raw natural magic – it is a combination of concentration, ritual, and belief. Ritual components can be anything from gestures and words to actual physical or even spiritual elements. Physical components may even be tied to beliefs or holy symbols as opposed to simple material components like ash, gems, and so on.
But all magic in Moebius Adventures boils down to three key bits – Intent, Components, and Concentration. As such, magic is VERY flexible.
Spell creation and research consists of having a conversation with your GM (or if you’re the GM, you can chat with your players or mutter quietly to yourself) about a few things:
Let’s contemplate an example…
Example 1: “Flickum Bickus”
So let’s say that a wizard wants to create a simple spell to light a small fire when flint and tinder aren’t available. Think of Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files using his spell “Flickum Bickus” to light a candle.
This would fall pretty squarely into Lesser Wizardry. Lesser Wizardry deals with small magics and this would qualify as a small utility spell.
Just to verify that, we take a look at the description of Lesser Wizardry. Lesser Wizardry philosophy is as follows:
“The energy exists around us, but never use more than you need. Minimalist magic created to test the waters of magic without annoying any possible powers that be. That was the beginning – and now it’s the major tenet of Lesser Wizardry. Nobody ever dies from or gets hurt by a Lesser Wizardry spell. These are the mundane useful mini-spells created by wizards through the ages to help them get through their day – mark a page, clean a stain, and so on.”
The results are also pretty self explanatory. The wizard wants to light a small combustible material as if it had been lit in a usual physical manner. Simple enough.
And for the spell components, as for all Lesser Wizardry spells, all that’s needed are “mystic words.” In this case, the name of the spell “Flickum Bickus” can actually become the spell’s component as a verbal component.
As far as the spell “level”, this is a pretty simple spell with a very small focus. The GM would most likely slot this as a first level Lesser Wizardry spell.
And voila, the player has created a new handy spell for use in and out of the lab.
Example 2: “Make Me Rich!”
Now let’s do a more complicated spell. For instance, let’s say that a wizard is getting greedy and wants to make himself rich. This is pretty vague, so we clarify a bit to say that he wants to attract wealth like flies to honey. This is still pretty vague and could fall into a number of categories…
If the wizard is very literal minded, they might use Runic Magic to create a runic phrase “Attract Wealth.” Unfortunately “wealth” is a very subjective term. If there were a “money” rune, the wizard would be able to create a runic symbol that would work as a money magnet, attracting coins into the spell’s area of influence.
A better fit might be Superstitious Magic. At a high level, Superstitious Magic preys on people’s beliefs to create magical effects. This might be likened to voodoo or certain forms of witchcraft. If the wizard is superstitious, he or she might believe that the powers that be would grant them wealth if the spell was cast.
This spell would only affect the target. And Superstitious Magic spells require a physical component as a focus that is sometimes consumed by the spell and a mystic ritual, typically involving some verbal element.
In this case, the wizard might bind his own hair around a gold coin, grip it in his hand, stare into a candle and call upon his ancestors to grant himself wealth. “Great ancestors I invoke thee to grant me this, grant my wish and fill my purse, enough to do my deeds, grant my wish and I will remember thee…”
As a GM, I would take this as a vague wish to powers beyond the wizard’s real control, unlike using a bit of will to light a flame. These powers may hear the wizard’s plea, yet choose to fulfill their supposed “obligation” in unusual ways. Perhaps the wizard will suddenly have a group of chickens appear in his yard overnight. The wizard could sell the chickens or keep them and sell the eggs, thus filling his purse. Or perhaps it might be a literal translation and some passer-by might press a coin into his hands while walking city streets. Or perhaps there would be consequences to fulfilling the request – finding a full purse left behind by someone seems fortuitous until you are pointed at as the thief who stole the purse in the first place and abandoned it where someone else might take the fall…
As you can see, there’s a wide range of possibilities here. One of the things I hope to do with the Moebius Adventures magic rules is to allow enough flexibility that players and GMs can roll their own magic systems. You like the “colors” magic in Brandon Sanderson‘s Warbreaker novel? Go with that. You want to do some Robert Jordan Wheel of Time weaving? Go for it. The sky’s the limit.
Ultimately the GM will have the power to veto or control some of the spell effects, as I’ve described a bit in the second example. But the freedom is there for creative gamers to come up with VERY interesting systems of magic.
There are twelve… Yes, twelve… schools of magic I want to cover in a variety of supplements. And then there’s Divine magic and its offshoots for various faiths and belief systems.
I can hardly wait to see what else folks come up with.
What do YOU think? Let me know what types of wizardry you’d like to see and I’ll try and c0me up with some ways that you might define them for your own Moebius Adventures game.