Path and Book Magic
This campaign uses a slight variation on Path/Book Magic from GURPS Thaumatology. Path/Book magic it a specific implementation of Ritual Magic (B242).
For those that have read the Path/Book section in Thaumatology, this variation uses the skill modifiers for “Effect Shaping” to determine effective skill, but allows casters to spend Will Points to buy down the penalty at 1 WP per +1 to skill, up to a maximum of unmodified Skill.
Paths are akin to Colleges in Gurps Magic: organized lists of spells which have an immediately obvious relationship. For example, the Path of Cunning has to do with deception and stealth. Paths in this game include the following (the GM can go into greater detail for interested parties):
- The Path of Cunning
- The Path of Dreams
- The Path of the Elements
- The Path of Gadgets
- The Path of Health
- The Path of Knowledge
- The Path of Luck
- The Path of Nature
- The Path of Protection
- The Path of Spirit
(Not Available: The Path of Form)
Books on the other hand quirky sets of a specific spells following their own esoteric inner logic. For example, The Necronomicon might elements of the Paths of Luck, Knowledge, Health, and Spirit. There are many Books available in this game. If a player wants to use Book magic (the Grimoirist type), the GM and the Player should work out what that Book contains.
In either case, performing a ritual is based on your Path or Book skill (which defaults to Ritual Magic -6). Rituals each default to that appropriate Path or Book.
In order to performa ritual, you will need three things:
- Time (as specified by the particular Ritual description)
- Ritual Space (temple, etc)
- Material and Symbolic Components (focus, charm, etc)
Each level of the Ritual Adept advantage (as described under Advantages, Disadvantages, and Skills) allows a caster to ignore one these three components for casting.
Casters are also free to attempt the spell while ignoring modifiers, but will suffer penalties to their effective skill. For details, see Ritual Magic Modifiers.
Total positive modifiers cannot total more than +15 to the required Ritual skill.
If the net modifier is negative (it usually will be), the caster can expend Will Points (WP) up to the level the the negative modifier.
Example: Frank the Cabbie is performing a Ghost Shirt Ritual which he knows at 16. However, he has no time and is away from his temple. In 1d minutes, he whips up a quick altar by cleaning off a space on the hood of his car using some Windex (Hastily prepared space: -1). He pulls the medal of St Christopher from his rear-view mirror, and lights a road flare for a candle (Cheap Materials -2). He only has few seconds left before the shooting starts, so he goes for Reduced Casting Time (-5).
This gives Frank a total modifier of (-1 + -2 + -5) = -8, for a net skill of 8. Knowing that this ritual potentially stands between him and a bullet, he decides to pour 6 WP into the spell, giving him a total skill of 14.
He makes the roll, and the Ghost Shirt allows him to protects him from a hail of stray bullets in a drive by. Frank, however, started with only 12 WP, so now he has a -2 on all Will rolls as per described in the table on Will and Will Points.