Saturday, March 15, 2008

Magic: Runecrafting and Scrolls

Runecrafting at its most base form involves two different skills. The first skill is the skill to read magical runes, and is useful for all characters because it lets them know what runes do, and it allows them to activate scrolls. The second skill is the ability to create the runes, and this skill is more expensive to learn, especially because it has the first skill as well as some kind of magical aptitude as prerequisites.

The different types of runecrafting are modeled after the different types of magic. There are permanent runecrafting effects which crudely simulate the spell effects that channelers can learn, and there are spellrunes which are one-time-use items which store wizardry and divine spells.

Any magic user can create a permanent rune, and channelers who are proficient in the runecrafting skill can emulate effects or even elements that they do not have for the purpose of creating the runes. Wizards and divine casters can also emulate any channeler effect, regardless of the spells they know or the material components they have access to. Once created, runes that emulate channeling act as a sinkhole for magic, and the shape of the runes themselves tell the magic how to behave. As mentioned previously, these permanent effects cannot be turned off nor controlled, though they can be carved or painted onto anything in order to enchant it, even living creatures. The more dramatic the effect or the larger the object, the more difficult it is to properly craft the runes and the longer it takes because of the larger amount of magical energy involved.

Unlike other systems, the runecrafting skill and the time it takes to create the runes are the only things required for a spellcaster to create this kind of magical effect. However, there is a drawback to these effects that can help prevent characters from abusing the skill - the runes, while "permanent" can be dispelled by other spellcasters. Not only that, but disrupting the shape of the rune will also end the magical effect. A permanent rune whose magical effect is disrupted either by destroying the rune itself or by dispelling the magic will release a great deal of magical energy, damaging whatever it was painted on or carved into. This damage will be substantial, but not lethal in the case of creatures, and the damage will also not destroy objects to the point of uselessness, but the damage will make the objects more fragile - easier to sunder or destroy through other means.

Using runes to store wizardry or divine spells requires more effort and can only be done by a wizard or a divine caster. These "spellrunes" are for the most part magically inert, but store energy that can be unleashed later. Like runes that emulate channeling, spellrunes release a great deal of magical energy when destroyed. They also will release this energy when the spell is cast, which will usually be more intense than what is released when they are simply damaged - so casting a spellrune will destroy whatever the runes are written on along with the runes themselves. Because of this, most spellrunes are written on cheaply produced scrolls, though they can be written on anything one is willing to lose.

In order to create a scroll, divine casters write the required runes while focusing their own magic into them, while adding a trigger allowing someone to activate the spellrunes later. This means that divine casters need to provide their own power points in order to produce a scroll, just as if they were casting the spell then and there. This perhaps goes without saying, but in order to create a spellrune a divine caster must also know the spell in question. They also cannot create a spellrune that provides boons, which are permanent effects and not spells.

Wizards when creating scrolls have two options - they can create the spellrune using material components, or without material components. In both cases, they need to have a spellbook that contains the spell they wish to reproduce in runes, or they must have the spell memorized. Creating the spellrune will also take as much time as it takes to prepare the spell using spellweaving.

For creating a scroll using material components, a wizard uses the components to directly focus his or her magical energy into the runes in a method similar to divine casters. Once they create the spellrune and provide some triggering mechanism, the scroll can be activated at any time with no further cost.

On the other hand, creating a scroll without the material components can be very useful for spells whose material components are rare and not readily available. This method is usually used by wizards who write and sell scrolls for a living. While more common and cheaper than other types, this kind of scroll has a hidden cost - the material components must be provided by whoever will use the scroll. Not only that, but the subsequent release of energy will destroy the material components along with the scroll! Very few wizards who wish to cast scrolls they themselves created will use this method because it will destroy precious components they already had, and could have used at no cost to themselves to create the other type of scroll.

An adventurer wishing to use a great deal of scrolls should try to either buy wizardry scrolls that were created with components, or buy scrolls created by divine casters. These "self-contained" scrolls are usually rarer and more expensive than the alternative, but are actually less expensive in the long run. Because "cheap" scrolls not only need the scroll-user to provide the material components, but will destroy those components in the process, the cost of buying the spell components could quickly eliminate any savings one might get from buying the cheapest type of scroll.

It is essentially the difference between selling one-time-use guns that are already loaded, and selling the same kind of one-use-guns which aren't loaded, while the ammunition can be either cheap or expensive depending on the type of gun. Further compounding this, the ammunition also has other uses where it can be used over and over again (mainly as components in wizardry spells).

No comments: