MAGE 2 MAGE Spell System

clawrenc at clawrenc at
Fri Sep 5 10:42:48 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

As referenced recently.  One wonders how this would compete against
Waving Hands....

Mage 2 Mage Magical Combat System, v0.86
Robert Reimann (rmr at


Presented here is the latest draft of the Mage 2 Mage Spell System and
Spell Description Language, a modular, playable magic system that
attempts to integrate all aspects of magic in a cohesive and sensible
way, allow sophisticated mage-to-mage combat, and present a general
method of constructing complex, unique spells. The core mechanism is
SDL, a general spell description language consisting of magical
*effects* (manifestations of magical force) and *operators* which
control and shape the effects into useful configurations.

(Note that what most systems call "effects" are actually combinations
of effects and operators, as defined above.)

The Mage 2 Mage system consists of 32 physical effects (equal numbers
of biological and psychic effects are currently being developed) and
26 operators. The effects presented here are part of a rationale for
magic that must be built into your world; you are welcome to change
them to better fit your needs, but they were chosen with consistency
in mind. The operators are the real heart of the system; you should
modify them only with great care. Too many non-general operators will
spoil this system.

Mage 2 Mage uses a spell point system to determine the spell cost;
there is no concept of discrete "spell levels", although some effects
cannot be used by low level mages. Spells may be designed with
arbitrary complexity, the limiting factor is the number of spell
points a mage has available to expend. Spell points are assigned on
the basis of mage level, and the extent of the mage's "gift".

Mage 2 Mage also provides a painless and logical way of producing
magical items, while at the same time keeping their power limited to
reasonable levels. Demonology, illusion, and necromancy have been
implemented within the same framework, and systems of alchemy and
magical medicine are currently under development.

Lastly, Mage 2 Mage has been designed to work within any combat system
that makes use of melee rounds as units of combat action.

                        MAGE 2 MAGE Spell System

                              Version 0.86

                Copyright 1989-1993 by Robert M. Reimann

I. The Nature of Magic and Spellcasting

"Magic" itself is not an energy source in any true sense. It is rather
the ability of some entities to alter the fabric of reality in a way
that changes the natural balance of elemental forces in a localized
area and channel it in a useful fashion. This ability is innate to
some creatures, but others (humans among them) must be trained.

"Spell" is the name given to the psycho-physical manipulations a mage
or magical creature must perform to produce a magical effect.
Spellcasting can therefore be thought of as a psionic skill, with an
important exception. Once a spell is cast, it's semi-physical nature
gives it a certain "life of it's own"; it does not *need* to be
constantly maintained after it has been cast, although it *may* be
altered once it has been cast, either by the original caster, or by
another mage of sufficient power and skill.

The existence of any spell is, however, intimately bound to the
existence of the casting entity; if the caster is killed, the spell
will cease *unless* spell "ownership" has been transferred to another
casting entity before the original caster dies.

Spells themselves cannot be written down, but "recipes" for spells may
be recorded using the spell description language described below.
Spell descriptions have no magical power themselves, they must be
interpreted by a spell caster. However: true, active spells may be
bound to scraps of paper, thus filling the role of "traditional"
magical scrolls.

As with any skill, magical ability improves with practice. As mages
gain spell casting experience, the number of spells a mage can cast
and/or the complexity of his spells will increase. Spell casting is an
exhaustive effort requiring intense powers of will. Spell points are
an arbitrary method of measuring a spell's complexity. A mage is, in a
sense, "rated for" a certain number of spell points per day, based on
his experience (level), and his magical prowess, or gift.

He can't exceed this rating, not because he would do himself harm, but
rather, because it is simply beyond his current level of capability.
As in AD&D, an appropriate amount of rest will restore a mage's spell
point "rating" to full.

Spells need not be written or memorized, they may be cast "on the
fly". In fact, this is quite common in magical combat. Spells are, in
general, non-permanent for reasons outlined above.

II. Elemental Forces, Matter, and Effects

The structure of all matter is created by the flow of elemental forces
through the Material Plane. Were there no flow of these energies, the
Material Plane would contain only formless chaos. The world in which
magic exists is entirely shaped by an intricate flow of elemental
energies that yields land, oceans, air, living things, etc. All living
things possess the ability to alter the flow of elemental forces to a
certain degree by physically interacting with them. Some sentient
beings further possess the ability to alter the flow of these forces,
and hence the world around them, purely by using their mind, i.e., by

There are four primary elemental forces, each residing on a separate


However, these planes overlap each other to a certain extent, thus
yielding a total of 16 subplanes:

        True Earth    True Air     True Fire    True Water
        Airy Earth    Earthy Air   Earthy Fire  Earthy Water
        Fiery Earth   Fiery Air    Airy Fire    Airy Water
        Watery Earth  Watery Air   Watery Fire  Fiery Water

Lastly, there are two states for each of these 16 forces, a positive
energy state and a negative energy state. These two states are called
"Light" and "Dark" respectively. Each of the 16 permuted forces above
can be manipulated in either the Light or Dark form, yielding a total
of 32 different elemental flows. Each type of flow generates a unique
set of effects. These forms are usually abbreviated by their initials,
e.g., LWE (Light Watery Earth), DTA (Dark True Air), etc.

There are three manifestations of an effect; physical, biological, and
psychic. Each manifestation is separate and independent of the other
two. Physical effects are primarily for combat. Biological effects can
be used to cure and cause illnesses, and to bestow qualities of living
creatures on inanimate objects. Psychic effects can be used to cure
and cause mental disorders, to bestow qualities of sentient creatures
on non-sentient things, and to deal with spirits, which have no
physical characteristics. Biological and psychic effects are more
complex, and may not be used until the mage has gained higher levels:

        Level      Manifestations Usable
        -----      ---------------------
        1+         Physical
        5+         Physical, Biological
        9+         Physical, Biological, Psychic

(Currently, these rules cover only physical effects; biological and
psychic effects will be added in future versions.)

One final characteristic of some importance is that dissimilar effects
may not occupy the same physical space in the Material Plane. This is
called the Law of Exclusion. Thus, when two different effect types
come together, one must give way. This quality can be used to a mage's
defensive advantage. If he casts a barrier of dissimilar effect in the
path of another oncoming force, and his force is as potent or more so
than the oncoming force, it will be blocked.

Note that this only works for effects that are manifested in the same
way; e.g., a physical effect will not block a psychic effect, for

III. Magical Training and Aptitude

Unlike some systems, this system offers mages the opportunity to
specialize in areas of expertise, giving them greater control over
more limited resources.

Initial training of a mage lasts a maximum of 12 years. In that time,
the mage may divide his studies among one or more elemental forces.

Each force studied includes both Light and Dark effects, as well as
all three manifestations (physical, biological, psychic). When a mage
learns a force, he generally learns both the Light and Dark versions
(exception: Elemental Mages, below).

The following table shows how studies may be divided, how much time
they take, and what abilities each term of study confers on the mage.

  Study    Skill Class  Maximum    Range      Know/Use   Resist
  Time                  Potency
  -------- -----------  -------    -----      --------   ------
  12 years  Elemental*  d8/lev    80'+8'/lev 40%+4%/lev 20%+2%/lev
  10 years  Singular** d12/lev  120'+12'/lev 60%+6%/lev 30%+3%/lev
   6 years    Major     d8/lev    80'+8'/lev 40%+4%/lev 20%+2%/lev
   4 years    Minor     d6/lev    60'+6'/lev 30%+3%/lev 15%+2%/lev
   2 years    Minimal   d4/lev    40'+4'/lev 20%+2%/lev 10%+1%/lev

* Elemental Mages learn all four Light or Dark effects (not both) of
  an element; thus a Mage of Light Air would learn Light True Air,
  Light Watery Air, Light Fiery Air, and Light Earthy Air.

** Singular Mages may not learn any other force beyond their singular
  specialty; their minds are too "colored" by their magic to permit
  learning a new kind.

So, Medwyn the Mage could spend his 12 years of study becoming an
Elemental Mage of Light Water or a Singular Mage in Fiery Air, or he
could spend 6 getting a Major in Fiery Air, and 6 more getting another
Major in, say, Earthy Water.

Or he could get two Minors and and two Minimals, etc.

Spending more time learning a particular force allows the mage to use
it more effectively; a singular mage gets d12 per level damage from
his effects, twice the damage of a mage with a similar Minor.
Similarly, his casting range is larger, his ability to recognize
(Know) magic of his specialty and make use of it (Use) is better as
well. Finally, he is also able to better Resist magic of the type in
which he received the training.

Spell points are assigned to Mages according to the following formula:

                Spell Points = (GIFT)*level/2

GIFT is a new statistic measuring a character's magical aptitude. It
is in the range 1-50. Human max is usually around 30; only very
magical creatures are in the 40-50 range. Most sentient creatures
require training for their GIFT to be useful.

Spell points are calculated the same way for all mages regardless of
training. All fractional points are rounded up.

As a mage casts spells, his spell points are depleted. They are
regained with sleep; 1/10 of a mage's total points are replenished per
hour of rest. There is one important exception to this rule: if a
spell is still operating, the spell points used to cast it or those
used during its operation *cannot* be replenished until the spell has
been stopped. Once it has stopped, the points may be replenished as
described above. This effectively limits the number of semi-permanent
spells that a mage is able to cast.

IV. Physical Effects

The following is a complete list of physical effects associated with
each elemental form. Also included is the *unit volume* associated
with each effect. Each unit volume of an effect used in a spell
represents 1 die (of the appropriate type according to mage training)
of damage. Thus, a 10th level Mage can produce a maximum volume of
effect equal to 10 times the unit volume. See the cost column under
Section V.1, Operator Summary.

(Note: Full descriptions of these effects and their various uses will
be included in future versions of the system).


        Form    Physical Effect    Unit Volume
        ----    ---------------    -----------
        LTE     Crystal/Glass      0.1  m^3
        LAE     Sand               1    m^3
        LWE     Loam               1    m^3
        LFE     Lava               0.01 m^3

        DTE     Stone              0.5  m^3
        DAE     Dust               1    m^3
        DWE     Mud/Quicksand      0.5  m^3
        DFE     Metal              0.1  m^3


        Form    Physical Effect    Unit Volume
        ----    ---------------    -----------
        LTW     Water              1    m^3
        LAW     Foam               1    m^3
        LEW     Glue               0.1  m^3
        LFW     Steam              0.1  m^3

        DTW     Ice                0.5  m^3
        DAW     Snow               1    m^3
        DEW     Liquid Poison      0.01 m^3
        DFW     Oil                0.1  m^3


        Form    Physical Effect    Unit Volume
        ----    ---------------    -----------
        LTF     Fire               0.5  m^3
        LAF     Plasma             0.01 m^3
        LEF     Heat               0.1  m^3
        LWF     Electricity        0.1  m^3

        DTF     Rust               0.1  m^3
        DAF     Ash                1    m^3
        DEF     Alkali             0.1  m^3
        DWF     Acid               0.1  m^3


        Form    Physical Effect    Unit Volume
        ----    ---------------    -----------
        LTA     Air/Wind           1    m^3
        LWA     Ambient Light      1    m^3
        LEA     Illusion           1    m^3
        LFA     Radiant Light      0.1  m^3

        DTA     Shadow/Darkness    1    m^3
        DWA     Fog/Cloud/Mist     1    m^3
        DEA     Poison Gas         0.1  m^3
        DFA     Smoke              0.5  m^3

V.  Operators

Operators are the core of the Mage 2 Mage SDL, providing the syntax
for spell description and execution. This section gives a summary of
all SDL operators. followed by complete descriptions of the syntax and
semantics of each operator. Examples are included.

V.1 Operator Summary

The following table summarizes the name, cost, and function of each
operator. Except where noted, this cost is accrued at the time the
spell is cast. This casting cost is based on the occurrence of each
operator in the written syntax of the spell.

  Operator        Cost         Description

  Basic (Effect) Operators
  create            1*         create a new effect
  destroy           1          destroy a previously created effect
  move              1**        move an effect to a new location
  rotate            1**        rotate an effect around any axis
  shape             1**        form an effect into a desired shape

  Path (Shape) Operators
  fill              1          fill a closed polygonal (2D) area
  lineto            1          extrude an effect along a given line
  scale             1          resize a previously created effect
  surface           1          mold an effect along a given surface
  volume            1          form an effect to fit a specified

  Flow Operators
  halt              1          stop a spell
  if...then...else  1/1/1      conditional determined by input events
  repeat...until    1/1        loop until event
  wait until        1          pause spell until event

  Event Operators
  (all 0 cost)
  and                          |
  or                           | boolean operators for combining
  not                          |
  interrupted                  signals a spell has been interrupted
  <object><action><proximity>  general format for events

  Special Operators
  bind              1          bind a spell's range relative to a
given object
  interrupt         1          alter a given spell
  makeowner         1          reassign ownership of given spell to
  power             ***        change a spell's power
  range             ***        change a spell's range
  resume            1          resume an interrupted spell
  <spellname>:      0          assign a spell a name

* An additional 1/2 point is expended for each effect created during
  the execution of the spell, subtracted from the mage's spell points
  at the time the effect is created. See CREATE.

** An additional 1/2 point per unit volume of the effect operated on
  is expended for each effect operated on during the execution of the
  spell, subtracted from the mage's spell points when the operation
  occurs.  For SHAPEd effects, the volume of the effect after the
  SHAPE operation is used. For MOVE and ROTATE, the current volume of
  the effect is used. See MOVE, ROTATE, & SHAPE.

*** 0 cost, but multiply casting cost of spell by square of
  power/range multiple when figuring spell cost. See POWER and RANGE.

V.2 Operator Details

This section describes the operators summarized above in detail. In
the descriptions below, variables are in angle brackets, and optional
arguments are in straight brackets. Each operator is listed followed
by a paragraph describing what it does, followed in turn by an example
of usage.

V.2.1 Basic Operators

    create <effect> [<effectname>]

    Create a point source of the given effect on the tip of the
    caster's index finger (right or left). This is an initialization
    operator, creating the link to another plane. For physical
    effects, the effect must be scaled or otherwise shaped to a
    physical dimension before any force is actually released (see
    SCALE, SHAPE). The effect may optionally be given a name by which
    other operators may refer to it.

    Each time a new effect is CREATEd in a spell, 1/2 spell point is
    subtracted from the mage's available spell points. These points
    are not recoverable until the spell is stopped/finished. Note that
    these points are *in addition to* the casting cost of each CREATE

    A mage's spell may only CREATE one *simultaneous* effect per level
    of the mage's experience. For example, a 3rd level mage may only
    create 3 effects that exist at the same time; if he wishes to
    create a 4th effect, his spell must be designed so that one of the
    existing effects is DESTROYed before the next one is CREATEd. A
    spell will terminate if too many effects will be simultaneously


    create (p)LTA
    create Wind 
    create Wind mywind

    All three of the above perform the same function.  The first
    specifies the physical effect Light True Air.  The second uses the
    more colloquial description of Wind.  The third gives the effect a
    name, making it easier to refer to it later in the spell.  This is
    useful if you are using multiple effects that are doing different

    destroy [<effectname>]

    Removes the last created effect, or the one corresponding to
    <effectname> if it is given. When a spell terminates, all effects
    are automatically destroyed. Any effect which goes outside the
    spellcaster's range is also destroyed.


    destroy mywind

    move [<effectname>] to <distance> pointdir
    move [<effectname>] to lookat <objectname>
    move [<effectname>] to <n1>x <n2>y <n3>z

    Move the last created effect a specific distance in a direction
    indicated by a pointing gesture, to a named object specified by
    looking at the object, or a specific position in space relative to
    the last position. If the object has been specified in an event,
    or has been identified previously in the spell, lookat is not

    If an effect name is given, that effect is moved rather than the
    last created effect. An effect may be moved anywhere within the
    spellcaster's range, unless somehow obstructed.

    Each time an effect is MOVEd in a spell, 1/2 spell point is
    subtracted from the mage's available spell points for each current
    unit volume of the effect. These points are not recoverable until
    the spell is stopped/finished. Note that these points are *in
    addition to* the casting cost of each MOVE operator. If the effect
    is smaller than 1 unit volume, 1/2 spell point is subtracted.


    move mywind to lookat orc
    move mywind to 10' pointdir
    move mywind to 5'x 10'y 15'z

    The first example moves the Wind ball used in an earlier example
    in a straight line to the surface of an object specified by
    lookat, in this case, an orc. The second example moves the ball in
    a straight line 10 feet in the direction the caster points. The
    third moves the ball 5' to the caster's right, 10' up, and fifteen
    feet forward, away from wherever it was, with respect to the

    rotate [<effectname>] <ang>x <ang>y <ang>z [origin <distance>
    rotate [<effectname>] <ang>x <ang>y <ang>z [origin lookat
    rotate [<effectname>] <ang>x <ang>y <ang>z [origin <n1>x <n2>y

    Rotate an effect around any axis (x,y,z), relative to the center
    point of the effect (default) or a named point.

    Each time an effect is ROTATEd in a spell, 1/2 spell point is
    subtracted from the mage's available spell points for each current
    unit volume of the effect. These points are not recoverable until
    the spell is stopped/finished. Note that these points are *in
    addition to* the casting cost of each ROTATE operator. If the
    effect is smaller that 1 unit volume, 1/2 point is subtracted.


    rotate firewall 90y origin lookat orc

    This fragment rotates a wall of fire (previously shaped) ninety
    degrees around the y (up-down) axis with the body of a given orc
    as the center of rotation. Note that the point of rotation does
    not need to be a point inside the effect itself.

    shape [<effectname>] <pathop1>

    Shape the last created effect using a path described by a
    "subspell" consisting of valid Path Operators. If a name is given,
    that effect is shaped rather than the last created effect. When an
    effect is shaped, any previous shaping is forgotten. Position of
    the effect is maintained.

    Each time an effect is SHAPED in a spell, 1/2 spell point is
    subtracted from the mage's available spell points for each unit
    volume contained in the effect's *final* shape, rounded up to the
    nearest integer value. These points are not recoverable until the
    spell is stopped/finished. Note that these points are *in addition
    to* the casting cost of each SHAPE operator.

    The SHAPE operation yields one die of damage for each unit volume
    of the effect, subject to modification by the POWER multiple. If
    the shaped volume is smaller than 1 unit volume, it is considered
    to be 1 unit volume for the purposes of spell point cost and
    damage. A mage may not SHAPE an effect to occupy more than L unit
    volumes, where L is the level of the mage.


    shape mywind surface 1'thick lookat box
    shape mywind volume lookat donut
    shape mywind lineto 2"thick lookat corner1
                 lineto 2"thick lookat corner2
                 lineto 2"thick lookat corner3
                 lineto 2"thick lookat closeit
    shape mywind scale 2'x 2'y 2'z

    The first example shapes the wind into a hollow box (i.e., the
    wind only blows in the planes that form the sides). The second
    example forms a solid torus of wind. The third example shapes the
    effect into a 4-sided filled polygon (like a wall) of uniform
    two-inch thickness. (See Path Operators, below.)

V.2.2  Path Operators


    Fills any closed polygon defined by a list of lineto operators
    within a shape operator. The fill operator must directly follow
    the list of lineto operators. The fill operator will use the line
    thicknesses of each lineto to fill with, interpolating if
    necessary. The lines must form a closed polygon, or the fill will
    fail. See SHAPE for example.

    lineto <n>thick <distance> pointdir [smooth]
    lineto <n>thick [lookat] <objectname> [smooth]
    lineto <n>thick <n1>x <n2>y <n3>z [smooth]
    lineto <n>thick trace

    Used only in conjunction with the shape operator. Adds a line of
    thickness <n> to the shape of the effect. The current position of
    the effect (or the endpoint of the last line drawn, if there is
    been no use of the move operator since the last line was drawn)
    forms the beginning point of the line, the endpoint may be
    specified with a distance from the beginning point and a pointing
    gesture for direction, or by looking at a named endpoint. For the
    latter, the endpoint must be a physical object. If the object has
    been previously identified in the spell, lookat is not necessary.
    If smooth is specified, the endpoint will be smoothed to a curve
    if another line is drawn from it.

    The third form of lineto allows the mage to specify precise
    coordinates in space to draw the line to, relative to the current
    position of the effect or the endpoint od the last line drawn.

    The fourth form of lineto allows the mage to trace a path with the
    tip of his finger. This may only be done with newly created (i.e.,
    unmoved, unscaled, previously unshaped effects).

    See SHAPE for examples.

    scale [<effectname>] <n1>x <n2>y <n3>z

    Scale the last created effect to the given size. If the effect was
    not previously shaped using other Path Operators within the same
    SHAPE operation, the scaled object will be a spheroid. Scaling is
    always performed using the center of the effect as an origin (see
    CREATE, SHAPE). If a name is given, that effect is scaled rather
    than the last created effect. An effect may be scaled up to the
    limit of the spellcaster's range.

    See SHAPE for examples.

    surface <n>thick [lookat] <objectname>

    Shapes an effect to match the size and contours of the selected
    object. The object is selected by looking at it; it must be within
    spellcasting range, and must fit entirely with the spellcasting
    range. The surface thickness is determined by <n>. A surface can
    be formed from anything withing the mage's spellcasting range. See
    SHAPE for example.

    volume [lookat] <objectname>

    Like the surface path operator, but fills the entire volume with
    the effect. (See above). See SHAPE for example.

V.2.3  Flow Operators


    Halts a spell. A halt is not necessary at the end of a non-looping
    spell, as it is implied.

    if (nonhuman and intelligent) 10'
    then halt
    else ...

    This spell fragment halts the spell if an intelligent nonhuman
    comes within 10' of the caster, or wherever the caster may have
    bound the spell.


    if    <eventop1>

    then  <operator1>

    [else <operator1>
        [<operatorN>] ]

    Conditional that determines spell flow based on the truth value of
    the event operators (see Event Operators).


    bind to touch box
    repeat if (orc or kobold) 30'
           then if orc 30'
                then create bolt Fire
                     move to orc
                     shape scale 1'x 1'y 1'z
           else create bolt Electricity
                move to kobold
                shape scale 1'x 1'y 1'z
           wait 2 sec
           destroy bolt
    until me "off"

    This spell creates a 1 foot radius bolt lasting 2 seconds when
    either an orc or a kobold comes within 30 feet of a box the mage
    touched when he cast the spell. If it is an orc, the bolt is of
    fire, if it is a kobold, the bolt is of electricity.

    repeat [<var>=]<num> <operator1>

    repeat <operator1>

    until  <eventop1>

    Repeats part of a spell for a set number of times, or until a
    specified event becomes true. A loop variable may be used for
    spell effects that want to keep track of iteration (see Event


    bind to touch endofstick
    create Fire
    shape scale 1"x 1"y 1"z
    repeat move to endofstick
    until me "off"

    This spell creates a torchlight at the end of a staff which will
    stay lit until the mage says "off" (and is within range).

    wait <time>
    wait until <eventop1>

    Wait for a specified length of time, or until a specified series
    of events (see Event Operators, below).


    wait 10 min.
    wait until human "bang" 10'

    In the first example, the next spell action will be delayed by 10
    minutes. In the second, it will be delayed until the word "bang"
    is uttered by a human within 10' of the spell's position. A
    spell's position is either the place it was cast, or the position
    of an object to which it is currently bound (if any).

V.2 4  Event Operators


    Event operators take the following general form:

    <objects> <actions> <proximity>

    Objects in events can be any physical object, entity, or effect
    that the mage can visualize clearly in his mind. Actions can
    consist of any physical action the mage can visualize happening.
    Proximity must be a distance within the mage's casting range. The
    action of speaking a phrase can be abbreviated by placing the
    phrase in quotes.

    The following is a special action:

    interrupted [by <being>]

    "Interrupted" means that the spell has been tampered with by a
    mage using the interrupt operator (see below). Interrupted is a
    trap that prevents a spell from being tampered with. Interrupted
    is also an action, and can be treated as such. If no objects are
    given with an action, anything performing the action will trigger
    the event; if no proximity is given, the maximum casting range of
    the spellcaster is assumed.

    Objects, actions, and proximity can all be modified using the
    following boolean operators:

    and     or     not

    Parentheses can be used for clarity of logical groupings.  


    if (man with tatoo and pegleg) (spit and "howdy") 5'
    then create Fire

    if interrupted
    then halt

    The first example triggers the if...then operator if a man with a
    tatoo and a pegleg spits and says "howdy" within five feet of the
    spell. The second example halts the spell if it is interrupted. (A
    good trap if the spell was, say, holding up the ceiling!)

V.2.5  Special Operators

    bind [<spellname>] to touch <objectname>

    Binds the named spell in to a named object, which is selected by
    touching the object. Once a spell is bound to an object, any
    effects the spell may generate will operate within the max
    spellcasting range of the mage, but *relative to the object to
    which it is bound*, not the mage himself. Bind may be used
    multiple times in a spell to switch bindings of other spells, or
    even the spell in which the binds occur (good for cursed items!).
    If you are binding the spell in which the bind occurs, you do not
    need to specify the spellname.

    Note: binding a spell to an object has no effect on the postion of
    effects. Movement of effects must be done explicitly within the


    bind to touch rod

    This binds the spell in which the bind operator occurs to a rod.

    interrupt <spellname> at "<breakpoint>" [revert]

    Allows a mage to interrupt a working spell at a stated point, and
    replace that line with a series of new lines. If revert is used,
    and the spell was interrupted inside a loop, the new spell
    fragment will execute only once, otherwise the changes are
    permanent (for as long as the spell lasts). If a halt operator is
    used in the interruption, the interrupted spell will stop, even if
    it was in a loop.

    The breakpoint specified must be a single line from the spell. A
    mage automatically knows breakpoints for his own spells. If he is
    trying to interrupt another mage's spell, he must roll his
    Know/Use percentage to figure out the spell. The other mage must
    then roll his Resist roll to prevent the interruption. Know/Use
    and Resist rolls must be made for all spells, even bound ones
    where the caster is not in the vicinity.

    Note: interrupt spells do not have names, and cannot be
    interrupted themselves. Spells that have been interrupted may,
    however, may be reinterrupted any number of times with new


    Take a variation of the torch spell described earlier:

    bind to touch endofstick
    create Fire
    repeat shape scale 1"x 1"y 1"z
           move to endofstick
    until me "off"

    Suppose Medwyn is holding his lit staff, and an orc comes around
    the corner. Medwyn casts:

    interrupt torch at "move to endofstick" revert
              move to lookat orc
              shape scale 10'x 10'y 10'z
              wait 10 sec

    What happens is that the torchlight is turned into a fireball, and
    then reverts back to a torch! It's important to interrupt a spell
    in an active part; if Medwyn had changed anything before the
    repeat loop, nothing would have changed, because that part of the
    spell was already done.

    makeowner <spellname> touch <spellcaster>

    Transfers ownership of the named spell to another spellcaster. The
    new owner must have enough spell points to have cast the spell but
    need not have the appropriate training in the effects the spell
    uses. The new owner loses the number of spell points equal to the
    cost of the spell, for as long as the spell is active. The old
    owner regains the points he had lost while he owned the spell. If
    the new owner understands the spell, he may interrupt it at will.


    makeowner torch touch Medwyn

    This changes the owner of a spell called torch to Medwyn. torch is
    a 5 point spell, so Medwyn loses 5 spell points for the duration
    of the spell (or until he stops it himself).

    power <spellname> <mult>
    range <spellname> <mult>

    All spells have a default power and range, determined by the
    caster's training and skill level. This power and range can be
    increased at great cost. Two amplify a spell's range or power by
    <mult> The caster must expend mult^2 the usual number of spell
    points spent for the *entire remainder of spell*. This also works
    if the mult is a fraction (for reduced power and range spells).
    Even so, the minimum any spell can cost is 1/4 its base cost, no
    matter how weak it is. Spell costs are always rounded up to the
    nearest integer.

    Range and power operators should come at the beginning of the
    spell, right after the spellname.


    power iceball 2
    range iceball 2
    create Ice
    shape scale 6"x 6"y 6"z
    moveto lookat target

    This example creates a simple ball of ice and hurls it at an
    opponent. It does double usual damage and can be hurled for double
    the mage's usual range, but cost *8 times* the normal spell points
    (24 instead of 3).

    resume [<spellname>] at "<breakpoint>"

    The resume operator is useful in conjunction with the interrupted
    event. You can write a spell which checks for an interrupt cast on
    it, and which then performs a special task to counteract the
    intrusion (such as blasting the person who attempted the

    After this is done, you may want to resume the spell at a
    convenient place. This is what the resume operator is for.

    bind to touch endofstick
    create Fire
    repeat shape scale 1"x 1"y 1"z
           moveto endofstick
    until me "off"
    # check for interrupt #
    if interrupted by me
    then move to lookat target
         shape scale 10'x 10'y 10'z
         wait 10 seconds
         resume at "repeat shape scale 1"x 1"y 1"z"
    else if (interrupted by being) and (being is not me)
         then move to being
              shape scale 10'x 10'y 10'z
              wait 10 sec
              resume at "repeat shape scale 1"x 1"y 1"z"

    This version of the torch spell will actively fireball anyone
    except the casting mage who tries to interrupt the spell.


    You must begin every spell with a spell name. This does not add
    any cost to the spell.


    create Fire
    move to lookat orc
    shape scale 5'x 5'y 5'z
    wait 5 sec

VI.  Spell Cost, Execution Speed, and Duration

To cast a spell generally costs 1 point per operator, with the
following exceptions: spellname, power, and range operators, which
have no cost (although the power and range operators do change the
*overall* cost of the spell as described in the last section), and
shape, move, and rotate operators, whose cost depends on the volume of
the specific effect. Event operators also have no cost. The points
expended to cast a spell cannot be recovered until the spell has
stopped, at which point they are recovered with rest.

In addition to the cost of spell casting, an additional cost of 1/2
point is accrued every time an active spell CREATEs an effect.
Furthermore, 1/2 point is expended for each unit volume of an effect
SHAPEd, MOVEd or ROTATEd. These points also cannot be recovered until
the spell has stopped. See section V.1 for a summary of operator

All spells execute at the rate of one "tick" (1/10 of a second) per
operator, in a linear fashion. Thus, it is important for a mage to
construct loops efficiently, minimizing unnecessary CREATE, SHAPE,
MOVE, and ROTATE operations, or his spell points will rapidly

Note: The best way to do this is to use the WAIT... or IF...THEN
operators to decide when the costly operators are actually necessary,
and in general to minimize manipulating large volume effects in loops.

Because spells can loop, they have a potential duration (depending on
the spell) limited only by the life of the owner of the spell (i.e.,
the original caster, or a new owner assigned using the makeowner
operator). However, since the spell points used to maintain a spell
cannot be recovered until the spell has ceased (or been terminated),
it is in the interest of a mage not to leave too many semi-permanent
spells lying around.

Also, any spell which repeatedly creates, moves, or rotates new
effects will slowly subtract from a mage's available spell points. If
the mage's points are used up in this way, a looping spell will
terminate when it cannot execute the CREATE, MOVE, ROTATE, or SHAPE
operator due to lack of points. Spells that do not routinely CREATE,
MOVE, ROTATE, or SHAPE effects are potentially infinite in duration,
given a constant supply of owners (or an immortal owner).

VII. Mage 2 Mage Combat

Unlike most systems, Mage 2 Mage allows mages to directly counter
spells cast by other mages under certain conditions. Of particular
importance, then, is the way in which mages can determine what other
mages are casting. This is called "reading".

Reading a spell being cast within range is like a sixth sense, it
requires no more time or energy than watching a fighter draw a sword.
If a spell is not understood by a mage, it is like watching a fighter
draw an unfamiliar weapon. Mages cannot "read" precast spells in the
same fashion; it is the act of casting that allows them to be read.
Reading precast spells is a skill that requires many minutes of
concentration (see section IX). A spell being cast by another mage can
be read successfully if the following conditions are met:

1. The reading mage must be within his spell casting range of the

2. The spell may only contain effects with which the reader has been

3. The reader must make his Know/Use roll successfully.

Another crucial element of magical combat is its timing and
scheduling. Instead of trying to gauge specific casting times for
spells, a more general rule is used for the scheduling of magical
combat; one that makes it easier to integrate Mage 2 Mage into
existing combat systems.

In Mage 2 Mage, all normal offensive and defensive spells take 1 melee
round to cast. Spells cast in one melee round start to take effect
(execute) in the following round. Execution of a spell is automatic, a
mage does not need to maintain the spell once he has cast it.

There is a 3rd variety of spell beyond offensive and defensive (which
can be auto-flash or normal shields). This is the interrupt spell, a
spell which alters another spell. Since this is a modification to an
existing spell, it is relatively instantaneous in its casting and its
execution. An interruption to a spell effectively delays the final
outcome to the beginning of the next round, at which time it can be
once again altered by an interruption. Only one mage may interrupt a
given spell in a round; if more than one tries, the outcome is decided
by an initiative roll. A mage can always interrupt his own spells
(unless he fails an interruption initiative roll in a given round),
but to interrupt another mage's spell, the mage must successfully read
the enemy's spell as it is cast, AND the enemy must fail his or her
Resist roll.

Interrupt spells themselves cannot be interrupted.

A mage may perform one of the following options in any given melee

1. He can try to interrupt (change) an incoming spell

2. He can cast an offensive spell (which will execute on the following

2. He can cast a defensive spell (which will execute on the following

4. He can interrupt (change) his own offensive or defensive spell.

Precast offensive and defensive spells are, of course, safe from enemy
interruptions. If a precast offensive spell is triggered by an event,
it executes immediately; the only defense against a precast offensive
spell that has just been triggered is a precast defensive spell.

In general, a mage-to-mage combat may go as follows:

  Round 1
  Mage 1 casts offensive spell
  Mage 2 casts defensive (shielding) spell

  Round 2
  Mage 2 interrupts and changes Mage 1's spell (or fails and is

  Mage 1 casts defensive spell

  Round 3
  Mage 1 interrupts and changes Mage 2's defensive spell

And so on, until somebody slips up. There are, of course, many other
possible strategies, some of the most useful involving precast
defensive spells which the enemy cannot interrupt.

VIII.  Other Combat

Combat against a non-mage follows the same rules outlined above. A
spell takes one round to cast, and only one spell may be cast by a
mage in a given round. The spell begins to take effect at the
beginning of the next melee round.

A mage may cast an offensive spell, a defensive spell (again, the
distinction between the two is blurred), or may interrupt one of his
own precast spells. As with standard spells, the effects of an
interrupt begin at the start of the next melee round.

IX.  Detecting Magic (Precast Spells)

In non-combat situations, it is possible for mages to detect the exact
nature of a precast spell. A mage can detect a spell within his
casting range which involves elemental forces in which he has
training, by concentrating for 10 minutes, -1 minute per level of the
mage over 1st. This is necessary only for spell that are not obviously
active. Once the existence of a spell has been determined, the mage
can discover the exact workings of the spell at the rate of one line
of spell "code" per minute, -5 seconds per level over 1st. The mage
will not be able to decipher lines containing references to effects he
does not understand. Each line is also subject to a Know/Use roll; if
the roll is successful, the mage knows the line of spell code and if
not, he knows only that there is a line of code, but does not know its

X. Level Advancement

Mage level advancement is directly determined by the amount of magic
the mage uses "in the line of duty". A mage gets one experience point
for every line of spell description he casts in melee or other
non-casual situations. Advancement of levels becomes harder with each
level advanced. Going from first to second level requires 100 xp. From
second to third requires 200 *more* xp. Third to fourth requires an
additional 300 xp., and so on.

XI. Spell Damage and Saving Throws

This section explains how damage and saving throws work for both
single-target and area effect spells of both instantaneous and
extended duration.

XI.1  Spell Damage

Spells cause damage when an effect interacts with an existing object
or being. Spells can also cause non-damaging results, which depend on
the properties of the given effect.

Damage is based on the the quantity of the effect that interacts with
the target. The damage potential of the effect is 1 die of damage per
unit volume of the effect that interacts with the target(s) (rounded
up to the nearest unit volume), multiplied by the POWER of the spell.

For example, an orc is hit by a standard fireball, .5 cu. meters in
volume, cast by a 5th level Singular Fire Mage. The unit volume of
Fire is .5 m, and is equal to 1 die of damage, or 1d12 in this case.
As this was a single target, and the fireball is smaller than the orc,
the orc absorbs the full damage of the effect, 1d12 damage (assuming
he does not make his saving throw).

Now lets imagine an area of effect fireball, cast by the same mage.
This fireball is scaled up to be 2.5 m in diameter, for 5d12 total
damage. This fireball is aimed between two orcs, and partly engulfs
both of them. Each orc has about 1 cu. m engulfed in the flame. This
means that each orc (assuming they fail their saving throws) gets 2d12
of Fire damage.

Both of these examples assume a POWER of 1; increasing the POWER
multiple will multiply the damage taken by that amount.

XI.2  Saving Throws 

There is one standard saving throw for all types of magic,
corresponding to a "Save vs. Magic" in other systems. Since all magic
items in the Mage 2 Mage system are essentially spells bound to
objects, there is no need for a separate saving throw for wands,
staves, etc.

Making a saving throw has one of two results. If the save is versus an
area of effect, it means the victim takes half damage in that round
*and any succeeding round* in which he is still immersed in the
effect. If the save is versus an effect of which the victim is the
sole target, making the saving throw negates (destroys) the effect.

For effects lasting more than one melee round, damage is taken by
those in range of the effect in *each succeeding round*. However, for
each round that a victim must take damage, he is entitled to a new
saving throw, until he is successful.

Thus, an orc that is caught in a sheet of flame for 3 rounds would
take full damage from the flame each round, unless he made his saving
throw. If he doesn't make it the first round, he can roll again in the
second round, and so on. If the orc were to make the saving throw in
his second round, he would only receive half damage in the second and
third rounds.

Now let's suppose that the orc is the victim of a spell that puts
darkness over his face and keeps it there for three rounds, hence
blinding him. This is a target-victim spell, not an area of effect, so
if the orc were to save on the second round, the darkness would be

XII. Demons and Elementals

Unlike living creatures of the Material Plane, which consist of
complex matrices composed of varying amounts of all the elemental
forces, demons and elementals are composed of only a single force.

Each demon or elemental lives in the subplane to which it is attuned.
Thus one would expect to see wind demons, ice demons, fog demons, etc.
Demons and elementals are very similar; the key difference is that
demons are sentient, whereas elementals are only of animal
intelligence (if that).

Demons and elementals may be summoned from a pure flow of any
appropriate elemental force that is large enough to pass them through
to the Material Plane (pentagrams for demons, trigrams for
elementals). Elementals may be summoned relatively easily, while
demons usually appear only if their True Name is uttered by the mage
during the summoning ritual. A demon will almost always attempt a
contest of wills before obeying a mage; usually in the form of magical
combat. If the mage loses, he is liable to be consumed, or worse if
the demon is particularly vengeful. If the mage wins, the Demon is
bound to obey a single command as issued by the mage. The most common
command is to enter an object of power and maintain its magic (in
other words, take ownership of any spells bound to the object),
remaining there until the object or its magic is destroyed. This
allows the creation of permanent magical items, since demons are

Demons are always Singular Mages in the force to which they are
attuned, at a level (and with spell points) commensurate with their
hit dice.

There is a small chance that ordinary use of magic may cause an
elemental, or even in rare cases a demon, to be summoned

XIII. Spirits and Necromancy.

Spirits are the disembodied minds of once-living sentient beings that
for some reason were not extinguished when the being died. They too
can be summoned by name, using a circle of Darkness.

Summoning a spirit involves much the same dangers as summoning a
demon; spirits are often waiting for the chance to inhabit a living
body again, and will attempt to do so by turning a mage's power
against him, and then invading the freshly-dead body. Most forms of
what are commonly called "the undead" are the result of spirits
gaining control over physical objects (corpses, skeletons, etc).

Spirits who were mages when they were alive have all the magical
ability they had at that time. Spirits who were not mages are not
useful for creating permanent magic items, because they cannot use
make use of spell points. They may, however, be useful for questioning
and as servants.

Spirits which are not mages may be subdued fairly easily by use of
Radiant Light. All spirits have the innate ability to manipulate
Darkness like a Singular Mage at a level of ability commensurate with
their hit dice. However, this ability cannot be harnessed for use with
a magic item by the summoning mage.

In darkness, spirits also have the ability to life-drain at a touch.
Summoners of spirits must be very careful not to allow themselves to
be surrounded by darkness, lest he be trapped by the spirit. Once the
spirit has been subdued in contest, it will remain so until it has
completed the task commanded of it.

XIV.  Summoning Rituals

All discorporeal entities (demons, elementals, and spirits) require
special summoning rituals to call them to the mage's service. There
are four parts to any summoning ritual, which must be executed in

        1. Gate
        2. Naming
        3. Sacrifice
        4. Contest

The summoner must create (via spell) a gate of appropriate elemental
force, and of the appropriate configuration. The configurations are:

        Trigram:        Elementals
        Pentagram:      Demons
        Circle:         Spirits

These may be created on any flat, solid surface (stone floors or walls
are the most common places). The Gate for summoning a demon or
elemental is composed of the elemental force to which the being to be
summoned is attuned; the Gate for summoning a spirit is always
composed of Darkness.


Once the Gate has been created, the mage must call upon the being by
name. In the case of demons and spirits, the True Name of the being
must be uttered three times. in the case of elementals, which have no
specific names, the general name of the kind of elemental desired must
be uttered instead. The naming is generally accompanied by a rhythmic
chant (sometimes accompanied by drums) which helps guide the being to
the entrance of the Gate. The Naming may take from several minutes for
a minor elemental, to hours or even days for a very great demon. The
naming is complete when a "presence" is felt near the Gate, usually
accompanied by a drop in temperature in the vicinity of the ritual.
This means that something (hopefully the summoned being) is on the
threshold of the Gate.

The chance of of a being hearing the call is equal to the summoner's
Know/Use percentage -5% for every level above the summoner that the
being is, +3% for every level below the summoner the being is.


All summoned creatures require a sacrifice to bring them across the
threshold of the Gate. Elementals require only freshly slaughtered
animals; demons generally require a living, sentient sacrifice to

Spirits are different; their sacrifice must be an object that was
important to the spirit while it was alive. Images of loved ones, or
symbols of glory are the two most often used objects, but others may
be more appropriate to given instances.

Sacrifices are delivered to the center of the Gate, usually via a rope
or cart, or some other mechanism. Naught but that which is to be
sacrificed should enter the Gate at this time, any person who does so
is in great peril.

At this point, the being will either accept the sacrifice and enter
through the Gate to take it and meet the summoner, or will reject it
and depart.

If the being accepts the sacrifice, the summoner must immediately be
on his guard, for the being will almost certainly attempt a Contest of
Will. In the case of an elemental, it will attack unless shown an
immediate demonstration of force. After this is done, the elemental
will obey a single command before returning to its plane of origin.
Demons and spirits will engage in a full magical battle with the mage.
If the demon or spirit surrenders, it will obey a single command as
well. Commands can be phrased so as to allow a mage to permanently
contain a demon or spirit within a magic item. Elementals do not serve
in this purpose because they have no magical ability (being
non-sentient); their attacks are purely physical (since they are
composed of pure force).

If the mage loses the battle (which must be fought one-on-one for the
victory conditions to hold), the demon or spirit may take possession
of the mage's body and/or soul, unless it is stopped by companions of
the mage.

XV.  Illusions

Mages specializing in Light Earthy Air learn the ability to cast
illusions; spells which create images and other stimuli that fool the
senses. The physical manifestation of LEA allows the mage to create
only images and sounds; tactile and olfactory illusions must be
effected using the biological manifestation of LEA, and the more
complicated illusions which adjust to creatures' perceptions are
possible only using the psychic manifestation of LEA. The shape of
visual illusions is determined by the shape of the effect; the actual
image is arbitrary. Auditory, tactile, and olfactory illusions are
active within the volume defined for the effect by the mage. It may
sometimes be useful to divide illusions into separate effects, some of
which overlap (i.e., the sound of an illusory breaking glass should be
heard beyond the volume defined by the glass itself).

XV.1  Illusion Complexity by Level of Caster

The complexity of cast illusions rises with the level of the caster.
This is in part due to the fact that the more complicated biological
and psychic manifestations of the LEA force are accessible only at
higher levels, and in part due to the fact that truly refined
illusions are possible only with great experience and practice.

The following table lists the type of illusions allowed at each level.
In general each level builds on the previous one.

  1st level:  Auditory effects only.
  2nd level:  Separate auditory and non-animated visual effects.
  3rd level:  Mixed auditory and non-animated visual effects.
  4th level:  Mixed auditory and animated visual effects.
  5th level:  Like above plus separate olfactory effects.
              (start biological)
  6th level:  Like above but mixed.
  7th level:  Like above plus separate tactile effects.
  8th level:  Like above, but all mixed.
  9th level:  Like above but includes objects that enter into the
              illusion as part of the illusion (i.e., arrows you shoot
              at the illusory monster will *appear* to stick in it).
              (start psychic)
  10th level: Like above, but living things that enter the illusion
              are included as part of the illusion (Targ *seems* to be
              crossing the illusory bridge; he's really fallen to a
              gory death).
  11th level: Like above, but sentient beings who enter the illusion
              believe it themselves (Targ thinks he is crossing the
              bridge up to the instant he is killed by impact with the
              ground below).

Note that the lower level illusions will have inconsistencies that may
be spotted by intelligent characters (given the time). A 2nd level
illusory floor covering a pit has no tactile sense, so you can put
your hand right through it. A 7th level one would appear solid were it
hit with a pole a character was holding (assuming the tactile part of
the illusion were cast in a area around the pit that the characters
would pass the pole and their hands through), but anything thrown on
top of it would still fall right through. It would take a 9th level
version to circumvent that precaution. In a 10th level version a
character would appear to be fine on top of it, but the party may
still hear a scream and a thud. An 11th level version is completely
deadly unless someone makes a lucky roll, and the character notices
some small flaw in the illusion (like, the characters visible on top
aren't saying much...).

XV.2  Caster Familiarity

A caster need not be exceptionally familiar with the illusion he
creates. This is especially true for illusions of creatures or objects
invented by the illusionist.

In the case of illusions of very specific beings or objects, one would
expect the caster to be knowledgeable enough to convince others who
knew the being or object well, otherwise they would get suspicious,
even if the illusion were technically perfect.

XV.3  "Disbelief"

"Disbelief" of an illusion isn't really a matter of looking at, say, a
wall and saying "I don't believe that's there!", but rather a process
of noticing inconsistencies or technical flaws in the illusion that
give it away. How likely characters are to notice these flaws is
dependent on the character's REASON (range 1-20) and the caster's

If a character makes his REASON roll on a d20, he then has a base 35%
chance of hesitating and detecting a flaw in the illusion -3% per
level of the caster over 1, +5% for each level of the victim over that
of the caster.

Characters always have at least a 5% chance if they make their RF

XV.4  "Deadly" Illusions

In the case of an illusion which a character believes will cause him
deadly harm, the character rolls a save vs. Magic. If s/he saves, the
character is stunned d6 rounds. If s/he fails, s/he must make a CON
roll; if successful, the character faints. If not, the character
suffers heart failure (note: s/he could be revived with CPR or similar
drugs/techniques, but it must be done quickly, and probably will keep
the character out of action for several days).

Note: for illusions like a baseball thrown hard at your head-- in
other words, illusions that might cause some harm, but aren't deadly--
use only the save vs. Magic, and eliminate the CON roll.

J C Lawrence                           Internet: claw at
(Contractor)                           Internet: coder at
---------------(*)               Internet: clawrenc at
...Honorary Member Clan McFUD -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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