MAGE 2 MAGE v. 0.88

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Thu Apr 9 16:40:00 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


If I don't post this I'm gonna lose it (Kudos to Travis for passing
this to me last time we talked about M2M):

Newsgroups: rec.games.design
From: mrx at netcom.com (hidden variable)
Subject: Mage 2 Mage v. 0.88
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 1994 04:55:16 GMT

Frankly, I'm amazed and flattered at the amount of interest people
continue to show in my Mage 2 Mage system.  The email started flooding
in after someone posted version 0.86, so I thought I'd stem the tide
by posting the latest version here directly.

If you took the trouble of saving version 0.86, you might want to hang
onto it for a second.  You'll motice that the Illusion portion of Mage
2 Mage (Section XV.) has been removed from version 0.88; it seemed
more appropriate, upon reflection, as an independent system.  But feel
free to use it with the system if you so desire.

There's a number of changes in version 0.88.  There's a new operator,
ALTER, and cost of spells have been revised to improve play balance.

As usual, all comments are welcome, either in email or here in this
group. Do take note of my current email addresses; they are different
than those listed in previous versions of M2M.


                Enjoy,

                Robert M. Reimann

                rmr at XaosTools.com
                mrx at netcom.com

- ---------------------------------------------------------------------



                 MAGE 2 MAGE Spell System
 
                       Version 0.88

            Copyright 1989-1994 by Robert M. Reimann




Preface
- -------

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
27 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 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.




I.  The Nature of Elemental 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 magic.

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

  EARTH
  AIR
  FIRE
  WATER

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
instance.





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 Time   Skill Class  Max. Potency  Range         Know/Use      Resist
  -----------  -----------     -------    -----         --------     ------
  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.

Note: Spell points expended *during the execution* of a spell
       are replenished at the normal rate.





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).



  EARTH
  ------
  
    Form    Physical Effect    Unit Volume
    -----   ---------------    -----------
  
    LTE      Crystal/Glass    (0.10 m)^3
    LAE      Sand             (1.00 m)^3
    LWE      Loam             (1.00 m)^3
    LFE      Lava             (0.01 m)^3
    
    DTE      Stone            (0.50 m)^3
    DAE      Dust             (1.00 m)^3
    DWE      Mud/Quicksand    (0.50 m)^3
    DFE      Metal            (0.10 m)^3
  
  
  
  WATER
  ------
  
    Form    Physical Effect   Unit Volume
    -----    ---------------  -----------
    
    LTW      Water            (1.00 m)^3
    LAW      Foam             (1.00 m)^3
    LEW      Glue             (0.10 m)^3
    LFW      Steam            (0.10 m)^3
    
    DTW      Ice              (0.50 m)^3
    DAW      Snow             (1.00 m)^3
    DEW      Liquid (Poison)  (0.01 m)^3
    DFW      Oil              (0.10 m)^3
  
  
  
  FIRE
  -----
  
    Form    Physical Effect  Unit Volume
    -----   ---------------  -----------
  
    LTF     Fire             (0.50 m)^3
    LAF     Plasma           (0.01 m)^3
    LEF     Brimstone        (0.10 m)^3
    LWF     Electricity      (0.10 m)^3
    
    DTF     Rust             (0.10 m)^3
    DAF     Ash              (1.00 m)^3
    DEF     Alkali           (0.10 m)^3
    DWF     Acid             (0.10 m)^3
  
  
  
  AIR
  ----
  
    Form    Physical Effect    Unit Volume
    -----   ---------------    -----------
  
    LTA     Air/Wind           (1.00 m)^3        
    LWA     Fog/Cloud/Mist     (1.00 m)^3    
    LEA     Ambient Light      (1.00 m)^3        
    LFA     Radiant Light      (0.10 m)^3        
    
    DTA     Shadow/Darkness    (1.00 m)^3
    DWA     Storm              (1.00 m)^3
    DEA     Gas (Poison)       (0.10 m)^3
    DFA     Smoke              (0.50 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
  -------------------------

  alter             1*            alter an existing object using an effect
  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 volume


  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 events
  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 another mage
  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


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



ALTER 
alter lookat <objectname> using <effect> [<effectname>]

  Create a connection between the spell and an existing source of
  manifested elemental force.  This works similar to CREATE, except
  that the link to the elemental plane is connected to an existing
  object.  Thus, when the mage manipulates the elemental force in the
  spell, it will directly modify the nature of the object.  If the
  object is very nearly "pure" in the elemental sense, the changes
  will be most pronounced.  ALTERing an object consisting of mixed
  elemental forces may have unpredicatble results, depending on the
  form of the effect chosen. The effect may optionally be given a name
  by which other operators may refer to it.

  Each time a new object is ALTERed in a spell, 1/2 spell point is
  subtracted from the mage's available spell points.  These points are
  replenished in the usual fashion.  Note that these points are *in
  addition to* the casting cost of each ALTER operator.

  A mage's spell may only ALTER one *simultaneous* object 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 ALTERed.  A spell will
  terminate if too many effects will be simultaneously created.


  Example:

    alter lookat pebble using Stone
    shape volume lookat pebble
      scale 10'x 10'y 10'z

  This example SDL fragment alters a pebble by scaling it up to
  boulder size.  If this was performed on a different object, only
  that part of the object consisting of Stone would be effected,
  yielding an unpredictable result if only part of the original object
  consisted of Stone (the less Stone, the less predictable the
  result).


CREATE
create <effect> [<effectname>]


  Create a point source of the given effect on the tip of the caster's
  index finger (right or left depending on handedness) or, if the
  spell is BINDed elsewhere, create the point source at the location
  of the BINDing.  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
  operator.

  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 created.

    Examples:

      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
  things.

DESTROY
destroy [<effectname>]

  Removes the last created (or, alternatively, the named) effect or
  causes any object ALTERed using the effect to revert to normal.
  When a spell terminates, all effects are automatically destroyed.

  Any effect which goes outside the spellcaster's range is also
  destroyed.

    Example:

      destroy mywind


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

  Move the last created (or named) 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 necessary.

  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 unit of
  current volume of the effect.  These points are replenished in the
  usual fashion.  Note that these points are *in addition to* the
  *casting* cost of each MOVE operator, whose points are not
  recoverable until the spell is stopped.  If the effect is smaller
  than 1 unit volume, the correct fraction is subtracted.


    Examples:

      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 caster.


ROTATE
rotate [<effectname>] <ang>x <ang>y <ang>z 
   [origin <distance> pointdir]

rotate [<effectname>] <ang>x <ang>y <ang>z [origin lookat <object>]
rotate [<effectname>] <ang>x <ang>y <ang>z [origin <n1>x <n2>y <n3>z]

rotate [<effectname>] pointdir [origin <distance> pointdir]
rotate [<effectname>] pointdir [origin lookat <object>]
rotate [<effectname>] pointdir [origin <n1>x <n2>y <n3>z]


  Rotate the last created (or named) effect around any axis (x,y,z),
  relative to the center point of the effect (default) or a named
  point, OR rotate to an angle specified by gesture.

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

    Example:

      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
shape [<effectname>] <pathop1>
   [<pathop2>]
...
[<pathopN>]


  Shape the last created (or named) effect using a path described by a
  "subspell" consisting of valid Path Operators.  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 of
  current volume of the *final* effect.  These points are replenished
  in the usual fashion.  Note that these points are *in addition to*
  the *casting* cost of each operator, whose points are not
  recoverable until the spell is stopped.  If the effect is smaller
  than 1 unit volume, the correct fraction is subtracted.

  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.

    Examples:

      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
      fill
      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


FILL
fill

  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
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
scale <n1>x <n2>y <n3>z

  Scale an effect to a 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).  An
  effect may be scaled up to the limit of the spellcaster's range or
  spell points, whichever comes first.

  See SHAPE for examples.


SURFACE
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
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


HALT
halt

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

    Example:

      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...THEN...ELSE
if<eventop1>
  [<eventop2>]
   ...
  [<eventopN>]
then  <operator1>
  [<operator2>]
  ...
  [<operatorN>]
[else <operator1>
  [<operator2>]
  ...
  [<operatorN>] ]

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

    Example:

      boltbox:
        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
repeat [<var>=]<num> <operator1>
  [<operator2>]
  ...
  [<operatorN>]


repeat <operator1>
  [<operator2>]
   ...
  [<operatorN>]

until  <eventop1>
  [<eventop2>]
   ...
  [<eventopN>]


  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 Operators).


    Examples:

      torch:
      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
wait <time>
wait until <eventop1>
  [<eventop2>]
   ...
  [<eventopN>]


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

    Examples:

      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


AND
OR
NOT
INTERRUPTED

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.

  Examples:

    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
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
  spell.

    Example:

      bind to touch rod

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


INTERRUPT

interrupt <spellname> at "<breakpoint>" [revert]
  <operator1>
  [<operator2>]
  ...
  [<operatorN>]


  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
    changes.

    Example:

    Take a variation of the torch spell described earlier:

      torch:
      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
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.

    Example:

      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
RANGE
power <mult>
range <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.

    Example:

      iceball:
      power 2
      range 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
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 interrupt).

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

    Example:

      torch:
      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.


SPELLNAME
<spellname>:


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

    Example:

      fireball:
      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 are replenished in the
usual fashion. See section V.1 for a summary of operator costs.

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
diminish.

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
      enemy.

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

  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 round: 

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

  2. He can cast an offensive spell (which will execute on the
     following round).
  
  2. He can cast a defensive spell (which will execute on the
     following round).

  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
  zapped) 
  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 contents.




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 let's 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
negated.




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
immortal.

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
inadvertently.




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
order:

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


  Gate
  -----

  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.


  Naming
  -------

  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.


  Sacrifice
  ----------

  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
  consume.

  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.


  Contest
  --------

  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.

--
J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                               Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------(*)                     Internet: claw at under.engr.sgi.com
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...



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