The Demesnes - Variant GURPS Rules
Hit Points and Fatigue
Instead of being equal to HT, Hit Points are equal to ST. Instead of being equal to ST, Fatigue is equal to HT.
Instead of being equal to IQ, Will is split into three components:
All of these are modified by Strong or Weak Will.
- Mental Will: Equal to IQ. Used for casting magic, resisting mind control, etc.
- Physical Will: Equal to HT. Used for resisting torture, staying conscious, avoiding being stunned, etc.
- Emotional Will: Equal to 10. Used for resisting mental Disadvantages, fright checks, etc.
Magical Aptitude can be learnt, and thus bought with character points during play. It costs a flat 10 points per level, not
15 at the first level. Each level (up to 3) gives a +1 bonus to all spell skills and Thaumatology skill.
When casting magic, a wizard's effective spell skill (after modifiers) may never be greater than Thaumatology skill. Note
Thaumatology defaults to IQ-6 for characters who do not know it, so such characters will be at a severe disadvantage if they
attempt magic. Thaumatology skill is also used when a wizard wishes to sense whether casting a spell is likely to cause a
Spell prerequisites consisting of other spell skills are not required. Magical Aptitude prerequisites remain. A wizard's
final skill level in a spell is modified by -1 per missing prerequisite spell (including all spells in the shortest
Instead of a skill penalty of -1 per hex of range for Regular spells, apply the penalty from the Speed/Range Table, with
touch equalling 0 penalty.
Spell costs are simply a measure of how much mana must be drawn to power the spell. Spell costs do not reduce
with high skill levels. Spell costs are not deducted from the wizard's Fatigue.
However, if a wizard wishes to reduce the risk of a Magical Disaster, he may elect to spend Fatigue (and/or Hit Points in
an emergency) to use mana from his body to partially or fully power the spell. Each Fatigue or Hit Point spent supplies
one mana point to the spell, but also gives a -1 penalty on the Mental Will roll. A Mental Will roll is still required to
gather the mana in a usable form, even if the full cost of the spell is supplied from the caster's body. However, if the
full cost comes from the caster's body, there is no chance of a Magical Disaster.
Another method of reducing the risk of Magical Disaster is simply to attempt the spell using less mana than normally
required. For each 1 less mana available to power the spell, a -3 penalty on the spell skill roll is assessed. A
spell must always use at least 1 mana though - this can never be reduced to zero.
Spell Casting Times
Spell casting times do not reduce with high skill levels.
Gestures and Incantations
Normally casting a spell requires speaking words of power and making physical gestures. This requirement does not reduce
with high skill levels. A spellcaster may however use sheer willpower to attempt magic with reduced ritual
components, or enhance the ritual to improve chances of success. Refer to the table.
The gesture and incantation levels may be chosen independently. Add together the Will modifiers and apply them to the
Mental Will roll. If the Mental Will roll succeeds, apply the skill modifiers to the spell skill roll.
|Extravagant. Full arm and leg
movement. Takes twice as long.
|Loud and clear.
Takes twice as long.
|+1 Will if both.
+1 skill each.
|Normal. Full arm movement.
||Normal speaking voice.
|Subdued. Wrist/hand movement.
||Soft speaking voice.
||-1 Will, -2 skill.
|Tiny. A finger or two.
||Whispered word or two.
||-2 Will, -4 skill.
||-3 Will, -6 skill.
Spellcasting is a two-step process. After the required concentration time:
- Roll against Mental Will, with appropriate modifiers and a bonus equal to Magical Aptitude level, to gather the
required mana for the desired spell:
- Critical Success: The mana is gathered easily. The spell may proceed normally and will not cause a
- Success: The mana is gathered. The spell may proceed normally. The drawing of mana may cause a
- Failure: The mana is not gathered. The spell fails but no untoward consequences occur. The time spent
concentrating on the spell is wasted. A Magical Disaster will not occur.
- Critical Failure: The mana is gathered but cannot be held safely. It is released in an uncontrolled
way causing noise, light, heat, and possibly damage. The intended spell fails. The drawing of mana may also cause a
- If the Mental Will roll was successful, roll against spell skill with appropriate modifiers:
- Critical Success: The spell works particularly well.
- Success: The spell works normally.
- Failure: The spell fails. Nothing happens.
- Critical Failure: The spell fails spectacularly.
If the amount of mana gathered from the environment for a spell causes mana to be drawn from a great distance, a Magical
Disaster may occur. This may range from a small noise and light show, to summoning a demon, to devastating large
tracts of countryside, depending on the size of the area required to supply the needed mana. Exact effects are unpredictable.
Very powerful spells are very dangerous.
Prior to gathering mana for a spell, a spellcaster may Concentrate for a second and roll against Thaumatology to determine if
a Disaster is likely. The GM rolls and on a success informs the player in qualitative terms what the chances are. There may
not be time for this in a combat situation though!
If a spell is to be maintained, another Mental Will roll will be required to gather the appropriate mana for the maintenance
cost. This may end up causing a Magical Disaster. Fatigue or Hit points may be spent to supply the mana, as with casting the
spell. If the full maintenance cost is available, another spell skill roll is not required. If the full maintenance cost is
not available, another spell skill roll will be required, at a -3 penalty per missing point of mana. Unlike casting, a
maintenance cost may be reduced to zero - this will not require a Mental Will roll to gather mana, but will require a spell
skill roll at the appropriate penalty.
Distraction and Injury
If a spellcaster is distracted while concentrating on a spell, the Mental Will roll is made at a -3 penalty. If the
spellcaster is injured while concentrating, make an immediate Physical Will roll to maintain concentration. If this roll
fails, the mana being gathered is lost, dissipating harmlessly. On a Critical Failure the mana is released catastrophically.
Even if the Physical Will roll succeeds, the spellcaster has a penalty on spell skill equal to the number of Hit Points of
damage taken. A Critical Success eliminates this penalty.
A spellcaster may attempt any spell he has not specifically studied, or even any magical effect that he can think of, by
using an improvisational technique.
If a spellcaster wishes to produce an effect that duplicates a spell described in GURPS, he may cast that spell at a
default level equal to Thaumatology-6 (or Thaumatology-8 for a M/VH spell). This default skill level is reduced as described
above if the caster does not know some of the normal prerequisite spells. In addition, there is a -3 penalty to the
Mental Will roll for an improvised spell, -6 for a M/VH one! If the desired spell requires a level of Magical Aptitude greater
than the spellcaster possesses, he cannot successfully improvise that spell (but the GM should let the player try and
fudge the results to produce failure).
If a spellcaster wishes to improvise a magical effect which does not duplicate an existing spell, the GM must rule on
spell difficulty, cost, and any suitable prerequsites, then proceed as above.
This advantage is required for casting clerical magic. Each level (up to 3) gives a +1 bonus to all clerical spell skills.
This skill is required for casting clerical magic.
When casting magic, a cleric's effective spell skill (after modifiers) may never be greater than Theology skill.
Theology skill is used when a cleric wishes to sense whether casting a spell is likely to cause a Magical Disaster.
Theology is also the relevant skill when a cleric prays for spells not normally granted by his deity. It is also used
when a cleric wishes to Concentrate (pray briefly) to learn how likely a Magical Disaster is.
Clerics may normally only cast spells approved for use by their deity. Casting such spells follows the procedure for
casting wizardly spells, except that the Mental Will roll receives a bonus equal to the level of Power Investiture.
If a cleric needs access to a spell or magical effect not normally granted by his deity, he may
pray for it. Use the rules for improvised wizardly magic, replacing Thaumatology with Theology, and also granting bonuses
or penalties for appropriateness of the spell in terms of the god's goals and moral strictures.
Recharging Stored Mana Items
Items which store mana and are capable of being recharged (usually wands and staves) are recharged using the Imbue Mana
spell. This allows an immediately following spell to be cast into the item, storing the mana of that spell.
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Last updated: Monday, 15 September, 2003; 06:01:41 PDT.
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