Spells are the tools which allow the mage to tap into and manipulate Power. They are formulas, specifically calculated and worded to produce magical effects. Mages use these formulas much like a mathematician writes mathematical formulas on a blackboard - except that the mage does this in his head, adding the appropriate gestures and words.
These skills include the ability to Sense Power (which all magic-using creatures possess), as well as the casting of simple spells, cantrips and magician's tricks which require little or no effort to perform. Lighting a candle or torch with a wave of the hand, levitating small objects, mysteriously causing doors to open and shut, conjuring breezes and vapors, blinding an enemy with a flash of light - apprentices master these skills during their earliest years of training. Players can use their imaginations to come up with new and unique ways of using Minor Magic, as long as they conform to the limitations of Power Level.
A step above the Minor Magics are those spells that project true Power and require real effort to learn and use. They are the spells of survival, combat, protection and investigation that adventuring mages are famous for - magic shields, fireballs, spells of flight and elemental conjuring. Apprentices and minor mages have access to them. Yet, it is at the higher levels of skill that these spells become truly effective.
Memorized Spells are learned through study. Mages spend many hours committing their spells to memory, which they can then cast at any time - No. Spells are not forgotten when cast, requiring the mage to re-learn them. A memorized spell requires that the mage be free to speak and gesture. If the mage is "interrupted" during casting (as in physically or magically attacked), the casting is spoiled.
Beyond the basic abilities and "common" spells are the greatest dweomers of The Art. The Great Magics are priceless sources of Power, hoarded and jealosly sought after by ambitious mages across Mythandar. Much of it is forbidden lore, dark magic that is known to twist and corrupt those who dare attempt to use it. All of it is dangerous.
The spells of Great Magic are recorded in ancient tomes, scrolls and inscriptions. They are not carried around like common spell books, but hidden and guarded. Great Spells cannot be memorized - they are far too complex. They must be read and proscribed actions must be taken during their casting, taking far more time than common spells.
Magic Power can be focused and activated through the use of symbols - written, carved, painted or scratched in dirt. Runes are part of the arcane lore that all mages learn as apprentices. They can read and inscribe them and, by casting spells during the writing process, focus Power that is activated when the rune is read aloud or (if the mage wishes) the rune is approached within its area of effect. Runes are commonly used to create magical traps, warnings, protections and almost any other kind of magic effect. As with all things magical, runic effects are governed by Power Level, as shown in the POWER TABLE.
The staff of a mage is more than just a weapon and symbol of his profession. It is an object of Power that can enhance the mage's abilities. Basically, the staff is created and enchanted, giving it a Power Level of at least 1. This Power can then be drawn upon to bolster that of the mage when casting spells, as long as the staff is in the mage's possession. For those expecting to go up against a mage, keep this in mind. If you want to weaken a spell-caster, seperate him from his staff.
Creating a magic staff is a long and arduous process, requiring a laboratory and alchemical supplies and access to ancient lore. The mage begins with a common wooden staff. The cost, quality and ornateness of the staff is up to the mage. It may be overlaid or shod with metal, decorated with a gem, polished or shaped. The enchantment process requires the use of runes, carved into the staff's material.
Breaking a Staff
As an item of Power, a mage staff contains magical energy that may be drawn upon to bolster the mage's abilities. It can also be used as a devastating last-ditch weapon against overwhelming foes. By breaking his staff (and uttering the appropriate "pre-programmed" word of command), the mage produces a blast of magical energy that inflicts explosive physical damage within a large area. Anyone and anything caught in the blast is effected - including the mage himself.