Magic: the Role Playing Game v2.0
idea is to use the Magic: the Gathering card game as the basis for the
character/combat system in a role-playing environment. These rules are
work in progress.
player plays the role of a wizard whose abilities are determined in part
by the spells he has learned. The identity of the wizard is further
fleshed out by developing expertise in one of six specializations (Monk,
Warrior, Mnemonic, Landmaster, Loremaster, Spiritmaster), and by
improving in four fundamental attributes (Knowledge, Memory,
Concentration, and Life Points). In addition, characters may discover
magical items called relics, which may grant them special abilities
useful inside or outside of combat.
overriding principles of this game system are:
Creating A Character
start out with [to be determined] attribute points.
points can be spent to develop four fundamental characteristics:
Attribute points can also be spent to develop expertise in one or more of seven areas of specialization:
Attribute Points are acquired as a result of winning battles and
succeeding on quests. They can be lost as a result of retreating from
battles and failing on quests.
Specials and Specializations
Characters may choose to specialize in a given
area or areas. Characters must pay an initial cost to begin a
specialization. The attribute point cost of adding a specialization is
20 times the number of existing specializations. So, the first
specialization is free. The second costs 20 attribute points, the third
an additional 40 attribute points, and so on. Beginning characters will
be hard pressed to have more than two specializations, and may prefer to
have only one. Later in their careers, when more attribute points are
earned on each adventure, it may make sense to add additional
initial cost of a specialization has no immediate effect on the
character's abilities. Rather, it enables the character to spend
additional attribute points to develop abilities within the
Abilities within each specialization are improved
by spending attribute points to acquire "specials". The cost
to acquire a special is 3 times the number of specials the character has
already acquired. So, cumulative attribute point (AP) costs of specials
Note that the cost of specials is independent of specialization. A character with three specializations would spend the same number of attribute points to acquire one special in each, or three specials in one of the specializations.
Descriptions of Specializations
Landmasters are able to maintain standing mana, which are available immediately at the beginning of combat. Attribute points can be spent to increase the number of points of standing mana. Standing mana are at first colorless, but attribute points can be spent to give them single or multiple colors. Standing mana is considered to be artifacts. They cannot be destroyed by standard land destruction spells, but they can be destroyed by artifact destruction spells.
a color to a mana costs 2 specials.
can be given multiple colors.
Warriors are able to engage in melee when attacked. Attribute points can be spent to give the character power and toughness. When a creature attacks a warrior, the damage done by the creature to the warrior is reduced by the warrior's toughness, and the creature suffers damage equal to the warrior's power. The damage done by the warrior is considered colorless damage.
If the warrior is not being attacked on a given round, he can opt to block a creature that is attacking another wizard. He is considered to be a colorless defender, and he forfeits the ability to put any cards into play during the warrior’s following combat turn. Any normal combat modifiers occur (e.g., if he is blocking a creature with rampage ability, he is considered to be a defending creature. Or, if the Warrior helps block a creature with rampage, the creature's combat strength is increased as though the Warrior were a defending creature.) However, the Warrior cannot be the object of creature enchantments, such as regeneration. The Warrior may also attack, but he forfeits the ability to put any cards into play during the current combat turn. Note that power and toughness have no effect on non-melee attacks. A warrior with 3 toughness still loses 3 life points when hit by a lightning bolt.
point of toughness costs 2 specials.
difference between power and toughness cannot exceed 1 point.
are able to summon creatures outside of combat. The creatures are present at
the beginning of a battle. Attribute points can be spent to increase the
number, power, toughness, and special abilities of these pre-summoned
creatures. Note that these decisions are permanent - the character cannot
choose to have a 1/1 flying creature in one battle and a 2/1 non-flying
creature in another battle. Spirits are considered to be colorless for
blocking and damage.
1 power or 1 toughness to a creature costs 1 special.
trample ability costs 1 special.
rampage ability costs 1 special.
phasing ability costs 1 special.
first strike ability costs 2 specials.
flanking ability costs 2 specials.
flying ability costs 2 specials.
shadow ability costs 2 specials.
banding ability costs 2 specials.
regeneration ability costs 3 specials. In order to regenerate a spirit, the
Spiritmaster must tap N colorless mana, where N is either the power of the
creature or 1, whichever is greater.
Loremasters can acquire spells that are unavailable to other characters.
3 uncommon spells cost 1 special.
rare spell or land costs 1 special.
Loremaster can transfer uncommon or rare spells or lands to another character
if the character:
The game master must approve all spells because some Magic: the Gathering spells (such as Wrath of God) would lead to problems of game balance.
can separate their mental lives, and focus their minds even in the heat of
battle. Attribute points can be spent to enable the monk to divide his hand
into multiple piles, and to exert control over how cards are assigned to each
pile. The monk separates out his deck into individual, labelled piles, using
the separation skills he has acquired.
ability to separate out an individual color costs 3 specials.
ability to separate out an individual spell class costs 2 specials, or 3
specials, if the Monk hasn't learned to separate out mana from spells. The six
spell classes are: instants, interrupts, sorceries, creatures, artifacts, and
ability to separate out a specific card costs 1 special.
The ability to separate out spells with a specific casting cost costs 2 specials, or 3 specials if the Monk hasn't learned to separate mana from spells.
Mnemonic can maintain large numbers of spells in mind at once, giving them tremendous flexibility as combat unfolds.
Very fast at casting spells within a given discipline
Possible spell classes are:
have 4 basic attributes that govern their effectiveness in combat. These 4
attributes start out at a minimal level, and spending attribute points can
basic attributes are as follows:
The number of spells the wizard has in his spellbook. Each wizard starts
out with no spells and no lands. Each common spell costs 4 attribute
points, and each additional basic land costs 1 attribute point.
The maximum number of cards the wizard can keep in his hand. Wizards start
out able to hold only 1 card (including lands) in their hand. Additional
card slots can be acquired by spending attribute points equal to 10 times
the character's current Memory. So, for 10 attribute points, the character
can increase Memory to 2. For an additional 20 attribute points, Memory
can be increased to 3.
As in Magic: the Gathering, a character's hand is the set of cards that are drawn from the deck. These are the cards he can put into play during battle or during spell casting outside of battle. At the beginning of spell casting (inside or outside of battle), the character draws N cards into his hand, where N is his Memory attribute. Treat this limit just as the 7-card hand is treated in Magic: the Gathering. At the end of each turn, the character must discard any extra cards that are beyond his Memory.
main difference between Magic: the Gathering combat and Magic: the RPG combat
is that in the RPG, combat is not limited exclusively to battle between
Magic: the Gathering, creatures may only attack the enemy wizard. In Magic:
the RPG, if there is an enemy wizard, you can only attack him, and standard
Magic: the Gathering rules apply, except where otherwise noted.
there is no enemy wizard, then the following procedure applies:
Other than these differences, the standard Magic: the Gathering rules apply. If it is unclear how to apply a rule, the players and game master will discuss what the rule should be, with the final decision being entirely up to the game master. Any such decisions shall be added to this document.
Spell Casting and Land
may be cast either inside or outside of combat. However, any permanents
(e.g., enchantments, summoned creatures, artifacts, lands, extra life
points from Stream of Life beyond normal maximum points) are wiped out
fifteen minutes after being cast, or at the end of a battle, whichever
the party has time to prepare an attack on an enemy that is nearby (e.g.,
just behind a door), they may begin drawing and discarding cards. However,
as soon as any player puts a card into play, the creature will be aware of
the party's presence, and may either attack, begin preparing for battle,
or flee. Mana and spells are relatively fixed in position, so if the party
chooses to pursue a fleeing enemy, they will have to leave their spells
and mana behind, as will any wizard who pursues the party. Furthermore,
after they leave the area, their spells and mana will cease to be active
(so if they return, the cards will not be active) and can be taken by
wandering monsters, unless a guard is left behind.
put into play, cards last for only 15 minutes, and a character cannot
concentrate to memorize spells while spells are in play. So it would be
virtually impossible to prepare for an attack without knowing when the
attack is coming.
a character wishes to cast spells outside of combat, he may select any
cards to play from his deck. For example, he may go through and pick out
Stream of Life along with 8 lands, and give him/herself (or another wizard
in the party) 7 life points. When finished casting spells either inside or
outside of combat, he puts any cards he cast into his graveyard, and puts
his graveyard into his spell book.
the beginning of each combat, all players' decks are shuffled. Monks
shuffle each of their piles separately.
the end of combat or at the end of a non-combat spell casting, all cards
(lands, summoned creatures, enchantments) that have been played are sent
to the graveyard, and then the graveyard is returned to the spellbook.
cards remaining in the hand at the end of a combat or non-combat spell
casting are shuffled back into the deck.
the beginning of battle, players and opponents all role 1 six-sided die.
The GM will indicate any modifiers due to surprise, etc. If the side with
the higher initiative value has 5 or fewer points more than their
opponents, they gain initiative. If they have 6 or more, they get an extra
attack and then get initiative.
turn of the team with initiative is run, phase-by-phase, going around to
each team member in turn. So, first, the untapping phase takes place for
each team member. Then, upkeep for each, and so on. When the team’s turn
ends, the opposing team's turn begins, and so on.
Just as in Magic: the Gathering, wizards draw a card at the beginning of each turn from their deck into their hand. However, unlike Magic: the Gathering, Magic: the RPG wizards can continue to cast spells after their deck is empty, as long as they have cards to cast from their hand. When a wizard's hand is empty, he continues to fight. He continues to control any cards he has cast, and he can still be attacked.
Wizards can summon creatures only on their own behalf. However, a wizard's summoned creatures CAN be used to block an attack on another wizard.
If the wizard dies, all cards he has cast (including his graveyard) return to his spell book at the end of the turn. The wizard may continue to do things until the end of the turn he dies, and his creatures remain in play until the end of the turn.
Typically, when a character is killed, his spellbook is entirely destroyed. However, some fractions of the spells of non-player characters and enemy wizards may be salvageable.
Except where noted on a card, Wizards can cast spells on one another's lands, creatures, artifacts, etc. Spells can also be cast on non-summoned creatures, and on other wizards, as well. However, spells that specify the target of their effect can only be applied as specified. Cards that have effects on other cards can affect another wizard's creatures, unless specified. One wizard cannot tap another's lands. Nor can wizards share mana, unless the card says otherwise.
Wounds, Death, and Escape
Creature's life points work just as they do in Magic: the Gathering. If a creature survives a round of combat, it is considered healed the next round.
Wizards' life points are treated differently from non-wizards. Unlike mere mortals, wizards are able to sustain enormous amounts of damage because their bodies’ course with magical power that protects them from normal, physical damage. Each time a wizard is damaged for N points, he loses N - T life points, where T is the wizard's toughness. Only warriors have non-zero toughness.
A wizard can regain life points through rest, at a rate of 1 life point for each 4 hours of rest, provided that normal first aid is applied first. Life points can also be recovered through magical healing.
Note that spells such as stream of life can be used to heal a wizard, but such spells cannot bring a wizard above his normal maximum life points for more than 15 minutes because such effects are temporary, and wear off when the spell wears off.
If a wizard or creature chooses to do nothing on a given round (including paying activation costs, laying down lands or spells, but excluding ordering summoned creatures to attack) he may attempt to flee from combat. If a wizard successfully flees from combat, all cards that have been played immediately go to the graveyard, and the graveyard is left behind! The wizard may try to return and reclaim them, but at the end of combat, the victors have the ability to take any and all cards. The wizard may return to battle, but assuming the battle is still raging (and therefore, the spells haven't disappeared), all spells and lands will be in his graveyard.
Monsters and NPC's are created by the GM and can range in complexity from a simple creature card in Magic: the Gathering to a wizard, to a combination, with special rules for play. The GM may decide to make some or all of the rules governing a NPC or creature's combat abilities clear at the beginning, or he may keep some secrets, and explain that they are special abilities when they come into play during combat.
The goal should be to give the players enough of an understanding about how to attack and defeat a monster that it isn't necessary for them to play a guessing game during combat, and to remain true to the spirit of Magic: the Gathering. The GM should be free to surprise the characters with monsters whose abilities aren't all clear at the beginning of combat, just as an Magic: the Gathering wizard's threat is obscured at first by having a hidden deck and hand. However, once the abilities come into play, they should be clear. All monster abilities should be specified as much as possible in written form before the combat.