Variant Magic

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BRCS:Chapter eight/Outside the lines » Variant Magic

The BIRTHRIGHT campaign setting is a highly magical setting, but one in which magic is not an everyday occurrence. True mages are rare figures of mystery. Unlike other popular settings, it is unreasonable for most regents to have powerful wards against intrusion, guards equipped with devices to detect invisible intruders, or to use an assortment of magical protections necessary to bring the use of magic as a solution to every problem into balance. As the DM, you must find the balance that is right for your campaign.

A BIRTHRIGHT campaign can be played very successfully as a high-magic, high-availability setting, as is the default for the d20 system. However, some DMs may prefer to consider introducing limitations that help keep magic from becoming too commonplace.

Variant: Limited magical transportation

Most fantasy stories are about the journey there and back again. There are many spells that allow a spellcaster to traverse great distances with little effort. Limiting these spells make the world a "bigger" place and does not unfairly disadvantage non-spell casters in a setting where commercial transportation magic is not available.

For game balance reasons a limitation on magical travel is necessary because of the relatively few beings capable of using such travel. In other settings there are many more opportunities to block these magical methods as well as many more magical items that can be used to deter their use. Imagine how easy it would be to use a Teleport Without Error spell to magically appear in an opposing regent’s bedchamber and then, while invisible, slay him. Now imagine that happening to your character.

In Cerilia, most magical transportation involves (whether the caster is aware of it or not) the creation of a temporary path through the Shadow World. All spells that involve dimensional or instantaneous travel utilize the Shadow World. Realm transport spells and transportation via blood abilities are powered by the forces of Aebrynis and do not touch the Shadow World unless specifically stated. The same properties of mutable space and time that allow the Shadow World to be used for transportation magics also makes such use unpredictable and dangerous. When such travel is taken, the caster must roll on the following table to determine the consequences of such passage.

Table 8-2: Magical transportation mishaps

Roll
Effect
01-69
Spell works normally
70-84
Caster arrives 2d20 miles off target
85-94
Caster arrives on target, but arrives 2d20 days late
95-99
Caster arrives off target and late
100
Caster is trapped in the Shadow World