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Thread: Shadow Magic

  1. #1
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    Shadow magic has been tossed around on these forums and hinted at in official products and novels. Considering that shadow has such a strong influence on the fears of Cerilians, Shadow Magic would be within the scope of the setting.

    Rules for a system of shadow magic already exist within other settings. It would most likely be neccesary to create our own or alter the existing rules to fit the setting of Birthright.

    Here lies the system I propose:

    The system within the Forgotten Realms setting, with alterations.

    Basically, there are 4 feats that determine the system along with background. These are Shadow Weave Magic, Pernicious Magic, Tenacious Magic, and Insidious Magic. The names for the latter three are somewhat vague. Shadow (Mebhaighl from now on) Magic increases your caster level for its associated schools by one and decreases your caster level for its weak schools. In addition to this, it also permanently costs its users 2 points of Wisdom. Pernicious Magic makes your associated spells harder to counter and weakens your ability to counter spells of the weakened schools. Tenacious Magic your associated spells harder to dispel, and makes it harder for you to dispel spells from the weakened schools. Insidious Magic makes spells harder to detect with divination and weakens your divinations in a similar manner.

    Instead of the schools in the Forgotten Realms associated with Shadow Magic, I suggest the schools of Necromancy, Illusion, and Divination (Low Magic + Necromancy). As the weak schools of Shadow Mebhaighl I would suggest Alteration and Enchantment.

    The reasoning behind these suggestions are based on the Shadow World's inherent affinity for un-life. Enchantment should be replaced with illusion because of Illusion ease of use in the world (Particularly, Magicians have access to it). Also, enchantment is more affiliated with life than it is with un-life. However, this causes the Insidious Magic feat to lose part of itself. It really isn't much of a loss, so I suggest that the divination weakening aspect of it removed.

    I also think that the Feat should give Magicians access to Necromancy spells above 2nd level. I envision that there would be more Shadow Magicians than Shadow Wizards or Shadow Sorcerers. The story behind this would be something along the lines of a curious (unblooded) Magician was seeking for ways to increase his power, and upon studying, discovered Shadow Mebhaighl. This method makes Shadow Magic more desirable to Magicians than Wizards and Sorcerers and doesn't make them too powerful, but they can become impressive opponents (Still more desirable as NPCs than Player Characters and still much weaker than normal Wizards and Sorcerers). This feat could also take the place of the Feats for bloodlines or Elven descent when considering access to some possible prestige classes.

    Also, this requires the discussion of Shadow Sources (for Shadow Magic Regents). Shadow Sources should come from the same pool as regular sources. However, Shadow Mebhaighl users should suffer penalties when interacting with normal sources and vice-versa (contesting and affecting with Realm spells and whatnot). Also, there should be a long, painful method for converting sources to and from Shadow Mebhaighl.

    I would like to hear some feedback, if that wouldn't be too much to ask.
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    Administrator Green Knight's Avatar
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    I'm not sure you need to tweak the Shadow Adept at all. The Enchantment, Illusion and Necromany combination gives a very nice Shadow World feel. Use as is.
    Cheers
    Bj°rn
    DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM

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    The problem with using the system as it is, I believe, is that it was designed for the Forgotten Realms campaign. The concept of the Shadow Weave is different than the Shadow World concept in Birthright. The Shadow Weave was designed mostly as a foil to Mystra. The Shadow World is a pre-existing location, a parrallel to the world, rather than just its magic. The use of magic originating from this alternate world would have similar properties to much of the magic already in the world. The Shadow World is full of undeath and strong forces whose presence is harmful to life in general, hence Necromancy. This suggests that Enchantment isn't quite fitting for shadow magic, because the Undead aren't affiliated with Enchantement. Illusion should always be a part of Shadow Magic, because of the nature of shadows imitating reality. Finally, Divination was suggested to replace Enchantment for two reasons: because Divination is considered 'Low Magic' and because I see Magicians as being more common than Mages and Sorcerers when considering Shadow Magic (just like regular magic is supposed to be).

    I have not yet considered the Shadow Adept, because that is a prestige class that was formed around the Shadow Weave, not the other way around.

    I too believed that the feats could be used as is, initially. However, after thinking about the nature of the Shadow World, I realized that while the system is close to what we're looking for, it just needs something to fit the setting a little better. I decided that we could either take something and leave it as is, creating a passable system, or put just the tiniest amount of effort into slight alteration and make it truly fit the flavor of the setting.
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    Administrator Green Knight's Avatar
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    Orginally posted by Arch-Sorcerer Gargamel

    Finally, Divination was suggested to replace Enchantment for two reasons: because Divination is considered 'Low Magic' and because I see Magicians as being more common than Mages and Sorcerers when considering Shadow Magic (just like regular magic is supposed to be).
    That was my initial thought too, yet I arrived at a different conclusion, mostly because I din't see magicians as the primary shadow magic users. To me, only true spellcasters would be able to tap shadow mebhaighl - only they know enough of regular mebhaighl to even notice the presence of shadow mabhaighl.

    As for the schools:
    Necromancy: Of course. The undead are everwhere.
    Illusion: Of course - the seeming is an important part of the SW.
    Enchantment: The SW is bevildering, with may dangerous creatures that can manipulate and trick you. Enchantment fits nicely.
    Divination: Divination does have some links to perception. Since perception is "anti-seeming" I chose not to include divination as a school.

    Still, divination is not a bad chocie, and if you stick with magicians as the primary users, it as an even better choice.
    Cheers
    Bj°rn
    DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM

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    Administrator Green Knight's Avatar
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    Orginally posted by Arch-Sorcerer Gargamel

    The problem with using the system as it is, I believe, is that it was designed for the Forgotten Realms campaign. The concept of the Shadow Weave is different than the Shadow World concept in Birthright. The Shadow Weave was designed mostly as a foil to Mystra. The Shadow World is a pre-existing location, a parrallel to the world, rather than just its magic. The use of magic originating from this alternate world would have similar properties to much of the magic already in the world.
    This is only a problem if you let it be. Forgett everything about the Shadow Weave and focus on the relationship between the SW and the Daylight world:

    They are paralell dimensions, they both "produce" mebhaighl, mebhaighl from the "other side" can be accessed, the SW mebhaighl is different from is counterpart (probably beacuse of the corrupting influence of the Cold Rider).

    Now, explain this relationship in terms of game rules and...you have the 4 shadow magic feats (with or without any tweaks).
    Cheers
    Bj°rn
    DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM

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    Administrator Green Knight's Avatar
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    Orginally posted by Arch-Sorcerer Gargamel

    I have not yet considered the Shadow Adept, because that is a prestige class that was formed around the Shadow Weave, not the other way around.
    If you want to use the 4 shadow magic feats as they are, you need the SA. Else nobody will be interested in spending 4 feats to use shadow magic. The class isn't that unbalanced either :)
    Cheers
    Bj°rn
    DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM

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    Perhaps both ideas are useful.

    Somebody who takes the Shadow Magic Feat is giving up a little to get a lot, as it is. Particularly Magicians (who I have as recieving the ability to cast Necromancy). However, I thought of a compromise that works even better.

    Keep the feats from Forgotten Realms the same. No difference whatsoever (except in setting and story). Then, have 2 other feats that have prerequisites of Shadow Mebhaighl Casting. (You could also give magicians access to all spells with the darkness descriptor for free).
    -------------------------------------------------------
    [Life Magician] - A magician gives up 2 cha or con to have access to the Necromancy school as if it were low magic.

    [Unseelie Magician] - A magician gives up 2 wis or con to have access to the Enchantment school as if it were low magic.
    -------------------------------------------------------
    These would need to be fleshed out, possibly changed a little. However, each is feasible. The first involves intense study of the undead and shadow mebhaighl. The second involves intense study of the Unseelie and shadow mebhaighl.

    Other spells would still be limited, and the magician has given up ability to gain more powerful spell casting ability. In addition, you could make it possible to reinstate these ability scores with certain alliances:

    You could regain the lost wisdom for shadow magic and lost ability for life magician by pledging allegiance to the Cold Rider. You could regain the lost wisdom for shadow magic and lost ability for Unseelie magician by pledging allegiance to the Queen of the Unseelie court. These mimic the Shar patronage from the other setting.

    What do you think?
    Perhaps halflings should be able to become magicians as well...
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    Administrator Green Knight's Avatar
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    I'm starting to enjoy this...

    I have another option:

    Check out the class templates from the al-Quadim 3E conversion (pointed out by someone at the BR mailing list).

    You could easily make up a Shadow Magician template:

    Required feats: Shadow Magic, Iron Will
    Benefits: Access to the school of Necromancy and enchantment up to 6 th level.
    Hindrances: -2 Cha, -2 Wis. May only cast up to 2nd lvl divination spells.

    Well, that was just something of the top of may head. Needs a little more work, but offers intriguing possibilities.
    Cheers
    Bj°rn
    DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM

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    Where is the Al-Qadim conversion?

    That could also work. Perhaps they shouldn't lose so much divination, since it supposedly easy to cast (compared to other types). Maybe it should just get a little more difficult. Maybe this: Divination spells now take 10 times as long to cast and have a 25 + 5%/spell level chance to fail. If it fails in this manner, the magician doesn't know, instead he is mislead. Also, the magician would lose his specialization benefits with divination.

    The alliances could still work. In fact, some new prestige classes could be developed to account for them. Each of these prestige classes could culminate with a change of the magician's type (become Fey or Undead).

    I'm enjoying this as well.
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