Followers of this blog who've been reading for a while might recall my Vancian MIII memory cell system. What follows is a distinctly simpler smoothing-out of Vancian magic concepts and a light retool of the traditional D&D spell mechanics.
The Memetic Growth Pattern (MGP) system makes some basic assertions about the nature of spells and spell-casting:
- Spells are sentient entelechies that have been forced to assume a temporary dwelling place inside a magic-user's mind. In a sense the magic-user must constantly attend his memorized spells in order to guard against spell loss or leakage. For all spells are desirous of freedom. In order to escape a magic-user's mental grip, they must exit his mind in a precise and calculated form. Which is to say, they must become the spell's effects at the time of casting.
- One of the magic-user's greatest resources is his memory. Memories are like trees -- in infancy they are all but seeds germinating. Eventually they will grow to become stout oaks or massive evergreens. Sometimes they are merely crab apple trees and achieve no great size. The extent of an individual's memory is expanded through learning and experience.
- A spell's level represents its relative complexity. Low-level castings are brief texts in comparison to the interwoven formulae of spells that occupy the very heights of sorcery.
- All memory slots are made equal. In order to memorize a third level spell, three slots are required. For a seventh, seven slots are needed. And so forth.
- A magic-user's total memory slots increase as he gains experience levels. The rate of this increase varies from magic-user to magic-user. It is a unique memetic growth pattern.
I thought it would be interesting to add an element of Carcosa-esque dice randomness to memory slot accumulation. Basically, upon attaining a new level, a wizard must roll a 1d6. The result indicates the dice he will roll to check against his current INT action throw value.
(1, 2) 2d6
(3, 4) 3d6
|I didn't invent this, just formatted it.|
If the player fall shorts of the target action throw value when he makes his roll, then he earns no additional memory slots. If he exceeds the target, he subtracts it from his roll to determine the number of slots gained.
eg. Spidertits the Malignant just became a 7th level magic-user. She has an INT of 15. Referencing the table above, that means her target # is 9. She rolls a "2" on her first d6 roll, indicating she needs to roll 2d6. The result of her second roll is 10. Her slots increase by 1.
A corollary to this system is Open Spell Acquisition. Meaning that any magic-user can attempt to learn and/or cast any spell. Some hard/fast rules for this:
To learn and successfully transcribe a new spell, the player subtracts the spell's level from his character's INT and then makes an INT action throw based on this number. Success indicates that the spell has been added to his repertoire.
To cast an unknown and untested spell, the player must successfully make two action throws like the one described above. Failure on either of these rolls elicits a roll on the Miscasting Table (to be revealed in a future post).