The basic Magic Skill is the Prerequisite to all Spells. It is possible to learn spells by training, without knowing Magic Skill, just as for other Skills with Prerequisites. All Spells are in fact specialized Skills; most may be improved by experience.
Spells are cast by force of will alone. Technically, chanting ("verbal components") is not required, but the chant is used as mnemonic enhancement; if a spell caster is prevented from chanting, add 1d20 difficulty to the roll. Gestures ("somatic components") are required to direct Spells in most cases; the GameMaster may add 1d20 difficulty if gestures are not possible, or alternately may deny the caster the ability to cast a Spell. Finally, in most cases sight (or whatever the caster uses in place of sight) is required to direct a Spell, with blindness/darkness results similar to inability to gesture. A bound, blindfolded, gagged spell caster would have to roll a minimum of 4d20's to cast a Spell, if the GameMaster allows it at all (not likely). Also, regardless of time available, Ceremonial Casting (see below) cannot be done if any of these penalties apply.
Magic Skill usually takes twelve months to master (subtract the Int Bonus from this figure) and requires an Int Roll at the end of the period; if this fails, the character may spend half again more time (an average of six months) and try again, repeating until he or she masters it. Obviously this means most player characters who wish to use magic will get the Magic Skill as part of their initial allotment.
Characters wishing to learn Magic Skill must have Intelligence and Will of 11+ each. Creatures of magical nature are not necessarily bound by this. Characters without Magic Skill may not add levels to Effect (see below), read magical texts, participate in Ceremonies (see below), or enchant items.
2d10 days are required to learn a Spell from a text or by training. The player will subtract the character's Int Bonus from the roll, but a minimum of 1 day applies. At the end of this period, the player rolls a Magic Skill roll, with success granting knowledge of the Spell. Failure means the character must spend an additional day, and roll again; repeat until the character gives up or succeeds.
Characters without Magic Skill may not learn Spells from texts, but must be trained, and the roll is a 2d20 Intelligence roll.
In order to cast a Spell the character must have adequate Mana Points available. The base cost of each Spell is listed in the Spell description. Next, the player states that the character is attempting the Spell, possibly waiting for Initiative in combat. When instructed, the player rolls as many d20's as the total levels of the Spell; if all rolls succeed the Spell is cast.
The required Mana Points are subtracted from the character's current total. Note that failed castings cost 1 Mana Point.
Casting Spells is normally very fast (except for Ceremonial Castings and Rituals); to interrupt a Spell as it is being cast, an attacker must have equal or higher Initiative, and hold that Initiative until the spell caster's number comes up, and then successfully Attack the caster. If the caster Parries or Dodges the Spell is lost even if the Attack does not cause damage.
Some Spells are Variable, meaning that they can be cast at a variety of levels, with higher levels giving greater results. Each additional level adds the full Mana cost of the Spell, and 1d20 in additional difficulty. Generally, levels may be added to Range, Duration, and Effect; individual Spell descriptions will indicate which are available.
Spells which have Extendable duration can be kept going for an additional Mana cost equal to the base cost of the Spell (charged each time the duration expires) so long as the caster is still in range and conscious. For instance, a Protection from Longswords Spell cast at level 2 costs 4 points (2 points times level 2) but extending it would cost only 2 points per additional 10 minutes. This is also referred to as "maintaining" the Spell. Normally this is only allowed if the caster is the target or remains with the target.
Some Spells, which do not otherwise have extendable Duration, can be cast for longer Duration with additional levels added. Each added level doubles the Duration, so at +1 level duration is 2x, +2 is 4x, etc. The Spell description will indicate if this is allowed.
Range and Area of Effect may also be increased the same way as Duration, doubling for each Spell level added; this will be detailed in the Spell description also.
Each Spell has the specific rules of use and effect, so from this point you must review the Spell description. Some will allow a resistance roll of some sort by the target(s), for instance.
Some Spell descriptions require comparing Spell level vs. Spell level; note that this refers only to levels added to Effect, not Duration, Range, etc. For instance, a Command Spell cast with an added level of Range is still a level 1 Spell.
Spells which do not otherwise allow adding levels of Effect may have Boost levels added to overcome CounterMagic or similar protections; these levels do not otherwise change the Spell outcome.
A caster may add no more levels than his or her Intelligence bonus to the components of a Spell. Thus, a caster with a +2 Intelligence bonus could add 2 levels to each of Effect, Range, Duration, and Area (if the Spell allows it) but could not add +3 levels to any of them.
A spell caster may be assisted by as many other spell casters as his or her own Intelligence bonus. If the bonus is 0 or less, no assistance is possible. Each assistant may do one of the following: Add +1 to the caster's Intelligence bonus (for figuring maximum levels only), add a Free Die to the casting, or donate Mana points to cast the Spell. If the assistant does not know the Spell being cast, only the Mana point donation may be done.
Our example caster from above with +2 Intelligence bonus could be assisted by as many as two other spell casters. If they both know the spell being cast, the original caster could then add +4 levels to each of the components of the Spell, or add two Free Dice to the casting, or allow one or both assistants to power the Spell. The team might choose to add a bonus level from one assistant and Mana from the other; or any other combination could be attempted.
Very difficult Spells may be cast using a Ceremony. This is somewhat time consuming, such that it may not be used during normal combat. The caster must remain undisturbed throughout the Ceremony, and if the Spell being cast has a Range of Touch, the target must be touched throughout the casting.
Calculate the total number of levels being cast; this is basically equal to the number of d20's which must be rolled to cast the Spell. The normal bonus for "Taking your Time" (see the Skills section) may not be used here.
Each game minute (10 Rounds) the player rolls 1d20. If the roll is a success, the caster consumes one level of Mana for the Spell; if not, one point is deducted. When the caster has succeeded at enough die rolls to cast the Spell, it is cast. If the caster runs out of Mana first, or is disturbed, the Spell is lost.
The spell caster may be assisted (as above); all assistants must participate in the Ceremony from the beginning to the end, just as the caster does.
If the Ceremony lasts more minutes than the caster's total Endurance, an Endurance roll must be made each minute (before the spell casting roll) in order to continue. Likewise if the time exceeds this limit for any assistant, he or she must roll the same way. Any failure by any participant ends the Ceremony. Note that, since the spell casting roll hasn't been attempted yet at this point, the Mana cost of failure for this minute does not have to be paid if the Ceremony ends here.
Mana Points are regained only when the character is sleeping or meditating. Meditation means an uninterrupted period of light trance; the character will always be surprised if attacked during this period.
The rate at which Mana is regained is based on Will, as follows:
The time given in the table above is the time sleeping or meditating required to regain 1 Mana Point.