A spell is a magical (or super natural) occurrence that affects the mundane world to produce results that might not normally be possible according to the laws of physics. Spells are cast by priests, the only spell using class in Red Planet. Spells come in varying strengths known as levels and each priest character can cast a number of spells based upon his level of advancement (see Table 5.1). The number of spells a priest knows and the maximum number of spells he can cast each day are the same. Unlike some classic roleplaying games, the cast spells in Red Planet are not “forgotten” and may be cast multiple times as determined by the priest’s level.
A priest, psychic or parapsychologist gains new spells by reading ancient scrolls and religious texts, going on pilgrimages, offering sacrifices, or through divine revelation. In game terms, these activities are replicated by the character increasing his level. With every level of advancement, a priest typically receives two new spells. At least one of these two spells should be chosen from within his deity’s sphere of influence (when available). At the GM’s discretion, the second spell may be chosen by the player, the GM, or randomly determined (roll d12 on Table 5. ).
Priests recover their spell casting ability by resting and meditating: no massive grimoires or eldritch research is necessary. It generally takes one zode of rest, meditation, or prayer per spell level recovered; thus, after three zodes of rest, a priest could recover three 1st level spells, a 2nd level and a 1st level spell, or one 3rd level spell. The spells that are recovered are chosen by the player of the rested priest’s character .
A spell is cast by using an assortment of specific words, gestures, and intonations. Unless specifically mentioned in the text of the spell’s description, speech is required for most spell casting; somatic and/or material components may or may not be required. Some spells require special materials to invoke their power. These material components are listed in the spell’s description along with the cost for that substance expressed in coins (p.3). Unless specified, material components are consumed by casting of the spell. Each spell description includes the spell or power’s name and six important game statistics: sphere, time/duration, range/effect, and saving throw.
Sphere indicates what type of power the spell invokes to create its magical effect. Each deity in Red Planet is linked to one or more spheres.
Time is how long it takes to complete the casting of the spell. If a spell caster is injured prior to the completion of the spell casting process, he must make a successful fortitude throw in order to maintain his concentration and complete his spell casting. Failure to make this fortitude throw means the spell is interrupted and the priest loses it from his current daily list of available memorized or known spells.
Duration is the length of time the spell lasts as expressed in rounds, xats, zodes, days, weeks, months, years, or permanent. A diligent game master or refer will keep careful track of the passage of game time and makes a mental notation of when a spell began and when it will end.
Range is the distance a spell’s target can be from the spell caster and still be affected by its magic or power. Range is usually expressed in inches or as ‘touch’. One inch on the miniature scale, useful when playing with a battle grid or other marked surface, represents ½ ad (1.5 meters or 5 feet). A spell caster must physically lay a hand on his target (armor bonus does not apply) to successfully affect them with a spell where ‘touch’ is listed as range.
Effect indicates the number of targets, creatures, or area affected by a single casting of the spell
Saving throw is listed when a spell’s target has a chance to avoid or reduce the effects of its magic. Each saving throw is based on one of the game’s three types (p.20), and characters modify the saving throw roll according their appropriate ability modifier. The DC for a saving throw against a spell is 10 + Spell level + priest’s Wisdom Modifier
+ priest’s armor / encumbrance penalty.
Saving throws against spells are made using a d20 as described in Chapter Three. Saving throws listed for NPCs, monsters, and beasts are assumed to include the individual ability scores bonuses. Red Planet’s saving throw mechanic makes it compatible with a wide variety of excellent game materials produced under the Open Game License.
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