A couple of weeks ago, I presented a system that I will want to use in a gamebook at some point. I am now up to version 8, so give me some feedback on how you think it will work.
I also wanted to create some guidelines on how to write adventures for this system, so I first started with the magic system. However, it is less of a system and more of a way how I want magic to work. The rule is basically this: magic can do almost anything as long as it creates a better and more interesting story.
This is a magic system for a world that I have created. This world is human centric with a few other none human races called the Fey. The Fey are typical faeries or elves in appearance, who live in remote areas (not necessarily forests), who have blue and orange morality, so encounters with them could be beneficial or baneful, but they are never predictable.
There are also spirits, which are non-corporeal beings. They may or may not be spirits of the dead. These spirits have limited powers, but can help the players.
There are also gods in this world, but they are not omnipotent, omnipresent or omniscient. Gods are beings that have better characteristics than mortals. There are some skills that gods are so good at that they are regularly much better than even the best mortal (in game terms, they roll 3 dice for that skill and count all 3). However, this might not be the case for all of their skills. They are also capable of some magical powers at will, but these will be limited and only appropriate to that god's personality (so a god of healing can cure wounds and disease and occasionally resurrect someone). Gods can create magical artefacts that can bestow their powers upon individuals or they can bless certain areas so that their powers are stronger there, but they cannot do absolutely anything.
I have decided that there is some kind of cataclysm in this world every few thousand years, where technology levels could range from stone age to renaissance. This leads to a wide variety of technology and also leads to various sites where there are lost artefacts or ancient knowledge lying around, which can lead to lots of adventures.
There are will abilities in this world, but they are not true magic - they are an individual's limited ability to influence the world around them. However, this is subtle, and the use of a will ability could be put down to anything like luck, intuition or training.
However, there is true magic in this world and it can do almost anything, as long as it takes several minutes to cast, and may require lots of adventures to get the required knowledge and/or items for the spell. This means that there are no combat spells in this world. Most magic is also subtle, such as magic for divination, protection from diseases, magic that helps crops grow, or magic that curses someone.
Magic items exist. Items that mortals make require a lot of adventures to get the required materials, and when they are done, they have one primary use which is very specific (such as slay a named god, cure a certain disease or protect a named area from earthquakes) and then one minor general use, so that the magical item does not become useless after you have used it.
Gods make magical items so that their powers can be bestowed to mortals, or they have magical items that reflect their personalities.
That is the outline of the world. The main rule of magic is that magic should be used to advence a story and not as a tool for players - magic items should be the object of an adventure, or a spell may weaken a god so that it can be slain, but then the player still needs to go to slay them. Magic should never be a deus ex machina. Also, players should never have too much magic. They should have one mortal artefact at most (which should be introduced to solve one specific problem and then kept as a memento. It may not even have any other function after that, apart from to increase the prestige of the owner).
In future posts, I'm going to give some information on possible adventures in the world and also come up with a name for it. I might also do a version of this system for the more standard dungeon crawl fantasy (with more combat and actual spells).
So have a look at the magic system and leave your comments.