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Taladas: Time of the Dragon Lords

Using Saga Magic Rules in Fourth Age Dragonlance Campaigns

by James O'Rance


The purpose of this article is to allow players to recreate the spirit of magic in the Fourth Age of Krynn whilst playing with the Dragonlance Saga rules. It is not, and was never intended to be, a recreation of the AD&D spellcasting system. Rather, it is an attempt to provide guidelines for wizard and cleric heroes that cast spells in a similar style to that seen in the Dragonlance novels, whilst not sacrificing too much of the flexibility that makes the Saga rules great.

Even if this article doesn't provide everything that you think it should, it will still be a useful staring place for developing new rules of your own.

General Rules

When playing Saga in the Fourth Age, heroes with Reason or Spirit scores of 'A' have access to five Schools or Spheres, not three as in the Fifth Age. Heroes with Reason or Spirit scores of 'B' have access to two Schools or Spheres, rather than just one in the Fifth Age.

To balance the greater range of spells available to them, spellcasters in the Fourth Age do not have the flexibility of defining their spells at the moment of casting. Instead, players of Wizards and Clerics define the spells that they want to have prepared to cast at the beginning of each game day:

  • Each hero may 'memorise' one spell per Quest; these spells are not limited by Spell Point cost.
  • Any combination of these memorised spells may be cast each day, until the hero runs out of Spell Points.
  • Spells cast cost the same number of Spell Points as in Fifth Age magic.

Wizards of High Sorcery

Heroes usually join the Order of High Sorcery appropriate to the aura of their Nature card. Some heroes may wish to join the Order indicated by the aura of their Demeanor card instead, if this differs from their Nature card. Such Wizards struggle to fit into an Order that does not truly meet their inner desires.

Schools of Magic

The magic of High Sorcery operates within Schools. Only certain Schools are usable by the different Orders of High Sorcery; spells castable by wizards of one Order may not necessarily be cast by those of another. Note that some of the Schools of magic available to Wizards of High Sorcery are described as spheres of Mysticism in the standard Saga rules; before the Second Cataclysm, mages were able to cast their spells that would become impossible during the Fifth Age.

Assuming a Reason score of 'A':

  • A Wizard of the White Robes may choose five of the following schools of magic: Aeromancy, Alteration, Divination, Electromancy, Enchantment, Mentalism, Pyromancy, Summoning, and Transmutation.
  • A Wizard of the Red Robes may choose five of the following schools of magic: Aeromancy, Alteration, Enchantment, Geomancy, Hydromancy, Pyromancy, Spectramancy, Summoning, and Transmutation.
  • A Wizard of the Black Robes may choose five of the following schools of magic: Alteration, Cryomancy, Divination, Enchantment, Mentalism, Necromancy, Pyromancy, Spiritualism, and Summoning.
  • Renegade wizards may choose any of the schools listed for the three Orders, but their career is generally very brief.

The Test

Heroes with a Reason score of 'B' are considered novices by the Wizards of High Sorcery, and are permitted to practise their minor spells without swearing loyalty to the Conclave or formally declaring their allegiance to the white, red, or black moon. Nor are heroes with a Reason score of 'B' affected by the changing moons of magic.

Those heroes who seek greater power must first increase their Reason code to 'A'. Before the hero gains the benefit of this increased code, he must travel to the Tower of Wayreth to take the Test of High Sorcery. Failure means death. Once the hero has undergone the Test, he chooses which Order of High Sorcerey he will join and is considered a full wizard.

A hero who begins play with a Reason score of 'A' is considered to have completed his Test some time in the past. The player should detail this harrowing event, and describe the ways in which it now affects the Wizard's use of magic.

The Three Moons of Magic

Each of the three Orders of High Sorcery receives its power from one of the three moons. Wizards of the White Robes gain power from Solinari, Red Robes from Lunitari, and Black Robes from Nuitari. Renegade wizards are not affected by the moons of magic, unless the Narrator deems otherwise.

The phase of a specific moon affects the magic of the appropriate Order:

  • When a moon is in High Sanction (full), all spellcasting actions made by heroes of that moon's Order are considered trump.
  • When the moon is either waxing or waning, spells are cast normally.
  • When the moon is in Low Sanction (new), no spellcasting action made by heroes of that moon's Order can be trump.

Wizards are also affected when their moon is aligned in the sky with one or both of the other moons. For example, when Nuitari and Lunitari are aligned, both Red and Black Robed wizards benefit. This is reflected by a reduction in the final difficulty and spell point cost of all spells that the hero casts - see the table below for details. These reductions are cumulative with the effects of a moon's phase.

Moon Alignment Effects
Sol with Lun -2 to spell difficulty and cost
Nuit with Lun -2 to spell difficulty and cost
Sol with Nuit -1 to spell difficulty and cost
All Three Moons -4 to spell difficulty and cost

To determine moon phases and alignment, use the chart below. The initial position of each moon can be determined by making a random draw (re-draw any card of 9 or 10); mark the position of each moon on the wheel, and advance each moon by one square for every day that passes in the campaign. If a line can be drawn through two or more moons from the centre of the wheel, those moons are considered to be in alignment.

Lunar Display Wheel

Wizards Summary

The following changes need to be made to the Sorcery rules when playing a Wizard of High Sorcery:

  • A Wizard's spells are able to affect living targets in the Fourth Age.
  • Each game day, a hero may 'memorise' one spell per point of Reputation; these spells are not limited by Spell Point cost;
  • Any combination of these memorised spells may be cast each day, until the hero runs out of Spell Points.
  • Each Order of High Sorcery has access to particular Schools of Magic. These may include Schools of Sorcery or Spheres of Mysticism, as they are defined by the Fifth Age rules.
  • Heroes with a Reason code of 'B' are minor wizards, and are not affected by the moons of magic. Nor are they subject to all of the rules of the Orders of High Sorcery.
  • Heroes with a Reason code of 'A' are full sorcerers. They are required to choose one of the three moons of magic to follow, and are subject to the laws of the Orders of High Sorcery.
  • A hero who changes his or her Reason code from 'B' to 'A' has become a fully-fledged Wizard, and must pass the Tests of High Sorcery. Those who refuse are branded Renegades.
  • The phases of the moons affect spellcasting actions. They do so by providing trumps or removing the possibility of a trump.
  • The ways in which the moons become aligned with each other also affects spellcasting actions. They do so by reducing the final difficulty and Spell Point cost of spells.

The Holy Orders of the Stars

The choice of god that a cleric hero worship can be made for many different reasons: the hero's race or role; the personal interests and likes of the player; or the spheres of magic offered by a particular god. There are only three restrictions to this choice that the player must keep in mind:

  • Heroes must worship a god appropriate to the aura of their Nature card;
  • Heroes who also belong to the Knights of Solamnia must choose Paladine, Kiri-Jolith, or Habbakuk; heroes who belong to the Knights of Takhisis must choose Takhisis;
  • Heroes who also belong to the Orders of High Sorcery must choose Solinari, Nuitari, or Lunitari.

A cleric's spells are able to affect nonliving targets in the Fourth Age. Each god has five "spheres" that are associated with that deity. These spheres are mostly Spheres of Mysticism as in the Fifth Age Mysticism rules, but include a few Schools of Sorcery (for example, Clerics of Sirrion have access to Pyromancy).

A hero with a Spirit score of 'A' can cast spells using all five of his god's spheres. A hero with a Spirit score of 'B' must choose two of the available spheres from which to cast his spells.

The Gods of Good

  • Paladine: Channelling, Healing, Mentalism, Sensitivity, Pyromancy.
  • Mishakal: Cryomancy, Divination, Healing, Mentalism, Spiritualism.
  • Majere: Animism, Channelling, Meditation, Mentalism, Summoning.
  • Kiri-Jolith: Channelling, Divination, Enchantment, Healing, Sensitivity.
  • Habbakuk: Aeromancy, Alteration, Animism, Hydromancy, Sensitivity.
  • Branchala: Aeromancy, Healing, Meditation, Mentalism, Spectramancy.
  • Solinari: Channelling, Divination, Enchantment, Healing, Sensitivity.

The Gods of Evil

  • Takhisis: Healing, Necromancy, Pyromancy, Sensitivity, Summoning.
  • Sargonnas: Alteration, Channelling, Enchantment, Mentalism, Summoning.
  • Morgion: Channelling, Divination, Healing, Necromancy, Sensitivity.
  • Chemosh: Animism, Channelling, Healing, Necromancy, Spiritualism.
  • Zeboim: Aeromancy, Alteration, Animism, Hydromancy, Sensitivity.
  • Hiddukel: Channelling, Divination, Healing, Mentalism, Necromancy.
  • Nuitari: Divination, Enchantment, Healing, Sensitivity, Spiritualism.

The Gods of Neutrality

  • Gilean: Animism, Divination, Healing, Meditation, Sensitivity.
  • Sirrion: Channelling, Healing, Meditation, Pyromancy, Summoning.
  • Reorx: Alteration, Channelling, Enchantment, Geomancy, Spiritualism.
  • Chislev: Aeromancy, Alteration, Animism, Healing, Mentalism.
  • Zivilyn: Animism, Divination, Meditation, Sensitivity, Spiritualism.
  • Shinare: Channelling, Enchantment, Meditation, Mentalism, Transmutation.
  • Lunitari: Divination, Healing, Meditation, Spectramancy, Summoning.

Only heroes with access to Necromancy or Spiritualism may turn undead, as an average Spirit (Essence) action. Those heroes who worship an Evil god may instead control undead with an average Spirit (Essence) action.

Clerics Summary

The following changes need to be made to the Mysticism rules when playing a cleric in the Fourth Age:

  • A cleric's spells are able to affect nonliving targets in the Fourth Age;
  • Each game day, a hero may "memorise" one spell per point of Reputation; these spells are not limited by Spell Point cost;
  • Any combination of these memorised spells may be cast each day, until the hero runs out of Spell Points.
  • Spells cast cost the same number of Spell Points as in Fifth Age magic.
  • Heroes must worship an appropriate god;
  • Each god has five spheres associated with it;
  • A hero with a Spirit score of 'A' may cast spells using all of his god's spheres;
  • A hero with a Spirit score of 'B' must select two spheres from which to cast spells;
  • Heroes with access to necromancy or Spiritualism may turn or control undead with an average Spirit (Essence) action.

These rules may be distributed freely, without alteration. Please email me when reposted.

Copyright ©1996-2001 James O'Rance.