Free Magic

Just about every human habitation is under the domain of one Patron or another now. But there are those who reject the notion that humans need gods (man-made or otherwise) to live righteously. They see magic as a resource to be shared by all, not an elite class selected by another flawed human being. They believe a man should be judged by the good or evil of his actions, not for the tools he uses to bring them about. A Free Mage recognizes that Patrons are not themselves inherently good, but simply men and women who command enough authority, either through adoration or fear, to become a self-sustaining force.

Free Mages dedicate their lives to taking back control. Their art is painstakingly complicated, and carries an incredible risk. Not only is their command of the Ashes imperfect – resulting in deadly backlashes when performed incorrectly. They are also hunted in just about every region where a Patron holds domain. In another sense though, they are the only ones in Aarde who are truly free. They have no patron to tell them what spells they may or may not cast. They follow no one’s rules, nor may anyone sever their connection to the Ash as penance for a sin. They may retire from their art anytime they wish, and pass through a city street attracting no more notice than a commoner – so long as they are not caught during casting, and keep any evidence of their art well-hidden.

They are considered Heretics, will be hunted down by just about any servant of a divine patron, and probably reported if not hunted by commoners for a bounty.

Arcane Background(Free Magic)

Arcane Skill: Spellcasting (Smarts)
Starting Powers: Drain Power Points (does not take a penalty when cast against Divine) and 3 more powers of your choice.
Trappings: Free Mages may add a single trapping to a spell, such as (Fire, Ice, Electric, Earth, Acid, Shadow) at will. These trappings mostly add flavor to a spell, but may be situationally useful. A Flame bolt, for example, can set off an explosion of flammable material, while acid can corrode metal.

Casting

Instead of using Power Points, Free Mages simply choose the power they want to activate and make an arcane skill roll. The penalty to the roll is half the power’s usual Power Point cost (rounded down). Casting the Armor power, for example, which costs 2 Power Points, is an arcane skill roll at –1. Once cast, check the results below:

  • Success: The power activates as usual.
  • Raise: A raise on the roll grants any additional bonuses
    to the power stated in its description. Armor, for example,
    grants a +4 bonus to Toughness with a raise.
  • Failure: All currently maintained powers are cancelled
    and the caster is Shaken.
  • Backlash: If a caster rolls a 1 on the arcane skill die when using one of his powers it automatically fails and he suffers 2d6 damage.

Maintaining Powers
Characters can maintain powers as long as desired, but each power maintained inflicts a –1 to
cast any new powers. Thus an invisible mage can keep the power going indefinitely, but suffers a –1 penalty if he then attempts to hurl a bolt.

Interrupting Powers: If a character with an activated power is Shaken or suffers a wound or Fatigue level, he must make a Smarts roll to maintain all his powers. If the roll is failed, all powers are instantly dropped. A wizard with armor who suffers a Shaken result, for example, must make a Smarts roll. If the wizard suffers two wounds from an attack, he must make a Smarts roll at –2. Powers shut down automatically if the caster sleeps or is rendered unconscious.

Power Preparation:
The Mage may prepare a spell by concentrating for a round (no movement or other actions and avoid interruption, as described above). If successful, he ignores 2 points of penalties on all powers cast with his next action. If he does not enact any powers on his next action, the preparation is lost. The Free Mage will only suffer a Backlash from a prepared Power if he rolls Snake Eyes.

Spell List

Analyze Foe, Armor, Banish, Barrier, Beast Friend, Blast, Bless/Curse, Blind, Bolt, Boost/Lower, Burst, Concentrate, Confusion, Damage Field, Darksight, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Disguise, Dispel, Divination, Draining Touch, Elemental Manipulation, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Farsight, Fly, Greater Healing, Havoc, Healing, Intangibility, Invisibility, Jet, Light, Legerdemain, Mind Reading, Obscure, Pummel, Puppet, Quickness, Shape Change, Sluggish Reflexes, Slumber, Smite, Speak Language, Speed, Stun, Succor, Summon Ally, Telekinesis, Teleport, Wall Walker, Warrior’s Gift, Zombie.

On a raise…
Acid: The target permanently loses a point of armor.
Cold: The target moves at half-pace while the power is active.
Earth: Rattle the target, reducing its parry by 2 while the power is active.
Electricity: Bounce the power to an adjacent target.
Fire: Bypass 2 points of Armor on the target
Light/Shadow: The target suffers a -2 penalty to any vision-based Trait Rolls while the power is active.
Water: Rejuvenate a Shaken target, allowing them to make a Spirit roll to unshake.
Dread: Make the target roll a Spirit check. If the target fails, he is Shaken. On a natural 1, he rolls on the Fright table for an additional effect.

Free Magic

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