Runequest Thursday #19: New 'Animate' Sorcery Spell!

Clint Staples

If you have been faithfully reading Runequest Thursday for a while, you may know that I wrote my own iteration of Sorcery that addresses the balance issues with the canon version, and can feel free to copy it, play with it, etc. I have also written a number of new spells for my version, which you can find at the Runequest Index I keep more or less current. The latest new spell is "Animate."


Animate [Earth or Movement]      Range – Touch      POW Check – No
Cost to Learn – 1000L
Magnitude - Variable
Time to Cast - 1 Action
Duration – 10 rounds

By altering the substance of an item, a sorcerer can make it move according to his will. Each rank of the spell devoted to potency animates 5 SIZ of the object. The total SIZ of the object must be equaled to animate the object. If not the spell fails and 1 POW is expended, rather than the full amount of POW. For a base duration of 10 rounds, the object is animated and may be commanded much as an elemental would be.

Because sorcery is governed by sympathetic relationships, an animated object must have a relatively stable form, in order to be animated. Water, or unformed earth, for example cannot be animated. The form of the object determines the animated object’s properties and abilities, but it has ST and HP equal to its SIZ, no individual hit locations, a base move of ½ its SIZ, and an attack value of the caster’s POWx3%, doing 1d4 damage per 10 SIZ. An object with a broad flat surface[s] [such as a curtain or carpet] can fly, and one with a streamlined pointed profile can burrow. Otherwise the object will roll, crawl, slither or run along the ground.

Sorcerers sometimes purchase or craft items, or statues to be animated via this spell. Such objects, called ‘automata’ serve their purpose extremely well, and may move at their SIZ in speed and fight at the cast’s POWx4%, doing 1d6 damage per 10 SIZ. If applicable, such automata may also gain access to applicable combat maneuvers, even ranged attacks if applicable [an animated arbalest automata, for example]. Creating Automata costs SIZ x 20L in materials, and requires at least 100% in crafting successes to complete.

Example: Sivastri knows Animate 4, and has just received a commissioned sabrefang statue to decorate her sanctum. She has ensured that the statue will be SIZ 20, so that her Animate spell will function. When she animates her automaton, it has HP and ST = to Its SIZ [20] and can move at that rate as well. It acts on the same SR as its caster and may be commanded just like an elemental.  Sivastry has a POW of 17, so the autmaton saberfang can attack at 68% doing 2d6 with its fangs, and can impale. Currently, Sivastri can only animate the thing for the minimum 10 rounds, but she hopes to learn more Animate in future. And there is always the possibility that she will master the Earth Rune, increasing her ability to manipulate the element.

Repair, Magical or otherwise will work, repairing damage equal to the magnitude of the spell. A magical Item, or one in another’s possession, may not be animated.