Runequest Thursday #195 - Runic Arcana - Magic of Luck and Death!

Clint Staples

As mentioned in the two posts preceding this one, the Masters of Luck and Death are a cabal of sorcerers with a special affinity for these two Runes. As such much of their magic is focused on one of them, and some of employs both runes working in concert.

It should be noted that an accomplished Master will have Runic Affinity for at least one of the two cabal runes. In such a case the Magic Point cost of any spell employing that rune will be reduced by 1. Masters with even greater experience will probably have affinity with both cabal runes, which would reduce the Magic Point cost by 2.

This reduction of casting cost is intended to be one of the main benefits of the Runic approach, and makes it worthwhile to focus on a selection of related spells, rather than playing with the entire sorcery toolbox. It means that sorcerers of a runic cabal can stay viable for longer in a game session, rely less upon stored Magic Points and have a signature “flavor” upon which to hang some of their story.

However, as written, the Magic Point reduction has the potential to allow the casting of 1 or 2 point spells for no cost in Magic Points. Since this is only likely with quite experienced magicians, it is not really an issue. However, if you don’t like the Masters of Luck and Death (or any other runic cabal) getting something for nothing like this, feel free to say that they can only benefit from this Magic Point reduction for one rune at time, or impose a minimum spellcasting cost of 1 MP.

It should also be noted that, although spells affected by the Runic Affinity cost less to cast, they still count in terms of Magnitude and when manipulating the spell. So casting Death Mask (a Magnitude 3 spell) may cost one or two Magic Points fewer (depending on the Runic Affinities of the caster) but it still counts as a Magnitude 3 spell, and is manipulated as one. A sorcerer with a Manipulation limit of 4 then, would be able to cast it at Magnitude 3 and extend either the Duration by only 1 rank (using all 4 of his Manipulation Limit of 4).


But today I was going to provide a few spells that combine both runes.

Spells of Luck and Death



Range – 30 Yards   POW check – Yes         Duration – 1 Round     Magnitude – 3

The Runes for Luck and Death blaze before you as you weave disaster into an action. For the next round, you perceive the strands of fortune and fatality, and can alter the result of a single successful attack against a friend or foe. When damage is rolled for an attack, choose whether to affect that attack. If you choose to - Make a POW Contest against the victim if you are affecting the damage roll against a foe, or against the attacker if you are affecting the damage roll upon a friend. If you succeed, you may cause the damage to be rerolled.

Spell Manipulation: Range.


Deepen Wound

Range – 30 Yards   POW check – Yes         Duration – 10 Rounds     Magnitude – 4

Drawing taut the weave of Fate, you turn your attention upon one foe, living or dead. Make a POW Contest. If you succeed, a single wound of your choice that the target currently has now counts as debilitating that location for the duration of the spell. The damage done does not change, only its effect upon the target for the spell's duration.

Spell Manipulation: Range, Duration.


Delay Death

Range – 10 Yards   POW check – No         Duration – 10 Rounds     Magnitude – Var

Your control over the Luck Rune temporarily keeps Death at bay for you or your allies. Nominate one willing subject for each Magnitude you have. For the duration of the spell, a mortally wounded subject (one who is dying, at 0 or fewer Total Hit Points, or who is at -6 in the Head, Chest or Abdomen) does not worsen or die.

Spell Manipulation: Range, Duration.

Note: In games where there is a God of Death, Delay Death may not be extended without offending that deity.




Range – 30 Yards   POW check – Yes         Duration – 1 Round     Magnitude – Var

The power of your Runes rolls in waves over the battlefield, afflicting enemies with visions of their own imminent death or defeat. Nominate one foe per Magnitude. During the duration of the spell, you can Doom a single percentile roll a targeted foe makes with negative modifier equal to 10% per magnitude of the spell. You must choose to inflict Doom before the roll is made. When you choose to inflict Doom, you must overcome the POW of the target with a POW Contest, as well as any applicable magical defenses.

Spell Manipulation: Range, Duration.


Note: The Attached doc and pdf contain all the spells from today's post in the Uncommon magic section. As with all the other spells incorporating the rune for Luck and Death could be learned by sorcerers who are not of the Masters' cabal, but cast without the benefit of the Runic Affinity

Next Week: The Cabal of the Masters of Luck and Death!