Runequest Thursday #6 - A New Sorcery, Part the Fourth

Clint Staples

Welcome the the Fourth Part of A New Sorcery, on the sixth Runequest Thursday.

Previous installments have shown you the basics of Sorcery, the uses of the skill and how sorcerers can manipulate their spells in ways that no other magic user in Runequest can. Last issue, I talked about Runes in general terms and their relationship to Sorcery, and gave you a bunch more spells.


Below, you will find the last of the Common Spell list for A New Sorcery. Strictly speaking, this is the end of the Sorcery System, but next week I will post some spells that are not widely known and introduce a few Sorcery Cabals like the Order of the Silver Moon, or the Vermis Custodes. After that, as I promised in Part the Third, you will see some Sorcerer Heroic Abilities. 



Light/Dark [Light, Darkness]  Range – 120 Yards                                    POW Check - No

Duration – 4 Hours

Light creates a magical light source which illuminates  a  3-yard-radius  circle.  Each additional level adds 3 Yards to the radius. This light is about torch magnitude. The spell may be cast on an object. If so it may be carried and moved. The light may also be cast in mid-air, in which case it is tethered to the spot, unless a Level of the spell is dedicated to tethering it to a willing subject, in which case it follows about 1 yard behind.

Dark imposes a sourceless darkness in a 3 yard-radius circle. The area is considered to be unlit, imposing a -40% penalty on Spot checks. Torches, fire or other non-magical light sources in the area shed no light.

Opposing versions of this spell can affect each other. Roll the level of the attacking effect against the other on the Resistance Table. If it succeeds, it persists and dispels the other effect. On a failure, the opposing effect triumphs.


Lightning [Air, Light]                         Range – 60 Yards                  POW Check - yes

Duration – Instantaneous

Projecting lightning from the casters hands, each level of this spell does 1D6 damage directly to the hit points of a chosen target if the Caster succeeds on a POW vs. POW check against it. Additional levels may increase the number of d6s of damage, or, if the initial target's POW was overcome, may cause the existing bolt to arc to a new target for the same damage. Armor works against Lightning, but metal armor only stops 4 points. Countermagic will work against the spell, as will Resist Lightning. Protection has no effect as the lightning is not a physical force. Additional levels of Lightning may be applied to double the range, more than once if sufficient levels are available.


Sivastri, exploring the Tesserae of Wyrms, is surprised by three scorpionids, who immediately charge what appears to be an easy meal. Sivastri decides that the best defense is a good offense and hurls A potent fifth level Lightning at the creatures as they close. her targets are well within the base range of 60 yards, but the sorceress elects to have the lightning branch off to [potentially] include all three scorpionids, devoting a level to each of the additional targets. 3d6 of lightning blasts of her fingertips to strike her initial target. Sivastri matches her POW against that of the chaos creature and succeeds, inflicting the lightning damage, and branching on to her next target. If she overcomes the POW of this target as well, it will take 3d6 damage as well, and the bolt will continue on to strike the final of her three targets - if her POW vs. POW is another success. 



Perception [Mind, Light]                      Range – 60 Yards              POW Check - No

Duration – Instantaneous

The caster may specify one type of thing he is searching for, such as the nearest trap, secret door, gold, magic, stairway, unfamiliar thoughts, etc. This spell will then give the direction to the nearest such thing within the range of the spell. Each additional level allows for more than one searchable thing at the same time, or may double the range. Thus, the caster may wish to use a level 2 Perception to determine the closest two traps, or the closest trap and the closest secret door, etc. or the nearest chest of gold within 120 yards.


Protection [Telekinesis]                     Range – 30 Yards               POW Check - No

Duration – 15 minutes

This spell works like armor against physical attacks. Each level adds one point to the armor protection of the caster. Protection works against Fire/ Frost and Blast.


Resist [Magic]                                       Range – Touch                  POW Check - No

Duration – 15 minutes

This spell, obviously design specifically to counter Fire/ Frost, allows each level to reduce heat or cold damage taken by 1d6. If the protected character is hit by more than one Heat/Cold attack, each roll is reduced by the level of the effect.

A caster may choose to cast Resist specific to many types of direct damage other than Fire/ Frost, such as Lightning, Poison, or Acid. Only one type of resistance applies in such circumstances. Only one casting of Resist can affect any single subject at a time.



Sivastri the Sorceress, protected by Resist Heat/ Cold 3, is hit by a level 4 salamander attack, and a level 3 Frost, she would reduced each by three levels, taking 1d6 from the Salamander and negating the frost damage. when she is struck by a third level Lightning bolt later in the round, however, it is not affected by her Resistance and does all three dice of damage.



Seal/Unseal [Movement]                      Range – Touch              POW Check - No

Duration – 15 minutes

This spell acts to bond the edges of any two unliving objects which are at rest and touching one another. Some examples are a door in a doorframe, a sword in a scabbard, or an object held against a wall. The two objects become one object, and cannot be separated for the duration of the spell. The objects can still be battered open or destroyed. A Seal spell adds 20 points to whatever hit points the object has.

The reverse spell will open doors [even locked ones on a POW x ? check – multiple determined by the difficulty of the lock], cause scabbarded objects to fly out of their containers and drop to the ground, etc. It also works against a Seal spell if the level of the Unseal overcomes the level of the Seal on the resistance table.


Sharpen/Dull [Earth]                  Range – 60 Yards          POW Check – on Dull

Duration – 15 minutes

This spell adds 5% to the attack chance and 1 point of damage to any weapon (including blunt weapons and missile weapons) to which it is successfully applied. If more than one level is used, it can either add multiples of 5% and one point of damage to the weapon, or it can be distributed equally among several weapons, up the level of the spell.

Applied to Dull a weapon, it reduces the chance to hit by 5% and to damage by one point per level. Damage cannot be reduced below one point. Levels may be spread to affect multiple weapons if desired. Each weapon affected requires you to overcome the wielder’s POW.


Speak to Mind [Mind, Communication]  Range – 120 Yard        POW Check - Yes

Duration – 10 melee rounds

Each level of this spell allows the caster to speak telepathically with another mind, intelligent or not. Only surface conversation or feelings are transmitted. The caster may cast Speak to Mind on two or more other characters to let them communicate. Additional levels may double the range, increase duration on the Duration Track, or include additional subjects in the link. If a target resists, you must overcome their POW to succeed.


Teleport [Mind, Man]                           Range – Touch                   POW Check - No

Duration – Instantaneous

Each level of this spell allows the caster to instantaneously transport 5 SIZ points to another place known well to the caster. The extent of this transportation is 1,000 Yards. If the level of the effect is higher than the SIZ required, each extra point of SIZ allowance will extend the range another 1,000 Yards. Only willing or inanimate subjects can be teleported. If the destination is not in sight, an INT x5 check might be made, possibly at a lower multiple, if the location is not well known. A fumble with this spell will send the caster to a different, possibly unpleasant location, whether he was transporting himself or something else.

Additional levels of the spell can be used to double the travel range.



Sivastri spots the rest of the scorpionids scrambling over the jumbled tesserae, and elects to flee. Knowing that she could never outdistance the nimble creatures on foot. she casts Teleport to get away. She knows only 2 levels of the spell, which is exactly enough to move her SIZ of 10 up to 1000 yards. As the creatures close she teleports herself back to the junction of the Pavis Road, which she had studied on the way, against just this sort of need.  



Vision [Mind]                             Range – 120/30 Yards                    POW Check - No

Duration – 10 melee rounds

The caster may see what is happening in any known area within the primary range of the spell. This gives full vision and hearing as if the caster were in the area. If the caster is within the secondary range of the spell, he may put the spell into an area that is not known.  A known area is one the caster has experienced or viewed before. An unknown area is the opposite of the above.

Extra levels of the spell may:

  • Allow the caster to go back as much as a day to get a general idea of what happened in an area.
  • Reveal the answer to a question from the caster that might be relevant, such as 'Was the Crown here then?' In such as case, no other viewing is allowed, simply a vision that shows the answer, if it can be answered in the time allowed.
  • Be used to touch an item and receive and vision of its previous use or owner. Each additional level used gives another use or another picture.
  • Allow the user a cumulative 10% chance of learning the activating word for a magical device. The user may only attempt this once for any one object until he gains an increase in skill with the spell.
  • Increase the Duration or double the primary range of the spell.

If the location to be viewed is Warded or Countermagicked, the level of the Vision must overcome the level of the ward to succeed.

The caster may not use any other spell while using the Vision spell, or the Vision spell will cease.



As Sivastri makes her way back to Pavis, she wants to know whether the Scorpionids are still on her trail. She stops and casts Vision 3 to see the Fork from the Pavis road where she teleported, using 2 levels to increase the range of her spell to 360 yards. Since it is a known location - she has seen it before - the GM describes the area as it is at present, just as though she were actually there. SInce Sivastri only knows Vision 3, she does not learn that the Scorpionids passed this way a minute or two ago, but she will probably find out soon. 


Wall [Earth]                                Range – 10 Yards              POW Check - No

Duration – 15 minutes

This magic brings a wall up out of the ground or a stone floor. It will appear anywhere needed within the 10 Yard range and will have dimensions equal to 1×1×3 Yards. Each additional level of the spell will add 1 Yard to one dimension of the wall. The wall has 30 hit points and 8 AP per cubic yard if any attempt is made to destroy it.



Sangor, having survived his duel, finds himself in a ruin, seeking forbidden tomes, or the means to acquire them. On stumbling into a group of trollkin, he races back the way he came, casting Wall 3 across the 2-yard wide corridor. Reasoning that he will be well away in 15 minutes, he puts the additional 2 levels into tie dimensions of the wall, making it 2 yards wide, 2 yards thick, and 3 yards high, enough to effectively block the corridor. Hopefully, the trollkin don’t know any cave trolls.



Wards [Magic]                              Range – Touch                           POW Check - No

Duration – 1 Hour

Wards form a protective square around the person or object needing guarding or protection. A 3 yard x 3 yard square may be so guarded. The Wards are formed from four stones, wands or other items created in a preliminary ritual to gain the effect. Only the caster may take down the Wards, although they may be dispelled.

Each level of Ward act as a Countermagic 1 and Blast 1 across the lines of the Ward. 

Magic affected by Countermagic must overcome the Level of the Ward on the Resistance Table.

Objects or individuals crossing the line from either direction receives a Blast equal to the level of the Ward.

Extra level, may increase duration, or add 3 Yards to any dimension of the ward or another level of Countermagic and Blast.

NOTE: It is possible to create permanent Wards, by casting the spell with Permanent POW. So a Level 3 Ward could be made permanent by sacrificing 3 POW permanently from the caster’s POW. Permament Wards will re-establish themselves if Dispelled, returning at a rate of 1 level per Round. The specifics of the permanent Ward are determined at casting and remain fixed thereafter, even if the Ward is knock down and comes back up. If a caster fails their spell when using permanent POW, they lose the same number of Temporary POW x3. 



Sangor, having found himself a respectable sorcerer's tower, decides to Ward his work area against demons or other hostiles. He only knows Ward 3, but the work room is small, so he need not increase the area fo the spell. He decides to make the ward permanent by devoting permanent POW to the working. After crafting a new set of wands for this Ward, he prepares himself and casts - but fails. The wards do not work, and Sangor is riven of 9 temporary POW. Suddenly exhausted, he sits. Dejected, he stares about his little tower and elects to wait for the next day when his POWer has returned. The following morning, his spell is successful. Sangor reduces his permanent POW by 3, but has a level 3 Ward on his work room - that will last forever.  


This is the last of the spells from the Common Spell List. Next Thursday - Sorcerer Cabals and Spell Secrets!