- "Magic's strength has waned since ancient times. While we are fortunate that armies of Daemons no longer roam the earth, we must also realize that the mightiest of magics are now lost to us. Only in artefacts like the Hammer of Sigmar do traces of the old power remain."
- Maximilian, Hierophant of the Light Order
The Nature of Magic
Magic is an eldritch energy that flows from the collapsed polar gates, flooding over the Warhammer World. It is a powerful, yet unpredictable force, for it is the energy of Chaos. All magic comes from the Realm of Chaos, except for that which is gifted by the gods to the devoted. Under the control of gifted individuals, it can be a powerful tool, a terrible weapon, or a miraculous event.
As Magisters see it, to use magic is to give shape to the stuff of raw Chaos. A Wizard uses his will and his very flesh to form a conduit between this world and the immaterial realm (known as the Æthyr and the Realm of Chaos), drawing power from the "winds" of magic. Through training, will power and inborn talent a Magister may summon fire, create illusions or transmute lead into gold. At the same time, he may bring disaster, or attract the attention of unseen eyes. Many whisper that Daemons ride the Winds of Magic, ever keen to spot those who tarry in their domain. Whatever the truth of this may be, it is commonly accepted that magic is a fickle mistress, with faces both cruel and kind.
The Winds of MagicJust as the emblem of Chaos has eight arrows, so does magic have eight winds. They blow across the world, carrying the energy of Chaos with them. While raw magic is unified within the Realm of Chaos, when it comes into this world it refracts into eight "colours", known collectively as the Winds of Magic. Spellcasters gain their power by tapping into these Winds of Magic. Some do so by joining an Order dedicated to study of one colour of magic. Others do so by prayer, luck or instinct. Since they are playing with the essence of Chaos itself, whatever their methods, all spellcasters risk their lives and even their souls when they practice magic.
Table: The Winds of Magic
|Colour||Common Name||Runic Name||Associated College of Magic||Associated Lore|
|Red||Bright||Aqshy||The Bright Order||Fire|
|Yellow||Gold||Chamon||The Gold Order||Metal|
|Brown||Amber||Ghur||The Amber Order||Beasts|
|White||Light||Hysh||The Light Order||Light|
|Blue||Celestial||Azyr||The Celestial Order||The Heavens|
|Grey||Shadow||Ulgu||The Grey Order||Shadow|
|Green||Jade||Ghyran||The Jade Order||Life|
|Purple||Amethyst||Shyish||The Amethyst Order||Death|
Types of Magic
There are two main types of magic: arcane and divine. Arcane spellcasters, typically known as Wizards or Sorcerers, use magical formulae and personal will power to command and control the Winds of Magic.
Divine spellcasters, typically known as Priests or Clerics, use faith and religious rituals to work magic. Thus Wizards believe that their own inner strength powers their spells, while Priests believe that their spells are gifts from the Gods in return for devotion and prayer. Divine Magic tends to be safer than Arcane Magic because it is so highly ritualized. All magic has its risks, however, as is amply demonstrated by Dark Magic. This is a subset of Arcane Magic, whose practioners are willing to take even greater personal risks for increased power.
Magic and the Races
Halflings and Dwarfs seem to possess a resistance to the influence of the Æthyr, and they do not have spellcasters like the other races. Amongst the Elves, the ability to manipulate this powers seems commonplace, if not "natural" to their highborn kind. In Humans, only a few are born with the power to see and use the Winds of Magic. Of every thousand babies born, perhaps one may possess a talent with magic. Of every thousand with talent, one may have a remarkable talent, and for every ten thousand with a remarkable talent, ther may be one powerful enough to become one of the legendary Battle Wizards. In most, lack of training means that their abilities never emerge, or manifest as minor strangeness and "hedge" wizardry.
The Birth of the Orders of MagicFor many a year, practitioners of magic were hunted down and killed. Rightly so, for these "Hedge Wizards" used energies beyond their understanding, bringing destruction and doom upon the heads of those around them. Terrible fires, explosions, unexplained accidents and madness all gather around an untrained Wizard. Exile or death was the common fate of many a magic wielder, that is until the reign of Emperor Magnus the Pious.
Finding himself in the midst of a conflict that later became known as the Great War Against Chaos, Magnus the Pious chose to use the destructive abilities of Human spellcasters. Lifting the unspoken ban upon Wizardy, he accept the aid of the High Elf Archmage Teclis in founding the Colleges of Magic in Altdorf. Using the effective, if unpredictable powers of the first official Wizards, he was able to turn the tide, winning the war, and changing the Empire forever.
When you want to cast a spell, you must draw upon the power of the Winds of Magic and focus it into your desired effect (the chosen spell). The casting of spells is a multiphase process.
Phase 1: Focusing the Winds of Magic
To do this, the Spellcaster rolls 1D10 for each rank of wizardry he has (Novice, Apprentice, Adept, Magister). He adds his spellcasting attribute's modifier (i.e., Wizards/Intelligence, Clerics/Wisdom, Sorcerers/Charisma, etc.) as well as any bonuses from feats and metamagic feats he may have if applicable. If the total number rolled is equal to or surpasses the spell's Casting Number, the Winds of Magic have been gathered, focused and directed, but not yet executed; otherwise, the spell is lost. Because of the amount of focus and concentration needed to cast a spell, the Spellcaster's turn is delayed and the next character/creature in order of initiative may go through their actions for the round. At the end of that creatures turn, the Spellcaster may resume his turn and complete his casting. 0-Level spells do not require a casting roll.
If the Casting roll is less than the spell's Casting Number, the spell is Miscast. In addition, you must make a Will saving throw (DC 15 + the spell's level) or gain an Insanity Point as the uncontrolled magical energy sears your mind. Because they only roll 1D10 to begin with, novice spellcasters are in greater danger than their more experienced.
Phase 2: The Chaos Upon the Battlefield
During the turn immediately following the Focusing, when the Spellcaster's turn is being delayed through the turn of the next character/creature in order of Initiative, any number of events can occur on the battlefield. Anything, that disturbs the Spellcaster during this phase will cause him to have to make a Concentration check to keep the Winds of Magic under his control. If the Concentration check succeeds the Spellcaster manages to keep the Winds of Magic firmly under his control through the round in preparation to complete the spell's casting. If the Concentration check fails, the Spellcaster loses the spell, and his turn comes to a complete end.
Phase 3: Dispelling
A battlefield quickly becomes a hundred times more dangerous when a Spellcaster is present. But when two or more Spellcasters step onto the fields, it becomes a place where powerful magic quickly loses control and brings chaos to the field. In battle, if a Spellcaster is otherwise unengaged (not defending himself in melee), and he can see another Spellcaster casting, he may attempt to dispel the spell. Dispelling a spell is considered a swift action and does not use up a Spellcaster's action. He makes a Dispel check. This is the same as making a Casting check. If his result exceeds the original Casting check, it is dispelled. The original Spellcaster loses the spell and his turn comes to a complete end.
Phase 4: Casting the Spell
It is finally time for the original Spellcaster to complete his turn and execute his spell. Barring anything that causes him to make a Concentration check or a rival Spellcaster attempting to dispel his spell, the spell is executed and the original Spellcaster completes any further actions he may take during his turn and completes his turn as normal.
Arcane Magic an be unpredictable. The more power you use to cast a spell, the more likely it is that something unexpected will happen. This is Tzeentch's Curse. Not all Wizards honour Tzeentch, the Chaos God of Magic and Change, but all fear him.
If you are an arcane spellcaster, Tzeentch's Curse takes effect when you roll doubles, triples, or quadruples on your Casting check. The more D10s you roll, the more deadly Tzeentch's Curse becomes.
If you roll doubles, roll a percentile dice and consult Table: Minor Chaos Manifestation. If you roll triples, roll a percentile dice and consult the Table: Major Chaos Manifestation. If you roll quadruples, roll percentile dice and consult the Table: Catastrophic Chaos Manifestation. If you roll multiple matches on one Casting Roll, there can be more than one manifestation. For example, if you roll 4D10s and get two sets of doubles, you'd have to roll twice on the Table: Minor Chaos Manifestation.
If preferred, the DM can improvise appropriate Chaos manifestations. If this is the case, use the manifestation tables as a guide to length, severity and type of effect caused by Tzeentch's Curse.
Despite Tzeentch's Curse, if you meet or beat the Casting Number, the spell is still cast successfully.
Table: Minor Chaos Manifestation
|01-10||Witchery: Within 30 feet (6 squares) of you, milk curdles, wine goes sour, and food spoils.|
|11-20||Rupture: Your nose begins to bleed and continue until you make a successful Heal skill check or Constitution check (DC 15), or have some of your hit points restored by magic. You take 1 point of bleed damage per round. You can test once per round.|
|21-30||Breath of Chaos: A cold unnatural wind blows through the area.|
|31-40||Horripilation: Your hair stands on end for 1D10 rounds.|
|41-50||Wyrdlight: You glow with an eerie light for 1D10 rounds.|
|51-60||Unnatural Aura: Animals within 30 feet (6 squares) of you get spooked, and unless controlled with a successful Handle Animal skill check, flee the scene.|
|61-70||Haunted: Ghostly voices fill the air for the duration of your spell. Everyone within 30 feet (6 squares) must make a successful Will saving throw or be shaken for 1D10 rounds.|
|71-80||Æthyric Shock: The magical energy coursing through you damages your mind and body. You take 1D6 points of damage, and must make a successful Will saving throw or receive 1 Insanity point.|
|81-90||Mental Block: You channel too much magical energy. Whatever ability you use to cast spells (i.e. Wizards = Intelligence, Clerics = Wisdom, etc.) takes 1 point temporary damage for 1D10 minutes.|
|91-95||Whimsy: The DM can choose any result from this chart or make up a comparable minor effect.|
|96-00||Unlucky: Roll on Table: Major Chaos Manifestation instead.|
Table: Major Chaos Manifestation
|01-10||Witch Eyes: Your pupils turn bright red. They revert to their original colour at dawn the following day.|
|11-20||Silenced: You lose your voice for 1D10 rounds.|
|21-30||Overload: You are overwhelmed by magical energy and stunned for 1 round.|
|31-40||Craven Familiar: A Daemon Imp appears from the Æthyr and attacks you the next round.|
|41-50||Chaos Foreseen: You get a glimpse of the Realm of Chaos and gain 1 Insanity Point. Any time after this event, you can spend 1,000 exp and gain the Dark Lore (Chaos) feat.|
|51-60||Æthyric Attack: Magical energy burns through you, causing you to lose 1D10 hit points.|
|61-70||Enfeeblement: Chaos energy wracks your body, debilitating your constitution. Your Constitution ability takes 1 point of temporary damage.|
|71-80||Mindnumb: You channel too much magical energy. Your spellcasting ability (Intelligence or Wisdom) is reduced by 1 for 24 hours.|
|81-90||Daemonic Possession: You are possessed by a Daemonic entity for one minute. During that time, the GM controls all your actions and when you take control of your body again, you'll have no memory of what you just did.|
|91-95||Perverse Delight: The DM can choose any result from this chart or make up a comparable major effect.|
|96-00||Trick of Fate: Roll on Table: Catastrophic Chaos Manifestation instead.|
Table: Catastrophic Chaos Manifestation
|01-10||Wild Magic: You lose control of the magic as you cast your spell. Everyone within 30 feet (6 squares), including you, loses 1D12 hit points.|
|11-20||The Withering Eye: Chaos energy wracks your body, debilitating your constitution. Your Constitution ability takes 4 points of temporary damage for 1D10 hours.|
|21-30||Tzeentch's Lash: Magic power overwhelms you, knocking you out for 1D10 minutes.|
|31-40||Æthyric Assault: The Winds of Magic lash out at you. You suffer a 2D12 points of damage.|
|41-50||Heretical Vision: A Daemon Prince show you a vision of Chaos. You gain 1D10 Insanity Points. Any time after this event you can spend 1,000 exp and gain the Dark Lore (Chaos) feat.|
|51-60||Mindeaten: Your ability to use magic is burned out of you. Your spell casting ability (Intelligence or Wisdom) drops to 3, your are little better than a beast. For each full 24 hours that passes, it increases by 1 until it returns to full strength.|
|61-70||Uninvited Company: You are attacked by a number of lesser Daemons equal to your spell casting ability's modifier. They appear from the Æthyr within 30 feet (6 squares) of you.|
|71-80||Daemonic Contract: You suffer 1D12 points of damage as a two inch Chaos rune burns its way onto a random part of your body. Should you ever collect 13 of these, they will spell out a contract that signs your soul away to a Ruinous Power (DM's discretion). Removal of the branded skin will make no difference to the contract.|
|81-90||Called to the Void: You are sucked into the Realm of Chaos and forever lost. Unless you have a Fate Point to spend, it's time to roll up a new character.|
|91-00||Dark Inspiration: The DM can choose any result from this chart or make up a comparable catastrophic effect.|
Arcane spellcasters can minimize the risk of Tzeentch's Curse by creating a magical circle that helps control Æthyric energy. The materials required to make a protective circle are few and cost a number of gold coins equal to the Casting Number of the chosen spell. A protective circle takes 1 mintue and a successful Spellcraft check to create and is good for one casting (successful or not). If you cast a spell from within a properly created protective circle, you may re-roll a single Spellcraft check of your Casting Roll. The results of the re-roll are final.
The Wrath of the Gods
Divine spellcasters don't have to worry about Tzeentch's Curse. They pray to their Gods for their spells in a highly ritualized fashion. This insulates them from the worst effects of the Æthyr, though it also means their spells aren't as powerful as those of Wizards. Still, spellcasting is never without risks. Since Priests get their spells from their Gods, they run the risk of displeasing some rather powerful beings.
If your are a divine spellcaster, when you roll a natural 1 when casting your spell, you must roll on Table: The Wrath of the Gods to find out if you've angered your deity with too many requests for aid.
Table: The Wrath of the Gods
|01-15||Unearthly Vision: Your God chooses this time to grant you a symbolic but confusing vision. This stuns you for 1 round.|
|16-30||Prove Your Devotion: A few more prayers are required to finish casting the spell. This result adds 1 round to the Casting Time of the spell.|
|31-45||You Try My Patience: You cannot cast another spell for 1D10 rounds. This spell stil works as long as you made your Casting Roll.|
|46-60||Your Cause is Unworthy: Your spell fails.|
|61-75||Stinging Rebuke: Not only does your spell fail, but you also become shaken for 1 minute.|
|76-90||What Will You Sacrifice for this Boon?: You lose 1D10 hit points.|
|91-99||You Have Sinned Against Me: You have somehow angered your God. You must kneel and repent for 1D10 rounds. This renders your helpless.|
|100||Daemonic Interference: Your prayer is answered, but not by your God. Roll on Table: Major Chaos Manifestation instead.|
The Casting Roll assumes an average amount of energy is available from the Winds of Magic, but this is not always the case. There are places of power, where magic is infused in the landscape, that spellcasting is easier. Conversely, in some areas, the winds blow but lightly, making it more difficult. Certain times of the year can provide similar boons and penalties. When the Chaos moon Morrslieb is full, for example, magic is in the air.
DMs can reflect these variable winds in two ways. First, the DM can give a bonus or penalty to any Spellcraft check made to cast a spell. Second, the DM can provide extra D20s to roll, just like a Wizard using his Increased Channeling ability. Spellcasters can detect such areas with a successful Perception check