Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Magic of Atlantasia

Continuing the glorious creation of Johann Nederland – Cosmic Spy Mage

In our post last week, Johann purchased a set of clothes; however, I forgot to have him buy footwear. Let us correct this oversight at once. In Atlantasia, one can buy short boots or high boots and there are three options for each type: soft leather, hard leather, and “hard with trinkets.” For high boots, the costs are 1 gold chip, 15 gold chips, and 30 gold chips respectively. Johann buys high boots made of soft leather for one gold chip and – what the heck – let's splurge for a hard-with-trinkets wide belt for three gold chips. (Wide belts are the only kind available.) For those of you keeping track at home, Johann has 97 gold chips left.

On Atlantasia, careers have talents which are like specializations; priests, however, for reasons known only to John Holland, do not have specialized talents. Talents are determined by random rolls. Johann's spy talent is “spider (+30% to climb walls).” His mage talent is “scroll writer (+40% to scroll writing rolls).”

At first level, Johann's spy abilities are:

     Locate Traps 1%

     Locate Secret Doors 1%

    “Extra Hearing” 10% (Extra Hearing is not explained.)

     Climb Walls 35% (this includes the spider talent; normally, it would be 5%)

     Hide in Shadows 5%

     Use Disguise 10%

As a mage, Johann has a 20% chance of detecting magic within an item. At first level, he knows the first three spells of his school (cosmic). These spells are: Sun Shield (+5% to defense for 5 semi-segments, magic cost 2), Falling Star (1 star doing 1d4 damage, magic cost 3), and Free Breath (“This spell allows the mage to breathe when there is no air available for a period of time,” magic cost 7).*

So how does spell combat work in Atlantasia? Well, it can involve several rolls of the dice, especially during the Season of Chaos. “The first roll of the % dice will determine if the spell is successfully casted [sic].”** There is a 15% chance that the spell will backfire and a 20% chance that the spell with otherwise fail; this means an attack spell will be successful 65% of the time. There are no modifiers to this roll; a first level character has the same chances as a twentieth level character. “The second roll of the % dice is to determine the power behind the spell.” Thankfully, Holland tells us that we don't have to determine the power of an unsuccessful spell. Not only is that realistic, but I'm certain that it saves a lot of time! There is a 10% chance on the 'power roll' for a spell to fizzle, so even a successful spell can wind up being unsuccessful.

In the Season of Chaos, it is possible for a spell to have effects beyond what the caster intended. Depending upon the specific cycle during the season, the 'chance of altered spell' can be anywhere from 1% to 95%. If a spell is altered, another d% roll is made to determine the effect. There is a 5% chance that 1-20 “garter snakes fly out” and there is a 15% chance that “strange bird sounds erupt.” Whether or not a spell is altered, there is a chance that the spell will hit a companion; there is also a chance that the spell will backfire (presumably only if it doesn't hit a companion). For a period of seven cycles in the middle of the Season of Chaos, the chance for backfire is 100%.

If a spell successfully hits a target, a d% roll is made and the result checked on the 'Placement Chart.' (In other games, this is called a Hit Location Chart.) It's not that damage can affect different parts of the body differently; a roll is made on the 'Placement Chart' to determine which piece of armor or article of clothing (if any) is subject to damage.

Sometimes, a target will have a certain degree of resistance to certain forms of magic. For instance, Johann's resistance to cosmic spells is 32%. This resistance is not the chance Johann has of ignoring the effects of the spell; instead, this is the amount by which damage caused by the spell is reduced.

That's it for magical combat! “Wait,” you ask, “what about the spell save roll? It has a modifier derived from Psychic Defense.” Well, what about it? Oh, you think that “spell save roll” is defined somewhere in the rules? No, not a chance; it's not even mentioned anywhere other than the Psychic Defense table. In that regard, it's just like “reaction roll.” Does Holland mean for the “spell save roll” modifier to be applied to resistance? I guess it's possible, but resistance isn't rolled.

There's more to come.

*  We assume, of course, that air will become available after said period of time expires.

**  Yes, John Holland, author of The Realms of Atlantasia, uses “casted” for the past tense of “cast.” (Or is that pasted tense? Gosh, the English language can be difficult at times.)


  1. Even though it makes my brain hurt, I'm enjoying this series immensely.

    1. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

      It's unfortunate that John Holland put genuine effort into this, but I guess that's the essence of a fantasy heartbreaker.

  2. I think you meant to say "John Holland putted genuine effort." But maybe I am wrong, I am not fluent in Canadian.

    I am waiting with bated breath at what happens to our hero next.


  3. Yeah I agree, this is the best!