Sunday, January 13, 2013

By the Power of Greystar!

copyright 1984 by V Autumn, S Scherf, and K Autumn
[If “Enchanting the mattock” isn't a euphemism, it really ought to be.]

          Did you ever wonder how mages...with their unbelievable intelligence managed to forget a spell right after they cast the cursed thing?
          Or why one could not memorize three more first-level spells instead of one third-level spell?
          And why do mages never screw up while casting spells?
– Daera, the One-Eyed Sorceress

In Scherf and Autumn's The Complete Works of Zorin Greystar - Book One, each chapter is presented as an informal lecture by one of Greystar's adventurer associates.  Talena, High Priestess of the Temple of Rhynon, discusses 'The Multiverse' in Chapter One and Daera, the One-Eyed Sorceress, explains 'Magic' in Chapter Two.

Talena defines manna as “the fuel of the spellcaster,” but it is left to Daera to discuss the concept in more detail.  Daera notes a difference between the Polynesian 'mana' and the biblical 'manna'.  It seems that – for mages – mana is “the impersonal supernatural force to which magical powers are attributed” and that – for 'holy spellcasters' – manna is “divinely supplied spiritual nourishment.”  Beyond this distinction, they both function in the same way for purposes of Greystar's “REVOLUTIONARY NEW SYSTEM!”  (Sometimes the characters get excited and lapse into all caps.)  Daera chooses to refer to them both as mana because it's the “more important.”  This means that 'holy' magic and 'wizard' magic function in the same way with the only differences being the spells available and the 'explanation' of manna/mana.  According to Talena, the “the fuel of the spellcaster” is drawn from a “vast reservoir of positive energy known as the Positive Force.”  Living beings have “life forces” that originate in the Positive Force and return to it upon death.  However, there is “an opposing, balancing force, the Negative Force,” from which the undead draw their power.

Daera assures us that “the reader will find that 7th grade math is all that is necessary to understand” Greystar's magic system; regardless, “All complex formulas are supplemented by tables.” Each spellcaster has an amount of mana based upon her level and “prime requisite.”  Once spent, a spellcaster recovers mana at a rate derived from her constitution; however, recovery only occurs during “mental rest.”  Each spell has a mana cost determined by a formula that incorporates that spell's level.  As an optional rule, a spellcaster can (temporarily) lose points of constitution when she uses up more than half of her mana.

In order to cast a spell, certain conditions must be met.  Unless reading a spell from a book (or a scroll, I suppose), a spellcaster must learn the spell before using it.  Learning a spell requires a number of days based on the spell's level and modified by the learner's prime requisite.  “The highest level spell a spellcaster can learn,” Daera tells us, ”is limited by his own level and prime requisite score.”  Evidently, there is no limit to the number of spells that may be learned.

Once learned, a spell can be memorized.  The time it takes to memorize a spell uses the same formula as for learning a spell, but the amount of time is in hours rather than days.  A memorized spell is in the spellcaster's “repertoire and [she] can cast it as many times as mana permits.”  A formula using the spellcaster's level determines the total number of spell levels that can be memorized at a time.  As an example, a 4th level spellcaster can memorize up to nine spell levels, but no spell can be higher than third level.  A spellcaster can forget a spell in order to 'make room' for another spell; however, the forgotten spell is still a learned spell and may be memorized again at a later time.

Ready to cast your spell now that it's memorized?  Sorry, you have to remember a memorized spell before you can cast it.  “The time it takes to remember spells is based on intelligence, spell level, and maximum spell level able to be learned,” Daera says.  (It's a matter of segments.)  At any one time, a spellcaster can have a number of spells 'remembered' equal to her level.  Spells remain 'remembered' for a number of turns based on the spellcaster's prime requisite.  Once any remembered spell is cast, the 'number of turns' is reset for all remembered spells.  Now you can cast!

In her chapter, Talena describes “the infinite planes of existence” by referring to a fourth dimension.  Planes are separated from one another by distribution along this fourth dimensional axis, but they overlap or 'co-exist' within three-dimensional space.  Talena employs the phrase “Prime Material” for “our own” plane.  There is also a plane for each of the four classical elements.  The Prime Material and elemental planes are contained within the Ethereal Plane.  Talena describes the Ethereal Plane as a place of “bluish mist” where there is no gravity.  However, this plane hosts an “ether-cyclone” as well as “abominations” of “extreme fierceness.”  The Ethereal Plane (including its 'contained' planes) exists as a sort-of sphere floating in the Astral Plane.  Our sphere is merely one of “Uncountable numbers of...spheres [that] slowly waft through the blackness of the Astral...”

copyright 1984 by V Autumn, S Scherf, and K Autumn

1 comment:

  1. That cat sharpening his claws on that ethereal egyptian dude's robe is cool. But the artist didn't like hips on women, evidently.