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Galloping Stars is a pony-inspired, sci-fi, tabletop RPG system being developed by Changeling Games. Lay a hoof upon your destiny...
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Update #29 - The Magic System

Posted by Changeling Games (Creator)

Hello everybody!

Today, we're finally taking a first look at the Magic system!

Now, this will not be 100% deep delve into the system, as that would take waaayyy too much to do, but this should at least give you an idea of what the system's going to be like on the surface.

Reminder that this may not 100% be what's in the final product.

The Magic System

To start out, the Magic system in Galloping Stars is what we like to call a controlled-freeform system. This means that the system is open-ended and characters are free to craft their own spells, with the help of the GM, but they are restricted for balance purposes.

The restriction comes in the form of Spell Slots, equal to your Magic Rank + any bonus slots (such as a Unicorn's racial ability or other talents). These slots can also be reset at every long rest, but not before.

Each of the spells that fills these slots is essentially a template. You decide what you want the spell to be, and what it's comprised of. Let's take a quick look at some the things that can be included in a spell's makeup for its template:

Spell Attributes:
- Ranged Spell or Touch- Area of Effect or Specific Target(s)
- Instant Cast or Charged Spell
- Immediate Effect or Duration Effect
- Damage/Healing Effects
- Target Save Check
- Element Type
- Other Effects

There are a few other things not on this list, but that is the majority of it. Each of these attributes, along with a base value (5), will ultimately determine the TN (Target Number) needed to pass the Spellcasting check in order to cast the spell. A failed roll will cause the spell to fizzle out and nothing happen, unless it's a critical fail, at which point the GM gets to have some fun. If the roll passes, we move to the next step.

After a Spell casting check has been passed, the spell is considered cast. It is at this point you actually determine the power of the spell. This essentially boils down to how much Mana you want to dump into the spell. This can be adjusted around within the parameters set by the attributes in the template (so, if it is a ranged spell, you can increase the range by putting more Mana into it).

Here are some things that can affect the Mana Cost of a Spell:
- Weight of target (for telekinesis)
- Range of Target(s)
- Number of Targets
- AoE Size/Type
- Duration
- Damage/Healed Amount

So, just to illustrate all of that, here's a sample spell template:

Fireball Spell (Example)
Ranged Spell (+3TN)
Area of Effect (Burst) (+5TN)
Instant Cast (0TN)
Immediate Effect (0TN)
Damage (+2TN)
No Target Save (0TN)
Element: Basic - Fire (0TN)
Other Effects: None (0TN)

So, with the base TN of 5, we add all of that together. This is 5+3+5+2=15TN. This means that in order to cast my Fireball Spell, I must roll a 15 or higher on my Spellcasting check. If I pass this, since the targets do not get a Save Check (if they do, it decreases your TN, but they have that chance to avoid or minimize the effects), then I move on to Mana Input in order to determine the power of the spell.

Let's say I pass the roll, and there were 3 targets bunched up that I want to hit with the Area of Effect. 

Because the spell is AoE, I do not have to include Mana Costs for the number of targets (AoE has the caveat of affecting everybody, including allies, as opposed to specific targets). The best spot to hit all 3 targets is at a range of 15ft. Range increases Mana Cost by 1 Mana for every 5ft beyond the first increment, so 15 minus 5 is 10. 10 is 2 increments, making the Mana Cost 2. 

Next, I want the size of the Area of Effect to be a 10ft burst, meaning 10ft (or 2 squares) from the origin point. This is an additional Mana Cost of 3 per 5ft radius. This, then, increases the Mana Cost by 6.

As it is an Instant Cast Spell, I pay no additional Mana for that. Likewise for it being an Immediate Effect Spell.

The final bit I need to consider is the amount of damage potential I want the spell to do. All damage (and healing spells) start with a D4 for free. However, if you want more capability, you need to spend more Mana. It costs 1 Mana to increase the dice a level (from a D4 to a D6, D6 to a D8, etc.), and 2 Mana to add an additional dice (which starts over from a D4 for the new dice). It also costs 2 Mana for each static number (a "+1" to the dice roll) attached to the value. So, for example, if I wanted to do 2D6+2 damage, I would need to upgrade the free D4 once, add a new dice, increase that dice by a level, and then add 2 points of static damage. That all equates out to an additional 8 Mana Cost.

So, putting all of the above together, we have a grand total Mana Cost of 16 Mana. This would be deducted from my Mana Pool and the damage dice would be rolled. We won't be looking at how Magic Damage functions different from regular damage in this post, though.

The final thing to cover in this post will be something mentioned briefly in the Character Creation updates: Elemental Affinity.

Every creature in the Galloping Stars universe has an Elemental Affinity. Even if they can't cast Magic through a Natural Foci or even if they have a Magic Rank of 1. Every character and creature has a innate magical attunement to at least one specific element.

What this does, is it decreases the Mana Cost of spells that character casts with that element, as well as providing a better Magic Defense against spells with that element. The Mana Cost reduction is the part we're gonna briefly look at today.

If the Spell you are casting shares your Elemental Affinity, you halve the Mana cost of that spell upon a successful casting. Let's use the example Fireball Spell above to illustrate this: That iteration of the spell would normally have cost me 16 Mana, but because I have an Elemental Affinity of Fire, I can reduce the Mana Cost by half, meaning I only pay 8 Mana for the same power of spell.

Of course, through Character Progression, some characters will gain additional or more advanced Affinities, unlocking more of their spellcasting potential.

And that will conclude our first look at the magic system for today. Of course, in the final product, everything will be explained even more in depth and with fancy charts and illustrative graphics to help aid in understanding this complex system! We hope to make it as intuitive as possible by release day.

Thank you all for joining us. Tuesday we'll be taking a look at the Griffon planet of Salacia. With this post finally up, in order to give our selves a bit of a breather, our Mechanics Updates will now be on hold until we finish going through the remainder of the Lore updates for all the Races and their respective planets. Once we are through those, the Lore Updates will give way to continued Mechanics Updates.

I look forward to seeing you next week!

- Project Lead Spirit

Nigel Qiu, Xinef, and 1 more person like this update.


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    1. Stephen A Cuyler

      On fisrt glance, I would think that the Instant Cast, Instant Effect, and No Save would have a higher TN cost. If these cost nothing they will get abused.