Master of Arts, Intellectual Philosopher of the Arcane, Learned Sage of All Things Magical: Such garnished titles can often be heard in reference to the Ardanian wizards of the world. Contrary to Elves, the vast majority of mages in Ardania put their effort into the scholarly study of Thaumatology, focusing on specific paths such as Body Control, Fire, and Sound. This ritual magic system is the topic of this final post in this short series on Ardanian Magic.
Thaumatology is the core skill required to learn ritual magic, and benefits from a bonus equal to the mage’s Magery level. Ardanian mages typically focus their studies on one or more magic paths. These paths represent the knowledge of all spells related to the path’s main theme. For example, the Path of Fire includes such spells as Create Fire, Fireproof, Heat and Fireball. Available paths for study are found in GURPS Magic and are exactly equal to the colleges listed in that text. The spells available to each path can be found in the chapter covering that path. The Path of Tech is unknown in Ardania, a low tech world, and the spells contained within are therefore off limits.
Each path is a separate IQ/VH skill which defaults to the core skill level in Thaumatology at a penalty of -6. The path skill may never exceed the core skill level. Any spell under a given path may be cast, at a default penalty equal to the spell’s prerequisite count under the standard Magic system. However, if the related path is also at default level, the skill penalties are cumulative, usually resulting in a very low skill level. Such a spell will be unlikely if not impossible to succeed. Individual spells are considered Hard techniques, and if a mage has at least one point in a path, those spells may be improved to a maximum level equal to the path skill.
Many spells belong to more than one path. Such spells may not be cast at default unless the mage has at least one point in each of the related paths. This represents the slightly more difficult nature of casting such spells. Spells belonging to a single path may always be cast at default, regardless if the path skill is itself at default.
Ardanian Ritual Magic is a simple system, yet very broad, granting a mage access to many spells which would otherwise require many spent points under the standard magic system. Apart from the rules determining which spells may be cast and at what skill level, all spells continue to function as described in GURPS Magic. And of course, all magic in Ardania is based on Threshold-Limited magic. If you are unsure what this is, or have forgotten, read part 1 in this series.
This brings to a close my brief series on Ardanian magic. By no means has this been an exhaustive analysis on all forms of magic in Ardania, however. There are other races with their own unique styles of working magical effects, but for my current campaign I will not need to define them.
Until next time, happy adventuring!