Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

Magic in the Tooth and Claw setting

I really don't want to rewrite the full Forgotten Futures magic rules for the Tooth and Claw setting, and there isn't actually any need - the source of power will be a little different, everything else is much the same. So the chapter on magic will be pretty short:


The main Forgotten Futures game includes optional magical rules, with a MAGIC characteristic and a Wizardry skill. Tooth and Claw does not include any obvious use of magical powers. Having said that, certain aspects of draconic biology make more sense if it’s assumed that they are actually magical creatures but use their magic unconsciously to maintain their own abilities and powers. How else could something the size of a dragon fly? How else could dragons convert the flesh of other dragons into their own so easily?

If this is true, dragons are already using their powers unconsciously to give them many of the benefits that magicians crave; long life, strength, toughness, flight, etc. Some can breathe fire, or charm Yarge with their gaze. What else do they need magic for? Well, there’s a type of mind that seems to think that more is better, and craves power and knowledge for its own sake, for personal gain, or to ensure that it is in “safe” hands. It’s possible that some dragons have found the key to unlocking their real magical powers, and are secretly using them in ways most dragons can barely imagine.

If you want to go this route, you will need the main rules (available as a free download) and especially the Appendix It’s a Kind of Magic. Most dragons should be unaware that magic exists; their magic is entirely internalised as BODY, and their MAGIC and Wizardry skill are zero. Certain dragons have learned the truth, and have found ways to use it beyond mere maintenance of their innate abilities. Of course there are snags – lots of them…

Dragon magicians must spend a quarter to a half of their initial character points on BODY and MAGIC. MAGIC is purchased for the same point prices as MIND or SOUL, and has a maximum value of 7. In other words, a dragon wizard is likely to start out unusually small and lacking in non-magical skills. At least one point must be spent on the Wizardry skill, whose base value is av. MAGIC and SOUL.

Every time a spell is cast, the magician must roll their Magic against the total value of the characteristics affected, or against the Difficulty of the spell, whichever is greater. If the roll fails the wizard loses BODY; at least BODY 1, optionally more. This is subtracted from the wizard’s BODY or from the wizard’s food; wizards have to eat dragon flesh to power their spells, or they will slowly dwindle to nothingness. This makes spell-casting a bloody business, and potentially very expensive if the wizard has to splurge on the meat market.

There’s another snag; because wizards are using their innate powers in ways that nature never intended, they lose out on some of the usual draconic benefits of eating dragon meat. It takes 2 BODY of meat and 2 Bonus Points to add 1 BODY to a wizard. If a meal would normally add only 1 BODY to the wizard, there is no gain. Optionally they may be unusually vulnerable to illnesses caused by diseased or tainted meat.

Want another snag? If magic exists, some Yarge must be wizards; they outnumber dragons at least fifty to one, and some of them will know how to gain magical power by eating dragon flesh. The flesh of dragon wizards is particularly prized, of course.

The spells that are most likely to appeal to dragon wizards include transformation (typically into Yarge form if there seems to be a chance of getting near a princess), teleportation and magical portals (especially into treasure vaults), weather manipulation, and clairvoyance (to find the hiding place of gold, of course). In other respects dragon magic should work much like that of wizards in any other world; for further details see the main rules.

Does this seem OK? The illustration is one of frostfox's dragons - I've added the pointy hat and a couple of spell books.

Just writing the "use with other Forgotten Futures settings" bit, and finishing off some other details, and I will then, I think, have the rules section finished, and can move on to the adventures. I hope that I'll be able to send what I've done so far out for comment once Dragonmeet is out of the way, so if you wanted to be a beta reader please remind me.
Tags: forgotten futures, jo walton, rpg, tooth and claw
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