A mage powers his spells by drawing on energy from his inner self, the world around him and even the outer planes and other worlds. His capacity to draw from these power sources increases as the magic-user improves (as measured by gaining levels). HackMaster quantifies this power in Spell Points (SPs) and the Mage advancement table shows how many Spell Points a magic-user can command per day.
Memorized spells cost (spell level x 10 + 40) Spell Points to cast, e.g., 1st level spells cost 50 SPs to cast. A mage can cast spells he doesn’t have memorized, but these cost twice as many Spell Points (spell level x 20+ 80). Once used, Spell Points are gone until the mage can rest; he regains his used Spell Points after roughly 8 hours of sleep. He cannot take a quick ‘cat nap’ to regain only a few SPs, smart guy. Memorized spells on the other hand are, well, memorized, and therefore do not leave the Mage’s mind at the end of the day, forcing him to re-learn them. Such a concept seems highly absurd.
A spellslinger can memorize one spell from each level he has in the mage class, plus one each from the Journeyman and Apprentice spell levels. Thus, a novice spellslinger enters play with a total of three memorized spells; one 1st level in addition to an Apprentice and Journeyman spell (see more details on these below). Likewise, a 5th level mage can memorize a total of seven spells - one from each of levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, plus one spell each from his Apprentice and Journeyman levels.
A mage can also use Spell Points to power up his spells and achieve effects beyond his ordinary casting ability. Each spell includes a listing of additional SP costs to achieve these heightened effects (such as additional power, duration, range, area of effect and so on).
Additionally, Spell Points can be used to power magic items and improve their spell-like effects. Spell Points are required for magic item creation and certain skills, such as discovering the powers of magic items.
Spells are listed alphabetically by level. Included in each spell description are its attributes: Base Spell Point Cost, Components, Casting Time, Range, Volume/Area of Effect, Duration and Saving Throws (if permitted).
Base SP Cost: Each spell costs a minimum number of Spell Points (SPs) to cast. This value reflects a memorized spell executed at its minimal efficacy.
Additional Spell Point Schedule: Some spells allow the caster to spend additional Spell Points at the time of casting in order to increase range, duration and other effects.
For example, the Illusionary Mural spell (30 SP base cost; 100 sq. feet area of effect) allows the spellslinger to spend 1 more SP to increase the spell’s area of effect by 5 sq. feet A mage that spends an additional 6 SP improves the spell’s area of effect by 30 sq. feet (for a total of 130 sq. feet, the base 100 sq. feet plus the additional 30 sq. feet), while a mage that spends an extra 15 SP improves the Area of Effect by 75 sq. feet (for a total of 175 sq. feet). The mage cannot cast the spell, realize that his Area of Effect would have been more effective if it had been larger, and then pump extra SPs into the spell; additional SPs must be allocated during the casting. If this causes a mage to waste some SPs, he should treat it as a lesson to make more effective calculations next time.
All spells are limited in the number of Spell Points that may be placed into them; each incantation can only regulate a limited quantity of magical energy. Exceeding this threshold causes the spell to fail completely. In general, and unless explicitly stated otherwise, spell power cannot be augmented beyond 300% of their Base Spell Point Cost.
Components: Mages use a variety of components to cast their spells: verbal (V) sounds and speech, somatic (S) gestures and material (M) components such as coal, frog’s legs, earwax and so on. Unless stated otherwise in the spell description, material components are consumed (vanish) when a spell is cast. Unless materials are readied (generally out of their container and in-hand) prior to casting, the spell cannot be initiated for d4p seconds while the spellcaster produces them.
Certain material components may not be readily available and may necessitate that the mage spend extra time and/or effort either searching for or preparing these components. Costs of materials (if any) and their ease of acquisition can be determined by the GM.
Casting Time: Once a mage starts to cast a spell, it takes a certain amount of time before it discharges. A mage in the process of casting a spell is limited to a d8 roll against attacks. If he opts for a more proactive defense or is struck, the spell is ruined.
Range: When a spell lists a range in feet, its effects begin within or at the end of this range, at the mage’s discretion. Touch attacks require a normal attack roll. If the target in question chooses to use a shield against the mage, it guarantees an automatically hit (i.e., the spell travels through the shield and counts as a successful touch).
Volume/Area of Effect: Each spell affects a certain creature, object, volume, weight, etc., as specified by the spell and desired by the caster.
Duration: All spells last for a certain amount of time, be it seconds, minutes, hours or longer. “Instantaneous” does not imply a violation of general relativity; rather it is a term of art for durations on the order of milliseconds.
Saving Throws: Creatures subject to a spell may attempt a saving throw by rolling a d20p and adding their attack bonus to the roll (characters add their level instead of their attack bonus). The mage rolls a d20p and adds his level. If the target’s score equals or exceeds the mage’s score, he/it succeeds at the saving throw and the spell has no effect on him/it (unless otherwise specified in the spell description).
A natural “1” result on any saving throw indicates failure, unless the mage himself rolls a “1” on the opposed die check.
Divine spells function much the same as arcane magic with a couple of caveats. Clerics do not possess spell points so they don’t get the opportunity to selectively enhance their spells (at the cost of casting fewer spells per day).
However, the biggest difference lies in spell choice. In HackMaster, there is no unified list of cleric spells. Each religion has its own spell list with some orders receiving a particular spell far earlier (level-wise) than others and some spells simply being inaccessible based on the religion’s tenets.
In many other games, clerics have a nearly identical choice of spells despite the fact that their deities may have diametrically opposed interests. Should a cleric of Set be a ‘healbot’?
Each cleric in HackMaster has a list of spells tailored to his religion’s philosophy. Priests of the god of healing and mercy certainly have an ample selection of cures while those worshipping the god of pain, torture & cold have a choice of spells more in line with what their religion is theoretically about.