Various questions about HMG magic


Lawrence Bryan
Lawrence Bryan's picture

I've been a Harn fan and occasional player/GM since before the first Harnmaster came out. I've not had much luck in finding players willing to take on the somewhat daunting task of reading and studying (and understanding) HMG's magic system. I liked the idea of each spell being a separate skill and so when the split occurred, I went with Robin. However not having any Shekky players, all the magic was from NPC's. I just made it up as I went along, creating spells that seemed interesting and reasonable as the need arose. Now I have a serious Jmorvi in my group and am forced to actually think and read the canon. After a two hour session with the player going over the details in the Enhanced Magic section, I have realized I don't really understand the system well enough to do a great job of GMing.

So after that longish preamble ...

What does it mean to learn a spell? To know a spell? To memorize a spell? Technically to learn one means to figure out what it does, how to cast it, calculate the SB and OML, and write it up. But if I now have learned a spell, do I always know it? Since there is a section on memorized spells, what do i have to do cast a non-memorized spell? Can I just take a quick peek at a book to refresh my memory? Can I just sit down for a few minutes and think through the process I learned a few years ago to cast it? Make an intelligence roll to see if I was able to recall it correctly? How is the EML affected by the intelligence roll? How many spells can someone learn or know?

Marduk23
Marduk23's picture

Not sure if these will

Not sure if these will answer your questions correctly, but I'll do my best to quickly hit them in the shortest, simplest manner:
(also, I've had my own house-rules so long that I tend to forget where canon ends and I begin... I'll do my best to stick strictly with canon for these answers)

1)What does it mean to learn a spell?

A shek-pvar only knows 'spells' that he has researched himself. He may learn a spell known by someone else, but this still involves self-research to make it "his own." I see this as "magic is an art" and they way mage A casts the light spell may not be the way mage B needs to do it.
The research section in Harnmaster Magic (gold) does a pretty good job walking you through the process, methinks. Ask if you would like more detail. :-)

2) To know a spell?

Once you research the spell, you *know* it.

3) To memorize a spell?

You can memorize spells to do "off the top of your head". The 'casting times' (here is where canon and I may diverge) are for *memorized* spells. Those not memorized must be read out of your spell book (or where ever they are kept) and take 2+ times longer to cast.

4) Technically to learn one means to figure out what it does, how to cast it, calculate the SB and OML, and write it up. But if I now have learned a spell, do I always know it?

Yes, there should never be any reasons a mage needs to re-learn a spell... Although it may not always be memorized. A good savoryan spell would be to erase 'memory' of spells and force a re-mem session or book read (thereby screwing up a mage duel ;-))

5) Since there is a section on memorized spells, what do i have to do cast a non-memorized spell? Can I just take a quick peek at a book to refresh my memory? Can I just sit down for a few minutes and think through the process I learned a few years ago to cast it? Make an intelligence roll to see if I was able to recall it correctly?

I may have covered most of this already. The time-to-memorize I don't know off my head, but I'd suggest picking something that is prohibitive, but not punitive. :-) 30-INT minutes per complexity level is what I use in my campaigns. I forego any INT checks to recall, but I like the idea of it. Mwahaha
Note that once a spell is memorized, casting it does NOT erase it from your memory (any more than dialing your own phone number doesn't make you have to re-memorize it ;-). Once memorized, ALWAYS memorized... unless you exceed the max number of memorized complexity levels, then something has to go (often Player's choice).

6) How many spells can someone learn or know?

No limit to how many spells can be learned. There is a limit to how many can be memorized at one time, though... I think the original number was 2x INT in complexity levels. I personally like 1x INT in CL, as it forces players to really think about what they want.

Does this help?

Ken
Ken's picture

Something extraordinary must

Something extraordinary must occur for a Mage to 'unlearn' a spell (multi-level spells may be an exception here, but that's another kettle of fish). Normally there is no reason why a mage would want to unlearn one. It would be akin to "closing" a skill.

To memorize a spell (assuming you are using the optional rules) is to essentially give oneself an extra familiarity with it. It is cast in the same manner as an unmemorized spell. The difference is that a memorized spell enjoys a +10 eml modifier.

"There is a limit to the number of spell Complexity Levels a mage can memorise: Will+Intelligence+Aura. Hence, a character with 9 WIL, 12 INT and 17 AUR could have up to 38 spell levels memorised. Shèk-Pvâr can ‘instantly dememorise’ spells at will (to make room for other spells)." HarnMaster Gold: Shek-Pvar Page 32.

The process to memorize a spell "takes some time", and this is left to GM discretion.

Keilas
Keilas's picture

time to memorise a spell

Ken wrote "The process to memorize a spell "takes some time", and this is left to GM discretion."

There is a sidebar on Shèk-Pvâr 32 indicating how much time it takes to memorise a spell.

There is no limitation to the number of spells a Shèk-Pvâr can learn, but if you take in account the rules on ML maintenance and decline on Shèk-Pvâr 31, he'll will be more careful before learning new spells ... will he have time to maintain every spells he has ?

Jean-Nicolas Joubert

macgorgor
macgorgor's picture

EML mod. for non memorised spells

IMPH I apply a -10 EML penalty when casting non-memorised spells. I've thought about a -5 per CL, but not yet tried it.

Peter Fauconnier


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