On monday, I got to test out the petition system for cleric magic that uses a 2d6 casting roll. Here are my findings. I think they apply to other 2d6 casting systems that I have considered in the past as well.
Overall, I was pleased, but I would like to simplify the presentation somehow (the fourfold categorization did not seem immediately obvious to the players). I think there also needs to be some sort of exhaustion mechanic built in. There were no problems during the session exactly, but magic did feel a bit to accessible, especially compared to the party magic-user. Thus, I think I’m going to modify the 2 and 3-4-5 ranges to apply a cumulative penalty. So:
Spurned (further attempting this petition is at -1)
Becomes something like:
Spurned (failure, cumulative -1)
This is similar to a previous idea I had for accumulating arcane stress. It’s also related to this other recent post about another cleric magic system, which allocated “disfavor” points for successfully casting spells. I think the arcane stress post had the right of it by only causing cumulative penalties on lower rolls, as disfavor arising from success seems slightly strange.
Here is an adjusted cleric magic roll:
|2 or less||Abandoned (specific petition unavailable, any abjuration ends, cumulative -1)|
|3, 4, 5||Spurned (failure, cumulative -1)|
|6, 7, 8||Ignored (failure, may try again next turn)|
|9, 10, 11||Answered (standard success)|
|12 or more||Rewarded (double effect, demons or undead destroyed, etc)|
And a magic-user version:
|2 or less||Catastrophe (chaos surge/mutation/backfire, spell lost, cumulative -1)|
|3, 4, 5||Miscast (failure, chaos leak, cumulative -1)|
|6, 7, 8||Delayed (goes off at the end of all actions, may be interrupted)|
|9, 10, 11||Success|
|12 or more||Puissant success (extended duration, full damage, or something similar)|
Cumulative penalties go away and spells may be re-prepared after characters return to civilization and rest for a night, along with appropriate prayer or study.
The differences between cleric petitions and sorcery are as follows. Cleric magic need not be prepared, but is limited to the powers granted by a particular order or patron. It also is more ritualistic, and with the exception of a few limited combat effects (such as turn undead or hold person) requires at least an exploration turn (and often a full day) to attempt. Sorcery, on the other hand, requires preparation, but the set of effects to choose from is limited only by spells known. Sorcery is also more directly potent and more dangerous (potentially causing chaos leaks, mutations, backfires, and all kinds of nastiness). Both kinds of magic become harder to use as failures accumulate, which is important for the resource management aspect of game play.