You are controllers of power, you are wielders of a might that will last eternal and will obey your commands because of who and what you are. Now. Let us begin.Quinn Shadowreaver
Performing magic in CODA involves grasping a core of principles which allow you to affect the story through the application of some game mechanics. Unlike combat magic, this type of casting relies on an extension of conceptual belief through communication with the system that produces an effect that often appears “off camera”.
In order for these mechanics to work the principles of using magic, referred to as casting, are outlined below. At each stage we explain a basic concept whilst referring to steps that are found further down the path; don’t worry these will be explained as you read through.
Finally it is important to note that these are mechanics, devoid of fluff and story and are really brought to life as part of the game when you reach the Casting Briefs for the fields of magic that you can choose from.
General Principles for Casting
- Casting is how a magic user attempts to alter the world by harnessing magic from a Realm of Power which they have access to.
- There are five unique realms of magical power in the world.
- Magic in the world has changed and that change is hard for a person’s essence to process.
- Casting is exhaustive and damaging for a person.
- The way that spells are cast for each realm is different each utilising a distinct form of roleplaying.
- When a Character casts they open a pathway into the Magic of the world creating a link to everything that dwells there, including its positive and negative connotations.
- A sequence of casting outside of combat is at its core:
- Examine a situation and consider how your magic can affect its conclusion and whether you believe that the risk to yourself or others is worth the potential outcome.
- Decide what you want to cast and verbalise that desire through descriptive casting.
- Ascertain the Magnitude of your casting via your ref and then decide if you want to cast it.
- After casting, draw Backlash which denotes the negative effects on you of your casting.
- Attempt to control your backlash and either continue or suffer the results.
- However combat does not allow such freedom and there are a handful of more direct mechanics to balance the power of magic.
Core Magical Mechanics
- Magic is divided into two categories: Combat and Transcendental.
- Transcendental casting allows you to use open-ended and freeform casting to alter reality.
- Combat Magic follows a set of predetermined spells with effects at each Magnitude of Power.
- Casting is made up of four mechanical factors:
- The outcome of your casting
- Words are your method of controlling the magic in the world with each method being different depending on the Realm that you have chosen.
- The words that you use begin with your REALM WORD which denotes the realm from which you are casting: Focus/Source/Wyld/Astral/Weave
- Your REALM WORD is given strength by Support Words which enhance the strength of the spell that you are trying to cast.
- Each Realm has specific purpose as described in its casting brief and invoking that word makes casting relating to that purpose easier
- For example, an aspect of Source deals with Daemons, so using Source as your opening word in a spell to banish a Daemon would make it easier than using Focus which doesn’t deal with Daemons at all.
- Support Words can be purchased with Endeavour and used alongside Realm Words to make casting spells easier.
- Unlike Realm Words they are less open ended and are treated much more like adjectives in casting. For example the word Banishing would make the Daemon removal easier whether you used Source Or Focus as a Realm Word.
- Magnitudes inform a caster how powerful an effect they are attempting may be.
- They also refer to how dangerous that effect might be which is further explained in the backlash section.
- When describing an effect through casting, the system will determine what magnitude that effect is ranging between 0 and 10 with 10 being the most difficult to complete.
- This is referred to as the Casting Magnitude.
- The System will also determine the Magnitude that a caster will begin casting that spell. This MAG will always be HIGHER than the actual cost of the spell and determined by environment, your realm, your experience in the casting and other factors.
- This is referred to as the Initial Magnitude
- Through the use of Realm Words and Support Words the caster may bring the Initial Magnitude of the spell down to a castable level or the actual Casting Magnitude.
- Within the game are two types of effect
- Combat Effects which have preset Magnitudes
- Transcendental Effects whose Magnitudes are determined at the time of casting
- Magic is unpredictable and extremely dangerous to the inexperienced and the experienced alike.
- After Casting Effects have been resolved a Caster draws a Backlash Card from their Omni-Deck.
- This can happen at any time after the casting has occurred and before the end of the following scene.
- This represents the effect that the Magic is having on the caster after their exertions.
- The card that they pull will have a roleplaying and/or mechanical detriment to the caster.
- The exact effect is equal to the Magnitude of the Effect that was used: If you cast a 4 Magnitude Effect pull a Backlash Card and follow the roleplaying and mechanical advice for MAG 4
- The duration of a Backlash follows these guidelines:
- Either Instant as described or
- Backlash 1 – A few minutes
- Backlash 2-4 (short) – 5 minutes or so.
- Backlash 5-7 (medium) – 10 minutes or so
- Backlash 8-10 (long) – 15 Minutes or so
- A backlash effect can be negated in one of two ways:
- A check called Backlash Mastery may be attempted.
- The character may spend a point of Defiance to completely negate a backlash card but only if they have not attempted a Backlash Mastery.
- When a casting is complete the outcome of the effect will begin to resolve
- In some cases this may be immediate and involve a material component: A caster may have animated a statue that is now being physically represented by a member of the cast or they may have spoken to the dead spirit of a corpse which will also be represented by a member of the cast.
- In other cases they may be waiting for a few minutes to gain a reply to a magically sent message or for a specific being to be summoned to answer their questions.
- Sometimes they will have cast an effect which may not have ramifications for months and will resolve at an event or in downtime at some point further down the line.
What follows are the very basic concepts of casting. Examples and specific rules for each can be found elsewhere
- Casting Transcendental magic usually requires a lot of thought from the caster and interpretation from the system.
- Some spells are straightforward and easily managed whereas others may take time to manifest as the universe changes around you.
- Throughout the process a caster will need access to their guide which takes the form of a System Storyteller or Ref.
- Each Realm of Power has a different form of Casting guide. In the Wyld a casting Guide is called a Felakiq (Fel A Key Key).
- Before a Caster begins the process of their effect they utilise a zero magnitude spell following their casting brief which summons their guide.
- Mechanically this puts out a call for a system storyteller to arrive and perform the role of guide and assist the caster through the steps of casting.
- The guide will roleplay according to their realm brief and work with the character to ascertain their MAGS and the proper potential of their effects
- Differing from Transcendental casting, combat casting operates with a clear list of defined spells from a sequence of defined paths.
- Each realm of power has access to a select number of those paths. If you chose to follow a combat casting path then you may select these paths as supplemental words to your realm of power.
- When Casting Combat you do not need to summon a guide and rely on set spells during combat to win the day.
- Spells that are known are prepared for and the backlash resulting from them is easy to deal with.
- However you may attempt to cast spells that are not intrinsically known to you which may benefit you more. These spells are less easily managed with regards backlash.