Friday, November 1, 2002

Omar's Grimoire

by Rob Knop ( rknop @


The Gramarye is a magic system for Fudge by Carl Cravens, published in Grey Ghosts' A Magical Medley. The text of the Gramarye is online at Carl's site ( That text will be necessary to fully understand the spell specifications below. It describes a system whereby spellcasters may improvise and cast spells on the fly, by combining a college (verb) with a realm (noun). Naturally, spellcasters will probably figure out some favorite spells, and keep track of how to cast them. Lists of spells that fit the Gramarye rules are an aid for characters and players alike.
The following spells are all my creations. They would be suitable in a Fudge game which I was GMing... perhaps with some modification. Magic is a setting-dependent sort of thing; while the Gramarye attempts to be a setting independent meta-system, there are some judgment calls which will be left to each GM. I have made some judgment calls on the spells below; in some cases, I attempt to give a justification for those calls.
Naturally, these spells can be used as the basis from which a mage creates his own variations. Want to decrease the cost of a spell? Create a variant with higher difficulty or casting time. In each case, it is up to the GM to judge whether the spell (modified or unmodified) is fair. Sometimes below there are suggested limitations on such modifications, providing game balance and/or "thaumatobabble" reasons for the limitations.

The Spells

Breathe Water

Transform Water to Air; Good effect (+4); lasts 1 hour (+4); must touch target (-1); 2 minutes to cast (-4). Total mana cost: 3
For the duration of the spell (default: 1 hour), the target can breathe without trouble under water. (What happens is that as the target inhales, an appropriate volume of water is converted to air before it enters his respiratory track. The volume of water converted is negligible.)
I rationalize that this is merely a Good rather than a Great effect. Normally, transforming something to a different composition is a Great effect. However, here it's being done just for a single purpose: breathing. It doesn't grant free action, it can't affect anything else. Consequently, I stepped down the effect by a single increment.


Control Magic; Great effect (+8); lasts 5 hours (+5). Total mana cost: 13.
The Delay spell is for the mage who wants to leave a magical trap or message behind. He casts the Delay spell and a second spell. The Delay spell is cast on a specific person, location, or item. During the casting of the spell, he specifics the conditions under which the second spell will be released. The second spell will then be held until those conditions are met. The conditions must be within Close range of the thing upon which the Delay is cast. (Different ranges can be specified using the Gramarye modifiers table on p. 90 of _A Magical Medley_.)
The base cost for the spell assumes a 5 hour duration. If the Delay is not triggered by the time it expires, the second spell is lost. Since the mage may no longer be present when the Delay is triggered, he must supply enough mana to power both the Delay and the second spell at the time of initial casting. The second spell must be cast immediately after the Delay. Once both are cast, the mage may forget about both spells; he begins to regain mana as normal. Note that in order to extend (i.e. maintain) the Delay, the mage must be within range of wherever he left the spell behind.
The "Great Effect" is based on the following. Normally, in order to hold a spell, the mage would have to spend mana every 5 combat rounds. By casting a Delay, the mage spends all the mana at once, and gets a price break on the mana cost (probably just a Fair or Good effect). However, when holding a spell, a mage does not regain mana, and he still must be present when he releases the spell. When he casts a Delay, he does regain mana, and need not be present when the spell is triggered: hence, the Great effect.
Suggested limitation: Do not allow the casting time to be increased beyond 10 minutes. The real reason for this is that doing so makes the creation of magical traps too easy. The thaumatobabble reason for this is that a Delay which takes too long to cast loses meaningful connection with the second spell cast immediately after it.
(Note that a future version of the Gramarye may incorporate this effect into the mechanics of the system. As with all of these spells, make sure that they make sense with the version of the Gramarye you are using, and with your campaign world, before allowing them!)

Lie Detector

Know Mind; Good Effect (+4), duration 2 minutes (+2). Total mana cost: 6.
When cast upon a subject, the mage will know whether or not the subject believes what he says to be true for the duration of the spell.


Break Body; Fair effect (+2); short range (+1); no mundane defense (+2). Total mana cost: 5.
When the mage casts Smite, a bolt of magical energy leaps from his hand to the target, wounding the target. Normal armor provides no protection against a Smite.
The base Smite does 4 points of damage. To increase the damage of a smite, the mage may spend mana at the normal rate described in the Gramarye modifiers table (A Magical Medley, p. 90).

Smite Shield

Break Magic; Fair effect (+2); lasts two minutes (+2); Total mana cost: 4.
A Smite Shield is a magic shield that will stop a Smite spell or a similar Break Body spell which does normal damage. The default version of the spell will reduce the damage from a Smite spell by 4 points of damage; each increase in protection of +2 costs an additional +1 of mana.

Spirit Sight

Know Spirit; Great Effect (+8); room-sized area (+2); takes 2 minutes (-4); Total mana cost: 6
For a few moments, this spell allows the caster to see any spirits, ghosts, or similar non-corporeal entities lurking in his immediate area. Note that if the spirit itself would be invisible to other spirits or those who normally see such things, then the caster will not necessarily see them!

Spirit Trace

Know Spirit; Great Effect (+15); room-sized area (+2); takes 10 minutes (-6); Total mana cost: 11
The caster will be able to briefly see the psychic residue left behind by the presence of spirits or ghosts upon the immediate area. It is up to the GM to decide how long the residue lasts and remains visible to this spell. The duration should be related to the significance of the spirit's activities. A spirit merely passing through an area may only leave a trace visible for a few hours; striking terror into the heart of a mortal may leave a residue visible for days; directly causing the death of a mortal may leave signs visible for years.
The caster may not know the exact meaning of the residue he sees. He will get a sense for it's "strength," and perhaps a feeling or "timbre" associated with it. Interpretation of these sensations may be possible through the use of an Occultism or other similar skill.


Know Time; Great effect (+12); room-sized area (+2); lasts 10 minutes (+3); takes 2 minutes (-4); Total mana cost: 13
This spell allows the casting wizard to see and hear what happened in the past at his current location. By default, the wizard can see events that happened up to one day in the past. He can increase this range by adding +2 to the mana cost for each step on the Gramarye's Time Chart.
Sample props: appropriately enchanted crystal ball or gold-framed mirror (major value, similar: -3); large bowl of still water (similar, -1). The similarity comes from a crystal ball performing like a lens: focusing and showing light through the object. Reflections, as from a mirror or bowl of water, likewise show light and sights which do not come from the object itself. If the mirror, crystal ball, or bowl of water is not properly enchanted, it will shatter at the end of the spell's duration.