SG: Magic Use

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Magic is governed by the use of skills. Each skill is available primarily via one or more traditions, which is indicated in your High Concept and described in the previous section. You can also devise stunts to work with a magic skill.

For example, if you wish to be especially effective at tossing spears of ice, you could purchase an Ice Spears stunt that grants +2 bonus stress on a successful attack using Water magic.


Barrier is a shorthand term for an obstacle between one zone and the next, such as a wall of ice. When a character attempts to cross a barrier, the value of the barrier is added to the difficulty of any related action to reflect the difficulty of crossing it.

In general, a barrier exists between two zones, but it is possible that a barrier might be longer, even completely encircling a zone. The creation of a barrier is a special case of creating an advantage using a magic skill. It creates a barrier equal to the result of the magic skill roll. So, if the character gets a Good (+3) result with a magic skill, then the barrier has a value of 3, and a character who rolls less than a +1 fails to generate a substantial barrier. Specific magic skills may modify this roll or add different options.

Defense, Range and Visibility[edit]

The magic skills below can usually be used to create aspects and many offer direct attack ability. Many of the skills below can also be used to defend against attacks by throwing up a wall of force, earth, fire, etc. Specifics depend on the skill used. Aside from using a magic skill to defend against the attack from another magic skill, a target might use Athletics to leap out of the way of a physical attack, Will to resist a mental attack, or any other skill that makes sense at the time.

Attacks can usually be made at range, with some increase in difficulty to target. As a rule, add +1 per zone distant from the spell caster to the defense of any target. Targets get no defense bonus if they are in the same zone as the caster.

You can’t easily target someone you can’t see, or isn’t present. You can’t cast magic over video or phone links. You need something physically there. So if your target isn’t present, then you’ll need something of theirs such as nail clippings, hair, blood, or the like to work as a proxy. The GM should increase the difficulty of any magic cast this way, however, to reflect the strength or weakness of the link. Distance isn’t really a factor in this case, just the strength of the connection to the target. Targeting supernatural creatures this way is dangerous, however. Any time you do so, the creature becomes aware who is targeting them, and of a general direction to where you are.

Multiple Targets and Area Effects[edit]

The same rules from Fate Core can apply here. See pages 205 to 207 in the PDF or book, or visit the SRD site.

Long-Term Spells[edit]

Many times, if a permanent effect is desired, then the spell-caster needs to obtain a Taken Out result. In addition, the spell-caster must prescribe a way for the effect to be reversed, however improbable.

Sometimes that doesn’t make sense, or isn’t desirable. For example, if a spell-caster wishes to place a permanent barrier such as a blessing that inhibits certain negative magic or beings from passing, or a permanent aspect that adds something magical to a location, Taken Out results don’t make sense. Instead, if the GM wants a roll to be made, then she might set the base difficulty based on the number of zones to be influenced. She might also add to that difficulty the number of current, ongoing spells already adding aspects or barriers. Success will result in a short term effect, but success with style will allow the aspect to remain until someone does something to remove it. This could be erasing a sigil or breaking a circle, or whatever else makes sense within the context of the story and the spell-caster’s approach to magic.

Sometimes the caster might be faced with very high difficulties, especially when casting very long-lasting spells. In these cases, the spell-caster should be allowed to place aspects that will assist in casting the spell. Drawing circles, sigils, burning sacred incense, sacrifice, or collecting and using rare, magical components can all place aspects that then may be invoked when casting the spell. In addition, Teamwork rules from Fate Core can be used to improve magic skill rolls.

Next: The Cost of Magic