Spellcasting in wizards uses two scores: spirit (some kind of magic energy) and Magic (which is a willpower-based skill).
Wizards is the game about the movie with the same name. It has some interesting mechanics. And Nazis. It feels positively Carcosan.
At any rate: players are supposed to make their own spells, and there are a handful in the book.
To cast the spell the magic user must roll under magic with a d20 and:
- if the result is under the difference between magic and the spell difficulty, the caster loses spirit equal to the die roll.
- if the result is above that, but under magic, the caster loses spirit equal to the spell cost.
- if the result is above that but under double the magic skill, the spell fails and the caster spends 1 spirit point.
- if above twice the magic skill, the caster loses spirit equal to the cost of the spell.
- on a critical failure, there’s an optional fumble. No table, but “fumbled fireball leads to pants on fire” is the example in the book. Which is appropriate and awesome.
It’s also possible to practice and get more experience in a given spell at a cost of a fifth of raising the magic skill.
Casting spell on other people requires, in addition, a contest of Spirit: the same roll for the magic check is used for the caster, and is compared to the amount of spirit the caster had before casting the spell, while the target rolls 1d20 against their spirit. Spirit is fully regained in 30 hours, but sleeping counts as double time, so 18 hours of wake and 6 hours of sleep are enough.
As additional weird thing, it’s possible to try an Evocation just pumping magic: a spirit roll is made, and if successful the caster spends spirit points equal to the d20 and SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENS. If the caster fails, they spend points equal to the failure margin and SOMETHING AWFUL HAPPENS.
Why I like Wizards’s magic:
- if you’re good at a spell, you can cast it cheap
- mana points used as both “raw power” and “energy left”. The more you cast the least effective your spells become.
- that whole Evocation “just dump mana” mechanic is simple yet amazing.