“A little magic can take you a long way.”
— Roald Dahl
Wherever a sentient species explores, wherever it plants its flags, it carries its culture and traditions with it. And if your traditions include magic, it won’t be long until magic is applied to making this exploration more successful.
This is as true in the Scintillant Sea as anywhere else. Wizards are common among the crew among the skyships and fearsome assets when battle breaks out. One of the most valuable contributions a wizard can make, is aiding their allies against the ST-draining thinness of the air in the Scintillance.
New IQ12 Spell: Airbubble (T). This spell provides a figure with a small pocket of atmosphere around their heads to offset the risks of long-term exposure in the Scintillant. The spell costs 3ST to cast and lasts for 24 hours. Terrestrially, the spell will allow a figure to breathe underwater, but slows their swimming MA by 2.
Several other spells are staples of a skyship wizard. Far vision gives a lookout the ability to spot enemies at a much greater distance, and explosive gems add punch to catapult bursts. Once ships close, battlefield control spells like multi-hex Fires and Slippery Floors come into their own.
Even more than most battle magic, being able to affect an entire vessel with magic is critical. But this kind of spellcraft is not simple, nor does it come without a price. One method is ceremonial magic, which is detailed in a fine blog post here. First, it requires the wizards actively involved in the casting (as opposed to those who simply add ST by Aid) to cast the Ceremonial Magic spell.
New IQ 12 Spell: CEREMONIAL MAGIC: (S) [in thelabyrinth.org] Allows groups of wizards to cast larger spells, on subjects locally or far away. The spell involves using strict ceremonies, including candles, special ingredients, chanting, etc. to focus the wizards’ minds and expand the working of the spell.
ST cost to perform this spell: 5. The time to cast a ceremonial spell is 10 times the normal casting time. If spells are directed at enemy vessels, the casting difficulty is -4adjDX for each tactical hex beyond the first.
Second, the energy cost of the spell is calculated by multiplying the cost of the spell by the radius of hexes it will ultimately affect. Note that for a spell designed for a single subject to affect an entire hex, would add one to the radius So, if you wished to cast Reverse Missiles on a sloop (1 to cover a complete hex plus the ship’s 4-hex radius) it would cost 10 ST (2 ST x 5) for the first round (plus the cost of Ceremonial Magic spell), and 5 ST for each additional round. Note that this radius is roughly spherical and is always calculated as such regardless of the deck configuration of any given vessel.
The extended casting time of typical ceremonial magic spells is problematic in combat situations, however. Clever wizards have solved this problem by crafting vessels with magical conduits built directly into the ship. These channels are all centered on a Locus Arcane which allows ceremonial magic to be achieved with only two rounds of ritual.
A locus arcane can be added to a skyship for $10,000 per megahex of the ship in materials and time. It requires $100/month to maintain. For each month a locus is not maintained, the risk of catastrophic spell failure increases by 1.
These are just a few ways to bring magic into combat in the skies and beyond. Do you have interesting ideas on how you could apply spells to ships on seas and skies in y9our campaigns? Let us know.