Once Again i dive into the playtest pdf from DemonwarsRPG, the RPG system set in R.A.Salvatore’s fantasy World setting: Corona.
I started with looking at what made the World special to me in his books set in this particularly fantasy World, see my earlier post.
In the world of Corona, the only known magic is the magic of the ring stones. The Ringstones are gemstones harvested from a remote island where they fall from the sky each 7th generation. As a primary rule only the monks of the Abellican church learns to tap into the energies of the gemstones and release them as magical performances. This rule has been broken on a few occasions, but is generally frowned upon by the monks.
Some learned how to meld the gemstones with other items, such as jewelry and weapons giving these items attributes from the gemstones inherent magic. Such items has been sold to nobility and the like to raise funds for the church.
All monks knows how to use gemstones, some are better and stronger than others and some focus more on their martial prowes.
These Ringstones was a wonderful new concept of working with magic in a fantasy setting when i first read the novels set in Corona. I actually went about implementing similar uses in my own RPG campaigns, i never got around to develop a system for it though. So how excited was i to get a chance to see how it could be envisioned in the rules for the new Demonwars:Reformation! One word… VERY!
These magical gems known as Ringstones does not contain spells as much as they contain energy that the monks has learned to channel and charge themselves with. The stones have some affinties for affecting and manipulating the World around them but the user decides the application. In a way a stone is almost like a small spellbook and the monks are sorcerers picking their spell depending on what their situation calls for. The exact type of spell is not decided until they release the channelled energy.
The monks has even mastered the art of augmenting one stones magic with other stones, Thus creating new effects or boosting the effect used.
lets take an example: I hold in my right hand a moderate ruby and a moderate sapphire, i spend my first 3 rounds charging the ruby and sapphire to their maximum level of charges. In my left hand i am holding and charging a graphite gemstone. I then decide to unleash my charges, this releases all charges from all charged gemstones at the same time, unless otherwise stated by the specific spell. This combination i mentioned would allow me to cast a cloak of flames with my ruby+sapphire (both needs 2 charges) and that particular spell also allows me to augment it with a graphite. The Cloak of flames deals damage to people touching me, but the graphite transforms the spell to a cloak of raw energy damaging even creatures or people immune to fire.
your primary gems, in this example the ruby and sapphire, uses charges the spells specify how many, some spells does also have a Focus cost. Augmenting a spell costs Focus points, many spells have a (primary) augmentation that does not require another gemstone. You can augment a spell with any combination of primary equal to the charges in the gemstone, and you spend 1 focus pr augmentation.
A good example of this, as shown in the pdf, is the hematite gem which has healing properties. The hematite has 4 primary augmentations, these can all be used without additional gemstones. If you charge it with 4 charges, you can spend 4 focus points on any combination of the 4 augmentations. (disclaimer: some of these augmentations for the hematite are special augmentations known as technique augments.)
Example of spells from the rules:
Required Charges: Diamond 0
Effects: The Diamond casts light equivalent to a torch (20â€™ radius around you) for up to an hour or until
you decide to end the Light spell, lose possession of the Diamond, or use the Diamond to cast
Focus Cost: 0
Augments: Brilliance (Primary): Use Augment: Brilliance up to a number of times equal to the Max Charges
of your Diamond. For each Augment: Brilliance, the Diamond sheds a brighter light,
increasing the radius illuminated by 20â€™.
Required Charges: Ruby 0
Effects: Attack all targets in a 10â€™ cone in front of you. Targets hit take 1d4 + Power Fire damage.
Focus Cost: 0
Empowered (Primary): For each time you Empower this spell, gain +10 to hit and +1 Fire
Shielding (Serpentine): For each time Shielding is applied, you may exclude one character in the
area of the Scorch spell from your attacks.
Tiny Gorks thoughts
I wont go into more details on the mechanics of the gems, but it feels like something that needs to be taken slowly the first few times, something you need to play with before you completely get the grasp of it. It appears to offer a good deal of variation and flexibility, alot of thinking on your feet, spellcasting by the seat of your pants. I like that sort of magic, i have always preferred sorcerers to wizards, i like having choices.
The Ringstone system feels like it is doing just that, giving me choices, alot of choices and it does seem to me to be a complex system to master. But the apparent learning curve does not intimidate as much as it intriques me and tempt me with the promise of ultimate power! I do however fear one thing about the system, alot of inactivity due to charging stones. Doing nothing for 3 rounds could be boring, does the promise of the big bada boom outweigh this waiting? That is something im keen on discovering for myself.
Over all im left with the feeling that the Unique way of using gems for magic described in Mr. Salvatores many books has been lifted out of prose and into mechanics rather well. They seem to have kept the fluid flow of choices and multitude of combinations in focus when the mechanics were worked out. The magic system feels true to the lore instilled in the readers of the novels set in Corona, giving further incentive to dive into this wonderful World.
Next Friday i will talk about fighting in Corona, until then Gork ya later!