A few questions concerning mainly magic.

  1. Is there friendly fire?

  2. Is there any limit to amount of spells a wizard can cast in a set time (apart from casting time)?

  3. How do you learn new spells?

  4. Can the AoE be changed? for example change the spell Wave to affect only one ship?

  5. Is magic as powerful as I think?

  6. Are the rules for crews and gangs (relationship with leader + afillation + reputation) usable? They seem insanely imbalanced!

  1. GM and player common sense applies to an extent, especially when outside of Fight. In a Fight largely no, not by the rules. Not until you’re casting with ranges of 10’s of paces.

  2. The only limit on wizards is Tax. They stop casting when they keel over.

  3. The rules for learning magic are towards the end of the magic chapter. I’d give page references but I’m away from books at the moment. It’s a slow and painful and dangerous process.

  4. I don’t believe so. Sometimes you can alter AoE with extra successes, but it’s to enlarge, not to reduce. Be careful with spells!

  5. Magic is very powerful! The major limitation is often the fact that you can’t start with a huge list of spells and getting new ones is gruelling, but a good starting selection will make a wizard a force to be reckoned with.

  6. Imbalanced how? Gangs and crews have worked fine in my experience. Remember that a gang/crew isn’t a bunch of drones who do your bidding. They won’t back you up unconditionally, they might not do anything without proper social tests, they don’t give you stuff without Resources tests. If anything they’re very expensive for not getting an immense amount.

Pages 515-516 will give the specifics on spells in combat for both Fight! and Range and Cover situations. Basically, friendly fire starts at 10s of paces in fight, and only a Natural Effect spell runs the risk of including the caster against his will.
Another thing to keep in mind with spell casting in Fight! is the advantage/disadvantage from weapon length when engaged (pgs. 430-431) and how they affect spell casting (see Spells as Weapons, begining on page 514) if your spell weapon length is at a disadvantage that obstacle is added to your spell obstacle (this made my Ob2^ Shards spell become an Ob5^ for casting). This can cause a lot more spell failures!

Spell Tax, Time, and high Resource obstacles for magical equipment help to keep a wizard in line.

Learning New Spells begins on page 518.

The only way I know to alter any facet of an existing spell is by using an Abstraction facet to give you that option (Abstractions and Distillations appear in the Magic Burner as an optional system) basically, if you know (purchase in char.burning or learn in play) a spell facet you can add it to any spell (adding the facets spell Ob and action cost to the current spell) this allows you to alter the spell somewhat.

As powerful as it may seem, there are limitations on how things work. If you are really interested, I highly suggest and recommend the Magic Burner, it has much to offer and little to dissuade.
(Actually, all five books are fantastic! Gold already contains books 1 & 2).

Gangs and Crews requires a relationship with the leader or second in command if you are the leader. Any relationship is yet another npc with their own goals and agendas big plus is you don’t have to circle up your relationships and the 17 points spent on reputation and affiliation count towards your characters resource dice in burning. Those benefits would be the same whether or not you spent them on a gang or you spent them on unrelated groups like a mentor relationship, a minor reputation, and a small group affiliation. Pulling them all together just adds all those benefits into one package. (I’ve used it to represent a noble family for one character, and a mages guild for another). It’s a great story anchor for some characters, especially if they all belong to the same group (like an adventurers guild or something).

You may add facets to a spell, but not remove the existing ones. So no making AoE’s smaller.

You could add Single Target to an AoE to create an either/or spell just like Philosophers Perch and Witch Flight gives you the option of Single Target or Caster. It’s your Intent when Abstracting that lets you alter your spell for your Task.
When abstracting from extant spells, the player is always adding to the original intended effect.

“Nothing is subtracted or lost, though outcomes may change.” (Magic Burner, page 172)

Adding an Area of Effect to a Single Target Spell changes the outcome by increasing the area of the spell effect, creating an either/or spell in the process.
Adding Single Target to Area of Effect does the same thing, it changes the outcome to an either/or spell.
The big thing here is to not alter the original intended effect of the spell.
For example: Fire Fan intended effect is to scorch your enemies (page 212 in BWG) I could not use an abstraction to remove the Presence AoE but I could use on to add Single Target to it, thus attacking either all opponents within my presence or just one.
Either way, the new spell would change from an
Ob 3^ to an Ob 4^ as well as increasing from a 1 action spell to a 3 action spell.

Edit: Don’t mind me.

I think you posted in the wrong thread

Note that although it is possible to add Single Target to a Presence AoE spell it doesn’t make a lot of sense to do so as there isn’t any risk of “friendly fire” with a Presence AoE spell. “Friendly Fire” doesn’t become an issue until you hit the “10’s of Paces” and higher AoE. A mage only has to worry about getting caught by his own spell when it has the Natural Effect AoE.