Failing spell casting

Maybe I’m not seeing it clearly, but what happens when you fail to cast a spell?

I was running the 3 squires Inn adventure tonight and the elf tried levitate down the trapped staircase carrying another party member. He whiffed the roll and I said they started he started levitating but then half way down it cut out. Then i pushed the twist of the 3 rats coming out. I know that’s far from how its suppose to be handled properly but could use some help with this rule. Does nothing happen on a failed spell cast? I thought nothing happening was something to be avoided.

Twist or condition, as with other failed tests. Let your imagination run wild.

Glad to see I was just over thinking it.

In the clarity of the morning light I have a few more questions as well.

1.) Can you use nature rolls in conflicts? Say a halfling wants to sneak around some kobolds in a kill conflict. Sounds like a maneuver to me, but can they roll nature instead of health? Another example would be when a human starts running in a pursuit/flee conflict.

2.) If you throw a spear in a conflict, does that mean you are disarmed until you manage to pick it back up? How does one go about picking up weapons in a conflict?

3.) Do Wises only help other skills? Can they ever be beneficial by themselves? An example being when they arrive at the top of the stairs in the inn (the party has Gerald the Burglar). If Gerald asks if he recognizes the smell (which i take to be the musk of kobolds) do you freely give the answer? Is it a hunter test? What happens when Gerald asks “So what do I know about Kobolds?”. I think my confusion comes from wises looking a lot like knowledge skills, but the book clearly stating that wises are never rolled.

  1. The burglar could tap Nature but not roll it (everyone has Health ability). Burglars might be able to backstab with a feint action by using sneaking Nature if for some reason their Fighter skill was gone.
  2. Yes, you’d need to equip another weapon or figure out some description next round that would enable you to grab your spear.
  3. Yes, “Good Idea” requires no test.

To pile on to Jared’s responses:

  1. Yes. The standard Nature rules (page 133) apply. If you do not have a skill, you may roll Nature in its stead. Determine whether you are acting within or against your nature according to your nature descriptors (as described on page 133).

  2. Yes, throwing a spear or hand axe disarms you. Between rounds (before you choose new actions) you may arm another weapon if you have it in your inventory. There is no way to regain a lost weapon during a conflict according to the rules as written, but I think that’s a reasonable thing to hack/houserule. Maybe it’s a new Maneuver effect you can purchase?

  3. As Jared notes, this is a perfect time for the GM to use the Good Idea rule. Also, note that Aid Another is similar to but not exactly help. That’s significant because it means you can use a wise to Aid Another even when you’re Afraid and can’t help. You can also use Aid Another to provide a die to someone making a test from an Instinct, even if you don’t have a compatible instinct or nature descriptor.

Thank you for the quick responses.

I understand that Wises are like a powered up version of help, but what I run into more is the player trying to get the wises to help themselves. And when you start the game out with no artha it can seem like the wises are kind of useless. I guess I’ll start using liberal use of ‘good idea’ when it comes to wises so the players feel like they actually know stuff.

I made a list of 100 magic twists (full disclosure: not actually 100) you can find here. I cribbed heavily from the Tome of Magic but I find the best thing to do is kind of scan them when a player fails a spell and just adapt the logic to whatever makes sense in the fiction.

It’s totally up to you, but I try to instill the sense of danger in using spells by always twisting on a failed spell.

We’ve suffered blindness, drowning, and what else from failed casting? Oh and don’t forget that time Zwan warged into a creeping ooze.

Sometimes a twist doesn’t just have to be an adverse magical effect, too. It can be anything really and you can use it to try to propel the adventure forward or get the party to engage in conflict they would have otherwise tried to skirt around, like accidentally transporting themselves right into the middle of the Kobold lair, for instance.

I believe that what Jared and Thor are implying with the Good Idea mention is that you should feel free to give away information if you believe that it falls under the character’s wises.

Something that uses to go over the group’s heads are that wises give you… supplementary skills in-game, like having Orc-wise lets you understand and speak the orc language. I would completely ignore the Hunter test to recognize the kobold scales if the player has something like Kobolds-wise.

A cool thing one of my groups did is luring a werewolf using the elf’s Animal Sounds-wise.

Stay cool :cool:

You’d be surprised how useful poop-wise can be. Or maybe you wouldn’t!