I’ve been wanting to try my hand at writing new sorcery spells for Burning Wheel Gold. Threads I’ve seen suggest that there was a system called Abstraction in the magic burner, that was meant for this. However those same threads also seem to suggest that people don’t think that system transfers from Revised to Gold particularly well.
I cannot find anything about creating new spells in the BWG codex either. So if I mean to go about creating new spells, am I just in full-on guessing country?
Apparently, the Abstraction and Distillation chapter (pages 158 - 182 in the Magic Burner) didn’t make the cut.
The biggest problem was that it relied upon a “Will plus Sorcery” mechanic that is no longer used in Gold.
For a character to rely on abstractions to create and cast spells on the fly, they would need a lot of dice in Sorcery as they would not be able to rely on their Will dice to add to it.
For a GM, it is still possible to burn your own spells if you could get a copy of the Magic Burner, but they are VERY hard to come by.
Art Magic lets your character invent his own spell effects, or you could model your own spells on the ones already published.
I have burned up a few spells myself that I posted to the forum a while back, just do a forum search for Larkins Spell Book to find them.
I have been thinking about this too: What if Garbled Transmission from a spell failure opened the door to discovery of the new spell?
Upon getting an effect via a Garbled Transmission, the magic user may reattempt to recreate what went wrong and discover a version of that (with GM approval of Ob, casting time, etc). This substitutes for the role of the teacher or tome during the First Reading. If this seems too generous or if the uncertainty of real research is desirable, a die of fate could be rolled at the end of the First Reading to determine whether the effect is stable enough to be repeatable as a spell or not at all. Practicals and Second Reading would then work as described in the book.
I would think it would depend upon what spell facets your character was already familiar with.
Sorcery grants familiarity with Personal Range, Caster Area of Effect, and Instantaneous Duration.
The Wheel of Magic in Gold changes every facet by the same number of slots or turns of the wheel, and in the same direction.
If you are unfamiliar with a particular facet, I would increase the difficulty to learn the new spell by +1 per unfamiliar facet while basing the new spell on the closest BWG spell equivalent.
Alternatively, I would allow a character to research the new facets to add to their Sorcery knowledge to lower those obstacles for future spells, perhaps allowing them to research new spell formulas based upon their sorcerous knowledge of spell facets using the BWG spells as a guideline.
This is why we really need Abstraction and Distillation.
There was a rule called “Eureka!” that allowed a wizard to learn new facets from garbled transmissions. Might be in Revised?
“Eureka!” is in the Abstraction & Distillation chapter of the Magic Burner and it delt specifically with something going wrong within an abstraction spell.
The Wheel of Magic for abstraction spells worked a little differently, checked how many variances or rings within the wheel were changed, and the obstacles needed to learn each new variance.
With Abstrations, you were taking basic spell facets (Origin, Area of Effect, Element, Impetus, and Duration) and combining them to create the desired spell (initial casting), then successfully casting it enough times to formalize it (Per. Aptitude) before you could start to Distillation it (lower the obstacle and casting time) by going through the three distillation steps. Then Finalizing it by adding any necessary Distillation Sigils.
All in all, it was a very involved process that gave you the freedom of Abstracting spells on the fly that had the same punch and power of standard sorcery.
The other fun thing was being able to alter existing spells by tacking on an extra facet or two to expand the original spells. Adding the Earth element to Falcon Skin would allow the wizard to transform not only himself, but all he was wearing and carrying for a +1Ob and +6 actions. Making Improved Falcon Skin into an Ob5, 14 action spell, not an easy spell to cast or sustain, but at least you still have all your gear when you land.
Abstractions also required you to either purchase spell facets in character burning, or find and learn them in play using first reading and practicals to do so.