I am considering a game world where Practical Magic is useable with Sorcery (kind of like cantrips) as this would make for a more magic rich world, but I would require that Practical Mages Purchase their Sorcery (no longer free, it must be opened in Burning) and that they be at least Partially Gifted (2 pt.Dt. that allows the use of Practical Magic)
If they have the Gifted trait they can learn any and all types of magic (either in Burning, or in game).
My only issue is that it gives you a lot of bang for one skill’s buck.
As described, someone with the Gifted trait can learn and use all types of magic, but all magic uses sorcerous skills.
With practical magic and other magic in the same setting, all magic can use one skill, which is available to all the Gifted. Enchanters, necromancers, sorcerers, spirit-binders and summoners can just use practical magic. This makes it relatively easy to advance the core skill, and even more rewarding to do so. Especially when every mage also gets a few extra skilltypes worth in their Practical Magic schools.
The major “balancing” factor in my games where all magic types are available has been the difficulty of someone using all of them at once.
That said, it’ll definitely make for drama, with mages constantly turning their hands in new directions. Linking magic up to an Emotional Attribute like Corruption would be extra fuel for the “magic is a powerful but inherently dangerous tool” fire.
What about using the Practical Magic Schools as their own separate Sorcerous Skills?
That way, a Noble Wizard (Noble Born, Page, Squire, Arcane Devotee) could start with Physical Magic (from Riding), Martial Magic (from Sword), and Academic Magic (from Calligraphy).
Sorcery (which would no longer be free) would still be used for all of the spell learning/casting as it is now. And Practical skills would have to be learned normally before they could be used magically.
The same approach could be used with Art Magic, with each school using its own skill based upon their effective domains.
This would keep Sorcery from being the “Magic Hammer” skill, while still keeping it relevant for standard spell research and casting. Allowing games to mix and match as many different types of magic as was desired (or ignoring them all together).
Splitting Practical Magic into several separate skills seems like a good way of weakening it whilst keeping it special; however splitting Art Magic weakens its core conceit (flexibility) severely.
If a sorcerous Practical Magic can do all of: Death Art, Enchanting, Sorcery, Art Magic, Summoning, Spirit Binding, then it is on the powerful side (a “supreme magical skill”). And able to do all of the things each separate Art Magic skill can do as one skill.
If you want to include Practical Magic in a game with Sorcery, then I’d make a special exception for Sorcery under Practical Magic’s aegis- and if I used the other Magic types, I’d have them excluded too.
This would devalue Practical Magic (not necessarily a bad thing), and have the added bonus of requiring Gifted characters to find a tutor before learning a new magical trade. I like it, but not enough to assuage my other fears. It also comes with the added issue of skill point allocation during character creation, but that’s a minor gripe.
I’d also not include Art Magic in a world with Sorcery. Especially where they can mix. Art Magic tends to be more difficult, slightly worse, but much more flexible. Allowing someone the flexibility of Art Magic and the potency of Sorcery (even if they’re separate skills) seems like it’ll throw stuff out of whack.
The idea of learning skills normally before they can benefit from their Practical Magic sorcerous skill is to allow the Practical Mages to boost up their skills with magic rather than replace them (not quite as good as just opening all of your practical skills as skill songs, but these are humans, not elves)
This is starting to sound like an alternative magic system, I’m going to play around with it and maybe open a thread in gold sparks if it looks like it’s going to gel.
A tamer way would be to allow the Practical Mages to open end their regular skill dice by testing for spell tax at the current skill obstacle. Let’s say I want to use my practical magic to boost my riding skill of B4, I’m looking at an Ob 3 riding test (moderate, roads, as fast as possible) and I have a riding horse (+1D). First, I declare my intention to use practical magic. Next I test for Spell Tax (B5 Forte vs. Ob 3 ride). Then I test my open ended B4 Riding plus my 1D bonus for my riding horse. Three or more successes and I’m able to get there as planed. If I have complications on the trip, I must continue to use Practical Magic for the remainder of this ride.
This is closer to the way skill songs work, except for spell tax.
Each practical skill is still advancing on its own merits.
If my noble wizard used his practical magic to aid his research, symbology and calligraphy each of these academic skills would advance separately rather than advancing the academic school of practical magic, or the blanket skill of sorcery. If this same Noble Wizard were to try to learn the Ancient Language skill, he would have to open it first before he could apply his academic practical magic ability to it. If he decided to learn the Foreign Language skill he wouldn’t be able to apply any practical magic ability to it as he doesn’t have the Social PM School (he only has the Physical, Martial, and Academic Practical Magic Schools from character burning)
It is quite weak compared to standard magic, but it’s a really cool and quite evocative way to have mages be just a little bit more awesome than everyone else. I suggest you keep the ability to get +1D from “Weaving Charms” in there too.
Sure, the only main changes are in allowing practical magic to temporarily aid (open end) your normal skill dice (requiring a spell tax to do so). And removing Sorcerous as an automatic free school. (You have to earn it or burn it) Sorcerous school would cost the same as Academic (16 rps) and be just as difficult to learn in play (Adoption Ob 8 ). It would allow you to open end any sorcerous skill by applying a spell tax (the cost of magic). This would then remove the open ended dice from any skill not being taxed (thus, removing the magic).
It would allow for non gifted to dally in some forms of the occult by using non magical sorcerous skills to achieve their goals (Circination, Alchemy, ect)
The Sorcery Skill would be limited to spell casting from formulas (Standard Sorcery, and Abstraction/Distillation)
Enchanting is for making magic items, Alchemy is for Antecedents and Potions, Circination is for drawing circles and gates used with/against Spirit Binding and Summoning, and Necromancy is used by Death Artists.
I still like the idea of Art Magic using individual skills akin to their schools of magic (Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, and Illusion) instead of sorcery as it is a free flowing magical art form that is best represented by its style rather than its formulas. (No dusty old books and scrolls for the art mage, their magic is more intuitive than that) so the more illusions you cast, the better Illusionist you become.