Spell Abstractions in BWG

I was going back over the Magic Burner and trying to figure out how everything fits back into the adjusted Magic rules in BWG.

What are people’s thoughts on using the Abstraction system with BWG? It seems to me that those Obstacles are madness.

Does losing the +Will dice make this impossible now?


Well, with a significant exponent, FoRKs (Astrology, Abstraction-wise, Geometry, all depending on your idiom), and maybe even a call-on (which, now that there’s no +will, doesn’t seem so terrible. Cheaty, but not horrifying), it wouldn’t be too bad. Help would then make it easier.

I kind of like that, come to think. It makes Abstractions the province of Master Sorcerers, which is where out and out spell creation like that should be as far as I’m concerned, and their personal cadre or circle. Yeah, say a Sorcery of B7, one FoRK at B7 and another at B-anything-less-than-7, and a wise for good measure, you’ve got yourself 11 black dice before artha, which will be enough to tackle some basic abstractions. Help lets you attack more powerful ones, until your skill gets up to snuff, and a call-on (Mystic Alchemist; c-o for sorcery when performing abstractions) just makes your chances that much better. Artha takes you the rest of the way.

Sorcerer Joe don’t make spells. That stuff is reserved for the real longbeards with the pointy hats.

Abstractions need to be reworked to fit into Gold. It’s the only part of the Magic Burner that has been made obsolete in BWG.

Better back-burner that vague idea to use them then! Might hack up Art Magic for Hermetic Magic instead!

Is the only thing that’s changed the removal of will dice? If so can’t you just say “for abstractions, add will to your sorc tests”? It does bring back the problem of advancing sorcery, but surely that’s the easy fix for now.

Another solution is just add up all the Obs in abstraction and subtract 2 if it is 6 or less, and subtract 3 if it’s 7+. That should bring them down into the realm of achievability with sorcery yes?

That might work. Would make it very difficult to advance Sorcery by casting Abstractions, which could be used as magical flavor in your campaign. Another solution would be to give sorcerers magic staffs that grant bonus dice for abstractions only. Kind of the opposite of magic staffs in D&D, these staffs would allow you to harness the extra energy needed to channel magic on the fly.

Edit: STAVES. Early morning typo.

Nothing that Luke loves more than a good juicy exception to rules.

I was thinking about this a little today… I only have passing experience with abstractions and distillation, though, so approach with caution!

This requires a little more front-end work when casting abstractions, but… well… you be the judge:

When casting an abstraction, first calculate the “optimal” Ob and actions for a fully distilled spell (average the Ob of the four highest facets, then add half of the 5th and any other remaing facets). Add +3 Ob to this total. The Ob of the spell is reduced by one for each successful distillation (first, second, final).

Treat actions similarly… calculate the “optimal” number of actions as above. Add 3 actions (or +30%, whichever is greater). Reduce actions by 1 (or 10% of optimal) for each successful distillation.

Or, now that I think about it, you wouldn’t actually have to do anything to actions. No hack required… use as written.

How about just halving (rounding up) the Ob of all abstractions, and use that as the ob penalty? You could double that number for facets being learned (so that you wind up adding the original ob as a penalty). I’d keep the added actions the same.

Anybody played around with abstractions yet? Anybody? Bueller?


Create an Abstraction skill.

To add a facet to an extant spell: Test Abstraction. The Ob for the test is equal to the total Ob of the facet(s) being added to the spell, and requires a number of actions equal to the actions of the facet(s). You can apply the rules for Casting Quickly. Then you test Sorcery as normal - with an Ob penalty equal to the margin of failure of the Abstraction test - with the added effect(s) of the facet(s).

To create a new spell with the Abstraction skill, you make a series test for the facets (and tally accumulated margin of failure), and divide the Obs, actions, and margins of failure by 5. Then, once you’ve created the spell, you can attempt to learn it via the standard Sorcery rules.


So after some discussion last night, my sorcerous players don’t see a problem with using the extant Abstraction rules with the new Sorcery, and I tend to agree with them. Why is it incompatible?

I mean, yes, it can be harder to tack a facet onto a spell now; however, as you can now FoRK into Sorcery, it’s not quite a deal-breaker. Apply some artha and be a bit more judicious, and you’re fine. Adding Destroy to Emperor’s Hand should be hard, dammit!

Spell creation doesn’t have to change, does it? It was all Sorcery tests anyhow. And you have new rules for Practicals which you could just apply once the spell is done.

The one thing that won’t work is casting completely from facets. Well, don’t do that. If you want that level of flexibility, use Art Magic.

Has anyone else actually played around with this yet?