The Burning Earth - A Jack Vance inspired magic system (in progress)

Recently, I began to read the Dying Earth and started to fall in love with the world Jack Vance was writing. I thought to myself, “Hey, I have plenty of time to think and write at work. Why don’t I hack together a Dying Earth-style magic magic for Burning Wheel!” I got to work, and wrote out a google doc.

The main outline of Spellcasting, and ideas for expanding it.

Some spells I made for the magic system.

I did my best to not create new rules but re-organize the existing procedures. Though I’ve had to add one or two rules to capture the flavor I want. I believe you can forgo Jack Vance’s spells and just use the existing spells fine too. However, a lot of my ideas will have to wait until I finish the series, because I’m making this up as I go along. I can’t find a good resource for information on Jack Vance’s Dying Earth (other than the RPG, which I am trying to avoid using as a source, but it may be my only option), so I can’t cheat and use a wiki!

Anyway, here are some additional notes from the first document. Let me know what you think.

Notes on Dying Earth Magic.

It does not require gifted to cast spell, just the skill and the mental prowess to do so.

I plan to make a new spell list based off the spells cast in the Dying Earth novels. I am using Art Magic, Sorcery, Abstraction/Distillation as guidelines for these spells. However, because of the new limits (spell slots), I will be futzing with the obstacle. The Spells in Dying Earth act as their own “rules”, so each spell will more-or-less be an exception.

In my reading of Dying Earth, I’ve noticed different applications of magic. You have the big Spells, the more subtle Charms, and Summoning/Binding of other beings. Spells are outlined in this document. Charms are going to be modeled after Rituals of Blood, a skill with different obstacles for specific effects. Summoning/Binding will be about making new orders, and describing the creatures within those orders.

Also VAT People, and other bizarre experiments, all I will have to do is expand the homunculi rules (easier than it sounds?) and perhaps some of the Enchanting rules.

Cool. Burning THACO, anyone?