Your Favorite "On the Fly" magic system for BWG?

Hi Guys,

I think the title says it all really. What is your favorite “On the Fly” magic system. Do you think Art Magic or Abstraction and Distillation works best? Or perhaps something else entirely? What has been most enjoyable/creative in your experience and play sessions?

I am trying to find what system would work best to get away from “You know these 2 spells” and more into “be creative, its magic”



Alright George Michaels, I agree we “gotta have Faith” :slight_smile: (Edit: Reading your Faith and Folklore thread now, looks very interesting!)

What else have you seen used besides the default sorcery system that has worked well in your campaigns? I just worry that my players are going to get bored with default sorcery too easily when they only have 1-3 spells known. Perhaps I am incorrect in my assumptions there as well. Just curious what other people’s experiences are with magic in their games. Also what systems work well together? Does Faith and Sorcery fit well together? What about Art Magic and Sorcery? Art Magic and Spirit Binding? Anyone have any experience with using these systems in play or mixing different systems with success? I know many caution against mixing too much, and I agree for the most part. I am fully open to suggested types of play though.

I’m a huge fan of art magic. The system is very color first, rules second. In my experience it encourages players really describe their magic and then apply the rules.


I am fairly new to this game, so I shouldn’t comment too much yet. I might suggest giving more “magical” leeway to regular skill use though, as I am planning to do with Folklore and Rituals. It might turn out to be too high-powered, but can always retcon. Alchemy could use a boost, perhaps.

Ultimately, I think it depends on your setting. My campaign’s setting is more magically-infused than standard BW, which is why I’m attempting g the drift. But really, even if you stick with the core rules, those sorceror PCs will learn new spells quickly enough, I imagine. Especially if they get bored with having only 2 or 3!

I am a HUGE fan of Art Magic. Abstraction and Distillation feels too complicated for me to use on the fly. Art Magic is quick, snappy and awesome!

Thanks for the advice Victor. I do like the feel of Art Magic, though some of the “Effects” seem a bit specific. Specifically “destroy with sorcerous fire” and “sorcerous weapon” I suppose this just serves to show that “kill it” by any other name is the same thing with a different color eh? I suppose if I wanted to allow things like “Earth Mages” that are able to impale or pummel foes with stone spears jutting from the earth, I could just use the same rules for that Effect and rename it to something less specific.

Any other advice on using art magic in games? I was slightly concerned that magic using characters would become too much the “jack of all trades” characters. Do you find this is the case? Do you limit the number of “Effects” that new sorcerers have access to somehow? I don’t see the rules for that, though it’s possible I missed them in MagBu somewhere.


Definitely Art Magic. If you want flexibility, it’s the way to go.

And “Destroy With Sorcerous Fire” doesn’t have to mean “fire” specifically. You can color it however the hell you want. Stone spears jutting from the ground? Sounds like destroying stuff to me. I think “sorcerous fire” is just a specific coloring that BWHQ gave it.

If you’re concerned about “jack of all trades” types, you can try restricting the number of things any given player can do. I believe someone on the board has their Art sorcerers pick 7 of the 9 categories of magic that they can do; that will help encourage players to really think about their casting idiom.

I’d also encourage mandatory schools of magic. You have to start with at least a 1D school - that will also help players think about their casting idioms.

Yup. “Destroy with Sorcerous Fire” is just a fancy name for “deal damage with ranged magic” and “Sorcerous Weapon” is just a fancy name for “deal damage with up close magic.”

I’d also encourage mandatory schools of magic. You have to start with at least a 1D school - that will also help players think about their casting idioms.

This is what I did. If the effect doesn’t fit into one of your schools (and I don’t recommend it being normal to have more than one school), than you can’t cast it. As long as it makes sense that you can cast that sort of spell, than you can.

Now, creative players are still going to solve a lot of different types of problems with clever applications of sorcery, but that’s not a bad thing.

There was a little disagreement here a while back regarding Destroy With Sorcerous Fire:

Luke says it applies only to dice owned in a fire magic school, Wayfarer (and others) prefer a broader interpretation.

Prefer all you want, “Destroy With Sorcerous Fire” is literal. If I wanted it to be idiomatic, I’d have said “Destroy With Your Idiom of Choice.”

OK, fine. The stone spears are on fire. Or perhaps they’re spears of lava, because lava is super cool.

And that Ice Storm? It’s on fire.

The Cyclone? That’s on fire, too.

The Tsunami of Death? On fire.

You may have noticed that even the electricity is on fire in this game!

Are you sure you’re not a Blind Guardian fan?

Oh no, wait. I think that’s more Rhapsody (of Fire) territory. And maybe Hammerfall.

An on-fire cyclone would be absolutely terrifying.

EDIT: Actually, that brings up an interesting point. Let’s say my school of magic is The Temple of the North Wind, or something to that effect. Can I claim that school bonus to Destroy with! provided that I somehow work wind into it?

In other words, would a fire tornado actually let me claim my Wind school bonus?

A man with a fire tornado can claim any school bonus he likes.

I would like to personally apologize for derailing this thread.

You’re fired.

I regret nothing.

I had a character with a G6 Practical Sorcery once. I consider that to be an “on-the-fly” system, as it doesn’t have set spells. You design a spell every time you use it.

Anyhow, he had like 5 categories of skill that he could accomplish with Sorcery.

It was a bit broken, to be honest.

Did you shade-shift in game or buy that pregame?