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PART 2 - The Magic of Midnight

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PART 2 - The Magic of Midnight Empty PART 2 - The Magic of Midnight

Post by The Hive Mind on Thu May 15, 2014 11:30 am

Just as the veil that separates the mortal world from the celestial realm prevents outsiders from returning to their native planes and souls from ascending to their final rest, so to does it prohibit any magical travel to or through other planes of existence. Spells that rely on planar travel or communication, such as contact other plane, etherealness, and teleport, have not been practiced since the Sundering. This isolation from the other planes is just one change to magic and spellcasting in the world of MIDNIGHT.
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Magic is rare and powerful on Aryth, and new rules for learning and casting spells have been introduced to better represent the role of magic in the setting. There are three types of magic in Midnight: channeled, innate, and divine.

Divine magic is that granted by the gods. Divine magic allows true miracles to be performed, from the communion of a worshiper with his deity to the raising of the dead. In MIDNIGHT, however, miracles are few and far between, and those that are granted are always bent towards evil ends. Only one god answers prayers in the Last Age of Eredane, and he is neither benevolent nor merciful. Whether because of trickery on his part or by simple cause of nature, the dark god Izrador, the Shadow in the North, is the only god of Aryth still able to reach his followers and grant them spells.

Innate magic comes not from some outside source, but from within. This is the primal and dangerous magic of fan- tastic creatures as well as the hedge magic of the halflings or the instinctive magic of the elves.

Channeled magic is the type most often used by PCs. It is the manipulation of the energy and power that surrounds and binds all of Aryth to create miraculous effects. Channeled magic includes spells from the bard, druid, or Sorcerer/wizard spell lists from the core rules.  

A spellcasting character can learn spells from any of the schools of magic she knows, regardless of the spell lists in which they are found in the core rules. Channeled magic uses a feat-based system, and is not tied to your choice of character class—any character can learn to cast spells in MIDNIGHT without multiclassing! This change in magic rules and the rare-magic style of MIDNIGHT also has an effect on character classes: core classes with secondary spellcasting or supernatural abilities like the monk, ranger, and paladin have been removed. In some cases new core classes have been introduced to fill their niches. Beyond just offering new core classes, however, MIDNIGHT’S feat-based magic system lets players tailor their characters with as much or as little spellcasting ability as fits their vision of their character. Any hero, whether a clever rogue who benefits from illusion and enchantment magic or a fully armored fighter who wants the added utility of being able to cast his own healing spells between battles, can now dabble in magic in general or focus on the few specific schools of magic that best suit his needs.

MIDNIGHT introduces a new character class for those who wish to master the power of channeled magic, called the channeler. The roles once filled by core spellcasting classes are filled instead by sub-classes of channeler. There are also new prestige classes that reflect a channeler’s intense focus on one style or area of spellcasting. The path of the druid is a true prestige class in MIDNIGHT, for instance, whose adherents excel at natural magics and gain power over the plants and animals of Aryth. The wizard prestige class, meanwhile, offers true mastery of high-level magic through more traditional study and the use of arcane texts. Beyond just separating spellcasting from class abilities, the feat-based spellcasting system of MIDNIGHT also presents entirely new rules for learning, preparing, and casting spells. The class- and level-based spell slot system, appropriate for other more civilized fantasy settings but clunky in the more naturalistic and intuitive magical traditions of MIDNIGHT, has been replaced. In MIDNIGHT, every time you cast a spell, you use up a pool of points called spell energy. For channelers, this pool grows as they gain levels. For other characters, the pool is small and increases only slowly, and for the most part they will find it difficult to cast more than one or two spells each day. When the need is great, however, as is so often the case in these dark times, great sacrifices must be made. Therefore, even when a spellcaster runs out of spell energy, he may continute to cast spells at the expense of his own life force. The number of channelers who have given their lives in valiant last stands is untold, and many are the tales of those who traded their own lives to cast a direly needed healing spell on a wounded warrior or a suffering innocent. MIDNIGHT’s new magic system also allows characters to cast spells spontaneously and, quite important in this dark age when materials are few and trade is a luxury, often without material components. Rituals allow spellcasters to create more powerful and varied effects than the traditional limited spell list system, and spell talismans let channelers cast specific spells or spells from certain schools of magic much more efficiently. These factors all combine to give the spellcasters in MIDNIGHT unmatched versatility, offsetting the lower number of spells they can generally cast each day.

Magic items are also far more rare in the world of MIDNIGHT than they are in other fantasy campaign settings. This is in part because of the rabid desire of Izrador’s forces  to find, harness, or destroy any item of power they can find. They rightfully believe that magic is one of the few weapons their enemy has that can even the odds against the dark god’s greater numbers and more savage minions. Additionally, however, magic on Aryth is by definition less permanent than other worlds, ebbing and flowing in unseen tides of power. This means that permanent magic items cannot be created simply through the expenditure of vast wealth and resources and some personal energy. In order for an item to be permanently enchanted, its creator must tap into one of the wellsprings of magic called power nexuses.
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Unfortunately for the forces of good, many of these magical nexuses have fallen under the power of Izrador and his Night Kings. When magic items are crafted, they are typically items of great power and significance, rather than the generic and often-disposable tools that fill adventurers’ backpacks in other settings. They are unique items that are often passed down as family heirlooms, gifted to students by their mentors, or offered as rewards for great service.

The heroes of MIDNIGHT have far fewer magic items at their disposal than characters in other settings, but the ones they do have are truly special. Some of these magic items, called covenant items, grow in power along with the wielder, gaining improved and different abilities as the character gains greater personal skill, experience, and sense of self.

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Spellcasters in MIDNIGHT wield powerful magic, but they also face unique challenges. In the lands controlled by the Night Kings, only the legates and those channelers bound by Izrador are permitted to use magic freely. For the conquered of the occupied lands, spellcasting is punishable by death. Channelers among the besieged elves and dwarves are little better off, being highly sought after targets who bring much honor to those who can destory them or, even better, take them alive. The fates reserved for these unlucky captives are among the worst that any on Aryth suffer. The legates are charged with tracking down and executing such transgressors, and the dark god has granted them powerful allies in this cause. Legates are always accompanied by strange, preternaturally intelligent animals that seem able to track insurgent spellcasters as a bloodhound tracks wounded prey. These creatures are universally feared by the channelers of Midnight, and their touch is said to be poisonous to those who use magic without the dark god’s consent
The Hive Mind
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