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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Content>Magic>Magic Systems>Magecraft>Magicians


Magecraft System Magicians Magecraft Variations
Sample Magecraft Spells Magician Package Deals  
Sample Magician: Doran Murfon
Magicians (mah-JISH-uns) or Mages (MAY-jez) or Magi (mah-GHI) are practitioners of Magecraft and are a very flexible, adaptable, and powerful sort of Arcane Spellcasters.
Magicians are excellent complements to most adventuring groups, adding an impressive array of functionality to a party's capabilities.
Compared to other professions Magicians emphasize the practical application of power and a concentration on functionality over tailored specifics. Magicians rely entirely on their mastery of Magic, lacking a tradition of Magic Items. On the other hand, Magicians start off very capable compared to most other types of Spellcasters and are typically a little more "durable" than Magic Users of other disciplines tend to be.
A player can expect their Magician to start off strong. Magicians tend to be more tool-box oriented rather than concentrating on raw power, but don't have a graded Spell Level System and thus lack the weak "Low Level Spells" of other Magic Systems; Magecraft Spells tend to start at around 55 Active Points and go up from there and with little to no need for redundancy.
Means to Power
Magicians learn to cast Spells, often requiring incantations, gestures,  intense concentration, extra time, or tiring exertion to do so. Magicians go through various levels of understanding and capability as they advance. As they gain experience, their ability to manipulate the metaphysical Laws of Magic broadens, and the mental endurance required to focus their will increases.
Essentially, as they progress their ability to cast more Spells and cast them more often improves (assuming Experience Points are spent accordingly), which makes them more formidable Spellcasters.
Spell Skills are a Magicians primary abilities, and the true determiner of how powerful and capable an individual Magician is.
Magicians work Magic via Spell Skills as described in the Magecraft System document. Each Magician must know a minimum of five (5) Spell Skills with a minimum cost of 25 total Character Points, but aside from these basic requirements each Magician has the potential to be unique from every other.
There is no requirements or restrictions on the sort of Spell Skills a Magician must have, but from a purely practical stand point a Magician should have one each of the following sort of Spell Skills at a minimum:
  • A serviceable and broadly useful Attack
  • A solid basic Defense
  • A useful and reliable form of Mobility
  • A flexible and adaptable Utility effect such as Invisibility or Images or Desolid
  • A reliable and effective form of Counter Magic
A Magician with one each of the above sorts of Spell Skills can be considered to "have their bases covered", and can be very effective in a wide variety of situations. Once they have a strong basis in the essentials, a Magician can branch out and take additional Spell Skills that give them more focused, nuanced, and situational abilities. 
What exactly indicates "Master" Magician status might vary from setting to setting, or even from region to region within the same setting, and Magecraft is difficult to measure in terms of simple points to begin with.
However, as a rule of thumb a character that has at least 750 Active Points in the Power Constructs they have Spell Skills for, have at least seven (7) Spell Skills, and have an average Spell Skill of at least 15- before penalties can be considered to solidly be a "Master" Magician, and Magicians approaching this threshold could probably pass as Masters in most circumstances unless very hard pressed.
Mages may use a Magic Endurance Reserve unless the GM's prefers otherwise, but must define all of their Power Constructs as using the Magic Endurance Reserve if they have one; they can't have some that run off of personal END and others that run off of the END Reserve.
The standard "May Use Either Personal END or END Reserve" +1/4 Advantage may be used in this case on individual Power Constructs where desired unless forbidden by the GM.
A Magecraft Endurance Reserve is often called a "Mana Pool".
There is a loose limit on how many Character Points a Magician can spend on their Endurance Reserve and Recovery, as indicated by the following formula:
Scaling Capacity Point Cap = Total Character Points / 5
Thus a Magician with 250 total Character Points could spend up to 50 Character Points on their Endurance Reserve, split between the Reserve and the Recovery as they wish
As noted in the Magecraft System Magicians can wear Armor but suffer Spellcasting penalties for doing so. However, most Magicians are better off just having a Spell Skill with which to see to their defense.
The following Arcane Aegis effect is a fairly typical ability of this nature:
Arcane Aegis: FF (9 PD/9 ED), Hardened (+1/4), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), Persistent (+1/2), Invisible to Hearing, and Sight Groups (+3/4) (54 Active Points); Gestures (Requires both hands; -1/2), Extra Time (Full Phase, Only to Activate, Delayed Phase, -1/2), Side Effects, Side Effect occurs automatically whenever Power is used (Costs AP/10 In END When Cast; -1/2), Incantations (-1/4), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4) (uses END Reserve); Real Cost: 18
Penalty: -2 to Spell Skill roll
ARCANE AEGIS 13- (11- w/ Real Cost Penalty)
Real Cost: 7 points
Many Magicians take the Mage Sight Talent as described in Fantasy HERO for 5th Edition at least at the five (5) point level, or some equivalent ability to make it easier for them to sense and interact with Magic. However this isn't required; it is simply a convenience.
Magicians may take Life Support (Longevity) at up to the ~400 year level, unless the GM prefers to disallow this.
Working with Magic marks Magicians in subtle ways, and they have a recognizable aura that is detectable by those with appropriate senses. Magicians should take the following Disadvantage.
DF: Mage (Not Concealable; Always Noticed and Causes Major Reaction; Detectable Only By Unusual Senses; Not Distinctive In Some Cultures)
Disadvantage Value: -5 points
Learning New Spells
For a Magician to learn a new Spell Skill they must first have enough character points to pay for the Spell Skill, must have a source to learn it from (a mentor or spellbook or other representation of the Spell Skill), and must conduct a period of uninterrupted Research and Experimentation (R&E) equal to one (1) Day of game time per 10 Active Points in the Power Construct the Spell Skill represents.
Eight hours per game day devoted to study can generally be assumed to be sufficiently "uninterrupted" to qualify for this requirement at the GM's discretion.
At the end of this period of time the Magician makes a single INT Roll at -1 per 10 Real Cost of the Power Construct the Spell Skill represents.
If this INT Roll is successful, the Magician pays the Character Points for the Spell Skill and the ability is added to their Character Sheet. If the INT roll is failed the Magician does not learn the Spell Skill and does not spend the Character Points for it. The Magician can try to learn the Spell Skill again, but must start from the beginning.
A Magician may take twice as long in R&E to learn a Spell Skill, with each doubling of time resulting in a cumulative +1 bonus to the eventual INT roll. Any Skill Levels with INT based Skills, All Skill, and Overall Levels are also usable in conjunction with this INT roll.
Example: Vaelen wishes to learn a Magecraft Spell called Mages Eye he has found in a Grimoire which has 70 Active Points and a Real Cost of 35.
Vaelen has an INT of 15, an INT roll of 12- and two Overall Levels for a modified 14- INT roll. To learn this Spell Vaelen must spend a minimum of seven days in Research & Experimentation (AP/10 in Days), at the end of which he must make a 14- INT roll at a -3 Penalty for a modified 11- INT roll.
Deciding to improve his chances Vaelen studies for four weeks of game time for a +2 bonus to the roll (for two doublings of the time increment). At the end of the four weeks Vaelen will need to make a 13- INT roll (INT 12-, +2  OLs, -3 from RC/10 Penalty, +2 Extra Time Bonus = 13- Roll).
If Vaelen succeeds at this INT roll he must pay for the Spell Skill, which for 70 Active Points would require a 14- Spell Skill roll at a minimum which would cost 9 Character Points. If Vaelen had more points to spend, then he could learn the Spell Skill with a higher roll to improve his ability to cast it reliably.
Improving Known Spells
A Magician may improve an existing Spell Skill roll simply by paying 2 character points for an additional +1 with the Skill Roll. This simply increases the reliability of the Spell Skill and has no affect on the corresponding Power Construct represented by the Spell Skill.
However, if the Magician wants to refactor the underlying Power Construct represented by the Spell Skill to take advantage of the higher Active Points limit available they must spend a period of Research & Experimentation (R&E) equal to a total of one (1) day per 5 Active Points being added to the Power Construct.
At the end of the required period of R&E the Magician makes an INT roll at a -1 penalty per 10 Active Points being added to the Power Construct, rounded in the Character's favor as normal.
A Magician may take twice as long in R&E to modify the Power Construct, with each doubling of time resulting in a cumulative +1 bonus to the eventual INT roll. Any Skill Levels with INT based Skills, All Skill, and Overall Levels are usable in conjunction with this INT Roll.
Example: Vaelen has the Spell Skill Jolting Arc 12-; the underlying Power Construct uses the full 60 Active Points available to it from the 12- Spell Skill roll.
This effect is Vaelen's primary offensive Magic so as time goes on he buys the Spell Skill up to 18- so that he can cast it reliably; however the underlying construct is still only 60 Active Points even though it could potentially have up to 90 Active Points.
Eventually Vaelen has a week to spare in game and the player decides to boost Vaelen's trusty Jolting Arc Power Construct to a full 90 Active Points. The player and the GM refactor the Power Construct to be 90 Active Points and in game after six days of study (one day per 5 AP being added; 30/5 = 6 days), Vaelen makes an INT roll at a -3 penalty (AP being added /10 = -3).
If the INT roll is successful the improved 90 AP version of the Power Construct replaces the old 60 point version. Since Vaelen already has an 18- Skill Roll with Jolting Arc he doesn't have to pay any additional Character Points for this increase in effectiveness.
Creating New Spells
Magecraft is a very personalized Magic and almost all Magicians have at least one "signature Spell" which they either created themselves or highly modified from some more basic version in a fashion unique to themselves. This is frequently a point of pride among Magicians, as it is time consuming and difficult to make new Spell effects and shows a certain dedication to the artform when accomplished.
There are two steps to follow when creating a new Spell:
  1. Determine Intent of Spell
  2. Determine Power Construct of Spell
First decide what the Spell is supposed to do, in general terms. Is the Spell supposed to burn an opponent to death, allow people to fly around, summon forth a demon, etc. This seems pretty obvious on the surface, but it is important to defined the desired end effect.
Next design the Spell using the Power creation rules in the HERO System 5th Edition Rulebook. Ensure that the designed effect of the Power Construct matches the intent of the Spell, and check the Power Construct for compliance to the Restrictions and Guidelines affecting Magecraft Spell Design.
Once the new Power Construct has been defined and approved by the GM, in-game the Magician must conduct a period of uninterrupted Research & Experimentation (R&E) equal to one (1) Day of game time per 10 Active Points in the Power Construct.
At the end of this period of time the Magician makes a single INT roll at -1 per 10 Real Cost of the Power Construct. 
A Magician may take twice as long in R&E, with each doubling of time resulting in a cumulative +1 bonus to the eventual INT roll. Any Skill Levels with INT based Skills, All Skill, and Overall Levels are usable in conjunction with this INT roll.
If the INT roll is successful the Magician pays the Character Points for the Spell Skill corresponding to the new Power Construct and add the ability to their Character Sheet.
If the INT roll is not successful the Magician does not spend any Character Points and do not add the new Spell Skill to their Character Sheet. The Magician can try to create the Power Construct again, but must repeat the period of R&E and make another INT roll.  
A Magician must have appropriate materials for R&E, the precise details of which are left to the GM's discretion. Some of these necessary materials may be quite expensive or commonly accessible at the GM's discretion; this is the primary means by which GM's can control the ease with which a Magician makes new Power Constructs and is left intentionally vague.
Example: Vaelen wants to create a Spell for himself called Dimensional Transposition ( Teleportation 30" (60 Active Points); Extra Time (Full Phase, Delayed Phase, -3/4), LOS Only (-1/2)) which he has heard of but has been unable to find any documents on.
It takes six days of R&E (60 AP/10 = 6 days) to puzzle out the basics of the Power Construct and at the end of this period Vaelen must make an INT roll at a -3 Penalty (27 Real Cost/10 = -3 penalty). If the INT roll is successful then the corresponding Spell Skill is paid for and added to Vaelen's Character Sheet, if not Vaelen must start over from the beginning if he still wants to develop the Spell.
This option is in effect in my campaigns
By default, any Magician can create their own Spells. If for some reason a particular Magician cannot make their own Spells, they may take a Physical Limitation Disadvantage indicating this drawback. This includes refactoring Power Constructs for Spell Skills that the Magician already knows.
Thus Magicians with this Limitation may only learn Spells as they are and without variation. This is a very serious hindrance for this type of Spellcaster and a player should think very carefully before taking it for their Magician Character.
Arcane Spell Sterility: Phys Lim: Cannot create new Spells (Infrequently, Greatly Limiting; -10 points)