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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Content>Magic>Magic Systems>Vancian (Fire & Forget)>Gestalt Model
Gestalt Casting (Vancian)


Gestalt Casting Arcanis Magnicus Variant: Elementalism Variant: Dominine
Variant: Animine Variant: Sortilege Variant: Stregari  
GM Notes on Gestalt Casting
Practitioners of a Gestalt Casting Magic System use the "Gestalt Casting" Model, which is VPP Based.
Practitioners of a Gestalt Casting Magic System learn to cast Magical Effects, usually called Spells, often making use of props such as incantations, gestures, material components, etc. to assist them in the use of their Magic.
Practitioners go through various levels of understanding and capability as they advance; as they gain experience, their ability to manipulate the metaphysical Laws of Magic increases, as does the mental endurance required to focus their will. Essentially, as they progress their ability to cast larger and more powerful Spells increases assuming they spend Experience Points accordingly.
Each practitioner has a list of Known Spells which are learned via the use of topical Magic School Skills as described below.
Spells are ranked by Spell Level; some GMs may prefer to refer to this concept in variant ways, such as Spell Circles, Spell Houses, or Spell Ranks to avoid confusion stemming from the overloaded use of the word "Level", or simply to add more flavor. Each Spell Level starting at Spell Level 0 has 15 Active Points more than the Spell Level before it.
Thus a Level 0 Spell is between 1-15 AP, 1st Level Spells are between 16-30 AP, 2nd Level Spells are between 31-45 AP and so on as indicated on the adjoining table..
*Level 0 Spells are often called "cantrips".
Each player of a practitioner of a Gestalt Casting Magic System must keep a list of all the Spells that their character knows, including Spell write ups. On any given in-character day they may allocate Spells to their character's VPP, but all of the the Spells must be chosen from their character's Known Spell List. Spells on this list can be referred to as "Spell Slots" out-of-character.
Each type of Magic System that uses the Gestalt Casting model will define a means to learn and or create new Spells to a character's Known Spell List, and also any limits on how many or what kind of Spells are valid for practitioners of that type of Magic.
The Gestalt Casting model is effectively identical to the Prepared Casting model with only one mechanical difference: Gestalt Casting uses a concept called "Spell Level Gestalt". Rather than using Spells that each have one Charge which must all be prepared to their VPP with study and a Spellbook at the beginning of the day as is done in the Prepared Casting model, a practitioner of a Gestalt Casting Magic System can cast any Spell they know of any given Spell Level at any time, limited by a shared pool of Charges on Spells of the same Spell Level.
"Spell Level Gestalt" means that all Spells of the same "Spell Level" as described above share a common pool of Charges.
To indicate that Charges on Spells are consumed not only by casting that Spell, but by casting any Spell of the same Spell Level (15 Active Point increment), a -1/2 modifier called "Spell Level Gestalt" is applied to the Charges Limitation on the affected Spells.
NOTE: If using HERO Designer, you can use the "Recovers Under Limited Circumstances" Modifier to the Charges Limitation, and set it to -1/2; simply change the name by highlighting it and typing over it with "Spell Level Gestalt".
EXAMPLE: For instance, if a practitioner of a Gestalt Casting Magic System knew the following composition of Spells:
  • 5 0 Level Spells with 1-15 Active Points and 6 Gestalt Charges
  • 6 1st Level Spells with 16-30 Active points and 6 Gestalt Charges
  • 3 2nd Level Spells with 31-45 Active Points and 4 Gestalt Charges
  • 2 3rd Level Spells with 46-60 Active Points and 3 Gestalt Charges
They could cast up to six Spells with 1-15 AP per day, allocated among the 5 1-15 AP Spells that they know in any way they wish. Similarly, they could cast up to any six 1st Level Spells, any four 2nd Level Spells, and any three 3rd Level Spells.
EXAMPLE: Orelius is a Gestalt Caster that knows five 3rd Level Spells and can cast three 3rd Level Spells per day. For all five of his 3rd Level Spells, the Charges Limitation is set to "3 Charges (Spell Level Gestalt; -1 3/4)", modified further if the Charges are Continuing. When Orelius casts any one of the five Spells he knows at that level, it reduces the Charges available to all five of the Spells by one.
Normally in the HERO System when a Power has taken the Charge Limitation the expenditure of the Charges for that Power are discrete. Thus if a character had five Powers all with Charges and they used one of the Powers ten times it would expend ten Charges from that Power only and the other four Powers would still have all of their Charges.
However the Gestalt Charge concept modifies this behavior so that several Powers share a common pool of Charges. Thus in the above example if the character's five Powers were part of a Gestalt Charge pool then using one Power ten times expends ten Charges for all five the Powers.
Each type of Magic System that uses the Gestalt Costing model could define their VPP a little differently. However the following modifiers upon the Control Cost are mandatory.
  • 1/2 Phase Change, No Skill Roll Required (+1 1/2)
  • All Spells must Use Charges, and must use the Spell Level Gestalt mechanic (+/-0)
  • A limit on how many Spells may be known (var)
The Gestalt Casting Variable Power Pool is Partially "Cosmic"; inasmuch as a practitioner of a Gestalt Casting Magic System can change out their VPP's current allotment at any time as a Half-Phase action and without needing a Skill Roll.
However, due to other restrictions on their VPP, a practitioner of a Gestalt Casting Magic System cannot bring in any Spell that they like; they are limited to choosing Spells from their personal list of Known Spells. There is also a process required to learn Spells to this Known Spells list detailed below.
A practitioner of a Gestalt Casting Magic System can have a selection of Spells from their Known Spells list allocated to their VPP in the normal fashion, with a total Real Cost equal to or less than the Pool total of the VPP, and with no Spell having Active Points greater than the Pool. These Spells can be thought of as being "readied".
Individual GM's might allow a practitioner of a Gestalt Casting Magic System to improve their VPP to "0 Phase Change" if they want to pay for the privilege to avoid this inconvenience, but the GM should monitor the situation to prevent abuse.
EXAMPLE: Fialla is a practitioner of a Gestalt Casting Magic System with a good sized Known Spells list. She can switch out her VPP allocation of Spells at any time, but it takes a Half-Phase action each time she needs to do this. Normally she keeps a few Spells allocated in her VPP, effectively "readied" for casting in a hurry if need be.
Typically she has "readied" Fireball III (22 RC), Lesser Dimensional Hop: (14 RC), Immolation (16 RC), and Spell Deflection (6 RC) (collectively adds up to 58 RC which is as much as she can fit in her 60 Pool VPP since she doesn't have any 2 RC Spells). She can cast any of these Spells without taking a Half-Phase action to reconfigure her allocation.
However if Fialla wanted to cast another Spell on her Known Spells List, such as Distance Flight (40 RC), she would have to take a Half-Phase action to switch her VPP to Distance Flight (40 RC), and up to 20 RC of other Spells.