The Magic of Dawn of Legends

Magic is handled in a separate plugin in Dawn of Legends as it’s inclusion in your game is entirely optional. If you intend to run a more “realistic” Dawn of Legends game, then the people of Britain probably maintain a strong belief in magic, but it may only exist in the invisible world. It can be used to explain natural occurrences, coincidence and other such phenomena, but does not exist in a tangible sense. Or, you can decide that the power of the Druids, gods, and fey creatures is very real and, from time to time, the paths of powerful weilders of magic cross into the lives of ordinary folk.

Who Uses Magic?
Practitioners of magic include the men and women who make up the Druid classes, including poets, bards, and full Druids. In addition, heros sometimes inherit magic and magical abilities through the intervention of the gods, Fairies or other fey creatures. Dark Saxon cults are rumored to be headed by powerful sorcerors. Characters of these backgrounds could easily be gifted with the ability and skills of magic. A human character who wishes to become a spell caster of some sort needs to purchase the Magically Gifted Talent While it is possible for a character to become a Druid, bard, poet, or priest without being magically gifted, this kind of characcter will never learn to cast magic. Other characters might have an innate magical ability or power.

Casting Spells
The spells that are cast and the factors influence their casting are similar—whatever the caster’s background. Knowledge of spells is purchased with option points and can be increased later with experience. All spells utilize ability in one to three knowledges for the actual casting. All spells have a Level, Area in m/yds, a Range, a damage or Effect amount, a Duration, a Difficulty Value, an Endurance cost, and a specified amount of Time required to cast the spell. Casting a spell successfully has several requirements.

First, the character must spend the amount of time indicated in the spell description. A druid, poet or bard may modify this by increasing the Difficulty Value by +4 for each step up the Time Table. Likewise, each step down the chart lowers the Difficulty Value by -4. Example: Mark the Mage wishes to cast a spell which normally takes 5 minutes to cast in only 5 turns (one minute). This is one step up the Time Table, so it adds +4 to the Difficulty Value of the Spell. Saxon priests using Rune Magic may not modify the Time required for the spell in any way.

Second, the character must have all the skills listed as required by the spell. Only by understanding the universe will the mage understand what to call upon and why. This will allow the spell caster to guide the magics to the ends he wishes to achieve. Spells are cast using the character’s lowest required skill listed—not the level of knowledge in the spell itself. Thus, if a character had a skill of 9 in Ash and a skill of 4 in Silver Fir and he was attempting a Healing Spell which requires both Ash and Silver Fir knowledges, the character would use the skill of 4 when attempting the roll to cast the spell.

Third, the character must have points in the spell. An understanding of the task at hand is necessary for the successful completion of a magical spell. The higher the level of knowledge in the spell, the more powerful a spell can be cast. Most spells have a minimum level required before the spell can be cast. These can be learned and improved just like skills, and at the same costs as skills, but have no associated characteristic, since rolls are never made against them.

The spell caster must comply with any other strictures regarding his spell casting. For druids, this means they must be able to speak their arcane poems. Bards are very similar, and perform their magic in song. For Saxon rune priests, the spells must be inscribed upon an item, and triggered (some general examples: when weapon strikes a foe, someone steps over or onto the rune, the rune is read, the rune-inscribed item is aimed at a foe, or the priest touches the rune in some way.)

Critical Spell Failure Results:

• Takes x2 END Cost

Roll 1d6 to determine the extra effect:


Loose the Magically Gifted Talent for 1 Day.


STUN drops instantly to zero, if not already there.


Spell destroys item (for enchantments).

Aids to Spell Casting
Certain situations or items may help the spell caster to cast his spells. However, the modifiers are not cumulative. The character should receive the best bonus he is entitled to. Here is a suggested list of modifiers that can aid bards and druids in their spell casting:

Example: Pwyll the Bard wishes to cast a powerful healing spell to save his dying friend. Pwyll has his friend transported to a nearby oak grove (+4). Pwyll also carries a special druid staff (+2) to aid him in his spell casting. However, Pwyll can not receive both modifiers to his roll and must be satisified with the +4 to his roll for being in the oak grove.

If the roll to cast the spell is successful, no further cost is incurred. If the roll to cast the spell is failed the spell may still work, but the character must spend the amount of END listed in the spell requirements. Spells which target versus an opponent’s DV still work, but they miss (possibly hitting something else).

While great magics utilize the forces of nature and the gods to power them, often, the caster is called upon to make some sacrifice himself. Thus, the character’s own energy is taxed. If the character does not have enough END to power the spell, it is taken from his HITS. It is possible for a character to actually loose his life for a powerful spell. If the character fails the roll by 10 or more points, it is considered a critical failure and the character must pay the END cost and the spell does not work. In addition, an unpleasant side effect could occur at the GM’s discretion. For instance, the spell could have the inverse effect or a suprising effect, illustrating either the displeasure or capriciousness of the gods. Likewise, if a character succeeds by 10 or more points, it is considered a critical success and the spell will have the maximum effect. Thus a 5D6 Healing spell will heal 30 Hits without needing to roll.

Cooperative Spell Casting
Some spells are extremely complex and the cost of Endurance could be so high that it could seriously threaten the caster’s health. In cases where a spell caster feels she either hasn’t the skill, time or Endurance to safely cast a spell she might call upon comrades to aid her. All that is required is that those who wish to participate in the casting have all the required skills and the Magically Gifted Talent. They do not necessarily need to have points in the spell to be cast. One of the characters is then selected as the lead caster. When the spell is cast, the attribute of the lead caster will be used. Next, total all the casting characters’ skills (leave out their Intelligence Characteristic since we’ll only be using the lead character’s Intelligence). Use the skill with the lowest total number of points and add that to the lead character’s Intelligence. This is the final Cooperative Total. Roll the dice and decide success or failure as you would for any spell. Any Endurace cost can then be divided amongst the casters, thereby reducing the odds someone will get blown to pieces casting the spell.

Example: Menna, a druid Priestess, wishes to cast a Eyes of the Dragon which she will use to monitor goings-on in her forest. In particular, she wants to know who comes and goes within her sacred oak grove in the heart of the forest. This powerful and useful spell has a Difficulty of 42 and END of 128. Menna has an Intelligence of 7 and 6 points in both the required skills -- Hazel and Silver Fir in this case. This gives her an Action Value of 13 plus 3D6 . Obviously it would be pretty difficult to avoid a critical failure with this amount. Menna’s player decides she doesn’t have months or years to prepare for the spell (spending extra time will give +4 per extra level of time spent on the Time Chart) and so decides to call together the other 6 druids of the forest. Fortunately, they all have both required skills for this spell. The druids have the following points in the Hazel skill: 1 + 3 + 3 + 4 + 2 + 5 = 18 total points. They also have 1 + 2 + 3 + 3 + 4 + 4 = 17 total points in the Silver Fir. Adding Menna’s points gives a final total of 24 in Hazel and 23 in Silver Fir. The group must use the Silver Fir skill. They choose Menna as the lead caster, so the final Action Value is 23 + 7 (Menna’s Intelligence score) = 30 + 3D6. Now they will likely succeed in the spell and split any END cost 7 ways!

Further Note on Bards, Poets and Druids
Bards, poets and druids (or druid priestesses) essentially follow the same path and therefore use the same skills. Druids tend to have far greater knowledge, spells, and status than bards. However, it is not too unusual for a bard to become very powerful and famous without ascending to the status of a full druid. As a guideline, bards usually learn only spells which require one skill—at least starting out. An adventuring bard can find druids and other bards willing to teach the adventurer new spells and skills in exchange for stories and knowledge.

Skills for Spells
As noted above, a spell caster needs to know specialized skills in order to cast spell. This special knowledge allows the spell caster the fine control he needs in order to guide the flows of magic granted to him by nature, the gods, or what ever other power supports him. The skills below should be considered categories of expertise. Thus they fall under the Expert macro skill and use a character’s Intelligence characteristic.

Alder This skill teaches one what measures to take in order to protect the spirit. Proper employment of this skill with a spell often protects a benificiary from spiritual attack.

Ash This powerful skill disciplines one’s mind and aids in unlocking hidden knowledge.

Birch This skill teaches the arts of cleansing and is usefully employed against poisons and disease.

Blackthorn A powerful and dangerous skill that is not often taught to novices, Blackthorn can be used to inflict powerful curses and is often associated with magics the christians might refer to as Witchcraft (using the thorns to pierce waxen images). However, Blackthorn knowledge can also be used in building a shillelagh or cudgel.

Elder This knowledge teaches regeneration in spirit, mind and body. This spell is useful in specific healing spells.

Grove To the druids, a grove is a sacred place. The Knowledge of Grove teaches the wisdom of the past, present and future particularly when used in conjuction with the special knowledge of Oak. The grove is traditionally a place of law and judgement in the Celtic cultures.

Hawthorne This skill is useful in rituals of cleansing, and protection from Fairie magics.

Heather/Mistletoe This is a knowledge which combines the power ful uses of Heather and Mistletoe which can be used in building a gateway to the Otherworld. Additionally, it is believed that when mistletoe can be found on an oak tree, druids will gather it as a symbol of fertile life essence and can use it in their most powerful healing rites.

Hazel Hazel bestows powers of intiuition and divination, especially water based divination. Hazel is often the knowledged used to teach the most basic forms of shapeshifting. Using the Hazel knowledge in conjuction with a spell enables the caster to triangulate and measure Ley Lines, also called ‘dodmen’.

Holly When considering enchantment of weapons, Holly is best utilized. Note that holly branches are often used in spear shafts.

Honeysuckle This is the knowledge to use when a spell is needed to hide something or reveal what is hidden.

Ivy Knowledge of ivy will allow one the potential power to see beyond the everyday world. This is useful when trying to view the Otherworld or its peoples.

Oak Physical protection is what oak symbolizes. Oak knowledge also provides the doorway to inner spirituality, and possibly even the Otherworld! An aged oak tree is the preferred place bards and druids of all stripes will teach.

Reed This knowledge teaches direction and purpose.

Sea This ancient knowledge not only represents travel, but the sacred water itself.

Silver Fir Long sight and clear vision are promoted by this knowledge. This knowledge can be used in understanding and forseeing the future. It also provides strengthening and healing talents.

Spindle This is a specialized knowledge which trains the mind. A spell in conjuction with Spindle often results in increased mental capacity for the recipient.

Vine Grapes are usually most closely associated with this knowledge. This knowledge is useful to gain powers of prophecy, and to open the senses.

White Poplar This magical skill can be used as an aid to ensure reincarnation, and as a preventative against illness. This tree is the traditional source for the shield-makers’ wood.

Willow Willow teaches the power of night visions. In this case, it is a female-oriented knowledge that teaches the learner how to use dreams to gain visions. Willow is also used as an aid in female fertility. Finally, the powerful knowledge of the Willow shows how to protect an individual from damp diseases (i.e. colds, flus, etc.).

Yew Yew is also used in rebirth and reincarnation. Rebirth can be symbolic, and could represent a kind of initiation. The knowledge of Yew is useful in gaining insight to the past.

Saxon Magic
The priests and priestesses of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes are called Rune Priests in Dawn of Legends to denote their particular brand of spell casting. These priests and priestesses have gained the power of Rune Magic by the personal trials and sacrifices of their gods. Henceforth, the term “priest” will be used to refer to both priests and priestesses. All Saxon spells require at least two skills, one of which is always the knowledge called Runes. This knowledge provides the foundation for all Rune Priest magic.

The Nature of Rune Magic
This type of magic differs from the Celtic type of magic in that it’s power must first be contained within a rune before it’s effect can be unleashed. This generally means that the Rune Priests must spend more time in casting their magic, but all their spells remain locked until needed. Thus, a Rune Priest that has had plenty of time to prepare can be very dangerous, since he might have any number of rune spells at his disposal. However, these spells are somewhat limited in what they can do since there must be some specific triggering effect as described in each spell description. Casting rune spells can also be expensive. These spells often require the expenditure of some materials each time they are cast, even if they are cast unsuccessfully.

Playing Rune Priests
Rune Priests can be extremely dangerous individuals since they can cast a spell and save it for later. This is done as per the normal spell casting rules. For spells that target some one person or some area, the spell is cast ahead of time as per the normal spell casting rules. The priest need only make another skill roll when the spell is triggered if the spell works against a target like a weapon. However, if the skill roll to strike the target is badly missed or even amazingly well made, no Endurance is paid and no critical success or failure is possible since this was already checked when the spell was originally cast.

Rune spells take up space, even if made as small as possible. Use the following chart as a guide:

Item # of Rune Spells
Finely Made
Uses expensive materials
Uses exotic materials

Feoh This is the rune of good fortune and luck.

Ur This represents strength and health.

Thorn This rune represents the element of chaos and conflict.

Rad Rune knowledge of wisdom and secrecy, power and revenge. It also teaches healing.

Cen This is the rune of knowledge itself, as well as hereditary knowledge.

Gyfu The wisdom of boundaries and agreement.

Wyn The power of blessing and knowledge of controlling will. This is also a symbol of fertility.

Haegl This is drastic change and disruptive forces.

Nyd This rune and knowledge teaches how to read the future, ensure victory, and provide defense.

Isa This is the knowledge of defense to delay and bring things to a standstill.

Jera The rune of gestation and change. It teaches of cycles and time.

Eoh The power of dynamic forces, hunting and evolution.

Peorth The skill of making secrets and revealing them.

Algiz The rune of protection and shielding. Useful to apply to warriors’ shields.

Sol The mystic skill of healing, strength and good luck.

Tyr The attributes of justice, dedication and bravery.

Beorc Women’s mysteries and of birth.

Eh A knowledge which empowers shapeshifting and telepathy.

Man Of communication.

Lagus A knowledge of hidden secret forces. It is a power of hidden influences and motion.

Ingus Knowledge of astral and fertility powers.

Odal Knowledge of the power of invocation and of groups.

Dag The mystic knowledges of invisibility and the Otherworld. Can also be used in devising catalysts.