Copyright 1996 by Curtis Shenton (email@example.com)I've been working on some ideas for psychic magic. What follows is a real rough first draft. You'll probably need a copy of GURPS Voodoo and GURPS Psionics to understand this.
The following rules for magic based on psychic powers are an attempt to create a magic system for GURPS that both better emulates certain fictional magic systems better than the default magic system and also encourages players to develop unique spells for their characters. Several authors have created worlds with magic systems that both feel more like psychic powers and depend more on inspiration and improvisation than a traditional list of spells. The art of witchcraft in Stephen Brust's Jhereg series, Kurtz's Deryni magic, and many of the novels by Barbara Hambley all have magic which isn't represented by the GURPS system very well. I've tried to create a system that combines elements from GURPS Voodoo as well as the psionics rules to better simulate these fantasy worlds.
A psychic magician has both a Power score which is measured in levels and Disciplines which are the skills used in creating magical effects. If a psychic magician also has the psionic power that corresponds with a Discipline they wish to use they can add their levels in the psionic power to their Power score for purposes of determining the effects of that spell.
Power costs 10 points per level. The GM can impose limits on how many levels can be purchased and/or combine Power with other advantages and disadvantages to create a system like the levels of Initiation in GURPS Voodoo. For example a GM can say that in her world all psychic magicians become sensitive to cosmic forces when they gain levels of Power. In her world the first level of Power costs 25 points and includes the 15 point Awareness advantage, second level of power costs 25 points as well and includes bring up the Awareness advantage to the 35 point version and a Dread of psibegone a substance that nullifies psychic power and magic but is Rare (which makes Dread a 5 point disadvantage). After that it's 9 points a level, each level extending the Dread of psibegone by 2 hexes.
Disciplines are Mental/Very Hard skills. The primary skill is Psychic Magic which the actual Disciplines default from at -6. There is a Disciplines for each psionic power in GURPS and sub Disciplines for each of the associated skills of the Psionic power. Sub Disciplines normally default to the main Discipline at -2 but if the psionic skill has prerequisite skills or powers different from the power the skill is based on there is an additional -2 per prerequisite. For example the skill Lightning has the prerequisite Surge at 12+, so the sub Discipline Lightning would default from the Electrokinesis Discipline at -4 and would require the sub Discipline Surge to be known at 12+.
Most spells will have the same duration as the equivalent psionic effect. Usually that means the magician must make a skill roll against their effective skill in the spell once per minute to maintain the effect. But spells can be built that will last without any need for the magician to maintain the effect.
|Default||0 points||0 points|
|Default+1||1/2 point||1 point|
|Default+2||1 point||2 points|
|Default+3||2 points||4 points|
|Default+4||4 points||6 points|
Once he's found a traitor Jonathan wants to be able to deal with them quickly. So he decides he needs an attack spell. Basing the spell on the Telekinesis sub Discipline he develops a spell to target a person's heart. It will take only a second to cast (-6), won't require consecrated ground (-4), will have the target present (+4), has a narrow scope (+2) and will involve shouting out a magical word for death followed by the victim's name(+1 for naming target). This results in a total penalty of -4. Jonathan will probably put a couple of points into this spell once he's practiced it to give himself a decent chance of getting it off in combat. If it succeeds, which requires both a roll against the spell and the normal IQ or Physician+3 roll to target Telekinesis on someone's organs, the target will take 1d6 damage a turn as long as Jonathan concentrates.