Magic System


Two broad categories of magic exist in Crossfire : ``wizardry '' and ``divine magic ''. The fundamental difference between the two comes down to the source that powers the magic of each.

In divine magic the practitioners, ``priests'', do not use their own power but rather channel power from divine entities (``gods''). They utilize various ``prayers'' to cast their magic and grace is the measure of how much magic the priest may channel. The higher the level of the priest and the better his wisdom and power, the more grace the priest will have in the eyes of his god. In the practice of wizardry a ``wizard'' calls upon his own lifeforce (or ``mana'') to power his arcane incantations. Mana is based on of the wizard's innate power but may be increased through his skill in wizardry .

The scope and sphere of these two magics are different. Through the use of divine magic the priest has access to powerful spells of protection, healing, and of slaying unholy creatures. (Note A ``spell'' is a common name referring to both prayers and incantations.) If the multiple gods option is used (Note: this is the default), the god a priest worships will have other impacts on the priest's magic and abilities (see section multiple gods). In contrast, wizardry is more oriented towards the harnessing of elemental forces of creation, alteration and destruction. There are two minor variants of wizardry : alchemy and rune magic.

Each form of magic is orthogonal to the other. In some no magic areas, the wizard is blocked from accessing his store of mana, but the priest may operate his magic normally. Similarly, there are unholy areas in which the priest loses his contact with his god and cannot cast magic; in unholy areas the wizard is unhindered. Of course, no magic and unholy areas can sometimes coincide.

In addition, wizards have the handicap that if they are encumbered with 'stuff', they are less effective at incantations. Heavy weapons and heavy armour are the main cause spell-failures. See the section on encumberance for details. Weapons and armour have no effect on the practice of divine magic but grace regenerates slower than mana, and the amount of grace that a priest possesses helps to determine the success of their prayers.

Learning Spells

Both types of spells may be learned by reading books (see section items). The overall chance of learning a spell uses the following formula:

% chance to learn = (base chance + (2 * level))/1.5

The base chance that a prayer/incantation will be learnt is based on WIS/INT respectively. Look at table primary stat effects to find your base chance in the learn% column. If you are attempting to learn a prayer, you would use your WIS stat to find the base chance. Likewise, the level used in the formula is related to the type of spell. If you are attempting to learn an incantation, the value of level to use is your wizardry experience (and you use the praying experience level for learning prayers. Once your chance to learn a spell exceeds 100%, you always succeed in all attempts to learn spells.

Magic paths

Long ago a number of archmages discovered patterns in the web that spells weave in the aether. They found that some spells had structural similarities to others and some of the mages took to studying particular groups of spells. These mages found that by molding their thought patterns to match the patterns of the spells they could better utilize all the spells of the group. Because of their disciplined approach, the mages were described as following spell Paths. As they attuned themselves to particular spell Paths they found that they would become repelled from others, and in some cases found they were denied any access to some paths. The legacy of these mages remains in some of the magical items to be found around the world. Use of these ``attuned'' items will strongly effect the quality of the incantations and prayers cast by the magician. See section multiple gods to see how the worship of a god might effect the spell casting of the magician.

Technical details

The Paths themselves are given in table spellpaths.

A character (or NPC) that is attuned to a Path can cast incantations/prayers from that Path at 80% of the mana/grace cost and in addition receives duration/damage bonuses as if the caster were five levels higher. A person that is repelled from a Path casts incantations/prayers from that Path at 125% of the mana/grace cost and receives duration/damage bonuses as if the caster were five levels lower (minimum of first level). The casting time is also modified by 80% and 125% respectively. If a wizard or priest is denied access to a Path they cannot cast any spells from it.

Known Spell Paths

Paths are quite powerful; they don't come cheaply. Most magical items with path_attuned attributes will have path_repelled and path_denied attributes as well, to balance them out.

Multiple gods

Gods in Crossfire are not omnipotent beings. Each is thought of possessing a certain sphere of influence, indeed, some philosophers have thought that the gods might spring from the same mystical patterns that form the spell Paths. Certainly it appears that each of the gods embodies one or more of these Paths (but not all of them!!). Because the gods are not omnipotent, we often speak of their religions as being 'cults'.

Under the multigod option, priests are allowed to select from an array of different gods. Worship of each god is unique, and brings differing capabilities to the priest. See Appendix C for a listing of the gods and some of the attributes/effects of worshiping of these cults.

Joining a cult

Praying at aligned is the usual way in which a priest interacts with their god/cult. Aligned altars are identified by their name (e.g. altar of <god's name>) and may be found in various maps all over the world of Crossfire . When a player prays over an aligned altar, one of three things may happen based on the players currently worshiped god:
  1. "Unaligned" player prays over an altar - results in that player becoming a worshiper of the god the altar is dedicated to.

  2. Player prays over their god's altar - results in faster grace regeneration. In addition, player may pray to gain up to twice their normal amount of grace. Also, from time to time your god might give you information, blessings, or something really good; it depends on your WIS, POW and priest experience.

  3. Player prays over alien god's altar - results in punishment of the player (generally they lose some of their priest experience). This action can result in the defection of the player to the alien god's cult.

Note that once a player has joined a cult, it is impossible to go back to being ``unaligned'' to any god.

Summary of benefits/penalties for joining

The following things happen when a worshiper joins a god's cult:
Note that a player can belong to only one cult at any one time.

Bless Enhances the recipients combat ability and confers some of the gods special sphere of protection.
Banishment An AT_DEATH¹ attack is made versus enemies of the caster's god.
Call holy servantWeaker version of an avatar is summoned.
Cause wounds These prayers use the attacktype of ``godpower''. This means they will effect magic immune creatures AND each prayer has the special attacktype(s) of the priest's god.
Consecrate Dedicates an altar to the caster's god.
Curse Decreases the recipients combat ability and confers some vulnerabilities particular to the caster's god.
Holy orb Its like a fireball, but has the same effect as holy word². This prayer is most effective against single creatures.
Holy word² This prayer shoots forth a cone of power that will damage only enemies of the caster's god.
Holy wrath Currently the most powerful ``holy word''² prayer available.
Summon avatar Summons a "golem" that is tailored to the powers of the worshiped god. This prayer is more powerful (in general) than a summoned elemental and is one of the priest's most potent attack spells.
Summon cult monsters Summons creatures friendly to the priest's god. Depending on the god this can be a powerful or wimpy prayer.

Special priest prayers.
¹ The target and caster's levels are compared. If the caster's level is higher, then the creature will probably be destroyed.
² ``holy word'' also defines a class of prayers. These spells are all designed to slay only the enemies of the priest's god.

Example god

Lets create an example god-the ``god of the undead''. If you worship the god of the undead, don't expect to be able to gain priest experience (Note: i.e. experience for the wisdom) experience category for killing the undead! But you might gain, as a priest of the undead, greater powers of commanding undead, and experience for killing certain (living) creatures that serve an enemy god. Each priest takes on a portion of the ``aura'' of their god; this means that our priest will probably become protected to life-damaging magic like draining and death, while conversely becoming more vulnerable to fire. Such a priest, because their god's domain does not include the living, probably won't be capable of healing either.


Alchemy is a sub-type of wizardry . Being an alchemist is easy; you only need satisfy the following:
  1. be able to cast the alchemy spell.
  2. have access to a cauldron
  3. have some ingredients.
To create something put ingredients in the cauldron, then cast the 'alchemy' incantation . You might make something :). Be warned though! backfire effects are possible, especially if you throw a lot of stuff in the pot. In fact, the more junk which is in the cauldron, the worse any potential backfire is likely to be. Backfire generally occurs when you get the ingredients wrong but low-level alchemists attempting very difficult (4+ ingredient) formulae may have problems too!

In order to get better at making stuff, you will need to learn the alchemy skill. Books found in shops (and elsewhere) will give you formulae for making stuff. There is no hard limit on the number of formulae which might make something (the code is pretty flexible), so you can always experiment on your own, but this will be dangerous!

Rune magic

Runes are another special form of wizardry; essentially runes are magical inscriptions on the dungeon floor which cast a spell (or ``detonate'') when something steps on them. Flying objects don't detonate runes. Beware! Runes are invisible most of the time!

There are several runes which are specialized; these can be set as your range spell. Some of these are:

Rune of Fire does fire damage when it detonates
Rune of Frost does cold damage
Rune of Blasting does physical damage
Rune of Shocking does electric damage
Rune of Death attacks with attacktype "death" at caster level
+ some others you may discover grimores.

The spell 'disarm' may be used to try and destroy a rune you've discovered. In addition, there are some special runes which may only be called with the 'invoke' command:

Magic Rune You may store any incantation in this rune that you know and have the mana to cast.
Marking Rune this is basically a sign. You may store any words you like in this rune, and people may apply it to read it. Maybe useful for mazes! This rune will not detonate, nor is it ordinarily invisible.

Partial Visibility of Runes

Your runes will be partially invisible. That is, they'll be visible only part of the time. They have a 1/(your level/2) chance of being visible in any given round, so the higher your level, the better hidden the runes you make are.

Examples of usage

Here are several examples of how you can use the runes.

'invoke magic rune heal
will place a magic rune of healing one square ahead of you, whichever way you're facing.

'invoke magic rune transfer
as above, except the rune will contain the spell of transference

'invoke magic rune large fireball
as above, except the spell large fireball will be cast when someone steps on the rune. the fireball will fly in the direction the caster was facing when he created the rune.

'cast rune of fire
prepares the rune of fire as the range spell. Use the direction keys to use up your mana and place a rune.

'invoke marking rune fubar
places a rune of marking, which says "fubar" when someone applies it.

'invoke marking rune touch my stuff and I will hunt you down!
places the marking rune warning would-be thieves of their danger.

Restrictions on runes:

You may not place runes underneath monsters or other players. You may not place a new rune on a square which already has a rune. Any attempt to do the latter strengthens the pre-existing rune.

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