|Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay | Published 11 May 2010|
Hi. Dan, again. Last time we talked about how I’m a wizard, or at least I play one in RP. We also talked about how wizards have unique game mechanics and benefit from nigh-unparalleled versatility.
When designing action cards in general and spells in particular, it’s essential to look outside the card itself and to consider its environment. Synergy between cards is an important part of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and it’s no less important within the context of The Winds of Magic – the upcoming supplement that expands magic across all eight Colleges. As designers, we want to reward players for making the choice and sacrifice of being a wizard and devoting themselves to only a single wind. Part of how we do that is to build spells for that college that are stronger together than apart.
I’ll take a specific example from the Gold Order in Winds of Magic. The Golden Skin of Balthazar Gelt spell is an extremely overt form of spell synergy - it gets stronger for each Gold Order spell you have recently cast. However, it does more than strengthen itself and reward you for mastering many Gold Order spells - it also allows you to “cheat” an Ongoing spell into play with multiple successes or a Sigmar’s Comet, or even to extend the duration of a spell already on the table.
By combining Golden Skin of Balthazar Gelt (who Warhammer Fantasy die-hards may recognise as the current Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic) with the Rank 1 spell Guard of Steel, an unarmoured Gold Wizard can jump from 0 soak to a massive 5 soak in a single action, providing him with much-needed protection from enemy attacks.
There are many other forms of synergy - both overt and more subtle - throughout the spells found in Winds of Magic. As wizards of every order gain experience, they will grow in power - not just because they learn more powerful spells, but because the spells they know gain power from their interactions.
As one might expect, each college strengthens its own magic in unique ways, consistent with its own flavour and mechanics. I leave you with some more notes on the nature of each individual college, from the Winds of Magic rulebook:
Celestial Order Magic
The magic of the Celestial Order is by far the most difficult to understand or interpret. Theirs is the magic of foretelling and portents, of seeing the future, and the magic of the heavens. Many Celestial Order spells reveal glimpses of things to come which can confer benefits by manipulating dice. The Celestial Order also uses the recharge mechanic in a number of creative ways, and is even able to manipulate the recharging abilities of others by foretelling the future. The Celestial College also has a number of potent attack spells, many of which ignore an opponent’s armour, helping round out the versatility of Celestial magic.
Gold Order Magic
Methodical and deliberate, many Gold Order spells vary in potency based on the state of their recharge tokens. Some even trigger when the spell recharges, rather than when it is cast, which makes their recharge a virtual countdown timer for the effect. For these spells, a target is only selected when the spell ultimately triggers – and in most cases the wizard can choose to dissipate the spell harmlessly. The Gold Order is skilled at manipulating various metals. They can degrade an opponent’s weapons or armour, or fabricate or modify items belonging to their allies. Aside from the mechanical effects listed on the spell cards, there are plenty of roleplaying and problem solving applications for Gold Order spells, as well.
Grey Order Magic
The Grey Order’s magic deals extensively with shadows and illusion. Their magic is at its best when there are strong, deep shadows, with a high contrast between light and dark. Many of their spells receive a bonus when either the caster or the target is at least partially in such shadows, and some of their spells can magically enshroud targets in shadow. The Grey Order also has many spells that hide themselves from sight or cloud a target’s vision, causing him to see what the grey wizard wants him to see. They are deceptive and secretive, and much feared by the common folk.
Jade Order Magic
Jade Order spells each bear a seasonal trait: Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter. When casting a spell during the matching season the wizard gains a bonus fortune die (such as while casting a Summer spell in the middle of summer). When casting a spell during the season opposite its seasonal trait, the wizard adds a misfortune die to his dice pool. Mechanically, the opposite of spring is autumn; the opposite of summer is winter. There is no effect for casting a spell out-of-season, but not during the opposed season. The Jade Order is one of the very few College orders that are able to utilise healing magic to a limited degree. Due to their affinity with growing things, Jade Wizards frequently find themselves gaining power as a side effect of their spells.
The forbidden lore of Chaos and other forms of Dark magic is extremely dangerous to both its wielders and its victims. And while the Colleges of Magic restrict its wizards to learning and practising spells solely from within their own order, there are ways to learn dark magic. Spells of this type are typically…
Oh no, I’ve said too much! The Witch Hunters are at my door! Tell my wife I–
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is a roleplaying game that sets unlikely heroes on the road to perilous adventure, in the grim setting of Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy world. Players will venture into the dark corners of the Empire, guided by luck and Fate, and challenge the threats that others cannot or will not face.
Any chance on seeing Runic powers for the Dwarves anytime in the future?
Awesome news.. This is going to be a great supplement!
Finnaly WFRP is getting more news about comming products. I hope that is naot the end of good news.
Great stuff, can't wait to see this supplement and read it. Finnaly there are no useless mages in the game and every type of magic has a really interesting use. I mean that there are all really playeable (in the 2nd ed. most of the wizzards were useless). A chapter about Dark Magic sound really good - that's what I'm waiting for.
With the heads up in this article, the last and the Malady of Mutation, I'm really looking forward to adding this content to my WFRP library!
I wonder, how many spells TWM contains and how many each order gets...
Cool set so far, hope for more like it.
This looks really awesome thus far.
Traitor of Tarn is the kind of spell I would use as a GM outside of combat. I hope the supplement have rules to address that need. :)
Lessee, could I travel forward in time and get this and then travel back so we can use it in our play group? Bummer, DeLorean's in the shop.
Dark Magic you say? Hmmmm....
Awesome! Can't wait to get this.