So basically, this is a little experiment with mechanics I made for an RP a long time ago. It didn't work out, primarily because it was too complex for the players to enjoy, it requires the GM to do maths, and there hasn't been enough play-testing to know what a balanced character looks like. As a last note before you dive in, reading the topics from left to right and top to bottom will probably make the most sense. *A tutorial will exist to teach characters how to cast spells in game* Fundamental Idea Magic Circles Character Traits Spell Library Playing Spellheart Combat Sheet Player Helpful Tips GM Helpful Tips Spellheart is a system designed to allow players to experience the frustrations and challenges involved with learning to control unstable magic. As a mage, you will cast spells by creating magic circles, and then pouring your energy into those circles. Once enough energy has been put in, these circles release powerful spells to aid you. However beware, for one will quickly learn that while casting spells is simple, mastering combat is a nightmare. Magic circles are what organize your SP into actual spells, and hold onto your SP until you have enough to cast the spell. They usually take the form of an icon which follows your character around. A mage may create any number of magic circles, but they won't go away unless they are destroyed by a spell, or the player stores enough SP to make the magic circle cast its spell (this is called the circle's limit). The troublesome thing about these magic circles is that they will cast the spell they hold immediately as soon as you reach the circle's limit. This will occur even if the mage does not want to use the spell at this time, so do your best to make sure you don't reach the spell's limit until you are sure that is the right time to cast it. Mages, in addition to having unique spell libraries, have 3 major traits which affect a their ability to use magic circles. SP Pool: The total SP that they have to spend. If you run out of SP, you won't be able to assign any points to magic circles. Mages with large SP pools can outlast their competition. SP Flow: This is the amount of SP they have available for distribution each turn. Having more SP readily available for your magic circles means it takes less turns for your spells to cast. Mages with high SP flow can overwhelm their competition. SP Control: This affects the amount of SP which your character has the ability to assign to a specific magic circle. Any SP which your character does not specifically assign is distributed among your magic circles at random. With less points placed at random, a mage can exert more control over when a spell will be cast even if they have multiple circles in play. Mages with high SP control outwit their competition. Mages can only create magic circles from a list of spells they already know. This collection of known spells is called the mage's Spell Library. Spells listed in the Library have the following attributes. SP Cost: This is the range of SP that a spell can be cast for. Any magic circle that holds this spell needs to have a limit that falls within the SP cost, and the larger the SP cost, the more potent the spell. Effect: Your spell does something, hopefully. Describe that something. Category: In order to organize an otherwise massive range of effects, spells are tagged as offensive, defensive, or utility. Offensive spells are spells that are meant for attacking or otherwise debilitating a mage, defensive spells are especially good at warding off offensive spells, and utility spells are for spells that grant tactical effects. Spellheart turns coincide with RP posts, and exist within a typical post to play environment. Mages must disclose the name, limit, and category of any magic circle they create, but may keep the number of SP they have assigned to any given spell a secret between themselves and the GM. A typical format for declaring magic circles would be Spell Name(Limit, Category). As a result, mages know what spells an opposing mage could cast, but are unable to detect how close any circle is to reaching its limit and unleashing a spell. In addition, mages need to prepare and commit to the spell they need at least one turn in advance of casting it. Mages distribute their SP in their combat sheet just before their post, and if any magic circles reach their limit, then they must use those spells at some point during their post. From this point, just RP like you would in a typical RP setting. Because there is a need to keep track of how SP is distributed, I've created a handy dandy combat sheet to help players and GMs manage their SP distribution with a minimal math burden on the player (but at the expense of the GM). At the beginning of each turn, the player assigns an amount of SP equal to their SP control to the active magic circles in the SP column. Then the GM Does A Lot of Math (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Then the GM Does A Lot of Math (open) Then the GM Does A Lot of Math (close) Then, the GM randomly assigns the rest of the SP flow to the remaining magic circles and subtracts the total of the SP column from the player's SP remaining. After that, the GM adds the SP column to the SP stored column, and compares the SP stored to the limit. If the SP stored is greater than the limit, the surplus is randomly redistributed to the other circles (if none exist, refund the SP). Lastly, the player looks at the sheet, and checks which spells must be cast this turn. The Spellheart system may look complex, but the parts you have to deal with as a player are actually very unobtrusive and have minimal math involved. The only thing you need to know is that if you want to cast a spell, make its magic circle, and give it a few points if you want to cast it sooner. And if you really don't want to deal with distributing any points, play a berserker type by having a character with 0 SP control. The biggest thing you will have to adjust to with this system is that you can't cast a spell right away. You won't be able to distribute any SP to a magic circle you created on the turn of its creation. The second biggest thing is that you need to check that combat sheet every time before you post to distribute your SP and see what spells you are allowed to use for your post. Also, don't forget that even during rounds in which you aren't using any spells, your character is not helpless. They can still take all sorts of different actions. Likewise, just because you are casting a spell this post doesn't mean you can only cast that spell. Those spells are intended to be incorporated into a post. Thinking about Spellheart like an menu based RpG takes a lot of the fun of a post-to-play system, so don't forget to play your character. Lastly, try not to let the rules stifle your creativity when you are trying to think of your character's traits, spell library, and tactics. When deciding on what your character's traits look like, ask yourself what type of mage your character is. SP Pool reflects endurance, SP flow reflects aggression, and SP control reflects calculation. Let your distribution reflect how much of each measure your character possesses in combat. For your character's spells, think about developing a theme with a variety of options rather than re-texturing the same spell. If you are having trouble creating your SP costs, just think about how long it would take your character to cast that spell. Also, don't be afraid to make spells that interact with the Spellheart mechanics. There is no reason you can't make a spell for transferring SP, boosting/lowering someone's SP flow, looking at SP distributions, and any other zany thing you can think of. Point being, there is still much room for creativity. If you don't know how to randomly distribute points, this is the easiest way I know to do so. First, generate a number of random numbers equal to the number of active magic circles. Next, take the sum of those numbers. Divide each random number by this sum, and they will be transformed into numbers that sum up to 1. With each of these numbers representing a group, multiply the SP flow remaining by the transformed random number, and then round to a nice whole number to get roughly the SP distributed to that group. (I say roughly, because rounding might add or subtract from the amount of SP you were supposed to distribute) Use a spreadsheet and random number generator unless you happen to be a human calculator. While the traits of a character were originally designed with character growth in mind, the end result has no guide for how a character should scale. I have no idea what proportions of SP pool, SP flow, and SP control are fair in a static context, much less a dynamic one. In addition, I have no guide for determining how potent a spell is in comparison to the SP you spent on it aside from more = better. Lastly, I did intend for defensive spells to have an advantage against offensive spells, but I failed to produce exactly how much of an advantage. I merely know that you have to give defensive spells an advantage, or else it results in them being less useful than other types of spells. Beware, much uncharted territory. Spellheart is, as you are likely now aware, a bit more complex than a regular magic system. I recommend giving players some time to get comfortable with declaring their magic circles and distributing SP before diving into something where the characters are in actual danger unless you want them to die miserably. I really hope that this post was useful to someone. If there are any questions, comments, feedback, people willing to play-test these mechanics, or if you'd like to see an RP that uses these mechanics, please let me know below.