Making our Own Magic System in FATE


A few years back my cousin Adam and I decided we were going to try our hand at designing our own tabletop roleplaying game rule system. We called it "Wanderer" and set to work setting up a concept that would let player play through as realistic a fantasy/medieval simulator as we could come up with.

As to be expected with this sort of project, our development got no where and we decided to shelve it indefinitely, with one exception: the magic system. I had wanted to make a magic system that required the Caster to prepare and create their own spells, meaning that to Role Play as a wizard for example, you would have to study your spell book, create your own spells by combining the magical words that you knew and then propose the desired effect to the Game Master as a potential spell.

Adam helped me develop this idea further, setting up a system of grammar and syntax, so there are Verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs, modification words, amplifying words, elemental words, etc. etc. We came up with a whole list of word types... But never actually created an specific magical words for you to use, and we really had no idea what we were going to do with it, so we kept it in the back of our mind and kept going with our other RPGs.


Three years later Elijah proposed the idea for his FATE Campaign to the group, and Adam and I immediately looked at one another with knowing eyes: this was the opportunity we had been waiting for. FATE was the perfect rule set to test run our magic system in. So we proposed it to Elijah, he thought it sounded like a great idea and began modifying it for his own uses.

Elijah took the concept of different words having different specific spell effects, and added in a component he called Will. So as much as the semantics of your spell are important, the other half of making the spell work is your willing it happen... Effectively you have to believe in the spell's effect. This modification made the magic system better suited for FATE, since rather than proposing spell effects to your Game Master before/during game, you rolled for it and the Game Master decides how effective the spell was based on the roll.


It took us a while as players and as characters to get used to the magic system. Coming from D&D we were used to some strict limitations on casting, and this system was much more open, giving us incredible flexibility to solve problems. Whether it was some simple telekinesis on a guard's coin purse using the "Here" spell word, or figuring out how to throw a fire ball by combining the "Fire", "Move" and "There" words. We slowly figured out how to morph the magic to our own devices.

It makes for a really fun magic system, and a much more engaging time for your magic user, who needs to be studying their spells and thinking of new combinations in and out of the game. I hope to have a list of spell words published here soon for you guys to take a look at and create your own spells with!

Written by: Andrew Gregory

Making our Own Magic System in FATE Making our Own Magic System in FATE Reviewed by Jade GamingNews on 3/09/2018 02:05:00 pm Rating: 5

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