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"You see, magic is reliably unreliable. It's so random that, on a large scale, you can really depend on it to do whatever you expect it wouldn't. The way I like to think of it, it's like you're trying to catch minnows, and they swim like crazy and explode and turn your hands into bagels when you try to grab them, and, well, you just get a big bowl and scoop them up. Let 'em stay random. Now they're your random, and at least you know which way they're gonna fly when you fling the bowl."
— Somewhat Colby, C.W., T.I.S. University
  Spellcrafting is the dangerous and difficult task of preparing a spell from raw spell elements. This is a parasafe, hemideadly task even for the highly trained. Only long and difficult training can prepare a person to survive the process, as most who get hasty or try to customize their stuff wind up as a charred smear on the nearest wall. For this reasons, the screening process for students of magic involves a long process of bureaucratic torture, intended to rile any hot-blooded applicants and so eliminate them from candidacy. Only the most level-headed, methodical, and, in short, boring of students typically survive to high levels of power in wizardry. The ideal student has all the passionate individuality of a waterwheel.   For the people who carry out this process with the highest chance of survival, refer to Certified Wiz (C.W.) . For the quantified material-plane effect of high thrombin agitation, see Thaumic Charge and Metathaumetry .  


  Every object or force in the observable world seems to secretly be encoded, or at least temporarily stored, in the form of invisible, intangible woven bulbs of raw meaning in the unreal Plane of Magic which are known as thrombins. These interact largely like filled tube balloons, curving and bulging around each other in wild, colorful, thrashing infinities of encoded causal relationships parallel to the material plane but quite unrecognizable in the small scale. Thrombins string along between logical causes and their effects, and only when the weave reaches a certain meaningful pattern enter back into the material world as some tangible mass or force. Actions of willed creatures are simultaneously annotated and structured in terms of especially ephemeral thrombins, and even thoughts have a reflection in the Plane of Magic, with minds generating whirling planets of chaotic color.   Through many phases of ticklish abuse of the underlying mechanisms of reality, spellcrafters create stored thrombin structures which, when released from stasis by a preset trigger, have a controllable and repeatable effect on reality. These structures are known as spells. A willed creature can, if very precise, perform certain actions in the presence of selected objects which are handled poorly by the causal coding in the plane of magic, creating very specific tangles of thrombins. These cause a few thrombins at a time to be cemented in a quasi-inert state at the very edge of the material world, in a place called spellvoid. These liberated elements are useless until pressed back into the plane of magic. To create the "safe" "non-deadly" "sensible" spells which mankind prefers, these are cleverly pressed into certain nonexistent "bags" or spellspaces specific to the spellcrafter to contain and isolate the now-reactivated materials, and to permit more layers to be added for control and specificity. With special mental effort and more exploits in the invisible world, the crafter may draw complexes of thrombins and press these in on top of the current spellements which then resolve in spellspace as restraints or modifications on the previously trapped materials.    

The Crunch

Below are listed the rules pertaining to spells and spellcrafting which might not be listed in the generic textbook upon the arcane.  

Spellcobble Check

Arcane casters can manipulate and modify unpacked spells in complicated and risky ways, making them more powerful but altogether more dangerous to anybody they hang around with. To Cobble safely requires a modified Spellcraft check.
DC = 10 + spell's effective level + spell's caster level

Since this check is made more difficult by a high caster level (equating to higher overall spell energy), it is never without risk to attempt a Cobble. If you fail a Spellcobble check made to cast a spell (such as when Casting Hastily or using Overcharge Spell), the spell become Unstable.
For possible ramifications of Spellcobble checks, see Spell Becomes Unstable .

Spell Becomes Unstable

To prevent Bad Stuff from happening, you must make a Spellcobble Check against the spell as a full-round action starting immediately, or upon your next opportunity, to prevent the spell from going critical and creating a Spell Mishap. Concentration checks must be taken during this action as if casting the spell. Success means that the spell disappears with a puff of multicolored smoke. Failure means a Spell Mishap occurs immediately. See Spell Mishaps .

Spell Mishaps

Spell Mishap: The magic charge of an arcane spell can go horribly crackerdog under the right circumstances.
The nature of the result is determined as below. Roll a d20 and add the failed spell's effective spell level (base level including metamagic adjustments):

Total ...................... Result
0-10 ......................Fozzle
11-16 .................. Miscrackle
17-19 .................. Explosion
20-25 ......... Explosion and Miscrackle
26+ ........... Lasting Causal Scar

- Fozzle: Like fizzling, but leaves your head feeling fuzzle. Fizzy. Fuzzy. The spell dissipates harmlessly, but you become Confuzed for 1d3 hours. Every fifteen minutes, you can attempt a Will save (DC 20) to shake off the effect early.
- Miscrackle: The thrombins glevate miscongelularly. Roll on the table of effects for a Rod of Wonder once per effective spell level of the failed spell. If the original spell doesn't have it's caster or target present, you serve the deficient role.
- Explosion: A blast of energy is emitted from your handiwork as reality suddenly gets wise to what you were trying to pull. This blast deals 1d6 damage per effective spell level of a random type to all creatures and objects within 20 feet. Roll 1d6 to find determine the type. 1: fire, 2: cold, 3: lightning, 4: acid, 5: sonic, 6: cats.
A reflex save (DC 15+ spell level) halves the damage for anyone outside the exact square where the explosion takes place. Any knucklehead in that space gets no save.
- Lasting Causal Scar: The local thaumospace is badly widdled. Something really strange happens to the area around you, and its effects are permanent. The DM can make one up, or refer to the sample list provided separately.


Spellcrafting enables humans to make very deliberate, controllable magic effects, which display little of the random caprice of Immortals' magic. This way the latent energy of the universe can be manipulated almost as reliably as a tool, and so the great logistics machine of human society is greatly enriched with these otherwise inaccessible services. Towns can have a C.W. dig a motte by himself in less than a month. Cities can have their gates watched by sensors which instantly detect illusory disguises. Secrets of the past can be unlocked like never before. The boon to society is only amplified over time as research continues and new spells are invented.


Spellcrafting is often compared to the making of fireworks. You have a variety of volatile but powerful materials, and different methods of making them behave and, hopefully, only explode when intended. The basic force of reality-warpingness of a spell is derived from its thrombins, but all the control and specificity of the final spell come from the control elements which embrace and link them.  

Spell Architecture

  Arcane Factor - The interface between the nonexistent Plane of Magic, where these spell elements reside, and the Material Plane. Not a real place or thing, but sorta part of the mystic brain-spellbook complex which comprises a wizard. The arcane factor is actually said to reside within the spellbook, though it's not understood why this is said. It sounds like nonsense, but if we cut all the seeming nonsense from the curriculum, well, students would be done in about one semester, and dead within a year, eh, what do you say.
Packing - Technical term for the process of spell preparation. In arcane magic, the spell must be built up in successive layers, and so order of spellement addition is crucial to functionality. This is the most dangerous task of spell creation. It has been observed that divine casters (other than druids) pack in spherical layers with the ability to add elements in parallel, but typically they prepare without any idea they are doing it at all.
Stack - The sequence of spellements pressed through the arcane factor during spell preparation.
Trigger - The seemingly arbitrary action which the spellcrafter predefines to release the stack back through the factor and into the material world. This must be sufficiently simple as to give no impediment to quick casting, but not so simple that it's accidentally performed in the course of normal daily activity.  


Spellcrafting is the act of packing spell elements (or "spellements") through an arcane factor to form a prepared spell. Spellements should be prepared ahead of time.   Thrombins - Principal affectors which create effects. These are difficult to tell apart, and each has so many permutations that they defy exhaustive enumeration. Summoning the thrombins for a spell is the most time-consuming part of spell preparation, but is simple enough and relatively safe since captured thrombins are inert until packed. Each thrombin is drawn into spellvoid by specific material, somatic, verbal, and psychic actions, sometimes with the aid of materials. The general consensus summarizes their ranges in nine categories:
  • Toragial - Associated with abjuration effects. Generated by extreme focus, normally assisted by loud shouts or haka.
  • I/O Median - Associated with divinatory and mind-affecting effects. Generated by washing, polishing, or restoring things.
  • Erastive - Employed as support in spells of various schools, and in undoing other effects. Generated by waving objects or forming circular patterns.
  • Desnic - Associated with the creation of matter or its influx from from parallel planes. Generation requires breaking stuff that someone built.
  • Rovagous - Associated with force effects, time effects, and some divination. Generation requires deep meditation, and a little blood.
  • Sarenreial - Associated with evocation and illusion. Generation requires severe gestures and material component.
  • Gozric - Associated with some transmutation and enchantment (except mind-affecting). Generated using a focus and lots of salt.
  • Calistrian - Used heavily in illusion, but always with supplements of other thrombins. Generation requires a believable sample of some of the materials to be replicated to be exposed to a prism's light, though closing one's eyes and pretending to do this actually has a high chance of success.
  • Lamashful - Associated strongly with transmutory effects. This is a very basal thrombin, generated by simple chanting and hand motion, but it is notoriously hard to control.

Control Elements

Most of the complexity of a spell comes from its control. Raw thrombins are maddeningly unpredictable. Also, careful structural tasks are needed to add multiple different thrombins into the same spell. The level of a spell is most affected by the finesse needed to impliment all requisite controls.   Muxer - Based on the strop architecture. Links the targets of multiple elements to the desired thrombin or effect. Can link multiple thrombins, resulting in somewhat predictable new effects. Demuxer - Based on the shim archetecture. Takes up space in the prefactor, and can be used to structurally support, guide, or separate other elements.   Henches - pinch off the prefactor or tie up thrombins. Restraint parts. Congelular - Denatures an element to suppress one secondary effect. Multiple congelular henches stack, applying sequencially to the secondary effects in a stack. Their interactions can be fairly random, so often a demuxer is used to spoof multiple secondaries in the stack and reassign the congelular's target. Dregular - Used to withold thrombins from the factor, or to maintain turgor during manifestation. Creates a longer duration. Can be attached specifically to a thrombin, but its target is semi-random and must be assigned.   Strops - Pass a reference from target to host. Cannot assign into stack, must be attached in sequence. Whiffling - Conditional interlinking members which can be used to modify the activation or dissolution of other spell elements. Persistant. Tulgey - Used to assign the target of a spellement by direct index association with the exact stack point. Often can cause undesired rapid snap-coiling in large spells, requiring the use of shims or splints. Malcolm's (Minty Deans) - Creates a mintal link with a spell target. The nickname refers to a minty taste figment which the target percieves when the connection is attempted. This effect actually cannot be suppressed without compromising the whole strop. Dull - 3% less efficient version of Minty Deans, but without the mint effect. Takes an entirely different architecture.   Shims - Thin, rigid wedges which can allow conflicting elements to be juxtaposed without interaction. Are also used to lever big thrombins into a small factor, but when used this way, they cannot be removed under normal circumstances, and can disrupt operation. Adds bulk, often increasing turgor. Can be used (delicately and at great risk) to peek through a factor which has been henched off.   Splints - A form of specialized shim with an integrated Multzer complex, effectively acting as a strop between the adjacent thrombins. Provides support and selection of specific interaction modes. Adds bulk.   Hellborgen Matrix - An advanced but elegant shim-demuxer complex which conducts whiffling strops in real or spellspace.
Access & Availability
It takes not only exhaustive education and training to safely craft spells, but also a natural aptitude to understand and quantify natural processes and forces. A wizard cannot function unless instructed thoroughly in mathematics and natural science, and so spellcraft becomes almost a subtask to the regular university education which most students seek.   A university education, of course, is a costly proposition, limiting the study of academic magics to those with great personal or family wealth. However, with the advent of the C.W. curriculum, the utility of a fully-trained wizard has grown greater than that of even folk druids or clercs of high station. Remote rural communities now pass a hat each year to scrape together the needed funds to send one of their youths to university so that he or she can return to tutor others to some degree, resulting in Wiz Clubs in far-out hamlets. The highest level of power and safety achieved by these secondary students is much lower than university-trained professionals, but a little magic goes a long way among simple populations.
Imagine making fireworks, but the powders and granules will explode if you fail to sing to them as you gently layer them in their tube. Imagine packing balloon animals into a snake's mouth, with pointy little teeth lining the aperture. Imagine juggling three greased apples and three toxic hedgehogs while ignoring your roommate's awful guitar practice, and there's a huge paper due next week which none of your group mates have even begun to work on, and that one girl is acting like you're the worst, and Mom and Dad paid so much cash for me to get here, there's just no way, oh my gods.   Spellcrafting, in short, is not for the weak-willed, nor for anyone with a tendency toward twitchiness or haste. Though intelligence directly correlates to wizarding power in the short term, it is the steadfast and ploddingly methodical student who lives to achieve greatness.
The origin of arcane magic is not known for certain. The processes required to generate thrombins, the basic effectors of spells, is not only very silly but also extremely dangerous. The pattern required to control and finally pack a thrombin is delicate and quite as arbitrary as thrombin-generation. It is thought to be far more likely that spellcrafting was discovered by a very, very lucky toddler than by a learned master of natural science.
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Wizardly Composure

A wizard's survival when preparing or manipulating spells is proportional to his ability to be methodical, unshakable, and altogether very boring and steadfast of mind. Some students of magic accomplish this by being genuinely stolid as a stone. Others need to develop some form of mental technique to achieve the needed inner stillness and emotional lethargy.
 Prerequisites: Wis 12 or Con 12 or Fortitude +4, and not a cocky or self-assured asshole
 Benefit: You may, as a move action, Use the Blurnslime Exercise to kick ass without getting confused and kicking own ass. Mark this by some verbal cue, maybe slowing your speech or taking on a distant or wistful tone. You improve your focus at the cost of the suppression of your situational awareness and self-preservation instincts. Until you use another Move action to exit The Zone or you are overcome by some strong emotional excitement (subject to GM approval), you suffer -4 to Reflex saves and passive Perception checks, and benefit from +4 to Concentration and Spellcobble checks.   At level 6, and for every two character levels beyond 6th, you may increase the penalty and the bonus by an additional -2 and +2, respectively.
 Normal: You probably react to things like a regular human being.



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