Attack

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The attack arcana is used to harm foes, either with damage, or with physical ailments. Attack spells can deal different types of damage: physical (impacts, weapons, and pure force) or energy (acid, cold, death, electricity, fire, mental, and sonic).

You may choose one type of Attack damage for each magical tradition you have, so you might be able to cast electrical Attack spells with technomancy and fire Attack spells with stage magic. However, you cannot cast Attack spells that deal death damage unless your tradition explicitly states your Attack spells deal death damage.

Physical damage, such as by striking with objects or intangible force, is protected from by damage reduction, but the spell is magical, so it bypasses DR as if it was a magic weapon.

Energy damage comes in several types. It is up to the game master to determine when one type of energy might be more or less effective, but there are guidelines below.

Aristotelian Elements

The classic Aristotelian (also Hindu and Japanese) elemental system has 5 elements, arranged in a circle. The order is Spirit/Aether/Void, Fire, Air/Wind, Water, Earth, and then back to Spirit. Between each adjacent pair of elements, there is an energy which either element can use to attack. An Aristotelian elementalist can use both energies adjacent to his element.

  • Heat/Fire: Lies between Fire and Spirit. It is the invisible "fire" that passes from a flame to us.
  • Lightning/Electricity: Lies between Air and Fire. Lightning is fire coming from the sky.
  • Cold/Ice: Lies between Water and Air. Water can come from air when it's cold—consider hail, snow, and condensation.
  • Acid: Lies between Earth and Water. Elemental water (alkahest) is the universal solvent. It can dissolve any solid.
  • Force: Lies between Spirit and Earth. Force acts like a solid, but it isn't there!

Bludgeoning/Piercing/Slashing damage is not available under this paradigm.

Taoist Elements

Classic taoist magic also has 5 elements. These are Earth, Metal, Fire, Wood, and Water. They are organized in a regenerative cycle (Wood feeds Fire, Fire becomes Earth (as ash), Earth bears Metal, Metal collects Water, and Water nourishes Wood), and a destructive cycle (Wood parts Earth, Earth absorbs Water, Water quenches Fire, Fire melts Metal, and Metal chops Wood).

The energies are connected directly to the elements, and not to the elemental cycles.

  • Water: (水) Corresponds to Mercury, North, and Cold/Ice.
  • Metal: (金) Corresponds to Venus, West, Bludgeoning/Piercing/Slashing, and Force. The archetypal metals are silver and gold, so metal also has a connection to Light.
  • Fire: (火) Corresponds to Mars, South, and Heat/Fire.
  • Wood: (木) Corresponds to Jupiter, East, and Lightning/Electricity.
  • Earth: (土) Corresponds to Saturn, the Center, Acid, Death, and Rebirth, though the latter is covered by Cure.

Attack Enhancements

  • Direct Damage (+1). The spell deals 1d6 (1d8 if nonlethal) points of damage to affected creatures. Those creatures are allowed a Reflex save for half damage. Duration is transient, and the damage is dealt immediately, as soon as the spell takes effect. You may choose this enhancement any number of times.
  • Enhanced Attack (+2). Place this spell on a creature or item. Unarmed and natural attacks made by that creature or weapon attacks made with that item have a +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls. You may choose this enhancement up to 5 times.
  • Enhanced Damage (+3). Place this spell on a creature or item (or one set of ammunition, such as up to 20 shuriken, a single clip of bullets, or up to 20 arrows). Unarmed and natural attacks made by that creature or weapon attacks made with that item deal +1d6 points of damage with a successful hit. This damage is usually separate from the base damage, and is compared to Major Wound Threshold separately. You may choose this enhancement up to 2 times for any given damage type.
  • Line (+2/+3/+6). The spell does Line damage with short/medium/long range. Line replaces the general range enhancements.
  • Cone (+3/+6/+12). The spell does Cone damage with short/medium/long range. Cone replaces the general range enhancements.

Acid

Acid damage is never nonlethal. Acid lingers after striking, dealing an extra 1 point of damage for 1d6 rounds unless washed off. Acid is associated with the element of water.

  • Lingering (+2). The lingering acid does 1d6 damage (instead of a single point) for 1d6 rounds after the first round. If the spell does at least 4d6 initial damage, you can pick this enhancement again, doing 2d6 damage for 1d6 rounds.

Cold/Ice

Cold can be associated with either of air or water.

Death

Death is reversed healing. If you have both Attack and Cure, you have access to Death damage as well. Death damage grants access to the Affliction enhancements below. Attack spells that deal death damage allow Fortitude saves instead of Reflex saves.

Affliction

These enhancements can only be chosen if your magical tradition lets you deal death damage. Choose one of the following afflictions. You afflict creatures with that condition. A successful Fortitude save halves ability damage and negates other afflictions.

  • Ability Damage (+4/+6). Affected creatures take 1d6 points of temporary ability damage to the ability score of your choice. The damage heals at the normal rate. You may choose this enhancement multiple times. The cost is +6 for Constitution damage, +4 for other abilities.
  • Blindness/Deafness (+5). You blind or deafen affected creatures for the spell’s duration.
  • Disease (+8). You infect affected creatures with a disease of your choice.
  • Exhaustion (+5). You exhaust affected creatures.
  • Fatigue (+3). You fatigue affected creatures.
  • Paralysis (+7). You paralyze affected creatures for the spell’s duration.

Force

Force damage is physical. It always affects incorporeal creatures, ignoring the normal miss chance.

  • Ghost Touch (+2). Place this spell on a creature or item. Unarmed and natural attacks made by that creature or weapon attacks made with that item ignore the normal miss chance when striking incorporeal creatures.
  • Knockback (+1). If the spell damage overcomes the target's Major Wound Threshold, the target is pushed back 5 feet (1 square). You can take this enhancement a second time, to push the target back 10 feet (2 squares) and knock it down. Knockback is away from you, or from the center point of the spell.

Heat/Fire

Fire damage illuminates, and sets any flammable things in the area on fire. Fire damage is never nonlethal.

  • Command Fire (–2). The spell requires an existing source of fire to work. Regardless of how much damage enhancements the spell has, it cannot do more than twice the damage dice of the existing source. A torch is 1d6, a campfire 2d6.
  • Ignite (+2). Any material in the area that can burn, such as logs or living creatures, catch fire.
  • Invasive (+2). Just like napalm, the spell damage reduces the effects of cover. Targets in cover and not hit by the spell take half damage, instead of no damage.

Lightning/Electricity

  • Command Electricity (–2). The spell requires an existing source of electricity to work. Regardless of how much damage enhancements the spell has, it cannot do more than twice the damage dice of the existing source.
  • Extra Stun (+0/+1). If the spell damage equals or exceeds the target's Major Wound Threshold, it drops an additional step on the condition track. This is usually combined with nonlethal damage, but it doesn't have to be. It is a +0 enhancement if it only affects electronics, robots, and cyborgs, otherwise +1.

Mental

If you have both Attack and Charm, you have access to Mental damage as well. Mental damage is always nonlethal, and it cannot be used to grant the enhanced attack or enhanced damage enhancements. Attack spells that deal mental damage allow Will saves instead of Reflex saves.

Physical

Any kind of actual physical damage—ballistic, bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing. It cannot affect incorporeal creatures. When using the enhanced damage enhancement, Physical adds to the base weapon damage, but enhance damage can only be chosen once.

  • Enhanced Critical (+2). Place this spell on a creature or item. Unarmed and natural attacks made by that creature or weapon attacks made with that item have twice the normal critical range.

Sonic

If you have both Attack and Illusion, you have access to Sonic damage as well. When using the enhanced damage enhancement, Sonic adds to the base weapon damage if the weapon is Slashing or Piercing, but enhance damage can only be chosen once. When used for direct damage, Sonic is always nonlethal. A creature that takes more than its Major Wound Threshold in sonic damage is deafened for 1d6 rounds.

  • Enhanced Knockback (+2). Place this spell on a creature, or a weapon that does Bludgeoning damage. Unarmed and natural attacks made by that creature or weapon attacks made with that weapon push the target 5 feet (1 square) back with a successful hit. You can take this enhancement a second time, to push the target back 10 feet (2 squares) and knock it down.
  • Extra Knockback (+1). If the spell damage overcomes the target's Major Wound Threshold, the target is pushed back 5 feet (1 square). You can take this enhancement a second time, to push the target back 10 feet (2 squares) and knock it down. Knockback is away from you, or from the center point of the spell.
  • Extra Stun (+1). If the spell damage equals or exceeds the target's Major Wound Threshold, it drops an additional step on the condition track.

See Also

Modern Horror

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