[The important thing] for me is in making casting dramatically relevant. Making choices, taking risks, raising stakes.
In order to keep magic feasible in combat or other timed situations where characters take turns, yet still have some sort of drama associated with the casting of the spell rather than just a couple of die rolls, a spellcaster would need to be taking multiple actions to complete their casting. The problem can be managed by splitting the casting into phases, in which different things can go wrong.
- Summon Energy
- Shape Energy
Assuming that each spell (or supernatural effect in general) has some energy cost that must be paid,
Summon Energy (CON/INT/WIS/CHA)
10+ You gain 3 points of energy towards the spell
7-9: You gain 1 point of energy towards the spell, and choose two:
- You don't attract unwanted attention from the energy source
- You don't take -1 forward
- It's not obvious what you're doing
CON: You're using your own life force to power the spell.
INT: Arcane magic, you're summoning the raw magic stuff of the universe.
WIS: Divine magic, you're channeling the power of the Gods.
CHA: Spirit magic, you're coercing another entity to give you the energy.
Powerful spells might require multiple types of energy to cast.
Shape Energy (INT/WIS)
10+ You shape the energy into the desired magical elements
7-9: You shape the energy into only one of the desired magical elements, and choose two:
- You don't suffer a backlash from the energy you're shaping
- You don't lose any energy (may be recovered with further Summon Energy)
- You can continue to Shape Energy