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Table of contents

  1. Magic
    1. Arcane Magic
      1. Casting Spells
      2. Sculpt Energy
      3. Tricks
      4. Counterspell
      5. Practical Magic
      6. The Power of Magic
      7. Optional Rule: Magical Gear
    2. Divine Magic
      1. Determine Your Higher Power
      2. Casting Miracles
      3. Prayer
      4. Miracles

Arcane Magic

You carry a Magic Tome worth 300gp. It is Bulky and contains your spells. Treat any discovered Spellbooks as Scrolls.

Casting Spells

  1. Sculpt Energy requires a full turn (unless stated otherwise). You must declare your spell at the beginning of the round. Tricks take 1 Action.

  2. You have an amount of Magic Dice (d6) equal to your Gifted training, with a maximum of 4. Choose how many you wish to invest. You need an empty inventory slot for each die you wish to invest in. 

  3. Roll the invested Magic Dice. For each die that shows a 4-6, you gain one Fatigue.

  4. If you get a series (e.g. 2-4 dice that match), something has gone very wrong. Take the dice that show identical values as damage to HP, then to WIL, in the form of Arcane Feedback. For instance, rolling 4-3-3 means taking 6 damage. If this damage is equal to or larger than 4, it has the Blast property, affecting anyone Close.

There are four main ways of casting spells:

  • Sculpt Energy covers damaging spells in a wide variety of flavors.

  • Tricks cover hindering spells (‘status effects’, as it were).

  • Counterspell allows you to defend against magic.

  • Practical Magic covers all magic effects that do not cause harm.

This system is compatible with the GLOG Magic system for Cairn. The spells found there can be used as an expansion of the ones found here.

Sculpt Energy

Any magic user can cast a bolt of arcane energy. At the cost of 1 MD, this Arcane Bolt does 1d6 magic damage + 1 to a target nearby. You can add more MD to deal more damage. The formula here is [sum of dice] + [number of dice rolled].

You can learn new techniques to sculpt this energy into more intricate forms. MD added in sculpting do not contribute to damage,  besides [dice] being the total number of dice rolled. The damage formula would be [sum of dice that contribute to damage] + [number dice rolled]. If you cast a spell with 3 MD and use 1 MD to invoke ‘Blast’, that means the damage would be 2d6+3.

Magic users are highly encouraged to ‘flavor’ their magic; you avoided damage with your Hit Protection, did you use a rain of sparks? A wall of flower petals? Note that for the flavor to affect fiction, you need the Element tag. You are free to flavor an Arcane Blast as “a jet of flame”, but if you want it to act like flame (burn things, set aflame etc) you need the tag. 

  • Range: Invest +1 MD to reach a target far away.
  • Elements: Invest +1 MD to imbue your spell with elemental energy, such as fire, ice, or lightning.
  • Discipline: Invest +1 MD to cast a spell of a certain discipline. By default, Arcane Bolt deals damage to STR.
    • Discipline: Stun. Your spell damages DEX, instead.
    • Discipline: Befuddle. Your spell damages WIL, instead.
  • Subtlety: Invest +1 MD to cast a spell silently and sneakily.
  • Force: Invest +1 MD to make your spell forceful, blasting appropriate targets back.
  • Piercing: Invest +1 MD to make your spell capable of bypassing armor. On a 1-3, it bypasses 1 Armor, on a 4-6 it bypasses 2 Armor.
  • Split: Invest +1 MD to be able to split your spell (including all effects) onto 2 different targets.
  • Blast: Invest +1 MD to change the properties of the spell into Blast, damaging all targets near a certain point. The invested MD decides how many targets Close to the impact point are affected.
  • Fast: Invest +1 MD to cast the spell as 1 Action instead of 2, allowing it to be cast in a quick turn.

Players are encouraged to be creative in their tag use. The tags mentioned above are simply suggestions. The base rule is that any form of Sculpt Energy requires 1 MD for basic damage. Every effect on top of that should cost an additional MD. For example:


A Magic User can also opt to use their magic for a Trick. This is like performing a Gambit, except with magic. Tricks deal no damage and have a maximum range of Near. Tricks count as quick actions, as opposed to slower Sculpt Energy.

Just like gambits, Tricks can be used to stun, shove, disarm, trip, etc.

When performing a Trick, describe the desired effect, i.e. “Maltas wants to use his magic to freeze the boots of the orc in place, preventing him from moving”.

The GM will decide on a fitting Save for the target; STR in the example, for the orc to wrest his feet free.

The caster invests a number of Magic Dice of choice, as with casting a spell. For each 1-3, the difficulty of the Save is increased by 1. For each 4-6, the difficulty of the Save is increased by 2 – and the user gains Fatigue.

As with a gambit, to make a successful Save, the target must roll under or equal to their Attribute, but above the difficulty.


Since the use of magic must be declared at the start of a combat round, there are opportunities to intervene the casting. This can include simply damaging the caster, though the Warden is encouraged to reward creative forms of interruption.

Anyone with Magic Dice at their disposal can, at the moment an enemy spell is cast, attempt a counterspell. This option is not available if the caster is already focusing on a spell themselves.

A counterspell simply means investing and rolling an available number of MD, following the same rules for casting (i.e. must have a number of inventory slots available equal to the number of dice invested, Arcane Feedback occurs on doubles). If the total roll is equal to or higher than the total roll of the enemy spell, the two cancel each other out in a bright display of energy and light. If the roll is lower than the enemy spell, the counterspell fails and the enemy spell takes effect as normal.

Practical Magic

Any magic that doesn’t do direct damage (Sculpt Energy) or indirect harm (Tricks) can be freeform improvised by simply determining the MD value. Remember that any MD spent involves rolling 1d6, and that on a 4-6, you gain Fatigue, and on doubles, you take damage.

  • 1 MD: A small, personal effect. Could be achieved with tools instead of magic (lighting a torch, growing vines as a rope)

  • 2 MD: An interpersonal or room-sized effect. Barely beyond the possibility of tools (a small wall of force, breathing underwater, camouflage, sending telepathic messages).

  • 3 MD:Large, ‘impossible’ effects. Makes a mockery of the normal laws of nature (animating the dead or inanimate, teleportation).

  • 4 MD: Mythical, highly dangerous alterations to reality itself.

Practical Magic is designed to be very free-form. Just like with Sculpt Energy, however, adding tags can serve as useful prompts for players to give them ideas as to what their magic can do - and to give incentives to learn new magical effects. This approach mixes ‘complete free form magic’ with ‘traditional spells’. See Appendix C for a full list of Tags.

The Power of Magic

An important note: Magic is the only exception to the rule of use the highest die roll when taking multiple die of damage (besides environmental damage, such as falling or lava).

A wizard with 4 MD can use their Arcane Bolt to deal 4d6+4 damage, no questions asked. How is this fair? 

  1. It isn’t. A 4 MD wizard is a magical nuke - and I’m okay with that. This also makes them primary targets. 

  2. 4 MD has considerable risk of Arcane Feedback. 2 MD has a chance of 16%, 3 MD has a chance of 44%, 4 MD has a chance of 72%!

  3. 4 MD requires 4 empty inventory slots, and, if my math is correct, has a 93% chance of 1 Fatigue, a 68% chance of 2 Fatigue, a 31% chance of 3 Fatigue and a 6% chance of 4 Fatigue.

  4. Empty inventory slots also means less loot, less armor.

Optional Rule: Magical Gear

The rules laid out for magic so far tie heavily into the Career system. If you want to stick closer to Cairn’s roots of “equipment, not class”, consider the following rules (or use them in addition to the Career system)!

Wands, magical amulets, crystal orbs, talismans, bracelets or necklaces provide +1 MD when attuned to and worn. The MD provided by these trinkets do not stack – you can’t gain more than 1 MD from them. They are quite rare and/or valuable.

Magical staves are Bulky (see Weapons) and provide +2 MD when attuned to and wielded. This MD gain can be combined with a trinket for a total of 3 MD. Staves are extremely rare and valuable – and staves that grant +3 MD and are embued with specific Tags are rumored to exist.

Divine Magic

To use Faith Dice you need to make a vow to a Higher Power.

A Higher Power can be a god, a concept (vengeance, chaos), or an abstract construct (nature).

Determine Your Higher Power

The Warden might already have an established pantheon. Discuss possible Higher Powers with them. You can also design your own Higher Power.

First, choose 2 domains (See Appendix D for domain suggestions). Next, discuss with the Warden what the Higher Power’s general stance is on the following:

  • Enemies of Faith. What type of creature does this Higher Power abhor? Examples:
    • The unjust and criminal
    • The greedy
    • Dragons
    • Devils & demons
    • Those who would harm nature
    • Abominations
  • Worship: How does this Higher Power like to be worshipped? In big public displays, through specific acts? When the time is right, or every day?
  • Likelihood of Intervention: Is it believed that this Higher Power intervenes in the life of mortals? At what scale does this Higher Power operate?
  • Humanity: Is this Higher Power seen as a “basically a person”, or more like a force of nature?

Casting Miracles

  1. Casting Miracles takes 2 Actions and thus requires a full turn. You must declare your intention to cast, and your miracle, at the beginning of the round. While casting, you cannot fight back, block, dodge or parry.

  2. You have a number of Faith Dice (d6) equal to your Devotion training, with a maximum of 4. Choose how many you wish to invest.

  3. Roll the invested Faith Dice. For each die that shows a 1-3, you take 1 WIL Damage. For each die that shows 4-6, you take 2 WIL Damage. Your Miracle will also use the result of this roll; [dice] stands for the total number of dice rolled, [sum] for the total sum of the values. Furthermore, Bonus Damage mentioned in some miracles cannot exceed the maximum natural roll possible (i.e. with Bonus Damage +2, a roll of 4 on a d6 is raised to 6, a 5 is raised to 6, and it has no effect on a 6). It also does not enhance magical damage from Magic Users.


At the end of the day, say a short prayer to your Higher Power

Determine how pious your day was, together with the Warden. Depending on the content of your prayer and the actions during the day, the Warden might assign a bonus ranging from +1 to +3, or 0 if the Warden feels you have not served the best interest of your Higher Power.

Roll 1d6:

1d6+bonus Effect
1 The Higher Power is not pleased. You recover no WIL.
2-3 The Higher Power is silent. You determine to do better tomorrow, and regain 1d2 WIL.
4-5 The Higher Power approves. You bask in their praise, and regain 1d4+1 WIL.
6-8 The Higher Power is impressed. Their blessing fills you, and you regain all lost WIL.
9 The Higher Power is exalted. Their power flows through you. You regain all lost WIL, and any Miracles cast tomorrow gain a free FD, up to a max of 4.


Faith Dice can be used to cast the following miracles. Miracles can reach targets up to Far.

Bless. Declare the allies you are blessing and roll the invested FD. The total value of [sum] becomes a Pool of points, that those blessed can tap into at will when making Saves. The Pool lasts until the end of the day. The moment an ally needs to roll a Save, they can ‘use’ up a number of points from the Pool to temporarily raise their Attribute (STR, DEX, WIL). The Pool must be tapped into before rolling the Save.

Rebuke. Target [sum] Enemies of Faith. Each must make a WIL Save against [dice] difficulty, meaning they must roll under or equal to WIL while rolling above [dice]. On a failure, they will flee in fear.

Empower. You target [sum] allies. For the next battle (i.e., until they’d be able to restore HP by catching their breath), they deal [dice] Bonus Damage.

Replenish. You target [dice] allies, which regain [sum] HP each, not exceeding their maximum HP. This means a roll of 2 FD, of 4 and 6, means that 2 allies regain 10 HP each.

Smite. You charge your weapon with divine purpose, dealing [sum] Bonus Damage for the next [dice] attacks.