Thieves' World - Spell Failure

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Thieves' World - Spell Failure

Postby KermodeBear » Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:31 pm

Hello everyone,

I've been researching some alternative magic systems for my D&D campaign, which I'd like to have a lower-than-normal level of magic, with an element of risk. The system in the Thieve's World PHB looks really good, but I do have a question / concern and I'd like to know what other people think.

When casting a spell, the unmodified die roll is checked against the mana level of the area. If the die roll is low enough, then mana is subtracted from the caster's mana pool. If the pool ends up negative, then there is a spectacular failure with the potential of some pretty severe consequences.

If I'm reading the rules / tables correctly, it seems that there is a spectacular failure 25% of the time in normal areas, and 50% of the time for low-magic areas, whenever a caster starts to cast a new spell. Not just failure - but earthquakes, curses, and severe penalties. Yikes!

Was the casting system intended to be this risky, am I reading the rules incorrectly, or are the rules for preparing spells in advance supposed to be the standard way of spell casting (with casting-on-the-fly a last resort)? Does anyone have suggestions for making the system a little less volatile?

I'm really enjoying the Thieve's World take on things in general and I'm considering adapting a lot of the material in there for my game. In many ways it's the D&D I've always wanted.
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Re: Thieves' World - Spell Failure

Postby Ltlconf » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:51 am


The method I use is to add in their Spellcraft skill to the roll, making their skill in forming a spell be put into the mix. If I remember right others on this forum have done similar. Also go 'old school' and don't follow the rules in all circumstances. Make adjustments (behind the screen) that you deem suitable based on circumstances in game at the moment. How calm does the character seem? How potentially distracted? Is s/he taking time to get it right? Physically and mentally how tired, sore, wet, hungry, cold etc is the character (take it from an old Marine, those are BIG factors in performance)? If they're ready, rested, or just seriously dedicated and/or pissed off (and working through the 'pain' so to speak) then they SHOULD get a bonus to their casting. Not huge, but enough to maybe put them over the edge. After all, in 'Thieves World' the characters were, and thus your's SHOULD be, tough determined bastards!

The Cracker!
Violence doesn't solve everything, but it solves an awful 'lot!

GSgt. Pollock
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Re: Thieves' World - Spell Failure

Postby corbingravely » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:39 am

Thieve's World PHB looks a great stuff and I hope the one you are planning would be a real competitor to the existing one. Try to create a community regarding your concern or send surveys to people to know about their suggestions which can help you to implement good changes with success. All the best.

pbx system now
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