Shadows of the Heart
A unicorn’s special ability is their wide and varied command over magic. How a unicorn learns and expresses their magic varies. Some use mathematical formula, burying themselves in dusty tomes or places of learning. Others cook fantastic meals, paint a masterpiece, or create beautiful works of music. However, this all takes time, and time is a resource that is scarce in the Wastes…
In Regards to Alicorns
An alicorn, due to being an artificial construction created by The Goddess, does not learn spells in this fashion. Every spell set and spell, even the Great and Powerful spells, is encoded into them. This means that every alicorn must spend perks to unlock a spell set and gain more spells. However, how an alicorn unlocks Great and Powerful spells should be from gaining the Quest Perk Great and Powerful, which is strictly controlled by the GM.
At first level, a Unicorn has unlocked the General spell set (Light and Telekinesis) and an additional spell set, known as their Base spell set. They may choose up to Versatility spells from their Base set, or any spells that directly relates to their special talent (so long as they meet the appeopriate requirements. No learning Expert Level spells at level one, for example). These spells are Learned spells. Should the Unicorn have the Spread Thin trait, the Unicorn takes their Versatility in basic spells from any spell set in the Fallout Equestria Roleplaying Game.
A Spell Thematic, or theme, is much like a fingerprint for unicorn magic. It is how different unicorn spells are unique in the way they are cast. These themes aren’t tied to any tangible aspect of the caster, rather they’re a result of the unicorn’s upbringing and personality. For instance, Fire Flash is a unicorn pyromaniac! She has a Fire Theme for her magic. Her Light spell looks like she has a torch flame suspended on the tip of her horn, while her Telekinesis looks like the object she picked up with it has caught fire.
A theme can NOT change the base functionality of a spell, nor can it change the amount of damage, or whether or not the spell can even do damage. It may only change how a spell appears, with one exclusion: Unless you are under the effects of the Hidden Aura spell, or the spell says otherwise, casting a spell always emits a small amount of light.
Acquiring Additional Spell Sets
In order to learn spells from more spell sets, a unicorn must meet the following requirements:
- They have either studied a tome of magic regarding that spell set or have been tutored by a teacher who has access to the spell set.
- Studying a tome of magic takes a period of one week (perks that reduce the time to read/learn from a book apply), while being taught by a teacher takes an uninterrupted period of 8 hours.
- Finally, a unicorn can only have access to VER/2 (round up) +2 spell sets. This means a unicorn with an 8 INT (4 VER) can only have access to 4 Spell Sets. The General Spell set and the Unicorn’s Base Spell Set are counted against this total, meaning our example unicorn could learn an additional 2 spell sets freely before increasing their Versatility.
Its important to note that, learning from a teacher is always superior to learning from a book. During the period of teaching a unicorn about a spell set, the unicorn being taught can select up to VER/2, rounded up in spells. These spells are considered to have been taught, but not learned. A skill check is still rolled, but you receive a +10 bonus on the skill check to learn the spell. This bonus does not stack with itself (you can not be tutored on the same spell by multiple teachers), but does stack with the bonus of learning a spell related to your special talent.
Once these requirements have been met, a Unicorn may begin attempting to learn new spells from that spell set.
Learning New Spells
In order to learn a new spell, the unicorn must meet the following requirements:
- Unlocked the spell set that spell is in or the spell in question relates directly to their special talent.
- The spell must be of a tier the unicorn can learn from. A unicorn who has not taken the Advanced Spells perk can not learn Advanced Spells, for instance. Great and Powerful spells have their own rules, which are under Learning Great and Powerful Spells.
- A new spell is classified as the lowest possible tier you can learn the spell. This means a Unicorn with the Expert Spells perk who has just unlocked the Imbuing spell set can not try to immediately learn Expert Spirit of Diamond, they must learn the Novice version of the spell first.
Once a unicorn has chosen a spell to learn, they must spend one hour in a generally peaceful environment working out how to cast the spell. A peaceful environment is classified as one where the unicorn is not likely to get shot and where they feel safe. Examples of NOT peaceful environments include (but are not limited to):
- A building that has not been cleared/checked for enemies.
- A foxhole in a battlefield.
- A moving vehicle on a poor road.
If they are in a peaceful environment and have spent an hour working out how to cast the spell, the unicorn may attempt to cast the spell. This requires that the unicorn roll a skill check. If the spell is directly tied to the Unicorn’s special talent, they may use their Special Talent skill to make the check, taking the appropriate penalties (or bonuses, should the spell have a low strain cost). Otherwise, refer to the list below:
- To learn a spell from the Medical Spell Set requires the Medicine skill.
- To learn a spell from the Perception, or Imbuing Spell Sets requires the Survival Skill.
- To learn a spell from the Illusion Spell Set requires the Deception Skill.
- To learn a spell from the Manipulation Spell set requires the Magic Skill.
- To learn a spell from the Defense, or Offense Spell Sets requires the Magic Skill.
These attempts are made at a penalty based on the strain cost of the spell, with modifiers based on whether the Unicorn had the spell tutored or is related to their special talent. These penalties ignore the rule on the maximum penalty a non-combat skill check has, and the modifiers can be found in the following table:
|You had the spell tutored||+10 Bonus to learn the spell|
|The spell is directly related to your Special Talent||+20 Bonus to learn the spell|
|The spell is not directly related to your Special Talent||-20 Penalty to learn the spell|
For example, Viewing Glass wants to learn the spell Regeneration at the Advanced Tier. The spell has a strain cost of 30, and is not directly directly related to Viewing Glass’s special talent. This means the total penalty to Viewing Glass’s Medicine skill is 50 (-30 for strain cost, and -20 for not being related to his special talent). Should Viewing Glass find a tutor who is willing to teach him the spell, he can reduce that penalty by 10, making the penalty to his medicine skill a -40.
Should you successfully make the check, congratulations, you have learned the spell. If you have not made the check, you may try again. The maximum number of times a unicorn can attempt to learn a spell is their VER/2, rounded up in a given day. Each attempt to learn a spell takes one hour, regardless if you are attempting to learn the same spell.
Creating New Spells
A unicorn can attempt to create a new, never before seen spell. After all, how did unicorns end up with all their spells in the first place? Someone had to make them. In order to do this, first the player and the GM should agree on the strain cost of the spell, what spell set it belongs in, and what the spell exactly does. Once this has been taken care of, then the Unicorn may attempt to create the spell. This functions much in the same way as making a schematic. The difference being that the unicorn uses the skill appropriate to the spell set (or their special talent, should the new spell be directly related.). A Rank 1 Schematic creates a Basic Level Spell, a Rank 2 Schematic creates an Advanced Level Spell, and a Rank 3 Schematic creates an Expert level spell. Once the schematic is created, then the unicorn must follow all the rules associated with learning a new spell (or advancing one known).
It should be noted that a Unicorn can also create a Celestia-Tier, or Great and Powerful, spell. As with all spell creation, this must be carefully discussed and balanced with the GM for approval. The Great and Powerful Spell must be directly related to the Unicorn’s special talent, and they must have 115 in their special talent skill. It takes a period of one month of daily work (8 hours of work per day) to create a schematic for a Great and Powerful Spell.
Advancing Known Spells
When a unicorn gains the Advanced and Expert Spells perk, they do not have to relearn the spells they have spent the last few levels casting. Anytime they cast a spell they have learned previously, assuming it has an Advanced or Expert version (and they have taken the required perk), they may attempt to cast the more powerful version of the spell. This requires the appropriate skill check (or special talent skill check, depending on the spell). This skill check is made using the strain cost of the more powerful version of the spell, with the same bonuses or penalties for learning a new spell (see Learning New Spells for more information).
If they succeed, they have had a breakthrough and may now cast the more powerful version of the spell. If they fail, they have wasted the strain and nothing happens. Any attempt to cast a more powerful version of a spell always costs the full amount of strain for the more powerful version and counts against the number of times a unicorn can learn spells in a day.
Learning Great and Powerful Spells
Great and Powerful spells are unique. To attempt to learn a Great and Powerful spell, the unicorn must have learned the spell from a teacher, memory orb, or another source of knowledge (such as a computer or a book). In order to cast the spell, the appropriate check is made at a penalty of 30 plus the strain cost of the Great and Powerful spell, to a maximum of 80. This ignores the maximum penalty on a non-combat skill check. A successful check means they have learned the spell, otherwise the expend the full strain cost for the Great and Powerful spell.
Stopping Spell Casting
Outside of killing a unicorn, there is only one way to stop a unicorn from casting a spell. A successfully targeted attack to the horn while the unicorn is casting will cause the spell to be disrupted and lost. However, the unicorn can roll an END check at a penalty equal to [damage dealt/10, round up] to not lose the spell.