Arcane Backgrounds

Clerics (base: no PP variant from Savage Arcanum  with additional changes)
 
Arcane Skill: Faith (linked to Spirit).
Free Casting (+2) You can cast spells without using Power Points. Clerics channel the divine; they do not focus their will or channel the surroundings energies or tap into the magical reserves of their soul. Their source is boundless – or as near to boundless as anyone can tell.  They do not need to spend power points on Powers and do not spend power points to maintain spells, but they do suffer a negative to casting rolls equal to half the total number of power points for the spell, rounded down. A spell that requires 1 power point receives no penalty. A spell that requires 2 power points receives a -1. A spell that requires 3 power points receive a -1. A spell that requires 4 power points receives a -2. And so on.  In addition, any failed roll to cast results in the caster being Shaken and maintained spells dissipate.
2 Powers (+1) You begin with 2 powers instead of 1.
No Backlash (+1) You don’t become Shaken if you roll a 1 on your arcane skill die. They do still become Shaken if they fail the casting roll, and lose maintenance of spells.
0 Power Points (-1) You begin with 0 Power Points instead of 5.
Vows (-1) You suffer penalties or can even lose your powers if you break your vows.
Clerical Focus (-.5) Cleric must carry an item of their faith on them in order cast.  This item can be anything from a cross, a book, a necklace, or even a sacrificial dagger.  Cleric who do not have this item cast spells at -2.  The item must honor their faith in some way – a mark of their god, a phrase from their spirituals, a symbol.
Spell Restriction (-.5) These spells are restricted from clerics: Blast, Bolt, (Healing receives -1 cumulative for each additional attempt.)
Respect of the Common Folk (+.5) Clerics commonly perform small rituals for folk like blessing the newborn, or saying grace at dinners, predicting the future (really just an educated guess), being asked to mediate an argument. Performing such a ritual earns the cleric a +1 reaction bonus for those who witness the ritual. This reaction bonus may be gained through respect, or sometimes through fear (gods of death or storms).
    These are new additional spells available: Divination (Fantasy Companion), Sluggish Reflexes (Fantasy Companion), Slumber (Fantasy Companion), Warrior’s Gift (Fantasy Companion), Havoc (Fantasy Companion), Draining Touch (Fantasy Companion), Confusion (Fantasy Companion)
Arcane Spellcasters: (used SW Ravenloft variant with additional changes)
Wizards, sorcerers, geomancers, hedge mages – these practitioners work their magic by working their will on the raw energies flowing through all things.  As such they use Smarts for their base stat.  There are a few other differences from clerics and other casters.
 
Arcane Skill: Spellcasting (linked to Smarts)
3 Powers (+2) You begin with 3 powers instead of 1.
10 Power Points (+1) You begin with 10 Power Points instead of 5.
Strong Backlash (-1) Become shaken if you roll 1 on the skill die (can cause a wound).
Casting Requirement (-.5) Must use gesture and speech. -2 to spellcasting rolls for each missing. The words need not be loud at all.  They can be the tiniest whisper, but the caster must be able to use his or her voice.  And the gestures may be from either hand, but at least one hand must be free to make the proper signs.  Not having access or using one required aspect confers a -2 penalty.  Not having or using both aspects confers a -4 penalty.
Cantrips (+.5) may roll Spellcasting, with gestures & speech, and create minor illusions for +1 indirect social bonuses
Spell Restriction (-.5) These spells are restricted from wizards: Healing, Greater Healing
    These are new additional spells available: Trinkets (although rare and expensive items are restricted), Legerdemain (Fantasy Companion), Disguise (Fantasy Companion), Sluggish Reflexes (Fantasy Companion), Slumber (Fantasy Companion), Mirror Self (Fantasy Companion), Warrior Gift (Fantasy Companion), Havoc (Fantasy Companion), Draining Touch (Fantasy Companion), Drain Power Points (Fantasy Companion), Concentrate (Fantasy Companion)
Notes on Cantrips:

The spellcaster may use the spellcasting skill to create minor, mostly useless effects for aesthetic purposes or amusement. Characters must successfully roll spellcasting and use the proper casting requirements. All effects require the constant attention of the spellcaster and dissipate when that attention goes away.There is no duration.

Examples:

  • Make an illusion of a small spider crawling across the floor
  • Make a mug of ale levitate a couple inches
  • Make (non-blinding) sparkles flash from your hands
  • Draw a temporary color onto something like someone's hair or clothes
  • Create a whiff of the smell of sulphur (great for storytelling)
  • Make a card briefly change from one suit & number to another (w/tells)
  • Make a strawberry grow quickly to double in size

On occasion, with proper roleplaying these might give characters a +1 to a roll. For example, summoning a small flame in hand as you intimidate someone into believing you could burn this house down around them. Or a +1 to persuasion that this house needs an exterminator with the illusion of the small spider above. Players should keep in mind the cantrip requires attention – the caster is a puppeteer, the cantrip his shadow puppet. These cantrips are not meant to directly improve anything. Ex.. I make my hands sticky for a +1 to my climb check.

Psionics (used Psionics variant with PP from Savage Arcanum with additional changes)

 
Psychics, mentalists, yogis, mystic adepts – these practitioners do not work magic, instead performing miraculous feats that border on the magical through an innate ability.  Some say this is a gift of the gods and others say they have trained themselves to access a part of their mind which others are not even aware of.  None can deny the discipline required to practice this craft, despite the lack of schooling for these abilities.  There are a few other differences from other casters.
 
Arcane Skill: Psionics (linked to Spirit)
2 Powers (+1) You begin with 2 powers instead of 1.
10 Power Points (+1) You begin with 10 Power Points instead of 5.
Subtle (+1) You don't need to speak or make gestures to cast a spell.
Psionic Mind (+.5) psionic skill may be used to resist mind-affecting spells targeting Spirit as per Ravenloft pg. 28
Strong Backlash (-1) A 1 on the casting die (regardless of the Wild Die result) results in the caster being Shaken & all spells that require focus immediately cease.
Mind Fatigue (-.5) A critical failure results in the character taking a level of Fatigue.
Spell Restriction (-.5) These spells are restricted to self only: Aim, Armor, Boost/Lower Trait, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Fly, Invisibility, Quickness, Shape Change.  Warrior's Gift. Bolt is restricted to the electricity trapping (mental)
    These are new additional spells available: Slumber (Fantasy Companion), Warrior Gift (Fantasy Companion), Draining Touch (Fantasy Companion), Drain Power Points (Fantasy Companion), Concentrate (Fantasy Companion), Confusion (Fantasy Companion)
Alchemy  (used Alchemy variant with PP in Savage Arcanum, with additional changes)
Arcane Skill: Alchemy (linked to Smarts)
3 Powers (+2) You begin with 3 powers instead of 1.
10 Power Points (+1) You begin with 10 Power Points instead of 5.
Spell Focus (+1) You use an alchemy set or laboratory to brew your potions.
Spell Components (-.5) You must harvest specific and rare components (herbs, minerals, & monster parts) for your potions.
Alchemical Side Effect (-.5)
Alchemy allows caster to produce the potions listed in magical items as well as the mundane items.  Alchemists must produce the weaker form of the potion if they did not succeed on casting with a raise, along with associated negative effects.  Succeeding with two raises allows the caster to produce the high level version as well as ignore 1 negative side effect.
No Backlash (+1) No roll necessary just to drink a potion.
Preparation (-3) 10 minutes per spell Rank to brew a potion.
Alchemy Skill (+.5) Purchasing this background raises a character’s alchemy skill by 1.

Weird Scientists (Arcane Background – Weird Science):

This background works exactly as stated in Ravenloft SW, pages 35-36.

Arcane Backgrounds

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