Ceremonial Magic

The Fantasy Trip is a great game that includes wizards and heroes, adventuring and fighting evil. The rules for magic in Wizard/Advanced Wizard are focused more on the tactical level, with only a few references to higher level magics.

The house rules outlines below help fill in that gap, providing a way for groups of wizards to cast larger magical spells, over wider areas and over greater distances through ceremonial magic. While the canon rules cover magic item creation, these rules can be used in conjunction with those spells to allow for ceremonial magic in the casting of magic item creation spells.

The Process

The basic process for casting a ceremonial magic spell is this:

  • Cast any Scrying spell needed to isolate or find the subject.
  • Determine ST cost of the spell.
  • Add up the total ST available from wizards and assistants involved.
  • Determine DX modifiers.
  • Roll for success.
  • Determine effects–or backlash.

The Spells

In order to cast ceremonial magic, two spells are required: the Ceremonial Magic spell, and the Scrying spell. If the spell is to be cast on an item or person close to the caster or group of wizards, the Scrying spell is not required.

SCRYING: (S) [inthelabyrinth.org] This powerful divination spell is used to see people and events–past, present and future. It functions much like a crystal ball. The spell can be used to see people or places.

To cast the Scrying spell, the wizard must concentrate, uninterrupted, for at least 5 minutes. At the end of that time, the GM rolls against the wizard’s IQ: 3 dice to see elsewhere in space; 4 dice to see the past and 5 dice to see the future. If the roll is successful, the GM will describe a scene giving the wizard some information about the subject of the Scrying. The better the roll, the more information. On a failed roll, the wizard receives no information. A critical failure means a false vision–the GM lies to the player.

The wizard receives a -5 on his roll if he has a personal possession of the subject, or a piece of matter from the place being Scryed.

A Scrying spell will not penetrate a pentagram, reveal an astral body, and almost never penetrates a Conceal or Spell Shield spell.

Cost to cast: 5 ST.

CEREMONIAL MAGIC: (S) [inthelabyrinth.org] Allows groups of wizards to cast larger spells, on subjects locally or far away. The spell involves using strict ceremonies, including candles, special ingredients, chanting, etc. to focus the wizards minds and expand the working of the spell.

Any spell can be cast using Ceremonial Magic, regardless of IQ level. To cast the spell, each wizard actively involved in casting the spell MUST know the Ceremonial Magic spell, as well as the spell to be cast. Wizards lending strength through Aid spells (such as apprentices) do not have to know either spell, but are limited to how much assistance they can give.

ST cost to perform this spell: 5. The time to cast the spell is 10 times the normal casting time, with a 1 hour minimum.

Locate Subject

The first step is to cast any Scrying spell needed to find or view the subject or area affected. If the spell is to be cast near the group of wizards, Scrying would not be required. If the Scrying spell fails, then the main spell casting does not take place. If the Scrying spell fails badly enough that the GM lies to the player, then the casting would continue, with any appropriate bad effects. These could include a wrong target, wrong area, etc.

Energy Cost

If the desired spell to be cast covers only 1 hex, or does not work over an area, use the standard, given ST cost. If the spell is an area spell, multiply the base cost by the radius in hexes for the total ST cost.

For example, a Control Person spell cast on 1 person costs 3 ST. That same spell cast on an area would cost 6 ST for a megahex (2 hex radius), 9 ST for a 3 hex radius, and so on. Keep in mind 1 hex = 1 1/3 meters (1 megahex = 4 meters).

DX Modifiers

If the spell is to be cast more than 1 hex away from the group, use the following DX modifiers for the success roll:
– If the total ST available is more than the cost of the spell, the lead wizard gets a DX bonus: +1 for 20% extra energy, +2 for 40%, +3 for 60%, +4 for 100%, and another +1 per additional 100% of the required ST.
– If the caster has an item from the target place, or a personal effect or part of the person who is the subject, add 5 to the DX bonus.
– For each of the wizards who know the spell and are actively participating in the casting, add 3 to the DX bonus.
– For spells cast from a long distance, use the following penalty modifiers. Note: These modifiers are only available if the Scrying and Ceremonial Magic spells are used.

Less that 1/2 km: 0
1/2 to 1 km: -2 DX
1 to 3 km: -4 DX
3 to 10 km: -6 DX
10 to 30 km: -8 DX
30 to 100 km: -10 DX
100 to 300 km: -12 DX

Add all of these modifiers up to determine the final DX adjustment, then the lead wizard will roll for success. The more power involved, the better the chance for success. The further away, the worse chance.


If the spell succeeds, all ST is expended, all ingredients are used up and the spell takes effect.

If the spell fails, there is a chance for backlash. When large magical energies are involved, the risk of spectacular backlashes is appropriately high as well. When casting ceremonial magic, a 16 is always a failure, and a 17 or 18 is a critical failure. In either case, all of the ST is used and the spell fails. For a critical failure, roll on the following modified backlash table. Add 1 for each 100 ST used in the spell.

3-5. Spell fails completely. Everyone involved is stunned for 1d hours.

6-8. The spell succeeds, but the lead caster is wracked with pain for 1d weeks. These pains cause -3 DX.

9-10. The spell works, but it costs twice the normal amount. If there is not enough energy to cast the spell, a weakened version takes place using all of the ST available.

11-12. The spell succeeds, but all involved are stunned and lose 1 IQ point for 2d days.

13-15. The spell fails completely, and all active spell casters take 1d damage.

16. The spell fails entirely, and the lead caster dies spectacularly, with no chance for a Revival.

17. The spell fails entirely, and a demon appears, grabs the lead caster and disappears with him to Hell. This is final, short of a Wish.

18+. Spell fails and there is a spectacular magical explosion. Active spell casters take 2d damage for every 100 ST used. All others involved take 1d damage for every 100 ST used.

Impacts On the Game

All of this makes ritual casting required for any large magics possible–but increasingly risky as the power involved goes up. Large spells are extremely difficult to cast over a far distance, and adding wizards in rituals helps–but increases the chance of catastrophic failure. Only the desperate or the crazy would attempt anything that calls for that much magical energy.

Again–these are optional rules. Feel free to use them or ignore them as you see fit.