Sunday, March 17, 2013

Primitive Talent Magic

In the continuing effort to model the Chivalry and Sorcery magic system in GURPS, I return to another Natural magic user, the Primitive Talent mage. Please comment, especially in the area of cost and details. (Also look at my post on Drug Trance Magery.)

(Substantial modifications have been included. Beast Soother was replaced with Master, because it more closely models the original C&S spell Hold Animals. I also added that the spells chosen are limited to those with three spell prerequisites or less, and that those prereqs are ignored. This change models the limit in C&S to 3rd Circle spells. I've added back Necromancy, since the lower levels spells in the college aren't unbalancing. I added no limit to elemental college spells, as long as spell prerequisites are satisfied. This is the way Primitive Talents in C&S use Basic Magic. I've named the limitations and enhancements, as well as added a couple. I've also written up Elves and High Elves/Great Fey using this system, as C&S defines those races.)


At the dawn of mankind, life was a struggle to survive. Humans had several natural advantages, intelligence, tools, and the ability to organize. They also had magic as one of those tools. But in the mists of time, there were no teachers nor books from which to learn spellcraft -- a magically gifted person might be the only one in the tribe. Those who could manipulate mana gained new talents because of their interactions with the world, not because someone told them how to do it. These were the Primitive Talent Mages. Their heritage remains in the human population.

Primitive Talent Magery 3 points for Magery 0, 6 points / level

Primitive Talent Magery gives a character the ability to cast spells, but they cannot learn spells from teachers or books, nor can they create magic items. Primitive mages use no focus, but they can use magic items made by other magic users. Primitive mages gain spells as they gain experience. The initial list of spells a character can select from is based on survival instincts: Find Direction, Persuasion, Master, Sense Danger, Pentagram. At character creation, for every 20 points the character is based on, they can learn one of the spells from the list. For example, a 50-point primitive mage can learn two of the spells, while a 100-point character could learn all five. If they don’t buy them all, they may buy the others whenever they have an extra experience points.

After the character is at 100 points, for every 20 experience points the character earns, the player may add a spell of their choice to their spell list. Spells that have up to three spell prerequisites may be chosen, ignoring those requirements, but Magery and attribute prerequisites are still checked. Be sure to count all spells in the prerequisite chain. The Enchantment college is off-limits to primitive mages. Any spell in the elemental colleges (Air, Earth, Fire, Water) may be taken, if the spell prerequisites are satisfied.

When a new spell becomes available, the character has a series of very vivid dreams about the new spell.

GM’s Choice: The GM selects the spells to add to the character’s spell list, instead of the player (-30%).

Quick Learning (+50%): The character gains a spell every 10 experience points. This means a 100-point starting character would have the basic five spells, plus five more chosen by the player.
Ignore Prerequisites (+30%/level): for each level of Ignore Prerequisites, the mage can choose spells with 2 more prerequisites. For instance, 1 level of Ignore Prerequisites lets Primitive mages ignore 5 prerequisites, and with 3 levels they can ignore 9 required spells.
Enchantment Allowed (+20%): the Primitive mage can make magic items, including a focus.
Book Learning (+30%): the Primitive mage can learn from books, scrolls, and teachers.

Elves are primitive mages with the Quick Learning, one level of Ignore Prerequisites, and Enchantment Allowed enhancements. Elves make a +2 bow and +2 arrows as their focus. The starting spell list for elves has the same five spells listed above, plus Measurement, Tell Position, Detect Magic, Sense Observation, and See Secrets. Magery 0 costs 6 points, plus 12 points per level.

High Elves/Great Fey are primitive mages, too. Treat as Elves, plus they have 3 levels of Ignore Prerequisites and the Book Learning enhancements. Their magical focus is a +3 bow and +3 arrows. Magery 0 costs 11, plus 23 points per level.


  1. This seems to be reasonable. The spell would appear as revelations? Adding other aspects to this Magery may add a bit of flavour!

  2. Check out my Drug Trance Magery article:

  3. The part I forgot to add: all elves and high fey are primitive mages. I'll post an expansion this week.