Many player characters in Magic: the Multiverse will be able to cast spells, of a huge variety. However, they all fall under certain types and effects. This section will outline those differences, how spells are cast and other spell-related effects. A guide for how to translate Magic: the Gathering cards into spells for Magic: the Multiverse is available here.
There are several different types of spell that can be cast in Magic: the Gathering, and they each have different effects in Magic: the Multiverse, to represent the diverse kinds of sorcerous abilities that characters have at their disposal.
Artefact Spells – These spells represent tapping the power of mystical artefacts, imbuing them with magical energies to use their unique abilities. Casting an “artefact spell” does not represent pulling an artefact through the Blind Eternities in the same way as a creature spell does, rather it is “switching on” the artefact. As a result, artefact spells can only be cast when the artefact in question is in the character’s possession.
Once cast, an artefact’s effects are at the possessor’s disposal for the rest of the scene, and would require further expenditure to be used later. If a character steals an artefact from another, they can use the artefact for the rest of the scene without having to pay the activation cost.
Certain artefacts may be so powerful that it seems nonsensical to pay an activation cost for them. This ability may be granted at the GM’s discretion on a case-by-case basis.
Creature Spells – These spells represent real creatures that a character has known and agreed to their service. They have a Power and Toughness equal to the values on their card, and any abilities listed on the card, as well as any knowledge or other characteristics agreed with the GM. Note that they do not have their own mana, and summoners must still pay the cost for the activated abilities of their summoned allies.
Creatures summoned in this way remain with the caster beyond the scene in which they were summoned, if the caster wishes. Note that this might be socially awkward on occasions – keeping a vicious-looking antelope with you in the middle of a city might keep you safe, but people won’t be opening their doors to you much.
Once cast, creature spells leave the readied slot they previously occupied (see below). Note that spells which create creature tokens are not creature spells.
Creatures can be unsummoned by the caster at any time. A player simply declares a one-tick action to send the creature back, and the spell returns to the character’s repertoire, where it cannot be cast for the rest of the scene unless a character possesses multiple copies of the same spell.
Enchantment Spells – Once cast, enchantments remain in effect for the rest of the scene. At the GM’s discretion, certain enchantments may remain for longer, but this should not be the standard. During combat, characters may only cast enchantments after fully-resolved actions; if they wish to cast an enchantment they must take a one-tick action readying themselves to cast the enchantment.
Instant Spells – Instants are spells that are cast and resolve, with no effects staying in play. Instants may be cast at any time during a combat’s tick cycle, even immediately after an interrupted action.
Sorcery Spells – Like instants, sorceries’ effects do not remain in play after they resolve. However, like enchantments, characters may only cast sorceries after other actions fully resolve.
Creature tokens – not spells themselves, creature tokens are æther images of creatures that may result of multiple spell types. Creature tokens function much like creature spells, may never have any other abilities beyond those listed on their card, do not have a will of their own and do not last beyond the scene in which they were summoned.
A Character’s Repertoire and Readied Spells
A character’s repertoire is the full selection of spells that they can draw on, everything they know. Starting characters begin with 15 spells in their repertoire. Spells can only be removed from a character’s repertoire by effects that alter a character’s mind. A character’s repertoire is analogous in many ways to a player’s library in the Magic: the Gathering card game.
A character’s readied spells are those that a character has at the top of their mind and ready to cast. As a default, characters have seven readied spell slots, although this can change temporarily through certain spells or through the use of certain artefacts. A character’s readied spells is the equivalent of a players hand in Magic: the Gathering.
A player may move spells from a character’s repertoire to their readied spell slots in a non-combat situation at any time. In combat, this is a one-tick action for every spell the player wishes to change. Note that they can still usually only have up to seven readied spell slots at a time, so usually spells will need to be exchanged between the readied slots and their repertoire, unless they have empty slots.
Effects which increase a character’s hand size (such as Spellbook) need to be activated on a per-scene basis; a player must take a one-tick action to ready their spellbook before they can claim the unlimited readied slots it offers, and must still take a one-tick action per readied spell as normal.
A character with spellcasting abilities may announce they are casting a spell at any point they could perform another action. They announce the spell, the mana is spent and the spell begins to be cast. For each mana emblem on the card, a character needs to pay 1 of that kind of mana, and the numbers represent that amount of mana of any colour is required. If they are in a combat situation, they spend the mana during the first tick of the spellcasting action. If it is interrupted for any reason before it is finished, the mana does not return, and characters may even take mana burn for losing control of the mystical energies they are attempting to harness. This is dealt with in more detail below.
A spell that has been completed is considered to have resolved. If a spell is cast during a combat, the spell takes a number of ticks equal to its converted mana cost to resolve. In a non-combat situation, the GM determines when a spell resolves.
After a spell is cast, the player may opt to remove it from their readied spell slots and replace it with another. For non-creature spells, this is entirely optional.
Greater and Lesser Mana
Mana is divided into greater and lesser forms. Each point of a character’s mana can be either lesser or greater mana, depending on how it is used. Lesser mana is used and regained quickly, to achieve a wide range of small effects. If a mana emblem is expended as lesser mana, put one strike through the circle on the character sheet.
Greater mana is used in worldshaking sorcery, and unleashing powerful spells that would otherwise have a far lesser effect. This mana is potent, but replenishes only slowly. If a spell’s cost is paid with at least 1 greater mana, any damage or life loss inflicted by the spell is doubled, or the number of targets or entities involved is doubled. If a mana slot is used for greater mana, put a cross through the circle on the character sheet.
Greater mana is also required for more powerful spells to be cast at all. If a spell requires more than 1 of a particular mana symbol, greater mana must be used in order for it to be cast, 1 for every 2 mana symbols.
Characters regain their mana at different rates, depending on the kind of mana they have used. Lesser mana is regained at 1 point per tick cycle, and is replenished completely at the end of a scene. Greater mana is regained more slowly, at a rate of 1 point per day.
Where they could regain different colours of mana, the player may choose which colour they regenerate when the tick cyle or day is up.
Planeswalkers may, as their name implies, cross the Blind Eternities to other planes of existence. This is a spell the same as any other, although it work slightly differently. A description of planeswalking from the Magic: the Gathering website is as follows:
Think of planeswalking as the most difficult spell a planeswalker knows—the one that never gets easier. No longer can a planeswalker blink like Jeannie and find themselves on another plane. The act of planeswalking requires full concentration and no small amount of mana.
The act itself differs from planeswalker to planeswalker, because each planeswalker’s identity is an essential part of the ability. For one planeswalker, a shamanistic ritual must be performed. For another, planeswalking is the culmination of a long, dreamlike trance. The details of a given planeswalker’s method are dependent on who they are, how much of the Multiverse they have seen, and perhaps most importantly, what color(s) of mana they can wield.
So planeswalking will always be difficult, regardless of how proficient a spellcaster the ‘walker becomes. To planeswalk, a planeswalker must take a 20 tick action,and spend a quarter of their current total mana pool in greater mana. This amount will of course increase as the character’s mana pool increases. When a character walks in this way, they may choose their destination.
If a ‘walker needs to speed this process up, or as a last resort, she can take a 10-tick action and forsake a quarter of their mana bonds; remove them permanently from their character sheet. This can be done even when the character has no mana available in their mana pool. When a planeswalker walks in this way, the GM chooses their destination.