I once wrote about how I had been toying with this Apocalypse World-inspired magic system of success/partial success/failure results. Recently I've been looking at Dungeon Crawl Classics magic system a lot more, because I like the varying power levels of spells despite the overload of paperwork. The way I've been thinking of spells now is that even on a "miss" the spell would be cast, a character who can use magic will cast the spell regardless of choices or rolls. After the spell has been cast the magic-user would roll again to see how powerful the spell is, potentially all of these dice could be rolled together since the power roll would use different die types.
Using the DCC RPG spells as a standard, here's how I have it written so far.
when you cast a spell, roll+spell or choose 1 option, on a 15+ choose none, on a 10-14 choose 2, on a miss choose 3 and you draw attention to yourself:
- spell lost, you can't cast the spell again until after you rest
- the spell corrupts you
- the spell misfires and does something unexpected
- your magic dwindles, -1ongoing to magic until you rest
Under 12: Spell works as normal
12-15: +1 enhancement
16-18: +2 enhancements
19-21: +4 enhancements
Under 10: Minor corruption
10-14: Major corruption
15+: Greater corruption
The magic-user charms a humanoid to become friendly, they will regard the caster as a friend and ally but not do anything against their own nature.
Range: 40 yards, Duration: 1 day, Corruption: 1d4+magic+spell
Enhancements: affects +1 target (multiple), add +1 day (multiple)
Critical: affects 2d6+magic targets, lasts one month, and caster has complete control over targets (will perform suicidal or contradictory tasks)
Misfire 1d4: 1) caster also falls in love with target(s), 2) two randomly determined nearby humanoids fall in love with each other, 3) caster inadvertently puts target(s) to sleep, 4) target(s) are repulsed and angered by everyone nearby except the caster
The magic-user impairs the ability of a target creature to move at its normal speed, to such a degree that it's attacks are easily avoided. Attack rolls must still be made to hurt the slowed creature.
Range: 30 yards, Duration: 1 turn, Corruption: 1d8+magic+spell
Enhancements: affects +1 creature (multiple), add +1 turn (multiple)
Critical: all creatures that are actively hostile to caster within range are frozen in place for 3 turns
Misfire 1d4: 1) caster slows one ally within sight (if no ally in sight then caster slows themself), 2) caster slows all allies within range (if no allies in range then caster slows themself), 3) caster ages 10 years, 4) a nearby animal or insect develops the Slow spell as an innate ability (usable once/day)
The magic-user transforms himself or another into a different creature, assuming the creature's form and manner of movement as well as the creature's ability to survive in it's natural habitat.
Range: touch, Duration: 1 hour, Corruption: 1d10+magic+spell
Enhancements: affects +1 creature (multiple), add +1 day (multiple), grant all of the natural & magical abilities of the new form
Critical: caster can transform themself and +magic+spell targets into a new creature with all of the natural & magical abilities of the new form for up to one week
Misfire 1d4: 1) target is transformed into inoffensive domestic animal, 2) partial transformation of changed head and normal body or vice versa, 3) target's skin changes to new form but that is all, 4) also summons 1d4 creatures of the intended transformation to the caster's location and they are angry or hungry
Pretty simple in comparison to DCC RPG, but still requires a bit of paperwork.