The magic of the Cthulhu Mythos stems from the unfathomable alien intelligences that reside outside of humanity’s ability to comprehend. What may be the pinnacle of science can easily be interpreted as “magic” by the ignorant. What is certain is that those who delve into such matters rarely come away unchanged—usually for the worse! Manipulating time and space is not a thing to be done lightly and there can be grave consequences for those investigators who dabble in things best left alone.
Magic points must (in most cases) be expended to cast spells. An investigator begins the game with magic points equal to one-fifth of their POW; however, cultists and powerful sorcerers often have larger pools of magic points from which to draw. Spending magic points takes only the will of the owner, and such will is channeled into powering the spell. If Magic points reach zero, the investigator deducts further magic point loss from hit points (one for one).
A casting roll is required when a character attempts to cast a newly learned spell for the first time. Once a spell has been successfully cast (even if a pushed roll was required to do so), subsequent uses do not require a casting roll; non-player characters and monsters do not need to make casting rolls.
A Hard POW roll is required to successfully cast a spell the first time. If the casting roll is successful, refer to the spell description for the outcome. If the casting roll is failed, nothing happens.
Following a failed casting roll, the character has a choice whether to make a second attempt to cast the spell (paying the spell’s costs a second time)—either immediately or at any time in the future—and, in doing so, push the casting roll. If the pushed casting roll is successful, the spell works normally without negative consequences. If the pushed casting roll is failed, the spell still works normally, but dire consequences ensue for the caster. Ultimately a spell can always be cast—the casting roll gauges the harm the caster suffers in the process rather than success or failure of the spell.
A spell’s range is usually one of three options: touch, 100 yards, or sight with the unaided eye. These general choices are easy to visualize and understand.
# Casting Time and Spells in Combat
Some spells are useful in combat situations, while many are not and require a longer casting time. Each spell has a casting time listed in its description: instantaneous, 1 round, and so on.
- If the casting time is instantaneous, it activates on the user’s DEX+50 (just like a readied gun).
- If the casting takes one round, it activates on the user’s DEX in the present round.
- If the casting takes two rounds, it activates on the user’s DEX in the following round, and so on.
Spells are described in the Keeper Rulebook (opens new window) and in other Call of Cthulhu supplements and adventures, with their effects, costs, and so on all stated.