Just because magic is incredibly rare does not mean that it’s something special. Well, it IS special, because it is rare, but so are diamonds. Many a Wizard probably would rather own a diamond mine than have their spark. The point is, with great power comes great political intrigue.
While many noble houses admire and want magic, some find it an abomination against Pelor and would snuff any magic user out if they could and a few don’t even believe in it. Since magic is a high value commodity, it can be important to use magic unseen as well as hiding traces of handiwork for other mages.
Some of the main new features introduced is that any spell cast leaves residue, that slowly diminishes and can also be removed manually, that active spell auras can be hidden, that fractions of a spell slot can be used for metamagic feats (and some spells) and that it’s now easier to see magic as well as using minor magical tricks.
In terms of rules, magic in Hökaland has stealth and politics as central features, which adds depth, but unfortunately also complexity. Below are the house rules for magic of Hokaland detailed.
Sparks and Twinkles
In addition to existing magic rules, a caster (arcane or divine) may spontaneously cast the new the school-less spell Create Spark and Create Lasting Spark (see New Spells) to get a small amount of readily available magic powers that can be used for less specific tasks than a fully fledged and researched spell. Note that manipulation of magic in this fashion counts as normal spell casting and takes one standard action to perform, unless otherwise stated.
This spare magic power come in two varieties: Sparks and Twinkles. Casting Create Spark (from any spell level) creates a number of Sparks that become available for the next 24 hours after that (see Table 1:1 Sparks). A Twinkle is exactly a tenth of a Spark and are entirely interchangable with Sparks.
New Spontaneous Spells
Just as all casters can cast Create Spark (and eventually also Create Lasting Spark), most casters can also cast Detect Magic spontaneously, substituting the level 0 spell slot with readily available energy. See New Spells for more information.
If the caster does not have Sparks available, she can still spontaneously cast using a regular spell slot, but then that slot is used and no residual energy is saved as Sparks or Twinkles. Additional energy is “lost”.
Any time a spell is cast, it leaves a cloud of magical particle residue that both fly in and out of our reality on the spot it happened as well as get stuck to objects or clothes that were in the vicinity of the spell when it happened. A skilled caster can not only detect this, but even figure out which spell was cast. Portions of the spell also lingers, and it’s entirely possible to attempt to absorb residue to either hide that a spell was cast (or a magic item destroyed). If enough of residue is absorbed, the power can be reused as Twinkles or Sparks.
The residue is measured in Twinkles and amount to spell level times the caster level used for the spell (can be different than actual caster level). This amount will be reduced to half during a spell residue Halflife Period, an amount of minutes equal to slvl x clvl, and continue to halve every Halflife Period, indefinitely (see Table 1:2 Residue & Halflife Periods or use a calculator). The more residue that is available, the easier it is to detect (see Table 1:3 Magical Residue); multiple spells stack for the purpose to detect ANY magic residue, but not to detect residue from individually spells. Note that DC’s lower than 1 can still be failed with natural rolls of 1 or 2, or if the DC is raised in other ways.
Note that besides locating the aura, the caster realise that it is in fact residue and roughly how many Twinkles of power it is (DM’s estimate). A Spellcraft check can also give a rough estimate of the original spell’s power and the time since casting.
A destroyed magic item will spread a large amount of magic power. Do Spell level times caster level for each spell used in making the item, add them together, divide by two and the final number is counted in Sparks instead of Twinkles ( ((slvl x clvl) + (slvl x clvl)) /2 = Sparks). The aura is easily recognised as a destroyed magical item, though no longer possible to determine school.
The skill Spellcraft is now used with either INT, WIS or CHA instead of INT only. Use whichever is the highest.
It’s also possible to attempt identifying a spell being cast from its residue alone (see table).
Some rolls are now easier and others are harder (see table). Primarily, the main difference is that a natural “1” is an automatic fail and a natural “2” counts as -10 to the roll (with some exceptions).
Item used by apprentice mages before a talent has properly developed and for noble students who may never develop the talent but are taught how to use magic if it does. It emulates arcane magical powers, adding 5 lvl 0 slots and 3 lvl 1 slots to the wearer. A wearer who has no natural ability to use arcane magic must be reading from a spell book and succeeding on a Spellcraft or Use Magic Device roll of DC10 + spell level to cast the spell. If the roll fails, the spell slot has not been exhausted but the time trying to cast has been wasted. When all spell slots are used, the pendant remains emptied until the pendant is manually refilled by a caster sacrificing spell slots into it. This effect is very crude and skilled casters tend to avoid actually using the pendant as it creates a huge mental drain and can be accompanied with headaches. Each use of the pendant will temporarily exhaust her regular arcane spell slots and make that spell slot unavailable for 2D6 days. However, each day the caster use less than half of her remaining spell slots of the spell level she has exhausted counts as 2 days of recovery. Though it’s normally worn around the neck, it’s enough to be in contact with it (even through clothes) to use and does not occupy the neck slot in terms of magical items. In a scenario where two people touch the pendant intending to use it, the one with the higher initiative will use it.