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Old February 21st, 2012, 04:04 AM
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Default Background Counts

Background is how "thick" the magical environment is. A tree covered valley has a background of 5 or 6. A desert with little or no life may have a background as high as 9. If the adventurers where somehow transported into space, the background could be as high as 20.

Background can be raised or lowered by magical circumstances. Temples have lower background counts for people who are consecrated in the temple. Likewise a Druid's grove or a magical circle will provide a lower background to beings associated with it.

Some creatures thrive on lower background counts because they literally consume or live on magic - the very nature of fey creatures. At the same time, some creatures like undead and dragons consume magical potential and can cause background count to raise very high around them - making it harder to cast spells on the environment.

Background does not effect spell casting on individual creatures. A spell listed as attack a creature's Spirit for example does not go through the background.
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Last edited by Darkfather; March 19th, 2012 at 01:24 AM..
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Old February 21st, 2012, 01:17 PM

Ewen O'mally Ewen O'mally is offline
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Default Re: Background Counts

So the lower the background the greater the magic in the area? Casting magic is easy in a magical forest with a background of 5, but its hard in a barren desert of 10? Is the amount of life what determines the background?
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Old February 21st, 2012, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Background Counts

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Originally Posted by Ewen O'mally View Post
So the lower the background the greater the magic in the area? Casting magic is easy in a magical forest with a background of 5, but its hard in a barren desert of 10? Is the amount of life what determines the background?
The answer is yes, usually.
  1. The more life, the lower the background count (and thus the closer the aether is to the physical world).
  2. The the less life the higher the background count (and the farther the aether is to the physical world).
  3. Ritual can increase or decrease the count for specific beings. A temple has a lower count for believers of the god the temple is consecrated in.
  4. Beings of great power can suck the magical essence from the world around them, as can places where life has been lost in horrible ways, or where the dead are interred.
  5. Fey require low background - they usually live in magical forests full of grottos (nothing better than a grotto for background).
  6. Undead without great anima (like zombies) cannot survive in low backgrounds. You will never see a zombie in a grotto.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 05:53 PM

Ewen O'mally Ewen O'mally is offline
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Default Re: Background Counts

That's great, all of my players are using some form of magic. A Woldurno alchemist, a Forlorn naturalist and a Hada assassin spell-sword hybrid. It became apparent that I did not know enough about magic.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 08:17 PM
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Default Re: Background Counts

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Originally Posted by Ewen O'mally View Post
That's great, all of my players are using some form of magic. A Woldurno alchemist, a Forlorn naturalist and a Hada assassin spell-sword hybrid. It became apparent that I did not know enough about magic.
For role playing, Forlorn and Hada will be comfortable in different areas of magic. Hada are Fey who have enough connection to the strands of reality that they can live outside the dells that feykind normally inhabit. Hada become uncomfortable in and around areas of very high background counts - nothing debilitating, but a role playing opportunity (it also allows them to detect powerful undead, a racial ability which will be added in a supplement.)

Forlorn, since their life force depends on a quiet background, prefer to live in regions of very high background, the opposite of Hada. The wooded grotto of a Hada is like a human living next to a garbage dump for a forlorn, it makes them vaguely uncomfortable in the same way it makes a Hada happy.
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