FYI, I’m going to keep the campaign setting posts to Tuesdays.
The formulae of arcane magic have been passed down from wizened mages to eager apprentices since the dawn of civilization. Ancient towers and private libraries house scrolls and tomes of lore elucidating all manner of enchantments and conjurations. Some require a broad education in the fundamentals spellcasting before a would-be invoker can even attempt them, while others only require that one is exacting and meticulous in executing the particulars of a ritual lest the outcome be less than desirable.
Perilous Practices: Various magical effects in the Age of Ruins have negative consequences associated with failure on a trait roll or rolling a natural 1 on a skill die. Though a player may always spend a Benny to re-roll in effort to succeed at an action, the ill effects of the initial roll are not eliminated by the results of a subsequent re-roll. Once an arcane punishment is incurred, there is no escaping it.
Spellcasting: Spellcasting in the Age of Ruins follows the “No Power Points” rules set out on page 95 of Savage Worlds Deluxe, with a few additions and modifications as noted below. All spellcasting in the setting comes from a tradition of arcane, wizardly magic, and therefore all spellcasting characters must have Arcane Background: Magic.
Powers with a reverse effect, such as Light/Obscure, count each effect as separate — a character would have to spend two power slots for the ability to cast both Light and Obscure.
Backlash: The damage caused by backlash to a spellcaster is a potent and dangerous form of arcane feedback that can seriously harm those attempting to harness magical energies. After a mage suffers backlash, residual arcane energy around the character prevents any wounds suffered as a result of the backlash from being healed by means of spellcasting for 1 day. This means that the Healing spell cannot cure these wounds, though potions and the Healing skill can. Once the day has passed, the Greater Healing spell may also be used to heal the character’s backlash wounds.
Research: In addition to gaining powers through Edges, mages may learn the magical formulae recorded on scrolls and in tomes discovered in the course of their adventures. To gain a power in this way, a character must work at copying the spell into some recorded form of their own, be it a spellbook, scroll, engraved tablet, etc., all while conducting experiments to verify that their own interpretation of the spell will work. At the end of this experimentation, the wizard makes a Knowledge Arcana check to determine if he has learned the power. The minimum time required is 5 days per rank of the power, and the materials required cost a minimum of 500 silver per rank of the power. For every full 5 days additional work and every full 500 silver extra in materials, the character adds +1 to the roll.
Should the character roll a 1 on their Knowledge Arcana skill die (regardless of the result on the Wild Die), the process of probing into the reaches of mystical knowledge takes a toll on the mage’s mind. Roll a d20 and consult the Mental Disorder table on page 26 of Realms of Cthulhu to determine the exact nature of the character’s new mental hindrance.