Most characters in the game will be Sertori which are the reincarnated fragments of a god's soul, they are also spellcasters. The game is deliberately designed so spellcasters are better than the other inhabitants of the setting. While you can play a mundane or an ogre, you are much better off being a Sertorius.
A Sertorius's spells are powered by one of four emotions and he has a ranking of zero to three in each one. This determines how powerful a spell's effects are when cast and its risks.
Each spell can be cast in one of two ways, and both may be done all day long, over and over untilt he Sertorius is blue in the face. The first way, is a low-powered version of the spell that yields a smaller effect but poses no danger to the caster. The second way is a much more volatile and dangerous channeling of spell energy that does amazing things but at a cost.
Anytime a spell is cast in the latter manner, the Sertorius risks his body and mind. Initially this is nothing more than small quirks of personality. He may develop temper or a deep obsession, but the problem is quite manageable. The more the Sertorius exposes himself to powerful magic, the greater the transformation. This reaches a final stage where he becomes something new.
To give you an example of what a spell looks like in our game, I am posting this initial version of The Glimmering Rupture of Karima. It is one of the more colorful examples and still in a very early state. Most likley it will change as we crunch some numbers and playtest it further.
Just so readers understand how the spell operates. Each spell is keyed to a particular skill, which you use during casting. In this case, the player must make an Endurance roll. The skill is also keyed to one of four emotions, in this case Penthos. Catharsis is just a description of how the spell changes when cast at full power (which presents a not insubstantial risk to the caster).
GLIMMERING RUPTURE OF KARIMA
Casting time: 1 Action
Duration: 1 Round per rank of Penthos
Through painful effort the Sertorius extrudes a glimmering mass of diamonds through his skin, creating a protective layer against attacks. Highly effective as a defensive measure, Glimmering Rupture of Karima is potentially hazardous to the caster.
To cast Glimmering Rupture of Karima, the Sertorius must make an Endurance Roll against TN 6. On a success scores of diamonds burst through his skin, deflecting most forms of attack and lasting one round per rank of Penthos. On a Total Success the duration lasts one additional round. Casting this visibly alters the Sertorius’ appearance, as thick clusters of reflective gemstone perforate and shield his body. When the spell ends, the diamonds disappear.
While Glimmering Rupture of Karima is in effect, the Sertorius is nigh-indestructible. His Hardiness is treated as 10, and even Total Successes on damage rolls against him only inflict one wound. He is immune to fire and does not need to breath. For the Duration of the Spell, the caster’s weight doubles, causing him to sink in bodies of water.
Though Glimmering Rupture of Karima is highly beneficial to one’s defenses it comes at great cost. When the spell’s duration ends, he takes one wound due to diamonds ripping his skin. While the spell is in effect, his movement is reduced by half and all skill rolls are made at -2d10 penalty.
Cathartic: This doubles the duration of the spell, removes the skill roll penalty completely, and casting time becomes Instant.