One of the questions that I see pop up more than any in discussions about Fate is people asking how to implement magic using the system; there are a number of suggestions and possibilities (I offered one such suggestion in my previous possibly the worlds simplest Fate magic system post); recently I downloaded copies of the 1st and 2nd edition of the Fate RPG out of curiosity to see how the system had evolved, and one thing in particular caught my eye in the first edtion, it was a system for improvisational magic.
Effectively the system allowed you to make a series of choices on a number of tables defining the effects of your spell, this would then give you the difficulty of the roll that you needed to make.
I like the flexibility of this magic but didn't think it would really work that well with the current iteration of Fate, it occurred to me that perhaps magic could be represented by allowing the spellcaster to create aspects; aspects are used to establish facts within Fate, if you have an aspect saying "fastest gunslinger in the west" then the you are in the fastest gunslinger in the west.
Being able to Cast a Spell
In order to cast any sort of spell the character must have an appropriate aspect that explains either their magical training or innate talent, this aspect can also be invoked/compelled as normal.
Creating a Spell
Spells are used to create aspects, in order to do this the character has to make a roll using an appropriate response or skill (whether this is a magic skill or an existing skill is down to you, although Lore would probably be suitable from the Fate Core list).
Each use of magic costs a fate point.
The difficulty of the roll begins at mediocre (+0) and is modified by the choices that the caster makes from the following table.
The scope of the aspect is...
- Boost (gives the caster a temporary aspect that can be invoked free once and then disappears) +0
- Situation aspect (lasts only for a scene) +2
- Consequence (inflicting harm on a target) +2 (mild consequence) +4 (moderate consequence)
+6 (severe consequence) +0 (if the target is a mook) +2 (if the target is a significant NPC) +4 (if the target is a PC)
- Character aspect +4 (permanent but only applies to one PC or NPC) +0 (if the target is a mook) +2 (if the target is a significant NPC) +4 (if the target is a PC)
- Game aspect (a permanent fixture of the campaign world) +8
Target of the spell is the caster only -2
Spell takes a single action to cast +2
Spell takes a scene to cast +0
Spell takes a session to cast -2
Spell takes several sessions to cast -4
Spell requires no components +2
Spell requires easy to obtain components +0
Spell requires difficult to obtain components -2
Spell requires extremely difficult to obtain/unique components -4
This system is only a rough system, and may require some tweaking but it should be workable in a Fate game, although I would suggest having even game aspects having only a limited life-span to prevent your game being overrun by loads of aspects.