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Magic works slightly differently in the Dark Golden Age compared to the standard Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Magic before the Collapse was much different than it is now. Among the Collapse's impact on magic already in place, all arcane casters lost the ability to perform magic or create magic items. Within a couple years though, the surviving casters had discovered how to work magic once again. Around the same time, divine casters came into existence.
All classes that cast arcane spells prepare or ready them in order to refresh their regain their daily spell allowance. These classes need two components to be able to either prepare or ready their spells. The first component is a magic item that existed prior to the Collapse. This magic item focus can be as powerful as a Mirror of Life Trapping or as weak as an Everburning Torch. The second component is an alchemical mixture called caster's emollient. Once caster's emollient has been applied to the magic item, the caster can prepare or ready her spells.
The base component of caster's emollient is a palm-sized amount of salve made from berries, herbs, and oil. The cost of these components is 1 GP for a week's supply. The base emollient must then have life essence from a creature with a soul added to it. For most casters, this life essence is their own, a token amount of blood. While painful and uncomfortable, this life essence causes no other harmful effects. For other casters, they choose to tap into the life essence of others, sometimes in the form of blood but sometimes drawn from another being's very soul.
Besides enabling arcane casters to be able to regain spells, caster's emollient can also be prepared and applied to the focus to grant the caster access to metamagic feats without possessing the actual feats. For more on preparing these metamagic caster's emollient, visit the Caster's Emollient page.
Divine magic did not exist on Gondal prior to the Collapse. While religion was common in areas where arcane magic was less common, most places saw little need for religion, seeing it as useless superstition. After the Collapse, divine magic began to appear in places as especially reverent individuals were able to manifest their faith into magical power. Deities do not seem to actually exist to most individuals, and the rise of divine magic after the Collapse has made many of those who previously relied on arcane magic suspicious of divine magic users.
Divine casters represent the ideal they follow by choosing two cleric spell Domains. A cleric with Law and Liberation believes in freeing others from slavery and servitude through legal means. A druid with Good and Fire believes in the cleansing nature of fire to remove evil from the lands. Table 1 lists what Domain combinations are allowed. At the end of a session, if the other players agree that a divine caster has done something significant which is in line with their alignment Domain, the GM may grant the player a Divine Metamagic point. Divine Metamagic points can be spent to apply metamagic feats spontaneously to a spell with one point granting one level of metamagic feat. For example, a metamagic feat that increases the spell level by 2 costs 2 Divine Metamagic points.
|Class||Alignment Domains||Non-Alignment Domains|
|Druid||All||Animal, Plant, Weather, Fire, Water, Earth, Air|
|Oracle||All||All (must match with Mystery, approved by GM)|
Examples of worthy accomplishments in the Dark Golden Age
Chaos: liberate a person or group from bondage; undermine a poweful authority figure; invent something new and significant; innovate with an idea or tactic which catches on with those around you; come up with a novel solution to a problem - that works; counsel someone else in making a decision to break a law or tradition
Evil: betray someone for your own benefit; intimidate or mainpulate someone into doing something they know is wrong; save yourself cost or effort by forcing others to work or pay for you; kill a sentient being for sport or just to prove a point; counsel someone else in making a decision that will hurt themselves and/or others but benefit you
Good: put yourself in danger to protect innocent people; spare the life of an enemy who surrenders; demonstrate generosity to those in genuine need; counsel someone else in making a decision that is best for all involved
Law: permanently change a community for the better (build an orphanage or drainage system); capture a wanted criminal and deliver them to the authorities; keep your word at significant personal cost; use lawful means to replace an unjust authority figure; counsel someone else in making the most equitable decision possible
When a divine spellcaster gains a level that gives him access to new spells, he must spend one Divine Metamagic point to do so. This point only needs to be spent once, after which the caster has access to all spells he would normally have access to.
Life as a Spell Caster
Living as a spell caster can be dangerous and a cause for suspicion. Many humans resent the fact that magic failed and that they must now work to survive. They will often take out this resentment on spell casters that they meet. Beastfolk often see spell casters - arcane or divine - as would-be oppressors and treat them as such.
Availability of Magical Services and Magic Items
While magic was very common prior to the Collapse, it has become significantly harder to acquire through simple commerce. Single-use items like potions and scrolls as well as items with charges like wands and some wondrous magic items can still be purchased in some places, but permanent magic items are typically hoarded rather than sold in a magic shoppe. Magical services such as Remove Curse or Remove Disease are hard to find as most divine casters have yet to establish a church or temple with a permanent congregation. All casters are wary of offering magical services because of the suspicions from most common folk and to avoid becoming a target of witch hunters.
Magical Services from the Core Rulebook
The Pathfinder Core Rulebook lists the cost of spellcasting services on page 159 as "Caster level x spell x 10gp". For spells only available to divine casters, however, this cost will only apply for established members of a given religion. For non-members the cost of spellcasting is usually tripled. Also, note that divine spells of 4th level and higher are very hard to locate because of the rarity of individuals capable of casting them.
The majority of magical items did not survive the Collapse - whatever caused it seems to have also interrupted what were thought to be permanent magical enchantments. Those that remain tend to be in private collections, reliquaries, vaults, and in the hands of powerful movers and shakers in the Dark Golden Age. This means that magical items are rarely available for sale in the marketplace. Instead, they will be awarded by patron organizations or powerful individuals as the precious commodities they are. Prices from the Core Rulebook for magic items are unchanged - it is more of a case that before the Collapse, they were far cheaper and more ubiquitous.
Prior to the Collapse of magic, arcane magic was the only sort of magic to exist. To capture how magically-dependent a given place was in the Dark Golden Age prior to as well as after the Collapse, we use the term Arcanization. Arcanization is a way to represent how common magic was in a given area to give the players and the GM a feel for a given location. Typically there is a shift from higher arcanization before the Collapse to lower arcanization after the Collapse. The greater the shift, the harder life has become for those used to an easier existence.