1. Requirements for Sorcery
    2. Preparing Sorcery
    3. What is a Sorcerer?
    4. Power Points
      1. Gaining and Losing Power Points
      2. Sacrifices and Energy Drains
      3. Power Rituals
      4. Pushing It
      5. Magic Attack Rolls
    5. The Rules of Sorcery
      1. The Rule of Success
      2. The Rule of Impermanence
      3. The Rule of Defence
      4. The Rule of Obsession
      5. The Rule of the Master
      6. The Rule of the Sorcerer’s Soul
    6. Spell Failure
    7. The Spell’s Result
    8. Concentration
    9. Active Spells

    1. Mighty Spells
 and Runaway Magic
    2. Corruption and Insanity
      1. Minor Insanities
      2. Major Insanities
      3. Recovering from Insanity
      4. Corruption Effects



There are only two possible reasons to study sorcery in the Hyborian Age – knowledge and power. Of the two, power is by far the most common motivation. True seekers of knowledge are scarce indeed, though often a scholar will convince himself he desires knowledge rather than power – and it may even be true, until he falls prey to the dreadful, corrupting influences of the dark forces with which he traffics.

What might be termed ‘true’ sorcery can be gained by one or more of the following methods: delving into the half- forgotten grimoires of a bygone age ; contact with gods, demons or other spirits; and learning directly from another sorcerer. All three methods are risky.

The first often puts the body at direct risk, for the grimoires that are not already in the possession of some adept or other are usually hidden away in ghost-haunted tombs or lotus- poisoned jungles. The latter two almost always require the sorcerer to put his mind, body and soul alike in thrall to the greater power from whom he learns.

This true knowledge grants such power, though, that it is almost always worth the price.

Along with true sorcery, which is spectacularly effective but usually quite exhausting to carry out, every sorcerer supplements his magic with trickery of one kind or another. Hypnotism and mesmerism are most common in Eastern regions and a strong-willed sorcerer can often use them to control others as though by magic. A more powerful sorcerer can supplement his mesmerising tricks with raw magical energy or use spells to hypnotise at a distance.

Herbal potions and alchemical tricks, often infused with true sorcerous power, can be found throughout the world, though most can be used only by the sorcerer who made them or by another who has been given careful instruction by him.


1. Requirements for Sorcery

A sorcerer must have one hand free; that is, he must not be carrying any weapons, shields or other objects in both hands. The only exceptions to this are as follows:

  • When a spell requires a material component or focus of some kind, in which case the appropriate object must be held in one hand when the spell is cast
  • When a spell affects an object or objects, in which case the spell may allow or require said objects to be touched or picked up
  • 2. Preparing Sorcery

    Most sorcery requires lengthy preparation and is tiring in the extreme to the sorcerer. Generally only prestidigitation, counterspells, hypnotism and other relatively minor sorcery can be used more or less as required and even they benefit from advance preparation. Often sorcerers find it best to use their magic to create arcane powders or similar objects that can be wielded at need, since that way they have something that is useful in combat.

    This necessary preparation time is reflected in the long casting times for the more serious magic.

    3. What is a Sorcerer?

    In game terms, a sorcerer is any character who has learned at least one sorcery style as a class feature of the scholar or temptress class or who has gained partial access to at least one sorcery style as a result of taking the Dabbler feat. This is the definition used throughout this chapter.

    Note that a scholar who always elects to choose a bonus feat instead of a sorcery style is not regarded as a sorcerer, unless of course he selects the Dabbler feat.

    Of course, public perception of who is and is not a sorcerer may be very different. A worthy priest of Ibis (scholar class) who has spent years learning the Counterspells sorcery style may technically be a sorcerer according to these rules (and a powerful one at that) but the members of his congregation will certainly not consider him to be so.

    Doubtless, after all, he has been granted divine powers to help fight Ibis’s old enemy Set. That, of course, is not sorcery – not in the popular perception. On the other hand, a dilettante noble who dabbles even slightly in the Summoning sorcery style may find himself hounded out of town for his foul magic, though his actual knowledge of sorcery may be far more limited than the priest’s.

    Each scholar starts out with four base Power Points, adjusted up or down by his Wisdom modifier (if any) and by any bonuses for class level. (If a sorcerer’s Wisdom modifier increases, such as when he increases his Wisdom ability score by advancing in level, his base Power Points also increase.)

    Other characters who learn a small amount of sorcery through whatever means gain a mere 2+ Wisdom modifier Power Points for use.

    These are the standard Power Points a sorcerer has available, assuming there are no special circumstances. This number may increase or decrease, usually depending on the magic the sorcerer casts, whether he loses or wins magical contests with other sorcerers, whether he ingests certain drugs and whether he sacrifices other creatures.

    The absolute maximum Power Points a character may have is equal to double his base Power Points unless otherwise specified.

    4. Power Points

    All creatures have a certain amount of magical power flowing through them simply because they are alive.

    Sorcerers, who are usually but not always members of the scholar class, have learned to activate this magical power both in themselves and by draining the life force from others, either through sacrifice or some other means. Those who are sufficiently knowledgeable can use this power to create a variety of magical effects.

    4.1. Gaining and Losing Power Points

    When a sorcerer’s Power Points are higher than his base Power Points for any reason, they gradually begin to revert back to his base Power Points. Each hour that passes will cause the sorcerer’s Power Point score to fall by one until it reaches his base Power Points again.

    Power points are reduced whenever a sorcerer casts a spell, or sometimes if he is the victim of certain magical attacks. In addition if the sorcerer is ever reduced below one hit point by any means, his Power Points are also immediately reduced to zero. He cannot regain Power Points until he has been brought back to one hit point or above by some means.

    A sorcerer can gain Power Points directly from the bodies of other living creatures, by sacrificing them or draining the life force out of their still-living bodies – see Sacrifices and Energy Drains overleaf.

    If the sorcerer rests, he can regain Power Points that he has lost for any reason, up to his base Power Points as usual. One Power Point is regained per full hour of rest.

    A group of followers can help a sorcerer gain Power Points by assisting him with a ritual – see Power Rituals overleaf.

    4.2. Sacrifices and Energy Drains

    If a sorcerer sacrifices a creature by coup de grace, the sorcerer may gain power based on the hit points the creature had before being dealt damage by the coup de grace.

    Hit Points per Power Points
    16HP / 1PP
    Sacred Animal
    8HP / 1PP
    Ordinary Person
    8HP / 1PP
    Virgin Sacrifice
    4HP / 1PP
    Ritually Prepared Virgin Sacrifice
    3HP / 1PP
    Perfect Offering
    2HP / 1PP
    Ritual Perfect Offering
    1HP / 1PP

    A sacred animal is one associated with a particular God or with the enemies of that god. For example, the bull is sacred to Anu, the Shemite sky-god. A sacrificed bull would give twice the normal Power Points if sacrificed by a priest of Anu or by a sorcerer who is opposed to Anu and wishes to mock the god’s power.

    To qualify as a virgin sacrifice, the victim must be not only physically be a virgin, but must also be free of Corruption.

    A ritually prepared virgin sacrifice must not only be a virgin but must be bathed and anointed and purified and must be wholly conscious and aware when the sacrifice takes place.

    A perfect offering is a virgin sacrifice that is, for some reason, particularly pleasing to the entities that are being propitiated – if a particular demon has a taste for blonde, blue-eyed girls from Brythunia, then those are perfect offerings to that demon. Targets of the Rule of Obsession also count as perfect offerings.

    One can increase this amount by selecting Ritual Sacrifice and other feats. These feats allow the sorcerer to move down the table to better rewards. For example, a sorcerer would normally get one Power.

    Point per eight hit points when sacrificing an ordinary slave. With the Ritual Sacrifice feat, though, he may move one step down the table to the next row, which gives one Power Point per four hit points. It is always possible to sacrifice a creature to a specific entity with which you have some kind of pact, in which case it gains the Power Points instead of the sorcerer.

    If a sorcerer has a person helpless and under his power, the sorcerer may place his hand against his victim’s skin and drain 1d4 Power Points from him as a full-round action. If the victim is a sorcerer, this is removed from his usual Power Points. If he is not a sorcerer, this drain causes him 2d6 Wisdom damage and he may not be drained again in this way until his Wisdom has returned to normal.

    4.3. Power Rituals

    A sorcerer may also gain Power Points by being at the centre of a large group ritual dedicated to granting him magical energy. At least 10 celebrants must be involved. Each must have at least one rank in any Perform skill. At least 20% of the celebrants must have one or more ranks in Perform (ritual).

    A power ritual takes at least one hour, during which time neither the celebrants nor the sorcerer can perform other actions, including sorcery. Each of the celebrants makes a Perform check, which must be Perform (ritual) for at least 20% of the celebrants.

    It is usual for the celebrants to take 10 on this check. The Games Master cross-references the average check result for the celebrants with the number of celebrants on the Power Rituals table to determine how many Power Points per hour the sorcerer gains from the power ritual.

    A power ritual that continues for more than one hour allows the sorcerer to gain additional Power Points each additional hour.

    If desired, two or more sorcerers can split the Power Points gained from a Power Ritual in any manner on which they can mutually agree.

    Power Rituals (Power Points Gained per Hour)

    Average Check Result /
    Number of Celebrants
    < 10

    4.4. Pushing It

    It is possible, though not always advisable, for a sorcerer to reduce his Power Points below zero due as a result of an especially powerful piece of magic.

    A sorcerer’s Power Points can be reduced to a negative number equal to his base Power Points. For example, a sorcerer with a base Power Point score of seven could reduce his Power Points as low as –7. It is simply not possible to go below this number.

    A sorcerer whose Power Points are below zero may regain them by rest, but only at the rate of one Power Point per full day of rest, until he is back at zero once again at which point the usual rapid restoration of Power Points begins. He may also regain them more quickly by the usual means of sacrifice, use of black lotus and so forth.

    While his Power Points are below zero, the sorcerer may not cast any further spells (even if he could theoretically reduce his Power Points still further) and is considered to be fatigued (cannot run or charge, –2 to Strength and Dexterity) until his Power Points are somehow restored to zero or above once more.

    4.5 Magic Attack Rolls

    The Magic Attack Roll
    A magic attack roll is made whenever a sorcerer attempts to injure another with his magic and in most cases when he attempts to compel another. It is made as follows :

    1D20 + 

    In most cases this is opposed by the victim’s relevant saving throw. If a spell has multiple targets, the same Magic Attack roll is used for all of them.

    Magic Attack Bonus = Scholar Levels X 3/4 + Godsworn/Temptress/Inquisitor Levels X 1/2 + Other class Levels X 1/4 (rounded up)

    Overcharging a Spell
    A sorcerer can put more of his power into a spell than normal. For every extra Power Point spent on a spell, the sorcerer gets a +1 bonus to his magic attack roll.

    5. The Rules of Sorcery

    Though sorcery often seems mysterious to those who do not practice it, certain patterns can be gleaned from the descriptions given by Conan and his allies.

    5.1 The Rule of Success

    As Conan puts it, ‘Sorcery thrives on success, not on failure.’ Whenever a sorcerer is, broadly speaking, succeeding at what he is doing when in a high-stress situation (particularly combat), he becomes still more effective at what he is doing. At its most powerful, this can lead to a dreadful chain reaction that can make sorcerers almost unstoppable.

    Every round in which a sorcerer successfully slays at least one opponent, either by sorcerous means or by combat, he gains a morale bonus to all attack rolls and magic attack rolls made until the end of the round after the one in which he killed his opponent(s).

    The bonus is immediately cancelled if the sorcerer loses any hit points during the round following the actions that gave him the bonus.

    Note that these benefits are in addition to any bonus Power Points the sorcerer may gain for having sacrificed one or more of his kills.

    Furthermore, the rule of success makes it far easier for a sorcerer to repeat a successful spell. If he ever casts a spell that succeeds in all that it was intended to do, he may cast the same spell the following round at half the previous Power Point cost (rounded down) for the spell.

    This even affects spells with a casting time of greater than one round, so long as the spell is re-cast within one round of the end of the previous casting. A further success halves the Power Point cost again for the next casting, to a minimum Power Point cost of one.

    For example, an awful rite of the were-beast only ever affects a single victim. Thus, any time a target fails his saving throw, it can be assumed that the spell is successful and the next casting expends only four Power Points if cast immediately after the first use of the spell.

    The Games Master always has the final say as to whether a particular spell succeeds sufficiently well to grant this special bonus.

    Both the magic attack bonus and the reduced Power Point cost from the Rule of Success can apply simultaneously, if applicable.

    Ennemies Killed
    Morale Bonus

    5.2 The Rule of Impermanence

    Almost every spell or magic item is limited in duration. If nothing else, all sorcerous creations will cease functioning the moment the sorcerer who created them is killed, unless noted otherwise.

    Any time a sorcerer is reduced below zero hit points, he must make a separate Will saving throw (DC 25) for
each of his sorcerous creations. If this is failed, the creation ceases functioning. Spells simply stop working. Magic items crumble into dust or shatter into tiny fragments, becoming not only non-magical but also non-existent.

    Furthermore, if a sorcerer is killed or left for dead (see Fate Points), all his sorcerous creations immediately cease to function, as above, with no chance of being saved.

    5.3 The Rule of Defence

    Sorcerers generally have plenty of close-range magic ideal for counter-attacks to ensure that any who attempt to kill them risk destruction themselves.

    Any character who knows a spell so labelled is able to unleash a defensive blast, as follows, as a last-resort counter- attack:

  • A defensive blast is an Immediate Action and can be taken at any time, as long as the sorcerer is not flat- footed.
  • All the sorcerer’s current Power Points are expended.
  • The defensive blast is provoked only if the sorcerer is attacked in some fashion by a foe.
  • Each Sorcery style has its own form of defensive blast.

  • A scholar character gets the defensive blast for his first Sorcery style for free; Defensive Blasts for other styles that the sorcerer picks up later must be purchased separately as Advanced Spells. Temptresses who learn sorcery as their secret art do not learn the defensive blast for free and must acquire it as an advanced spell.

    5.4 The Rule of Obsession

    For most sorcerers, magic is an obsession that drives them on, constantly forcing them to seek out new sources of knowledge and new forms of power. Diluting that obsession by any means, whether by falling in love, pursuing a new career or demonstrating overmuch loyalty to a cause other than one’s own sorcerous masters, tends to weaken a sorcerer’s magic considerably.

    However, if he can somehow draw the source of the distraction into himself – for example, by sacrificing his loved one, succeeding at a major test in a new profession or rising to the top of a non-sorcerous organisation only to entice all its members to mass sacrifice – his power is significantly boosted.

    In effect, the rule of obsession is played out somewhat like a minor quest or sub-plot alongside the main campaign. A sorcerer can always declare himself obsessed with something other than sorcery. If he does so, his base Power Points are reduced by –1 to –3, depending on the strength of the obsession.

    The sorcerer may only regain these points – with interest – by somehow drawing the object of the obsession into himself. Until that point, his base Power Points will remain penalised, though of course his current Power Points can still go up and down as usual. Maximum Power Points are calculated from the sorcerer’s new base Power Points.

    The Games Master may also rule that a sorcerer is obsessed, though he should do so with care.

    Usually the only two possible reasons for doing so are as follows:

  • The sorcerer acquires an Allegiance to someone or some group other than his own sorcerous master or masters, or some demon or other.
  • The sorcerer acquires more levels of some other class than he has levels of scholar.

  • On the other hand, it is said that observers can tell when someone is obsessed with something and that the obsessed usually cannot tell. This being the case, the Games Master is certainly permitted to make statements along the lines of ‘You are clearly obsessed with hunting this particular individual down – if this continues, I will certainly rule you to be Obsessed.’

    The Games Master is also always at liberty to veto any obsession that the player chooses for his character to avoid abusive or just plain implausible obsessions.

    A sorcerer with an obsession can regain his lost one to three base Power Points and gain a permanent increase equal to the same amount he originally lost, by somehow incorporating the essence of the obsession into himself and his sorcery – a form of symbolic (or in some cases literal) cannibalism. The precise nature of this incorporation depends on the obsession.

    The key to understanding the Rule of Obsession is that in essence the sorcerer is ‘gambling’ between one and three permanent base Power Points.

    Generally speaking, a sorcerer should not be permitted more than one obsession per year.

    The Rule of Obsession never applies to a sorcerer who gets his power from the Dabbler feat. He is unaffected by the rule of obsession, as he is by definition not obsessed with sorcery but simply toying with its dark powers.

    Example: Ankh-af-na-Khonsu is a Stygian sorcerer of some considerable repute but has found himself drawn to the service of the highly charismatic King of Koth. Ankh-af-na- Khonsu is a 12th level scholar with a Wisdom of 14, so his base Power Points are nine and his maximum Power Points are 27.

    The sorcerer has an Allegiance (Koth), which has developed over the years he has spent living in that land and working directly for the King. The Games Master decides this to be an obsession worth two base Power Points, so Ankh-af-na-Khonsu’s base Power Points are reduced to seven and his maximum Power Points to 21.

    The sorcerer realises he must somehow draw the obsession back into himself and proposes a plan to the Games Master. He intends to hypnotise the King of Koth on a long-term and complete basis, forcing the unfortunate monarch to tear apart the kingdom of Koth in a series of futile wars, punitive taxes and bizarre laws. Eventually, when the kingdom is on the brink of revolt, the sorcerer intends to slay and ritually devour the king and seize power himself.

    If he succeeds, he will have drawn both king and country into himself and he will be in harmony once more. The Games Master agrees that if he succeeds, his lost two base Power Points will be returned and he will be further rewarded with a +2 bonus to his base Power Points for the increase in power gained by incorporating his obsession into himself, for a total of 11 base Power Points and 33 maximum Power Points.

    As it turns out, Ankh takes some years to achieve his aim and by the time he does so he is 14th level. This would usually give him 10 base Power Points and 40 maximum Power Points but while reduced he is on eight
base Power Points and 32 maximum Power Points. Once he has succeeded in his aims, he will be at 12 base Power Points and 48 maximum Power Points.

    5.5 The Rule of the Master

    Two of the backgrounds for the scholar class involve the character being at least partially in thrall to a superior: acolyte and pact. Any character with one of these backgrounds, or who later joins a sorcerous society or learns the demonic pact spell, or who takes on apprentices of his own, is subject to the Rule of the Master.

    The Rule of the Master concerns any character who has learned sorcery from a more powerful sorcerer or demon, who is known as the master. His apprentices, coven novices or other students are known as thralls.

    The Rule of the Master has the following effects:

    Manipulation: The master of any coven, sorcerous society or even just an apprentice or two always gains a +2 circumstance bonus to Bluff and Intimidate checks targeting any of his thralls and a +1 circumstance bonus to magic attack rolls against them.

    Power Transfer: The master may, at any time, attempt to remove or grant a number of Power Points to any or all of his thralls. This requires either physical touch or that the master has on his person some form of magical link to the apprentice (see Spell Range for full details of magical links).

    Once per round as a free action, the master may take up to five Power Points from any one thrall for his own use, or grant said thrall up to five Power Points for the thrall’s use. If desired, the thrall may attempt to resist this by making a Will saving throw with the DC set by the master’s magic attack roll.

    If the master takes or grants more Power Points than the apprentice’s Intelligence bonus, the apprentice takes one point of temporary Intelligence damage per excess point. For example, an apprentice with Intelligence 14 (a +2 modifier) could only transfer two points per round; transferring five points would inflict three points of temporary Intelligence damage on the apprentice.

    Note: Most masters will ensure they gain some kind of magical link to the thrall before teaching him a single spell – perhaps a contract signed in blood or a lock of hair.

    Ritual Spell: The master can perform ritual spells with his various thralls. Any spell he knows can be cast in a ritualistic manner.

    The spell’s casting time is equal to (one hour + 10 minutes per participating thrall) or the spell’s usual casting time, whichever is greater. Additional incenses, oils, smoke- powders and other accoutrements must be expended, to a cost of 50 silver pieces per participating thrall. The Power Point cost of the spell is raised by +2 per participating thrall, though this may be provided by power transfer (see above) as usual.

    Each thrall who succeeds at a Perform (ritual) check (DC = 10 + total Power Point cost of casting the spell, including the +2 increase per participating thrall) grants the master a +1 bonus to the magic attack roll or skill roll he makes as part of the spell. For spells with a greater range than touch, each +1 bonus granted in this way also increases the range of the spell by +10%.

    5.6 The Rule of the Sorcerer’s Soul

    The very process of becoming a sorcerer wreaks permanent changes to the very soul of the arcanist, changes that other sorcerers and supernatural entities can detect just by looking at him.

    Any sorcerer, magical beast or outsider who can meet the eyes of a sorcerer (if one can cast an Evil Eye range spell, one can meet the target’s eyes) can immediately sense the latter’s sorcerous nature.

    Furthermore, if he spends a standard action examining the sorcerer further, he may make a magic attack roll (opposed by the target’s Will saving throw) to determine approximately how corrupt and powerful the sorcerer is, based on the following scales:

    Current Power Points
    < 1
    Very Weak
    Very Strong

    Corruption Points
    Mildly Corrupted
    Totally Corrupted

    A successful magic attack roll made in this manner will also reveal the sorcerer’s type and subtype. For example, a character with the Spawn of Dagoth Hill feat will be revealed to another sorcerer as an outsider (native) if he fails his Will saving throw, while a character who has become a vampire will be revealed as undead (augmented humanoid).

    6. Spell Failure

    If a sorcerer ever tries to cast a spell in conditions where the characteristics of the spell cannot be made to conform, the casting fails and the spell is wasted.

    7. The Spell’s Result

    Once a sorcerer knows which creatures (or objects or areas) are affected and whether those creatures have made successful saving throws (if any were allowed), he can apply whatever results a spell entails.

    8. Concentration

    To cast a spell, a sorcerer must concentrate. If something interrupts his concentration while he is casting, he must make a Concentration check or lose the Power Points casting the spell would have cost.

    Furthermore, if the spell is one that could cause Runaway Magic (see below) the sorcerer must make a Will saving throw (DC 15), with failure resulting in Runaway Magic as described later. The more distracting the interruption and the higher the Power Point cost of the spell he is trying to cast, the higher the Concentration DC is. If the sorcerer fails the check, he loses the spell as if he had cast it to no effect.

    Injury: If a sorcerer takes damage while trying to cast a spell, he must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + points of damage taken + Power Point cost). If he fails the check, he loses the Power Points he would have spent to cast the spell. The interrupting event strikes during spellcasting if it comes between when a spell is started and when it is completed. For spells that can be cast in a single action, this will only happen if the sorcerer is hit with an attack of opportunity provoked by the act of casting the spell or a contingent attack such as a readied action.

    If a sorcerer is taking continuous damage, such as from fire or a from a spell, half the damage is considered to take place while he is casting a spell. The sorcerer must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + 1/2 the damage that the continuous source last dealt + Power Point cost of the spell). If the last damage dealt was the last damage that the effect could deal, the damage is over and does not distract the sorcerer.

    Repeated damage, such as from being stabbed over and over by a savage pirate, does not count as continuous damage.

    Spell: If a sorcerer is affected by a spell while attempting to cast a spell of his own, he must make a Concentration check or lose the Power Point cost. If the spell that affects him deals damage, the DC is 10 + points of damage + the Power Point cost of his own spell.

    If the spell interferes with a sorcerer or distracts him in some other way, then the DC is the spell’s saving throw DC + the Power Point cost of his own spell. For a spell with no saving throw, use the DC that the spell’s saving throw would have if a saving throw were allowed – usually the sorcerer’s magic attack roll.

    Grappling or Pinned: The only spells one can cast while grappling or pinned are those without somatic components and whose material components (if any) one has in hand. Even so, the sorcerer must make a Concentration check (DC 20 + Power Point cost of the spell) or lose the Power Point cost.

    Vigorous Motion: If a sorcerer is riding on a moving mount, taking a bouncy ride in a wagon, on a small boat in rough water, below-decks in a storm-tossed ship or simply being jostled in a similar fashion, he must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + Power Point cost of the spell) or lose the Power Point cost.

    Violent Motion: If a sorcerer is on a galloping horse, taking a very rough ride in a wagon, on a small boat in rapids or in a storm, on deck in a storm-tossed ship or being tossed roughly about in a similar fashion, he must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + Power Point cost of the spell) or lose the Power Point cost.

    Violent Weather: A sorcerer must make a Concentration check if he tries to cast a spell in violent weather. If he is in a high wind with blinding rain or sleet, the DC is 5 + Power Point cost of the spell. If he is in wind-driven hail, dust or debris, the DC is 10 + Power Point cost of the spell. In either case, the sorcerer loses the Power Point cost if he fails the Concentration check. If the weather is caused by a spell, use the rules in the Spell subsection above.

    Casting Defensively: If a sorcerer wants to cast a spell without provoking any attacks of opportunity, he must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + Power Point cost of the spell) to succeed. He loses the Power Point cost if he fails.

    Entangled: If a sorcerer wants to cast a spell while entangled in a net or some similar effect, he must make a DC 15 Concentration check to cast the spell. He loses the Power Point cost if he fails.

    9. Active Spells

    A spell is considered to be active if it has been cast and its duration has not yet finished.

    Many fire spells require another fire spell to be active before they can be cast – the sorcerer fans the flames of his magic, piling spell on spell until the sorcerous conflagration is complete! Prerequisite spells only need to be active when the spell is cast, not for its entire duration.

    For example, a fire sorcerer could cast heart of flames (which lasts ten minutes/ level), wait until the spell is nearly over, then cast inferno heat (lasts one hour/level, but needs an active heart of flames).

    Active prerequisites need not be active while a character learns a spell, but the character must know all prerequisite spells before he can learn the new one.


    Any force as powerful as sorcery can have consequences, some of them quite unintended by its practitioners. This section covers the two main risks of sorcery: casting a series of spells that lead to a magical chain reaction and becoming corrupt or going mad through contact with demonic entities.

    1. Mighty Spells
 and Runaway Magic

    Any time a particularly powerful spell is used, there is a risk that serious, world-wrenching consequences will result. This is particularly the case with the Summoning style, which has a real tendency to upset some kind of magical balance and set powerful, uncontrollable forces into motion.

    All the spells that could potentially cause a runaway magic result are marked with an asterisk (*) in the Spells table. These are known as mighty spells.

    A sorcerer can cast up to one mighty spell per week without fear of dangerous consequences. Each time he casts a further mighty spell within seven days of the last one, he must make a Will saving throw.

    This Will saving throw starts out at DC 10 but the DC rises by +5 for each additional mighty spell cast within the last seven days. If the Will saving throw is failed, roll 1d20 and consult the Runaway Magic table. Add the sorcerer’s Corruption score to the roll, +1 for each point by which the Will saving throw was failed.

    Runaway Magic

    Die Roll
    Minor Burnout! The sorcerer’s magical energies are drained off to a place or person unknown. He loses 1d4 Power Points.
    If this reduces him below zero Power Points, he is instead reduced to zero Power Points and dealt 1d6 damage to Wisdom.

    Major Burnout! The sorcerer’s magical energies are drained off to a place or person unknown. He loses 2d6 Power Points.
    If this would reduce him below zero Power Points, he is instead reduced to zero Power Points
and dealt 1d8 damage to Wisdom and 1d8 damage to Charisma.
    Minor Sorcerous Implosion! Magical energies tear the sorcerer apart. His Power Points are reduced to zero and he is dealt 10d6 damage.
    Major Sorcerous Implosion! Magical energies tear the sorcerer apart. His Power Points are reduced to zero and he is dealt 15d6 damage.
    Rock the Universe! The sorcerer is killed outright by the forces that he has released.
 An area around him, 1d6 miles in radius, is devastated by earthquakes,
    storms, floods, lightning and meteorites, dealing 20d6 damage to all within the area and reshaping the landscape as the very Earth itself is
rent and pounded.
    Fate Worse Than Death! As for Rock the Universe (29–30), plus as follows: A sorcerous rift into the Outer Dark is opened and a demon from that dread realm
    pulls the sorcerer’s soul through the rift, severing the magical silver cord that binds his soul to his body. He is eternally damned and his body
is either a lifeless husk
    or (at the Games Master’s discretion) inhabited by a minion
 of the demon.

    2. Corruption and Insanity

    For the amoral sorcerer who has some insight into just how powerful and dangerous the forces aligned against humanity are, there is a stark choice between simply giving in to those forces and giving in to despair or madness at the recognition that those forces will someday win. Almost every high-level sorcerer is likely to be either corrupt or mad, at least to some degree.

    Insanity only may only affect sorcerers who already have at least one point of Corruption. Those who have managed to avoid being corrupted do not yet have the evil insights that can lead them to insanity if they later reject attempts to further corrupt them.

    All corruption saving throws are made against a DC set by the entity, sorcerer or object’s Magic Attack Roll. A character’s current Corruption is applied as a circumstance penalty to all corruption saving throws. Once you start on the steady slope towards corruption, it is more and more difficult to stop.

    Each time an already corrupt sorcerer successfully saves against Corruption, he must make a second Corruption saving throw at the same DC as the first. Failure causes him to become shaken (–2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks and ability checks) for 1d6 rounds and gain a permanent, minor insanity as determined from the list below (or from elsewhere if desired) by the player and the Games Master.

    A sorcerer who already has a minor insanity and fails a second insanity saving throw becomes shaken once more, this time for 3d6 rounds. He also gains a permanent major insanity, as determined by the player and the Games Master from the list below.

    It is always possible to opt to fail the save against Corruption if one would prefer to become corrupted rather than mad.

    2.1. Minor Insanities

  • Delusion: This is any belief that is not true, for example that the resurrected giant-kings of Old Stygia are plotting to overthrow the kingdom of Ophir, or that the Baracha pirates are a bunch of lovable rogues rather than black- hearted murderers. The delusion could be a mild form of paranoia, or simply a complete misunderstanding of one minor aspect of the way the world works.

  • Phobia: Choose one suitable phobia, such as snakes, apes, insects, spiders or plant creatures. Whenever the character is in the presence of a creature that could trigger the phobia, he must make a Will saving throw (DC 20) or be panicked (–2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks and ability checks, must flee the cause of the panic) until he can no longer see it.

  • Sleeplessness: The character lies awake for several hours every night, unable to sleep or find rest. He must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 15) every morning or wake up fatigued (–2 to Strength and Dexterity, cannot run).
  • 2.2. Major Insanities

  • Paranoia: This is similar to delusions but far more severe. The sorcerer believes in a number of highly personalised delusions, all of them relating to persecution and treachery.

  • Voices: The character constantly hears voices, often insistently demanding that he perform particular actions. Any time he is in a stressful situation (at the Games Master’s discretion) he must make a Will saving throw (DC 20) or be controlled by the Games Master for 1D6 rounds, as he does the bidding of the voices.

  • Hallucinations: The character sees objects that are not there and sees objects that are there as distorted. He suffers a constant penalty of –2 to Spot and Search checks and to all attack rolls, whether melee or ranged.
  • 2.3. Recovering from Insanity

    A character who does not practice any sorcery or have contact with Corrupting influences for three months may make a Will saving throw (DC 15 for minor insanity, DC 20 for major insanity) at the end of that time to completely recover from his insanity. A sorcerer may only recover from one insanity per three month hiatus.

    2.4. Corruption Effects

    A character’s current Corruption is applied as a penalty to all Charisma-based skill checks when dealing with another character who has a Code of Honour.

    A character’s current Corruption is applied as a bonus to all Charisma-based skill checks when dealing with another character who has at least as many Corruption points as him, or when dealing with a demon, evil god or similar powerful entity of evil.
    Corruption is also applied as a bonus to all Intimidate checks.

    Furthermore, Corruption has additionally effects as detailed on the Corruption Effects Table.

    Troubled. The character may have occasional nightmares in which he commits atrocious acts, or may begin to develop a drink problem or a taste for some lotus-derived drug. Often this is not so much a direct effect of the corruption, as a means of attempting to control it or avoid thinking about it.
    Disturbed. The character begins to question the value of acting correctly or ethically, feeling pessimistic about the future. He is likely to toy with the idea that demons or evil gods would be better to worship than the established religions, feeling that at least evil is honest in its selfishness. Keeping to a Code of Honour will be very difficult at this point.
    Detached. The character no longer cares about others’ feelings or comfort, seeing them as no more than tools to be used in his personal pursuit of pleasure, power, knowledge or whatever else it is that motivates him. The thought of a Code of Honour, if he ever had one, is quite ridiculous to him. He may add his Corruption as a circumstance bonus to all Charisma-based skill checks to manipulate Non-Player Characters for his own schemes, which can include Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidate at the Games Master’s discretion.
    Corrupt. The character actively seeks out demonic creatures in the hope of making a pact with one, if he has not already done so. In most cases, the next level he gains will be in the scholar class, if this is not entirely inappropriate for some reason. If the Player who plays the character is unwilling to roleplay these kinds of change, the Games Master should consider taking over the character as a Non-Player Character. The character may add his Corruption as a circumstance bonus to all Intimidate checks, even those relating to demonic entities or similarly powerful creatures. Minor physical signs of his corruption will now be visible on at least part of his body: perhaps pasty-white skin, or glowing eyes, or fish-scales appearing on his belly. These signs first appear when he reaches Corruption 7 and get progressively worse each time he gains another point of Corruption, until at 10 points he no longer has any chance to hide his physical corruption. See the Physical Signs of Corruption table.
    At this point, if the character has not already made a pact with some demonic entity, he will instead be permanently and completely possessed by one such, his own soul shooting off to hell or perhaps reaching a warped accommodation with its body’s new owner. His personal corruption is now so complete that he begins to directly corrupt anyone who makes peaceful contact with him, just as though he were an evil god or demon himself. In any event, more major physical signs of his corruption will now be visible to most who observe him – horns, or an apelike gait, or something similar. Examples of these signs are given in the Physical Signs of Corruption table.

    Physical Signs of Corruption (Roll for each point of corruption gained)

    Die Roll
    Corruption 7-9
    Corruption 10+
    Arms become a little longer than usual and the character stoops slightly. The character’s apelike gait means he gains a +10 innate bonus to all Climb checks and a +5 feet innate bonus to his movement rate, so long as he runs on all fours and carries nothing in his hands.
    The character’s skin becomes pasty and pale, giving him an unhealthy, anaemic look. The character’s skin glows faintly, giving a shadowy illumination to a 5 feet radius area around him but giving him a -4 innate penalty to all Hide checks unless he covers up every inch of skin on his body.
    Odd, fluid-filled cysts form on the character’s temples. The character grows horns, gaining a natural gore attack form for 1d6 + Strength bonus damage.
    The character’s fingernails turn purplish- black and swell up, as though they had been hit with a hammer. The character grows claws, enabling his unarmed attacks to deal 1d6 + Strength bonus lethal damage.
    The character’s teeth become elongated and sharply tapering. The character grows great fangs, gaining a natural bite attack form for 1d6 + Strength bonus damage.
    The character begins to put on a little excess weight. The character’s body becomes bloated and swollen. He gains +1d6 hit points but has a -1 innate penalty to all Dexterity-based skill checks.
    The character becomes extremely thin. The character is little more than a skin-covered skeleton. He gains a +2 innate bonus to Dexterity and a -2 innate penalty to Strength.
    The character’s head always seems covered in bruises and lumps. The character’s skull cracks open at the rear, his brain so swollen it pushes open the bone. His head is almost twice the size of any other human’s. He gains a +2 innate bonus to Intelligence but a -2 innate penalty to Constitution.
    Fish-like or serpentine scales appear on the character’s belly. The character’s entire body is covered with small flesh-coloured scales, giving him +1 natural Damage Reduction (this stacks with any existing natural Damage Reduction if applicable).
    The character’s eyes are constantly swollen and bloodshot. The character’s eyes acquire a red glow. He gains lowlight vision out to 30 feet, or gains an innate bonus of +30 feet to his existing lowlight vision if applicable.


    Sorcerers in Hyboria are limited by their strength of will and command of magic. In Conan the Roleplaying Game, this translates into their Power Points. Most spells have several prerequisites, in much the same way that feats do – a sorcerer must meet the prerequisites before learning the spell.

    Many spells require either a magic attack roll or a skill check as part of the casting process. This is detailed as part of the entry for each spell.

    Spell Descriptions
    The description of each spell is presented in a standard format. Each category of information is explained and defined below.

    The first line of every spell description gives the name by which the spell is generally known.

    Power Point Cost
    As described above, each spell in Conan the Roleplaying Game has a Power Point cost that must be paid by the sorcerer who wishes to cast it.

    A spell’s components are what one must do or possess to cast the spell. The Components entry in a spell description includes abbreviations that list the spell’s components. Specifics for material, focus and Experience Point components are given at the end of the descriptive text. Usually done need not worry about components but when one cannot use a component for some reason or when a material or focus component is expensive, the components become important.

    Verbal (V): A verbal component is a spoken incantation. To provide a verbal component, the sorcerer must be able to speak in a strong voice. A gag or some other obstruction to speaking spoils the incantation and thus the spell. A spellcaster who has been deafened has a 20% chance of spoiling any spell with a verbal component that he tries to cast.

    Somatic (S): A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand. A sorcerer must have a hand free to provide a somatic component.

    Material (M): A material component is one or more physical substances or objects that are annihilated by the spell energies in the casting process. Unless a cost is given for a material component, the cost is negligible. Do not bother to keep track of material components with negligible cost. These components may be assumed to be in the sorcerer’s spell component pouch (if he has it).

    Focus (F): A focus component is a prop of some sort. Unlike a material component, a focus is not consumed when the spell is cast and can be reused. As with material components, the cost for a focus is negligible unless a price is given. Assume that focus components of negligible cost are in the sorcerer’s spell component pouch.

    XP Cost (XP): Some powerful spells entail an Experience Point cost to the caster. No spell can restore the Experience Points lost in this manner. A sorcerer cannot spend so many Experience Points that he loses a level, so he cannot cast the spell unless he has enough Experience Points to spare. However, he may, on gaining enough Experience Points to attain a new level, use those Experience Points for casting a spell rather than keeping them and advancing a level. Experience points are expended when a spell is cast, whether or not the casting succeeds.

    Casting Time
    Most spells have a casting time of one standard action. Some others take a different amount of time.

    A spell that takes one round to cast is a full-round action. It comes into effect just before the beginning of the sorcerer’s turn in the round after he begins casting the spell. He then acts normally after the spell is completed.

    A spell that takes one minute to cast comes into effect just before the caster’s turn one minute later; for each of those 10 rounds, the sorcerer is casts a spell as a full-round action as noted above for one-round casting times. These actions must be consecutive and uninterrupted or the spell automatically fails.

    When a sorcerer begins a spell that takes one round or longer to cast, he must continue his concentration from the current round to just before his turn in the next round, at least. If he loses concentration before the casting is complete, he loses the Power Point cost.

    A spell with a casting time of one free action does not count against the sorcerer’s normal limit of one spell per round. However, he may cast such a spell only once per round. Casting a spell with a casting time of one free action does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

    A sorcerer makes all pertinent decisions about a spell (range, target, area, effect, version and so forth) when the spell comes into effect.

    Spell Range
    A spell’s range indicates how far from the caster it can reach, as defined in the Range entry of the spell description. A spell’s range is the maximum distance from the caster that the spell’s effect can occur, as well as the maximum distance at which he can designate the spell’s point of origin. If any portion of the spell’s area would extend beyond this range, that area is wasted.

    Standard ranges include the following:
    Personal: The spell affects only the caster.

    Touch: The caster must touch a creature or object to affect it. A touch spell that deals damage can score a critical hit just as a weapon can. A touch spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit. Some touch spells allow a sorcerer to touch multiple targets. He can touch as many willing targets as he can reach as part of the casting but all targets of the spell must be touched in the same round that the caster finishes casting the spell.

    Close: The spell reaches as far as 25 feet away from the caster. The maximum range increases by five feet for every two full sorcerer levels.

    Medium: The spell reaches as far as 100 feet + 10 feet per sorcerer level.

    Long: The spell reaches as far as 400 feet + 40 feet per sorcerer level.

    The Evil Eye: Some spells require the sorcerer to meet the target’s eyes. This can affect a target within 30 ft. The caster simply chooses a target within range and that opponent must attempt a saving throw. If the target has already specified that he is averting his eyes from the sorcerer’s face by some means, the target has a 50% chance of not having to make a saving throw. In this case the sorcerer gains one- half concealment against the target, so any attack the target makes against the sorcerer has a 20% miss chance.

    A target who has specified that he has shut his eyes or turned his back on the caster or is wearing a blindfold does not need to make a saving throw. He is immune to evil eye spells and other gaze attacks. The sorcerer gains total concealment against the target as if the sorcerer were invisible. Thus, any attack the target makes against the sorcerer has a 50% miss chance and the opponent cannot use sight to target attacks.

    If visibility is limited (by dim lighting, a fog or the like) so that it results in concealment, there is a percentage chance equal to the normal miss chance for that amount of concealment that the target will not need to make a saving throw. This chance is not cumulative with chances to avoid the evil eye but instead is rolled separately.

    If the target is able to avoid meeting the sorcerer’s gaze during the round the spell is cast, the evil eye spell has no effect.

    Unlimited: The spell reaches anywhere in the world.

    Magical Link: Anyone with even a vague, half-mythical understanding of sorcery – and that includes almost everyone in the Hyborian Age – knows of several highly sinister methods a sorcerer has of sending a spell out to his victim. The sorcerer uses an item that has an intimate connection with the victim, such as a fragment of his clothing, a discarded sandal, a nail-clipping or lock of hair or some bodily fluid or other. Whatever the method used, this is known as the magical link.

    If a magical link is available, the sorcerer may use certain spells (those with a range listed as ‘magical link’) against the victim from any range, even if he is unable to see the victim. The sorcerer must hold the magical link in his hand when casting the spell to gain these benefits and retain it about his person for the durationson of the spell or the spell instantly ends.

    Range Expressed in Feet: Some spells have no standard range category, just a range expressed in feet.

    Spell Duration
    A spell’s Duration entry indicates how long the magical energy of the spell lasts.

    Timed Durations: Many durations are measured in rounds, minutes, hours or some other increment. When the time is up, the magic goes away and the spell ends. If a spell’s duration is variable, the duration is rolled secretly. The sorcerer does not know how long the spell will last.

    Instantaneous: The spell energy comes and goes the instant the spell is cast, though the consequences might be long-lasting.

    Permanent: The energy remains as long as the effect does.

    Mortal: Due to the Law of Impermanence, permanent effects are almost impossible for most sorcerers to create. Long-lasting spells instead work for a duration of ‘mortal’. This lasts for as long as the sorcerer himself is alive, though the Law of Impermanence may affect it as usual if he is badly injured.

    Concentration: The spell lasts as long as the caster concentrates on it. Concentrating to maintain a
spell is a standard action that does not provoke
attacks of opportunity. Anything that could break the caster’s concentration when casting
a spell can also break his concentration while he is maintaining one, causing the spell to end.

    A sorcerer cannot cast a spell while concentrating on another one. Sometimes a spell lasts for a short time after the caster ceases concentrating.

    Power Points: A spell with a duration of Power Points will last as long as the sorcerer continues to pay the Power Point cost as required.

    Discharge: Occasionally a spell lasts for a set duration or until triggered or discharged.

    (D) Dismissible: If the Duration line ends with ‘(D),’ the spell can be dismissed at will. The caster must be within range of the spell’s effect and must speak words of dismissal, which are usually a modified form of the spell’s verbal component. If the spell has no verbal component, the sorcerer can dismiss the effect with a gesture. Dismissing a spell is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

    A spell that depends on concentration is dismissible by its very nature. Dismissing it does not take an action, since all a sorcerer has to do to end the spell is to stop concentrating on his turn.

    Subjects, Effects and Areas: If a spell affects creatures directly, the result travels with the subjects for the spell’s duration. If the spell creates an effect, the effect lasts for the duration. The effect might move or remain still. Such an effect can be destroyed prior to when its duration ends. If the spell affects an area, the spell stays within that area for its duration.

    Creatures become subject to a spell when they enter an affected area and are no longer subject to it when they leave.

    Touch Spells and Holding the Charge: In most cases, if a sorcerer does not discharge a touch spell on the round he casts it, he can hold the charge (postpone the discharge of the spell) indefinitely. The sorcerer can make touch attacks round after round. If he casts another spell, the touch spell dissipates.

    Some touch spells allow the caster to touch multiple targets as part of the spell. He cannot hold the charge of such a spell; he must touch all targets of the spell in the same round that he finishes casting the spell.

    The Magic Attack Roll
    A magic attack roll is made whenever a sorcerer attempts to injure another with his magic and in most cases when he attempts to compel another. It is made as follows :

    1D20 + 

    In most cases this is opposed by the victim’s relevant saving throw. If a spell has multiple targets, the same Magic Attack roll is used for all of them.

    Magic Attack Bonus = Scholar Levels X 3/4 + Godsworn/Temptress/Inquisitor Levels X 1/2 + Other class Levels X 1/4 (rounded up)

    Overcharging a Spell
    A sorcerer can put more of his power into a spell than normal. For every extra Power Point spent on a spell, the sorcerer gets a +1 bonus to his magic attack roll.


    A war of souls is a clash of pure will, typically fought between sorcerers. Bodies remain motionless while minds strive for dominance. Those who gain the upper hand in a war of souls can sap the power of their rivals, leaving them unable to use sorcery. A group of sorcerers can collectively wage a war of souls upon a single victim, rapidly stripping away his power and leaving him senseless. Even demons can be subdued by a war of souls, though this process is dangerous.

    War of Souls Check
    Repeatedly in a war of souls, you need to make opposed war of souls checks against an opponent.

    A war of souls check is like a magic attack roll. Your attack bonus on a war of souls check is: Total magic attack bonus + special hypnotism modifier

    Special Hypnotism Modifier: The special hynotism modifier for a war of souls check is as follows: +2 for knowing the entrance spell and an additional +2 if at least one advanced hypnotism spell is known.

    These bonuses are added up and then added to your total magic attack bonus. Although sorcerers find it very difficult to use the Hypnotism spells per se against other sorcerers, many of the techniques taught under that sorcery style can assist in modified form when fighting a war of souls.

    Starting a War of Souls
    To start a war of souls, you need to restrain your target mentally. Any sorcerer may declare a war of souls by challenging any other sorcerer who is within Evil Eye range. This is a full-round action and starting a war of souls requires a successful magic attack roll.

    Only sorcerers, outsiders and magical beasts may be targeted by a magic attack roll.

    You make a magic attack roll to lock your target in mental combat. If the target succeeds at his Will saving throw, the war of souls fails and is cancelled. If he fails his Will saving throw, the two of you are now engaged in a war of souls.

    War of Souls Consequences
    While you are engaged in a war of souls, your ability to attack others and defend yourself is limited.

  • No Threatened Squares: You do not threaten any squares while engaged in a war of souls.
  • No Dodging Or Parrying: You cannot dodge or parry while engaged in a war of souls.
  • No Movement: You may not move normally while engaged in a war of souls.
  • No Spells: You may not cast any spells while engaged in a war of souls.

  • If You Are Engaged in a War of Souls
    When you are engaged in a war of souls (regardless of who started it) you can perform either of the following full-round actions.

    Drain Your Opponent : While engaged in a war of souls, you can drain Power Points from your opponent.

    Make an opposed war of souls check in place of an attack. If you win, you drain 1d6 Power Points from your opponent. You gain any Power Points he loses in this way. If this reduces his Power Points to 0 or below, any further drain instead causes him 1d6 damage to Wisdom. You gain no particular benefit from damaging his Wisdom in this way, though of course if you can reduce his Wisdom to 0 he is helpless.

    Corruption: Staring into the eyes of a demon is a risky activity, for if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. Any character engaging a demon of any kind in a War of Souls must make a Corruption check (standard DC for the demon) every time the demon successfully drains him.

    Break Off from War of Souls : You can break off a war of souls by winning an opposed war of souls check in place of making an attack.

    If more than one opponent is engaged in a war of souls with you, your war of souls check result has to beat all their individual check results to break off. (Opponents do not have to try to keep you engaged in the war of souls if they do not want to.) If you break off, you are no longer engaged in the war of souls.

    Joining a War of Souls
    If your target is already engaged in a war of souls with someone else, you can use a full-round action to join the war of souls as usual, as above. You still have to make a successful opposed war of souls check to become part of the war of souls.

    If there are multiple opponents involved in the war of souls, you pick one to make the opposed war of souls check against.

    Multiple Combatants in a War of Souls
    Several combatants can be in a single war of souls. When you are engaged in a war of souls with multiple opponents, you choose one opponent to make an opposed war of souls check against.

    The exception is an attempt to break off the war of souls; to successfully break off, your war of souls check must beat the check results of each opponent.