Folk Magic 101, A Mythras Explanation

Folk Magic 101, A Mythras Explanation

Posted by Kaitlyn Walden on May 21st 2024

“Dang it!” you snap as your blade bounces off the rope holding the gate closed. “What the heck can I do to fix this?” You ask your companion. She is currently holding a drawn bow to her cheek, watching as those bandits trying to capture you are coming closer.

“Did you use Bladesharp?” She mutters before loosing her arrow.

“Bladesharp?” you ask, rather confused. “I use that for my skinning knife.” Your companion rolls her eyes and nods, pulling another arrow from her quiver. “Why bother with Folk Magic?” She sighs and glares at you.

“Just try it.” She snaps before drawing her bow again and taking aim. You bounce on your toes a moment before following the suggestion. Your fingers hum with power before your blade becomes razor sharp and you swing again. One sweep and your blade cuts cleanly through the rope and the gate comes crashing down a split second after your companion takes one bandit down. “Whoa… I didn’t think it would work on my sword like that.” Your companion smirks and walks away from the gate.

“How do you think I sharpen my arrows when we are fighting enemies wearing thicker armour?” Your companion calls as she disappears into the barracks.

Hey everyone! I’m Kat and I’ve been a Games Master (GM) for a little over a decade. What I’m here for is to help you on the path to learning the who, what, when, where, why, and how of Folk Magic in Mythras Core Rules. The best place to start is learning what Folk Magic actually is. Ready to begin? Good, so am I.

Understanding Folk Magic

There are many types of magic in the world of Mythras. Animism, Sorcery, Mysticism, Theism and, of course, Folk Magic. Comparatively, Folk Magic is a “weak” magic. So why bother going over it? Because when you know how to use it, it becomes infinitely more useful in all aspects of your character.

What is Folk Magic? Oh, right! I should explain that Folk Magic can be anything from a widely accepted magical tradition to community–based spells to make one’s chores easier to do. The more accepting of magic the setting, the more likely you’re going to learn, have, or use Folk Magic.

Here’s one of the best reasons to use Folk Magic. Each spell only takes a single action point to cast and only costs 1 Magic Point (MP). Most of them are based around aiding you during daily life, but each of those spells can also be related to combat in some way.

Folk Magic spells are as useful as the cantrips in D&D, but a good portion requires you to get creative when using them in combat. So how do you learn it? Well, we can start off in character creation, but for the sake of time, let’s talk about thematically.

Depending on the style of game you’re playing will depend on how much, if any, magic you have access to. This concept determines who can and cannot have access to Folk Magic. For instance, wandering hedge magicians may be the only ones who can, or it can be very common, making it so every player has access to a few spells by the time they’re leaving home and adventuring.

For our example, we’ll make it more common so we can talk about some fun, creative means of using Folk Magic. That means in our game it’s taught at a young age while you’re exploring your career or while you’re growing in your culture. Some examples of this are on page 122 of Mythras Core Rules.

Learning Folk Magic

So now that we’ve established that magic is more commonplace, Folk Magic, at the very least, we can understand how to learn it. As we experience in our own lives, you know that there are plenty of mentors you come in contact with. This is one easy way to learn Folk Magic. Like the little story at the top. Your companion taught you how to use ‘Bladesharp’ so you could use it in all scenarios, not just to sharpen your skinning knife.

Having a mentor like this is only one way of learning, though. You can learn on your own by experimenting with the world around you or meditating. You could have learned it at a young age from your parents before you left. A cult you joined could teach it to you because you gained the next rank within the cult itself. Kinda makes you wonder where your character started, huh?

Let’s take the example at the beginning of this article. Your companion is clearly a soldier of some kind, where she prefers archery we can lean her into the Scout career path, (pg 122 of Mythras Core Rules) and because of her career she learned Bladesharp, Bypass, Find, Incognito, Mobility, Pathway, Speedart, Vigour, and Warmth. In turn, she taught you the spell Bladesharp to be able to deal more damage to your opponents.

That’s an example of a mentor that can easily happen along your career before adventuring or after you’ve grouped up with your companion. The fun of Folk Magic is that in the right campaign setting it can be found almost anywhere and is much less specialized than the more powerful magics like Sorcery or Animism. I’m sure you’re wondering how something like Folk Magic can compare to the more potent magics in Mythras. Let’s explore that next.

Utilizing Folk Magic

Here’s the best thing about Folk Magic. There is no limit to the number of Folk Magic spells you can learn, so long as your GM hasn’t restricted the list. (That list can be found on pgs 123-129 in Mythras Core Rules). The next big thing is that Folk Magic will only ever cost 1 MP so long as you succeed. So the only limit on the number you can cast in a certain time frame is your action points or your MP.

Let’s talk about duration of Folk Magic because it is on the simpler side. You know how cantrips in D&D are actions and bonus actions that act instantly? Most of the Folk Magic spells act the same way. Some are concentration based, most are instant. Some are ranged and an equal number are touch based. A good portion you can resist or evade. Those that are concentration based though, you need to pay attention to since once you cast a concentration based spell–in any magical discipline–you cannot cast another spell until you drop the concentration on the first one.

So what are the limits beyond concentration? I like to think of it as you’re only as limited as the dice allow you to be. The biggest blessing when using Folk Magic is the versatility and imagination that you can put into using it. Let’s give an example of something other than Bladesharp, since that one can be commonly used in combat to great effect.

Application of Folk Magic

Each of the spells on the Folk Magic list can easily be adapted to various means of creative combat. It’s all a matter of what you can imagine and what your GM allows. Things like Befuddle, where you cause confusion in your target, or Babble to make the commanding officer’s orders come out like gibberish, are easy to use in and out of combat. So, what’s a less obvious one that you can use in both ways?

Let’s talk about Glue. I can see the quirked eyebrow from here. Glue, in short, glues two inanimate objects together. You can see that this is used for things more like fixing carts, doors, simple things. But what happens if you manage to grab a bowman’s gloved hand just before they release their arrow? Or their gauntlets after they’ve loosed the crossbow bolt so they’re glued to their weapon?

What happens if you’re fighting a swordsman and slam your foot down on his before running out of reach? His boot is stuck to the ground, so it’s a little difficult for him to pursue, isn’t it? There are plenty of others that I will leave up to you to get creative with, but as a GM myself, I always love watching the creativity unfold.

And I can’t wait to see what you think of either. So, where do you go from here…?

What to do…

Well, since now you’re getting the picture of how flexible Folk Magic can be even if it’s the ‘weaker’ magic in Mythras, you should go and get creative with it! Prove to those Animists that they aren’t the only ones who can control the field of battle. Folk Magic is by far the least costly on your MP and can be rather entertaining when you think outside the proverbial box. All you have to do is go and do it.

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