Roleplayer
Roleplayer #7, November 1987

For GURPS Fantasy

Ice Magics from the Frozen North

by Marc Janssen

The mages of northern Megalos have developed a special set of Water spells, all dealing with ice and cold. While these spells are not secret, they are seldom practiced south of the duchy of Kethalos – their effectiveness in warmer climes is severely limited. This time of year, though, mages the world around can put these spells to good use.

The ice produced by these spells is "natural" – it is nothing more than frozen water. It will last indefinitely at temperatures below freezing, but will melt at higher temperatures. The GM must determine the rate at which ice melts on a case-by-case basis, considering the amount of ice to be melted, the air temperature, the effects of any fire or warm objects near the ice, salt poured on the ice . . . One-hex magical fire or heat will melt one hex of Frost, Ice Slick, or Snow, or melt 5 gallons of Frozen water. One hex of Ice Slick will extinguish one hex of magical fire, but Frost and Snow will only cause the fire to sputter and steam.

As with other water spells, these ice magics will not affect the water in a living body unless specifically noted.

Frost . . . . . Area

Creates a covering of frost on all surfaces in the area of effect. The frost is real, and will last indefinitely If the temperature is below freezing. In warmer conditions, the frost will quickly melt to a dew. Cast upon a real or magical fire, the frost will produce a cloud of steam and cause the flames to hiss for a few seconds. Only a tiny fire – a match or candle – would actually be extinguished by a Frost spell.

A Frost spell cast upon a fire elemental or other flaming creature will do one hit of damage to the creature, but is more likely to anger it than drive it away.

Duration: The frost lasts until it melts naturally.
Base Cost: 1
Prerequisites: Create Water or Cold.
Item: Staff, wand or jewelry. Cost: 200 energy, $350 spell materials.

Ice Slick . . . . . Area

Covers the floor or ground with a quarter-inch sheet of clear ice. Footing on this ice slick is very precarious. All close combat and melee attacks, and all active defenses, are at -3 on an ice slick. Other physical skills, including missile and thrown weapon attacks, are at -2. Even walking across an ice slick is usually difficult – in general, anyone attempting to walk or ran across an ice slick must roll against DX-2 as he enters each hex. If he fails this roll, he falls to the ice. He may, with another DX-2 roll, attempt to stand on his next turn. Spiked footwear will negate all penalties on ice.

Ice slicks are very difficult to see. Anyone not actively watching the ground for ice must make a roll against IQ-3 to notice an ice slick before stepping onto it.

Duration: An ice slick lasts until it melts naturally.
Base Cost: 3.
Time to Cast: 2 seconds per 3 ST used to cast.
Prerequisite: Frost.
Items: (a) Rug or mat. Cost per hex: 100 energy, $250 spell materials. (b) Wand, staff or jewelry. Cost: 250 energy, $500 spell materials.

Freeze . . . . . Regular

Turns water into solid ice. The ice will retain the shape of its container; in open water, the affected volume freezes as a sphere or cube, at the caster's option. A Shape Water spell may be cast to form the water before it is frozen, or to alter the shape of the ice after it is frozen.

Remember that water expands as it freezes. Cast upon water in a container, this spell may cause the container to burst from the pressure of the ice within.

Duration: The ice lasts until it melts naturally.
Cost: 2 for an object up to the size of a fist, 4 for up to a cubic foot, 6 for a one-hex object, 3 more for each additional hex. If the temperature is above freezing, the caster may maintain the spell by expending as much ST as used in the original casting, once every 10 minutes.
Time to Cast: 10 seconds.
Prerequisite: Shape water.
Item: Staff, wand or jewelry. Cost: 200 energy, $100 spell materials.

Ice Vision . . . . . Regular

Enables the subject to see through solid ice or piled snow – to see caves, entombed victims, the ground or water beneath the ice, etc. Snow and uncut ice (up to 50 yards thick) are transparent to the subject, wherever he looks. No type of earth, mineral or metal is transparent, nor is cut ice.

Duration: 30 seconds.
Cost: 2 per 10 yards of depth to cast; the same to maintain.
Prerequisite: Shape Water.
Item: Any. Energy cost to create: 400.

Snow Shoes . . . . . Regular

Allows the subject to cross ice or snow as though it was regular ground. Snow shoes eliminate any movement, DX or skill penalties normally assessed for ice or snow. The subject is still subject to penalties caused by an unstable surface, such as a rocking ice floe or an avalanche.

Duration: 1 minute.
Cost: 2 to cast, 1 to maintain.
Time to cast: 2 seconds.
Prerequisite: Shape Water.
Item: Shoes, boots or sandals. Works for wearer only. Energy cost to create: 350.

Snow . . . . . Area

Creates (or prevents) 1 inch of snow, in a normal outdoor setting. To work properly, this spell must be cast when the temperature is 32 degrees or lower. Cast under warmer conditions, this spell simply summons a thin drizzle, dampening the ground but not leaving any significant puddles.

Duration: 1 hour.
Base Cost: 1/15. Each additional 1/15 ST increases the amount of snow by 1 inch per hour. Cost to maintain is the same per hour.
Prerequisites: Clouds, Frost.
Item: Staff. Energy cost to create: 450. Must be kept cool when not in use; loses its powers if it is exposed to temperatures over 90 degrees for more than two hours. Usable only by a mage.

Frostbite . . . . . Regular: Resisted by HT

Lowers the temperatures in the body tissues of the subject, causing damage or death. Affects the whole victim if cast from a distance; if cast by Mage's Touch, damage is limited to the part touched. Armor does not protect.

Duration: Damage is permanent until healed.
Cost: 1 per die of damage done, up to 3.
Time to cast: 3 seconds.
Prerequisite: At least 5 Water spells, including Frost and Freeze.
Item: Wand or Staff. Usable only by a mage; must touch victim. Cost: 700 energy, $1,000 spell materials.

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