Manual - Magic in Incursion

Learning Spells

You can learn spells by typing 'L' on the character sheet screen. This brings up a menu with all the possible spells you could learn at
the moment; for clerics and druids, this is every unlearned spell of a level for which you currently have a free spell slot. For wizards, however, this list shows only the spells that you have a spellbook for somewhere in your inventory. If, after surveying the list, you don't find a spell you want, you can press [ESC] to cancel the menu and not learn any spell.

The Spell Manager and Spellcasting

Pressing 'm' on the main gameplay screen brings up the spell manager window (assuming that the character knows at least one spell). This lists every spell known to the character at present, along with a brief description of the currently selected spell. The names of bonus spells granted by domains are shown in purple, while the names of all the other spells are grey. The list can be scrolled through using the arrow keys, and pressing either [ENTER] or the letter in the box causes the spell selected to be cast. Pressing [ESC] causes the spell manager window to vanish without casting a spell.

Metamagic: You can toggle the on/off state of any metamagic feat you have learned with regard to a single spell by typing the capital letter shown associated with it in the legend at the bottom of the spell manager window. The game remembers which metamagic feats you have turned on for any given spell between castings, so if you turn on Maximize Spell for a fireball, you need to turn it back off again on your next casting if you don't want it. The total number of metamagic levels currently associated with a given spell are shown in square brackets beside the feat list, and the spell success rate is recalculated dynamically as you add or remove metamagic feats, to help you decide if you want to cast the spell that way or not.

Spellkeys: By pressing a number key (0-9) while a given spell is selected, you can assign that key to the spell in question as a keyboard shortcut. Then, on the main game panel you can press that key to cast the spell in question at any time without needing to bring up the spell manager first. The letter in the box beside the spell will change to a number to confirm the assignment of the spellkey.

Casting Requisites: In order to cast a spell, some classes need to have a certain item. Mages must have a spellbook that contains the spell in question somewhere in their inventory, while priests must have their holy symbol equipped in their amulet slot in order to cast spells. In addition, a caster must have one hand free in order to perform the somatic components of spellcasting, and since spells also have verbal incantations, they cannot be cast in areas of magical silence. These requirements can be negated by using the Inherent Spell, Still Spell and Vocalize Spell feats respectively.

Spell Success Rate: All spells have a base chance of succeeding when cast; this value is usually somewhere between 70% and 90%. This value is adjusted by +/-5% for every point of your primary Intelligence modifier, and +2% for every caster level you have above the minimum caster level required to cast the given spell. The spell success chance for arcane spells is heavily penalized by wearing armor, and conditions that make it difficult to concentrate (such as being grappled, or being inside the area of effect of an insect plague spell) penalize spellcasting of all types.

If the final chance of spell success is above 90%, it is adjusted downward. Every 10% above 90% becomes an additional +1% chance of spell success, so a spell with a calculated 130% chance of succeeding would be adjusted down to have a success rate of 94%. No spell can ever have a success rate above 98%, regardless.

Mana

Incursion differs from its parent system (but hews to roguelike convention) in that spells are cast by spending mana — a form of magical energy — rather than depending on spell preparation and spells per day. Mana is measured in a manner similar to hit points, with a permanent maximum and a current total. Characters gain new mana every level; mages also begin with a magical item that increases the size of their maximum mana pool, because they have to depend on spellcasting more than other character types. Casting spells, using innate spell-like abilities and blasting wands all consume a character's mana supply. Every spell has a mana cost associated with it, and most characters simply pay that cost whenever they cast that spell. Mages, however, find the mana cost of spells adjusted by their specialty school modifiers, as described under Schools of Magic, below.

Mana normally replenishes fully when characters rest for the night. Further, mana may regenerate slowly over time. If a character's mana pool is half or more empty, it will not regenerate at all until she rests. If it is more than half full, however, the character will regain mana over time at a speed based on the proportion of her total mana she has spent. In other words, a character down only a little mana will recover quickly, whereas one down more will take exponentially longer to recover. The AutoRest macro can be used to rest until mana is recovered safety — holding down the Rest key risks being attacked by surprise and being unable to respond, resulting in seemingly random death.

Some spells, such as resist fire and bull's strength, offer protection or enhancement that lasts a full day. Mana spent on these spells is referred to as held mana and never regenerates, and the character's total pool is counted as being that many points lower for determining if and how quickly a character regenerates mana. For example, if a character with 100 mana spends thirty points on self-enhancement spells, she can spend another 35 mana points on attack or miscellaneous spells before her pool reaches the point it will no longer regenerate, because her total mana pool not counting held mana is 70. On the mana bar in the traits window, held mana is shown in brown.

Metamagic

Metamagic allows the hero to modify the effects of spells that she casts. The first step to using metamagic is to learn one or more of the metamagic feats. All of the metamagic feats end in 'Spell' (Maximize Spell, Still Spell, Warp Spell, etc.), so they are easy to recognize in the feat list. Every metamagic feat added to a spell costs a certain number of metamagic levels, as shown on the table below. Metamagic levels stack for multiple feats, and have the following effects:

  • Every metamagic level a spell has attached to it costs the caster one fatigue point whenever the spell is cast.
  • The spell success rate for a given spell is decreased by 10% for every metamagic level placed on it. This is done before the adjustment for spell success rates above 90% is made, so a spell that shows a 94% spell success rate in the spell manager window can afford to have 4 metamagic levels attached to it without dropping the adjusted success rate below 90%.
  • The mana cost for casting a spell increases by 50% or 3 points, whichever is higher, for every metamagic level attached to the spell.

High rating in the Metamagic skill can reduce the mana increase and the fatigue cost of metamagicked spells. The number of metamagic levels that each feat adds are shown in the following table:

Metamagic Feat Lev Metamagic Feat Lev
Amplify Spell 2 Inherant Spell 1
Augment Summoning 2 Maximize Spell 3
Bind Spell 1 Persistant Spell 3
Consecrate Spell 2 Project Spell 2
Control Spell 3 Quicken Spell 4
Defensive Spell 2 Repeat Spell 3
Discerning Spell 2 Still Spell 1
Empower Spell 2 Sure Spell 2
Enlarge Spell 1 Transmute Spell 1
Extend Spell 1 Unseen Spell 2
Focus Spell 1 Vile Spell 2
Fortify Spell 1 Vocalize Spell 1
Heighten Spell 2 Warp Spell 2

Schools of Magic

Arcane magic in Incursion is grouped into nine schools, of which a mage character may choose to specialize in one. Every school choice makes for a mage with a distinctly different flavor.

Spell Failure Modifiers

Each specialist type has a distinct set of modifiers toward casting spells from different schools; of course, the best value always rests in the school that the specialist chose as his primary school. These modifiers are as follows:

Abj Arc Div Enc Evo Ill Nec Tha Wea
Abjurer +25% +15% +15% -10% -30% -15% +10%
Arcanist +25% +10% +10% +10%
Diviner +10% +25% -15% -10%
Enchanter +15% -10% +25% -15% +10% +10%
Evoker +10% -20% -15% +25% -20% -15% +5%
Illusionist +20% +10% +10% -25% +25% -15% -10% +15%
Necromancer -10% +15% -10% -20% +25% +15%
Thaumaturge +5% -10% +10% -10% -15% +15% +25% +5%
Weaver +15% +10% +10% -10% - -15% -15% +25%

In addition to affecting the spell success chance, the school modifiers have two other impacts on casting. A positive modifier decreases the mana cost by 5% for every 5% of the modifier, but a negative modifier increases the mana cost by 50% for every five percent of the modifier. Thus, a Thaumaturge suffers doubled mana costs when casting Illusion spells. Furthermore, a negative school modifier acts as a percentile chance that casting the spell in question will be draining, costing the caster a point of fatigue in the process of casting.

Abjuration

This school focuses on protection, banishment and warding. Its a good specialty for those who want a highly defensive, cautious style of play. High-level Abjurers tend to be nearly impossible to harm, but lack the powerful offensive and miscellanea spells that other mages typically have. Abjurers are often also called White Wizards, given the benevolent nature of their magic, and are the most trusted of mages by the common people. Spells which best represent the nature of this school include dispel magic, resist fire, banishment and globe of invulnerability.

Abjurers are also strong in the schools of Weavecraft, Divination and Arcana, but are weaker than average wielding spells of Evocation, Necromancy and Thaumaturgy.

Specialist Bonus: Abjurers gain a +1 insight bonus to all three of their saving throws at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th levels. Additionally, because of the defensive and protective nature of their magic, Abjurers recieve access to several spells from the priest spell list: sanctuary, detect evil, shield other, glyph of warding, remove curse (as a 3rd-level spell), negative plane protection, death ward, free action, spell immunity, magic resistance, dispel evil, antilife shell and glyph of warding, greater. They cast these spells as arcane spells, recieving a special spellbook containing them at the beginning of the game.

Arcana

Certainly the most diverse of the nine schools, Arcana concerns those spells which manipulate the environment or change the parameters of a situation indirectly. Arcana spells are rarely powerful per se, but they are highly useful; Arcanists are the generalists of the mage world, with a number of unusual tricks up their sleeves. Archetypical Arcana spells include wall of fog, web, animate objects and major creation.

Arcanists are also mildly above average performing spells from the schools of Illusion, Divination and Weavecraft, but their greatest edge is that they are not below average in any of the schools at all!

Specialist Bonus: The strength of the Arcanist is not power but diversity. Arcanists are competant with every school, having no negative modifiers on the spell chart.

Divination

Divination spells reveal information to the caster — they can be very difficult to base a character around, but can make the game much, much easier in many places. A Diviner is able to track down powerful magic items, avoid encounters she feels she can't win, and mystically discern what form of attacks will be the most effective against any given threat. Typical spells include detect monsters, perception, clairvoyance and true seeing.

Diviners also excel at spells of Weavecraft, Arcana and Thaumaturgy, but are mediocre when handling Evocations and Illusions.

Specialist Bonus: Drawn from the ranks of sages and scholars, Diviners recieve three extra skill points at every mage level, and gain a +1 insight bonus to Intelligence at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th levels. They gain access to the spell detect monsters as a 2nd, not 3rd, level spell. (Once more priestly Divinations are implemented, the Diviners will also have access to spells like augury and of course divination, just like Abjurers do now.)

Enchantment

These spells imbue a target's internal nature with magic — either they affect a living target's mind, or they imbue an object (typically a weapon) with purely magical properties, without changing its physical nature. An Enchanter is very effective in turning enemies into allies, boosting his weapons and convincing others to fight for his cause, but is in grave danger when facing undead and mindless creatures. Typical spells include charm person, hold monster, minor malison and eyebite.

Enchanters find that Illusion, Thaumaturgy and Abjuration are natural compliments to their chosen school, but lack skill with the more blunt magics of Evocation and Arcana.

Specialist Bonus: Enchanters gain the Beguiling Magic ability, which allows them to add their primary Charisma modifier to the save DC of their mind-affecting spells. They also gain Diplomacy as a bonus class skill, allowing them to convince creatures they charm into doing things to serve their agenda.

Enchanters also have access to the priest spell enthrall, which they cast as arcane magic.

Evocation

Wanna blow stuff up? This is the school for you, and because it has the most powerful offensive spells in the game, it grants a very straightforward playing style, making it a good choice for players new to Incursion. Evocations manipulate or create energy and natural forces; infamous Evocation spells include magic missile, fireball, wall of force and shield.

Evokers find the subtler magics of Divination, Illusion, Necromancy and Enchantment difficult to manage, but are very comfortable with the powerful and direct spells of Abjuration and Thaumaturgy.

Specialist Ability: Evokers channel raw magical energies through their bodies far more frequently then other mages, relying on draining metamagic feats like Empower, Quicken and Maximize. To support this penchant, their maximum total Fatigue Points increases by one every even mage level.

Illusion

Illusion magic is indirect and deceptive, creating images of things that aren't real and, at the higher levels of power, weaving shadow matter into quasi-real constructs of will. Illusionists are similar to Weavers in that they fight indirectly, relying on keeping their enemy occupied at a distance. The illusionist gains some very powerful miscellanea spells, but lacks the direct power of the evoker or the necromancer. Its a choice best suited to a patient and tactical player. Spells typical of the Illusion school include invisibility, phantasmal force and shadow monsters.

Illusionists excel at Weavecraft, Divination, Arcana and Enchantment, but are weaker in the schools of Evocation, Necromancy and Thaumaturgy.

Specialist Ability: To complement their penchant for trickery and ability to utilize invisibility, Illusionists recieve Bluff, Move Silently, Pick Pockets and Disguise as bonus mage class skills. They also receive a +1 competence bonus to the Illusioncraft skill every even mage level.

Necromancy

Long viewed as the darkest of the schools, this profane art relates to the manipulation of negative energy — the causes and effects of death, and the creation of undead. Necromancers are widely feared, but they are also tremendously useful — much of the manual labor on Therya is performed by raised undead, no matter how much the Church of Immotian might protest. Thus, like the mortician that came before him, the Necromancer is a scorned but nonetheless essential element of modern society. Spells typical of the school of Necromancy include chill touch, horrid wilting and of course, animate dead.

Necromancers are strong in Thaumaturgy and Divination, and weaker only in Enchantment, Illusion and Abjuration.

Specialist Bonus: Necromancers recieve a bonus pool of hit dice worth of created undead they can control that do not count toward the normal maximum of summoned/charmed/animated/etc. creatures a mage may have under his control before they start to break free. Necromancers also recieve a +1 bonus to save vs. death magic at every 3rd level, gain a +2 bonus to save vs. fear at 1st level (due to the exceptionally… grim situations they are exposed to and treat Poison Use as a bonus class skill.

Finally, Necromancers gain access to certain signature spells at lower levels than other mages: animate dead as a 3rd level spell, create corporeal undead at 5th and create spectral undead at 6th.

Thaumaturgy

Thaumaturgy is magic that alters the composition or properties of living creatures. Because so many of its spells focus on physical self-empowerment, it makes an ideal specialization for multi-classed Warrior-Mages. Spells typical of the school include bull's strength, polymorph self, enlarge and Tenser's transformation.

Thaumaturges are also skilled with the schools of Abjuration, Enchantment, Weavecraft and Necromancy, but find the magics of Evocation, Illusion and Divination more difficult to grasp.

Specialist Bonus: Thaumaturges embrace life in all its splendour, shattering the stereotype of the mage as an ivory tower academic. Their penchant for physical combat and hardier lifestyle give them 1d8 hit points every mage level instead of 1d4. Furthermore, they are proficient with all light weapons, instead of the normal, more limited choices available to mages.

Weavecraft

Weavecraft spells deal with distance, location and the innate nature of magic; they can summon creatures or augment other spells. The school lends itself to a 'cheap tricks' style of play, so players may choose or avoid it based on whether they prefer such to a more normal game. Definitive spells include monster summoning (any one), teleport, rope trick and contingency.

Weavers are strong with Abjuration, Arcana and Divination, but not as skilled using Enchantment, Necromancy or Thaumaturgy.

Specialist Bonus: Weavers are able to control their destination when they cast teleportation spells like phase door, dimension door or teleport, just as if they had used the Control Magic feat.

Multiclass Spellcasters

Incursion handles multiclass spellcasters in a somewhat more nuanced way than its parent game system. To single-classed mages, clerics or druids, these differences are effectively invisible, but when playing a spellcaster with more than one class, understanding how to use them effectively becomes very important. To understand this, it's important to distinguish between the following two concepts — the difference is imperceptable to single- classed spellcasters, but significant to multiclassed ones.

Caster Levels: A caster level represents one stage of skill in spellcasting, abstract of any specific kind of spellcasting (such as bardic magic, paladin magic, etc.) Different classes gain caster levels at a different rate — a mage gains one caster level for every mage level, while a paladin gains one caster level for every even paladin level starting at 4th. Caster levels, once gained, are independant of whatever class they were gained from, and caster levels from different classes always stack. Thus, for example, a mage 5 / paladin 4 has six total caster levels; 5 from mage and one from paladin. The Intensive Study feat can be used to gain more caster levels in some circumstances.

Caster levels determine two things: the power of a caster's spells and the spell slots she has access to. For example, the spell fireball inflicts 1d6 points of damage per caster level — thus, the mage/paladin example above would be able to throw a fireball inflicting 6d6 points of damage (saving throw abiding, of course). Caster levels also affect most spells' range and duration. Secondly, caster levels determine the number of spell slots characters have which they can spend to learn spells. The following chart shows how many spell slots for every spell level a character with a given number of caster levels has access to:

Caster Levels Spell Slots By Level
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 1
2 2
3 2 1
4 3 2
5 3 2 1
6 4 3 2
7 5 4 3 1
8 6 5 3 2
9 6 6 3 3 1
10 7 6 4 3 2
11 7 7 5 4 3
12 7 7 5 4 4 1
13 8 8 6 5 4 2
14 8 8 6 6 5 3 1
15 8 8 7 6 5 4 2
16 8 8 7 7 6 5 3 1
17 8 8 8 7 7 6 4 2
18 8 8 8 8 7 7 5 4 1
19 8 8 8 8 8 7 6 4 2
20 8 8 8 8 8 8 7 6 4

This table is modified by bonus slots gained from Intelligence and other factors, and does not include bones slots gained from the Mage Magical Diversity class feature or the free domain spells clerics gain. Regardless of Intelligence, however, note that no character can begin casting spells of a given level until they have enough caster levels to gain their first slot for that spell level on the above chart — thus, for example, no character can cast 4th level spells until they have accumulated 7 caster levels from any combination of classes.

Spell Access: Distinct from the concept of caster levels is the idea of spell access, though because spell access usually advances faster than caster levels this distinction is normally imperceptable to single-class casters. While caster levels are uniform — the same no matter what class they are gained from — spell access is specific to a given class. Paladin magic is different from bardic magic; every class has associated with it a list of spells that its members gain access to. Paladins have spells associated with righteous might, bards with knowledge, trickery and social influence, clerics with protection and community, and so forth. A single spell's level can vary on different spell lists — for example, call light is a first-level priest spell and a second-level mage spell.

Mages are a special case — because their spell list is so huge and broad, and represents such a major element of their class abilities, it is broken up into to parts to determine spell access. Mages gain access to all the spells from their specialty school at a mage class level equal to the level of the spell in question. They then gain access to all the rest of their spells at the mage class level that equals the caster level when they first gain a slot for a spell of that level. Thus, a 5th-level Thaumaturge has access to all first through fifth-level Thaumaturgy spells as well as all other 1st, 2nd and 3rd-level arcane spells.

Bards, clerics and druids gain access to the spells on their class spell lists at a rate of one spell level per class level; this is basically the standard approach, and applies to most prestige classes with their own spell list as well. Thus, a fifth-level druid has access to all first through fifth level druid spells, even though a single-classed fifth-level druid will only have the spell slots to learn spells from the first through third spell levels. The 'minor casters' - paladins and rangers - gain access to their spell lists at a rate of one spell level per class level starting at third level — so a fifth level ranger has access to 1st, 2nd and 3rd-level ranger spells, despite only having enough caster levels from ranger to be able to cast 1st-level spells.

In addition to determining what spells a character can place in her spell slots, spell access determines what restrictions a character has on casting those spells. For example, clerics must have a holy symbol to cast a spell, but can cast spells in armor, while mages suffer severe penalties for casting spells in armor, have their success chances adjusted by specialist modifiers and must possess a spellbook with the spell in it to cast it. So consider the cast of a priest 1/mage 1 who knows chromatic orb, bless and magic weapon. Chromatic orb is a mage spell, so she must have a spellbook to cast it, gains the specialist modifier regardless of whether it's good or bad and suffers penalties to her casting if she does it in armor. When she casts bless, however, she gains no specialist bonus or penalty, is able to cast freely in armor and needs a holy symbol.

Magic weapon is an odd case, since it is on both the mage and priest spell lists as a 1st-level spell. When this is the case, the caster gains the best of both (or all) worlds — she can cast the spell in armor without penalty, gains either her mage specialist modifier or a 0% modifier (whichever favors her more) and can choose to use either a spellbook or a holy symbol as her focus for the spell.

Practical Examples

Consider the following characters to illustrate how multi-class spellcasters function in practice in Incursion.

Dominus, Mage (Necromancer) 3 / Priest 4: Dominus has 7 caster levels, so according to the chart above he knows 5 1st level spells, 4 2nd leve, 3 3rd level and 1 4th level. Since his level as a priest is 4th, he has access to the priest spell list up to 4th level. As a 3rd-level mage, he has access to all arcane Necromancy spells up to 3rd spell level, as well as all other arcane spells up to 2nd level (because a 3rd-level single class mage could cast only 1st and 2nd level spells). Therefore, he chooses his 1st and 2nd level spells from the full combined mage and priest lists, and he can choose his 3rd-level spells from both the mage Necromancy spells or any priest spells. His single 4th-level spell must be chosen from the priest list, however, unless he wants to save the slot until he goes up another level as a mage, in which case he could also place a 4th-level Necromantic mage spell in that level.

Despite this tremendous flexibility, however, Dominus certainly does pay a price for his multiclassing — it's important to remember that class features are determined only by class level, not by caster level or character level. So, Dominus only has the ability to cast 1st and 2nd level domain spells — he'll gain third-level domain spells when he takes his 5th priest level. Likewise, he has the 2 bonus slots mages get only for 1st and 2nd level spells (though he can use them for any spells he wants, including priest spells), and he does not gain the bonus metamagic feat a single-classed mage would have gained at mage class level 5.

Lady Sarah, Thaumaturge 3 / Warrior 5: In order to enhance her ability as a spellcaster, Lady Sarah has bought the Intensive Study feat three times to increase her caster levels, giving her six total caster levels. However, this feat does not affect her spell access at all. As such, she has 4/3/2 known spells. As a Thaumaturge 3, she can choose the 1st and 2nd level spells from the full mage list, but she can only choose Thaumaturgy spells for her third-level slots. Note that she's effectively reached the point of diminishing returns with Intensive Study — she could take more warrior levels and buy the feat again,and it would give her a fourth-level spell slot — but because she has no spell access to fourth level spells of any kind, the slot would remain unspent and useless to her.

Likewise, a character design of Mage 3 / Priest 3 / Druid 3 would be highly suboptimal — such a character would have caster level 9 and thus access to 4th and 5th level spell slots, but would have no spell access to any spells above spell level 3, so those slots would be wasted. Obviously, only so much diversity and mixing is possible before it becomes simply dilution.

Using Magical Items

There are many different classes of magical items in Incursion, and some have hidden elements or features. This discusses the basics of using the more common classes.

Identifying Items
When items are first found in the dungeon, your character will have no idea what their purpose is. She can try using them, though that carries with it a risk — there exist items that bear powerful curses that can weaken or endanger your character. Alternatively, she can wait until she locates a source of magic that identifies items, such as the relatively common Scrolls of Identify. The Intuition skill also aides in learning about magical items.

Sometimes unidentified items have an adjective before their name — a 'bronze wand' or 'murky potion'. All items of a given type described in this manner usually appear the same way, so if one crimson potion is a Potion of Healing, every crimson potion will be a Potion of Healing. Once your character tries out a crimson potion and discovers what it is, no more 'crimson potions' will appear; instead, they will be known as Potions of Healing when you first see them.

This knowledge isn't constant across different games, however — just because a 'crimson potion' was Healing in one game doesn't mean that it won't be a Potion of Poison in the next.

Depth and Plusses
Some magical items have a plus associated with them — a Wand +1 of Scouring, or a short sword +2. A plus is a measure of a magical item's power; items with higher plusses tend to show up at a deeper depth in dungeons than items with lower plusses. All items of the same type have the same function, but those with higher plusses perform that function with a greater magnitude — more damage, higher DCs to saving throws, more powerful creatures summoned, etc.

Weapons, Armor and Shields
In order to benefit from a magical weapon or suit of armor, all that you need to do is equip the item in the proper inventory slot, and their benefit will last until the item is removed. Some weapons or armor only grant their benefits to a wielder or wearer who is proficient with the weapon or class of armor in question.

The plus of a magical weapon is added directly to attack and damage rolls made with that weapon, making the wielder more likely to hit foes and causing her to inflict more damage when she does. The magical plus of armor is added to the armor rating of the armor in all three categories. The magical plus of a shield is added to the Def bonus it grants.

The information below concerning worn items can also apply to weapons and armor in some cases.

Helms, Bracers, Boots, Cloaks, Lenses, Headbands, Rings, etc.
Most wearable items are activated simply by putting an item on. If you wear an item you have not identified and it grants you some form of bonus, that bonus will not show up on your character sheet, but it will be used by the game behind the scenes. If you are fighting or otherwise making rolls and you notice that the numbers don't add up, chances are you may be wearing an unidentified item that is giving you a bonus (or penalty) of some kind.

Some of these sorts of items can be activated by a spoken command word to perform an effect, rather than bestowing a constant bonus. In this case, they can't be used until they have been conclusively identified using magic — until this is done, the character has no way to know what the command word is, even if Intuition gives the player basically all the information needed to conclusively identify the item. To activate such an item, use the Activate ('a') command.

Normally, only one item of a given type can be worn — if the character tried to wear two cloaks or two pairs of bracers, neither would function. The exceptions are rings (one ring can be worn on the ring finger on each hand), and cloaks and robes (the character can wear either a magical cloak or a magical robe, not both, despite there being different inventory slots for each).
A few powerful worn items (often rings, armor or weapons) grant benefits that do not take effect until the character has rested with them on, or worn them for a full day, or what have you — their benefits would be too easy to exploit if they could be easily swapped in and out with other items. The Ring of Regeneration is an example of such an item.

Stones
Stones work in most ways like worn items, granting their bearer a continual benefit. However, to gain this benefit the wearer needs to simply carry the stone with them — either in her hands or in one of the belt inventory slots — rather than wearing it. The magic of a stone is ineffective if it is placed within a backpack or other such container, however.

Potions
Any character can benefit from a magical potion; it requires no special skill to do so. Potions can be drunk using the Quaff ('q') command. Some potions are meant for other uses than drinking, however, and drinking them at the very least wastes them and can have a detrimental effect on the character. The most common case of this is Oils, which are meant to be applied to weapons or armor to enhance their function. These can be used by selecting the Apply option from the Yuse ('y') menu.

Scrolls
Reading a scroll is based on the Decipher Script skill, and the writeup for that skill contains the specific mechanics. However, even a character without ranks in Decipher Script has a resonable chance to successfully read a low to mid-level scroll. To try to read a scroll, use the Read ('r') command.

Wands
Using a wand is based on the Use Magic skill, and the writeup for that skill contains the specific mechanics. However, even a character without ranks in Use Magic has a resonable chance to successfully use a low-level wand. To try to use a wand, use the Blast ('b') command.

Almost all wands have a magical plus associated with them. If the wand inflicts damage, it will typically do a set amount of damage with the number of dice rolled multiplied by its plus. If it requires a saving throw, the DC typically increases by +2 for every plus the wand has.

Gnomes are extremely proficient with wands and begin play with several of them.

Staves
Staves are typically the province of higher-level mages, and are one of the more powerful classes of items found in the game. Normally, a character must have a certain minimum number of levels as a mage before they can access the powers of a given staff, ranging from a single mage level (for weaker staves like the staff of size alteration) to a maximum of seven mage levels (to access the full powers of a staff of the magi). Some staves, notably the staff of the woodlands, are attuned to other classes (in this case the druid). As always, rogues of sufficient level can use the Trick Magic ability to handle staves effectively. A staff's most common power is granting access to a number of spells, often tied to a theme related to the staff in question. If the staff-bearer does not actually know these spells, she may cast them just as if she did — the normal mana cost applies, but like the innate magical abilities of certain monsters, there is no chance of failure. Casting spells from a staff in this manner does consume charges from the staff, however. The caster level is the better of the wielder's own or the staff's item level.

If the staff-bearer is normally able to cast a spell granted by a staff, however, the staff augments the casting. The bearer has a 100% success chance with that spell, even if metamagic feats are applied to it (though it does not remove the increased mana cost or fatigue cost of the metamagic), and casting the spell does not consume charges from the staff, nor require any somatic action.

Spells can be cast from a staff using the Spell Manager the same way that a spellcaster normally casts them. Spells from a staff appear in the listing in green — dark green if granted exclusively by the staff, or bright green if the staff augments existing knowledge of the spell. In order to make effective use of a staff's spells (and other powers), however, a mage must have it in his hands — in the Weapon Hand or Ready Hand slots (or both) in the Inventory Manager. Fortunately, most staves are magical weapons in their own right, acting as a cudgel or quarterstaff with a magical bonus to strike and damage, usually +1 or +2.
Certain staves have other powers beyond augmenting spells, sometimes granting constant benefits like resistances, attribute boosts or the ability to see invisible creatures just by being held. Others grant completely unique magical abilities that work like spells, but are on no class's spell list (such as the whirlwind ability of the staff of power). A few staves can also be activated for some kind of unique effect, such as the infamous, catastrophic Retributive Strike.

Rods
Rods can have functions similar to wands, staves or wonderous items, but are typically geared toward more militant characters than staves, which have requirements on caster level or spell access. Some rods can be used by anyone, while others might require a certain Base Attack Bonus to use successfully. Most rods can't be used until identified, but some might grant an effect just by being held.

Some rods are used via the Activate ('a') command, while others add extra effects to Spell Manager ('m') the same way that staves do.

Tomes
Tomes are tremendously rare, valuable items. They must be identified magically to be usable, but once they have been they can be read using the Activate ('a') command. Tomes may only be read once, and vanish once read. However, they are much treasured because they grant permanent benefit to a character in the form of innate abilities, free experience points, or most commonly inherant bonuses to an attribute. Any given attribute cannot have an inherant bonus exceeding +5, regardless of the number of tomes read — unless the reader is human, in which case the maximum bonus rises to +8.

Wonderous Items
Some items defy all attempts to characterize them — bowls which summon elementals, beads that aid a priest in his spellcasting, carpets that fly through the sky… the possibilities are endless. These items typically need to be identified to be used, and some are subject to the Activate ('a') command — check the specific item for details on how it is used.

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