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Steve Jackson Games
Despite its "set piece" sorcery and limited flexibility, the main magic system in the GURPS Basic Set and GURPS Magic offers a major advantage: Effects are spelled out clearly ahead of time, meaning no spell-creation mini-game and relatively few arguments at the gaming table. This degree of predictability is great for games with fireballs and dragons, like hack 'n' slash fantasy, but not suited to every genre that features the supernatural.
GURPS Magical Styles: Horror Magic uses the tools of GURPS Thaumatology: Magical Styles to adapt this system to genres where magic is supposed to be a secret – likely a creepy one, if not evil. Cult Secrets is a style for secretive wizards who don robes to carry out ceremonies under cover of darkness, usually in the name of a demon or dark god. The Dark Path, on the other hand, is followed by loners who delve into forbidden books to show their detractors the price of laughing at their ambitions. And Forgotten Wisdom suits traditionalists whose problem is largely one of image . . . but who aren't above cursing enemies.
Ultimately, it isn't about the spells you cast but who you damn to Hell when you cast them – which could be you, if you aren't very, very careful!
Written by Sean Punch