For example: Merenthal is an Unholy magic user of weaker than normal constitution, but strong talent and skill in the Dark Arts. Therefore, his player decides to start him at HP 7, returning 6 points (2 per level) to his pool. He then uses his extra points towards levels in Unholy Magic.
We'll talk more about Focus and HP and their role in combat/casting later.
For example: Merenthal has Unholy as his Primary and Elemental for a Secondary. He buys Unholy Magic up to level 4 to become a vested Cleric; this costs 19 points, so he has 19 points in Unholy. He buys Elemental up to level 3, which costs 15 points, so he has 15 points in Elemental. His total MP is 19 (to match his Primary). He can't cast an Elemental spell that's higher than level 3 or costs more than 15 points for a single spell, but he can cast a level 3 Elemental spell that costs 10 points and a level 2 Elemental spell that costs 9 points before he runs out of MP. For Unholy, he can go all the way up to level 4 and to 19 points maximum for a single spell, or he can cast lower cost spells until his 19 MP runs out.
NOTE: You CANNOT buy more than one school at the same level at character creation: Your primary school will have the highest level, your secondary the second highest, and so on. No two schools can be the same level at character creation. If you later focus your studies on one particular school and it ends up tied with a higher school, so be it. If it becomes a higher level, it moves up the ladder, as it were. That is, if you focus all your attention, study (and XP) on your secondary school so much that it becomes a higher level than your primary, then it becomes your primary instead. The two schools would swap places.
For Spirit Magicians (those who take Spirit as their Primary), your MP equals your HPx2. This seems awesome until you factor in that for each point of HP you lose, you lose 2 MP. However, casting Spirit Spells only uses MP: it doesn't decrease your HP at all normally, and very rarely requires Focus. You can tap into your HP for MP if you want as a Spirit Magician, but...well, we'll talk about that in a bit.
Spells (and some advanced combat skills) require concentration to pull off. When you're casting spells, you are pulling in magical energy and then directing it to your purpose; if you lose concentration in the middle, the energy can go haywire (which basically means it's up to the GM to decide what happens with all that undirected energy: the results can be good, bad, or wacky)!
The Focus cost for spells is equivalent to the level of a spell (so a level 6 spell requires 6 Focus). All humanoid characters have a Focus of 10 to begin with, and normally, Focus returns to 10 at the end of each round - after you're done casting.
For example: Merenthal casts a spell requiring 4 Focus and taking 5 rounds to cast. He must maintain at least 4 Focus during those five rounds, but since he has 10 and has no distractions or negative spell effects, that's no problem. At the end of the fifth round, the spell is cast, and he is down to 6 Focus. Other players' and NPCs' actions take place, and the round ends. At the beginning of the next round, Merenthal is back to 10 Focus.
However, now Merenthal needs to cast a 6 Focus spell. It goes off next round, but in the ensuing actions, a spell causes him to lose 5 Focus. His Focus drops from 10 to 5, which is not enough for the spell. Merenthal's fate is now in the hands of the GM, as the energy is now loose and uncontrolled!
There is an exception to the "all Focus back to 10 next round" rule: if your Focus ever drops to 0, you become Unfocused. Unfocused means that you cannot make basic attack or defensive actions for a round. You're still conscious, but very out of it. The round after your round of Unfocused, you will start to regain Focus 1 point/hour (not per round), unless you take steps to actively regain it.
For example: Merenthal is under serious attack from a Holy Magic user, who casts Prevent at him. Prevent drops Merenthal's Focus by 10, all the way to 0. Merenthal is immediately Unfocused and essentially helpless for a round, during which he takes 5 points of damage. The next round, he goes back to 1 Focus, and will stay there for the next hour, by which point, combat will be long over...and he might be as well!
You can regain Focus as listed below in the summary, but a quick way to do it is to take either the Meditation or Restore Focus skills. NOTE: a level 10 spell requires 10 Focus which means that, after casting it, you are immediately Unfocused. Be very, very certain that you need to cast that spell before you do it - and that you have the time to Meditate, Restore Focus, or otherwise do something to get your Focus back.
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Spells eat up your Magic Points AND (temporarily anyway) your Focus - being a spellslinger is tough work. When you're out of MP, you're done casting spells, so pick your spells carefully...and have a backup, always. The exception to this is being a Spirit Magician: if you've run out of MP, you can tap into your remaining HP, up to a point. At 1 HP, you will fall into a deep sleep, essentially a coma, though you will eventually wake up on your own...in about a day. With GM permission and/or suitable Disadvantages, you can even spellcast yourself to Death, overriding your 1 HP limit. This is a suicidal drive to overcome your body's own self-protections though, and, as noted above, odds are good that once you die, you're gonna stay Dead. If you do decide to convert HP into MP, it still converts at the normal 2 MP per HP rule; just remember to keep track of your HP as you use it up.
However, whether you choose to tap into your HP or just call it quits when your MP is up, as a Spirit Magician, you can eat and sleep to regain MP just as you do HP & Focus. Your life's energy is your magic, after all. So how do all other magic users get their MP back? The Meditation skill is the normal way: whether you're talking to your otherworldly being or just getting back in touch with Nature, Meditation restores MP and Focus, and is thus the boon of all spellcasters. The other way is simply time: one MP back per hour, assuming you don't use any magic during that hour. If you're eating or sleeping anyway, you may not bother with taking an hour out to Meditate (though the one hour Meditation will restore more MP than one hour of simply waiting).
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