Some brief arcane backgrounds for the Savage Seas campaign:
Each of the three options below reflect the most likely practices of magic to come in to play, but aren't all that could be available (Amerind shamanism, for example, or perhaps some unusual nahuatl magic systems). Each arcane background specific excludes "flashy" conventional spells in favor of spells with more potential subtlety.
Arcane Background (Witchcraft) (Witch, warlock, sorcerer)
Arcane Skill: Witchcraft (smarts)
Starting PPs: 10
Starting Powers: 3
Power Choices: Banish, Beast Friend, Blind, Boost/Lower Trait, Confusion, Darksight, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Disguise, Dispel, Divination, Drain Power Points, Farsight, Fear, Mind Reading, Puppet, Shape Change, Slumber, Might, Succor, Warrior's Gift
Horror Companion Power Options: banish entity, bind entity, drain years, nightmares, spirit shield, gravespeak, summon demon, summon spirit, suppress lycnathropy
Special: all spells cast according to Ritual Magic rules (see below)
Trappings: infernal or pagan allusions, with little or no "flash" but plenty of hidden effect.
Prerequisite: must be European in origin, or have studied under a European sorcerer or cabal.
Witchcraft reflects old world pagan beliefs, carried out by either heretical Catholics and Christians engaged in satanic belief or pagan Europeans still engaging with old world systems of belief.
Arcane Background (Voudun) (Ougun, Bokor, Mambo)
Arcane skill: Vodun (spirit)
Starting PPs: 10
Starting Powers: 3
Power Choices: Banish, Beast Friend, Blind, Confusion, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Damage Field, Disguise, Dispel, Divination, Drain Power Points, Farsight, Fear, Mind Reading, Puppet, Shape Change, Slumber, Succor, Warrior's Gift, Zombie
From Horror Companion: Banish Entity (Loas and Duppys), Bind Entity (Loas and Duppys), corpse senses, enhance undead, grave shroud, grave speak, nightmares, spirit shield, strength of the dead, summon spirit, summon demon,
Special: all spells cast according to Ritual Magic rules
Trappings: power drawn from the Loas; spirits of voudon practice are invisible until they find a host; the host tends to transform over time under the loa which occupies his or her form. Voudon also has access to all the cool necromancy.
Prerequisite: must be of West African descent or origin or mulatto background
In 1718 the supression of West African paganism (especially the Vodun religion) and forced conversion of slaves to Catholicism led to an underground movement of voudon belief which was blended carefully with the iconography and trappings of Catholicism to disguise the worship of the old Loa. This was a formative period in a new syncretized form of belief, and a very important period for the rise of voudon as we know it. Practice of such was heresy and punishable potentially by death.
Arcane Background (Miracles) (priest, monk, friar, etc.)
Use the writer-up in the core book, but with the following mods:
Power Choices: Banish, Blind, Detect Arcana, Dispel, Divination, Greater Healing, Healing, Succor, Warrior's Gift
Horror Companion Power Options: banish entity, consecrate ground, spirit shield
Special: must cast using ritual magic rules
Trappings: clerical miracles granted to an especially saintly Christian, Jewish, Muslim or other servant of a more "accepted" religion in 1718
Prerequisite: must be Catholic, Christian, Jew or Muslim, native or converted
Miracles as presented here reflect the popular European and Middle-Eastern belief systems that were most accepted at the time. Muslims among pirates, as well as converts were not unheard of. Catholicism dominated amongst the colonies, but the Americas were rife with dissident Christian sects. Nonetheless, an adventurer of faith with this background has potent miraculous skills at his disposal.
Ritual Magic (House Rule)
The details on ritual magic are found on page 26 of the savage Worlds Horror Companion, but the details on how long a spell will take are a bit vague. The following rule of thumb will provide some guidance:
When casting ritual magic, the arcane skill roll determine the speed of the ritual. On a 1, the ritual fails with potential negative effect. On a 2-3 the spell fails normally. On a normal success the ritual is presumed to have taken 1 hour of time. On a raise the ritual takes 10 minutes of time. On a second raise, the spell takes 1 minute of time. A rare third raise means the spell takes 1 action.