Base Cost: [5} for Magery 0 + 10/level

Magery is a supernatural mental Advantage where you are magically adept. In the default magic system it is required to learn/cast mana based spells in a low to normal mana area. It was called Magical Aptitude in Classic.

Magery with no enchantments or limitations is known as Standard Magery[1] which is essentially Energy+Spell Magery.

The term for people with Magery is "mage"...even if they know no spells. The clerical equivalent is Power Investiture.

Each level of Magery (up to 4) is -10% of the time to learn a spell (but not its point cost).[2]

Learning without Magery

Magery 0 is not required to learn spells that don't require Magery 1+[3], but it's proposed that being able to cast spells is, so that would require moving to High Mana in normal rules, or using optional rules which allow casting at -6.

Magery 1/2/3 is sometimes listed as a prereq for learning the spell.

  • this must at least be One-Spell magery for that spell, or Limited Colleges applying to a college it is in.

This presumably means that Study time must be spent during moments when those magery are on, so for example you could not be taught Fireball during night school if you had Day-Aspected like Roxana; though with this form of Partially Limited Magery one could learn any spell not requiring magery at anytime.

Unusable Prerequisites

T26 talks about these, the idea that you can learn a spell which you cannot cast.

This could cover non-mages casting any type of spell in Low Mana, or aspected mages casting spells outside of their aspect in normal mana.

The standard option is they can be learned, with an option about 'sputtering partial effects'.

3rd paragraph questions it, and 4th gives brutal option to just lock it out. 5th suggests mages go to high mana places to "get the feel" of new spells. 6th suggests altering the prereq structure.

Casting without Magery

Basic Set and Magic only specify Magery 0 as being required to cast spells in Normal or below Mana.

  • this limit is softened with a Thaumatology which just applies a -6 penalty (-5 for Path/Book) if lacking Magery 0

"Prereqs" (skills or advantages) are never specified as being needed to CAST (only LEARN) a spell. For example if you have Empathy and use it to learn Lend Energy, getting hit with Negated Advantage for your Empathy would not prevent using Lend Energy.

  • however like with missing a prereq spell, there should probably be a -2 penalty to casting when you lack the prereq, like Forgetfulness says, or -4 like Wild Talent

This SHOULD apply to M123 as well but there are examples which appear to imply that they are needed.

Roxana mentioned above is one such example.

Spells affecting Magery

Spells without Magery

The Basic Set allows this in High Mana areas, via Power Investiture, or with enough levels of Mana Enhancer. Several changes to this were created with later supplements:

GURPS Thaumatology Additions

Magic: The Least of Spells

  • Added the concept of IQ/A spells which can be learned and cost by non-mages in Normal Mana.

Levels of Magery

Fractional Magery [1 point/level; max 5]: This is a special form of Magery (Path/Book) under the Limited Non-Mage Ceremonies rules. In some settings it can turn any version of Magery into a Learnable Advantage.

Magery 0 (Fractional Magery 5) [5]: You can make a sense roll when you first see a magic item, and again when you first touch it. The better the roll the more general information can gleamed from the item.

Magery 1+ [+10/level]: Not only does this give a bonus to the Sense roll but it also makes it easier to learn spells. The level of magery adds to your IQ for learning spells: So a Magery 1 IQ 11 mage learns spells as if they were IQ 12. It also reduces learning time by 10% per level up to 40% reduction. Certain spells require a certain level of magery to learn.

Special Case for Magery 0

GURPS Thaumatology changes the rules for Magery 0 described in the Basic Set. Per Partially Limited Magery a mage with Magery 0 (normal) + Magery (limitation) is able cast every spell that doesn't require Magery 1+ independent of the limitation. Limited Magery 0? via examples shows how the new rule works.

Because limitations (and logically enhancements as well) do not effect Magery 0, unless expressly applied to it and changing its point total, it should be listed separately from Magery 1+ to denote it as Magery 0 (Normal)[8][9]

There are special rules regarding Limited Magery 0. Due to the nature of Magery 0, the complexity of having unenchanced Magery 0 per the RAW, and to keep things balanced in terms of points, enhancements should always be applied to Magery 0 eliminating the need for Partially Limited Magery.

For example, a mage with Magery 3 (Easy Casting, +40%; Stable Casting, +40%) would cost [63] (1.8x35) not [54] (5+1.8x30).

Special Case for Magery (Ritual Path)

Despite the name "standard Magery and Magery (Ritual Path) do not interact in any way."


It is stated "This is a variant of standard Magery" so ideally one should be able to get to it from standard Magery with the right combination of enhancements and limitations but the process isn't given so to paraphase Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle 'we got there but we didn't get an explanation on how we got there', other then the obvious (Functions as a Different Talent, ±0%) It also doesn't help that Magery 0 is, in theory, supposed to uniform across all forms of magery unless directly modified.

Special Modifiers

Special Enhancements

  • Easy Casting (+40%/level); cannot be combined with the Extravagant Rituals limitation[12]
  • Inspired Learning (+20%): built into Power Investiture[10]
  • No Spell Prerequisites (+30%): built into Power Investiture[10]
  • No Zero-Level Requirement (+10%); built into Power Investiture[10]
  • Solitary Ceremonial Casting (+10%)[13]
  • Stable Casting (+40%): can reroll a critical failure; cannot be combined with the Radically Unstable Magery limitation[14]
  • Subtle Aura (+20% for -5 to detection) or +40% for detection doesn't work): Your aura doesn’t mark you as a mage[15]
  • Switchable (+10%): Magery can be turned on or off with a Ready maneuver[16]

Special Limitations

"The standard rules for Magery (pp. B66-67) imply that one cannot apply limitations to Magery 0."(sic)[17] In fact, GURPS Thaumatology so changed the rules for Magery 0 that none of the examples in the Basic Set (which are in bold) are correct in functionality and/or cost.

Using Enhancements and Limitations

As one will notice several of the Enhancements and Limitations are "built-in" to Power Investiture. Putting them all together produces:

  • Magery (Functions as a Different Talent ±0%; Sanctity Replaces Mana: ±0%; No Zero-Level Requirement +10%; Inspired Learning +20%; No Spell Prerequisites +30%; Pact -10%; No Magic Item Sensitivity -20%; Limited spell list -30%)



Extra Energy


M156 gives Black Magic rules. Since the resist roll is Will+Magery this makes One-Spell Magery even more useful to buying up the skill directly (basically pointless now, after the initial 1 point, except for being insured against Magery-killing abilities).

Building a Golem with an energy reserve he can share (see Improved Zombie for guidelines) would be a superior alternative to relying on skilled assistance for Ceremonial Magic.


GURPS Horror 147 under Gaining Corruption suggested a 6x magery ceiling on free energy points gained by taking on corruption. They use the Black Critical Table. It may require special study or just be a world feature anyone can tap into.

Derangement adds it too.


have Energy Reserves and Dungeon Fantasy guides on how to use this with familiars.


Energy Orbs

Kromm quotes

In 2007 at

Hal attempted to summarize what Magery 0 does:

A: Detect Mana field intensity (Ie No, Low, Middle, High, and Very High)
B: Detect Magic items in a limited manner
C: Cast spells in a Low or Normal Mana region
D: Us Magic items that require magery to function properly (ie Mage only magic items)

Kromm replied:

We consider A & B the same thing -- you can detect magical fields.
We consider C & D the same thing -- you can manipulate magical forces.
And we consider C & D basically a zero-cost consequence of A & B -- sensing magical forces lets you at least try to manipulate them.

This was later contradicted in 2008's Thaumatology where Total Spell Incompetence has the concept of detecting mana and items without being able to cast spells or use magic items: Limited Magery 0 similarly halves magery limitations if they only apply to spellcasting and not sensing items/mana. Kromm did hint at that though:

One can game-mechanically split these up all kinds of ways,
but be warned that the logic of Magery 0 is that which I just presented,
not a package deal of various parts that one could naively define in a vacuum.

See also


  1. GURPS Thaumatology p 72
  2. GURPS Magic pg 6
  3. GURPS Magic p. 6
  4. GURPS Thaumatology pg 58; This differs from the Classic Clerical Non-mage option in GURPS 3e Magic as Low mana doesn't invoke a penalty. - Classic: Fantasy p. 95
  5. GURPS Thaumatology pg 81
  6. GURPS Thaumatology pg 91
  7. GURPS Thaumatology pg 123
  8. GURPS Thaumatology 21
  9. See the 4e write-op of Raphael Holyoak to see this separation in a character without enhanced or limited magery.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 GURPS Thaumatology p 87
  11. GURPS Powers 181
  12. GURPS Thaumatology p 28
  13. GURPS Fantasy pg 130; GURPS Thaumatology p 28
  14. GURPS Thaumatology pg 28-29
  15. GURPS Thaumatology pg 29
  16. GURPS Thaumatology pg 29
  17. GURPS Thaumatology 21
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 B67
  19. Basic Set p. 453