Shadowrun [a mutated cyberpunk/New Age/fantasy game] suffered initially from a real lack of interesting magical effects. Yes, it had some cool tricks with ritual magic and astral projection, but it didn't have enough stuff that was, well. . .weird.

We're going to fix that. Warning: mathemagic ahead.

First, those damn magical circles. Yes, you can paint them on a tarp, but they're really
unwieldy. This is the 2050's- could we __modernize__ a little? Faster, better, smaller.
The theory behind this is that a Magic Circle actually creates a sphere of protection. The
circle would be perpendicular and run around the equator, if we think of the sphere as a
globe. It has to be the size it is (3m + 1m/level diameter) for whatever Magic Theory
reasons there may be. Bigger goldfish, bigger tank. It's not important here.

What's important is that the circle has to be perpendicular to the surface of the globe. At
the equator, it's nice and flat, and you can draw it on the floor of your boardroom or
whatever. At, say, the Arctic Circle, it would look more like a slice off the top of a
funnel. You would need to precisely machine this ring, and you'd need to do some complex
magical calculation and compensation, but it can be done. It's available from a small
manufacturing firm- 2 meter diameter rings, with computer-controlled etching of the runes
and sigils, producing a level 3 power circle (at about 20 degrees from the "north pole")
that'll fit around your bed. Just don't step on it and twist it. That would be **bad**.

Second, an interesting little application of higher mathematics to the classic area-effect
spell. Our researcher was playing with equations one day and said, "Why a sphere?" Attempts
at cylinders and ordinary solid shapes failed. However, through some simple constraints,
second-order spherical harmonics could be formed. Think of this as a 2p orbital from high
school chemistry; something like taking a clown's balloon and giving it one twist in the
middle. Unfortunately, the drain is proportional to not (F/2) but (F/2)^2, so that a
Manaball's drain goes as follows:

Power Drain 1 0S 2 1S 3 2S 4 4S 5 6S 6 9S

This is the shape of a second spherical harmonic.

last updated 3/1/00