Optional Rules Q Amp A

Optional Rules Q&A

Got a question about Magic Realm's official optional rules? Enter it here and we'll get you an answer!

Q. When using the Seasons & Weather rules, what do you do when you must fatigue asterisks, but you have no asterisks left in play?

A. The following sequence is used:

  • First fatigue any color chits in play;
  • Then wound any non-asterisked chits in play;
  • If there are no chits in play, begin wounding fatigued chits;
  • If all chits are wounded and you still have to fatigue, you die.

Note: this sequence is not limited to the optional rules... it is used whenever you are required to fatigue more asterisks than you have in play.

Q. When using the Commerce Rule to purchase items, you will sometimes have a price of zero or even negative gold. How is this handled?

A. The correct way to play it, as explained by Richard Hamblen, is that items with a price of zero are indeed free (but are not "boons"), and items with a negative price the natives do indeed pay you to take the darned thing away, but they never pay more than price x 1.

Q. Under the basic rules, "The character can sell any number of belongings at the same time." The optional Commerce rules state, "When a character (or hired leader) sells belongings to natives and visitors, he must roll on the Commerce Table to set the price he collects." Can I still sell any number of belongings at the same time?

A. Yes.

Normally, you will want to sell everything at once, to ensure that you get a reasonable price even if you roll a negative modifier (OFFER GOLD 10, for example, where the 10 is taken from the total value of all the items you are selling... and not from each item individually).

If, however, you are rolling on the ALLY column and need to raise a lot of gold, it might make more sense to sell each item one at a time, and try to get a +5 or a +10 on each item... but this can take quite a long time to accomplish, depending upon your luck and the number of items you are selling.

Q. Under the basic rules: "(A character or hired leader) can either buy or sell during each Trade activity, but he cannot both buy and sell in the same activity. Exception: He can use items to make up part or all of the purchase price when he buys." [2nd Edition 10.3/2, 3rd Edition 7.6.3.b.] How does this exception work under the Optional Commerce Rules?

A. If you use one or more belongings to help pay for a new item you are buying, the value of the belongings is their basic price, adjusted by the modifiers given in Commerce rule 4.2.

(Remember: you roll on the Meeting Table when buying, and you roll on the Commerce Table when selling; but the 4.2 modifiers apply to both buying and selling.)

One might think that trading in belongings like this is a loophole in the rules that allows you to avoid the negative modifiers on the Commerce table... but it's easy to imagine the natives not driving quite as hard a bargain when you are actually buying something from them, as opposed to trying to convince them to part with their hard-earned cash to buy something from you.

Q. I assume that anything that affects a roll on the Meeting Table during a Trade activity (for example, the Swordsman's "Barter" Special Advantage) would also affect a roll on the Commerce Table. Is this true?

A. Yes. The Commerce Table simply replaces the Meeting Table when you use Trade phases to sell items, so everything that applies to the Meeting Table also applies to the Commerce Table.

Q. If an Artifact or Spell Book is enchanted to color magic, can it still be used as an Artifact/Spell Book or as a Magic chit? Could it be used to self-power one of its spells by both casting the spell and supplying the required color magic?

A. No. The Enhanced Artifacts and Spell Books optional rule allows each Artifact and Spell Book to be used exactly like a Magic chit. When you enchant a Magic chit to color, it can no longer be used as a Magic chit until the color is expended and you rest it back into play.

So, just as you cannot use a color chit to cast a spell (the color can power a spell, but some other Magic chit must cast it), it would follow that you also cannot use a "color Artifact/Spell Book" to cast a spell. You would first have to expend the color to turn it back into an Artifact or Spell Book.

Q. Why would you ever use the Dragon Heads rule? Rolling on the missile table usually makes them weaker!

A. This rule was probably designed with the Optional Combat Rules in mind, where missile attacks are much more powerful and can penetrate armor to inflict damage directly on the character.

Q. Does the Lucky Charm affect die rolls on the Fumble and Stumble Tables?

A. Yes.

Q. Do Cave Knowledge (Dwarf) or Tracker Skills (Woods Girl) apply to die rolls on the optional combat tables (Fumble, Stumble, Optional Missile)?

A. No. The only character Special Advantages that affect die rolls on the optional combat tables are Aim (Amazon, Black Knight, Captain) and Archer (Elf, Woods Girl) on the Optional Missile Table.

Q. Does a missile attack whose final harm exceeds Tremendous ignore all armor? That is, does it always kill the target character even if it has to pass through multiple layers of armor and/or armor cards?

A. Yes. It works just as it does in the basic combat rules.

Q. Are horses counted when figuring the die roll modifier for a roll on the Stumble Table (so that the Patrol would be six instead of three people)?

A. No, horses do not count on the Stumble Table, because they are not denizens or characters. (Stumble Table definitions, p. 57, 2nd edition rules.) Horses are belongings and are thus treated no differently than Boots cards or the Flying Carpet. They do not count as individuals separate from their owners.

(Technically, native horses are not belongings because they can never be used by a character, so you can instead think of them as "native belongings" or "native equipment".)

Q. Are the Optional Abilities only valid for a character at the 4th level of development (i.e., when the character already has all his regular special abilities)?

A. The Magic Realm rules do not explain how to use Optional Abilities in conjunction with the Development rules. The following recommendations were offered when the question was posted on the Magic Realm Mailing List. The responding players, some of whom have used these rules in PBEM games, were in general but not total agreement. Where there was no agreement, I have listed all of the different responses.

Players who wish to use these rules in a game will have to agree among themselves as to which of the following recommendations will be used.

Keep in mind that the development rules can be used in two ways: a full development game (start at level 1 and work your way up), or a regular game in which you choose to play at a lower level of development for the entire game (recording fewer victory points based upon the level you play at).


At what level does his Move M5 chit become a Magic III2* chit?

Level 2
Level 2 (development game: last Move M5 received)
Level 2 (and learns one Type III spell)

At what level can he do enchantments on every Spell Phase?

Level 3
Level 4


At what level does he start rolling one die instead of two for the Hire activity?

Level 3
Level 4


At what level does her tracking skills extend to all woods clearings?

Level 2


At what level do the Magician's alerted Magic chits stop fatiguing at Midnight?

Level 2


At what level does he become immune to curses?

Level 2
Level 3

At what level does his Peace With Nature extend to Site chits?

Level 4


When does he have to make the Great Elf/Light Elf choice?

At the start of the game.

Note that in a regular game, making this choice is only meaningful at level 4, as at the lower levels the "choice" (Light Elf) is obvious.


The 3rd edition Optional Rules will add the "Knight's Adjustment" to the Optional Abilities, which reduces the Knights' allies to friendly. I asked how this would be played when using the development rules:


Should a level 3 White Knight be friendly or ally to the Order?



Should a level 3 Black Knight be friendly or ally to the Company?



Remember that these are just recommendations. Optional Abilities and Development have not been used together in enough games for any definitive ruling to be made.

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