Magic is a language. Spells are a gamble.

Each character in the game will be given a number of ‘magic words’ – usually around 10 – that they can use to compose spells.

All spells require at least three words:

  1. A word to indicate the type of magic
  2. A word to indicate the target of the magic.
  3. A word to indicate the effect

So for example a spell to cause a piece of paper to catch fire might be expressed as “Fire, small object, create”. It is possible for spells to contain more that three words, to create complex effects.

The words each character is given will allow them access to a few different types of magic, across a number of effects and targets. Players will be provided with the magical words their character knows as part of their character pack.

A player wishing to cast a spell will need to find a ref, and explain the effect they wish to create. The ref will then deal them a single hand of blackjack, and then tell them (and anyone else who needs to know) what has happened, based on the final score.

  • 15 or under: the magic fails. Nothing happens.
  • 16-21: the magic works. 21 represents a perfectly cast spell, doing exactly what the caster intended. Lower values may have a lesser effect, but the outcome will be in line with what the caster intended.
  • Five card trick: an exceptional feat of magic. The player will be given an ace to keep up their sleeve, to use in a future effect.
  • Bust: the magic goes wild. It may do some or all of what the caster intended, but it will also have other, less intentional side effects

There are a number of elements within the game that might modify these rules.

  1. Drinking a potion (available from the bartender) might either gain you a useful card to keep up your sleeve, that can be played at will, or might force a card on you that you must play on your next hand.
  2. Giving someone else your class ring is an act of magical significance. If you have given someone else your class ring, as a sign of trust, affection, or for any other reason, then if you attempt to do magic that would affect them, you will be dealt three cards, not two, as your starting hand.
  3. If, during the course of the game, a character learns to use a magic word that was not one of the words they began the game with, they are free to use it in their casting. However, in this case, after they have played a hand of blackjack, the ref will also play a hand in competition with them. If the ref wins, the spell will go wild, regardless of the player’s final score.

Combat and physical injury
It is not possible to seriously injure or kill other characters at this event, and there is no provision in these rules for doing so. Physical violence or magical damage akin to a serious and painful beating is possible, but only with the consent of the player whose character would be injured in this manner.

If two players cannot agree on an outcome for a direct altercation, then it is considered to be a bit of inconclusive scuffling – a brief physical catharsis that does no lasting damage.

Magic words
The following is a list of the english translations of magic words taught on the various courses at Hannigans. There may be others, but they are not generally known to Hannigan’s graduates.

Type of Magic Effect of Magic Target of Magic
Friend (group)
Friend (individual)
Foe (group)
Foe (individual)
Small object
Large object
“That empty air there”
Distant room

Physical magic: Covers telekinesis and other gross physical effects.
Battle magic: Magic cannot be used ‘in a fight’ without the use of this word, which is a rare talent. Battle magic spells are always 4 words long – battle magic is a modifier to other types of effect, and the effects that battle magic produces are always weaker than the non-battle equivalents. A physical effect that produces a force strong enough to uproot a tree outside of battle might produce enough force to fling someone across the room, battering and bruising them, but not killing them.
Summoning: Demons, Angels, Fae, and all manner of otherworldly entities exist. Very few of them are safe to summon unless you’re sure you know what you are doing.