Reading Magic

Learning to Read Magic is key to becoming an Adept and learning to cast that first spell. Much like mathematics, Magic has Universal Principals, and though the exact method of writing out the parameters of a spell may vary with time and cultures, it is possible for an Adept to decipher magical writings by seeking out and identifying those Principals and commonalities and extrapolating the rest of the spell.

Obviously this is not easy and can take some time. The more complex (higher the level) the spell, the longer it takes and the greater the difficulty. Additionally, spells and writings from unfamiliar cultures, languages and writing systems/alphabets, etc will be harder then those from familiar cultures, languages and systems. An Adept’s ability to Read Magic improves as she advances in level. Additionally, high Intelligence aids in Reading Magic

NOTE: In Victorian Dreadful, Read Magic IS NOT a Spell, it is an Ability of Adepts and ONLY Adepts, Mystics cannot read magic writing, runes, etc.

By means of Read Magic, you can decipher magical inscriptions on objects—books, scrolls, weapons, and the like—that would otherwise be unintelligible. This deciphering does not normally invoke the magic contained in the writing, although it may do so in the case of a cursed scroll. Furthermore, once you have read the magical inscription, you are thereafter able to read that particular writing without recourse to the use of read magic.

Adept LevelRead Magic %

The Adept’s Intelligence aids him or her in reading Magic. The Bonus is added to the Adept’s level %.

Adept IntelligenceRead Magic Bonus
Under 9NA

Unfamiliar languages and scripts can make deciphering the spell more difficult.

Translating and reading Modern Languages, even those with unfamiliar writing systems, have dictionaries and other translated books to use for basic reference materials to aid in translations. Some Dead Languages have similar resources. Using such materials is slow and awkward and will allow the Adept to read at a rate of one page (250 words) per Hour.
If the Adept has literacy in the ‘other’ Language, he or she can ignore the penalty completely. A familiar language can be read at the rate of one page (250 words) per minute.
If the Adept can speak (but NOT read and write) the other Language, the penalty is reduced by half (rounded down) and reading rate is one page (250 words) per Turn (10 minutes).
For some Ancient Languages there is no reliable translations to assist and no one alive reads or speaks the language (as far as anyone knows.)
Some languages are virtually incomprehensible!
Once the Adept has deciphered a Magical inscription, scroll or other source material in a previously unknown language or script, he or she is partially familiar with the language and will be able to read inscriptions in that format at half the listed penalty and at a rate of one page (250 words) per Turn (10 minutes). When the Adept has successfully translated 9 spell levels (EX: Two 1st, one 2nd and one 5th level spell) the Adept can Read Magic at no penalty for the language or writing type.

Modifying Conditions%
Adept’s Native Language Ex: English0
‘Modern’ Language with familiar alphabet Ex: French, German-5%
‘Modern’ Language with unfamiliar alphabet Ex: Cyrillic, Greek-10%
‘Modern’ Language with unfamiliar or symbol based writing Ex: Japanese-20%
‘Dead’ Language with familiar alphabet Ex: Latin-10%
‘Dead’ Language with unfamiliar alphabet Ex: Aramaic, Phoenician-20%
‘Dead’ Language with unfamiliar or symbol based writing Ex: Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Runes-30%
Completely Unknown/Alien Language-60% or more!
0 Level Spell0%
1st Level Spell0%
2nd Level Spell-5%
3rd Level Spell-10%
4th Level Spell-15%
5th Level Spell-20%
6th Level Spell-25%
7th Level Spell-30%
8th Level Spell-35%
9th Level Spell-40%