Ability Quick Reference Cards

Magic Spells by AndyGarcia666 - CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Approximate time to read: 5 minutes.   

After a long delay in making progress, I have added the seventh sheet to the Symbaroum Ability Quick Reference Cards. In addition, I have updated Two-Handed Force, on the first sheet, which included the wrong text for the Adept and Master levels of the Ability.

To be quite clear, you can make personal use of these sheets, but the copyright for the material remains with Free League Publishing – and I have appended a note as such to the bottom of each sheet.

I have found these cards incredibly useful in play, as it means you don’t need to constantly hand the core rules around the table for a quick check of an Ability. Equally, even at a table with more than one copy of the core Symbaroum rules, high action events like combat can easily lead to a bottleneck of reference. When more than one player needs to check something, combat can slow to a standstill.

With the Ability Quick Reference Cards, you can just hand each player the Abilities relevant to their characters.

I also find these cards incredibly useful for demo and convention games, where you don’t want to cram all the information into the character sheet. Instead, add the Ability titles to the sheet and then deal out the appropriate cards for the player to reference.

When I prepare for an event, I print off the character sheets and then clip the appropriate cards to each one.

One More Sheet?

I have updated the Symbaroum Resource page of the site to link to individual sheets. I had them all in one big file before; now, you can download an individual page (each file is roughly a 1MB download).

For ease of reference, I have noted the Abilities included on each sheet as part of the link title. Click the link and download the sheet for printing. I just print on plain paper and then use card sleeves – with a spare trading card to give each rigidity (Magic Land cards do have a use after all!).

At this point, I have four Mystical Powers outstanding from the core book – Nature’s Embrace, Revenant Strike, True Form and Unholy Aura. I have plans to add some new homegrown Abilities on The Iron Pact in the near future – so, I will wait until I have nine Abilities or Powers in total before completing Sheet 08.

A Further Update

The most recent sheet uses one of the terms I added to my Symbaroum lexicon in the article Monstrous Traits – Penetrating. I find it a lot quicker to say Penetrating damage than explain that the damage type ignores Armor.

I have not gone through the earlier cards and adjusted them with the revised wording, but plan to do so in the near future in completing the current set.

Throwing and Falling

With respect to Penetrating damage and the Mystical Powers listed on Sheet 07, you might wonder why the difference between the effects of a failed Levitate and a successful Mind-Throw.

When you lose concentration using Levitate, you hit the ground and suffer Penetrating damage. When you use Mind-Throw to throw an enemy, they hit the ground and suffer damage minus their Armor.

I think the key takeaway from this is that someone falling impacts suddenly and jarringly with the ground, but someone Mind-Thrown strikes a surface like a stone skimming across a lake. The drop hurts because, if anything, the armour worn jabs and digs into the wearer or just strikes like a thin second skin. The throw, on the other hand, means a target skids and rolls as they make contact with the ground and the character’s armour can absorb some of the impact damage.

We’re All Targets

Some of the Mystical Powers on Sheet 07 reference ‘target’ instead of ‘enemy’. For example, Maltranformation, which allows you to turn someone into a harmless beast. I have made that change – and you can choose to ignore it. If you refer to your copy of the core rules, you will see where I have inserted target instead of enemy or ally.

I can see definite value in using a spell like that on an ally as a means to disguise them. How do you get a Pariah Ogre colleague into Thistle Hold? Obviously, you use Maltransformation to turn him into a cow and lead him through the East Gate.

At the same time, why wouldn’t you want to Levitate an enemy – or, indeed, chain levitate several of them? You would be vulnerable as the caster because you have to Levitate with them, but you can get them out of the way – perhaps reduce the overwhelming numbers facing your allies?

Players Roll

Speaking of Mind-Throw, when I added the card to the sheet, I re-read the description of the Adept and Master levels. In both, you have enough power to turn the Mystical Power against an enemy – or enemies – throwing them in a direction of your choosing. The description says:

The enemy lands on its back, unless it makes a successful Quick test.

That means the GM makes a dice throw.

Symbaroum adopts a whole system around having the players make all the dice rolls, so this seemed odd to me. I wouldn’t want to create exceptions to the core on a key mechanic like player only rolling. At the same time, while it is something you need to decide on, to me damage from a throw AND lying prone seems like quite a penalty.

By way of example, from the core rules, Pain Threshold (p160) proposes something very similar. Damage that exceeds the Pain Threshold in one go inflicts pain sufficient to allow either a free attack or a knockdown. I think we can equate a free attack to rolling a die of damage.

Therefore, I suggest that instead of breaking the mechanical flow and having the GM roll dice, change Mind-Throw‘s mid- and high-level so that the Mystic must choose: either inflict damage (minus Armor) or inflict an unavoidable knockdown.

Keeping Pace

One other change to the wording on some of the cards relates to distance. Some Mystical Powers reference range or distance in terms of Movement Actions. The oddest example is Flame Wall, which notes that the wall is:

wide enough to cover most corridors and divide most rooms… one can get around the wall of flames by using double Movement Actions

As pointed out in the Player’s Rules (p158), a Movement Action is:

a meaningful movement … [but] the exact distance is not of any great importance

That’s fair enough, but some players will want to know the wall’s width.

Later it suggests that a Movement Action equals roughly 10 paces (or 10 meters); so, I have used this on the cards where relevant. For Flame Wall, I have assumed the wall extends 10 paces across and, therefore, if someone wanted to engage in melee they would need to expend a double Movement Action to pass around the barrier.

Levitate references a slow drift of “one stride per turn”, which I have assumed equals a pace or 1 metre.


  1. Hey,

    This is awesome. Thank you.
    I have hungarian translation for the abilities. I’d like to translate your cards. Would you be so kind to share with me the source files for the cards or any source to start from?

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