Magic in the Realms - Circle Magic
Some of the most powerful and spectacular spells worked across Faerûn are cast in the form of circle magic. Circle magic is a type of cooperative spellcasting that allows the spellcaster leading the circle to increase her caster level significantly and achieve results otherwise unavailable to the spellcasters composing the circle. The Red Wizards of Thay and the Witches of Rashemen make frequent use of circle magic. Stories of other forms of circle magic abound in Faerûn.
The ability to participate in circle magic requires the selection of a character feat - Ethran for a Witch of Rashemen.
One spellcaster, usually the most powerful or experienced character present, stands at the center of the circle. This character is the circle leader. A hathran must be at least 4th level in the hathran prestige class to be a circle leader. A Red Wizard cannot be a circle leader unless he is at least a 5th-level Red Wizard.
A circle requires a minimum of two participants plus the circle leader. Up to five participants can aid a circle leader in a standard circle, but a Red Wizard of 10th level can lead a great circle containing up to nine participants.
All participants in a circle must stand within 10 feet of the circle leader, who stands in the center.
The first use of circle magic is to empower the circle leader with the strength of all the participants. This requires 1 full hour of uninterrupted concentration on the part of all participants and the circle leader. Each participant casts any single prepared spell, which is consumed by the circle and has no effect other than expending the prepared spell. The spell levels expended by the circle participants are totaled as circle bonus levels. Each bonus level may be used to accomplish the following effects:
- Increase the circle leader's caster level by one for every bonus level expended (maximum caster level 40th).
- Add Empower Spell, Maximize Spell, or Heighten Spell metamagic feats to spells currently prepared by the circle leader. Each bonus level counts as one additional spell level required by the application of a metamagic feat to a spell. The circle leader may add the feats listed to a spell even if he does not know the feat or if the addition of the feat would raise the spell level past the circle leader's normal maximum spell level (maximum spell level 20th).
- Increase the circle leader's level by one for level checks (dispel checks, caster level checks, and so on) for every bonus level expended (maximum level 40th).
These effects last for 24 hours or until expended. Circle bonus levels may be divided up as the circle leader sees fit. For example, the Red Wizard Hauth Var leads a circle in which four participants each cast 2nd-level spells. Hauth Var chooses to use three circle bonus levels to maximize his cone of cold spell, three to increase his caster level from 10th to 13th level for all level-based variables in his spells, and two to add a +2 bonus to any level cheeks he needs to make. The maximized spell is used up whenever he casts his cone of cold, and the other two effects remain for the next 24 hours. Many high-level Red Wizards lead circles on a daily basis to extract magical power from their apprentices.