Making the Case For Slowing Down Your Spell Vocals

This post has been written with Five Oaths in mind, but can be utilised in any system which requires certain vocalisations to be made when casting spells. 

This isn’t quite an official rules post- More a statement of intended design on the part of the event team. Though this post comes from a member of the event team, we haven’t added any of this to the rulebook (That said, we don’t rule out doing so in the future, much as we’ve had to codify the one second rule into our combat rules).

The Rules as Written

To cast a spell, you must use the following vocals at an audible level (required sections in bold):

I call upon the power of (an external greater power) to (brief description of desired

outcome) and cast (Spell Effect + any relevant modifiers like mass, location/global, time

duration, and target group).”

Audible is required by the rules- Comprehensible is even better. Ultimately, the person receiving the effect needs to understand what’s happening. 

Think about it- How often have you heard, or shouted, the following line (or some variation of it) at a larp event:

I call upontherghbnlerererejrhbfdadsf SINGLEDAMAGEHEAD.

I’d wager more people reading this than not have encountered this at some point during a field larp.

If you have to slow down your casting to get it out clearly- Do so. No-one will judge you for doing so (as long as you’re not reciting a full minute of poetry, in which case we make no guarantees as to how your fellow players will react, especially if they’re waiting on a healing spell)

Making the spell count

Slower casting aids you in a chaotic battlefield situation: Hearing someone saying in certain, slow tones that ‘I call upon the power of the Shaper to lull my enemies to a slumber from which they shall not wake, and cast SLEEP!’ notifies the battlefield that this person is about to generate an effect, and I should pay attention to them in case they are targeting me. 

It also helps you to be understood: A garbled mess of syllables blends easily into the background noise of a fight, but speaking slowly, clearly and projecting your voice aids in comprehending the effect you’re trying to generate. 

This all allows us to mitigate the need to yell ‘Oi! You! You, in the green tabard! I hit you with a Sleep spell!’ as your target didn’t notice you casting.

Rule of Cool

There’s also another factor- The cool factor of a spell. Yes, you can optimise every syllable for ideal casting times, and get out some noises that technically meet the criteria before you get the to the spell effect but ideally we want to feel powerful when we bend the magics of creation to our will and smite our opponents.

It also builds immersion. Sometimes, a considered, slower, grander approach to casting can lend an air of gravitas to your spell- Even if it’s just hitting someone with a Daze, or a Protection for an impending fight. Plus, you can communicate stuff about your character- It can say a lot about a character they cast with flowery language, call upon a certain source of power, or prefer to cast in meter. 

How can I improve my spellcasting game?

Prepare the vocal ahead of time- Trying to come up with them on the fly isn’t something most folks can do naturally, and having each spell vocal prepped means you’re less liable to mentally freeze trying to make up words. Rehearse them if you have to! Better than writing them up, practice saying them out loud- Even doing it at home will pay off in the field.

Make them rhyme- If you can cast to a beat, or in the form of a rhyme it makes it that little bit easier to memorise.

Include the name of your target in the casting- And if you don’t know them, describe them. ‘The tall person in the red hood’, ‘Green cloak, massive sword’ etc