Etichette

domenica 24 novembre 2019

Specialization spell for before 1st era games

Art by Luigi Castellani from the "Spears of  the Dawn" free art pack
The rule in brief: with this rule every spell-caster can specialize in a particular type of magic, when they specialize they will learn a "specialization" spell for each spell level they can use, such a spell when cast will let the caster choose a specific effect between a short list of spells (5 for each level usually) at the moment of casting.

This article is a modification of the Instant Spell Recall a spontaneous magic option for Vancian OSR systems rules. By changing a few assumption it catch 2 birds with one stone. In fact it represent specialization and it gives mage spontaneous magic in the framework of Vancian magic (cast and forgeet). Furthermore such a specialization can be also be seen as pact magic, as the spell can be easily represented as a special kind of magic that can be learned only if the spell-caster makes a pact with supernatural entity (gods, daeva, demons, faeries, dragon, immortal, aliens or whoever is able to give spell knowledge).

The spell for each level are are very similar to the ones presented in the previous article with the presence of a 1st level spell that let the spell-caster chose between 5 cantrips/orison (0th level spells)

Specialist Spontaneous Spell 0 - cantrip (1st level spell) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S + spell components
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell she is able to cast a single spell from a list of 5 (five) 0th level spells, the list is defined by the mage specialization.

Specialist Spontaneous Spell I - 1st level (2nd level spell) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S + spell components

When the spell-caster cast this spell she is able to cast a single spell from a list of 5 (five) 1st level spells, the list is defined by the mage specialization.

...

Specialist Spontaneous Spell VIII - 8th level (9th level spell) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S + spell components

Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell she is able to cast a single spell from a list of 5 (five) 8th level spells, the list is defined by the mage specialization.

Once a specialization is chosen it's the same for each spell level (the Game Master can opt for multiple specialization but this should be unusual and with some restriction). Furthermore the GM can decide that such a specialization is at the cost of prohibited spells/schools or (for pact magic) at the cost of specific geas/quest.

let's see how two list of common specialization spells would look.


Spell 
Level
Black Mage
White Mage
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
  • Atonement F X: Removes burden of misdeeds from subject.
  • Break Enchantment: Frees subjects from enchantments, alterations, curses, and petrification.
  • Hallow M: Designates location as holy.
  • Raise Dead M: Restores life to subject who died as long as one day/level ago.
  • True Seeing M: Lets you see all things as they really are.
7th
8th
9th
  • Antimagic Field: Negates magic within 10 ft.
  • Cure Critical Wounds, Mass: Cures 4d8 damage +1/level for many creatures.
  • Dimensional Lock: Teleportation and interplanar travel blocked for one day/level.
  • Holy Aura F: +4 to AC, +4 resistance, and SR 25 against evil spells.
  • Shield of Law F: +4 to AC, +4 resistance, and SR 25 against chaotic spells.


domenica 21 aprile 2019

Instant Spell Recall a spontaneous magic option for Vancian OSR systems

Art by Joyce Maureira from Scarlet Heroes free Art Pack
Instant Spell Recall I-VIII is a group of spell that let the spell-user to use an higher level spell to have the possibility to chose which spell to memorize between a small group of lesser level spell.

Instant Spell Recall I (2nd level) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S + spell components
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell she is able to cast a single spell from a list of 5 1st level known spells (known spells are spells that were understood and wrote on the spell-user spell book), the spell-user will decide these 5 spells when he memorizes Instant Spell Recall. 

Instant Spell Recall II (3rd level) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S + spell components
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell he is able to cast a spell from a list of 5 2nd level known spells (known spells are spells that were understood and wrote on the spell-user spell book), the spell-user will decide these 5 spells when he memorizes Instant Spell Recall.

Instant Spell Recall III (4th level) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S+ spell components
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell she is able to cast a spell from a list of 5 3rd level known spells (known spells are spells that were understood and wrote on the spell-user spell book), the spell-user will decide these 5 spells when he memorizes Instant Spell Recall.

Instant Spell Recall IV (5th level) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S+ spell components
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell she is able to cast a spell from a list of 5 4th level known spells (known spells are spells that were understood and wrote on the spell-user spell book), the spell-user will decide these 5 spells when he memorizes Instant Spell Recall.

Instant Spell Recall V (6th level) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S+ spell components
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell  she is able to cast  a spell from a list of 5 5th level known spells (known spells are spells that were understood and wrote on the spell-user spell book), the spell-user will decide these 5 spells when he memorizes Instant Spell Recall.

Instant Spell Recall VI (7th level) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S+ spell components
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell she is able to cast a spell from a list of 5 6th level known spells (known spells are spells that were understood and wrote on the spell-user spell book), the spell-user will decide these 5 spells when he memorizes Instant Spell Recall.

Instant Spell Recall VII (8th level) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S+ spell components
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell she is able to cast a spell from a list of 5 7th level known spells (known spells are spells that were understood and wrote on the spell-user spell book), the spell-user will decide these 5 spells when he memorizes Instant Spell Recall.

Instant Spell Recall VIII (9th level) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S+ spell components
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell she is able to cast a spell from a list of 5 8th level known spells (known spells are spells that were understood and wrote on the spell-user spell book), the spell-user will decide these 5 spells when he memorizes Instant Spell Recall.

This article present a simplified version of the Polyspell this option don't need a repertorie.

sabato 13 aprile 2019

Inner book a repertoire of spells for old school spell-users

Art by Earl Geier
from Scarlet Heroes free Art Pack
The Inner Book is a small list of spell that the spell-user can memorize even without a physical copy of her spell-books, it is a spell book existing in the spell-user mind, a sort of specialized form of photographic memory.

Use of the Inner Book
The spell impressed in the Inner Book can be memorized as if the mage had a spell book, the time to memorize a spell is double the normal time of memorization.

Max number of spell in the Inner Book
The number of spell that can be impressed in the Inner book is 5 plus Intelligence bonus (Or half Intelligence value rounded down).

Cost of impressing a spell in the Inner Book
The cost to impress a spell in the Inner Book is 100 gp per level of spell and the use of the same spell from memory, the procedure will take 1 day per level of spell.

Cost of erasing a spell in the Inner Book
To free space on the book the cost is much higher, to erase a spell the mage need 1 week per level of spell to be erased plus 1000 gp per level of spell.

Problems from having spells in the Inner Book
To have even a single spell in the Inner Book means that the character is obviously a spell-user, he will have magical markings moving on his skin, an eerie demeanor and a general -2 to reactions from mundane people.

This article give a way to create a repertoire of spell that can be used for the polyspells presented here: Polyspell an option for spontaneous casting, a middle step between classic vancian and sorcery

Furthermore this article works well with the Recharging Spells a Vancian optional system for AD&D and OSR

venerdì 8 marzo 2019

Human as demi-humans in OSR rule systems

Art by Andrew Krahnke
from the Spears of the Dawn free art pack
The Adventurer Conqueror King System has one of the most extensive tool set to build balanced custom class, firstly presented in the Player's Companion and then extended in books and articles (most notably in the Heroic Fantasy Companion with a lot of new classes and some magical systems and the Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu with a lot of racial values).

The class system has also a "custom race" value that helps the creation of demi-human classes.

What we did was to create a "human custom race" in terms of the ACKS class system on one hand to recreate the already presented human classes and on the other to have ready tools for creating new human classes. We already had human with racial levels in Barbarians Conqueror of Kanahu (page 143 of the book Terran Custom Classes).

Why? Well the principal reason was to had a way to recreate the more advanced classes of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in ACKS terms, thinking of this I had also an inspiration to add a little more fluff to this article.

The First Empire (1st E.)
The First Empire, the Empire, the Great Empire was the first to unite Human, Dwarf, Elves and others under One banner, was the first to control the eight seas and the one hundred thousand rivers. The first, and only one, to dominate the world for ten thousand years. The First Empire was truly cosmopolitan, and the various race mixed freely, after ten thousand years the humans of the empire were a little more sophisticated than the barbarian from outside the empire, an unique mix of different bloods, culture and traditions made them special. Only the First Empire Human can hope to follow the paths of the thousands of special martial and magical traditions (classes) that flourished in the First Empire.


1st E. Human Value
Value
1st E. Human
Cost*
Max Lvl
4
 Human + Thievery 4 (15 skills) 
 1500 
9
3
 Human + Thievery 3 (10 skills) 
 1000
11
2
Human + Thievery 2 (5 skills) 
 500
12
1
Human + Thievery 1 (3 skills) 
  300 
13
0
Human (Heroic Spirit)  
0
14

*NOTE: the cost of Heroic Spirit is not much (maybe 25 xp) so I decided to balance this to fudge the numbers. I'll lower the cost of  0 Value in Human so to not mess the cost of existing classes, and I will increase progressively the cost of the additional Thievery. To keep it nice I have simply calculated a cost of 100 xp per number of Thief skills.

Giving Humans a Thievery value permit the creation of a great number of custom classes since the Thief skills from the thievery value can be converted in various powers with the "custom powers trade-offs" rule

Here an example class built with this system


Art by Luigi Castellani
from the Spears of the Dawn free art pack

1st E. Human Loremaster (hd 1d4, max level 12th)
Mage 4, Human 2

Loremaster are mages specialized in knowledge and languages. They roam the world in search of knowledge both mundane and arcane and so are easily encountered in adventuring party.

The character will have all the ability and spells of the standard mage.

This character will advance to 2nd level at 3000xp, human 2 will give him thievery 2 (5 skills).

Custom Power Trade off (First Draft)
1: 1 skill at 1st level
2: 1 skill at 2nd and 1 skill at 12th
3: 1 skill at 3rd and 1 skill at 11th
4: 1 skill at 4th and 1 skill at  10th

5: 1 skill at 6th and 1 skill at 8th

1st E. Human Loremaster level progression
Experience 
Title
 Level 
 Hit Dice 
Powers
0
Scholar
 1 
1d4 Loremastery 
3'000
  
 2
2d4 Prestidigitation 
6'000
 3
3d4 Bonus Languages (+4 languages) 
12'000
  4 
4d4 Read Languages
(at will, casting time 1 turn)
24'000
5
5d4 --------
48'000
Doctor
6
6d4 Speak with Animals
(1/hour, casting time 1 turn)
100'000
7
7d4 -------
200'000
8
8d4 Speak with the Dead
(1/8hour, casting time 1 turn)
300'000
  Loremaster  
9
9d4Speak with Plants
(1/day, casting time 1 turn)  
500'000
  Loremaster of the words
10
9d4+1Command of Voice 
700'000
   Loremaster of the planes 
11
9d4+2 Contact Otherwordly Powers
(1/week, casting time 1 turn)
1'000'000
  Loremaster of the ages 
12
9d4+3 Longevity


sabato 2 marzo 2019

Health Dice a different use of Hit Dice for OSR and 5th edition

Art by Luigi Castellani
from the Spears of the Dawn free art pack
Health Dice
The basic idea behind this article is that Health Dice (HD) are fixed (10+Constitution bonus) and the type of die (d4, d6, d8) is determined by the character class.

Hit Points (HP) are, as before, just based on class and level.


In this system HP will better represent the ability to avoid fatal damage, while HD will represent the capacity of the character to recover HP.

Furthermore HD are recovered slowly and so they will represent the overall status of Health and Stamina of the character.

Number and type of Health Die (HD)
Each character will have HD equal to 10+Constitution bonus (-3 to +3) and the type of dice will be based on their class (in an OSR game we will have: Magic-Users d4, Hybrids d6, Warriors d8).
So a Fighter (d8 HD) with Constitution 13 will have 11d10 HD, a Mage (d4 HD) with Constitution 7 will have 9d4 HD.

HP recovery
As for 5th edition rules you can recover one or more (HD+Con bonus) during a "short rest" (anything from 10 minutes to one hour of rest).

HD recovery
As in 5th edition you will recover half maximum HD for each "long rest" (a full night of sleep) .

Cure Wounds
Cure spells (and  cure spell from wands, scroll and the like, potions and elixirs could make exception) should work in a slightly different manner (specially when this rules are used with the Recharging Spells rules).

Each Cure spell when used on a character will work by instantly giving the effects of a powered up "short rest", a cure spell will consume 1 HD from the receiving character that will recover (1+level of the cure spell)*(HD).

EG: a character with d8 HD will recover 2d8 from a 1st level Cure light Wounds and 5d8 from a 4th level Cure Critical Wounds, while a character with d4 HD will recover 2d4 from a 1st level spell and 5d4 from a 4th level spell.

Wounds, Fatigue, disease and other ailments
Optionally such rules can add a simple way of tracking various long term ailments of the character.

The recovery of some or all the HD can be blocked by specific conditions that can be removed by specific remedies.


Wounds
Wounds are long term damage that the character will get when he goes to 0 HP, at 0 HP a character is Knocked Out and is wounded or dead.

The severity of wounds can be rolled with various systems. The use of a Death and Dismemberment table is a good option (here an example and some link to other tables: Morte e Mutilazione).

Another very quick system could be this one: calculate the number of hp beyond zero and roll as many HD as needed to match that numbers of points, the number of needed HD represent the severity of the wound. To get back the ability to recover that HP you must first fully heal that wounds. 1HD need 1 day, 2 HD 1 week, 3 HD 1 month, 4 HD 1 season, 5 HD 1 year (heal), 6 HD permanent (regeneration), 7+ HD death.

Diseases and Poisons
A disease will block the recovery of 1 or more HD, each disease will have it's special effects.

E.G.: The red death: who gets this disease will have to do one saving vs death (or a Constitution save) each day for 15 days in a row, for each failed save he will lose one HD (zero HD means death). If the character don't die after 15 days he will recover one HD each day of full rest.

Energy Drain
Energy Drain will take away HDs (instead of levels) at 0 HD the character will die and possibly come back as an undead, such HD will be recovered only by the use of "restoration" or "wish" spells.



Designer's Notes
The idea of this rule come from the necessity to synchronize the rules for magic (presentend in the article Recharging Spells a Vancian optional system for AD&D and OSR)  with the rules for HP.

The overall guiding idea is to change the economy of innate character resources by giving more resources to low level characters and lesser resources to high level character and at the same time without changing the economy of the resources that the characters can use in a single encounter.

The net effect hoped for is to have a more homogeneous feel when playing low level characters (1-6) and high level characters (14+).


Enjoy!

domenica 29 luglio 2018

Polyspell an option for spontaneous casting, a middle step between classic vancian and sorcery

Art by Luigi Castellani, from the Scarlet Heroes Art Pack
Polyspell is a spell that when casted enable the wizard to use a spell of lesser level than the polyspell from his repertoire (a short list of known spells).

So there will be Polyspell I (a 2nd level spell) to Polyspell VIII (a 9th level spell), differently from a lesser wish or wish spell the Polyspell can be used only to cast spells from the mage repertoire and only using the required components (you cannot cast a Fireball w/out bat guano for example) and paying the requested penalty from the spell (if for example you use a Polyspell VII to cast a Limited Wish).

In short you sacrifice an higher level spell slot for the flexibility of being able to decide which spell to use at the moment of casting.

Repertoire
The repertoire of a spell-caster is equal to 3+number of spell slot. So a 3rd level magic user (2 1st level spell slot and 1 2nd level spell slot) will have a repertoire of 5 1st level spell and 3 2nd level spells).

A spell repertoire is permanent until changed, to put a spell in his repertoire the mage must take 1 week per spell level and spend 1000 gp in various materials, furthermore the mage needs his spell book with the spell to be put in the repertoire on it.

Once in a repertoire spells can be memorized (or locked see: Recharging Spell a Vancian optional system) without the spell book, this is a good reason to have a repertoire even without a polyspell ready. (this option can be ignored by the DM).

I have a longer article on repertoire here: Inner book a repertoire of spells for old school spell-users

Polyspell I (2nd level) Conjuration/Summoning
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell the effect is to be able to cast another repertoire (see before) spell of 1st level.

Polyspell II (3rd level)
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell the effect is to be able to cast another repertoire (see before) spell of 2nd level or less.

Polyspell III (4th level)
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell the effect is to be able to cast another repertoire (see before) spell of 3rd level or less.

Polyspell IV (5th level)
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell the effect is to be able to cast another repertoire (see before) spell of  4th level or less.

Polyspell V (6th level)
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell the effect is to be able to cast another repertoire (see before) spell of  5th level or less.

Polyspell VI (7th level)
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell the effect is to be able to cast another repertoire (see before) spell of  6th level or less.

Polyspell VII (8th level)
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell the effect is to be able to cast another repertoire (see before) spell of  7th level or less.

Polyspell VIII (9th level)
Duration: IstantaneousCasting Time: 1+spell casting time
Saving Throw: noneArea of Effect: self
Range: selfComponents: V, S
Description: When the spell-caster cast this spell the effect is to be able to cast another repertoire (see before) spell of  8th level or less.


Art by Nikola Avramovic, from the Silent Legion Art Pack
Designer's Notes
It's been a few years since a lot of system have incorporated the "sorcery" spell system, a sorcery system is a spell-casting mechanic where spell-casters have a short list of ready spells, a repertoire in ACKS terms, and they have spell-slots to cast them.

First seen as the special feature of the Sorcerer class in the third edition (A)D&D (hence the name) it is now the standard system of the 5th edition of D&D and the system of choice of one of the best OSR game out there, the Adventurer Conqueror King System.

The philosophy behind my rules is to keep changes at minimum and to have them ready to be used in any old school D&D inspired games.

Here I wanted the possibility to cast spontaneous spell as a resource but not as the normal casting method, and without resorting to rituals or other system that give ulterior resources to casters.

Furthermore I wanted it to be as Vancian as possible (but as discussed in Recharging Spells a Vancian optional system with some difference).

Curiosity: this is a variation of a system I first published on rec.games.frp.dnd on 1996/09/23 here the link: https://groups.google.com/d/msg/rec.games.frp.dnd/7jMpLKyf77U/PsxoML8kqg8J

there I used two spell of the same level for a similar effect, and I didn't give a repertoire out of the box, following the previous link you will find also other useful spells :-) have fun!