Friday, August 18, 2017

Sages + Sage Magic System *Old*

My entire game premise is about using the 3 class system; Fighter, Rogue, and Mage. It's been a pretty big part of my game design and homebrew for the past while. However, I was having trouble figuring out how to fit magic users in with the general design protocols, if Fighters are good at Fighting, and Rogues are good at sneaking, then what should Mages be good at? What should their resource management be? I had a problem with mana points only because of the difficulty of creating balanced resource spending spells, and vancian magic always left a bad taste in my mouth.

After reading this concept for spell-less Clerics, something clicked. I though hey, why not make my magic users more like the combo of Cleric and Magic user like I had always envisioned, and use this new system?

Just to make it feel really complete and final, let's rename them to Sages. I hope to get that support and high fantasy feel for them from the name alone.

Poor Sage, standing outside his mud hut.
The combination of Wizard + Cleric. Saves and health as magic user.
Whenever the Sage wants to cast a spell, roll 2d6 + (x2 Sage level - x2 HD of spell challenge).

Every time any 1 is rolled on either die, you get -1 ongoing to all spells you cast. If you roll a natural 2, or 1 on both dice, you get -2 ongoing. This negative can be lifted from downtime prayers, meditation, study, or your natural magical potency can be restored by drinking a Potency potion.

Whenever the Sage wants to make an effect, they must state what they are trying to accomplish and then the DM will create a difficulty. The difficulty of the spell is done in HD or units to cause issue. You must roll a 7 or higher to succeed on a spell casting roll.

All Sages have the following powers.

Roll vs the HD of the creatures you're trying to ward against. Must mark, pace, or bar the area. Can be a circle or natural portal like doorway or window.

Roll vs number of damage points in the wound, which is treated as HD for the purposes of the roll. Complex wounds or wounds from non-traditional elemental magic count as double HD.

Roll vs power of poison or negative effect. Stat damage is treated as points of damage +1 = HD of roll. Poison is treated as the HD of the creature whose poison it is originally from. Diseases HD is approximated to how powerful it is, with colds and flus being 1 HD, fevers 3 HD, rot 8 HD, etc.

Roll vs power of negative effect or level of enemy caster to counter effect. Some curses can only be dispelled temporarily.

Roll vs number of people it would take to harass the enemy in mundane terms + number of turns it would take for the enemy to shake it off. It would take 5 people to topple an ogre, and one turn for the ogre to get up, so HD 6 to trip an ogre, etc.

Roll vs damage dice of the trap, which is counted as HD for this rule. For traps that don't deal damage, default the HD of the trap as equal to the dungeon level.

Roll vs HD of supernatural creatures. x2 for animal, x3 for plant, x4 for mortals and x5 + load for inanimate objects. +1 for each distressing thing command requires, cannot do suicidal actions. By doubling the final total again, you can make the command last a long time, like a Geas spell.

Roll vs size of bonus die you wish to grant. For d20 rolls, 1d4 counts as 1HD, 1d6 as 2HD, 1d8 as 3HD, etc. For damage or non-d20 rolls, the bonus is linear with HD equal to the number of bonus points you're granting. The roll must be done immediately as the bless is being cast, or just after.

Sage progression
Since Sage's automatically get more powerful as they grow in level, keeping up with creatures of the same HD as their level, they don't exactly gel with that even/odd paradigm of my other classes as of right now. But I do have some extra idea for how to advance them.

Sages can learn new spells, which are still cast with a 2d6 roll as their old ones were. Such as;

Roll vs load x1.5 as HD for inanimate objects. Can command to attack, defend, pack themselves up into a bag or sort themselves, etc. If you want to give them more HP then 1 point, add +1 HD to the roll per 2 hit points you want to give them.

Roll vs number of senses the illusion is supposed to fool as HD. +1 for intricate or highly realistic senses, +1 if multiple or to follow complex commands. 'Touch' as a sense in this case includes heat, pressure, etc. x2 to make them 'partially real'.

Roll vs number of negative hit points as HD + total number of negative hit points. For example -7 health would be a roll of 2d6 + (x2 level – 14), minus 7. Level 10 Sage would still have -1 to this roll. Revive might be granted to high level Sages for free, maybe.

Roll vs difference between the original object and transformed one as HD. +1 for size changing, +1 for state change (liquid to gas, etc.), if new substance deals damage then add damage dice to HD. x2 for living creatures and x4 for mortals. Add number of days to HD if long term.

Twist Fate
Roll vs difficulty of fate you want to weave as HD. Every minor coincidence, like finding a copper piece on the ground at a market, is +1. Every major coincidence is a +3. Serious breaches of cause and effect will add +5 or more.

Identify Items
Sages are also the most wise and learned of the character classes, and so probably have the best time identifying magic items. Whenever you pick up an item, you roll once on the below list. Spending a whole downtime period researching the item grants another roll, if you use 'Haven' turns, then each Haven turn used grants another roll.

If you roll a category the item doesn't have, such as curses if the item doesn't have a curse, then you learn nothing this time. If you ever roll the same category twice, you just identify the item fully. You might also be able to use magic to identify the item, perhaps by commanding it to reveal its secrets to you. Use the number of facts on the list below you don't know + item's general magic power level OR the dungeon level of the dungeon it came from as its HD for the roll.

Identity Clues – 1d8
[1] Culture or Location of origin or creator.
[2] Material of construction or secret compartments/marks not easily noticeable
[3] Legend or rumor relating to the item, hints at what it could be used for.
[4] Name of past owner of the item.
[5] Detect the “flavor” of magic aura around the item. As in divine, infernal, elemental, arcane, etc.
[6] Translation or language of runes or markings on the item.
[7] Detect any curses or negative costs the item has for wear or use.
[8] Awaken the item's spirit and gain +1 to the first reaction roll.


  1. Hello! I really liked this, so I took this idea, cleaned up the language, and made a handful of alterations then put it in a quick little PDF. Maybe you'll adopt some of these changes or they'll spark your imagination.

    1. We've talked about this before; but I want to post it here for posterity. I liked how you presented some of the rules for the Sage and Anti-Sage, nice work.