Friday, May 31, 2019

Witch Gender Politics

Witches form covens. While some Witches follow goats, or even entire covens rely on demonic tutors, many of the more nature-ish variety do not. Covens are supposed to be 13 members, which includes all the Witches of all levels. Apprentices, the senior members, the leader or head witch, the number is 13. Male Witches are less common then females, but still exist. They can also exist within a coven without contributing to this number- Witches can be male or female, but a coven should be 13 female witches. That's the rule, it's always been that way. Male Witches therefore have a sort of secondary and somewhat elated status, still a Witch with all the magical training and powers of a witch, but not part of the core, able to leave the coven, but not as integral.

Most witch-covens live in small rural communities, often made up of members include young orphans, daughters of farmers, old spinstresses, and hermits from several neighboring towns. Witches tend to train with oral tradition instead of the scholastic approach of your typical Wizard academies, which tend to be more male dominated, but Witches have a negative connotation- a bunch of girls dancing in the woods able to cast curses and entrance people doesn't have the same level of respect as a hierarchical Wizard university. But don't assume just because Witch-covens are mostly female means they lack teeth. Sometimes, especially near larger cities or in rapidly growing or multiracial towns and communities, Witch-covens fight. But when your coven is supposed to be around 13 members at all times, how can you bolster your ranks? Beyond simply harboring more elite and skilled members; How can you get an edge against another coven if both sides are going to have roughly the same numbers?

That's where the Male Witches come in.

Carnivoro (3-8 HD, +3 to hit, +4 AC, bite attack at 1d8+2, two claw attacks at 1d6+1, +4 to saves vs spells, stealth/surprise, eat magic, casts spells, witch hunter, tracking)
Morale- 14, 16 if defending Coven members
Numbers- 1 to 1d4

The Carnivoro is a male witch, given a true purpose. They are fed raw meat, secluded in wild places, have their teeth and fingers filed to points, and are given an unholy loyalty. Carnivoros are the “carnivore” aspect of nature, the predator, suited to the male nature of a male Witch. Female witches tend to embrace the aspect of the herbivore, of the protector, and of mother nature herself- they cannot become a Carnivoro. They become totally bound to their coven and the leaders of the coven, acting exactly as a loyal, trained wolf, still filled with unnatural savagery. The power of a Carnivoro depends somewhat on how crafty and powerful the original Witch-man was before he was changed, and somewhat on the cruelty and power of the Coven that made him. Carnivoros are not men anymore, they are pets. They may be frightening, but it is the type of fright one has when the Jade Empress pets her tigers by her throne. They are powerful, but they do not have the power. She does.

Carnivoros are first and foremost, Witch killers. They are trained to kill Witches. They can follow a scent as a bloodhound, and have perfect vision in the moonlight. Whenever a carnivoro is made, they are made for the express purpose of Witch-on-Witch warfare. They can smell any kind of magic user, to a radius of up to 8 ft per Hit Dice, and get no penalty to hit crafty Sorcerers trying to sneak away while invisible. They have high saves against spells, are much stronger and more deadly in combat then anything an untrained and unarmed female Witch could muster, and are stealthy enough to surprise opponents on a 1 in 6 chance, increasing by +1 if ambushing from a forested area and another +1 if they have at least 7 HD.

Carnivoros are imbued with powers and abilities that suites them at killing magic users. They can 'eat' magic items and beings, their bite counts as magic. They automatically absorb the magic in any item they eat, restoring 1d6 hit points and a single spell/spell slot that is readied with a closely matching spell. For example, if they eat a Wand of Magic Missile, they'll gain a prepared 1st level spell slot containing magic missile or another similar spell. It takes them 1 round to bite a wand in half, 2 to gnaw through a staff, and up to a turn or more for metal items or armors. They are also cannibals, and will feed on the corpse of any magic user they kill- this restores another 2d6 hit points. Carnivoros always look a bit starved and skinny unless they are winning a war; regular food doesn't fill them the same way witch-flesh does.

While Carnivoros have gone through a transformation and have become savage and animal, they are still themselves magic-users. They remember their training, and still use magic. Mostly, they prepare offensive spells, entangling spells, and spells to counter the magic of other magic users and Witches. They can also use weapons, but their magical claws tend to be more powerful then ordinary steel. They can also wear light armors, but paw at them and whine like a dog in a sweater. They yearn to be naked, free, stalking their prey. Carnivoros almost always hunt alone, but during huge offenses against a rival coven, they may be sent out in a small pack.

Mini Carnivoro Story-Seed Table – 1d4
[1] Several large wolves, bears, and cougars have been killed nearby, a few of their teeth missing, with shed pointed human teeth littering the ground nearby. He is improving himself.
[2] This group of witches is using their Carnivoro as an assassin for hire- menial work for a predator. He is becoming so thin, you can almost see right through him. How long until he snaps?
[3] There is a young witch who believes she is being hunted by a Carnivoro sent by a rival Coven. She is desperately seeking bodyguards. The Carnivoro strikes in 1d6+1 days.
[4] Once the war ended, the Carnivoro was no longer needed. Instead of threatening its wrath, the Coven banished it to a small foggy island. He has killed fishermen, lured by phantom lights.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Spells = Components

In many games and settings, magic is often done through the medium of magic items. While Wizards may be able to “prepare” spells in advance and use components to cast them if required in D&D, why not switch it around? Instead, Wizards prepare magical items which have their sorcerous powers in them. Without the item, they have no magic. This means magic users can be disarmed through stealing their magical items.

Single use spells are stored in small, often consumable forms. Sleep may be stored in a small amount of sand, which must be thrown at the eyes of your foes. Healing spells are stored as liquids to be drank as potions, or could be made as bandages or ointments to keep them separate. Plenty of language based spells or more esoteric spells could be stored as scrolls, which fits the aesthetic of Wizards carrying scrolls around. Spells with multiple uses or that have a duration are just useful items; your spell that lets you see the invisible is enchanted into your monocle.

Spells that are single use but are common but are not as disposed of could be infused in other items instead, called Foci (plural for “Magic Focus”) or Fetish. Feather Fall could be stored in an actual feather which is consumed on the casting, or in a magic-users billowing cape or dress. Offensive spells are stored in wands and staves as normal- with different command words, gestures, or mental acuity to control which spell comes out of the wand. Some Wizards may carry around multiple different wands for different situations, where as others will decorate and closely guard their prized dueling staff; engraved with several runes and having several powerful offensive and defensive spells loaded within at any given time. When a dumb goblin steals the Wizard's wand and bops himself on the head to turn invisible or immortal or whatever he thinks will happen, there is a good chance he might accidentally offload the Fireball instead, killing himself and anyone nearby. Magic Fetishes can also have mutational or wild magic effects when broken or used incorrectly; your magic locket with your illusion and enchantment spells has the perfect opportunity to create some false beings with insane personalities and powers over perception, adding to the feeling of the world as a chaotic and fantastical place.

Spell research works the exact same; except now, spells and research costs are the same. If your game doesn't use costs for components (or doesn't use components to begin with), then instead the research cost is the same as the component cost, since you're securing the magical items you need for your spells. Your magic user has a little farm of the bright green lizards you need to mummify and pickle to cast Regeneration, not just a room filled with spell books.

Spells books are another strange part however; if all magic spells are just items, then what purpose do they serve? Personally, I like “spells per adventure” instead of spells per day, so reloading spells isn't necessary with a spellbook. Instead, spellbooks could still be for preparing spells in items, but be a bit more esoteric and more about the preparation of materials and containing the knowledge of how magic works... like an actual spellbook.

What about magic item longevity? The “shelf life”? This is one issue I have with the concept, essentially saying Wizards could stockpile spells if they had infinite or very long shelf life. If the shelf life is short this could work, but would also diminish the immersion factor somewhat if magic items found in the world only are the permanently enchanted item kind, not the single use spell kind. This could also be abstracted somewhat; some spells degrade faster then others, like lower level spells, and “leaky” spells could radiate magical energy that causes mutations or makes interior spaces bigger on the inside then the outside; which is exactly where the dungeons getting so big and complex comes from. Dungeons as mythical underworld is still a great concept, and this could help explain them in a more naturalistic sense. To keep Wizards from mass producing spells, just abstract your regular spell slot/spells per day limit as the number of magical artifacts and fetishes a Wizard can have and maintain at any one time.

Finally, this comes down to mechanics in the form of inventory. How do you put this in mechanically? Having magic spells being items could be an interesting concept for resource management; you start the adventure loaded with spells and barely able to carry treasure, but as you start to use up your consumable spells you may open up enough space. It might also be fun to see a MU drop a charged up situational or useless spell on the floor of the dungeon so they can help carry a treasure chest; thus ensuring shenanigans when the orcs find it and use it as a weapon against the party. You could also use inventory space as a game balance mechanic; Sleep may be a good spell but may require you to carry around a heavy ass bag of sand instead of the much more useful Magic Missile in your wand. Minor enough to not be a hassle but significant enough to be a choice for certain adventures and campaigns.

Anyway, this article is a bit more spontaneous and less thought out then my others, and is more of a rant. Still this concept is near and dear to my heart and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, or perhaps inspire others to do something similar with their games. Magic Users are the most fun class to tinker with for good or for ill, so ideas abound.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

20 Leg & Feet Mutations

[1] You've got club feet, literally. Both your feet shift and look like they're made of wood. You can pull them off and they change in shape again; hardening and becoming nice and straight. You can use them as a d6 wooden club, but you cannot walk on that leg until you put it back.

[2] Both of your legs turn into long, trailing centipede bodies. They can act independently, but are connected to you and one along cannot support your weight beyond a very slow, stilted crawl. However, using these legs, you can crawl over rough terrain at your normal running speed without penalty, and even climb up shallow inclines too steep for a normal being to climb. You also gain +1 AC on your lower body, but cannot wear pants or leg/foot armor.

[3] Your legs and lower body disappear and turn into a genie cloud, with an elemental twist. Roll a 1d4 to determine the element.
  1. Fire- Cloud is hot steam with sparks
  2. Ice- Cloud is a blizzard with snowflakes
  3. Lightning- Cloud is a crackling thundercloud; static-shocks on touch
  4. Earth- Cloud is a duststorm with little pebbles flying around in it

Each cloud grants you resistance to that elements. You take -2 damage from all spells or attacks of that element. The exception is Earth; which instead grants +2 to saves versus paralysis and lets you poof above ground if you're ever buried alive or entombed in stone.

[4] Your legs twist and turn into a giant metal spring. You can't take steps, you have to bounce around. You can make incredible 30 ft jumps, and hazards like caltrops and bear-traps don't harm you at all. You cannot wear lower body armor or kick, sidestep, or take careful steps. You get -4 when trying to sneak, and -2 to saves versus getting tripped or shoved.

[5] One of your legs is randomly selected. This leg, below the knee, permanently changes form into a rail-thin impish demon, which folds its arms around itself and stands up straight, letting you use it as a leg. If you kick someone with it, the target must make a save or be put under a minor demonic curse, like smelling of brimstone or coming down with a minor disease. The imp frees itself from your leg when you sleep or rest, but claims to be bound to you and will always reappear to connect itself to your stumpy knee. It doesn't ask for anything, but tries to tempt you into minor sins and lying to your priest. You become crippled on holy ground, since the demon cannot enter, and if a turn undead roll against you is successful, you'll lost your imp-leg.

[6] Both your legs become blades; below the knee, you have curved katana blades for feet. Doesn't cause you much issue moving around, and you can perform acrobatic kick attacks dealing 1d6+1 damage like a true ninja assassin.

[7] Your legs transform into cricket legs. You can't wear armor down there and you get -4 to sneak; your steps chirp. But you can leap 30 ft and get +1 AC from the insect chitin. You can also kick as an improvised weapon, dealing 1d4 from the intense strength of your kick and the barbs.

[8] Your legs and lower body transform into a semi-solid flowing clay. The clay is usually in a boxy shape, which can be rounded at the corners to allow you to roll it as a form of movement. Legs are too complex for it to manage, but you can shift this clay into many forms; large ball and chain that let you sink in water quickly, a tower complete with fake window to let you get a few feet of height to look around, sinking halfway to the floor and having your legs peel around your body in the form of a large pot; granting +2 AC as long as you don't move, and so on. Separating this clay from your body is as difficult, and deals as much damage as, normal injury to your actual legs would be.

[9] Roll for a Random type of Livestock (or 1d6 on the Random Animal Table). Your lower body turns into a 4 legged body of that animal, with your upper body poking out where the head of the animal would roughly be- exactly as a centaur. You gain the ability to eat foods that that animal can and gain +2 hit points from bulk, but now have trouble fitting into tight places and need special armor and shoes to fit you. Stable boys can be hired to keep them cleaned and pedicured.

[10] Your legs and lower body transforms into a single large metal wheel. It can spin and moves much faster then a regular running human on a road or smooth stone surface, but has trouble navigating bumpy surfaces and is useless when swimming. If you're at least 6th level, your character can figure out a method to use the wheel as an underwater propeller, giving you extremely fast swimming speed and letting you leap from water high into the air, such as onto the decks of ships from below the waves.

[11] One leg at random becomes mechanical. The mechanical leg works exactly as a regular leg works, and is made of metal. It is very durable, and is made of alloys to resist corrosion and magic as well as a +1 magic sword/armor-piece can. The leg has no special properties beyond toughness; as long as you have it you take ½ damage from caltrops and burning embers, have a 50% chance to avoid bear traps, etc.

If word gets around that you have this advanced leg, thieves and assassins may be hired to retrieve it from you one way or another. Wealthy nobles with old war wounds or crippled sons would be very happy to have such a one-of-a-kind prosthetic, which would leave you lame or dead.

[12] Your feet turn backwards. You get -1 to climbing and stealth rolls with your floppy, awkward feet, but you leave backwards footprints and are very hard to track for that reason.

[13] Kick of the Heavens. One of your feet at random becomes swollen and crackles with purple energy, sizzling and burning uncomfortably whenever submerged in water. If you kick with this foot with all your might, it explodes in a blast of electrical energy that deals 2d6+2 shock damage and knocks the target back 1d4x10 ft. After this has been used this foot is gone.

[14] Both your legs shrink into small, warty green legs. This significantly shrinks your height and makes you much slower, plus you can only wear small size armor on your lower body. However, these legs regenerate over 1d4 days if they are severed or broken.

[15] Your bottom and top half can separate at will. Both your legs and groin will pop off your body whenever you will it, and have an almost human level of intelligence when separate. They can detect speech by standing still on the ground and sensing the vibrations of a voice, but cannot read. The legs you have can run errands for you, separate off your body to avoid an attack, kick people while your top half is unconscious, etc. Your bottom half gets ½ of your HD and class features while separate from you, except spell casting which requires your top half only.

If the bottom half of you dies, you must roll a save vs death. You lose ½ your HD permanently if you make the save, or die if you fail.

If the top half of you dies, your legs become forlorn and wander, still alive but without a mind or face. They will probably get a new job as the messenger of a ninja clan, running across still water with great speed, or wear armor and kick goblins to death for gold.

[16] Your legs become ridiculously bloated. Huge, with grayish flaky skin. It's uncomfortable to wear pants and you look ridiculous, but you gain +2 hit points and can now trample small creatures like goblins as though you were much bigger then you really are.

[17] Starting at the knees and going down, both of your legs start to shrivel up, become scaly, grow talons where your toes where, and have a feathery fetlock decorating your shins. The feathers here can be plucked and thrown to work as 1d3 improvised weapons, or can be flung with an expertly timed kick if you're at least 3rd level in a fighting class or have +3 Dexterity.

[18] Large orange tubers start to grow from both your legs. These tubers are extremely flammable when attached to your body, guiding flame up your legs through your clothing and onto your waist and crotch; all fire spells and attacks deal 1 more damage to you if you don't clip these tubers every day. Once detached from your body and dried, the tubers become extremely flame resistant instead. The clippings of one season's worth of growth can be used to create a cloak of fire resistance, some heat resistant gloves, etc.

[19] The skin from one of your legs at random sloughs off. The muscles behind a thin bit of shin and thigh bone and skin become exposed, and turn into lumpy hard pulsating things. They will fall out of your leg if not constantly bound with fresh bandages or wrappings. The muscles are still quite strong as they would be with your legs as normal, but can be removed for individual healing and cleaning, or accidentally lost to lose permanent strength in that leg. If you remove enough of these muscle-lumps from your legs that walking becomes difficult, you could place them inside an enclosed space like a box or chest to crush and squeeze things inside, similar to a muscle in nature; breaking aside small bits of shell or bone.

[20] Every three days, your legs begin to transfer their life force between themselves. Your left leg will darken, shrivel, and become black and almost useless with a limp, where as your right one will become strong, muscular, and can grant you additional jump height and kicking damage. This process stops and reverses every three days- at the middle of the process both legs will be mostly neutral. If you drink copious amounts of healing potions or have powerful healing or protective spells, it may be possible to keep the empowered leg while also making the shriveled leg healthy as it normally would be without the mutation.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Even Dirt-Simpler Magic Resistance

I wrote this magic resistance ruleset a while back, and decided it was too complicated. A chance to avoid spells works better. Let's tie it into an existing mechanic.

You wear Armor to avoid attacks. This is called AC.
You wear Ward to avoid spells. This is called WR. Could also be short for “Witchcraft Resistance”.

Spells that already give a saving throw have no effect on ward, they avoid it entirely. The save is avoiding the physical or magical energy causing the effect. Spells that do not grant a saving throw must content with warding, as they are directly attempting to alter the target of the spell. Things like Sleep and Magic Missile therefore require a roll to bypass the Ward of a target.

The Ward of any creature is base 10, or base 1 if you want spells to function similarly with most creatures not being able to resist them. Wisdom modifier is added to this protection, similar to AC adds your Dexterity bonus. (Or Con bonus, if you're a hipster like me.) Casters roll a d20 + Int modifier + level of spell equal or higher to the Ward to hit.

Wards are increased by wearing a Talisman. In the same way you can only wear one suit of armor at a time, and better armors just increase your AC, Ward can only be gained from one talisman at the time. Homespun protective charms protect like leather, high end crystal talismans made by shamans protect like chain or plate.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

[Class] Merrymarrow

HD- d6
Max AC- 14 / Minimum Hit-Points- 4

You are a skeleton. You are dead and alive, but you're not the same as other kinds of undead. You exist within the confines of death instead of acting against it; there is no unnatural malice from beyond the grave nor are you animated by sorcery. You appear as a normal human skeleton, but are painted bright colors and have a sort of spirit to your motions that regular undead don't have. You cannot be turned.

As a skeleton, you have all the powers you'd think you'd have. You are immune to level drain and saves vs death, can't drown and are immune to diseases and don't need to sleep. You do need light to see- some light has to fall into your eye-sockets and coincidentally, most Merrymarrows are afraid of the dark. Without organs, just treat your AC as your cap, but you can still wear magic clothes or armor for their effects. Whenever you take a solid hit with a blunt weapon equal to your level as damage or more, make a combat save or else you are blown apart. Whenever you take a fall of 5 ft x level or higher, you also fall apart. It takes an exploration turn to pull yourself back together, but you may not be complete depending on where your bones scattered. At 4th level or higher, you can pull yourself together in a single combat round. You could also use your ability to disessemble to smuggle yourself through customs, or hide in a box before popping out for a sneak attack, etc. Lost limbs can be remade from skeletal remains of other creatures, but must be properly cleaned and painted at a temple of the dead. Long "lived" Merrymarrows may have many contrasting artstyles.

You get +1 to hit at all weapons at level 6 and 8.

You get +1 to your AC at level 7.

You get +1 to stealth and reaction checks at 2nd and 9th level.

Your primary ability is to dance. You can make music with your own body or with an instrument, and you can dance to raise the dead. To control the undead, you make a turn undead roll using your level +2, which increases to a +3 at level 3 and increases again to a +4 at level 5. Your turn undead dance only works on undead, not demons or other supernatural targets normally turned.

Your dance makes the dead rise to join you, and dance alongside you. While dancing, the dead cannot attack, though they may still have murderous intent and try to swipe out the living nearby, though these attacks always miss. For as long as you dance, the other undead may also dance. Intelligent undead may get a saving throw to resist for a single round. Dancing undead are also compelled to follow you, and you can lead them back to their crypts if your turn undead result is equal to destroyed- instead of destroyed, you lay them down to permanent rest.

Alongside this power, you are an entertainer of the living and well tuned to the spirit and traditions of a land or people. You can sense if a grave has been disturbed, and can also sense corpses that have not been buried or read their funeral rites within a large radius, which increases to an entire hex at 10th level. By properly caring for the dead, they will not rise again as undead in troubled lands. You can also freely take the material goods and offerings given to the dead at alters, but must repay these gifts in kind. You can do this without disturbing the spirits at rest and will not be cursed or smote by the gods for using these gifts, since you are yourself dead after all.

At 10th level, you become a Grave Tender. You have become famous and respected enough in both the realms of the living and the dead to become a keeper of a cemetery; a huge honor and responsibility. Every corpse buried there has a 1 in 6 chance to appear on a certain night of the year when the veil between realms is at its weakest. These ghosts can be freely questioned, or just have a nice evening with, and even mortals can see and speak to them. Any especially interesting ghosts have a 1 in 6 chance to become permanent haunts, bound to that place but able to manifest every night or so; these haunts are also more physical and can throw objects or become spectral warriors to defend the graveyard or the local community on the right night.

Finally, you also gain the power of Counter Spell. You can counter any necromancy-based spell, spells cast by necromancers, or spells cast by liches or other intelligent undead. You counter the spell by playing a little chord on your ribcage, which musically purifies the magic and ends the spell in transit, or even after it is already in effect. You can use this power three times per night.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

High-Powered "Coup de Grace" Rules

These rules are specifically for those interested in running a more high fantasy “Hit Points = Meat Points” style of game, or those who want a little bit more grounded realism over pure meat points mixed with heroic fantasy. You could of course easily convert it into narrative hit points just as well.

High-Powered “Coup de Grace” Rules
When a character is harmed by another character to finish them off, such as a knife to the throat or crossbow pointed at the head, consult the list by their level. This does not apply to hit point damage taken in combat as per normal rules. The “damage roll” of the coup de grace should be the weapon damage die.

Level 1-2 : Death, no save.
Level 3-4 : Character makes a saving throw. On success, dropped to 0 hit points and will die in one round if not immediately given medical attention or healing magic. On fail, death.
Level 5 : Character makes a saving throw. On success, they drop to 1 Hit Point. On a failure, dropped to 0 hit points and will die in one round if not immediately given medical attention or healing magic.
Level 6 : Character makes a saving throw. On success, they take the maximum possible size of the damage die x 5, or 1 Hit Point if this would drop them to zero or less. On a Failure, dropped to 0 hit points and will die in one round if not immediately given medical attention or healing magic.
Level 7 : Character makes a saving throw. On success, they take the maximum possible size of the damage die x 4, or 1 Hit Point if this would drop them to zero or less. On Failure, dropped to 1 Hit Point and will pass out/drop to 0 hit points in a round without healing/completing combat.
Level 8 : Character makes a saving throw. On success, they take the maximum possible size of the damage die x 3, or 1 Hit Point if this would drop them to zero or less. On Failure, drop to 1 HP.
Level 9 : Character makes a saving throw. On success, they take the maximum possible size of the damage die x 2, or 1 Hit Point if this would drop them to zero or less. On Failure, take maximum possible size of the damage die x 3 or drop to 1 Hit Point.
Level 10 : Character makes a saving throw. On success, roll damage die and deal that much damage to the character. On failure, take maximum possible result of the damage die.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Wizards = Psychics

This concept might fit a bit better in a science fiction game, or a science-fantasy/fiction game masquerading as a traditional high fantasy game. This won't apply to everything perfectly, but since some consider psychic powers as magic by any other name, I'm sure it will work.

Wizards = Psychics
Wizards are Psychics. Spells are psychic powers. This works best for spell systems using spell points or “stress points” based on how many spells are cast giving increasing dangerous negatives to rolls. However, Vancian spell slots could also function; simply requiring the fluff that spells are concentrated packets of psychic energy formed in preparation for later, ala a Tulpa.

Telekinesis is your core ability. You can move objects with your mind- Unseen Servant, Levitation, Mage Hand/Floating Disc, Hold Person/Portal and so on. More complex forms of movement, such as to animate a skeleton or controlling wind requires higher levels of power. In this magic system, golems and skeletons would be appropriately mindless automatons, continually animated by some psychic commands and energy. Similarly, giving a mind to something would be a pretty impressive feat, or involve the creator giving up a part of their psychic mindspace to the creation, similar to spending XP.

Pyrokinesis and Electrokinesis explain elemental spells. Cold spells aren't as easily explained, unless you just count it as really focused telekinesis that stops atoms in place.

Summoning spells are in a weird place. Summoning could be either literally creating new life through a combination of telekinesis and more abstract energy- that's why you need a sacrificial virgin to summon a demon, her life energy and body is drained to form the new living creature before you. Or it could be a totally psychic phenomena like a Eregore. It only exists in creatures minds, which is why demons try so hard to make themselves appealing and get people to do their bidding, manipulating people to giving it power or fulfilling its mission. Summoning could also go with a more “New Age” model of cosmology similar to some New Age Religions- Demons exist as a “lower vibration” form of being that your psychic energy can elevate to your plane. Gods and angels exist on a “higher vibration”, all of which require intense mental effort to have them manifest here.

All Illusion & Mind-Domination spells are telepathy. Psychic false sensations and personalities existing only in the mind. This wouldn't work for semi-real illusions, unless the illusions can do damage by hijacking the creature's body internally and causing real wounds to rip open, but at that point you may be overstepping what makes Psychic feel “Psychic”

Healing works by tricking a body into going into super regeneration mode, or by actually influencing life energy. Based on a “vibration” nuAge model of cosmology, you could also say healing is restoring things to a platonic ideal or granting positive energy in droves. It could also just be telepathy based- only masking the pain a person feels and acting as 'Grit' or abstract Hit Points.

Teleportation isn't a common power of psychic characters, but could be used as is. Instant transmission of matter across space, or by 'folding' space. If you use a psychic otherworld or a magical collective conciseness connecting all beings, then this could also work but implies that you can only transport yourself nearby a living being.

Magic items store psychic energy to perform their effects. Every magic item is psychic in some minor way, to release and control psychic energy based on a simple set of instructions. The more powerful an item is, the more complex and person-like its artificial mind is; hence ego weapons.

Finally- Magic as Psionics also explains all the ridiculous wild magic, magical crossbreeds and beasts, and dangerous or cursed magical items and places. The random thoughts and feelings of a mind could implant themselves on an item or location, even without psychic powers, and along with insane or dreaming Wizards could create unforeseen creations of pure imagination.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

12 Spaceship Special Featuers (that are more trouble then they're worth)

[1] Rearranging hull. During combat or to shift from atmosphere, underwater, or interstellar modes- computer rearranges the mass of the ship for optimal conditions, scrambling the location of everything. Primary rooms and cavities within the ship are mostly kept the same, but crew quarters and other rooms are jumbled and compressed, especially storage lockers and the objects within.

Whenever this is used, you may be trapped in a cavity with one tiny vent to the life support system, as the computer figures that's good enough to keep you alive to make space for its new flight mode or extra large storage bay. Anything vitally important has a 1 in 4 chance to get lost in a really unexpected place.

[2] Ship AI. It is highly advanced, remembers things, and can fully advise and manage many aspects of the ship. The ship can organize cargo shipments, resupply itself, lock/unlock doors as needed, and many other useful functions. However it is installed with several preset “personalities”, each one having their own problems. There is a kindly grandpa personality which grates on the ears and chides party members for swearing or engaging in effective but dishonorable tactics. There is a sultry female personality which throws mild and temperamental mood swings if not constantly sated with gifts or praise. There is even a highly effective default “factory” personality which works great except it constantly needs to shut down to update and pesters the party to buy it “essentially new features!” straight from the corporate servers.

[3] Adjusting life support. This life support system is highly advanced, pushing bubbles of air and moisture and customizing rooms based on the inhabitants as they move through the ship. It uses tractor beams to pull around globs of water for aquatic creatures, blasts heat and disperses it just a few inches away for creatures from lava worlds. Aliens of wildly different environments can live here together somehow. However the ship stores the information on its database which could be scrambled or hacked, and occasional hiccups to the system make it send electrically charged clouds of acid smoke for humans to breathe or spraying reptile creatures with liquid nitrogen, since it may accidentally think they need to stay cool due to their temperature being low. Less lethal hiccups, like regulating the inside temperatures and pressure to create weather effects inside the ship are not uncommon when this system fails.

[4] Replication Engine. The ship has some simple mining/extraction equipment, that can break down scavenged metals and asteroids and use it to create armor plating and munitions. The inside of the ship can be converted to a mini foundry to create and shape these metals and weapons. If left on however, it may flood the cargo bay with dangerous, primed warheads and a single gravity failure in the ship will cause molten metal to float out becoming a lethal hazard.

[5] Ship-Wide Holodeck. Everything in the ship can be made of solid state holograms; seats, control panels, clothes or personal items, fake crew members acting as visual aids and assistants to the crew, etc. Holograms don't 'despawn' when no longer needed though without supervision; you'll run across historical figures, game simulations, weird sex fantasies and so on running around the ship all the time. If the program is turned off, the control panels of the ship will disappear along with your seats and safety belts; the holograms were aids to assist with the now very inaccessible internal control and machine networks.

[6] Personal Butler-bots. The ship has a few robots, one per each major crew member, who waits on their every need, cleans up after them, and assist them in their duties. The butlers have all the regular protection protocols and some basic personality circuits; they would never attack the regular living crew members. But they start to scheme against each other, getting in each other way, and stealing each others batteries and server presence to better assist their own personal owner's jobs around the ship. Eventually, they will begin performing combat maneuvers and equipping themselves for gladiatorial combat- your maid bot starts smashing objects to slam the glass into the sensors of a rival machine, who is fiddling with the controls to the airlock to eject the offending robot out into space, and accidentally the rest of the oxygen in the living quarters too.

[7] Spontaneously generated music played over the projected loudspeakers. Give everyone on the ship a “soundtrack” for their life. Gets annoying fast, even if the music is generated unique and fresh each time. You can ask to turn it off, but it comes back as “subtle background music” in a few hours. You'll get used to it, and eventually go crazy like everyone else. There's at least one crazed naked man in the vents, stuffing his ears with cotton stolen from pillows and sleeping next to the loudest engine machines, just to drown out the music and hopefully go deaf.

[8] Hologram crew members. After someone dies, they can be simulated and “revived” via a perfect copy of their brain scan and personality from recordings by the ship's computer. Though they are not physical, they are still part of the crew and have the same duties and responsibilities.

Because of this feature, the copies feel as though they got no reprieve even from death, now forced to continue to work and exist in this limited, nonliving state. Also, it is entirely possible for the entire crew to die, becoming nothing more then hologram ghosts in a dead ship they cannot touch.

[9] Extremely fast acting and easy-access hibernation pods. Metal ports are installed in the back of the neck of the crew members; an easy plug in causes immediate deep, unaging sleep. Crew spread out their lives over eons if possible, taking century long naps along with tiny sleeps of just a few minutes while waiting for their food to cook. Any mistakes in programming and the 'alarm' could be hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years off. With the other crew sleeping 99.99999% of the time, any mistake like this could easily leave the ship unattended and without vital maintenance or repairs for decades.

[10] Biochemical adaptation. Each crew member has their tools, living space, and even personal needs met with generated biomechanical constructs, created from cloned DNA and shaped into various helpful organisms. Naturally, these beings must be fed a nutrient rich slurry from dispensers around the ship. Once these resources run out, they will become mad with hunger and attack the only meat they can get their hands/claws/protoplasm on.

[11] Gravity displacement engine. Allows artificial gravity to be selectively altered in real time along different axis; letting you walk on walls, create heavy zones to keep prisoners contained and on the floor, light zones for industry and ease of movement, and so on. Every time the computer reboots or the ship's engines go out the gravity wildly shifts and fluctuates; 1 in 6 chance minor black hole is formed somewhere in the ship.

[12] Weapon adaptation. The weapons aboard this ship automatically adopt to rearm and calibrate to go past new types of armors and energy shields. Using energy and munitions in an extremely efficient matter. The computer AI always goes for the most powerful method of destruction, and as such the ship starts to become a hazard. Soon asteroid fields are obliterated causing collateral damage, and tether-tractor beams are pulling holes in a friendly's boats hull, just to sate its bloodlust.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Second Shimmering Shield

The Second Shimmering Shield - 2nd Level
This shield spell is quite powerful, and popular in Wizard duels. When cast, it creates a semi-translucent “sheet” around the caster or the caster's target, which flows and billows like a sail, always attached to its target. Every combat round, it changes its color and proceeds to block incoming damage. However, the shield only blocks a single type of damage each round- it shifts to block the first type of damage and doesn't change again until next round. This spell only blocks 5 spells or attacks before dissipating.

All sources of the same damage type are protected against by the power of the shield. When blocking physical attacks, the shield is gray in color and grants +4 AC for the first and every attack put against the character. When the sheet is blocking elemental or magical damage, it turns an appropriate color and instead reduces incoming damage by -4. If it's absorbing fire damage, turns red and reduces damage from a dragon's breath along with any other sources of fire that round by -4, etc. When dealing with esoteric sources of damage, such as from otherworldly creatures, mutant powers, or divine smiting by the Gods, the shield flickers between several crazy color and texture patterns and blocks only -2 damage or none at all, depending on rarity and strangeness.

The shield here also seems to have a bit of an animal mind attached to it. By making a saving throw versus spells, whoever is holding the shield can command it to leave them and go to someone or something else, protecting them or it from harm. On a failed saving throw, the shield cannot leave that character and becomes stuck to them until it ends.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

10 Nose Mutations

[1] You have a witch's nose. Long, warty, and a 50% chance to be a disgusting green color. If you flick this nose you can create a limited version of any 1st level spell; the spell has its normal effects, but all changes made to the world are reversed after 1 hour. Magic Missile that kills someone will have them wake back up after 6 exploration turns, for example.

[2] Your nose becomes flat, scrunching up into your face and becoming little more then two vertical slits. You can't smell very well anymore, but your sense of taste improves. You can flick out your tongue like a snake to “taste” the air, you can sense nearby creatures by tasting their sweat or breath, and you can identify if an item is poisonous by simply flicking this tongue over the cup or meal. You can taste the tiny sweetness of the poison, mixed among the wholesome food.

[3] Your nose is now made of wood and looks like a stick. You sneeze leaves. You can somehow smell and breath out of the end of stick, and could use it a bit like a snorkel.

[4] Your nose becomes a bright red clown orb. If you squeeze it, it honks. You can cast spells on your nose which stores them for later; essentially a magical “trap” on your nose that will activate on anyone who dares squeeze it, or you could cast a useful or defensive spell on your nose to squeeze as an emergency, which doesn't have the normal speed penalties to spellcasting.

[5] Pig nose. +1 reaction checks to orcs and other monsters, but you look ugly and get -1 to any humans. You can smell truffles and garbage smells great to you. You also snort when you breathe sometimes and get -1 to stealth rolls.

[6] Your nose disappears and is replaced by a white egg with green polka-dots. The unusual coloration marks it as different from a normal egg. You can still smell from it, but can also pull it off your face whenever you wish, letting you smell things far away from your body as long as the egg is present. If the egg is ever smashed, you take 1d6 damage and can no longer smell, permanently. If you get hit by any mace or blunt attack that strikes you, you have a 1 in 4 chance for it to smash the egg as well, and falls doing damage always smashes your egg.

This egg is also slowly developing. Everything you smell is being added to the undeveloped bird embryo inside. After 4 seasons of being incubated by your face's warmth, the egg will hatch. You permanently lose your sense of smell, but a small magical avian creature identifies you as its mother. Whatever smell you smelled the most while the egg was growing determines the subtle musky scent of the bird's feathers as well as its personality. The bird can also eventually learn magic and cast 1st and 2nd level spells; squawking incantations.

[7] Your nose looks the same, except for the inside. Your nose's inside is extremely dry, with tough receptors and a leathery nasal cavity. You need to moisturize your nose and sinus and you can't smell anything anymore, but you totally ignore the negative effects of horrible smelling demons or undead, smell-based spells, disease-carrying miasma, and even poison gas (as long as you don't breathe through your mouth).

[8] Your phlegm changes in consistency. If you snort up some snot; outside of your body is hardens within a few seconds, becoming a tough cement-like substance. If you continually create mucus you can create some improvised building material, but you'll run out pretty fast.

[9] Your nose turns into a huge rhino horn that juts out of your face. You can use it as a 1d4 weapon by butting your head instead of doing a normal attack, and you get +1 AC, but cannot wear a mask or hide your appearance; a dark cloak over your head won't hide the protrusion.

[10] Pulling on your nose shows it has an elastic property. When it slaps back against your face, you take 1 damage, but gain an enhanced sense of smell; similar to a bloodhounds. You gain this sense of smell for 1d4 turns, and will need to keep pulling on your nose to continue your pursuit.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Dirt Simple "Roll to cast Spells" Mechanic

I made this rule specifically because because of the common complaint I see with D&D- that magic users never fail to cast spells and spells are a reliable 1 to 1 resource trade. While balance discussion on the games is pretty annoying and I've already discussed it to death, some chance to cast spells without too much change to the core rules might be an interesting addition.

Whenever a magic user casts a spell, roll a d20 and add their Intelligence modifier. Then, use the following chart to determine what level the spell is cast at.

Spell Casting Table
1 or less : Caster level – 3
2 – 5 : Caster level – 2
6 – 9 : Caster level – 1
10 – 13 : Caster level +/- 0
14 – 17 : Caster level +1
18 – 21 : Caster level +2
22+ : Caster level +3

The spell is cast as though the magic user is of the level rolled on the table above for the purposes of spells scaling, damage, or resistances. If the magic user rolls low enough that their level drops below the caster level that can cast a spell of that slot (5th level Magic-User casting a 3rd level spell, gets a -1 to their Caster Level from the spell) the spell fizzles instead, the slot wasted OR the spell going haywire, depending on the DM and the tone of the game.

Using this system, spell casters can fail spell casts and have variation in how powerful they are each time they cast the spell. While this system could also mean that magic users can cast spells with better scaling, a few extra damage dice or rounds of duration a spell gains from the MU being higher level is minor compared to the extra chance to fail a spell outright- this system is slightly weighted towards the negative aspect without modifiers, hopefully making the magic user a little less powerful for those that believe the MU is too strong.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

[Class] Orc Princess

Art @ GlacierClear (very NSFW)
Orc Princess (aka Virgin Orc or Orc Maiden)
HD- d8
Max AC- 15 / Minimum Hit-Points- 5

You are a female orc. Despite you being young and inexperienced, you're still at least six feet tall, thickly built, and extremely strong as all orcs are. You are also innately talented with magic, as your bloodline is powerful. Most people know female orcs to be huge monsterous breeders- rulers of the P'orc race, and this is your eventual fate. If you have sex, that is. Your character is a virgin. This means your character having sex will almost certainly end their career and force them into retirement- but it's mostly avoided by the player's choice. (I probably wouldn't put in saving throws to avoid getting seduced or roving gangs of rapist bandits to “kill off” Orc virgin characters but it's your game, so you do you.)

Orcs are physically strong. Regardless of what your strength actually is, always treat your modifier as at least a +1 simply due to your size and girth. Even when crippled or badly injured, Orcs are still capable of great bursts of strength.

Orcs are tough. You have a base AC of 10. Your skin and blubber as well as natural pain resistance means you can ignore any source of direct damage that deals exactly 1 point. If a weapon is coated in poison and does 1 damage, you don't suffer the poison as it can't reach your bloodstream. This resistance does not apply to esoteric spells or attacks that bypass your physical body. At 10th level, you can now safely shrug off any source of damage that deals 2 or less.

Orcs are creatures of darkness. In the dark, your eyes can glow bright red to let you see. However, you are not a creature of the surface world. Every hour spent in sunlight causes you to take 1 damage, and be as irritable as a pig without mud to wallow in. You can avoid this damage by wallowing in mud or water for an exploration turn, having a hireling carry you a parasol, covering your skin in protective oils, etc.

At 3rd, 5th, and 7th level, add +1 to hit with all weapons.

At 4th,6th, and 8th level, add +1 damage on a melee hit. At the same rate, you deal +1 damage with offensive or elemental spells.

You can also cast spells. You aren't as good as a traditional Magician at learning and researching new spells, but you have a sort of raw talent and power behind your enchantments, crude as they are. You cast all spells as though you are a caster level higher too. You must spend +20% more gold to research or modify spells. You get spell slots according to the chart at the bottom.

At 10th level, you become an Orc Matron. You've gone through Orc menopause, more or less. It's not like actual menopause; you can get pregnant, but you'll no longer grow into a Great Sow nor give birth to squealing hoards of minions for the armies of the Orcs. You're more like beings of other races now, and can actually settle down and have a normal relationship. Or keep adventuring and doing whatever else it is you like to do.

Secondly, you become a matron of a small community of outcast Orcs and other monsters who wish to live their lives at peace, free from their violent and brutal cultures and gods. Every season, 2d4 HD worth of intelligent creatures will seek refugee with you. They will fight on your behalf, but will not appreciate being used in a military capacity, preferring defense and questing for the greater good.

1st Circle
2nd Circle
3rd Circle










Art @Tealst

Thursday, May 9, 2019

[Class] Princess

Art @Arthur Rackham
HD- d4
Max AC- 12 / Minimum Hit-Points- 2

You're a princess. Born of noble blood, you had a privileged and comfortable life. You may still live with your parents in their castle, or maybe you ran away. Regardless, you need a little fun and danger in your life. You're sneaky and clever enough to get +1 to stealth rolls and get +10% bonus experience.

You can calm animals. Any animal of ½ your HD or less can be calmed by your voice or touch, and must make a morale check to attack you. This protection ends if you attack the animal. Needless to say, your character attracts unicorns and can ride them easily. At 2nd level, you gain a cute, highly intelligent animal companion like a gecko, ferret, songbird, etc. It can't attack beyond a surprise bite to distract a foe, but it can scout around areas and potentially steal the keys from a guard so you can escape a jail cell (or your own room, after the King and Queen catch you sneaking out again.) If it dies tragically, you can get a new animal friend next time you level up.

Your main ability is your kiss. You can kiss people to cure curses. People turned into an animal can be turned back to normal, petrified knights have their stone bodies turned back to flesh, and so on. Kisses can only be given willingly, nobody can “force” you to cure them with your magic, even if they stole a kiss from you when you were distracted or something. The table at the bottom indicates the maximum HD of the creature's effects you can nullify in the “creature” column, the maximum spell effect you can nullify, and the maximum number of kisses you can use per day/per adventure.

At 10th level, you become a Damsel. Your parents and caretakers have had enough with you. You are shipped off to live in the tallest room of the tallest tower, far away, under the protection of mythical beasts, spells, and traps even beyond you can escape. Your adventuring escapades were the prequel to you needing to get rescued by a brave knight, or maybe just bloodthirsty mercenaries.

Once you are rescued, you can either try to return to your parents and furiously berate them or prove you're a more mature adult now. You will be made a Princess Reagent within 1d8 years, and slowly take over responsibility of your father's estate, but you will also be subject to an arranged marriage and will be tied down to the home life too much to go on adventures anymore. Upon being rescued you can also chose to instead forego your royal inheritance and instead start over as a level 1 character of a new class. You have no starting experience and gain the new equipment restrictions and progression of your new class. You also start over with your new class HD, but add +10 for your levels as a Princess, and you get to keep all your Princess abilities and social abilities, along with the magic items and friends you made along the way.

Creature HD
Spell lvl.

Errata / Optional Rules
These extra rules have been put into their own category to avoid overloading the class. The ability to cure curses is pretty powerful, but it may not make for an interesting character on its own. These additional abilities can be sprinkled in as needed to fit the kind of "Princess" you want.

You're sneaky, lots of running off from your room in your youth, or even now as you adventure under your parent's nose. You get +1 to stealth rolls at 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 9th level. You can also add your stealth bonus to the to-hit and damage of sneak attacks; but these hits are nonlethal and instead knock out your target. Such as a strike to the back of the head with a frying pan. Additionally, If your game uses skill points, award 1 at each of these levels, or grant a flat +1 to devices that grow along with stealth to represent your skill with your eclectic hobbies and all the books you've read. In the same vein, you are pretty clever and quick to learn regardless of your intelligence score; you gain +10% experience. This bonus is the same as the bonus in the original class's top paragraph, don't stack these.

You are not a combatant. This is not a combat class. You treat all weapons as 1d2 improvised weapons. However, if you miss an attack (which you can do so at will), you fumble and fall over clumsily and gain +2 AC against attacks aimed at you. This increases to +4 at 5th level and +8 at 10th level- and this bonus doesn't count towards maximum AC! If you come from a culture where warfare is something expected of women, or you want to make this a more warrior princess class, grant +1 to hit which increases at the listed levels instead and lift the weapon and damage restriction.

Your social abilities also apply to intelligent beings; you are a princess after all. Even if you have low charisma, you are still beautiful and trained in courtly manners, you will never be mistaken for a commoner if you don't chose to go in a disguise. You can also have +1 follower and that follower treats their morale at +1 to defend you. Once you're at least 2nd level, you will always have at least one follower even if your last one dies. The follower is usually a hapless youth madly in love with you, or a gritty old soldier who slowly warms up to you, a fairy interested in your antics, etc.