Saturday, 1 September 2018

Adrift on the Night's Black Sea: Equipment Tags

In my previous post I mentioned that all weapons will deal 1d8 damage in line with the Eldritch Cock playtest rules. Instead of variable damage weapons in Adrift on the Night's Black Sea will feature different tags that alter their abilities and effects. Tags can also be applied to armour and other bits of equipment. Both positive and negative tags will be featured, though negative tags will normally be applied to weapons that have been improvised, scavenged or experimentally produced. My goals for this system are as follows:
  1. Simple - a tag will sum up the effect it has in a sentence or two. This can potentially link to other systems - if I ever publish this I will ensure links and references are included.
  2. Evocative - a tag's name will evoke a good sense of its effects, i.e. Irradiating, Fragile, Rending etc.
  3. Flexible - a PC should be able to apply and remove different tags to their equipment given the right resources, customising their kit to suit their needs.
I also planned to talk about the injury system I'll be using, as well as an outline of the psionics system that I've been mulling over, but this post became far too long.

Credit, Don Davis @ NASA Ames Research Centre

Equipment & Tags

A tag may only be taken once per equipment item unless otherwise specified.

Weapons

Weapons will have a certain number of innate tags, their size for example, that cannot be changed. These tags are determined at the creation of the weapon and are usually integral to their construction or function. A weapon's size will also determine how many tags it can have applied to it. Below is a set of base weapons for each size category. Below that is a list of further tags that can be applied, their restrictions, and list of weapons that I have come up with.

IMPORTANT: These are all still a work in progress and will more than likely be changed!

Base Melee Weapons

WeaponSizeInnate TagsFurther Tag Slots
Small WeaponSmallSmall - can be used while grappling.
1
Medium Weapon*MediumMedium - can be wielded in both hands for +1 damage.
2
Large Weapon**LargeLarge - must be wielded in 2 hands.
3

*Spears count as medium weapons and have their stock advantages/disadvantages as per core LotFP.
**Polearms count as large weapons and have their stock advantages/disadvantages as per core LotFP.


Base Ranged Weapons


WeaponSizeInnate TagsFurther Tag Slots
PistolSmallPistol - can be used in melee combat.
1
Rifle*MediumRifle - can be used as a melee weapon with -2 to hit.
2
Heavy WeaponLargeHeavy - takes a full round action to fire.
3
Bow**MediumSilent - makes no sound when fired.
2
Grenade Template***SmallThrown - this weapon is designed to be thrown at a target.
2

*This category covers rifles, shotguns, carbines and other two-handed firearms that don't qualify as heavy weapons.
**Note that bows will have access to a relatively small number of tags, but arrows may have one tag applied to them to allow for a number of different types.
***Grenades can be modified for different purposes, for example armour piercing grenades using the blast + hypervelocity tags, or a tear gas grenade using the gas + toxin tags. Rocket/grenade launchers are simply used for delivery purposes and have no tags of their own.

Reloading
After attacking with a ranged weapon, the wielder must roll to see if it needs reloading. To test this, roll 1d10. On a 1 the weapon must be reloaded. Bows and grenades do not make reload checks.

Further Weapon Tags
  • Autoloading (non-bow ranged only) - sophisticated ammunition feeders mean reloading this weapon counts as a minor action instead of a regular action.
  • Balanced (melee only) - this weapon is perfectly balanced for dual-wielding, increasing AC and hit bonuses to +2 when dual-wielding, or +1 if a large weapon. If both weapons are balanced this increases to +3.
  • Beam (non-grenade ranged only) - this weapon fires an energised beam or charge and its attacks have +2 to hit but can be impaired by thick smoke or dust clouds. This weapon uses power cells instead of projectile ammo - make all reload rolls with advantage.
  • Blast (grenades only) - this weapon unleashes an indiscriminate explosion that attacks AC12 or the target's base AC, whichever is lower. The weapon is irrevocably destroyed once used.
  • Cryogenic (non-bow, non-hyperthermic) - shots from this weapon chill and numb their targets. The target must Save on a successful hit or be slowed for 1d6 Rounds.
  • Energised (melee only) - this weapon is surrounded in a crackling halo of energy, gaining +2 to hit and damage rolls.
  • Gas (non-bow, non-beam ranged only) - this weapon projects a gas instead of a solid or energy projectile. While it has a short range this gas spreads quickly and bypasses most forms of armour and cover, taking +4 to hit.
  • Hyperthermic (non-bow, non-cryogenic) - this weapon superheats its targets. The target must Save on a successful hit or begin burning (see Injuries section).
  • Hypervelocity (non-beam ranged only) - this weapon fires solid ammunition with terrifying power, gaining +2 to damage. Enemies behind cover take no AC bonus when targeted by this weapon.
  • Ionic (non-bow) - this weapon is electrically charged and only deals 1d4 damage to organic targets, but artificial targets take double damage. Any artificial or cybernetically-enhanced target must also Save when hit or be stunned for 1d6 Rounds.
  • Irradiating (non-bow) - this weapon emits harmful levels of ionising radiation. The target must Save on a successful hit or suffer +2Gy cumulative rad exposure (see Injuries section).
  • Jet (non-bow, non-beam ranged only) - this weapon projects a liquid instead of a solid or energy projectile. This weapon has a moderate range and takes +2 to hit.
  • Lightweight - this weapon is non-encumbering, or counts as a normal item if oversized.
  • Needler (non-beam, non-bow ranged only) - this weapon fires needle-like solid projectils at a high rate of fire with very little recoil. This weapon takes +4 on hit rolls but deals 1d4 damage instead of 1d8.
  • Rapid Fire (non-bow ranged only) - this weapon has a terrifying rate of fire and rolls to hit and damage with advantage, but reload rolls are made with disadvantage. This weapon can suppress targets instead of directly attacking, who must Save or take disadvantage on their next attack roll.
  • Rending (non-bow) - this weapon slices and tears flesh with ease. The target must Save on a successful hit or begin bleeding (see Injuries section).
  • Scattershot (non-blast ranged only) - this weapon fires multiple projectiles with a single shot, allowing the wielder to attack 2 adjacent targets with their normal combat bonus but dealing half damage to each (roll once and divide by 2, minimum 1 damage each).
  • Silent (non-blast only) - attacks with this weapon make very little to no sound.
  • Thrown - this weapon is designed to be thrown at a target.
  • Toxic - this weapon delivers a specific poison or disease to its target. The target must Save or suffer the effects (see Injuries section).

Credit, Ariel Perez

Armour

Armour, unlike weapons, will not have innate tags. I found it hard to think up things that weren't otherwise explained elsewhere in the LotFP rules (like encumbrance and so on) so I thought it best to leave them blank. However it will still be possible to modify armour to add and remove tags.

Base Armour


ArmourBase ACTag Slots
Light Armour
 14
2
Medium Armour
 16
3
Heavy Armour
 18
4
Shield
 +2
1

Armour Tags
  • Ablative - this armour is layered with materials that divert shock and energy by vaporising or fragmenting. The first time the wearer of this armour would suffer weapon damage*, instead negate the damage and remove this tag. This tag can be taken multiple times.
  • Active Countermeasures - this armour has close-in weapon capability and can intercept grenades and other thrown or slow-moving missiles. When the wearer of this armour is targeted by a thrown weapon or arrow, or if a grenade or rocket would impact within 10', they may Save as a free action to intercept it before it impacts.
  • Autosenses - this armour holds integrated sensors and scanners. The wearer of this armour can sense heat and electrical signatures within 100' (if not obscured), see up to 200' away in darkness, and sense the chemical composition of the surrounding atmosphere.
  • Chameleon - this armour has chameleon circuitry embedded within it, allowing the wearer to blend in to their surroundings. The wearer's Stealth skill counts as +4 while they keep perfectly still, and +2 while they are moving - every 2 points of damage suffered reduces the Stealth bonus by 1 until the armour is repaired.
  • Commlink - this armour has an in-built communicator and recording apparatus capable of broadcasting up to three times the range of a handheld communicator.
  • Exopowered - this armour contains layers of carbon-mesh muscle and steel sinew to enhance the strength of the wearer. The wearer of this armour counts their STR as 2 higher than normal.
  • Grav-stabilisers - internal gravitic fields and gyroscopic stabilisers allow the wearer of this armour to keep their balance in nearly all situations. The wearer makes all Climb rolls and combat manoeuvre rolls to stay upright with advantage, and suffers no penalty in zero-g.
  • Integrated Weaponry - this armour has an integrated melee or ranged weapon, up to medium or pistol size. The bearer cannot be disarmed of these weapons but they may not have additional tags beyond their base.
  • Kinetic Dampeners - gravitic dampeners and endurance fibres allow this armour to absorb shocks and gravitational forces. The wearer of this armour will take falling damage for every 20' fallen instead of 10' and makes Saves vs g-force with advantage.
  • Lightweight - this armour's encumbrance is reduced by 1, or counts as a normal item if oversized.
  • Psi-Scanner - built-in psionic sensors allow the wearer a greater sensitivity to psionics. The wearer of this armour is able to detect psionic energy and psions, as well as identifying the effects of detected psionic energy.
  • Psi-Warded - advanced materials, their method of construction long forgotten, line this armour and reduce the effect of psionic powers on the wearer. The wearer makes all Saves vs Psionics with advantage.
  • Rad-Shielded - this armour is specifically designed to resist harmful radiation levels. The wearer of this armour makes all Saves vs Radiation with advantage.
  • Radiators - this armour holds sophisticated cooling systems to vent excess heat. The wearer of this armour makes all Saves vs heat effects with advantage, but is still vulnerable to being set ablaze.
  • Smokescreen - as a move action this armour can emit billowing clouds of smoke to mask its wearer. The smoke reaches up to 50' away from the wearer and the armour's reservoirs must be reloaded before it can be used again.
  • Static Discharge - internal capacitors bleed off kinetic energy as a last-ditch defence mechanism. Any opponent who damages the wearer of this armour in melee must Save or suffer 1 damage from an electrical jolt.
  • Survival Filters - internal filtration and reprocessing symptoms allow the wearer to survive without food or water for double the normal duration. They'll smell awful afterwards though.
  • Thrusters - the wearer of this armour can jump up to three times their movement under normal gravity (which requires a Turn to cool the engines), or move at the normal movement rate with ease in zero-g.
  • Trauma Kit - internal life support systems allow this armour to keep its wearer alive in cases of grievous injury. If the wearer of this armour is injured to the point where they start dying this armour automatically stabilises them for 6 hours, after which they will die if they do not receive treatment.
  • Vacc-Sealed - this armour is sealed against the cold void, and is also impermeable to most airborne toxins and diseases. The internal air supply will last for 8 hours.

Credit, Ariel Perez

Examples

Here are a few things that I came up with using the above tags:

Ranged Weapons

Laser Pistol
Tags: pistol, beam.

Machine Pistol
Tags: pistol, rapid fire.

Silenced Pistol
Tags: pistol, silent.

Hypodermic Rifle
Tags: rifle, needler, toxic.

Combat Shotgun
Tags: rifle, autoloader, scattershot.

Survival Rifle
Tags: rifle, beam, lightweight.

Heavy Machine Gun
Tags: heavy, hypervelocity, rapid fire, scattershot.

Plasma Lance
Tags: heavy, beam, hyperthermic, rapid fire.

Cryo Cannon
Tags: heavy, cryogenic, jet, lightweight.


Melee Weapons

Charge Prod
Tags: small, ionic.

Assassin's Knife
Tags: small, toxic.

Parrying Dagger
Tags: small, balanced.

Duellist's Chainblade
Tags: medium, balanced, rending.

Hunter's Javelin
Tags: medium, balanced, thrown.

Phoenix Blade
Tags: medium, hyperthermic, lightweight.

Rad Axe
Tags: large, energised, irradiated, lightweight.

Ion Maul
Tags: large, energised, ionic, rending.

Void Lance
Tags: large, balanced, lightweight, silent.


Grenades

Frag Grenade
Tags: thrown, blast, scattershot.

Chokegas Bomb
Tags: thrown, gas, toxin.

Incendiary Grenade
Tags: thrown, blast, hyperthermic.

Rad Emitter
Tags: thrown, gas, irradiated.


Armour

Infiltration Gear (Light)
Tags: autosenses, chameleon. 

Loading Apparatus (Light)
Tags: exopowered, kinetic dampeners.

Stillsuit (Light)
Tags: commlink, survival filters.

Voidsuit (Medium)
Tags: grav-stabilisers, thrusters, vacc-sealed.

Gladiator Armour (Medium)
Tags: ablative, lightweight, static discharge.

Psi-Enforcer Gear (Medium)
Tags: commlink, psi-scanner psi-warded.

Juggernaut Armour (Heavy)
Tags: active countermeasures, autosenses, integrated weaponry, smokescreen.

Reactor Suit (Heavy)
Tags: commlink, rad-shielded, trauma kit, vacc-shielded.

Mining Gear (Heavy)
Tags: exopowered, lightweight, radiators, survival filters.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Adrift on the Night's Black Sea: Rules (Of A Sort)

A science-fantasy setting represents a fairly significant break from the implied 16th century Europe setting of stock Lamentations of the Flame Princess. This has led me to tweak and change a reasonable number of rules, which I'll detail below. Before I do, let me say that the playtest rules in Eldritch Cock are a fucking godsend that makes dealing with anything class-related much easier because I don't have to fuck around with separate hit dice, XP tracks and saving throws anymore. It's now much easier to focus on cool shit.

Like this. This is cool shit.
Credit, Jakub Rebelka

Skills

One of the main breaks with the core rules lies in the skills available to characters. The current list of skills (including those from Eldritch Cock) stands at:
  • Architecture
  • Bushcraft
  • Climb
  • Languages
  • Leadership
  • Luck
  • Medicine
  • Seamanship
  • Search
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Sneak Attack
  • Stealth
  • Tinker
While these serve reasonably well for a game of Early Modern dungeon crawling, they do miss out on several sci-fi aspects like computers/programs and advanced technology. I've also never liked the Search skill in LotFP - I want my players to tell me what they are doing and how they are searching for something, not just roll and hope for the best.

With this in mind, I have changed the skill list for Adrift on the Night's Black Sea to be as follows:
  • Data - used for manipulating computer programs and other software.
  • Climb - as stock, but it also affects strenuous actions (i.e. skill rolls or combat) in low/zero-g environments.
  • Etiquette - this isn't a persuade skill, but reflects a character's knowledge of how to phrase conversations and hold themselves in delicate matters among different social strata.
  • Language & Culture  - I'm running off the concept that language = culture, and learning one almost always gives insight into the other.
  • Leadership - as stock in Eldritch Cock, used to 'encourage' hirelings.
  • Luck - as stock in Eldritch Cock, provides a pool of re-rolls.
  • Medicine - as stock in Eldritch Cock, improves HP recovery.
  • Pilot - used when attempting risky manoeuvres in a vehicle or on a mount.
  • Science - used when analysing an unknown substance, organism or phenomena.
  • Stealth - as stock. Still not a superpower.
  • Tech - used for manipulating mechanisms and machines.
The list isn't perfect, but it accomplishes what I want it to: it provides the PCs with meaningful ways to interact with the setting, whether that's repairing an overheated railgun on a voidship with the tech skill or analysing the properties of a xeno narcotic with the science skill.

Credit, Lorenz Hideyoshi Ruwwe

Backgrounds

I'm always debating the best way to handle PC knowledge in an RPG. I can't stand the stock D&D/Pathfinder approach of knowledge skills, where facts are assigned an arbitrary difficulty and the player needs to either stack skill points to reliably learn information about the world. At the same time I feel like it's important the PCs should not know certain facts. I don't mean hidden or ancient knowledge, just relatively everyday things like who the High Priest is or why you shouldn't piss off the guys with red armbands, the sort of thing that a local or someone who has come from a certain part of society would know a decent amount about but an outsider wouldn't.

With the above in mind I've settled on using a similar system to Robert J. Schwalb's Shadow of the Demon Lord, in which PCs roll professions that relate to their general areas of knowledge. On topics familiar to their professions the GM is advised to have them either pass automatically, or roll a 10+ on a d20 with added boons (d6s that add positive modifiers).

Characters in Adrift on the Night's Dark Sea will roll a background during character creation, which will be a rough guide as to the nature of their general knowledge. A technician and priest will have quite different knowledge sets. If a player asks something that a character with their background would be likely to know, I'll just tell them. If it's something more esoteric but still within the background's wheelhouse then a d6 roll with advantage, aiming for 5-6, should suffice. Something at the reaches of that background's experience will need a 6 with no advantage.

The current background lists for PCs are as follows. Armatures do not roll backgrounds, but I'm going to encourage my players to come up with a guess at an armature's purpose based on what they roll for additional features:

Warrior (1d8):

  1. Soldier: You served in a polity’s armed forces, or were part of a mercenary band.
  2. Criminal: You broke heads for scrip.
  3. Raider: You plundered and looted for survival or pleasure.
  4. Medic: You stitched and bandaged flesh on the battlefield..
  5. Outsider: You lived on the edges of society, preferring life in the wilds.
  6. Religious: You served as a strongarm for one of the Solemnis’ fevered cults.
  7. Bodyguard: You risked life and limb to protect your employer.
  8. Engineer: You maintained weapons and war machines for your comrades.


Expert (1d8):

  1. Historian: You worked to recreate the knowledge of the Old World.
  2. Scholar: You sifted through the records of the past.
  3. Technician: You tinkered and repaired machines and equipment.
  4. Medic: You stitched and bandaged flesh.
  5. Emissary: You were sent to parley between polities and factions.
  6. Hacker: You lost yourself in the streams of data coursing through the Solemnis.
  7. Botanist: You tended to an agri-dome plantation or investigated new crop strains.
  8. Pilot: You sat at the helm of voidcraft or atmospheric fliers.

Psion (1d8):

  1. Outsider: You advised, watched, and/or terrorised from the edges of society.
  2. Religious: You served, or led, one of the Solemnis’ fevered cults.
  3. Soldier: You served in a polity’s armed forces, or were part of a mercenary band.
  4. Scholar: You sifted through the records of the past.
  5. Spy: Your powers allowed you to go where others could not.
  6. Criminal: You used your powers for personal gain.
  7. Oracle: You gazed into the currents of the warp-aether to deliver guidance and prophecy.
  8. Emissary: You were sent to parley between polities and factions.

Credit, Ben Nicholas

Combat & Equipment

Eldritch Cock makes a few changes to stock LotFP combat rules. Characters have 4 bonus - Melee, Ranged, Firearms and Guard. I've merged Ranged and Firearms into the same category. My logic is that a separate firearms category is unnecessary as sci-fi armour will provide decent enough protection, as opposed to gunpowder weapons ignoring 5 points of AC in stock LotFP (which my internal logic sees as being due to Early Modern armour still catching up to new armour-piercing weaponry, despite the advantages of gunpowder weapons in training and ease of use). Also this means that someone with a nanofibre bow and monoblade-tipped arrows can compete on a similar footing to a gunslinger and still feel pretty cool about themselves.

In terms of weapon sizes I've gotten rid of the 'minor' category. All minor weapons are now small weapons.

PCs dual-wielding melee weapons (up to medium-size) may choose between a +1 Attack bonus or +1 AC bonus at the start of the round. PCs dual-wielding pistols may make 2 attacks, but each attack is made with disadvantage. A PC dual-wielding a melee weapon and pistol may make 2 attacks in melee, one normal melee attack at no penalty and one ranged attack at disadvantage.

Eldritch Cock rules also mean that all weapons to 1d8 damage, with small and minor weapons taking a penalty to against armour and great weapons getting a bonus. I'm keeping the 1d8 damage but removing the static penalties and bonuses in favour of weapon tags. Each weapon will have one or more tags that give it a specific attribute or feature. Weapons can be customised through attachments to add new abilities.

I'll be following up on equipment in a subsequent post.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Adrift on the Night's Black Sea: Armatures

Somehow, I've gotten myself roped into running another game. It seems one of my Star Wars pitches was too appealing to pass up:

"The Solemnis took flight to the stars 200 years ago. Designed to transport a self-sustaining population to a new world, she held the combined knowledge and the most advanced technology of her homeworld.

Many of Solemnis' systems have failed irreparably over time, including navigation. No communications have been received from the homeworld in over a century, and the original crew are long dead. Their descendants debate on the fate of the vessel, and conflict is about to flare."

The group have requested that I run this using Lamentations of the Flame Princess, as that's what they're familiar with. I've also chosen to incorporate Raggi's playtest ideas in Eldritch Cock, as they're awesome.

So, the game is going to take place on a huge warp-capable generation ship that has lost contact with its homeworld and has suffered steady degradation over centuries, both mechanical and in a societal sense. No one really understands how the ship works any more, navigation and other functions have failed irreparably, and the original crew (now several generations down the line) has divided into factions vying for control of the vessel. I'm thinking Lost in Space-meets-40k-meets-Foundation, lots of tech-mysticism, societal collapse and weird space-horror shit, with a smattering of retro-futurism thrown in for good measure.

I'll be using Dan's ideas on O'Neill cylinders to design the Solemnis - I have an idea for a cluster of O'Neill cylinders rotating around the central command structure and engines. Travel between the different areas will be dangerous and different compartments will have wildly different biomes, technology levels and cultures. Underneath it all is old archaeotech from the Old World that no one understands but everyone wants.

The new LotFP playtest rules don't contain any material on demihumans, and I'm fine with that. I generally like running human-PC-only games as it helps me enhance the other-ness of demihumans. Also a vaguely sci-fi settings means I can have some weird aliens, mutants, and trans/post-human NPCs for them to encounter. However, to add a bit of variety I thought I'd add a robot-type class for my PCs to use. Enter, armatures.

Credit, Amir Zand

As I mentioned above, the current inhabitants don't really understand how the advanced systems of the Solemnis work and rely on rote dogma for maintenance tasks. This includes the fabrication system, which sometimes ejects artificial beings into the habitats. These beings don't really understand what they're doing either, but have a vague idea of some purpose they were designed for. These beings are known as armatures and are generally humanoid in form, but often sport bizarre  and sometimes contradictory characteristics.

Class: Armature

You were created for a purpose. What that is, you’re not exactly sure. No two of you are exactly alike, although the mindless shells that perform rote tasks around the Solemnis clearly share a similar mindset. You’re different, though. Your sinews of plasteel and nerves of nanofilament mark you out from the organic passengers of the Solemnis, and your individual thoughts and desires distinguish you from your artificial brethren. What lies ahead?

Class Features:
  • Roll your stats normally, then roll randomly for locomotion, function, and design quirk. Adjust stats and abilities accordingly.
  • You self-repair at the same rate of healing as an organic, but the Tech skill applies to treatment in place of Medicine. Medicines and stims won’t work on you, but neither will poisons or most toxins.
  • You don’t need to eat or breathe. You only ‘sleep’ for 4 hours.

Credit, Jakub Rebelka

Locomotion (1d8):
  1. Insectile Legs: You scuttle around on a number of multi-jointed legs with gripping feet. You make all Climb rolls with advantage when not in Zero-G.
  2. Quadruped: Your torso emerges from a four-legged chassis. You count as being mounted at all times, ignoring the ranged penalty. You can climb normally, but slowly.
  3. Tracks: You clatter about on a set of treads. You move at full speed when navigating difficult terrain, but large obstacles can block your passage. You make Climb rolls with disadvantage.
  4. Wings: A pair of vibrating gossamer wings sprout from your shoulders. You can fly at your normal speed, but it takes an action to take off. 
  5. Bipedal: No special effects.
  6. Bipedal: No special effects.
  7. Bipedal: No special effects.
  8. Bipedal: No special effects.

Function (1d12):
  1. Peacekeeper: In-built armour plating grants you +2 base AC.
  2. Cargo Loader: Gain +2 STR.
  3. Medical: Gain +1 to your Medicine skill.
  4. Astrogation: Gain +2 INT.
  5. Hydroponics: Gain +1 to your Survival skill.
  6. EVA: Take advantage on all Climb rolls when in Zero-G.
  7. Psi-Monitor: Gain +2 CHA. You are aware of Psionic Powers used within 100’.
  8. Maintenance: Gain +1 to your Tech skill.
  9. ICE-Host: Gain +1 to your Data skill.
  10. Protocol: Gain +1 to your Etiquette skill.
  11. Analysis: Gain +1 to your Science skill.
  12. Navigation: Gain +1 to your Pilot skill.

Design Quirk (1d20):
  1. Multispectrum Vision: You can see in the dark and have a 1-in-6 chance to detect invisible objects/creatures.
  2. Inertial Compensators: You can fall 20’ instead of 10’ before suffering damage.
  3. Charge Capacitors: Enemies who attack you in melee must Save or suffer 1 damage.
  4. 360° Vision: You can see all around you and are only surprised on a 1-in-6.
  5. Afterburner: You can dash a distance equal to double your movement rate but can’t move for 1d6 Rounds afterwards. Charges made with this deal triple damage.
  6. Targeting Laser: You can mark an exposed target as an action. Your ranged attacks against this target are made with advantage, and you will always hit them when firing into melee (unless you fail your hit roll). This ends if you make any other action or if the target moves to cover.
  7. Revenant Protocols: When reduced to 0HP or less you may act normally for an extra Round before losing consciousness.
  8. Babel Library: You make all Language & Culture skill rolls with advantage.
  9. Animus Cells: You heal at twice the normal rate.
  10. Mechadendrites: You have mechanical tentacles instead of arms. They can fit into tight spaces and you take advantage on all grappling rolls.
  11. Sub-assembly: You can detach one of your arms and give it a set of instructions, i.e. pull this lever, hold this object until X happens etc. It will interpret your instructions quite literally.
  12. HAZMAT: You can store toxins and poisons in internal reservoirs and project them at a target. You can store one projection’s-worth at a time.
  13. Heat Shield: You make all saves to resist heat and flame effects with advantage.
  14. Luminous: You can project a beam of light as bright as a torch for a number of hours equal to your Level.
  15. Quantum Manipulation: Gain +1 Luck.
  16. Extra Arm: You have an additional arm. Nice one.
  17. Smokescreen: Once per day per level as a regular action you can project a cloud of thick smoke that covers a 50’ area, obscuring all within from sight.
  18. Alacrity Fibres: Once per day per level, as a free action, you may declare that you act first in initiative order. If you attack, make the attack roll with advantage. You must Save after your turn or suffer 1d8 damage.
  19. Chameleoline Skin: If you stand perfectly still you can blend in with your surroundings. Some things may still be able to sense your presence.
  20. Holdout Compartment: There is a small compartment concealed somewhere on your body. It can hold an object the size of a handgun and will defeat all but the most thorough investigations.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Star Wars Pitches

Recent weeks have been taken up with holidays, funerals and general creative listlessness. Time to change that.

There was some interesting G+ discussion on a post by FM Geist (who everyone should follow, by the way) on the topic of lore and how it can be presented in RPGs. I'm guilty as charged when it comes to building up large amounts of lore that my players never interact with and has no bearing on the game, often with entirely superfluous writing. It's something I've been trying to change because, in the words of Kevin Malone, "why waste time say lot word when few word do trick"?

There was a particular point made by David Shugars that the lore for a game's premise should fit in the opening crawl of a Star Wars film, which sounds like a great exercise to try and distil the essence and tone of a campaign setting down to the meat. On average there are 80 words in a Star Wars opening text crawl, so that's my limit for this exercise.

Without further ado, here are a few setting ideas I've had in my head distilled down to the basics along with the premise for my Egradus campaign.

Credit, Amir Zand

1. Egradus
The Ugishi Sultanate and Kothen Imperium lie in ruins, destroyed in the final cataclysmic paroxysms of brutal warfare. Ancient weapons and magics litter the land, but civilisation has emerged once more from the chaotic aftermath of the conflict and the Long Night is over.

Buried beneath the war’s detritus lie mysteries of even older powers and their secrets are coveted by the petty kings and gods of the reborn world. Opportunity and danger await in equal measure.

Word Count: 77

Credit, Amit Naik

2. Broken Heaven
The Divine is dead, slain by His treacherous children - the Chosen. The City of Heaven is blackened and corrupted by mortal touch, and foul beasts and magics, the product of the Divine's dying curse, wreak havoc. The surviving Chosen slumber in their cursed palaces and warp the world around them with semi-divine fever dreams.

The Godstear Comet marks the sky once more, and the Chosen will awaken. The petty kings and trifling sorcerers of mortals will be powerless before them.

Word Count: 80

Credit, Amir Zand

3. The Night's Dark Sea
The Solemnis took flight to the stars 200 years ago. Designed to transport a self-sustaining population to a new world, she held the combined knowledge and the most advanced technology of her homeworld.

Many of Solemnis' systems have failed irreparably over time, including navigation. No communications have been received from the homeworld in over a century, and the original crew are long dead. Their descendants debate on the fate of the vessel, and conflict is about to flare.

Word Count: 78

Credit, Amir Zand

4. In the Shadow's Wake
The immortal sorceress known as the Tyrant won her bloody war of conquest generations ago, crushing all who opposed her. The Empire has enjoyed prosperity since her final victory, but the Tyrant has secluded herself in the Iron Citadel in recent years. Bureaucrats and warlords are making their opening moves in the power vacuum, opposed by the Tyrant's loyalists, and rumours abound of a resurgent rebel movement that claims to have a means of slaying the Tyrant herself.

Word Count: 78

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

OSR Class: Mystic of the Lucre Uncounted

"Gold is no metal, it is life. Gold is food in people's bellies, the strength in a soldier's arm, the foundation of thrones and the slayer of kings. Gold, my flock, is power." - Theodric Kolemnos, High Usurer of the Gilded House

The Gilded House is an ancient cult in my Egradus campaign who provide banking services across the known world. Their order is small but it is tightly wound into the fabric of most societies. You can deposit money in one of their temples, travel to the other side of the world and withdraw it (minus their fee, of course) without issue. Cult priests are also known as reliable and dependable legal witnesses for outsiders, despite the cult's bribery-laden, Byzantine internal politics.

The majority of the initiated are kept into the dark as to the inner workings of the temples, but all of them are ancient structures often out of place with the newer buildings surrounding them. Several thieves claim to have pilfered from the Gilded Houses (which they say are filled with horrific traps, wards and arcane servants), but none have come close to even setting foot in the Vault - the monolithic seat of power of the High Usurer, who heads the cult.

The cult itself claims to have invented many things inspired by their divine patron. Among these are bribery, coins, luck, trade, locks, slavery, chains and numbers.

The Lucre Uncounted is often referred to as Auric, God of Coin, by those who are not initiated. To a Mystic it appears as a giant pair of balanced scales wrought from pure light - on one side is an infinite stack of skulls of both of known and unknown races, and on the other is an infinitely heavy gold coin. Wealth without measure falls from the sky around it.

Credit, Luke Valentine

Mystic: Lucre Uncounted

You are a disciple of Lucre Uncounted, your actions need no explanation.

Additional Starting Equipment: 1d6gp, light armour, shield.

Perk: You instantly know the market value of items you touch.

Drawback: You must Save when selling valuables or the Lucre Uncounted pilfers d100% of your share. You still gain the full amount of XP for selling treasure. This occurs even if party members or agents sell your share for you. All is held in account by the Lucre Uncounted.

Minor Miracles:
1. You can spend a full action to absorb one gold piece into your flesh and restore 1d6 HP.
2. You can fix the result of a coin toss with a glance.
3. You can read any language, so long as it is inscribed on a coin or statement of account.

Liturgies

The Liturgies of your faith are a contextual guide to the levels of power you can call upon. If you attempt to call upon a power of a higher level Liturgy then your Invocation roll is made with 2 Banes.

If you attempt to call upon the Liturgy of a power beyond your level then you must spend a number of Favour points equal to double the difference. These points cannot be used to reroll dice, you must spend additional points on top of this.

First Liturgy
In the order of controlling coins, detecting metals, secreting treasure, tarnishing lustre, collecting debts, affecting the perception of value.

Second Liturgy
In the order of placing minor wards, setting and breaking locks, comprehending languages, spiritual loans, taking and binding oaths.

Third Liturgy
In the order of shaping metal into new forms, manifesting an aspect of pure wealth, placing major wards, restraining thieves and debtors.

Fourth Liturgy
In the order of summoning an divine mantle of opulence, forming an impenetrable barrier.

Credit, watermother2004

Invocation

When you wish to Invoke a Miracle, declare the amount of Favour you are investing (if any) and roll 4d6. Each point of Favour allows you to reroll a die; you can reroll the same die multiple times and stop early, if you wish, but you must abide by the final result:


4d6Invocation
18-24Success.
15-17Minor Devotion - the Invocation requires something immediately obvious that would please the Lucre Uncounted, or roll on the Minor Devotion table.
13-14Major Pact - you must agree to undertake a quest for the Lucre Uncounted in order for the Invocation to succeed. If you have already agreed to one and it has not been fulfilled then the Invocation fails.
07-12Inopportune Favour - you are honoured with a manifestation of the Lucre Uncounted's blessing, though the timing is poor. Roll on the Duration table, reducing the roll by 1 for each point of Favour spent. You gain d4 points of Favour.
04-06Brilliant Manifestation of Divinity - your body twists into a terrible avatar of the Lucre Uncounted, under the GM's control. Roll on the Duration table. At the end, Save or be rendered irrevocably insane by the experience.

Favour

Gain Favour with the Lucre Uncounted by performing actions that please them. The following is a non-exhaustive guide:

1 Point
- Apprehend a debtor to the Gilded House.
- Sacrifice wealth to the Lucre Uncounted.
- Deliver fair judgement from a position of authority, or court bribes when adjudicating among the faithful.

5 Points
- Uncover a lost cache of great wealth.
- Gild a live sacrifice in sanctified gold and inscribe upon them runes of offering and benediction.
- Accrue wealth through a poorly worded contract or agreement.

15 Points
- Convince a treasure-hoarding creature to join the Gilded House as a willing convert.
- Uncover and restore a hidden or lost Gilded House.

Credit, Jonathan Carpenter

The Unknowable Mind of the Lucre Uncountable (d20)
The minds of the gods are unknowable to frail mortals. Roll here when instructed on the Benevolence table in the core Mystic class:

1. The ritual fails and the target's blood flares like molten metal, inflicting 1d4 damage.

2. The ritual succeeds, but the target's movements jingle loudly as if they were carrying sacks of treasure - roll on the Duration table.

3. The ritual fails, and the target's skin becomes silvery and reflective - roll on the Duration table. Any beneficial magic cast upon the target will be reflected upon a random target within 50'.

4. The ritual succeeds, but the Lucre Uncounted blesses the target and turns one of their arms into solid gold. It still functions as a normal arm but has all the advantages of being metal. It counts as an Encumbering item.

5. The ritual fails and the target's bones turn to lead – roll on Duration table. Their DEX is halved for the duration.

6. The ritual succeeds, but the target's irises are turned a deep copper. They can forever pick out currency as smouldering embers, even in complete darkness.

7. The ritual fails, and the target is struck by a torrential shower of assorted coinage, suffering d6 damage. The coinage disappears a few seconds after it has struck the target.

8. The ritual succeeds, but the target's feet are turned to lead. They are otherwise normal and the target suffers no ill effects from the material, but their Movement speed is halved and their feet count as Encumbering.

9. The ritual succeeds, but the Mystic suffers d6 damage as furious sparks of molten metal erupt from the target.

10. The ritual succeeds, but one of the target's fingers is transformed into an iron key. They may declare that it fits perfectly into a single lock - the key-finger will fit only that lock. They can attempt to file the key and make alterations, but must make a successful DEX check or suffer d6 damage.

11. The ritual fails, and the target continually utters random numerals – roll on the Duration table.

12. The ritual succeeds, but their limbs become weak and their strength is sapped - their STR is halved. Every night a burning figure holding a struggling, pale copy of the target appears before them, demanding payment of d100 x10gp. Once this is paid their STR is restored.

13. The ritual fails, and a pair of heavy black iron manacles seal themselves around the target's wrists. They suffer 2 Banes on all DEX rolls and any attempts to remove the manacles cause them to flare white hot and inflict 1d6 damage to anyone in contact.

14. The ritual succeeds, but countless tiny gems and metallic extrusions erupt through the subject's skin. Their Defence is improved by 2 due to the added durability, and whenever they are struck in combat there is a 2-in-6 chance of d20sp in valuable materials being chipped loose. Attempting to prise gems out willingly results in unimaginable pain.

15. The ritual fails, and the target is branded with a visible mark that all coins fear. The target must succeed on a DEX check whenever handling coins or any coins within 5' of them will begin to roll away, aiming for drains, small cracks and other nooks and crannies.

16. The ritual succeeds, but the target vomits up litres of molten slag. They must Save vs CON or suffer 1d4 damage - roll on the Duration table, with a new Save at each increment.

17. Everyone within 30' must Save or be bound by adamantine chains and dragged off through portals - roll on the Duration table. In their wake are slips of paper and parchment scratched in a harsh, infernal tongue confirming their status as indentured servants. No matter how long is rolled, those who failed their Save return feeling like they have spent several years away but cannot recall anything other than mere flashes.

18. The ritual succeeds, but the target notices a patch of golden skin on the back of their hand which ever so slowly spreads. The target must Save vs CON every day to prevent their skin from changing further, failure imposes a cumulative -2 DEX penalty as their skin and joints begin to harden. To completely recover they must Save 3 times in a row, with a failure returning them to their initial condition. If they fail 3 times in a row then they are immobilised as a solid gold statue, still living on the inside. Any healing from a Mystic of the Lucre Uncounted during this time will actually progress the condition.

19. The ritual fails, and the Mystic must Save or suffer 1d10 damage as a burning lash scourges them to the bone.

20. The ritual succeeds, but the target must Save the when sleeping for the next night. If they fail then the party awakens to find the target's belongings neatly organised with a concise statement of accounts concerning their soul resting on top.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

OSR Class: Mystic of the Eightfold Weaver

"Lay your web and cast it wide, leave them nowhere they can hide, lay them low with one swift bite, hold them close in endless night." - Sendarian children's rhyme.

One of my players made a pact with an atavistic spider deity. What better test case for a Mystic class? As you can probably guess, this one is going to be quite spider-y. See my previous post for Mystic base rules.

Credit, Max Duran

Mystic: Eightfold Weaver

You are a disciple of the Eightfold Weaver, your actions need no explanation.

Additional Starting Equipment: 50' of rope.

Perk: You Save vs poison with 2 Boons.

Drawback: You can only eat arthropods.

Minor Miracles:
1. You can speak to spiders. They'll remember mundane things, i.e. prey items, temperature changes, airflow and other things that a spider might generally notice. This doesn't mean they're friendly.
2. You can make 50' of held rope or chain as durable as spider-silk for a number of minutes equal to your level. You must hold the rope/chain and concentrate.
3. You can sense all but the lightest tremors and vibrations within 50'.

Liturgies

The Liturgies of your faith are a contextual guide to the levels of power you can call upon. If you attempt to call upon a power of a higher level Liturgy then your Invocation roll is made with 2 Banes.

If you attempt to call upon the Liturgy of a power beyond your level then you must spend a number of Favour points equal to double the difference. These points cannot be used to reroll dice, you must spend additional points on top of this.

First Liturgy
In the order of convincing nearby arachnids to your cause, moving with great speed, bestowing a minor arachnid aspect, trickery and deception.

Second Liturgy
In the order of envenoming, climbing and leaping great heights, hunting, the bestowal of a major arachnid aspect.

Third Liturgy
In the order of trapping and binding, possessing a fearful visage, true sight, complete arachnid transformation.

Fourth Liturgy
In the order of summoning a divine arachnid servant, accessing the hidden paths between places.

Credit, Diana Franco


Invocation

When you wish to Invoke a Miracle, declare the amount of Favour you are investing (if any) and roll 4d6. Each point of Favour allows you to reroll a die; you can reroll the same die multiple times and stop early, if you wish, but you must abide by the final result:


4d6Invocation
18-24Success.
15-17Minor Devotion - the Invocation requires something immediately obvious that would please the Eightfold Weaver, or roll on the Minor Devotion table.
13-14Major Pact - you must agree to undertake a quest for the Eightfold Weaver in order for the Invocation to succeed. If you have already agreed to one and it has not been fulfilled then the Invocation fails.
07-12Inopportune Favour - you are honoured with a manifestation of the Eightfold Weaver's blessing, though the timing is poor. Roll on the Duration table, reducing the roll by 1 for each point of Favour spent. You gain d4 points of Favour.
04-06Brilliant Manifestation of Divinity - your body twists into a terrible avatar of the Eightfold Weaver, under the GM's control. Roll on the Duration table. At the end, Save or be rendered irrevocably insane by the experience.

Favour

Gain Favour with the Eightfold Weaver by performing actions that please them. The following is a non-exhaustive guide:

1 Point
- Assist spiders in need.
- Induct an initiate into the cult.
- Secrete a piece of knowledge where no-one else will find it.

5 Points
- Weave a conspiracy of lies and deceit.
- Poison the servants of an Insect God.
- Restrain and ritually exsanguinate a sacrifice.

15 Points
- Found a new temple for the cult.
- Ritually cocoon oneself for a week in intoxicated delirium.


Credit, Ryan Van Dongen

The Unknowable Mind of the Eightfold Weaver (d20)
The minds of the gods are unknowable to frail mortals. Roll here when instructed on the Benevolence table in the core Mystic class:

1. The ritual fails and the target's blood burns with black venom, inflicting 1d4 damage.

2. The ritual succeeds, but the target moves as if they were trapped in a web (half Movement) - roll on the Duration table.

3. The ritual fails and a bloated huntsman spider emerges painlessly from the target's skin bearing an egg sac. The eggs hatch a short while after - roll on the Duration table - and d100 solid silver spiders worth 1sp each clatter motionlessly to the floor. Any healing magic will accelerate the hatching but not benefit the target. The spider has 1HD and if it is killed the eggs hatch into mobile spiders with hallucinogenic venom (Save or madness - roll on the Duration table).

4. The ritual succeeds, but the Eightfold Weaver blesses the target with a crown of black eyes on the forehead and brow which can see perfectly in low-light conditions.

5. The ritual fails and the target is crippled with pain as if every inch of their body was being bitten – roll on Duration table. They take 1 Bane on all rolls for the duration.

6. The ritual succeeds, but the target's knees crack and contort backwards. Their new form allows them to leap and jump twice as far.

7. The ritual fails, and the target contorts in on themselves, suffering d6 damage as their muscles knot and skin tears.

8. The ritual succeeds, but wriggling egg sacs emerge from their back and disgorge spiders on a monthly basis. They cannot wear medium or heavy armour or fit into tight spaces.

9. The ritual succeeds, but the Mystic suffers d6 damage as burning bristles launch from the target and pepper their skin with bloody welts.

10. The ritual succeeds, but an extra limb emerges from the target. Roll 1d4: 1-2 - arm, 3-4 - leg. If the target has 8 limbs then treat as if a 20 was rolled.

11. The ritual fails, and the target finds themselves on their hands and knees coughing up spools of silken thread – roll on the Duration table.

12. The ritual succeeds, but the mere thought of eating anything other than live insects causes the target to vomit copiously. Each time they eat live insects they feel a bit better, but it will take d20 meals to get them back to normal.

13. The ritual fails, and a bloated redback spider can be seen splayed out under the target's chest. It sinks its fangs into the target's sternum and exudes a weak but constant flow of venom, reducing their CON by 2.

14. The ritual succeeds, but d6 hooked arachnid limbs burst from the target's body and their abdomen swells until rounded and dark. They don't have the dexterity of human hands, but they can stick to surfaces like a spider's limbs. The target cannot wear medium and heavy armour.

15. The ritual fails, but chelicerae explode from the target's mouthparts. They can still speak but must eat liquid food. Their bite deals 1d6 damage and can inject poison once per day.

16. The ritual succeeds, but the target writhes as their blood burns in their veins. They must Save vs CON or suffer 1d4 damage - roll on Duration table, with a new Save at each increment.

17. Everyone within 30' must Save or vomit up a torrent of venomous spiders. Unless they take special precautions and meticulously clean out their gear they will suffer a poisonous bite the next time they reach for a stowed item.

18. The ritual succeeds, but the target's feels something growing within them. Occasionally they vomit up a silken ball. The target must Save vs CON every day to prevent the thing from growing within them, taking 1 Bane for each progression of their condition. To completely recover they must Save 3 times in a row, with a failure returning them to their initial condition. If they fail 3 times in a row, a grotesque spider-hybrid bursts their skin like wet paper and streaks off to the nearest shadowy location, hissing and chittering. It will stalk the party from then on. Any healing from a Mystic of the Eightfold Weaver during this time will actually progress the condition.

19. The ritual fails, and the Mystic must Save or suffer 1d10 damage as silver silk extrudes from their fingertips and toes and pulls taut against the nearest surfaces, stretching their muscles and bones to breaking point.

20. The ritual succeeds, but the target must Save the when sleeping for the next night. If they fail then the party awakens to find a partially opened silken cocoon and the dried husk of their former comrade.


OSR Class: Mystic

"I hear the song of the celestial heavens, and the music is cacophonous. It is strange but I find comfort in its dissonance..." - Farseer Taldeer, Dawn of War: Dark Crusade.

Clerics annoy me. The GLOG has essentially solved same-y wizards given how easy it is to build a host of different magic schools each with their own cantrips, perks and drawbacks, but clerics remain annoyingly bland. Skerples has posted on how stock D&D clerics are Sunday School miracle workers and this sums up my dislike of clerics - there's no variety between the devotees of different gods and they all play pretty much identically. In addition, Vancian magic being what it is, a cleric simply gets an allotted amount of spells per day and that's that. The rules don't feature anything about clerics being penalised or rewarded for following or going against the tenets of their faith. This leads to PCs for whom religion should feature heavily just playing as a slightly less tank-y fighter with healing powers. In addition, I dislike the stock D&D concept of multiple temples/churches having holy warriors, literally imbued with divine power, scattered about like confetti - they should be similar to wizards, by which I mean comparatively rare total weirdos risking terrible dangers while potentially not even understanding exactly how their powers work.

Logan Knight, of the Last Gasp Grimoire, has some excellent rules for running clerics (or Mystics) in his games and it is this that has spurred me into making a GLOG-based cleric/Mystic class. This class will be similar to a GLOG wizard in that it will have a base class featuring the central class components and then a number of traditions/schools that are then added to the base class in order to represent different holy traditions or cults. The gods worshipped here are barely comprehensible by human standards (and vice versa) - holy traditions are cargo-cult dogma designed to rationalise the actions of beings beyond mortal understanding - and mortal minds are imperfect at channelling their power or communicating the nature of our reality. Thus a Mystic's powers can be extremely dangerous to use.

This isn't a Pike & Shotte class (I want to keep pseudo-17th century Europe free of direct godly influence outside of a hedonistic and divided church) but I've included elements of a nascent setting I've had swirling around in my head. I'll also be using this in my Egradus campaign to replace clerics.

Loose Setting Details
The Divine created the world, because a god needs something to do. Things were good and people were happy, building loads of nice stuff and generally being cool. Over time, the Divine allotted some of His power to chosen followers for embodying His ideals. They inevitably became leaders. Eventually at least one of them became jealous and devised a plan to invade Heaven and seize the Divine's secrets of creation for themselves. This went poorly. The Divine was killed and Heaven ruined. The backlash tainted the world and twisted pristine life into beastly, foul forms. Madness and chaos reigned as magical energy poured from the broken firmament. Sorcerer-kings, magical beasts and the first daemons ran amok. Eventually the Long Night passed and some semblance of normality resumed, but the broken Heavens have cursed the land and those living upon it. The Divine no longer answers prayers but fragments of the dead god still dream, and the astral carrion-eaters that feast upon its corpse gains power all of their own.

Credit, Gonzo Apestegui

NOTE: This is a template class and will not be complete without an associated Sacred Tradition. In addition, there are some tangential tables mentioned below that I have compiled at the bottom of this post.

Class: Mystic

Starting Equipment: Small weapon, holy symbol, book of scripture/philosophical texts/insane ramblings.

A: Favour, Miracles, Sacred Tradition, First Liturgy
B: Benevolence, Second Liturgy
C: Third Liturgy
D: Fourth Liturgy

You gain +1 HP and +1 to Saves vs Mind-Altering Effects for each Mystic template you possess.

Favour
Your entreaties to your god are nothing if they do not value you. Favour is a currency, of sorts, exchanged between you and your deity. You may spend Favour before invoking Miracles, or as otherwise detailed in your abilities. Spending Favour prior to invocation allows you to reroll a number of dice on the Invocation roll equivalent to the Favour spent. You can stop at any time but must keep the final result. You can gain and lose Favour by performing actions according to your Sacred Tradition.

Miracles
Your connection to your god allows you to channel their power in the form of Miracles. You do not cast spells like a wizard, instead you call upon your god to grant you power. State what you want to happen (the Liturgies of your Sacred Tradition will provide a rough guide to what actions and power level your deity would support), determine how much Favour you are spending, and roll 4d6. If you are attempting something that your deity wouldn't logically support, you make the invocation roll with 2 Banes. If your Miracle has an ongoing effect, roll on the Duration table to determine it's length.

4d6Invocation
18-24Success.
15-17Minor Devotion - the Invocation requires something immediately obvious that would please your god, or roll on the Minor Devotion table.
13-14Major Pact - you must agree to undertake a quest for your god in order for the Invocation to succeed. If you have already agreed to one and it has not been fulfilled then the Invocation fails.
07-12Inopportune Favour - you are honoured with a manifestation of your god's blessing, though the timing is poor. Roll on the Duration table, reducing the roll by 1 for each point of Favour spent. You gain d4 points of Favour.
04-06Brilliant Manifestation of Divinity - your body twists into a terrible avatar of your god, under the GM's control. Roll on the Duration table. At the end, Save or be rendered irrevocably insane by the experience.

Sacred Tradition
When you select your first Mystic template you must select the Sacred Tradition of your god, which grants you perks and drawbacks, as well as cantrips that are available to you. It also determines how you gain Favour and how it can all go horribly wrong. You cannot change to a new Sacred Tradition without an extremely good reason.

Liturgies
Liturgies are referred to in your Sacred Tradition and give a rough guide as to the measure of divine power that you can invoke in your Miracles. If you attempt to invoke a Miracle that is in line with a higher Liturgy than you have access to then you must spend Favour equal to double the level difference, e.g. if you possessed the Second Liturgy but attempted to channel a Miracle in line with the Fourth Liturgy you would need to spend 4 Favour to do so. This Favour does not allow you to reroll - you must spend additional Favour to do so.

Benevolence
You can invoke your powers to heal wounds (d6 + level HP), cure sicknesses and break curses. You can only attempt this once for a given condition, or once per person's wounds until they are fully healed.

You may use Favour for this in the same manner as Invocation.

4d6Benevolence
18-24Success.
15-17Success/Bestowed Mark - the influence of your Sacred Tradition manifests as a mutation or stigmata on the target's flesh. Roll on the Duration table unless you used Favour for the roll, in which case it is permanent.
13-14Bestowed Mark - as above, but the target does not gain the benefit of your Invocation.
07-12Unknowable Minds - the minds of gods are not those of mortals. Roll on the Unknowable Minds table (this will vary according to your Sacred Tradition).
04-06Brilliant Manifestation of Divinity - the target's body twists into a terrible avatar of your god, under the GM's control. Roll on the Duration table. At the end the target must Save or be rendered irrevocably insane by the experience.

Credit, Lena Richards

Assorted Tables

Minor Devotion (d6)
1. Promise of a pleasing offering.
2. Short-term abstinence or indulgence.
3. Manifest something holy from your flesh.
4. Perform a sacred ritual.
5. Recount your holy deeds (offer d4 Favour points or suffer a Mishap).
6. Religious fever (roll on Duration table).

Duration (d12)
01-09: d6 Rounds
10-11: d6 Turns
12: d6 Days

Unknowable Minds Template (d20)
The minds of the gods are unknowable to frail mortals:

1. Target takes light damage.
2. Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to an temporary debilitation - roll on Duration table.
3. Target is subject to an ongoing effect or alteration, no mystical healing or cures until it ends – roll on Duration table.
4. Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration.
5. Target is subject to an temporary debilitation – roll on Duration table.
6. Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration.
7. Target takes moderate damage.
8. Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration.
9. The ritual succeeds, but the Mystic takes moderate damage.
10. Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration.
11. Target is subject to an temporary effect or alteration – roll on Duration table.
12. Ritual succeeds, but target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration until they perform a task to remove it.
13. Major mishap involving detrimental alteration, loss of HP or stats, etc.
14. Target is subject to a major permanent effect or alteration.
15. Target is subject to a permanent effect or alteration.
16. Target is takes ongoing damage - roll on Duration table.
17. Area affect that everyone within 30' must make a save to avoid.
18. The ritual succeeds, but the target is subject to a progressing condition. The target must Save every day to prevent the condition progressing, taking a penalty to physical rolls for every stage it advances. To completely recover, the target must make 3 saves in a row, if they fail a save it regresses to its initial condition, and if they fail 3 times in a row the condition results in their spectacular death. Any healing from a Mystic of the same religion during this time will actually progress the condition.
19. Mystic must Save or suffer massive damage.
20. The ritual succeeds, but the target must Save the next night or die.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

OSR Class: Wizards

This is my take on the base for GLOG wizard classes. It's pretty similar to the baseline but with a few changes. My thoughts will be presented in italics.

I like the spells-as-elementals approach of the GLOG - spells are essentially semi-domesticated animals that take up residence in a wizard's brain and spell formulae are ways to entice spells to roost there. However, my own Egradus setting treats them a little differently, as will Pike & Shotte - due to a reality-warping calamity eons in the past (caused by some apocalyptic, biblical war or a creation of the Divine run amok) energy from the chaotic void that the world/universe was previously shielded against now infiltrates and moves through our reality. Those who are attuned to it can sense and mould this energy into spells, but the process is fraught with danger as the energies of chaos are anathema to an ordered, material universe. Magic Dice represent the amount of power that a wizard can safely use - their mind automatically dampens their powers when too much chaotic energy is channelled through their mind at once.

Credit, Gal Or

Class: Wizard

Starting Equipment: spellbook (this can be anything from an actual book a necklace of inscribed bones), writing tools (ink & quill or whatever is appropriate to write down spells). Your school may grant additional items. Take good care of your spellbook - they're expensive (10gp) to replace.

A: +1 MD, +1 Spell Slot, +2 Spells (1-6), Arcana, Book Casting, School of Magic
B: +1 MD, +1 Spell Slot, +1 Spell (1-8), Arcane Study
C: +1 MD, +1 Spell Slot, +1 Spell (1-10), Risky Casting
D: +1 MD, +1 Spell Slot, Master of Magics

Spell Slots
Spell slots represent the spells that you have locked into your mind through a combination of mnemonic tricks, meditation and self-delusion. You can cast them as a regular action on your turn. A spell prepared in a spell slot counts as if it was cast with 1 Magic Dice but you do not expend any dice that show 4-6. Spell slots are safe, but they limit your connection to the arcane as the mind cannot store chaotic energy without limiting it in some way.

I'm not a huge fan of Vancian casting, but I don't mind giving players a few risk-free uses of relatively low-power magic. I think this strikes the right balance with giving wizards flexibility that scales with level while avoiding the 5-minute adventuring day.

School of Magic
When you select your first wizard template you must select a school of magic which governs the spells available to you and the perks and drawbacks of that school, as well as cantrips that are available to you. You cannot change to a new school without a very good reason (this will almost always involve events in play, not downtime).

Arcana
You can attempt to understand and identify magical items. One Round of close examination (touching, sniffing, tasting etc.) allows you to tell if an item is magical or not. One Turn of close examination allows you to make an INT check to learn more about it. For example, if the item in question is a scroll, you successfully identify the spell contained on it. If you are using a laboratory (worth 5,000sp) you will always successfully identify the item.

Potion effects must be determined experimentally: tiny sips of a potion usually give clues to their identity. Sometimes items have properties that can't be identified in the field. They require an arcane library or some scrap of lore. The most powerful artefacts usually require additional work to decipher their latent abilities, and cursed items usually hide their curses, but in both of these cases you will get a sense that there is more to learn after identifying it. If you fail to identify a magical item, you cannot try again until you have had a chance to visit a library containing arcane lore.

Arnold has this as part of the wider magic rules for the GLOG, but it made sense for me to add it as a wizard class ability.

Book Casting
You can cast spells directly from your spellbook. You must declare you are casting a spell from a book before initiatives are rolled for the turn. You automatically go last in the initiative round, and you must Save if you take damage or you fumble the spell. You can still move normally.

I wanted to give wizards lots of chances to use their powers and avoid the usual Vancian spells-are-one-use-for-some-reason dilemma where by actively being useful a wizard limits their future usefulness until things grind to a halt. Having this ability at first level allows them to contribute a reasonable amount of magic, at least until their Magic Dice run out.

Arcane Study
You can make magic inscriptions, brew potions and create magic vessels.

Any of the above activities takes one week of uninterrupted downtime in an appropriate environment (laboratory, library etc.) as well as costing 1d6gp in commonly available reagents.

You must use materials that are soaked in magical, spiritual or otherwise otherworldly energy when creating something magical. For example - regular parchment can't hold the magic needed to make a magic scroll but the ritually tattooed and tanned skin of a prince, or a spell etched into the scale of a dragon definitely could. Likewise a regular length of wood is entirely unsuited for use as a magic vessel, but the finger of a treant, or the petals of a lily that grows in a magic spring would be perfect for a vessel or potion base, respectively.

Inscriptions are one-use instances of a spell - when they are cast the inscription crumbles to ash and adds an extra Magic Die to the spell effects. A spellcaster can invest additional Magic Dice if they so choose. Thus, scrolls can be cast by anyone (even non-spellcasters) if they have been identified and are legible.

Potions distil the essence of a spell into liquid form. It takes an action to drink a potion and the effects take place immediately. Like inscriptions, potions provide one Magic Dice to the spell effects. However, this is a flat addition and cannot be increased (it's hard to cast spells while drinking). The nature of the spell will usually make the effect of the potion obvious, but if not then consult your GM.

Vessels are a physical containers for spells, i.e. a magic wands or staves. A vessel has an Integrity rating based on how long the base material was exposed to magic - roll 1d100, the result is the number of years exposed for an organic material, and decades for an inorganic one. Imbuing a spell into a vessel decreases its integrity by 2d10 years/decades. When creating the vessel you must confirm how many Magic Dice you are contributing to it - these dice are automatically expended until the next day. The vessel has this many Magic Dice that can be used to cast the spell contained within, and you can contribute extra Magic Dice to the casting. When you attempt to use the vessel you must roll under its Integrity on a d100, adding 10 to your roll for each of your own Magic Dice that you added. Success means that the spell casts as normal, failure means the vessel loses d100 integrity and you suffer a Mishap. If a vessel is reduced to 0 Integrity it is destroyed in an explosion of barely constrained chaos.

The above is adapted from Logan Knight's excellent Last Gasp Grimoire spellcaster rules. I wanted to avoid making magic scrolls and the like too easy to obtain. I think restricting the base materials to something inherently magical works well to ensure rarity, and acquiring magical materials could form a quest in and of itself. It also makes magical wares expensive if a party somehow finds a place that sells potions and the like.

Risky Casting
Once per day, you can re-use Magic Dice that have been exhausted for the day. You must Save or suffer a Mishap, if you didn't roll one. Resolve Doom results as normal.

Master of Magics
Learn up to 6 spells from your school’s spell list, or invent an entirely new spell (GM’s discretion).

Thanks for the last one, Skerples.

Credit, Sean Andrew Murray

I'll be thinking up some wizard backgrounds in the future, but I really wanted to get this down and set for now. I'll make a master post for these things at some point.

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