Monday, 22 September 2014

the village ___X___ ____Y____

this village something something

1. forbids
2. encourages
3. has complex rituals pertaining to
4. has a major religion devoted to
5. is ruled by a king who despises
6. has an economy revolving around
7. has a strange approach towards
8. has never heard of
9. has transcended the need for
10. are experts at
11. mistakenly believe they are experts at
12. are simply dreadful at
13. are blighted by a plague of
14. is obsessive compulsive regarding
15. has a thriving criminal populace who all practice
16. get opposite results while engaged in
17. are conducting a conspiracy involving
18. are furiously divided on the topic of
19. are just utterly creepy when it comes to
20. are just totally metal when it comes to

1. agriculture
2. animal stuff, like herding and husbandry
3. time-keeping
4. building
5. talking
6. eating
7. lovemaking
8. travelling
9. trading
10. thievery
11. nature
12. killing
13. fighting
14. giving birth
15. bathing
16. breathing
17. cooking
18. writing
19. medicine
20. killing monsters

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

simple experience progression & units of currency

my group never keeps track of xp or gold. this was a mild ongoing frustration for whoever happened to be DMing at the time.

over time we tried a bunch of different ways of hacking it;
-simple numbers - minions worth 1 xp, bosses worth 2-5 xp
-carousing xp - 1000 xp for every 1000sp wasted in revelry
-DM's discretion - DM would regularly just award levels when the time seemed right.

eventually we landed on these two systems: simple xp and simple currency

after a bunch of fine tuning, +Jack Mack came up with this system.

numbers are crunched at the end of a session; any leveling up happens at this time.
+1 xp for playing in a session (survival xp)
+1 for getting a significant treasure or magic item
+1 for carousing a significant amount of currency
+1 for dealing the finishing blow on a boss
+1 for succeeding at a critical moment despite risky odds ("big balls xp")

this isn't a perfect system since it still requires numbers to be tracked, but it seems to have been working for us.

XP requirements increase exponentially

amount of XP required to level up = current level^2

XP total doesn't reset after level-up - keep adding to the same number

level 1: 1
level 2: 4
level 3: 9
level 4: 16
level 5: 25

etc etc.

in a highly productive session, a player might expect to get +4 xp.
+1 or +2 xp per session is more common for chiller sessions with fewer hell-demons

the numbers eventually get quite intimidating, since our group generally keeps the level cap pretty low. my highest level character to date was an 8th level elf warlock, Sebastian. the highest character i've ever partied with was Stoner the astrologer, a 9th level fighter. boss NPCs tend to be anywhere from level 8 - 11.

recently, instead of tracking a large number of gold and silver pieces, i've been handing out little blue and green game tokens as currency. the blues are worth $1 and the greens are worth $3.

each player is responsible for keeping track of the physical game pieces awarded to them (informally dubbed "groves dollars"). forgetting to bring your pieces to a session means that your character left their wallet at home.

currency is treated like a stat, and rolled for at character creation. humans automatically roll 3d6, all other races roll 1d6
(optional rule: ...unless their cha modifier is at least +1. if so, roll 3d6)

like any other stat, your currency stat has a modifier, which indicates how wealthy others perceive you to be.
(+4) royalty or equivalent
+3 - elite upper class
0 - middle class
-3 - impoverished lower class or refugee
(-4) - slave, unclean one

high-quality items cost $1 (a sword, an ornate pocket watch, a fine suit of clothes)

for low-quality items, I give my players 10 seconds per $1 to write down what they can get. Informally, $1 will buy a large sack of miscellaneous gear (rations, torches, adventure stuff)

a level 0 hireling costs a one-time payment of $2 dollars. a small house in the cheap part of the city will cost a one-time payment of $3. $1 can be spent to add +1 to a 2d6 charisma check to bribe someone.

a wealthy king will likely have about $20 on him; a dragon's hoard might contain $30. a $5 bounty might be placed on a wanted criminal, split between the party members.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

>50 thief/wizard hybrid spells

i once heard of a man whose codename was "thief wizard".

inspired by that, here's this list!
some of these spells are admittedly overpowered. others are underpowered. i haven't written any notes about spell levels but some of them are definitely more cantrippy than others. i'm sure you'll notice.

a thief-wizard (or rarely, a wizard-thief) would probably be like a thief who got into magic exclusively to steal shit and commit crimes. or maybe it's a wizard who becomes a criminal to escape the judgmental eyes of the law. i don't know. figure out where you lie on the thief/wizard continuum.

a thief wizard would have one spell casting per day per level in wizard, and an additional spell casting per wisdom modifier. since thief wizards are often unwise and often take multiclass levels, they might only have a handful of these spells, using them minimally but effectively.

spell list (in no particular order)
X = level or HD for enemies unless otherwise stated

gain false magical confidence. your damage die gets one size bigger and you get a bonus to charisma checks for X rounds.

flock of murderous avians
summon d6+X of a particular bird species of your choosing. a murder of crows is probably traditional.
(suggestions: ravens, vultures, buzzards, pigeons, owls, parrots, songbirds, hummingbirds)
the birds follow your commands as best as their bird brains can manage. they're just normal birds except they've got an intense thirst for blood and occasionally their eyes glow an eerie red.
the birds understand you magically, but you can't understand them unless you speak TWILL, the bird language.

coin toss
attack a target from range by magically shooting coins at them. you may add up to your level/HD to your attack and damage roll, but you lose currency equal to the bonuses you applied.
in my game, one unit of currency will buy you a sack of reliable adventure gear; two units to hire a level 0 hireling indefinitely. a rich man might own as many as 15 units of wealth.

acid spray
can deal 2d4 acid damage or damage an opponent's equipment, but in the context of thief wizardry it's mostly for melting through locks or destroying evidence.

spiders are terrible gossips if you know how to listen to them. assuming you are in an environment that could conceivably host a spider population, you can hit them up for spider-stories or maybe some spider-advice. you can get them to assist you in combat if you can convince them that it's in their best interest. lasts X rounds.

you ask a magically-rhetorical question, some kind of wizard paradox. works better on intelligent targets who can grasp the concept of what is being said more wholly. target saves vs int. if they succeed they become dumbfounded, flabbergasted and utterly gobsmacked for X rounds. if they fail they'll be annoyed at your condescending worldplay, possibly even becoming enraged at you.

charm person
classic spell, lasts X rounds

lasts X rounds

summon and/or manipulate 10*X units of rope

a targeted surface is covered with an even layer of sticky slime. the surface area you can cover is 1 m^2 per level.
it's hard to run across a sticky surface - half movement speed
it's easy to climb across a sticky surface - +2 to climb check
it's hard to get up - if you fall prone on a sticky surface, you need to make a strength check before you can stand up.

obvious. X number of targets at a time can't see you.

for 10*X minutes

d20+X accuracy check

comprehend languages
+X to languages skill for one conversation or reading

artificial bloodbath
fake or alter a murder or crime scene - magically stitch up wounds and then replace them with new ones, remove smells or stains, spray fake blood everywhere. roll a craft check to see how convincing the fake scene is.

self explanatory. obscures everyone's vision. perfect for escape plans. i think batman invented this spell back when he was an apprentice wizard. dies down after X rounds (max: 3)

lasts X rounds. stinky. super effective vs animals and beastmen

alarm runes
wizard security system. magical inscriptions that will tattoo themselves onto the faces and hands of anyone who isn't specified by the caster. these runes can be left in treasure chests or back at your home base. the target has to at least glance or otherwise visually confirm the runes for the effect to take place. you will be magically alerted when the runes are triggered, allowing you to identify the perpetrator by the tattoos you've given them.
you can only have one alarm rune trap set up at a time. the tattoos can be removed by remove curse or dispel magic by a magic user of greater level than you.
for extra cheekiness i'm sure you'd be allowed to use this spell to tattoo dicks onto your enemies.
if you know any spells that use runes, glyphs, drawn images or writing, you can cast those spells on intruders by way of this spell.

caltrops & marbles
summons a fistful of tiny spheres and spikeys, and occasionally a banana peel. enough to trip up X number of dudes at once i suppose

empower fox
as we all know, all foxes live for 1000 years, and every 100 years they gain new mastery over the universe. most foxes die before even reaching 100 - natural selection has ensured the environment is able to prevent the overpopulation of fox kings.
if you find a fox, this spell allows you to temporarily boost it up to it's next 100-year power bracket for X hours. common variety foxes will learn to speak common, walk on two or four legs, shapeshift into human form and see into the future. if the fox you empowered was for some rare reason especially magical, it's empowered form also has telepathy, telekinesis and self-teleportation powers.
foxes are mostly cool guys but are often also mischievous and dishonorable, despite being magically bound to their word.

wizard eye
your eye disappears temporarily, leaving an empty socket. your eye is invisibly ghosting around and can move up to X*100 meters away from you. since it's not currently connected to your brain, you wont have a report of what it sees until it floats back into your skull. your eye can stay ghosting outside your head indefinitely. the whole process is painless but also gross. if someone casts dispel magic on you while your eye's missing, it assumes material form (wherever it is) and plops to the ground.

teleport a familiar weapon to your hand instantaneously, regardless of the distance between you and the weapon, as long as you have a solid idea of where the weapon is currently located.

summon serpent
inflict a poisoned wound on yourself. roll a d8 on this table. take the number shown as damage if you fail a save vs poison.
+1 if you succeed your save but take reduced damage, +2 if you fail your save and take full damage.
the lower you roll, the greater degree of control you have over the serpent
unless otherwise stated, snake poison damage deals 1d6 damage per round until a successful save is made.
1. coercing snake - talks, very charismatic, otherwise just a weakling
2. yellow-belly - 2 HP, common desert snake, venomous, completely obedient to you.
3. d6 yellow-bellies - as above.
4. ancient death viper - one of the snake assassins from legend. highly intelligent. when this serpent's poison damage roll hits a natural 6, the victim's death is assured and damage is taken every round unless the snake is killed before the victim dies of poison damage.
5. metal snake - d4-1 bite attack but no venom AC19. very loyal. slow but excellent at tracking and stealth, and for some reason, torture.
6. jungle python - gigantic. will try to either strangle foes in it's coils or swallow them whole. unless it's appetite is sated (swallowed more than d6 enemies), it will turn on you after your foes are dead. hp = 3d8
7. lake monster - a large swamp or lake serpent with sharp teeth and fins. prideful, snobby, self absorbed. speaks common but chooses not to. can't breathe fire like a dragon but it's roar is comparable. 3d10 hp. once summoned it will attack your foes first but will attack you next unless you are able to bargain with it.
8. wyvern - the regrettable offspring of a snake and a dragon, a large winged serpent with a poisonous spike on it's tail. it will attack your enemies first but will attack you afterwards. if it's HP gets low it'll try and flee. 3d10 hp.
9. hydra - a huge monster, cutting off it's head makes two more heads grow back. deal non-head-cutty damage to it. 3d10 hp. you can't control this one at all, so it will attack both friend and foe alike. it's venom deals 1d6 damage per round until a con save is made. each head gets an attack.
10. eight-forked serpent, yamata-no-orochi - a powerful snake demon, the ancient enemy of a foreign lightning god. once summoned, it will demand 8 bodies, which it will choose at random from both friend and foe. the 8 targets all make a save vs con - if you fail you are eaten, and most likely dead. if you succeed take d6 damage. once this is done, the serpent disappears.

neat illusion
semi-permanent illusion. needs to be recast every X weeks. deceives two senses perfectly, unless examined with the most expert scrutiny. sight and touch are the two typical choices, as the spell is mostly used to create false walls and secret hideouts. the neat illusion cannot move or change, or be altered by anyone except the caster. detect magic detects it. if the nature of the illusion is realized, the deception is spoiled, and the illusion becomes cartoonish and obvious to the informed observer.
if an observer accidentally interacts with the illusion without attempting to perceive it (eg casually leaning against a random piece of the wall which coincidentally happens to be a disguised hole) the illusion is completely broken for all.

a thief wizard cantrip. mostly used to explain and plan heists. flying colourful projections of shapes, colours and sounds hover in the air, and move and interact as the caster wills. this spell cannot be used to create convincing or deceptive illusions of any kind.

principles of illusion magic taken and applied to battle magic. the spell unleashes a pastiche of chaotic, painful sensations - blinding lights, deafening noises, grotesque smells, stinging smoke, heat, lasers, fireworks, etc. d8+X damage, and the target makes a save vs con or is stunned next round.

decorate, deface, aesthetically alter a surface, texture or object.

summon depressing weather
d4: mist, thunderstorm, floodrain, strong winds
your choice as to whether the sky turns ominously dark
lasts 10*X minutes

wizard's toolkit
summons 5 tools. roll a d6 to see how useful they are in your situation (ranging from -3 to + 3 useful)

zygomatt's charm of efficiency
after casting the spell on yourself, you can effectively set up a magical ritual almost immediately that would otherwise take a long time to prepare. the spell assumes you have all the necessary ritual components on hand.
once cast, torches extinguish themselves, candles align and alight themselves, chalk and salt get busy making circles on the floor. ink scribbles over self-unraveling parchment. lightning strikes the lightning rod. the cat skins itself and swings itself around your head three times counter-clockwise. any chanting or verbal component is recited at incredible speed by a bored-sounding magical mouth.
you are somewhat in control of all this motion, as a conductor leads a symphony. the ritual is prepared as per your understanding, and thus any fuck ups are technically your own fault.
any gp cost or quest items required to perform a ritual are still necessary, the spell just removes the casting and preparation time. spells that have chronological requirements (moon phases, planets aligning) still need those things (unless you have access to time travel in which case the spell automatically time travels you to the perfectly accurate moment). old wizards mock this spell bitterly and refuse to use it.

cloak of anonymity
a magical hooded cloak appears on your body and makes you look totally inconspicuous. +1 to stealth. add another +1 if you're: 1) in a crowd 2) in heavy nature cover 3) in the dark 4) silent. this is in addition to any other non-magical modifiers you might get for doing these things. the spell breaks if you do something to make yourself incredibly obvious or if you fail a stealth check. as long as the spell doesn't break, you are completely unremarkable and forgettable, even if your face is studied or a conversation is held. there are no loophole or exceptions to the spell, so the caster's allies will be affected as well, unable to remember the caster's existence or former friendship temporarily.

magical outfit
change your outfit at will. completely aesthetic unless contributing to a disguise or something.

cloak of forced impression
the caster conjures a false skin around themselves which covers them up and makes them look like someone completely different. the cloak can be any person the caster has studied the appearance of, or a random body and face. gender and race can be imitated but size, stats and special abilities cannot. as long as the spell is in place, the caster will forget entirely their own thoughts and memories, completely adopting a new persona. the spell can be programmed to be broken after being subjected to certain stimuli, such as speech, events or a set period of time. the new identity's personality and secret subconscious desires and urges can also be programmed, but not with 100% efficiency or certainty. when casting this spell, there is always the possibility that the new identity will malfunction or otherwise avoid being exposed to it's stimuli, forcing the caster to adopt the new personality forever.
attempting to cast dispel or detect on the cloaked caster will fail, though detecting will reveal that the cloaked caster is cursed or otherwise magically affected.

hidden blade
literally anything you touch can and will contain a hidden sword or dagger. if you were to theoretically pull out your own tooth while this spell was in effect, you would find that it contained a small steel razor with a thin wax seal.
the size/shape of the blade you retrieve is relative to the object you retrieve it from; umbrellas, sticks, canes, telescopes and table-legs all make decent swords. a grand piano could unfold to become a guillotine. a non-sword shaped object such as a basin or a coin could still conceivably snap apart and reveal a hidden sharp edge, but would be less good for combat.
lasts for X rounds. any hidden blades returned to their hiding place before the duration expires cannot be retrieved when the spell is not in effect. any blades remaining outside their hiding place when the duration expires will look obvious and not-at-all-hidden if returned to their hiding place.

avian messenger
you have a friend or servant who is a bird. they have a particular talent for carrying messages and locating people whom you have personally met, and will do so on your behalf. the bird's efficiency is random and not necessarily guaranteed.
a parrot is a popular choice for this spell since for some reason the spell enhances their sentience and language abilities to near-human.
the spell's duration is infinite but you can only have it cast on one bird, and it will not be dispelled until the bird is dead.
this spell was invented by pirates.

zygomatt's improved mage hand
a variation on the old school mage hand cantrip. the summoned mage hand is dextroux and subtle, able to perform skills with the same proficiency as the caster, but at a distance limited to line of sight. since the mage hand itself is small, it is difficult to detect, giving it +1 to all thief skills if you have at least one level in thief. anything in the mage hand's palm can be instantly swapped over to your hand and vice versa, as long as the object can fit into an enclosed fist. you do not need to imitate the mage hand's movements to control it.

zygomatt's poltergeist trick
a variation on the above spell. the hand is used to cause calamity and mischief in battle. the target gets a save vs dex if they can see the caster or the hand. line of sight is required to cast this spell. the hand is not very strong but is very sneaky, so the spell wont be very effective once the target is made aware of it.
examples of mischief: disarm, unbalance, push, steal wallet, pants a dude, poke in the eyes, trip up ankle. the hand is not very strong but very subtle, so the spell is only effective when the victim is not expecting to be wizard-tricked (roll a wis check if you're not sure if the victim knows what's up)

mask of true seeing
allows you to use megavision - the greatest of all magical senses. you have all of the vision-based super senses, including the magical ones, and also a couple more you never heard of. you cannot be lied to or visually misdirected. your field of vision falls just shy of godlike.
once activated, succeed a wisdom save each turn or take d6 damage. succeed three wisdom saves in a row to turn the megavision off - it's power is addictive and corrupting.
reducing your hp to 0 from this spell can't kill you but after it happens once you become addicted to the megavision. if you're ever left alone, or in a stressful situation, you are compelled to activate this spell regardless of the consequences to your health. sometimes, this spell is cast on an enemy as a particularly bitter curse.

the caster places a glamour on themselves which allows them to become a human-shaped object, like a scarecrow, mannequin, puppet, statue or large doll. the caster can move freely but has toy story powers where they know if they're being observed and how to pose inconspicuously. obviously, a creepy puppet or whatever showing up out of nowhere is not an effective stealth tactic, so the spell is only somewhat useful.

quick candle
lit candles bloom from a targeted surface, providing adequate lighting and free candles.

lion's roar
automatically intimidates animals and creatures with HD half the size of yours for one round.

devouring mouths
summons mouths to bite and eat things
can be used in combat - all foes must save or take d4-1 damage
saves must be made every round as long as the caster focuses on maintaining the spell
the spell is mostly used to quickly destroy non-living matter though
the spell can eat away at a room's worth of mess (eg. dead body) in d6 rounds.

chameleon skin
your whole body, your skin, your hair, your clothes, all change colour to match your mood or surroundings. once you learn this spell, you can't help but accidentally change colour when expressing emotion.

zygomatt's misguided matter transfusion
originally jerryrigged magic designed to combine and then uncombine two objects perfectly
a failed spell - the two objects usually mutate together in an unplanned way and then explode if you try to separate them.
if used on two living objects, one of them will randomly absorb the other, becoming a weird ugly insane freak and maybe dying of terrible mutation side effects
but also the possibility exists to combine stuff together in awesome and productive ways
the spell is always a gamble - the mutations are irreversible, and potentially fatal.

pulverizes an inorganic substance to grit, especially if it's a material that shatters appealingly

ongoing secrecy
binds target and caster in silence over an issue
though they may discuss it in private

a magical agreement is created using ink and paper. once signed, there are pre-arranged consequences for breaking the contract. only divine intervention or the below spell "loophole" can break the contract.

created solely to excuse oneself from the effects of the above spell, contract. can be used to escape consequences of any agreement that you have undertaken. the spell works by shifting your consciousness to a universe where everything is exactly the same except you created a specific loophole to your contract that you just triggered. agreements made with pan-dimensional beings cannot be loophole'd, since you made the same agreement with them in every dimension.

fair exchange
without the owner's permission, and without having to alert them, you may magically exchange an item of theirs for one of yours, as long as the object the caster provides is not less valuable than the item taken.
the measurement of an item's value is based on how much the item's owner cares about losing it.
you are magically obligated to return the exchanged item if you admit or otherwise make obvious that you have used this spell to steal or take what wasn't yours.
this spell was created by an ancient race of peaceful underground fish-lizards, who had much simpler opinions regarding ownership and personal property.

true calling
your heart calls out to the item you need
you know where it is, but not what it is or why you want it
using this spell at different times will produce different results
there is a 1/6 chance that the spell will direct you to an item that is not useful at all.

trips one target over.

aka the pokemon spell.
anything affected by this spell will become a tiny inanimate version of itself, usually a wooden or clay statue or a soft toy. these tiny items are virtually weightless and take up a very small amount of inventory space. liquids, gases and non-corporeal entities can also be affected, becoming represented by a soft cotton or rubber ball.
each item has a specific verbal command (usually it's name or description) which un-itemizes and re-itemizes it when spoken. anyone can use this word to release the item, and can do so accidentally.
if a target is unwilling to be transformed, or if the target is an item belonging to an unwilling party, target makes a save vs willpower. failing the save means the target is transformed anyway. the target gets a new save every time they hear their command word.
you should always be cautious around the guy with the tiny pouch filled with little wooden scorpions.

elbow grease
similar to the spell mending. if a target broken or dirty object can be fixed, cleaned or otherwise rejuvenated magically, then it is repaired.
if the object cannot be mended, the spell makes the object look as if it has been mended, possibly repairing it for a limited amount of time. constant liberal application of this spell can keep a wrecked sailboat seaworthy even with copious holes and damages, or a cogless watch ticking, though there is a limitation as to how much fake repair can be sustained.
this spell can be used to make an item visually appear brand new, though a craftsman or specialist may test or spot the deception.

undiscussed matters
there are things that you cannot talk about, or cannot express. there are times when you cannot talk out loud. there are ancient names of gods which will melt a man's skull if he hears it uttered freely. there are moments when you are overcome by struggle, binding, silence or emotion.
but that's ok, this spell has you covered.
the spell allows a caster to intimate thoughts, ideas, information in general without having to verbalize, explain or express it. the caster can, for example, teach a man the name of a terrible demon without having to say it, write about it or mime it.
if two casters both know this spell and cast it on one another simultaneously, they can share a very long and complicated conversation's worth of information instantaneously.
the spell is subtle and will probably go unnoticed unless an observer has knowledge of this spell's workings.
the caster can select X/3 number of participants to sub-communicate with.
this spell was created by a secret society to pass notes and meeting times secretly.

fake human
the spell creates a fake person of any age or description. for some reason, the fake person created can only be the same species as the caster.
despite being called a fake human, the created product is essentially real in all regards. it will be automagically programmed with language and social skills, but otherwise will have no memories or learning of any kind.
because of this mental blank slate, they are normally quite naive and impressionable, making it easy for others to manipulate their emerging personality and identity.
casting "detect magic" on the fake human wont reveal the fake human's true nature, but the caster will detect that there is some kind of curse on them. casting "dispel magic" on the fake human resets their personality back to what it was like when they were created.
if the fake human is ever killed, or if they ever realize their own fake nature, they flip out and turn into a new fake human with a different but similar appearance. the new fake human loses all the memories of the old fake human. the only way that a fake human can ever really "die" is if their body is utterly destroyed, or if they are allowed to live out their life fully, finally succumbing to death via natural causes.
the arguments of wizards are infinite regarding whether or not fake humans are actually a kind of real human.
lonely wizards use this spell for comfort - everyone else thinks this is really creepy.

update: more spells. i've somewhat lost sight of the thief/wizard paradigm by now so think of these as just cool spells that an unsavory wizard might have.

add your charisma modifier to any check. if you succeed the check, continue applying your charisma modifier to dice rolls until you fail.

a spell which casts a disorientating illusion upon your weapon and the arm holding it. your sword/arm will appear to spin, rotate, multiply, dance and glow with rainbow fire, like the image within a kaleidoscope.
an enemy is unable to guard conventionally against a kaleidoblade, and there's a 1/4 chance it will automatically deal full damage.
to outside observers, the spell causes the caster to appear similar to the eight-armed goddess of death and destruction.

wax body
while affected, the caster's body becomes entirely made of easily-manipulated wax. the caster can squeeze through cracks and crevices that would normally be impossible to get through. the caster takes no damage from concussive attacks and half damage from slashing attacks, but full damage from explosions, fire or magic.

salt on the wounds
opens old injuries, and causes great pain. can be used to undo the effects of a healing spell, or to deal damage to an opponent who has signs of having been injured before (scars, eyepatch, hook-hand)

earthmoving claws
you summon the paws and claws of a burrowing mammal. +1 damage to unarmed combat, and you are extremely efficient at digging through earth. let's say you can dig a comfortable human-burrow-sized hole for two people in one round.

no-one knows what this spell does, though wizards can sense it does something.

shift timeline
ancient and powerful spell. when applied to inorganic matter, it can greatly transmute the substance (but not the shape or the mass) of an object. for example, by shifting the timeline of an iron prison bar, you may fast forward it's timeline until it rusts, or rewind it back to being super heated from being forged, or rewind it further until it becomes grit and iron ore. glass may become sand, stone may become lava, timber may become living plant matter or decomposed pulp, etc.
you can use this spell to rewind a broken object back to it's unbroken form if every single piece of the original object is present. a single missing grain of dust will cause the repair to fail.
you cannot cast this on an object or person more than once.
casting this spell on a living creature does not affect their appearance or substance in any way, but their synchronicity with everyone else's perception of time will be altered. for example, they might react to danger a few moments before it presents itself.
since the spell can only be cast once per target and thus cannot be undone, creatures affected by this spell cannot be re-synchronized with everyone else's perception of time except by a grand master of time-magic.

may be cast subtly. when affected, a caster trying to cast a spell will accidentally cast the OPPOSITE spell. heals become antiheals, fireballs become iceballs, detect magic gives off useless readings, etc.
the caster cannot cast this spell upon themselves.

phantom footprints
you can remove or alter the shape and placement of your footprints while you're making them, including removing them completely. cannot be applied retroactively.

illusion magic, causing all tactile sensations (heat, pressure, pain) to intensify or be reduced to nothing for a chosen target. does not increase or decrease the effects that heat/etc has on the body, merely intensifies their sensation.

mild interest
the spell's target will notice the caster and, for reasons unknown to them, feel obligated to go and talk with them. once initiated, however, the target will quickly forget why they felt the need to come talk to you, and will try and leave the conversation unless the caster says something that unmagically piques their curiosity.

leaf litter
a bunch of old, dry, dead, crusty, sticky, dank leaves will magically appear on the floor.
the leaf cover will be thick enough to come up to the caster's waist and cover an area large enough for a typical combat scenario to play out.
everyone within the area of effect will be reduced to half movement speed. a character may apply any bonuses they receive from being in a forest or jungle environment, such as stealth.
stolen from a druid, who used this spell to provide nutrition for their forest.

the spell causes the caster to fall pathetically short of an observer's expectations. the victim will treat the caster as if they were a level 0 nobody, a hack, a fraud, a madman. checks to try and convince the target to follow the advice or plan of the caster will automatically fail. since the victim does not consider the caster to be a threat, the caster may act freely without the victim noticing their competence.

pass through portal
a door becomes insubstantial to the caster, and the caster only. the caster can walk through the door without opening it, but cannot unlock it or interact with it in any way, including setting off traps. the definition of portal is pretty loose, so the spell can apply to windows, metal grates or vortexes to other dimensions.

classic spell, reduces noise created for maximum stealthiness

curse of incontinence
causes a target to make a huge mess in their pants. d6 to see how badly they're affected, with a 1 indicating they didn't make a mess at all. having a mess in your pants is pretty embarrassing and distracting, and you'd probably try and excuse yourself from whatever you were doing. creatures whose will is being dominated or who otherwise do not possess human-like sensibilities will still be affected but wont care at all.

eye for an eye
the caster and a target pool their HP together, and are both affected by damage taken to either one. regardless of HP total, knocking one unconscious will likewise affect the other. any permanent injuries (eg. losing an eye or an arm) will likewise affect the other. the spell's duration is infinite.

update: once you start thinking of thief spells, it's hard to stop. here's more spells.

you excrete a black mist of pollution and negativity, a cloud of stinking miasma. continued exposure to this substance will make good kings turn evil, moral men turn from the law, docile monsters fierce, etc. think grima wormtongue and king theoden. the spell can be dispelled and detected by other wizards, though continued exposure makes it harder and harder to dispel.

silk touch
while casting this spell, the caster moves with greater finesse, elegance and control, making it much harder to fuck up and break something, hurt ones-self, succumb to clumsiness, etc. once per day when the caster would otherwise critically fumble due to a natural fail, save vs reflex to successfully cast this spell quickly and not fuck up. you can cast this spell ahead of time to ensure you don't end up breaking a delicate or important item. lasts X rounds.

adds X (max: 5) to a lore or spot check when specifically trying to identify hidden weaknesses or strengths. this spell can be used to find a weak spot in an opponent's armour, or to discern a useful quality of an otherwise useless item.

if the target is successfully deceived by a character, casting this spell on them will cause them to unwaveringly believe the deception. the victim gets a save vs will each day, starting the day after the spell was cast. until this save is made, no-one, not even the caster, will be unable to dispel or convince the victim that they have been deceived.

zygomatt's viral bamboozle
same as above, only the spell is contagious. if the initial victim of the spell manages to convince another of the falsehood, the bamboozle spell effect is applied to the new victim, who can continue to pass it along.

spear of ink
the caster summons a piercing force of black magic using a book or piece of written script as a summoning component. once cast, the spell renders any ink writing or illustration permanently illegible. the spell's damage, AB and range increase as the quality and quantity of knowledge and ink being sacrificed increases.
most dark magic spells make blood sacrifices with dark forces to achieve their power. instead, this spell uses the sacrifice of recorded knowledge and ancient wisdom to achieve it's effect. therefore, the most powerful ink spears will be summoned from the oldest, thickest, most intelligent and magical grimoires.

(ignore this list as much as possible; use your best judgement to figure out how much the text you're sacrificing is worth)
as a rough approximation, receive +1/+3/+5 split between damage/AB/Range for:
a) volume, size, length, intricacy of handwriting and illustrations; an enormous unliftable tome or a book containing almost extremely diminutive handwriting would be +5.
b) amount of time since the text was last directly altered or copied; ancient books are +5
c) (for wizard spellbooks) the level of the last wizard to contribute to the spellbook, max +5
d) sentimental value; +1 if someone would cry if the text was destroyed; +3 if the text has some relevance to a culture or religion; +5 if the text has a powerful, unique or irreplacable relevance to a culture or religion.
e) rarity; +5 if it's both unique and coveted by scholars; -1 for each time the quantity of existing copies doubles (2/4/8/16/etc)

for example, the ancient evil tome, "the vile utterations of gargragar", which is an enormous(+5) and ancient(+5) recollection of the foul deeds of an evil god. though they despise the book, the text is an important cultural icon (+3) to the good knights of destiny, who have sworn to safeguard it from evil. though the text contains much ancient wisdom, it's said that reading the book would cause a man to go mad, and thus only the boldest and most insane scholars seek it's wisdom (+1). the tome was never used as a wizard's spellbook (+0)
therefore, using this spell to destroy the vile utterations of gargragar would allow the caster to apply 14 points to the spell's AB, damage and range. without putting any points into the range catagory, the spell is considered a melee attack.

the caster selects one weapon; that weapon becomes the skullbuster.
the skullbuster is a +0 magical weapon. after dealing damage, target must save vs fort or be stricken with temporary sleep and memory loss. the memory loss effect is vague, but the target will certainly not remember the faces/descriptions of the PC who skullbusted them.
only works against enemies with a skull; slimes, automatons etc are immune.
rolling a critical fumble while wielding the skullbuster will strike either the wielder or the wielder's closest ally with severe memory loss, which in game play terms will mean a loss of XP/skills/abilities/spells.

a strange spiraling pink fog wafts around in an area equal to X*10m^2. anyone within the fog will unwillingly broadcast all their thoughts telepathically to everyone else in the fog.
since everyone's thoughts are going to be filled with other people's thoughts, and then broadcast out again, a feedback loop quickly occurs, painfully distracting everyone and applying -Y to all rolls (where Y = number of sentient targets within the fog).
to try and read someone's thoughts, roll an int check to see if you're good enough to cut through all the mental chaff. anyone can try and read your thoughts as well, and you in turn have a chance of detecting them attempting to do so.

yet to be typed:
unwise loan
red nails
absorbent stone
chemical touch

gut feeling
absent memory





heil leviathan

Friday, 22 August 2014

(facebook group part 3) science and magic

this is for a facebook game i'm starting up. part 1 part 2
scientists know science. wizards know magic.


to be known as a scientist, it is presumed you have already accomplished study in at least two fields of research (hereafter known as "spheres")

at level 1, get a +3 and a +(1+int mod.) to two different spheres. use these modifiers when making checks for science stuff (crafting/lore/identify/etc) if the check you're making has something to do with that sphere. rarely you might be able to use this modifier in combat to deal extra damage.

if you can figure out a way to make your spheres overlap on certain checks then add both modifiers.

there are twelve spheres to choose from. if it takes too long to choose between twelve options, roll a d12 twice. i'll admit the list is not as awesome as it potentially could be.

on level up, you may choose to add to your expertise of any sphere by +1.

1. computers - hacking, programming, etc
2. military technology - useful for combat, especially for crafting guns
3. communications & scanning - just like from star trek
4. biology - medicine, cloning, mutants, whatever
5. chemistry & physics - drugs, metallurgy, theoretical physics
6. robotics - both the software and hardware aspects
7. forensic science & psychology - detective lab stuff
8. vehicular mechanics - you're good with engines and motors, planes, cars, boats
9. beams, lasers, energy manipulation - mad science stuff
10. brain science and parapsychology - hypnotism, mentalism, theories regarding ESP
11. environmental science & zoology - herblore, animal-lore, nature science
12. rocket science - rocket ships, astrophysics, jetpacks!!


wizards can cast cleric and wizard spells from any dnd style game. I think Matt Rundle made a wizard spell generator, and if he didn't then he should.

all spells are the same level.

wizards can cast (HD+wis mod) spells per day.
at level 1 you start with (2+luck mod) spells
you don't get new spells by leveling up, you have to go discover them somehow
if your luck modifier is at least +1, you can choose to know either a healing or a fireball-type damage spell as one of your level 1 spells.

post apoc kung fu wizard part 2

last time

this post is at this time mostly for my gang of thieves who live on facebook. the quick version.

right now i'm pretending the max level cap is 10.

every class starts with a d4 damage die and a d4 speed die.

dice chain:
d4 - d6 - d8 - d10 - d12 - 2d8 - 3d6 - 2d10 - d20 - 3d8
having good stats, gaining levels and getting better equipment can increase your dice

every class gets 8 hp(+/- con modifier) at level 1
d8 hp every level after that

if your luck is at least +1, you can be any class regardless of race and stat requirement.

1-vs-1, 1-vs-2 and 2-vs-2 combat works differently to group combat (just like in a kung fu movie)


seemingly simple travelers who disguise their powerful kung fu wizardry
kung fu dudes - martial artists in general - unarmoured/unarmed combat specialists
the main class - most heroes in this world are just straight up kung fu dudes
easily the best class for 1 on 1 combat
can learn martial arts techniques
limited access to kung fu wizardry (basically just wizard spells but with a kung fu twist)
stat requirement: at least +1 con or str modifier, or a +1 luck modifier
banned race: gnome

living by the code of the post-apoc bushido or something
i guess you could have another kind of melee weapon but swords are the coolest
limited access to kung fu wizardry
limited access to martial arts techniques
huge bonuses to speed and initiative
the best class for group combat
stat requirement: at least a +1 dex modifier, or a +1 luck modifier
banned race: ogre

soldier (aaaaalternatively: gunfighter)
a soldier trained in survival and the use of a gun
fights at 50% effectiveness unarmed or with a melee weapon
100% effective with throwing weapons + guns
military tactics kind of stuff, knowledge of the wasteland, also gun powers
their kung fu and wizardry is pretty weak but they're efficient at utilizing technology
the best class for ranged combat and dealing with minions
run out of ammo on a natural 1 attack roll
stat requirement: none
banned race: elf

a wasteland scavenger exploiting the apocalypse for profit
bonuses to trickiness in 1-vs-1 combat
bonuses to speed
bonuses to throwing weapons
gets 5 thief skills which i guess i'll figure out later
best class for classic thief antics
stat requirement: at least +1 or -1 charisma, or +1 luck
banned race: jinn

a hermit or spiritualist with demonstrable magical powers
limited access to kung fu wizardry
gets d&d spells (though i'm gonna hand out a lot of cool street fighter sounding ones)
best class for d&d wizard/cleric style business
stat requirement: at least +1 wisdom, or +1 luck
banned race: cyborgs & robots

a master of science and technology, both real and mad.
gets access to technology - which is a d12 table of tech you can learn to produce
future tech stuff, lasers, holograms, medicine, cool science shit
has the best information/lore checks ability
bonuses to crafting
not so good at fighting
stat requirement: at least +1 intelligence or +1 luck
banned race: beastman

a being with a potentially infinite number of shapes and forms.
there are 20 limitations to your shapechanging abilities
except when the limitations apply, change shape into whatever you want as much as you want
at level 1, pick 2 limitations that don't apply to you
each level after, d20 to see which limitations no longer applies to you
stat requirement: at least +2 luck
banned race: human

shapechanger limitations:
the unbreakable limitation: you cannot shapechange into other classes to gain other special class abilities

1. transformations have a 5 minute time limit before you have to revert to your true form
2. you must wait 20 minutes in between transformations
3. you may only transform into another organic being
4. your transformed self cannot be stronger than you
5. your transformed self cannot be faster than you
6. your transformed self cannot be more than twice as big or half as small than your true self
7. you cannot transform facial features intricately enough to impersonate someone effectively
8. you must have seen your transformed state before, in real life, not in a picture or drawing.
9. your transformed self still requires air and cannot survive in the vacuum of space
10. when transformed into another being your intelligence matches theirs, but cannot exceed your own
11. you cannot partially transform your body parts ie. just your arm, your organs, etc
12. your transformed state cannot imitate advanced technology or machinery
13. you cannot transform into a gaseous state
14. you cannot transform into a liquid state
15. you cannot transform into an energy state
16. your transformed self displays the same wounds, scars and disabilities as your true self
17. taking damage from fire reverts you back to your true form
18. wizards can sense what you truly are and what your limitations are
19. being transformed for too long makes you exhausted/sleepy/hungry
20. failing any charisma check fucks with your confidence and messes up your powers for an hour


Thursday, 21 August 2014

7 races for my facebook homies

about to start running a facebook d&d game. the theme is post-apocalyptic kung fu wizards. sort of a fist of the north star kind of thing i guess.

my previous homebrew d&d system had like 15 classes and 8 playable races, which i think we can all agree is pre ridick

my buddy Jack Mack is always saying how the best number of options is 5, plus or minus 2.

therefore - 7 classes, 7 races

gonna be appropriating this format and outright stealing this and this from zak smith, and probably anything else kung-fu related i run into in the blogosphere

typing this super quick before i go to bed, please forgive shorthands and eternal lower case

size table for ogres and gnomes (d4)
0: cute size +1 mutation
1: cute size (halfling/gnome height)
2. diminutive size (dwarf height)
3. human size (about 6 ft tall)
4. goliath size (8-10 ft tall)
5. goliath size +1 mutation

these races/classes definitely aren't balanced or whatever. mostly i'm just trying to take the old RPG archetypes and make them interesting for me.



banned class: shapechanger
no modifiers
special: you own a car or a smart phone. you have a bank account.

biology&culture: they're human
humans survive the apocalyptic wasteland in giant futuretech science-domes. they have all the money and all the technology, and the biggest population, but also the smallest population of heroes.

banned class: scientist
-2 int / +2 str
special: once p/day transform into an animal (your choice)
special: once p/day after being healed, your attack and speed die go up by 1 for 2 minutes in-game
special: your sense of smell is hella good

biology: legends say that the first beastmen were the offspring of a werewolf human and a werehuman monkey. beastmen look mostly like humans except with a tail, protruding canines and more body hair.

culture: beastmen live in family clans out in the wasteland, living by the laws of "survival of the fittest." beastman are angry and rude and are ruled largely by primal instinct. many beastmen are kept as slaves by the gnomes, who use microchips and shock collars to keep them in line.

cyborg/robotbanned class: wizard
(cyborg) -2 str / +2 dex, (robot) +2 str / -2 dex
special: your robot senses can detect life signs and electronics
special: (cyborg) 50% magic resistance, including healing (robot) 100% magic resistance, including healing
special: you cannot die from poison, disease or blood loss.

biology&culture: cyborgs are humans with robot organs or limbs. robots come in all shapes and sizes based on their function. science hasn't yet made a robot that can imitate a human perfectly. robots (but not cyborgs) don't eat, sleep or breathe but need an energy source 1/day
cyborgs live among humans, and feel very smug about their expensive implants. robots are servants, bestowed with exactly as much sentience as is pleasing to their owners.

banned class: soldier
+2 dex / -2 con
special: you are immune to sleep and don't need to eat
special: your elf eyes can see in low-light and can detect magic
special: regardless of class, you start with an extra level 1 spell.

biology&culture: elves do not reproduce sexually. periodically a cyber-farmer will find an extremely large fruit or a vegetable, which will hatch egg-style into a baby elf. they have big ears and cute faces, and obtain nutrition by invisibly drinking celestial juices in the astral plane.
elves exist among humans, and everyone treats this as normal, though some people are elf racists. elves reject traditional notions of family and social responsibility, spending most of their time frolicking around doing nothing. elves are always highly suspicious of other elves.

banned class: swordfighter
+2 con / -2 cha
special: you are immune to pain and fear
special: as long as your brain is intact, you can regenerate your body instantaneously. any damage you took still applies, but cuts will seal over and lost limbs will pop back out. wounds sustained by intense heat or cold cannot regenerate.
special: roll d4+1 to see how big you are (consult size table)

biology&culture: ogres are descended from the now largely-extinct goblinoid species. their body chemistry is 98% water, and their cells are similar to those of slugs, lizards and plants. human research into their famous regenerative abilities has produced fruitless results. ogres are ugly as fuck.
ogres live nomadic lives in the mountains and caves, living at peace with nature despite how radioactive it is. despite their hideous appearance, they are gentle & considerate lovers. ogres havent invented metal yet, even though it's like the year 2X4X, so everything is wood & bone craft.

jinn (or djinn, or genie, if you prefer)
banned class: thief
-2 cha / +2 wis
special: once p/day you can shift your molecule density to become ghost-like for a few moments
special: you can talk to magic; anything magical has a voice that you can hear and converse with.
special: once p/combat you can reduce incoming melee damage by d4

biology&culture: a jinn is a minor elemental forced into physical form by a lazy wizard. their body is always phase shifting between this dimension and the magical dimension next door. since their body is wizard-made, it's pretty shitty, so it falls apart in like 3 years max.
when lazy wizards need a dude to go do something, they make a binding spell to force a jinn to manifest and obey a given directive. the jinn must obey this command, but once it is complete, they are free to leave. however, they're stuck in this shitty material body until it decomposes. for this reason, jinn are usually death-seeking loners. jinn are biologically lawful due to their wizard-made bodies, and thus are adverse to crime and other chaotic activities.

banned class: monk
-2 wis / +2 int
special: +2 to craft checks
special: roll d4-1 on the size table to see how big you are
special: infravision (see heat), ultravision (use UV light ie. the sun to identify objects)

biology&culture: gnomes are cute little green dudes who live underground. gnomes do not possess souls and are actually barely sentient, but have observed complex sentience in other species and seek to replicate their behaviours.

for example, they are sexless but have taken it upon themselves to adopt gender identities, and thus it is common see little green dudes running around wearing either a dress and a wig or shorts and a fake beard. gnomes have no ethical compass and don't really see the problem with theft, murder or slavery. thus it is very common to see gnomes running away with all of your left shoes, or some other heinous crime. gnomes have barely any talent for magic, which makes them envious and greedy for magical items. to make up for it, they work double-time improving their technological prowess. gnomes live underground in cute mushroom villages.

it's so late that it's early so i'll leave it for now. next time i'll write up the 7 classes i got planned which are: