Episodic Adventures and Then Some

So it’s been a while …

As I mentioned over on G+, my wife and I are expecting our first child this June, and her first trimester wasn’t the easiest going for her. Compound that with my new position at work (started in August) starting to ramp up and the result is a lack of blogging.

Continue reading “Episodic Adventures and Then Some”

Grisly Incantations

Originally posted by Brianna Heine on the other (now defunct) version of this site.

Since I plan on writing a post concerning magic in the Hyborian Age at a much later time I want to start collecting some opinions on the topic. I’m going to save my opinion on how the system should work until later but in the meantime I want to discuss some of my thoughts on magic.

deviantART by Benito Gallego

In “The Tower of the Elephant” the being Yag-kosha explained to Conan that he “…came to this planet (Earth) with others of my world from the green planet Yag, which circles for ever in the outer fringe of this universe.”

Yag-kosha further explains that the sorcerer Yara captured him and used him to do his bidding. “But he [Yara] was not satisfied with what I taught him, for it was white magic, and he wished evil lore…”

Yara is described as “… versed in dark knowledge… with guile gotten among the dusky tomes of dark Stygia…”

This one story reveals some pretty interesting possibilities. In fact I didn’t really pick up on this until I started looking at it from a position of game development. Yag-kosha makes reference to “White Magic”.  In the context of the story it implies that magic is not all “evil lore”. Therefore I would conclude that magic exists that is not evil.

Continue reading “Grisly Incantations”

DCC RPG Spell Record Sheet

Another new addition to the Downloads section — this time it’s a Spell Record Sheet. Hopefully this proves a handy addition for a few wizards, clerics, and elves out there.

deviantART by Manweri

Melt: A Space-Age Sorcery Spell for DCC RPG

Space-Age Sorcery is a free PDF stuffed with flavorful OSR-compatible spells of a strange science-fantasy bent. If anything about that sounds close to your game, it’s well worth your time to head over to Hereticwerks and download it.

Here’s a DCC RPG conversion of one of the spells from that PDF using the spell conversion article in Crawl! Fanzine #1 as a guide. This one could have a lot of potential dungeon crawl benefit. I may go back later and expand the effects range to more closely mimic the 1st-level spells from the DCC rulebook.


Level: 1 (Wizard)
Range: Touch
Duration: Instantaneous
Casting Time: 1 action
Save: None

General: The caster gains the ability to liquify metals and alloys on touch, manipulating their form and causing damage golems, automatons, and metal-based lifeforms.

Corruption: Roll 1d8: (1-3) the caster’s hands transform into a gleaming, cold chrome; (4-6) minor corruption; (7) major corruption; (8) greater corruption.

Misfire: Roll 1d6: (1-4) all of the caster’s metal possessions immediately melt away into liquid; (5-6) all metal possessions of a random person within 30′ of the caster melt away.

1: Lost, failure, and worse! Roll 1d6 modified by Luck: (0 or less) corruption + misfire + patron taint; (1-2) corruption; (3) patron taint (or corruption if no patron); (4+) misfire.

2-11: Failure, spell is lost.

12-13: The wizard can use a finger to carve symbols and messages into the metal as though it were wet cement. This ability lasts for 1 turn. Alternately, on the next round a metal-based creature attacked by the wizard takes an additional 1d4 damage.

14-17: On the next round, the caster’s touch liquifies 1 pound of metal per CL. The metal will re-solidify in 1 turn; during that time the caster may sculpt and manipulate the metal with his hands, though the quality of the final result is dependent on the caster’s artistic ability. The wizard may attempt to grapple with an opponent to melt their weapons and armor.

Alternately, on the next round a metal-based creature attacked by the wizard takes an additional 1d4 damage per CL.

18-19: On the next round, the caster’s touch liquifies 1.5 pounds of metal per CL. The metal will re-solidify in 1 turn; during that time the caster may sculpt and manipulate the metal with his hands, though the quality of the final result is dependent on the caster’s artistic ability. The wizard gains a +2 bonus to attempt to grapple with an opponent to melt their weapons and armor.

Alternately, on the next round a metal-based creature attacked by the wizard takes an additional 1d6 damage per CL.

20+: On the next round, the caster’s touch liquifies 2 pounds of metal per CL. The metal will re-solidify in 1 turn; during that time the caster may sculpt and manipulate the metal with his hands, though the quality of the final result is dependent on the caster’s artistic ability. The wizard gains a +1d bonus to attempt to grapple with an opponent to melt their weapons and armor.

Alternately, on the next round a metal-based creature attacked by the wizard takes an additional 1d8 damage per CL.

Magical Research and Consequences

Goddamn amazing image is copyright Patrick Meehan and its use is now way intended to challenge that.
Goddamn amazing image is copyright Patrick Meehan and its use is in no way intended to challenge that.

Last week, I posted about some additional gold for xp options I’m going to try out for my DCC game. I’ve put together a document for magical research (which I’ve also added to the downloads section). Most credit should go to Brendan and Jason, as my consequences are mostly hobbled together from things they’ve done previously. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

Making it Rain (without casting Control Weather): Spending Gold for XP in DCC RPG

Stephen Fabian

A couple weeks ago I posted a version of Jeff’s carousing for xp rules, adapted to reflect the DCC RAW experience scale. So far in my DCC judging, I’ve awarded experience while adventuring using the guidelines in the rules, which are mostly centered around surviving threats. I’ve also stuck to Luck awards for good role-playing and such, as the rules suggest. However, I wanted players to have the option to spend gold on xp-gaining activity for two reasons: One, my group doesn’t meet super frequently (every 3-4 weeks), so I wanted to bump up the xp curve a bit to make mid-level play attainable within a somewhat reasonable amount of time. Two, I think it’s very much in keeping with the style of Appendix N to encourage players to spend large amounts of hard-earned coin on things other than practical adventuring gear.

To further encourage that sort of spending, I’ve decided to incorporate a couple additional class-specific gold for xp options into the game. I’ve also made a few tweaks to my take on carousing, as noted below (and in the updated download document). Each activity requires at least one full week of downtime between adventures, and characters can’t gain xp from engaging the same activity again until they’ve gone out and done some real adventure-type stuff in between.

Consecration: Clerics can spend their gold constructing altars, shrines, and temples to their gods, or otherwise engaging in ritual consecration of sites if the god doesn’t go in for the flashy stuff. (But really, if they don’t, why is your cleric worshipping that lame god?)

Clerics earn 1 xp for every 100 gp thus spent, to a limit of 5 xp at a time — this can be from partial construction of a much grander structure, though it should start with the actual altar and move out from there.

There are no immediate consequences for temple construction, but over time there’s a chance that your great work will be desecrated by heathens, and the gods don’t like that. For every month that the cleric goes out adventuring (even if they are only gone for a week or two out of that month), there’s a 5% chance that one of their constructions is desecrated in some way. The cleric gains 1d6 to their permanent deity disapproval range until they spend the d6 result x 100 gp re-sanctifying and repairing.

Magical Research: Not to be confused with learning new spells, this is the sort of miscellaneous weird and dangerous magical research that results in tiger/giant centipede hybrid creature that destroys three blocks before being taken out. Wizards and elves earn 1 xp for every 100 gp thus spent, to a limit of 5 xp at a time.

When engaging in such research, the caster must make a spell check against DC 15 or suffer consequences. I’m still working on the table for that, but it will combine some things from Brandon’s list with the Corruption tables in DCC rulebook and a couple other sources.

Carousing: All characters can carouse for xp, but some know how to have a good time better than others. You must have at least 100 gp of wealth to try carousing for xp. Roll 1d5; you gain the result in XP and spend the result x 100 gp. If the cost of carousing is more than you possess in coins, gems, and luxury items, you are now indebted to someone who expects to be paid back the difference plus 1d6 x 10% interest. If you then roll a “lose all your stuff” consequence, double the debt. Thieves, warriors, dwarves, and halflings may choose to double the XP earned and gold spent, provided they have at least enough wealth to cover the initial result’s cost. Any additional cost incurs debt as normal (so if a warrior or thief rolls a 4 and has 400 gp, they can take the 4 xp or choose to earn 8 xp and have 400 gp debt with 10-60% interest).

In addition, after each carousing die is rolled, you must roll d100 on the consequences table; subtract your permanent Luck modifier x 10% from the d100 roll.

You Will Taste Man Flesh! Orc Summoning for DCC Player Character Wizards

In Tuesday’s post, I made a few references to orcs being organized into evil armies by chaotic wizards. There is probably nothing in role-playing less in need of mechanical support than how a villainous wizard gathers an army of orcs. You want a bad wizard, you make a bad wizard; you want him to have orcs, he has orcs. The only time you could possibly have even the most remote need for a system to support this is if that foul mage is one of the player characters.

But why shouldn’t she be? We’ve had spells in D&D for a long, long time implying that other party members wouldn’t automatically turn on the wizard if he raises a few undead servants. Isn’t it equally possible that the party might be willing to put up with a little orcish brutality if it gives them a few more meatshields? So just in case that comes up, here’s a 5th level wizard spell for DCC RPG. I don’t know if this is really balanced with other 5th level spells, but hey, orc army!

Summon Orcs
Level: 5 (Wizard)
Range: Varies
Duration: Special
Casting Time: 1 week
Save: None

General: The caster calls a band of orcs to serve his sinister plans. The orcs summoned will serve the wizard until they die or until their master suffers a decisive defeat in battle (judge’s discretion). However, the wizard must set the orcs about some task that shows the promise of regular bloodshed and savagery.

To cast the spell, the wizard must have a permanent dwelling worth at least 10,000 gp. Once successfully cast, the wizard must be at the dwelling when the orcs arrive or they will wander off. The wizard need not wait around for new orcs if he already has orcish servants residing in the area around the dwelling. The orcs that arrive will be equipped with the equivalent of leather armor and a long sword.

Neutral wizards suffer a -4 spell check penalty when attempting to cast this spell; lawful wizards cannot cast it at all. If the wizard’s patron is strongly associated with orcs, they gain a +4 spell check bonus. A +1 spell check bonus is gained for every full 100 orcs already under the wizard’s command as the strengthening horde attracts ever more minions.

Manifestation: Roll 1d3: (1) The area around the dwelling grows foul, as foliage falls from dying trees and water becomes brackish; (2) A sigil of balefire appears in the sky above the dwelling; (3) Thunder clouds darken the sky above the dwelling, rumbling and crackling with lightning and dropping acid rain.

Corruption: Roll 1d6: (1) The caster’s nose transforms into a pig-like snout; (2) The caster grows boar-like tusks that just out from his lower jaw; (3) The caster’s skin takes on a sickly green-gray palot; (4) The caster permanently loses 1d4 Intelligence and begins to speak in simpler, cruder manner; (5) The caster develops a strong craving for raw meat, and will eat it at every opportunity; (6) The caster’s develops an aversion to bright light, suffering a -1 to all actions in direct sunlight.

Misfire: N/A

1: Lost, failure, and worse! Roll on the corruption table.

2-11: Failure, spell is lost for one month.

12-15: Failure, spell is lost for one week.

16-17: Failure, but spell is not lost.

18-19: The wizard summons CL in orcs. They arrive in 1d3 weeks.

20-23: The wizard summons 1d3 x CL in orcs. They arrive in 1d3 weeks.

24-25: The wizards summons 2d3 x CL in orcs. They arrive in 1d3 weeks.

26-28: The wizard summons 2d3 x CL in orcs, one of which will have 3d8 HD, along with 2d3 dire wold mounts. They arrive in 1d5 weeks.

29-33: The wizard summons 2d3 x CL in orcs with 2d3 dire wolf mounts; one orc will have 5d8 HD. They arrive in 1d5 weeks.

34-35: The wizard summons 2d6 x CL in orcs with 2d8 dire wolf mounts. One orc will have 5d8 HD, and another will have 3d8 HD. They arrive over the course of 1d6 weeks.

36-37: The wizard summons 2d12 x CL in orcs along with 1d10 x CL dire wolf mounts (there cannot be more wolves than orcs, however). One orc will have 5d8 HD, and two will have 3d8 HD. They arrive over the course of 1d6 weeks.

38+: An orcish horde of 2d16 x CL orcs are drawn to the wizard, along with 2d10 x CL dire wolves (again, no more wolves than orcs). One orc will have 5d8 HD, and four will have 3d8. They arrive over the course of 1d6 weeks.

Who’s the Toughest Mage-Type Person in the Area? (Random Table)

Following up from my previous post on warriors, here’s a table for magic-users. Roll 2d20:

How Tough is the Toughest Mage-Type Person in the Area?

1-2: 3rd level / Novice rank with a couple advancements
3-7: 5th level / Seasoned rank
8-13: 7th level / Veteran rank
14-18: 9th level / Heroic rank
19-20: 10th level plus / Legendary rank

Who is the Toughest Mage-Type Person in the Area?

  1. General practitioner studied in astronomy/astrology; has an impressive observatory and orrery.
  2. General practitioner who is elderly, kindly, and more than a bit forgetful; was once a powerful servant of the Great Old Ones before having mind shattered in a ritual stopped by self-sacrificing heroes.
  3. General practitioner of a highly academic bent; quite pretentious.
  4. General practitioner who is a former child prodigy/chosen one; now a dilettante and raconteur.
  5. Effigist focusing on the crafting of exquisite golems of traditional materials such as stone and iron.
  6. Alchemist consumed by the quest to perfect their craft and study the texts of peers and predecessors.
  7. Travelling alchemist who is a canny salesman; a bit lazy in the lab and produces potions with undesirable side effects. The toughest actual local is 2 levels / 1 rank lower; roll again to determine personality.
  8. Illusionist who believes that “reality” is an elaborate illusion of unknown purpose.
  9. Illusionist who is a skilled pick-up artist; dresses in a manner befitting a pirate.
  10. Pyromancer who is a bit quiet and generally keeps to themself.
  11. Chronomancer prone to trailing thoughts and exclamatory interjections.
  12. Summoner with a hyper-competitive outlook; favors elemental creatures such as fire lizards and lightning rats.
  13. Witch living on the fringe of the community and protecting it from the dark forces in the wilds.
  14. Witch living on the fringe of the community who occasionally corrupts virgins and steals children.
  15. Diviner who oddly always comments on future gastrointestinal health along with any other predications.
  16. Necromancer obsessed with flesh golems and other modified undead.
  17. Necromancer with a horde of skeletons ordered to defend against intruders, keep the house tidy, and make surprisingly tasty and not-at-all disgusting dinners.
  18. Infernalist who seeks political prominence and wealth.
  19. Thief of forgotten and forbidden lore (aka “adventurer”) with an arsenal of deadly artifacts; will not hesitate to electrocute anyone who looks at them the wrong way.
  20. Doppelgänger; roll again to see who it replaced.

The Words of Wizards: Spells in the Age of Ruins

Back in my introduction of the Age of Ruins setting, I mentioned that the rules set out during the world’s creation stated that there are “no ‘flashy’ direct-damage dealing spells” outside of the dangerous rituals. I introduced that particular rule because I wanted mages to have a different vibe than the artillery that they so often become in RPGs (and to have serious consequences for pulling out the big guns).

Listed below are the Savage Worlds powers that characters with AB: Magic can learn. As previously noted, the campaign uses the “No Power Points” rules from SWD (p. 95), and I have modified the function of some powers because of this. I try to put a big emphasis on trappings to not only create diversity, but also to reinforce the specificity of a spell, as perceived in-world, versus a power, which is purely a rules construct. In addition, I’m very open to introducing spells from other RPGs (especially of the OSR variety) that have particular effects which no Savage World power easily duplicates. Conversion is especially easy in the context of not using power points.

Power List for Arcane Background: Magic

  • Analyze Foe (FC)
  • Animate Hand (SK)
  • Armor
  • Banish
  • Barrier
  • Beast Friend
  • Bless/Curse (FC)*^
  • Blind
  • Boost/Lower Trait*^
  • Burrow*
  • Confusion
  • Darksight
  • Deflection
  • Detect/Conceal Arcana^
  • Disguise
  • Dispel
  • Draining Touch (FC)
  • Elemental Manipulation
  • Entangle
  • Environmental Protection
  • Farsight
  • Fear
  • Fly*
  • Greater Healing
  • Growth/Shrink^
  • Havoc
  • Healing
  • Intangibility
  • Invisibility
  • Legerdemain (FC)
  • Light/Obscure^
  • Pummel
  • Puppet
  • Quickness
  • Shape Change
  • Slow
  • Slumber
  • Speak Language
  • Speed
  • Succor
  • Summon Ally
  • Telekinesis (FC)
  • Teleport
  • Wall Walker*
  • Zombie

* Power is modified in some way, as noted below.
^ Effect/Reverse Effect must be taken as separate powers.
(FC) Power is found in the Fantasy Companion.
(SK) Power is found in Savage Worlds of Solomon Kane.

When one of these powers are learned, a single Trait must be chosen that the spell always affects. However, the Spellcasting penalty is halved (the same effect as halving the power point cost).

Boost/Lower Trait
As with Bless/Curse, a single Trait must be chosen and the Spellcasting penalty is halved.

This power can be maintained indefinitely while burrowing, but once you have emerged from the ground the effect ends and a new Spellcasting roll is required to burrow again.

A trapping requirement of this power is an object focus, usually determined by the culture of the caster (such as a witch’s broomstick).

Wall Walker
The power requires that at least three of the recipient’s appendages maintain contact with the surface they are “walking” on (such as both feet and one hand). This makes combat while using the power rather tricky, resulting in a -2 penalty to Fighting rolls. In addition the power cannot be maintained; it has a duration of 1 hour.