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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

& more trickeries

Aery Vantage
Casting Time 1 minute
Duration 1 minute/level

Caster must close eyes and stand still for duration of spell or it is broken. Caster's vision is centered at a point up to 100'/level directly above his position. The view can rotate in all directions, and be repositioned on the vertical axis at will.

Feral Spell
Casting Time 10 seconds
Range 10'/level
Duration 1 minute/level

Target domesticated animal must save or revert to a wild or non-domesticated state. The animal's rider or handler may make this saving roll if present and of higher level. Some particularly well-trained animals may gain a bonus to the saving roll. The animal returns to its normal condition when the spell ends. This spell has no effect on creatures of greater than animal intelligence.

Ferrous Charm
Casting Time 1 minute
Duration 10 minutes/level

Cast on an iron object, the object then protects the holder/wielder/wearer, granting a +1 to saving throws/3 levels of caster.

Casting Time 10 seconds
Range 10'
Duration 10 minutes/level

Target saves or cannot remember own name. Nothing else about target's memory is altered.

Casting Time 30 seconds
Duration Varies

With this spell, the caster presents a riddle to 1 target/3 levels within hearing range. The caster must use a language the targets understand – but the spell has the peculiar quality of transmitting the voice through ambient noise of volumes that would normally impair the communication. Targets are allowed a saving roll. Those that fail suffer a -1 to all rolls for a number of rounds equal to their intelligence score divided by 2.

Symbol/Ward of Passivity
Casting Time S: 1 hr/lvl, W: 1 min/lvl
AOE S: 30'R/level, W: 10'R/level
Duration S: Permanent, W: 1 hour/level

All who enter the AOE (except caster) must save or suffer a reduction of 1 on to hit rolls, damage and armor class while in AOE.

Symbol/Ward of Weaponlessness
Casting Time S: 1 hr/lvl, W: 1 min/lvl
AOE S: 30'R/level, W: 10'R/level
Duration S: Permanent, W: 1 hour/level

Any who enter the AOE must save vs spells or immediately sheathe, sling, or stow any weapons in hand. All within area of effect must save vs spells to draw a weapon. These effects do not apply to the caster of the Symbol or Ward

Magic Items

Crown of Glass: +20% to all reaction rolls. All henchmen and important retainers within 100' at +2 to hit and morale. It is made of glass and fits narrow heads best.

Potion of Birdsong: imbiber may perfectly sing like any variety of bird known to them, and can communicate in a pan-avian language.

In Praise of Rolemaster

I'd already moved on to Rolemaster by the time AD&D 2nd edition came out, early converted by MERP – converted through sheer force of will really, my friend Ernie foisted it upon me, and we both being thorough Tolkien was important to us. But I had read Arms Law, Spell Law, Character Law during their early printings (plastic bags, no glossy covers). I can't say that I could grok the system as a whole until very much later, not until MERP made me do it. It was not presented as a system at first, more as sub-systems (big ones) to tack on to your AD&D game. Very big ones – replacements really. I cannot help but think that Fenlon & Co. were designing a full system from the get-go.

Rolemaster is the only game that I know of that started off complex and has throughout the course of it's recent lifetime (through various iterations) sought to reduce its complexity to a more manageable level. It is to the point that the differences in organization do not form a pair of worse-organized to better-organized - they're both just as fiddly, just differently so...

1. The Resistance Roll Table – a matrix, comparing level of attack to level of resister. 1st level resistance provided 50% chance against 1st level attack. Smoothed out over 20 levels. This could be the only table ever used in a game – this table really is a very even-handed 'core mechanic'. Nothing unknown beforehand, mathematically – essentially the same concept as the magic resistance some creatures in AD&D had.

2. The division of character classes into three categories: Non Spell-User, Semi Spell-User and Pure Spell-User. This is not specifically accurate – there was a fourth category initially - the Hybrid Spell-User. This was essentially the same thing as a Pure Spell-User, the difference having to do with the categories of magic in the game. What I have retained from this, reinforced by my early playing of Tunnels and Trolls, was the division of character classes into no-magic, some-magic, all-magic.

3. Illusions. There was no disbelief a la AD&D. The caster of illusions manipulated the elements (even if that element were only 'light') and created effects that were real physical effects. Disbelieving illusions had always been a pet peeve of mine about AD&D. Broke the wall, as it were.

4. The Mentalism Companion is one of my favorite RPG books. It has some kinda bleh parts, (it's got 158 pages...) - but it has some very organized thoughts on some more outre fantasy role-playing accoutrements: time travel, 'the philosophies of illusion', natural languages, divination (of past, present, and future, each with their own treatment – jeez!), astrology, tarot, dreams...

Games I can't run? Rolemaster. As a referee, I, if not the players too, shied away from combat! It was too much to bear. In the end, character creation in Rolemaster is as far as I can go. It's kinda like Traveller that way – where character creation is itself a rewarding pastime. I even got to the point that I had 3 players create their characters in Rolemaster, and then I took their character sheets and converted them to my home-brew T&T for play! Gug!

Anyway, I'm sure I'll return to this later, one of those things. And it's given me an idea for a series of adventurous posts – Games I Can't Run!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Antimagics & other trickeries

Ethereal Room
Casting Time 1 second
Duration 1 hour/level

Transports caster to an extra-dimensional space. Caster may touch others to bring 1 target/3 levels – magic resistant targets may resist. Every hour that the Ethereal Room is occupied by a sentient being, there is a 1% chance that an Ethereal encounter will occur. The spell leaves a magical anchor point where the spell was cast, and this point is where the caster will be returned at the end of the spell. Casting an Ethereal Room spell while in an Ethereal Room serves to add an hour to its duration. Note that duration applies to the amount of time the Ethereal Room can be inhabited – the room itself is persistent and unique to each caster. The room is a cube, 10' a side/caster level. The caster (and any other targets of caster's choosing) may leave the room before the duration expires.

Hidden Mind
Casting Time 1 minute
Duration 1 hour/level

Caster does not register as sentient, intelligent, conscious, or possessing an identity for purposes of senses and detections that discriminate such points of perception. Empathy, ESP, and mind-affecting spells/abilities cannot target the caster of Hidden Mind.

Hindrance, Countercast, Foilspell
Casting Time 1 second
Range 20' + 10'/level
Duration 1 round/3 levels

Target saves or is at -1 to hit & damage, armor class is worsened one step, and attempts to cast spells fail.

Casting Time 1 minute
Duration 1 week/level

This spell targets at least two individuals – the caster may include an additional target for each level above the second. The caster need not necessarily be one of the targets. Unwilling targets may save to not be bound by the pact. It enforces an agreement between the targets. Either party that breaks the terms of the agreement suffers a negative modifier all rolls made for a full month after the pact is broken. This modifier is -1/3 levels the caster has attained.

Suppress Magic
Casting Time 1 minute
Range 10'/level
Duration 1 min/level

Target spell or magical effect must resist or be suppressed and inactive for duration of this spell. Resistance is based on caster level and the target's level. The spell has a 50% base chance of success, modified by +5% per level if the caster's level is higher than the target's, and -5% per level if the opposite is true.

Symbol/Ward of Exclusion (Minor)
Casting Time S: 1 hr/lvl, W: 1 min/lvl
AOE S: 30'R/level, W: 10'R/level
Duration S: Permanent, W: 1 hour/level

All magic items brought into AOE by anyone other than caster must resist or have their powers suppressed while in the AOE. All spells cast by anyone other than the caster of the Symbol or Ward (in AOE) must save vs. spells or the spell fails and is wasted.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Reading vs Writing


Zulgyan of the boards started up his blog and it is as much a doozy as pretty much everything
else he presents to us! Avail yourselves - prepare for heavy reading - a trip back to the recent
past and his considered views (and many worthy others!). I have nothing but admiration for this fellow!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Goodbye Word of Thool

You will be missed. I don't know what else to say.

Blogs vs Boards

Boards win again!

I've had consistent internet for 6 months now, after about as many years without. The RPG blogs caught me quick and really blew my mind - looks like I got connected at a good time. But there was a lot going on in the years that I was not on the net (consult prior post for some examples).

Before the blogs, there were the boards. My journey has been backwards - stumbling into ODDD, K&K, Trollbridge, Doomsday, Alternate History, etc after finding out about them through the blogosphere.

I've never been much for monologue. The boards are dialog. Blogs are good, but really - the exchange, the community - the boards are where it's at for conversation.