Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Comparative OSR Witchcraft

As you may or may not be aware, I'm pretty into witches. They just suit me.

Which is why I'm super jazzed to have won a free copy of the excellent Tim Brannan's B/X Witch supplement-- something I've had my eye on for a while but been too broke to shell out for.

Anyway, now that I'll finally have it, I think I'll take the opportunity to compare Witch classes from different old-school sources. Brannan's, of course, plus the one in the ACKS Player's guide, the two from early issues of Dragon (the older of which I converted for Microlite74-- I think it ended up in Supplement II or III), and maybe my still-unfinished attempt at writing one for B/X.

Are there others I should be aware of?

Edit: D'oh, I should have thought of the one over at Strange Magic right from the beginning. That one is also pretty cool... though it's possible that I owe my fondness of it to how freaking sexy the illustration is.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

House Rule: Inscribe Magic

Vaguely inspired by Talysman's recent thoughts on the Read Magic spell.

The reverse of Read Magic, known as Inscribe Magic allows the caster to inscribe a mark, pictogram, or message of up to six words or symbols in length plus the character level of the caster making the mark. If the caster wishes, she may make the mark unintelligible or even invisible except to readers whom she specifically designates. An invisible mark can be seen, but not understood, by use of a Detect Magic or See Invisible spell. Only a Read Magic or True Seeing spell will make the writing legible to someone who the caster does not wish to read the mark. Inscribe Magic may also be used to mark a living or undead creature, in which case it will fade after a number of weeks equal to the caster's level.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

How is this spellbook arranged?

Roll 1d12:
  1. The spellbook is a lavishly illuminated manuscript. The spell formulas are incorporated into the marginalia and gold leaf.
  2. The spellbook is a collection of poems or songs composed by the wizard. The cadences and melodies themselves are a mnemonic device for the actual spells.
  3. The spellbook is a folio of paintings or drawings depicting bizarre creatures and landscapes. A certain continuous line in each image describes the pattern the magic must take through the wizard's mind.
  4. The spellbook is a journal with entries recounting the day the wizard learned each individual spell. The wizard can memorize the spell by remembering how casting it for the first time felt.
  5. The spellbook is a manual of yoga positions or martial art forms. By repeating a specific sequence of movements, a spell is ingrained into the wizard's muscle memory.
  6. Each spell in this spellbook is presented as a different recipe, which the wizard prepares by cooking it
  7. The spellbook isn't a book at all, but an elaborately-carved rod or staff, on which the wizard has carved a mnemonic pattern of grooves and bumps that she can run her fingers along.
  8. The spellbook isn't a book at all, but a bag of tiny stones or other small objects which the wizard must swallow, one for each spell. Upon being cast, the wizard spits up the corresponding stone.
  9. The spellbook is a deck of cards, from which the wizard divines a day's spells by shuffling and drawing a hand, trusting in fate to provide the spells she will need today.
  10. The spellbook is a manual of acupuncture, complete with a set of needles. The wizard prepares each spell by stimulating the flow of chi through a certain configuration of meridians.
  11. The spellbook is a notebook full of complex mathematical equations, which the wizard must solve each morning using a bit of pencil.
  12. The spellbook is a collection of koans. By meditating on the paradox, the wizard attains a momentary state of enlightenment that puts her in tune with the flow of magic.

Announcing Far Trek: The Next Iteration!

Yeah, so I was away for a while. Happens.

Anyway out of the scraps of a half-dozen other projects has arrived the next thing I'm going to try out, a supplement to Chris Fenway's excellent Far Trek, a Star Trek inspired RPG. This supplement will add on to its already robust core rules for ships and species that featured in the TOS movies, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, along with new random episode generator charts.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Would it ruin my old school cred...

If I said I just don't enjoy making dungeon mapping a fixture of the games I run?

My experience is that it tends to slow down play a bit more than I like because the player in charge of mapping wants to put everything on hold while she draws everything just to specifications?

There has to be a faster way short of just giving the players a copy of the dungeon map directly.

I realize nobody reads this blog, but if you are actually reading it I'd appreciate suggestions.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Halflings for B/X

Because shut up, Tavis and Alex, Halflings are awesome. =P

Like most of my content this has not been playtested... yet.

The following is a General proficiency, but is only available to human classes that do not cast Arcane spells. Unlike most proficiencies it can only be taken at first level, and requires two proficiency slots.

Halfling: The character is a Halfling, a tiny relative of Dwarves and Humans. His lifespan is half again as long as members of his race, and he enjoys a +2 bonus to AC against creatures of man size or larger. Additionally, halflings, like Dwarves, are Hardy People so the target value for their saves vs. Blast/Breath are reduced by 3, and the target values of all other saves are reduced by 4. However, halflings are very small in size and are subject to the following additional restrictions:
  • The maximum weight a halfling can carry is equal to 15 stone, plus his strength adjustment.
  • A halfling cannnot use longbows, arbalests, or melee weapons that require two hands to use, and never uses the increased damage value for using battle axes, flails, maces, warhammers, spears, or swords two-handed.
  • A halfling does not begin play with the Adventuring proficiency.
ETA 5/4/2013: At the suggestion of Doctor Pete from the Autarch forums I've altered it a little bit.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Off topic: In which I write a poem

The one thing I miss about
Being in school
(It just might be the only)
Was how
On Friday afternoons
In April and May,
I'd look out the window
Or be
Dismissed for the weekend,
And how the world
Seemed full of promise