Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Rune Magic and Rune Sorcerors

Becoming a rune sorceror is relatively simple: you find a senior rune sorceror to train you. This is not
necessarily an easy task. Rune sorcerors are rare. They tend to reclusive, objects of some
nervousness by the non-magical community, and not very worldly.

In order to be accepted as a student, you must:

Have a combined INT+POW over 24
Make a successful Luck roll
Give your intended mentor a gift of at least 100 silver.

By being accepted, the student accepts doing drudge-work for the rune sorceror and paying a small fee in exchange for lessons. In exchange, the student is taught the skill of Wald Rune Lore. The student will
be taught one verb rune, and one noun rune, of the sorceror’s choosing. Learning a rune requires 100 hours of study with a teacher, and 200 hours of work or a number of silvers equal to three weeks of the students normal wages. At the end of the hundred hours, the student makes a roll of POWx3, plus 1% for each point of combined INT+POW over 24 (so, if your combined INT+POW = 25, you get 1%, if 26 you get 2%, etc). If the roll is successful, you have mastered the rune at INTx1% ability.

Note that it is necessary to master at least two runes to perform any effective rune sorcery.

If you’re pursuing rune research on your own, it’s 500 hours, with the same roll as above, to master a rune.

Beyond this, there is no real hard-and-fast set of rules to becoming a rune sorceror. Most rune sorcerors tend to be devotees of Furor, as he is the god who brought the runes to men. However, rune sorcerors are not gothi (some gothi do become rune sorcerors, however). Most can also teach basic magic as desired,
though it is not their primary interest. Rune sorcerors will never teach their lore to non-Walds.

Using the Runes to Cast Spells

Essentially, you can think of each rune as a word. To work rune magic, you bring together these runes and their respective powers in much the same way that words are strung together into sentences.

Every spell has two elements: what is done, and what is done to. Correspondingly, there are two types of runes (two types of words). Some are verbs: Create, Move, Heal. Others are described as nouns: what is being created, moved. Before casting a rune spell, the player describes what he wants the spell to do, and
selects the verb rune and noun rune that he wants to use. The possible effects are limited only by the player’s imagination and what the GM agrees to. The GM decides whether the intended effect is possible, and how it will play out in the game.  GMs should be flexible in allowing players to utilize their strengths, but try not to
let the game get bogged down in arguments about the optimum configuration of runes.

The ability to cast a rune spell is dependent on your mastery of the individual runes. Each rune is a separate skill, just as each basic magic skill is a separate skill. In order to pull off a rune spell, you must use at least two runes – one verb, one noun. Thus, to cast a rune you must make a combined skill roll (see BRP page
173) for the two (or more) runes, with the lowest skill being your chance of successfully casting the spell. In a two-rune spell, the spell is only successful if both runes are successful rolls. If more than two runes are involved, as long as one verb and one noun are successful, some effect will be incurred – though not necessarily the intended one.

POW Cost of Rune Spells

Each rune costs 1 POW point to activate.
Casting Time: 1 Strike Rank per rune

Overcoming POW

Spells that require overcoming another’s POW used the rune sorceror’s POW + 1 for each rune involved in the spell.

Rune Spell Range: All rune spells have a maximum range of 100 meters.
Rune Spell Duration: All rune spells have a duration of instant, one combat round, ten combat rounds, or
15 minutes, depending on the spell. The GM will decide this as the spell is being discussed before casting.

Learning the Runes & Starting Runes

Generally, a Rune Sorceror starting from scratch will start off with 1 verb and 2 nouns, at INTx1% ability. This ability can be increased through study and experience.

Getting New Runes  

Rune sorcerors can learn new runes from another rune sorceror, usually in exchange for money/services/etc.
Rune sorcerors with an allegiance score of 20 or higher to Furor may get runes directly from the deity by sacrificing 2 points of POW (permanently). The deity will impart the rune at INTx1% ability, leaving the rune sorceror to develop further mastery on his own.





Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Green Lands - The Shaman and The Vola

The shaman of the Skathak are some of the most powerful users of magic in the Green Lands, but I won't have that much to say about them here.  That's because they're pretty much identical to the Shaman as depicted in The Magic Book, with a few of Sandy Petersen's special abilities tossed in (Sandy's Shaman rules for RQ are widely available on the net, so look around).  Since plagiarism isn't my thing, I won't reproduce them here.

Suffice it to say it's all there: spirit allies, spirit travel, etc etc etc.  Plain and simple, Chaosium's standard shaman fits the bill to a T, and I didn't see any reason to change it.  The most important part is context, and anyone familiar with Glorantha who's been following this blog should have a fair picture of it by now (Skathak = Balazarings in most practical, game-related ways).

So, moving on to the next-to-last of our magical practitioners, The Vola.


Vola are the wise-women and shaman of the Wald peoples. Their primary role is as prophetesses, healers, and specialists in the spirit world. They often live on the fringes of their community, but are always very much a part of it, treated with respect and honor (and sometimes, a certain amount of fear). If a Vola comes to visit, she will be treated as an honored guest.

All Volas are female, and all of them are priestesses of the goddess Fjorgynn. Fjorgynn is a goddess of sexual desire, fertility, bountiful crops, and of magic. Cats are her favored animal. She wears a feathered cloak that allows her to change her shape, and wears a rich gold necklace. They are not passive, for Fjorgynn is also a goddess of warlike power, screaming anguish, blood and death. While Vola do
not put in a lot of time in weapons practice, their magic can make others quite formidable. Vola usually keep two or more cats as familiars.

There is no organization to the Volas. Each is an independent operator bound only by tradition. Each Vola will train a number of apprentices in her lifetime. After her passing, these Volas will generally lead independent lives, though one or more Volas may choose to live and work together.

Becoming A Vola

To become a Vola, you must: —


  • Be a woman — 
  • Hang around an existing Vola who has an opening for a trainee, for a long enough period of time to convince her you’re worth the effort (typically 1d8+6 24 months)
  • — Have the aptitude – in game terms, this means having a POW of 15 or higher, and making a successful POWx5 roll – or in other words a Luck roll – but since you’re trying to become a Vola, we’ll call it a “Test for Vola Potential” roll. — 
  • Generally  some form of payment is also appreciated. Add 1% to that Luck roll for every 100 silverspaid to the Vola.


Once accepted, you become an apprentice to the Vola. A Vola may have a number of apprentices at any one time equal to 1/3 her POW. The apprentices will be trained in the skills shown below, and taught
magic as she rises through the ranks. By becoming an apprentice Vola, the apprentice is freed of all social/cultural ties to family and community – her master becomes her family and community. This
does not mean she has to sever ties to them – only that she is no longer beholden to parents or family.

By virtue of being an apprentice, you get  training in skills and magic, a home with the Vola, and a measure of respect in the community. 20 Allegiance points to Fjorgynn are automatically granted. In order to maintain an apprenticeship you  must follow the Vola’s orders, take part in the ceremonies, and be a diligent student
who shows ongoing progress.

Moving Up Through the Ranks

Once an apprentice has:

Been an apprentice for a minimum of 1 year
Achieved 35% in at least five appropriate skills
Achieved 35% in at least three appropriate spells

… the apprentice will now be a “junior Vola” (so to speak). She will have access to Divine Magic from Fjorgynn, and continued training. She will be taught to enter the Spirit World, will make herself a staff, and will gain an allied spirit. Another 20 points of Allegiance to Fjorgynn come her way. She must spend 90% of
her time with her teacher. In return, she may add 3% per year in Perform- Ceremony. She also receives free 1 point of basic magic per year and an automatic 1 point increase in POW at the end of each three years.

When a student has reached 55% in at least five skills and three spells, she has effectively “graduated.” At this time she will be free to either continue with her Vola master, or strike out on her own. She will wear a cloak of white and a necklace of gold in honor of Fjorgynn. She has reached adulthood.

Skills Taught By Vola

Craft – Potion (POW-restoring, Healing,
Disease-Curing, Characteristic-
Enhancing, etc
Craft – Weaving
Craft – Staff
Craft - Wand
First Aid
Insight
Knowledge – Nature Lore
Knowledge – Plant Lore
Knowledge - Spirit Lore
Medicine
Perform – Ceremony
Perform – Sing
Perform – Dance
Perform - Seduction
Sense
Spirit Combat
Spirit Travel
Spot
Status
Teach

The Vola took me a bit to get a handle on.  They are (obviously) based on the "volva," shamanic/druid-like wise women of Norse legend.  I changed the name because, even though I pride myself on my maturity, I know damn well the linking of the name "volva" with a bunch of female wizard-priests was going to lead to snickering around the table every time it came up ... and that I would be as guilty as anyone.  Thus the sanitized alteration.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Keys of Dreams, Part I

Xmas has come and gone again, and here I sit in the sleepy, cold days between Xmas and New Years (well, it's New Years Eve day as I write this, so I suppose you could say that's over). This time of the year, I always feel groggy - sleepy, as I said, and not much ambition except to stay inside, keep warm, and chill out (as much as one can chill out while trying to keep warm).

Nostalgia had me thinking. On Xmas 1979, I received this:



...and it was, I suppose, the second key.

The first key would have been the Monster Manual, which I, in fact, received for my birthday in 1978.  And that in and of itself had fired my imagination greatly.  I mean, you couldn't DO much with the MM alone, now could you?  Mostly just look at the pictures and think about the entries and try to puzzle out how the rules worked.  But if you had a brain you could at least discern how a dragon was tougher than an orc, say.  But that wasn't really the point.

No, the point was the MM sort of opened the door on a world.  And it wasn't someone else's world, per se.  It was yours.  It was like a set of blocks (or properly, part of a set of blocks), to build a world with.  A world that included all/most of the common folklore of fantasy which, as a kid, you'd already absorbed, from fairy tales, movies, books (see my earlier entry on early influences).  And then it included all/most of adult fantasy (one term used for it) that was available at the time (which wasn't much, really).  In my imagination this vast world spread out before me ... no map, no borders.  I wasn't thinking about kingdoms or kings, just vast plots of wilderness filled with villages of halflings, forests of elves, mines of dwarves, and hobgoblins, bugbears, orcs, gnolls and whatnots roaming the lands in uncontrollable war bands, while other beasties lurked in remote places, guarding treasures.  It was intoxicating.


And I think, in a lot of ways, it was that wide open sense of possibility that inspired me.  Long before I first drew my first ever imaginary-world map, it was the thought that I could place this dragon here, this village there, this forest of elves over there...

And it was that sense of possibility that still inspires me when I look at those old D&D books.  For all their clunky rules and Gygax-ian obnoxiousness, I can still feel it.

I'll write more about this sort of thing another time.



Monday, December 31, 2012

The Green Lands - The Gothi


The Wald do not distinguish much between priests and lay worshipers. Most people honor their gods at household altars, and know the appropriate prayers, rites and sacrifices for such events as births, marriage,
death, solstice, year’s end, ship-blessings, hearth-blessings, meetings, and battles. Those with superior knowledge and strong magical ability may become priests, or gothi. The gothi lead public worship and occupy a great place of importance in their community.

Temples

Most Wald temples are only shrines. They typically are in natural settings and include a prominent statue or image of the god or gods. They conform to temple rules. In the larger Wald settlements, some major temples can be found.

Organization & Structure

There is no particular organization to the community’s religious structure, beyond that imposed by an individual gothi. Neither is there any particular hierarchal structure. At any gathering, the oldest and most experienced gothi is automatically the de facto leader of the moment. There are specific variations
among practices depending on which god a gothi is most aligned to. Gothi, like druids, are priests of all the gods, but may have strong allegiance to one.

Requirements To Join

Any character with a combined INT+POW of 16 or greater and Knowledge Religion-Wald of greater than 30% can become a gothi. They must connect with another gothi who will serve as mentor and teacher for at least one year, teaching them spells and training them in the religious duties of leading public worship
(treat as training in Religion-Wald). Becoming a gothi automatically confers 20 Allegiance points to all Wald gods. He receives the usual benefits and chances for Divine Intervention.

Skills Supported By Gothi

Lay members are trained free of charge up to 25% in any of the following skills:

Any Axe
Climb
Craft (Brew Mead)
Craft (Poetry)
Craft (Woodwork)
Jump
Knowledge: Wald Law
Knowledge: Wald Lore
Knowledge: Religion-Wald
Listen,
Perform (Saga)
Pilot (Boat)
Row, and Sail.
Scan
Self Bow
Shield attack and parry
Sneak
Spear
Swim
Sword
Track

Gothi can receive training from other Gothi at ½ normal costs.

Duties

As with most priests, the Gothi are limited in DEX-based skills to DEXx5%.. He must preside over  sacrifices, feasts, marriages, see that leaders follow the way of heroes, and make sure that at all times the power of the gods is honored.

Benefits

By law, a gothi is unstrikable. Any who would attack a priest is outcast and becomes an open target, both to physical retribution, and, worse, the dying curse of the gothi, which is delivered with the force of all POW in this world and the next. Another advantage is that they serve only the gods and no temporal lords can command them. A gothi may come and go as he sees fit. They are treated with deference, and, and respect,
mixed with a healthy dose of fear, and may demand whatever they wish for their services.

A Gothi gets an automatic 1 point of POW every three years.

Gothi Magic

Gothi learn typical Magic spells as in BRP and have access to learning Divine Magic and Rune Sorcery.

My note: I had a lot of trouble getting a handle on the gothi, compared to the druids and shaman.  I think part of it is that they are, after all, very similar to druids.  Somehow, I still end up feeling like I shorted them.  

Yet the fact remains that they are potentially every bit as powerful as druids, have plenty of unique spells, and have access to the very powerful Rune Magic.  Since their structure is so much simpler, there's a lot less detail I needed to go into in describing them.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Green Lands - Druids


DRUIDS

Druids are members of the Druidic Order, one of the most powerful in the lands. The order is found everywhere. A druid is found in every king’s hall, serving as prophet, advisor, interpreter of law and
lore, giving judgments, spiritual guidance, and casting spells. Druids see the world and the universe as
a riddle, or series of riddles, to be solved. They generally answer questions with questions. One riddle usually is answered by a new riddle … and on and on. Druids may live simply or lavishly. Many are drifters, roaming from place to place. Others settle and manage or help manage a sacred grove. They never take positions
of kingship themselves, though a few have been known to appoint themselves de facto rulers.

They are the intelligentsia and academia of the society. They teach the children and serve as wise men. As judges, they hear legal cases and make decisions based on the laws, justice, and impartiality. As priests they lead worship ceremonies and know the ways of the gods. As magicians they are the spell-casters, soothsayers, and wizards of the world. They protect their communities from the forces of the invisible world.
They are highly respected and more than a little feared. Most people think druids meddle with things best left alone.

Druids oversee the rituals and ceremonies of the harvest, birth, death, and those things inbetween. They influence kings, can stop battles (no battle will take place if a druid declares on the battlefield that it cannot), prophesize, and give magical and clericial service to the community. Some druids work only for a specific
deity. Others serve all the gods, and others are only nominally concerned with them. Druids work for the common good of the community – even if working for that common good may seem painful for harsh
– they will sacrifice the one for the many. The welfare of the people of the community is always pre-eminent. They also serve as teachers of the community, educating children in basic and more esoteric lore.

Organization

There is no real organization to the druid order, though the Archdruid of the grove at The Holy Island is the nominal leader of all druids. Each grove is effectively independent, with the most senior druid as the de facto leader. Free-roaming druids are autonomous. In groups, deference is always given to the most senior
druid. The Holy Island is therefore the center of power of the Druid order, as much as there is one. All druids make a pilgrimage there at some time in their life. There are many holy groves there, some with trees centuries-old.

Temples 

All places of worship are sacred groves. These are tended by settled druids in a quantity appropriate to the size of the grove (which is appropriate to the size of the community).

Structure

There are four degrees within the order: Initiates, Bards, Ovates, and Druids. The only members of the highest degree call themselves druids, to lay people any member of the order is a druid.

Requirements to join as an Initiate

Most druids are recruited. In their role as teachers, druids keep an eye out for potential new applicants
among the children. People may also voluntarily join at any time. Applicants may be of any age or gender
An important component of being a druid, and it factors into their spell-casing, is Combined INT and POW.
This is exactly what it sounds like: INT + POW.

• Combined INT and POW of 25 or better
• Successful POW+CHA/5 roll on d100
• POW sacrifice of course
• Take part in a ceremony in which the initiate is accepted by the spirits of the sacred grove (POWx3% to
succeed)
• Sacrifice 1 point of POW to the grove
• Pledge a minimum of 10% of all time and monies to the grove
• Sacrifice a further point of POW at each sacred festival

Benefits

• Training in skills and magic at ½ cost
• Automatic 20 Allegiance points to deitie(s) of choice
• A druid mentor to guide and educate
• While druids are not above the law, they are not subservient to any kings
• In any assembly, druids always have the right to speak first

Duties

• Sacrifice 1 point of POW at the sacred festivals
• Scout out new druids
• Druids serve their society by interacting with the invisible world. They perform healing, entertainment, and
memorize the laws, histories, and genealogies of their people.

After seven years as an initiate, you may be able to move up to the next degree, of  bard.

Requirements to become a Bard

• Be an initiate in good standing for at least seven years
• Have a combined INT and POW of at least 28
• Demonstrate at least 35% in Carthan Lore, Druid Lore, Law Lore, Perform (Sing), Perform (Play Instrument), Perform (Poetry), Perform (Storytelling) and Craft (Poetry)
• Pass the Bard Ordeal
• Sacrifice 1 point of POW

The Bard Ordeal

Seven hours before dawn, the aspiring bard is placed in a stone coffin filled with water high enough to barely cover his face. A lid is placed on the coffin and heavy stones placed on the lid – sufficient to guarantee he can’t escape. Before entering the coffin, the aspirant is given the subject, meter, and length for an original poem he is to compose, memorize, and perform when he emerges. He is left in the coffin until dawn. Each
hour, the aspirant must make a Stamina roll. On each failed roll, he loses a hit point.

At dawn, the lid is lifted. He must successfully Perform the poem. If so, he’s now a bard. If not, he can try again in a year.

Duties

• Bards learn the stories and traditions to teach and entertain the people.  Their role is to disseminate knowledge. They are expected to demonstrate their knowledge upon command from a lord at any time.
• Teach children of the community
• Scout for potential new druids
• Judge cases

Benefits

• As for initiates
• Generally have a mentor or series of mentors
• Get a POW gain roll – every year at New Year, the bard makes a roll of POW x 1 on d100. If successful, he gets 1d4 points of POW.

After seven years as a bard, one may attempt to move up to Ovate

Requirements to become an Ovate

• Have been a bard in good standing for at least seven years.
• Have a combined INT and POW of at least 30
• Demonstrate 45% in at least three skills from the list below
• Sacrifice 1 point of POW to the grove
• Pledge at least 50% of time and monies to the grove
• Take part in a ceremony in which the aspirant spends a night in isolation in a sacred grove. During this time he will experience a dream of the gods. In this dream, he will be tested (abstract this as a roll of POWx3). If
he succeeds, he is now an Ovate.

Benefits

• As an initiate or bard
• Another 20 points Allegiance to deities of choice
• Access to Divine Magic: may receive divine magic on a one-use basis from their deity at a cost of 20 silver pieces and the sacrifice of a point of current POW per level of spell. Limited use divine magic may be cast only once after having been sacrificed for; to be renewed the initiate must wait for the next monthly holy day, when he may regain 1d6 points worth of divine magic by leading a successful Worship Ceremony. At this time the initiate may also choose to sacrifice additional POW for additional spells, as well.
• Access to greater spell power
• Magic and skills at ½ cost
• Each year, at the new year, he automatically gains 1% each in Perform (Orate) and Read/Write Ogham, as
well as 1% in Perform (Ceremony).
• Each year is entitled to learn for free one point of Basic Magic.
• POW Gain roll – every year at New Year, the Ovate rolls POWx2 on d100. If successful, he gets 1d6 points of POW.

Duties

• Provide education and priestly service to community, including prophecy and divination
• Due to most time being spent in priestly duties, all Combat and Physical skills drop to DEX x5 max

After seven years as an Ovate, one can advance to the final degree of…

DRUID

Requirements to become a Druid

• Be an Ovate in good standing for at least seven years
• Have a combined INT and POW of at least 32
• Demonstrate at least 55% knowledge in at least three skills listed below
• Take part in a ceremony in which the Ovate is accepted by the spirits of the sacred grove (POWx3% to succeed)
• Sacrifice 1 point of POW to the grove
• Pledge a minimum of 80% of all time and monies to the grove

Benefits

• As for Ovates
• Taught the Wizardry Skills of Spell Manipulation (see below)
• Opportunity to make an INT increase roll once every five years.
• Each year receives 3% in Perform (Ceremony), 2% in two other skills.
• A druids position gives him the support of his community and great social status.
• Druids get all the Divine Magic spells they are willing to sacrifice POW for.
• Druids gain a power outside that of normal divine magic, that of spellpool. Rather than sacrifice POW for specific spells, they may sacrifice POW to form  a 'pool' of power which they may later call upon in the form of any common or special spell granted by their deity. This 'pool' of power grows with each fresh sacrifice of POW, unless called upon to fuel a spell which is normally one-use for priests. Points used for reusable divine magic are regained as soon as the spell duration has ended and they have followed the standard practice for recovering reusable divine magic, i.e. going to a grove and sacrificing POW.

Duties

• As for Ovates

Skills Taught and Supported By the Order

Command
Craft (Poetry)
Fast Talk
First Aid
Insight
Knowledge (Animal Lore)
Knowledge (Tree Lore)
Knowledge (Carthan Lore)
Knowledge (God Lore)
Knowledge (Law Lore)
Knowledge (Spirit Lore)
Knowledge (Stone Lore)
Knowledge (Tree Alphabet)
Language (any)
Listen
Literacy
Medicine
Perform (Ceremony)
Peform (Instrument)
Perform (Orate)
Perform (Poetry)
Perform (Sing)
Persuade
Read/Write Ogham
Sense
Spot
Teach

Druids As Priests

Druids lead worship at the holy festivals. They are knowledgeable about the gods and automatically have 20 points Allegiance to the Carthan gods when they become Initiates. They are sought out for spiritual advice and interpretations of the gods’ intent. They establish and maintain sacred groves (treat as Temples). Druids may choose to dedicate themselves to a particular deity, automatically gaining 20 Allegiance points to that deity. They may choose to serve that particular deity and be a priest to that deity. Whenever a druid achieves 40 Allegiance points to a given deity, he can have access to Divine Magic from that deity. Alternately, druids may choose not to seek stronger Allegiance to any deities.

Druids As Magicians

Druids are the most powerful magicians found in the lands. Not only do they have access to Basic Magic, they have many Basic Magic spells which are unique to them, and are taught only to druids and only to those who have achieved certain degrees within the order. Druids with Allegiance to deities have access to unique
Divine Magic as well. Finally, druids have Wizardry Skills as described in The Magic Book pages 49-50,
with the following modifications:

Note: these skills can only be applied to Basic magic spells, not Divine spells.

There are five skills. Two are described in The Magic Book and three are new.

Illusion
Maintain
Multispell
Range
Great Shapeshift  Used in conjunction with the Shapeshift Self spell, allows the druid to perform multiple,
fast, repeated changes of shape, gaining powers appropriate to the new form, and allowing for the Shapeshifter’s Duel. The caster can change shape at will as long as the Great Shapeshift is
maintained, taking on MR to change shape and at no further loss of POW. If he returns to his natural form, the Great Shapeshift is ended. The skill is immensely flexible, limited only by the imagination of the
user and what the GM is willing to accept. The druid may even assume a form with multiple parts – a collective of creatures only one of which actually holds his soul/consciousness – such as a swarm of
bees. The druid retains normal hit points, POW points, etc. Clothing, jewelry, and armor vanish
when the druid shapeshifts and reappear when s/he returns to normal form. Carried equipment and
items simply fall to the ground. A druid may assume the form of a non-living thing, such as a cloud, a
fire, or a grain of wheat, but will have only the appearance of that thing, not the abilities (thus a fire
that is actually a druid gives off no heat and can’t burn anything). In animal form, the druid can use
the creature’s natural weapons. It’s innate abilities (such as a fish’s ability to swim) cannot exceed twice those of the druid. He cannot assume a form more than twice his SIZ. Innate skill abilities (such as superior hearing, sight, or smell) can be used, but at –10% of the animal ability. In animal form, the druid may still cast
spells as long as he has enough available  Combined INT & POW.

LEARNING THE SKILLS

Training in the skills is handled as per skill training in BRP, pgs 184-185



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Green Lands - Magic - Core Concepts


CORE CONCEPTS

Spirit Combat is described in The Magic Book, pages 7-9. Almost any magic-using character will use Spirit Combat, especially Shaman.

Spell Focus is also described in The Magic Book, pages 17-18. This concept is also in use here - all the various magicians use focus in some way.

Spells and Strike Rank for melee round purposes, spells begin being cast on the caster’s base strike rank, and take effect on the caster’s base strike rank + 1 strike rank + 1 strike rank per level or POW cost of the spell. So, if your base strike rank is 5, and you’re casting three levels of a spell (or a 3-point POW spell), you start casting on strike rank 5, and the spell hits on strike rank 9 (5+1+3).


DIVINE MAGIC

Divine Magic is described in Chaosium’s The Magic Book, but could use some clarification. Here it is:
Any character with at least 20 Allegiance points to a deity can learn Divine Magic from that deity as “Initiates” (cf. The Magic Book, page 28). Anyone who is in Allegiance to a deity (cf. BRP page 315), can
learn Divine Magic from that deity as a “Priest” (cf. The Magic Book, page 29). To learn a Divine Magic spell, it typically takes 1 week of study and a donation of 20 s or so to your teacher(s). You also have to sacrifice the POW Cost, meaning you give up your own POW to the deity. The POW comes back at the normal POW recovery rate.

One-Use spells, you can cast one time. After that, if you ever want to cast it again, you must go to some holy place and sacrifice POW again to learn the spell.

Re-usable spells - you can cast them one time, then must spend some time in a holy place, in meditation, to “re-learn” the spell. You do not have to sacrifice POW for it a second time. For that reason, Stacking is the best way to go. In that case, you sacrifice for more than one casting of the spell. A stack of 3 1-point spells means you can either cast that spell three times before having to re-learn it, or cast a single casting
three times as powerful as usual. Short and long of it: one-use spells you have to keep sacrificing POW for each time you want to use them. Re-usable you do not.

Boosting allows you to beef up a Divine Spell by adding some of your own POW to it at time of casting. 1 point increases the strength of the spell by one (note – how this actually translates into play depends on the individual spell).

There is no need to roll for success on a Divine Spell. They always work, and they always work as expected.

Divination Works as described in The Magic Book, page 27.

Divine Intervention and Allegiance Any character with at least 20 points of Allegiance to a deity may call on that deity for Divine Intervention. The chance of success is equal to the character’s POW, and, if the Divine Intervention roll is successful, the character loses POW points equal to the d100 roll. Any character who is in Allegiance to a deity (as described in the BRP book) can receive divine intervention at the same chance (POWx1), but does not lose POW points when receiving Divine Intervention.

Ritual Magic is as described in The Magic Book.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Early Influences

One of the things I find interesting in the "Grognard" discussions I find on Grognardia and Google+ (which I'm still learning my way around) is looking back at the way we used to play, our early related interests, and how they reflected back into our gaming interests.

The thing is, there was a lot less fantasy of the sword`n'sorcery type in the late 70's.  The thing that strikes me about Gygax's list at the end of the original DMG is pretty close to being a comprehensive list of the major fantasy authors up to that time.

The thing about fantasy RPG's is that they fit in quite neatly with a body of interests most of us who played them back in the day shared, at least to some degree.  Not that we'd all read, or would read, or like, all the same books or all the same things.  But there tended to be a great deal of overlap.  When D&D appeared, it was natural that it would appeal to kids like us.

What were some of those things?  For me:

TV Shows: Lost in Space, The Outer Limits, Star Trek (of course!).  Many cartoons, such as Johnny Quest, the adventure cartoons they ran as part of The Banana Splits - The Arabian Nights, Danger Island, The Three Musketeers and especially The Adventures of Huck Finn, which I dearly loved.

Movies: the weekend airwaves were full of good stuff all through my childhood.  50's sci-fi movies ran during the day, and at night we had Creature Features, which ran the cream of those as well as the Universal and Hammer horror films.  Also all the Japanese giant monster movies, which I was immensely enamored of.  There wasn't a lot of sword-and-fantasy, but Harryhausen movies like the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts definitely filled the bill, and helped cement my concept of fantasy in my formative years. Tarzan movies and many westerns (The Searchers!) made an impression, too.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention Star Wars, which was kind of like a little a-bomb dropped on my generation's imagination back in `77.

Comics: an incalculable influence.  I loved comics as did most of the kids I knew who also ended up getting into RPG's.  The mid-60's-era Marvels were the best (I was fortunate enough to have inherited a bunch, plus Marvel was always reprinting their classics, and it was easy to get into their earlier history.  Also the "Marvel Universe" was only 10-15 years old then, and constantly referenced in their current titles at the time), but they were still publishing some exciting and innovative comics at the time (Tomb Of Dracula, Man-Thing, pretty much anything Steve Gerber was doing).  And anything Jack Kirby did - classic Marvel stories, his Fourth World series, The Demon, The Eternals, even late stuff like the much-maligned Devil Dinosaur had enormous impact on me.  Prince Valiant in the Sunday papers, too.

Books and Stories:  I already mentioned Gygax's list.  By the time I started playing D&D, I'd read The Hobbit and parts of Lord of the Rings.  The Bakshi adaptation came out not too long after my first exposure to the game (I liked it at the time but find it nigh-unwatchable now).  I knew Conan from the comics (of course) but was picking up the Ace collections when I could find them used and cheap.  I hadn't yet begun to notice that the stories by Howard alone were superior to any of the completions/pastiches, but all of my favorites at that point were Howard-written.  I'd read a bit of Burroughs (again, first exposure had been through comics - DC's Weird Worlds very freely adapted John Carter and Pellucidar, and later Marvel's John Carter series - nice artwork by Gil Kane), some of H.P. Lovecraft's stories (total mind-fuckers), the first of the "Narnia" books and Andre Norton's "Steel Magic" which also made quite an impression on me.  Not long before I ran my first campaign I was reading Leiber's Fafhrd/Mouser stories.  I was well aware of Moorcock's stuff but didn't read any till later.  I can't ignore the many books of fairy tales, knights and such that I always scooped up when I saw them, because I realized at a very early age that I loved that sort of thing.  So Greek mythology, King Arthur, Robin Hood, and Ivanhoe surely went into the hopper.  Edward Eager's books, especially Half Magic and Knight's Castle were very important.  Oh, and I can't forget the Arabian Nights!  We had a very nice illustrated edition that inspired me a lot very early, and of course the aforementioned Sinbad movies.