Monday, October 9, 2017

flower power

I have been rereading about Coins and Scrolls wizards and Goblin Punch spellcasters and have been thinking about my own dice pool magic system (scroll down a little past the fishing stuff). The dice pool makes magic feel more like this amorphous reserve of supernatural influence instead of a bunch of bullets in a gun, while preserving the resource management aspect that makes Vancian magic appeal to me. You're never quite sure how much you can and should do in a day.

I've also been rereading Wonders and Wickedness and reading Paolo's Marvels and Malisons. I like the distinctness of spell schools and have been thinking about how those would manifest in Flowerland (i.e. the blog post below)
 
ON HOUSES
Planes are the Old World's crude understanding of the shape of Creation. As the peoples of Flowerland know, our world is made of structures, not surfaces–Houses, not Planes. The Grass House, the Mud House, the Moon House, the Iron House, the Ash House, the Salt House, and the elusive Labyrinth Betwixt are the most known in Flowerland, though of course there are others, some obscure, some defunct. The Houses respect neither topology nor topography–if you walk towards the palmetto scrub, you approach the Grass House as well, and as midnight or noon draw near, so too does the Grass House, whether or not you think you are moving. Should you, in the heat of summer and the brightness of noon, find carrion-eaters crowded around a kill out in the scrub, watch your step carefully–when the auguries of Grass are many, you stand on the threshold of its House.

Magic is: opening a door to a House and shaping what comes out, calling forth its denizens to do your bidding.

SORCERERS
HP, XP, Saves, Skills as wizard/magic-user

You have Power dice equal to your level. When you cast a spell, you can roll as many of them as you like; the more dice you roll, the greater its effect. When a description refer to a spell's Power, that is the number of dice the caster rolled for it.
  • For each die that comes up a 1 or a 6, after you resolve the spell's effects, remove a Power die from your dice pool until you take a long rest. (Rolling a 1 means you whiffed it a little and rolling a 6 means you exhausted some part of yourself)
  • If you get pairs, Something Bad happens 
  • If you get triples, Something Terrible happens
At level 1, pick a House: Grass, Mud, Moon, Iron, Salt, or Ash. You know two random spells from its list. you can cast any spell you know, but you can only learn spells from your House. you do so by exploring your House, by bribing and pestering other sorcerers into tutoring you, or studying another sorcerer's notes. You can learn to cast spells from other Houses, but each has its own requirements.
THE GRASS HOUSE
If you are a sorcerer and did not choose Grass as your House at level 1, you can gain attain its power and access its spells by eating the divine carrion at the center of the Grass House, soft like custard, rich like dessert, foul beyond comprehension.
     Sorcerers who can cast Grass House spells find carrion equally delicious and disgusting and can live off of it without fear of disease or malnutrition.


GRASS CURSE
Under the roof of the Grass House, your shadow is a curse, and when you cast your shadow you cast your curse also. The sorcerer can cast their Grass Curse on someone touching their shadow, inflicting them with a persistent sunstroke that bestows a penalty to all rolls equal to the spell's Power on a failed save. If sorcerer's shadow is being cast in the hot sun--the Grass House sun, the cruel sun that scorches the palmetto scrub and bakes the sugar sand trails--spell gains a +1 Power without the sorcerer needing to roll another die. This hex lasts until the victim immerses themselves in very cold water or another sorcerer lifts it with magic.
  • Something Bad: You put too much of yourself into the curse. You can't regain any dice lost in the casting of this spell until the victim is cured or you eat them (takes at least an hour).
  • Something Terrible: You are afflicted with the Grass Curse, but the only way to lift it is to cure the victim while they still live. Failing that, there are some exceedingly rare and dangerous to procure cures.
WEAVE SIGN OF GRASS
A sorcerer casts this spell by spending an evening weaving grass, withes, reeds, or similar vegetable material into a palm-sized medallion bearing the Sign of Grass. If they lose any Power from this casting, they cannot ever recover it from resting, and must restore their lost Power in some other (dangerous, difficult, and probably disturbing) way. The wearer of the Sign of Grass receives a bonus to stealth checks equal to the spell's Power while in scrub, forests, the prairie, or other similar environs.
  • Something Bad: the Sign bestows a minor curse in addition to its benefit.
  • Something terrible: the Sign bestows a major curse in addition to its benefit.
If the sorcerer wishes, they can automatically incorporate a minor or major curse into the Sign. However, this causes Something Bad and Something Terrible to permanently afflict them with the same curse bound to the Sign.

PACT OF GRASS
Summons a Child of Grass with HD equal to the spell's Power and HP equal to the sum of its Power dice. The Child appears as an oversized coyote on all fours, a thief with hair the color of dust and eyes the color of rainwater when it lurches to its feet, and a crow when it leaps into the air (as wolf, as thief with levels equal to its HD, as bird with trivial combat statistics). The Child of Grass remains as long as it pleases, but it only remains bound to the sorcerer's service for a number of turns equal to the spell's Power, at which point it is free to do as it pleases, though the sorcerer may bribe it into further service.
  • Something Bad: the Child of Grass wants something like: to eat carrion (either very fresh or very ripe), to make mischief, to know where its summoner lives. It will turn on the sorcerer if it doesn't get it very soon.
  • Something Terrible: the Child of Grass appears and turns on the sorcerer, either attacking right away or fucking off back to town to start raising hell. It cannot be summoned again until the sorcerer hunts down and eats it.
BLADE OF GRASS
Make a blade of sawgrass or a saw palm frond impossibly strong and sharp. Sawgrass acts as a one-handed, bladed weapon of fine make (1d6+1 damage) while a saw palm frond acts as a two-handed, bladed weapon of equal quality (1d8+1 damage). The blades are sharp enough to cut through steel as if it were firewood and damage enemies resistant to nonmagical damage. The effect lasts a number of turns equal to the spell's Power.
  • Something Bad: the Grass House turns against the sorcerer, making all grass like blades to them. Leaves and fronds are as sharp and strong as steel: walking on grass deals 1d4 damage/round and ruins shoes and boots, walking through scrub deals 1d12/round and reduces  AC by an equal amound (down to sorcerer's unarmored AC value). Lasts
  • Something Terrible: the Child of Grass appears and turns on the sorcerer. It cannot be summoned again until the sorcerer hunts down and eats it.
MILKWEED GIFT
The sorcerer cuts open their inner arm, dealing damage as dagger, and milkweed sap oozes out. When applied to an injury, it heals HP equal to the sum of the spell's Power dice. The sap can be apportioned between multiple people, but it loses its power after a turn. The HP damage caused by this spell can only be healed with time--only time can give back what the Grass House has taken.
  • Something Bad: The Gift's sap attracts a colossal swarm of red butterflies to the caster. This makes stealth nearly impossible, and the caster takes +1 damage from weapon attacks as the butterflies lap at the wound with anticoagulant proboscises.
  • Something Terrible: The Gift does not heal properly. Each day, the sorcerer must make a saving throw or the wound will ooze milkweed adulterated with blood and the sorcerer loses 1 point of Constitution. This lasts until the sorcerer undergoes some pretty serious curse-lifting effort or they die.
EAT SHAPE
This spell has two uses: if the sorcerer casts this spell on a ripe animal carcass that had HD in life equal to or less than the spell's Power, they can eat it to turn into the creature. They can also cast the spell to turn into a creature they have already consumed in this manner, though the Power still has to meet or exceed its HD. The spell lasts until the sorcerer chooses to change back, but they cannot speak, cast spells, or recover Power until they do. In animal shape, sorcerers look like carrion--sticky with blood, broken bones emerging from their hide, dirt and roots tangled in their ruff.
  • Something Bad: the sorcerer cannot turn back into their original shape until sunset or dawn, whichever is further away.
  • Something Terrible: the sorcerer cannot turn back into their original shape at all, barring powerful ritual intervention

THE NATURE OF HOUSES
Unclear. Dungeons/universes/deities/spell schools. Some were raised or destroyed just past recent memory (such as when Heche Ke Eche, Cacica of the Dead, stopped shut all the doors and ways to the Ghost House with great lead nails and destroyed all of its extant dwellers in a terrible fit of pique, or the night the Moon House was born or perhaps opened agin from the disastrous sinking of Don Fernando's barge). Others have been around for as long as recorded history, maybe built by something that came before, maybe born from the ritual weight of natural phenomena. Some Houses seem to have volition, some seem content to be a location, others are nearly impossible to enter and barely have internal geography. The Ghost House had doors of the sort that Heche Ke Eche could nail shut (according to legend), but the ways to the Moon House are still waters and bone-filled groves and the shadows of the jacarandas in moonlight.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you're back! I've missed seeing your own brand of eldritch weirdness. Love the idea of these asymmetrical Houses rather than planes based on opposing elements. Reminds me a little bit of the Warrens from Steven Erickson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series. The Blades of Grass bad thing amd terrible thing seem incomplete?

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