Thursday, July 18, 2013

Reverse Retro Revival

Patrick Stuart's post about mining newer editions for ideas has been rattling around my head for a while.

Magic Item Creation

Pathfinder magic item are intimidating, and LotFP's research rules are that combination of risky and complicated that my players would probably never try.

Magic-users can make magic items. They do so by sacrificing spell slots. They can only sacrifice one spell slot per item. The numerical stuff is easy; a magic sword has a bonus to attack rolls equal to 1+half the level of the spell slot. A magic suit of armor has a bonus to AC equal to 1+half the level of the spell slot. For fussy effects like water walking or flaming weapons, I'd say if the effect can be roughly duplicated by a spell, then it requires the sacrifice of a spell slot 1-2 levels higher. A perpetually glowing lantern requires a 2nd level spell slot because Light is a 1st level spell, whereas a burning sword might require a 4th level slot, since Fireball is generally 3rd level.

It takes a number of weeks equal to the spell slot's level to make an item. It does not require continuous labor, and can be halted and resumed later. Magic-Users can reclaim sacrificed spell slots by disenchanting the item, which takes the same amount of time it took to create the item. However, spell slots in destroyed or stolen items are just lost (barring a lengthy adventure, I'd imagine)

I like the idea of summon spells working the same way, rather than summoning a bunch of random monsters for a few rounds or punching holes through reality in an apocalyptic display of incompetence. Magic-Users, once they learn the name of a spirit, can summon it when they a preparing their spell for the day. They sacrifice a spell slot, and the spirit has an experience level equal to the slot level. The ally lasts until it is reduced to 0 HP or is banished. Magic-Users can banish summoned allies and regain their spell slot whenever they prepare spells. Banished or spirits previously reduced to 0 HP can be summoned again, though they may resent summoners that bring them to harm.

These rules give item creation a Sauron feel, especially when it comes to make things like Rings of Spell Storing. Magic-Users can become a lot more powerful, but they are betting that they will not lose access to their equipment. I also might include a Horrible Side-effect table if this makes magic items to gadget-like.

And here is the not-Runepriest. I briefly thought about doing an Ars Magica style magic-user transplanted into a DnD style game, but wanted something weirder.

Occultist, a class for LotFP

HP, Saves, and XP as Cleric

Occultists learn Words of Enochian, the heavenly tongue spoken by angels and used to build the world. Anything said aloud in Enochian comes true. Thankfully, Occultists are imperfect practitioners of the art of Creation. As such, they face the following limitations:
  • They can only learn Enochian nouns. Knowing the word for a thing in Enochian means you can create it from nothing.
  • They can know a number of Words equal to their level.
  • They can manifest a number of Words equal to 1+half level. They can unravel anything they have created at any time.
  • While Occultists can create living things, such creatures are nearly mindless, acting only to obey the commands of its creator.
Objects created by a speaker of Enochian are always perfect exemplars of their kind. Just because something takes multiple words in English to describe doesn't mean it does in Enochian. Things created by the same word always appear and operate exactly the same. Occultists can manifest Words as often as they like. They must hear or read a Word in Enochian to learn it.

Occultists roll on the following table to find out what Word they start out with. The DM figures out how they learn more.

1. Sword
2. Peal of Thunder
3. Flash of light
4. Stag
5. Magnetic field
6. Rope
7. Ember
8. Cloud of moths
9. Plate mail
10. Brace of six knives

I suspect half the fun of Occultists is how they get along with Clerics. Are they like children left alone in a cosmic garage, drilling holes in the walls with heavenly power tools? Or just a different flavor of priest?


  1. I do like the idea that they essentially sacrifice part of themselves to bring something powerful into the world.
    Have you read my Maleficar stuff? There's probably a few Fetish Overload table entries that you could use as Horrible Side-Effects if the items are misused or damaged.

    1. The side-effects are perfect. Though I do think Googling "fetish overload" all on its own was not my brightest moment.

    2. You're introducing your players to a whole different kind of game there Matt.

    3. I may have just assumed your name is Matt.

      I've got some Read Magic mishaps on the way that'll probably work for this too.