Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Digging up the past...

Been digging around, both in the garden and through my papers and books out in the garage. Now we have the spare bedroom free, there's space in there for some of the more valuable works.

I've recovered, or finally got in the right place, all my notes from An Echo Resounding, and the work I did on the Kopesh Swamp setting, including the third and lowest level of Heavy Hitters, resources and lairs. I've come across one page or so by itself over the past few months, and wondered if I'd thrown them out, but thankfully (at least to me) I didn't.

Also been reading a few books that, although none of them are going into my Appendix N list, I can steal some interesting ideas from.

Starting with the books for this post;

The Bone Triangle, by B.V. Larson.

Never read any of his other books, or even the first of this series. Basically the nuclear tests near Las Vegas produced rifts to other worlds/dimensions and imbued some ordinary objects with strange and arcane powers.

The antagonist is not that likeable but the setup is worthy of an RPG setting - the Lords of the City hold great powers - one can travel the waterways and sewers by thought, another can see and understand the multiple futures that an event triggers and try to influence the best, yet another can reprogram people's minds and does not age.

Yet there are costs associated with these powers. Each is locked into their realm and cannot set foot outside it; the water traveller cannot be dry even for an instant or die; the future seer is deformed into a hideous troll and cannot be exposed to any light or his gift fades, so is trapped in his caves, and the third cannot leave her castle or her true age will suddenly catch up with her.

The users of the smaller, not as powerful but portable artifacts are termed rogues, and they are for hire by the Lords and Ladies, possibly to uncover truths or obscure them some more, or help or hamper others in this kingdom.

These artifacts were a highlight - they include;
  • Sunglasses that allow the wearer to make metal flexible or hard for a moment. Good for opening locks and doors or reinforcing metal bars.
  • A small picture that aids healing if worn against the skin. Bones heal in a week, as do major cuts. Not regeneration or a health potion, but subtle and more realistic.
  • A wedding ring that increases the luck of the wearer by drawing it from those around them.
  • A child's sweet that makes the holder invisible, but after an hour of invisibility, they start going blind.
  • A rabbit's kidney that exudes a highly toxic poison when willed.
Each of these is indestructible and does not age or change with time.

Small artifacts that were created by a great magical event, or perhaps randomly from magical leakages when spells are being cast or items enchanted. The use is in no way influenced by the form of the item and their use cannot be detected by others. The users keep these items secret, and have been known to find, capture, loose or even swap these on occasion.

Something to throw in, if ever required. Less cloaks of invisibility and rings of regeneration, and more subtle, almost temporary items instead, with a shadowy and uncertain past.

Next instalment brings the 3rd tier of Power Groups from the Khosh Setting - Drakkan Warbands; The Mad Mage of the Khosh; The Queen's Spy Network; Demon Trolls of the Fuigar; Pirates of the Var River; Echo; Jaezred, the Shadow Dragon Assassin-Mages; and Celise Blood Cultists.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Basic Magic, the end?

Without further ado, the rest, then a test run.

83. Climb - whether by conjuring a handy rope, gaining sticky powers or being able to use minute imperfections in the wall, the target can climb 10m. Better find a safe spot, as it runs out straight away after 10m.

84. Odour - the caster can fill the air of a 5m diameter sphere (well, hemisphere if you're standing on the ground) with either a masking perfume or a sickening smell. Only common scents, and those that the caster can remember - doesn't affect the caster, but definitely does others. Lingers for a hour or so unless dispersed by winds, etc.

85. Decay - can rot down anything organic in a very short time, with minimal odour issues. Good for removing garbage, cleaning bones, getting bloodstains off armour...

86. Thirst - makes the target very thirsty. Multiple castings increase this thirst in an almost exponential manner. Doesn't kill the target but can make them divert to get water, fight to get water, or even kill to, well, you get the idea.

87. Detect Life - gives a general indication of larger live beings in a space within sight or not much bigger than a small house. So doesn't detect all the spiders and cockroaches in a ruin, but one/few/many and maybe an indication of the type (dog, reptile, mammal...)

88. Stonework - allows the caster to mould a small (<1 kg or 1 m square) rock or area of rock into a rough shape of their choosing. Can be one big piece or several small; making hand and foot holds up a castle wall; crafting a stone bowl or arrowheads; digging out the chains set into bedrock...

89. Root Blast - makes plants or vegetation grow really well. Make a field or orchard bear more fruit over a season, or cause a bramble patch to cover the path. Too much growth in too short a time will cause the vegetation to die in a few days.

90. Ignite - something flammable, within 10m and within sight.

91. Extinguish - something on fire, within 10m and within sight. Up to normal fire size, not the medieval version of a fire engine.

92. Smoke - large amounts. Need some flammable focus on the ground for it - branches, bushes, a cloak - the smoke billows out of this, and can fill a fair sized room quite quickly.

93. Detect Lore - I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking when I wrote this down, but I think it's a way of magically enhancing one's senses and memory to be able to note any significant lore related to a place, object or name. You need some basic lore first, to build on. Basically you get real good at research and study.

94. Weaken - an object. Makes it brittle, soft, breakable. The spell is both harder and less effective the more skilfully crafted, magical or naturally resistant the object is - so a worn ordinary sandstone trapdoor to a deserted basement would be reasonably affected, while the steel bound doors to the King's chambers not so much. Makes the object easier to break rather than the spell breaking it.

95. Dull Sense - choose one, and the target has the use of that sense halved for the duration of the spell, while being unaware of it. Hearing and sight reasonable common, but taste and smell have their place...

96. Skeletal Beast - can enchant a short term, smallish skeleton animal out of a suitable pile of cleaned bones. It will obey the casters simple (up to two word) orders.

97. Weather Watch - a casting of this will give an indication of general weather for the next day.

98. Interpret Writing - will give a rough understanding of the intent of a written language not known to the caster. Not pronunciation or any subtleties, but the gist of the text.

99. Rock Gauntlet - the caster gets a heavy rock coating of one or both hands and forearms. Good for punching (as +1 mace), warding blades or plunging ones hands into fire.

100. Slow Heart - this stabilises the dying by slowing the circulation of blood, delaying poisons and bleeding. Something terminal will still kill them, but there's a few hours to get them repaired at the very least, and longer for straight blood loss.

101. I Know The Way to San Jose - the caster knows the direction of a location they know well, but not how far.

e.g. Mamen the White walks through a portal and ends up in an unknown jungle. He knows the City of Twin Delights is in the direction of those mountains but not if it's 50 or 5000 km away.

102. Vermin Ward - a circle of, well, anything, that excludes vermin until it's broken. Caster must be inside, though. Can be used without a circle, but caster must concentrate solely on maintaining the repulsion.

103. Flash - moves the target forward exactly 5m in a flash. Hurts if they hit, say, a wall, an armoured body, or end up over a long drop. Easily misused.

104. Farsight - the caster can enchant a tube to act as a telescope for a short time. Anyone can use. Not understand, but use.

So that's where it ends, for now. It's so hard to end on a set number, as inspiration always strikes at the last minute.

Let's see if the Random Roll at starting levels works, and if three spells is enough?

Let's take little Mamen the White, from the Pale Halls of the City of Twin Delights. At first level, he knows the following spells; 66, 17, 61 - these are Beacon, Suggestion & Catspaw. There's a strong hint of a a career in stealth and misdirection,but Beacon doesn't add much. A reroll allowed there, and 88 gives Mamen Stoneshape.

This seems workable - nothing flashy, powerful or game changing, but the ability to mislead or lie, to be quite sneaky, and to be able to manipulate stone around locks, bars and other things kept shut. Okay for early level city adventures, but dungeon crawling?

Say an extra spell? 36 = Fumble. Now that's useful in combat, providing you have someone between you and the dungeon dwellers.

I'll work on it.