Thursday, January 22, 2015

Magic in BXWoD: Witches and Paths

Witches and Spell Magic


Witches have spell slots and levels just like B/X magic-users. However, in order to learn new spells, they must do one of the following:

1. Add the spell to their Book of Shadows by learning it from another witch or by copying from another Book. This pretty much works like B/X D&D. Typically, witches do not share their knowledge cheaply. The Read Magic spell doesn't exist in BXWoD; anyone can read the writings in a Book of Shadows, but only witches can actually command magical forces.

2. Invoke the spirits for knowledge of the spell. This can only be done when the witch has gained an experience level. They must cast the Invoke Spirit spell (to be posted) successfully to learn a new spell.

Witches begin the game with the spell Invoke Spirits. Witches also start with a few extra spells based on their path:

Light Path witches start with two Light spells and one Gray spell or three Light spells. 
Gray Path witches start with either three extra Gray spells, or one spell from each path.
Dark Path witches start with two Dark spells and one Gray spell or three Dark spells.

Witches suffer some casting restrictions based on what Path they have chosen.

Light Path witches can use Light and Gray spells, though their Gray spells are only half-duration or damage.
At the GM's option, Light Path witches can learn Dark spells, but the act of doing so gives them 1 Corruption point per spell level, and the casting of such a spell deals another Corruption point. When a Light Path witch's Corruption points surpass her Wisdom skill, she shifts to a Dark Path witch. Any familiar she had will abandon her, and she must summon a new one. 

Gray Path witches can use any spell, but their Light and Dark spells are both half-effect.
At the GM's option, Gray witches can use a Dark spell at full strength, but they gain Corruption points equal to the spells level. When their corruption exceeds their Wisdom score, they shift to the Dark Path as described above.

Dark path Witches  can use Dark and Gray spells, though their Gray spells are only half-duration or damage.Although Dark witches may learn Light spells (or know them from before they switched Paths), those spells will not function when used by a Dark Path witch.

Switching to the Gray path requires the witch to renounce the use of their current Path's spells for one month. (So a Light witch going Gray has to abstain from Light spells for one month.) They lose a level of experience and then switch to the Gray Path.

Switching to the Light Path is easy for Gray witches, not so easy for Dark ones. A Gray witch must abstain from using Dark magic for a month. He then loses and experience level and becomes Light. If he fails to do this, he may try again after one year. If he fails again, he may never seek the Light path again.

 A Dark witch who wants to go light must abstain from all dark magic for a month, must use Invoke Spirit to summon a benevolent spirit, and must perform an act of contrition given to him by the spirit. Dark magic cannot be used at all in the fulfillment of this contrition, even if it takes longer than a month. Upon completing it, he loses an experience level and switches to Light. He must also destroy all Dark spells in his Book of Shadows and any Talismans he owns that are imbued with Dark spells. In addition, if the witch ever switches paths again, he may never return to the Light path. The witch also does not gain a second chance if he fails his mission of atonement. The only option left to such a witch is to try switching to the Gray path.

A familiar will abandon a witch who switches Paths, but the witch is welcome to take a new familiar. 

Note that failing a trial to switch paths costs no experience, but the familiar may still be offended enough to leave. Roll a Reaction check, with a -1 penalty if switching from to or from Gray and a -2 penalty if switching between Light and Dark. On a threatening or worse result, the familiar departs over the witch's insolence. The witch is still free to seek a new familiar in the usual way.

I'm still breaking the spell lists up into paths. Here are my ideas as I fiddle with them:

1. Just say that Light Path= cleric spells, Dark Path = magic-user spells, Gray Path = druid spells, all taken from S&W complete.

2. Steal the colors of magic from Akratic Wizardry, tossing in druid spells wherever they best fit.

3. Do my  own thing. I see Light path as healing, defensive, and disabling without killing. I see Dark path as mind control, illusion, and damage. I see Gray path as movement, detection, and information gathering.

I have a few modified spells to add into the mix as well. I'll post the list soonish.


A new idea just occurred to me.

New option idea: Forget Paths. Magic is still light, gray, or dark. A witch is self-defined by what they choose to use. In this case, there are probably fatigue/corruption points a la Akratic Wizardry.

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