Thursday, September 21, 2017

Weird Magic: Sorrows of the Sea

This spell uses the Weird Magic System described in Jim Raggi's Free RPG Day book. (I'm not squeamish, but I'm writing this at work during my lunch break so it needs to be Safe For Work.) This spell would be one of the kind that only women can cast.

If you don't use Raggi's magic system, this is a 1st level magic-user spell.

The depths of the ocean are black, not just because the light of the sun can't reach that far into the abyss, but because the ocean absorbs. Everything, tangible or not, that comes down from the surface becomes part of the ocean on a metaphysical level. One thing that the ocean absorbs in multitude is human sorrow. Every ship full of captives, every captain who cries out against fate as his ship sinks, every grieving lover who lets the tide claim them, all of their sorrows. It has been thus since the dawn of human civilization.

With this spell, the caster dredges up the sorrows contained in the depths and sends them roiling across the land as a misty miasma. The spell must be cast on the shore of an ocean, with the caster no farther than fifty yards from the water's edge, and the sky above must be dark. 1d6 turns after the spell is cast, a sickly gray mist rises up from the water and creeps up the shore, moving inland. The mist will expand until it covers an area of 100 miles for every experience level of the caster.

Any individual caught in the area of the mist is stricken with a profound, unshakable sadness. So heavy are their hearts that they can take virtually no action for 24 hours. They will see no value in life and will simply weep and pine. Subjects may weep and wail over their own sadnesses (new or old), some will lament over half-remembered events of others, psychic residue from the ocean's many tragedies. This spell has no effect on the caster. At the GM's discretion, individuals who have levels in a character class may make a saving throw vs. Magic in order to avoid the spell's effects. The spell has no effect on undead, elves, fey, or animals. The spell likewise does not function on any individual who does not possess a soul.

A Dispel Magic spell will clear away a circular area of mist with a 50' radius, centered on the caster. Individuals within the radius when the spell is cast will regain their normal emotions. The mist will no longer flow into the circle. Individuals who leave the circle are subject to the mist's effects again, and individuals who later walk into the circle are not cured.

Failure Table
1-  All of the sorrow dredged up by this spell is absorbed into the caster, who must immediately make a saving throw vs Magic. If she succeeds, she is simply catatonic with sorrow for 1d6 days, after which she permanently loses a point of Wisdom and is ever after plagued by dreams of ocean-related tragedies. If she fails the saving throw, she will simply walk out into the ocean and let the waves claim her. Even if restrained by friends, she will continue to try and drown herself at the first opportunity. 

2- The caster suffers the catalepsy described above, including the aftermath. It lasts for 2d6 days unless she makes a saving throw vs. Magic, in which case it lasts only 1d6 days.

3- The spell works normally, but 1d100% of those afflicted suffer the sadness permanently, requiring constant care so they do not waste away. 

4-  The spell dredges up the rage, not sorrow, of the ocean. The duration and details are all the same, except that the subjects are filled with uncontrollable anger. Expect mass riotings and pogroms. 

5-  The spell only affects animals, inflicting the catalepsy described under #2. Roughly half the animals in the area sicken and die afterwards, the rest making full recoveries and suffering no nightmares. 

6-  The spell works as normal, but the caster is not immune. (She is still entitled to a saving throw if the GM rules that individuals with a character class receive saving throws) 

7+ Use the standard failure table for the Weird Magic system. If you don't use it, roll 1d6 and use the results from the above table, or make up your own. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Holy Crap Warhammer!

Humble Bundle has every Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition book in a PDF bundle for $20.
You're supporting Action Against Hunger and you get every flippin' book written for WFRP 2nd edition. They are even throwing in the 1st edition main rule book as part of the deal. I already got mine and have downloaded my digital plunder.

In other news, DriveThruRPG has ZWEIHANDER for $6.50 today.

It's a good day for the grim and perilous crowd.

The obligatory disclaimer: I'm not at all affiliated with any of the above parties or properties, I just dig WFRP and it's very sexy clone.

Carry on.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Blood and Magic and Maybe Claws

So, everybody probably knows about The Black Hack by David Black. It's pretty rad.

A dude named Matthew Skail hacked The Black Hack into The Blood Hack, which is a dope little modern vampire game in the vein (ha!) of Vampire: the Masquerade but without all the baggage and like 1/5th the page count.

I wrote a patch for The Blood Hack called The Witch Hack. It presently exists as a 16 page Word document on my laptop. The first draft is complete and (hopefully) playable. It's only 16 pages because I didn't reiterate any general rules from the Blood Hack. (Weapon charts, profession rules, basic game play stuff, etc.) I may have been primarily motivated to do this because my significant other wanted to play a witch in a game full of vampires. Love makes people do silly things.

Now, I just need to figure out if I should actually add the rest of the rule stuff and throw it on DriveThru (I wouldn't ask any money for it, since it's a patch of a hack of a hack of a game) or host it on MediaFire or make it a series of blog posts or just leave it on my laptop and use it with my semi-theoretical home group.

I also started working on a Werewolf Hack. I'm completely and utterly stuck. Matthew Skail commented on DriveThru that he was also working on a wolfy supplement and was kind of stuck on it.

As I said, the draft is complete, but here are the basic mechanics:

-Witches are a lot easier to kill than vampires, basically the same level of survivability that normal Black Hack characters have.

-Witches have Circles, which fill the exact same role as Houses in The Blood Hack. Rather than trace their lineage to a mythical Progenitor, Circles represent broad traditions that recognize a patroness, usually a goddess of yore. Circle determines HP, damage, special abilities, and some starting spells.

-Witches get spells, pretty much like Black Hack magic-users/clerics, but they can learn/cast spells above their level at risk to themselves.

-Witches have Gifts, kind of like Blood Hack's Blood Gifts, that represent witchly powers that aren't explicitly spells. (Brewing potions, sixth sense, etc)

-Witches have Power instead of Blood, which lets witches cast above their level, fuel certain Gifts, etc.

-Witches have to worry about Corruption, similar to the vampire struggle with Morality.

Finally, I offer a brief overview of the four major Circles:

*The Circle of Cerridwen- healers, sages, protectors.

*The Circle of Circe- purveyors of illusion, seducers, shapeshifters.

*The Circle of Hekate- Makers of potions and dealers with spirits.

*The Circle of the Norns- Diviners and manipulators of Fate.

I had a fifth Circle I was working on, the Circle of Oya, with control over winds, thunder, and lightning. I haven't finished it and ultimately cut it from the complete draft.

...really no idea how to come up with different classes of wolves. I definitely do not want to go the Werewolf: the Apocalypse route.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Weird Fantasy Magic: Bacterial Surgery

I really like the magic book that Jim Raggi put out for Free RPG Day this last year. You know the title, which I shall simply abbreviate as VAM because sometimes I blog from a work computer.

All the spells in the book are named for death metal songs, and at the end of the book, Raggi provides a list of 120 and invites the readers to invent spells based on these names. I rolled a 1d120 using and rolled up the title Bacterial Surgery. I offer you now a spell I have created for use with Lamentations of the Flame Princess, specifically the new magic system offered in VAM, though you can introduce this into any OSR game. Make it a 1st level spell available to magic-users.

Bacterial Surgery 

Bacteria are agents of entropy. They infest, they infect. They wait patiently until we die and our immune systems can no longer hold them at bay, and they break us down into putrid corpses and then eventually into bare bones. They consume produce, taint water, and otherwise bring about rot and ruin.

This spell takes the nature of bacteria and inverts it, turning them into agents of creation and construction. The bacteria inside an individual will begin repairing injuries and purging diseases, seeking to make the body whole, or as near to whole, as possible.

As she casts the spell, the caster must insert a finger into an orifice on the subject's body where bacteria could be found. (The mouth, for instance) The bacteria then spring into action, causing the victim to fall into a feverish sleep while repairs are underway. The subject regains 5 hit points per round, and every three rounds is purged of a disease or poison. The bacteria prioritize, so if the victim is dying from poison, it will address that poison first. Even a subject who has be reduced to 0 hit points can be revived if the spell is cast within 1d4 rounds of reaching 0 hit points.

Once the subject is fully restored, they awaken and noisily vomit a green sludge. Said sludge is worth 10 gp worth of components for a magic-user's laboratory. A person who receives the benefit of this spell cannot be healed by cleric magic for a week afterward. A cleric who receives the benefit of this spell cannot cast any healing spells for a week as well.

This spell has no effect on elves or dwarves.

Failure Table
1-  The bacteria continue to repair the victim even after all injuries are healed. They instead begin building tumors, growths, and excess flesh. The subject may make a saving throw vs. poison each round to stop the runaway growth. Each round the growth continues, the victim gains another 5 hit points beyond their maximum, but they also lose 1d4 points of Constitution and Charisma. All changes are permanent. If a victim reaches 0 Constitution, their body implodes. If the victim reaches 0 Charisma, they can no longer pass as remotely human.

2- Doppleganger- the green goo vomited forth by the subject will slowly grow and mutate, becoming a perfect physical replica of the character after 24 hours. The replica has all the memories, but generally the reverse personality of the subject. The doppleganger's only desire is to murder and replace the original character. The doppleganger is statistically identical to the character, but will be unable to use any cleric spells.

3- The bacteria instead eat the insides of the victim, inflicting 5 hit points per round until dead. The victim then leaks green goo out of all bodily orifices. The body left is a hollow shell that cannot be restored by a Raise Dead spell. The victim may make a saving throw against Poison each round to stop the process.

4- The bacteria hollows the victim out, as above, but then animates them. The subject is  essentially a zombie with similar stats, but it isn't affected by anything that harms or repels undead, and it takes only a single point of damage from any weapon attack.

5-  As above, but the bacteria-zombie leaves the brain intact and therefore can access the memories, personality, and skills of the original character. The bacteria zombie seeks only to spread it's bacteria, which it does by secreting saliva into an orifice or open wound on the body of another sentient being. The victim will go comatose in 1d6 days anad suffer the effect of #4 on this table.

6- As above, but the bacteria zombie can now transmit its infection via bite, and all people it turns suffer this result on the table.