Thursday, July 12, 2012

Magic-Users aboard the Apollyon

As mentioned in the my last post regarding a simple skill system for fighters in my prospective mega dungeon, I like a simple skill system that encourages customization in a very limited way.  Below is the set of skills for magic-users.  It's broken down into schools of thaumaturgic practice, and as with fighters a level one mage begins with three points to spend at will.  Additional skills  are granted by the GM at a rate of approximately one point per level. 

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Magic aboard the Apollyon - The practice of the forbidden arts is relatively common aboard the Apollyon both because the original passengers came from a magic using world, and because the vessel has been under the influence of a large number of sorcerous forces for its entire time adrift.

Most magicians that the players will meet are found amongst the passenger caste, which has been perfecting its sorceries for generations.  Conflict amongst the 1st class passengers is based around magic clubs, societies and family organizations all of which are extemely reluctant to share their secrets.  Passenger sorcerers on the losing sides of these conflicts are often enlisted into the crew and the most unlucky are sent to the scavenger teams.  Necromancy is strictly forbidden amongst the passenger caste due to the necromantic disaster that transformed steerage's thousand's of passengers, but Hospesmancy/Diabolism and psychic trade with otherworldly enemies is still widely practiced amongst the passenger class. 

The other reservoir of magical knowledge amongst the crew is with the frogling minority.  Froglings have a shamanistic tradition, emphasizing elementalism (water magic), life and death magic.  Since froglings are gregarious and eager to interact with human society, frogling shaman have been taking human apprentices and some knowledge of their hexes and hedge magics has been gained by the crew classes.

Disturbing Alien traditions of the magical arts proliferate amongst the hostile races aboard the Apollyon, and even the greatest otherworldly horrors compacted or bound by 1st class' diabolists cannot stand long against the tentacled monstrosities and cold fire storms of the Fishmen.  Even the bloated plague bosses of the dead levels wield more magical power than all but the most accomplished human practitioners, and, as in every other area, the civilization of Stern town fights a losing struggle in the acquisition of magical power.
Battle Magic - Some practioners are not fully seduced by the lure of arcane power, not sufficiently puissant to depend on it alone or other drawn to a physical turn of mind. These skills will never make a mage into a front line combatant, but can provide a way to increase his protection and survivability on the battlefield.

Lvl Battle Magic
1 Robust - Battle mages tend to be more hale and well exercised than thier academic cohorts and gain +1 HP per die.
2 Conflict specialist - Frequent wizard duels have honed the mage's ability to cast despite magical opposition.  Counter Spells against a skilled battle mage are less effective and made at a -2.
3 Weapon Training - The wizard is practiced in combat, and strikes with a +1 to hit, they may also use short swords and similar small/medium one-handed weapons in combat. 
4 Life of Violence - Mages at this skill level are used to combat and inured to physical suffering.  They may use a D6 for future hit dice rolls.
5 Battle Cantrips - Attuned to battle an adept battle-mage may draw the power from death and mayhem around him to increase his spell's power.  In the round after any round that the mage has injured a foe with a physical attack he may add +1 per die to any damage cause by spells cast.
6 Miles Thaumaturge - A highly trained battle mage has practiced his art amongst combat for long enough that the discomforts and distractions of armor and weapon use don't phase him.  Such mages may wear light armor up to chain/shield and use weapons as a thief without penalty.  They also attack at an additional +1 to hit

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Academic Thurmaturgy - The rigorous and disciplined study of the theoretical practice of magic leads to a greater understanding of its underpinnings and the ability to examine the works of other practitioners with a critical eye.

Lvl Academic Thurmaturgy
1 Academic Knowledge - Practitioner has studied widely in the fields of magic and can recognize the nature of magical forces through simple observation, succeeding in a d20 Int check will allow the thaumaturge to determine the nature, source and type of a spell or obvious magical effect much of the time.
2 Detect Magic - Improvement of the caster's theoretical knowledge allows her to detect magic as the spell at will.
3 Read Magic - Casters long study of magic and the languages of magic has paid off, caster can read magic, per the spell, at will.
4 Potency - Academic practice allows the wizard to fine tune and perfect his spells, casting all spells as if he were one level higher than his current level.
5 Theoretical Mastery - Knowledge of the deep roots of magical practice make the magician better able to disrupt and counter the spells of others.  All Counter Magic attempts succeed (assuming the counter caster knows of the spell being used) with a simple 1D20 test against intelligence.
6 Improved Mnemonics - Long study and drilling have expanded this wizards ability to cast and memorize magic.  The wizard may memorize one additional spell per point of intelligence bonus (spells must be of different levels).

Elementalism - Sometimes known as Shamanism, a discipline that focuses on contacting the anima of the natural word and coalescing it into life.  It can take the form of pact making with elemental spirits and forces or the brutal intervention in the natural world, bending it to the caster's will.

Lvl Elementalism
1 Elemental Resistances - Close association with the natural world means that the practitioner is at less risk from it and gains +1 to all saving throws, except those against otherworldly or purely arcane magic.
2 Detect Magic - Attuned to the subtle vibrations of any other entity or object disrupting natural order, the shaman can detect magic as the spell at will.
3 Familiar - Shaman gains an elemental spirit or manifestation as a familiar.  Such a creature is generally less than 4HD with only minor combat abilities and limited intelligence.  The death of a familiar will cause 4D6 minus Constitution damage to the shaman.
4 Elemental Strength - The Shaman's frequent interactions and manipulations of the natural world have infused her with elemental magic and she gains a +1 to Strength and Constitution.  Additionally some mark of elemental affiliation, such as glowing crystal growths, flaming eyes, or bubbling watery speech make the Shaman's power self-evident.
5 Elemental Potency - The natural forces of the world seek to assist the shaman in his efforts and fill him with additional power.  This ability grants +1 to all spell rolls or effects on spells related to elemental magic.
6 Summon Elemental Companion -  The Shaman has gained the ability to mold the inanimate into a semi-intelligent animated ally or slave.  Such a creature is an elemental of the type most favored by the shaman of HD equal to her own.  The exact nature of the relationship varies greatly, and some shaman must placate or contract with their elemental prior to each service, while others have despotic control over an angry restive elemental.

Wild Magic - Self taught or poorly taught mages tend to fall into this category, as do other talents who have learned non-systematic schools of magic.

Lvl Wild-Magic
1 Familiar - A natural affinity for magic allows the caster to bind a smaller normal animal to him as a familar.  The familiar is totally under the control of the mage and its death will cause him physical harm (1D6 HP).
2 Magical contamination - Working with magic without proper protections has marked the caster in strange physical ways and caused visible changes.  This change is determined by the GM and generally will cause a +1 or -1 change (50% chance of either) to a random attribute.
3 Detect Magic - Magician is attuned to magical disturbances and can detect magic at will per the spell.
4 Hex - Once a day the wizard may place a curse on a specified enemy, this spell works exactly as the Cleric spell Curse.
5 Insidious Spells - The Magician has grown in power but her spells work in unusual ways due to their self-taught and jury rigged nature.  All targets of spells save at -1.
6 Autodidact - The Wild Magician can read magical radiations, even if he cannot read, and with this ability has a chance (based on a D20 INT check) to recreate and learn, and record any spell he observes being cast that is within his ability level.

Hospesmancy - Commonly called Diabolism, this discipline focuses on the contact and communication with entities from other realms of existence (strangers), including but not limited to the followers of the Morningstar.

Lvl Hospesmancy
1 Otherwordly Knowledge - The magician has studied the nature of other realms and can identify their taint or presence.  Knowledge of other realms allows the magician to both detect and identify otherworldly entities or objects with reasonable certainty with a D20 check against Int.
2 Familiar - The Magican has developed enough otherworldly contacts to make a pact with a a weak entity that will act as a familiar.  These creatures tend to be under 3HD and have limited combat ability, but aid in research and contacting stronger alien powers, and as such are required to gain more skill in the area of Hospesmancy.  Such a familiar is also parasitic and will permanently reduce the magician's CON by 1D4 points.
3 Aura of Alieness - Trade and contact with other realms has permanently warped the caster and there is a fundamental sense of wrongness about him.  Other physical manifestations may also occur.  These changes cause a - 2D4 to Charisma, but also result in a two point bonus when making reaction rolls for dealing with otherworldly entities who can sense a fellow traveler.
4 Protective Wards - After many contacts with strange entities and monstrous alien forces the sorcerer has learned a variety of protective wards that allow her to drive off most otherworldly travelers.  Treat these wards as a clerical turning attempt using the caster's level vs. the HD of the entity.
5 Otherworldly Symbioties - Through strange pacts and unpleasant rites the magician has allowed or become a host for otherworldly parasites.  These provide certain advantages, usually a +2 to saves from magic effects and an immunity to poison.  Other effects may be determined by the GM.
6 Bound Servant - A pact has been made with a powerful otherworldy force and it will serve the Caster.  Such a creature will have the same HD as the caster and magical or supernatural abilities common to its particular alien nature.  The caster may gate his ally or it may be his constant companion.  In exchange for its service this creature has undoubtedly been given a lien on the caster's soul and as such if the Hospesmancer is slain not resurrection of revival will be possible (unless the entity or its other planar master consents).

Horamancy/Augry- The subtle magic of time and prophecy practitioners of this discipline are either soothsayers and oracles or researchers concerned with the nature of time.

Lvl Horamancy/Augry
1 Read Person - A augur is gifted with the ability to read the past of a living person, usually  in the lines of their hand or face.  The Horamancer can tell what has occurred in the past several weeks with reasonable accuracy.  This ability is most commonly used to detect lies.
2 Kinetic Precognition - The practioner's body is so infused with the essence of time that it can predict dangers without the brain's knowledge.  Due to an uncanny sense of the future, the wizard darts out of the way of many dangers and so gains a 1 point bonus to saving throws.
3 Read Object- Close examination of an small object, including touching it, allows the Horamancer a chance to determine some or all of the object's history on a successful Wisdom check.
4 Precognition - Through intense concentration (available 3 times per day) The augur can can conscious sense impressions about the near term future.  This ability allows the character to receive hints about what's in the next room or around a corner.
5 Time Stutter - The Caster has become unstuck in time and is temporally displaced due to their prolonged investigations of time itself.  This gives the caster a stilted gait and has strange effects on his voice, but provides the benefit of making it hard to determine where exactly they are at a given moment and they gain a 1 point armor class bonus.
6 Prophecy - A maximum of once per session the horamancer may utter a suitably cryptic prophecy that will be correct.   This should be vague enough that a GM can incorporate it in play and it is the GM's option to interpret/ignore prophecy as he or she sees fit.

Animamancy - The magical study of growth, vitality and health, practitioners of this type of magic are often mistaken for clerics, though they frequently deny the existence of a divine order or entities.

Lvl Animamancy - Life Magic
1 Inner Strength - The Animamancer is naturally healthy and hale, gaining +1 CON and the ability to instantly heal herself for 1D6 HP once per day.
2 Familiar - The Animamancer can create a familiar made out of the stuff of positive energy.  This creature is devoted to the caster but generally largely insubstantial and weak (1-3HD) with no major combat abilities.  The familiars death will scar a Animamancer permanently causing the loss of 1 point of Intelligence.
3 Healing Touch - At this level of practice an Animamancer is capable of healing others with a touch once per day.  Treat this ability as a Cure wounds spell of the maximum spell level available to the wizard.
4 Aura of Vitality - Life magic courses through the wizard and radiates out of his very skin as a soft glow and feeling of wellness.  Allies within 10' gain a 1 point moral bonus and a +1 to all saving throws.  The Animamancer will also receive a 1 point bonus on all reaction rolls from living beings.
5 Curing - Once per day the animamancer may remove the effects of a malady of the body or spirit.  This ability acts as a cure disease, negate poison or cure insanity or life drain (though only one level may be restored this way - and repeated uses are ineffective). This power is draining and its use will permanently cost the caster 1 HP. 
6 Resurrection - Once per session the caster can review the recently dead (no more than 5 turns dead), restoring them to one hit point by pulling their spirit back to the body.  This is a risky spell, as it requires a roll under Wisdom by the recipient (there spirit may fail to heed the call) and the spirit will return confused - the risen are only capable of eating, sleeping and giggling like a baby for 1D4 days after resurrection.  Additionally the caster will suffer a permanent loss of one point of constitution as some of his life energy is needed to restore life to the dead.


Necromancy - The study of death and the magic of entropy, decay and decline is popular for the power it grants and generally shunned for its association with evil and the undead.

Lvl Necromancy - Entropy Magic
1 Knowledge of the Dead - The Necromancer begins with only a macabre fascination with and knowledge of the process of death.  The Necromancer may examine the dead and through checks vs. Intelligence may determine such information as time of death, cause of death, or age and gender of a skeleton.
2 Speak with Dead - At will a practiced Necromancer can talk to the dead.  This does not mean the dead will always answer - a reaction roll is needed and the dead are not compelled to reveal anything to a necromancer.
3 Aura of Death - Steeped in the lore of death the Necromancer begins to develop a ghastly aura that is both revolting and intimidating.  The necromancer loses 1D4 charisma points permanently due to either physical decline or psychic taint but also gains the ability to drain 1HP per round (1 point per successful attack) from any he touches.  Life energy drained will rapidly heal the necromancer of wounds.
4 Undead Familiar - A master now able to command the dead, the adept necromancer can permanently restore life to a weak life force, now totally in the necromancer's thrall.  Most commonly these are the skeletons or bodies of animals and act as a familiar for the necromancer, though small hunched misshapen zombie constructs also have some popularity.  If the familiar is destroyed the necromancy will take 1D8 damage from the shock of losing the spiritual energy stored in the familiar.
5 Raise Dead - A skilled Necromancer may raise the dead once per session.  This is not a clerical or magical resurrection, but a comparatively crude return of the soul to its broken body.  Dead so raised are damaged, suffering a loss of 50% of their HP and half their experience points.  Worse dead raised by a necromancer are not truly alive and their bodies continue to rot as normal.  Individuals so revived are also in the thrall of the necromancer that revived them as if under a charm or suggestion spell.
6 Lichdom - A terrible curse of the pinnacle of the necromancer's art, lichdom is a manner of cheating death for those who care little about appearances or psychic taint.  It's an involved process regardless of the power level of the necromancer, and takes considerable financial resources as well as a great number of rare and valuable components.

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