The Sorcerer

THE SORCERER

The Universe is not as it seems. Magic flows through every element of creation. It hums in the stones and sobs in the winds. It glows white hot in the hearts of beast and men. It hides behind the shimmering stars, and in the spaces between and beyond human sight. And in a few souls, cursed and blessed, it gleams with brilliance unmatched. Those few individuals wield magic as easy as other men breath- or as easy as lesser men die. Unstable, mad, and amongst the most powerful beings to walk Creation, these are the Sorcerers, to whom reality bows.

Level XP HD Attack Power Breath Death Petrify Charms Spells Trick
1 0 1d6 +1 1 16 14 15 16 20 16
2 2000 2d6 +1 2 16 14 15 16 20 16
3 4000 3d6 +1 3 16 14 15 16 20 16
4 8000 4d6 +2 5 16 14 15 16 20 16
5 16000 5d6 +2 8 14 12 13 14 18 14
6 32000 5d6 +2 13 14 12 13 14 18 14
7 64000 5d6 +2 21 14 12 13 14 18 14
8 128000 5d6 +2 34 14 12 13 14 18 14
9 250000 6d6 +2 55 12 10 11 12 16 12
10 400000 7d6 +3 89 12 10 11 12 16 12
11 550000 8d6 +3 144 12 10 11 12 16 12
12 700000 9d6 +3 199 12 10 11 12 16 12
13 850000 nil +4 220 10 8 9 10 14 10
14 1000000 nil +4 228 10 8 9 10 14 10
15 1150000 nil +4 231 10 8 9 10 14 10
16 1300000 nil +4 233 10 8 9 10 14 10
17 1450000 nil +4 234 8 6 7 8 12 8
18 1600000 nil +4 235 8 6 7 8 12 8
19 1750000 nil +4 236 8 6 7 8 12 8
20 2000000 nil +4 238 8 6 7 8 12 8

Spellcasting Stat: Charisma

Perks:

  • Continue gaining the power point bonus for spellcasting stat after 9th level
  • May cast wizard spells, with point cost equal to the level of the spell.
  • May keep power points as wizard keep spell slots for high enough rolls.
  • Add your level to spellcasting rolls (max +9)

 

Drawbacks:

  • Casting rolls have success threshold determined by their point cost. Failed casting rolls trigger a roll on the Sorcerous Mishap table.
  • Retaining spell points as above triggers a roll on the Mishap table

 

To Players: You are a lightning rod (potentially literally) of magical energy. You use magic to do what you want like other people use their feet to walk. People are afraid of you. This is because you might explode or become radioactive by accident, and also you may kill them on purpose. Sorcerers tend to be mad with their own power, and lacking in subtlety, patience, and respect for the rights of other beings to exist.

 

Powers

Level 1

Gain two random 1st level wizard spells.

Level 2

Gain two random 2nd level wizard spells.

Level 3

Gain four random 3rd level wizard spells OR pick a Sorcerous Motif and gain two random relevant 3rd level wizard spells. A Sorcerous Motif is a single word that evokes the kinds of abilities your sorcerer will gain in the future. For example, a “fire” motif will cause the Sorcerer to gain fire spells, a “protection” motif will cause the sorcerer to gain protective spells, etc.

Level 4

Gain two 4th level random wizard spells or pick a 3rd level wizard spell and gain a random 4th level wizard spell relevant to your motif.

Level 5

Gain two random 5th level wizard spells or pick a Motif if you haven’t already and gain 1 random 5th level spell relevant to your motif.

In addition, randomly gain one of the metamagic corollaries listed below. This corollary may be applied to any spell you know and only that spell, unless the same corollary is rolled repeatedly. From now on, you may choose to cast that spell with the additional effect specified by the corollary. If no valid spell is known, gain a spell that the metamagic may apply to.

SILENTYou may cast this spell without verbal components. 2x cost.

STILLYou may cast this spell without somatic components. 2x cost.

Level 6

Gain two random 6th level wizard spells or gain one random  6th level wizard spell relevant to your motif.

In addition, randomly gain two metamagic corollaries from the list below and above.

EXTENDYou double the duration of a spell. Spells with instantaneous or permanent duration are unaffected. 3x cost.

HEIGHTENTreat this spell as if your caster level were one level higher. 3x cost.

Level 7

Gain two random 7th level wizard spells or gain one random wizard 7th level spell relevant to your motif.

In addition, randomly gain two metamagic corollaries from the entries below and above.

EMPOWER – All variable, numeric effects of spell are increased by one-half. 4x cost.
ENLARGEYou double the range of a spell. Spells with ranges of “whole plane” or similar are unaffected. 4x cost.

Level 8

Gain two random 8th level wizard spells or gain one random 8th level wizard spell relevant to your motif.

In addition, randomly gain two metamagic corollaries from the entries below and above.

MAXIMIZEAll variable, numeric effects of spell are maximized. 6x cost.

WIDENYou double a spell’s area of effect. If the spell has a point or single target AoE, it is unaffected. 6x cost.

Level 9

Gain one random 9th wizard spell relevant to your motif if you have one, otherwise gain a random 9th level wizard spell.

In addition,  randomly gain four metamagic corollaries from the entries above.

Level 10

Pick one wizard spell of no greater than 5th level that relevant to your motif if you have one, otherwise gain 2 random wizard spells whose level you may choose (no greater than 5th level). In addition, pick two corollaries and apply them.

Level 11

Whichever metamagic corollary you have the most of may be applied to any spell.

Level 12 and Onwards

Gain two random wizard spells or one random wizard spell relevant to your motif. Gain one random metamagic corollary (excluding the one chosen at level 11).

Sorcerous Mishaps

Rolled in secret, so non-obvious effects and durations are unknown to the sorcerer. High means not immediately negative/potentially positive. Lower means worse. High and low defined with respect to 21, the most likely result.

2d20 Mishap
2 Suffer Fatal Radiation Poisoning.
3 Suffer Acute Radiation Poisoning.
4 Take 20d6 damage. If reduced to 0 HP or below, explode. 20d6 damage, 50′ radius.
5 Random stat reduced to 3
6 Random limb blasted off. Roll for location.
7 Suffer High Radiation Poisoning.
8 Permanently lose 1d6 from a random stat.
9 Suffer Moderate Radiation Poisoning.
10 Take 5d6 damage. If reduced to 0 HP or below, explode. 5d6 damage, 20′ radius.
11 Take double damage from all sources.
12 Suffer Low Radiation Poisoning.
13 Take 3d6 damage. If reduced to 0 HP or below, explode. 3d6 damage, 20′ radius.
14 Suffer Diminutive Radiation Poisoning.
15 Reroll on this table for the next 1d4 rounds, ignoring this result if it appears.
16 Take 2d6 damage. If reduced to 0 HP or below, explode. 3d6 damage, 20′ radius.
17 Choking smoke emanates from your mouth. Incapacitated for 1d6 rounds.
18 Can not cast for 1d4 rounds.
19 Teleport 1d6x10′ in a random direction.
20 A strong wind billows around you, extinguishing all torches and candles within 20′
21 Take 1d6 damage. If reduced to 0 HP or below, explode. 1d6 damage, 20′ radius.
22 Thunderclap emanates from your position.
23 Take 1d6 damage. You are flung 1d10′ in a random direction. If reduced to 0 HP or below, explode. 1d6 damage, 20′ radius.
24 Eyes glow as candles for 1d4 rounds.
25 You blast off an electrical discharge, dealing 3d6 lightning damage to everyone with 30+ 1d6*10 ft.
26 You float a foot off the ground for the 1d6 rounds.
27 You turn invisible, silent, and intangible for the next 1d4 rounds. You can see the world but not interact with it physically.
28 Body sheds light as the Daylight spell.
29 Gain back power points equal to the base cost of the spell being cast.
30 Lose 1d20 years of maximum lifespan. If this is below your current age, as Acute Radiation Poisoning.
31 Gain your level in temporary HP.
32 Lightning is attracted to you, and will swerve or move to hit you/surround you if it comes within 100+1d100 ft. of you.
33 A random spell is also cast, targeting you.
34 You explode, dealing 5d6 damage in a 20’ radius, but reform after 1d4 rounds.
35 Your current emotional state is amplified and broadcast in a 20 ft around you. All within must save vs. Charms or feel that emotion powerfully.
36 You cast a random spell again this round without your level bonus on the casting roll.
37 Turn into a statue of a random metal for 1d8 rounds.
38 You are immune to damage for the next 1d4 rounds.
39 You shine with burning brilliance. Anyone within sight range must save vs. Spells or go blind for 1d6 days, or permanently if within 60 ft.
40 Everything around you (including undead, constructs, and yourself) must save vs Spells or disintegrate. After 1d8 rounds, they may save again to reform.

 

Radiation Table

This is adapted from skerples’s table in his Archaeans Post, with more direct gameplay effects. Basically creatures within a range (dependent on source, since most of this will be from magic, assume 10/20/30/50/100/150 ft. for each source) of a radiation source of a given intensity suffer the effects of that radiation intensity AND the effects of all lower intensities at every interval if they fail a save vs. Petrify (adding their Constitution bonus). Even if they pass the save, they still feel the effects of all lower intensities. As skerples said, radiation is awful. I’m bolting it to this class because I just really like the connotation of radiation and magic being directly related.

 

Intensity Test Interval Effects
Diminutive 30 days Rashes, headache, dry and flaking skin, nausea, diarrhea, minor hair loss. Suffer a -2 penalty to all your rolls.
Low 7 days Nausea, weakness (cumulative -2/total -4 to all rolls) for 2d6 hrs. If >9 hrs, Save vs. Petrify  or develop cancer.
Medium 1 day Violent nausea, weakness (cumulative -4/total -8 to all rolls) for 2d6 days. Also take 1d6 damage. Body becomes a low intensity radiation source for 1d6 hours. Also, Save or go blind for 1d6 days.
High 1 hour Take 1d6 damage. 1 permanent damage to all stats. Blind 1d6 weeks. Hair falls out in clumps. Save vs Petrify or permanent sterility. Save vs Petrify  or terminal cancer. Body becomes a medium intensity radiation source for 1d6 days.
Acute 1 minute Take 1d6 damage. Blind and sterile permanently. 1d6 permanent damage to all stats. Even if survived, massive medical attention required to avoid messy death in 1d6 hours. Body becomes a high intensity radiation source for 1d6 weeks.
Lethal 1 round Movement or action impossible. Pain is horrifying. Skin begins to slough off. Death in 1d6 rounds. Body becomes a high intensity radiation source for 1d4+1 months.

 

Random Spell Generation

This table is for generating spells when you don’t know their level, to prevent them from gaining too many higher level spells.

1d20 Spell Level
1-3 1
4-6 2
7-9 3
10-12 4
13-15 5
16 6
17 7
18 8
19 9
20 Pick
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The Sun Warden

This class is a little more “typical” then the others. Next up is the sorcerer, then a druid class.

THE SUN WARDEN

Nearing the edge of the ring, the great steppes of Eurus turns to bitterly cold desert. For eons, the inhabitants of that place warred and quarrelled for the access to the limited oases. No longer. The Reghurs of the Zalim Desert found a prophet, the first Sun Warden, four-armed and brimming with righteous fury, who cast down the demon blades and brought the whole of that nigh infinite expanse under their heel. Five generations past, the grip of the Sun Warden Church still holds most oases strongly. Order, law, and society have tamed the great desert, all by the will of the Sun Wardens.

Level XP HD Attack Power Breath Death Petrify Charms Spells Trick
1 0 1d6 +1 1 14 12 15 16 14 15
2 2000 2d6 +1 2 14 12 15 16 14 15
3 4000 3d6 +2 3 14 12 15 16 14 15
4 8000 4d6 +2 5 14 12 15 16 14 15
5 16000 5d6 +3 8 12 10 13 14 12 13
6 32000 5d6 +3 11 12 10 13 14 12 13
7 64000 5d6 +3 14 12 10 13 14 12 13
8 128000 5d6 +3 17 12 10 13 14 12 13
9 250000 6d6 +4 20 10 8 11 12 10 11
10 400000 7d6 +4 24 10 8 11 12 10 11
11 550000 8d6 +5 29 10 8 11 12 10 11
12 700000 9d6 +5 35 10 8 11 12 10 11
13 850000 nil +6 42 8 6 9 10 8 9
14 1000000 nil +6 50 8 6 9 10 8 9
15 1150000 nil +7 50 8 6 9 10 8 9
16 1300000 nil +7 50 8 6 9 10 8 9
17 1450000 nil +7 50 6 5 7 8 6 7
18 1600000 nil +7 50 6 5 7 8 6 7
19 1750000 nil +7 50 6 5 7 8 6 7
20 2000000 nil +7 50 6 5 7 8 6 7

Spellcasting Stat: Wisdom

Observances:

  • Drink Nothing But Water.
  • Do Not Buy or Sell Any Drink.
  • Do Not Used Curved Swords

Perks:

  • No penalty for casting in armor.
  • When you are in daylight or similar illumination, you gain a +1 to all rolls.

Drawbacks:

  • Your right hand and forearm bear various apparently natural marks (most notably a sunburst on the palm) and must be uncovered and unoccupied to cast spells. If the Sun Warden loses their right hand they can no longer cast spells.
  • You can not cast spells if suffering any status effects i.e. stunned, panicked, dazzled, etc.

To Players: You are an offensive juggernaut. You have very little utility, but can do an insane amount of damage and blind enemies. You can only help yourself; your allies can’t directly benefit from most of your spells and may in fact suffer for them. People in the Zalim Desert fear and respect you, as you are an integral part of the dominant power structure. However, as a church outcast or apostate, you have no rank. You are left-handed. 

Powers

Gain All for All Levels.

Level 1

Companion Light 0P per round D: Concentration T: Self

The Warden hold aloft your right hand, summoning a glowing ball that sheds light as a torch. The adept’s left hand must be doing nothing else during this.

Flare 1P D: 1 minute T: Designated Location R: 25 + 5/LVL ft. Sv Petrify Negates

The Warden generates a sudden burst of light at a designated point. If they cause the light to burst directly in front of a single creature, that creature is dazzled (-1d4 to all rolls) for 1 minute. Sightless creatures, as well as creatures already dazzled, are not affected by flare.

Level 2

Light Guard 1P D: Concentration T: Self

The Warden channels power through their right arm, causing a barrier or light to generate around their arm. For the duration, they gain a +3 parry bonus if they use their arm to deflect blows. The effect is not generally visible, only appearing occasionally as a solid shimmer on the arm’s surface.

Corollary 1P- Cast this as a free action.

Light Infusion 2P D: Concentration T: Light Source

The Warden pulls in nearby light sources to invigorate themselves. The targeted light source goes dark (but continues to burn if provided by fire) and grants 1d2 temporary HP per 10 ft. of radiant light that is provides, up to a maximum of 10d2. This spell does not work on the Warden’s Companion light but will work on other effects created by the Warden. If a creature composed of light is targeted, they take 1d4 damage (max 10d4) per caster level of the Warden, who heals for half.

Corollary 8P- Target all light sources in a 50 ft. radius instead.

Blinding Smite 1P D: 1d4 rounds T: Creature R: Touch

The adept lashes out with their right hand, making a touch attack. If it succeeds, the target takes 1d6 magical damage. The target’s eyes being to glow, blinding them for the duration unless the Sv vs. Petrify.  

Protection From Fire 2P D: 1 minute T: Self

The Warden blesses themselves against foul burning idolaters, gaining Moderate DR Fire, regardless of whether or not the fire is magical.

Corollary 4P- Gain Greater DR instead.

Corollary 8P- Gain Total DR instead.

Level 3

Luminous Ray 2P D: Instant T: Creature R: 120 ft. Sv Spells for half, negate dazzle

The Warden holds their palm forward, blasting their target with unbearably bright rays of light. The targeted creature takes 2d4 radiant damage and is dazzled for 1 round.

Corollary 2P Each- Summon an additional ray, targeting any creature in range, maximum 5 rays.

Inner Luminance 3P D: 1 minute T: Self

The Warden blesses themself and begins to glow slightly, shedding light as a candle. The Warden gains the benefits of being illuminated as outlined above, but any sighted creature gains +2 to hit the Warden. All light sources within 30 ft. have a 50% chance of going out immediately.

Flash 3P D: Instant T: 30 ft. radius R: 50 + 5/LVL ft.

The Warden creates a massive flash of blinding light at the target area, causing all within to be stunned and blinded for 1d4+1 rounds. If the affected save vs Petrify, they are only stunned instead. Every light in a 60 ft. radius of the Warden has a 75% chance of going out.

Daylight 3P D: Concentration T: Self

The Warden focuses power into their companion light, causing it to glow as bright as full daylight in a 60-foot radius, and dim light for an additional 60 feet beyond that. Creatures that take penalties in bright light also take them while within the radius of this magical light. Despite its name, this spell is not the equivalent of daylight for the purposes of creatures that are damaged or destroyed by bright light, but it will grant the illumination bonus to the Warden.

Daylight brought into an area of magical darkness (or vice versa) is temporarily negated, so that the otherwise prevailing light conditions exist in the overlapping areas of effect.

All light sources within 100 ft. of the Warden go out. This spell may be cast as a reaction.

Level 4

Mirror Image 3P D: 1d6 rounds T: Self

Two illusory duplicates of the Warden pop into being, making it difficult for enemies to know which target to attack. The figments stay near the Warden and disappear when struck. Enemies attempting to attack the Warden or cast spells at the Warden have an equal chance of hitting any on of the images or the real Warden. Any successful attack against an image destroys it. An image’s AC is 10 + your size modifier + your Dex modifier. All light sources within 30 ft. have a 50% chance of going out immediately.

Corollary 4P- conjure two additional images

Light Barrier 5P  D: 1d6 rounds T: Self

An invisible barrier envelops the Warden, and has a 50% chance to block the damage of any incoming physical attack. If the barrier blocks an attack, it disappears. The effect is usually invisible, only appearing occasionally as a dull shimmer of light on the part of the surface of Warden’s body. This spell may be cast a reaction.

All light sources within 30 ft. have a 75% chance of going out immediately.

Brilliant Blade 5P D: 1d6 rounds T: Weapon in Hand

The Warden blesses their blade, causing it to glow as a torch. In addition, the blade gains a +4 to-hit any sighted creature, deals an additional 1d6 radiant damage, and is treated as magical for the purposes of calculating damage reduction. The adept must wield the weapon with their right (suffering a -4 penalty to hit for off-handed usage) or both hands, and thus can not cast spells.

Extinguish 5P D: Instant R: 150 ft. 30 degree cone

The Warden gestures mightily, extinguishing all non magical flames in the area of effect. Creatures made of flame take 1d4 damage per level of the Warden, max 10d4.

Corollary 5P- Magical flames are also extinguished, flame creatures take 1d8 damage per level of the Warden, max 10d8.

Level 5

Hand of Light 5P D: Concentration or 1 Turn T: Self C: 10000sp in materials required for ritual scarification, only paid once.

The Warden unlinks their holy arm from the mundane one, effectively gaining an extra arm . This arm is usually invisible, except for the occasional dull shimmer that reveals part of the shape of the arm and the ritualistic tattoos carved into. The Warden’s right hand is mundane and bears no marks. Spells may be cast out of the invisible arm while the right is now free to act.

All light sources within 60 ft. have a 75% chance of going out immediately.

Wall of Light 8P D: 1 Turn R: 120 ft.

A wall of light appears at the behest of the Adept. It can be in any orientation, and can be free floating or on a surface. It can be up to 60 feet long, 10 feet high, and 5 feet thick. It blocks line of sight, but things can pass through it. It emits 120 feet of bright light and an additional 120 feet dim light. Creatures in the wall’s space when it is created take 2d6 radiant damage and must Sv vs Petrify with a -4 penalty or be blinded for 1d4 rounds. Any creature that ends their turn within the wall takes 1d6 radiant damage.

All light sources within a 200 ft. radius go out immediately.

Sunburst 5P D: Instant T: 100 ft. line

The Warden blasts a beam of frightfully incandescent light out of their palm, dealing 6d6 radiant damage to and blinding and stunning every creature in a line. A save vs petrify halves the damages and prevents the blinding.

All light sources within a 100 ft. radius go out immediately.

Summon Lantern Archon 8P D: 1 Turn

The Warden creates a Lantern Archon in their palm. The Lantern Archon appears as a small ball of light that glows as a torch, in addition to the following stats:

Lantern Archon: 1HD; SZ -3; MV2; AC 24; Luminous Ray (as spell, single ray);  Total DR Physical

By default, the Archon will orbit the Warden, providing the illumination bonus to them and lackadaisically firing their Luminous Ray at a random enemy each round. The archon can be ordered to scout ahead, or hold a position. The archons can not speak themselves but occasionally echo fragments of what was said around them. The Warden may have three Archons active at any one time. All light sources within a 200 ft. radius go out immediately.

Level 9

Sudden Burst 30P D: Instant  T: Creature of SZ0 or greater R: 30ft. Sv Petrify Negates

The Adept converts a creature purely into light, causing a massive nova of radiance to blanket an area 1+SZ hundreds of feet h in radius. The target must Sv vs Petrify or perish instantly as this happens. Anyone within the area of effect must save vs petrify or take 8d8 radiant damage be stunned for 1 turn, and go blind for 1d4+1 weeks (permanently on max duration). On a successful save the damage is halved, the stun duration reduced to 1 minute, and the blindness duration reduced to 1 week. This spell may only be cast outside during the daytime, and all light sources within 10 miles go out immediately. The sun only provides dimness after casting this spell.

Summon Light Spectre 15P D: 1d4 Turns or Concentration  R: 30ft.

The Warden generates a mighty light spectre to serve them for the duration. The Warden must focus on nothing but commanding the spectre, lest they lose control. Taking damage forces the Warden to save vs Spells or lose control of the spectre.  The spectre is nearly invisible except in dim conditions, where a thin stringy humanoid form can be seen. It attacks by focusing its ‘limbs’ into concentrated beams of intense light, which slice through flesh, metal, or stone alike. The light spectre has the following stats:

Light Spectre: 6HD+4; SZ1; MV2; AC 20; Luminous Ray (as spell, 3 rays) or Limb/Limb  2d10/2d10; Total DR Physical; MR10

Taken more or less directly from Yoon-Suin.

The spectre continues to exist for the duration of the spell, even if the caster loses or gives up concentration. Under its own control, the light spectre attacks randomly. All light sources within a 200 ft. radius go out immediately.

 

The Zhl-Wi Adept

I said I was going to post more Adept classes, and so I have after an entirely unreasonable amount of time. These guys are more or less different parts of the same religion of the Houhai Disciples I made when first writing the class.

ZHL-WI DISCIPLE

The Zhylr Empire is arisen. At the of their society stands their might namesakes, masters of battle magic and shock tactics. Below, the Dzo people of the Nakhi Desert form the bulk of the Empire, serving as craftsmen, laborers and officials. Despite the alliance of these two peoples, their gods are separate. Only the Zhylrs, the Zhl-wi Clergy, and privileged officials of state may worship Zhl-wi, the Emperor Crane. Even now, the old ways of the Emperor Crane are alive and well. Adepts of this august tradition brush shoulders with all the greats of that rising state- generals, ministers, trader, and the enigmatic Zhlyrs, whom they serve. Keepers of lore, illuminators of truth, protectors of the empire’s new order – these are the Zhl-wi Disciples.

Level XP HD Attack Power Breath Death Petrify Charms Spells Trick
1 0 1d6 +1 1 15 12 15 12 14 15
2 2000 2d6 +1 2 15 12 15 12 14 15
3 4000 3d6 +1 3 15 12 15 12 14 15
4 8000 4d6 +2 4 15 12 15 12 14 15
5 16000 5d6 +2 5 13 10 13 10 12 13
6 32000 5d6 +2 10 13 10 13 10 12 13
7 64000 5d6 +2 20 13 10 13 10 12 13
8 128000 5d6 +2 40 13 10 13 10 12 13
9 250000 6d6 +2 70 11 8 11 8 10 11
10 400000 7d6 +3 100 11 8 11 8 10 11
11 550000 8d6 +3 100 11 8 11 8 10 11
12 700000 9d6 +3 100 11 8 11 8 10 11
13 850000 nil +4 100 9 6 9 6 8 9
14 1000000 nil +4 100 9 6 9 6 8 9
15 1150000 nil +4 100 9 6 9 6 8 9
16 1300000 nil +4 100 9 6 9 6 8 9
17 1450000 nil +4 100 7 5 7 5 6 7
18 1600000 nil +4 100 7 5 7 5 6 7
19 1750000 nil +4 100 7 5 7 5 6 7
20 2000000 nil +4 100 7 5 7 5 6 7

Spellcasting Stat: Wisdom

Observances:

  • Never Sleep Unguarded.
  • Do Not Speak Unless Spoken to, or if the Need is Urgent.
  • Do Not Harm the Elderly


Perks:

  • No penalty for casting in light armor.
  • Has Awareness Talent

 

Powers

Level 1

Gain both.

Crane Glide 1P D: Until Touchdown T: Creature R: 10’/LVL

The disciple makes the target light as air, allowing them to glide downwards at a dainty pace. The target may move ten feet horizontally for every 10 feet they fall (up to 30ft per round), but can not move up.

Shield 1P per round D: Concentration T: Self

The disciple creates an invisible, tower shield-sized mobile disk of force that is held in front of them. It negates magic missile attacks directed at you. The disk also provides a +4 shield bonus to AC. This bonus applies against incorporeal touch attacks, since it is a force effect. The shield has no armor check penalty or spell failure chance, and the disciple may move and attack with the shield as long as you have a hand free.

Level 2

Gain all.

Crane Lance 2P D: Instant T: Self R: 30’+10’/LVL

The Disciple springs forward with blinding speed, immediately executing a charge attack against the target. That attack gains an additional +2 to hit (+4 total), and does not trigger any reactions while moving. The attack deals double damage if it hits, but regardless of success  an additional -4 AC penalty (-6 total) is inflicted on the next round.

True Strike 2P D: Instant T: One Creature R: 10’ +5’/LVL

The disciple grants a  temporary, intuitive insight into the immediate future during your next attack. The target’s next single attack roll (if it is made before the end of the next round) gains a +20 bonus. Additionally, the attack is not affected by the miss chances that apply to certain targets.

Command 2P D: Instant T: Creature R: Hearing Sv Charms Negates

You give the subject a single command, which it obeys to the best of its ability at its earliest opportunity. You may select from the following options.

Approach

On its turn, the subject moves toward you as quickly and directly as possible for 1 round. The creature may do nothing but move during its turn, and it provokes attacks of opportunity for this movement as normal.

Drop

On its turn, the subject drops whatever it is holding. It can’t pick up any dropped item until its next turn.

Fall

On its turn, the subject falls to the ground and remains prone for 1 round. It may act normally while prone but takes any appropriate penalties.

Flee

On its turn, the subject moves away from you as quickly as possible for 1 round. It may do nothing but move during its turn, and it provokes attacks of opportunity for this movement as normal.

Halt

The subject stands in place for 1 round. It may not take any actions but is not considered helpless.

If the subject can’t carry out your command on its next turn, the spell automatically fails.

Alarm 2P D: 2 hours/LVL T: 20’ radius circle

The disciple wards and area, causing a mental alarm to sound each time a creature of SZ-3 or greater enters the warded area or touches it. The mental alarm alerts only the disciple so long as they remain within 1 mile of the warded area. They hear a single mental “ping” that awakens them from normal sleep but does not otherwise disturb concentration.

Level 3

Pick 4.

Ward Blessing 3P D: 1 Turn  T: Creature R: Touch

The disciple grants the target a preternatural understanding of incoming danger, causing them to gain their level in warded HP. Warded HP works like temporary HP except any other effects of damage (poison, curses, catching on fire, etc.) that only damages warded HP are ignored as well. This only applies to damage taken in combat. Only one ward may be active on a person at a time, and only one ward may be used per person per day.

Vigilance 3P D: Instant T: Self

The disciple grants the target awareness of their surroundings and danger coming from unseen angles. Rear attacks are made with only a +1 to hit, and with no bonuses from talents or special abilities. Additionally, the target may expend a reaction to attack any creature that made a failed rear attack.  

Augury 3P D: Instant  T: Self  Tm: 1 minute C: The fresh eye of a large bird (50sp each)

The disciple consults with forces unseen to  tell whether a particular action will bring good or bad results in the immediate future.

The base chance for receiving a meaningful reply is 60% + 1% per caster level, to a maximum of 80%; this roll is made secretly. A question may be so straightforward that a successful result is automatic, or so vague as to have no chance of success. If the augury succeeds, the disciple receives one of four results:

 

  • Weal (if the action will probably bring good results).
  • Woe (for bad results).
  • Weal and woe (for both).
  • Nothing (for actions that don’t have especially good or bad results).

 

If the spell fails, you get the “nothing” result. An adept who gets the “nothing” result has no way to tell whether it was the consequence of a failed or successful augury.

The augury can see into the future only about half an hour, so anything that might happen after that does not affect the result. Thus, the result might not take into account the long-term consequences of a contemplated action. All auguries cast by the same person about the same topic use the same dice result as the first casting.

Keen Strike 3P D: 4 rounds or until critical strike T: Single Creature

The disciple grants a  temporary, intuitive insight about how best to apply damage. The target’s attack rolls gain a +2 bonus to crit range until a crit is made or the duration ends. Additionally, the attack is not affected by the miss chances that apply to certain targets.

Corollary Trebling Cost- for each increase in cost, the bonus to crit range increases by +2.

Gust of Wind 3P D: 1 round T: 60’ line  R: Self

A severe blast of air (approximately 50 mph) originates from the disciple , affecting all creatures in its path.

A SZ-2 or smaller creature on the ground is knocked down and rolled 1d4×10 feet, taking 1d4 points of nonlethal damage per 10 feet. If flying, a SZ-2 or smaller creature is blown back 2d6×10 feet and takes 2d6 points of nonlethal damage due to battering and buffeting.

Creatures of less than SZ0 are knocked prone by the force of the wind, or if flying are blown back 1d6×10 feet. Medium creatures are unable to move forward against the force of the wind, or if flying are blown back 1d6×5 feet. SZ1 or larger creatures may move normally within a gust of wind effect. A gust of wind can’t move a creature beyond the limit of its effect. Any creature, regardless of size, takes a -4 penalty on ranged attacks in the area of a gust of wind.

The force of the gust automatically extinguishes candles, torches, and similar unprotected flames. It causes protected flames, such as those of lanterns, to dance wildly and has a 50% chance to extinguish those lights.

In addition to the effects noted, a gust of wind can do anything that a sudden blast of wind would be expected to do. It can create a stinging spray of sand or dust, fan a large fire, overturn delicate awnings or hangings, heel over a small boat, and blow gases or vapors to the edge of its range.

Corollary Quadrupling Cost- for each increase in cost, the effects of the spell listed may instead apply to creatures of SZ one higher than what is given in the description.

Fog Cloud 3P D: 10 min/LVL T:  20’ radius sphere

A bank of fog billows out from the point the disciple designates. The fog obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. A creature within 5 feet has light concealment. Creatures farther away have heavy concealment.

A moderate wind (11+ mph) disperses the fog in 4 rounds; a strong wind (21+ mph) disperses the fog in 1 round.

The spell does not function underwater.

Crane Stance 3P D: 1 round/LVL T: Self  Tm: 1 min

The disciple locks themselves in place while standing on one leg, gaining the ability to attack anyone attempting to move past them or attack them. These attacks do not cost reactions, but require the use of a piercing polearm. The disciple receives a melee AC bonus equal to half their level, rounded down. The disciple may still attack during their turn, but may not move or cast spells. If they move, are moved, or take damage, the spell ends.

The disciple glows slightly and sheds light as a candle, and does not benefit from concealment or invisibility. The disciple can not be flanked or have rear attacks made against them in this state.

Level 4

Pick 3.

Invisibility 3P D: 1 min/LVL T: Creature

The disciple renders a target of their choosing invisible to normal sight, along with their gear. Attacking ends this spell early, and any items removed from the target’s person become visible. The spell does not silence the target.

Repulsion 3P D: 1/round LVL T: Creature R: 10’ radius Sv Charms Negates

The disciple creates a might aura around their target, preventing the weak-willed from approaching. Creatures that fail their save may not attempt to approach for the duration of the spell. Projectiles and ranged spells may still strike the disciple freely.

Twirl 3P D: 1 round/LVL or until dismissed T: Creature R: 10’/LVL Sv Spells Negates

The disciple causes a creature of SZ0 or less  to rise straight up into the air while spinning slightly, up to 10 feet per level or as the ceiling allows. The creature is entitled to a save if unwilling. Generally a creature so suspended can make ranged attacks or cast offensive spells, but can not move or meaningfully dodge. At the end of the duration, the creature lands softly on their feet.

Corollary 1P- This may be cast as a reaction on a willing target.

Protection From Arrows 4P D: 1 min/LVL T: Creature R: 5 ft.

The disciple blesses a target, giving them Greater Damage Resistance to arrows and all other non-magical projectiles. Very large projectiles such as boulders or other debris are unaffected by this spell.

Invisibility Purge 4P D: 1 min/LVL T: Self R: 5 ft/LVL radius

The disciple surrounds themselves with a sphere of power with a radius of 5 feet per caster level that negates all forms of invisibility.

Anything invisible becomes visible if in the area, and remains visible even if it leaves the area.

Wind Wall 4P D: 1 round/LVL T: Wall up to 10 ft./level long and 5 ft./level high R: 100 + 10/LVL ft.

An invisible vertical curtain of wind appears. It is 2 feet thick and of considerable strength. It is a roaring blast sufficient to blow away any bird smaller than an eagle, or tear papers and similar materials from unsuspecting hands. (A Trick save allows a creature to maintain its grasp on an object.) SZ-1 and smaller flying creatures cannot pass through the barrier. Loose materials and cloth garments fly upward when caught in a wind wall. Arrows, bolts, and other small projectiles are deflected upward and miss, while larger mundane ranged weapons (javelins, ballistae spears) passing through the wall has a -4 to-hit. (A giant-thrown boulder, a siege engine projectile, and other massive ranged weapons are not affected.) Gases, most gaseous breath weapons, and creatures in gaseous form cannot pass through the wall (although it is no barrier to incorporeal creatures).

The wall must be vertical, and must be straight with no breaks or changes in direction.

Corollary 4P- The disciple can shape the wind wall in any continuous path along the ground as they wish. It is possible to create cylindrical or square wind walls to enclose specific points.

Crane’s Grace 4P D: 1 min/LVL T: Creature R: 5 ft.

The disciple blesses a target with enhanced grace and agility, granting them the half disciple’s level rounded down as a bonus to Touch AC (max +5) and +2 to all saves that would benefit from Dexterity so long as the target remains still or move only 5 ft. per round.

Level 5

Pick 4.

Silence 4P D: 1 min/LVL T: 20 ft. radius around fixed point in space R: 100+10/LVL ft.

The adept causes all sound to cease moving through or emanating from an area of their choosing. Speech and hearing within the area is impossible, and casters within the area make any casting roll as if they were deaf and mute.

Corollary 4P-The disciple may instead designate a creature that the silence radius follows. Unwilling creatures may save vs Spells to negate.

Protection from Energy 1P D: 2 rounds/LVL  T: Creature R: 5 ft.

The disciple grants a willing target Moderate Damage Resistance to one type of energy (cold, sonic, lightning, fire). A target may only have one casting of this spell protecting it at any one time. Attempting to cast  this spell on a creature that is already protected merely fails.

Corollary 4P- The protection is instead applied to every creature within a 5 ft. radius.

Discern Lies 5P D: 1 min T: Self R: 25 ft.

The disciple channels the power of their god to see past falsehoods. Each round, they may concentrate on one subject, who must be within range. The disciple will know if the subject deliberately tells a lie. The spell does not reveal the truth, uncover unintentional inaccuracies, or necessarily reveal evasions.

Each round, they may concentrate on a different subject.

Fly 5P  D: 1 min/LVL T: Creature R: 10 ft.

The disciple blesses a subject with the gift of the crane. The target can fly at a speed of 60 feet (or 40 feet if it wears medium or heavy armor, or if it carries a medium or heavy load). It can ascend at half speed and descend at double speed, and its maneuverability is good. Using a fly spell requires only as much concentration as walking, so the subject can attack or cast spells normally. The subject of a fly spell can charge but not run, and it cannot carry aloft more weight than its maximum load, plus any armor it wears.

Mass Hold Person 5P D: 1 round/LVL T: One or more humanoid creatures R: 100 ft.

The targets become paralyzed and freeze in place. It is aware and breathes normally but cannot take any actions, even speech. Each round on its turn, the subject may attempt a new saving throw to end the effect. This spell may effect up to the caster’s level in humanoid creatures, no two of which may be more than 30 ft. apart.

Crane Lightning 5P D: Instant R: 120 ft.

A bolt of crackling energy emanates from the disciple’s outstretched hand, striking everyone in a line. This spell deals damage 1d6 damage per caster level, up to a maximum of 10d6.

The lightning bolt sets fire to combustibles and damages objects in its path. It can melt metals with a low melting point, such as lead, gold, copper, silver, or bronze. If the damage caused to an interposing barrier shatters or breaks through it, the bolt may continue beyond the barrier if the spell’s range permits; otherwise, it stops at the barrier just as any other spell effect does.

Holy Feather Barrier 5P D: 1 month R: 25 ft line C:  A string with white feathers attached all along its length Tm: 1 turn

The disciple blesses a string of white feathers, and places it where they wish, so long as it does not touch the ground. While the string is so blessed, magical effects can not cross it, nor can summoned or incorporeal creatures. Attempting to bring magical items over the barrier requires a save vs Breath with a penalty equal to the stone  weight of the magic items. Area of effect spells simply stop at the barrier, and may go around as in the case of a fireball. The barrier shrinks back from blades or other attempts to cut it, and has 30 touch AC and can only be damaged by mundane slashing weapons. Attempting to string together multiple barriers fails; only one barrier at random works in such a case.

Corollary Quadrupling Cost- The possible length of the barrier doubles.

Level 9

Gain all.

True Ward Blessing 35P D: 1 day T: Creature

The disciple blesses a target, turning all of their HP into awarded HP. Warded HP works like normal HP except any other effects of damage (poison, curses, catching on fire, etc.) that only damages warded HP are ignored as well. This applies to all damage, regardless of whether the target is in combat.

Awe 20P D: 1 round/LVL T: Creature R: 10 ft.

The target is granted a royal and divine splendor. Any time a creature with a mind that can see the target attempts to purposely damage them (including in non-obvious ways, like triggering a trap), the attacker must save vs Charms with a penalty equal to 4+the target’s CHA or pass their turn instead. Creatures struck by the subject of Awe in the past turn do not get any penalty to their save.

Crane Feather 30P D: 1 week C: Crane’s feather, must be acquired from a Zhl-wi temple. R: 1500 ft. Tm: 1 day

The disciple meditates over a feather given by one of the Holy Cranes of the assorted Zhl-wi monasteries. While this spell is active, the feather points to the nearest creature that means the disciple any harm, and has a 1 in 6 chance of pointing towards dangerous traps or areas when the disciple approaches within sight of them. If no creatures or traps are in range, the feather merely points to the temple (really, the crane) from which it was acquired.

Level 10

Crane Form 100P D: Permanent or until dismissed T: Self

The disciple transforms themselves into a graceful white crane. While in this form, the disciple may not speak, attack, or cast spells, and has only 1MV on land. However, they have MV3 while flying, and benefit from the effects of Discern Lies, Crane Feather (now somewhere on their body), Invisibility Purge, and Awe while in this form. The spell continues until ended, and the disciple must save vs Charms or wish to remain a crane forever. This save may be reattempted each month.

Anyone who harms the disciple in this form must save vs spells or be struck blind by a curse, and anyone who kills the disciple in this form loses the disciples levels of experience and goes immediately blind, no save. If they would be killed in this way, they are transformed instead into an infant with all afflictions cured.  

The disciple may cast this spell seven times in their life; thereafter, they may never cast it again.

 

Indulgent Setting Detail Part 2: Politics

Now we take a break from writing rules and self-indulgent physical musings for my campaign, and turn instead to self-indulgent setting geography. What exactly is happening on the surface of this ring?

The first thing everyone notices is that almost all of the ring is covered in hell-blasted magic-nuclear wasteland, meaning that of its ludicrous surface area of 36 billion square kilometers, somewhere between 100 to 200 million square kilometers is actually what would traditionally considered habitable, though pockets of society and life exist in the Empty Ring.

The habitable ring consists of four continents packed around a massive tower that stretches from the ring’s surface all the way to the center. It is massive and visible anywhere on the ring. Generally it is called the Tower of Heaven in whatever language. Two continents on the same landmass (called as a whole Julbil, Yubi, or Yelas) as the tower are divided by plateaus, mountains, and steppes, and reach up to one edge of the ring, the tower’s base being their “southern” boundary, while another continent is antezephyr and “south” of that landmass (called Akerhta). A third landmass stands zephyr to Julbil, across another ocean. To the antezephyr of the continents is an ocean that insulates them from the worse of the hell-blasted bullshit in the Empty Ring. Xul, Ulos, or Xiule (the Zephyr-most continent) is connected to the Empty Ring by land and presumably have things much worse.

img007
The weird elongated plus signs are steppes. The arrow points zephyr, and the big black area are the impassable border mountains of the ring. From side to side is ~1700 km

The campaign is taking place on the antezephyrine part of the tower landmass, which is called Fengdi, Eurus, or Sulminui, near the border of the sister continent. Its zephyrine counterpart is Zephyria, or Xidao, or Suladui. The attached map shows almost all of Fengdi, and probably a third of Zephyria. The campaign takes place in and around the city of Mendicant, here seen in the center of the light blue outline above the dark blue outline. To its zephyr in the same color is the various salt-towns, and to its antezephyr is the town of Kindness. All of them are located more or less along the largest trade vein passing from one continent to the other. All of them are also tributaries of the Zhylr Empire (dark blue), and all of them more or less occupy territory that once belonged to nomadic horse tribes. Mendicant recently entered into a war with a group of nomads led by one Oran Khan (I kept rolling nomads for random encounters) and reeling from a chevauchee to their northern periphery.

For the rest of this section, I’m going to refer as the direction towards the closest edge as “egdewise” and the opposite as “endwise”, since in this case it’s clear what I mean and also captures the infuriating lack of clarity that sometimes develops when languages try to try direction.

Endwise of those is the massive Zhylr Empire, the rising star of Fengdi’s political arena. About 50 years ago, the eponymous Zhylrs sold themselves out as mercenaries for the Bright Empire of Fengdi (Mingfengdi, outlined in red) against the various nomadic tribes that were encroaching on their territory. They were so successful (owing to their shock cavalry tactics mixed with destructive magicks) that when they returned to their native deserts and steppes they were able to unite the people there under their rule. Nowadays, they maintain a moiety with the Zhylrs on top, and the people of the Dzo forming the rest. Zhylrs themselves are elusive in the extreme, and only seen in public veiled and clothed. The steppe nomads (Kuluks) claim they aren’t human.

Mingfengdi has fallen far from its former glory. The overthrow of the previous Cong dynasty removed the dread influence of the Eunuch Mages (the wizarding university far edgewise to the empire, long story how it got there), but the Zeng successors were unable to maintain central authority, and the empire now exists as a series of competing feudal states. To their edgewise in the yellow is a Kuluk state carved out of former imperial territory. In fact, even more of the edgewise territories once fell under the empire’s sway, but has since been turned back over to small tribes of steppe nomads, too small to map.  The same could be said for the end-wise areas, with the breakaway state in pink having rebelled and won full independence. Now the Zhylr Empire also encroaches on their territory, in the cross-hatched area. The towns of Mendicant and Kindness are mostly Gen, the primary ethnicity of the Bright Empire, since the invasions of the Kuluk displaced many, and now the Zhylr invasion combined with a period of civil wars has caused yet another refugee crisis to sweep over the trading towns.

The current emperor (or more appropriately, his marshals and ministers) have stabilized the hemorrhaging of territory and prosperity, and most of the civil wars have come to an end. The conservative Zhylrs have also withdrawn after extracting territorial concessions, not wanting to risk their shock cavalry/upper classes against an organized opponent. Also within the empire is the University of Huaidi, where wizards from this part of the world go to be trained.

The huge plateau outlined in purple is the Plateau of Bod, and is occupied by the Bodian Empire, which similarly has stumbled upon troubles and currently has been facing 15 years of semi-continuous succession crises. Tribalism also runs amok, and the empire barely functions at all.

The islands to the ante-zephyr of all of this had a huge war nearly a century ago between the worshippers of fire giants, and the adherents of an abrahamic religion (different parts of Japan). The fire giants won, and their territory is outlined in brown.

Finally, we have Zephyria. The mountains in light blue are the Sky Elves (really just half-elves that figured out how to survive in mountains), and adjacent to them in brown is another group of forest elves that ride specially bred horses and can match the nomads.

The green is the Leagues and Tribes of Barinthia (based on Bactria) with smaller divisions to fine to show. Mostly they have tribes to their edge and more city-states/towns towards the coasts. They fight the Laytinid Empire (Persia) to their end, and also have the University of Pol Ankura, where wizards are trained.

That’s everything labelled. The areas not included tend to have nomadic tribes or tribal kingdoms too small to bother with, and I also want to keep parts of the map open for other stuff.  

Indulgent Setting Details Part 1: Bishop Ring

I’m running a new campaign. I ended up as DM because I ended up having the most experience with D&D, despite that being almost none at all. My world takes place on a massive bishop ring. This post will talk about some of the implications of running a campaign in such a world. For the uninitiated: Bishop Rings

First, some base assumptions about what sort of campaign I want to run.

  1. This is fantasy, not Sci-Fi. Despite the setting taking place on a structure traditionally seen in Sci-Fi, the people living on it will your typical agricultural society. The people who built the ring will have, even in their prime, built temples out of stone. Swords and spears. No rayguns.
  2. The ring has natural terrain, or appears too. Even though it was obviously (to us) artificially constructed, for some reason it still has mountains and deserts and bogs.
  3. Low-magic. Wizards, Sorcerers, and Adepts all exist but are relatively rare. Magic doesn’t replace technology, but did compliment it in the case of the Ring-Builders.
  4. Fallen World. The ring has seen better days.  Large swathes of wilderness. Their might’ve been an apocalypse, but if there was it was a long time ago. People are more concerned with the breakdown of what centralized authority there once was. You know the deal.

Size and the Lie of Gravity

So, the ring. Gravity normally wouldn’t affect those on the interior of the ring, but the rings rotation can provide a facsimile of gravity, which it does. It completes a rotation every day, for reasons that will become obvious shortly. The exact size and radius of the ring can be determined later. The edges are massive mountains, miles high, designed to keep the air in.

To provide Earth-like gravity while having an orbital period of 24 hours, we need the equation

a ~ 10 m/s = r(2pi/T)^2

Where a is the centripetal acceleration (the “gravity of this planet”), T is the period of rotation (24 hours) and r is the radius of the ring. Solving for r, I get 1.9 million kilometers. This is very large, which isn’t necessarily ridiculous. Okay, building such a structure is, but they had magic. No, in the grand scheme of inter system scales, a million kilometers is almost nothing. The distance difference between Venus and Earth from the sun is 40 million kilometers, and 70 million in the case of Mars and Earth. Fuck it, we’ll go with it.

The land area of the ring is simply the circumference of the ring times the thickness. For thickness we’ll say 3000km, so we get an inner surface area of 36 billion square kilometers. A lot of this will probably be taken over by radioactive blasted hellscape deserts and oceans.

Tides are going to be ridiculous due to the massive radius of the ring, but I have an idea for that later on.

Sky, Night and Day

For the day and night cycle, I originally had a convoluted idea involving solar shades that were destroyed, cobbled together and suspended from a giant tower that extended to the center of the ring, but discarded it because it was too complex and probably wouldn’t work the way I wanted. Instead I’m going with an axial tilt that casts half the ring in light and the other half in its own shadow. The solar shades still existed at one point and were wrecked, and I love the central tower so much that I’m keeping it, but this just makes thing simpler. In reality, their may not be an axial tilt that exactly accomplishes this due to the geometry of the ring, as it may not be wide enough to occlude the sun. Technically I have enough physics/astronomy background to figure out if this is true… but for now we’ll say there are long sunsets and sunrises. At the outer edge of the border mountains, 200km up, day is probably constant.

This has the added effect of making the equinoxes periods of darkness, as one half of the ring is in the shadow of the other half, a process which probably lasts a few days. I could use the apparent size of the other half of the ring to actually calculate the duration of equinox eclipse, but I feel that probably isn’t needed at this point. The other half of the ring is nearly always visible, and is the brightest object in the night sky, by far.

Seasons are trickier. I could do away with them entirely and make book keeping a lot easier, but I feel most agricultural societies almost need some kind of consistent season cycle to function. The way seasons work on Earth isn’t going to work here; every part of the ring passes under the area of direct sunlight because of geometry. Right now I’m playing with a highly elliptical orbit, but that locks me into loooooooooong winters. I’m also considering making the star the ring orbits a binary, with a resonance between the dimmer companion’s orbit around the barycenter and the rings orbit, but I’m not sure if occlusion by the dimmer companion would actually lower the energy received by the ring enough to cause a seasonal change. I’m still looking into it, but now that I think about it, that could be really cool. It doesn’t even have to be a companion per se, maybe just a large planet or brown dwarf closer in. What the hell, its in. If we can use occlusion methods to detect binaries, then they can probably cause seasons. A solar eclipse can cause the temperature to drop by several degrees, so I feel this is a reasonable enough approximation.

The seasons are provided by a brown giant (really, they ought to be called purple giants, as they are hypothesized to be magenta in color) with a 2:1 orbital resonance with the ring. For part of the year, every year, the brown giant is between the ring and its bright F-type star. The brown giant is so large that it take a few months to move out of the way entirely. The solstices are when the dwarf is in inferior conjunction (directly between the sun and ring) or at superior conjunction, where it is directly on the opposite side of the sun. I could do some calculations with apparent size and flux, but that shouldn’t be strictly necessary for now.

Climate

Other considerations include wind patterns, terrain, and the underground. My knowledge of atmospheric science is limited, but I understand that most of the prevailing wind directions speeds are determined by temperature differences at the poles and equator, neither of which exist on a ring world (well, not in the same way anyway). So I can’t help but feel the wind will, because of inertia and relative motion, appear to be blowing in the direction opposite the rings rotation, as a general rule. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say that breezes in this direction are near constant, and are often used as a navigational tool by the inhabitants. Directions aren’t called East and West, they’re called Zephyr and Anti-Zephyr, with or against the wind. How seasons affect this is yet to be determined but I imagine summer will be stormy times for coasts facing Anti-Zephyr. The Northern and Southern directions are not nearly so universal.

I imagine due to the cooling effects of the border mountain, the “northern” and “southern” regions will actually be cooler than central regions, sort of like what we see on Earth because of insolation differences at different latitudes. Coastal regions bordering the mountains will especially be affected, since the cold water flowing down from the mountains will cool the nearby oceans.

The Deep

The underground can be whatever we want to be. I like how the Classical Mayan’s imagined the underworld as watery place, in addition to a dark and dangerous one. The creators used their underground areas to store dangerous things, in addition to water, both fresh and salt. Remember the tides I mentioned earlier? Well, conventional knowledge and long derivations say that the tides will want to bulge out towards the sun on the close side of the ring and away from it on the far side, but all the water is stored on the inner surface of the ring. What if the underground areas of the ring were designed to store some of this water, and give it a place to go, to prevent them from being too extreme? That could work.

Cenotes will be common on the ring, and were once access ports to these repositories that have long since eroded to more natural shapes, and covered with lakes and rivers in wetter areas. Like many cenotes, the underground as a whole will be split into two layers: freshwater and saltwater below, because its heavier. The layers aren’t at discrete depths, or necessarily even continuous with themselves throughout the entire circumference. Naturally, the underworld dotted with submerged caves  filled with the accumulated and dangerous castoffs of the previous civilizations that inhabited the ring. Below the reservoirs/caves are the control structures of the ring, not made of stone but of wondrous materials capable of holding this mess together.

I’ve also decided that the progenitors of the ring will take some Mayan flavor. Arcane script, the language of magic and wizards will be visually similar to Mayan glyphs, for example

NEXT TIME: The setting details that people are likely to actually care about. History and geography.

New Campaign + The Adept

I’m running a new campaign, starting this Saturday.  I’m going to use a few of my own rules. Most of these are adapted from various unpublished systems/fragments my brother used for his campaign. While I’m here, I’m going to go ahead and plug his blog: kill your dungeon master

The most glaringly obvious change in my system is the removal of the cleric in favor of the Adept class. The Adept represents any spellcasting class that doesn’t get its power from study, like wizards. The Adept is meant to include (at least thematically) the characters typically divvied up into Paladin, Sorcerer, Druid, Monk, and Cleric, and is thus highly customizable. All of the classes that I will be using will have this feature- there will only be four classes, but each one can do wildly different things. Again, I got this idea from my brother’s first few attempts at a homebrew system. 

The below table represents the “shell” of the class. How the Adept actually plays, and what they are actually capable of depends on the specific “Way” of the given Adept. Adepts are united by their spell casting mechanics, which use power points. As an Adept levels, they can generally expect to gain powers that can be spontaneously cast as long as enough points are available.

Level Experience BAB HP Power Points BR DT PT CH SP TR
1 2000 +1 1d6+CON 1 16 16 16 16 16 16
2 4000 +1 2d6+CON 2 16 16 16 16 16 16
3 8000 +2 3d6+CON 3 14 14 14 14 14 14
4 16000 +2 4d6+CON 5 14 14 14 14 14 14
5 32000 +3 5d6+CON 8 12 12 12 12 12 12
6 64000 +3 5d6+CON 11 12 12 12 12 12 12
7 128000 +3 5d6+CON 14 12 12 12 12 12 12
8 256000 +3 5d6+CON 17 12 12 12 12 12 12
9 500000 +4 6d6+CON 20 10 10 10 10 10 10

As will soon be seen, this is not at all representative of the abilities and benefits of a player character Adept. Ideally, each type of Adept will probably have their own table, and I use this as a starting point. The only thing that should be constant is experience and, in most cases, HP.

 

The Way

Spells, special abilities, drawbacks, additional spell points, additional saves, and additional to-hit bonuses (in the case of particularly martial orders/religions) are all determined by the specific religion (or even sub-order of a religion!) adhered to by the Adept. You could even have special kill-counting perks* for martial orders. This usually means additional observances that the character must, uh, observe. The penalty for not following these observances is up to you- in a low-fantasy setting this usually just means mundane punishments dealt out by the order: expulsion, exile, execution, etc. Sorcerers are effectively Adepts without a religion and a shit ton of power points. 

A note on powers/miracles/initiations for the Adept class: They are not prepared, and have a base point cost and potentially a corollary available for additional cost. The normal rules for casting apply**. As there is no spell level associated with powers, in general Adept spells are far more reliable than wizards, but also tend to be less flashy and immediately powerful. Many can also wear armor without a penalty to casting, and generally don’t have to roll mishaps. The exception for this is Sorcerers.

Gaining powers also depends on the actual religion. The more organized religions probably have their adepts pick. Disorganized religions probably have a mix of randomly gained and deliberately chosen powers, and sorcerers/shamans are random (with a possible caveat that I’ll explore when I actually get around to writing the class). Some of them, like the one below are actually a mix of these.

*from the fighter class in the GLOG, but my brother designed (at least partially) a tree (or several) for each type of weapon, something I also intend to use.

**the system I intend to use has a spell casting roll, that works in things like spell failure and spell retention.

 

Houhai Disciple

In my setting, there is an empire. Well, several, actually, but the one the players will be near to/inside of is/was formed on the basis of strict two-class system. I’ll get into the specifics of it later, but basically each of the two classes in the society has its own cult. This one represents the junior class in society, which worships a tricky (but servile!) monkey god. Their disciples are usually tanky, tricky, and disruptive in a fight. Nowadays many of the disciples serve as a kind of special forces/secret police role in the greater empire, but there are monasteries that don’t serve the government- directly, anyway.

Observances

  • Draw No Blood.
  • Never Disobey Your Leader.
  • Do Not Allow Someone to Suffer in Your Stead.
  • Do Not Harm Children.


Perks

  • No penalty for casting in any armor.
  • Immediately gain Expertise (Weapon Mastery) for any bludgeoning melee weapon and gain that weapon. (unlocks kill counting for this specific weapon)

 

Level Experience BAB HP Power Points BR DT PT CH SP TR
1 2000 +1 1d6+CON 1 15 12 15 16 16 15
2 4000 +1 2d6+CON 2 15 12 15 16 16 15
3 8000 +2 3d6+CON 3 13 10 13 14 14 13
4 16000 +2 4d6+CON 5 13 10 13 14 14 13
5 32000 +3 5d6+CON 8 11 8 11 12 12 11
6 64000 +3 5d6+CON 11 11 8 11 12 12 11
7 128000 +3 5d6+CON 14 11 8 11 12 12 11
8 256000 +3 5d6+CON 17 11 8 11 12 12 11
9 500000 +4 6d6+CON 20 9 6 9 10 10 9

 

Powers

Level 1

Gain both.

Monkey Leap 1P D: Instant T: Self

Bound forward up to (MV+1)*10 ft instead of moving normally, and add 1 to damage if attacking someone at the end of the move.

Corollary 3P- Leap a distance of 2MV*10 ft instead, but you are unable to attack at the end.

Note: MV is yet another invention of my brother’s that abstracts overland, combat, and dungeoneering movement into a single statistic. For now, all you need to know is that each point in MV = 10ft of movement in combat.

Monkey Stand 1P D: Concentration T: Self

Lock yourself in place, requiring STR 20 to displace as long as you remain stationary. Save if you take damage or the spell ends.

Corollary 1P- This may be cast as a reaction.

Corollary 4P- If you pass the save against damage, it is reflected back at the source. You still take the damage.


Level 2

Pick 1

Invigorate 2P D: 1 Turn T:Self

Fill yourself with life energy, gaining 1d10 temporary health.

Corollary 2P: gain an extra 1d6 of health for each additional PP. Incrementable, cost increases by one per increment.

Feather 2P D:Instant T: Object or Creature R:100’

You make an object or creature the size of a human the weight of a feather, either for one round or, if airborne, until it lands. Most objects will fall about 2’ per second so affected. Can be cast as a reaction.

Corollary 1P: The creature/object affected increases by 1 SZ.

 

Level 3

Pick 2

Deafness 2P  D:1 Turn   T:Creature   R: 5*LVL ft   Sv CH Negates

Target creature becomes unable to hear.

Silence 2P  D:1 Turn  T:Creature   R: 5*LVL ft  Sv CH Negates

Target creature becomes unable to speak.

Fool’s Strike 3P   D:1 Round    T:Self

On your next attack with a bludgeoning weapon, instead of dealing damage, move a target (weapon damage die) * 10 ft in a given direction. Crashing into a wall or another person inflicts the remaining movement/10 as damage to both.

Corollary (S)P- may apply (S) bonus for the purposes of calculating damage/distance

Fool’s Gambit 3P  D:1d6 Rounds   T:Self

You conjure two images of yourself, causing the next attack against you to have a 1/3rd chance of missing. Images disappear when struck.

Corollary 4P- conjure two additional images

Level 4

Pick 3

Blindness 2P  D:1 Turn   T:Creature   R: 5*LVL ft  Sv CH
Target creature is struck utterly blind for the duration.

Monkey’s Coin 3P  D:1 Turn   T:Self  

The Houhai Disciple manipulates fate, causing the next roll they make to be either 1 or 20.

Corollary 2P- instead targets the next attack or spellcasting roll with the disciple as the target.

Feeblemindedness 2P  D:1d4 rounds  T:Creature   R: 5*LVL ft  Sv CH

Target creature is struck utterly stupid, such that their Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma are 1 for the duration of the spell

Clangor 2P  D:Concentration  R: 10*LVL (max 50) feet diameter  Sv SP Negates

By releasing an unpleasant howl, the disciple causes everyone within range to become dazed (-1 to all rolls and no reactions). Once a creature saves, they are immune to the effect for the rest of the combat.

Corollary 2P – Affected creatures also receive your WIS bonus as a penalty to all rolls.

Corollary 2P – Affected creatures are stunned (either move or attack, -2 to all rolls) instead of dazed.

Shake 5P  T: Self  R: 10’ ft radius circle Sv BR Negates

The disciple slams their weapon on the ground, dealing their weapon damage, and knocking all in the area prone, with their Strength bonus as a penalty to the save.

Corollary 5P – increase the radius of effect by 10*STR bonus

Level 5

Pick 4

Minimize 2+Target SZ squared P  D: 1 Turn   T:Self

The disciple shrinks themselves, gaining a strength penalty equal to the sum of all the SZ changes while gaining 2 plus that sum to AC.  Damage die for weapons is reduced by one size per SZ.(So SZ 0 to -3 would be 1+2+3 = 6 Strength penalty, and +8 AC)

Maximize 2+Target SZ squared P  D: 1 Turn   T: Self   

The disciple grows in size, gaining a strength bonus to equal to all the SZ changes and losing that sum plus 2 to AC. Damage die for weapons is increased by one size per SZ. Sufficient room to grow must be available, otherwise this spell fails.

Note on SZ: yet another of my brother’s inventions. SZ 0 is human sized. Negatives are smaller, positives larger. Goes 4 categories in each direction; creatures larger than or smaller than that have special rules. 

Monkey’s Blessing 6P  D: 1 Turn   T: Self

The disciple channels the wily nature of their deity, becoming slippery and impossible to hit. For the duration, the disciple can not be struck by a counter-attack or attack of opportunity, and gains +2 to all saves as long as they did not attack this round.

Monkey’s Curse 6P  D: 1d6 rounds   T: Creature   R: 5*LVL ft

The disciple lays a divine curse upon a target they have not dealt damage to recently, causing them to immediately fail one kind of save caused by the disciple’s powers or abilities.

Invisibility 6P  D: 1 hour/LVL  T:Self  

The disciple turns invisible. The disciple is not silent, and the spell ends early if they attack someone.  

Monkeyhide 6P  D: 1d6 rounds  T:Self

The disciple toughens themselves against assault, reducing all incoming damage by 1 per die as long as the disciple has not attacked the source this round.

Corollary 6P – reduce incoming damage by 2 per die instead.

Screech 4P  D:1 Turn   T:Creature   R:15 ft   Sv SP Negates

The disciple emits a frightful supersonic screech, dealing 5d6 sonic damage to all those caught in the area and stunning them for 1d4 rounds. This will also shatter glass and other fragile objects.

Corollary 2P – deal no damage, but those in the area of effect are automatically stunned for 1d6 rounds.

Decoy 2P  D:1 Turn   T:Creature   R: 5*LVL ft

The disciple disappears, a nearby object no larger than the disciple (and no smaller than their) clenched fist) taking their place. The monkey disciple reappears where the object was. This MUST be cast as a reaction to an attack

Corollary 4P- instead switch places with a willing target.

Note: in general, classes have a an achievement gap at levels 6-9 where they progression as more effective killing machines halts for a bit. This idea was revealed to my brother* in a dream, and therefore must be valid. It also has the effect of bringing characters into the domain game earlier and closing the gulf between higher and lower level characters is less drastic (though not so small as GLOG characters). 

 

Level 9

Gain one randomly rolled.

Miraculous Sense 30P  T:Creature   R:Touch  

The disciple channels their holy power to return sensation, sanity, or ability to a willing target. This spell can cure blindness, deafness, the loss of any other sense, feeblemindedness and insanity, as well as wake someone from a coma or allow a crippled person to walk again.

Earthquake 20P  D: 1 Turn  T:Creature   R:100 ft radius circle   Sv CH

The disciple, by merely touching the ground, causes a great tremor to affect a local area around the disciple. For 1d4 rounds no creature in the area of effect can move or act, and take 6d6 damage. Further effects determined by the terrain the spell is cast in. (blatantly stolen from SRD)

Cave, Cavern, or Tunnel

The spell collapses the roof, dealing 8d6 points of bludgeoning damage to any creature caught under the cave-in (Sv BR half) and pinning that creature beneath the rubble (see below). An earthquake cast on the roof of a very large cavern could also endanger those outside the actual area but below the falling debris.

Cliffs

Earthquake causes a cliff to crumble, creating a landslide that travels horizontally as far as it fell vertically. Any creature in the path takes 8d6 points of bludgeoning damage (Sv BR half) and is pinned beneath the rubble (see below).

Open Ground

Each creature standing in the area falls down. Fissures open in the earth, and every creature on the ground must save vs Breath or fall into a fissure 20 feet deep.

Structure

Any structure standing on open ground takes 100 points of damage, enough to collapse a typical wooden, masonry building, stone, or reinforced masonry, but probably not a massive curtain wall. Any creature caught inside a collapsing structure takes 8d6 points of bludgeoning damage (Sv BR half) and is pinned beneath the rubble (see below).

River, Lake, or Marsh

Fissures open underneath the water, draining away the water from that area and forming muddy ground. Soggy marsh or swampland becomes quicksand for the duration of the spell, sucking down creatures and structures. Each creature in the area must make a save vs Breath or sink down in the mud and quicksand. At the end of the spell, the rest of the body of water rushes in to replace the drained water, possibly drowning those caught in the mud.

Pinned beneath Rubble

Any creature pinned beneath rubble takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per minute while pinned. If a pinned character falls unconscious, he or she must make a save against Death or take 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute thereafter until freed or dead.

Monkey Walk 10P  D: 1 day T:Self  

The disciple becomes extremely fleet of foot, moving at double rate and becoming able to freely walk on ceilings, walls, or any surface wider than a hand across.

Corollary 10P- Increase the MV multiplier by 1.

UP NEXT IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: Some worldbuilding nonsense for my ringworld setting, two/three more Adept subclasses, short explanation of classes and other game mechanics I’ll use.

*Did I mention he has a blog? I’m going to mention it again. Check it out here: kill your dungeon master

 

Artifacts of Nature

Tigerkin Cloak

A half cloak made from a skinned tiger, slashed down the length. Old and stained brown with blood. Once belonged to a hunter who learned his trade from tigers, and turned against them for profit.

You are invisible when standing still in forest environments. All attacks against the rear are made at +4 and deal double damage. However, rear attacks against you also have this effect.

Fly Thief’s Rod

A large ragged stick with many circular holes. Things seem to be moving in the dark gaps, but a close examination reveals nothing. One end is sharp. Many daring escapes were made by the eccentric thief that once carried this artifact.

With a sacrifice of blood (lose half of max HP) you may make an insect or arachnid massive. The insect’s demeanor towards you on 2d6: 2-3 actively attacking you 4-10 ambivalent/confused >10 loyal. The insect will die after 6 hours.

Ash Eating Scarab

A small brass scarab, plain and scorched. Found discarded in a burnt orchard following a famine that killed half a nation. Chirps and buzzes maliciously.

Planting the scarab on any tree causes it to lay an egg within. In a 1d10 rounds, the tree will burst into flames, becoming a fire elemental as tall as the tree that created it (and of appropriate size). The fire elemental owes the owner no allegiance and will immediately seek to consume more burnable material.

Dreamer’s Owl

An apparently dead, tiny, stuffed owl. Grey, with amber eyes, and an angry face. The result of a failed experiment by a wizard.

By whispering a name and description in the owl’s ear-hole, one can cause the owl’s specter to appear in the target’s dream and deliver a message. Each night the owner will dream of a forest with a chorus of hooting, and has a one-in-ten chance of meeting the owl’s cranky ghost, whereupon they can ask it a question. It knows everything there is to know about every forest in the world and is generally far smarter than most humans.

Feather of the God-Crow

A massive black feather, the length of someone’s forearm. Stolen by an enterprising rogue, who wrought havoc before arrows and hubris brought her down.

When affixed into the flesh of a target, willing or unwilling, the feather turns them into a massive crow monster with stats as a giant falcon (or similar). The target must save or lose control during the transformation and act like a very angry bird. The transformed can attempt to return to human form every 8 hours for the next day on a successful save. Otherwise, the transformation of permanent.

The Gardening Ring

A coiling golden ring fashioned in the form of a common garden snake. Covers the entirety of the proximal finger segment. Made for a gardener who wished to save his blighted crops. The desperately ill and their petitioners tore him limb from limb in search of the ring.

The ring can at a mere touch draw all sickness out of the target and into the wearer. The wearer will get a save to prevent the disease, but must save to stop themselves from using the ring whenever an opportunity presents itself. This works on plants and animals as well.

Soporific Centipede

An apparently mundane centipede, save for its fatness and laziness. It can not speak, but wizards and druids have determined that it also possesses intelligence, and hails from a time so distant that even the air was inimical to humanity, or so it claims.

Swallowing the centipede whole transforms you into mud. You are now made of mud, and immune to all non-magical damage. Once per day, you can turn something your touching into mud. You also gained a crushing attack, d10+2 damage. You can not wear armor, use weapons, or cast spells with somatic components, but you can store things in your body. Poisons and toxins have no effect on you. You can increase your size as long as enough mud is available, and decrease in size over time (down one category each week). You can be dried out or washed away. The transformation only ends if the centipede leaves your body- good luck convincing it.

The Book of Autumn

A book bound in orange and brown leaves and twine. The by-blow of a mad wizard hired by a foolish king to destroy his enemy’s kingdom.

Opening the book to a certain page forces everything in a 100′ radius to save or die. The whole geographic region is afflicted by a a fast-acting blight that wipes out the current year’s crop. You don’t know which page does this.

The book also functions as a spellbook. In lieu of listing spells that you may or may not use, in general it should contain two killing spells (Finger of Death, Slay Living, or Power Word Kill for example) a weather controlling spell and some kind of cursing spell.

False Sun Brooch

A simple square clasp made of a dark unidentified metal, decorated with an abstract lightning motif (upper right). Made by a sage who claimed lightning was an aspect of the sun.

Grants the wearer immunity to electrical damage, and can glow with strange purplish light at will, functioning as a torch. Allows them to travel through the sky at the speed of light during thunderstorms, landing and taking off with a flash of lightning. The wearer takes double fire damage, and takes 1d6 damage for every round spent in sunlight.

Spell-Thief’s Spring

A place, instead of an object. An unassuming well, buried within the sewers of a great city. Immensely deep. Once the haunt of a prodigious spell-thief, who in his final moments threw all his pilfered tomes and baubles down into the abyss, along with himself.

Water taken from the spring has the strange quality of attracting spells. Any spell cast within 15 feet of the water will instead target it, creating a medium water elemental with the ability to cast the spell that created it three times a day. They owe no allegiance to anyone, but can be bargained with. This effect works with water carried away from the spring.