Monday, 24 February 2020

Wizard Rework Finale: The Death of Spell Levels + 500 Levelless Spells

Last year I reworked wizards so that they used Mana instead of spell slots.

In that very post I said the following -

This is part of my soft move towards all spells becoming scaling Level 1 spells, a la Wonders & Wickedness. This way I can still use the regular spells in the book while any new spells can be introduced at Level 1.

Time to make that soft move a HARD MOVE BABYYYYYY.



A Whole Load of Spells


First off, here's my big list of 500 levelless spells (and counting!) culled from many sources.


Ten Foot Polemic Spell List


If you look at the sources you'll notice there's lots GLOG-adjacent stuff because translating "[dice]" to caster level is a pretty easy shift!
I'm still adding stuff (next is to scavenge spells from individual GLOG wizards..) but biggest thanks to Isaak Hill, Skerples, Lost Pages, and this imminentchurchengine person who posted a massive d200 spell list on reddit.

Spells are hash-marked because it's sometimes useful to be like "You find scroll #154" and then look up the hash later when they finally identify it.


Quick rundown of what's in this sheet -

Generator:
Generates random MU and Necromancer spells and random spell mishaps for each.

Magic-User:

One big list of all the wizard spells I've got so far!

Magic-User Mishaps:

Automated version of Aura's wild magic table. Pulls through to the Generator tab, but useful if you need a specific table result.

Necromancer:
Big list of Necromancer spells. Currently fairly short, but more to come!

Spellbook Generator:
 Generates 6 MU spellbooks and 6 Necromancer grimoires.
The MU one is designed to give starting wizards mostly standard LotFP L1 starter spells with 1-2 fun ones from the whole list. Got to make sure new Wizards mostly get the classics!
Necromancers get their archetypical spell Subjugate Dead and 3 random spells from the whole list. I might change that if the Necromancer spell list gets anywhere near as big as the MU one, but it's fine for now! Raising and controlling the Dead is the main one, after all.

The layout is meant for copy-pasting into a doc for printing, which is why it looks a bit janky, and it doesn't update if you refresh the page, sorry!

Wizard spells should spit out into this document if I've got it right - Beginner MU Spellbooks.
And Necromancer spells should come out here - Beginner Necromancer Spellbooks.




Get on my Level

So - the obvious. All spells are now "Levelless", or effectively first level spells that scale with caster level.
This means I can tighten up the spellcasting rules as follows:

Mana: You have 1 Mana per level. This powers your spells.
You can still cast spells when you’re out of Mana, it’s just significantly more dangerous.
Your Mana Pool refills after 8 hours of rest.

Casting: You have two ways of casting spells.
Bound: Bind spells in advance. For those who plan ahead.
Wild: Cast instantly and spontaneously. For those who live in the moment.

Spellbinding: Spend 1 Mana and 10 minutes meditating with a spellbook to create a Bound Spell.
It takes a round to cast a Bound Spell - declare casting as an Action, it goes off at the start of your next turn. If you get hurt mid-cast, Save vs Chaos. On success you maintain casting, on failure the spell goes off immediately as a Chaos Burst

Wild Magic: Roll 2d6 on this table plus:

Skill: Your Intelligence modifier.
Bulk: -1 per Encumbrance level
Mana: For each Mana you spend, roll an extra 1d6.
Blood: For each HP you sacrifice, add +1.

Wild Magic is cast instantly as an Action.




Caster Differentiation

I had a few ideas about caster differentiation on one of the initial posts, but I've had a couple of slight changes of heart since!
Most significantly I'm making Necromancers have the same casting rules as others. This has necessitated separate spooky-themed Chaos Burst and Cosmic Horror tables, but that's part of the fun!
A smaller change is to move back to Magic-Users having one Familiar. I liked the idea of a powerful wizard being surrounded by a cloud of animals and people being able to guess what they've got prepped, but having a single Familiar (or two, in one notable case) is pretty iconic in my game now.

In short -
  • Magic-Users get a Familiar and the most flexibility.
  • Necromancers get a separate spooky spell list and need bodily fluids and stuff to cast spells at full power.
  • Muscle Wizards trade range for close-combat capability.
  • Elves get themed superpowers but can only cast Wild Magic.
Each caster class also gets a unique Vengeance when they die, which I thought would be a fun way to make the chaotic casters inject even more chaos into a situation!

Full player facing stuff is in the Quick Class Breakdowns, but here's the rundown using the casting rules above as the baseline.



Magic-User


Starting Spells: 
Start with a Spellbook containing four random spells.

Familiar:
Choose a smallish animal to be your Familiar at character creation. Familiars obey orders, communicate telepathically, and cannot die. If ever somehow destroyed, your Familiar reforms next to you.
Spells can be cast through your Familiar - counting it as the origin point of the spell.

Cantrips:
When you bind a spell, you can bind it into your own head or into your Familiar.
Spells bound in your head grant you access to Cantrips - minor magical effects on the general theme of the bound spell, eg. Sleep could make someone yawn or Magic Missile might give you a bonus to Aim actions.
Spells bound to your Familiar grant it useful mutations. Shield might give it a tough shell or Spider-Climb could give it spider legs to climb up walls.
These effects last until you cast the spell.

Wizard Vengeance:
When you die your Familiar mutates into a horrifying demon and takes revenge.
Unspent Mana gives it more power. Uncast Bound Spells give it more abilities.
Roll it up with this generator: Saker's Summon Hack.
It's base HD is your level +1 for each unspent Mana you had.
It can cast any remaining Bound Spells you had at-will.



Notes:
Moving to levelless spells really streamlines this class.
Familiars are the only change to before - back to a single creature.
Familiars are good for signal-boosting spells, delivering Touch or Area attacks at range, and mutating into useful forms for shenanigans.

Oh also I'm so glad I was linked to that Summon hack! Great stuff!




Necromancer


Starting Spells:
Start with a Grimoire containing Subjugate Dead and 3 random spells.

Vials:
Also start with a bandolier of glass vials. You fill these with the ritual components of your spells.
The bandolier is non-encumbering, but when you fill a vial it is added to your inventory.
You can stack up to 5 identical vials to an encumbrance slot.

Components:
You require vials of ritual components to cast spells at full power. The components are listed in the spell descriptions.
Sacrifice the required components when you cast the spell, otherwise the spell is cast as though you're a level 1 caster.

Last Breath:
The Dead will only obey those who speak with their voice, and so the most important ritual component is Last Breath - the final gasp of a sapient creature.
Breathing this in grants you the Voice of the Dead - crucial for raising, subjugating and controlling your Dead minions. A single vial lasts 10 minutes, after which your minions will simply obey the last order they were given.

Death Resistance:
Bound spells are ghosts that live in your bones and help hold your soul in.
Each Bound Spell grants you +1 when you roll to Tempt Fate.

Necromancer Vengeance:
When you die you release a wave of death magic and vengeful ghosts.
This deals 1d6 damage per unspent Mana and uncast Bound Spell to every living thing within 10'/level.



Notes:
Streamlining the Necromancer to be in line with other casters is good for newbies.
While in the previous version I envisaged the Necromancer as the mirror of an Elf - ie. can't do Wild Magic while an Elf can only do Wild Magic - it turns out every newbie finds "Necromancer" more evocative than "Magic-User"!


They've still got a "prepare in advance" vibe through their need to have vials of stuff ready in their bandolier, but you'll notice this doesn't matter at Level 1.
It would suck to be a new player or new character starting in the middle of a dungeon and find out you're unable to cast your spells because you don't have any salt or eye jelly on hand!
The components are loosely themed - like salt is for warding spells and blood is for affecting living things. I'll be building up the Necromancer spell list over the next little while, so more to come!
Having a bandolier of stuff for Necromancy is, naturally, inspired by Abhorsen. Albeit those were bells not vials of phlegm and bone dust.


The exception is Last Breath for their signature spell, as you'll see in the Subjugate Dead spell description in the starter grimoires.
Last Breath is evocative and also pretty readily available in any delve - just do a murder!

I also dig the idea that intelligent Dead are powerful because they don't need Last Breath to control minions - they're already speaking with the Voice of the Dead.
The ten minute limit on Last Breath is so you can micromanage your minions in a combat situation, but outside of combat you'll need to put them on autopilot.

Oh yea, and if you bind your spells in advance it makes it harder for you to die! Cool huh?
And then if you do die, you pull every motherfucker in the room into hell with you.


If you've got any rad Chaos Bursts or Cosmic Horrors for Necromancers, hit me up. I need more entries!




Muscle Wizard


Starting Spells:
Start with a Spellbook containing 4 random spells.

Muscle Magic:
Your fists deal 1d4 magical damage and count as Shanky weapons.
All spells have a maximum range of 10' - punching distance - and casting your spells must be combined with an unarmed attack.
You choose whether a spell you cast affects you, your target, or both.

Core Power:
Mana suffuses your core, increasing your resilience.
You gain +2 HP for each unspent Mana in your Mana Pool.

Bound Strength:
Binding spells moves them into your muscles to grant yourself physical power.
Each Bound Spell grants your unarmed attacks +1 to hit and +1 to damage.

Final Impact:
When you die you can flash-step to somewhere in the scene, utter a final line, and unleash your ultimate move.
Deal 1d6 damage per unspent Mana and uncast Bound Spell to a creature in the vicinity.


Notes:
I still laugh at that ridiculous Wide Kylo Ren meme. Anyway...
No big changes to the previous version, except they've got to choose between +HP and +attack with their Mana.
Do you keep it in Mana form so you're tough? Or turn it into Bound Spells so you're buff?
Remember - there's no penalty to casting Bound Spells in armour, so you can mitigate the HP tradeoff with better AC.


Affecting yourself and someone else with a single spell is very intended. Being able to go two-for-one on a buff spell at the cost of punching your mate in the face makes me laugh.



Elf


Heartspell:
Elves start with a single random spell from this list. This is their Heartspell.
It defines what powers they will receive and the monster they will become.

Wild Mage:
Elves cannot Bind spells.
They can cast their Heartspell instantly as an Action. Other spells require a Wild Magic roll to twist their Heartspell into a new shape.

Changeling:
The more Mana an Elf has, the more powers and mutations they manifest.
Mutations and powers can be found here - Elf Mutation List.
These power tiers are based on Mana, not character level, so they lose their gifts as they use up Mana.
If an Elf runs out of Mana they can no longer cast spells - they are human once more.

Moondancer:
Elves do not sleep, but they do disappear for hours at night to dance beneath the moon.
They are gone for an hour per level at some point during the night. When they return, their Mana is back to full.
Their powers wax as the moon wanes.
They get +1 Mana during a Crescent Moon, and double Mana during the New Moon.
They get -1 Mana during a Gibbous Moon, and half Mana during a Full Moon.

Cold Iron:
Cold iron weapons deal maximum damage to Elves.
Cold iron is simply iron that is cold - not a special type of metal.
Sustained contact with cold iron locks the Elf off from their powers, reverting them to human form until the cold iron is removed.

Wild Vengeance:
When an Elf dies it releases a Chaos Burst of its Heartspell per unspent Mana, each randomly targeted at any creature within 50'.


Notes: No big changes here, other than to give them their own special Vengeance thing.
That'll be great fun if my players face enemy Elves...
There's another minor difference to other casters - Elves technically can run out of spells! If you want to cast that dangerous 2d6 Wild Magic you'll need to keep a Mana back so you stay an Elf rather than some measly human.



original muscle wizard pic before I remembered about Ben Swolo

Finale Worde

So there you have it! What I always kind of wanted to do with the caster classes but was too lazy to follow through with!
Big big thanks to KingPenta who was the main person to nudge me into de-levelling the lotfp spells, and another big thanks to the GLOGosphere who I will continue to mine for levelless spells.
Turns out I find it kind of relaxing to translate content into my game's own idiom? I figure I'll just keep building it up over time.

Part of the fun is going to be adding my players' spells to the list over time as they research them, and in fact there are already a few in there from Sophia's brief but shining run as an Elf.

Conveniently enough one of my players has rolled up a Necromancer and another just rolled up a Wizard after his previous character united with his god and ascended ever so slowly to heaven, so I'll actually be able to see how they go in play!

7 comments:

  1. This is amazing James! So much cool new content, can't wait to see how it pans out in play. Also, loving spell #6359

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    1. Hopefully it pans out POORLY FOR EVERYONE HA HA HA

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  2. Thanks for doing this!

    Also, I had my own encounter with the mysterious Immanent Church Engine, as seen here (note that I eventually found their blog, although I had no idea they were posting spell lists to reddit as well!):
    https://diyanddragons.blogspot.com/2019/02/imminent-chuch-engines-ascii-dungeons-i.html

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  3. Hey James!

    This list is brilliant; I really dig it!

    What are the licensing rights to these spells? Would you be interested in collaborating on a more user-friendly web-generator of some kind?

    I'd love to see these spells and classes get a wider reach.

    Reply here, or shoot me an email technicalgrimoire@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. I'd absolutely be interested, but I think even though I've rewritten all the spells it'd be a bit suspect to claim them as my own intellectual property?
      Maybe we can just ask the people I nicked them from whether it's ok to chuck them in a generator.

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    2. Sounds like a plan! Shoot me an email and we can hammer out the specifics: davidschirduan@gmail.com

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