Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Anyone Can Cast Spells (via Ritual Magic) Option (OSR)

Anyone Can Cast Spells Option
For my OSR Mythos and Sword and Sorcery games I decided to come up with an option where anyone, regardless of class, can attempt to cast a spell via ritual magic. It also allows spellcasting classes a chance to cast spells of higher levels they have acquired.

The normal considerations of ritual magic apply.

For non-spellcasters to cast a Spell (or spellcasters to cast a spell above their current level or a spell not yet learned with a spell slot) the following steps must be achieved:

1. The Spell must be found or taught.
Grimoires, scrolls, writings carved on walls, mad hermits, magical lodges, etc.

2. The Spell must be in a format the caster can understand.
This could be being translated from an ancient language to one the caster understand or verbally taught by a teacher.

3. Learning how to cast the spell takes eight hours per spell level. A fifth level spell would take forty hours of study and practice to learn.

4. Casting requires time. Ten minutes per spell level. A fifth level Spell takes fifty minutes minimum to cast. The DM may require materials to be used as well.
The main cost of this type of casting is time. Time can be incredibly valuable in a dungeon or during a Mythos incident.

5. The Casting Roll.
To actually cast the Spell requires an Int check with a penalty equal to the Spell Level. A character with an Int of 13 attempts to cast the fifth level spell. The Spell will succeed if he rolls a 1-8 on a 1d20.

Extra casting time can increase this chance. For each full casting time increment past the minimum the caster can add a + 2 to the roll.
Four times the minimum is the most that this method can be used.
For the fifth level spell: if the time taken is 50 minutes the roll is still an 8.
If 100 minutes is taken the roll is now 10.
For 150 Minutes the roll is 12.
For 200 minutes the roll is 14.

If the Casting Roll fails:
Time and consumable materials are lost. The caster can attempt the Spell again with an additional -4 penalty to the total Casting Roll or he can wait 24 hours and avoid this penalty.

Multiple Casters:
The person leading the ritual uses his Casting Roll. For each additional caster add a +1 to the roll. The maximum bonus is equal to the Spell's level. The fifth level Spell would have a maximum of a +5 bonus no matter how many actually participated in the ritual.

Used in conjunction with extra casting time this option can really increase the chance of the casting roll's success.

Warrior Bard (OSR)

Warrior Bard (Minstrel, Skald, etc)
Prime Requ: Cha
Exp: As Magic User
HD: 1d6+2
Save: as Thief
Attack: As Fighter
Weapons: Any.
Armor: Leather and shield to use thief abilities.

Thief Abilities.
Climb Walls, Detect Noise, and  Pick Pockets as a thief of equivalent level.

Extra Languages.
The Bard  begins with half again as many extra languages as normal (round up.) For example: if the Bard  would normally get one extra, he would get two (1.5 rounded up). If he would get two extra he would get three, etc.

Read Language.
This is an important ability since words are the meat and drink of Bard s and the Warrior Bard  has no ready access to Read Language spells. He has an  80% chance to read any normal writing or language (including simple codes, dead languages, treasure maps, and so on, but not magical writings). If he tries but fails to read apiece of writing, he must gain at least one experience level before trying to read it again.

Influence Reactions.
When performing before a group that is not attacking (and not intending to attack in just seconds), the Bard  can try to alter the mood of the listeners. He can try to soften their mood or make it uglier. The method can be whatever is most suitable to the situation at the moment -- a fiery speech, collection of jokes, a sad tale, a fine tune played on a fiddle, a haunting lute melody, or a heroic song from the old homeland. Everyone in the group listening must roll a Saving Throw (vs Paralyzation in LL, etc) (if the crowd is large, make saving throws for groups of people using average hit dice). The die roll is modified by -1 for every three experience levels of the Bard  (round fractions down). If the Saving Throw fails the group's reaction can be shifted one level toward either the friendly or hostile end of the scale, at the player's option. Those who make a successful Saving Throw have their reaction shifted one level toward the opposite end of the scale.

The music, poetry, and stories of the Bard can also be inspirational, rallying friends and allies. If the exact nature of an impending threat is known, the Bard  can heroically inspire his companions (immortalizing them in word and song), granting a +1 bonus to attack rolls, or a +1 bonus to Saving Throws, or a +2 bonus to morale (particularly useful in large battles) to those involved in melee. The Bard  must spend at least three full rounds singing or reciting before the battle begins. This affects those within a range of 10 feet per experience level of the Bard .

The effect lasts one round per level. Once the effect wears off it can't be renewed if the recipients are still in battle. However, troops who have withdrawn from combat can be inspired again by the Bard 's words. A troop of soldiers, inspired by Cwell, could charge into battle. After fighting a fierce fight, they retreat and the enemy does not pursue.
Cwell, seeing them crestfallen and dispirited, once again rouses their will to fight. Reinvigorated, they charge back into battle with renewed spirit

Finally, Bards learn a little bit of everything in their studies and travels. Bards have a 5% chance per experience level to know local events and history. They also use the same chance to identify the general purpose and function of any magical item. The Bard  need not handle the item but must examine it closely taking 1d10 rounds. Even if successful, the exact function of the item is not revealed, only its general nature. Since Cwell the Fine is 2nd level, he has a 10% chance to know something about a magical sword +1. If he succeeds, he knows whether the sword is cursed and whether it has an alignment ("This sword was used by the evil warrior Lurdas. I wouldn't touch it if I were you!"). This ability does not enable him to identify the sword's exact properties, only its history and background. He has no idea of its bonuses or penalties or any special magical powers, except as can be inferred from the histories.

Level 10: A Bard  can read and cast magic from magic-user (and elf) scrolls with 90% accuracy, just like a thief.

Magical Items:
Bard s may employ any magical weapons not specifically restricted to a single class (of course, the weapon must be of a type Bards can normally use). They may wear magical armor of the type appropriate to their armor restrictions. They may also use all other magic items usable by Fighters and Thieves and may use a Horn of Valhalla.

Hounds of Tindalos and Miri Nigri (OSR)

Two Mythos races I was asked to build for the upcoming new version of Petty Gods.

The Hounds of Tindalos 
No. Enc.:  1d4+2
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Fly/Swim:  240' (80')
Armor Class:  4
Hit points (HD): 25hp (5 HD)
Attacks: tongue attack
Damage: 1d8 dmg + Special
Save: F5
Morale: 12  
Hoard Class: None
XP:  920

The Hounds of Tindalos live millions of years in the past occupying the angles of existence whereas normal life inhabit the curves of space and time. They are utterly alien to life as we know it and are vicious predators of both ethereal vapor and strange matter. They do not communicate; they only hunt and destroy. If an entity physically or mentally travels to the distant past of these creatures he risks attracting their attention and inevitably becomes hunted through time and space.

The Hounds are a fearsome enemy. They are not easily defeated.  
Travel Through Angles
The Hounds travel through time and space using angles in our reality as doorways: any angle such as corners of rooms, ceilings, doorways, etc. The angle does not have to be large as the Hound assumes a vaporous form to travel through the angle gateways, but it must be sufficiently angled: at least 120 degrees.

When entering and exiting an angle gateway the Hound stretches and becomes vaporous. It takes three rounds to completely pour itself through and reform on the other side of an angle. 

While vaporous it can only be hit by magic weapons and spells. 

Flawless Track
Once they Hounds take notice of an individual they can track him unerringly across time and space. They will arrive at the victim's time and location at the DM's discretion and their arrival will be announced by the pouring of an ethereal vapor or smoke pouring from the angles they are sliding into that dimension through. They are tireless in their pursuit and do not give up.

Blue Ichor 
The Hound exude a thick blue ichor or pus from their bodies. This ichor, covering their body in sufficient quantities
, allows the Hound to regenerate 2 hp per round. If the Hound is submerged, lit afire, or some other means is used to wipe the coating from the Hound it does not regenerate until the blue ichor reforms over enough of their bodies. It takes 1d4 +2 rounds to sufficiently reform for regeneration.

If the Hound is grappled or the blue ichor comes into contact with a living being not from the Hound's existence the victim must make a Saving Throw vs Poison or lose 1d4 hit points. This effect lasts for 1d6 rounds and the victim gets a Saving Throw each round to avoid damage. The blue ichor can be wiped or washed off taking a full round to do so. 

Tongue Attack
The tongue of a Hound is a horrific thing allowing it to attack creatures withing 10' of its position. In addition to normal damage the Tongue drains vital fluids and life force from the victim, causing horrific wounds in its wake. 

There are two ways a DM can interpret this ability, depending on the level of lethality they wish to inject into their game. 

The first option is a Level Drain: 
The classic feared and permanent method of harming the foolish or unlucky.

The second option is a Constitution Drain: 
1d4 Constitution is lost per hit. The character is dead at 0 Constitution.
No hit points can be healed until all of the Constitution damage is healed. Constitution can be healed at the rate of one point per week of total rest. Healing magic will heal one point of Constitution per healing dice involved plus any modifiers. 
(Example: a spell healing 1d6+1 hit points would heal two Constitution points.)

Miri Nigri 
No. Enc.:  2d6+4
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
 Armor Class:  6 
Hit pts. (HD):  9 hp (2HD)
Attacks:  2 claws 
Damage: 1d3 each
Save: F2
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None. All treasure is for Chaugnar Faugn.
XP: 50

The Miri Nigri are a dwarfish race of inhuman servants,dark skinned with toadish features. They are tireless in serving their creator and god, the slumbering Chaugnar Faugn. They are sent forth to steal men and women for the vampiric hunger of their god.

The subterranean  Miri Nigri have infravision of 90'. 
Their dark coloration, natural stealthiness and small stature give them an advange when surprising opponents. They surprise on a 1-4 on a 1d6.  Their amphibious nature also allows them this bonus when in water.