Saturday, September 5, 2020

Pantheon as DCC Patrons, Part One- Our Lady of Gardens, Murulu, The Fairy Queen, and Zaba (But really just the first two)

In the triple realm of King's Point, Queen's Coast, and Prince's Spit, there are four major supernatural forces that many call upon. I got a bit distracted thinking about the  d e e p   l o r e for my new campaign so by all means scroll down to the big numbered lists, but this is a doozy of a post either way.

Our Lady of Gardens is the goddess of, roughly speaking, the agricultural revolution and city-based society. Her domain is over the commonly domesticated animals such as goats, sheep, cattle, chickens, peasants, and so on(dogs included but they have their own canid deity), and she grew in power considerably after the Horse God of Yuba perished and horses fell (for the most part) under her protection, and again when the dominant sun-god Riikhus perished and the Stone Sun pantheon that she was part of collapsed, leaving her as sole guardian of the Tripartite Realm. Additionally, she is the one who, back in wilder days of antiquity, tamed the wild plants into orderly grain and vegetables, and while the harvest is determined by the will of the slavering moons beyond the reach of the sun, here in the Daylands it is by her grace the crops grow healthy and fruitful.
The Lady has a plan for humanity, just as a farmer has plans for a farm. She values social acumen, symmetry(an anti-chaos measure), health and skill, and so seeks to matchmake families, spinning a web of relationships in the hopes of raising individuals and institutions that are optimally suited to keep civilization intact through the regular cataclysms that wrack the world. Each of the three realms takes a slightly different approach, though whether this is cultural and clergical drift or the actual will of the goddess to test alternate models is most unclear. Anathema to her are mutations and disease and mutilations, monstrous chimera and moonspawn, undead and fell sorcery, for she enjoys things to be clearly defined and in top form, able to live lives and die deaths in harmony with established society. The living labor according to their roles, and reap the rewards in the expansive afterlife of Our Lady, an arrangement that for the most part satisfies those within the three monarchies and keeps the dead quiet.

Her counterpart is Murulu, Lord of Calamities, who has leashed the flood and the famine, the earthquake and the hurricane, drought and pestilence, and many other disasters that strain and bay at their leashes, and are set upon those who have lived without suffering too long, to remind them of the fate of all flesh. But Murulu is not a wicked goddess, per se- true, mutation and blight and disaster are directed by her to some degree, but without Murulu there would be no karmic justice to these events, only a meaningless grinding of the bones of mortals and shedding of their blood to feed the elements from whence they came. Murulu lurks at the edge of the world, able to direct disaster but not prevent it. Those who worship Murulu are not spared misfortune, but they may pick their poisons. Under Murulu, the famine stuck lands will be spared the next plague. The blind man may trade a leg to the legless woman for an eye, and those who are hideous monsters can find peace at the side of those who see with their hearts. Murulu says 'It is easier to change your self than the world' and encourages a view of change not being something to fear, but to adapt to and see the good in. Murulu has only a 'waiting room' style afterlife for the faithful as they await reincarnation in a future generation, as her followers are fewer.

The two approaches, civilization vs anarchy, planning vs adaptation, order vs chaos, classical beauty vs unique charm, humanism vs transhumanism have lead to great conflict between the goddesses, and so too their peoples. Murulu champions a reincarnation of the Dark Lord every century to march forth with hordes of mutants and monsters to showcase the futility of Our Lady's Garden, and Our Lady assembles the usual legions of warriors, shining knights, and roguish chevaliers to counterargue via steel that it is Murulu who is in the wrong for allowing the world to develop as it pleases rather than nipping problems in the bud and pruning deviations from stability. Once upon a time they each served the Tyrant-Sun Riikhus alongside each other, and perhaps the conflict between the two is from coming to different conclusions about how to withstand the entropic attentions of reality from the experience.

Heleognostics, safely sequestered away from the wars on their island, say the conflict itself serves humanities interests in the long run. We humans are mortals after all- if we must die, why not die and contribute to this aeons old 'discussion?' (Though on the subject of 'discussions,' as an aside, the goddess M'shesh who questions death itself is rather too radical and is not endemic to this region). The Tripartite Realm has an enemy to humble it when it grows too proud, and to unite against behind a single goal when it grows too fractious. The directed calamities fall upon those who are most prepared to blunt their effects, or those villains who deserve every gust of portentous storms, and each side gets to make their point most pointedly. Those who have tired of the Tripartite Realm's societal strictures may go to the Wurderlands and Murulu under the Dark Lord's banner and get freaky, and those who long for order and non-mutant chickens can settle in the Tripartite Realm and swear fealty to Our Lady of Gardens and be cleansed, and round and round it goes.

Set apart from the endless struggle is the Queen of Fairie, once called Flora, and her Alvish Courts that live within the dreams of trees, Elfland (A more populated Ynn is how I'll run it I expect). The Alves respect the gods for their power, but smile with eyes only and remember days of ash and ruin where the Alves were, and the gods were not. Those humans who forsake the human gods and swear to serve the dreaming woods over the armies and cities of humans (or mutants) may find favor with the elves, for good or ill, if they seek Elfland in the Queenswood or atop icy Mount Celephais(or was it Aran? It matters not). There are two courts- Summer and Winter, Seelie and Unseelie, and each is inhuman and glamorous in their own way. Time treads lightly in Elfland, and the elves, goblins, fairies, and what have you have forever to do all the nothing they so enjoy, and it serves as an alluring dream for humans to retire to even before their time in the waking world is up.

And finally is Zaba, a big fat frog god who hid in the form of a legless tadpole after being defeated by the snake goddess Yg in times so ancient even the elves know nothing of them. There are froggy folk in the bogs, not quite part of the Tripartite Realm, and not quite part of the Wurderlands, and they seem happy enough in their soggy logs. Perhaps they're the ones who have the right idea, and you should beseech Zaba to become as they. Ah, Lord Zaba! Grant us flies!

Zaba is just Bobugbubilz, the default DCC frog god, with a name from Lungfungus's own frog cult and lore from my world, so I am too lazy to repost the book info here (Plus it might be illegal, idk)


Anyway...
OUR LADY OF GARDENS
Quick Priest Info
May turn mutants, monsters that have at least one part being from a real animal, undead, and killer plants.

Sacrifices to reduce disapproval are monster sacrifices or finely bred animals who go to the altar ready to be reborn again, and of course gold. All gods hunger for gold.

Opposed alignments are pretty much anyone who tries to use chaotic powers for personal benefit, and anyone chivalrous is likely good enough to count as a similar alignment.

She does sponsor wizards who work as court sorcerers and protectors of the realm, rather than the usual power-mad lunatics though.

Invoke Patron Results.
12-13- Our Lady is otherwise engaged, but sends a horde of cooing doves to provide concealment to the caster and bafflement to the enemy that lasts 1d6 rounds and acts mostly helpfully to the caster. If falling petals or leaves, wheat chaff, etc would serve just as well, that will be the manifestation instead.

14-17- A faithful but otherwise unremarkable animal arrives to assist the caster, having been in the vicinity thanks to Our Lady's foresight. Though free of societal obligations, they will wish to return to their farm sooner or later.
1-Donkey 2-Cow 3-Sheep 4-Pig 5-Goat 6- Rooster

18-19- The Lady, having foreseen these events, sends forth a 3HD lowborn Knight Errant, Royal Forester, Masked Knight, Steel Nun, Hellknight, or whichever mighty devotee of the lady is most appropriate. They arrive as soon as plausible and aid for about an hour (though as a living being, this is subject to their own discretion)

20-23- The Lady dispatches an Animal Saint from the netherworld to aid the invoker. These beings are the platonic ideal of their species, essentially creatures with all 18's in their stats, max HP, etc etc.
1-Horse 2- Cow 3-Sheep 4-Pig 5-Goat- 6-Dove. These creatures will serve the faithful as best they can, with no fear of death

24-27- An ancient hero is temporarily awakened, arriving in spirit form with 5HD, similar ghost-gear to those of the 18-19 result,  and similar terms of aid (though limited to sunrise or sundown, whichever is sooner).

28-29- A Pseudodryad is temporarily awakened from nearby plant life, which is miraculously domesticated. All small nearby animals will take the side of the dryad, and the dryad may cause small plants to trip and entangle the casters foes, while larger trees may be capable of bludgeoning them. After 2d6 rounds, the plants will return to their default state, but the small creature (if any) will remain friendly and aid the caster by guiding them to safety as best they can.
If the terrain does not support this, use the lower result.

30-31- A Winged Matchmaker (Converted Foocubus) descends from the sky clad in white and green silk veils and robes if the crisis is social (or best served by a hasty aerial extraction), and wielding a cannon in one hand and silver scythe in the other if the crisis is best served by reducing the forces of chaos to bloody ruination.

Nintendo can't sue me for this abominable image edit because my flatmate bought fire emblem!

32+ Whispers in the clergy and the dreams of nobles grants the petitioner one favor from the highest Liege of the realm, and a Foocubus is dispatched as above to ensure the petitioners's request reaches the High Queen (or whoever), and that they survive to hear back from their liege.


Patron Taint-As Our Lady is against mutation and corruption, this is more akin to the Three Fates patron taints in DCC, but distinct enough (due to Our Lady also not approving of self-mutilation) that they must be described here. Once a caster has performed all three levels of all 6 'taints' no further patron taint need be rolled, and they become immune to mutation as a Cleric of Our Lady.

Upon completing all 3 stages of any one result, the caster is cured of 1d3 mutations as a show of thanks from Our Lady.

So long as something remains uncompleted, Our Lady may restrict access to invocations and patron spells at her discretion to remind the wizard of their unfulfilled bargain.
1- The Quest-The caster believes they are mentally falling into corruption and perversity, and must work harder to beat back chaos lest their principles become compromised.  The first quest is to find a tainted chaos-relic within 1d4 days travel time and destroy it (if any such items are owned by the party, they may be the most eligible targets). If rolled again, the quest is to hunt a chaos-beast of fell renown within 1d4 weeks travel. At the final roll, the quest is to slay or convert the current Dark Lord.
2- The Mirror- The caster becomes aware that their 2nd order reflection (their reflection's reflection) has crossed over into the waking world to destroy them. It is 1d4 days distant  and driven to slay the caster, and has a mutation the caster does not.
When rolled again, it will be a 3rd order reflection, be 1d4 weeks distant and working to undermine the casters reputation, and be 1d3 levels and mutations mightier than the caster.
If rolled for a final time, it will be a Champion of Lumar* and will have established a corrupt mirror-verse citadel populated by fiends and be 1d6 levels and mutations advanced beyond the casters feeble powers, and it will seek to corrupt the caster by showing them the power they have denied themselves by following Our Lady, and destroy all they love to prove their superiority.
*Not the prime lumar though, but a higher-order reflection of her, sometimes called Dark Lumar
3-Tenet of Generosity- The caster feels obliged to atone for the various crimes they have probably either been part of or begrudgingly overlooked while part of a party of adventurers. They will offer all obviously stolen goods to the nearest temple, and a 20% tithe of their monetary worth besides.
If rolled again, they will once more offer all indubitably wrongfully obtained goods to the temple for redistribution, and furthermore offer up a third of their magic items.
The final roll will require the mage to return all wrongfully obtained items to their original owners (or their graves) personally, and donate another 30% of monetary worth to the temple for good measure, as well as the item the GM wants to get rid of the most- I mean, their most prized possession.
4- Tenet of Humility- The caster will forsake a random spell forever, deeming it some combination of too dangerous to exist in civilized society and/or a bad influence on them due to its eldritch and probably corrupting nature. This may repeat up to three times, after which the caster deems themselves disciplined enough to handle any suspicious spells remaining in their pool of knowledge.
5-Tenet of Selflessness- The caster feels obliged to seek out a worthy mortal and grant them their hearts desire, as a way of showing their study of magic does indeed benefit others. If rolled again, they will, in adopted Saresaren custom, grant three wishes to the next person they meet upon a paved road of the Tripartite Realm (they are free to do dickass genie moves to ensure the wishes are not dangerous to society of course). The final task is to swear themselves to an appropriate noble court as court sorcerer and work from a place of high renown to watch over and protect society.
6-Matchmaker- To ensure people find their One True Love (and maintain good deific relations with the Foocubi and Saint Bridget) the wizard must solve the difficulties plaguing a couple so that they may live happily ever after.
The first issue is a simple affair, likely between peasants of a village no more than 1d4 days away.
The second issue is a tangled affair, likely between differing social classes or rival families, no more than 1d4 weeks away.
The final issue is a thorny mess involving competing Foocubi trying to maintain defunct bloodlines, issues of succession, and multiple noble families, and will require a trip to the capital.

Spellburn Results
1-
The caster must briefly justify the use of these chaotic sorcerous powers to Our Lady. While 'self-preservation' is usually satisfying in many adventuring scenarios, good reasons that protect society at large may grant an extra +1 bonus to the spellcheck, and bad reasons and worse excuses may cause Our Lady to negate the benefits of the spellburn entirely.
2- The caster's spellburn is aided by a Winged Matchmaker, and agrees to go on a date with an eligible suitor at the next opportunity, or if the caster is already satisfying this, agrees to set up an acquaintance on such a date.
3-The caster's spellburn is aided by the lingering covenant with a past Sun(Riikhus), and gains +1 to the spellcheck if an appropriate sun is visible and overhead, but -1 otherwise.
4- The caster's attempt to call on further power goes unheard, and fails (expending no burn but wasting the turn) unless they resort to a forbidden chaos ritual. The stat damage is guilt and shame mostly, and doing this in front of the faithful of Our Lady would surely merit severe punishment regardless of circumstance.

Patron Spells
Domesticate
Level:4 Range: Touch Duration:Permanent Save: Yes
Our Lady of Gardens offers a covenant to wild creatures to trade the freedom of the wild for the security of living among human society. If the creature accepts(fails its save), it will change in form and thought as Our Lady wills and become a domesticated version of itself. This is a spell that channels Our Lady directly, and is usually reserved for great rituals. Clerics who serve Our Lady may learn it too.
Manifestation-
1-
The caster kneels and extends a hand to the beast in question- if it places a paw or head upon the hand, the deed is done. 2- The caster offers a leash for the beast to bind itself and waits. 3- The caster speaks in the unintelligible tongue of the divine as Our Lady speaks through them to the beast directly 4-The caster and target's eyes glow white-green as they have discourse in the spirit realm with Our Lady.
Corruption- n/a, always Patron Taint
Nat 1-Lost, Failure, Patron Taint
2-11- Lost, Failure
12-17- Failure, but not lost.
18-19- If the beast fails its save, it will not be domesticated, but will be pacified and leave the caster and associates be.
20-23- The beast is soothed, though not tamed or domesticated, and may aid the caster so long as it need not go outside its normal life excessively.
24-25- The beast is domesticated, but not trained. Its natural attacks decrease by 1 die stage and it loses chaos mutations and so on and becomes fluffier and friendlier and generally more appealing. It may aid the caster and even follow them back to civilization, but it is more like a cat doing its own thing than a trained dog.
26-28- The beast is tamed and domesticated. It will aid the caster outside the scope of its usual life (such as acting as a beast of burden or a steed) but will require constant training and will take up a retainer slot, or two if it has more HD than the caster.
29-33- The beast is trained, tamed, and domesticated on the spot. It requires only amateur maintenance training to keep it able to carry, sic, stay, and so on.
34-35- As above, but the beast is also fond of the caster, essentially becoming a pet.
36-37- All beasts directly related to the target beast are tamed as well, and other beasts present will be soothed as per 20-23.
38+ The entire local population of the beast's species comes into the fold of Our Lady at varying levels of training, and becomes part of human society in short order.

Lady's Scythe-(Variant Blade of Atropos)
The scythe is an uncouth peasants tool, yes, but it is also a symbol of harvesting and cutting down Our Lady's enemies. Various other tools appear at lower levels of casting, but all serve the same purpose
Level:1 Range: Self  Duration:Varies Save:n/a
Manifestation-
1- The caster pulls the weapon from thin air 2- An existing item transforms into Our Lady's Scythe 3-Light bends to create the weapon of shining energy 4- An existing item crackles with white and green lightning, with spectral force extending from it to shape the weapon
Nat 1- Lost, Failure, Patron Taint
2-11- Lost, Failure
12-13- A shining silver set of pruning shears appears. It is a magical weapon that strikes at +1 to hit (+3 vs chaos monsters) and 2d4+Caster Level damage, and things like small tentacles, horns, claws, eyestalks, etc may be clipped through upon each hit. Lasts 1d3+Caster Level Rounds.
14-17- As above, but a silver sickle with +2 to hit (+4 vs anathema) and dealing 2d6+CL damage, lasting 1d4+CL rounds, and able to slice off larger monstrous appendages (never limbs though- the idea is to prune dangerous/mutant features, not maim)
18-19- As above, but a full scythe with +3 to hit (+5 vs anathema) dealing 2d8+CL damage and lasting 1d6+CL rounds.
20-23- As above, but two such weapons appear and the caster may dual-wield them without penalty, and the duration is 1d8+CL rounds.
24-27- As above, but a third weapon may be wielded in the caster's mouth, the duration is 1d10+CL rounds, and they inflict 2d10+CL damage, and they attack at +4, +6 vs anathema to hit.
28-29- As above, but the weapons attack at +5, +7 vs anathema, deal 2d12+CL, and last 1d12+CL rounds. Anathema may now have limbs severed if they fail Will saves.
30-31- As above, but attacking at +6, +8 vs anathema,  dealing 2d14+CL and lasting 1d14+CL rounds, and anathema may be cut out of their armor or away from their shadows or enchantments if they fail a will save when struck
32+As above, but attacking at +7, +9 against anathema, dealing 2d16+CL and lasting 1d16+CL rounds, and slaying (via decapitation or bisection) anathema struck who fail a will save.

Magical Transformation Rabbit Guardian Ronya- This patron spell is shared by all the patrons described here (Even Zaba, due to the results of a Log-Hopping contest in ages past) and has its own section at the end due to its lore being shared by the gods, but ultimately more of a realm-based thing.



The head of Murulu, ever changing, gazes over Wyrdton, the rest of the body buried in the earth, at the center of the strangest (and therefore holiest) parts of town.

MURULU, LORD OF CALAMITIES

Quick Cleric Info
May turn humans, elementals, disease spirits, and domestic animals.

Sacrifices to reduce disapproval are offerings ones own body (a finger being one point, an eye being 5 an entire limb being 10) which may result in the offered body part either being cut loose, horribly and permanently diseased, or mutated beyond recognition and function. Causing a calamity may reduce disapproval but is more likely to be an undertaking as payment for intervention. All gods hunger for gold.

Though the Calamitous Lord is open to all manner of things others find terrible, it is worth clarifying that the monsters Murulu likes are the sorts of things that are different beings trying to live in the world, sometimes conflicting with humanity, but NOT things like nightmare entities which only exist to be horrible things to torment people and have no place in the sane world.

Her chaotic energies are offered quite freely to those who accept transforming themselves, making her a popular patron for rogue sorcerers.

Invoke Patron Results. Calamities are not really dogs (or they would be the purview of the Jackal God of Yuba) but the metaphor of them being baying hounds leashed by Murulu is well-established. While Murulu has dominion over other calamities (locust swarms, plague, mutilation and mutation) these elemental wraths are the ones most suitable for saving an invoker's bacon.


If not mentioned, the duration goes on as long as Murulu cares to allow it, regardless of the caster's wishes.
12-13- The dread gaze of Murulu falls upon the area briefly. For 1d6 rounds, ill-luck plagues the invokers enemies, causing new wounds received to fester and attract disease spirits, limbs and more to be mangled on critical hits, and crumbling cliff faces, sucking mud, or collapsing roofs all become very likely.

14-17- Pup Tremor sniffs and strains at the leash, knocking the caster's enemies prone and overturning buckets, lanterns, etc, possibly collapsing already compromised structures.

18-19- Fog creeps into the area, limiting visibility to about 5 feet and stifling scent and sound.

20-23- Playful Whirlwind is unleashed to bedevil the land, blinding those within the tiny tornado (30' radius and 1000' tall) blocking flight and missile fire through the winds so long as the caster concentrates, but no longer than 13 rounds (as well as the other expected effects of  dust devil). Those inside may be buffeted by swirling objects each round (1d4 for assorted rubbish but increases with larger/sharper/harder things)

24-27- Younger Flood is unleashed, drowning the local area in 2d6 feet of water, washing enemies who fail to save prone and drowning and washing them away until they can get out of the current. Aboveground this takes the form of a torrential downpour, underground, a sudden gushing spring.

28-29- Storm, the grey hound, arrives howling, rain and hail nearly horizontal with the force of the wind, sand and anything loose blown away. Hearing and missile fire is impossible, and those outside will only bear the lashings of the storm if their morale is nigh-unbreakable, and even then they will be battered and bruised if not heavily armored, and risk lightning strikes if they are clad in metal.

30-31- The barely-leashed she-wolf Earthquake barks, and one of her pups answers the call- if there is a slope nearby or underground, Avalanche, Rockslide, Mudslide , or Cave-in buries the casters enemies until they can make a DC20 save to escape. If there is no slope, Sinkhole answers, casting the casters enemies into a pit 30' deep, and on the ocean, dread Tsunami answers, overturning ships that fail their save and flooding towns.

32+ The most terrible hound of Murulu, Volcano, stirs, a fiery crack opening and spewing forth lava at a slow, but not slow enough, pace. Those present have one round to get off the ground, or take 5d6 damage per round they wade through lava. Further heights must be sought as the burning earth swallows all before it, though it will cool to rock soon enough, probably.


Patron Taint-
As usual, once each result is gained 3 times, further patron taint is ignored.
1- Random mutation. Upon rolling this result a third time, the caster is no longer vulnerable to monsterization from too many mutations.
2-The caster becomes a veritable lightning rod for natural disasters- there is a 1% chance upon spell casts that a random disaster will strike the area soon after. Increase this chance to 3%, then 5% when re-rolled.
3- Random disease. Upon the third roll, the caster becomes unable to die from disease/parasite, but also is automatically infected by any exposure to diseases. They also gain +1 to spellchecks while diseased (possibly per disease).
4-Random curse (I don't have a good go-to for curses yet). Upon the third result, +1 to spellchecks while cursed (possibly per curse)
5-Each time rolled, choose one you have not chosen before- Lose a limb. Lose all conventional beauty standards, lose a sense. Once all three are rolled, you will be visited by the three fellow murulu disciples who received these lost gifts, and they will bear either gifts or a favor to you for your donations.
6-Add a Mercurial Magic/Spell Mutation to the spell cast. You gain +1 to spellchecks with these doubly-mutated spells.

Random Calamities-

  1. Flood
  2. Collapse (cavern or architecture)
  3. Earthquake
  4. Avalanche/Rock/Mudslide
  5. Sinkhole
  6. Drought
  7. Famine
  8. Locusts
  9. Plague
  10. Hurricane
  11. Tornado
  12. Sand Storm
  13. Blizzard
  14. Whirlpool/Riptide
  15. Wildfire
  16. Invasion/Revolution
  17. Curse
  18. Fog
  19. Tsunami
  20. Volcano

Spellburn Results-
1- The caster cuts, burns, etc themselves deeply, harming physical stats and leaving a thick scar, marking them as glorified to Murulu.
2- The caster snips off part of themselves- an earlobe, a fingernail, a toe joint, etc, the minor but permanent mutilation
3- The caster is called upon to host a random disease spirit in addition to the usual spellburn results
4- The caster is called upon to trade an existing mutation for a new random one in addition to the usual spellburn results.


Adherents of Murulu in most the world are mostly just missing bits or with extra bits, but in the depths of her holy city in the Wurderlands, things get weirder as you go deeper in, and end up completely unrecognizable as being anything save for that which they are.

Transcend Form
Murulu cares not at all for the standardized forms of so called 'species,' and allows casters to assume monstrous and unique forms that allow them to do things they could only dream of before. As with most polymorph style spells, mutations and mutilations remain (a one-eyed, lizard tailed human turns into a one-eyed, lizard tailed wolf if they were turned into a wolf, for example) but they are enhanced (in the above example, the transformation would result in a wolf with a single powerful eye rather than be 'missing' an eye, and the tail would provide lizardlike advantages rather than just being a hairless scaly wolf tail).
The transformation does nothing to those who have no wounds or mutations, and requires some back-and-forth discussion and pre-emptive work to determine what the precise outcome is, (and this updates with each new mutation or mutilation) but the outcome should be pleasing to the transformed person and has broad tweaks available. Items may remain worn, or be shed depending on the details of the transformation and preferences of the wearer.
Level:3 Range: Touch  Duration:Varies Save:Willing Only
Manifestation
1-
The transformed twists and boils like molten clay shaping itself into the form
2- The transformed hatches from their own body like a butterfly from a chrysalis
3- The transformed turns inside out, with the inside being the outside of the new form
4- The transformed becomes a spinning, glowing pastel silhouette, which resolves into the transcended form.
Nat 1- Lost, Failure, Patron Taint
2-11- Lost, Failure
12-15- Failure, but spell is not lost
16-17- The caster or target briefly transforms into a monstrous form for Caster Level rounds. Though the transformation is largely cosmetic and unstable and grants no added benefits, it removes penalties from mutation/mutilation while active ands heals HP=CL as wounds close and will end bleeding effects. This healing and all associated healing effects of later results only apply once per day.
18-20- The target transforms for a full CL minutes, healing HP as above and gaining a power related to their favorite mutilation/mutation, as well as any obvious changes to locomotion and environmental survival (such as a fish tail allowing swimming and underwater breathing).
21-24-The target transforms  for a turn(10min) per CL and gains up to half the extraordinary capabilities from enhanced mutations and mutilations, as well as the benefits stated above.
25-29- The target transforms for 1 hour per CL, and gains all the blessings from the marks of Murulu and above entries they bear so long as they are transformed, but heal HP=CLx2
30-32- The transformation lasts for either 24 hours or until the transformed wishes to end it prematurely, but is otherwise as the above entry with healing equal to HP=CLx3
33-35- As above, but the HP of the transformed heals entirely to full.
36+  The change is permanent. Further mutations and mutilations will warp the form to accommodate and enhance the form.

Beautify
Level:1 Range:
Touch Duration: Permanent Save: None Allowed
Called most small-mindedly by most people 'Corrupt' or 'The Vile Touch' this spell channels the powers of Murulu into the caster and allows them to spread mutation, mutilation, disease and calamity with just a touch. To the faithful of murulu it is a blessing and enhancement, to those who cling to their transient forms, it is among the most menacing and terrifying of powers.
Manifestation
1-
The caster's hand (or hand-analogue) becomes shrouded in pulsing dark purple energy with flashing lightning within.
2- The casters primary touching appendage temporarily morphs into a knobbly, pustule laden tentacle dripping with slime.
3- The caster's tongue turns to a scorpion's tail, laden with a mutagenic sting.
4- The caster's entire body becomes slick with rainbow slime to flow onto and reshape those who are held.

1- Failure, lost, Patron Taint
2-11- Failure, lost
12-13- The caster may touch one living target and grant it a blessing or curse from Murulu, the difference being a matter of perspective. This requires a to-hit as usual.
14-15- The caster may touch one living or nonliving target and grant it a blessing from Murulu.This requires a to-hit as usual. Inanimate objects afflicted by disease act as a living creature would, grow mutations, or lose roughly equivalent parts according to on-the spot rulings.
16-18- The channelled energies persist within the caster for 1d3+CL rounds, allowing for multiple blessings to be given out.
19-20- The channelled energies persist within the caster for 1d6+CL rounds, allowing for multiple blessings to be distributed.
21-23- The channelled energies persist within the caster for 1d8+CL rounds, and may distribute them 2 per round, with no penalty for 'dual wielding' their unarmed touches.
24-27- The channelled energies persist within the caster for 1d10+CL rounds, and may distribute them 2 per round, with no penalty for 'dual wielding' their unarmed touches. Furthermore, anyone touching or even striking the caster with weapons without great reach will be granted a blessing as well.
28-31-The channelled energies persist within the caster for 1d12+CL rounds, and radiate out both via physical touch and unspeakable energies such that, if the caster is taking action to deliver blessings, all who come within 5' will receive one.
32+ The caster is entrusted by Murulu herself with the decision of what blessings to deliver, and may pick specific mutations, mutilations, diseases, etc to dispense for 1d20+CL rounds with direct touches (2 per round) and those who are within 5' will be affected as well.

Blessings of Murulu
Roll 1d4 for the enemies of Murulu, 1d6 for most targets, and 1d8 for the faithful of Murulu.
1-Mutilation- lose eye, ear, nose, mouth and associated senses, or a limb, or something else. This is painless and inflicts no damage for the faithful, but does inflict damage to the enemies of Murulu equal to CLd4 due to morale loss and fear. Inanimate targets just suffer rust, cracks, and other destruction.
2-Disease- Disease spirit or corporeal parasite comes to co-habitate for a while, immediately inflicting one instance of its effects. Ghul fever not included.
3-Curse! A tenacious and hard to get rid of spellwisp with an odd effect comes to haunt the target.
4- Negative Mutation
5-  Random Mutation.
6+ Positive Mutation

Magical Transformation Rabbit Guardian Ronya- This patron spell is shared by all the patrons described here (Even Zaba, due to the results of a Log-Hopping contest in ages past) and has its own section at the end due to its lore being shared by the gods, but ultimately more of a realm-based thing.

THE FAIRY QUEEN

Is, like Zaba, just a slightly reimagined DCC patron, in this case the King of Elfland.
In winter, the spell Forest Walk becomes Ice Walk and some minor changes to patron taint that are indeed so minor I don't think they're worth getting into here, and of course has the final spell.



But with a shield, not a sword, innit

Magical Transformation Rabbit Guardian Ronya
A rabbit heroine of past ages (and player character of past campaign) whose heroic spirit lives on, not in the temples of the nobility, but in the land itself, possessing any who are good of heart to battle wickedness in all its forms. Many of the Chosen of Ronya are often not intentional, but incidental champions who answer the call to fight villainy in the moment, but find their own skills and strength lacking, and so they may transform into an avatar of the rabbit to do battle

The enemies of Ronya are criminals of both the cruel brigand and heartless noble variety alike, and monsters of the truest sense of the word- nightmare things that have no place in the waking world. Only a single avatar of Ronya exists at a given time, and in the event opposing sides both attempt to call upon this spell, only the most worthy will be answered, though in the cases of morally grey circumstance, sometimes Ronya's invocation appears only to put an end more to the conflict itself than to win it for either side.

Anyone who has stood up for the weak and brought tyrants low may earn a point of favor and be able to call upon this transformation, but certain prayers(cleric versions), ghost-calling rituals, and so on are used by the powers of the Tripartite Realm and beyond to invoke the power of this peasant's hero. As Ronya is the true patron of the spell, it comes with its own misfires and corruptions and is subject to the ancient warrior's will alone, so it cannot be abused for wickedness.
Level: 2 Range: Self  Duration: 1 conflict Save: n/a
Manifestations
1- The caster's body morphs into that of  3 foot tall bipedal rabbit-woman, and their gear to plate armor and a shield.
2-The caster vanishes in a swirling pastel tornado of sparkles, and Ronya emerges.
3- The caster slaps the ghost-hand of Ronya and tag-teams out of the material realm as Ronya enters the wrestling ring. I mean, the scene.
4- The caster has a ghostly appearance of Ronya standing behind them, and they and the shadow act as Ronya would, imbued with the strength of myth both physically and spiritually.
Misfires
1-
Caster craves carrots as if addicted, unable to perform tasks longer than a minute due to looking for carrots until either 1d6 hours pass or carrots are had.
2- Random nearby animal's behavior becomes that of a rabbit for 1d6 hours.
3- Rabbits attracted to caster and follow them in increasing hordes for a night and a day.
4- Nearest weapon transformed into shield. Magical items get a saving throw, but transformation is permanent.

Corruptions
1-Caster must attempt to cast this spell whenever they are exposed to carrots or are tempted by a character flaw that Ronya is trying to break them away from.
2-Caster becomes female if previously male.
3-Caster loses one foot of height, down to minimum size of a rabbit.
4-Caster sprouts rabbit ears, tail, fur. Eating rabbit counts as cannibalism from now on and will deny use of this spell (and you're on very thin ice before hand if you know this spell and be eating rabbit).
5-Caster's memories become muddled with that of Ronya and all those who have gotten this corruption.
6-Caster stalked by the Rabbit(less) Moon, or more precisely but less concisely, inherits an ancient meta-grudge from something from Beyond

 

Nat 1- Failure, Lost, and Misfire or Corruption. 1-2 corruption, 4-6 Misfire
2-11- Failure, Lost
12-13- Failure, not lost
14-15- Brief transformation allows the caster to take a hit targeted against an ally to themselves this round, reducing damage dealt by 12 and preventing associated effects (poison, etc) if the damage is reduced to 0.
16-19- Caster transforms into Ronya until the crisis is averted, fighting with +CL to hit, a shield bash that deals 1d6+CL subdual damage, AC as plate+shield, movement as unarmored human+leaping, and the ability to take hits aimed at a single guarded ally and reduce the damage of these hits by 1d12
20-22- As above, but Ronya's personality and experience shines through more, inflicting double damage and doubling the guard damage reduction against the following foes- Dragons, Thieves, Wizards, Clockwork Automata, Wolves, and Nobles.
23-26- As above, but the shield bash increases to 1d8+CL, the AC to Plate +3, the move to 150% human speed, and gaining an extra 10 bonus HP which are taken by Ronya and damage to this buffer HP will not be lost by the caster at the end of the transformation.
27-29- As above, but the shield bash increases to 1d10+CL, the move to 200% human speed, 15 bonus HP,  and all adjacent to Ronya may be guarded simultaneously.
30-33- As above, with a 1d12+CL shieldbash, AC as plate +5, 20 bonus HP,  and a guarded damage reduction of 1d20.
34+ As above, but with a 1d12+CL shieldbash, 30 bonus HP, and all allied with Ronya may be guarded simultaneously regardless of distance. Additionally, with this state of transformation, anything may be leapt over with a round of preparation, though the leap itself may take longer to complete.

I think future posts better be limited to a single patron...

Friday, August 28, 2020

Several Styles of 'Speak With Magic'

There are a lot of niche spells (Detect Magic, Read Magic, Write Magic, Identify) that make up 'magic literacy' and are often ignored or consigned to the cantrip bin or reimagined as class abilities. I rolled them up into a single spell, given by default to all casters. It's been a big hit and dare I say a defining feature of magic in my games, and seeing as how I have to do a lot of typing to attune it to the DCC wizard in my new campaign, I figured it could make for a blog post.

For a level 1 spell, it is extremely broadly applicable and useful to magical problems, but it naturally falls flat at solving non-magical problems. My experience has been that characters prepare it when they are unsure of what they will encounter, but preferably if they have a backup spell like Magic Missile or similar. Wizards will also prepare it in the hopes of catching new spells when they DO know of interesting magical effects to speak to, or if they are just very optimistic and confident that the party can handle themselves. It has aspects of Dispel Magic, the idea of 'counterspelling,' can double as a 'detect invisible/hidden beings' in a pinch, and is a general 'turn a magic problem into a roleplay problem' utility option that I think makes interacting with the arcane more of a roleplaying opportunity and less of a 'quibble over the semantics of the rulebook' time waste.

Speak With Magic- This "spell" is common to all magic users, divine and arcane alike, and is essentially projecting ones soul half out of the body and into the dreamrealm, allowing one to see and communicate with spellwisps, demons, gods, and all manner of supernatural beings that otherwise are not-quite present in the waking world. People unskilled in magic can sometimes pull it off with Blue Lotus, psychedelic mushrooms, and even vivid dreams, but wizards and such are trained to enter this state reliably and voluntarily. It is how wizards gather their spells and how clerics pray to the divine, and thus it is a technique that all users of supernatural forces must know, and have no need of a spellbook (or similar) to memorize.

It allows one to see enchantments and magical effects and to speak with them. Most arcane spellwisps are alien beings that only think in terms of what they do- ie, a burning hands spellwisp might wish to burn things, and remembers only things it has burned. Satisfying a spellwisps requirements (typically via offering appropriate subject matter to be subjected to the spell of value equal to 500 coins per spell level) will usually allow a spellcaster to add an arcane spellwisp to their collection of learned spells. Allowing the spellwisp to affect the caster and/or party members is often a good enough deal as well, especially for damaging and debilitating spells. This sort of negotiation can even get wizards to be able to utilize spells without the usual memorization and level requirements, like convincing a wall of ice to move into the shade, or convincing a spent Fireball spell to activate again at the chance to ignite a bunch of lamp oil-soaked wooden puppets. An additional round of convincing per spell level is decent shorthand for how long such negotiations take, but all is at the GM's discretion (a reaction roll for the spellwisps may be appropriate as well).

When it comes to items, wisps can be very forthcoming and ready to explain their operation, cryptic or riddling and prone to telling stories of past deeds rather than present details, or recalcitrant and reluctant to reveal their secrets to those they do not deem worthy. For instance, a magic sword probably wishes to show off in battle, not play twenty questions with a twig-armed wizard, and cursed objects often lie or ignore attempts to discern their functioning. Potions tend to be barely sentient conglomerates of fractional souls and are better off examined physically with licking and feeding to rats, and rings and other 'passive' effects are notoriously subtle and secretive. Items with 'charges' tend to be the easiest to identify, because the stored wisps want to be used and released (and the main gameplay action is not identifying them, but resource management anyway).

Language barriers can stymie attempts to understand spellwisps- the wisps of an elf may indeed speak only elvish, for instance(quick note: in my game, elvish spells are almost invariably fairies), or they may be too alien to even speak any humanish tongue, instead requiring interpretation of behavior, miming, and all manner of experimentation. This is why it does not double as a 'speak with anything' spell- A basilisk, for instance, has a magical effect, sure, but the magical effect is their own body and soul, and when you speak with it with this spell, it is still a basilisk and not say, the ghost of a medusa (a possible spellwisp for 'Flesh to Stone.')

The spell is not without risk. A good analogy is poking your head into a pool to speak with a shark- it probably won't bite your head off, and you can probably pull your head back in time, but you are still poking your soul into an environment you are not native to, and dealing with beings you do not 100% understand.

Vancian Style-Level One  Range (60') Duration (1 turn/level).
For divine or demonic miracles, the operator of spells from levels 1-3 is usually some manner of cherub, imp, or otherwise small servitor being, with levels 4-5 being run by more powerful angels, devils, etc, and 6+ opening a direct channel of communication to deities and other god-like entities.

GLOG Style- Duration [[Sum]] Rounds, up to [dice] different targets may be more specifically spoken with/identified simultaneously, with further targets merely being noted as bearing a wisp or not.
Spells convinced to act for or against the caster activate with 1 less die than was used in the Speak With Magic spell.
This spell should probably not have normal mishaps, as it is not a part of typical wizardry and is merely your own soul getting chatty. Using the DCC Misfires is my recommendation if the extra book-keeping seems worthwhile

DCC
Style- Replaces Read Magic & Detect Magic, and all mages know it. It may be used to Counterspell (as per the counterspell spell duel rules) any spell, but only if they are able to convince the spellwisp very quickly.
Level 1 Duration- Varies. Range- 30' feet or more Casting Time 1 Round. Save: Will vs DC Spell Check (Sometimes)
Manifestation-
1- Caster's Eyes glow and reflect the realm of spellwisps
2- Caster's spirit emerges halfway from their body
3- Caster's eyes close, a third eye opens on their forehead
4-Caster speaks in the voices of the spirits
Misfires
1-Caster inadvertently annoys spellwisp to the point of immediate hostility
2-Caster can only speak to spirits and spells for 1d6 hours
3-Caster blinded to real world for 1d3 hours, able to only see the dreamrealms
4-Caster accidentally activates nearby magic item or effect
5-Caster takes 1d3 damage to Int, Wis, and Cha as they lose touch with the waking world
6-Caster manifests spellwisp into waking world for 1d3 rounds (such beings, when not demons, tend to be strange aberrations with HD=Spell Level x2)
Corruptions
1-2-Caster gains minor cosmetic mutation based on a detected spellwisp
3- Spellwisp Breeding- Caster rerolls Mercurial Magic results for a spell/Spell Mutation
4-Caster grows third, blind eye on forehead. It does have vision in the dreamrealms though.
5-Caster can see spellwisps out of the corner of their eye-only with enough detail to be annoying
6-Caster possessed by spellwisp, which can attempt to cause the caster to take actions pleasing to it
1- Lost, Failure, and worse! Roll 1d6 modified by luck- 1 or less, Corruption, 2+, Misfire
2-11- Lost, Failure.
12-13- The caster glimpses the eldritch realm for but a moment, and becomes aware of magical effects within range. It lacks differentiation- ie, a warrior with a magic sword would ping as 'having more than one spirit' with no further detail, as would someone who was possessed. Entities wishing to conceal themselves may save vs spell to lurk in blindspots and evade detection (which is easier than it sounds, as the very air and earth have souls as well so the wizard vision can easily be distracted or mistaken against the chaotic backdrop)

A single question or sentence can be asked and answered of a located spellwisp, assuming it is cooperative. This is probably not enough to get immediate aid unless the caster is already very favorable to the spellwisp's motives and nothing extraordinary is asked.

A yard/meter of wood or earth, an inch of metal, or a foot of stone is sufficient to block this spell from noticing things. Lead is especially effective and even wafer-thin plating may provide concealment.
14-17- As above, but no save to hide is allowed as the vision is clearer, and the effect lasts for one turn, enough to have a conversation and greater understanding with spellwisps that are not secretive or hostile to the mage. This level is required to have a chance of learning a spell for oneself, though of course the spellwisp must be appeased and the wizard must make their check to learn the spell as normal.
18-19 As above, but the vision is very clear- the caster may identify how many magical effects (such as a magic ring and sword wielded by an enemy, or remaining spells of a wizard) are present and, roughly speaking, how strong or weak they are. This level and higher is sufficient to decipher magic runes and symbols (such as dwarf-runes or the Symbols of power that are the transcriptions of Power Words) The effect lasts for 2 turns.
20-23- As above, but the vision will have great specificity with regards to planar coterminality- ghosts, demons, etc may be differentiated from spellwisps, and it can be easily ascertained if personal magics are due to innate powers (such as the semi-invulnerable scions of Oza) or external enchantments (a prince turned to a toad, or a quaffed potion). Furthermore, the duration is 3 turns.
24-27- As above, but the nature of the magics is revealed, even if the magics are not cooperative, due to great experience or lucky insight. A warded door can be revealed as being guarded by an 8d6 strength Fireball in the form of a dragon-ghost, a cursed sword's maliciousness can be revealed, and so on, providing enough information to utilize magic items and understand spell-motivations that are not truly extraordinary in their power or vagueness. If the caster wishes, they may show the miraculous sights to another and let them converse with the spirit realm as well.
28-29- As above, but with a greatly extended range of '120,' and all nearby allies may enjoy the benefits of the spell.
30-31- As above, but with duration of one day.
32+ As above, but with duration of one month. Generally only the most insane of sorcerers (or bored of elves) would wish to reach this level of effect.



Sunday, August 23, 2020

Elves, Ettins, Floating Eyes, Eyes of the Deep

AD&D Elves
It's largely understood that D&D elves are a rip off of Tolkein elves, but I think they were well along becoming their own thing even in the earlier editions of D&D that were straight up calling halfling 'hobbits.'

Anyway, they have the typical hominid thing of appearing in numbers of 20-200, and they have 1+1 HD by default, a hobgoblin equivalent. Multiclassing is explicitly their thing, and not just magic-user fighters- Cleric-Fighter is the explicitly mentioned combo. Once you get to 100+ elves or a lair, a bunch of high level multiclassed elves show up, in the form of fighter/MUs mainly but also a fair few fighter/MU/Clerics. Female elves are mentioned as 'appearing in equivalent numbers to the others' and there being 1 young per 20 elves, because it wouldn't be a real gygaxian entry on humanoids without casual sexism and a reminder to kill all the children.

Elves are woodland dwellers with a 65% chance to have 2d6 giant eagles guarding their 'lair' which is probably just token tolkeinism. Gear for the warrior elves is 10% with sword and bow, 20% with sword and spear, 20% with sword, 5% with 2-handed sword, 30% with spear, and 15% with bow only, with most in chain-adjacent armors and shields. This may be extra relevant because all the 'levelled' elves have a 10% per level per class of having a usuable magical items for the class and MUs of above level 4 have 1d4+1 magic items instead of just one.
1/20 elf bands will have 5d6 female fighters (called elfmaids) mounted on unicorns so I guess spoke too soon earlier, sexism in D&D is dead and Gygax killed it on page 39 of the AD&D MM. Just like he killed all the demihuman younglings

As some minor mechanical notes, elves have +1 to hit with swords and bows, a 4-in-6 chance to surprise in woodland settings (and being invisible in such setting so long as they don't attack), and a 90% chance to resist sleep and charm. They can also move, fire their bows, and move back all in the same round, making them basically unbeatable with hit-and-run guerrilla warfare against conventional foes.

In addition to their scads of magic items, they have a decent treasure type of G, S, and T in lair, which is basically dragon hoard-lite with extra scrolls and potions, and elves carry the only worthwhile individual treasure type N, which is1-6 platinum pieces each. In short, elves are stuffed to the gills with magic loot and it's no surprise people oft use elves as stand-ins for old-money capitalists.

Bonus Subtype Round
Aquatic Elves are friends with dolphins and enemies to sahuagin and sharks and 'attack either if the elves outnumber them.' This is poorly thought out because while 'they(elves) do not use magic and cannot forge underwater,' the Sahuagin have 2+2HD by default, superior senses and intellect, 3-5 unarmed attacks, natural armored hides, and clerics, so I see no possible way they would survive if their strategy was to attack with such a feeble advantage as 'numbers.'
They also have blue or green hair and greeny silver skin, which should be useful when describing Sahuagin furniture.

Drow only got their own proper entry in the Fiend Folio, and here are just blathered on about being mysterious and wicked, with I assume all the spidery matriarch stuff showing up in later publications. As a brief note on that later entry, suffice it to say they have altogether too many abilities for my liking, having a bunch of magic items (which decay in sunlight to prevent ridiculous power creep) magic resistance, stealth, a bunch of magic abilities based on either gender and/or level AND class levels and abilities to keep track of on top of all that does not appeal greatly to me.

Grey elves, noted as 'faerie' in parentheses, are 'noble' 'rare' 'powerful' but apart from bigger brains and some giffons/hippogriffs, are not actually the fey beings seen in, say, A Midsummer Night's Dream. They're just double-elves with the oddly specicified sub-subtypes of silver hair and amber eyes (grey elf) or golden hair and violet eyes (Faerie).

Half-Elves (Or Helves if u ask me) are noted mainly in terms of how player characters play them.

Wood Elves are the dumb hunks of the elves, having extra strength but less intelligence and hang out with giant owls and lynx and have assorted pointless changes to weapon percentages and appearance.

While the Drow became wildly popular, there are some other sad elf subtypes in the later books I'll go over briefly-

Grugach- This pointless entry describes slightly buffer even more xenophobic Wood Elves who are also druids and trap-setters who make up 20% of 'wood elves'.

Valley Elf- The peak of pointless elvish palette swaps, these elves are gray elves from a Greyhawk location called the Valley of the Mage. With trivial improvements like AC4 instead of 5 and HD 1+2 instead of 1+1, it is impossible to say how many trees perished to bloat the Monster Manual II with this entirely unnecessary half-page of minutiae.

3.5 Elves
Largely a repeat of prior entries, with a sharp change in focus from the elves as 'band of humanoids to be encountered' to 'this is how your stats change if you play one as a character.' Apart from the drow entry being thankfully condensed and streamlined (though admittedly, also lacking in details), the only thing I find notable here is that Aquatic Elves are further doomed to become chum with a -2 intelligence score.

Ettin- See Giant entry later in this series. AD&D proclaims them to be closely related to Orcs, rather than just being two-headed giants, which is clearly a load of bunk that I shan't entertain a moment longer.

Floating Eye- In nethack, these creatures paralyze you when you smack 'em, and years later I'm still mad that I accidentally hit one while trying to clear out a monster zoo and was eaten by a lynx while paralyzed. In AD&D, they are weird monocular fish that paralyze you if you look at 'em and then you get eaten by predator fish companions. While I am not against 'paralyzing but weak eyeball monster' having them be wholly harmless (rather than, say, disgustingly parasitic) seems a lost opportunity, as does having them be a salt-water monster.

Eye of the Deep- A weird lobster-clawed aquatic beholder without the interesting facing-based magical death rays, instead just having a flashbang central eye and smaller eyes that can cast hold person or hold monster on their own, or an illusion together. I am curious as to whether anyone has ever used this creature instead of simply saying 'underwater beholder,' and what would motivate them to use the lobster knockoff instead of the classic.

Sunset Realm Elves


 
 I've gone over elves already a little bit here and have sat on this post so long I'll just rush through a quick history of elves in the realms.

Elves show up in the 2nd age around the fall of the Serpent Empire. They team up with animals and fight a horrifying war of fire and plague against the ghuls and dragons, eventually triumphing (this is where elvish immunity to ghul paralysis comes from). They then work with other early hominids(Svarts, Ningen) to create the Alfstar, the 3rd sun, in the intersolar period after Yg-A, the 2nd sun, is trapped at the center of the earth. Thusly situated, they laze around and stop being ash-clad muscle-barbarians and over centuries become jaded aesthete sorcerer-elites ruling over humans. Internal instability rises and the Witch-Queens overthrow the increasingly malevolent Alves, trapping them in the Iron Moon(the broken husk of the Alfstar) and forcing retreats to dream realms as humans gain dominance over the sunlit realms. Elves retreat to stagnant cities of silver and crystal to reincarnate endlessly through eternity, while the corrupted Alves scheme to regain their lost glory in culturally distinct ways depending on if they became the Seasonal Courts in the dreams of trees (Summer/Spring/Autumn) or ice (winter) or within the Iron Moon (Fomorians).

Quibbles over the details include whether the elves came from the outer darkness and are alien visitors, if they are just serpent-designed overengineered apes, or if they just developed alongside humans but 'won' the tech race, essentially being neanderthalesque.

Also in question is if the fall of the Elf Empire was really from civil war and an uprising of the human servant class, experimentation with darkness that retroactively altered those involved across space and time into hyperbolic fey A-holes (fay-holes?) explaining the Elf/Alf split, or if it was really just an embarassing economic collapse caused by an overeliance on fake leprechaun gold.

In any case, elves exist in part because it's expected. They're in the book, after all, not just in the monster section, but right there at the beginning, almost as sacred a cow as STR/DEX/CON/INT/WIS/CHA. Maybe they'll vanish from the realms someday like they never were, but for now, you can have a few elves. As a treat.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Cockstealing Witch

Content Warning- Exactly what you'd expect

Cockstealing witches, as you'd expect, steal dicks. They gain their magical powers via the bad vibes directed at them, and must have stolen(or much more rarely, be gifted) penises to generate magical effects.
Hit Dice-d4
Move Silently, Backstab, and Hide in Shadows as Thief. This variant Backstabbing only affects creatures with testicles.
Everything else as magic-user in your game

Cockstealing witches gain XP for stealing or being gifted penises at the same value of defeating the dick's owner.

Cockstealing witches do not gain MD/spell slots the normal way, and do not cast spells (though they can be learned) until level 2/template B save for the 'Steal Penis' ritual.

Template A- Steal Penis
Template B- Meatstick Magic
Template C- Castration Anxiety
Template D- Wang Wand

It is probably fine to give all abilities at level 1 as well, with the requirement of stealing a penis before gaining their use

Steal Penis- With about 10 minutes of uninterrupted access to a willing or helpless target, a penis may be silently and stealthily taken off somebody (no save). The penis remains alive and functional (though pissing takes place back at the host's ken-doll groin, not from the stolen penises), but has no special protections, which provides a fair amount of leverage over someone who wants it back. Penises take up 1 inventory slot assuming they are kept safe in a gourd or pouch or something. If stacked in larger quantities they tend to get misplaced, mistaken for sausages, stolen by rats, and so on and the witch can't complain if they go missing or if it takes a full ten minutes to peer through a bag o dicks to find the right one in dim dungeon lighting. If the owner retrieves the penis, they may re-attach it by putting it back (unless a certain spell has been cast to keep the penis even more thoroughly hostage, see spells below)

The owner of the penis feels anything done to their penis, and spells the witch casts upon the penis instead target the source of the penis, regardless of usual range limits and so on. Cockstealer witches may steal or gift cocks to each other to trade 'casting privileges' for a particular cock, but this is a ritualized affair that takes a day to re-bind cock permissions, whether it was gifted or stolen.

Inflicting pain on stolen penises will bring the owner to their knees most the time- any wielded penis may be abused as a free action once per round to inflict 1d3 subdual damage and a save vs being stunned for a round for the unfortunate owner, as well as a morale check (once per encounter). In the rare instance of a witch winning grapples against targets with exposed penises, this could be applied as a regular combat maneuver as well.

Meatstick Magic- Each penis held by a Cockstealing Witch grants them some power, and to cast a spell a witch must brandish a penis. If the penis-owner dies, so too does the penis. Penises must come from individuals who are wizards, chiefs/leader types, notorious criminals, knights, terrible monsters, etc (When in doubt just make each dick require the source to have +1 HD compared to the last acquired penis) though there may be uses for carrying extra bundles of otherwise unremarkable penises from farm animals, random monsters, and so on.
DCC Style Casting- Each inventory slot of dicks provides a +1 to casting checks, up to 1 per level. Eating a penis allows a lost spell to be regained, and truly remarkable phalluses (stolen from demons, giants, dragons, and the like) may provide from +1 to +4 to spell checks when used for appropriate spells (such as Growth for a giant). More work than I'm willing to do would be required for the spells here of course.
GLOG Style Casting- Each inventory slot of dicks provides 1 magic die, up to template max. Magic dice recover after a night's sleep, or a penis can be eaten to recover a magic die. Remarkable cocks may provide dice of larger size than d6 (the HD of the source material being the number of faces on a die, as a rough rule)
Vancian Style Casting
(Ala O and AD&D) Each inventory slot penis is equivalent to a wizard level, allowing for preparation of spells according to the spells-per-day chart, up to the witch's level max. Eating a penis allows recovery of a spellslot of powerlevel equal to one-half of the owners HD.
Levelless Casting- Each dick can be used once per day for a spell or ability, essentially being 1 inventory slot of dicks being 1 spell per day.


Castration Anxiety- Those aware of the witch's prominent penis pilfering prowess and fearful for their own dongs take -1 to reaction rolls and to morale. This penalty is increased by and replaces both positive and negative charisma modifiers, making both charismatic and antisocial witches equally but differently terrifying. Eating a penis forces a morale check from those of the same type of being as the devoured dongus who observe the fate that awaits them.

This ability is lost if a Cockstealing Witch turns to consensual cock use only to avoid their doom, or never steals dicks to begin with.

Wang Wand- A cockstealing witch may cast the spells or use the abilities of a cock's owner by using a penis as a wand, though the witch still uses their own magic dice to fuel these spells. Passive, mundane abilities like a warriors to-hit, squirrels balance, horses speed, etc are stolen for 1 hour per power level invested, while passive supernatural abilities (levitation, invisibility, etc) last 1 turn per power level, and active abilities (dragon breath, basilisk gazes, wizard spells) activate only once and require 1 power level investment of effect per HD (or in the case of stolen spells, 1power level=1 power level), with 5 power levels sufficing for most most abilities even if HD exceeds 10. The owner loses their powers when the witch loses them, recovering them a day later.


CORE SPELLS OF COCKSTEALING WITCHES

1 power level=1 Vancian Spell Level=1 Glog magic die=+2 DCC spellcheck difficulty=2HD of monster.

  1. Phallus In Chains- A penis may be mounted to another being or to the wall, floor, end of a 10 foot pole, etc. This prevents easy retrieval by the owner, and the witch may use mounted phalluses as wands via Wang Wand even without holding them, though no special sensory perception through them is given (though another spell allows scrying on them for better aiming/timing). Though the penises may be destroyed as usual, they cannot be removed without the witch's permission or a remove curse/dispel magic spell
  2. Pubic Yank- By gripping the pubic hair or penis, the witch may summon the owner nude to their location for [sum] rounds or until the witch dismisses them, at which point they return from whence they came. No especial control is given save for the obvious leverage the witch has.
  3. Adamant Penis- An erect penis may be transformed into a hard substance (iron, stone, crystal, etc), fired via a crossbow or, depending on size, hurled as dart or javelin or launched as ballista bolt. It deals damage based on size, it will unerringly strike holes/crevasses, and lodge in them firmly, making it useful to jam locks, spike doors, blind visored knights, silence casting wizards, and so on. The penis is transformed to metal/stone/etc for [[sum]] turns, after which it returns to its normal state, and can be used as a sap/club/quarterstaff (based on size) if wielded in melee. As it is a magical effect, it can strike enemies immune to non-magical weapons.
  4. Ritual of Dusty Boners- This forbidden magic ritual, requiring the boner of a powerful undead (such as a mummy or vampire) allows the witch to use the penises of the dead (or the penis-bones, depending on species) as sources of power. It need only be cast once to acquire this power, but it must be cast with 4 magic dice, a spell check result of 30+, or a 4th level spell slot.
  5. Curse of Targeted Impotence/Deviant Attraction/Blessing of Filial Loyalty- One target may be cursed to be impotent, save for towards a single person, group of people, or designated 'type' of person, designated by the witch. This functions as a Charm effect towards the designated target of attraction, and an immunity to love potions and similar charm effects from other sources, whether normal or supernatural in nature. If the designated object of attraction possesses the target's penis (as a talisman, typically), the charm effect does not wear off over time so long as the talisman is kept on ones person.
  6. Harden/Soften- One inanimate object is either hardened akin to an erecting penis, or softened akin to a flaccid one (ropes extending straight out and swords drooping as common uses). Duration is [sum] turns. In the event an object is too large or inappropriate for this to occur, it may grow hard or flexible dildo-like protrusions instead of being affected in entirety.
  7. Eldritch Gloryhole- A smallish portal is opened, through which a mysterious dong of unknown provenance emerges. It belongs to a random monster of [sum] HD and lasts [[sum]] rounds. This is a loaner penis that the witch may use as stolen penises may be used until the duration ends (including summoning the creature via Pubic Yank), and if harm befalls the penis the owner will likely seek vengeance.
  8. Penis Panic- [[sum]] HD of penis-havers may be afflicted by the delusional terror that their penis has been stolen or is shrinking away (save to resist). Those afflicted act irrationally according to this table until they complete the rolled action, or [[sum]] rounds, turns, hours, or days pass, depending on [dice] used. Some targets (such as eunuchs or those free of attachment to their dick) are unaffected. Rival penis witches afflicted additionally believe their collection is lost.
    1. Flee in horror, searching for their missing dick in cupboards, under beds, and so on
    2. Attempt to replace their penis with nearby phallic objects
    3. Blame likely target as responsible, affected form angry mob to attack the scapegoat and turn on new ones until duration ends
    4. Drop held items and pants to hold onto dick with both hands to prevent it from vanishing for the duration.
    5. Attempt to retain manhood by getting a boner (generally results in rushing off to find mates, prostitutes, pornography, at any cost)
    6. Seeking a priest, doctor, or otherwise to cure their apparent disorder
  9. Celeritous Castration-  Allows the stealing of a targeted penis in a single round with all the usual effects of the normally slow and silent Steal Penis ritual, provided they fail a save. If the penis is actually inside the caster at the time of casting, no save is allowed.
  10. Trouser Snake- Transforms a penis into a snake. Stolen penises, being free from their owners, get no save and are free to wriggle around and attack the witch's enemies, whereas attached penises remain attached and will strike those nearby the afflicted randomly. The trouser snake lasts [sum] rounds and has the stats of a spitting cobra, though without any dangerous venom (unless the host creature is venomous)
  11. Clairovoyeurism- Caster may scry upon either a penis they have stolen but is not in their possession (and the immediate area around of course) or upon the owner of a penis that is in their possession. There is a 1 round delay on incoming information for every 100 meters distance the spell must cross. The witch may cast spells through stolen penises at a distance like a remote-operated wand.
  12. Steal  Form- By attaching the penis to themselves (or eating it), the witch may take on the physical appearance of the penis owner (as polymorph self). This transformation does not include supernatural abilities like a basilisk stare, but is a true physical transformation in terms of size, potential flight or waterbreathing, carrying capacity, and so on. The transformation ends when the penis is removed or digested completely, and the Wang Wand ability can be used as though the penis was being wielded in this time.

Mishaps (doubles or natural 1s)

  1. Weakening magics cause all nearby dicks to become flaccid, numb and impotent for the rest of the day. Further spellslots/magic dice may not be gained.
  2. Floppy penis rolls off-aim and throws spell at random target instead.
  3. Mutation (see corruptions) for 1d6 turns, save or permanent at end. If possible, mutation is dick-related.
  4. Random nearby dick of ally or of collection grows to cumbersome size for 1d6 rounds.
  5. All dicks within 100' point  towards caster like accusing fingers, even if invisible or concealed
  6. Dicks grow unruly and seek to rebel against the witch- all held dicks seek to escape like inchworms, escaping pouches scattering in all directions with a move rate of merely 5' per round but the ability to sneak into rat-holes and the like. Though it does take an action to catch one, catching requires no roll, just an action and a free hand.

Dooms/Corruptions

1- Witch smells musty regardless of how much they wash. Those aware of Cockstealing witches recognize this tell-tale scent as a mark of one, and bloodhounds may always track the witch.
2-Those who have had their penis stolen ambush the witch, either immediately or once it makes more sense. From now on, those who have had their penis stolen will scheme against the witch, appearing on random encounter tables as well and forever seeking to recover their lost penises. The dead may rise to reclaim lost penises if the witch turns to necromancy to avoid the wrath of the living
3- Due to a widespread campaign of fearmongering, calls for vengeance, and wrathful ancestor spirits trying to protect the continuation of their lineage, penis-havers will test morale to attack the witch on sight wherever they go, or take appropriate action like calling for guards, poisoning food, and so on if direct hostility would be foolish. Only by returning all stolen dicks and never stealing a dick again can the doom be averted, though penises freely gifted may still be utilized.



Societies of cockstealing witches
1- Semi-popular regional cult consists of devoted hedgewitches who keep their spouses penis safe while they are separated, and provide remote assistance in crisis (the penis haver may communicate via flexing the penis in morse code)
2- Warlike society where witches steal their children's penises at birth, and only return them once their child has 'proven' themselves in a rite of adulthood. Defeated foes invariably have their penises stolen as well, and penis-raiding may be one rite of adulthood.
3- Local witch who passes this magic down to worthy successors, acting as the vigilante avatar of sexual karma for the town.
4- Prostitutes' guild using this magic to ensure clients are polite and prompt payments. Also frequently hired out as wizards to the thieves guild for zany heists.
5- Traditional, respectable, court-approved wizard circle which just so happens to have a cock-based curriculum and spell lineage. Apprentices split between dignified local seventh sons of seventh sons and giggling foreign exchange students who have entirely the wrong idea about the place.
6- Foocubus operated sperm bank intended to maintain ancient and defunct noble bloodlines of long-crumbled empires across multiple continents, expanded into a long-distance dating/hookup service, and expanded again into a chimera-breeding beast-battler enabler, all to pay operating costs required for dealing with nobles. Delegation of the increasing number of tasks to hastily trained apprentice witches.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Elephant

AD&D ELEPHANT
As one would expect, an elephant is amighty beast with 10-12 HD (Asiatic, African, and Mammoths being the size scale). They have 5 attacks, but must spread them out among targets, as one cannot trample, trunk-squeeze, and tusk-gore one person with all their parts at once. They can wreck gates unless the gate is spiked, and fear fire. Their tusks are worth 100-600gp each, which given the danger involved in fighting one (let alone the numbers appearing of 1d20) is certainly not worth the risk to most adventurers. When 10+ are rolled, 1d4 will be immature members that are 20-70% mature. When a single beast is rolled, it is assumed to be a rogue male with a minimum 6HP per HD, in a state of musth and as such is highly aggressive, attacking 90% of the time (musth is not mentioned but it seems the obvious explanation).

BFRPG ELEPHANT
 Slightly less dangerous, damage output wise, and having a handy entry of how much they can carry (about 4 tons for a light load and 8 tons for a heavy load) as well as giving tusk value at 100-800gp value, this entry sees them more as beasts of burden than combat/war encounters compared to D&D.

3.5 ELEPHANT
Within the animal subcategory of the book, these elephants give a save for half damage to avoid the trample, and have the usual sort of HP bloat to be expected, having not just 11HD, but 11d8+55 HP!

There's a bit of an issue, I've found, with using elephants as a loot source or other exploitable resource- a bleed-over from the sympathy towards the fate of these intelligent animals at the hands of humans in the real world. Similar to beating watch dogs to death, or eating dolphins (tho honestly I almost feel like the opinion on sharks and dolphins is reversing as people learn more about them) pretend elephant hunting can leave a bad taste in some people's mouths when you're lowkey wondering if they'll go extinct in the next hundred years or not. Monsters are the 'acceptable big game' animal in D&D, so having elephants seems redundant and potentially sad in some ways.

telling your apprentices that a elephant skeleton is a cyclops skeleton is a classic joke among necromancers

SUNSET REALM ELEPHANT

While there are Berserkers and Boarserkers, Elephants have totemic berserkers too among the people of Saresare and Yuba, and also the Gondazong people of the fault. Before the cultural melting pot of the north fault, elephant berserkers would have mostly been from the Yoza Invader Barbarians and the Pudizong, and before the migrations and gene-plagues, the berserkers were the Tuskers, dune-dwarves of ill temper and surface living, and before them, in the burning age of Yg-A, there were the Elves who had kinship with the beasts of the land and were clad in ivory and blood and ash and rode elephants so that they could more easily leap onto dragons to slay them and also too to trample the ghul hordes into the ash. Before them was the Serpent Empire which was far too cool-blooded to have any berserkers, and so ends the traceable lineage of Elephant Style.

However, while bears stalk the world round, and boars are sliding towards domestication as pigs(which some say explains why bears remain the more popular berserker emblem), elephants met a different fate altogether.
Elephants once were among the greatest beasts of the land, but now live only in domestication(Saresare and Yuba) or in undeath (The Fault). This is the fault not of ivory hunters, but necromancers, who saw in the elephant a beast that was vulnerable to magically aided hunting strategies, made for a terrifying undead warbeast, and came with built-in treasure/magical components in the form of their ivory tusks. The Deadlieges of the Fault ride atop these undead monstrosities, each rune-carved tusk acting as a magical wand to channel power through, and even forgotten elephant bones rise when Corpse-Bees build their hives in the ribcages of these beasts.

In Saresare, they are status symbols of the sultans and princes and so on, for they require prodigious amounts of water and feed in those dry lands, and are only rarely ridden upon in howdahs usually to stand out from camel-howdahs in urban processions. Back in the 4th age when there was more outright war, Saresare adopted war-elephant tactics from Yuba briefly, but this did not last.

In Yuba, the smaller jungle elephants are somewhat common as beasts of burden and some war-elephants remain, but many perished in the Riikhite crusades of the 4th solar age, and were mummified and sealed away in the pyramid tombs of Yuba. With the death of the Horse God of Yuba, elephants made somewhat of a comeback, but seem to grow smaller with every generation.

It is rumored that in distant, Winter-frozen Moonlands, the great woolly mammoths still walk the earth, and miniature elephants can yet be found on isolated Beast Islands.

Elephants are symbolic of the weight of harsh truths in the realms. They were known to be intelligent creatures, yet unlike most animals which reincarnate over and over again in a perpetual circle of life, the souls of elephants depart the world upon death and do not return, meaning necromancers must animate the bones via slightly more esoteric means than usual.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Standard Spell List as Fighter Techniques

Spells are the problem-solving tools of higher level D&D moreso than inventory items(magic items aside). Though mundane items are not obsoleted, ropes are less important when someone can turn into a flying beast to carry the party, torches are less important when Continual Light becomes a thing, having holy water for undead is less important when you can just hold the line for a few rounds while the wizards chuck their artillery spells, etc etc. It makes me feel like the thieves and fighters get left out a little, even with my various houserules that buffed the non-magic user classes.

So I decided to try to turn a lot of classic spells into weeaboo fightan magic wuxia-style fighter techniques, with the idea that fighters learn one and go through 'em one per round in combat, starting with the lower level spells and going up the list, since of course you can't use your ultimate move first.

This could also work for a Fighter/MU spell aesthetics or a special class of their own I expect. Or maybe it could be good for a classless system where cleric spells are herbs and wizard spells are tricks to be taught by ancient mountaintop masters. Though I did include a few cleric spells in here too, healing spells were not included since these techniques are potentially usable every fight.

Level 1/Opener Techniques
Oath of Merciful Indenture(Charm Person)-
You can hold someone at swordpoint/arrowpoint/gunpoint etc and demand they surrender and serve you, or perish! This is limited to humanoids of 4hd or less- other things are unlikely to know of this Saresaren custom, be too physiologically different to feel threatened enough by this, or just be too much of a badass to consider it. As per regular Charm Person, this just makes someone your ally, not your mind-slave- treating them poorly will make them decide they'll risk your wrath and try to betray, flee, or otherwise escape from you. Contrary to Charm Person, things get a +5 to the save if it's used NOT in combat, or in a combat that you started, as starting a fight to try to coerce people isn't really mercy.

Sense Killing Intent (Detect Evil)- Simply put, this lets you sense hostility in the form of body language, pheromones, or other ridiculous but semi-plausible ideas. As a limitation, it may not work on things with twice your HD due to being able to conceal their own killing intent, or this technique might be reversible as Hide Killing Intent. One thing I actually think is fun from 3.5 is the 'Overwhelming Evil' effect of stunning characters under 7th level for 1 round if they are exposed to a sufficiently high level of evil (though of course in this case it would be anything with 11+HD and murderous intent). Another possible reversal would be Project Killing Intent which acts as Cause Fear.

Tiger-Climbing Tree (Spiderclimb/Featherfall)- allows one to climb sheer surfaces by driving ones blades/hands into a surface to get a grip, and to slow ones fall if you can reach a surface as you fall (or maybe just roll upon landing and be miraculously unharmed)


Spark-Flinging Edge (Light)-  by dragging your sword ominously across the ground, you can create sparks to illuminate your surroundings, or have each clash of your blade with the enemy's own blades or teeth or whatever send sparks flying to keep the place illuminated

Dust-Kick (Darkness)- Simply put, you kick up dust (or throw an improvised smoke bomb as appropriate) to hide an area in swirling dust or whatever context appropriate substance is handy, like leaves or flour or whatever. Can be targeted at eyes to blind people temporarily. I feel like you should probably allow this sort of thing already, even if it's limited to a single round or requires an attack roll.

Hundred-Merciful Fist(Sleep)- You leap into action and choke/concuss 2d4HD worth targets into unconsciousness(assuming they fail the save of course). It is of course highly dishonorable to slit their throats afterwards, so ideally you will tie them up or stuff them into a locked broom closet.

Perfect Shot (Magic Missile)- You fling/fire some darts, daggers, kunai, shuriken, pebbles, slingstones, etc to strike unerringly at the weak points of a target, like through a knight's visor or down the trachea of a roaring beast or whatever.

Perfect Parry (Shield)- Grants +3AC against melee attacks and +6 AC against ranged attacks, though only frontally. Blocks Magic Missile and Perfect Shots.

Pointed Message (Magic Mouth)- by leaving a head on a pike, particular slash marks on a tree, arrow with an actual message, you can communicate a short message to particular people the message is meant for.... actually nah, forget this one.

Burning Blood (Protection from Cold)-
A must for shirtless loincloth barbarians from the Far North™

Grease- Just throw a flask of oil okay not everything needs to be a secret technique

Level 2 Techniques
Get Serious (Bless)-
Applying a +1 to hit and morale is subtle, but good enough that I think having it be a level 1 spell as in AD&D makes it a no brainer option. That aside, clearly you have to gauge your opponents powerlevel before realizing you have to get serious, so it can't happen on the first round of combat.

Paralyzing Pressure Points (Hold Person)- Familiarity with human(oid) anatomy allows you to strike someone to temporarily paralyze them, forcing a save at -2, or to go ham with flurrying blows or thrown needles and try to take down multiple targets (up to 3) without the save penalty.

Beast Stare (Charm/Speak With Animal)- Familiarity with animal body language and being able to show them that you are the alpha wolf or whatever can let you communicate nonhostility and intent nonverbally, and maybe even get them to assist you, or at least leave you be.

Predict Moves (ESP)- Though normally a low-key explanation for how you're so much more dangerous than a 1HD person with a knife, you can read the body language of people you are battling to predict more than the steps of battle, but also what they are planning to do on a more abstract level as their surface thoughts are reflected in their moves. Could also come off as having the mental acumen to provoke them into spilling secrets in the heat of battle, or perhaps extract information via intimidation post-battle with nothing but a promise of mercy if they talk and an ominous cracking of knuckles or something

Assassination Step (Invisibility)-  Moving too fast and skillfully for the opponents eye to follow, they must rely on their other senses to track you, at least until you finally make your attack. Also works for evading combat to some degree I suppose.

Swallow's Perch (Levitation)- Supreme master of the balance of the body allows you to stand atop ten foot poles, swords, and (if further height is required) ridiculous towers of assorted objects. As an alternate take, it could represent holding onto a rope attached via a grapple or be a sort of spider climb, or if you don't mind more silliness, it could be vertical levitation obtained via helicoptering a blade at ludicrous speeds, in which case it should probably be called Bee's Ascent or something

Afterimages(Mirror Image)- Simply put, you start to move so fast you leave 1d4+1 afterimages people may mistakenly attack due to their deceived eyes or slow reflexes.

Raider's Knock (Knock)- Kick down a door, locked chest, or other comparable barrier... A bit questionable here, I dunno, I don't like Knock on the best of days.

Sword Divination (Locate Object)- Y'know that scene where Inigo Montoya prays for his father's sword to guide him to the secret door in the tree? Yeah... though it may not make sense if these spells are supposed to come about in combat and be limited by combat rounds rather than out of combat and be limited by uses per day. Whatever

Copious Sweat (Protection From Fire)-  a must have for sweaty, shirtless barbarians in volcano temples and dragon caves and the like

Web- probably just throw a net, or have a bunch of hired net-throwers.

3rd Level Techniques
Death Richochet(Lightning Bolt), A fired arrow/thrown javelin/etc pierces targets for terrible damage. Bounces off surfaces, 1d6 damage per level, save for half, a classic. 

Whirlwind Spin Attack(Fireball)- d6 damage per level save for half, but centered on you rather than lobbed (personal immunity tho, since it needs something to compensate for losing the range). Could also be like a giant hammer smash or a deafening shout or something.

Lungs of Beowulf (Waterbreathing/Water Walking)- Just, hold your breath for hours while you wrestle a monsters momma, easy peasy. Clearly you need the adrenaline to fuel anaerobic exercise or something so it's only lasts through the crisis situation... or maybe this is a bad idea and it should just be 'run across water' instead.

Beast Baffling Blow (Hold Animal)- as Hold Person but now you have the anatomical knowledge to do it with animals. Wait no that's not what I-

Wind Step (Fly)- just leap through the air astounding distances, or jump off of the wind itself, idk. Really there's no excuse for not just pulling out a bow so this is a bit redundant but I think it's probably fine.

H-Hayai/Osoi- (Haste/Slow)- As spells these are mass buffs, but I think it more appropriate to just have it function as Hasting the warrior in question.


Zatoichi's Training(Infravision/Darkvision)- Your other senses and awareness of the battlefield are not sight dependent, so you can operate blind as if sighted, with the usual limitations of not being able to read and so on.

Arrow Catching (Protection from normal missiles)- Basically you catch/cut all normal projectiles headed your way, a necessity for becoming immune to army squads of archers like a proper immortal hero type.

Spell Slay (Dispel magic/remove curse)- allows you to strike at and slay a magical effect (or multiple effects clustered in an area like buffs/curses on one individual. Only relatively 'weak' effects can be killed like this, with proper curses that can only be lifted one way and so on being unaffected. Also would allow you to counter an incoming spell I expect, slashing it in two as it arrives.

Mutilate- (Cause Blindness/Deafness/Bestow Curse)- Lets you strike a blow that causes permanent bodily harm- cutting out eyes, damaging the throat, removing a hand or foot or reducing a stat by 4 all are probably appropriate moves to pull with this, though of course a save is given.

4th Level Techniques


Lightning Catching Blade(Protection from Lightning)
- A must for people who thought the lightning- catching jump from Sekiro was the coolest thing ever. I think the protection techniques are a little lame but they are easy to write.... Probably should all be level 1 if the goal is to have each round of combat correspond to a higher level technique.

Monster Master (Charm Monster)- As Charm Animal, but with all manner of monsters, because high level fighters should be able to have dragon mounts too c'mon

Flash Step (Dimension Door)- 'teleport' (actually just move in a burst of speed) to anywhere within 200' that could be reached normally via running, jumping, climbing, swimming, maybe just a bit of flying. Unknown areas cannot be teleported to.

High Swashbucklery(Confusion)- Via incredible skill and probably chandelier swinging, you bamboozle your enemies into running around like headless chickens, accidentally hitting each other, getting faked out and running the wrong way, tripping over the environment, etc etc. A must have for 'lone warrior vs horde' situations.

Beast Style(Polymorph Self)- Via emulating monsters you have encountered and either defeated or been defeated by in your travels, you may emulate the attack patterns, AC, and movement of beasts by not transforming physically, just changing your style to something superhuman. Other capabilities may be simulated as well via silly things like wielding double-ended ropes tied to your limbs for Kraken Style or whatever

Wave Cleaving Strike(Lower Water)- smack water with a sword to part it like moses parting the red sea, it makes total sense.

Line In The Sand/Iaido (Wall of Fire)- Anyone crossing the area you designate (usually by drawing a line on the ground) takes 2d6+Level damage from your immediate punishment via fired arrows or a quickdraw of a sheathed sword, and those lingering too close to the line (about 10-20 feet) can be struck for half damage. Lasts as long as you concentrate on it. An alternate version, Lonely Phalanx(Wall of Ice),  does no damage but prevents things from passing through as though there were a wall of thick ice there- if something is powerful enough to get through it takes 2 damage per level but then the defense and the shield is broken.

Level 5+ Techniques that I definitely lost enthusiasm for writing
5

Monster Immobilizing Strike (Hold Monster)- As Hold Animal but with all the monsters. Considerably less cool than Charm Monster but it's potentially multi-target and if single target has a save, so while I always thought it was weird that this was higher level than Charm Monster, I kinda get it now that I think of Charm as just 'make friends' and not 'mind slave.

Let Your Fists Do The Talking (Speak With Monster)- By engaging in battle, you can communicate more clearly than words ever could transcending the language barrier through yadda yadda you get it

Weeping Earth Blow (Wall of Stone)- strikes the earth to collapse a hallway, or forcibly shove the ground into a raised cliff to end pursuit, create an arena, etc etc

Belch Of The Drunken Master (Cloudkill)- A farcical technique, this is a poison belch that creates a 15' cloud of heavier than air death poison that kills anything with 4HD or less no save, allows a save for 5HD monsters, and 6HD monsters are unaffected (but begin taking 1d10 damage per round after the first 'free' round if they stay in it, a change mentioned in the AD&D DMG that I am sure was meant to prevent high level adventurers from chilling in their own cloudkill)
6
Atomic Slash (Disintegrate)- Target saves or is cut into shreds akin to motes of drifting dust, with perhaps a bloody mist remaining, by a truly gratuitous number of instantaneous slashes.

Circle of Steel (Blade Barrier)- caster surrounded by a ring flickering swordcuts(or whatever weapon is favored) of radius up to 5' per two levels that deals Leveld6 damage to all attempting to cross lasting Level rounds and being immobile. It also provides +4AC against all attacks attempting to cross the whirling barrier.

Forbidden Technique(Death Spell)- kills 3d12HD of living enemies of under 8HD with no save via means so forbidden that I'm sure they depend on the individual school of martial arts, or are unique capabilities.

I'm sure a few spells I skipped could be adapted to be a physical act with a sword somehow, but honestly a lot of spells start to be 'exotic way to disable someone' and 'way to counter/cure exotic status ailment' or things like Floating Disk which all I could think of was like, hacky sack with a shield laden with goods which was too silly even for a silly post. Maybe I'll come back to this and update it with missing spells if inspiration strikes, but probably not.