Thursday, August 11, 2022

Giant Lynx, Mammoth, Manticore, Masher, Mastodon

 AD&D Giant Lynx


don't sue me TSR games I own the monster manual and can show it to people if I want...!

AD&D Mammoth, Mastodon
These nearly identical entries (Mammoth has 13 HD instead of 12, does 3d6 instead of 2d8, and has AC 5 instead of 6) take up a good half of a page and are largely redundant with the Elephant entry earlier. More and more evidence for the existence of someone very interested in finicky details of the pleistocene being involved with early D&D.

AD&D Masher
Probably among the most forgettable monsters of all time, these are 8HD 'worm-like' fish, dealing 5d4 damage and being covered in poisonous dorsal spines that mean it must be attacked from the front or below, lest the spines fend off attackers who must either abort their melee attack or save vs poison or die. They eat coral but are prone to attacking if surprised or threatened in "self-defense." It's not a bad concept for a monster, though it being underwater and just a fish limits the need to engage with them.

One might expect them to be popular sources of poison spears by the underwater races of Sahuagin and so on, but I see no mention of interaction with other sea creatures. In fact, apart from a lonely 2e wiki entry and a mention of dwelling in the waters of Raven's Bluff in Toril, they do not appear to have any internet presence.

Some random 5e character named Masher has about the same online presence as this fish on search engines

AD&D Manticore
An interesting creature, it can fire 4 volleys of 6 spikes, dealing 1d6 damage each at the range of a light crossbow. As they can fly, one assumes they soften up or slay foes at range, then close in to finish off whatever remains with their unimpressive melee (a regular ol lizard man is about equivalent if you ignore the HD difference) Their treasure type E is typically unimpressive- there is a chance of something good, but it is a low chance indeed. If nothing else, their iron tail spikes can no doubt double as iron spikes to shut doors with.

Manticores are an interesting tactical problem for low to-mid level parties- one must survive the volleys of fairly accurate (+6) spikes, then be able to defeat the creature before it flies away to end its aerial reign of terror, or find a way to track a flying beast back to its lair for treasure. They are of low intelligence but are 'Lawful Evil' which might imply deals can be struck with them, though it is unclear if they speak despite having human heads.

Sunset Realm Giant Lynx
Like most giant animals, the answer is 'sure, why not, there are many ways to become gigantic.'

nasty man

Sunset Realm Mammoth/Mastodon
See the Elephant entry. Most of them are found in the frozen lands of Fomoria south of the fault, driven ever further south by Deadliege expeditions to steal their bones and make necromantic war-constructs from them, just as what was done to their less-hairy elephant brethren in the warm north jungles.

Lungfungus had an interesting approach for these beasts statblock wise that I think I'll steal- failing a melee attack against one incurs 1d8 damage from trampling, as an automated way to make unskilled hunters better off on ranged duty and account for the bulk of the beast simply trampling people.

Sunset Realm Manticore
Goblinpunch already did a pretty great take which I am mostly stealing from.

Manticores are Nightmare creatures, born of dreams of spite and grudge. As Nightmare is closest to the waking world in Saresare, they are known to be residents of that desert sultanate, though they are often hunted and driven into Yuba, Fassulia, and Mercia, cursing all the way. Their faces are that of the host of the nightmare that made them.

They eat hard things, breaking their teeth and bleeding their gums, and incorporate those things as their tail spikes. Shards of bone, stone, and metal compose the quills of a manticores tail. Vomiting forth unsuccessful consumption leads to their lairs being foul smelling and messy, and frequently haunted by unclean spirits of disease. Harpies and manticores do not get along well, but are frequently found together regardless. They fear sphinx.

Manticores are generally unreasonable, growing more resentful of everything you have that they don't but can be satiated temporarily with slander and general nastiness. Politeness and care only pisses them off more. Aiding them with whatever grudge they are nursing is the only way to be allied with one.
If a manticore cannot kill you, it will follow you, harassing your friends, scaring off game, leading enemies to you, and worse if it can manage it.

If you are hit by a manticore tail spike, it embeds in you and you become poisoned by hatred. You cannot aid other people, and can only laugh at their misfortune, mocking them, listing out all your grievances and resentments towards them. Pulling out a spike deals 1 extra point of damage per spike, and you can pull out any number within a round as a full-round action, but someone with a spike in them certainly can't pull spikes out of someone else. Those who die, not from the manticore itself, but from the side-effects of this poison, will spawn a Nightmare incursion upon death which in turn will spawn manticores with their face. Manticores try to engineer these scenarios, knocking people off cliffs and then poisoning their friends and similar so they let them fall.

This poison is nightmarish in nature and only takes effect when the manticore hurls spikes, it can only be collected by things that can collect dreams or emotions.
Similarly, only their spikes are real- upon being slain, the manticore collapses and turns to nothing. Manticores do not have biology or ecology, and could indeed sit in a dungeon room for 100 years doing nothing but hoping to eat the next person they saw.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Mutation Megapost

There are three main problems with mutation charts I have been bumping into lately, so I made my own (with judicious amounts of ripping other people off of course)

Problem #1 was the style of mutation that just makes you ugly and persecuted by villagers (or at least have bad character design) but is otherwise largely pointless and easily forgotten because we don't have visual feeds on the theatre of the mind. DCC was pretty bad for this. 
Such mutations have a little more place in campaigns where mutations are basically just a punishment not a fun random table, but the problems of being easily forgotten due to no visual feedback persist.

Problem #2 was the style of mutation that gives you magic/superpowers with no physical component. It's kinda neat occasionally, but I prefer the sort of mutation that has drawbacks & a physical explanation to aid commonsense understanding, not just 'you're Jean Grey now I guess.' Allowing stuff like 'water control' makes players a bit too willing to become the X-Men by scumming mutation tables. On the other side of the coin, lots of mutation tables have entries that are more like curses, mutilations, or diseases, which I don't like for intruding on the design space of other tables.

Problem #3 was stuff that, well, suffice it to say that some things in the Metamorphica Classic don't read as 'mutations' so much as 'LotFP edginess fallout.' I didn't notice them for a long time but hoo boy.

There is a max # of mutations a character can get, to prevent them from becoming overly complicated/incoherent. I've been using CON as the cap, but level could also work if you wanted mutations to double as a corruption track that you can resist the more badass you are.

Exceeding this limit will transform a character into a monster, kill them, or most mercifully, simply replace existing mutations with new ones rather than adding to the character.

If something does damage and you roll it again, upgrade it by a dice class.
Poison can be 1d6 damage, death, paralysis, confusion, hallucinogen, etc, but only affects equivalently sized targets, requiring more doses per volume (about x8 dosage for x2 height/width)

1-Hands/Feet/Lesser Area
2- Legs
4-Lower Torso
5-Upper Torso
6- Head

  1. Blob- Body becomes gelatinous. STR & DEX reduced to 3, but immune to blunt damage and can squeeze through things. If rolled again, become an ooze who splits if hit by slicing damage instead of taking damage normally.
  2. Unusual Coloration- Albino, night black, leaf green, pumpkin orange, gradient pink/indigo, etc. Advantage to hiding in appropriately colored areas, disadvantage in high-contrast zones. Rolling again adds chameleon powers, which can provide nigh-invisibility, but probably only if naked and unmoving.
  3. Terrible Claws- Bird, lizard, mammalian, hooves, crustacean claw, fingernails, etc, replace 1d4 hands/feet. Deal 1d6 unarmed damage, 1 attack per free claw. 1/6 chance of feet instead of hands, 1/6 chance of both. Fine manipulation is difficult at 1d8, and impossible at 1d10+
  4. Fangs/Beak/Jaws/tusks/- Bonus 1d4 unarmed damage bite attack. Is a bonus attack in addition to other attacks if grappling/fighting unarmed. Rolling again increases damage.
  5. Armored Scales/Shell/Hide/Boneyness- Unarmored AC changes to 10+1d6. If combined with armor, add half of armor bonus to new unarmored AC. +1 AC if rolled again.
  6. Spiky- Armor must be specially made to allow for spikes to function. 1d4 automatic damage to beings that strike/grapple you with a vulnerable body part.
  7. Furry/Feathery- Counts as winter clothing. Requires x3 time to clean off gunk. Rerolling makes one 50% cold-resistant, but prone to heat stroke in non-arctic conditions.
  8. Tentacle- sprouts somewhere random. Acts as bonus limb.
  9. Lengthy- Body part can stretch/is 20 feet long. x2 Size on reroll
  10. Monstrous Pupils- Pupils change shape. Conscious refocusing allows shifting into infrared vision. Reroll can see invisible with conscious effort.
  11. Extra Eyeball- Increased field of sight, flanking penalty requires alternate angle of attack such as from above or below. Rerolling grants 1000 eyes on handy/inconvenient areas, making some tasks sensitive but making surprise nigh impossible.
  12. Giant Ears- hear enemy behind door, take 1 nonlethal damage from yelling/other loud noises.
    Surprise chance reduced by 1 if method of ambush mostly based on sound reduction. Extra magic ring slots in the form of earrings may be had.
    Rolling again allows for echolocation.
  13. Venomous- 1 unarmed attack mode can poison equivalently sized enemies, requiring about x10 doses per doubling of size to take effect.
  14. Gliding Membrane- as flying squirrel. Glide 1 horizontal per 1 descended. Rerolls double horizontal glide.
  15. Horns- Bonus 1d4 unarmed damage headbutt attack on charges. Free if grappling/fighting unarmed.
  16. Wings- Flight! 1/2 speed at light load, can't fly at heavy load. Weight restrictions removed if rerolled, but are notably large (30' wingspan)
  17. Fins- Swim speed as run speed. Doubled if rerolled, but replaces other limbs, RIP.
  18. Tail- Neat, mostly aesthetic, but other mutations may inform it being that of a scorpion, fox, lizard, etc. Rerolling adds prehensility, or an attack form.
  19. Quadrupedal- Can run on all fours at full speed. Slowed in bipedal stance.
  20. Giant Brain- +5 Int, but each point of bonus INT counts as 10 pounds/1 slot weight.
  21. Giant In General- x2 size. Doubled carrying capacity and melee damage against smaller beings. Needs everything special made at x10 cost.
  22. Poison Sacs- bulges spill poison if ruptured. Nearby targets save vs poison, with a +1 per point of AC from worn armor, and a -1 per point of damage if they bit you.
  23. Redundant Organs- If you are killed by piercing/poison/damage likely to kill via internal damage, survive, once.
  24. Nature's Pocket- +1 Inventory slot (internal).
  25. Eyestalks- Good for peeping around corners, under wide doorframes, etc. 3 foot initial length, x3 on rerolls.
  26. Exoskeleton- No bones, but exterior is hard. Lose -X max HP per level, but gain +X AC.
  27. Extra Head- Roll a new character to represent the head's skills and personality.
  28. Big Hands, gecko feet, spider legs, etc etc- Can climb at run speed on vertical surfaces and overhangs. Light load makes overhangs too dangerous, heavy loads make vertical surfaces too hard.
  29. Frog/grasshopper/bunny legs. Can jump run speed distances, horizontally, half vertically.
  30. Hump, fat deposits, etc. Excess food/water can be devoured and stored for up to a week without.
  31. Leafy- Leaves replace hair, or skin becomes green. 8 hours sunlight counts as a ration (but not water). Reroll includes flowers/fruits which are a poison/potion or at least a ration.
  32. Scrambled- Appendages/features in unusual spot. Commonly referred to as Zongism.
  33. Oh Worm- become worm. See if people REALLY love you, or if you must Shai-Hulud alone
  34. Tentacle Transformation- Hair, Arms, Legs, or Head become single/multiple tentacles. They are either small and poisonous, or large and strong.
  35. Extra Arms-2d4, keep lowest
  36. Centauroid- Fast but oddly shaped. Double carrying capacity and run speed, worse at climbing, turning quickly, squeezing.
    Reroll becomes Centipede-like.
  37. Cyclopean- Big eye collects light well (see twice as far in torchlight/starlight/lowlight) but has no depth perception (-4 to hit with ranged, double scatter distance for thrown oil, fireballs, boulders).
    Reroll- Entire head is eyeball.
  38. Smol- Half damage, carrying capacity, movespeed, etc. Can fit in lots of places. Stacks on rerolls.
  39. Petrified- Immune to physical combat damage from nonmagical weapons, level 1 spells, and monsters under 5HD (or anything deemed incapable of harming a statue able to defend itself). Cannot heal HP without Stone Shape/Stone to Mud/Mud to Stone shenanigans. Each reroll increases level of immunity by 1 stage.
  40. Vampiric/Trollish- Regenerate 1HP per round, but each HP recovered counts as a day without food which must be compensated for quickly to avoid starvation undoing all the healing.
    A human is about 10 days of food, roughly. Double rate with rerolls
  41. Fever- Body temperature can keep up to 8 people warm in cold weather camping. If rerolled, 1d4 heat damage from skin-to-skin contact.
  42. Thick Skin- Wrinkly, or toadlike, or blubbery. Unaffected by contact poisons. If rerolled, 1/week can shed skin to cure self of skin-based problems. Those wearing skin look like you as a disguise for a week of regular use, more if carefully preserved, less if used in strenuous activity.
  43. Sticky/Grasping Cilia/Prehensile hair- Things touching the mutant are automatically 'grappled.'
    If rerolled, mutant is so sticky that they cannot unwield or throw things. Gluey secretions ooze through clothes/armor.
  44. Slimy/Smooth- Mutant too slippery to be bound or grappled, escaping at the end of their turn.
    If reroll, can't grasp things effectively, climb or stand on smooth floors, near-frictionless.
  45. Gills- Breath water! If reroll, ONLY breath water....
  46. Acid blood. Reroll, Potion Blood. May also be lava blood, bug-blood, ice blood, etc for variety.
  47. Cold Blooded- Lose initiative in cold weather, Slowed (as spell) in very cold weather or if you take cold damage.
  48. Electric Generation- Can zap people for 1d4 damage on contact/conduction through water/metal.
    If rerolled, can arc 5' through air.
  49. Hermaphromorphic- Can change sex to various configurations.
  50. Musk/Pollen/Spores- Notable scent may attract or repel certain types of monsters (reroll CHA to determine opinions by species). Rerolling makes musk have poisonous effect. Leaves a trackable trail for those who find it repulsive or attractive.
  51. Hollow Bones/Lightweight/Gas Buoyancy -etc- Mutant weighs 1/10th of normal. -1 max HP per HD.
  52. Battle-Form/Adrenaline/Berserker- Upon entering combat (ie, making an attack roll or being attacked), effect is as potion of heroism. Exhaustion afterwards causes bonuses (save for temp HD) to be reversed until sleep can be had. 1/day, rerolling doubles uses.
  53. Bioluminescent- Glows as torch if nude, candle if clothed. Rerolling increases light radius.
  54. Mitosis- Can reproduce by splitting. Each resulting split has half HP and level but retain all characteristic and are distinct individuals.
    If rerolled, the splits may instead be drones
  55. Mighty Nose Hair/Dwarf Beard/Non-hairy filters- Protected from inhaled poisons, gases, smoke, etc.
  56. Silk- Can make silk rope, 10' per HP expended (metabolically intense). 100' of string, or 1000' of thread. If rerolled, silk rope can be extruded sticky or slippery.
  57. Elemental Affinity- 50% resistance to Fire/Cold/Electricity/Acid/Other Elemental Issue
    Reroll- Immune. Reroll again, heal from.
  58. Mighty Breath/Lungs- Can hold breath for an hour, and shout very loud and long. If rerolled, you can inhale tuns of air and inflate like a balloon, the sudden size increase frightening animals and surprising others (check morale).
  59. Hibernation/Cocoon- Mutant may sleep for set times, and cannot awaken. While in this state, food/water is not needed, healing doubles. If rerolled, lost limbs may be regrown, diseases cast off, etc etc, at a rate of 1 such healing per week.
  60. Herbivore/Carnivore- May only eat plants (but can eat things like grass) or may only eat meat (but may eat it raw/somewhat bad safely). If rerolled, both apply in super-omnivorousness. Rerolling again allows consumption of anything organic safely. Rerolling again, anything physical. Rerolling yet again, anything.
  61. Worm Mouth/Mole Claws- May tunnel through soft earth/sand at half speed. Rerolling means hard earth/soft stone may be burrowed through, rerolling a third time allows for even worked stone/bedrock to be bored through.
  62. Acid Expulsion- vomiting,  range as thrown dagger. Previously swallowed objects/liquids act as projectile. Rerolling adds 1d4 acid damage.
    Getting hit in the stomach forces a save vs poison or vomiting.
  63. Eyeless- Blind. Reroll becomes faceless. Grues will not hunt you.
  64. Breath Weapon- 1/day, random type. Deals 1 damage per HD. Rerolling adds 1 use and 1 damage per HD. Save for half.
  65. Steam/Ink/Smoke/Dandruff- may emit an obscuring cloud 5' radius. 
  66. Piezoelectromagnetism- Can sense magnetic/electric fields with concentration. On earth-like worlds, allows for finding north. Rolling again grants 30' range ferrokinesis (with INT as STR)
  67. Transparent- Invisible flesh. Only really works if not carrying anything at all. Handy for seeing parasites, effects of swallowed potions, etc.
  68. Fungal- If killed, explode in spore cloud, 10' radius. Those failing to save are infected by you and you live on in them, able to make them take 1 action per day. If the infection is not cured, you replace their brain in 1d6 weeks. On reroll, corpses are also infected and raised as fungal zombies. Multiple copies of you are philosophically troublesome.
  69. Hideously Ugly- Those beholding you must check morale or flee in terror, and may assume you are some kind of monster. If rolled again, it's a save vs magic or fear.
  70. Manticore Spines/Fingerbone spurs/Blowgun tooth- You may attack for 1d8 unarmed (range as throwing dagger) by throwing bits of yourself. Ammo regrows slowly, so each shot costs 1 CON damage. The first time you do this to someone it counts as a sneak/surprise attack.
  71. Nerve Interface- Touching another creature for 1 whole turn allows you to link to its nervous system and feel what it is feeling, and vice versa. On a reroll, you may read its mind clearly, and if rolled again, you may control it.
  72. Enhanced Vocalizations- You can be loud, musical, a mimic, or a ventriloquist with ease. On a reroll, you may shriek for 1d4 damage, syattering glass and similar.
  73. Egg- Assuming you are well-fed, you lay an egg every week, much like a chicken. Counts as a ration, is not cannibalism unless fertilized and allowed to develop significantly.
  74. Corrosive Sweat/slime- Metal rusts, corrodes, and crumbles if touched by you in stressful/exercise situations. If rerolled, this extends to organic substances like leather, cloth, etc.
  75. Sucker/Elephant/Duck Feet- Wide distribution of weight foils many pressure-plate type traps. Unfortunately, still a bit slow- 1/2 speed.
  76. Skeleton- Vital organs and functions retreat inside bones, making flesh redundant. Attacks that cannot break bone cannot kill you (though they still do damage otherwise) and enemies are likely to believe you dead at half-HP or lower.
  77. Fire Extinguisher- Upon taking fire damage, pores shoot forth expanding white foam that cannot burn and smothers flame in a '5' radius. x2 Radius on rerolls.
  78. Homunculi Colony- Internal organs replaced with 1 little person who has 1 giant appendage for each appendage you have, forming your arm, your head, mutant tails, etc. They may separate to perform important tasks, but are misshappen and better off working together as 'you.' If slain individually lose 20% max HP, XP, statistics, etc.
  79. Pseudothanatism- Albinism, 1d6 damage per turn from sunlight, undead can't tell you're alive until they touch you.
  80. Udders- Can feed most baby mammals milk. Other creatures probably allergic. -1 Con=One Ration's worth.
    Rerolling increases efficiency, allowing 2 creatures to be fed for -1 Con.
  81. Long Tongue- can grab things like a frog. Rerolling makes it prehensile as a hand. Tends to not fit in your mouth. 5' length by default, doubles each reroll.
  82. Vents- Tube growths that can expel poisons, diseases, parasites, curses, etc affecting the mutant (they are not cured, only spread.) On a reroll, the range increases to that of a trebuchet.
  83. Flammable- All bodily fluids function as lamp oil (1HP per hour of light for blood). Always catch on fire when taking fire damage. On a reroll, functions as napalm.
  84. Extra Mouth- Back of head- Talks, demands food, or, Stomach- huge, can eat a whole chicken. Hand- Spooky, convenient for eating.
    Reroll- 1000 mouths all over. !d6 bite attacks each round in grapples, 1 damage each unless you have fangs etc.
  85. Turtle Appendages- All appendages can be retracted into the body, protecting them from being targeted (or used.) If rerolled, body can be retracted into appendage.
  86. Long Nose- good for sniffing, or using as a breathing tube. Common target of slashing weapons.
    Reroll- prehensile like an elephants, counts as appendage.
  87. Gobbler- Can unhinge jaw and swallow things up to twice your size given a turn, though you still must count their weight for encumbrance.
  88. Bloody Eyes- Weep blood. Can also shoot blood (-1 HP) from eyes to blind people briefly (1 round, automatically hits the first time you trick someone with this.) If rolled again they act as pressurized water cutters, only deal 1d4 damage but can punch through metal.
  89. Antennae- Very sensitive. Can detect air current movement of invisible creatures/drafts.
    On a reroll, they can ID illusions and imposters (like doppelgangers) with investigation.
  90. Unstable- Reroll one other mutation every day.
  91. Exotic Presentation- Reroll 1d89 twice, combine results into new, single mutation.
  92. Malignancy- Reroll 1d89, it manifests in a highly detrimental way, even reversing function if need be
  93. Solidarity- Reroll 1d89, there is a mutant colony, decrepit noble lineage, secret bloodline, etc etc of which this mutation is a hallmark.
  94. Contagion- Reroll 1d89, this mutation is contagious due to being symptom of disease, curse, etc
  95. Beneficial- Reroll 1d89, it manifests in a positive way, regrowing limbs if necessary, not interfering with other character quirks, and if nothing else being healthy and good-looking rather than grotesque and unsightly.
  96. Path of Evolution- Reroll 1d89. All future mutations upgrade, enhance, or otherwise follow a chain of logic based on this evolution, seeking to transform you into a new kind of being. Could be an existing monster or not.
  97. Chimera- Become fusion of [YOUR_SPECIES] and a monster, ideally based on existing mutations if there's any theme.
  98. Final Form- Upon death, immediately explode into a full-strength monster, ideally based on existing mutations, otherwise random+ existing mutations.
  99. Darkspawned- Every player present comes up with a mutation. 50% of picking one randomly, 50% of gaining all. 
  100. Ok Fine A Little X-Men as a Treat- Find a 'random superpower generator' and roll on it, or just have everyone pick a superpower and then select one.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Campaign Retrospective: Wizard College review & Heleologos Academy Graduate GLOG Class

The GLOG wizard campaign/playtest has concluded, or rather, I burnt out on it due to, as one player put it, "There was hecka Standford Prison Experiment level of Role Acquisition with our player base". Even so, a lot of valuable information was gleaned from the ~14 weeks and ~42 sessions I ran for the three sub-groups. I've roughly updated the original document post to reflect those design changes.

The general principle was a wizard college, recently burned by sea raiders, was being restarted, run by the Headmaster Great Doctor Ogudugu/Dread Sorcerer Ugudugo in a Jekyll/Hyde scenario that a past campaign engineered. The players were set to defeat 5 wicked wizards terrorizing the land, recover lost secrets, and train students in WIZARDRY, and they accomplished about half the tasks set before them, as the campaign ended about half-way through the year time limit. The players were split into several groups, which were roughly the goody two shoes, mustache twirling villains, and morally ambiguous middle ground. This immediately led to us vs them mentalities developing. I think future 'same campaign, multiple groups' will have to be clearer about it not being a matter of 'sides' so much as 'manageable player group size' if the groups are occupying the same fictional space and thus prone to interacting, directly or otherwise.

Class wise, the group consisted of a
Cauliflowomancer (custom by player)
Alchemist (custom by player)
Many Wizards
Telemancer (Two of them, though due to shenanigans only one really used the base spells)
Fey Wizard
Toxinist (Dropped campaign early)
Relic Seeker

The players engaged in a fair bit of ridiculous wizard shenanigans including, but not limited to
-Accidentally causing triple tsunamis with meteors, wiping out a magic sandcastle and putting coastal settlements into crisis for weeks
-Creating a Pig Cult and awakening pigs to citizen status
-infested campus with, at various times- boreholes, clay pigs, frost imps, mimics, intelligent trees
-Reawakened a volcano
-Hastily cooled the lava off with storms of soapy water
-Turned a pirate wizard captain away from evil via the use of jekyll/hyde potions
-Set up a secret teleport circle to the mainland
-Hired two Ogre Magi onto the payroll so they'd stop eating people

Some thoughts that emerged in play, in no particular order. There are many small changes (like mutation for 1 day instead of 1d6 rounds) that have been retroactively implemented into the prior 'tl;dr' post, as I hope to spare anyone using those rules some of the troubles that afflicted my campaign.

-Spellbreeding procedures are fun, moreso than typical spell research rules. Slapping some extra limitations on how often they can be used should mostly solve the prime problem I encountered where 'sit in tower and do spell research' was more rewarding than actually adventuring.

-GLOG classes, more specifically spell lists, seem to be very self contained, without an implicit understanding of learning new spells. While that's fine especially for shorter-lived campaigns, I think a lot of gaps between 'AD&D spellcaster progression along 20 levels' and 'GLOG caster progressing along 4 levels' exist and may need filling.

-GLOG spells that depart from the lowly realms of [sum]=damage formula and attempt to emulate spells in the level 3+ range may need additional limitations even beyond that of 'but what if you roll a doom.'  Prime offenders are summoning spells, transformation spells, 'death' spells, teleports, and many things with permanent effects. One design flaw I exposed with certain spells was similar to the issues I had in Esoteric Enterprises- if short term resources (MD) can be used to solve intended long term consequences (mutilation, mutations, curses, death, etc) and the only limitation upon those spells is the threat of more long term consequences, the long term effects become nothing but pointless busywork that eats up a day of MD at worst, and the intended limiter of the spell becomes irrelevant.

-Material components must be quested for, not bought, or town becomes a more important locale than the parts of the game where adventuresome things happen. While sending known mercenaries or retainers on quests to retrieve goods could be fine, allowing the sort of impersonal transaction of magical goods for mere coin turns things in a "Industrial Magic Revolution" direction pretty quick once you ask 'why aren't NPCs doing this too.'
Powerful spells that burn through ingredients, then will require more questing or shenanigans to acquire more of, is one such limitation upon glog spells.

-Gold Costs for 'lesser' components is potentially fine when it's just a kind of abstract purchase for baseline functionality of something, like crushed pearls or gold-dust infused ink. The sort of thing that makes magical efforts expensive and unable to be infinitely replicated by say, a printing press, and attaches to coin for xp economies easily. Small gold prices for certain spells can limit them effectively when they can pretty much always be cast in session, but cannot be cast every day for a month with your spare MD to bring about some effect without incurring financial problems.

-Limiting casts of a spell to be within a certain time frame (the main example being a teleport that could only be cast once every 24-[sum] hours) helps encourage single large casts rather than smaller 'spam' approaches that bypass miscast/dooms/mildly inefficient MD use. This is to some degree just reinventing the wheel of classic Vancian D&D casting though.

-Minimum MD investiture- When used as a 'you might get a doom' drawback, this may become a toothless warning if players avert their doom or treat their character as a pawn rather than a character.
I think it becomes more interesting if the MD investiture is not merely a 'doom' threat but a 'how do I get to 6MD' problem. If nothing else, requiring a minimum MD investment means it eats up more MD than usual.

That's most of my thoughts on my deep dive into a GLOG style magic system this campaign. All in all I'm not sure I've made a proper bridge between 'you get some random spells from your glog class and level 4 is the cap' and the level-based power scaling of an AD&Desque wizard.
But such a bridge is worth building I think, because while GLOG casting is cool, it doesn't match well with certain monstrous bestiaries math-wise or long term campaign stability if every level 4 wizard gets to break reality and then die of a doom.

-While it is certainly possible to run three days a week, it is less plausible to be able to keep abreast of required prep for three groups in the same world if they stray from existing prep and goals and truly start to turn into 'three separate campaigns.' So being more clear whether campaigns are more ordered railroads or sandboxes is something I'll communicate more.

-While considerably more work, I think the central megadungeon of a campaign requires more careful level design than what most online generators are capable of. Filling a Donjon-generated dungeon with appropriate fills doesn't solve the general weirdness of the layout, so there's not a lot of rhyme or reason when it comes to exploration, nor are there things like 'giant bridged chasm spanning 3 layers.'

-I forgot to include weather mishaps, which led to players marching through rain like soulless automata. Adding things like slipping and falling (annoying in plains, deadly in mountains), inventory items(like spellbooks) becoming moldy from leaks and soaks, frostbite, avalanches, and so on  are important.

-Milestones have decent potential for non XP based advancement I think, but I think they have to be tweaked for each campaign. I was kicking myself for not including the campaigns 'story goals' as milestones and instead using a more generic list- that would have helped keep things focused.


  1. Arzhangs Astonishing Automatic Laundry
  2. Forecast
  3. Celestial Trumpeters of Elsewhere
  4. Animate Glass
  5. Lily's Mysterious Mastermind Mining Minions 
  6. Fulgurous Fairy Dismemberment
  7.  Great Storm of Pig Awakening 
  8. Extremely Warm and Legally Distinct Cutting Surfaces of Nanci 
  9.  Borehole
  10.  Immovable
  11. Lolilores Merely Human Tongue
  12. Matterhorns Champagne Fairy

  1. Arzhangs Astonishing Automatic Laundry
    : 30' D: Instant
    Cleans [dice] targeted outfits with soap and water, then hangs them to dry on most appropriate area within range. If said outfit is currently being worn, the wearer gets a save to avoid their outfit being stripped, but will still have the outside soaked and scrubbed.

    A necessity for keeping robes fresh and the student body tolerable in the jungle heat. While it has combat applications, experimental castings to remove knightly armor  is kept secret from said knights.

  2. Forecast
    : sight; T: the sky D: Next Week
    You know what the weather prediction is for next week. You can shift the predicted results on the 2d6 weather table roll up to [Dice] amount (or whatever seems appropriate given weather rules.

    After seasons of pestilential rain, the staff demanded the headmaster end the floods, and this tradition continues to this day, ensuring the headmaster of the school is responsible for addressing foul weather.

  3.  Celestial Trumpeters of Elsewhere
    Sight T: The sky D: [Dice*2] Hours
    A host of musician-spirits are called from an appropriate afterlife to perform. The glowing host illuminates equivalent to moonlight and traverses the sky similar to a meteor, spectral tunes drifting down below.

    This spell is mostly used as entertainment for outdoor court parties, though during the Enlarge Wars it frequently became an enabler of night raids and signal flares, and is far from a mere parlor trick.

  4. Animate Glass
    Touch T:Glass Item D: [Dice] Tasks
    Animates a piece of glass. It has max HD equal to [dice*2], but this is dependent on the size of the glass. After the tasks expire, if not commanded to become inert, it will behave as its form implies- glass birds fly around and peck at seeds, stained glass monks may preach, etc etc.

    This spell, developed in Ynn and later refined with golem-crafting principles, is popular due to aesthetic appeal, limited usage, and utility in stained glass window repair. There is rumored to be a very unsafe version known as Glass Demon bound in the cooled lava of the volcano, a necromatic corpse-and-glasspane horror mishmash derived from the soul of a murderous quicksand nymph vitrified and called forth.

  5. Lily's Mysterious Mastermind Mining Minions
    Shouting distance T:Patch of mud, soil, or shit D: [dice] days
    Summons [sum] demonic, imp-like creatures, commonly called knockers or borehordelings, who are equipped with mining helmets, shovels, and pickaxes. While loyal, they are tragically stupid, cowardly, greedy, and generally useless, but they can still accomplish anything [sum] idiots could do in [dice] days with that gear.
    Each minion can dig through about 85' cubic feet of very soft rock/earth, 65' of soft rock, and 30' of hard rock in a days work.

    The ironic name has led many a wizardly building project to go awry, but the additional labor force is helpful... if supervised.

  6. Fulgurous Fairy Dismemberment
    R: 50' T:
    Ear, finger, or similar small bodypart D: Instant
    This spell takes the form of a small, lightning-shrouded,blade-brandishing fairy who removes small bodyparts on a failed save. It is cast as a Cantrip, so all invested dice are set to 1 instead of rolling.
    The wound is cauterized by lightning so bloodloss is not an issue, and there is a -1 to save per point of metallic AC + metal item worn.

  7. Great Storm of Pig Awakening
    Sight T: Sky/Ceiling D:[sum] hours
    Magical rain falls from sky/ceiling for the duration.Pigs in the rain gain human level intelligence.

    This spell, while mostly included due to the Three-Tusk pig cult, is nonetheless handy to water crops, disrupt travel, and produce water in dungeons.

  8. Extremely Warm and Legally Distinct Cutting Surfaces of Nanci
    R: n/a T: Self D:[sum] round
    Summons a mystical mirage-heat blade of reflection that hits as a longsword with +[dice] to hit and damage worth of fire damage. It deals double damage to anything you love. This is battlemagic, which means that you may cast and attack with the summoned weapon in the same round.

    Additionally, the blade may be used to reflect 1 incoming attack per round, with a 50% chance of success... but if a reflect attempt fails, the attack automatically hits the wielder, and/or a save is  automatically failed.
    Reflected attacks preferentially target anything the attacker loves and deal double damage or effect to them, or returns to the originator for normal damage/effect by default.
     One effect may be chosen upon cast per [dice]
    -Gaze Attacks
    -Melee Attacks
    -Ranged attacks
    -Hostile spells
    -Fear Effects

    This spell, more commonly known as the Ruinous Flameblade, is said to have been drawn from the torment of those who died in the burning of the library, and is strictly forbidden from being cast in the library, lest the flames return.

  9. Borehole

    [R]Touch [T]1 person or section of floor [D] [sum] Turns, permanent on 4+dice

    A perfectly circular hole is bored. In a person, this hole leads to their dreams. On a dead person or undead, it leads to a nightmare realm. In a structure, the hole leads down 1 level. If there was not anything below, a dungeon is spontaneously created. The hole closes after the time is up, but any generated realms remain, and the nightmares beneath will likely maintain an exit for their monsters.
    Due to an infestation of these nightmare wisps and general good use in dungeon delving, this spell became prominent in Heleologos as well as in Saresare.
  10. Immovable
    [R]Touch [T]1 item [D] [sum] Rounds
    Holds an item in place as per an Immovable Rod. Items held by others get a save.

    While Mr. Daurondo had a variety of obscure frog-based curses, this contribution was deemed more generally appropriate to the curriculum.
  11. Lolilores Merely Human Tongue
    [R] Depends on air/water currents [T]Metal/Magic [D] Until recast
    Allows the caster to taste the air and locate metals and/or magic. By tasting the air for something you have smelled before (such as gold, magic smells, etc) you can follow it like a bloodhound, or at least become aware of the nearest item.

     Derived from the multiple dragons the Academy defeated, this spell mimics their uncanny ability to sniff out treasures. During the enlarge wars, it was also used to follow troop movements and avoid ambushes.

  12. Matterhorns Champagne Fairy
    [R]Touch [T] Water [D] Permanent
    Another Ynn-derived sorcery, this perpetually soused fairy transmutes enough water into champagne to get [sum] people tipsy. That contains a very faint featherfall effect- for each point of drunkenness, the inebriated takes 1 less fall damage.

    Drunkenness Rules- Each point increases critical hit/critical failure range by 1. After your first 'free' point, drunkenness in excess of your CON bonus forces a save vs poison, failure indicating blackouts, passing out, and general alcohol poisoning and uselessness.

Monday, May 16, 2022


AD&D  Lycanthropes

Werewhatevers are pretty decent foes, though they are accursed with the problem of 'why can't lycanthropy be used as a power-boost for my character' that has plagued GMs since their inclusion. The excuse of becoming evil even while not in wereform does not dissuade some characters, is sorta suspect in general, and doesn't even apply in all cases since werebears are chaotic good, and wereboars and tigers are at least neutral.

The curse is simultaneously easy to get (taking 50% of HP damage or more from a lycanthrope) difficult to remove (requiring either a 1/4 chance of belladonna curing it but poisoning the character for 1d4 days with a 1% chance of death) or a level 12 cleric to cast cure disease within 3 days of infection. So the question of what to do if a player is infected is a common one.

As far as the different varieties go, Werebears can cure disease and are probably a reference to Beorn of Lotr, perhaps combined with the figure of Bödvar Bjarki. They also work with brown bears, which seems less likely than working with other infected but whatever.

Wereboars are the most inexplicable to me. They are neutral but foul tempered and likely to attack, and I am not at all sure what they might be a reference to mythologically.

Wererats are suprisingly tough with 3HD and are almost certainly a reference to Hisvet and her ratty friends from the Fritz Lieber books of Lankhmar, and are a staple of the urban sewercrawl.

Weretigers being 'most often female'  makes me think they're likely a reference to a specific character rather than a mythological category. Hantu Belian are a malaysian possibility of origin inspiration, but it seems less likely. Or maybe the artist just really wanted to draw tiger teats in the art, idk.

Finally, werewolves are obviously derived from mythology and hammer horror films (as I guess from the artwork) and are most divergent in that they are quite pack-oriented as opposed to the lone accursed fellow-3d6 werewolves being the average number-appearing, rivaled only by the 4d6 wererats.

All in all, there is a disconnect from the desire to have lycanthropy be an alienating, isolating curse, and the apparent small gangs of these creatures getting up to a wide variety of alignment-appropriate activities and social interaction. They're plenty dangerous to adventuring parties with multi-attacks and a tenacious curse. One wonders if slings loaded with the incredibly numerous silver coins would provide ample defense even to peasantry against such threats- even in a copper standard, where money is 100 times more dear than the gold standard, silver is not some exotic metal to be carefully sought after and hoarded, it's just something you could presumably get from the coffers of any business, so their weakness doesn't hold the same problem as the modern werewolf film.

All in all, I think 'the curse of the werewolf' idea doesn't hold up well in a D&D universe in terms of logistics or implied setting... it's either a known problem with known solutions and is thus free of any supposed horror, or too easy to manage and suddenly it's a supersoldier serum, or it's a campaign ending blight akin to a zombie apocalypse.

Sunset Realm Lycanthropy

Clockwise from top left- 6th age superhero squad of Yuban Cynocephali, yuban weretiger or
possibly grumpy were striped-cat, horrid bear-scourged Blood Beast,
6th age rat-descended PASCC agent, slaughterhouse pig-spirit possessed butcher.
Not pictured- me having any motivation to draw

There are several types of shape-changing beast-folk in the realm

Firstly are those of inhuman ancestry, manifesting not as the more typical permanent hybrid form, but as having multiple forms + a 'best of' combination. The 'immunity' to weapons comes from the ability to heal wounds by transforming to some degree- limbs may not regrow, but wounds will close. Wounds inflicted by silver may carry over between forms, the lawful metal refusing chaotic undoing of its deeds, or serious injuries or bindings of silver may prevent transformation all together until healed/removed.
This form of beastliness is not contagious, but it is heritable. Transformation is typically based on stress or focused will.

The second form, that of Curse, occurs thanks to possession of a human body by an animal spirit. The transformation is hideous here, as one form is distorted, broken, then 'healed' into another by the unnatural vigor of two souls within one body.
Horrible crimes against animals may cause vengeful beast spirits to possess the offender, turning them against humanity as vengeance-by-proxy. This is quite unlawful, which is why silver is effective. The other main source would be being cursed by the gods- Our Lady of Gardens inflicts this curse against those who completely defile and disregard her society, granting them an unsightly form to match their behavior, and allowing others to hunt them as they please. This curse is not given lightly- Our Lady must cooperate with her rival Murulu, who is lord of such corruption and transformations, or with Lumar, who can mimic Murulu's powers, and explains the association with the moon such beast curses have. Lumar may inflict this curse whilst mimicking Our Lady as well, though the mysterious goddess likely does so with ulterior motives like the beast accidentally burning down a library or slaying those who know secrets when the moon arrives. Either way, the beast-soul assigned to torment the accursed is assigned as punishment, so attempts at harnessing the beasts powers are doomed to failure as the beast will thwart the accursed in every way possible. Typically, this curse is not contagious when god-granted, unless the punishment is meant to spread to the allies of the accursed as well. However, especially in the case of punishment by beast-souls, the soul may splinter itself into nightmare fragments to propagate and may well be a contagion.
Either way, the curse can only be lifted by mollifying the gods or the angry animal spirits, so there is no one-size-fits-all cure besides death by silver.

The third form, that of Blood, is a disease, of sorts, a contamination borne of the combining of Moon Blood and the blood of beasts, then introduced to the human form via injury or improper blood transfustions not sanctioned by the Sanguine Church of Vint-Savoth. This form taints the mind with bloodlust, and deforms the body with foul mutations that are related to the animal blood in question, but are ultimately alien in origin due to the source being the Blood Moon. If full transformation occurs, there is no going back- that person's soul is gone at best, or trapped within a raging monster of the Blood Moon at worst, hoping to save its comrades if it can wrest back control for even a second.
Such beasts are best slain by fire, silver, or massive bloodletting to drain the corrupted blood from its host.

As far as location of the 'standard' werebeasts goes...

5th age Oroboro had the first form of Werewolves in the hills, a clan sworn to oppose the villainous wizard who lives in those parts. They may date back to the 4th intersolar period, where humans seeking to survive the sunless darkness mixed bloodlines with wolves. It is unknown if they survived the Enlarge Wars, but they likely would have been forced to become more urban.

4th Age Phillipston was initially human, but was overrun by wererats of the accursed sort after the power of the Riikhites and Mokkhites was broken. These wererats date back to accursed experiments by Sarkomand early 4th age. By the 5th age though, the curse had weakened such that the ratty population was essentially the non-dangerous 1st variant, though prejudice lingered for generations, leading Phillipston to be fairly insular. The 6th age Phillipston Anomalous Subsurface Control Committee, or PASCC, was also known as the Rat Race due to high numbers of rat-folk signing up for the dungeon control and exploration teams.

4th age Yuban "werewolves," actually weredogs known as Cynocephali, were sacred, rather than accursed warriors of Yuba who fought back against Riikhite Mercia, and were demonized for it. In the 5th age imperialism had diminished, but Cynocephali still had enemies in the form of the Cat Lords or Rakshasa, who created accursed weretigers to serve as a counterforce in bloody internecine conflicts as Yuba tried to reunify after being broken in the 4th age. By the more peaceful 6th age, werebeasts had receded into being more of the first variety than the supernatural variety, with those who engaged in battle frequently forming public color-coded super teams.

While Vint-Savoth was scourged by the Blood Moon even before it had a name or was settled, and as such has every variant of the 3rd type of werebeast and more, it may be worth noting that even in the 6th age after the Blood Moon was felled and largely contained, werepigs of the 'angry beast soul' variety rose up against factory farming as horrible chainsaw-wielding pig-men until, as happened in Prince's Spit with the Three Tusk revolts, the inhumane practice was ended for good.

Actual Rules I use for Lycanthropy
If forced to roll on the Death and Dismemberment table by a contagious-type werebeast, lycanthropy is contracted on a failed save. If killed, one may choose to contract lycanthropy instead to save ones own life, though it cannot be cured save by magics comparable to that of raising the dead in that case.

Ancestry Type-
This type would be run as a 'race-as-class,' perhaps multiclassed with a more standard class. The Spook from Esoteric Enterprises would probably work, with Grit HP regenerating quickly due to transformations clearing wounds, and Flesh HP being struck directly by silver weapons.


Transformation occurs upon the curse's trigger- moonlight, witnessing appropriate animals being eaten by humans, etc etc, and upon periods of great stress, physical or mental- failing a save vs fear or being reduced to low HP, for instance, likely trigger a transformation into the appropriate statblock, healing all non-silvered damage and, bursting out of armor, backpacks, clothes, etc and destroying them.

Characters with equal or fewer HD than their beast-form cannot control it or remember what they did in any detail. The beast is typically unnaturally violent.

Characters with more levels/HD than their beast form can control themselves to some degree and can make saving throws to prevent themselves from attacking allies while transformed, and can act with some direction beyond 'accursed rampage.'

Characters with at least double the levels/HD of their beast form are, against all odds, able to go beastmode at will and can control themselves, though the transformation lasts until next dawn. Essentially, it is only a weird superpower at this point.

Magic items meant to aid in control, or perhaps unusual mental stat modifiers, may count as bonus or malus HD for purposes of controlling oneself. Each year survived with the curse probably adds a 'virtual' HD for purposes of controlling oneself as well.


This is more of a corruption track, as once transformation occurs, the soul either leaves, or stays within the body, able only to take control for a total of 1 round per level ever before control is lost forever.

Every time corruption is gained and corruption > level, a save vs scourge must be made the next time great stress is felt, mental or physical. Failure indicates transformation into a beast of HD=Level+Scourge.

Scourge Track- The stages roughly corresponds to what percentage of blood is pure moonblood, as opposed to what percentage is corrupt beast blood.
0- Unsullied- No exposure to the scourge
1- Acceptable levels. Scourge never goes below 1 after initial infection barring incredible magics or mad science.
2-4- Hunter-Acceptable Levels- Scourge Level provides various advantages if the right techniques are utilized. The Church issues tags confirming blood status to sanctioned hunters.
5+- Public Menace Levels- Berserk bloodlust clouds judgement. Must make a saving throw to not consume blood or stop attacking targets in melee. Mild physical transformation such as elongated hair, teeth, nails, eye color changes, mucular growth, etc. It is not unheard of for very skilled hunters to lapse into this state on particularly long or horrible hunts, and rumors abound of secret church forces who have tags sanctioning blood corruption of 5% and higher.

Common Scourge Sources
+1 Skin contact with scourged blood. First-time only.
+2 Internal contact (ingestion, wound contamination, transfusion) with scourged blood of higher HD source/Scourge level than your own.
+1 Making a Death and Dismemberment roll. Only applies if you have at least 1 Scourge. Counts as 'great stress' so immediately check if a possible transformation is in order.
-1 Monitored bloodletting and transfusion by the Sanguine Church over the course of a week. Counts as 'great stress' for potential transformation, though the Church typically euthanizes transforming unfortunates before they get out of hand.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Prep for Starting Campaigns

 Players wanted this post so I vomited it forth in like a few hours, I'm mildly dissatisfied with it but oh well

I definitely had my share of campaigns dying after 3 sessions back in the bad ol days of being 12 years old. But in my time as an online GM, I feel like I've had a pretty good success rate in terms of campaigns I make being fairly long-lived and usually reaching conclusions of some kind rather than fizzling out. Part of that is simply that, apart from random freelance word and art stuff,  this is what I do, so I have far more time and energy to devote to a campaign compared to people who have jobs or relationships or children or whatever. 'Become a minimalist neet freegan D&D ascetic' isn't really applicable advice for most people, but I feel like it should be mentioned as a caveat or disclaimer.

I have an advantage of having slowly grown a group of regulars, one or two from each new game, who seem to generally enjoy my GMing style. There is a level of trust and shared experience here that random roll20 or OSR discord pickup games don't have, heck, even when my players run for each other, the dynamic changes and so there's more chances of flaking. It could be that there's no meaningful procedural difference in how I start games compared to how others start games, and it's more a matter of social dynamic than anything.

And as final caveat is that players will sometimes just lose the ability to play for whatever reason. We've all been in games killed by scheduling, I've been the player in games who just came less and less due to diminishing interest even in games I thought were good (Acodispo and Spwack's games come to mind), etc etc. Games are not immortal* and I think a good step one when making a campaign is to think 'what would be a good point to end this game on' because if you know roughly where it is going, you may get an idea of where a good place to start it off at might be.

*the open table flailsnails multi-gm shared universe meta-game my server engages in might be immortal as it doesn't have the same death-conditions as regular campaigns but I digress

But for what it's worth, here's the process I've gone through

Initial prep for campaigns usually is a sort of slush pile of handwritten notes written while I donate plasma. This initial slush is anything... 'anorexic centaur noble shamed for her natural weight by human villain who is a toxic friend' 'alternate dungeon entrance is gay pirate brothel' 'time loops for free character revives' 'biomechs actually are nanite swarms mimicking life' 'hot frog' etc etc

I think it's helpful to get these half-formed ideas noted down, so your brain can either move on, or properly start to develop them further. My brain, at least, can chew on a half-formed thought for a very long time without really advancing it anywhere or seeing problems to fix.

Then comes the more serious prep- where 'castle overrun by frog cult' has to actually become a map with notes on what's in each room and so on, 'fairy forest' has to actually get an encounter table and some hex fills, and so on. While you can go wild with big hexcrawls and megadungeons prepped in advance, I think it will usually pay off more to go more in depth with nearby stuff first- prep some town NPCs in the starting village instead of the next town over, add some small 'quests' the players can do, and let distant lands be more vaguely sketched so as not to expend prep.

Also, have minidungeon modules and/or procedural content generators ready for when the players go somewhere less-prepped. Random encounters go here I suppose, but I think they're very good shorthand for populating a world. If I could only prep one thing, I would prep a wandering monster table and treat everything I roll as though it was something I placed on purpose, with motives and backstory and connection to other known things.

Similar advice applies to games with more linear story arcs- prepping the whole thing in advance leads to railroading, so having a vague idea of story beats, but only actually prepping 1-3 sessions in advance lets you keep things reactive to the PC's actions and allow for them to execute their own plans, while still generally heading towards things like 'defeat Ser Hotsalot in the Volcano Tower' or whatever without being opposed to 'players ambush Ser Hotsalot at the pub' instead because you already had Volcano Tower prepped 6 months ago.

I think it's easier to prep as a campaign is being run rather than in a void, because your ideas bounce of the players and they inspire you and you can insert personal moments to shine as things go on.

Uh... speaking of ideas in a void, I'm just going to throw down some specific prep examples for games, then see if there's any keyrecurring features.

Esoteric Oroboro (Or Esoboro) 
had some procedures I could start off with, rolling an underworld, both as dungeon map and faction relationship web. Esoteric Enterprises has a LOT of tables that help carry the weight of ensuring there is a world to interact with, and was actually a fairly low-prep game thanks to that. I was able to use my older campaign's lore as prep for this campaign, which is such a neat trick that I highly recommend GMs try to set their subsequent campaigns in the same universe unless you absolutely must discard it for a fresh start. 

As mentioned, I had a megadungeon and many factions rolled up via tables.

I had to make spell lists for my local gods for the sake of Mystic (Cleric) players, which doubled as spell lists for potential rival cultists.

I had a bonus 'ancient evils escaped from the Reliquary super-prison' running wild through the city- essentially a random encounter table that made a new major threat each session. I was fairly excited for all of them, which is good advice for encounter tables- if you the GM aren't thrilled to roll a result, maybe change the tables to be less realistic and more dramatic.

I had 3-5 jobs lined up for the PCs to introduce them to factions, get them into the dungeon, and get them paid.

Heleologos Academy
Prep for this game took about 2 months and included the following-
A poll offering different campaign choices to the players to ensure there was buy in to the premise before prep started in earnest
A map of the island and mainland, re-used from Betrayal at Queen's Coast
Encounter tables for all regions
Weekly 'events' for the school, a 1d20 table I would roll on 3 times
A megadungeon beneath the school, just some sloppily generated online dungeons maps populated with a simple '1/3 chances of monster, trap, or treasure'
Monsters being drawn from a custom wandering monster table to give the depths a wizard-school basement being raided by supernatural thieves' vibe- animated furniture, flying books, sneaky fey gremlins, and nightmare wizards hinting of something more
Traps being a similar list, and treasures being from my own treasure tables, which were just modified AD&D/BFRPG tables
The incredibly tl;dr glog wizard post a few posts back, made to make glog wizards less self-contained gimmicks and more like a 'wizard' who can potentially learn more things, as well as offering some milestone goals to incentivize behavior beyond money grubbing to increase personal power
Some playtest games with the players to ensure said glog wizard post wasn't complete hokum
A list of tasks they were to complete by the end of the year- 12 spells to form the new 'true' glog class, various dangerous wizards to defeat (again drawn from a past blogpost), 3 abstract goals of solving mysteries and teaching students, and a couple of bonus side quests
And a list of students they were to teach

Betrayal at Queen's Coast
Had a map and random encounters, to make traveling the land recruiting noble aid more exciting
Had a starting scene of being pursued across the land, only to be caught in a haunted mansion and the menaces of the haunted mansion ready
Had some 'villain' counterparts of the heroes ready as minions of the villainess

But then mostly prepped ahead of the players 1-3 sessions in advance as mentioned, reskinning modules and dungeons, making or improving scenes...

It becomes difficult to reconstruct what was prepped before-game and what was prepped mid-game as I gaze upon older campaigns, but there does seem to be some reliable markers of what I prep

What I Prep
-A starting SCENE to start the players in the action without mucking about getting to know each other in a tavern
-A starting DUNGEON, usually tied to the above, to give the players something familiar to do immediately.
-Starting CHARACTERS and/or FACTIONS for the players to roleplay with and be made aware of existing power structures and motivations
-A starting TOWN with SERVICES or at least downtime activities, so the players can prepare
-a MAP and ENCOUNTER TABLES to give a sense of a place and a buffer of content to allow the players freedom of action.
-EVENT tables, or a TIMELINE of expected events. At a minimum this is a weather reaction roll and my calendar blogpost to track time, but events of politics, looming threats, or local flavor all are useful.
-An OVERARCHING GOAL,  that, while not immediately pursuable, gives direction to the game. It is essentially the diegetic version of the pitch for the game- if you the player want to play this game, you the character should be interested in this goal somewhat.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Lion, Lizard, Lizard Man, Locathah, Lurker Above

AD&D Lions
While everyone is familiar with cats and claw/claw/bite routines by now, a lesser known feature of lions might be their bonus hind leg rake for an additional two attacks at 1d6+1 which occurs if both main paws hit. Basically, if you don't have good AC, fighting lions in melee will shred you.
Presumably because of their manes, male lions have +1 AC from frontal attacks.

The statblock includes mountain lions and spotted lions, which are smaller cougars and and larger Pleistocene cave lions, respectively.

AD&D Lizards
A bizarre entry far more fantastical than one might assume.

Fire Lizards are also called 'false dragons' and indeed are like a weaker sort of red dragon, with 10HD< AC as plate, a claw claw bite routine of 1d8/1d8/2d8, and an unimpressive small flame puff for 2d6 save for half. They themselves are immune to fire attacks. They sleep for long periods, hunt once a week from their subterranean lairs, and like shiny things.

Though not possessing the great hoard of a dragon, they do have treasure tybe B, Qx10 for many gems, and a 10% chance of having 1d4 eggs worth 5000 gold each. Unlike dragons, they are only animals.

One might assume this is a sort of 'fakeout' monster, where peasants are harassed by a 'dragon' and the party finds these things instead. They have a sort of appeal as alternate guard beast or mount that's dragon-like but not all too troublesome, but I can't imagine they are anyone's favorite monster.

Giant Lizards, ironically, are the smallest lizard in the lizard entry. While 15' long, they only have 3HD and a single 1d8 bite (2d8 on a nat 20 due to getting a good bite in) so they're kinda a 'whatever' monster.

Minotaur lizards are huge 8HD, 40' long beasts that deal massive damage(2d6/2d6/3d6 claw/claw/bite) and, on nat 20s, can hold people in their mouths- not a swallow hole, but a similar sort of auto-grapple. They are slow, but good at ambushing, and are usually found in their lairs with a scattering of loot from their victims. I don't know why they're called Minotaur lizards... maybe because they lurk in a lair as the minotaur did? Later editions give them horns, which makes sense, but no mention of horns is made in the AD&D entry. With numbers appearing of 1d8 they mostly seem like just a big beefy threat for deep dungeons

Subterranean Lizards seem to be some form of giant gecko, as they can run on ceilings and walls. Apart from the double damage nat 20 lizard bite, they aren't very interesting, but at least they could potentially get up to shenanigans in certain dungeon layouts compared to the Giant Lizard.

AD&D Lizard Man
A fairly uninspired entry about 2HD humanoids whose main claim to fame is being slowish on land but fastish in water, and having a claw-claw-bite routine with 1d2 claws. Also having pretty good art.

The entry mostly just goes on and on about how 'primitive' 'crude' 'tribal' etc they are and says some 'evolved' to a 'higher state' of using huts, shields, throwing weapons, and clubs, the better to eat people with. Gygaxian baloney instead of any actual lore, basically.

While I'm sure people have done better with lizard-men since then, the default entry might as well just be giant lizards.

AD&D Locathah
Ah yes, another 'underwater fishperson.' They ride giant eels and are 'nomads' who also live in a castle that has a 50% chance of a portuguese man-o-war trap, and have provisions for leader types who have no difference save for increasing HP.

I had forgotten these creatures existed, compared to Kuo-Toa and Sahuagin, and expect will forget them again soon enough after this post.

AD&D Lurker Above
Now THIS is a monster. "What if the ceiling was actually a giant manta ray monster that fell on you and smothered you to death."
They are very tough and non-intelligent, not even animal intelligence, fighting to the death against whatever they drop down upon. With mediocre AC but a fat 10HD, and a 1d4+1 round time limit before those trapped beneath are 'smothered.' An entire party can probably chop one up in time barring bad luck or all the fighters being trapped beneath with weapons too awkward to shank it with in hand (honestly with the number of such monsters in D&D, there is probably something to be said for walking around with an offhand dagger instead of a shield.)

Some interesting things are the good odds lurkers have fat stacks of gold coins as treasure, perhaps as incidental bait in the rooms they overlook. They also have neutral buoyancy thanks to a produced gas in their bodies, allowing them to fly despite being more like a manta ray than a bird.

All in all, a classic 'check the roof' monster of the upper levels, once the players have grown weary of green slime and piercers.

Sunset Realm Lions

Sunset Realm Lizards

So in the age of the 2nd sun, Yg-A, the world was very hot, the ice of the moonlands being driven far back by fiery dragons. It was a good time to be a reptile.

However, Yg, the cast-off skin of Yg-A the dragon sun, had other ideas beyond sitting in the sun and licking your eyeballs. Those reptiles who traded their legs to the snake-goddess Yg were granted wisdom in return, and so arose the Serpent Empire. The Reptile Kings, Frogs, Eels, etc all resisted, but were eventually subjugated by the big brained schemes of the serpents, adopting serpent tech but always being one step behind.. Lizardfolk were, according to ancient murals, equally comfortable on all fours or bipedal, with different tail positions for balance, and favored strength and rigidity, as a conscious opposition to the subtlety and flexibility of the snakes. Though the Serpents conquered them for the sin of 'keeping their legs' the reptiles were not wiped out by the serpents, but by the intersolar period after Yg-A became trapped in the earth. Free of the Serpent Empire the Reptile Rebellion's splinter-kingdom of fire and magma kept the ice and darkness at bay for a while. But by the time the Elves, Ningen, and Svart created the 3rd sun, it was too late for the lizard-folk. If, by chance, their fires continue to burn to keep the lizards warm anywhere, it is in the Beyond, a thawed circle of waning fire in a lightless expanse of gnashing glaciers beyond the reach of the daylit world. Even their ruins are rare to find in the current solar eras- there is one on the Fault, from which a resurrected mummified Reptile King failed to reach the Orb before Townlocke did, but most have been swallowed by the dark of the moonlands. Sometimes one might find 'lizard people' but they are the product of mad alchemy or divine miracles, not descendants of the forgotten rebels of ages past.

Locathah- Nah

now get outta my encounter tables you black-lagoon lookin discount sahuagin

Lurker Above- Simply, these are a type of giant wilderness killer mimic adapted more to caves, gobbling sabre-toothed tigers, hibernating cave bears and so on. Trappers, the floor version, are not a different species, but simply lying on the floor, perhaps after dropping from the ceiling to eat something earlier. Choice of ceiling or floor may be these creature's gender expression, and it is theorized that a Lurker and a Trapper will mate with each other when attempting to eat the same adventurer, who will presumably be smothered by the undulating Trapper/Lurker sandwich and used to feed offspring afterwards.

As mimics, they can change their texture and patterning to match ceilings or floors, but are more specialized than smaller mimics and become less and less convincing as the terrain becomes more advanced than a cavern. As such, while they could potentially infest a stone castle, certainly mines and dungeons, perhaps even external cobbled/brick roads, wooden domiciles are typically safe from Lurker/Trappers.

Unlike mimics, Lurker/Trappers are not intelligent enough to train, but they can be lured to key locations and kept there with a high rate of success if fed consistently and so used as guardians. They may wander in order to seek mates, however, so this tactic is used only by mad dungeon wizards rather than respectable members of society.

Friday, February 18, 2022


 AD&D Lich

The Lich is one of the quintessential Big Bads of fantasy literature and ttrpgs alike. Fictionally, they tend to appear more as 'immortal wizard' than 'immortal skeleton wizard' but whatever, Voldemort is basically a lich, Koschei is basically a lich. Official D&D has more liches than you can shake a stick at.

Liches have AC as plate +3, and a oddly worded immunity to mundane attacks from beings of under 6HD, though this is fairly pointless as creatures of 5HD or under flee in fear with no save anyway. They may touch enemies for 1d10 cold damage+ a save or paralysis effect. Their laundry list of undead immunities is somewhat expanded- Charm, Sleep, enfeeblement, polymorph, cold, electricity, insanity, and death spells/symbols.

Apart from some text describing that they are indeed converted magic-users, no provision for their spell lists is given. Using the spell lists for monster abilities largely misses the point of a monster manual in my mind, for a monster that says "oh just have a bunch of rarely seen high level spells memorized, thoughtfully put together, and used to terrible optimization" doesn't help me much.

Liches are fine villains. I seem to recall reading that while the dragon is the active tyrant of greed, the despot king, the earth-ravaging billionaire, the lich is the soul-crushing villainy of a hidebound and restrictive society. It has a head start in terms of power, influence, and knowledge, so it's nearly impossible to catch up. It turns people who would be your allies into your enemies via the power of necromancy or enchantment (a metaphor for cultural hegemony). It can kill you, but you can't really kill it, it just comes back if it loses a fight, just as killing a single leader doesn't end a country. The quest to find and destroy the phylactery is symbolic of the work required to break a system. You can sorta reason with a Lich, but ultimately it's just the preserved bad takes of some dead guy so you know it's always going to cycle back to the same old awfulness, sooner or later. And it is usually a guy, isn't it? Go figure.

They might also be symbolic of the inability to accept death turned ruinous and destructive, but I digress. While fine as a crafted villain, as far as an entry in a monster manual goes they just kinda suck because you can't actually open up the monster manual and use one, you gotta create a huge spell list, think of strategies to use it, maybe some magic items, probably spend the monetary parts of the treasure on a base or mercenaries or something, or it'll fall flat and just be a spooky skeleton.

Sunset Realm Lich

An old photobash of the Green Necromancer
The defining characteristic of a lich is that their soul is anchored to an item that regenerates a body for them to inhabit, one way or another. But... It's not even that hard to come back from the dead in this setting, so Liches are not necessarily all that impressive, honestly. They're more just... disturbing. They had such conviction in an idea that they bound themselves to the world in a way that they'd come back no matter what, heedless of how everything they knew would crumble away in time, all to pursue something. This conviction is usually deeply uncompelling to people 50 years, a hundred years, a thousand years later, and so liches end up doing their mad schemes in forgotten ruins alone or with hanger-ons at best. Sensible people who come back as undead join the city council as Necropolis Representative, or become a child of M'shesh to return as undead in exchange for pacifism and cult membership, or sign up for the Skeleton War. But not liches, oh no. They have to come back on their own terms, their own power, independent of anything else. It's a form of vanity, in a way.

The most notable Lich in the sunset realms is Magister Verdurus, aka the Green Necromancer. Born in the City of Bells to a noble family, he travelled the world learning magic as his hobby until his money dried up, came home to find out that elvish politicking had usurped his family's claim. He threw a fit and tried to kill everyone involved with dread sorcery, was defeated after leaving a combination grey-goo/zombie plague biohazard known as the Blight, tried to ruin another country to gain political power to come back for round 2, and ended up going mad with forbidden knowledge and seeking 'true' immortality via memorability, perhaps as a cope for his original desired noble position no longer existing. His apprentices, having learned enough for their own goals and recognizing megalomania when they saw it, abandoned him, leaving only his omnicidal cult, which was eventually defeated. He would return several more times, ironically becoming less of a threat each time as the world moved on without him and he lost the thread of how things worked. Being a manifestation of a player setting suggestion, he was always doomed to descend down this road of evil and madness to suit that player's whims, so one can't be too hard on him. He is a plague on the city of Oroboro that resurrects every so often as cackling villain, and believes himself to be the one who will end the last sun and bring about the Age of the Dead, where no life exists and even the planet itself is considered dead, and his death cult thinks this is the age where they can finally live as glorious undead kings of the world. One can sort of see what that world looks like in the M'shesh controlled Fault (5th age onwards) and no one is all too impressed, and so most everyone wishes he'd just try to do something with his unlife over there instead of trying to ruin everything for everyone over here in Oroboro for the 15th time.

The contents of the Green Necromancer's Spellbook in the reign of Samuel Goffnagoff were as follows

1-Floating Disc, Shield, Read Languages
For saving Telekinesis slot, general defense, and general info-gathering

 2-Levitate, Web, Locate Object
For saving your flight slot, capturing people nonlethally, and finding macguffins

3- Flight, Darkvision, Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Blight Curse (A useless spell with the blight contained, otherwise basically infecting someone with a zombie plague)
While 'fly high and rain damage from above' isn't rocket science, it is pretty effective.

4-Ice Storm, Massmorph- Elemental AoE coverage, and a good 'ambush someone with camouflaged undead' spell.

5-Animate Dead, Cloudkill, Telekinesis. Telekinesis to do heavy lifting if the minions were gone or for air transport, animate dead because no lich without it can be respected, and cloudkill to get intact corpses for animate dead.

6-Death Of 100 Pits- Reverses gravity off and off in 10' cube forever. 1d6 fall damage each round. Hard to escape without assistance.This was the signature spell, powerful in its own way, needlessly cruel, leaves a lasting impression as the corpse bounces forever, able to create dungeon power sources.

7-Reaper's Haste- Take one action whenever an enemy takes an action. Age 1 year each time. Drawback less penalizing for the immortal. A general 'action economy compensator' spell.

8-Mind Blank-Gotta have this as a defensive option I guess

 9-Forbidden Moon Gate- Opens a gate and draws forth a Moon, bringing the chaos of the Moonlands to the Daylands. A broad spectrum doomsday threat spell. Was ripped out and cast as a scroll so is mostly lost to time.

So the Green Necromancer was basically air support for undead ground troops.

The two apprentices mentioned were Felgraft, who focused on the 'evocation blasty casty' side of Verdurus spellbook and disappeared into the Bowels of the Earth in search of treasure, leaving only Felgraft's Flames as his legacy, a green fireball that comes from the ground up and only burns the living. His spell list was Sleep, Fly, Felgrafts Flames, Dimension Door, and the players rescued him from being walled up in a dungeon sauna once. He had a bodyguard, Loran, hired for purely mercenary goals.

The other was Veiled Kirasu, a very short woman who had a tower in a lake that sought to drill deep into the earth as well but was abandoned due to darkspawn monsters coming up the mineshaft. Her legacy was longer lived, as she continued magical research after parting ways from Verdurus and was the elder student- Spell list was
1- Floating Disc, Shield, Read Langages
2- Levitate, Web, Locate Object
3-Flight, Protection From Normal Missiles
4- Ice Storm, Massmorph
5- Animate Dead, Cloudkill
And she waged a brief war against the hill giants of what is now Fort Fortenfort, before returning to her true goal of defeating the dragon of Mantlehearth that killed her family. She became Necroqueen of Mantlehearth and ruled the island for a time, though necromancy gone wrong led to her losing her necromantic minions to undead whale siren song.

His soul anchor is a black sword, granted to him by a being from Beyond to lead him down the role prescribed by player-suggested campaign suggestion. Like most such things, it can be destroyed only in one way- by the flame of the 7th sun (son?) though it will destroy that in turn, at least according to prophecy. For the most part tho, the black sword is just a +1 longsword that deals its damage as level drain and raises undead from those it kills, eventually resurrecting the Necromancer with enough life force drained. He does not particularly hide the sword, instead letting whatever adventurer find it continue to use it and letting it fall where it may.

His cult uses simple tactics- find a ghul, let it make more ghuls, focus fire unparalyzed targets with Magic Missiles taught to all the novice necromancers. The Blight can be used to infect populations or corrupt wilderness in a scorched earth zombie apocalypse way, and though it answers only to Verdurus, there is also the Red Queen, an extra-invincible stone golem which can grow a body for every soul exposed to its gas, constantly regenerate and mutate those bodies with gas to adapt to what killed them (the life it gives is oft considered a fate worse than death mind you), and control those bodies if need be. He has a few wicked Ifrit that would like to see humanity exterminated as well, bound in Fassulia and forgotten, but sometimes unearthed to seek to further his goals.
His efforts, and that of his cult, are a large part of why Oroboro and Fassulia feud, as Fassulia, ravaged by his efforts, sees him as an Oroboron problem, while Oroboro sees it as a collective calamity they are not responsible for. Politics!

Here's a Lungfungus Dungeon I reskinned into an old lair of the Green Necromancer, an ancient ifrit-operated ghoul-plague missile silo that was never fired, and over the years has been invaded by plant creatures, sickle-clawed giant lizards, bandits, and at some point, a dragon-cult of Arrkohn (another player suggestion)

You gotta click on 'open in a new window' to get a readable version I am sure.

 But all this took a long time to come up with- the Green Necromancer was created to fit the setting suggestion of the Blight and Blight Necromancers a  player called Shin came up with back when Oroboro was created from player suggestions. But Verdurus had three campaigns total to make appearances in, have dungeons created to serve as his old hideouts, have connections drawn between factions, develop counter-measures against threats he faced. Three campaigns is a lot to ask to grant a lich narrative weight, and that's why casually introduced liches are a bit rough to run on the fly-without time to develop their presence, they're just a skeleton with hastily rolled up spells the GM doesn't have time to consider the long-term implications of.

Liches are good- just not as a monster manual entry.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Big thanks to this post for being the prime inspiration but I probably stole something from every single person on the internet by now. This post is mostly for my own use in my Academy of Heleologos campaign as I move towards levelless, classless casting and is not so much a 'New GLOG Class' as it is a reference sheet for me and my players. It will probably undergo changes.


+1 Magic Dice for the first 4 milestones. +1 Level for each Milestone.
One could potentially allow for +1MD per milestone, but I would advise limiting MD recovery in that case to be 1/day, per week, per snorted wizard tooth powder, etc etc.

To cast spells, 1 hand must be free, and speaking must be possible and audible. If bonked in combat before your initiative, you can't cast spells.


  1. Spellbook, Wizard School, Speak With Magic
  2. Mana Restoration
  3. Counterspell
  4. Magical Experimentation

Generic Mishaps

  1. Cannot cast this spell again for the rest of the day (Spellwisp flees)
  2. Stunned* for 1d6 rounds, ideally due to ironic backlash of spell.
  3. Random Spell Mutation, for 24 hours, save or permanent
  4. Random Mutation for 24 hours, save or permanent
  5. 1d6 damage to random stat from backlash.
  6. Spell affects random target 
*Stunning is, as I understand it, not helplessness, but an inability to take meaningful combat action
Generic Dooms
  1. Lose your milestone-based MD for 1 day.
  2. Lose your milestone-based MD for 1 season. From now on you do not recover those MD in that season. (alternately, weather conditions, biome, or other conditions could apply.)
  3. Lose your milestone-based MD FOREVER!
If ones doom is averted, future dooms might have the #2 effect, or just be mishaps depending on GM

Wizard School (optional)

A Wizard’s Spell List, Perk, Drawback, Mishaps and Dooms are all decided by their School.
Cantrips don't exist in my games unless vital to the class.

Most GLOG Wizard schools should be compatible.  



A spellbook is like a terrarium for spellwisps, and an incantation and ritual is the key that lets them out... but also leashes them to return, instead of vanishing into the dream realm like spells cast from scrolls, wands, etc do. They need not be actual books- tattoos, inscribed jewelry, stone slabs, silk scarves, swarms of fairies, etc may all be forms a 'spellbook' might take. Making something qualify as a 'spellbook' requires the investiture of a magical component (Kraken Ink tattoos, paper made from a treant, stone from a mountains heart, etc etc).

Upon binding a new spell, you add it to an existing 'spellbook.'  Multiple spellbooks take up more inventory slots and require exotic components, but leaves one less vulnerable to losing all your spells if you get pickpocketed or drop your a book into lava or something.

You may cast spells from shared or captured spellbooks provided you can read the language, break any codes, avoid any magical traps, etc etc, by casting Speak With Magic upon a wisp within. Otherwise, you have to rebind the spell as normal to 'learn' it properly.

Speak With Magic

You can cast your own soul as a spell to see and communicate with spellwisps, so everyone has this spell so long as they have their soul. This is how you bind discovered spellwisps to a spellbook.
It is also necessary to cast spells from another wizard's spellbook.

You may ID [dice] spellwisps per cast, whether in terms of items scrutinized or as a way of scanning wizards to determine their spell-lists.
Each casting allows you to interact more deeply with one ID'd spellwisp.
Its general disposition to you is as [[sum]] on a 2d6 reaction table, modified by your INT modifier instead of CHA.
Reaction Table (rough)
3 or less- Spellwisp hostile, may activate targeting caster or otherwise turn against them. It cannot ever be learned or utilized favorably if the intent of the Speak was to bind a spell. If it was merely IDing or attempting to cast from another wizard's books, the spell acts uncontrollably but as no binding was attempted, this does not disqualify the wizard from learning it later in a binding attempt.

4-8- Spellwisp indifferent and will act as it is inclined or bound to do. It may or may not identify itself, though its appearance may provide clues even it it is uncooperative. It may be learned with effort and access to its current habitat, as it will not follow the caster.
Spells from other wizard's books may be cast if this level of Speak is reached, though more MD must be utilized.

9-11- Spellwisp friendly and may act in favor of the caster. It may follow the spellcaster in the hopes of joining them later, ending any other effects. It may be translated as above.
Spells from other wizard's books may be cast with the MD invested in speak with magic+any additional invested MD at this level.
12 or more- Spellwisp may be learned and enter your spellbook for free in any style.
With regards to casting from another's book, same as 9+

Binding- You may add spellwisps you have access to a Spellbook you have via one of the following means, after rolling a 4+ on Speak With Magi for that spell. It may be important to note this does NOT create an additional spellwisp, it merely creates a place for one to reside and return to.

Components for wizardly business cannot be obtained from safe shopping in town, and must be recovered from wilderness/dungeons/adventuring. This is a personal design choice to encourage adventuring over shopping and avoid the 'industrial magic revolution,' and lore-wise is justified by items and beings that are part of society having their energies harnessed to Law and thus contrary to the chaos of magic.

1- Golden Rune-
If you cannot appease a spellwisp via Queen Witchery, you can bribe it with a gilded cage instead.
By spending 500 coins worth of gold per level* you can bind a spellwisp to a spellbook. Certain thematically appropriate treasures may count towards value, though they must be incorporated into the spellbook- an example would be a fiery ruby for Fireball, or accepting copper instead for lightning spells. Thes

*Determine level either by finding a roughly equivalent vancian spell level for the spell, or just use caster level, which admittedly is kind of a punishment for levelling up but oh well.

2- Bloody Scroll
If you cannot appease a spellwisp via Queen Witchery, you can create a miniature afterlife habitat for it and lure it to your side with grisly material components. You need 1 component per level*, and they are almost always monster parts. An example might be a dragon heart for fireball, a harpy's egg for charm person. Typically, these components are never things you can retrieve without killing, or if they are (like a unicorn horn) harvesting it also steals the creatures power and makes it unsuitable for further harvest.

Components for wizardly business cannot be obtained from safe shopping in town, and must be recovered from wilderness/dungeons/adventuring. This is a personal design choice to encourage adventuring over shopping and avoid the 'industrial magic revolution,' and lore-wise is justified by items and beings that are part of society having their energies harnessed to Law and thus contrary to the chaos of magic.

*Determine level either by finding a roughly equivalent vancian spell level for the spell, or just use caster level, which admittedly is kind of a punishment for levelling up but oh well.

3-Queen Witchery- These spells require the appeasement of a spellwisp, which varies greatly by context. Generally the spellwisp will want to engage in a behavior akin to the spell's effect, in optimal/enhanced scenarios- a lightning bolt wanting to smite 5 metallic targets in a line, for example.

If the spellwisps demands are satisfied, it joins the caster's spellbook

With access to an appropriate amount of Biblion Aleph moon-slabs, a spell may be fragmented into its component Words, with a 1-in-6 translation error chance per word, or slab-words recombined into more stable Spells of styles 1-4, with a singular 1-in-6 chance of a translation error. Their effects typically end at sunrise or in daylight.
learning new words is hard, more reliable effects can be made by locking yourself into having two words.)

  1. Moon Chalk- Required to quickly (1 round) capture a word from the environment, writing it on a slate. 1 stick of moon chalk can write 2d10 words/runes. Capturing words with chalk or engraving requires a handwriting check, a 1-in-6 chance to make a typo like Lake to Like, Fireball to Furryball, etc etc (when a typo occurs, all players can suggest ideas for what it should be and the GM can pick or roll from the options). If you are damaged or otherwise interrupted this round, a typo always occurs.
  2. Spellcasting- To cast an impromptu spell with Words, pick any number of Words you have access to. Filler words like 'the' 'of' 'from' can be used to make a spell name without needing them as a Word. Other mages may assist and contribute their own words as their action as well. A 1-in-6 chance to mispronounce the spell must be rolled, which may have various mishaps occur like incorrect targeting, inconvenient duration or unexpected interpretation of the effect contrary to what you were trying to do. All players may contribute ideas as to what a spell, mispronounced or otherwise, might do, and the GM may roll randomly or pick one effect. Temporary words written in chalk are lost when cast, but words engraved on slabs are not.
  3. Moon Slabs- engraving a chalk-captured word into a moon slab gives the holder of a moon slab permanent access to that Word, but Moon Slabs can't be changed, and hold only one Word or Spell each.
    You can also engrave multiple words onto a blank moon-slab to make it a proper Spell. Such spells do not check pronunciation when cast, and are more stable-their effects should be written up when created. They operate via usual GLOG-style magic dice, vancian spell slots, or once per day.
  4. Moon Runes- You can write(with moon chalk) or carve (with a moon chisel) runes of words you know onto things to make semi-permanent effects, but this calls for a handwriting check and a 'pronunciation' check So you could write "Fire" on a sword to make it a FLAMING SWORD (until the rune is damaged). If you failed handwriting it could end up as Fir and the sword turns to wood. If you failed 'pronunciation' it could misinterpret it as 'Fire(verb)' and shoot the blade out like a crossbow bolt from the hilt.

    Spell effects not permanently locked into place via runes will typically end at sunrise or with exposure to sunlight, as moon-magic gets overridden by the sun. This form of magic is extremely powerful in intersolar periods.

Mana Restoration

When you eat a lunch to heal HP, also recover 1MD per dice of healing if some manner of magical ingredient was used- typically monster parts from monsters with supernatural powers. You are not immune to any other effects from eating these substances.

Luncheons are a combination of ritual, consumption of chaos, and morale boost. As such, they  do not recover HP/MD in 'safe' locations like town, nor do ingredients bought in town contribute. All ingredients must be fresh, and storage of additional portions simply become inert rations.

Spells may have extra MD infused into them by the following methods, but at least 1 must come from the casters default pool. Increased cast time roughly goes from a Round, to a Turn, to an Hour, to a Day, to a Week, to a Season, to a Year.

  • People with MD may donate them to you as their action for the duration of a spell cast. Both parties suffer mishaps, dooms, etc, though keep track of whose dice are whose with regards to returning to a spell pool. Donators cannot donate more MD than the main caster is investing.
  • Similarly, supernatural patrons such as the gods, local spirits, ghosts, etc may be able to grant bonus MD in exchange for services, favor, piety, etc.
  • Rare ingredients of appropriate thematic nature may add an extra MD to a spell. As a rough guideline, the square root of the HD the monster the ingredient is from is the bonus MD. Low-value gemstones crushed on use are a common component that grant +1MD. Multiple ingredients must each be unique.
  • Live sacrifices may add MD similar to Rare Ingredients. They must be thematically appropriate.
  • A location of power, such as a volcano for fire spells, graveyards, leylines, etc, may add +1 MD.
    Drawing on ambient mana like this typically increases casting time.
  • Ritual casting via reading from a spell inscription carefully and perhaps drawing runic circles may add +1MD. This is sometimes referred to as 'Book Casting.' and it increases the casting time to one hour, or by one stage if it is already at least that slow.
  • Invoking a targets True Name grants +1 MD to spells used on/against them.
  • Magic Robes grant +1 MD to the wizard after resting in them, though this is lost if they are removed. They fill an inventory slot, can't be worn with other armor or outfits, and mark you very obviously as a wizard. They tend to be covered in runes, ribbons, stars, sunset tie dye, eerie monochrome, accessorized via a huge hat, etc etc. You don’t start with Wizard Robes and they are not typically for sale.


You can lessen or undo the effects of a spell cast at you or your allies, by declaring you would like to Counterspell, then choosing a spell that could disrupt the workings of the spell you wish to counter. You cannot disrupt a spell by 'blowing the caster to smithereens' or 'teleporting out of the way,' it has to be a spell-vs-spell scenario. Naturally this is very subjective.

If you have a Spell in your repertoire that is an effective Counterspell, then subtract your [dice]/[sum] from the [dice]/[sum] of the attacking Spell. You still suffer lost MD, mishaps or dooms for this roll.

This takes an action, but you may leap out of initiative order or even take your next round's action early. You can't counterspell again until you've taken a turn (or skipped a turn because you spent it early counterspelling).

Milestones for Levelling Up (or Down, occasionally)
A replacement for XP. Start with one of these (typically Apprentice) to explain your first level. Each only apply once, naturally, and any activities that count for multiple only count for one.

  • Apprentice- Be tutored by someone much more skilled in the magical arts than you, until they deem you ready (typically by having a Spellbook, experience with Speak With Magic, and a spell of your own). Education via Wizard College works too, provided you pass.
  • Artificer- Create a unique Magical Item. You lose this if you lose the item, until recovered.
    This does not necessarily imply you know how to make magic items, but permanently placing known spells into them and loadsa gold and weird components seems likely.
  • Its ALIVE- Create a sapient lifeform. You lose this if this being dies, and cannot gain it again.
  • Master-  Take on an apprentice, and raise them such that they qualify for Apprentice.
  • Duelist- Triumph in a high stakes 1v1 duel with an enemy wizard of equal (at least) power.
  • Oathsworn- swear to serve someone besides yourself. Lose this if you betray/abandon/forsake them. You cannot ever renew this oath if broken, but if you are dismissed or released from your oath due to non-oathbreaking reasons you may swear to serve someone else.
  • Tower/Dungeon- Obtain a personal base of operations. Lose this if you lose control of your base.
  • Familiar- Obtain a magical minion who is both your servant, and a source of knowledge and power. Lose this if your familiar is lost for good.
  • Secrets-Either learn things None Shouldst Know, or destroy or hide such knowledge for the good of the world. The former makes you a target for the latter, and is lost if you forget. The latter is lost if the knowledge resurfaces, until it can be reburied. Minor Yg/Lumar favor.
  • Fate-  Fulfill a prophecy to show you know the shape of fate, or thwart one to show you are unbound by any such shackles.
  • Nemesis/Rival- Swear enmity towards an entity. If they ever forgive or forget about you, or vice versa, lose this milestone. After your first, you may only get a new nemesis if someone makes you theirs first.
  • Warlock- Sell your soul for power. Your Doom includes whatever you sold it to coming to collect.
  • Death- learn the secrets of the Netherworld. Ideally without dying, but whatever works
  • Transcendence- Become a Lich or otherwise immortal, occultum blood, beyond human, etc.
  • Gnosis- Enter your own dreamscape with Borehole and confront yourself to learn your True Name, as well as facing your inner demons and such. Any other method of confronting your subconscious/learning your True Name probably works too. (This is likely a Nightmare Dungeon of depth equal to your Level)
  • From Beyond- Realms beyond our own may offer unimaginable powers. (Flailsnails placeholder)
  • ???

Magical Experimentation
It is possible to negotiate with spellwisps to obtain slightly different effects. An example would be 'Light' being used to blind or being reversed into Darkness, a Floating Disc used as a shield, a Web spell used to swing between buildings, etc. It is safer to try to create a variant spell can perform these tasks reliably than to cast experimentally repeatedly. When casting experimentally, miscasts and dooms are always possible, and an extra 'mishap' die is rolled to increase the chances of this occurring (this die does not increase [dice] or [sum] for the spell).

To create variant spells, there are two options- spell tweaking, and spell breeding.
Spell tweaking permanently applies an alternate creative use of a spell as a permanent part of its description, provided an appropriate magical component is used. Only one permanent 'tweak' per spell can be had upon a spell at a time, with more significant changes requiring breeding. Tweaks vanish when a spell is used for breeding and do not affect outcomes.
At the GM's discretion, wizards may be allowed to have a 'signature spell' that has no limits on creative 'tweaks' applied to it, allowing great versatility as new uses are thought up with over time.

Spell Breeding is the more in-depth action intended to be a replacement or alternate system for spell research. Spellwisps may be 'bred' together, though the word is not entirely accurate, being more akin to the stuff bacteria get up to in terms of splitting, plasmid sharing, etc.

2 spells can be fused in this process once per week, 'downtime' increment, level up, or whatever a GM deems appropriate. Allowing it to go on without limit with shared MD, multiple attempts, multiple days per week, and so on bloated my own campaign horribly and made sitting around 'spreeding' more effective than adventuring so while I found this system very fun, strict limits must be placed on it!

Upon completion, both spells vanish, both the wisp and the bindings within any spellbook they may have been held in, and the breeder(s) will roll all invested MD, checking for mishaps and dooms but using the following charts instead, and one new spellwisp per MD used is born (mostly). These spellwisps can be negotiated with and transcribed as usual, making other wizards as tempted to assist in the hopes of gaining a spare wisp as they are fearful of things going horribly wrong. Spellwisps that are not quickly caught will vanish into the dreamrealm, so I allow for no degree of people coming and going mid-breeding attempt or to be partially present or bring new materials, as unbound wisps will vanish within ~5 rounds or so unless bound. Thematically appropriate preparation, location, and material components expended in the process informs 'desired changes' to some degree. A Levitate Spell being bred with Magic Missile, along with Roc Wings as a component, or a Roc Nest as a magical locale, might be a way to upgrade the spell from Levitate, to a highly precise mode of Flight as a desired outcome for instance. Due to the influence of the component, any 'spare' magic missiles produced by 2 and 3 results might take the form of winged ghost-talons, and the wisps may have the appearance of a ghostly roc.

Breeding Results (1 Wisp Per Die)
1- Nothing!

2- Mutation- Spellwisp an unpredictably mutated variant of one of the consumed spells.

3- Twinned Replication- Two Spellwisps created, clones of one of the original spells.

4- Complication- Spellwisp exhibits desired change, but is unpredictably mutated.

5- Hybridization- Spellwisp is hybrid of both spells, determined by GM or spicy player ideas.

6- Success! Spellwisp exhibits desired change.

Breeding Mishaps (Roll once per doubles). Typically caused by spellwisps having an excess of power.

1- Run Amok- a random spellwisp casts itself 1d6 times on random targets before calming down. MD of casts are 1dX, where X was the # of dice invested in this attempt.

2- Fled- Random spellwisp flees before it can be spoken with. It still exists... somewhere.

3- Alien- Random spellwisp extra strange, requiring exotic language, logic, etc. Attempts to Speak With Magic ignore highest MD roll.

4- Enchantment- A random spellwisp fuses with a nearby item, which gains its powers somehow, either as a one-time activation or a more permanent effect. As a spellbook is almost always around, this explains why magic books tend to get a little quirky over time. While this may create useful items, it is likelier that they will be more akin to traps, hazards, and curios.

5- Exploded- A random spellwisp shatters into component Words, which engrave themselves as Runes if not swiftly captured by a Moon Tablet. These words may be derived from the title of the spell, or words more descriptive of the spell's actual effects in case the name is not descriptive.

6- Convergent Speciation- Random spellwisp ignores breeding results, is a random spell determined in whatever manner you please.

Breeding Dooms (Roll once per triples). A reminder of why multiple spellbooks are handy

1- Enmity-A random spellwisp hates all present, though it may conceal this. If bound, it always casts in such a way to harm the party. If unbound, it may seek out enemies and offer its services, or cause mayhem.

2- Jailbreak- All nearby spellbooks release their spellwisps, casting the spell and requiring recapture via speak with magic (but bindings already exist, so costs need not be paid again)

3- Orgiastic Corruption- Each loose spellwisp makes a 1MD breeding check with a random spellwisp in a nearby spellbook, magic item, local enchantment, etc.

4- Spawn Infestation- The local area is packed with uncountable copies of a spellwisp, making the effects widespread and permanent to the area.

5- Possession- A random spellwisp attempts to inhabit a nearby brain. Those so possessed may become wizards/learn this spell for free, but they also must save vs magic or follow the inscrutable whims of the spellwisp until it is exorcised.

6-Manifestation- random spellwisp manifests in waking world with 2 HD per MD used in the ritual.

Spellwisp Mutations

  1. Feeble-Spell has less effect, numerically or in potency. Fireball deals Sum/2
  2. Brief- Spell duration reduced 1 step on scale of Instant<Round<Turn<Hour<Day<Season<Year<Permanent
  3. Sessile- Spell has range reduced to Touch. 
  4. Smol- Area of effect or # of targets reduced to single target. If already single target, reduced to single body part. 
  5. Niche- Spell has reduced utility- Charm Person becoming Charm Human, for example
  6. Hungry- Spell always requires thematically appropriate material component to cast.
  7. Sluggish- Spell takes effect only after time equal to original casting time passes again.
  8. Exhausting- Stunned for 1 Turn after casting spell
  9. Unspeakable- Take 1d6 Wisdom Damage after casting spell
  10. Hazardous- Take 1d6 HP damage after casting spell
  11. Fussy- Spell can only be cast under certain conditions (full moon, rain, inside, etc)
  12. Incomprehensible- Spell has a 3-in-6 chance to simply not work when cast, modified by int mod
  13. Erratic- Spell hits random target from those available
  14. Runic- Spell must be written, not spoken, to cast, requiring some means of making markings.
  15. Potent- Spell has increased effect, numerically or in potency. Fireball deals +1 dice of damage.
  16. Enduring-  Spell duration increased 1 step on scale of Instant<Round<Turn<Hour<Day<Season<Year<Permanent
  17. Roaming- Spell range doubled, or increased to 50' if less than.
  18. Massive Chonker- Area of effect or # of targets affected doubled. If single target, increased to 10' radius
  19. Generalist- Spell has increased utility- Charm Person becoming Charm Biped, for instance.
  20. Chain- Spell recasts-itself with 1 less MD and jumps to nearest viable target.
  21. Adaptable- Spell does not add a mishap die when being cast experimentally. 
  22. Neuter- Spell cannot be used in spell breeding with other spells, deeming its current form perfect. 
  23. Translation Error- Spell experiences mispelling, changing effect. Fireball to Furball, for instance.
  24. Reversed- Spell does opposite of original effect.
  25. Subtle- Spell can be cast without it being obvious spellcasting occurs.
  26. Silent - Spell can be cast with only a gesture.
  27. Still- Spell can be cast with only a word. 
  28. Cantrip- Spell can be cast as Cantrip, which sets all used MD to 1 instead of rolling. 
  29. Mutagenic- Miscasts with this spell always cause a Permanent Mutation Chance result.
  30. Borer- Rends rift to Dream Realm (or similar planes of reality) when cast for duration. Things may come through or enter.
  31. Metallic- Unaffected by iron/lead/silver.
  32. Sympathetic-Requires a personal belonging or body part to target living beings. Has unlimited range if you do.
  33. Predatory- Miscasts instead indicate the destruction of another held spell or magic item. 
  34. Corrupted- Miscasts indicate drawing the attention of something. 
  35. Dramatic- Spell is noisy, flashy, and attention-drawing. May force Morale checks, but also Wandering Monster checks.
  36. Chaotic- Additional effect as per a Wand of Wonder.
  37. Hexed- Miscasts indicate nearby crops wither, milk spoils, unborn things mutate. 
  38. Unnatural- Caster and any targets age +1 year when cast due to elemental wrath.
  39. Shadow- All nearby flames snuffed out. Other light sources save or are snuffed.
  40. Forbidden- Insight to understand spell comes with other dread knowledge, +1 Insanity. Knowledge and insanity may be discarded if spell is also discarded and forgotten.
  41. Palette Swap- Spell changes to random energy type such as acid, ice, lightning, etc
  42. Metamorphosizing- Spell changes to random spell upon miscast, keeping mutations.
  43. Glyph- Spell forms rune, which takes effect and targets anyone seeing it fully. 
  44. Braille- Spell forms rune, which takes effect and targets whatever touches it next. 
  45. Name- If you know the targets true name, they cannot pass saves/the spell always takes effect.
  46. Liturgical- You may add Words to this spell when casting, if you have any.
  47. Divine- Associated with an appropriate god. MD come back on a 4-6 instead of a 1-3, but the spell cannot be cast in blasphemous ways.
  48. Slow- Spell takes an increased time duration to cast.
  49. Battlemagic- Caster can attack in melee the same round this spell is cast
  50. Darkling- All players present come up with something
COMMON SORCERER TYPES TO WATCH OUT FOR (this is all tweaked reposted content)

Fey Witch

Through contracts with fairies, some of the ancient arts of the Elves yet remain in mortal hands, even if those hands once overthrew the Alvish Hegemony in the form of the Witch-Queens.

Perk- All your spells are fairies that buzz around and try to help.
Drawback- All your spells are fairies that buzz around and try to help.

[R]Self [T]Self [D] Until Midnight
Clothing and makeup becomes awe-inspiring, providing your choice of [dice] bonus to reaction checks, friendly morale, or penalty to enemy morale, depending if you are dressed to impress, to inspire, or intimidate.

2-Mirror Image
[R] Sight [T] One Thing [D] Concentration
Create [sum] mirror images of something. They only have form based on what you can see, the backsides/interiors being fuzzy static. They pop like a soap bubble if touched.

3-Eye Games 
[R]Touch [T]One Thing [D] Varied

Semi-permanent invisibility to a target, but with a random twist based on what is rolled. You may pick based on what numbers you got.
1-Only invisible so long as you hold your breath. So long as no one sees you doing it, you can take a break to breathe visibly, and then become invisible again by holding your breath, but once you breathe in sight of something, it ends. Exerting yourself requires a CON check or similar each round, as might pain (which could be WIS) 2-Clothing and equipment not made invisible. You become visible once you get the invisibility dust rubbed or washed off from the friction of movement and so on, in a day or so, or if you put on clothes/get splashed by water/grappled. 3-Only invisible so long as you keep your eyes shut. If you can see through your eyelids for some reason this won't work- it's operating on the 'they can't see me if I can't see them' principle. Once someone sees you, it ends. 4- Piece of cloth, usually a cloak, is made into an invisibility cloak that is itself invisible as is anything beneath it. Ends once you drop it, or somebody not under the cloak touches it. 5-Only invisible so long as you don't hurt anybody or break any laws/agreements, which ends the spell. 6- While standing still, you're invisible. You can become invisible again if no one sees you move, but once spotted it ends. Fear may require saves to keep still.

4-Elf Gold
[R]Touch [T]Leaves, Acorns [D] Until touched by Iron, or Dawn.

Transforms leaves and acorns into coins and gemstones, temporarily. The larger the false payment, the larger the eventual consequences... 3+ dice makes the transformation not expire at dawn.

5-Alvish Override
[R]40' [T]Fairies [D]1 hour at most
 Compels a group of fairies, goblins, or other fey servitors to perform a specific number of tasks for you. The exact number is irrelevant because if the fairy likes the task it won't keep track, and if it doesn't like you or the task, it will declare things like 'breathing is a task' and hold its breath until it falls over and passes out. They will also inevitably get bored and wander off after an hour of cleaning or carrying the lantern or whatever you set them to.


[R]80' [T]One Awake Being [D] Until Woken
Targeted creature falls asleep if [Sum] > HD. They will wake at loud noises or other disturbances. Slumber can instead affect [Sum] Total HD, allowing for groups of opposition to be put to sleep, but it then allows for a saving throw from all targets.

At 3+ dice, if a save is failed the slumber is Enchanted Sleep-
Progression of aging, hunger, poison, disease, dying, etc halted. May only be woken by a specific conditional, like the kiss of royalty or the crow of a hen.

Attacking or otherwise injuring a slumbering target (or allowing allies to do so) will cause the fairies to leave in disgust, losing the spell.

7-Jewel Wings
[R] Touch [T] [dice] willing beings [d] 1 day or night.
Transforms the caster and friends into hummingbirds for a day, or hummingbird moths for the night. AC is as Plate+3 in these speedy forms, but items are left behind. Spellcasting is not possible in hummingbird form unless the spell needs only hummingbird-friendly gestures, incantations, etc.

8-Elf Shot
[R]60'[T]Any [D] Instant
Fairies fly to vantage points and fire small arrows of golden light which resonate with whatever frequency and energy form will prove lethal. Apart from crocodile skin, there is no physical defense against Elf-Shot, and it always hits.
It deals [sum] damage, which can be divided among targets within range as the caster pleases.

9-Elf Shield
[R]Touch [T]One Being [D] [Sum] Rounds
 carry small golden bucklers and swarm to block attacks from the one they are ordered to serve as bodyguards of. This provides disadvantage to enemies making frontal attacks, advantage to the shielded subjects saves from basically frontal threats, and immunity to Elf Shot and other Magic Missile spells from any direction.

[R]Touch [T]One Spell [D] Permanent
This spell removes a spell from a book (or whatever the permanent abode of the spellwisp is) and turns it into a Great Fairy. It can also be used as a counterspell/dispel magic/remove curse of sorts but this can prove quite troublesome in its own way.

Great Fairies cast their spells with 1 magic die that always rolls a 1 with any variables also always rolling 1, and will almost certainly  be subject to many nerfs that the GM finds appropriate, such as Polymorph only affecting one limb at a time or Light manifesting as the fairy glowing as a candle.  One of the many downsides is that the fairy is not particularly intelligent, is overly enthusiastic about using its spell incautiously, and must be treated fairly well (or constantly micromanaged with Elvish Override) to ensure its continued cooperation.
this is you trying to get out of paying your fairies
Treat it as a retainer in terms of getting half-shares of XP and treasure- the treasure goes towards keeping the Fairy happy(their tastes are exotic and varies based on the spell), and the XP is lost from the inevitable consequences of delegating adventuring instead of doing it yourself.

Fairies go on strike. MD only return on a  1-2 for the rest of the day.
2- Fairy gets lost- this spell can't be cast for the rest of the day.
3- Get caught up arguing with fairies about wording- can't cast spells or talk about other things for 1d6 rounds
4- Goblinization- Mutation, save or it is permanent.
5-Overly excited fairies leap to your command- cast an additional random spell
6- Iron Moon Resonance- Take 1 damage per iron object you have on you.
Add a bonus 1-in-20 chance of fey critters to wandering monster checks. Some are nice, most aren't.
2- Contacted by emissaries of Summer or Winter who want to recruit you. Whichever one you don't pick will turn all related fey hostile to you. If you refuse both, the Wild Hunt is sicc'd on you.
3- Either follow the call of Elfland and retire into their dreams of ice, trees, and dark... or incur the wrath of the Iron Moon as it takes you for a loose Alf and aims to collect your soul.


Wizard-astronomers who worship the sun, spurn the moons, and fear the primordial darkness. They are a little different with each solar age.

Perk- Good at astronomy
Drawback- Scared of the dark

1- Corpse Candle
[R] Touch [T] [sum] Candles [D] [Sum] Hours

A number of candles are rendered, lit, and stuck to a surface, created from the fat of a nearby corpse. The flames turn blue in the presence of (choose 1 per dice) Lies, Spellwisps, Undead, Invisible Things

R: 10' T: self D: Same as Cast Time, essentially.
Cast time 1 Hour

Outlines of the sun, the moon, and every star in the sky (but not the black stars behind the pales stars) appear around you. You can use them to determine the time of day, true north, predicted weather, and your approximate position on the globe, as well as the next Moon that will come, if in the Moonlands.
As a bonus, you may read the horoscope of [dice] sentient creatures per casting. Roll 1d10 per horoscope. 1-Doom- Disadvantage on next Save 2-9- No effect aside from the usual platitudes. 10- Triumph. Creature automatically passes their next Save.

If the casting and horoscoping is interrupted, everyone gets a Doom result on their horoscopes.

3-Merciless Dazzler of Black-eyed Ulric

R: Sight T: Creature with Light-Sensing organs D: varies

A brilliant white ray shoots from your eyeballs. Target must Save or go blind for [sum] rounds. If 3+ dice are used it is permanent until healed by a certain herbal poultice, and 4+ allows for no save.This spell scares other Heleognostics silly.

4-Glorious Starburst

R: 100' T: area D: [sum] rounds

You fire a flare 100' upwards. It hovers there, providing light as bright as moonlight for 300' diameter radius, for [sum] rounds. You can command the starburst to move horizontally, change colour, rise an additional 100' per round, or explode into sparkles. If it strikes a creature or object, it deals 1d6 fire damage to them, lights them on fire, and then explodes into sparkles. Sparkles last as long as the spell but give erratic illumination, as 1d100 candles scattered about a 100' diameter area. They may ignite straw, dry grass, etc.

5- Luminweave

R:Line of Sight T: One Illusion D: [sum] rounds

An illusion is created from the ambient light. It is silent and limited in color based on nearby light. It is reactive to your imagination so long as you concentrate on it.

If cast in pitch darkness, it is not an illusion.

6- Roving Star
[R] 10’ + 5’ per round [T] Direction away from caster [D] [sum] rounds

An infant star is called from the void within 10' of you. Each round, it moves 5' straight ahead (you designate the original direction).
Creatures or objects in a 10' radius of the star take 2d6 worth of fire and Law damage (though it is not the Law of people or suns), Save negates. If the spark strikes a creature or object directly, or it is struck (AC12), the spark will bounce in a random direction away from the direction of impact, gaining 5' speed and momentum.
The spark floats 5' off the ground and inflicts half damage in broad daylight, and is very bright indeed,
illuminating a radius of 60’ around it quite well and 60’ more dimly.

7-Focused Solar Scrutiny-
[R] 60’ [T] One Target at a time. [D] [sum] rounds 


Light in the area is focused onto one thing. If targets are switched, lights return to normal before coalescing again.
1st round- All dim light is gathered up and focused on the thing. It is now clearly visible, though torchlight and worse will be notably reduced, as if a spotlight followed them.
2nd round- More light is concentrated. The target is blinded, and any deceptions, illusions, and so on are revealed. *(Not in the 5th Solar Age)
3+ round- All local light is beamed directly onto the target. Anything less than a bonfire appears only as a thin beam of light aimed at the target, who shines bright and blinding. The light begins to fry the target, dealing damage this and each following round. Each smaller light source provides 1 point of damage, and larger sources such as the Sun deal 1d6.

8-Forbidden Dawn
[R] LOS [T] Local Area [D] [sum hours] or until daybreak

The dark sky begins to light up slowly, as though a red dawn was on its way. Used underground, it makes one direction seem to light up. This provides dim light all over, with very gradual darkening/lightening as the Forbidden Dawn is approached or fled from. The forbidden source of light never appears directly in view of any sentient creature and is much further away than one might expect- which is just as well. Everyone who has sought to see the Forbidden Dawn either reports an inability to reach the light before it recedes, or is never heard from again.

9-Rebuking Mirror-

 [R] 60’ [T] 45º Cone [D] [dice] rounds

The lawful and purifying light of the sun comes forth from a bottle it was kept inside. Capturing it takes an instant, but releasing it and fueling it with ones own magic allows it to last longer. Elementals associated with the Darkness revert to inert, regular lumps of matter if [sum]>HP. If not, they
still seek to escape the light, and take damage= [sum] if they endure it for more than 1 round.

Darkspawn are forced to assume a permanent form and lock their statblocks in if exposed to the light.

The light also prevents shapeshifting, illusion, etc, though already transformed or disguised figures are not affected- they simply cannot change while the light is upon them. Lycanthropes cannot heal, doppelgangers cannot transform, living statues cannot move, illusions can’t react to input etc etc. Not In the 5th Age!

10- Solar Fragment
Actually several different pyromancies. Depends on what Solar Age you are in.
1st Age- ???
2nd Age- YG-A's Grip of Cremation- Touch. Deal [sum] fire damage and incinerates [dice] inventory items.
3rd Age- Alfstar's Rebuke- 20' radius around caster. Deal [sum] glittery fire damage to ugly things.
4th Age- Sword of Riikhus- Engulfs a sword in flame. +[dice] bonus to hit and damage for [sum] rounds.
5th Age- Sword of Heleos- As above, with lightning. Metal Armored foes are automatically hit.
6th Age- Prayer to Aurum- Dawn arrives [dice] hours sooner.
7th Age-???


1- Flash of light blinds self and adjacent for 1d6 rounds.
2- Pulse of darkness consumes spell at end of round and panics all Heleognostics nearby- save vs fear with +1 per level or act like a twit having mistaken it for Doom.
3- Nearby light sources Save or are darkened for 1d6 rounds. Flames still burn, black and invisible.
4- 1 magic die lost as excess magical energy consumed fruitlessly by the greedy light.
5- Nearby puddles, water reservoirs, etc become 1d6’ deeper and clouded with stinking mud. If the Enmity of Water is had, they also extend 10’ towards the wizard and are thrice as deep.
6- Cave 1d6 feet deep opens beneath wizard. If the Enmity of Earth is had, Quintuple the depth.


The darkness is coming for them, though the question remains as to from where. The element that spares you is known as your Mercy, and you must either seek to deeply offend your mercy so that the Abyss squabbles and is unable to claim you, or ensure that you survive via your Mercy whenever you suffer a doom from now on.

1- They earn the enmity of the Abyssal Water, Earth, or Air, but apart from a sense of unease, they do not know which it is. All magic dice lost for the day.

2 - They learn of the enmity of the Abyssal Water, Earth, or Air. The nearest appropriate form attempts to claim them either by storm, flood, or earthquake, as appropriate. They also earn the secret enmity of one of the two remaining Abyssal Darknesses, but do not know which.

3- Their Doom comes at last. The only way to survive is to identify which element is merciful and escape the other two. This Doom repeats each new Doom roll if the wizard survives.
Doom of Water- The Midnight Sea flows from all directions, waterfalls coursing over the distant mountains and the sky weeping torrents as the waves rush to claim you and bring you to the Abyss.

Doom of Earth- The ground opens beneath your feet. The quicksand pours all the way to the Bowels Of the Earth. Grasping at crumbling handholds, you fall. It closes.

Doom of Air- The moaning sky descends, a whirlwind with a crown of stars. You scream as are sucked up into the High Howling Darkness.

Mercy of Air- As the water comes and the ground crumbles, the sky remains calm and open. So long as you can escape from the hell on the ground, you won’t be pursued.

Mercy of Water- Below you is a fathomless, lightless abyss that grumbles and yawns wider, and above you is a raging hell of waves whipped to froth by tornadoes and hurricanes. So long as you can ride the watery border between air and sky, neither dragged down by whirlpools into the earth or pulled up by whirlwinds into the sky, you will see a blue sea at the end of this.

Mercy of Earth- The air screams outside, flensing the earth away, and the water trickles all around, trying to find a way in. This hard, hidden place will be your grave if either of the softer elements finds a way inside, but for now, it is your fortress.


A monastic bunch from the Sun Mountains (Aka Barrier Peaks) who are the stewards of a bunch of cursed and legendary weapons. They often take up swordplay and heavy armor. Their leader is the Saint of Blades. They can draw magical power from their cursed weapon but are not encouraged to do so. Their doom is, naturally, losing control of their cursed weapon.


Cursed Weapon- Determine type randomly. It is forbidden for Hellknights to use this weapons, and forbidden for them to spill innocent blood. They can also draw +1 Magic die from their cursed weapon, though this die always shifts to the lowest possible matching number, causing mishaps and even dooms if used incautiously.

1- Awaken Blade

[R]Touch [T] One Weapon [D] One Attempt

Opens a gate into a weapon creating a nightmare realm of 1 depth per dice used. Each depth cleared grants the weapon a +1 enhancement (this does not stack with any existing bonuses), and if depth 5 is cleared, a unique magical ability awakens. Each layer reveals secrets of the sword as well.
Layer 1- The Hall of Blades. The collective sea of the soul of weaponry, the realm is cleared by locating the weapon among its peers (and surviving their attentions).
Layer 2- Tempering Birth- The weapons memory of each blacksmith who has worked on it and reforged it. The blacksmiths must be overcome, then the methods of the swords forging replicated.
Layer 3- Bloodstained Notches- a battlefield populated by everything the weapon has ever killed. The battlefield need not be cleared, only crossed, with certain key battles perhaps being inescapable.
Layer 4- The Razor Bridge- a realm where there is only the weapon, day on one side, night on the other. The upturned edge must be crossed without being cut too deeply by the blade, or the questions it poses.
Layer 5- The Riddle of Steel- The blade must be fought at its full potential, wielded by an idealized dream of the wielder it most desires. This eidolon must be overcome so that the weapon accepts you as its true wielder.

2-Sword Speak
[R] Touch, may touch weapons [T] One Weapon [D] One Conversation, either may end it
As Speak with Magic, but for weapons. Weapons convinced to join the caster cannot be wielded by others

3- Riikhus's Trumpet (Dirge)
[R] 100' [T] [dice] targets[D] Instant

In a flash of light and an alarm to wake their allies, the mage may instantly garb themselves or others in the arms and armor they own, the items leaping from their resting places, cherubs of dead Riikhus carrying the gear.
If Reversed, it may strip people of their arms and armor, allowing a Save to resist.

4- Razor Waltz

 [R] 10’ [T] 1 weapon [D] [sum] rounds

A targeted weapon floats to attack autonomously, with to-hit as though the mage was wielding it. Save to hold onto a waltzing weapon if currently wielded. Weapons return to sheath when spell ends.

5- Bridge Perilous
[R] Touch [T] 1 sword [D] [sum] Turns
A bladed weapon grows to cross a chasm or river or descend from a mountain as a ramp, but angles itself blade up. Crossing is perilous indeed.

6- Gate of the Knife

[R] Touch [T] 1 Door [D] Permanent till Knife removed
[dice] Knives or similar small weapons may be jammed into doorframe or similar threshold. Those going through the door take a hit from all embedded knives. The maximum number of knives is based on the highest number of dice used in a single casting of this spell, otherwise new knives cannot be added without being slashed out of the way by already-embedded knives.

Align Body
[R/T] Self [D] Sum Rounds

After aligning your internal energy flow, your level-based attack bonus becomes +1 Per Level, and you may fight as per a fighter, which may give you auto damage, secret techniques, extra attacks, or whatever based on system. After casting, you may immediately make a melee attack.

8-Foreign Techniques  
Get a spell from here instead

Nalil Translation
By translating one spell into Nalil, the language of the Feather and Carnage moons, you can turn it into a fighting technique instead of a strictly arcane one. 

Great inventiveness may be required for ruling on more esoteric spells. 

1-The cursed weapon gleams, drawing the eyes of the covetous and powerhungry
2-A random nonmagical weapon snaps with a thunderous crack
3-The cursed weapon slips and cuts the mage for 1d6 damage.
4-The cursed weapon devours all magic dice for today. They can be drawn forth from the weapon though they are now cursed as per the usual magic dice drawn from it.
5-The cursed weapon slips and cuts a random target for 1d6 damage.
6-The mage absentmindedly wields the cursed weapon. It cannot be unwielded till noon.

1-The cursed weapon strains at its bonds. The mage's magic dice are cursed until the weapon can be resanctified.
2-The cursed weapon's bonds are cracked. It can manifest dark powers until the weapon can be resanctified.
3-The weapon breaks free. It dominates the wielder on the next new moon and uses them as a puppet for a campaign of slaughter. If abandoned, it will simply lure some other poor victim.

The doom can only be avoided in two ways- destroying the weapon and suffering a permanent -4 magic die penalty until another cursed weapon can be stolen, or redeeming the dark spirit within the weapon and turning it to the side of Light. This has happened once in recorded history, and the result was the first Saint of Blades.


The eaters of lotuses, blue and black, mushroom gobblers, witches and evil cults who draw power from the darkness beyond the sunlit lands. Also, so much coffee.

PERK-You can function as though awake when unconscious or asleep, with disadvantage to everything. Coherent communication also impossible.
DRAWBACK- Sleeping has a 1-in-20 random encounter check of a Nightmare Incursion being drawn to you.

1-Pretender's Mask

[R]Touch [T]1 corpse[D] [sum days]

Peel off the face of a corpse. The corpse crumbles to dust, as does the face in [sum] days unless 4 dice are used. Anyone can wear the face and look and sound like the dead being, though only to other sentient beings- animals, spirits, and undead are not fooled.

2-Create Undead

[R]Touch [T]1 corpse [D] [sum] days, with a 1-in-20 chance to break free every day.

Wisps of your own Nightmares animate a corpse, or part of a corpse. It is obedient only for the duration of the spell. It has up to 2x[dice] HD, and at least one sinister power for every 6 rolled.

3-Nightmare Aura

[R] 50' [T]-1 thing [D]-Sum rounds

One living thing is imbued with a fearful aura. Those viewing must save to approach or stand against it. NPCs check morale. If 4 dice are invested, being in the presence of the fearful thing causes 1d4 Wisdom damage each round. The effect ends if the being is damaged.


[R]Touch [T]1 person or section of floor [D] [sum] Turns, permanent on 4+dice

A perfectly circular hole is bored. In a person, this hole leads to their dreams. On a dead person or undead, it leads to a nightmare realm. In a structure, the hole leads down 1 level. If there was not anything below, a dungeon is spontaneously created. The hole closes after the time is up, but any generated realms remain, and the nightmares beneath will likely maintain an exit for their monsters.
This spell is a staple akin to Speak with Magic in Saresare.

5- Word of Madness

[R] touch [T] 1 target [D] [sum] rounds/turns/hours/days, [dice] determining duration increment.
A word is whispered to something, the caster careful not to hear it themselves. The target must save or go mad. They get a new save after each duration increment is up, and are permanently insane if all are failed. This works on inanimate objects.


[R]Target must be able to clearly hear you [T]1 target [D] Permanent

You call down a frightful curse on a person, place, etc. You specify (out loud) the effects (eternal sleep, turned into a toad, etc) and the conditions to lift the curse (true love's kiss, pigs flying, etc). You do not need MD to cast this spell.
Lose 1d6 levels. Mitigate the loss by 1 level for each dice invested in this spell. If you drop below Level 1 you die and your soul is bound into the curse until it is lifted.

7-Fade Into Dream

[R]50' [T]1 thing [D] [sum] rounds

Target questionably real until the time is up. Anyone may save vs Spells to disbelieve a faded target- if successful, they can neither affect or be affected by the target in anyway until the spell ends.
1d- a person, a door
2d- a wagon, a horse
3d- a dragon, a house
4d- a castle
5d+ Inadvisable

8- Waking Dream 

[R]sight [T][sum targets] [D][sum rounds]

Create an illusion within the minds of the targets who fail a save. They behave as if the illusion was real, collapsing at the bottom of imaginary pits, fleeing from imaginary dragons, unable to see or move through walls, etc.

9- Swap Persona

[R]Eye Contact [T]1 being [D] [sum] rounds

Switch minds with target if they fail to save. Permanent on 4 dice. Swapping back to a dead body either causes death or spontaneous undead reanimation.

10- Know Fear
[R]Sight [T]1 living being [D] Instant
Identify the targets greatest fear. You must save or develop the same phobia- it's not your greatest fear but you really see where they're coming from.

If you can create this fearful scenario, real or false, they must save vs fear or die of fright. On a success, they cannot be scared to death again.


1-Can't sleep tonight. No benefits from resting, including MD recovery.

2- Age +1 Year

3- 1d6 random nearby corpses rise as hostile undead

4- You suffer Fear of your target for 1d6 rounds

5- Nightmare beast noticed you. Mustn't sleep until it loses your trail.

6- You doze off for 1d6 rounds. If a nightmare beast noticed you, beware!

1- The nightmares claim you when next you sleep. Your body appears dead until you wake up with 1HP and white hair.
2- Your twisted psyche spawns a nightmare creature based on your fears, secrets, insecurities, etc. They are added to wandering encounter chances as a bonus 1-in-20 chance.
3-So long as you are awake, the dead rise from their graves and come to kill you. If you ever go to sleep, you are cast into a your very own nightmare realm, its danger level being about twice your own.

You can avoid your doom by becoming undead or finding some other way to avoid sleeping permanently.

Silk Wizards

Hailing from Saresare, they draw upon the power of a bound entity called the Silken one. They are known for being desert ascetics who practice martial arts and fasting.
You can channel 'touch' spells through silk.


Duels are common between Silk wizards, with the victor taking parts of the losers spellbook. Taking nothing from an opponent is more of an insult than killing them is, and typically the most gracious and diplomatic action is to take a single spell and spare the life of the loser- though if an inexperienced wizard beats a more masterful one, it's considered tradition to take just enough silk to 'outrank' the loser by 1 spell.

1-Sand Skin

[R]-Touch [T]-One Being With Skin [D]- [Dice] Attacks or one dungeon turn.

The next [Dice] Attacks that deal less than [sum] damage deal 1 damage instead, as one turns to sand briefly to allow it to pass through harmlessly. Mishaps also cause you and the recipient to also fill [sum] inventory slots with Sand, which take 1 round each to drop and leave a mess.

2-Aspect of Weaver-

[R]-Touch [T]-One Being [D]- [Sum] Turns

Target's feet+hands (or appropriate analogues) are coated in silk that allows them to walk on ceilings, walls, and have advantage on grappling. With 1 turn, you can bind and gag a person with the silk, or web something in place, but the silk will dissipate and cannot be collected long-term in any way.

3-Fire Friend

[R] Sight [T]- [sum]Candles/Torches/Bonfires/Forest Fire. Scale depends on [Dice] [D] Until Extinguished

Fire affected by this spell will bend out of the way to avoid harming you, and will spread or not spread in ways favorable to you. Torches and Candles will even flicker out rather than give you away to your enemies, but larger fires prefer to simply immolate your foes and are less considerate in general.

4-Aspect of Drifting Feather

[R] Sight [T]- Up to [Sum]x50 pounds [D] Until grounded

Things affected by this spell fall slowly and land safely and silently- unless there is wind, in which case they can drift on the breeze like a feather.

5-Aspect of Gallows

[R]-Touch [T]-One Rope [D]- [Sum] Actions

You can control a rope as though it was one of your own limbs, provided it remains in contact with your skin. After casting, you may immediately take a rope action.
If it is silk rope, add +1 Action before the spell ends.


[R]-Touch [T]-One Living Being [D]- see description

By wrapping the target in a silken cocoon, you may turn a living creature into another living creature of roughly the same mass if it fails a save. You can even turn something into itself to heal its wounds- either way, the target gains [sum] temporary HP until the transformation ends.

This lasts [sum] rounds if 1 dice is used, [sum] Turns if 2 dice are used, and [sum] Days if 3 dice are used. 4 dice makes it permanent.

7-Flying Bolt

[R]-Touch [T]-One Piece of Cloth [D]- [Sum] Rounds

You make a piece of cloth(traditionally a bolt of silk) of any size able to fly as swift as a bird at your mental command. It can carry [Sum]x50 pounds. If large enough it can be used and sundered as a shield, protecting who you dictate. It also works on many kinds of carpet.
If 3+ dice are used, duration is in Turns. If 4+, duration is in Hours.

8-Dust Devil

[R]-30' [T]- 15 foot diameter area [Sum] Turns

You create a small whirlwind, 30' in diameter, 100' high, that moves at 30' per action as you command it. It throws small objects around, blocking most missile fire, and may kick up obscuring dust. Those in the whirlwind move at half speed and flying creatures may be forcibly crashlanded.

Mishaps- roll 1d6.

1- Spellsilk Spellbook/Clothing flies loose in an unnatural wind and must be caught. It doesn't want to escape, only be free for a bit.
2- Gagged by own spellsilk for 1d6 rounds.
3- Bound by own spellsilk for 1d6 rounds, or if spellsilk is too small, levitated 1 inch off the ground and held midair by the tiny piece of silk for same.
4- Lose 1 casting die from your pool
5- Mutation for 1d6 rounds, then Save or it is permanent.
6-Your spells have 50% chance to turn against you until either a day passes or a spell betrays you.
7- Restore all magic dice to your pool.

Doom- The secrets of the Silk Wizards were gleaned from a powerful magical spirit bound in a lamp. It is known as the Silken One. It was like a spider and a moth and a wind and a flame, and it had faithful servants from another too-similar reality that can easily cross over to ours. One way to avoid the Doom is to live in a harsh, inhospitable land as an ascetic, eating almost nothing and never interacting with more than 7 other people at one time. The other is to capture one of the dread Silken Servants and bind it into a bottle and keep it as a hostage as insurance against other servants.

1- Your magic draws the attention of the cultists of the Silken One. The details of this incredibly secret society is unknown even to the Silk Wizards- all you know is that the next time you encounter more than 7 people in a group, one of them will be an assassin with a poisoned dagger out to kill you.

2- Your magic draws the attention of one of the Silken Servants. You have 2 options- either find another Silk Wizard within 7 weeks and burn their silk, keeping none for yourself, or simply ensure that you see no living creature that you do not know on the 7th day of the 7th week, lest the stranger reveal itself to be a Silken Servant and destroy you. Contrary to what you may think, the latter option is by far the harder one.

3- The Silken Servants are on your trail and will never leave it. They will torture you for the location of their master, and you will not need ears to hear their questions, nor a tongue to answer them. Every 7th stranger will somehow be a cultist, and every 7th cultist will be a Silken Servant. You must either forsake society and the company of strangers forever, or take a Servant hostage.