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12/11/2015 6:43 pm  #1


Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

In the boxed set rules, the spell schools are stringently separated; i.e., a magician can't learn a light spell from a pyromancer's spell book. I've come to understand that some folks are not playing it this way; rather, if the spell is knowable by the class, regardless of the school of the sorcerer it came from, it can still be learned. I'm considering making a slight shift in this direction, but I always tread carefully on such matters, because this, to me, represents a rule change. In most cases, no matter how well justified, I'm typically shying away rule changes. But this is simply a shift, IMO.

The original rule becomes a bit too strict and exclusive when you get into scrolls. Imagine a pyromancer finding a fireball scroll that was written by a magician. She is not be able to use said scroll as the basis for writing the spell? So, I'm interested in loosening this rule a bit. Where I draw the line, however, is between the two main sorcerer types -- magicians  and clerics. I would not allow their spells to mingle, even those of same name and effect.

Any thoughts?


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

12/11/2015 6:57 pm  #2


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Ghul wrote:

The original rule becomes a bit too strict and exclusive when you get into scrolls. Imagine a pyromancer finding a fireball scroll that was written by a magician. She is not be able to use said scroll as the basis for writing the spell? So, I'm interested in loosening this rule a bit. Where I draw the line, however, is between the two main sorcerer types -- magicians  and clerics. I would not allow their spells to mingle, even those of same name and effect.

Any thoughts?

Well, I'm a libertine GM, so I allow classes to learn *in game* any spell they find (scroll, tome, etc.), though I would not allow a magician to pick a spell from the cleric list when they gain a level. It's all just "sorcery" to me, even these supposed "gifts from the gods". http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


"'Silence!' thundered Pharesm. 'Do not forget that your penalty remains to be fixed; it is the height of impudent recklessness to hector a person already struggling to maintain his judicious calm!'"
Jack Vance, The Eyes of the Overworld
 

12/11/2015 7:12 pm  #3


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

I'd probably be a d*** and not let them intermingle. :-)

However, I think I would keep magicians and cleric strictly separated.


What? Me worry?
 

12/11/2015 8:28 pm  #4


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

I thought your original explanation for why they couldn't use the same spells (different magical languages) was perfectly reasonable.  OTOH I don't really care if the rule changes.

You could also finesse it: "Sorcerers may not normally learn the spells of other schools, even from scrolls or spell books, but the referee may optionally permit this in cases when the same spell is found in both schools."

Last edited by Blackadder23 (12/11/2015 8:29 pm)


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

12/11/2015 8:37 pm  #5


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Blackadder23 wrote:

I thought your original explanation for why they couldn't use the same spells (different magical languages) was perfectly reasonable.  OTOH I don't really care if the rule changes.

You could also finesse it: "Sorcerers may not normally learn the spells of other schools, even from scrolls or spell books, but the referee may optionally permit this in cases when the same spell is found in both schools."

 
I agree with this sentence. I'd rather the rule be strict as written, yet the option known and listed in the book.

 

12/11/2015 8:52 pm  #6


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

It was a rule I'd carried over from 1e (UA p. 80), but in the original advanced game, there were merely the two schools of magic: magician and illusion. In AS&SH, we are talking about what will now be six schools of magic: magician, cryomancer, illusionist, necromancer, pyromancer, and witch. I think Blackadder23 offers a reasonable adjustment, very similar to how "leveling" on the run (which is a much bigger deal, by the by) is an optional method in place of the standard training requirement.

Thank you for the response, fellows. I'm really happy about our little community here!  


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
     Thread Starter
 

12/12/2015 1:07 am  #7


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

SavageGM wrote:

Blackadder23 wrote:

I thought your original explanation for why they couldn't use the same spells (different magical languages) was perfectly reasonable.  OTOH I don't really care if the rule changes.

You could also finesse it: "Sorcerers may not normally learn the spells of other schools, even from scrolls or spell books, but the referee may optionally permit this in cases when the same spell is found in both schools."

 
I agree with this sentence. I'd rather the rule be strict as written, yet the option known and listed in the book.

I would agree, too, if I weren't such a bad person.

I gotta say, actually, I find the rule as written one of my favorite things about the game. I think finding new spells should be really, really, throbbingly, iron difficult. I would be more inclined to put in rules about the horrible things that can happen to you when you read someone else's spell book than to make it easier. (I have done this in my game. Spell books are traps made by the smartest people around.) I definitely think that this fits with the everyone-out-for-him/herself milieu that is my Hyperborea.

Basically, being a sorcerer is hard. It comes down to FYIGM. You want to learn a spell? Spend the money, jerkwad.

At least, that's how I talk to my players. And as far as I can tell, they really like me!
 

 

12/12/2015 4:41 am  #8


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Blackadder23 wrote:

I thought your original explanation for why they couldn't use the same spells (different magical languages) was perfectly reasonable.

 
If that's the rationale, then perhaps implement a method for characters to learn another magical language, thus allowing them to learn shared spells from the other class?

 

12/12/2015 6:37 am  #9


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Irrelevant interlude: (and inspired by Handy revealing his true nature http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/tongue.png
), I've toyed with having "sorcerers" (= anyone who casts spells of any sort) roll a Saving Throw each time they cast a spell, to see if they incrementally descend into madness, or something goes awry. The spell would still work as intended, but on a failed save something else happens. Similar to the "mystic" topic, just not a wholesale class redo.


Anyway, I think the spell schools rule is fine as written, especially if you insert Blackadder23's option: this just illustrates how easy it is to house-rule as a GM sees fit. And while I permit any character to learn any spell I never said it was easy, or even rational from case to case.http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/devious.png

 


"'Silence!' thundered Pharesm. 'Do not forget that your penalty remains to be fixed; it is the height of impudent recklessness to hector a person already struggling to maintain his judicious calm!'"
Jack Vance, The Eyes of the Overworld
 

12/12/2015 10:14 am  #10


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

The reason I enjoyed Hyperborea, is the niggardly/daunting way it can comes across, just entering through a doorway in theory could turn a person mad. So why not spells, even if it is "damn, another pryomancer's scroll, " curses the Magician. Personally speaking this is a horror story, making things easier, takes away the horror? (well it looks like a horror story to me )

(Changing subject a bit) I know, wanting to give Players a chance to survive is a concern, but like CoC, if casting a spell is not good for the sanity, then who would play a wizard type, and if they went mad each time they cast a spell, there would be a lot of mad Magic-users!

(Making thing worse, instead of many things easier http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/devious.png
) Creating something like a magnitude rank/per spell = spell level +10 and asking the Player to roll a save vs sorcery; for example each time they cast a spell (gee, in theory, ask every person in chamber to make same roll) or failing the save, start feeling the cold tentacles of madness enter their minds, as much like CoC and grant every one Sanity points based on 5 times Wis. Each spell level ie 1-6 levels does it's equal amount to their sanity in damage, so a 1st level spell does 1 damage and a 4th level spell does 4 damage etc. till PC reaches zero and goes completely mad. Sanity points between 1 and max just creates a unstable person. Still, that what I mean, why make it easier, if it felt right the first time, why change, plus if GMs not agree, they will change to suit selves.

Example; in combat, I created a phase 3, just to balance the fight as I am concerned, so GMs will change their rules to suit themselves, but I find those who enjoy a set of rules, never complain, just count how many do complain and how many buy the game and you can see how many that actually are bother about it?

As I stated before, AS&SH is a very good game!

Bet that never helped!

 

12/12/2015 12:05 pm  #11


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Interesting that you added a phase 3, because in the initial draft of the rules, it was a three-phase combat round, but I simplified it after months of play-testing. 

Thanks for the input, everyone. As in all things that hedge on a "rules change," I believe I will err on the side of conservatism and keep things as they are regarding spell books, without even mentioning so much as what BA23 suggests above. It's fine as-is.

It's notable to me that 1e has a conflict, though, as pertains to scrolls. On the one hand, in the 1e PHB, it states that illusionists can cast magic-user scrolls if the spell is on the illusionist's list; however, in the 1e DMG, it says, "...Ability to use scroll spells does not permit a cleric to use a druid spell, a magic-user spell, or a magic-user to use a cleric spell..."

I'm wondering how stingy Handy would handle this: The party defeats a lair of monsters, and as part of the treasure a fireball scroll is discovered. The magician in the party is licking his chops, but, "Uh-oh!" the scroll was written by a bloody pyromancer! I tend to think that's too stingy, personally.


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
     Thread Starter
 

12/12/2015 1:09 pm  #12


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Ghul wrote:

Interesting that you added a phase 3, because in the initial draft of the rules, it was a three-phase combat round, but I simplified it after months of play-testing. 

Just because my 1st level Fighter got 3 attacks versus the Rats from HELL with his Heroic Fighting and Weapon Mastery Abilities.

I comprehend the stingy bit, it might be screamingly unjust to ruin such a good Fireball scroll, just on the concerts of varied Class school having secret arcane script for their scrolls, but as I was pondering the idea I thought of this...

So, just a thought Jeff!

Wizards Speech:

If scrolls are written in secret language of Magician/Wizard types, here is a way secrets can be stolen from others? This is not accurate as I quickly rushed this, but if it only the language that differs, it could allow for some form of sharing without it being a free give-away?

It would be very rare for a Divine and Arcane spell to comply, divine magic is absorbed from the gods, not learned from old dusty scrolls in time consuming study. So any knowledge cleric could give is, “it is about faith!”. The Magician sorts back in disdain “Rot!”

Wizard Speech is the name given to the multiple different languages of each magical profession; the different forms of language are on list below and none are interchangeable or related in any way to another type of Wizard Speech. Each is different and unintelligible to another form of Wizard Speech, so this is how they guarded their jealous secrets of their arcane discipline from other schools of Magic. 

Magician's Idiom: 
Necromancer's Cant: 
Pryomancer's Dialect: 
Illusionist's Jargon:  
Witch's Chant: 
Cryomancer's Voice: 


Warlocks and Legerdemainists gain the particular Wizard Speech of the Class/School they choose at character creation. Bards gain Illusionist's Jargon

Each has a ratting between 1 – 10, meaning each 1 = 10%. 

Each, personal language of Wizard Speech starts at Ratting 10 for their own Class language.  

 Learning Another Wizard Speech:
First must have proper materials, it is possible a Magician gains a Pryomancer's notebook written in Pryomancer's Dialect and can take a few weeks to attempt to comprehend text (GMs might think 1d4 weeks or months multiplied by Ratting they attempting to learn/comprehend, so a Magician with Necromancer’s Cant3 would multiple to 1d4 result by 4 to gain next ratting), a roll based on Int would suffice, but even if successful, he would only learn the rudiment of a basic form of Pryomancer's Dialect1 and have a 10% chance of comprehending a scroll for a Pryomancer's spell of a similar type of spells known to the Magician Class (Example: “Influence Normal Fires”). 

The Magician would have to either study the Pryomancer's notebook if GM thought it was extensive enough to gain more knowledge from and gain a higher ratting, or seek more text elsewhere and at least create a sub-quest for Magician.   

Learning another Class's spell of Different Nature:  
Example would be: a Pryomancer attempting to learn a Necromancer’s spell “Locate the Dead.” 

Time Scale to learn: 1d6 months minus 1 week/Wizard Speech ratting. So theory is, a Magician who has mastered Necromancer's Cant10 (this of course should be near impossible to do), could roll a 1 or 2 on die and take zero minutes (or as long as it takes to read scroll and copy it into their spellbook) to comprehend a spell only fit for a Necromancer. Once studied properly, he could then use the same spell at whim as any of his Magician spells.

 * Next, they must roll their % chance after study to see if they comprehended text. That is a Magician with Necromancer’s Cant3 would have 30% chance and if he succeeded with that (00 is still a failure no matter their skill), he also must still roll his Int chance on the “Magician's Chance to Learn New Spells,” chart!  

 I not think Druid and Cleric spells are interchangeable, or in fact how Divine scrolls are made as it about faith, a god (via a Cleric) may bless a item, example a common copper ring and for a time period (which becomes the scroll in theory), it can for example contain one CLW and a Command spell, but to actually write faith onto a bit of paper seems more arcanic than divine power. 

Just an opinion, not a gameplay rule, but again, if a Cleric Scroll was found, it not necessary be a scroll, just a Human's femur etched in bizarre hieroglyphics or cuneiform and just shaken about in faith to cast the one-time cast spell integrated into it!

 

12/12/2015 5:02 pm  #13


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

That sounds like a decent house rule, Caveman, and I do encourage folks to house rule the hell out of the game if they so choose, but it's not something I would make "official," because it's too radical a change for me. I do, however, love what you said about the cleric scroll in the last sentence. I might have to throw one of those in my campaign! Great stuff.

Cheers,
Jeff T.


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
     Thread Starter
 

12/13/2015 7:36 am  #14


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Ghul wrote:

Thanks for the input, everyone. As in all things that hedge on a "rules change," I believe I will err on the side of conservatism and keep things as they are regarding spell books, without even mentioning so much as what BA23 suggests above. It's fine as-is.

I think this is the best approach: it's your game, and frankly having two different versions of AS&SH (minor editorial cleanups), rather than two different editions (anything involving rules changes), is preferable, IMHO.

Ghul wrote:

It's notable to me that 1e has a conflict, though, as pertains to scrolls. On the one hand, in the 1e PHB, it states that illusionists can cast magic-user scrolls if the spell is on the illusionist's list; however, in the 1e DMG, it says, "...Ability to use scroll spells does not permit a cleric to use a druid spell, a magic-user spell, or a magic-user to use a cleric spell..."

I interpret the last sentence to pertain only to "ability to use scroll spells", without regard to whether or not the spell is on the character's list. But this illustrates why I house rule so freely, as influences from so many other games tell me "not in my game". http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png


"'Silence!' thundered Pharesm. 'Do not forget that your penalty remains to be fixed; it is the height of impudent recklessness to hector a person already struggling to maintain his judicious calm!'"
Jack Vance, The Eyes of the Overworld
 

12/13/2015 9:41 am  #15


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Ghul wrote:

On the one hand, in the 1e PHB, it states that illusionists can cast magic-user scrolls if the spell is on the illusionist's list...

I'm not sure, but this may be a reference to the fact that an illusionist in 1e can learn most of the actual 1st level magic-user spells (not just illusionist spells that resemble MU spells) once he becomes able to cast 7th level illusionist spells.  There's a list of these on page 100 of the PHB.

Getting back to AS&SH, I agree with your policy of avoiding actual rule changes - not just ones that I actively disagree with (like spell corruption and mental attribute checks) but also ones that I don't really care about (like this one) or even ones that I would agree with.  No good could come of having two slightly incompatible versions of the game at this point IMO. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/errr.png


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

12/13/2015 9:43 am  #16


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Ghul wrote:

That sounds like a decent house rule, Caveman, and I do encourage folks to house rule the hell out of the game if they so choose, but it's not something I would make "official," because it's too radical a change for me. I do, however, love what you said about the cleric scroll in the last sentence. I might have to throw one of those in my campaign! Great stuff.

Cheers,
Jeff T.

Yeah, know what you mean Jeff, still it is an idea that others can use if they want!

Yes, and faith items, just need to concentrate and it works, I guess Cleric types do have it easy in some way, true they have to spend a lot of time in devotion, but they should not have to work to much at learning to know how a spell functions or know it's integrity. Just arouse their gods interest, so as to fuel their spells!

 

12/13/2015 10:40 am  #17


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Ghul wrote:

I'm wondering how stingy Handy would handle this: The party defeats a lair of monsters, and as part of the treasure a fireball scroll is discovered. The magician in the party is licking his chops, but, "Uh-oh!" the scroll was written by a bloody pyromancer! I tend to think that's too stingy, personally.

Stingy?! Stingy?! Look, Haversack is a Scottish name.

I think that there are lots of ways for AS&SH sorcerers to research new spells on their own, which is a good way of draining gold out of their pouches and encouraging adventure. So, yes, a scroll that is written by another subclass would not be usable. I *might* let it defray some of the cost of spell research, though, if the player asked, as I like it when they think of things to do with treasure other than straight-up selling.

And I use another bad-ass table from Last Gasp Grimoire (http://www.lastgaspgrimoire.com/cunning-linguists/) for trying to decipher a captured spell book. The way I look at it, any sorcerer worth the name would make her spell book into a trap that only she knows how to navigate safely. So I require saves vs. spells that then modifies the rolls on on the Cunning Linguist table when trying to decipher a new book.

 

12/13/2015 6:19 pm  #18


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Blackadder23 wrote:

No good could come of having two slightly incompatible versions of the game at this point IMO. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/errr.png

I could not agree more: as I've indicated, house rules easily accommodate whatever changes a GM has in mind, and it would be nice to have my players use their Original Version Player's Manuals alongside the as-yet-not-published Hardcover Tome of AS&SH awesomeness!


"'Silence!' thundered Pharesm. 'Do not forget that your penalty remains to be fixed; it is the height of impudent recklessness to hector a person already struggling to maintain his judicious calm!'"
Jack Vance, The Eyes of the Overworld
 

12/13/2015 7:31 pm  #19


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Not to worry. I bring these things up because they are slight adjustments that have tempted my hand, but when I peruse my original documents, I find no pressing need to implement any of these (even minor) changes. Nothing in the 60k words I've done so far represents change, unless you count the paragraph I wrote on clerics appropriating the prayer books of other clerics. It was never mentioned in the original, and I thought it deserved an entry. In a nutshell, it's usually not a good idea for a cleric to attempt to learn the spells of another cleric's prayer book, even if they are like of faith. Essentially, the cleric the risks suffering a curse, loss of sorcerous endowment, or madness. But I thought it was worth mentioning. ;)


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
     Thread Starter
 

12/14/2015 6:27 am  #20


Re: Spell Schools / Overlapping Spell Lists

Now what I could see is a supplement that delves into "options to make AS&SH weirder"...essentially recommendations to implement what is hinted at (such as the bit about clerics you just described). Something along the lines of Masks, Drunken Debauchery, Waifs of the Boreas, etc.


"'Silence!' thundered Pharesm. 'Do not forget that your penalty remains to be fixed; it is the height of impudent recklessness to hector a person already struggling to maintain his judicious calm!'"
Jack Vance, The Eyes of the Overworld
 

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