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3/22/2014 8:45 am  #1


Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

If you have created or want to create supplemental or alternative spellcasting rules, this is the thread to discuss them.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

4/06/2014 9:34 am  #2


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

I created a whole new spell system. I never liked spell slots and they seem especially out of place in Sword & Sorcery.


"Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"

Spriggan's Den
 

4/06/2014 11:46 am  #3


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

Yora wrote:

I created a whole new spell system. I never liked spell slots and they seem especially out of place in Sword & Sorcery.

Just started readingSpriggan's Den.  Looks great as well as the spell system.  Thanks for letting us know! 


"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,"
 

4/07/2014 5:32 pm  #4


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

Interesting system, Yora. Thanks for posting.

I am somewhat partial to a Vancian system, myself, though I am tempted to create an optional supplemental system for casters to juice up a spell or cast more spells when they've been depleted - at a price. This power-for-a-price dynamic, always tempting casters into rolling the dice with their health and lives, is the dark bargain aspect of sorcery aspect I would like to enable. Might be just a table of ill effects of varying severity and permanence resulting from a failed a save (i.e., save vs X at -Y for spell effect Z), might be something more. Maybe the failed save effect is confined to the caster, maybe not. Hard to say, as I am still formulating the concept. I'd like to keep it fairly simple though, maybe a table or two or three. Nothing too elaborate.

Also, I'm sure something like this is out there, but I'd rather do it myself. More fun for me.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
     Thread Starter
 

4/07/2014 5:45 pm  #5


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

Chainsaw wrote:

Interesting system, Yora. Thanks for posting.

I am somewhat partial to a Vancian system, myself, though I am tempted to create an optional supplemental system for casters to juice up a spell or cast more spells when they've been depleted - at a price. This power-for-a-price dynamic, always tempting casters into rolling the dice with their health and lives, is the dark bargain aspect of sorcery aspect I would like to enable. Might be just a table of ill effects of varying severity and permanence resulting from a failed a save (i.e., save vs X at -Y for spell effect Z), might be something more. Maybe the failed save effect is confined to the caster, maybe not. Hard to say, as I am still formulating the concept. I'd like to keep it fairly simple though, maybe a table or two or three. Nothing too elaborate.

Also, I'm sure something like this is out there, but I'd rather do it myself. More fun for me.

Well, at the risk of ruining your fun there's Akratic Wizardry, some of which I've adapted for my AS&SH in Atlantis game.
 


"'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
 

4/07/2014 8:14 pm  #6


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

Thanks rhialto. You'll have to forgive me if I don't read that until I've experimented on my own a little bit. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
     Thread Starter
 

4/19/2014 4:06 pm  #7


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

Since there's already a general thread for magic systems, I guess I won't start another one...

Looking over the two posted variant magic systems, they both strike me as still being in the "magic as technology" vein - "I know Spell X, so I can cast Spell X every so often and it will function reliably, doing the exact same thing every time."  The posted systems primarily focus on adjusting the "every so often" parameter, but still leave the effects just as consistent, reliable, and predictable.

My conception of magic in S&S, however, is that it's something dark, mysterious, generally unreliable, and definitely dangerous.  Where it's not unreliable, the reliability comes at a heightened cost and/or increased danger.  The one game I've seen which captures this feel is DCC, but it does so at the cost of requiring a dedicated 1-2 page table for each individual spell to determine what happens when you cast it.  Can anyone suggest any systems which get this feel[1] without the overhead of DCC-style effect lookups?

[1] ...and include it on a mechanical level instead of just relying on the GM winking and saying "this is really dangerous!" while everyone at the table knows that nothing can actually go wrong.

 

4/19/2014 11:23 pm  #8


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

nDervish wrote:

Can anyone suggest any systems which get this feel[1] without the overhead of DCC-style effect lookups?

Well, it's been 15 years, and I never really knew the rules because I never owned the game, but a buddy of mine ran a Fantasy Heroes game for us that included an NPC chaos mage. His magic seemed a lot like what you describe, so that might be worth checking out.

Also: Stormbinger?

 

4/20/2014 6:38 am  #9


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

Handy Haversack wrote:

nDervish wrote:

Can anyone suggest any systems which get this feel[1] without the overhead of DCC-style effect lookups?

Well, it's been 15 years, and I never really knew the rules because I never owned the game, but a buddy of mine ran a Fantasy Heroes game for us that included an NPC chaos mage. His magic seemed a lot like what you describe, so that might be worth checking out.

Also: Stormbinger?

The default Stormbringer (5th edition) sorcery system doesn't include any risk or danger in casting (there are a few exceptions, requiring a Luck roll), but it's easy enough to add a sorcery casting roll in the system (I did it when I was running my Atlantis game using SB5 before porting over to AS&SH).

If you're looking for a single system to handle sorcery risk and danger I'd take a look at Green Ronin's Thieves' World magic rules first (since it's still basically D&D). For non-D&D type magic systems I'd look at DragonQuest (it's freely available on-line now, legally) or Rolemaster/Middle-Earth Role Playing. I'm sure there were other D&D 3.x era systems that tried the same thing too, but I'm not as familiar with them.


"'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
 

4/20/2014 4:33 pm  #10


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

rhialto wrote:

nDervish wrote:

Can anyone suggest any systems which get this feel[1] without the overhead of DCC-style effect lookups?

...or Rolemaster/Middle-Earth Role Playing.

I ask for something without table lookups for every spell cast and get Chartmaster as a response? http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png


Actually, not a bad suggestion.  And, given my history of grafting Rolemaster critical hit tables onto other games' combat systems, I don't know why DCC's spell effect tables put me off so much anyhow.

Thanks!

 

4/20/2014 6:41 pm  #11


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

nDervish wrote:

rhialto wrote:

nDervish wrote:

Can anyone suggest any systems which get this feel[1] without the overhead of DCC-style effect lookups?

...or Rolemaster/Middle-Earth Role Playing.

I ask for something without table lookups for every spell cast and get Chartmaster as a response? http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png


Actually, not a bad suggestion.  And, given my history of grafting Rolemaster critical hit tables onto other games' combat systems, I don't know why DCC's spell effect tables put me off so much anyhow.

Thanks!

Hey, at least its by spell type...MERP is simpler. DQ just has a roll to cast, if you fumble one chart to roll on.

Yeah, I wanted to like DCC, and may give it a try some day. Some day. 


"'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
 

4/20/2014 6:56 pm  #12


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

I think it's tough to find that balance of familiarity, speed/efficiency and variance/depth. Plus, on the one hand, you (the referee) may like that risk of spellcasting danger and unpredictability (it's like the books!), while you (the player) may not want the class's basic feature turned into a crapshoot (it's not necessarily that much fun!). This is why I lean toward a basic feature plus a supplemental player's option system for chance of "more" at a price.

At the end of the day, this whole dilemma is probably while I'm not wedded to the game's system for players emulating the sword and sorcery literature too closely. Needless to say, YMMV and all of that good stuff.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
     Thread Starter
 

4/20/2014 7:07 pm  #13


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

Chainsaw wrote:

I think it's tough to find that balance of familiarity, speed/efficiency and variance/depth. Plus, on the one hand, you (the referee) may like that risk of spellcasting danger and unpredictability (it's like the books!), while you (the player) may not want the class's basic feature turned into a crapshoot (it's not necessarily that much fun!). This is why I lean toward a basic feature plus a supplemental player's option system for chance of "more" at a price.

Very true: I've been on both sides, and as long as the NPC sorcerers are similarly at risk I'm fine. Nothing like Theleb K'aarna blowing himself up on a fumble.http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.png


I know you said you'e avoiding it, but I'll point Akratic Wizardry out again: the comments to the blog post have a neat variant to explain why dark sorceries are so tempting.


"'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
 

4/20/2014 7:09 pm  #14


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

rhialto wrote:

Chainsaw wrote:

I think it's tough to find that balance of familiarity, speed/efficiency and variance/depth. Plus, on the one hand, you (the referee) may like that risk of spellcasting danger and unpredictability (it's like the books!), while you (the player) may not want the class's basic feature turned into a crapshoot (it's not necessarily that much fun!). This is why I lean toward a basic feature plus a supplemental player's option system for chance of "more" at a price.

Very true: I've been on both sides, and as long as the NPC sorcerers are similarly at risk I'm fine. Nothing like Theleb K'aarna blowing himself up on a fumble.http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.png


I know you said you'e avoiding it, but I'll point Akratic Wizardry out again: the comments to the blog post have a neat variant to explain why dark sorceries are so tempting.

Haha! It's a good suggestion - I'm just holding it in reserve until I get frustrated with my own ideas.  
 


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
     Thread Starter
 

4/21/2014 6:16 am  #15


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

Chainsaw wrote:

Plus, on the one hand, you (the referee) may like that risk of spellcasting danger and unpredictability (it's like the books!), while you (the player) may not want the class's basic feature turned into a crapshoot (it's not necessarily that much fun!).

Yes, but my players are insane.  http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png
  I've got one who ran a character last winter in an Interface Zero (cyberpunk setting for Savage Worlds) campaign who was a short-lifespan replicant.  His favorite part was drawing a card at the start of each session to determine whether his time would run out and he'd automatically die at the end of the night.  And then there was the Warhammer 40k psyker who always pushed his powers as hard as he could, hoping to get a "Perils of the Warp" result.  My very first time running Savage Worlds, first combat, the PCs startled some ghouls.  The ghouls scattered and one PC charged after them all by himself.  Four ghouls turned and tore him to shreds.  That guy still talks about how awesome it was.  Etc...  They don't care how bad the things that happen to their characters are, just so long as it's cool.

But, then, I've got the other extreme, too.  About a month ago, the topic of character death came up in discussion and one of my players launched into an extended monologue about how, if your new character doesn't start with as many XP as the old one had, then you've just lost everything you played for.  I don't think he'd much appreciate a corruption-laced spellcasting system.

Last edited by nDervish (4/21/2014 6:17 am)

 

4/21/2014 10:51 am  #16


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

I like that first guy! He sounds like a blast, my kind of player. Win big or go home!


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
     Thread Starter
 

4/21/2014 7:38 pm  #17


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

I didn't see it mentioned anywhere in the thread, but I kind of like the spell casting system in Crypts & Things. It's a S&S, d20 game with its mechanics rooted in Swords & Wizardry. It divides spells into White, Gray and Black magic and depending on what you are casting you might have to drain your own health (or that of a victim) and black magic can (temporarily) drain your sanity. 

It's all very neat and tidy and easy to keep track of, far more so than DCC's multi-page spell effects. I'm still working on porting it over to AS&SH, mostly because I need to define each spell according to type.

$12 bucks at RPGnow for those that might be interested.

 

4/22/2014 12:47 am  #18


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

NAJones wrote:

I didn't see it mentioned anywhere in the thread, but I kind of like the spell casting system in Crypts & Things. It's a S&S, d20 game with its mechanics rooted in Swords & Wizardry. It divides spells into White, Gray and Black magic and depending on what you are casting you might have to drain your own health (or that of a victim) and black magic can (temporarily) drain your sanity.

That sounds very similar to the system from Akratic Wizardry that was linked earlier in the thread.  In general terms, how are they different from each other?

 

4/22/2014 3:06 am  #19


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

nDervish wrote:

NAJones wrote:

I didn't see it mentioned anywhere in the thread, but I kind of like the spell casting system in Crypts & Things. It's a S&S, d20 game with its mechanics rooted in Swords & Wizardry. It divides spells into White, Gray and Black magic and depending on what you are casting you might have to drain your own health (or that of a victim) and black magic can (temporarily) drain your sanity.

That sounds very similar to the system from Akratic Wizardry that was linked earlier in the thread.  In general terms, how are they different from each other?

I don't think there's any difference. Akrasia (whose blog was linked above) is credited in C&T "for being so cool and writing the OGL S&S variant rules that C&T includes." I use Akrasia's HP rules in my Atlantis AS&SH game, but haven't tried the sorcery variant (and if I did would opt for the one proposed in the blog comments, probably).


"'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
 

4/22/2014 11:07 am  #20


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

I didn't really look at the Akratic spell casting rules until just now, but yeah, it looks like Newt Newton nicked his spell-casting rules for C&T almost verbatim. I never made the connection before.

 

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