Being the Official Discussion Forum for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea™


Visit us at the HYPERBOREA web site!

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

7/13/2014 9:15 am  #1


Magician scrolls and shaman

So on the fly I ruled that a shaman who uses magician magic could use a magician scroll. In the scroll section of the Ref. Guide, the seven languages of scrolls are specified. Shaman is not one of them. So my take was that a shaman who casts magician spells could use a scroll. What do you think?

I wonder, too, how this works with spell books. Shaman spell books seem rather specific, with their bark pages and totem-inflected composition. So I'm not as convinced that a shaman could copy or use a magician's spell book. What do you think?

 

7/13/2014 10:24 am  #2


Re: Magician scrolls and shaman

You are actually touching on something that I've written a few paragraphs on -- to myself! -- regarding the handling of scrolls. What I am considering (and this is not to say I'm going to do it!) is making all magician-based scrolls castable (is that a word?) by all magician-based classes. So, if a magician stumbles upon a flaming missile scroll, he can activate the scroll, but he can't actually learn the spell. In a similar vein, all clerical scrolls could be activated by all clerics and their subclasses -- even monks, who do not cast clerical spells. More radical, I am considering the idea of anyone being able to attempt to activate a clerical spell, with step-increasing chances of failure/backfire for non-clerical types. Now, please don't hold me to any of these ideas -- just some stuff I've chewed on in recent times.

From a literary standpoint, and for great S&S tone and spirit, imagine the effects of a common man acquiring a raise dead scroll to bring to life a lost lover. What I fear, however, is "gaming the game" attitude with PCs walking around with stacks of clerical scrolls for all occassions (a thief loded up with barskin spells, for example), but a decent chance of failure/backfiring could remedy this.

I don't think I would allow a shaman to copy a magician's spell book, Handy
 


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

7/13/2014 12:23 pm  #3


Re: Magician scrolls and shaman

Ghul wrote:

You are actually touching on something that I've written a few paragraphs on -- to myself! -- regarding the handling of scrolls. What I am considering (and this is not to say I'm going to do it!) is making all magician-based scrolls castable (is that a word?) by all magician-based classes. So, if a magician stumbles upon a flaming missile scroll, he can activate the scroll, but he can't actually learn the spell. In a similar vein, all clerical scrolls could be activated by all clerics and their subclasses -- even monks, who do not cast clerical spells. More radical, I am considering the idea of anyone being able to attempt to activate a clerical spell, with step-increasing chances of failure/backfire for non-clerical types. Now, please don't hold me to any of these ideas -- just some stuff I've chewed on in recent times.

From a literary standpoint, and for great S&S tone and spirit, imagine the effects of a common man acquiring a raise dead scroll to bring to life a lost lover. What I fear, however, is "gaming the game" attitude with PCs walking around with stacks of clerical scrolls for all occassions (a thief loded up with barskin spells, for example), but a decent chance of failure/backfiring could remedy this. 

Yeah, that's definitely a worry! I think the chances of *something going horribly wrong* should be greater than the chance of failure--that, to my mind, also seems more in keeping with the desperate attempt to raise one's lost love. The untrained tampering with forces beyond the chaos wall? There will be blood. Is my feeling.

Ghul wrote:

I don't think I would allow a shaman to copy a magician's spell book, Handy

Yeah, I agree. But I feel OK about the scroll use. It also led to extreme awesomeness in rescuing a PC who was going to be sacrificed during Apollonalia, so, you know, hard to argue with results!

 

     Thread Starter
 

7/15/2014 2:53 pm  #4


Re: Magician scrolls and shaman

I don't think extending scroll use is a bad thing; they're one-use items, the more powerful scrolls are still pretty rare (although I have to run some numbers on that one), so most players won't use them unless necessary anyway.

What is more, it won't make the casters less powerful either for only they can make new scrolls.

 

7/15/2014 3:25 pm  #5


Re: Magician scrolls and shaman

Personally I prefer the simplicity of saying, "If you can cast spells from a certain school of magic, you can use scrolls from that school of magic.  If not, you can't.  No exceptions."

I'm also opposed to letting non-spellcasters use spell scrolls, because I feel it would greatly cheapen the spell scrolls (and the high-level thief ability).  Everyone would have packs full of spell scrolls by the middle levels.  Instead of making spell scrolls in general usable by anybody, I personally would prefer to see "artifact" scrolls from the distant past that can be read by any class.  In other words, an ancient Atlantean scroll of raise dead usable by anyone might be found as a magic item, but no one currently living can create such a scroll.  That would prevent spellcasters from churning out stacks of scrolls to equip their non-spellcasting comrades, while still allowing for the occasional spell scroll that any class can use.  Just a suggestion. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


Michael Sipe 1979-2018
Rest in peace, brother.
 

7/15/2014 5:56 pm  #6


Re: Magician scrolls and shaman

I don't think that on average, if non-casters were able to use scrolls, more scrolls would be actually used by the party, for scrolls either need to be found or made, the former being the same (i.e. the Treasure Type tables don't recognise the difference), the latter being pricey.

(But it brings up another issue I would like to address properly in a forum post, but I'm only gonna write that tomorrow 'cause I'm quite exhausted.)

 

7/19/2014 6:05 pm  #7


Re: Magician scrolls and shaman

I have noo problem with non-casters being able to use cleric scroll. As I see it, it's mostly a matter of faith and devotion so, if a laic find a scroll in tune with his belief, I'd think he has some chances to make it work.

 

7/19/2014 9:32 pm  #8


Re: Magician scrolls and shaman

Odysseus wrote:

I have noo problem with non-casters being able to use cleric scroll. As I see it, it's mostly a matter of faith and devotion so, if a laic find a scroll in tune with his belief, I'd think he has some chances to make it work.

To take it a step further, I'm not evern sure "faith and devotion" should matter all that much. The image of Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness is hanging in front of my mind's eye, "Klatu. Verata... Nummmmhummmmngh! Alright then, that's it!"

Which is to say I'd let anybody try something. Whether or not they succeed is a matter of debate.

Last edited by NAJones (7/19/2014 9:35 pm)

 

7/20/2014 6:40 am  #9


Re: Magician scrolls and shaman

On handling scrolls in general, I'm somewhat ambivalent. On the one hand, I like the idea that anyone could stumble on a scroll, fumble through a reading and trigger an effect, which they hope helps them. On the other, I really don't want to erode the advantages of scroll reading classes and abilities. So, I don't know.

Here's a simple suggestion: anyone has a 25% chance of reading any scroll of any level, but if you fail, you have a backfire chance of 50% plus 5% per level of the spell. You could certainly further modify this according to situational circumstances. If you are a thief (or subclass with read scrolls ability), then once your more favorable read scrolls ability kicks in, you would use that instead. Recall, a thief has a no ability at levels 1-4, a 0% chance at levels 5-6, 25% at levels 7-8, 33% at levels 9-10 and 50% at levels 11-12, all modified by any intelligence bonuses (with any failure having a 25% chance of backfire).

/shrug


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

7/21/2014 8:19 am  #10


Re: Magician scrolls and shaman

I guess I just don't see any real upside to weakening the class perogatives of the cleric (or any class, for that matter), and the downside of letting players choose from class abilities a la carte is already well known from editions that have tried it: endless min-maxing and the blandness of characters that eventually resemble one another in many ways.  Plus, to be perfectly honest, players trying to eat their cake and have it too really frosts my buns.  If you want to pick locks, play a thief.  Don't play a fighter and then try to convince me that he should be able to pick locks too.  Sorry, he can't.  I guess you'll just have to bash the door down. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.png


If non-spellcasters are ultimately allowed to use spell scrolls, or if spellcasters are allowed to use the scrolls of other spellcasting classes, I strongly urge that this apply only to treasure scrolls dating from ancient times and not to scrolls the PCs create themselves.  Otherwise, I have little doubt that mid-level spellcasters will load the packs of their companions with scrolls, severely reducing the cachet of these items.  (Sort of the way every third level fighter and orc chieftain in 3rd edition seems to have "masterwork" weapons and armor.  I guess "master" work isn't quite what it used to be.)  If the rule only applies to scrolls found as treasure, the referee will be able to easily control "scroll proliferation". http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/devious.png

Last edited by Blackadder23 (7/21/2014 8:20 am)


Michael Sipe 1979-2018
Rest in peace, brother.
 

Board footera





“Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea”, “AS&SH”, and all other North Wind Adventures product names and their respective logos are trademarks of North Wind Adventures, LLC in the USA and other countries. ©2019 North Wind Adventures, LLC.