Monday, 21 July 2014

The Complete Vivimancer: 25% Off Sale!

The Complete Vivimancer is on sale for "Christmas in July" at RPGNow / DriveThru RPG!

25% off starting now for a week.

The PDF is now $5.24.
The PDF + print bundle is down to $12.99.

Some reviews:
Ben L. of Mazirian's Garden.
Timothy Brannan of The Other Side.
Brendan S of Necropraxis.

Click here to get it (if you've not already)!

Friday, 11 July 2014

D&D 5e: The Workings of Magic

Like many other people in the RPG world, I've been reading through the new D&D Basic PDF. I might write some more detailed thoughts on it at some point, but broadly I'm discovering that there's really a lot to like about this new edition of everyone's favourite game. (Obscure as it may sound, I am totally in love with the "downtime activities" section, for example.) The only major gripe I've come across so far is, unfortunately, the wizard spellcasting system. Now, I've not played a game using these rules, so my concerns may be purely theoretical, but I find the rules of wizardly magic confusing and mishmashy -- an unholy mix of at-will, Vancian fire & forget, and spell points. Not immediately to my liking.

Chatting with some people on G+ about this, I realised that a major gripe-element for me is that I don't have a good in-game rationale for the new spellcasting system, unlike the trad Vancian approach, upon which one can read volumes, both in the D&D canon and in the _Dying Earth_ books. In comparison, the new system seems somehow groundless.

Until this morning, when the following slight twist on the Vancian approach came to me. I think this explains all of the intricacies of the 5e system:

Wizards are able to contact and control a particular type of vorpal known as dweomers (or, in common parlance, spells). These disembodied entities, which natively inhabit dimensions orthogonal to our own, exist in many forms, the most significant distinction between the types being their rank (or level). The lowliest dweomers are known as cantrips, while others are ranked from the first to the ninth level.

One peculiarity of dweomers, when compared against other vorpals, is their symbiotic relationship with the minds of mortals. A dweomer can take on a quasi physical form, manifesting as a byzantine complex of modulations in the neural structure of its host. This symbiosis comes about in one of two ways.

Firstly, a dweomer may take up permanent, cooperative residence in a magician's mind. Typically only dweomers of the lowest rank (cantrips) are open to this deep symbiosis, but very experienced magic users possess the force of mind to join with more powerful vorpals also. Once bound in this way, dweomer and magician are inseparable.

Secondly, and more commonly, a dweomer may be temporarily and forcibly bound, by the speaking of its true name. It thus remains in the magician's mind until he or she sees fit to release it. (The true names of myriad types of dweomer can be found recorded as intricate sequences of arcane characters which magicians store in their spell books.)

In both cases, the magician may arouse a resident dweomer by the performance of a series of gestures and vocalisations to which it is sympathetic. The arousal of a dweomer in this way causes the manifestation of a supernatural effect -- magic.

Two further facts bear mentioning.

The nature of the neural modulations caused by the presence of dweomers in a mortal mind is such that only a limited number of the entities may be resident at a time. The mind simply cannot handle more without permanent rupture. (Though note that, as a magician increases in power, his or her mind becomes accustomed to the presence of vorpals and is thus able to accommodate more of them.)

Dweomers which are bound by force exert a constant strain on the magician, as he or she battles to keep the vorpal in place. Every time such a dweomer is aroused, the magician's tether on it and all others which are confined lessens. If a magician were to lose complete control of a dweomer during the process of arousal, the consequences would be dire -- complete neural disintegration being the most typical fate. Thus each magician learns the delicate balance of the frequency with which he or she may arouse entrapped dweomers, using periods of rest to regain control over the volatile other-dimensional entities.

Take that, 5e magic system.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Wizardzine! #1: Ephenedrine the Sirene

Wizardzine! #1 is coming along very nicely! As I mentioned previously, the theme is oceanic and sub-aquatic magic.

I want each issue to be not just a collection of spells and magic items, though, but also to describe the magician who has created these wonders. For the first issue, the figure of "Ephenedrine the Sirene", oceanic sorceress, has crystallised. I'll be giving some more thought as to her character, history, and motives as writing for the issue continues.

As a teaser, I also wanted to share one of her spells, which I just wrote:

Sea Lust
Level: 2nd
Duration: Special
Range: 60’
Schools: Charms, Elemental water, Oceanic

The homes of men are founded on earth but their hearts are with the seas. Many a wanderer, upon his first glimpse of the ocean, is smitten with a lifelong yearning for the waves and the mysteries of the deeps.

This spell plays upon these deep-rooted instincts, awakening a lust for the ocean deeps in a person of the magic-user’s choice. Typically humans are the only race which may be affected with a sea lust but the referee may rule that other races in his campaign are susceptible to this charm. Two effects are possible, as follows.

Consort with Deep Ones: When cast at the sea’s shore at night, in the presence of denizens of the deep (merfolk, locathah, sahuagin, or other races of “deep ones”), the spell’s target enters into a state of delirious infatuation in which he or she will consort with the creatures, engaging in whatever rituals or rites of communion they may desire. This state lasts for a single night. Only vague memories of the events which transpired under the enchantment remain to the victim. Women who are victim of this magic sometimes give birth to children who bear odd marks hinting at their sea-blood heritage.

Lost Love: Alternatively, the magic-user may use this spell to abuse the heart of a lovestruck victim, inflicting them with a glamour of great potency. This usage of the spell requires the heart of the object of the victim’s love, removed from the body, whether living or dead. The heart must be thrown into the waves of the sea as the spell is cast. The victim is inflicted with the delusion that their love has gone across the seas and will do whatever is in their power to follow. The charm will thus drive the victim to a life of futile wandering and searching, forever yearning after their lost love.

In both cases, a successful saving throw versus spells negates the enchantment.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

From the Vats: Design a Monster Contest

The time has come. The vat-grown must be unleashed. Only YOU can decide the fate which awaits an unsuspecting world. With two dice, a pencil, and an eraser... no, wait, wrong blurb.

What I'm after:

  • The weirdest freaks of nature you can dream up in your vivimantic laboratory.
  • Statted up for Labyrinth Lord.
  • Ready and willing to meet the world in the form of an Open Game Content free publication to be entitled "From the Vats".
For your inspiration and reference:
I said this was a contest, what are the prizes?
  • A print copy of Theorems & Thaumaturgy. (Or negotiably something else if you already have that.)
  • A print copy of the first issue of my forthcoming zine, "Wizardzine!".
  • A special tome of spells, created by me on a topic of your choosing. (This could be fun!) It might be all funky and hand illustrated or something like that.
The winner to be decided by a means of my own choosing. Most likely purely aesthetic preference.

Get em in by the end of July and I shall compile and judge. (Contact details in the right-hand sidebar of the blog.)

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Wizardzine! #1: Progress

As recently announced, I've started work on the inaugural issue of my zine about magic and magicians in D&D.

The theme I've chosen for this issue is sub-aquatic and oceanic magic. So far I've been working on writing new spells but I also have a lot of ideas for magic items and monsters, so there should be a pretty nice mix of different stuff in this first issue!

Currently I have full write-ups of the following spells:
  1. Boiling sphere
  2. Call to the deeps
  3. Castaway
  4. Conjure land
  5. Control buoyancy
  6. Dive
  7. Ghost ship
  8. Ice sphere
  9. Locate land
  10. Raise island
  11. Raise wreck
  12. Shockwave
  13. Swarm transformation, aquatic
  14. Tidings
  15. Whale speech
I must have seeds for at least that number of spells again, so I guess we should be looking at over 30 new spells in this issue.

If you've ever thought of running a campaign based around sea travel or underwater adventuring, this will be the zine for you!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Tentatively Announcing: Wizardzine!

I mentioned very briefly on google+ the other day the fact that I had created a document entitled Wizardzine. The name was a joke / placeholder, but I've not thought of anything better and I kind of like the goofiness of it, so I get the feeling it's going to stick.

Anyway, my document has just exploded into a load of seeds of ideas, so I think it's time for a very tentative announcement of intention.

(perhaps the exclamation mark is officially part of the title?)

A periodically produced conglomeration of my musings on the subject of wizards and magic in D&D. Featuring stuff like:
  • New spells (naturally). Loads of them.
  • New magic items.
  • Wizardly companions, constructs, minions, and beings from beyond. (Monsters, to you and me.)
  • Magicians and their lairs. (That is, adventure locales.)
  • Esoteric tomes, procedures, formulae.
  • Miscellaneous articles on subjects arcane.
  • House rules for magic-users and spell-casting.
Heavily themed. Each issue will revolve around a very specific topic.

Illustrated? Somehow. I don't know yet. Maybe, maybe I'll bust out my felt tips and give it a go myself, in true zine style.

Who knows when this will come to fruition. I could foresee a first issue in the not too distant future, however, given the explosion of ideas that just happened in my little document. It might be a one-off if I run out of steam, it might be a multi-volume wonder in several years time. We'll have to wait and see.

I'll keep you posted.

ps. I also have news on the community-sourced vivimancer supplement From the Vats. An announcement about that will be coming soon...

Thursday, 19 June 2014

New Class: The Specialist Wizard

Of the wizards who walk the world there are many kinds, with as many titles, ranks, offices, and stations as there are lands. For the sake of simplicity, many of these workers of the arcane are lumped together under the term "magic-user". These are the boldest and least bookish of their kind -- those whose fascination lies in the mysteries of the wider world and the direct application of magickal workings in the diverse situations which it presents. (There are, in fact, those who would argue that the very title commonly afforded to adventuring wizards -- "magic-users" -- is indicative of their somewhat workmanlike and utilitarian attitude to magic, favouring that which may expediate the accumulation of coin in their pouch as opposed to that which may deepen their understanding of the arcane.)

Wizards of more narrow focus also gather into schools and colleges: necromancers, illusionists, vivimancers, elementalists, conjurers, and so forth. These wizards specialize in just one of the many "schools" or domains of magic, thus developing a deeper and broader repertoire within that domain.

There also exist those spell-casters of devoted and obsessive bent who focus their study on uncovering the arcane secrets of a single particular and very specific aspect of reality. Such spell-casters are so isolated in their research that they seldom have any direct peers. As their domains of interest are so idiosyncratic, it is most convenient to refer to such wizards collectively as "specialist wizards". (Of course, in reality, their specializations bear no relation to each other.)

The following game rules may be used for such characters. (Note that the player of a specialist wizard character will almost certainly be required to engage in the creation of new spells. This is a fun, creative, but rather involved process, and this class is thus only recommended for players who enjoy this activity.)

The Specialist Wizard

Requirements: INT 9
Prime Requisite: INT
Maximum Level: None

Focusing on the secrets of one specific and very limited area of magic, specialist wizards are the obsessives, iconoclasts, and trail-blazers of the arcane world. Their devotion to a single field of study makes them very narrowly focused, thus greatly reducing the breadth of available spells. On the other hand, such dedication allows them to delve more deeply and more quickly into the mysteries of magic, unlocking potent secrets which can be used to create unique new spells, magic items, and more.

When creating a specialist wizard character, the player must select his area of specialization. Once selected, this may never be changed. Some example areas of specialization: birds, fire, geometry, blades, rope, rainbows, bone, dreams, mirth.

Combat: Like other magic-users, specialist wizards may only use small weapons such as daggers and may not wear armour of any kind. Their hit points, saving throws, and chance to hit in combat advance at the same rate as other magic-users.

Experience: Similarly, a specialist wizard advances using the standard experience and spell memorization tables common to other magic-users. A specialist wizard memorizes and casts spells as if he were one level higher than his actual experience level.

Demi-humans: Most specialist wizards are humans. Elves may advance to 11th level in the class, and half-elves to 13th level. The referee may allow characters of other races (even those races which are not normally allowed to be magic-users) to become specialist wizards, so long as a suitable area of specialization is chosen. For example, a dwarf might choose to specialize in the magic of the forge.

Initial spells: At 1st level, a specialist wizard has three spells in his spell book: read magic and two other spells relating to his area of specialization. The latter may be drawn from any available reference materials or may be created by the player in collaboration with the referee.

Spell acquisition: Specialist wizards may transcribe any spells which they discover over the course of their adventures into their spell book, as usual. However, with their extremely narrow focus, the likelihood of locating suitable spells by pure happenstance is low. Of course, a specialist wizard may purposefully embark on adventures to seek out magic of interest, but their own personal research also bears fruit from time to time. Every time a specialist wizard advances in level, he has the option to research a brand new spell of his own devising. This process takes one month (during which time the character may not go adventuring) but entails no further costs. Otherwise, the usual rules for spell research apply.

Marks of magic: The specialist wizard, in the course of his studies, immerses himself continuously in the magical energies related to his area of specialization. At every even-numbered level (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc) this contact has a permanent effect on the wizard. The broad type of effect is determined by rolling 1d4 (see below). The specifics should be worked out by the referee and should always be connected to the wizard's area of specialization. Marks of magic are typically neither detrimental nor beneficial to the wizard -- they merely distinguish him as being touched by strange forces.

1. Personality quirk. These quirks often bring the wizard towards the verge of what normal folk would regard as insanity.
2. Alteration of physical form. This could include changes to posture, gait, skin, hair, eyes, bone structure, and so on.
3. Magical aura. The wizard is continually surrounded by a very minor but noticeable manifestation of magic.
4. An item of clothing or a possession which is often on the wizard's person takes on an unusual quality or appearance.

Establish dominion: Upon reaching 5th level, a specialist wizard may construct a tower or base. The lands around the base become the wizard's dominion. (Exactly what area is considered as the wizard's dominion must be determined by the referee, bearing in mind the political and geographical features of the area.)

Spell research: From 5th level, using the laboratories and libraries of their towers, specialist wizards may research new spells using the normal rules; entailing the expenditure of time and money. All spells researched must, it is clear, be related to the wizard's area of specialization.

Apprentices: When a specialist wizard reaches 6th level, 1d4 1st level wizards will arrive in his dominion seeking an apprenticeship. These will be standard magic-users, but if the wizard accepts them as his apprentices, they will become specialist wizards with the same area of specialization as their master.

Magic item creation: From 8th level, specialist wizards may put the facilities of their towers to work in processes of magic item creation, using the standard rules. Specialist wizards can only create items related to their area of specialization.

Dominion enchantments: At 11th level or greater, a specialist wizard is able to research large-scale dweomers which enchant his tower and the surrounding lands with aspects of his specialist area of magic. The process for magic item research should be used.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Another Review of The Complete Vivimancer

Further to the two very positive reviews I posted links to previously, Brendan of Necropraxis has written a review of The Complete Vivimancer.

May all your chimeral breeding programs be blessed.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

New Elementalist Spell: Tidings

Continuing work on The Complete Elementalist. Here's a new water spell...

Level: 4th
Duration: Special
Range: Unlimited
Elements: Water

This spell allows an elementalist to send messages across vast distances, harnessing the force of the seas and oceans. The elementalist's missive, which may be of any length, is taken up by the susurrations of the flowing water and carried across the tides to a destination named by the caster. Both the destination and the location where the spell is cast must be beside a body of water which connects to the sea – either at the seashore itself or beside a river which flows into the sea. The message is carried by the tides and currents of the seas at a rate of 50 miles per hour (1,200 miles per day).

Upon reaching the destination, the message is reproduced in its fullness by the crashing, frothing, and bubbling of the waters. The elementalist may choose one of the following conditions of delivery:

Immediate: the message is delivered as soon as it reaches the destination, irrespective of whether anyone is there to hear it.

General recipient: the message will await the arrival of the specified type of recipient. This may be as broad or narrow as the elementalist wishes, for example: “an elf”, “a man of the village of Thariknea”, “a woman wearing a crucifix”.

Specific recipient: the message will only be repeated for a single, named recipient. If this person does not visit the location to which the message has been delivered within three days of its arrival, they will begin to experience dreams of increasing vividness, directing them towards the location where the message is to be delivered.

Legends tell of lost tidings – castings of this spell which failed to reach the intended recipient and which still linger in the waves.

(The Complete Elementalist is going to be a self-contained book detailing a greatly expanded version of the elementalist class from Theorems & Thaumaturgy.)

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Elemental Progress

Just a very quick progress report on The Complete Elementalist. After a period of gestation, I'm pleased to report that I now have a burgeoning list of ideas for new spells. There are currently about 75 ideas in the list and they keep coming thick and fast. Now I'll just have to find the time to write them all up properly!

I'll post some more spells as work progresses.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Complete Vivimancer: Print Version Live! PDF Price Reduced!

After a fair amount of wailing, gnashing of teeth, tearing of hair, and such like, I am proud to announce that the print version (A5, softcover) of The Complete Vivimancer is now live for purchase at RPGNow!

With the launch of the print version, I've also reassessed the pricing of the book. It now costs:

PDF only - $6.99
Print only - $9.99
Print & PDF - $13.99

Go get it!

For people who have already bought the PDF at its former price: I've created a special discount code which allows you to get a copy of the print version of the book at cost. You should have received an email with the code. (I wasn't able to email all of you directly through RPGNow, so if you're one of these people and you've not received the coupon, just get in touch and I'll send it to you.)

Saturday, 10 May 2014

New Elementalist Spell: Crystal Resonance

It ain't all just "fist of flame!!!!!!" in elementalist world.

Crystal Resonance
Level: 1
Duration: Special
Range: 30'
Casting time: 1 turn
Elements: Earth

A specially attuned crystal (costing 75gp), in combination with this spell, allows the elementalist to absorb certain energies from his surroundings. Once an energy has been impressed into the crystal's resonance, a second casting of this spell causes it to reproduce the stored energy in whatever environment it now occupies. One of the following energies may be absorbed into the crystal:

  • Light: the lighting qualities of an environment may be absorbed and reproduced, causing an area of light, gloom, shadow, and so forth to be emitted from the crystal for 1 turn per level of the caster.
  • Images: a static snapshot of the crystal's environment can be attuned for later examination. The image is reproduced for 1 turn.
  • Sound: any sound emitted during the 1 turn casting time may be recorded and reproduced.
  • Temperature: warmth or cold may be absorbed into the crystal and re-emitted for 1 turn per level of the caster.
A crystal which has been attuned with this spell retains the absorbed energy indefinitely. Each crystal can, however, only be attuned to a single energy – subsequent attunements will replace the original.
Each time this spell is cast, there is a 5% chance of the crystal shattering and becoming useless.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

New Elementalist Spell: Sound the Deeps

Getting down to a bit of work on expanding the elementalist class presented in Theorems & Thaumaturgy.

I'm going for a bit of a Gandalf vibe with some of these spells.

Sound the Deeps
Level: 1
Duration: Instant
Range: Touch
Elements: Water & Earth

The elementalist invokes a dolorous boom to echo through a body of water or rock which he touches with his hand or staff. The returning tremors of the sound allow the caster to precisely divine the depth to which it travelled. Thus, the caster can determine the extent and approximate shape of bodies of water, chasms, shafts, clefts, mountain peaks, caverns, passages, and so forth.

In addition to this divinatory function, a sound the deeps spell may optionally be used to arouse slumbering beings in the affected area up to 50' distant per level of the caster. Creatures in a natural state of sleep are awakened to alertness and unnatural entities such as dormant undead, constructs, or planar beings may also be aroused.

Casting this spell always incurs a wandering monster check, as nearby creatures may come to investigate the source of the booming.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Psionics Without Limit?

I've been thinking a lot about psionics lately. Not sure why really. Perhaps partly because the Dying Sun campaign which I've been running features a lot of psionic characters (it's a kind of Dark Sun / Dune mashup, so that's not surprising). We've been testing out some home-brew psionics rules for Labyrinth Lord which I developed some time last year (photos of booklets here). I guess probably my current musings on psionics are inspired by some post-play analysis of what works and what doesn't work in the rules I came up with.

The rules we're currently using are, I suppose, reasonably close to the old AD&D 2e rules, as far as I remember them. There's a psionicist class (actually two classes in my rules: psychics and adepts), psionicists know a certain number of powers which increases with level, and have a pool of Psionic Strength Points which fuels the use of powers. Psionic attacks work with a combat matrix very similar to the standard attack matrix, comparing the attacker's PSP pool + a d20 roll against the defender's PSP pool. A successful attack deals psionic damage, decreasing the defender's PSPs.

The system's worked out ok so far, but I find myself wanting something a little bit simpler. The main thing I'd like is to simplify (or do away with) the PSP pool. Most (all?) psionics systems I've seen in the past use this kind of point-based mechanic as a differentiating factor between psionics and magic. So one idea I've been mulling over is whether this really adds anything much, and whether it could be fun to make a psionicist class that works with the existing magic-user system of spells / level / day. It works fine for clerics and their divine magic too, right, so why not psionics as well?

But the other day, a completely different idea came to me, and I'm very keen on it: how about a system of psionic powers which can be used without limit, as often as the psionicist wishes? This would be another way to do away with the PSP pool and could lead to a very nicely simplified system.

It would of course require some pretty careful balancing. A class which can, for example, perform a psychic crush (target must save vs death or die due to neural disintegration, in my current rules) without limit would clearly be out of the question. Two ideas I've considered:
  1. Psionic powers of a similar utility level to thief skills or fighter attacks. Both these things can be used by those classes without limit, so a psionicist class with a similar power level could work.
  2. More potent psionic powers, in line with the traditional power level of magic-user spells, say, but with a risk attached, instead of a fixed limit to uses per day.
Either of these options could work out pretty well, I feel, but I'm currently veering more towards the latter. I like the idea of psionics being wild and barely controlled.

An example:

Psionic Blast
The psychic unleashes a wave of psionic energy which disrupts the synaptic flow of targets within a 90 degree cone 40' long. Up to two Hit Dice of targets may be affected per level of the psychic. Psionically capable targets are unaffected but others must save versus spells be stunned for 1d6 rounds.

When unleashing this power, the psychic must save versus spells or suffer a minor side-effect.

Minor Telepathic Side-Effects
This would be a table with at least 20  entries, possibly 30 or more, if enough ideas were forthcoming. Some basic ideas would be things like the following, probably on the scale of about 1d6 rounds:
  1. Optic overload. Vision blotted out.
  2. Psionic blank. Cannot use powers. All defences dropped.
  3. Complete amnesia.
  4. Muscle spasms.
  5. Disruption of the speech centre of the brain. Can only produce nonsense.
  6. Higher brain centres disabled, base instinct takes over.
I envisage that there would also be a table of major side-effects, which would be either more intense or longer lasting. Some powers (psychic crush, for example) would entail a saving throw or roll directly on the major side-effects table. The last entry in the minor table might also say "roll on the major side-effects table".

So that's the current state of my thoughts. A couple of comments:
  • Having the psionicist make a saving throw to avoid a negative side-effect has the effect of allowing higher level characters to use powers more freely (as their save gets better with level), which is desirable.
  • I like the idea of tables of minor and major side-effects, and the risk of more longer lasting effects, but it's not clear at this stage how many powers would directly entail a roll on the major table. If it turns out that it's only one or two, it might be worth rethinking.
Any thoughts?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Simple Psionics: Wild Talents and the Psychic Class

The recently published The Complete Vivimancer contains an appendix which describes a simple system of psionic powers. I included these rules because several of the new vivimancer spells in the book grant the ability to use psionic powers, either temporarily or permanently. I didn't want to just assume that everyone using the book already has a set of psionics rules which they use (one of the goals of the book was, after all, that it should be complete in itself, without reference to other rule books), so I wanted to include a simple system which could be used in lieu of a full psionics system, should the referee desire it.

I've used this kind of system in games in the past, and its simplicity and speed at the table has been a pleasure, especially when compared to some of the more esoteric psionics systems which exist (AD& 1e anyone?).

The psionics appendix in The Complete Vivimancer is only referred to by a few spells, but it's the kind of appendix which can easily be used as the basis for a wider system of psionics. Here are some ideas.

Wild Talents
Some characters possess a natural talent for psionics, whether it be due to genetics, happenstance, mutation, or exposure to weird energies. Such characters, known as "wild talents", are not true psionicists, but have the ability to use a single psionic power.

Several methods can be used to determine whether a PC is a psionic wild talent:
  • Sum INT, WIS, and CHA.Roll under this value on d%.
  • Roll under highest mental attribute (INT, WIS, or CHA) on 1d20.
  • For particularly alien or gonzo campaigns: all PCs have a wild talent!

If a character possesses a wild talent, the player should randomly determine which power is known, rolling on the chart in Appendix I. A wild talent may be used once per day.

Option: for really wild wild talents, roll each morning to see which power the character may use that day.

True Psionicists
While wild talents have a knack for the psychic, other characters have trained this innate ability to a much higher degree, making it the focus of their adventuring careers. Here's one such class, statted up for Labyrinth Lord.

The Psychic

Requirements: None
Prime Requisite: INT and CHA
Hit Dice: 1d4
Maximum Level: None

Psychics are characters who have developed psionic abilities which can help them during adventures. Depending on the powers they use and the society they come from, psychics are sometimes known by names such as: seers, clairvoyants, telepaths, empaths, and so on. They are able to learn the full range of psionic powers, and devote most of their time to developing their psychic abilities. Some psychics are naturally gifted, while others may belong to a guild or academy where psionic powers are taught.

Due to their focus on perfecting the mind, psychics have limited combat ability. They use the magic-user saving throw and attack progression charts, and can only use leather armour and simple weapons: club, dagger, dart, hand axe, light crossbow, short sword, sling, quarterstaff.

A psychic with 13 or higher in both prime requisites gains a +5% experience bonus. An INT or CHA of 16 in one prime requisite grants the full 10% bonus. Note that, as psychics have CHA as a prime requisite, they are able to raise that score during character creation via point swapping.

Psionic Powers: A psychic knows a number of psionic powers dependant on his level. The player can choose which powers his character knows. The number of times a psychic's powers may be used each day also depends on his level.

Psychic Burn: In times of desperation, when he has used his psychic powers as many times as is allowed in one day, a psychic can draw from deep psycho-physical reserves in order to activate a psionic power. This is known as psychic burn. It can be performed by a psychic only once per day, and results in the immediate loss of 1d4 hit points. If only a single point of damage is inflicted by the psychic burn, a saving throw versus spells must also be made, with failure indicating that the psychic permanently loses one point of CON or WIS (50% chance of each).

Reaching 9th level: Upon reaching 9th level, a psychic may establish an academy where he teaches his skills to students. The psychic will attract 1d6 apprentices, who are of level 1d4.

Psychic Level Advancement Table
The table lists the experience points required for each level, along with the Hit Dice, known powers and uses per day. Uses per day is global, not per-power. So, for example, a 1st level psychic may know the telekinesis and psionic blast powers. She may choose to use either power once during the day.

  1. 0 XP, 1 HD, 2 known powers, 1 uses per day.
  2. 2,201 XP, 2 HD, 2 known powers, 2 uses per day.
  3. 4,401 XP, 3 HD, 3 known powers, 3 uses per day.
  4. 9,001 XP, 4 HD, 3 known powers, 4 uses per day.
  5. 18,001 XP, 5 HD, 4 known powers, 5 uses per day.
  6. 36,001 XP, 6 HD, 4 known powers, 6 uses per day.
  7. 72,001 XP, 7 HD, 5 known powers, 7 uses per day.
  8. 150,001 XP, 8 HD, 5 known powers, 8 uses per day.
  9. 300,001 XP, 9 HD, 6 known powers, 9 uses per day.
  10. 450,001 XP, +1 hp, 6 known powers, 10 uses per day.
  11. 600,001 XP, +1 hp, 7 known powers, 11 uses per day.
  12. 750,001 XP, +1 hp, 7 known powers, 12 uses per day.
  13. 900,001 XP, +1 hp, 7 known powers, 13 uses per day.
  14. 1,050,001 XP, +1 hp, 8 known powers, 14 uses per day.
  15. 1,200,001 XP, +1 hp, 8 known powers, 15 uses per day.
  16. 1,350,001 XP, +1 hp, 8 known powers, 16 uses per day.
  17. 1,500,001 XP, +1 hp, 9 known powers, 17 uses per day.
  18. 1,650,001 XP, +1 hp, 9 known powers, 18 uses per day.
  19. 1,800,001 XP, +1 hp, 9 known powers, 19 uses per day.
  20. 1,950,001 XP, +1 hp, 10 known powers, 20 uses per day.

Note: I'm going to compile this kind of extra bonus material, along with contributions from others on the subject of vivimantic magic, into a free PDF entitled "From the Vats" -- coming soon! If you have any ideas for a submission, please get in touch!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Complete Vivimancer: On Sale Now!

The Complete Vivimancer, my to-date magnum opus of weird magic, is now available for sale at RPGNow!

Currently only the modern PDF format is available. The setup for the print version is going to require a wee bit more time, so bear with me if you seek paper inscribed with vivimantic secrets.

A few facts...

How many spells are in this thing?


If you have Theorems & Thaumaturgy (and you should... it's free!), that's 75 additional spells for the vivimancer class -- more than twice as many unique spells. The old spell list was a bit sparse, especially at high, mid and low levels. The new list is now seriously rounded. See here for the complete spell list.

If you only have the Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion, that's over 130 additional spells to play with.

Many of the spells taken from the AEC or Th&Th have been newly edited, expanded, clarified and spruced. So even the old is now new!

And what about magic items?


Weird number. It was originally a nice round 40, but then I found some more space and squeezed two more in there.

Previously there were a grand total of 0 vivimantic items in Th&Th, and maybe 2 in the AEC (the wand of polymorphing and the chime of cannibalism are pretty vivimantic).

These are some examples of the sort of weird and wonderful items among those 42: brain leeches, cerebral spider, worm of poison absorption, apparatus of organ transference, brain vat, lens of blinding, blood tree, solvent of androgyny, staff of flesh dissolution.

What's it look like?

Heavily illustrated.

A5 for convenient, hold-in-your-hand (or on your tablet) use at the table.

And speaking of convenience

Remember that this is a complete reference on all matters vivimantic. (I didn't call it the "complete" vivimancer for nothing.) That means that you don't need to look anything up in other rulebooks. All your character's spells are here in one handy tome.

You should probably go to RPGNow and check it out now!

ps. If you're interested in the print version AND the PDF version, I'm going to try to set up some kind of discount so you can buy the PDF now and then cheaply "upgrade" to the print version when it's available. This publishing on RPGNow lark is all new to me, so it might take a bit of fiddling around. I am assured that it is possible though.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Complete Vivimancer: Tantalisation

It's so close I can feel the slime dripping off it!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Complete Vivimancer: Sample Illustration

Here's a further advanced (I don't think quite finished) version of the illustration for the decay spell, the rough draft of which I posted a few days ago.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Elementalist: Specialists and 1st Level Spell List

While waiting for the completion of the illustrations for The Complete Vivimancer, I've been playing around with some ideas for my follow-up project The Complete Elementalist.

My plan is to include rules for a generalist elementalist as well as specialists in each individual element. What I have in mind is the following:
  • An elementalist may at any point in his career choose to focus his study on one of the cardinal elements. Once made, this decision cannot be reversed.
  • Elemental specialists can only memorize spells which are directly related to their chosen element, though this includes sub-elements. For example, a fire specialist could also memorize sub-elemental spells of ash or magma.
  • Elemental specialists can cast spells relating to other elements from scrolls, but are absolutely restricted from casting spells of the element opposed to their chosen speciality, including sub-elements. For example, a fire elementalist cannot cast water-related spells from scrolls, even spells of steam (a sub-element of fire and water).
  • The advantage of a narrow focus is that an elemental specialist casts and memorizes spells at one experience level higher than his true level.
This ability to specialise on a single element means, of course, that the spell lists will need to be balanced, providing a decent selection of spells for each element. Ideally I'd like to make the spell list exactly balanced.

I've been working on the 1st level spells, and so far this has worked out. Here's the list as it stands.

All 1st Level Spells
1. Burning hands
2. Create water
3. Crystal resonance
4. Domination of lesser elementines
5. Dust blast
6. Feather fall
7. Feet of stone
8. Firelight
9. Firewreath
10. Fist of stone
11. Flickerflame
12. Hush
13. Ignite
14. Lasting breath
15. Lodestone
16. Manipulate fire
17. Message
18. Mudflow
19. Purify
20. Ray of fire / ice
21. Resist cold
22. Rusting grasp
23. Seasong / windsong / firesong
24. Shapes
25. Sound the deeps
26. Stalagmites / stalactites
27. Stoneskin
28. Unburn
29. Wall of vapour
30. Windwreath

1st Level Air Spells
1. Domination of lesser elementines
2. Dust blast
3. Feather fall
4. Flickerflame
5. Hush
6. Lasting breath
7. Message
8. Purify
9. Seasong / windsong / firesong
10. Shapes
11. Wall of vapour
12. Windwreath

1st Level Earth Spells
1. Crystal resonance
2. Domination of lesser elementines
3. Dust blast
4. Feet of stone
5. Fist of stone
6. Lodestone
7. Mudflow
8. Purify
9. Shapes
10. Sound the deeps
11. Stalagmites / stalactites
12. Stoneskin

1st Level Fire Spells
1. Burning hands
2. Domination of lesser elementines
3. Firelight
4. Firewreath
5. Flickerflame
6. Ignite
7. Manipulate fire
8. Purify
9. Ray of fire / ice
10. Seasong / windsong / firesong
11. Shapes
12. Unburn

1st Level Water Spells
1. Create water
2. Domination of lesser elementines
3. Lasting breath
4. Mudflow
5. Purify
6. Ray of fire / ice
7. Resist cold
8. Rusting grasp
9. Seasong / windsong / firesong
10. Shapes
11. Sound the deeps
12. Wall of vapour