Sunday, August 12, 2012

Castles Made of Sand (continued)

More musings on my (hopefully?) upcoming D&D/LL campaign....

Alignments: rather than the traditional view on alignment, here's my take on what alignment means. In a nutshell, Lawful means you believe in and pray to a higher order which organizes your universe (gods, saints, demons... whatever). Chaos means no hokey religions for you.... nothing directs you future but your own actions, and when you're dead, you're dead. Neutrals waver between the two... they'll say that they don't believe in divine intervention, yet pray to the gods when the need arises. I believe we would call them "hypocrites". I have also toyed with alignments meaning: Lawful believes in the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, neutral belives the needs of either side must be weighed to see which is more beneficial, and chaos means the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. This is still an idea in progress.....

MAGES: oh, boy. I have been doing a lot of reading the last couple of days (of blogs like B/X Blackrazor and Rolang's Blog of Doom) about mages. A lot of what I have read, I am planning to incorporate somehow. I have also been influenced by reading through Joseph Bloch's "A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore" project, and am looking forward to reading my copy of THE COMPLETE B/X ADVENTURER, before I know entirely what I am doing with mages. While I personally have never had a problem with the way mages work (having played them almost exclusively throught my D&D life), I love some of the ideas floating around. As it stands right now, here's what I am thinking...
- mages can use magic swords once they achieve 4th level (still no armor though... for now).
- I am going to go to a more free-form magic system, using the idea of "spell points" for determining how many spells a character can cast (basically, each level of a spell equals that many points, and magic-users get a number of points of spells to cast each day; for instance, a mage that can cast 2 1st level spells and a 2nd level spell has 4 spell points (1+1+2) to play with for the day).
- I have been toying with giving some variety to the types of magic available. For now, magci-users can be Wizards (who have to memorize their spells each day) or SORCERORS (who can spontaneouly cast). The trade-off was going to be, Wizards get a bonus number of spell points (equal to the number of languages they could learn) each day to memorize spells with, while Sorcerors could do the unmemorized "spontaneous cast" of anything in their spell book. HOWEVER..... after reading some stuff today, I think I may throw a few more goofy ideas in. The idea of mages' brains storing spells, so mages can acquire more power by eating other mages' brains, WILL BE  somewhere in my game. I also plan to use ritual magic in some form, where human sacrifice is either a requirement, or gives a mage more power. I also read about "chaos numbers" in Rolang's musings, which I want to incorporate somehow (maybe with sorcerors?) (the idea being every time you cast a spell, you add to your chaos number, which is randomly determined when your character is created, and when they hit their chaos number... strange things happen). I am also considering some sort of system (yet to be developed) where the # of spells per day stat simply indicates the # of spells per day that can be cast AS INTENDED, and allow magic-users the chance to cast more spells than that, with the possibility of tragic consequences (possible failure, unexpected effects/targets, loss of the ability to cast certain/ALL spells, DEATH) if they push themselves.
- I am working on some sort of counter-spell system as well, where a mage can expend spell points to counter an opponent's spell (if they recognize it), or guess at how much energy to expend to counter it.
- I also love the idea that mages have a special attachment to strange hats. This reminds me of Goblin and One-Eye from Glen Cook's BLACK COMPANY series.
- ALL mages need to have a master (who will likely have to be of a level equal to the character + 2) if they wish to advance in levels. They require masters until they reach level 6. Elves too. No master.... no advancement. Yes, it's a plot hook of epic levels, but I LIKE those kind of hooks.

- only humans can be clerics, because only humans have souls
- clerics worship saints, and all the spells will be reskinned to represent the specific prayers, orisons and appeals to said saints
- I see clerics as more like paladins, without all the special paladin trappings. I may USE paladins, but they will be "the most holy of the holy" type of warriors.
- clerics may use edged weapons, but the trade-off is, they cannot use healing magic if they do so (the idea being, clerics use non-edged weapons because they are less lethal, and the goal of clerics is to allow their opponents to survive, so they can see the "mercy" of the cleric's faith, and covert, if they survive. Doesn't always work that way, though....)
- every cleric must choose a saint to whom they are dedicated
- I am toying with the idea of allowing celrics the opportunity to try and "miraculously" cast spells without knowing the proper prayer, and depending on their connection with their saint for success. I see cleric spells as different prayers to different saints, and not every cleric will know they proper paryer (or saint) to say in certain circumstances. For instance, if they don't know the name of the saint to whom they must pray for the removal of poison from a comrade (in other words, they don't know that spell), then they can make a suitable appeal to their personal saint, who may or may not answer the prayer, with all the attendent hassles that go with that. Think of it this way.... if you're going on a trip, you would pray to St. Christopher (the patron saint of travellers) for a safe journey. However, if you didn't KNOW that St. Christopher was the patron saint of travellers, then perhaps you would simply pray to St. Francis of Assissi, because he's YOUR patron saint, and hope for the best. This draws on some of the ideas of the Catholic Church, without there being one unifying God.
- clerics will work on the same idea as mages for spell points
- I see most clerics as either "born agains", who have survived some sort of trauma, which they attribute to divine forces, and who now seek out to inform the rest of the world of these forces, or religious brothers/sisters who simply seek to make the world a better (or worse?) place through dedication to the ideals of their saint.... and aren't afraid to bash a few heads to get people to realize this ("tough love")
- druids will simply be clerics dedicated to either natural saints, or the "natural pantheon" of saints (Mother Earth, The Green Man, and a few others I have in mind.... think a mish-mash of paganism and Native American beliefs). They may or may not have access to different prayers that regular clerics (probably "yes", but not sure how to do it yet). I simply see druids as medeival environmentalists - they recognize that the earth was here before them, and will be here long after them, so they should look after it.
- I am toying with including the mystic class in here, as an adjunct to the druids. I see mystics as warriors who have become one with nature, so they would be the "militant" arm of druids. MOre on that later.....

- not much changed here. Variable weapon damage is go. I want to find some way of using either weapon specialization, or dumbed down "feats". I still have some thinking to do about this. I also want to find GOOD, USEFUL non-weapon-combat rules. Still reading a few things to figure this out. I want my fighters to be able to portray war-weary soldiers, high seas swashbucklers, brutal barbarians or noble duellists without needin other charatcer classes.
- I haven't figured out what to do with rangers yet. I am thinking of making them a secret society, so characters could only learn ranger skills after being "initiated".

- no real changes here, other than wanting to get away from the stigma of thieves being "thieves". They can be scouts, spies, streetwise agents.... they don't necessarily have to be burglars. I half though about rolling rangers into a thief subclass, as rangers are basically podunk thieves who don't steal anything....

For now, I am sticking with the class XP for levels as they are by the books. I did some mathematizin' to figure out what the average XP/level for all the classes were, and though of doing something like 3ed with a unified XP advancement table, but I can't be bothered. I am also thinking about being a little easier on multiclassing for humans. What I was thinking is, if a human wants to multi-class, that's fine... let's say a 5th level magic-user decides he wants to become a thief. He switches to thief, and puts all his future XP towards that. When he gets enough XP, he becomes a 2nd level thief..... but LOSES A LEVEL OF MAGIC-USER. To me, this seems realistic (you wouldn't 'forget' everything of your old class overnight, but this reflects a slow deterioration of your old skills). Plus, after gaining 3 levels as a thief (meaning they are now a 3rd level thief/3rd level M-U), if they want to start being a mage agian, they can shift back.... but then they start losing thief levels as they climb. I haven't put this in practice yet, but it sounds doable to me.....

More later.... it's 2:30 am, time for bed.