Posts Tagged With: Mage

Converting “Chicago Unseen” to Witchcraft

One of the critiques of Witchcraft is that it is nothing but a World of Darkness clone. There is, I have admit, some truth to that. There are many protestations that this isn’t the case but if folks are being honest I think you have to admit it. That said, it does kind of make it easier to convert a Chronicle from one system to the other.

But it does mean that you have to decide how to translate certain concepts if they played a large part of the original. For example, there is essentially no analog to the Avatar from Mage, so if that was an important part of the chronicle (as it was for us) you will need to decide if there is something from the Unisystem that can work or if you need to come up with your own Quality to explain it (which is our method, though we’re saying that this is a Quality akin to True Immortal and represents a connection to some other type of remnant from the Elder Kingdoms.

But do you use the Storm Dragons? Or the Akashic Brotherhood? I have to say that I like the Akashics better than I like the Storm Dragons – though I think the rules for martial arts are overly complicated and rather kludgy. They may get a re-write.

Similarly, the Nephandi are just way more fleshed out and cooler than the way they present the cults of the Mad Gods. I can’t say that I’m thrilled with the Combine, but the canon Technocracy isn’t much better. Luckily, the version of the Technocracy we came up with made much more sense and actually probably works better in Unisystem in general and the Witchcraft setting in specific.

But I have to say that while Witchcraft still tries a little bit too hard to do the “world-wide secret society” thing with it’s Covenants, they are still a million times better than the Traditions/Clans/Tribes of the World of Darkness.

D.

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And now for the morning news…

Yeah, I’ve been busy with work and not paying attention to my long-neglected blog here…

Let’s see here, I pledged to a handful of Kickstarters – the CoC 7th Edition, the Islands of Ignorance Companion, and I’m hopeful that I’ll see my copy of Sense of the Slight-of-Hand-Man soon as well. I *really* want my copy of Pulp Cuthulhu now…

I finally received my copy of the new Traveller along with all of my goodies. As much as I wanted to love it, it’s kind of a trainwreck. Not so much in the rules themselves but in the sheer disorganized mess that the rulebook is. All of the -Makers in there, while I can understand why they are a part of the main rules given the history of Traveller, just add a huge level of confusing bloat given the lack of good organization.

Some of the ideas I really liked, the changes to character generation were actually pretty decent as near as I can tell (again, some of the lack of organization creates some real confusion). I look forward to integrating the new rules as part of my CyberTraveller 2200 campaign – I’ve always integrated Cyberpunk Lifepath with the Traveller Extended Character Generation in some very cool ways.

On a totally different note, I’ve gone around and been poking at the old “Chicago Unseen” setting that my spouse first ran and that we then ended up running together. It was a oWoD mashup based on the Mage game, but as much as we used much of the canon setting we trashed much more, and eventually couldn’t keep using such a cool but almost impossible to use magical system. So what I’ve been doing is looking at the old Witchcraft and Armageddon games first by Myrmidon Press and later by Eden Studios. I’ve had copies of the original rules for awhile now and always thought they would make a decent alternative to the White Wolf rules. I’ve bought things like Dresden Files and Savage Worlds hoping that these would be the solution but as decent as they are I just could quite make then work.

The Unisystem rules really seem to fit the bill, as long as being simple enough to tweak those couple areas that we’d need to manipulate to create a vision of an occult world that fits our own better. Plus, the existence of the multiple power levels available when looking at both games combined is a real benefit. We’d ended up with characters and NPC’s who arguable would have been Avatars and Inheritors (or Enlightened) by the time we gave up on the oWoD rules and it would be nice to have a rules-set that would allow this more easily.

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Sword of Light (Mage Spell) (1e)

Sword of Light (Conjuration – Alteration)

  • 7th Level Mage Spell
  • Range: Touch
  • Area of Effect: One Blade
  • Duration: 1 Attack per level of the caster, or two rounds per level of the caster (whichever comes first).
  • Components: VSM
  • Casting Time: 4 Segments

This spell is cast upon the caster’s sword or dagger (commonly the mage’s kris) and increases the base damage by +1d4 per level of the caster, save for half the entire damage rolled. The weapon is treated as a +6 weapon for the purposes of striking creatures only struck by magical weapons  though it gets no actual bonuses to hit, and the caster must still roll to hit with the weapon. Undead and evil spirits take double damage, and creatures struck are also subject to Dismissal as the 5th level Mage spell. In the event that this spell is cast without the material component (the sword or dagger) the duration is halved. Casters who are not Initiates of the Society of Light must roll for Spell Failure as if they were missing a component.

It is commonly found in the Cherev Enoch.

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Master’s Lorica (Mage Spell) (1e)

Master’s Lorica (Enchantment – Alteration)

  • 6th Level Mage Spell
  • Range: None
  • Area of Effect: Self
  • Duration: One day per level.
  • Components: VSM
  • Casting Time: 6 Segments

An advancement and a refinement of the Journeyman’s Hauberk spell, Master’s Lorica as a standby of personal protection and utility, for Master-class mages. It is often considered a far more useful spell than Mantle given it’s simplicity and blanket protections. The spell has the following properties:

    • Grants an Armour Class of 3
      • The bearer is also immune to non-magical weapons.
    • Provides a phantom 12 Hit Points, +2 per level of the caster, that absorbs or ablates damage.
      • If these Phantom Hit Points run out, the spell is dispelled.
      • The bearer may spend 1d4 of these phantom Hit Points toDispel Magicon single enchantment by touch
    • The bearer of the spell benefits from a Protection from Evil enchantment
    • Absorbs Magic Missilesand like eldritch energies
      • This damage “recharges” the phantom hit points granted by the armour at a 2:1 ratio.
    • The bearer of the spell has Fire Resistance as the ring
    • The bearer of the spell has Warmth as the ring
    • The bearer of the spell has Grounding as the ring
    • Grants a +1 to all Saves per four levels of caster
    • Allows the bearer of the spell to Detect Magic by touch
    • Allows the bearer of the spell to Detect Illusion by touch

Much like Journeyman’s Hauberk, the Master’s Lorica requires unalterable material components that is perhaps the sole restriction on use by many mages, and that is 100sp worth each of Diamond, Sapphire, Emerald, and Amethyst Dust is needed for each casting. This requirement cannot be omitted by the mage, its lack spells instant failure. The spell itself produces no visible effect (unlike, say, Phantom Armour) but it’s effects can clearly be seen or perceived by others when they come into play. No other protective spells can be used while this spell is in effect. The spell cannot be Dispelled, nor is it removed by Globes of Invulnerability, and is generally only able to be removed by actual anti-magical effects.

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Blade of Light (Mage Spell) (1e)

Blade of Light (Conjuration – Alteration)

  • 2nd Level Mage Spell
  • Range: Touch
  • Area of Effect: One Blade
  • Duration: 1 Attack per level of the caster, or one round per level of the caster (whichever comes first).
  • Components: VSM
  • Casting Time: 2 Segments

This spell is cast upon the caster’s sword or dagger (commonly the mage’s kris) and increases the base damage by 1d4, +1 per level of the caster, save for half the entire damage rolled. The weapon is treated as a +3 weapon for the purposes of striking creatures only struck by magical weapons  though it gets no actual bonuses to hit, and the caster must still roll to hit with the weapon. Undead and evil spirits take double damage. In the event that this spell is cast without the material component (the sword or dagger) the duration is halved. Casters who are not Initiates of the Society of Light must roll for Spell Failure as if they were missing a component.

It is commonly found in the Cherev Enoch.

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Blaze (Mage Spell) (1e)

Blaze (Evocation)

  • 1st Level Mage Spell
  • Range: None
  • Area of Effect: 10′ Radius
  • Duration: Special
  • Components: VS
  • Casting Time: 1 Segment

With this spell the mage raises a hand and invokes the Lords of Light, bringing forth a blazing white light that blinds all creatures (including the caster) for 1d6 rounds (save for none, caster at +4). The spell also does 1d4 points of damage, +1 per level of the mage, to all undead and evil spirits within the area of effect, save for half damage. Creatures that are especially susceptible to light (vampires, etc) take double damage and get no save vs. the blindness. The light, not blinding or damaging, lingers for one round per three levels of the caster, slowly fading as it expires. Casters who are not Initiates of the Society of Light must roll for Spell Failure as if they were missing a component.

It is commonly found in the Cherev Enoch.

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Spiritual Blade (Mage Spell) (1e)

Spiritual Blade (Evocation)

  • 5th Level Mage Spell
  • Range: 30′
  • Area of Effect: Special
  • Duration: Special
  • Components: VSM
  • Casting Time: 5 Segments

This spell is similar in effect to the Priests Spiritual Weapon spell, but it is significantly more versatile and powerful. The mage may choose one of four effects when casting the spell:

  1. The caster selects a single target within range. The spell lasts for one round per level, and is able to strike once per round (as the caster), for 2d4 damage, striking as if from the Rear (no Dexterity, no Shield, and +2 To Hit), and furthermore gaining a +1 To Hit for every three levels of the caster.
  2. The caster selects multiple targets within range, up to a limit of the casters level. The spell is instantaneous, and each target is struck once, as above.
  3. The caster selects a single target within range. The spell is instantaneous, and strikes a single time, as above, save the damage is 2d4 per level of the caster.
  4. The caster casts the spell upon an actual sword that they then wield, this sword gains a +1 To Hit for every three levels of the caster, does an additional +2d4 damage per strike, and the spell lasts either one round per level of the caster or a number of strikes (successful or not) equal to the level of the caster, whichever comes first.

This spell is a favorite of mages who belong to the Society of Light, being found in the Cherev Enoch, though the Grey Elves have their own version as well that supplements their puussant combat magics. It should be noted that the spell is not unique to the Society or the Liandar.

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Jouneyman’s Hauberk (Mage Spell) (1e)

Journeyman’s Hauberk (Conjuration – Alteration)

  • 3rd Level Mage Spell
  • Range: None
  • Area of Effect: Self
  • Duration: One day per level.
  • Components: VSM
  • Casting Time: 3 Segments

Perhaps one of the most ubiquitous of spells for the adventuring mage, Journeyman’s Hauberk sits firmly between spells like Armour and Shield, and Mantle or Master’s Lorica as a standby of personal protection and utility. The spell has the following properties:

    • Grants an Armour Class of 6
    • Provides a phantom 8 Hit Points, +1 per level of the caster, that absorbs or ablates damage.
      • If these Phantom Hit Points run out, the spell is dispelled.
    • The bearer of the spell benefits from a Protection from Evil enchantment
    • Absorbs Magic Missiles and like eldritch energies
      • This damage “recharges” the phantom hit points granted by the armour at a 2:1 ratio.
    • Grants a +1 to all Saves per five levels of caster
    • Allows the bearer of the spell to Detect Magic by touch
    • Allows the bearer of the spell to Detect Illusion by touch

This spell is notable in that it requires a rather unique and unalterable material component that is perhaps its sole restriction on use by many mages, and that is 100sp worth of Diamond Dust is needed for each casting. This requirement cannot be omitted by the mage, its lack spells instant failure. The spell itself produces no visible effect (unlike, say, Phantom Armour) but it’s effects can clearly be seen or perceived by others when they come into play.  No other protective spells can be used while this spell is in effect. The spell cannot be Dispelled, nor is it removed by Globes of Invulnerability, and is generally only able to be removed by actual anti-magical effects.

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The Sefer Ratziel and the Cherev Enoch (1e)

Continuing in the vein of the Codex Magicus, these are the two most common tomes for those mages from the Society of Light and who study within that tradition:

The Sefer Ratziel: Also known as “The Book of the Lord Sc. Ratziel”  The transcribed words of the Lord Sc. Ratziel, Archangel of the Supreme Mysteries and Preceptor of Enoch, this is considered the most basic and at the same most complete book on magic that is used within the Society of Light. Comprised of seven tractates, the book covers a series of basic instructions on not just magic, but the nature of the Heaven and the organization of the Host, and a variety of other esoteric subjects. Most commonly found as series of scrolls, there are printed versions in books that are often organized differently. (XP: 32,000 – Special)

  • 1st Level Spells: Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Hold Portal, Imbue, Light, Protection from Evil, Read Magic
  • 2nd Level Spells: Detect Evil, Knock, Wizard Lock
  • 3rd Level Spells: Dispel Magic, Protection from Evil 10’r
  • 4th Level Spells: Magic Mirror, Remove Curse
  • 5th Level Spells: Contact Other Plane, Dismissal
  • 6th Level Spells: Enchant an Item, Legend Lore
  • 7th Level Spells: Truename, Banishment

The Cherev Enoch: Also known as the “Sword of Enoch” these is a small but dense text that is available to those mages of the Society of Light that also act as the warriors of the Light (as opposed to more cloistered mages). It is not considered a replacement for but rather a supplement to the Sefer Ratziel. Terse in text, the Cherev Enoch is focused on incantations of personal offense and defense, and almost bereft of the sort of spiritual and ethical guidance that is contained within the Sefer Ratziel, as such it is only granted to those members of the Society who are deemed to be suitable for its teachings.  (XP: 15,000 – Special)

The tomes of the Society of Light are written in complex coded allegory, itself in a mixture of Enochian and either Istarian or Kistathian depending upon the source. As such they also depend upon the mystical and occult revelations that come from advancement in the Society of Light to truly understand. Mages cannot gain the experience from spells until they have a level equal to that of the spell, so for a mage to gain the experience for a 4th level spell they must be at least 4th level. For mages who are not members of the society of Light this is doubled if they are attempting to study the tome to learn it’s secrets (in addition to knowing the correct languages).

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

More on Grimoires and Codices… (1e)

So, I discussed some issues and solutions about learning spells and spellbooks previously here and here. But as the mages in the game have advanced in level (and I’m talking about the actual mages, not the Sorcerer, the Illusionist, or the Diabolist) I’ve looked at how things work and I’m still not exactly happy with things.

I like the difference between grimoires and codices that I proposed, but I also like the idea that mages learn a new spell with each level – or at least that they have a chance to if there are easily available ways to learn a certain number of basic spells. But the rules for spell creation make that somewhat unlikely if we used them, and the chance to learn based on Intelligence seems to be a bit off as well. So, I think a nice compromise would be the base percentage to learn spells off of Intelligence, +5% per experience level, -5% per level of the spell attempted – for common spells only (ala spells from the Players Handbook and Unearthed Arcana). I think it would also be reasonable to say that mages are allowed the opportunity to invent spells instead with the basic percentage from the Dungeon Masters Guide instead of trying to learn a common spell – but learning common spells is much obviously much easier and sure.

So, this provides mages multiple ways to learn spells.

1- The basic texts and codices that hold a number of essentially universal spells. Chance to learn must be rolled, but different codices provide multiple attempts to learn the spell. E.g. if a character doesn’t understand it in the Codex Magica then the Book of Seven provides a new opportunity to learn the spell.

2- The grimoire of other mages – either via purchase, trade, or by way of spoils. Chance to learn must be rolled, and this more “one-shot” in nature unless the mage is unable to learn the minimum number of spells per level.

3- Figuring out common spells as part of the natural process of gaining new levels. If a spell is learned this way, it is automatically known.

4- Inventing spells. Again, these spells are automatically known to the mage.

All of this makes things a bit easier on the put-upon mage when compared to how easy the Clerics, Druids, and Illusionists have it in general. I can exactly say that this is perfect, but it’s a pretty simple and non-kludgy way to handle things.

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