Wednesday, May 25, 2016


This is something I've been fiddling with. Haven't used it yet and am unsure if I ever will.

I've never, ever like Vancian magic in games. I didn't grow up playing Dungeons and Dragons, so it holds no special place in my heart. It makes no sense to me why a magical dude would just forget how to do something he's spent his life working on. Does an architect forget how to draw after drawing a floor plan? Does the fighter forget how to fight after killing a goblin? No, of course not. Neither should a magic user.

However, there should be consequences. Casting magic spells takes a lot out of a person, one of the reasons that so few people choose to do it. Magic users don't forget their spells; instead, they become so physically and mentally drained from casting them, that eventually they'll collapse unconscious after reaching a threshold.

Spells in my home game cost Hit Points to cast. The number of HP needed to cast a spell is indicated by the spell's level. A level 1 spell like Magic Missile costs 1 HP to cast.  The Magic skill shows the maximum level of spell that the magic user can cast.  If they cast a spell that would take them below zero HP, they must roll a Constitution save for every level of the spell that would make the character have zero hit points. . If they cast a spell that is a higher level than their Magic skill, they must roll a Constitution save for every level of the spell that is more than their Magic skill. 

So a 1st level magic user with 2 points in the Magic skill and 4 HP can cast four level 1 spells, two level 2 spells,or one level 2 spell and two level one spells, per rest cycle without having to roll a Constitution save. They can cast a 3rd level spell, but will have to roll to save. They can cast a 4th level spell, but will have to roll two successful saves, and will be at exactly 0 HP. They can press their luck and cast a 6th level spell, roll to save 6 consecutive times for being such a powerful spell, AND roll two more saves, because that spell would take them to -2 HP. So eight consecutive saves to cast one sixth level spell at level 1.

Clerical spells work the same, although cleric spells are called prayers and clerics must invoke an higher power who grants them the ability to cast the spell. Functionally though, it's the same thing.

This gives the character a little more freedom - no longer tied to spell slots and able to theoretically cast spells of any level up to 6th, albeit with possible consequence; like falling unconscious in the midst of battle. That just means the character should save those all-or-nothing spell casting moments for when it really matters.

In the post about skills, I mentioned that magic users can cast spells up to 6th level without help. What does that mean, and what kind of help?

The Magic and Religion skills max out at 6 points. This means that the characters can only cast up to 6th level magic spells on their own, free of consequence other than Hit Point loss. Spells from levels 7,8,and 9 are available; the character can learn them and know them but they will always, no matter what level the character is, require a Constitution save to cast. Unless they get help from other people with at least a single point in magic or religion. If the cumulative skill points equals or betters that which is required for the spell, it can be cast without a savings throw for the main caster, but the secondary casters all must roll to save.

A 7th level magic user with 6 points in the Magic skill, and 28 Hit Points wants to cast a 9th level spell. They have three lackeys/aprentices who each have a single skill point in Magic. Together, they can cast the 9th level spell, but the lackeys must each make 8 consecutive saving throws. The 7th level magic user, being a jerk, distributes the 9 HP damage to the lackeys, instead of taking it themselves.

Waaaaaaaaiiit, what? Damage can be distributed?

Yep. The main caster can choose to take all the damage or distribute it equally among the people helping them to cast a spell. This does not require the other persons permission and there is no saving throw.

Also note that any spell level can be cast with the help of others. Not just high level spells.

Keep in mind that certain magical devices can cast high level spells on their own, certain monsters can too, and some devices can grant a caster the ability to cast higher level spells.


These days I GM Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Grindhouse edition.

The reasons for this are as follows, in order of importance;
  • it is easy to learn, especially for people who have never played an RPG before.
  • it is highly compatible with 40+ years of published gaming material. 
  • it is supported, with new material being churned out constantly.
  • it isn't the vanilla crap that corporate DnD and 90% of other publishers shit out.
 I never quite liked the skills though. The mechanical aspect of skills in LotFP are great, it's the skills themselves that bug me.

A first level character gets 2 skill points to disperse however they see fit. Every level after that, they get 2 more skill points to disperse.

So these are replacement skills I've come up with.

  • Assassin: Applies to using/recognizing poisons, detecting ambushes, backstabbing, sneaking, etc
  • Fighter: Applies to appraising weapons and armor, knowledge of legendary warriors and weapons, and military history
  • Magic: Applies to recognizing enchantment, wards, magical devices, as well as indicating the maximum spell level the character can cast on their own without help.
  • Ranger: Applies to outdoorsy stuff like tracking, wilderness survival, and camouflage
  • Religious: Applies to religious etiquette, history, lore, trivia, famous figures and historical events. Indicates the number of prayer points the character can spend in a day.
  • Sailor: Applies to anything boat, ocean, and sailing related
  • Scholar: Applies to basically anything that isn't covered by the other skills
  • Thief: Applies to pick pocketing, forgery, recognizing and deactivating traps
  • To Hit: each point gives a bonus of +1 to hit. This skill doesn't have a max amount 
So what if a character wants to sneak/prowl/stealth around? Which skill do you use for that? Easy, whichever one seems most appropriate!
If a character is sneaking and is...
  • In an urban setting, use thief skill
  • On a battlefield, use fighter skill
  • Hunting in the wilderness, use ranger skill
  • Infiltrating a magic guild house, use magic skill 
  • Prowling around a monastery, use religion skill
  • Assassin skill can be useful just about anywhere in any situation - such is the nature of assassins.
  • If you want it to be simpler, just use Ranger and Thief skills for sneaking in wilderness and urban areas, respectively.
I originally just used the Magic skill for both and combined clerical and wizard spells. This presented the problem that there is half a billion spells from levels 1-7, and then a very severe drop off for 8 and 9. There is also the issue that some players actually want to play a cleric and don't want to play a magic user with cleric-type spells. Plus it gives another skill category for players to spend points in. So, whatever. Now there is a Religion skill.

Skills still max out at 6, except for To Hit which has no cap limit. For magic users, this means that 6th level spells are the highest they can cast, without the help of other magic users, magical devices, or divine/infernal help.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Things I'm working on

The major item I have in the works is a system neutral world setting. Not sure how much I will post about that, maybe little things here and there. I've edited, re-edited, scrapped parts, started over, given up, started again, and so on for almost 8 months now. Just when I think I'm happy, I think of some fault or something better and change things.

I also have some mechanical rules I've come up with to streamline Palladium Books' Rifts line. It isn't a conversion, nor is it entirely new, as one of my goals was to make the game, especially character creation, much simpler and faster. I will post those rules in the near future. At one point, I compared rolling a Juicer RAW to my new rules, and cut the time by more than half (42 minutes to 20 minutes).

I'm always thinking up small mechanical details. Some that I use, some that I don't. I'll throw those up on here too.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wow. Been a long time.

I've been posting game stuff on facebook groups, two different tumblr blogs, and even Twitter for a little bit.

Stopped using Twitter because it is full of terrible people saying terrible things in a gigantic circle-jerk. Twitter is used by two kinds of people sadists and masochists. I am neither.

Tumblr is great for finding and posting art and thoughts, however it is absolutely terrible for organizing or looking up past posts. I will still keep one of those blogs for finding writing inspiration and ideas.

Facebook has limited reach, and frankly, I want to use it as little as possible and for things that aren't related to gaming (other than events).

So here we are. Dusting off the old game blog that I used for two posts about a Castles & Crusades campaign that fizzled and died.

My plan is to use this channel to post my own ideas about tabletop role playing games, in the forms of setting material and mechanics. I will also post whatever game-related stuff I find interesting.

The things I will post are for me. I post them publicly because maybe someone else can find utility in them. Under no circumstance is anything I post an end-all, be-all "this is how it has to be," kinda bullshit that a lot of other bloggers like to post. I find that level of arrogance to be fatiguing. 

My name is Tim. I also go by everloss. That's it for now.