Friday, August 8, 2014

Hiatus till 2015

Uncle Sam has my number so I will be out of state and without outside communication for a few months.  I'll be returning in 2015 ready to throw a book on the shelves.

Take care all.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Avatar's & Annihilation Playtest: Last time on Team Murder Hobo

 The Last Dozen or so Sessions Log

After discovering the location of the initial crash site, a comet landing 100 years ago the team headed back; sold all their fancy space junk for a tidy profit and were bankrolled by Lord Theodore Rodrick the Third.  Unfortunately, a friend of Youjiro the Silent learned the Murder Hobos was behind Yoh's death, and a firebombing commenced.  Witness pooled out of the woodwork burning the Murder Hobos and Rodrick had them spirited away, where they sought tutelage under some local folk heroes in the mega inn to the south.

There they contended with an invisible stalker murdering their mentors, a pack of vampires that came in and started dining on the common room.  The party followed the trail of local legend Frog God, found the innkeepers store room; a treasure trove from his adventuring days and set off with the new player Neres the Pirate.  Their destination: The Great Glacier, an icy anomaly in the middle of the tropics; if the notes are correct the first crash site is here.  The alien inhabiting Jingle's the Outlaw Dancer's head is dead set on discovering if the one who landed a hundred years ago is still alive.

The party made their way across the icy wastes encountering a white Rakshasa they traded stories with for ancient magic, an ice eidolon corrupted and undead that nearly killed Pemba the Talented Juggler with his Coldfire reaver and a Wooly Tyrannosaurus hunting down a dapper and opulent land walrus who they vowed to rob later.  Along the way they stopped at the sulfurous springs, picked up  new players: mini-Gojira, daughter of the rimescale dragon and Bronan the Brobarian and set off for the crystalline forest the original crash site.

Inside they dealt with crystal soldiers, bear riders, polar wurms and their volcanic cores, phantom wolves from the Wolf Kings pack, and Nodens the Elder god.  Nodens refused to let them down to the depths of the forest and rather than murder him in typical fashion they decided to curry his favor.  They were sent to hunt down Ithaqua and his Shantaks.

The GM forgot the level of the party and they laid waste to the poor, poor Shantaks as the reclaimed Coldfire Reaver left them as giant frozen blocks of ice, peppered with arrows.  Tiamult, Doc Brown impersonator and Ghost of the Frozen Flame used Clef's Proven Dreamwalker Dweomer to bring himself and Neres the water wizard into the dreamscape of Ithaqua.

There they witnessed the creation of the Glacier, the falling purple star and Ithaqua witnessing it all.  The perversion of the star warped Ithaqua, instead of a god he now feasted on his people and thus the curse of the Wendigo was born.  Neres and Tiamult used their iron wills and control over earth and water to contend with Ithaqua but he proved too powerful.  Neres went underwater and tunneled to the crash site to find the fallen star, inside he found a glowing tree.  Touching it his vision went white hot and he disappeared.

Ithaqua by Quest007

Tiamult played a game of cat and mouse with Ithaqua, using the last of his Intrepid to rip off Ithaquas arms and taken them as his own.  While his power grew, so did Ithaqua's control over him, until finally looking in the water's reflection he saw Ithaqua's visage and not his own. 

"Ithaqua you are no more!"

And neither was Tiamult.  The old man that traveled through time and dimensions was undone, his existence wiped clean from history.  In the real world Ithaqua burned into a star, in it's place was a tiny crystal.  Fred the Warper of Madness who acquired a Shantak mount touched it with the Coldfire Reaver which was transformed into Shatterstar.  The crystal transformed into a glowing tree and from that emerged Neres glowing gold, thoughtless he was merely the corporeal form of the alien that fell a 100 years ago.  The alien inside Jingle informed them they must reunite the echo with the original.  Off the party goes to complete their mission.

Final Session report up next.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Avatar's & Annihilation Playtest: The Gears are in Motion. (Team Good Samaritans)

Conclusion of tonight's game
Kara the Jade Revenant fused with the "Beast" an embodiment of chaos as a promise of power.
Marshall Orvar was mangled by the now berserk Kara.
Shepherd Ashaw tried to separate the two using Stormbringer
The sudden crack of wind severed the arms of both Kara and Orvar
Kara fused with Orvar's arm and the return of humanity also returned her sanity.
Kara applied her old stony arm to Orvar who is now being slowly eaten alive by alien crystal.
The party is now traveling to the center of the world to kill Lavos.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Dungeon World Initial Impressions

The cast of characters:

Laneth, Elf Hobo Ranger.  Spent a century or so afflicted by a hereditary curse, now temporarily held at bay by dark sorcery, specifically an amulet. Currently afflicted with the curse of weresharkdom.  Jawesome.
Horribly in debt: because of their hobo ways.
Bonds: Sven is an ally of nature, I must protect him.

Brinn, Halfling Thief Magnet.  Epitome of debauchery, kleptomania and larceny.
Horribly in debt to Jabba the Hutt
Bonds: Currently running a con with Morgan.

Sven Svenson, Northerner Fighterman covered in animal furs of everything he has hunted so far.    Former farmer searching for his brother who left before him.
Horribly in debt because of farm backtaxes.
Bonds: To make Morgan, hard like me.

Morgan, Elf Wizard.  Haunted child with an overall general confusion, kidnapped by a hermit wizard after taking 1st place at a village Math Fair.  (Courtesy of the Dungeon Dozen)  Seeks to be a normal member of society.
Horribly in debt to that damn hermit.
Bonds: Laneth is wrong, I must teach her the true way of the world.

I really enjoyed how short and to the point character creation was.  It was smooth to the point and really tied the team together.  Also, another great use for +Jason Sholtis most excellent Dungeon Dozen copy

Friday, June 6, 2014

A&A Playtest Comet Dungeon 1.1 Initial Descent

Both groups, despite locating and scouting multiple entrances formed by the remaining fragments of the comet (spikes) that struck eventually ended up going through the front.  Since both teams hit a lot of the same content and made a lot of similar choices I'll be talking room layout and the highlights of each team.

Dungeon Entrance

Is blocked by a fallen log, further down the path is a way to drop down where the Comet Spike punctured

Murder Hobos
Fred the Smith easily chucks the fallen tree out of the way
Group moves forward towards the Comet Spike
A few painful randomly determined traps later they reach the Spike

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A&A Playtest: Comet Dungeon 1.0

Comet Dungeon 

Behind the Scenes

Now that both teams have completed the Comet Dungeon I can talk about the design of it.  As you may have noticed there is a lot of scribbled information on what originally started out as a turbine diagram with some op-amps thrown in.  The dungeon began with the final room and then moving back and filling out the rest for what would fit the theme.

The Massive Hexagon.

An old wizard had chained and bound an archdemon in this dungeon using a combination of magic and artifice.  The binding left him immune to harm and unable to physically harm anyone else.  Unfortunately for him like any good demon he worked a loophole into the binding that prevented anyone else from leaving the dungeon so long as ye olde archdemon was trapped there.  As a result all the living inhabitants were trapped there and the Wizards constant struggling with the confines of the spell eventually caused a combusting scroll that was his demise.

Before the Comet Impact this dungeon was hidden away and completely undisturbed before it tore four holes into the dungeon.  In addition to the three entrances to the dungeon (trapped front door, gelatinous cube chute, and lab entrance) there would be four more entrances to deposit them in the middle of the dungeon thanks to the comet shards.  The caveat of course is that the comet left plenty of space goop behind that loves to bind itself to metal.  Thankfully, each Team had someone who selected Piece of Ancient Tech: Hoverboard as a Relic so they could scout out these entrances.

Drop zone number one was in the Chimera room where undead servants, dipped in silver to prolong their wear and tear tended to the cages.  Some of them however were hit by space goo and act kinda crazy. The second drop zone is an actual triangular shard of the comet, each side is covered in a lesser spell [Dyne's Runaway Force, Mime's Imprisonment, and Telepathy (PSI)]; it is blocking a T intersection.  The shard is razor sharp and and rope spelunking down carries a 2/6 chance of slicing the rope and stranding them on one side of the T intersection.  Not only that but the goo-less path to the hole crosses over the hidden pit that drops straight into a Gelatinous Cube chamber.   The next hole is into a room with a single visible exit and a bunch of space goo that has completely covered a hammersmith automaton.

The biggest comet entrance was in the Demon's chamber, thirty feet of goo was around the massive hole so only the most ambitious would go storming in there.  The melting comet destroyed half of the bindings on the Demon giving him some autonomy, but still leaving him 50% invulnerable.  The Demon will telepathically call any that make it North of the blocked T intersection or who approach his room from the west.  Likewise, the comet site left a large black pyramid covered in potent Chronomancy spells near the demon.  Inside the pyramid is a dying alien who beseeches any who listen to enter the pyramid so they can enter into an agreement where he uses their body as a vessel (Introduction to the Avatar System).  Only those that have witnessed the non-euclidean geometry from the comet touchdown, from the dead wizards journal, or simply experiencing portal madness are susceptible to the aliens call.

The guildmaster Youjiro the Silent waits patiently in the Wizards false bedchamber ignoring the petulant demon and keeping an eye on the pyramid.  Also an Avatar, but his spirit comes from an ancestral magic sword rather than a space invader, he will attempt to slay any who emerge from the pyramid.  The stage is set, in the next post I'll tackle how the rest of the dungeon came to be.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A&A School of Spells: Lifa

A&A School of Magic: Lifa

The fundamental quintessence, Lifa, is what flows through all living things on this planet.  The blessed and holy among us are a conduit for it.  They can give life, offer redemption, and protect this worlds inhabitants from those who lost their lives and those that feast on the Lifa of others.

Grave of the Fireflies

Monday, April 7, 2014

Avatar's & Annihilation Playtest: The Forest of Plenty 1.1

To get to the Comet Site the party must traverse the Forest of Plenty.
Nicknamed on account of the bountiful wild game, brightly plumed birds, rare mushrooms and truffles.
The truffles of course attracted POrks (Pig Orks) which the local farmers are happy to be rid of.
Should be a cake walk.
S. Wift's boss, Reginald MacReynard gives him another special delivery.  A few gallons of honey directly to the UpBears known to wander those woods.
Tells him to sign up with one of the new explorer's guilds and watch out for the four existing leaders.
Conveniently the The OtherWorldly (TOW) Company ordered takeout prior to leaving at dawn.  
Stanley joins their group.  
The party sets off, close on the heels of Youjiro the Silent and Loose Legs ConBa and well ahead of Archibald the Luxurious and Anaheim the Industrious.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Avatars & Annihilation Playtest: Party Composition

First let's take a look at the party that's assembled.  I was surprised by how many Adventurer's the party picked up, the number of people that chose the Talent Attribute and all the love for Skytown.  Sadly no one was attracted to the Origin of Water, we'll see if that changes after a few inopportune poisonous deaths.   You can read up on Origin, Home Turf, and Etiquette over here.  The Fighter Archetype (and proficiencies to boot) are described in detail over here.  Gear and Relic descriptions can be found over here.  My notes don't cover all their choices so I'll be filling those in as time goes on.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Avatars & Annihilation Playtest: Forest of Plenty Adventure Setup

For me, one of the biggest attractions to the OSR was the wealth and reliance of random tables.  In my mind, part of the fun in running a game is figuring out how the absurd things you roll up fit into the adventure thus far.  As I eagerly await my hardcover of the Dungeon Dozen's release I constructed a few quick and dirty tables of my own as the party goes on their wayward expedition Chasing the Comet.
Between writing this draft this morning and publishing this joyfully arrived

Now for the meat of things.  Wilderness Encounters in Abjool's Forest, nicknamed the Forest of Plenty by the locals. The forest was full of wild game, brightly plumed birds, rare mushrooms and truffles. The truffles however, have caused a few bands of POrks (slang for pig orcs) to move in and some local farmers would be more than happy if they got rid of them.


While journeying through the presumably cakewalk forest each day the GM rolls two six sided dice and chooses one to determine results.  The party has seven days worth of supplies.  Each day the party stays in the forest add +1 to the roll, if they receive assistance from the SnobGoblins add another +1 and if any of the StarTouched (Probably Insane) party members ascend on high and glimpse the Stars (and the residual comet tail) add another +1.  The adventure hits the next focal point whenever any die reaches a 9+.

Origin: Etiquette & Profession

Where you grew up and the life you’ve led determines the types of circles you are comfortable in. People of each elemental origin typically have different customs and a member of the aristocracy from the land of fire may behave quite a bit differently from one from the water capital. Curiously, despite their distance people that share the same elemental origin also tend to share the same cultural quirks. We call this [Etiquette].

[Etiquette] is useful when interacting with people of that etiquette whether you are trying to curry favor or even trying to impersonate a member of that social standing. It also determines your starting [Contact], a person of similar etiquette and culture whom you trust that can supply you with favors or information. Everyone has an etiquette tied to their home turf, which will be divided by element and relative social standing. Different cities have different socioeconomic backgrounds; some have a large strata while others may be more homogeneous. Our social abstraction comes in nine broad categories listed below. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Avatars & Annihilation Playtest: Chasing the Comet Introduction

Cancun, August 13, 2010
Sunday was the first exceptionally large (7 of 9 players showed) playtest.  As you can imagine we had a blast.  As you can imagine, herding seven cats left me particularly drained.  Teaching a new system and being a rulebook, monster manual, arbiter and referee certainly compounded that.  At the end of the day I've decided to split the party into groups with two distinct playstyles: Murder Hobos and Good Samaritans.  They will operate in the same world but with diverging timelines after encountering Eien, the great grey cat unstuck from time.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A&A: Elemental Origin

Choose an Origin

NausicaƤ and the Valley of the Wind
Now that you have a concept in mind and an idea of what your character is capable of, it’s time to choose their Origin. Your Origin is a bit more than just where you were born and raised, as it also entails the element with which you have forged the strongest bond. In this world, elemental forces are the lifeblood of the planet, ingrained into the very landscape and in some locales dominating the scenery. From the poshest of princes to the dingiest of street urchins, everyone on this far-flung earth has a deep connection with an elemental force.

The early settlers who took up residence near these places of elemental grandeur thrived and began to share an affinity with their patron element.  Over many generations they formed a bond so strong that the element runs through their very veins altering their physiology, their temperament, and their spirits. Taking an Origin of Fire is more than simply declaring your affinity
.  You are saying that you grew up in the land of fire where smoke fills the sky, brimstone assails the nose, volcano's rage as new islands form, geysers spew forth magma in the distance and the land underneath is smooth and holed with layers of pumice and ash broken up by streams of obsidian.  You may be a blacksmith who plies his craft beneath the shadow of the molten mountain or perhaps a machinist from the land of cracked plains and smoke-top mountains.  Regardless of where you are from, you and anyone with an Origin of Fire has come from the same geographic location and share much of the same culture, language, traditions, fashion and appearance. This shared heritage is useful, for you are a stranger in a strange land; familiar faces, sights and sounds are always welcome.

Your home is more than just a place. It is also the coupling for your patron and favored element, the fire that burns in your chest, the wind that rustles your hair, your eyes as blue as the ocean and your body as solid as oak. Most are gifted with a quirk related to their patron element, some rarer than others. Someone with an Origin of Fire is always insulated and comfortable in the desert heat and the winter chill and some can start fires with neither flint nor tinder. Those with an Origin of Water can hold their breath underwater for vastly extended periods of time and can always tell if water is pure. Those who lived near windswept peaks are able to fall great distances without injury and those in the lost canyons can have their whispers travel great distances; it is said a network of those gifted with this talent may exist for those with the right connections. Lastly, those with a close bond to the Earth can always tell Magnetic North and are rarely lost. Some can coax vines down from trees while others can absorb nutrients through their feet, much to the chagrin of their foreign companions.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A&A Origin: Home Turf

Origin: Home Turf

The world would be a simple and easily navigable place if each element occupied its own continent. Alas, you are adrift in a sea of islands, some containing a sole elemental force while others have many vying for dominance. Each of the towns, cities and villages that occupy this archipelago are shaped uniquely by their surroundings and their patron element. Below is a list of example areas one could select as a place they were born or grew up in. Most Game Maestros will have populated their world with a bounty of wondrous locations that you can choose from in place of or in addition to the ones presented below.

A&A: Gear & Relics

Gear & Relics

As a final step of outfitting yourself you’ll want to select some gear useful to you in your travels. At Character Creation you may select three of the items presented to you below and you may select the same items more than once. [Adventurers] may choose twice the amount of gear while [Seekers] may choose from the [Relics] below. Regardless of your choices all heroes are adept at creating torches and campsites.

<Designer Notes>
Making character creation a snap has always been an overriding goal of mine.  Numerous misc. items with firm fixed price tags, often inconsequential given one starting allowance of money, bogged down a lot of character creation.  Much akin to choice paralysis in point based character creation systems I wanted to move away from that and towards something that can be selected quickly and without remorse.  With that in mind I present a number of items to be chosen at character creation, organized by their purpose and intended users.  Being unique or offering utility allowed playtesters to grab a few fun or quirky items to complement their characters.  It also gives me a wider array of treasure to be found without magick'ing up the place.
<Designer Notes>

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Skinny on Spell Casting

The Skinny on Spellcasting

Introduction by Dean Wellbrook Accomplished Spelunker, Exorcist and Member of the Local Wizard Watch

Wizards, Sorcerors, Warlocks and Mages all present a clear and present danger to the sensibilities and vitality of the common man. Whether it’s warping reality or summoning terrifying beasts from the nth dimension, there is nothing these slippery spellcasters won’t do to get their fix. Fortunately for us mind-our-own-business common folk, most of these bathrobe luddites manage to expire all by their lonesome. Whether it be a jaunty spell gone mad, a creature they cannot contain, spontaneous implosion or collapsing beneath the weight of their own hubris we can count on their population remaining a stagnant few. You may be thinking, “If they’re just going to take care of themselves then why pay attention?” Excellent inquisition! First off, never pay attention to them or you may be driven mad, and not just by their long-winded erudite diatribes. These Mages are, however, capable of unleashing great and powerful energies with but a few gobbled words provided they have memorized them ahead of time. These Magi recite the spell in the morning and withhold the final incantation until they need it, at which point all hell breaks loose—sometimes literally!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Avatars & Annihilation R&D Update Feburary 2014

February has gone by in a flash.  While social commitments and heart shaped holidays occupied most my time I managed to get quite a bit done.  In fact the core of the rules set is finished outside of some sections on Running Adventures, Non-Treasure Rewards and various odds and ends.  The problem is we're currently sitting at 178 pages, almost double of my initial goal of keeping it under a hundred.  That's a whole lot to prune.

The goal now is to go over major relevant subsystems, reevaluate them and see about a way to cut them down.  Not just to reduce my usual verbose ways but any avenue to streamline something, get rid of fiddly bits (regardless of how fun it is force the caster to save vs brain goo whenever they memorize their most formidable spell) and make for a smoother experience overall.  Movement currently clocks in at 7 pages, highly readable and well paced but a bit excessive and a recent epiphany may have a way to shorten that to two paragraphs.  The spell casting section for instance, after taking a quick poll after a recent playtest there were a number of things that while enjoyable and thematic have been pushed over to the chopping.  When I post the spell casting section to complete the A&A Spell series I'll make a note at the bottom for what was cut.  In the meantime, this behemoth won't edit itself.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Originally today was meant to be my ship out date.

Due to some family medical issues I've been granted a brief extension for the next few months.  Despite the dour circumstances I'm happy that I have more time.  More time for my family, my friends, my extremely accomodating girlfriend, my endless crunch time at work and now and then here and there some more time to devote to this newfangled RPG product I'm developing (while I sing the praises of my dedicated layout editor.)

It's amazing how quickly 30 days can go by.  I intend to value the intermission I have left in the same way I held this brief passing span.  High energy and full of life.  At this point its the only way I know how to live.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentines Adventure Hook (2014)

The PCs arrive at Thistlehook an abandoned village deep in the Antilles mountain range.  Much to their surprise the uninhabited city has a striking number of guests.  A cadre of Rangers are in attendance for a wedding of true love between two of their members.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Random Dungeon Generator Woes

After a long week of back breaking labor I was inspired to do some mapping to ease up, relieve some tension and get the creative juices flowing.  I busted out the Random Dungeon Generator Poster by Paul Hughes and got to work.  After a series of unfortunate rolls over the course of an hour I ended up with a very small, very empty dungeon.  After the initial onset of giant rats players can expect to run down a number of dead ends, find no secret doors, walk down an empty hall of giants leading into an equally empty room and one day encounter a fire beetle the treasure chamber.  Inside they can look forward to 100 pp, 1000 copper in metal urns and treasure chests guarded by a gas trap and a poisonous needle.

For anyone else planning on following the Random Dungeon Generator Poster I recommend you avoid starting near an edge of the page.  If you end up unlucky like me start rolling a few d20 at each junction and pick a result that doesn't result in a completely barren dungeon.  Next time I think I'll handle the layout and let the poster determine the contents.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Avatars & Annihilation: Introduction

Precursors and Avatars

Where are we?
We are in the aether between worlds and ages. The world went dark and everything you know has faded away. Your world was destroyed. You have failed.
Who am I?
You are a Precursor.
What is an Precursor?
You are the spirit of a past age. When the world needed you most you failed. With the Will to Power in hand you could not avert the catastrophe that devoured your world. Time passed and the world has come calling again. It is up to you to prevent that from happening again.
How can I do that?
Find a worthy mortal vessel to be the host for your restless spirit. You will inspire them to new heights, to succeed where many fail. They will be your Avatar and together amidst the strife of ages and the nihilistic populace you will stop this cycle of annihilation.
And if I fail?
Then the cycle repeats itself. Across dimensions the multitude of worlds are heading to a singularity of nothingness. A void across space and time. We are approaching the final cycles.
And who are you?
I am the Grand Maestro, the events are all in place as I have dreamed, I merely set them in motion. One domino at a time. That is my purpose, an impartial referee with the hope that something here will last.

Atma and Mortality

Much of the world is populated by mortals, as you once were. When a Mortal becomes your vessel you become one. No longer are you adrift in the sea of Aether, instead you may perceive the world as you once did. You and your mortal have the power to change things, together, as an Avatar.

Atma is within each mortal, it is the purest expression of self and soul. For a Mortal to become a Precursor’s Avatar one of three things must happen. In the first the Precursor appears to them in a dream; hearing their plight the mortal's heroic soul wishes to avert the cataclysm poised to annihilate their world and so the two join forces. In the second case the mortal ally of an Avatar has died and a Precursor may replace the mortal's Atma with themselves giving new life to a fallen friend and forming a new Avatar, albeit one with a melded personality. Should the unthinkable happen and your Avatar dies you must find a new vessel using the above methods.

The third transformation is most abhorrent; the mortal’s Atma is subverted or worse, destroyed as the Precursor steals their vessel. Only one devoted to nihilism can do this, these Precursors are called Annihilators. For what purpose they act is beyond my breadth of knowledge but know that at one point you will encounter them. Avatar’s know when they have met one another after they have crossed blades, but an Annihilator never reveals their true form until it is too late. The Avatar’s around the table today are to be trusted but be wary of those you meet in your travels. Treachery hides behind false friends.

Avatar's & Annihilation R&D Update: January 2014

January is coming to a close so it's time for me to assess how much I've accomplished in the limited time I have remaining.  This proved to be a hectic month for me, work hit crunch time and my project came into full focus with an encroaching deadline and fixing the many mistakes and delays of people who have dropped the ball once or thrice.  Design engineer, project manager, facilities engineer, security planning, I'm wearing a lot of hats right now but I'm enjoying every minute of it.

Unfortunately, 11 hour days, being on call throughout most the night and generally busting my ass at work and maintaining my relationships doesn't leave me a whole lot of time.  One of the things I wanted to do to keep myself on track was to finish up the spell list which had been a perpetual thorn in my side for quite some time.  Expect a post explaining spell casting soon.  Creating rather than editing really enlivened me and has given me some semblance of hope that I'll get this done on time.  Well, I have faith in my layout editor, we'll see what he comes up with.

In the follow-up post to this I'll be putting up an excerpt from the books Introduction explaining the name of this book patterned after numerous other retroclones that came before it.

A&A School of Magic: Witchcraft


Witches and Witchcraft are a staple of fantasy literature and idioms.  When making a spell list for Witchcraft I took it as an opportunity to consolidate numerous silly and unfortunate spells as well as a few that were extremely detrimental to whoever they were targeting.  Debilitation whether it be physical or social were given high priority.
Future Spells: Hobart's Interminable Hunger, Eyes of the Beholder, Dodon's Complete Lacking Verve

  • Hollis’ Redolent Trick
    • This trickery makes the target smell of a particular food.  Whether that food is appetizing or not towards the nearest predator is entirely up to the caster.  If it backfires the caster is infused with the aroma for the next week. 
  • The Spell of Transient Gills
    • Gills spring up on the target's neck allowing them breathe freely underwater.  Frog suit is optional.  Outside of water the target has difficultly breathing air and will begin suffocating.  Fortunately the spell only persists longer than a minute when fully immersed in water.
  • Feldoon’s Added Hump
    • Eccentricities abound in Feldoon's collection of scrawled scrolls.  This spell gives the caster a camel's hump to store water.  With the added hump even the desert of death can be crossed.  If fortune is on your side that is.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A&A School of Magic: Chronomancy

Poster Punch: Chrono Trigger by ZeroCartin

Time travel is a fun concept but often a difficult one to wrap your head around.  Still there are many avenues to approach when dealing with the flow of time.  There are several spells that already deal with time, haste, slow, time stop and similar but I wanted to look at different ways of altering time.  Borrowing time, altering one's perception of the flow of time, altering times lines, reversing aging, tearing the space time continuum and creating time paradoxes.  All of that within reason of course.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A&A School of Magic Illusion


This impeccable picture fits almost all these spells
Conceptually illusionist are one of my top favorite classes.  When it comes to playing one, or even worse running one, I find them very worrisome.  Illusions have the unchecked power of imagination.  Most standard illusion spells are pretty free form and can do or create almost anything.  The limiting factors are how far the DM is willing to let you go and any constraints (if any) imposed in the spell description.  Rather than add some more freeform "it's your problem DM" spells I decided to keep things in line with the rest of my design ethos.  Spells are for niche areas or very specific effects based on their name.  Below you'll find a number of illusions, glamours, nightmares and phantasms to stoke the imagination without giving your DM a headache.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A&A School of Magic: Conjuration

Atomic Breath by Tankor89

Conjuration didn't so much as change with each new source of inspiration but instead grew and grew until my vision of it changed with it.  I didn't care much for conjuring forth damaging dealing arrows of various elements, in fact you may have noticed that spells in general have shied away from damage dealing.  Spells are as fantastic as they are useful but their use in the art of killing has rarely been pioneered.  They may be defensive but wizards in their ivory towers crafting their arcanum still cling to highbrowed notions such as pacifism and force when necessary.  Some of course are more sinister than others but few deal with outright death rays.  Besides with Conjuration you can call a creature to do that for you.

Conjuration started off with a lot of spells meant for utility.  You would likely keep little on hand if you could conjure forth anything or perhaps you'd conjure something to find what you're looking for.  It's also meant to provide for situations where in ordinary circumstances you would simply not have and item or enough of something.  Further down the line I really took to the idea of summoning forth traps rather my previously held to beliefs that Wizards somehow had enough mechanical aptitude to install their own traps or the lack of foresight to hire someone else to do it.  Another thing I wanted to explore was that in addition to summoning forth creatures a magic-user could summon a spirit into inanimate objects which you'll see in the Marionettes below and a beloved spell Chiseled Champion that didn't make the 5 only Lesser spell cut.  Lastly I needed to address the iconic Magic Missile.  In my system HP is extremely limited, three six sided dice maximum in order to recreate the feel of your favorite Samurai film.  This means that a spell that unerringly deals an automatic d6+1 at a minimum is quite powerful and often lethal spell to someone with only 3d6 for hit points.  So Magic Missile is now a most formidable spell with added decimation ability.  Forgive my long-winded devdiary here are the spells I promised.

Monday, January 6, 2014

A&A School of Magic: Transmutation


Super Science in your School of Magic

When I was devising spell lists I wanted to keep Enchantment and Transmutation very distinct from one another.  I decided that Transmutation would mean physical alterations whereas Enchantment would deal more with stupendous changes often affecting the target's mind while trying to avoid stepping on the toes of PSI.  Canopied Caboose is levitation whereas Whimsied Flight involves a change in density.  The spells below for the most part deal with changing an objects physical parameters, volume, density, viscosity, and in the case of Vaporize and Disintegration we're dealing with localized high speed energy deposition blast waves and atomic fission.  Super Science in your school of magic.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A&A School of Magic: Enchantment



  • Miere’s Assuaging Effulgence
    • A simple cantrip from one of the first magicians, although many will say she did naught but dabble.  This spell grants a soothing glow when those around are most anxious.  A fail-safe for when sudden winds blow out your torch or when the sun fearing beasts of the Wyld are upon your trail.
      In recent years many an unscrupulous Wizard have adapted what was once a pristine spell into a trifling set of mood lighting.  The old farmer's adage still holds true today, never leave your daughter round any that don a robe and wizard hat.
  • Dodon’s Curious Guiding Somnambulism (Concentration)
    • This spell allows the caster to take guide the movement of any sleeping, upright target.  If the spell backfires the caster is trapped in the subjects dream until they lead them out of it.
  • Dyne’s Canopied Caboose (Concentration)
    • While developing his repulsive field Dyne spent a great deal of time on levitation endurance training with a linguistically backwards goblin riding on his back. Able to maintain this levitation for long periods of time he adapted it into carrying his otherwise burdensome belongings behind him and well out of reach of most.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A&A School of Magic: Warding

Spells of Warding

Spells to protect seekers of arcane knowledge and mystical secrets.  They allow one to pass by unhindered through realms both physical and mental.  They confer protection from both spell and steel.  They are traps for the foolish and glyphs that strip the potency of the even the most fearsome foe.  They require preparation and foresight but their benefits are worth the planning.

Arya Burrito by Ybee

  • Burrito Bedroll                                                    Save Negates: Guts, Concealed Weapons
    • The caster spies the unsuspecting sleeper comfortable in their woolen cocoon when suddenly the bedroll springs to life, rolls over and over until the unfortunate sleeper is trapped in their rolled bedroll. 
      • Some Intrepid Casters have managed to activate this spell on an exceptionally long Cape, Mantle or Cloak.
  • Clef’s Proven Dreamwalker Dweomer
    • The caster or a willing target is able to enter the dream of a nearby sleeper perhaps to acquire sensitive information, implant an idea in their head or rescue them from a nightmarish curse. They must tread carefully for the sleeping mind is a dangerous thing and the sleeper is the god of their own dream, provided they realize it.
  • Spell of the Lonesome Road                             
    •  So long as the caster or intended recipient sticks to the road they will not be bothered and go unnoticed by most bandits and fell beasts.  This has no effect if the caster is traveling with companions or on a mount.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A&A School of Magic: PSI

Mentok by InsomniaArtist
Psionics are a touchy inclusion for a lot of D&D connoisseurs.  Understandable, most Psionic handbooks published so far don't fit my image of a Psionic.  For me when I think Psionics I think controlling things with your mind so the School of Magic involving Psionics is one part mind push, another part Mentok the Mind Taker.

Lesser spells are narrow in scope, some provide fine control others are sudden surges of force both of which are endemic to the untrained Psionicist.  Formidable spells stretch the limits of what the body and the mind are capable of, allowing for mental domination, superhuman prowess and reality warping.

A&A Spell List Table of Contents

I've been putting off writing and revising for the last month.  Every time I opened that mammoth of a document I got so caught up in fixing minor errors and preserving internal consistency from previous tweaks it happened to suck all the fun out of writing and designing.  Turns out all I need to get my Muse back in action is to take a break from the editor's hat (and god help me Layout) and exert a little creative expression.  I took my exhaustive spell list and narrowed it down to 3 Cantrips, 5 Lesser Spells and 3 Formidable spells per school.  Taking the best and most peculiar available I've arrived at this point.

Naming conventions and design drew heavily from Vance as outlined in this post (fair warning, I was much more eloquent 2 years ago).  The names like many of the effects are often very silly, which I happen to enjoy but is not for everyone so there are great deal of straightforward spells.  

One things I always enjoyed in playtesting was giving the player's the name of the spell rather the mechanics.  I would marvel when a player's internal interpretation of a spell turned out different than mine, and often times much better.  Over the next week I'll be looking through each Spell School and explaining what each of these mysterious and often inscrutable spells do.  Although some have already been touched upon

Feel free to provide your own guesses in the meantime.