The World of Weirth (TM) is a Basic D&D (Swords & Wizardry) – AD&D mashup. Look to the 1e PHB and DMG for specific tables and rules mentioned below. This is the playtest version of this character class.

The Witch Sub-Class

(Adapted from Dragon Magazine #43, article written by Bill Muhlhausen, Revised and edited by Kim Mohan and Tom Moldvay)

The class of Witches are an off-shoot of the Nurdiyan praxis. Cut off from other Nurdiyans, Human or Centaur, those who became Witches found themselves forgetting their spells and magical abilities. In the time of chaos after the Cataclysm, these Nurdiyans had enough magic left that they were able to contact and bind or bond with supernatural entities roaming Weirth. As magic continued to fade, binding became less functional as a method of transmitting magical power, and the concept of Pacts emerged. Most of these entities were unable to fully interact with the physical world, and the former Nurdiyans offered a way for them to do so. Calling themselves Witches, these magic-users developed a new set of magical spells and abilities to deal with the horrors of the post-Cataclysm world. The entities they engaged taught them many new things as well, and their magical repertoire grew.

This new branch of magic, based in fragments of lore found here and there, became a more encompassing collection of works. As the disorder in the world decreased, the Witches created the disciplines of Blood Witchery (cauldron magic with large fires, sympathy, blood, Mother’s Milk and personal energy to power ritual magic) and the schools of  Elementalism.

As Humanity spread once more, witches were introduced to the lore of the low-level cultists, spreading the word of the new gods. Added what the Witches already knew of magical lore and what they learned from their patrons, the Witches set about to re-create magical academies and traditions. These academies were designed to be a place for Humans to get control of those able to wield magic, and have them do so safely. The now-traditional Schools of Magic grew from this need for standardization and safety. The academies gravitated toward cities and other population centers for protection, for patronage and access to the handcrafts and materials available due to large-scale trade.

witch and her cauldron blood magicThe older types of Witches, having a magical tradition that was outside the norm of civilized society (like Blood Witchery), kept to the countryside, or even further afield. These Witches tend toward Chaos in their alignment. Their spellcasting is very heavy in material components and in highly ritualized casting practices. Witches are also somewhat less dependent on supernatural entities for powering some of their magic. They have developed techniques involving concentrating power by extracting it from material components in liquid form (Blood Magic/Cauldron Magic).

The Witch depends on both Wisdom and Intelligence for effectiveness, and thus must have a minimum score of 12 in each Ability. If WIS or INT are greater than 15, the character adds 10% to experience awarded.

The Witch utilizes a d4 for determining HP.

Witches may use any of the magical items available to Magic-Users. They may not use magic rings. They may use any magic scrolls.

They use the Magic-User Melee, Spellcasting and Saving Throw tables.

Witches with above-average Intelligence receive bonus spells, similar to the procedure for a “Cleric” with above-average Wisdom:

Intelligence Score Spell Bonus
13 One first-level spell
14 One first-level spell
15 One first-level spell
16 One second-level spell
17 One third-level spell
18 One fourth-level spell

The spell bonuses are cumulative; e.g., a Witch with 15 Intelligence receives three additional first-level spells. A Witch must have a minimum Intelligence of 16 to cast eighth-level spells. A Witch’s chance to know each listed spell and a Witch’s minimum/maximum number of spells is dependent on Intelligence, as for Magic-Users.

The spells available to a Witch are determined by their Patron and/or School of Magic.

Witches may use any weapon type which can be used by Magic-Users, and have the same restrictions as Magic-Users on the wearing of armor.

Class Abilities:

Magic Sense: A Magic-User can sense magical powers being used in their vicinity. This ability increases with level, and the range is dependent on the level of spell or ritual being cast/performed.

Scribe Scrolls: To write from one to five known spells onto a scroll, creating a single-use magical device, at a cost of 500 gp + 100 gp per spell level. Materials may include the finest vellum, paper, or papyrus; a fresh quill; and sorcerer’s ink, such as sepia. This involved process requires one week per spell level.

At 3rd level a Witch gains the following abilities:

  1. Identification of plant type (by flower, root, bark, etc)
  2. Identification of animal type (an unseen animal by tracks, spoor, droppings and other conspicuous behavior that leaves a physical trace)
  3. Identification of pure water

At 4th level – Acquire Familiar: Similar to a Find Familiar spell, except that there is no chance of not acquiring a familiar. The familiar adds its hit points to the Witch’s, but if the familiar dies, the Witch only loses the hit points the familiar originally added, not an additional double the number of hit points added. A Witch can only obtain one familiar in a 10-year period, so if her familiar dies she must wait until the end of the period for another.

Summon Patron – gaining 5th level the Magic-User will need to perform the Summoning Ritual, in order to gain access to spells of third level or higher. A Witch can cast magic spells chosen from a list particular to the supernatural entity summoned.

Blood Witchery/Cauldron Magic

Level 3: Brew poisons and narcotics: A Witch can brew one dose of either a poison or a narcotic each day, providing she possesses the necessary ingredients. The mixtures cannot be used to coat weapons, but must be ingested by the intended victims. A Witch learns how to brew Type A ingestive poison at level 3. She learns how to brew an additional type of ingestive poison for every two levels she progresses beyond third level. Thus, at 11th level a Witch can brew Type E poison. Poison types are as per the Dungeon Masters Guide. Saving throws are applicable. A narcotic has the effect of a Sleep spell on a victim with 8 or fewer hit points, if the saving throw is failed. A victim with from 9-16 hit points will be reduced to half Dexterity and half normal movement for 12 turns; a victim with 17-24 hit points will lose one-third Dexterity and one-third movement rate for the same 12-turn duration; a victim with 25 or more hit points will lose one-sixth of Dexterity and movement for the duration of the narcotic’s effect. A successful save will halve the effect and duration of a narcotic.

Level 4: Brew truth drug: A Witch may brew one dose of truth drug per week. A victim who ingests a dose of the drug will fall into a stupor, and is forced to answer from 1-4 questions truthfully. The truth drug can only affect an individual of the same or a lower experience level than the Witch who brewed the potion.

Level 5: Candle magic: A Witch may manufacture one candle per month. For each three days spent in making the candle, it will burn for one turn, up to a maximum of 10 turns (for a candle which took 30 days to make). The magic of a candle takes effect when the candle is snuffed out, or burns down to nothing at the end of its duration. A candle must be burned in the presence of the intended victim in order to work.

  • Red Candle: Victim affected as a love potion, duration 1 day for each turn of burning. There is no saving throw, and no chance of the love potion effects wearing off before the full duration.
  • Blue Candle: One turn of protection from evil/good (Witch’s choice) for each turn of burning.
  • Yellow Candle: One turn of telepathy (Witch able to read victim’s mind) for each turning of burning.
  • Purple Candle: Acts as a truth drug, allowing one question to be asked of a victim for each turn of burning — and all such questions are always answered truthfully.
  • Gold Candle: Cures 1-6 points of damage to the object of the magic for each turn of burning.
  • Black Candle (level 9): One curse can be placed on a victim for each turn of burning, up to a maximum of six turns of burning and six curses. The curses are:
    • Weakness (Strength reduced to 3),
    • Insanity (Intelligence and Wisdom both reduced to 3),
    • Clumsiness (Dexterity reduced to 3),
    • Poverty (all precious metals, gems and jewels on victim’s person turned to clay),
    • Loneliness (Charisma reduced to 3) and
    • Exhaustion (Constitution reduced to 3).
    • Saving throws can be attempted for each curse, and if successful negate that particular curse only. Casting Remove Curse negates one curse for each casting of that spell. Saving throws may be attempted, where applicable, for the effects of all candles except red candles. Any candle which does not burn continuously for at least one turn will have no effect. A candle which is extinguished midway through a turn is treated as though it had not burned at all during that turn, but that turn will be counted against the maximum amount of time a certain candle may be burned. Example, A candle with a maximum life of 5 turns is extinguished midway through its third turn of burning. Its effects will be as though it had only burned for two turns (not two and a fraction), but if it is re-ignited later it will have only two turns of burning left before it goes out automatically.

Level 6: Brew love potion: A Witch can brew one love potion per week. The potion will have the effect of charming an individual who drinks it and does not save successfully vs. spells. The potion has a chance of affecting a victim of the same number of levels as the Witch who brewed the potion. Thus, a 9th-level Witch could brew a potion to affect a 9th-level Fighter or lower, but not a 10th-level Fighter. Each potion has a maximum duration of one week, with a 15% chance each day (cumulative) that the potion will wear off at the end of the first through sixth days. Victims who make a successful save vs. spells are not affected.

Level 13: Brew flying ointment: The Witch may brew enough ointment per week for one human-sized individual to fly (as per the Fly spell). The flying duration is 1-4 turns plus a number of turns equal to the Witch’s level. The ointment must be smeared over the recipient’s naked body to work.

Level 15: Manufacture control doll: Once per week, a Witch can make one clay or wax doll which she can use to control one character or monster. Dolls are made to fit general categories, e.g. a man, woman, a troll, a dragon. To work, a part of the specific target (nail clippings, lock of hair, bit of outer skin or scales, etc.) must be made part of the doll. Once the specific material is added, the doll acquires a focus. The doll now must be shown to the intended victim. If the victim fails to save vs. spells, the victim is charmed (as per a Charm spell). The charm lasts as long as the doll is intact and in the Witch’s possession. If the Witch loses the doll or the doll is destroyed or damaged, the charm is broken.

Level 17: Fascinate: The power of fascination may be used once per day. A Witch merely has to concentrate to exercise the power. Any individual who looks at the Witch and fails to save vs. spells will faithfully serve the Witch as long as the fascination lasts. It lasts for a number of rounds equal to the level of the Witch. Service while fascinated will be nearly absolute, stopping just short of following suicidal orders.

When a Witch reaches 8th level she automatically attracts 2d6 x10 followers if she establishes a place of worship. Since Witches worship forbidden gods, such a place of worship must be in a wilderness area and kept secret besides being cleared of wandering monsters. The followers will remain secret to the outside world except under extreme circumstances. A Witch may also obtain the services of hirelings in the normal manner.

A Witch will not establish a Stronghold.

 

For more background, see Every Magic-User is a Warlock.

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The World of Weirth (TM) is a Basic D&D (Swords & Wizardry) – AD&D mashup. Look to the 1e PHB and DMG for specific tables and rules mentioned below. This is the playtest version of this character class.

Druids” or Nurdiyan (pronounced: new-whirr-die-enn) are the successors of a professional agricultural class of Human and Centaur servants of the Elves. The Nurdiyans worked with the Elves in mighty gardens, groves and farms. Transmitted MU-to-MU after the Cataclysm, the magical arts of caring for plants and nature are among the oldest magic remaining on Weirth. The methods and techniques of this sub-class are very Shaman-like, with a great deal of emphasis on ancestor-guidance and Mother-Weirth spirit patronage.

After the Cataclysm and the departure of the Elves, Nurdiyan began to teach and ordain followers to spread the word. Their goal was to foster the hope that if more people remembered the old ways, then civilization would not fade away. Low level spells don’t need any input or guidance from gods (or spirits, demons, elemental forces, ancestors, etc). People could just keep passing them on, orally or, eventually, in a written form. These became the Zealots, Prophets, fakirs and priests and so on. Of course, some were simply charlatans with a magical robe.

The Nurdiyan is a sub-class of Magic-User. They are generally Neutral in alignment, though they will tend toward Order in the macro-sense of civilization. In their dealings with natural forces they must have a minimum WIS of 12 and CHA of 15. If both ability scores exceed 15 they will earn a 10% bonus to earned experience.

The Nurdiyan utilizes a d4 for determining HP.

Nurdiyans may use any of the magical items available for all classes. They use the Magic-User Melee, Spellcasting and Saving Throw tables.

Metal in general, and iron in particular, is inimical to the entities the Nurdiyan class depends upon for magical power. They must eschew any metal armor and/or shield. Items of leather, bone, wood and the like are acceptable.

Nurdiyan character classNurdiyans have a structural obligation to protect natural spaces, creatures, crops and livestock. Conscientious harvesting, of course, is the goal of farming and animal husbandry.

Class Abilities

Nurdiyan have their own secret language, and all speak/write it in addition to their other tongues.

Spell Casting

A Nurdiyan can cast magic spells up to level five (L V, experience level nine, depending on their innate level of magickal ability: Gift or Talent), chosen from a list particular to their teacher/training. Nurdiyan without a teacher or mentor will only be able to acquire new spells through discovery, or by trading for/stealing spells from other Magic-Users.

Magic Sense: A Magic-User can sense magical powers being used in their vicinity. This ability increases with level, and the range is dependent on the level of spell or ritual being cast/performed.

Scribe Scrolls: To write from one to five known spells onto a scroll, creating a single-use magical device, at a cost of 500 gp + 100 gp per spell level. Materials may include the finest vellum, paper, or papyrus; a fresh quill; and sorcerer’s ink, such as sepia. This involved process requires one week per spell level.

Totem Creature – Shape Change Once per day the druid may change his shape to either a small animal, or a bigger, more ferocious one. The druid may change back to his normal form at any time. While creating your character, consult with your Referee which small animal (for example: lizard, raven) and which big animal (for example: bear, wolf) you may change into.

In your small animal form you cannot speak, you lose all equipment, cannot use any items and fight, but you are more agile and you may reach places inaccessible to normal humanoids. In your big animal form you cannot speak, you lose all equipment and cannot use any items, but you deal 1d6+1 damage with your natural weaponry and your AC improves by -4 [+4]. Druids cannot cast spells while in their animal shape, since they cannot speak and have no hands.

Saving Throw Nurdiyan receive a +2 bonus on saving throws vs. element-based effects and attacks

At 3rd level a Nurdiyan gains the following abilities:

  1. Identification of plant type (by flower, root, bark, etc)
  2. Identification of animal type (an unseen animal by tracks, spoor, droppings and other conspicuous behavior that leaves a physical trace)
  3. Identification of pure water
  4. Power to pass through overgrown areas (undergrowth, tangled thorn bushes, briar patches, etc.) at normal movement rate without leaving a discernible trail.

Upon gaining 5th level the Nurdiyan will need to perform the Summoning Ritual, in order to gain access to spells of third level or higher. A Nurdiyan can cast magic spells chosen from a list particular to their god.

At 7th level, the Nurdiyan gains immunity from Charm spells cast by the Fey creatures of the woodland. This would include: Dryads, Fauns/Satyr, and Pixies. The aquatic Fey creatures are not included in this immunity.

When a Nurdiyan achieves 8th level he or she automatically attracts followers if they establish a place of worship – a natural gathering place of at least 1,000 square feet in area with an altar, shrine, chapel, etc. These followers are fanatically loyal and serve as caretakers of the gathering place without pay so long as the Nurdiyan does not change deity/denomination or alignment. These followers, called Nurtharuri (new-whirr-tah-roo-ree) number 4d4 x5.  In addition, 3d6 wild beasts will magically appear to the Nurdiyan, and take up residence in the gathering place. These creatures are not ‘tame’, rather favorably inclined to the Nurdiyan and their followers. These beasts will be able to understand and follow basic verbal commands. Your DM will have additional information as to the types and quantities of these beasts.

 

For more background, see Every Magic-User is a Warlock.

The World of Weirth (TM) is a Basic D&D (Swords & Wizardry) – AD&D mashup. Look to the 1e PHB and DMG for specific tables and rules mentioned below. This is the playtest version of this character class.

The roles of the Cleric and Paladin Classes will effectively be merged into the Exalted Warrior sub-class of Magic-User. The Paladin Class is too specifically tailored to be a “Holy Fighting Man” of the generic  Christian template, with ‘anti-Evil’ powers and  ‘Lawful Good’ restrictions to be useful in a polytheistic setting. Since the Alignment System of Weirth is simply Order/Law vs Entropy/Chaos, this will easily allow each god/godling/demon/spirit to have their own chosen champions. Warrior first, evangelist second, these champions generally participate in more formal, military activities. There are those called by their Patron, or ordered by the leader of their guild/cult, to go forth into the wilderness and perform a task or mission. Often this goal or task is one an army can’t accomplish, but a small group of fighting men, rogues and spellcasters can complete.

Exalted Warrior Character ClassExalted Warriors will be members of secretive guilds or orders, with their own rules for behavior and personal conduct. These groups of men and/or women would be something like a knightly order crossed with a Mystery Cult. The leaders of these orders would wield great political power in- and outside the realms where they operate. Each guild or order will have  its own set of holy books with the “scriptures”, “prayers” and L I-II spells available to their members. Each will have its own Summoning method for those entities it calls upon to deliver their magical knowledge.

The Exalted Warrior depends on both Wisdom and Strength for effectiveness, and thus must have a minimum score of 12 in each Ability. If WIS or STR are greater than 15, the character adds 10% to experience awarded.

The Exalted Warrior utilizes a d8 for determining HP.

Exalted Warriors may use any of the magical items available to Fighting Men, plus Clerical and Protection scrolls. They use the Cleric Melee, Spellcasting and Saving Throw tables.

Class Abilities

Spell Casting

Beginning at second level of experience an Exalted Warrior can cast magic spells up to level five (L V, experience level nine, depending on their innate level of magickal ability: Gift or Talent), chosen from a list particular to their teacher/training. Exalted Warriors without a teacher or mentor will only be able to acquire new spells through discovery, or by trading for/stealing spells from other Magic-Users.

Lay on hands – Exalted Warriors have the ability to “lay on hands”, either for others or for their own person to cure wounds; this heals 2 HP of damage per experience level. In addition, an Exalted Warrior may perform the hour-long ritual Dissipation of Memory upon another character to remove psychic trauma and restore up to three points of Sanity. This ritual can only be performed by the Exalted Warrior once for any individual. These benefits of being the Chosen of a supernatural entity are each only usable once per day. These powers may be reversed for the devotee of a Chaos entity.

Magic Sense: Upon gaining fourth level of experience, an Exalted Warrior can sense magical powers being used in their vicinity. This ability increases with level, and the range is dependent on the level of spell or ritual being cast/performed.

Exalted Warhorse/Mount – At 4th level, or at any time thereafter, the Exalted Warrior may call for their warhorse (or other suitable mount); this creature is an intelligent, heavy mount with 5+5 HD, AC 5, Movement 18″; it will magically appear, but only one such animal is available every ten (??) years. If the first is lost the Exalted Warrior must wait until the end of the period for another.

Summon Patron – gaining 5th level the Magic-User will need to perform the Summoning Ritual, in order to gain access to spells of L III or higher. An Exalted Warrior can cast magic spells chosen from a list particular to their Patron.

Temple – When an Exalted Warrior achieves 8th level he or she automatically attracts followers if they establish a place of worship – a building of at least 2,000 square feet in area with an altar, shrine, chapel, etc. These followers are fanatically loyal and serve without pay so long as the Exalted Warrior does not change deity/denomination or alignment. These followers number 2d10x10. In addition to these Lay followers there will be men-at-arms (your DM will relay the types and numbers as appropriate). It is possible for these followers to become a full-blown Cult in the service of, and adoration of, the Exalted Warrior and/or their god(s) (or spirits, demons, elemental forces, ancestors, etc).

At 9th level the Exalted Warrior has the option of establishing a religious stronghold. Domain Play rules remain TBD.

For more background, see Every Magic-User is a Warlock.

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the Silent Tower rpg review public domain art

“…this adventure can be used as a hook for other adventures. Therefore, it can be a hex on a map, a point in the middle of a hexcrawl, it can be used as a prelude to another adventure, a simple diversion for players outside of their larger campaign, an unusual occurrence after a TPK instead of the deaths players were expecting, or even as a way for Judges to revise, reboot, or otherwise alter their campaign’s world events in surprising ways…”

This little booklet is a brilliant bit of creativity. Lucas Rolim (@rolimllucas on Twitter) has put together a simple yet effective adventure hook. Just as it describes above, it provides a set of tools for creating a very unusual encounter with an extraordinary result. The puzzles are original and clever, the encounters are creative and accessible. This supplement is written with Rolim’s Pacts & Blades rules-lite RPG in mind, but it can very easily be adapted to any other #OSR system. (And, yes, I am thinking that now I need to get that PDF too, and check it out. Especially as the subtitle is “Moorcockian Fantasy“!!)

One can easily take this supplement and run with it, adding it to any campaign. In fact, I think it might be fun to use as the first adventure for some 1st level characters that have just survived a DCC-like funnel.

I also really like the concept of having this adventure take place after a TPK, where the PCs would get one last chance to make a difference. In an #OSR game, I think it might be interesting to use it as a replacement for the monstrous Psionic encounter table.

In any case, I think it’s great. Buy it and have a blast figuring out how to insert it into your campaign.

Lucas Rolim on itchio

The World of Weirth (TM) is a Basic D&D (Swords & Wizardry) – AD&D mashup. Look to the 1e PHB and DMG for specific tables and rules mentioned below. This is the playtest version of this character class.

A specialized study of magic and sleight-of-hand is displayed on the vocation of Illusionist. Gifted or Talented with magical ability, the Illusionist is generally self-taught in the lower levels. If they have the aptitude and fortitude, some will seek out a higher level magic user or Illusionist to take on as a teacher. At higher levels Illusionists do call on supernatural entities to power the spells and illusory effects of their trade.

Illusionists do not generally wear armor, nor have weapon proficiencies. An Illusionist may become proficient in a weapon as a 7UP Feat. They have a minimum INT and DEX score of 12. Illusionist characters with an INT of 15 or greater receive a 10% bonus to earned experience.

The Illusionist uses a d4 to determine hit points.

Illusionists may use any of the magical items available for Magic-Users. They use the Magic-User Spellcasting and Saving Throw tables. They use the 0-level Melee table until becoming proficient with a weapon.

Spell Casting

Illusion by Erol OtusAn Illusionist can cast magic spells up to level five (L V, experience level nine, depending on their innate level of magickal ability: Gift or Talent), chosen from a list particular to their teacher/training. Illusionists without a teacher or mentor will only be able to acquire new spells through discovery, or by trading for/stealing spells from other Magic-Users.

Low-level spells and rituals have spread throughout the peoples of the world in a definite cargo-cult style. Ritual phrases, symbols, bodily motions and dances intended to manipulate nature are the kinds of magic that most people encounter or utilize in their daily lives. These practices are a mixture of superstition, chicanery and poorly understood ritualism, designed to harness the power of magic for manipulating reality for the benefit of the Illusionist and those around her.

Many of the practices exhibited by everyday people are based on remnants of actual magical procedures left over from the previous age, yet they rely on a type of “placebo effect” for their efficacy. These practices have been handed down from parents to children, from prophets and zealots to their congregations, over generations:

  • Gestures to ward off evil/harm/trouble/illness
  • “Magic” words and phrases (such as a chant of “Heave-Ho!” makes a group stronger than the sum of its members, likewise “One-Two-Three-Push”; “open sesame” is thought to release a stuck door, etc)
  • Making Dream-catchers (actually very powerful tools in the right hands)
  • Drawing hexes as semi-permanent spells of protection or blessing
  • Engraving runes (masonry and woodworking are considered very valuable, high-status positions)
  • Creating tattoos
  • Chemistry tricks for alchemy (boiling Willow bark makes a tea that relieves pain and reduces swelling) or other potions, salves or spirits (fermentation and brewing are considered a form of alchemy)
  • Smelting metals from ores and metalsmithing are considered magical practices (smithing is also high-status)

These practices, in one way or another, apply to Magic-Users of any class.

Class Abilities

Illusionists are learned in many techniques of sleight-of-hand and misdirection. They are able to perform many “magic tricks” that are merely pyrotechnic effects or chicanery. The list of actual spells available to Illusionists is quite short, but they are trained (and can engineer for themselves as a 7UP Feat) to replicate many magic spells as “fancy tricks” or illusions.

The PC will work with the referee on how to prepare and perform these illusions.

Magic Sense: Upon reaching third level, an Illusionist can sense magical powers being used in their vicinity. This ability increases with level, and the range is dependent on the level of spell or ritual being cast/performed.

Scribe Scrolls: To write from one to five known spells onto a scroll, creating a single-use magical device, at a cost of 500 gp + 100 gp per spell level. Materials may include the finest vellum, paper, or papyrus; a fresh quill; and sorcerer’s ink, such as sepia. This involved process requires one week per spell level.

Summon Patron – gaining 5th level the Magic-User will need to perform the Summoning Ritual, in order to gain access to spells of third level (L III) or higher. An Illusionist can cast magic spells chosen from a list particular to the supernatural entity summoned.

For more background, see Every Magic-User is a Warlock.

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The World of Weirth (TM) is a Basic D&D (Swords & Wizardry) – AD&D mashup. Look to the 1e PHB and DMG for specific tables and rules mentioned below. This is the playtest version of this character class.

 

The secular counterpart of the Priest is the Arcanist. Gifted or Talented with magical ability, the Arcanist is generally self-taught in the lower levels. If they have the aptitude and fortitude, some will seek out a higher level magic user or arcanist to take on as a teacher.

Arcanists do not generally wear armor, nor have weapon proficiencies. An Arcanist may become proficient in a weapon as a 7UP Feat. They have a minimum INT score of 12. Arcanist characters with an INT of 15 or greater receive a 10% bonus to earned experience.

The Arcanist uses a d4 to determine hit points.

Arcanists may use any of the magical items available for Magic-Users. They use the Magic-User Spellcasting and Saving Throw tables. They use the 0-level Melee table until becoming proficient with a weapon.

Spell Casting

Arcanist Character ClassAn Arcanist can cast magic spells up to L V (fifth level spells, at ninth level of experience, depending on their innate level of magickal ability: Gift or Talent), chosen from a list particular to their teacher/training. Arcanists without a teacher or mentor will only be able to acquire new spells through discovery, or by trading for/stealing spells from other Magic-Users.

Low-level spells (L I-II) and rituals have spread throughout the peoples of the world in a definite cargo-cult style. Ritual phrases, symbols, bodily motions and dances intended to manipulate nature are the kinds of magic that most people encounter or utilize in their daily lives. These practices are a mixture of superstition, chicanery and poorly understood ritualism, designed to harness the power of magic for manipulating reality for the benefit of the Arcanist and those around her.

Many of the practices exhibited by everyday people are based on remnants of actual magical procedures left over from the previous age, yet they rely on a type of “placebo effect” for their efficacy. These practices have been handed down from parents to children, from prophets and zealots to their congregations, over generations:

  • Gestures to ward off evil/harm/trouble/illness
  • “Magic” words and phrases (such as a chant of “Heave-Ho!” makes a group stronger than the sum of its members, likewise “One-Two-Three-Push”; “open sesame” is thought to release a stuck door, etc)
  • Making Dream-catchers (actually very powerful tools in the right hands)
  • Drawing hexes as semi-permanent spells of protection or blessing
  • Engraving runes (masonry and woodworking are considered very valuable, high-status positions)
  • Creating tattoos
  • Chemistry tricks for alchemy (boiling Willow bark makes a tea that relieves pain and reduces swelling) or other potions, salves or spirits (fermentation and brewing are considered a form of alchemy)
  • Smelting metals from ores and metalsmithing are considered magical practices (smithing is also high-status)

These practices, in one way or another, apply to Magic-Users of any class.

Magical Focus

A bowl, dish, or similar item is needed to process/consume the material components of a spell. Wands, rods, and staves will have further rules (TBD).

Class Abilities

Magic Sense: A Magic-User at the third level of experience can sense magical powers being used in their vicinity. This ability increases with level, and the range is dependent on the level of spell or ritual being cast/performed.

Scribe Scrolls: To write from one to five known spells onto a scroll, creating a single-use magical device, at a cost of 500 gp + 100 gp per spell level. Materials may include the finest vellum, paper, or papyrus; a fresh quill; and sorcerer’s ink, such as sepia. This involved process requires one week per spell level.

Summon Patron – gaining 5th level the Magic-User will need to perform the Summoning Ritual, in order to gain access to spells of third level or higher. An Arcanist can cast magic spells chosen from a list particular to the supernatural entity summoned.

For more background, see Every Magic-User is a Warlock.

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In the campaign setting World of Weirth (TM), I’m setting up a new-ish idea, that there is no difference between Arcane and Divine Magic and that all spells LIII and above are taught/bestowed/granted by Supernatural Entities. The following is from the draft of the Player’s Guide to Weirth (TM):

Cleric is a job, not a class.

Anyone can be an evangelist for a god. In a world where gods are real, and sometimes take a personal interest in the goings-on of mortals, everyone is “religious”. There are no “atheists”. In a polytheistic society, the typical person will commonly call upon more than one deity for various day-to-day needs and blessings. There are assuredly “churches”, buildings or places where one or more gods are worshipped (or spirits, demons, elemental forces, ancestors, etc), according to their various spheres of influence. In the Weirth setting, magic is seemingly everywhere, and nowhere. The supernatural forces are burning it up with their squabbles. Without the Elves and the Voorsteh to cultivate and grow sources and flows of magic, it dissipates. Magic is being forgotten, and in the forgetting it dissipates.

Every year there are fewer and fewer people born with the Gift of being able to grasp the power of magic to manipulate reality. Most of the inhabitants of Weirth can’t sense the flows of magic at all. Some have Knacks, a bit of a “special power” that would seem magical if we didn’t all know how dangerous magic is.  Besides, a Knack isn’t something one can control, it just happens, like when your grandmother’s biscuits always turn out so light and tasty. Or how your cousin can tie a knot that never slips, or untangle a skein of yarn by just pulling on it. The master cabinet maker who is able to cut boards around the knots in a piece of wood, then make them look like they belong in the finished piece. It’s not really magic.

Magic is an accepted and expected practice on Weirth. In fact, anything unexpected or unfortunate that happens is generally attributed to magical interference from a supernatural being. Everyone knows, and uses constantly, small charms and hexes they believe will affect the outcome of their activities, or protect them from those same supernatural beings.

There are many forms of Blessings – for food, for shelter, before beginning tasks or journeys, at night for protection from the dark, monsters, or deadly dreams. Hedge witches, midwives, prophets and zealots abound. Very low-grade, commonplace magic, sleight-of-hand and chicanery are taken for granted as supernatural power derived from gods or demons. Alchemy and the creation of protective trinkets is a booming business. Though based on chemistry or natural effects, the efficacy of these products is ascribed to that same god-blessed or demonic magic.

Priests, Prophets, Zealots and others in the hierarchy of a ‘church’ or ‘cult’ (a congregation of people that gather to worship a particular spirit, elemental force, god or group of gods) often have no magical ability at all. What they do have is the weight and force of history and tradition behind them, political power, charisma, and often a magic item that serves as “proof” of their chosen status. Even without actual magical ability, these Clerics are a very important part of everyday life as they are believed to speak directly to and with the gods (or spirits, demons, elemental forces, ancestors, etc). As such, they will have an outsized social influence. A shouted command of “Seize the heretics!” becomes a much different thing when superstition is the rule. The townsfolk will do it. No questions asked. Religious rules, restrictions and obligations are extremely important to the peoples of Weirth.

A Magic-User is just a Magic-User

The old woman who helps with child-birth, helps set broken bones, and leads the village in the Harvest Festival every year has some magic, but she’s not a Wizard. Wizards are the old, shriveled elders in the courts of the Lords. They’ve been to the Tower of Silence for training in the mysteries of magic. They’ve completed the Grand Trial and learned the secrets of the universe! What they have not learned, however, is the actual language of magic. The true knowledge of this has been forgotten. The language itself still exists, and Magic-Users are able to teach each other (or perhaps puzzle out) how to pronounce it, but no one knows what the words actually mean. Any conjugation or alteration of existing magic words is impossible, as the known magic words are only gestalts or symbols.

In the Weirth setting, the “Cleric”, the “Paladin”, and the Nurdiyan (sort of a Druid) are sub-classes of Magic-User, like an Illusionist (and a Witch). At low levels, the AD&D PHB class description states that Clerics gain spells just like any other MU, through study and memorization. It is only at mid- and higher-levels do they need to communicate with a supernatural source for spells and power. Well, I’d like ‘regular’ magic to work like that, too. Every mid- and high-level Magic-User needs to contact a supernatural being, whether it is a god, a demon, the spirit of a place (such as a forest or river) or a departed ancestor.

The Magic-User needs to prepare and perform rituals of summoning that carry more than a little risk, to bring forth the entities to teach the higher-level spells (third level spells and above). The power to remember and cast these spells is transmitted due to prayer, cajoling, bargaining or even taken by force through compelling or binding the summoned supernatural entity.  The higher the level, the greater the danger. To make a proper low-magic, low-fantasy setting the greater magics need to be rare, difficult and dangerous. Therefore:

  • There will be a Sanity mechanic.
  • There will be Spell Failure tables.
  • Turning Undead will be eliminated as an ability (& transformed into a spell).
  • Magic Items have charges (the magic is dissipating), or are powered by bound entities. These entities may or may not have the ability to contact/influence the wielder of the item. Dispel Magic can break this binding, results are unpredictable.
  • At 5th level, the level needed to request and cast L3 spells, Magic-Users gain the ability to Sense when another being is casting a spell. (Details TBD)

All Magic-User sub-classes need to undergo a ritual Great Trial in order to pass from ninth to tenth level. This involves a Vigil and a ritual poisoning with Mother’s Milk (a magical substance secreted by certain monsters, very rare and extremely dangerous). Only about 25% of those that attempt the Great Trial survive. Those that do become part of an elite leadership cadre, with limited membership, as per the Druid Class description in the AD&D PHB. Each sub-class will have its own leadership cadre. Many Magic-Users do not undergo the Great Trial, preferring instead to retire to a tower, fortress or monastery in order to continue with their research, train new Magic-Users, or simply enjoy their twilight years.

The Sub-classes of Magic-User are:

  • Priest (NPC)
  • Exalted Warrior
  • Nurdiyan
  • Witch
  • Arcanist (Specialist)
  • Illusionist

The Priest (NPC) Sub-Class

In the Weirth campaign setting there is no “Cleric” class. The Closest thing would be a Parish Priest or church leader with limited spell-casting ability that is not a typical adventurer. A Priest uses the Cleric XP and Saving Throw table, but is limited to Level Four. Spellcasting ability is up to second level spells (unless one uses a Ritual, Scroll, or Blood Witchery and the con-commitant possibility of failure). These men and women run the day-to-day operations of Temples, Churches, Shrines, etc. (especially for Name-Level (9th) PCs that may not be around all the time)

These officers of the church often have great personal and political power, if not full access to a church’s coffers, and they will hold a high place in society. Some are Zealots for a cause, who may or may not actually have access to magic, but have learned the catechism and can “walk the  walk”. This is often the type of church leader that one finds roaming the countryside, proselytizing and aiding the less-fortunate. They are your traveling Healers, for people and animals. You will also find them acting as Scribes or Sages or other professional-type occupations.

Priests do not generally wear armor, nor have weapon proficiencies. They fight as 0-level types. They have a minimum WIS score of 12.

Spell Casting

A Priest can cast magic spells up to level two, chosen from a list particular to their god.

Low-level spells and rituals have spread throughout the peoples of the world in a definite cargo-cult style. Ritual phrases, symbols, bodily motions and dances intended to manipulate nature are the kinds of magic that most people encounter or utilize in their daily lives. These practices are a mixture of superstition, chicanery and poorly understood ritualism, designed to harness the power of magic for the safety of children, the fertility of crops and fecundity of flocks.

Many of the practices exhibited by everyday people are based on remnants of actual magical procedures left over from the previous age, yet they rely on a type of “placebo effect” for their efficacy. These practices have been handed down from parents to children, from prophets and zealots to their congregations, over generations:

  • Gestures to ward off evil/harm/trouble/illness
  • “Magic” words and phrases (such as a chant of “Heave-Ho!” makes a group stronger than the sum of its members, likewise “One-Two-Three-Push”; “open sesame” is thought to release a stuck door, etc)
  • Making Dream-catchers (actually very powerful tools in the right hands)
  • Drawing hexes as semi-permanent spells of protection or blessing
  • Engraving runes (masonry and woodworking are considered very valuable, high-status positions)
  • Creating tattoos
  • Chemistry tricks for alchemy (boiling Willow bark makes a tea that relieves pain and reduces swelling) or other potions, salves or spirits (fermentation and brewing are considered a form of alchemy)
  • Smelting metals from ores and metalsmithing are considered magical practices (smithing is also high-status)

These practices, in one way or another, apply to Magic-Users of any class.

In upcoming posts we will look at the playtest versions of various Magic-User character classes.

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Last week we had a list of things people don’t like, or fear. Today, a list of simple pleasures that make your PCs and NPCs feel good and right with the world.

(My apologies to Stanley Kubrick)the hobbit's favorite things

Roll a d30!

  1. A quiet, gentle rain
  2. Cuddly little furry animals
  3. Cuddly little scaly animals
  4. Babies
  5. A flower garden
  6. A field of flowers
  7. A high, sun-drenched meadow
  8. A glorious, solitary tree
  9. A majestic view of the mountains
  10. The wind in your face, standing in a high place
  11. Standing/walking on the beach
  12. Looking at the sea
  13. The smell of the sea
  14. Sitting by a river
  15. A waterfall
  16. A walk in the woods
  17. A crackling campfire
  18. The smell and sizzle of bacon (/food or cooking in general)
  19. The smell of old leather
  20. The feel of a finely balanced knife
  21. Having your hair brushed
  22. Having your back scratched
  23. A foot massage
  24. Soaking your feet in hot water
  25. Drinking hot beverage on a cold winter’s morn
  26. Snuggling
  27. Appreciating the nuances of a fine wine
  28. Appreciating the nuances of a fine beer
  29. Appreciating the nuances of a fine liquor
  30. The smell of Greek Fire in the morning (it smells like…Victory)

 

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Need some fun ideas for things for your PCs to be afraid of? What would your NPCs put on their “Social Profiles” for Dislikes?

Here is a resource of phobias, aversions and things some people just plain don’t like.

Roll a d30!

  1. phobias in D&DFear of Spiders
  2. Fear of Snakes
  3. Fear of Dogs
  4. Fear of Cats
  5. Fear of Birds
  6. Fear of running water (rivers, streams)
  7. Fear of deep water
  8. Fear of walking on a frozen lake/pond
  9. Fear of Horses
  10. Fear of Fire
  11. Fear of Men
  12. Fear of Women
  13. Fear of Heights
  14. Fear of the Dark
  15. Fear of Caves/being underground
  16. Aversion to Dairy foods
  17. Aversion to soft foods
  18. Aversion to spicy foods
  19. Aversion to piping hot beverages
  20. Aversion to eating meat
  21. Aversion to eating fish
  22. Aversion to getting feet wet
  23. Aversion to getting hair wet
  24. Aversion to touching slimy things
  25. Aversion to getting hands dirty
  26. Aversion to putting face under water
  27. Aversion to sleeping in the same room with more than one other person
  28. Aversion to sleeping alone
  29. Aversion to being unclothed
  30. Aversion to touching strangers

 

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Conan the Destroyer and PRrincess JennaBack in my middle- and high-school days I read everything Conan I could get my hands on.

Novels, comics, whatever. The large-format Savage Sword of Conan were my favorite, with longer stories, usually complete in one issue, and the art! Awesome.

Hack-n-slash, demons, wizards (scantily-clad babes didn’t hurt, either), SSoC had everything you could ask for in the Sword & Sorcery genre. Even the movies in the 80s were great, with action, monsters and exotic-looking locales.

All of these had a major effect on my D&D campaigns and gaming. There was almost always a Thulsa Doom character, lurking behind the scenes, pulling strings and making people do unpleasant things. Of course it was up to our heroes to wade in, swords swinging and spells singing. IIRC we had a pretty epic battle with the party fighting their way through the temple to confront Doom on the balcony, looking out over the forbidding wastelands. I suspect this was also the first time a magic-user took the chance of setting off a Fireball spell partially indoors! (BITD Fireball spells affected a volume of space, defined by a sphere of 33,000 cubic feet, which fills up dungeon rooms and corridors in a spectacular fashion!!)

I’ve been re-reading the Conan stories (in chronological order of they were written, as it happens) again while the plague keeps us at home. I have to say that I honestly don’t remember them being so dark and atmospheric and Eldritch. Perhaps I stuck to the longer novels and novellas by the supporting team of authors that joined the Conan universe, but maybe I’m just older and more discerning now. In any case, it is amazing how much richer and more atmospheric the stories are than I remember.

In  our very first glimpse of Conan, already a King!, we see conjured spirits, vile sorcery, treachery, a great wizard reaching out across time and space, and a mighty battle for survival. Whew! Today, this tale would get puffed and inflated into a 1,800-page trilogy with paragraph after paragraph describing the enameled pin Conan wore to clasp his cloak.

This is a pretty good place to look for where I started to play D&D. We had the castles of Ivanhoe for our characters to live and relax between adventures, but just over the hill were the deserts of Samarkand and the jungles of Kush. Ape-faced demons lived in caves in the mountains and the pirate Queen Belit harried the coastal towns.

Appendix N by Jeffro JohnsonIn Appendix N Jeffro Johnson writes about how Conan is a barbarian, and how it is Conan’s integrity, rather than his savagery, that distinguishes him from the “civilized” man. For me, I love the stories less for the character of Conan, and more for the setting of the Hyborian World itself.

Jeweled cities. Dusty deserts. Steaming jungles.

Ancient, cyclopean stoneworks, once a mighty wall about a castle built of eldritch, green-tinted marble-like stone now tumbled to ruin. The words are so evocative and romantic, they transport me to that place. I can see the stones overgrown with vines, smell the air, and hear the wind whistling through the shattered ruins of the ancient temple.

“Only the age-old silence brooded over the mysterious ruins of Kuthchemes, but Fear was there; Fear quivered in the mind of Shevatas, the thief, driving his breath quick and sharp against his clenched teeth.

He stood, one atom of life amidst the colossal monuments of desolation and decay. Not even a vulture hung like a black dot in the vast blue vault of the sky that the sun glazed with its heat. On every hand rose the grim relics of another, forgotten age…shattered images whose horrific features the corroding winds and dust storms had half-erased.”

Robert E Howard: Black Colossus

Who doesn’t want to go there and discover what lies beneath the sands? This is where my D&D came from, and where it continues to be found.