Friday, December 22, 2017

Return to the Old School

You hear it in the earth, the rumbling of the ancient herds...
This is a revisit to this old post, now made useful with GLOG.

The Humble Art

Any human can use the Humble Art. You have spell dice equal to your WIS modifier, and these dice can only be used for casting spells of the Art. If you have at least 1 spell die, you know WIS - 10 spells. Learning new spells requires the tutelage of another individual. Spells of the Art cannot be written down or copied in spellbooks or scrolls.

Wizards do not use the Humble Art. Years of academia have blackened their opinion of it to such a degree that they would not consider using it except in a most desperate situation, and even then only after the rest of their magic has been spent.

Spells of the Humble Art can be improved if the correct sympathetic components are in place. Add +1 spell die when casting with the components listed below. Additional dice are burned out upon use and do not return.

The Old School Spell List

R: touch  T: self  D: 0

In reading the entrails of sacrificed animals, you look for an omen of what is to come. You have a [dice] x 10% chance of successfully foreseeing a future event, plus [1 die] per hit die of sacrificed creature or hour spent cloud-watching.

Even if successful, omens will often have multiple potential meanings.

Call Upon the Folk
R: 100'  T: Folk  D: 0

Roll under WIS. If successful, the local Folk will appear to you, and you gain [dice] to your reaction roll when conversing with them.

Summoning a specific being requires one of the following:
  • The location is strongly associated with a particular entity 
  • [sum] > 15
  • The Folk's true name is known (automatic)
Contact Other Plane
R: 100' T: extraplanar creature  D: 0

Roll under WIS. If successful, you successfully make contact with another world.
    • If [sum] < 10, the recipient plane and being is random. 
    • If [sum] > 10, you can contact a random being on a specified plane.
    • If [sum] > 15, you can contact a specified being on a specified plane.
    Gain +1 [dice] by consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms. Automatic success with the true name of an extraplanar being.

    Detect / Locate
    R: 30' + [sum] x 5 / 100' + [sum]x5 / see below T: Object or creature D: concentration / 0

    Detect: The caster can tell if the target is passing within range
    Locate: The caster can determine the specific location of the target
    • 1D: general noun (ex: dog)
    • 2D: specific noun (ex: my dog, Old Yeller)
    • 3D: vague or immaterial (ex: love, help)
    If you have a piece of what you are trying to locate, you will be able to know its exact location at the time of casting.

    R: 20' T: spirit possessing object or creature D: 0

    Cast out an evil spirit of [dice] HD or lower from an object or creature. This will not destroy the spirit, just remove it from its host.

    Gain +1[dice] from holy water or other objects / substances anathema to the spirit
    Gain +2[dice] if you know the spirit's true name

    R: 20' T: Object or creature D: 0

    Effect depends on the [dice] invested.
    • 1D: Caster can determine if something has been changed by magic, and the potency of the enchantment. Mundane properties and names are revealed (ex: "this is phosphorus, it can burn underwater."
    • 2D: Caster can determine the above, as well as what kind of magic was used, when it was enchanted, and the effect of the enchantment. Advanced mundane properties are revealed (ex:
    • 3D: Caster can determine the above, as well as who created the enchantment
    • 3D + physical piece of target: Learn the true name of the target or of the original caster.

    Hunter's Mark
    R: sight T: creature D: permanent

    Marked target takes [dice] extra damage from all of your attacks, and you are aware of its general location within [sum] miles.

    Magic Circle
    R: [sum] T: spirit D: until broken

    A circle is marked out on the ground which may hold and bind a spirit of [dice] HD or less. The Folk will consider this a grave insult.

    Gain +1 [dice] if the circle is made with salt, iron flakes, or other substances the spirit does not like.
    Gain +2 [dice] if the circle is inscribed with the target's true name.

    R: touch T: object D: 0

    An object weighing [sum] pounds or less, made of stone, clay, wood, or fiber, can be repaired. Mending metal in this manner requires 2 [dice]. Using this spell a second time on the same object carries a 1-in-6 chance of breaking the object completely, increasing by 1 each time it is mended.

    Purify Food and Water
    R: touch T: food or water D: 0

    You can clean and prepare [sum] tainted rations. Roll a second d6: on a 1, the removed toxins become a rotball sprite. (0 HD, 1 HP, AC as unarmored, 1 damage, save vs poison or 1d6 CON damage until cured)

    Produce Flame
    R: 40' (when thrown) T: self D: as below

    Liberally inspired by Mateo's pyromancer. Damage = [sum]. The size of the fire is determined by the dice invested:
    • 1D: candle (STR 10)
    • 2D: torch (STR 30)
    • 3D: fire (STR 40, two hands)
    • 4D: inferno (STR 70, two hands, takes full turn to cast, movement speed halved)
    • 5D: fire breath, 30' cone. (STR 50)
    +1 [dice] for possessing the heart or blood of a dragon. Bonuses stack from different dragons.

    R: 1 mile T: clouds D: [sum] x 30 seconds

    You can shape or create [sum] cloud-glyphs, which last for [dice] hours. Each glyph will be a simple word or idea: one cannot make the statement "Help! We are under siege by orcs!" but "Help (needed) / orcs / danger" is a viable message.

    Spare the Dying
    R: Touch T: Creature D: [dice] hours

    The target, upon hitting death's door, can cling to life for [dice] hours, so long as they are not injured again. The caster must save against poison each hour or take 1d6 damage from shouldering the target's pain.

    Speak with Dead
    R: touch T: corpse or other remains D: 10 minutes

    You can communicate with lingering spirits that have died within the last:
    • 1D: day
    • 2D: month
    • 3D: year  
    To call up spirits older than a year, the caster must know the language of the dead and invoke 3 [dice].

    Ghosts are imprints of an individual, and so do not possess all of that person's knowledge, nor are they able to provide incredibly specific information unless it was incredibly important to the target.

    Woman's Work
    R: n/a T: n/a D: n/a

    With the proper equipment (material components, a cooking pot, water), you can make [sum] doses of contraceptive, proconceptive, or contramenstrual. These are universally-accepted trade goods, and can be redeemed for favors, mundane items, and information. This spell can also be invoked for the safe delivery of an infant.

    Weave Tale / Song
    R: n/a T: n/a D: n/a

    This spell requires another post all on its own, as it has no set form. Until I make that table, have a look at Jeff's post here, pick any of the fairy tales listed, and adapt it. You don't even have to read the story, just write up your own using that title.

    Aboriginal rock art, photo by Graeme Churchard

    Special Spells

    Control Weather
    R: local region T: environment D: 6 hours+

    The ritual has a base [sum]% chance of success, but there is no limit to the amount of people (and their dice) that can be added. Attempting to change the weather to something unseasonable or unnatural (ex: snow in summer, rain of frogs) halves the percentage of success.

    Roll +1 [dice] for every two hours beyond the six required.

    Coming of Age
    R: touch T: adolescent D: permanent

    The boy stands before his father and the elders of the community.  The girl, having bled to the first time, is taken by her mother to the local wise woman. They must go out and accomplish a task: hunt a beast, make a pilgrimage to a holy site, outwit their elders, prove their bravery, perform a rite before the community, solve a seemingly-impossible task, learn of a great secret, accomplish some act in the community's benefit, or so on.

    Upon completion, the target gains 1 level. They are now permitted to marry, and will be welcomed as an adult of the community with all responsibilities that entails. (Translation: You take 2 extra convictions and must pay 50% of your earnings back to the community). In some regions, couples engaged to be wed are assigned the same task, and must complete it together.

    Failure through cowardice or other personal weakness creates an evil spirit, which will haunt the individual and prevent them from gaining XP until they succeed at the task, or defeat the spirit.

    Passing the Torch
    R: touch T person: D: permanent

    A character of level 7 or higher bequeaths some or all of their [dice] to another individual.  This does not compound across generations (ex: A has a +2, and gives it to B, who has +1. B now has +3, but would only be able to pass on +1 to C).


    1. "Humans have nothing innately cool or unique about them" is dreary and unimaginative design, I say.

    2. My wife and I really like this class. I awarded it as an unlock when she rolled a character with higher than 15 WIS.