Archive for February 2017

Modrons as Ambulatory Lament Configurations

Even though I'm a big Planescape fan the only time I recall using any sort of modron was for a player character, but for some reason today I had this idea to make at least the cube-shaped modrons (duodrones?) into walking, self-changing Lament Configurations.



I figure that they'd each have a few configurations that let them summon various types of demons, bind creatures in hooked chains, and even manifest a region of hellspace around them. No limit to how many times they could "cast" a spell, but the casting time would be 1d4 or more rounds.

LESSER HELLCUBE
Level 2 Medium Construct
XP 10

Ability Scores
STR +0 DEX +0 WIS +1
CON +2 INT +3 CHA +0

Defense
Initiative +0
Speed 30 feet
AC 12 DR 2 (metallic frame)
Fort +2 Ref +0 Will +1
Resist fire 10 Vulnerable radiant 5
Immune disease, poison, sleep, charms
Wounds 14 Vitality 0 Total 14

Offense
Gore +1 to hit; 1d6 piercing damage

Bladed Chains (1d4 rounds): One creature within 30 feet suffers 5d6+3 slashing damage and is restrained (DC 14 Strength check to break free). If the target succeeds on a DC 14 Reflex save, they suffer half damage and are not restrained. Each round the target is restrained it suffers an additional 1d6+3 slashing damage.

Summon Demon (1d6+1 rounds): The lesser hellcube summons 1d4+1 fallen ishim or 1 fallen cherubim. If a creature grapples the lesser hellcube, they can make an opposed Strength check to force it back into its original shape and banish the fallen angels.

While I could see using other modron types/shapes, in 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons modrons can combine into more powerful types (and break back apart when quantity matters were than quality): I could see these guys doing a similar thing, forming into larger cubes to wield more powerful magic.

Now that the players have wrapped up The Golden Spiral in our bi-weeklyish A Sundered World FrankenFourth playtest campaign, it's Melissa's turn to (hopefully) run something, which gives me time to run with this idea. Coincidentally, the home-base island that the players cooked up is cube-shaped...

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

FrankenFourth: Druid & Fighter Playtest

Cast
  • Merric (3rd-level human fighter)
  • Pikala (3rd-level elf druid)

Summary
Merric and Pikala were hired by a village to investigate a mining village several days upstream, to figure out why the nearby river had gotten so polluted, which would probably also answer the question as to why a previous group they sent to investigate hadn't yet returned.

The further they ventured the more contaminated the river became, until it was a viscous, black sludge slowly oozing past them. When they finally arrived at the mining village, the affects of whatever had altered the river were so potent that not only was nothing growing within a considerable distance, even many of the nearby rocks were crumbling to dust.

The streets were empty and quiet. Merric checked a random house, and was not surprised to find only corpses within. Pikala examined them and determined that they had died from severe poisoning. They didn't bear any wounds, which caused her to suspect the river water. She couldn't imagine anyone drinking from it in its current state, but it was the only lead they had so they continued following it.

They soon arrived at what could generously be described as a waterfall sluggishly dripping out of a large opening. Stairs hewn into the mountain side wound up towards it, but before they could ascend several zombies crawled forth from the river and attacked. Pikala temporarily restrained a few with conjured roots, giving her and Merric time to whittle the other two down before the rest could shamble over.

During the fight Merric was poisoned by their bites, but Pikala assured him that its effects were only temporarily (albeit prolonged). Pikala healed his wounds, and once the effects of the poison wore off they climbed the stairs.

The interior of the cave was completely dark, though they could hear what sounded like picks chipping away at stone. Unsure what to expect, and wanting to keep their hands free, Merric lead the way with sparse light from his enchanted sword. They observed numerous branching paths, with a handful of zombies scattered about oddly focused on the task of mining. Rather than wander about, the pair continued to follow the river.

It led to a fetid pool that was fed by a downpour of presumably fresh, pure water from above. While exploring its edges for the source of the corruption a basilisk emerged from the filth. The dim light made it easier for them to avoid meeting its deadly gaze, though even cursory glances were sufficient to ravage their bodies.

Pikala bound it in thick roots once it crawled out of the pool, and Merric managed to blind one of its eyes before it was able to break free (making it easier still to evade its gaze), after which it began savagely tearing at him with its numerous teeth and claws.

Calling upon the last of her magic, Pikala healed Merric's wounds and cleansed some of the venom coursing through his veins, keeping him alive long enough to continue occupying the basilisk long enough for her to drive her spear through its head, and finally slay the foul beast.

Design Notes
The purpose of this playtest was to test out the druid, as well as a fighter geared around maneuvers (as opposed to being hyper-focused on dealing damage).

Melissa's character started with the Entangle, Wildshape, and Renewal talents. I realized afterwards that I should have given her a couple more talents, since the druid is based on the cleric, which gets two Domains plus Lance of Faith at 1st-level, buuut there's always next time.

She didn't use Wildshape at all due to the time requirement, so I'll probably end up reducing it to a single action. I considered allowing you to spend a point of Favor to speed things up, but since Favor is a per-day resource I don't foresee anyone bothering with that, either. I suppose I could ramp up the effects of Wildshape to make it more tempting, but then I don't want druids to just focus on that and stay in animal form all the time, either.

Entangle was great: she was able to damage each of the zombies in the first encounter, plus trap a couple for a round or two, which gave the characters some extra time to whittle the others down. It was even able to keep the basilisk tied up for a couple rounds.

As expected Renewal was useful: it's based on the cleric's Healing Domain talent, after all.

Adam and I discussed giving the fighter more talents, because right now it only gets one talent choice at 2nd-level: the other levels are eaten up by passive attack and damage bonuses, plus multiattack. I didn't want to have to further nerf the fighter, but I also didn't want to load up the other classes with more stuff, so we settled on a rule that allows fighters to swap out their damage bonus for a talent.

Even doing so twice (giving him the Bodyguard, Sweeping Strike, and Trip Attack talents), his character was still exceptionally effective, and his high AC and Damage Resistance gave him a good deal of staying power (except against the basilisk's gaze attack, which ignores all armor).

The basilisk is one example of many monsters that can be harvested upon death. In this case the PCs were able to get 100 sp worth of basilisk blood, and 40 sp worth of basilisk hide. Adam likened it to Monster Hunter, which someone else has noted, but the only PS3/PS4 versions I've seen are (so far) only available in Japan. I've seen people describe God Eater 2 as monster-hunter-ish, so I'm going to pick that up since it's only like $30.

One of the players in our Thursday game will be unable to play after a few more sessions until he can get his work schedule sorted out, which might take upwards of six months. So, we're looking for at least one other player, though since we'd only have two players even if/when he comes back you'd still be able to game with us.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

A Sundered Fragment - Art Pack II

This art pack contains all of the art from A Sundered World: Player Fragments.

As with our previous three art packs, you can use the art in this pack in anything but another stock art collection (at least, not without asking us first), you can use it as much as you want, and you can edit it however you want to make it work. The only condition is that you need to credit us.

You can see a preview of every illustration in the pack over on DriveThruRPG, using either of the preview links.

Another Note: If you purchase using the PayPal Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG. Please allow up to 24 hours for delivery, though it usually ends up taking maybe a half hour, and at the most eight (depends on if you buy it after we've gone to bed).

$3.99

$4.99


Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Design & Development: The Druid

I've been on and off working on the druid for awhile now—mostly trying to figure out how I wanted its magic to work—and it's at a point where we can finally playtest it (which we'll be doing this Thursday in place of our A Sundered World campaign).

Here's what it looks like right now:

Stats & Proficiencies
Wounds and Vitality would be on par with the cleric.

They can use claw bracers, clubs, daggers, darts, greatclub, longbow, quarterstaff, shortbow, sickle, sling, and spears.

They can wear light armor and use a light shield. Not restricting them from wearing metal armor (right now, anyway), because they can wield metal weapons.

Wildshape
This is an at-will thing, but it takes a minute (so you can't go back and forth in combat).

Now, our Dungeon World druid lets you turn into basically anything that's your size: you gain all of the new forms features and limitations (including, for example, flight and the inability to speak), and chose x options from a list, such as thicker skin, better natural weapons, and complete mastery over one of the form's abilities (ie, if your form lets you fly, you don't fly so clumsily).

I'm thinking a similar approach would work here, too, but with a generic stat block or two to determine things like default Speed, AC/Armor, and natural weapon damage. When you turn into an animal, you get to pick x options to beef yourself up, such as increased Strength, Speed (and flight, climbing, and swimming Speeds), and darkvision.

Also like our Dungeon World druid, you suffer a penalty to your Intelligence and Charisma (reflecting your mind becoming more primal).

Ranking this up and/or taking related talents lets you transform into things bigger and smaller than you are, plus plants and elementals, choose more options, and transform more quickly.

Druid Magic
From what I could find druids were, among other things, religious leaders, so the easiest way to handle druid magic would be to just give them Favor like a cleric. Clerics already have a sacrifice mechanic (a way to regain Favor sooner by sacrificing valuables), which also works well with druids what with all the human sacrifice.

Other things I'd considered (and might use for other classes):

Commune With Nature
You make a Wisdom check to do something, and if you succeed it happens. If you fail nothing happens, but like our nomad I could also have seen a kind of Calamity table if you nat 1'd the check.

Universal Recharge
If you haven't played 4th or 5th Edition, some monsters had abilities that would say something like recharge 5+. When they used that ability, at the start of their turn you'd roll a d6, and if you roll that number or higher they could use it again.

With this mechanic, when you use a recharge ability you can't use any other recharge abilities until you make the roll, but you could suffer Wound damage to give yourself a bonus on the roll in case you really want to use a recharge ability when your turn comes around. 

Weaker abilities would recharge on something like a 3 or 4+, while more powerful magic would require a 6. Also could have played with using larger dice, and letting you roll multiple dice and take the highest result.

Druid Talents
Here's a bunch of potential talents I also whipped up.

Barkskin
Grants AC/DR bonus when not wearing armor (or rather, doesn't stack with armor), but adds fire vulnerability 5. Rank ups increase AC/DR and reduce fire vulnerability.

Call Lightning
Single-target attack. Requires stormy weather or a bound storm elemental. Costs 1 Favor.

Chain Lightning
Prerequisite: Call Lightning
Spend additional Favor to have lightning bolt arc onto another creature.

Charm Animal
Prerequisite: Wild Speech
Charms on animal of your level or lower. Can only have one charmed animal at a time.

Command Water
Control water in an area. Can also make it attack. Costs 1 Favor.

Entangle
Area-effect attack that can restrain. Costs 1 Favor.

Pack Master
Can summon more animals. Takes longer. Limit by total level.

Reincarnation
Ritual that brings someone back to life as something else.

Rejuvination
Ritual that requires target buried in ground to increase healing.

Renewal
Touch a creature and heal them (prolly 1d8+Wisdom Wound points). Costs 1 Favor.

Speak With Plants
Communicate with plants. At-will, no cost. Might be required for Wild Speech.

Summon Animal
Prerequisite: Charm Animal
Ritual that takes x minutes (or spend 1 Favor to get it right away). Animal requires an offering of food or it flees. Can be up to your level, and you can only have one at a time helping you.

Summon Elemental
Ritual that lets you summon and bind elementals. Limited by your level.

Transfer Health
Living sacrifice grants health to another. Can also transfer Wounds between willing creatures (including yourself).

Tree Shape
Ritual, at-will. Turn into a tree that can slowly move about. Rank ups let you attack and move faster.

Tree Stride
At-will, teleport from tree touched to another you can see. Rank ups increase distance and let you teleport as a swift action and even an immediate action.

Wall of Wood
Prerequisite: Entangle
Exactly what it says on the tin. Extra ranks increase size and add thorns. Costs 1 Favor.

Waterbreathing
You can breath underwater. At-will. Can use a ritual to grant water breathing to others for a limited time.

Weather-Worker
Can change local weather. Ritual effect, or spend 1 Favor if you want it right away.

Wicker Man
Ritual that basically lets you make a wood golem. Level is yours when you make it, and rank ups increase the size.

Wild Speech
Can talk to any animal. At-will, no cost.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 509


Cast
  • Humal (level 9 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 9 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 9 elf rogue/ranger)

Summary
As soon as Sumia finished describing as best she could the bloated amalgamation of Bozal and Kyuss worm within the room, there was a muffled groaning of metal. When she peered through the hole again the creature was gone. The pipe leading into the pump had been torn open, which begged the question: was it coming for them, or retreating?

The party swiftly retraced their steps through the southern hall and training room, and when they arrived at the hall that connected to the pump room a wave of dark green slime swimming with worm-ridden undead came cascading towards them. As the undead staggered to their feet, the Bozal-Worm emerged from the pump room—an act that took some effort due to its considerable size—and began gradually wriggling its way towards the waste chute.

With the hallway clogged with undead and dark green slime, it was impossible for the party to pursue the Bozal-Worm; at least it was also too narrow for more than a few of the undead to claw at Corzale as she held the line. Unfortunately, despite the Bozal-Worm's impeded speed and the undead's susceptibility to Corzale's twice-blessed hammer, by the time the last of the undead fell the Bozal-Worm had already vanished down the waste chute.

Apparently it hadn't intended on confronting them, but the question now was where was it going, and why?

Design Notes
Another short session because Jacob had to duck out early (real life can do that to you), so we spent some time after the game talking about various game stuff and armor.

I'm overhauling armor (boo...), but not the armor mechanics (yay!): added a few new armor types, shuffled some stuff about, grouped everything into light/medium/heavy categories, got rid of Speed penalties entirely (so Armored Mobility will probably end up being a slight increase to the maximum Dexterity bonus that a given suit of armor allows), and the new Armor Class/Damage Resistance ceiling is +5 for both (was formerly +4/+4 for plate).

This puts plate-clad warriors nearly on par with lightly armored, Dexterity-focused rogue-types (AC 15 versus 16, though you can grab a shield and also get a 16), which I'm fine with because heavy armor also gives a buttload of damage resistance. Plus, as with A Sundered World you'll be able to purchase armor (and weapons and other things) made from special materials, namely mithril and adamantine.

In terms of the actual adventure (The Champion's Belt), I changed how the Apostalic Scroll can be interacted with such that a party can actually do something with it, which has caused a huge shift in the expected course of events in this adventure, and I'm totally okay with that. It'll be really interesting if the party fails to stop Bozal-Worm from doing whatever it is he intends on doing (I know, but they don't).

Showcased where we are with the cover art on this post. The basic game is virtually done, just gotta do a few more bits of art and reorganize some of the writing, which will give people more time to submit feedback.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Design & Development: The Nomad

I based the nomad from A Sundered World loosely on the psychoportation psion specialist from 3rd Edition's Expanded Psionics Handbook, but rather than give it something like per-camp power points, we opted for a roll-and-hold move that lets you do things like teleport and manipulate things from a distance (including "manipulating" a sword into a creature's guts).

(If you want to see more details, I posted a preview of the class awhile back, and though A Sundered World was released just over a year later it's still very close to the final iteration.)

Since FrankenFourth is more of a traditional Dungeons & Dragons thing, we started out giving the nomad power points that recharged during a short rest. The idea was that this would allow Adam (Waive's player) to utilize his psychic powers more often, but when shit hit the fan he ended up just hanging back and burning through his power points tele-stabbing things.

Granted this strategy was effective at both killing monsters and keeping Waive alive long enough to take their shit, it just failed to properly evoke the feeling of a highly mobile mind-mage, so we're going to strike out in a drastically different direction. The first thing is that most if not all of the nomad's stuff is going to be usable at any time...

BLARGHLARGH GAME BALANCE!?!??!
...with some caveats.

The first is what we're calling the "ripple" die. Reflecting the ever changing spatial fabric, the ripple die is rolled at the start of every round, or whenever the nomad tries to do something outside of combat (unless he happens to do two things in the span of 6 six seconds). It starts at a d4, and whatever value comes up determines the range of many nomad powers. As you level up, the die increases, and doing certain things can further modify it.

For example, short range teleports will be the ripple die's current value x 10 feet. If you roll a 4, then great you can teleport 40 feet that round, but if you get a 1 then you can only go 10 feet.

Same goes for the nomad's teleport-stabs, sensory projection, grabbing/placing things beyond arm's reach, and so on. We know that some people consider teleporting to be a super-big-game-destroying-deal (think of the pits and walls!), but we're hoping that the variable and overall limited distance will prevent what I suppose some would consider abuse.

The next thing are "tear" abilities.

Adam had initially pitched this idea back during A Sundered World's development. The idea was that fold (the hold currency that the nomad uses for many of its abilities) would be used for more passive things like teleporting, while a "tear" currency could be gained and used for more destructive powers. I'm not sure why it didn't make the cut: maybe we couldn't make the mechanics work, or I didn't think players would want to juggle two types of hold (in addition to hold from defend and potentially other moves), but we're giving it a shot this time.

These are for when the nomad wants or needs to risk tearing open the fabric of space for various reasons. Examples we've cooked up in a pair of G+ comments are to give you a bonus to the ripple die on the following round, dealing area-effect damage (based on the fabriquake move from A Sundered World: Player Fragments), creating a zone where everyone is hasted or slowed, teleporting a creature away (with or without damage), and even shuffling everyone in an area about.

Though these are also usable whenever, the nomad must make an Intelligence check each time he gives it a shot. Failure means rolling on a Calamity Table to see how it backfires: could mean you take some damage or are dazed/stunned, but you could also accidentally summon something from beyond space and time. Ideally I'd like to have one Calamity Table, but depending on how many tear abilities we cook up they might each have their own (or there might be a few tables and each ability will refer you to a specific Calamity Table).

Finally, some nomad abilities will be usable whenever-if-you-have-enough-time, or be passive effects. An example of the former is a really long range teleport, taking 10 minutes or 10 minutes per x miles or something like that, and an example of the latter would be a talent like Making Waves, which bumps up the next ripple die roll by +1 for each 10 feet you move on your turn (encouraging you to stay on the move).

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

FrankenFourth: WIP Cover

Since people are now looking at the nearly-finalized FrankenFourth basic rules (if you're interested leave a comment or hit us up on whatever social network thing you use), I figured it was time to work on the cover since I want something flashier than just the title. Here's where we are so far:


I'd like to cram a third character in there somewhere. Maybe behind the fighter (which is the same fighter that we used on the cover of The Fighter, and you might recognize the rogue, too). Still gotta add some more detail to the rocks and dragon.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

FF/ASW: The Golden Spiral Finale

Cast
  • Asheal (level 3 ishim wizard)
  • Hordac (level 3 tarchon battlemind)
  • Waive (level 3 scion nomad)

Summary
Probably hoping to avoid another pointless massacre, Giganteos quickly clarified that the party weren't helimorphosis volunteers, which caused Doctor Lucorum to immediately lose interest and return his focuses back to the tasks at his many hands.

Giganteos explained that this alchemical lab was primarily used to experiment with all the slime excavated from numerous pockets within the First Snail, which resulted in,among other things, healing potions, malleoil, and youth oil. The party decided to continue on, and return after they decided whether to spare the Doctor and his assistants.

After passing across and out of the lab, Giganteous proceeded to guide them to the only other rooms they hadn't already ransacked: the hatchery and garden. Asheal managed to convince Hordac to not incinerate the snails and eggs in the hatchery, and they opted to just skip the garden because from what Giganteos said they were only growing carrots and lettuce (and they'd discovered plenty of food in the dining room).

They returned to Cubopolis (a cube-shaped island filled with gears) and informed the salt-cthon Kloros of their success (their deeds were corroborated by Iodes). Waive and Hordac demanded double the pay, but Kloros informed them that he regrettably only offered what he could provide, just before saying his farewell to Iodes and crumbling into a large pile of salt.

Design & Development
The basic rules for FrankenFourth are basically done: we're just going through a round of closed feedback to see if anyone catches any issues with the rules, and trying to make sure that everything makes sense. If you're interested, leave a comment or email me at antiochcow@gmail.com and I'll share the Google Doc with you.

Need to work on refining the nomad and battlemind (but since they would be in the FrankenFourth version of A Sundered World it's not a high priority right now).

I'm not satisfied with giving nomads power points (though I think it would work "well enough" if we can't find something better). Currently I'm thinking of making them roll a "ripple" die every round to give them a power multiplier (reflecting changing ripples in the fabric of space). It'd start at something like d4, then gradually scale up as you gain more nomad levels.

For example, their teleport power could let them teleport 10 feet * whatever the die value is: if you roll a 3, then you can teleport 30 feet that round, but if you roll a 1, then you only get 10 feet. Obviously this wouldn't be that big of a deal out of combat (just keep waiting and rolling until you get a high enough value), so the big thing would be playtesting this to see if/how these powers can be abused.

(Right now this would be "at-will" stuff, though again they might end up with power points, and depending on how easy it is to recover them the power effects would change.)

During development of the Dungeon World/A Sundered World nomad, Adam (the guy that basically only plays nomads to the point where his character is the art for the nomad section, and makes appearances in other bits of art) kicked around the idea of letting you play with fold and tear currencies, with tear being use for more destructive powers.

We ultimately decided against it, because people didn't want to juggle a bunch of hold currencies all the time, but this time I think we could make it kind-of work. You wouldn't spend points (so far), instead making an Intelligence check: if you succeed then you do whatever it is you wanted to do, but if you fail you'd roll on a table to see what sort of calamity occurs (kind of like wild magic).

Possible uses for tearing the fabric is increasing your "ripple" result on the following round, banishing a creature for a period of time (random duration, reappears in a random spot), creating an an area of "difficult terrain" (or giving allies a speed boost/teleport), stopping someone from moving at all, dealing area-effect damage, or even summoning an entity from outside time and space (not necessarily controllable).

The battlemind is a simpler fix: just need to compare it to the fighter (which I've had to nerf like three times so far), and remove some passive stuff (like the damage bonus) to account for their psychic powers.

Anywho, now that we're finally done with The Golden Spiral Melissa is taking the reins for our next adventure. She's got something planned with time travel and/or temporal anomalies, so I'm rolling up a kytheran chronomancer. Once she's done I'll probably have to run again, and I've got an idea for a vampire adventure that I think is wildly different from the usual fare.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

D&D Doesn't Use Vancian Magic

On a whim I picked up Appendix N, a purchase that I've been questioning, borderline regretting since the first chapter on Jack Vance in which the author gets a number of things wrong, including the notion that people don't "get" (pseudo-)Vancian magic simply because they never read The Dying Earth.

Magic in The Dying Earth does make sense, and can be very easily explained without requiring you to read any of the books, it's just that Dungeons & Dragons magic deviates from The Dying Earth such that it no longer makes sense.

Basically, in The Dying Earth a wizard picks the spells he wants, and after an unspecified amount of time (The Dying Earth role-playing game requires 20-60 minutes, but I don't remember any mention of time in the actual stored) they're stored in your head and ready to go.

While conceptually a fire-and-forget model, going off the books it sounds less like you're literally memorizing-and-forgetting spells, and more like you're cramming the spells into your head and releasing them at a later time:

Maziriam made a selection from his books and with great effort forced five spells upon his brain: Phandaal's Gyrator, Felojun's Second Hypnotic Spell, The Excellent Prismatic Spray, The Charm of Untiring Nourishment, and the Spell of the Omnipotent Sphere. This accomplished, Maziriam drank wine and retired to his couch.

They also might be alive or intelligent to some degree:

Turjan found a musty portfolio, turned the heavy pages to the spell the Sage had shown him, the Call to the Violet Cloud. He stared down at the characters and they burned with an urgent power, pressing off the page as if frantic to leave the dark solitude of the book.

A key difference from Dungeons & Dragons is that wizards in The Dying Earth have a universal head space. It's not oddly compartmentalized into leveled slots. You don't have some first level slots that can only hold 1st-level spells, and you don't have 2nd-level slots that can hold 1st- or 2nd-level spells, but if you fill it with a 1st-level spell the rest of the space is wasted (just as if you used a whopping 9th-level slot).

Another key difference is that overall the magic is prep-and-release: the closest thing I could find to "at-will" magic is cantraps (yes, cantraps) from The Dying Earth role-playing game, though I don't recall them in the stories. If you play 4th Edition you could drop cantrips and at-wills, and treat everything as an encounter spell (since it seems like you can just keep cramming more spells in your head over the course of the day): you'd just need to bump up how long it takes you to re-prep them, adjust how many can be stored at a time, and/or modify their effects to account for the frequency change.

If you play 5th Edition, also drop cantrips and let wizards re-prep their spells--not slots, but actual spells--during a short rest, though you'd still need to overhaul what spells do and probably adjust how many you can store at once. Treating them as rituals would also work (for both 4th and 5th Edition), since you can cast them right out of your spellbook if you have the time.

We've already designed a "vancomancer" for Dungeon World: you get 1 spell slot per level, there are simple spells (1 slot) and complex spells (2 slots), because that's how it worked in The Dying Earth role-playing game, and when you cast a spell it's always released, but you can keep prepping spells throughout the day so long as you have the time and spell available.

If I were to make a vancomancer for FrankenFourth or Dungeons & Delvers (and I'm debating whether the default wizard should use this), it'd basically be the same: you have x slots (probably 1/wizard level, or maybe based on your Intelligence+wizard level), and you can fill your head with any spells you want so long as you don't exceed this total

I could see more powerful spells taking up more than one slot, and maybe even make a spell do more if you let it eat up more space. So, instead of something like fireball dealing 1d6 damage/level, it'd deal 1d6 damage per slot it uses up. There'd also be a way to try and "simplify" a spell (reducing the number of slots it needs), casting a spell right out of the spellbook, and casting a spell more quickly (chance that it doesn't work, is easier to resist, and/or causes some random effect).

You can reload your spells with enough time, maybe something like 10 minutes per slot, or just reload however many you want during a short rest. Because of this the overall effects of spells probably wouldn't be like what you see in other D&D games.

I also wouldn't base saving throws on the number of slots a spell requires (i.e. how 3rd Edition based spell saves on the spell's level), so even simple spells could have some use at later levels. Though, your wizard level would boost the save Difficulty: currently it's +1 every five levels so long as you have a focus (though the overall math doesn't scale quickly so it's not like you're completely crippled without one).

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If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

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