FrankenFourth: Scrolls & Spellbooks

Normally in Dungeons & Dragons and Dungeons & Dragon-ish games, scrolls are both a common treasure and disintegrate after use (or the writing fades).

They're basically a way for you to spend time and maybe money to eke out a few extra spells, either for emergency purposes or because come on how often do you actually use something like comprehend languages?

But, one goal of FrankenFourth is to look at all things Dungeons & Dragons and change them if necessary, so here are my thoughts:

  • Scrolls don't disintegrate after use
  • Anyone can read from a scroll if it's written in a language they can understand
  • Reading from a scroll takes one or more rounds.

Still need to decide whether reading from a scroll is a static number of rounds (so more complex spells take longer to read), a static number minus your Intelligence (so smart characters can do it faster), a random number (like 1d4 or 1d6+2), or a random number minus your Intelligence (if your Intelligence is a factor, the minimum would be 1 round).

Now, reading from a scroll would function like a normal wizard spell, meaning that you have to pay a Fatigue cost. Normally Fatigue damage subtracts from Mana, Vitality, and finally Wounds (so you can die by casting a really powerful spell), but if you don't have Mana then it goes straight to your Vitality (ouch) and Wounds (double ouch).

Additionally, any rolls would also be based on Intelligence, so while any character can do it, wizards do it best because Intelligence is their main stat. They also have Mana to burn, and have class features that bump up attack and damage rolls when using arcane spells. Even so they won't wanna do it all the time, especially if it takes more than one round since they can do a lot of magic things in one round anyway.

For spellbooks, I envisioned them containing magical information, ritual spells, and recipes for magic items. I suppose talents could be reflected as individual spells, so someone could pore through a wizard's spellbook with the Evoker talent and cast it right out of the book (but as above it would take longer and harm the caster unless they have a Mana pool).

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

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

Hot on the heels of The Blackguard, The Troll is out! The Rogue is up next: we should have an alpha draft ready soon.

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).

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