Register a SA Forums Account here!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Locked thread
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
Hrm, the Bone Gnawer book is better than I thought it would be. At least they didn't take credit for actually founding America.

pospysyl posted:

That werewolf is wearing a WWII army hat. I take back everything I've said about the art.

Reposting from the last thread


Jul 9, 2003

Does having dirty laundry have mechanical effects in Ryuutama? Because that would make Knights of Cleansing even better.

wdarkk posted:

It's pretty cool to do things like spontaneously cast the entire evocation school and most of conjuration too as a wizard. The whole point is to come up with new ways to astound the DM.
Wouldn't casting every evocation spell at once grind the game to a halt and likely gently caress things up worse than they were before you started? :confused:

neonchameleon posted:

It's even worse - the spells you're casting can be one level higher than the spells you can cast so you can use a 7th level slot to spontaneously cast any 8th level spell from the list.

Oh. Oh I see.

Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!

Zereth posted:

Wouldn't casting every evocation spell at once grind the game to a halt and likely gently caress things up worse than they were before you started? :confused:

Absolutely! :allears:

Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade- Character Building
Creating a character has six steps.

First, you think up your character concept, Passion, Element and Clan.

You all know what a character concept is.

Passions are things that motivate the character, influencing their actions and thoughts, blah blah blah, don't be a directionless murder hobo, blah blah blah, key to inner self, blah blah blah, plot hooks. Nothing new to see here.

But passions should also have mechanical effects! Bonus xp for roleplaying, bonuses to rolls when acting according to your Passion, penalties for acting against it.

You can change your passion if story stuff happens to justify it.

The game gives a list of Passions you can take:
Approval- You want other people to like and respect you, especially people you yourself respect. Get bonus xp when they notice you.

Code Of Honor- You have personal rules you do your best to never break because you think they're necessary to live a worthy life. Get bonus xp when following it causes problems.

Collector- You like collecting things. Get bonus xp for acquiring pieces with dangerous connections.

Community- You wrap your identity up with your connection to a group like your home town or nation. Get bonus xp when you help your community.

Escape- You're trying to get away from someone or something. Get bonus xp when you move closer to escaping.

Faith- You are very religious. Get bonus xp when you use faith to help yourself or others get overcome hardship.

Greed- You want to acquire as much as possible of something, whether money, jade, women or even knowledge of wushu. Gain bonus xp whenever you get a bunch of whatever you want.

Joy- You like being happy and making other happy. Get bonus xp when you convince someone to see the good in a bad situation.

Love- You are a romantic, either in love yourself or care about the love lives of others. Gain bonus xp when you help your own or someone elses love life.

Perfection- You want to perfect yourself, whatever that means to you. Gain bonus xp whenever you move closer to it.

Power- You want to have control and influence over others Gain bonus xp for gaining power over something.

Protection- You want to defend something or someone. Gain bonus xp for removing a threat.

Rebellion- You have “the heart of a rebel” and oppose a power greater than yourself. Gain bonus xp for fighting against an ideal or person and convincing other to join him.

Rivalry- You have a competition with another, maybe even a historical figure you wish to surpass one day. Gain bonus xp for getting “a leg up” on your rival.

Truth- You want to learn secrets or solve a great puzzle. Gain bonus xp for learning something.

Vengeance- You want to get revenge on someone or something. Gain bonus xp for getting closer to your revenge.

Warrior- You love battle and conflict. Gain bonus xp for overcoming an enemy more powerful than you.

Elemental Souls
After concept and passion you pick your Elemental Soul

“Elemental Souls” are an affinity to one of the five “elements”, that affects what chi a character starts with, their personality and special combat bonuses. Each also has effects that a character suffers if they have too much or too little chi.

Earth characters are “sturdy, honest and trustworthy. They are the symbol of balance and are tied to the earth.” They don't like traveling or changing their minds. Often faithful.

Earth characters get one Yin and one Yang chi, and one extra of their choice. They get a bonus to Strike for a round each time they dodge an attack.

When Earth characters have too much chi, they become Scared of Life- stubborn and extremely cautious, they must make Fear checks to put themselves at any kind of risk.

With too little chi they become Indulgent- uninhibited and selfish, doing and taking what they want without care for the consequences.

Fire characters are “born energetic, artistic and passionate. Like fire, they burn bright and often take the spotlight at social engagements.” They are born leaders.

Fire characters start with 4 yang chi. They get a bonus to Parry for one round each time they land an attack.

With too much chi they become Loquacious- they talk incessantly, blathering on about whatever comes to mind. Make an Insanity check to keep from leaking secrets or offending anyone.

With too little chi they become Overheated- they become abrasive, paranoid and jumpy and must make a Fear check if startled or angered to avoid attacking. While attacking, they can only take “Assault Rounds.” (Jumping forward to what this means in the combat rules: for one round the character wigs out and attacks wildly. Give bonuses but you can't defend yourself or activate wushu)

Metal characters are “filled with bravery, discipline and an overwhelming sense of justice.” They like routine and rules and set in their beliefs, but able to be flexible and compromise.

Metal character start with 2 Yin chi and 1 Yang chi. They get a bonus to their attack damage for one round every time they are hit by an attack.

With too much chi they have No Mercy- they must make an Insanity check or become ruthless and destructive.

With too little chi, they are a Wallflower- they become shy, withdrawn, nervous and indecisive. Make a Fear check or be too embarrassed and awkward to act decisively.

Water characters are “naturally intelligent, posess great memories and are cautious in their approach to life.” They have a great range of emotion and like to travel.

Water characters start with 3 Yin chi and 0 Yang chi. They gain a bonus to Strike for one round whenever they parry an attack.

With too much chi they gain Deviousness- they become obsessed with planning and scheming and must make a “Moderate check” to not waste time planning about doing something, rather than doing something. (Yes, someone forgot to put what type of check to make in here.)

With too little chi they are Escapists- they are hesitant and worry rather than act decisively. Make a Feat check “to avoid a coward and a hermit”[sic]. This gives a whopping two fewer actions each rounds.

Wood characters “have a king, sharing and gentle spirit to them, usually accompanying a healthy complexion.” They are often defenders of the weak, and independent but competitive.

Their starting chi is 1 Yin and 2 Yang, and they get a bonus to Strike every time they hit with an attack.( So every time they hit with an attack, they are more likely to hit with all their next attacks that round.)

With too much chi, they are Unbending- they become inflexible and stubborn, refusing to pay any heed to the opinions of others and being overcome by pessimism. Make an Insanity check or be unable to compromise or be accepting towards new people.

With too little chi, they suffer a Loss of Self- the character becomes weak-willed and easily convinced. Make a Fear check or suffer a small penalty to Empathy, Persuasion and Deception.

There is a picture of a woman looking pretty :smugbert: because she is holding a boulder larger than her torso with one hand, and flexing the other gun show style.

Chi is energy. It is everywhere. There's two types, Yin and Yang. Ninja are trained to use their chi and the chi around them to power their wushu.

A character has Permanent Chi ratings and Temporary Chi points. Permanent Chi is the maximum amount they can normally hold, Temporary is the amount they have at any given time. Character can have up to 10 of each type, Yin and Yang, but it tends to mess them up physically and emotionally.

Chi returns at a rate of 1 point per 30 minutes, but doesn't specify what type you get and at what point. Maybe it's one of each type? You can meditate and make a Discipline roll to get back the chi in only 5 minutes and you can spend Stamina, “sacrifice” Permanent Chi or take an action in combat to regain chi.

Balancing Chi
A ninja's chi is balanced if they have at least one chi of either types AND neither amount of temporary chi is higher than two more than their permanent Chi.

If a ninja has more Yang chi than their limit (remember, Permanent Chi + 2) then they suffer from Elemental Imbalance (the “too much chi” in the elemental soul descriptions). If they have 0 in either, they suffer from Elemental Depletion (The “too little chi” part).

Having chi over your Permanent chi is dangerous: if you Crit Fail on a wushu check while you have too much chi, the excess explodes inside you, suffering a bunch of damage per point and losing all the excess chi.

Sacrificing Chi Values
If a ninja needs a poo poo ton of energy in a hurry, they can convert a point of Permanent Chi into 5 points of Temporary Chi of the same type. This lowers their Permanent Chi temporarily (:psyduck:) by 1, inflicts a penalty to wushu activation checks and takes 1 day to heal per point.

Yang chi “is the energy of life, the sun and physical energy.”
Sacrificing Yang chi:
Produces 5 yang chi points.
Turns non-lethal damage to lethal (I assume on your attacks) for 1 round
Heal 10 health
Get 3 extra actions in the round.
Automatic success on an Athletics, Acrobatics or Fortitude check.
Automatic success to activate a Yang wushu
Get a bigger effect of a Yang wushu

Yin chi presents “death, the moon, stillness and mental energy.”
Sacrificing Yin chi:
Produces 5 Yin chi points
Disregard an opponents AR (think Damage Reduction in D&D or soak in a White Wolf game) for one round.
Halve the damage from an attack
Start at Count 1 (the very top of initiative in a round of combat)
Automatic success on any Discipline, Empathy or Persuasion check
Automatic success to activate a Yin wushu
Get a bigger effect of a Yin wushu

There are a thing. They are Strength Power, Dexterity Agility, Constitution Vigor, Intelligence Intellect, Wisdom Insight and Charisma Charm.

They are rated from 1 to 10, with 4 or 5 being average, and 10 is as awesome as a human can be.

You get 30 Attribute points to spend. Each attribute costs 1 point to raise by 1. 9 and 10 cost 2 each.

Power has these effects:
Base Damage- Determines the damage bonus your characters attacks have. Low Power = penalty, high Power = bonus.
Lifting/Carrying- How much you can pick up and haul around, 50 pounds and 25 pounds per level of Power, respectively. There are penalties for lifting too much.

Agility has these effects:
Balance- Guess what it does, I dare you.
:siren:Combat Modifiers :siren:- Modifiers to your Strike, Throw, Parry and Dodge. Low agility gives penalties, high give bonuses.
:siren::siren:Extra Actions per Round:siren::siren:- you get an extra action each round if your Agility is 8+.

I bet this one isn't as good as it seems at first glance. :allears:

Vigor has these effects:
Stamina- Character get stamina points based on vigor that they can spend to exert themselves. More on these later.
Holding Breath- 20 seconds per level of Vigor.
Resistance checks- Roll to: resist poison, disease or drugs; death if you're dying; remain conscious if you would be knocked out or need to sleep.

Intellect has these effects:
Bonus Skill Points- Extra skill points in character creation.
Memorization- Remembering things.

Insight has these effects:
Resistance checks- Roll to: resist Fear/Awe; resist Insanity (used for emotional trauma and mental attacks); shrug off pain.

Char has these effects:
Barter- You can make deals to buy stuff with a cost equal to half you Charm, rounded down, if you don't have the Class to afford it.
Other Social Checks- It's Charisma, you know what this entails.
Summoning- Used to summon supernatural creatures.

Stuff you know how to do.

Every ninja starts with the skills Discipline, Legerdemain, Stealth, Survival and their Primary Fighting Style at 1. (This is where the Grasping Shadows clan benefit kicks in; they start at 3 in these skills instead.)

Skills are rated from 1 to 15. Characters get 30 + IQ skill points to spend. Skill levels 1 to 10 cost 1 point each, 11 to 15 cost 2 each and the same for your Primary Fighting Style. Characters spend their skill points to buy levels in their fighting style.

Characters can only put points in their clan styles, unless they buy a Gift to acquire out-of-clan ones.

Using Skills
Don't let using skills replace roleplaying. Don't roll for every little thing.

You use skills by rolling 1d20 and adding your level in whatever skill and particular attribute the GM decides are relevant. (This is the first time the game has said what dice you need and how you use them.)

There's a little chart for difficulties:
Simple (10)
Moderate (20)
Tough (30)
Legendary (40)

Some skill can't be used untrained. In opposed checks the higher total wins. You can do extended checks where you have to succeed multiple times to complete a long-running task.

A natural 20 is a critical success. A natural 1 is a critical failure.

You can retry a roll if you fail, with penalties if it's a complex task.

You can get specialties at levels 5, 10 and 15 in a skill. These are narrower applications where the character gets a +2 bonus. Alternately, you can gain the bonus to use the skill to activate related wushu (this seems like a good idea).

People can work together to do stuff.

Bonuses for high quality tools.

This is all pretty generic.

The standard skills are:
Acrobatics- Balance and tumbling and crap. :siren: Every 3 points gives +1 Dodge, Parry and Initiative:siren:
Arts- Arts crap.
Athletics- Physical conditioning, running, jumping, climbing, etc. :siren: Every 3 points gives +1 Strike, Throw and Grapple :siren:
Beast Handling- Controlling animals
Crafts- Making stuff.
Deception- Lying. Also disguises.
Discipline- Self control and focus.
Empathy- Reading others.
Fortitude- Endurance. Gives +1 Roll for every 3 points and extra health per level.
Holistics- Healing and medicine, :japan: style.
Intimidation- Scaring people.
Knowledge- Knowing stuff.
Linguistics- Knowing languages. There's a list of languages; Learn an extra one for every 3 levels.
Legerdemain- Palming, pickpocketing, lockbreaking, sleight of hand.
Perception- Noticing stuff.
Performance- Music, dancing, etc.
Persuasion- Convincing people.
Stealth- Staying hidden.
Survival- Living off the land.
Travel- Getting around. (if you know what I mean ;) (it means you know horses and boats and wagons and stuff))

Next post will have the fighting styles, gifts and drawbacks and finalizing your character stats and character advancement.

ThisIsNoZaku fucked around with this message at 07:17 on May 14, 2013

Sep 12, 2007

He push a man

Its your body, abuse it!

We start with a short nWoD style history of the Seasonal courts: in the west, dating to the "end of the Dark Ages"1, but also starting during the Roman Empire.


Anyway, the Greater Courts were founded in times that are legendary to modern changelings, by individuals who made a pledge with their seasons to empower the Mantle of the court- a sort of magical shield that, while still in the same fae vein of the Wyrd, is separate from the Gentry. These pacts also give a form of a magical Contract2, and also a device to share control and power with their fellow changelings of a like style.

Yes, if you don't share the narrative, the Keepers come to snatch you away. Morals of the Story are a theme.

So North America & Europe get the Seasonal Courts as a 'thing'. But the Sun courts (dawn, noon, dusk, night) and Directional Courts (East, West etc) and a Bhuddist court are also extant.3 But because Glamour is a piece of the emotional Wyrd, each Court also gains a dominant emotion that it is also tied to.

Our first court, Spring, is tied to Desire. The court is about rejuvination, and to act as if you are still alive and have something to live for- anything, as long as you desire it, will keep you alive and away from the Keepers. Founded by Mother Susan, she is said to have given her fae-born child (changelings are naturally infertile4) to create the court.

So, Spring is about life, liberty, hope, growth, love, family, beauty and joy. But never forget: Spring is not about good. Everything is about finding the poetic truth behind other's actions, and imbuing every action with poetic truth. They go stealth into groups of people trying to find a short respite of happiness, and give it to them so that the Fae cannot pick them out. And when the True Fae arrive, the monarch throws a party so awesome that the Wild Hunt is repelled and appalled, like the Grinch listening to the songs of Who-ville.

So its not about selfishly going after your own desires- its about bonding with others so that THEY can find their desires with and in you. Selfishness is what defines the Others, say the Lost. If you fail to bring the beauty of desire, in yourself or others, then you are slowly shunned by the court until you are the wallflower that slowly withers.

The imagery of Spring is necessarily classic Romantics: rapier, lance, etc. The rituals are festive. And the emotion is always, always about getting what you want.

The mantle is fairly simple, if slightly underpowered; +1 to Socialize, Ally & Contacts at 1xp per dot, and then a re-roll for the first social roll in an encounter. Spring is given a bonus to initial social scenes, but they don't get anything to keep them strong or reinforce those contacts; Spring is the season of rebirth, not of lasting friendships.

(next time: Summer and probably Autumn)

1 - Collapse of the Byzantine Empire? The end of the Wars of the Rose? Early Renaissance? And how west are we talking: western Europe, all that is west & north of Jerusalem, everything west of India? I'm happy with assuming Anglo-centric, because C:tL is largely Anglo-centric.
2 - Sadly, not every pledge gives you the ability to cast magic, but the rules for making new contracts or courts in Equinox Road involve heavy oaths.
3 - Sun & Moon as well as the Directions are in Winter Masques, and Dusk & Dawn get their own books. The Bhuddist courts never get mentioned.
4 - A factoid that I am eternally thankful for. Pregnancy in tabletop is at turns creepy, misogynistic, and boring.

Nov 5, 2010

Warning, Internet
may prove lethal.
Interesting point, they do offer the idea of a fertile changeling. Although if I recall correctly it's incredibly rare and can attract all the wrong kinds of attention. They recommend having it as an NPC and running the story around keeping the mother and child safe from the True Fay. Which could be pretty fun if you play it right. One of the plots in a Vampire: the Masquerade game (Which has dropped the whole goth "I'm so dark" premise in favour of crazy magical adventures across multiple dimensions) I'm in was about protecting a very powerful NPC and her unborn children from all manner of horrible things from mages to high generation vampires to time paradoxes. Actually turned out to be great fun and at times quite dramatic. Guess it helps our GM was a lass.

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer
I've always felt that the rules forbidding changeling children, whether born to Returned ones or Returned themselves, was a shuddering response to their being such a huge influence in Changeling: the Dreaming. Not only were they the most magically powerful age of changeling, but they were often the worst played and a huge pain in the rear end when it came to dealing with the mundane world. Additionally, there developed a common theme of changeling lovers conceiving changeling children despite the rules and fluff stating that was vanishingly rare because of the dictates of theme.

Apr 28, 2013

Bieeardo posted:

I've always felt that the rules forbidding changeling children, whether born to Returned ones or Returned themselves, was a shuddering response to their being such a huge influence in Changeling: the Dreaming. Not only were they the most magically powerful age of changeling, but they were often the worst played and a huge pain in the rear end when it came to dealing with the mundane world. Additionally, there developed a common theme of changeling lovers conceiving changeling children despite the rules and fluff stating that was vanishingly rare because of the dictates of theme.

That, and the Law of Inverse Fertility (in fiction, the chances a couple will have a successful pregnancy is inversely proportional to their desire to have one) is a thing, and a very old thing at that.

The Wyrd, being as obsessed with stories as it is, has probably decided that if you or your SO want a baby, you're going to have to work for it. There's at least one goblin fruit that induces a guaranteed knocking up (that only grows on the horns of goblins who embody that same virility, ie large and hostile) and a Goblin Contract meant to induce it in yourself or others (which, given how it's a Goblin Contract, naturally comes with a downside-the child is going to be supernatural in some way, which means a lot of headache in the future at best, more likely given how you're a changeling a True Fae will take notice and try to add your child to his curio collection).

Mar 1, 2013

You Are All

Gerund posted:

4 - A factoid that I am eternally thankful for. Pregnancy in tabletop is at turns creepy, misogynistic, and boring.
The online chats I frequent have rules ranging from "roll to see if you get preggers!", "roll to see whether you're carrying a male or female", "roll to see if you're carrying twins or more!" and the dear-god-I-can't-believe-this-is-required rule of "unless both characters want to get pregnant it doesn't happen" to discourage rape-babies.

I need a better hobby.

pospysyl posted:

That werewolf is wearing a WWII army hat. I take back everything I've said about the art.
Equal parts :black101: and :patriot:.

I really like how humble the Bone Gnawers come across - where you'll have other tribe books going on and on about how they've influenced major events and shaped the world around them, here you have a bunch of Scot-Irish equivalents going "yeah, we helped a bit but it's the regular people that actually made a difference". That and, well, there's just something about The American Dream as a totem that hits this Texan right in his happy bits.

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer
Yeah, it makes me think of the Vertigo 'Uncle Sam' comic miniseries.

Sep 20, 2002

Do you think I posted to this forum because I value your companionship?

This class has always bugged me for some reason. There's just something about telling the game 'I like figuring things out and solving mysteries' and having it come back with 'Oh great, here's a bunch of abilities that mean you now get to bypass all those boring figuring things out or solving mysteries parts'. I really like the idea of the contacts, though, and I'd just like to have a non-caster supremacy version of the class that maybe gets some other bonuses instead of the spell-like abilities.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
Yeah, it's a worse version of the Watch Detective from that otherwise lovely ranger/barbarian/druid splatbook.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Cradle and Crescent

On to highlights of the area! (I'm skimming a lot here.) The Bedouin tribes are particularly strong in the magical ways. Many Bedouin sahirs do quite well for themselves by hunting down vis and trading it to urban sahirs for money or books. Almost all Bedouins follow the code of muru'a, a pre-Islamic honor code relying on hospitality, courage and honor as well as forgiveness, loyalty and self-sacrifice. Very rarely, the Bedouins harbor pagans who still do not practice Islam. The Bedouins have deep ties to the jinn, and many of their tribes are led by jinn-blooded elders. Bedouins are very loyal to their clan and family, and a shockingly large number of them have supernatural powers related to memory, animals, travel, cursing or the desert. Bedouin sahirs are more often Gifted than urban ones. All tribes have at least one sahir, often supported by female hedge magicians known as hakima, 'wise women', or kahina, 'soothsayers' or male shai'ir, poets. The hakima and kahina resemble folk witches, and we'll talk poetry in a bit.

The Middle East as a whole is just completely packed with ghosts, jinn and so on. They're everywhere. Very handy if you want to find them, at least. On the north edge of Mecca, there is a cemetary where the Prophet's family is buried. Near it is a mosque called the Mosque of the Jinn, for it iis primarily in use by Muslim jinn. Humans may attend the mosque as well, and the respectful are always welcome - sometimes a bit overenthusiastically. The mosque possesses a potent Faerie aura.

We get a sidebar on Arab poetry - it's very important, especially to Bedouins. A poet is a soothsayer, a historian and more. Poetry battles are even used to resolve conflicts. (Yeah, Bedouins have been doing rap battle for millenia.) Bedouin poets (and, rarely, other poets) occasionally possess supernatural powers related to their poetry, either tied to memory or hypnosis. It is even said that the jinn hold poetry contests for the Bedouin, granting them supernatural might if they win. Magi and sahirs may well seek to compete, depending on what this year's prize is.

Let's see...southern Arabia and Yemen are home to the syrenii or iaculii, winged serpents. They are highly venomous, but not actually innately magical - they're just flying snakes. They are aggressive and hard to tame without magic, and some say the strongest of them possess magical powers. But that's true of most animal species, really. On to Mesopotamia! In some ancient cities you may find Faerie guards, the aladlammu and apsasu, who are fierce foes of demons and disease. They make powerful allies for a community as a result. The aladlammu appear as bulls with wings and a bearded human face, while the apsasu have a female face. Shedu and lamassu are the same, but with winged human bodies instead of bull bodies. Honestly, Mesopotamia is full of monsters and faerie gods who seek human interaction simply because nearly no one worships them any more. They're desperate. Some want worship, others just want to talk to people again.

Baghdad is notable for being two cities - the human Baghdad, and the faerie Golden Baghdad, which can be accessed via many hidden paths. The tales of the Arabian Nights are endlessly re-enacted in Golden Baghdad, and it's entirely possible to stray into those stories without realizing you even crossed a Faerie threshold. In fact, straying into Golden Baghdad by accident is so common that it's considered an acceptable excuse for being absent among the people of Baghdad, most of whom have been there at least once.

The town of Arzanjan is noted for its remarkable brasswork. I bring thus up only because their brass-smiths are literally magical. Arzanjani brass-smiths are initiated by their guild into a magical mystery that grants them the power to make brass soft and flexible, so it may be reshaped without nearly as much effort as usual. This is the secret of the Arzanjani skill with brass. Handy, I suppose.

Moving on to Persia! Persia is home to many supernatural beings, from the faerie maidens called peris, who are known for entrapping men, to the wizards known as yatus, faerie summoners who primarily act as sahir, but some reject Solomonic magic and use the faerie Ars Fabulosa, which we will learn about eventually in Realms of Power: Faerie. The yatus are often pagans, which can make things difficult with other sahirs. The Mobeds have already been discussed, of course, and will get to the Nizari. Instead, let's talk about Zahhak! In ancient times, Zahhak was the demonic ruler of all Persia, the slayer of the ancient hero Jamshid. He ruled for a thousand years until ended by the hero Feridun. However, sometimes a Zahhak reappears and most be defeated - though never as potent as the original.

What's the secret? Zahhak is not a demon. Rather, Zahhak is what happens to those possessed by the demon Azi Dahak, who grants his power and turns them to evil. It usually takes Azi Dahak some time to build up the power needed to possess a new person after his last host is killed, though. The last Zahhak was 14 years ago, the Shansabani Sultan Mohammad al-Ghuri. However, some say that Genghis Khan is or is advised by a Zahhak. This may or may not be true. The first Zahhak, as a note, isn't dead. He is bound beneath Mount Damavand, kept alive by the divine bindings placed on him by Feridun. Seeking him out might help in finding the ways to defeat a Zahhak. You can tell a Zahhak by the black snake that grows from each shoulder. The snakes crave human brains, and drive their host to get them for them.

In the steppes of northern Persia is a race of men known as the Ghuzz. They descend from the Biblical giants Gog and Magog, and they are infamous for both being amazing fighters and completely uncontrollable. All Ghuzz are larger than normal men, and the most potent are those with strong giant blood, larger still and often immune to any form of mental manipulation - magic or non-magic. Ghuzz leaders often possess the supernatural power to control lesser men, forging even unorganized groups into the equivalent of drilled soldiers. However, the most potent Ghuzz also tend to hate authority and orders, so they don't usually organize into large groups. They breed and ride huge horses, and those horses of the largest Ghuzz rival small elephants.

The town of Kajaran is home to magical worms, which grant good luck to those that own them. The worms must be fed mulberry leaves, any only by one person, or they will die. As time goes on, they give more and more luck, wealth and power. However, if the worm is allowed to live four years, the user becomes obsessed with feeding it, and after the fifthy year becomes terrified of it. No one in Kajaran allows a worm to live more than five years for fear of becoming a horrible, luck-powered tyrant once the worm becomes a dragon. (It happened once. It wasn't pretty and it involved death by boiling lead.)

The town of Isfahan is famous for its carpets - and for good reason. Many of the carpet-makers are able to weave magical carpets. Most famous are the men known as Dadvand and Yarankush. Dadvand is a rich man who produces flying carpets; his family has been making them since the time of the Sasanids, and the Suhhar Sulayman loves to buy these magical flying carpets despite the exceptional expense. Dadvand also produces magical rugs of other sorts, such as a rug that speeds healing. Yarankush, on the other hand, makes protective rugs. His specialty is rugs that make a loud noise when stepped on by any but the owner, a great boon for those who fear murder. However, Yarankush is secretly a member of the Nizari assassins, and he hides a warning in the design so that Nizari know not to step on it. Since advertising ownership of a Yarankush rug defeats the purpose of having one, this hasn't slowed down sales.

Let's the peak of Mount Damavand lives an immense bird, the Simurgh. She is exceptionally powerful and seen as a bringer of fertility. Which she is - fields she flies over are extremely fertile. She is extremely wise on many subjects, and has the power to control the winds. She is so large that only magical weapons can harm her, too. However, she is known to grant the worthy one of her breast-feathers, which contain potent vis and may be burned in a fire to summon the Simurgh in times of need. The Simurgh is large enough to lift an elephant, has the head of a dog and the claws of a lion. She has a peacock's tail.

Next time: The Nizari and the Silk Road.

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer

NorgLyle posted:

This class has always bugged me for some reason. There's just something about telling the game 'I like figuring things out and solving mysteries' and having it come back with 'Oh great, here's a bunch of abilities that mean you now get to bypass all those boring figuring things out or solving mysteries parts'. I really like the idea of the contacts, though, and I'd just like to have a non-caster supremacy version of the class that maybe gets some other bonuses instead of the spell-like abilities.

I don't necessarily disagree, but that does come back to the old argument about player ability vs. character ability. If you enjoy picking through clues and interrogating NPCs as a roleplaying exercise, there's really no need to take the class. If you want to be that good, but your group can't be arsed to play with riddles or can't pull off the Columbo they want to play, it's a
perfectly useful tool.

Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20

Bieeardo posted:

I don't necessarily disagree, but that does come back to the old argument about player ability vs. character ability. If you enjoy picking through clues and interrogating NPCs as a roleplaying exercise, there's really no need to take the class. If you want to be that good, but your group can't be arsed to play with riddles or can't pull off the Columbo they want to play, it's a
perfectly useful tool.

Yeah, I love the flavor of the class, that you are so hyper-competent at what you do that you can perform literally supernatural feats (I wish they were Extraordinary or Supernatural abilities instead of Spell Like, but we'll take what we can get), if you don't want that stuff then you don't have to take the class, beyond the contacts there's nothing it offers that a rogue doesn't.

Eberron is also the setting that introduced Crime Scene Investigation and Urban Tracking as activities worthy of mechanics(which I'll go over once I get to Feats).

Sep 6, 2009

"Democracy for the insignificant minority, democracy for the rich--that is the democracy of capitalist society." VI Lenin


Davin Valkri posted:

I wonder if British tankers using that tank would wonder why the 18th U.S. President was screaming in their ears.

(It is a Lee/Grant joke)

(Same tank, except the one with the rounder turret on the left was used by the British and called the "Grant", while the one on the right used an American turret and was called the "Lee".)

I believe the Russians called the M3E Lees that were lend-leased to them during the 2nd World War as the "coffin for the 7 brothers."

I think that is the best name for this 7 crew "tank."

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Cradle and Crescent

The Nizari Isma'ilis dominate Persian politics not by territory, which they have little of, but by threat of murder and subterfuge. See, back in the 1050s or so, there were three apprentice sahirs, Abu Ali al-Tusi, Hassan-i Sabbah and Umar Khayyam, who became close friends. They wore brotherhood, and that if any achieved greatness they would share it. Abu Ali al-Tusi was the rising star, becoming vizier to the Seljuk Sultanate and taking the name Nizam al-Mulk and the title of grand vizier of the Suhhar Sulayman. As agreed, he offered positions to his friends. Umar refused, asking instead for funds to continue studying. Hasan accepted, but only to get close to the vizier. He'd secretly become a member of the Isma'ili sect, and at their instigation, he murdered his childhood friend. The Suhhar was outraged, but at the dying wish of their grand vizier, they did not seek vengeance. However, reconciliation became impossible, and a schism within the Isma'ilis led Hassan's superior, Prince Nizar, to flee to the fortress of Alamut in Persia.

Hasan-i Sabbah continued to train his followers in the ways of the sahir. The Nizari Isma'ilis became feared for their single-minded devotion, using magic to aid in their stealth and secrecy, as well as their assassinations. The Seljuk governor of Persia proved unable to stop them or even respond. The Nizaris took key towns, but in doing so they made the people fear Isma'ilism, not embrace it. The Nizaris and the Suhhar Sulayman settled into a pattern of trying to destroy each other, but losses on both sides have been about equal. The Isma'ili have settled into some Syrian mountain fortresses as well, and the most famous of the Syrian Nizaris was Rashid al-Din Sinan, who died in 1193, and became famous among Crusaders as the Old Man of the Mountains. It was in Syria that they earned the derogatory name 'hasishiyyin', smokers of hashish, which became the Crusader word 'assassin.' The Nizari are rigid ascetics and do not in fact use any drugs at all. Rather, the name comes from the disdain the people have for the wild beliefs and behavior of the Isma'ilis. In Persia, they are more often called Batiniyya, or men of the batin, and Malahida, heretics, for they reject sharia law.

The Nizari sect is divided into ranks. The lowest are fida'i ('devoted one') and lasiq ('adherent'), neither of which are initiated into the true cult. They are the assassins who give the group such notoriety. Above them are the mustajib ('respondents'), who are initiated into the first mysteries, followed by the da'i ('missionary'), bujja ('proof') and the dai'd-duat ('chief missionary'). The top of the sect is the imam-qa'im, the mystical and spiritual leader. Their philosophy is called the da'wa, or mission. A core of their doctrine is taqiyya, the concealment of belief in the face of danger. Islam stresses the importance of truth and honesty, but taqiyya allows the Isma'ilis to hide their beliefs and deny them to others, using subterfuge in the name of God.

Nizaris hold that the Qur'an's hidden meaning, the batin, contains the secrets of the universe if it can be understood properly, and they live an ascetic life according to the principles of Isma'ilism, the Rasa'il. They claim that sharia law no longer applies to those who embrace the batin, and reject the Five Pillars of Islam, receiving no benefit from them. They also reject dietary restrictions, the authority of the caliph and so on. The da'wa says that history follows cycles, each begun by a "Speaking" imam or prophet, the imam-qa'im, and followed by several "Silent" imams. The imam, they say, is the represantion of God's Will in the world, and as he is under constant divine guidance, his commands are absolute. Nizar was a member of the silent imams, followed by Hassan-i Sabbah and the other leaders of Alamut. The imam-qa'im is claimed to be immortal and holding all wisdom; in the past, he was Enoch, Elijah, Al Khidr and Ali, the first Shi'i imam. It is believed that the currenct cycle is the qiyama, or resurrection, and those who follow the da'wa are already in Heaven, where the souls of all other Muslims and non-Muslims have already been judged and suffer in Hell.

The current dai'd-duat of the Nizari is Jalal al-Din Hasan, who took the title in 1210. He has done the unthinkable: publically converting the sect to Sunni Islam. The Nizaris, however, know this is an exercise of taqiyya and have obeyed without question. Jalal al-Din hopes to make allies among the enemies of the shah of Khwarazm, such as the Caliph in Baghdad or Genghis Khan. Many Isma'ilis believe he is the imam-qa'im. The Suhhar Sulayman still treats the Nizaris as traitors who must die, and many sahirs will drive off any known Nizari, not just Nizari sahirs. The Nizaris have no special hatred of the Suhhar, but treat them as they would any other powerful person - killing them if they get in the way.

You may play a Nizari assassin, either a magic-using one (called a mustajib) or a normal fida'i or lasiq. All assassins are dutybound and loyal to the Nizari cult, and generally trained in the arts of murder, disguise and athletics. Their headquarters are the mountain fortress Alamut, roughly translated from the Daylami tongue to mean 'the eagle's lesson.' It bears a magical aura, and is used by the Nizaris to initiate their mustajibs.

Now, on to the Silk Road! The most notable thing here is Genghis Khan. At the start of 1220, he and much of the Horde are besieging Bukhara. Within weeks, it will fall, all defenders will be executed and all civilians enslaved or worse. A fire will destroy the city, and by winter, there will be nothing left but an Infernal aura and ghosts from the carnage, save for the town's minaret, which Genghis Khan will personally spare (though not the holy men of the mosque). The ruins of the mosque and the minaret will remain a strong Divine aura. Throughout 1220, the Mongols will ravage the Jaxartes river basin, destroying several towns and capturing the Shah's capitals of Samarkand and Gurganj, as well as killing the Shah himself on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Within a year, they will penetrate deep into Persia, routing the son of the shah, and two Mongol generals will begin the campaign into Russia. The Mongols leave many Infernal auras in their wake thanks to their total destruction of towns. You know, just to make things worse.

The Mongols would be less vicious if the Shah of Khwarazm's cousin, the Governor of Otrar, had not imprisoned and executed the 450-man caravan sent to him as diplomats. (He thought they were spies, or maybe he just wanted to seize their goods.) This was seen as a grave insult to Genghis Khan, especially after his second set of diplomats were insulted by a minor functionary. They will break magical seals on the water spirits bound by the people of Khwarazm, who will help to destroy the province.

Moving briefly away from the Mongol hordes, let's talk about the ruq. The ruq is a bird the size of an elephant or larger, a magical kind of creature with a stare that inspires potent fear. The largest of them can carry off elephants. They are extremely tough, but worth hunting for the vis that lies within their wingtip feathers. Good luck getting out of their talons once they grab you, though - they have the magical power to weaken those they grab.

And then it's back to the Mongols and Mongolia. The Great Steppe has been conquered by the Mongols already, overrunning both the the Turks and the Faerie inhabitants of the area, along with the Kara-Khitai nomad dynasty that was allied with them. The Mongols worship the great ancestor/nature spirit Khan Tengri, the Great Sky. The Tengri is an immensely powerful Magical being, an Elder Daimon that governs the grasslands of the Steppe and many lesser steppe spirits. A pressing question for many in the coming years will be 'what exactly is Genghis Khan?' The book offers a few possibilities.

Genghis Khan and his Horde may be Infernally empowered, perhaps the incarnation of demonic forces of retribution and punishment of sin, such as the Avengers of Evil or Angels of Punishment. Genghis Khan may be the new Zahhak, the ancient demonic foe of Persia. The horde may even contain true demons. Perhaps the Horde are from Arcadia, Faeries manifesting as the newest shape of the Biblical forces of Gog and Magog. Faeries may well have integrated into their ranks, with Mongol troopers fighting alongside centaurs or Faerie Knights. Perhaps they are less dark Fairies, drawing on the legend of Prester John, a legend derived (possibly) from the Kara-Khitai nomads, many of whom were Nestorian Christians. The story is popular enough to inspire fairies, anyway, nad perhaps Genghis Khan and his horde are fairies taking on the role of a Christian avenger against the Muslims in order to feed on the powerful vitality contained in the emotions of the Crusaders and Caliphate when they learn of it. Perhaps Genghis Khan is an agent of ture Divine wrath, though the massacres he leads make it unlikely. The simplest option, of course, is that they are as they were in the real world: Mongols led by a brilliant general, and that's it. Or maybe Genghis Khan has the blood of some ancient Mongol hero empowering him, or has been blessed by the Great Tengri spirit with immense power. His shamans are mostly Goetic summoners with a few other supernatural abilities, like skinchanging.

The End!

Choose: Choices are: the True Lineage Houses of Hermes and their secrets (Houses of Hermes: True Lineages), Mystery Cults (The Mysteries, Revised Edition), the Mystery Cult Houses (Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults), more depth on Covenants (Covenants), the lost magic of the past (Ancient Magic), the Societates Houses (Houses of Hermes: Societates), France (Lion and Lily: The Normandy Tribunal), academic life (Art and Academe), the realms of magic and magical beings (Realms of Power: Magic), the Faeries (Realms of Power: Faerie), nobility (Lords of Men), other rival spellcasters of the world (Rival Magic), the Church (The Church), Germany (Guardians of the Forests: The Rhine Tribunal), a book on various grand goals a magus might have (Hermetic Projects) or Greece (Sundered Eagle: The Theban Tribunal).

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
Let's do Rival Magic next, because the more ways to use vis we know about the better.

Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion

I'd prefer Ancient Magic.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Rival Magic won the coinflip.

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Rival Magic

Look at this goddamn cover.

The first major rival tradition of the Order of Hermes is legendary. The Greeks spoke of a nation of warrior women, great in war, which treats men as mere breeding stock. It's said that they cut off one breast to distinguish themselves from other women. These women are the Amazons, but most stories about them are wrong. They are a society of women warriors, most of whom live on the island of Amazonia under a ruling queen. Smaller groups live near the Black and Caspian seas in secret enclaves led by generals. Sometimes they use large raiding parties, making others believe there is more than one Amazon tribe, but there is not. All Amazons owe loyalty to Amazonia. Amazonian society is extremely competitive, and there are no Amazon merchants, farmers or traders. All non-military roles in society are filled by male slaves. They are the oldest society in the world, predating Rome, the Carolingians and even the Egyptians. It has changed little in all that time.

The Amazons do not have formal laws, but rely on custom and myth to govern themselves. Their basic social unit is the raiding party, warriors banded together under one leader to loot and plunder. Several raiding parties include a sorceress, distrusted but useful. The Amazons lack written histories, but a common story among them says that, centuries ago, a king and all of his male warriors were defeated by a rival kingdom. Rather than admit defeat, the queen and all the women rode to battle, and with the aid of a priestess, they won, showing no mercy and taking no prisoners. Various legends place this in Greece, Scythia or Colopherus. They claim that they suffered a defeat at Greek hands, and three ships of Amazon prisoners were crossing the sea when the women break free and slew their captors. Having no skill with ships, they went where the wind took them, stealing horses from nearby kingdoms when they landed and retreating to far-off lands. Some legends say to Egypt, Cappadocia, Libya, Ephesus, Delos or other Aegean islands. All legends of the Amazons have in common some traits: a rebellious queen who broke social norms to avenge her husband, a spreading of followers that was difficult to track and incorporation of defeated culture in their own. The Amazons have aspects of many cultures they have fought, such as Scythian horses, Egyptian religious trappings and Greek jingoism and ethnocentrism.

Anyone can tell you where Amazons live: at the edge of the map. Since being defeated at Troy, the Amazons have intentionally fled as far as possible from male-dominated society. In 1220, they have recently relocated once again to a large island in the Caspian Sea, which they name Amazonia. Others cally it Femyny, the Maiden Land or the LAnd of Women. It is surrounded by mist and hard to find, so most don't even know it exists. To cross to the mainland, a sorceress will summon an elemental to create an earth bridge for the cavalry. The Amazons have no real interaction, formally, with their neighbors. They raid for men or goods, but have little other interest in outsiders. However, the Mongol invasion of nearby Khwarazm and the Cumans will force them to deal with the outside - Genghis Khan will not simply sit by and ignore them.

The Amazons are, within themselves, highly egalitarian. There no social classes, no distinctions. Every woman is an Amazon, a warrior. Rank is based on skill and results. Any Amazon may become Queen, should she have the skill. Once a year, each raiding party will send spoils home to Amazonia's queen, who distributes them among the people. The general of a raiding party may never set foot on the island, save if she gives leadership to another or is staging a coup. A new queen brings her raiding party to serve her, and may have to quash resistance of the old, fallen queen. The queen oversees the community and serves as judge as well as the maintainer of the slaves. She can stage raids, but they tend to be short. A queen rules until deposed and killed. When not raiding, Amazons train, but at least half the population is out raiding at any given time, leaving the other half to train their daughters. A small percentage of Amazons are old or sick, but they prefer to die in battle, so there aren't many. They serve as medics, armorers and slave caretakers.

Amazon women may take husbands - many, if they desire. Some keep their husbands with them, and househusbands are allowed, if embarrassing. Most husbands, once they do their reproductive duty, are shipped off to an eastern village, always kept small, to serve as farmers and servants, as well as raising any male children. An Amazon must kill a man in battle before she may take a husband, though there is no real stigma for sex outside wedlock, or even children outside wedlock. Male children may be raised until the age of seven and then sent to the male villages, sent immediately (where they will probably die) or killed. The mother chooses. Amazons do not sever their breasts, save for a few sorceresses. It's a myth invented by the Greeks.

The Amazons are pagans, worshipping a mix of Greek, Scythian and Egyptian deities, but they have little expectation from their gods. Sorceresses especially tend to be very suspicious of those who claim to be gods, knowing they may well be demons or fairies. They know, thanks to the greatest among their number, the sorceress Viea, that magic is not from the gods, but the Gift, even as they invoke the gods. Amazon society has very little patience for malcontents or those who will not fit. Once you go too far, you are banished and told never to return to Amazonia. If you do, you will be killed on sight. When Amazons disagree, they have a duel in the court. This settles all legal disputes. They will fight over many things - spoils, husbands, livestock, homes, children, whatever. The winner gets their way, and since Amazons usually don't admit defeat, the loser usually dies. There is no feud or vengeance for such deaths, for the loser died as an Amazon, sword in hand.

Amazonian sorceresses all have the Gift, and thus have trouble fitting in. They are seen as dishonorable and untrustworthy, though always skilled. Few realize the distrust is due to the Gift and not the winning personalities of the sorceresses, as few spend enough time with them to find out. Most sorceresses become raiders, and even occasionally generals of small raiding parties. The best parties, however, have both a general and a sorceress, two different people. Other sorceresses live in hidden caves and valleys on Amazonia, visited by Amazons who need magical aid. They often are assisted by their biological sisters, the few people who know that the Gift does not actually make them evil. Sorceresses tend to be violent against each other, raiding and stealing each others' things - after all, there's much to be gained from killing a fellow sorceress and taking her stuff. As a note: a male child born with the Gift will often be disguised as a girl and, later, a woman and brought up as a sorceress if possible. This is always kept secret, no matter what, for if Amazon society realized that the sorceress was actually a man, they would kill them immediately. There is no known Amazonian magic to change someone's physical sex, so this deception is always by mundane means.

You can play an Amazon, either a Sorceress or a normal Amazon. (Not a male, though, unless you feel like playing a slave or one of the aforementioned secret sorcerers.) Amazon sorceresses, like magi, undergo 15 year apprenticeships. Amazons speak the Amazon language, a mix of Greek and Scytian with a touch of Egyptian; there's enough commonality for someone who speaks Greek to have a rudimentary conversation. Magic is done in the ancient Amazonian Chant, and skill with the Chant makes magic last longer. It is also a language that sorceresses can use to speak to each other, though it has no written form.

Amazonian magic takes the form of pagan chants that are designed to improve warrior skills, health and so on. It is not visually spectacular, but is quite potent. It is not subtle, and sorceresses tend not to care about arcane mysteries - they're doing this for martial power. Originally, the magic was in the form of hymns to the gods, but the sorceress Viea used notes stolen from Bonisagus to codify these prayers into a system vaguely resembling Hermetic magic. It is neither elegant nor flexible, but it is more comprehensive than what used to be used. Further, she made the prayers entirely Magical, not involving the gods at all, though she couldn't stop the Amazons from using their names still. Amazon magic is divided into Vowels and Consonants, essentially Techniques and Forms.

The Vowels are: Alala, 'to open', which is named for the goddess Alala, the Amazon interpretation of Ares. Alala opens, begins, makes things yield and summons spirits. It can both heal and harm, depending on the Consonant it is used with. Ma'at, 'to measure', named for the female form of Hermes-Thoth in EGyptian theology. Old Amazon prayers used Hermes, Thoth or Ma'at, but Viea cut it down to just Ma'at. It provides information and commands spirits, though it can only be used for visual senses. The final Vowel is Papaios, 'to close', which closes or ends. It, like Alala, can heal or harm - it closes wounds, but can exhaust as well. It may also extend a sorceress's lifespan by closing her from aging. It banishes spirits, too.

We'll get to Consonants in just a bit. Amazon incantations target people based on how close they are to the caster - it's easiest to cast on yourself, then your Sisters (those you know well), then Cousins (Amazons you know the name of), Seen Strangers (people you can see that you don't know at all) and Unseen Strangers, whom you have a description of. An emotional connection can become stronger, but may never worsen, even if a Sister becomes an enemy. No spell lasts longer than a month or so...well, in theory. The better you are at Amazonian Chant, the more you multiply the base duration by, so you can end up with five or six-month spells. Inanimate targets are based on metaphysical relations - the earth beneath your feet is a Cousin, known closely but not intimately, while the far-off sky is a Stranger. The earth and sky are the primary non-living targets of Amazonian magic. Animals are always Strangers, as are earth or air elementals. Spirits are given relations as people are, so most will be Strangers unless they are Amazonian ghosts.

Amazonian magic comes in two forms: Incantations, short spells sung in battle for instant effects, which must be aimed at targets. They are similar to formulaic spells and must be learned before they can be used. Rites are the second kind of magic, longer and more complex songs similar to Hermetic Rituals. Rites, likewise, must be learned before they can be used. They can be made permanent via the sacrifice of a magical animal during the casting - the Amazonian sorceresses do not know how to use vis on its own, only in the context of animal sacrifice. As far as they know, the only purpose of vis is to strengthen magical animals.

An Amazon's 'lab' is her Temple, and within it an Amazonian sorceress may study spells, teach others, practice magic to strengthen her control of it, enchant magic items by binding an incantation into them or manufacture a scepter. The scepter is the most potent item an Amazonian sorceress can make, a mystic stick longer than a wand but shorter than a staff into which a bit of the sorceress's spirit is bound, making the device part of her. The Sorceress than chooses one Consonant, which the scepter will aid with, and inflicts a wound on herself. (This is where the cutting-off-the-breast thing comes from.) The Scepter can then be 'taught' that Consonant, increasing the skill of the sorceress when using it and helping to aim spells of that Consonant. You can only have one scepter at a time, but can destroy yours to make a new one, though you need to do another self-mutilation again.

Next time: Amazonian Consonants

Apr 28, 2013
I say Rival Magic.

EDIT: Holy poo poo that was a fast ninja. Can't complain too much, though, my vote was the same as the Random Number God. Still...holy poo poo.

Erebro fucked around with this message at 19:39 on May 14, 2013

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Rival Magic

Getting an Amazon to help a Hermetic out will be tricky at beast, but a Hermetic who managed to get enough study of the Amazonian magic might learn how to restore fatigue with sorcery - something Hermetic magic has never been able to do, but Amazonian sorcery can do with ease. Further, they might learn ways to get around Arcane Connections via emotional ties rather than physical ones, or even just get around the need for Arcane Connections, period. Likewise, they might learn to use the same sort of aiming benefit that scepters provide. Amazonian magic has more to gain from Hermetics - new ranges, development of magic to touch fire and other elements and so on. Of course, almost no Amazon would ever admit their magic was lacking and fewer would be willing to listen to lesser magicians. Viea would be the greatest one able to adapt Amazonian magic with other things, but she hates the Order of Hermes above all else.

Also, side note: some magic is actually easier to use on strangers than people you're close to - Nux and Soma, specifically. Zoi and Api are easiest to use on people you know but not well, and Kardia is easiest on people you know well.

Api, 'the earth, the day', is the Scythian name of the goddess Gaia, and it is the magic of earth and daylight. As a note - a pit opened by Api magic remains open and one closed remains closed, even after the spell ends, provided that it could remain that way naturally. It also affects animals of a melancholic nature.
Alala Api opens the earth, stone and structures, creating pits or holes. It summons earth elementals, and can open wounds in melancholic animals. It also creates or enhances light and can cause earthquakes.
Ma'at Api measures the land. It can sense distance, detect qualities of earth or earthen materials, detect earth-related vis and control earth elemantals. It can also be used indirectly to, say, find enemies by detecting the movements of the earth caused by their feet.
Papaios Api closes the earth and ends sunlight. It banish or destroy earth elementals and melancholic magical animals, ward against supernatural beings, heal melancholic animals and close holes in the earth.

Kardia, 'the heart', deals with the humors (and, by extension, health and personality). It can change personality traits unless they are an essential part of someone's nature, though permanent changes are hard. It also targets fatigue and exhaustion.
Alala Kardia creates personality traits and restores fatigue, though without a Rite it is only temporary restoration. It can also reduce the pain from sickness.
Ma'at Kardia measures health, detecting disease or personality traits.
Papaios Kardia weakens personality traits by closing off the heart and causes fatigue.

Nux, 'the sky, the night', is the Libyan interpretation of the god Ouranos, a female version of the sky god. Nux magic affects the night, the sky and sanguine animals, as well as air elementals.
Alala Nux causes weather, darkens areas, summons air elementals and opens wounds in sanguine animals.
Ma'at Nux detects air-related vis, commands air elementals, forecasts weather and detects properties of the air and sky.
Papaios Nux weakens weather and dismisses or damages air elementals and sanguine supernatural animals.

Soma, 'the body', affects the human body - and only the human body.
Alala Soma causes wounds, forces orifices open, assists in childbirth and can even kill or destroy senses.
Ma'at Soma scries on people, detects physical health and wellbeing, and detects information about people.
Papaios Soma closes orifices, speeds recovery from wounds and can heal wounds directly, though it is harder and requires some Kardia requisite.

Zoi, 'the spirit', targets souls and magic itself.
Alala Zoi summons ghosts and other incorporeal beings such as demons.
Ma'at Zoi senses spirits, detects information about Amazonian magic, commands spirits, detects the Gift or supernatural powers and can determine someone's natural lifespan.
Papaios Zoi banishes or damages incorporeal beings, reduces the effects of aging and can even suppress the Gift in others...or at truly high levels, destroy it completely.

Viea is an important person to understand when we talk about Amazon sorcery. She was born in 705, the twin of Trianoma. Both were Thessalian witches, though Viea preferred summoning to hexes. Trianoma had a vision of her sister and her fighting while Bonisagus watched, and Trianoma killed Viea. Viea's interpretation was that the many isolated wizards of the world would force the two to fight each other, and to counter this, she suggested hunting and killing Bonisagus. They failed and were captured. Viea hated it - she and Trianoma planned to learn his magic and steal it, but while Trianoma saw Hermetic magic as a path to peace, Viea saw it is a weapon. She planned a second attempt to kill Bonisagus, but Trianoma told her that she would side with Bonisagus over Viea. Unwilling to kill her sister, Viea fled into the night after stealing some notebooks. Bonisagus' arrogance prevented him from admitting it caused any problem at all, but the truth is that Viea stole the notes on restoring fatigue, and Bonisagus just decided to not try to recreate them. That's why Hermetic magic can't do it.

When Viea returned to Thessaly, she asked a spirit where she would be safe, and the answer was always 'Amazonia.' Every Greek, even the Thessalians, had heard of the Amazons, so she began to hunt for them. Forty years after finding them, she became their most potent sorceress, thanks to tinkering with Amazon magic and the stolen notes. She made it more flexible, incorporating the ideas of restoring fatigue into it. She burned with hate and joined many attacks. In 783, while spying on Thessaly, she observed Trianoma with a strange man, seeking out witches to join the Order of Hermes. Assuming the man to be Bonisagus, she attacked. The battle ended with burning huts and the sisters facing off, with several Amazons dead and the man gravely wounded. Viea used her most potent magic, but it just bounced off Trianoma's Parma Magica, and Trianoma struck Viea with powerful magic, defeating her. The man turned out to be Mercere, and both he and Viea survived.

Viea never really recovered from the loss. She was growing old, while the magi were still young thanks to their longevity rituals. She took part in an ancient mystery initiation, turning herself into a magical being...but as she did it, the Amazon Queen's sorceresses attacked her, fearing her power, and she was locked away in a tomb. Flash forward four centuries. The new queen reopened the tomb, seeking advice from the being within, hoping that Viea had not succumbed to madness. Amazonia was surrounded by Hermetics and others, and Viea hatched a plan.

The current queen, Darimusa, is the same one that unsealed Viea ten years ago. She cares more about the Mongols than Hermetics, and while normally the Amazons would make allies of centaurs, no Amazon has seen a centaur in centuries. She might move her people once more, but the rites to do so are not yet ready, and they're running low on time before the Mongols arrive. Viea claims that the cause of all their problems is the Order of Hermes, who run the world as puppetmasters. They must be struck at directly! (Viea is lying, but they Amazons don't know that.) The plan is simple, which they like: hunt down and kill magi. Viea knows magi like magical areas, so they're really hunting for magical auras in the hopes of finding a covenant. Still, Derimusa is not yet convinced. By the end of the year, she'll need to make a decision, and without a better plan, it'll probably be Viea's. Which will do absolutely nothing about the Mongol threat.

If the Amazons head to war with the Order, they'll probably try to steal books - Viea wants those books, since she's sure the secret of the Parma Magica is in them. She's right. Allowing her to get it would be a huge problem - she can read, unlike most Amazons, and since she lacks the Gift following her transformation, she can convince other sorceresses to help her out, and will teach them the Parma - or perhaps teach them to read so they can learn it from the books. If the Order is lucky, it can prevent the raids and book thefts - maybe even make peace with the Amazons. If the Amazons do get the Parma, though...well, they will march to war, as one, for the first time in known history. They are fast, ruthless and vicious. Best not to let that happen.

Next time: the Augustan Brotherhood.

Sep 12, 2007

He push a man

They often make up in wrath what they want in reason.

So now we're into the Summer Court, which is tied to the emotion of wrath. Like Spring, Summer also wishes to band together, but rather than hosting a soiree, they would prefer a sortie. Founded by Sam Noblood through a long hunt of the season, Summer believes that might is right, blessed be the victors, and drat the consequences. By acting in communal violence and rage, they are empowered and justify their own escapes.

Not to say that every Summer courtier is a warrior; but every summer courtier believes in the war. And if the war isn't present, they become vigilant for other things that go bump in the night and threaten the Fae and their families. Be they primarily social, intellectual, or physical1, every courtier must find some object of their Wrath to empower their mantle. In this, you can understand the appeal- they still live in their Wyrd world, despite being as violent as they are. Obviously some things must be fated to happen, right?

Charitable in their anger should you supply a target, Summer court still isn't against bullying and petty feuds. Or blood feuds. And sometimes they get the runts of the litter that cannot decide where they belong, but they still have some standards. If you don't fight- however that fighting may be shaped- then you're better off Courtless.

Their imagery is warlike, murderous, animalistic, and hot. Their rituals are competitive2. Their emotion is about the negative side of all competition between people- the emotional darkness that fuels you further and deeper into yourself.

The Summer Mantle provides a bonus to certain willpower expenditures, always-on armor, and even an extra health level. Summer keeps you going, and helps you push over the top in a fight- but they won't keep you alive forever. Summer is the court of violent conflict, not of lasting peace.

(next time: Autumn)

1 - The Summer court even holds contests between themselves and others to show the greatest poet or crafter in the land- because the True Fae strike at such weaknesses in a freehold. So yeah, that Summer guy writing haiku may someday chase off a True Fae, 5/7/5 style.
2 - Though many Changelings are frowned at trying to become professional athletes.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Rival Magic

The Order of Hermes tends to ignore court wizards - they're weak, by and large, and those who have the Gift do not remain court wizards long, thanks to the Gift's social effects. Besides, they are mere entertainers, dancing for the pleasure of the royals. They are irrelevant...or so the Order thinks. What they do not know is that there is a secret society among the most potent of these court wizards, scheming for a day when a new Roman Empire may rise again. These men, the Augustan Brotherhood, are a grave danger if they choose to fight the Order. The Order knows nothing of them, and while their magic is comparatively weak and highly focused, they have temporal power and they know the Order exists, though not much of what it can do...except the Parma Magica. They know that exists, and that it's not a spell, and would very much like to know how to do it.

The Augustans do not discriminate by religion, ethnicity or upbringing - and thus they can function across Europe. They seek a rebirth of classical literature, and claim inheritance of the magical secrets of the poet Virgil. They want a new Roman Empire, as strong and just as the days of Augustus. They are not happy with what they know of the Order - it stands outside society, and while educated, it seems to them to be uncultured and immoral. The Brotherhood prides itself on etiquette and charisma, though they do suffer the Gift despite their preference for recruiting those with a gentle Gift and charismatic natures.

The Brotherhood's history is both short and long. In one sense, their birth started in 1130 AD, when Roger II was made King of Sicily. He ruled a diverse population and sought to expand. The city of Naples joined him, but when he suffered rebellion, Naples threw in with the rebels. Roger tried to take with his Saracen cavalry and sixty ships, but he failed. Naples negotiated remarkably peaceful terms, however, and the rulers of Naples were left in place and unpunished. In 1135, Naples rose with the next rebellion. Siege was laid again, but vermin and heat forced the siege to be lifted. In 1336, Roger tried to retake it again with a huge fleet...and just as he was going to, a storm sprung up and sank most of the fleet. In 1139, the Pope himself led an army against the Kingdom of Sicily, but was forced to cede Capua to Roger after an ambush. Roger, having fought off all sorts of armies by now, decided to take revenge on his rebellious nobles. In 1139, Naples finally surrendered to him...but it was extremely clear that something was up there.

In the meantime, a Norman scholar came to Naples in search of the Tomb of Virgil, the Roman poet. His name was Ludowicus, and some feared him, for did not legend say that while the bones of Virgil rested peacefully, the city would never fall or be sacked? At some point in the summer of 1139, Ludowicus vanished before a crowd of children. A handful of soldiers waited for him to reappear, which he did, clutching a great book and a sack. No one saw where he came from, but he said it was from the tomb, though he could not lead anyone there. The soldiers poked at the book, written in Latin, but they feared it, for was not Virgil a great sorcerer? And within the sack they found the very bones of the poet.

There was good reason for fear - within the castle of Naples was a glass egg containing a tiny model of the city. This was the palladium made by Virgil when he was minister to the city's Roman governor, and while it was safe, Naples could not be taken by force. Soldiers guarded it day and night. It was widely known that Virgil had made a statue of a bronze fly that kept flies out of Naples, and a statue of a bronze archer which had once silenced Mount Etna. Other things in Naples held Virgil's enchantments, though the archer had been accidentally destroyed. Even as the bones were taken from the sack, the skies turned stormy and gray, raging against the sacrilege of Ludowicus.

Ludowicus confirmed their fears: he was an agent of Roger II, come on king's business. He told them of the legends he'd followed to reach the tomb - of the prophecies of Virgil that spoke of the Christ child, and the magics within his tomb. But none, even Ludowicus, could find it a second time. If they killed Ludowicus, Roger would punish them...but if they let the bones leave, well, Naples might fall. In the end, they kept the bones in a locked room, and let Ludowicus go. So far as the Order of Hermes knows, that's all that happened, and Ludowicus was probably a magus. So far, no magus has yet found the Tomb of Virgil, if it exists.

Ludowicus spent the rest of his days in Roger's court, learning the rites within Virgil's book. When he finished it, he realized it was the greatest tome he'd ever seen, and he burned it to keep others from reading it. He did not lose its secrets, though, and he dreamed of a new empire. He founded the Augustan Brotherhood to bring it about, that might rule as magical aristocrats under the heroic tyrant they would uplift. They have developed a potent but utterly foreign system of magic from the secrets of Virgil's Tomb. Virgil, of course, is the greatest poet who ever lived, a great pagan magician who predicted the birth of Christ. He penned the Aeneid, and was laid low by a mere mundane woman. Anyone who has learned Latin knows the Aeneid, which is used to teach it. His full name was Publius Vergilius Maro, and he was a great prophet but one who could never foresee his own future. (As a note: this is Virgil as the 13th century saw him. The real Virgil lived a very different life than the Augustans believe, but in Ars MAgica, they are correct about his life.)

See? He was a wizard.

Anyway, Ludowicus made allies throughout Roger's civil service, plotting his imperial ambitions. Henry von Hohenstaufen, who became Holy Roman Emperor in 1191, marched on the Kingdom of Sicily, now ruled by Tancred of Sicily. Naples was besieged, but saved by miraculous plague. Meanwhile, the Augustans had their own problems. Tancred was suspicious of them, beginning investigations, and a number of assassinations broke out in the Brotherhood. The winners were the supporters of Henry. How much easier would it be to make a new Roman Empire out of the Holy Roman Empire? They switched sides, and with Tancred's death in 1194, it seems likely that the Brotherhood was responsible for the fall of Naples shortly after by cracking the glass palladium - a tiny crack, but enough to dispel its centuries-old magic. Tancred died of "sickness," but it might have been murder by the Brotherhood. His three-year-old son was taken to Swabia as a captive, where he was blinded, castrated and allowed to die. Emperor Henry took the throne of Sicily, slaughtering all who opposed him. He was crowned in 1194, and had all who attended Tancred's coronation burned alive in celebration. The Brotherhood, however, were willing to overlook his brutality as he prepared to attack the Byzantines. He might reunite the Empire!

He died suddenly of malaria in 1197, though. His three-year-old son, Frederick, took the crown of Sicily, and the Brotherhood moved to control his education and regency. The child was quick and clever, possibly the one they'd been waiting for. As of 1220, the boy is now a 26-year-old man who, in time, will become known as Stupor Mundi, the wonder of the world. He is both King of Sicily and Holy Roman Emperor. Sicily is under Muslim revolt, though history shows that Frederick will soon suppress it. His court remains ethnically and religiously diverse, and he loves learning. The Brotherhood has encouraged magicians to join Frederick's court and pushed for a rise in Latin poetry, though some argue that perhaps the vernacular Sicilian poetry is also acceptable. (There is great rivalry in the Brotherhood over this.) Within four years, Frederick will found the University of Naples and practice experimental philosophy there, though he will often be distracted by his menagerie and falcons. He delights in blasphemy and mockery of religion, and some whisper he has even denounced Moses, Christ and Mohammad as frauds. As yet, he appears to lack Infernal taint, despite Papal claims. He is crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1220, apparently ending that dispute, and the Brotherhood is sure he is the Augustus they have been searching for, the one they think Virgil prophesied.

The Brotherhood utilizes Virgilian Magic, an unusual but famous Roman tradition. However, Virgil had no apprentices - his book was the only legacy, and now the Augustans are its only practitioners. Of course, Bonisagus was aware of Virgil, and there are hints of his work in Hermetic theory, but the two systems are now very distinct and different. Virgillian magic is more limited than Hermetic magic. It has only three Practices: the Sortes Virgilianae, a precursor of the Hermetic Divination practiced by some mystery cults in the Order, Vigilo, a form of guarding magic, and Animo, which animates objects and awakens their spirits to create magical beings. Vigilo is, however, divided into six scools.

Virgilian Magic suffers several limits that Hermetic magic does not. All of it requires elaborate and time-consuming ritual, with vis used for more potent spells. Virgilian wizards cannot create enchanted devices, longevity rituals or bind Familiars. They may never cast magic on themselves, ever. They may not cause direct harm to humans with magic, though indirect harm is all right. (This may be a flaw in their theory, but they feel it reflects Virgil's personality.) Without at least a little study, a School of Vigilo cannot be used at all, unlike a magus using a Hermetic Form they don't know with a Technique they do, or vice versa. Rites are also significantly more specific than Hermetic spells - a Hermetic might ward against beasts where a Virgilian wizard wards against wolves. A spell that repels flies in Naples will not work in Rome - a new rite must be created for that. Virgilian rituals do not benefit from knowledge of philosophy or the liberal arts. And lastly, Virgilian magic cannot use sympathetic magic at all - that's outside Virgilian theory.

Next time: Virgilian Magic

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012
I do believe I heard a call for supernatural creatures in World War II gear.

Part 3: Shooting, Saints, and Spies
Chapter 5: Combat
Are you ready for a primitive attempt at firearms rules for Dungeons and Dragons 3.0? I hope you are, because that's what you're getting. So, let's start with a quick rundown of new combat rules related to guns.
  • Automatic Fire: Automatic weapons in Weird War II work by having a bonus from particularly successful attacks. An attack roll that beats the enemy's Armor Class by 5 points gets to roll its damage twice, while one that beats the AC by 10 points gets to roll for damage three times, reflecting multiple bullets from the automatic weapon pelting into the same target.
  • Bracing: If you fire a machine gun or automatic rifle from the hip or while moving at faster than a slow 5 ft. square walk, you suffer a -4 penalty to your attack roll. An action movie star you aren't.
  • Misfire: You rolled a 1. Not only do the dice gods hate you, but you get to roll a 1d6 to see whether you shoot someone randomly on a 1, drop your weapon like a dumbass on a 2, or have to take a move action and Dexterity check to clear a gun jam on a 3 to 6.
  • Reloading: Takes a full round action to reload 1d4 + Dexterity modifier number of bullets into an internal magazine, move action to rip a clip, and then a belt-fed weapon reload is either full round for one person or move action for two.
  • Stray Bullets: If you fail an attack roll on someone with people within 5 feet of them, you get to roll a d6 for each of those people until you either get a 1 and thus shoot someone or run out of targets to roll for. Again, an action movie star you aren't.
  • Suppressive Fire: You can spend 10 bullets to make a full round action of sweeping a designated 20 foot-radius area with your firearm. Anyone in that area who isn't in total cover has to make a DC 15 Will save or lose their action for the round, and they take damage from your gunfire if they manage to be unlucky enough to roll a 1.

Then there are shotguns. Oh, shotguns. They are weapons that look at the normal ranged weapon combat rules and go "I'm making my OWN path!" Rather than suffering penalties to attack rolls based on increasing range increments, shotguns instead do something entirely unique. Namely, for each range increment past the first, they gain a cumulative +2 bonus to attack rolls up to a maximum of +6. At the same time, however, they lose entire damage dice as they travel. You need to shoot a target point blank to get the full 4d6 damage of Weird War II shotguns - a single range increment lowers it to 3d6, two range increments to 2d6, and three to 1d6. Because apparently just having something like exchanging attack roll bonus for damage roll penalty would have been too easy and not enough to screw over everybody's favorite chew toy. That's right, the Resistance Fighter class is stated to be pretty much the only character type that uses shotguns. :shepicide:

The rest of the material is a bit less noteworthy. Flamethrowers are sort of like breath weapons, grenades are sort of like acid splash damage, smoke grants concealment, the concept of action points "Bennies" is briefly mentioned as points arbitrarily given by the War Master as rewards to be spent on rerolls, and artillery uses an Artillery skill check instead of an attack roll to attack.

Vehicles are also mentioned, and they are pretty much mindless mounts with a special [s[Hardness[/s] Armor (not to be confused with Armor Class). You have to make a Driving check any time the vehicle's Armor rating is bypassed by damage, if there's hazardous terrain, or you want to do a fancy stunt driving maneuver.

A lot of the imagery in Weird War II is actual photography from World War II. Here's what it looks like when it isn't.
Chapter 6: Prestige Classes
There are five 10-level prestige classes unique to Weird War II's core rulebook, just like there are five base classes. It's a coincidence, but an amusing one to note.
  • Commando: The prestige class to make a Grunt who is better at being a resistance fighter than the Resistance Fighter. You get full Base Attack Bonus progression, high Fortitude and Will save progression sneak attack up to +4d6, bonus feats at every other even-numbered level, and the feats Endurance and Improved Unarmed Strike for free.
  • Sniper: As anyone who plays Team Fortress 2 knows, Snipers can be on-shotting assholes. This class is no different. With a full Base Attack Bonus progression and class features that grant a long range coup de grace headshot, a special crippling shot to deal either Dexterity or Strength damage rather than Hit Point loss, and an ability that forces anyone who sees a headshot or crippling shot to make a DC 25 Will save or suffer a -4 morale penalty to any roll for 24 hours. You don't gently caress with snipers.
  • OSI Agent: The Allies' equivalent of Nazi rune mages, the OSI Agent prestige class has a high Will save progression, the ability to create magic runes, and...that's it, really. Runes will be actually covered when we hit the chapter on magic.
  • OSI Chaplain: Like the OSI Agent, the OSI Chaplain is a one trick pony. That trick is being able to make use of the Chaplain-unique Prayer skill. Make a Prayer check and succeed, Jesus or whoever you happen to worship is in a good mood and he lets you do miracles (it's divine magic, right up to spells miracles per day). A Chaplain can also turn undead. If the chaplain commits a sin, they lose their ability to call on miracles for 1d6 hours if it's a little sin, 2d6 days if it's a big sin, or until an atonement quest for murder or another top-tier sin. The game doesn't actually really explain what sins count for what rank in any religion other than Christianity, so it's pretty much up to the War Master.
  • OSI Operative: The OSI Operative is an assassin, more or less. The class has high Reflex and Will save progression as well as high (but not full) Base Attack Bonus Progression, gets sneak attack bonuses up to +4d6, free full ranks in three different languages chosen from a specific pool of Allied and Axis languages, free Exotic Weapon Proficiency with the garrote, and a literal license to kill civilians and allied soldiers if there's a supernatural threat involved.


Next time: Magic and haunted vehicles.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011



You may play a Nizari assassin, either a magic-using one (called a mustajib) or a normal fida'i or lasiq. All assassins are dutybound and loyal to the Nizari cult, and generally trained in the arts of murder, disguise and athletics. Their headquarters are the mountain fortress Alamut, roughly translated from the Daylami tongue to mean 'the eagle's lesson.' It bears a magical aura, and is used by the Nizaris to initiate their mustajibs.

I love that the ability to play as one of the most legendary sects of mystics and warriors in history is just dropped into the book. I don't suppose they'd work well in a party unless in disguise, though.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Count Chocula posted:

I love that the ability to play as one of the most legendary sects of mystics and warriors in history is just dropped into the book. I don't suppose they'd work well in a party unless in disguise, though.

Well, if you have a party that doesn't mind that you're a heretical Muslim assassin, I don't see a problem. I mean, 'outlaw' is one of the core character options.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
It would totally work for an Iberian campaign (best campaign).

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Rival Magic

The first part of Virgilian wizardry is the Sortes Virgilianae, the best-known of the magics of Virgil. You take a copy of the Aeneid, open it at random and point at random to a verse, reading it and the following verse. The practice is widespread and every educated person knows of it, but only for the Brotherhood does it actually do anything useful. In fact, to perform it correctly takes a ceremony of at least half an hour or so and extreme exertion of the mind. Like Hermetic scrying, the magic can sense what happens at a distance but cannot answer questions about the future or past. Further, if a question is asked but the ritual failed, the same question cannot be asked in the same day. It is much easier to get answers about famous people, ships, sieges, cities, kingdoms and especially Carthage, Rome or Troy.

However, Sortes Virgilianae can reveal many things. It can give information on animals or plants, fires, magic, vis, auras, liquids, air, people whom you have Arcane Connections to, earth and earthen materials, animal products, plant products, the human body, emotions, scrying on places, the answers to questions known by a person or even detect the Gift. The Sortes Virglianae, in short, can learn almost anything - it's just harder the more specific you want to get.

Vigilo consists of six Schools. Vigilo rites take at least 15 minutes to cast, often more, and require vis. They also require extreme effort and are quite tiring. These rites do not use arcane circles, but ritual pentagrams, and can also be extended over an entire city. All Vigilo rites involve the loud and forceful recitation of poetic stanzas and the use of minor gestures. Silence makes the magic impossible, and soft speech makes it harder.

The School of Boreas deals in air and wind. It may ward against creatures of the air, cause weather, control weather, ward against weather, make air hard to breathe, destroy weather or weaken weather.

The School of Naiads deals in water and liquid. It can't touch liquids inside a body, though, like blood. It can ward against creatures of water, control liquids, ward against water, dry an area, reduce the amount of water in an area without destroying it utterly, destroy all water in an area or destroy a property of a liquid.

The School of Prometheus deals in fire. It may ward against creatures of fire, control fire, move fire, reduce or extinguish light, weaken or extinguish fire, chill objects or destroy aspects of fire.

The School of Stones deals in earth and stone. It may ward against creatures of earth, control dirt, weaken or destroy dirt, ward against dirt, hurl stone or destroy aspects of dirt.

The School of Sylvan Dryads deals in wood and plants. It may ward against creatures of wood, keep plants healthy, cause the leaves to fall from a plant, preserve dead plants from decay, deflect attacks by wooden weapons, control plants, spoil food, summon plants, destroy wood, animate plant products, destroy plants or ward against plant products.

The School of Vigilant Bees deals in animals. It may ward against supernatural animals or mundane animals, control animal minds, ward against animal attacks, protect animals from disease, preserve animal corpses from decay, damage animal products, calm animals, wound animals, manipulate animal emotions, destroy animal products, cause animals pain, make animals passive, weaken animals, destroy animal corpses, control animals completely, destroy animal senses, cripple animals or age animals.

The final Virgilian practice is Animo, one of their most impressive powers. Animo awakens and empowers the spirit of an object, giving it the semblance of life. These are not automata, but objects with awakened magical spirits, the results of potent rites. Much as others enchant objects, Virgilian wizards can use their Virgilian rites to shape their animations. Not all animations can move - some are static and unresponsive to all but the thing they were made to ward against. Others, like the hammer-men that guard Virgil's tomb or the stone horsemen who enforced Rome's old curfew, are highly mobile. They need not take on human or animal form. Animations are permanent, but all of them are flawed. Physical damage to one part of them, known as the animating principle, will end their magic utterly. Once this weakness is exploited, even by accident, the spirit is freed forever and the magic goes away. The animating principle is always an aspect of the animation related to its effect - for example, a tunneling miner statue that could tunnel on command would be rendered inert if the pick were destroyed. This vulnerability can never be protected by magic - if it is somehow removed, the magic vanishes. Fortunately, most non-Virgilians don't even know to look for an animating principle or that harming it will do anything.

Mobile and aware animations can be made, and can be taught, with difficulty, new skills. Spending vis makes the teaching easier. Anyone, not just the maker, can teach an animation, so it would not be rare for a court wizard to ask his friend, the captain of the guard, to teach his fencing statue proper swordsmanship. Animations, however, can never speak nor learn any abilities related to speech. They never have the Gift and cannot, in fact, learn supernatural abilities of any kind. They can, however, have spells inscribed into them. Such spells may affect the animation. Those animations that move cannot use powers while moving unless the power only affects the animation. Static animations lack this problem. Static animations may also ward entire buildings or cities without requiring extensive rituals automatically.

Creating life?

Skimming over the discussion of the various magical things Virgil left behind...integrating Virgilian magic! If, somehow, a magus were able to study Virgilian magic, they might learn to integrate the Sortes Virgilianae. However, once integrated, it becomes mere Hermetic Divination, untied from the power of Virgil's prophecies. The truth is, it was never tied to Virgil's prophecies, but the Aeneid as a divinatory tool. Several mystery cults already know how to do divination. They might study Virgilo magic to create Improved Watching Spells, allowing a spell to watch for a trigger on its own, without aid from a spell specifically designed to do so. This would largely improve Hermetic wards and make magical traps more common.

Next time: The Muspelli

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

It would be fun to try and adapt Virgilian magic to other poems in other time periods and settings, like The Inferno or Paradise Lost.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Rival Magic

The Muspelli are extremely potent, dangerous wizards of the far north. They hide in the darkness, worshipping the legendary jotnar, the giants of Norse myth. They are devoted to freeing their masters, to speeding the coming of Ragnarok. Basically, Norse myth actually did occur - and when Gullveig was burned at the stake and Loki imprisoned, the power of the jotnar was broken...but not before Loki taught some humans how to speak with him and the jotnar, turning them into the first Muspelli. Their duty was to gain power and pave the way for Ragnarok, recruiting others and loosening the bonds of the jotnar. All of the imprisoned jotnar save Loki himself have such servants. Note that the Muspelli legends do not actually match up perfectly to Norse ones - they've learned them direct from the jotnar, who are...not exactly neutral. The jotnar are immensely powerful Magical beings meant to oversee the world, but they were overthrown by the faerie gods that were the Aesir. The Aesir were weakened by Christianity, and the jotnar now test their bonds.

Now, it's highly unlikely that the world will end with Ragnarok, and it's likely the jotnar are aware that the prophecy of Urdur is imperfectly interpreted or simply wrong. The jotnar have either fooled themselves or lied to the Muspelli for their own reasons. Some of the faerie gods may know it's false, but it hardly matters to them - the truth is either unknowable or meaningless. However, the power of the Muspelli is very real. When initiated into the Muspelli, each wizard choosed a jotun as a patron. Eight in particular are popular.

Aegir Sea-King is the terrifying lord of the seas, respected and feared even by the Norse. He was brother to Gymir and escaped death by feigning peace with the gods, though he is confined to the island of Hlesey, where he plots vengeance under the pretense of brewing mead for the gods and hosting feasts. Aegir plunders gold from sunken ships, and is linked to wealth. He appears as a king with golden armor and long hair and beard, both plaited. His talisman, or gandur, is the cauldron, and Aegir owns the beer-kettle Bodn, which brews the finest of ales, storms and fates. He is allied to his brother Gymir and his wife, Gullveig, twin sister to Loki. Aegir hates his other brother, Surtur, however. The followers of Aegir ruin ports with storms and summon sea monsters, generally until bribed with food and gold or fought off by heroes. All followers of Aegir are crippled, earning their power by having their legs smashed with rocks while they swim in the sea.

Gullveig the Wicked is sister to Loki, and responsible for most of the evil in the world, or so say the Norse. Her followers claim she did this against the gods, not man. For teaching witchcraft to humanity, the gods burned her at the stake, but death could not hold her. Twice more they caught and burned Gullveig, and twice more she escaped. She is now locked in the Ironwood in the east, where she gathers the mightiest witches and mothers werewolves. Gullveig is a deceiver and has many names, such as Heid ('witch') who taught magic to women or Angurboda, mother to Leikin, Niddhogg and Fenrir. As Thokk, she ensured that Baldur would not be resurrected. As Aegir's wife she is Ran, and as Gymir's she is Aurboda. When she lies with Surtur, she is Sinmara. She may appear however she likes, but always smells of burning flesh. Her gandur is the scorched heart of a magical creature, for each time she was burned, all that remained was her heart. Her closest allies are her children, Leikin, Niddhogg and Fenrir. Her followers seek to control other magicians, especially folk witches. They have authority over the Muspelli until Loki's return, though other Muspelli tend not to accept this. All of her followers pluck out their own eyes, and so are blind.

Gymir Frost-Father is the ruler of Jotunheim, the land of giants. He takes the form of a great eagle, sending freezing winds to torment humanity. Some say he was chained in the underworld, and many times he has tried to seize the world from the gods. He especially wishes to control the goddesses of fertility and the earth, for they would complete his dominion of man. He once stole Thor's hammer, but was tricked into giving it back. With his wife, Aurboda (or Gullveig) he was father of the first generation of frost giants. His gandur is a cloak of eagle feathers. Gymir's cloak, Arnarhamur, lets him take on his eagle shape. His closest allies are his brothers Aegir and Surtur. His followers are descended from the ice giants, and most would be happy to slaughter humanity. The more moderate ones seek only to drive back humanity, herding them south to get them out of the pristine wildlands. They wish to control man's numbers and weaken the Dominion. All of Gymir's followers bear the horrifying touch of his bloodline or power: three heads. They will travel far and wide to find a child with three heads, for these children are born to be Gymir's servants.

Leikin Hel-queen is daughter to Loki and Gullveig, ruler of Nifelhel - that dark and poisonous part of the underworld full of horrible torments. The gods were so disgusted by her appearance that she was confined to the underworld, the prison of the spirits of drowned giants after the death of Ymir. As the giants need her permission to grant power to the Muspelli, she is given much respect. She is sometimes called Hel, both queen and prisoner, for she cannot leave her realm and dislikes anyone else leaving, either. She resents those who escape her and will send power to those of her servants who disrupt the peaceful sleep of such dead spirits. Leikin is a giant maid, half fair and half rotten as a corpse, with both legs broken. She rides an ugly horse that drinks dead blood, and is accompanied by the kveldrida, the spirits of torture and death. Her gandur is a knife forged in the rivers of the underworld. Her own knife is Sultur, 'Famine'. Her only ally, in truth, is Gullveig, but she can occasionally coerce Urdur to do her will. Her followers are necromancers, who may stain a man's good name with evil acts after his death. They seek to form a dead army for the day when Loki returns. However, all are enfeebled by disease, for that is the touch of Leikin.

Niddhogg Corpse-Tearer and Fenrir the Devourer are the sons of Loki and Gullveig. Generally a Muspelli will only serve one, but they share goals and many traits. Niddhogg is the dragon that tries to destroy the World Tree. He is so immense that he wraps around the world, earning the name Jormungand. His head lies in Nifelhel, where he devours corpses. Thor is his great foe, and the two have often fought. Niddhogg is content that his victory over Thor is prophesied, though his own death is just as certain. Fenrir is a mighty wolf, restrained by dwarf-made cord. It is the only fetter he cannot break, and trickery had to be used to bind him. He is destined to swallow Odin the Allfather, but only after feasting on the sun and moon. Their gandurs are, respectively, a serpent's tooth or a wolf's fang. They have no allies, though both Gymir and Surtur appreciate their savagery. Aegir would like them as allies, but Surtur blocks him. Their followers are predators and killers, though not necessarily of men. They avoid civilization, given their choice, and only hunt men who invade the wild places. They can even befriend men, and it's said they can summon magical beasts to aid their allies when treated well - but they are never tame, and when the world ends, they will be man's foes. All of their followers are mutes, either slitting their tongues length-wise or ripping out their voiceboxes, though they may still communicate with animals.

Surtur the Black is son of Ymir and brother to Aegir and Gymir. He claims to have learned smithing from Mimir in the days before the war with the gods. His skin is the color of ash, but covered in cracks that reveal the molten blood beneath. He is father of the fire giants who rule volcanoes and forest fires. His wife is Sinmara, a face of Gullveig, who sends out evil dreams to haunt the pagan faithful. His gandur is a fiery sword made of volcanic iron. His own sword, Surtlogi, is destined to end the world in fire after Ragnarok. His allies are Gymir and occasionally Fenrir. He hates his brother Aegir. His followers are crafters and enchanters, creating tools for other Muspelli. Many see them as servile, but they like to be needed, and it gives them much political power. All of them are deaf, thanks to the roar of Surtur's voice.

Urdur Fate-Spinner is the jotun of fate, sister to Mimir and mother of the three tribes of gods. EVen Odin Allfather cannot break what she has wrought, and in the early days of the world she was a neutral observer. She prophesized for any who asked, but the arrogance of the gods made them ignore or twist her words. When Baldur died despite her warnings, she grew sick of the world and retired to the underworld, where she rules the realms of bliss. Without fate at his side, Odin was weakened and the day of Ragnarok draws ever closer. Urdur continues to weave the fates of men and women as they are born, assisted by the norns. She appears as a stern old woman, though unbowed by age. Her gandur is a silver sickle, and her own sickle, Vidofnir, is all that can cut the threads of fate. She is aloof from the jotnar, but tentatively allied to Aegir due to his former friendship with the gods. She may dominate Gullveig into serving her, and she detests Leikin, who disturbs the dead. Some of her followers are bitter that the gods have abandoned fate and seek to prevent Ragnarok, and they punish man for resisting his fate. Others see it as their job to guide others to their destinies, acting as friends to humanity. Urdur favors neither. All of her followers suffer from low self-esteem and lack of true Confidence, for they abandon any notion of individual fate to become a tool of Urdur.

Scattered groups of Muspelli can be found outside Scandinavia. The Goth remnant in Pomerania and Lithuania, for example, still know of Gymir and Aegir under the names Weyas ('wind') or Wandu ('wave'). They are known in Prussia and Poland as Firnez and Uogi. In Novgorod, Muspelli are called Manala, and Urdur is known to the Finns as the king and queen of the underworld, Tuoni and Tuonetar. Leikin is Kalma, personification of Death, guarded by Surma (a combination of Nidhogg and Fenrir). Gullveig is Loviatar, the source of suffering and evil, and the Manala await Mana, their name for Loki. The Saxon Muspelli have, thankfully or not, been exterminated.

Next time: Being Muspelli.

Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?

Ryuutama, Spring Part 6: Seasonal Sorcery

Seasonal Sorcery! Each character gets one season, and automatically learns all the spells for it as soon as they reach the appropriate level.

Beginner Spring Magic

Wake Up & Stand Up: MP 2, Duration instant, Target 1 area, Range nearby area. Everyone in the area immediately wakes up and is good to go for the day. Only works on the two-legged.
Emina Nonno: MP 2, Duration 1 day, Target touched area, Range touch. The touched area is covered in flowers. If it's not fertile soil, they die at the end of the day.
Cure Plus Plus: MP 2, Duration instant, Target 1 person, Range touch. Cast together with Cure Touch, on the same action, on the same Magic Check. Heal an additional 1d6 HP.
Little Beauty: MP 3, Duration 1 day, Target 1 person, Range touch. Ritual. Change the color, length and style of the target's hair to whatever you wish. It's stuck that way until the spell wears off. Useful for disguises, but HILARIOUS for practical jokes.

Intermediate Spring Magic

:3: Detect Love: MP 2, Duration instant, Target 1 lovesick heart, Range vision. Look into the heart of the target and reveal the person they love most.
Kaguya Ray Lance: MP 4, Duration instant, Target 1 person, Range all areas. Deals SPR damage to the target. If the moon is visible, does an additional 1d6 damage.
Rose Fever Scatter: MP 4, Duration until cured, Target 1 area, Range nearby areas. Toxic roses grow from the ground, inflicting Poison 6 on everyone in the area.
Luck Luck Luck: MP 10, Duration 12 hours, Target 3 people, Range touch. Ritual. Grants supernatural luck to each target. Once during the duration, they can reroll one roll other than an Initiative or Condition check. Scientifically proven to be the best possible name for a spell.

Advanced Spring Magic

Cure Plus Yell: MP 2, Duration instant, Target 1 person, Range all areas. Cast together with Cure Touch, same way as Cure Plus Plus (Both can be used together). The healing affects every ally in the area.
Sprout: MP 10, Duration 6 rounds, Target 1 person, Range touch. Awaken the hidden power within someone. Pick one attribute the target has at 12. When they roll that attribute, they roll 1d20 instead.
Resurrection Kiss: MP 10, Duration instant, Target 1 person, Range touch. As long as the target died within the past minute (six rounds), brings them back to life at 1/2 HP. Yes, you have to kiss them.
Spring Daybreak: MP 4, Duration instant, Target 1 person, Range touch. Ritual. Cast at the beginning of the day. The target rolls Condition twice, taking the higher result.

Beginner Summer Magic

Rose Nonno: MP 4, Duration 6 rounds, Target 1 area, Range all areas. Roses cover the area, inflicting a -2 Initiative penalty on everyone in the area. Better than it sounds, like everything related to Initiative.
Vacation Vitality: MP 4, Duration 6 rounds, Target 1 person, Range touch. +2 Condition to the target.
Min Mix Chorus: MP 4, Duration 6 rounds, Target all areas, Range self. Begin singing a supernatural one-person chorus that drowns out other incantations. If anybody else in the battle tries to cast a spell, they have to beat you in an opposed SPR+SPR check, or the spell fails automatically. You can't cast any other spells until it ends.
Ainu Cute Leaf: MP 4, Duration 1 day, Target up to 7 people, Range touch. Ritual. Creates an enormous leaf that can be used as an umbrella for up to seven people. +1 bonus to terrain-based checks in rainy weather, doesn't stack with actual umbrellas.

Intermediate Summer Magic

Scarlet Passion: MP 4, Duration instant, Target 1 person, Range touch. The target immediately makes another Initiative roll. If it's higher, then they use that Initiative moving forwards.
Mei Iru: MP 4, Duration until cured, Target 1 person, Range nearby areas. The target is inflicted with the status Exhaustion 6.
Lightning Net: MP 4, Duration 12 hours, Target 5-meter area, Range self. Creates a magical mosquito net that repels all insects. Monsters are unaffected, and people can pass through it as if it wasn't there. +2 to Camp Checks in areas with pesky bugs.
Call Squall Code: MP 10, Duration 10 minutes, Target 5-meter area, Range self. Ritual. Empty a tub of water, and call forth a violent rainstorm in the area. The water is potable, and can be used to refill waterskins or barrels.

Advanced Summer Magic

Cyclonic Storm: MP 4, Duration instant, Target 1 person and self, Range touch. Deals AGI+SPR damage to the target, but may also affect the caster under circumstances I can't quite decipher.
Try Brave: MP 4, Duration instant, Target all areas, Range all areas. Every single person in the battle is shown an image of a dreadful, terrible (Player's choice here). Whoever sees it is inflicted with the status Shock 10.
Wish Milky Way: MP 10, Duration ?, Target ?, Range ?. Ritual. Each player writes down their character's wish on a piece of paper and hands it to the GM. The GM picks one and, with the timing of their choice during the next session, grants it. If all the wishes are terrible, the GM can just throw them all out.
Summer Midnight: MP 10, Duration 1 hour, Target self, Range self. The caster becomes insubstantial. They can walk through walls, but cannot interact with anything.

Beginner Autumn Magic

Fallen Leaves MP 2, Duration forever, Target ground, Range touch. Creates a meter-wide pile of dead leaves on the ground.
Named Moon: MP 2, Duration 6 rounds, Target entire area, Range all areas. Summons a brilliant false moon. All night-only effects are ineffective, and the weather is fixed at Clear. Kaguya Ray Lance can treat this like the real moon.
Garish Tears: MP 4, Duration 6 rounds, Target 1 person, Range all areas. The target begins to cry uncontrollably, suffering -2 to attack rolls.
:black101: Magic Jam Bottle: MP 4, Duration 7 days, Target food, Range touch. Turn up to SPR days of food into MAGIC JAM. It still tastes the same and is just as satisfying to east, but it can be stored in a waterskin or magic bottle.

Intermediate Autumn Magic

Grateful Scarecrow: MP 4, Duration 6 rounds, Target 1 person, Range nearby area. Creates a highly convincing scarecrow in the shape of the target. Any attack or spell has a 1 in 2 chance of hitting the scarecrow instead. Doesn't work against area attacks.
Spectral Steed: MP 4, Duration instant, Target 1 undead, Range all areas. The first casting does nothing. The second successful casting banishes the monster, and it cannot return for a year.
Chocolate Cosmos: MP 4, Duration until cured, Target 1 person, Range nearby areas. Shows the target a vision of a past love or the loss of a current love, inflicting Shock 6. The target must know love for the spell to succeed.
Minon Bivouac: MP 4, Duration 12 hours, Target 1 person, Range touch. Creates a hanging sleeping bag that grants +1 to the occupant's next Condition Check. Requires something to hang the bag from.

Advanced Autumn Magic

Autumn Sky: MP 4, Duration 1 round, Target 1 person, Range all areas. Reverses a target's disposition, causing someone determined to give up or vice versa. In battle, it denies the target their action.
Rai: MP 10, Duration instant, Target 1 person, Range touch. Invokes a word that makes the target's life flash before their eyes. Target is reduced to 1 HP. Certain monster categories immune.
Autumn Dusk: MP 10, Duration flight, Target up to 7 people, Range touch. Ritual. Lets all the targets fly with the birds. All birds within 1 kilometer are gathered, and the party flies along with them.
Rin Relax Orchestra: MP 10, Duration Ritual, Target everyone listening, Range self. Plays an enchanting song, restoring SPR MP to everyone who hears it.

Beginner Winter Magic

Candy Ice Cube: MP 2, Duration 10 minutes, Target open space, Range touch. Creates a 50cmx50cmx50cm block of ice. Figure out what to do with it on your own.
Cool Masquerade: MP 4, Duration 6 rounds, Target 1 person, Range touch. All mental conditions plaguing the target are neutralized. When the spell ends, the conditions return.
Snowball Storm: MP 4, Duration instant, Target 1 area, Range nearby areas. Snow rises into snowballs and batters everyone in the area for SPR damage. Damage to allies is halved.
Winter Slumber: MP 4, Duration instant, Target 1 area, Range all areas. Everyone affected falls asleep. On their turn, they can make a STR+SPR check of difficulty 6 to wake up. Sleeping targets can be hit except on a fumble, and wake up if they take any damage.

Intermediate Winter Magic

Palica Patch Rocket: MP 2, Duration 6 rounds, Target 1 person, Range touch. Covers the target in static electricity, dealing SPR damage to the next enemy to come into melee with them.
Catch an Evil Wind: MP 4, Duration until cured, Target 1 person, Range touch. Inflicts the condition Sick 6 on the target.
Desire Ice Sword: MP 4, Duration 1 hour, Target 1 person, Range nearby areas. Creates a weapon of any type out of ice that does +2 damage. If the wielder is reduced to 0 HP, the attacker gains the weapon.
:allears: Magical Kotatsu: Duration 12 hours, Target area, Range touch. Ritual. Creates a magical kotatsu, with a matching set of magical tangerines. +2 to Camp Check in cold weather.

Advanced Winter Magic:

Absolute Zero Clock: MP 10, Duration 1d4 rounds, Target all areas, Range self. Stop time. During the duration, you can do nothing but cast spells.
Grave Glacier: MP 10, Duration until it melts, Target 1 person, Range touch. Encases the target in ice. It will melt in one day of normal weather, but until it does, the target cannot be harmed.
Winter Early Morning: MP 4, Duration 6 rounds, Target where the caster is, Range self. Eradicates all magical effects in the area until the duration is over.
Seven Fortune Frigate: MP 10, Duration 12 hours, Target various, Range self. Ritual. Summons a legendary frigate from across the eastern sea, granting great luck to a random class. Until the spell wears off, if anyone of that class rolls a critical failure, it is transformed into a critical success. Class is determined by a d8 roll, with 8 giving the bonus to every class.

Next: A brief interlude before we dig into the Summer section.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Rival Magic

All Muspelli are Gifted Companions. They spend very little time training with other Muspelli - their actual initiation is performed by the jotnar and, yes, involves being ritually marked by crippling oro ther flaws. A jotnar may scry on their Muspelli, and Muspelli can summon their jotun. Their apprenticeship lasts around six years of training in sacred areas to the jotnar, with occasional instruction from the jotun. The magic of the Muspelli relies on the etin-mod, or in Norse the jotunmodur. When a Muspelli assumes the etin-mod, they grow in size to at least five times normal, lacking any of the physical frailties of their human form. This giant form is both more physically and magically potent, and it is only the etin-mod that the greatest magic of a Muspelli may be used. Each etin-mod is designed differently. However, it cannot be maintained forever. Every hour within the etin-mod is taxing on the body, and when it can no longer take the strain, it will revert.

The Muspelli do not work together, basically ever. They have no real incentive to do it and get no benefit from it. This and the effects of the Gift just keep it from happening. This may be the biggest reason they have yet to threaten the world as a whole. Leadership is by force - a powerful Muspelli can dominate others into service, but it only really works with direct supervision. Muspelli are naturally rebellious, after all. Muspelli receive dreams and guidance from their jotun patron almost all the time, and may even try to summon them, though they rarely do. Their magic is known as trolldomur, the work of trolls. Their magic is focused through supernatural powers, which they may enhance into full spells via the practice of utiseta, sitting out, a ritual act to call on the power of a jotun. It involves making a ritual platform, then mounting it while in etin-mod, preparing and devouring a ritual meal, then chanting praise-songs of the jotun and ritually dancing in order to gather power. Self-mutilation, closeness to the patron's magic, sacrifice of other beings or magic items in ritually appropriate manners or having a powerful gandur related to the patron are all helpful. Vis may also be used to speed the ritual.

As a side note, the utiseta has a chance to weaken the local aura unless it is a Divine aura. When it does so, this weakens the bonds that hold the jotnar in prison, bringing them a tiny bit closer to freedom. (And also weakening magic in the area.) Faerie auras are easiest, and Infernal are hardest. Magical auras are actually replaced by a special form aura that strengthens Trolldomur and no other form of magic whatsoever, save that of the gruagachan and trollsynir, who may also make use of the aura. A Muspelli may summon or commune with their patron at sacred sites, using this to learn from the patron, improve the etin-mod or seek advice, though they must be careful to avoid angering the volatile jotnar.

Muspelli can learn several supernatural abilities. Entrancement is the power to hypnotize those who meet their eyes. Used via utiseta, it can enthrall huge numbers, or more deeply dominate single targets. Essentially, it becomes mind control magic.

Hex is the power to curse others by eye contact and anger, by occult signs or by Arcane Connection. It is the evil eye, and often associated with the Infernal, but not in this case. Used via utiseta, it lays a terrible akvaedi, a curse. These curses tend to be incredibly potent, and often rather deadly. They can cause diseases, too. It is more potent than the power of the Muspelli to grant bad luck, but harder to use.

Shapeshifter involves taking the form of animals. Using utiseta, it may transform others as well, or greatly expand the sorts of things you can turn into - including dragons.

Sjonhverfing, 'twisting the sight', creates visual illusions. Via utiseta, these illusions can be shockingly large and complex, or even alter the appearance of an entire landscape, which affect more than just the visual sense.

Spadomur, induces visions, answering questions of the very recent past. The visions take on the form of allegories related to the answer. Major issues affecting large numbers of people are easier to laern about than trivial questions affecting only one person. The difficulty of explaining the answer is also considered, as is the reflective object used to perform the divination - it's easier to look for answers about battle in a sword, say. Via utiseta, even the past further back than a day may be questioned, seeking answers deep in the past. (Interestingly, the primary practitioners of Spadomur, the servants of Urdur, simply cannot use it at all outside Etin-Mod or use of Threads of Fate to grant Confidence, for it requires expenditure of Confidence.)

Storm's Eye is the power to raise storms, focusing them around the user and immunizing them to the effects of these summoned storms. Stronger storms are much harder to summon. When in utiseta, the storms can last much longer or be targeted on something other than the caster. Further, a storm's thunder and lightning may be actively directed while in utiseta.

Summon Animals does what it says. Bigger or more animals are harder, and it can take a while for them to arrive. In utiseta, even larger or more numerous beasts can be summoned, or even magical creatures.

Threads of Fate may reweave fate, blessing actions based on chance, sensing the immediate future, avoiding botches, granting Confidence and so on. It is very versatile, but can be extremely hard to use. When used via utiseta, it may cancel the use of the power by others or curse people with bad luck much as it blesses with good luck normally.

Valgaldrar, 'corpse spells', revive corpses temporarily. The head must be attached to the body still, and the corpse may speak to the animator or even walk around with the truly skilled. In utiseta, entire zombie armies can be raised, or more potent zombies, which often last longer than the normal ones raised by Valgaldrar.

Wildfire grants control of fire and smoke, though it cannot create fires by magic. It just makes them move or get stronger. The use of utiseta increases the scope - whole forest fires, city-choking smoke, or even tapping into the earth-fire beneath the ground, cracking the rock to let loose lava and control it.

Winter's Breath creates frost, ice and snow by beating a drum. The stronger the chill weather is, the harder it is. Under utiseta, it may bury a whole valley or city and last for days or months.

The greatest foe of the Muspelli is the Raudskinna Compact, in theory. The name comes from the fact that the laws of the group are passed around in a red leather book, so 'red-skinned'. They were recently founded, and...well, they're not an Order of Odin, either. See, witchcraft has been outlawed in Norse lands since Christianity came. Saemund Sigfusson, the Wise, was a Gifted Norse mathematicus trained in Bologna, who realized his skills were similar to the old Norse galdramen. He went in search of other Norse wizards, meeting Bodvar Egilsson, a vitki, and Hall of Sraumfjord, a folk witch. They conceived of a compact to regulate and protect Norse wizards, and spent ten years promoting it. In 1116, 164 wizards signed on. Today, the Raudskinna largely operates in unconnected local groups, calle hreppa. A hreppur meets three times a year, at the equinoxes and summer solstice, and its main job is to defend its members against accusations of witchcraft. It is led by three stjorir, who generally have no Gift and have a respectable position in society. They are chosen by vote and last for life or until majority vote strips their title.

One stjori is the asa-stjori, representing the Aesir as well as the vitkir. One is vana-stjori, representing the Vanir and the seithkonur and volur, the folk witches and prophetesses of the Norse. Last is the alfra-stjori, representing the Alfar and galdramen. Those outside these traditions, such as trollsynir, are called utgarder and must appeal to one of the stjorir to represent them. Trollsynir are often viewed with suspicion as being close to Muspelli, but have proven themselves worthy of the Raudskinna and not seeking Ragnarok. The stjorir also judge disputes between members.

The laws of the Raudskinna are simple. First, charity. A member who loses more than a quarter of their wealth via chance or misadventure can recover half of the loss from the hreppur, though no person is required to supply more than 1/120 of their total worth. The elderly, infirm and destitute are assigned to the care of a wealthier member, though no one must bear this burden for more than one year before it is reassigned. Second, magicians may demand payment, via rates set by the Compact. Third, members should be discreet about their magic and ensure it will not offend people, as well as not discussing magical matters with outsiders. If charged with withcraft, the stjorir will defend members, but in the case of indiscreet use of magic, they owe a fee. If it was beyond their control, defense is free. Next, any member may claim any vis that was on their land, and the first to harvest vis on common land owns it. Anyone harvesting another's vis must pay a fine. If a magician dies without heir, the vis belongs to whoever claims it first. There are only a few duties of membership: first, oppose the Muspelli, never aid them and inform the stjorir if you find one. The hreppur will stop at nothing to wipe them out. Second, keep trade routes safe from the trolls and beasts of the wild lands. Last, do not perform magic for anyone on the hreppur's blacklist. Anyone who does evil magic upon a human being forfeits protection of the hreppur, save in pursuit of outlawed magicians. This includes your enemies who are not outlawed magicians - they don't want you loving things up for everyone, so make sure they don't find out about it. You may use magic in self-defense, but not to deliberately cause injury, and even then your life must be under threat, and you may still owe a fee if you get accused of witchcraft.

Most normal people are unware the Raudskinna Compact exists, and generally laws against witchcraft only include magic done to harm others. Should a member of a hreppur lose a court case for witchcraft, the hreppur abanonds them to their fate, even if the trial was not fair. The Order of Hermes knows nothing of the Raudskinna Compact, but several hreppa are aware of it and have discussed it before. Most want to know more if they know of it, but contact has generally not been friendly in the past. Both sides would probably find each other appalling if they learned more, as the Raudskinna would not want to isolate themselves while a magus would consider most Norse wizards to be violating the core of the Code.

Next time: Soqotra

Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.
Pack it in, Mors. Ryuutama has the best and greatest list of magic spells.

Mar 30, 2012


Ainu Cute Leaf: MP 4, Duration 1 day, Target up to 7 people, Range touch. Ritual. Creates an enormous leaf that can be used as an umbrella for up to seven people. +1 bonus to terrain-based checks in rainy weather, doesn't stack with actual umbrellas.

Ainu Cute Leaf got nerfed hard, this makes my entire umbrella-based wet hiking build useless.

Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.

Clapping Larry
Ryuutama's spells are pretty great just because they seem a lot more like magic in a world where there's a lot of traveling.

poo poo, has D&D even got a magical umbrella spell?

Nov 5, 2010

Warning, Internet
may prove lethal.
I love those spells. They've got so much flavour thats it's dripping from them. The world setting, the GM-Player relationship, the charming artwork, the spell lists, the item tags. It's all so lovely. :3:

Oct 14, 2011
I recall someone asking for a game that emulates jRPGs reasonably well on the what system should I use megathread - looks like Ryuutama would probably do the job.

hectorgrey fucked around with this message at 20:34 on May 15, 2013

Apr 5, 2005

Unidentified spacecraft inbound from delta line.

All Silpheed squadrons scramble now!

Summer is hella OP, geez.

Dec 13, 2011

Glazius posted:

poo poo, has D&D even got a magical umbrella spell?

D&D's focus has never been telling stories about wonder and exploration. It's always been about killing, thieving and getting swole so you can go pick a bigger target next time.


Oct 29, 2011
I feel I should mention that the one time I ran Ryuutama, one of the PCs gave serious thought to mugging a passerby for his expensive raincoat. He did have the good grace to feel bad about it though.

hectorgrey posted:

I recall someone asking for a game that emulates jRPGs reasonably well on the what system should I use megathread - looks like Ryuutama would probably do the job.

It even has "if everyone in the front row drops, everyone in the rear moves up to the front"-style combat.

  • Locked thread