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mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007

Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952




Seatox posted:

And I thought "gold pieces weighs 1/3 of an ounce a piece, you need 2.1 metric tonnes of gold to develop the simplest Epic Spell" was a good rag on D&D.

There was an a article in Dragon, somewhere in the mid-double digits that redefined the coinage. They changed the standard, heavy GP for an SP the size of a dime. Their GP was the same size and worth about 20 times an SP. Coin hordes got much more manageable.

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JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!

Jerik posted:

Well, I guess it's possible they knew what mycelium was and intentionally wrote about making weapons and airships out of threads of fungal tissue, but considering how little sense that makes yes, I really think it's more likely that they didn't realize it was already a word. Maybe you're right and they used the word with full knowledge of its meaning, but that might actually be worse.

There was probably very little thought put into writing it, besides making every faction use explicitly different tech and magic, as if you were making RTS factions.

Zereth
Jul 9, 2003



Jerik posted:

The Elemental Plane of Water, for example, has an enormous and diverse city full of portals to other planes, with multiple districts, warring merchant houses, and political maneuverings. It's fleshed out with thirty pages of description. It's a planar hub second only to Sigil itself, and in fact is often called "the Sigil of the Elements". Seems like an important place that ought to have come up a lot. But no; that thirty-page description appears in an adventure that's not even technically a Planescape product (though much of it does take place on other planes), and then the city gets a few paragraphs' worth of mention in The Inner Planes, and that's it.
see this seems like the FIRST thing you should mention when you're telling the GM/Players about the Elemental Plane of Water, i'd never heard of it

Ithle01
May 28, 2013

JcDent posted:

There was probably very little thought put into writing it, besides making every faction use explicitly different tech and magic, as if you were making RTS factions.

I was assuming that was literally what this was.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.

mllaneza posted:

There was an a article in Dragon, somewhere in the mid-double digits that redefined the coinage. They changed the standard, heavy GP for an SP the size of a dime. Their GP was the same size and worth about 20 times an SP. Coin hordes got much more manageable.

When I ran a game about the D&D cosmology colliding with a fairly normal alt-hist 18th century, one of the jokes was the D&D people being extremely confused that the locals called this heavy, relatively rare stuff 'gold'. Turned out that they all used as gold in the rest of the Prime Material Plane was lightweight and very common, and they used GP for the same reason we use paper money.

That was my personal answer to 'how the hell do people carry around 10,000 GP'

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado


Wasn't all this why 4th Edition invented Astral Diamonds? A half pound vial of those was meant to be some ungodly amount of GP.

I also remember some book during 3e's life cycle (Arcana Unearthed maybe?) where they had as a possible setting conceit paper money, in the form of promissory notes given by the church of the god of the wealth each being backed by the value of a certain tier of clerical spell. Not the Gold standard, the God standard.

Lord_Hambrose
Nov 21, 2008

*a foul hooting fills the air*


Real adventurers just cart wagons of gold around til they spend it. If the money runs out, well you can always find a church of an evil God laying about and ransack it.

Holding on to your wealth is for boring town-livers not roving bands of killers for hire/private law enforcement specialists.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
At what level do I get Swim Through Gold feat to McDuck my way through my riches?

MadDogMike
Apr 9, 2008

Cute but fanged

Zereth posted:

I really like the Elemental Chaos in 4e because it's assumed to be broadly traversible without requiring specialized magical protection like "there is literally no air here that you didn't bring with you"

I mean, sure, it's hazardous but that's like "poo poo, river of lava that's really wide, what do we do" rather than "IT IS A CONSTANT SEVEN MILLION DEGREES AND IF YOU AREN'T IMMUNE TO FIRE YOU DIE INSTANTLY"

Yeah, I’m kind of pissed that got rolled back to the old system, 4e at least grasped (unlike the earlier editions) that if you have a place your PCs should both be A. able to and B. have a reason to go there. Not that old school D&D is the sole source of this problem, as demonstrated by Gatecrashing here. Everybody who loves the Great Wheel is in my experience just interested in the Outer Planes part of it, that would be easy enough to weld to the 4e Inner Planes (honestly, I don’t even recall 4e really ruling it out since I think all the same Outers still existed, they were just scattered around randomly in the Astral). At least I think 5e kept the Feywild and Shadowfell I believe, although that’s one change easy enough to slot into the Great Wheel (put them between the Prime Material and Positive/Negative Energy Planes, respectively, fits well).

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
I disliked the Elemental Chaos as a knee-jerk thing, but then I sat back and realised that it worked a lot better than separating your elemental peas from your corn.

megane
Jun 20, 2008



Nobody likes visiting the Quasi-elemental Plane of Corn.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

megane posted:

Nobody likes visiting the Quasi-elemental Plane of Corn.
Every time I go there I expect it to be different. It isn't. Ever.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Hostile V posted:

Every time I go there I expect it to be different. It isn't. Ever.

Who knew rivers of High Fructose Corn Syrup was a thing and looked so disgusting at the same time.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007



Hostile V posted:

Every time I go there I expect it to be different. It isn't. Ever.

nice

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



The First Session, Advancing Characters, and The End of The Key

It’s time to wrap up this first book of Invisible Sun. So, the First Session is, still part of character creation. Yeah, it’s not finished yet. See, first session is you all get together and collaboratively… finishes the characters. Now, I am a fan of concepts like this: I think Unknown Armies 3e’s First Session campaign/character creation system is brilliant.

This is probably not going to be brilliant.

So after everyone introduces their characters BUT NOT THE SECRET SOUL. You move to step one of first session…

Neighborhood

Yep. The group collaboratively comes up with at least one neighbor for each PC, which the GM rates as Positive, Negative, or Neutral in respect to that PC. This repeats until every PC gets at least one neighbor. Then you do it again and come up with one to three nearby points of interest in the neighborhood, then one or two local problems or issues. All of those are again, rated as Positive, Negative, or Neutral.

GM then tallies up the positive and negative, ignoring the neutral things. If more positive than negative things, PC gets 1 Joy, if opposite, 1 Despair, if neutral, they get nothing. Each PC gets a Wicked Key which… one sec. I have to literally flip to the last page of the book for an explanation of what a Wicked Key is.



Ok while a cool concept I actually dig, why is this the last page of the book? Anyway, everyone gets a Wicked Key…

That they immediately give to another player as an award “for a suggestion that they liked or thought was particularly fun or imaginative”. Why? I can’t imagine any situation that wouldn’t result in keys just getting swapped around between people. If someone gets multiples, that means someone else gets none and that feels like a fast way to breed resentment in the group.

Most of this section is taken up with suggestions, which I will transcribe a few of because they’re either hilariously bad or hilariously useless.
    Neighbors:
  • Possibly a vampire (negative)
  • Very nosy couple (negative)
  • Owns a dog that barks incessantly (negative)
  • Member of the same order as the PC (positive)
  • Helpful (positive)
  • Spider with a very large web (neutral)

    Points of Interest:
  • Park (neutral)
  • Thah installation (law enforcers) (depends on PC)
  • Flophouse (negative)
  • Food Market (positive)
  • One-star hotel (negative)
  • Two-star hotel (neutral)
  • Four-star hotel (positive)
  • Five-star hotel (positive)

    Local Issues:
  • Vandals (negative)
  • Large number of elderbrin (neutral)
  • Young trouble makers (neutral)

Bonds
Then the PC’s figure out any bonds between them, ideally everyone has a bond with at least one other person. If you are familiar with various Powered by the Apocalypse games like Dungeon World, you may assume that this works the same, you’re wrong. This is Invisible Sun, these are hard mechanical definitions of human relationships. You can have one PC Bond at creation, any more you have to do the Develop a Bond character arc to get, and if you have a bond with someone, you can share character arcs.

I’m not going to go over all the bonds, but they’re as awkward as you’d expect. Fellow Students bond lets both PC’s learn a single spell up to level 3, but they can only cast that spell when they’re physically close to each other. Housemates means you both share a better house mechanically, but… one character just doesn’t get a house.

Lovers is hilarious because it’s a blanket +1 to every action as long as they’re physically close together. The drawback? They start getting stat penalties for every day they’re apart. Being in love is quantified through stat buffs and penalties. That’s the most 3rd Edition loving thing.

Ephemera
Each character starts with your maximum number of Ephemera. These are your minor magic items, cantrips, etc. GM gets final say, and it’s probably easiest just to draw random ephemera from the Ephemera Cards because remember, this game was a giant box-o-feelies.

The Desideratum
Good god Monte, is there any term you didn’t make obtuse and confusing? Desideratum, my god.
This just means pick one of these six things that you want the game to be about : Money, Power, Information, Allies, Travel, Altruism, to give a guide for the GM in making the second session which is where you actually start playing.That’s it.



Advancing Characters
This’ll be quick because I had to explain the advancement systems beforehand anyway. So quick recap: XP in confusing. Acumen is spent on skills, spells, secrets, etc. Joy and Despair are also XP but you need one of each to make Crux, because gently caress you, which is spent to advance Forte’s and Order. It’s also apparently spent to make magic items and activate certain abilities, so that’s… that’s a good idea I bet. Also… ok wait.
Joy and Despair need to be tracked even after spending… because they increase the power of your Magic Hand or Buttplug??? That’s… the first I’m hearing of this.

Wait, what is this???



Wha… why would you mix the systems like that? Like I get the idea: Bad stuff is more valuable mechanically than Good Stuff, but this just means it’s more confusing in a game with an already overcomplicated and confusing XP system.

Whatever. I’m skipping costs to advance stuff, because who cares? It’s not insane, just like “oh 1 for level 1-4, 2 for 5-6”, etc. that sorta stuff. Instead let’s go to something… loving stupid.



This is a good way to end it I think. Your magical whatstit of choice is an ever-increasing in power magical item. This is a cool concept. This sounds neat. Or would except… you don’t get to pick. It’s the GM. This is a permanent defining magical item that you get, and you can’t choose what it does. The GM decides. The GM Always decides.



Always.

Well, this wraps up The Key. Next time: The Gate: The Actual Rules of The Game, Gamemaster Advice, and… THE SOOTH DECK!

megane
Jun 20, 2008



Oh man, I'd forgotten that all wizards canonically carry around, at all times, the lovely 3D-printed plastic hand that comes in the box you paid $350 for. :allears:

If nothing else, we ought to acknowledge Monte Cook's achievement in making wizards seem like totally uninteresting dweebs -- the kind of people you don't invite to parties because they'll corner some poor girl and spend three hours whining about how a bunch of people with books for heads have been moving into the neighborhood and, like, it's not like I'm against people with books for heads, but

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora
I was going to point out that Monte must have had some bad experiences with long distance relationships, but I just realized he created a world where you can't send married people on business trips. Amazing.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 6: American Gothic


Enlightenment thief!

Utley is a man out of time. He dates back to a Lineage that...well, doesn't exist any more. He is one of the last Hollows, born from the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. Now, his Lineage gone and the Divine Fire having abandoned him, he has little hope for a New Dawn and has turned to desperate methods. Utley isn't entirely sure when he was created, but it was probably in the early summer of 1939, during the end of the Dust Bowl. He was brought to life in the midst of a massive dust storm, tasting water and blood. When the storm settled, he met his genitor, Hartley, and the throng that went with him. They confirmed that he was not human and would need the Pilgrimage to become one. His name, Utley, was taken from a broken sign for the nearby town of Utleyville, Colorado.

The group survived as bandits, robbing anyone that traveled the nearby roads. Hartley was the brains of it all, but making Utley was the final step of his Pilgrimage, and he achieved the New Dawn with Utley as his only witness, becoming truly human. The human Hartley lost much of his memory, and the throng abandoned him. Utley was expected to take up the job of leading them, but he wasn't good at it. He was an excellent follower, but he was no planner, and the throng intended to abandon him as well shortly after. When he overheard them talking about it, he decided to attempt his New Dawn immediately - a grave mistake. He tried to force himself to become human in a moment of passion, doing as his genitor had: ripping open his chest to release the fire within. However, he had no fire - only powerful winds that created an immense dust storm. Utley's hungers grew terrible, and fell into a cannibal frenzy, attacking his throngmates and tearing their Vitriol from their forms.

Utley emerged from his Torment alone and starving. He buried the corpses of his throng and set off to complete the Great Work. It's been 78 years since and he's not succeeded so far. He is a scrawny, gaunt man that appears to be in his early 20s, with beige skin that is tight on his frame and severely chapped lips. He has dense cataracts that do not interfere with his vision, though he often fakes being blind to lull people into a false sense of security. He still wears the same white shirt and blue jeans he was 'born' in, though now heavily repaired. He's a simple man in his language and actions, with no patience for flowery words. He tries to be stoic and bottle up his emotions, which tends to mean they end up coming out all at once, and violently, as he lashes out at anyone nearby.

Like all Hollows, Utley is ruled by hunger, craving food, safety and pleasure. In the nearly 80 years of his life, however, he has sublimated these hungers into a drive for the New Dawn. He knows it's real, having seen it achieved, but even with the guidance of his Azothic memory, he can't figure out how to do it properly. He tries to shortcut the process with poorly informed, elaborate and usually dangerous methods, such as eating the hearts of those rumored to be redeemed PRometheans or stealing alchemists' formulae for himself. If in a throng, he pushes his throngmates to assisting in these schemes. While his window of opportunity is shrinking as times goes on, Utley's quite proud of his advanced age. He's seen much of the last century and met many Prometheans. He can recite several of their stories from memory, and he takes great care when presenting his own, which can take hours.

Utley is a serial attacker of Prometheans and thief of Vitriol. When in Torment, Vitriol and the flesh of other Prometheans is the only thing that can sate his infite hunger momentarily. When not in Torment, he still looks for chances to do it, in the belief that consuming enough Vitriol might allow him to trigger the New Dawn. Utley is also incapable of making other Prometheans. He knows how to go about making a Hollow and the materials to do so aren't hard to get - but he can't do it. He's failed every time he's tried. As far as he knows, he is the last of his Lineage, which cannot be created any more by anyone. He can feel himself dying, and his Azoth even cools occasionally, manifesting as intense chills in his body. Each year they become more frequent. Utley is unsure how long he has left, but knows that he'll die if he can't become human soon.

Utley isn't, despite all odds, a Centimanus, and never has been. In fact, he hates them greatly. They reject something that has been denied to him, and that enrages him. If he runs into a Centimanus, he fights without hesitation, and the fact that some Prometheans are willing to look the other way if he steals their Vitriol before killing them is an added bonus. He's always been a proponent of the five Basic Refinements - the more simple philosophies of how to become human. He has nothing but disdain for more complex philosophy, claiming that it has no bearing on "real living" and so he'll focus on what gets actual results. Despite what he believes, he is not in fact the last Hollow. After the Dust Bowl ended, most Hollows that failed to become human left North America in search of the more arid climates they preferred, though rumor has it that as their time draws near, some that still remain are returning to the land that birthed them before their deaths.

Utley's not a smart man by any standard, but he is a strong-willed one and surprisingly charismatic. He's about average physically, though he's more athletic than most and a good survivor in the wilderness. He also has a wide variety of magic powers thanks to his long, long time alive. He's extremely potent mystically for a Promethean, with the ability to boost his speed and defenses, be super stealthy, pass safely through Wastelands or wield them against his foes, reduce or deflect his Disquiet to make his own life easier, increase Disquiet so he can scare people, shoot lightning, absorb electricity more efficiently to heal, sense and power electrical devices or even control complex electronics, overload or dampen electrical devices, can use magic to make people more friendly, can alter his own body to breathe water, climb like Spiderman or do Dhalsim bullshit, can sense other Prometheans, hide himself from them and even try to end others' Torments, can boost his hearing, smell and taste, and is pretty much impossible to restrain or imprison because he can magically break bonds, escape grapples and smash walls.

The Hollow were originally written for the Dark Eras supplement and get their writeup reproduced here. They were created first by a man named Ismael Hawker and originated solely from America and Canada in the '30s, made by dehydrating a corpse and anointing it with dust, then putting a drop of water on the lips. This raised them as a Promethean of endless hunger and thurst, both spiritual and physical. Their humour was a mix of blood and black bile. In Torment, they were driven to try and sate their insatiable cravings and violently fought anyone that got in their way. Once gorged, they fell into depression and isolation. After the Dust Bowl ended, it became impossible to make more Hollows, and today, only a few remain, most of them outside North America. AT the end of 2039, the lifespan of any Hollows sitll alive will run out unless they have already died and returned to life, resetting their timer. They were able to consume damage from attacks, temporarily delaying wounds in order to gain Pyros, or could push people to pursue their own desires.


Storm crow.

Vachellia is the last of zir throng (I prefer singular they for gender-neutral, but whatever, this is the pronoun the character uses) who has not yet died or achieved the New Dawn. Loneliness and depression threaten, and zie is too afraid to approach others openly for fear of being scorned for taking so long. Instead, zie manipulates Prometheans int odanger and sets them up to fail so zie can swoop in, save the day, become accempted. Zie was loyal in helping zir throng achieve the New Dawn, and still recites the names of the successful and the dead to try and feel less alone, though none of the successful remembered zir afterwards.

Vachellia attempted, after the Redemption of zir last throngmate, Oracle, to pursue the Refinement of Copper in the hope that focus on the self would help ease the loneliness. It was neither easy nor natural to such a social creature, and zie varied wildly between driving others off before they could leave zir or desperately clinging to them despite the teahcings of the Refinement. Eventually, zie moved to the Refinement of Tin to pursue something less maddening to zir. Zie was cruel, using zir social abilities to manipulate people into being as lonely as zie was, turning them against each other to see how they dealt with abandonment. When she attempted to break up a same-sex couple that another Promethean, Stellaris, had brought together and helped come out of the closet, Stellaris intervened and convinced Vachellia to instead pursue Cobalus, the Refinement focused on studying imperfection, weakness and failure as the key to being human.

Vachellia was a good student, in the hopes that Stellaris would invite zir to her throng. However, zie didn't just pursue zir own weaknesses, but those of others, testing them and pushing them beyond their comfort zone to help them rise - usually. Sometimes it didn't go so well. When Stellaris had taught all she could and had likely recognized that Vachellia was a habitual, toxic manipulator, she left. Vachellia had became an expert in seeing and encouraging weakness in zirself and others, telling zirself zie is now seeking Prometheans to 'teach' as part of making them stronger. In truth, zie hopes that one day a Promethean will not be able to surpass the obstacles zie causes, allowing zir to swoop in and help to join their throng.

Vachellia has excellent social skills, but zie is terrified of being alone and it has burned away much of zir empathy. Zie believes zie has mastered Cobalus and is unafraid to admit weakness, but zie remains blind to zir all-encompassing drive for acceptance. When zie sets others towards danger, zie genuinely believes zie is helping them become stronger. If zie did join a throng, zie would continue endangering them, to ensure they never believed themselves safe without zir aid. Zie is a master of subtle criticism, insults and undermining confidence. It is possible that someone able to put up with zir toxicity could get zir to confront zir own self-blindness and get zir to be more honest, getting zir empathy back.

Vachellia is an androgynous, dark-skinned person with close-cut black curls. Zir body died of heart attack, so has no visible wounds. Zir creator, Ximena, chose zir body for its beauty in the hopes it'd make life easier for Vachellia. Zir right hand is scarred white on the fingers from a PAndoran attack that ended in the self-sacrifice and death of zir throngmate Ricardo, but it doesn't look too bad on Vachellia. Zie moves with easy grace, though a constantly clenched jaw reveals tension. Zie analyzes every chance to push people into danger. In Torment or when flaring power, zir skin hardens and movements slow, making zir appear sculpted from dark stone.

In truth, Ricardo didn't sacrifice himself; Vachellia abandoned him to his death. As the Pandorans closed in, Ricardo fought to hold them back and Vachellia, the only one who looked back, saw him fall and raise his hands in a silent plea for help. Zie knew zie could go back and risk the throng or pretend Ricardo had chosen to die; zie chose the second. Vachellia is both hopeful and afraid that Ricardo will make his way out of the Underworld. It'd expose zir sin, but also bring bakc someone zie loved. Vachellia also has caused another Promathean to fall - an Ulgan whose name zie doesn't know. Zie sabotaged the Ulgan's Pilgrimage, in an effort to seperate her from her throng and drive her into zir arms. Instead, it caused the Ulgan to embrace Flux. The Ulgan's throng has since realized someone sabotaged her and wants to find the culprit as much as they'd like to bring their friend back from being a Centimanus.

Some say that Vachellia is good at pushing others to the New Dawn, thanks to her work helping Oracle. In the past, zie was, and zie retains the insight to see what a good next step is for most Prometheans - but it is buried now under layers of pain and loneliness. Zie is now stagnant on zir own Pilgrimage, having mastered Cobalus and refused to move on to a new Refinement. This puts zir entire Pilgrimage at risk if zie does not at least shift Roles within zir Refinement soon. Some say zie is a magnet for bad luck; untrue. She causes it directly, deliberately, as part of zir pursuit of Cobalus.

Vachellia is Galateid and not particularly clever or good at physical tasks, but zie is exceptionally good at social skills, as noted. In a fight, zie would fall apart near instantly, but zie is a formidable foe in a social environment. Zie is not much on mystic powers, possessing only the ability to push people to pursue their impulses and vices and the power to push people into guilt and depression.

Next time: Petrificati

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 02:07 on Sep 16, 2019

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



What is zir Lineage?

KirbyKhan
Mar 20, 2009



Soiled Meat
Oh man, there's mechanics for communally constructing a Wizard Trailer Park. Can't wait for the write up.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Joe Slowboat posted:

What is zir Lineage?

Galateid, which I thought I put in there.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.

I assume if I was playing a game run by Monte I would just constantly bear the expression of the woman on the far right.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

I love the hyper specific Lineages. Why the Dust Bowl specifically to give rise to its own created people? It's a great concept.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
I think I've actually reached the point where I feel bad about making fun of Monte Cook, because there's nothing really to say but the truth: he has little in the way of imagination.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 14:57 on Sep 16, 2019

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.

Dawgstar posted:

I love the hyper specific Lineages. Why the Dust Bowl specifically to give rise to its own created people? It's a great concept.

Technically speaking, while one of the 2e Lineage splash pages is for the Extempore, the Extempore are not a Lineage. They're an umbrella term for every obscure little Lineage that just kind of happened and didn't create enough progeny to pluralize. I think there's also a suggestion in the splash pages that founding Extempore spontaneously generate, without the conscious participation of a genitor? (That absolutely happens; the Divine Fire is the energy of life and its nature is to move and incarnate.) But in my book, for the purposes that really matter, the Hollow of the Dust Bowl are absolutely just another example of what Extempore can be.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

How would the dog wear goggles and even more than that, who makes the goggles?



wizard life hack: interested in that 500 orb book? get it with a lock on it instead, and get it for 150 orbs!

edit: the wicked keys are a direct rip from a china mieville book, as i think most of the setting is

juggalo baby coffin fucked around with this message at 05:02 on Sep 16, 2019

Seatox
Mar 13, 2012
Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition Epic Level Handbook: NUMBER GO UP

Chapter 2: Epic Spells, Part 1

Epic Spells are what you get when you buy the Epic Spellcasting Feat.

They are part Ars Magica/Mage assemble-a-spell from concept and part Dungeons And Dragons Wizard Numberslam.


Rules:words:
So, when you take the Epic Spell feat, the rules say you get One (1) Epic Spell Slot every 10 ranks your character has in either Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (divine) or Knowledge (nature), depending on your source of spells.

To even qualify for the Epic Spellcasting feat, you need to have 24 ranks in one of those skills and have the ability to cast 9th level spells. Any Wizard/Cleric/Druid worth their levels is probably going to have all that by level 20, no problem.

In theory, rules as written a Bard could stack the Improved Spell Capacity feat 3 times to get 9th level bard spells, or paladins and rangers could spend a huge pile of feats to eventually qualify, but this is unlikely because of the core flaws with 3rd edition's stats and skills system (Namely, nobody has the skillpoints or feat slots to do this and still be a viable character in their alloted niche).

If a character has multiple classes that satisfy the Epic Spellcasting requirements, they get a pool of Epic Spell Slots for each class (So, if a 22 Cleric/22 Wizard had the skillpoints to qualify both classes for Epic Sellcasting, they could have 2 Divine Epic Spell Slots and 2 Arcane Spell slots).

Epic Spell Slots are filled with spells (or per-day uses for sorcerers) the same way regular spells are, except for wizards they're not recorded in a spellbook, they're just part of the wizard.

Epic Spells are "developed", and like making magic items, they cost Gold, XP and Time. Given that, once developed, they're part of the spellcaster in a fundamental way and can't be stolen, locking up an Epic Wizard is no longer a matter of taking away their spellbook after you wear them out (And, as we'll soon see, chaining them up in an Antimagic field won't help either).

Casting an Epic Spell is actually a rare example of the Sorcerer actually having it flat out better than the Vancian Slot Casters, as there's no Metamagic Feats for Epic Spells (which cost the sorcerer extra time to apply to regular spells on the fly, while the Wizard/Cleric/Druid pre-bakes their metamagic when they memorize spells), so the Sorcerer can just pick from their Epic Spells on the fly and have no drawbacks.

One Step Fowards, One Step Back
In a rare moment of sanity, Epic Spells are not an automatic thing. Each Epic Spell has a Spellcraft DC, and to successfully cast that spell, the caster needs to make their skill roll - and if they fail, it fizzles. Casters can take-10 on the skill roll (But remember, you can't take-10 in any kind of stress situation), and you can't take-20.

There's a Varient Rule sidebar that points out that Wizards, being nerd INT casters, get a bonus on Epic Spellcasting because Spellcraft is an Int skill, and that you might want to let clerics, druids and sorcerers use their caster stats instead of Int on the Spellcraft roll for Epic Spellcasting. This doesn't exactly fix the other half-dozen problems with the D20 skill system, but it's nice they noticed.

The Antimagic, it does nothing!
There's also a sidebar that explicitly states that Epic Spells only partially affected by Antimagic Field, only supressing them if it succeeds on a dispelling check as a 20th level spellcaster - so a sufficiently Epic Spellcaster can just completly ignore Antimagic field by virtue of having 40 levels.

I could have sworn level 10 spells was a thing in one of the AD&D campaign option books
For situation where Spell Level matters, Epic Spells count as Level 10 spells - and their saving throw DC is 20+caster ability score modifier. You can't apply metamagic or other spell manipulation feats to Epic Spells, so the various +DC boosting tricks for normal spells don't work (No Spell Focus, or Spell Penetration, or other such shennanigans). To boost the +DC of an epic spell, you have to actually use the Epic Spell Development System (there's prices to be paid). This is shockingly reasonable given the bullshit spellcasters get away with under the regular system.

Finally, Epic Spells can't be shoved into regular magic items - and, despite everything in this book, there's no Major Artifact construction rules (just Epic Magic Item rules that render Artifacts pointless, because Epic Magic Items generally don't have "game balancing" curses attached to them).

Then we're onto the list of pre-baked Epic Spells, which are examples built from the rules that come after them.


And here's some we prepared earlier
The book has a table of example Epic Spells by DC, followed by their descriptions - if you've read a D20 spell ever, you've seen this sort of format before.

Here's the lowest DC example Epic Spell, Ruin

quote:

Ruin
Transmutation
Spellcraft DC:27
Components:V,S,XP
Casting Time:1 full round
Range:12,000ft
Target:One creature, or up to a 10-foot cube of nonliving matter
Duration:Instantatneous
Saving Throw:Fortitude half
Spell Resistance:Yes
To Develop:243,000gp; 5 days; 9720 XP. Seed: destroy (DC 29). Factor: reduce casting time by 9 rounds (+18 DC). Mitigating factor: burn 2,000 XP (-20 DC)

You deal 20d6 points of damage to a single target within range and line of sight. If the target is reduced to -10 hit points or less (or a construct, object, or undead is reduced to 0 hit points), it is utterly destroyed as if disintigrated. Only a trace of fine dust remains.
XP Cost: 2000 XP.

I'd say it's "a slightly worse disintigrate", but this is 3rd edition, where Disintigrate is an instakill.

So, it's almost but not quite like 3.5ed disintigrate (3.5ed's does 40d6 at 20th level, but a save only does 5d6), but it costs you 2000 XP to cast, and you need 2.1 metric tonnes (2.4 imperial tons) of gold to actually develop it. Also, you can hit a target out to two miles away. It can be cast in an antimagic field into an antimagic field, and DC27 is really low for an Epic Spell (if you look at the To Develop line, you can see the outline of the development system).

Let's try something more brokenfun, Dragon Knight:

quote:

Dragon Knight
Conjuration (Summoning) [Fire]
Spellcraft DC:38
Components:V,S,Ritual
Casting Time:1 action
Range:75ft
Effect:One summoned adult red dragon
Duration:20 rounds (D)
Saving Throw:None (see text)
Spell Resistance:No
To Develop:342,000gp; 7 days; 13680 XP. Seed: summon (DC 14). Factors: summon creature other than outsider (+10 DC), summon CR 14 creature (+24 DC), 1-action casting time (+20 DC). Mitigating factor: two additional casters contributing 8th-level spell slots (-30 DC).

This spell summons an adult red dragon. It appears where you designate and acts immediately. It attacks your opponents to the best of its abilities (on the first round it prefers to breathe fire on an enemy, if possible). You can direct the dragon not to attack, to attack particular enemies, or perform other actions. This is a ritual spell requiring two other spellcasters, each of which must contribute an unused 8th-level spell slot in the casting.

Wave hands, recieve a red dragon to crush your enemies :smaug: (and remember, Dragons in 3rd edition break the Challenge Rating mould a bit). The "ritual spell" thing is class agnoistic - so clerics can contribute to wizard ritual Epic Spells. There's no XP cost to fire this thing off, just a couple of extra spell slots. DC38 is pretty easy to hit even at low Epic Levels, with a booster item and/or feat.

The rest of the sample spells go all the way up to the DC 419 Vengeful Gaze of God, which is like Ruin (and built from the same Seed), but deals 305d6 damage (Save for half!), and deals 200d6 points of damage to the caster as backlash. It also includes other examples such as "Origin of the Species: Archerai" (DC38, costs 3500XP a cast), for permanently creating a demon out of nothing, and "Rain of Fire" (DC50, no additional cost), which rains down 1 point of fire damage a round over a 2 mile radius for 20 hours.

Just from these few examples, you can get see how a clever player could exploit the hell out of the Epic Spell Development System. Rain of Fire will level a city if run strictly by rules, because elemental fire damage bypasses object hardness. Kiss your stone walls goodbye.

Next time: What the hell is a Spell Seed, and why do I need a moon made of gold?

Seatox fucked around with this message at 06:41 on Sep 16, 2019

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk


since being a full progression caster was already a blank check to break the system over your knee, i always felt underwhelmed with the epic spell stuff. it's just the same spells you can already cast, but now you have to roll several hundred d6s because that's a totally plausible thing to have to do in the middle of a real-time game session.

ironically the idea that they're trying to formalize how spells are cast would have been a much cooler attempt at reigning in caster supremacy if those rules had been implemented out the gate at level 1. give clearly defined guidelines with extremely tight math behind them and then show how a couple iconic D&D spells "should" be built using the new system

i am going to guess this also runs afoul of every other game system that encourages players to make up their own powers, i.e. the only material sanity check is the patience of the DM at the table you're playing, and otherwise it's trivial for an enterprising person to cook up crazy horse poo poo like "this spell turns off the sun nearest to the current planet"

Seatox
Mar 13, 2012

Freaking Crumbum posted:

since being a full progression caster was already a blank check to break the system over your knee, i always felt underwhelmed with the epic spell stuff. it's just the same spells you can already cast, but now you have to roll several hundred d6s because that's a totally plausible thing to have to do in the middle of a real-time game session.

ironically the idea that they're trying to formalize how spells are cast would have been a much cooler attempt at reigning in caster supremacy if those rules had been implemented out the gate at level 1. give clearly defined guidelines with extremely tight math behind them and then show how a couple iconic D&D spells "should" be built using the new system

i am going to guess this also runs afoul of every other game system that encourages players to make up their own powers, i.e. the only material sanity check is the patience of the DM at the table you're playing, and otherwise it's trivial for an enterprising person to cook up crazy horse poo poo like "this spell turns off the sun nearest to the current planet"

And you've completely scooped my end of chapter 2 commentary, because yeah, the spell seed thing would be far better if it was from level 1, with sane numbers.

I'll spoil part 2 by just saying, "epic spell seeds are literally core non-epic spells with the numbers filed off that you mix and match bit of".

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

Freaking Crumbum posted:

otherwise it's trivial for an enterprising person to cook up crazy horse poo poo like "this spell turns off the sun nearest to the current planet"

Wasn't one of the martial classes able to do this at like 6th level?

Seatox
Mar 13, 2012

The Lone Badger posted:

Wasn't one of the martial classes able to do this at like 6th level?

This is D20. A poorly worded feat can permit all kinds of insane stuff that strictly RAW is possible. There's a metamagic feat that combined with a simple divination spell to find a city will deal damage to everything in the area of the city because the city divination spell has "area of effect: 1 city" and the metamagic applies damage to "all targets in the area of effect".

It all boils down to the DM wielding a riding crop on the dedicated rules-lawyer-munchkin-charop people, lest the game devolve into utter stupidity.

Zereth
Jul 9, 2003



Seatox posted:

This is D20. A poorly worded feat can permit all kinds of insane stuff that strictly RAW is possible. There's a metamagic feat that combined with a simple divination spell to find a city will deal damage to everything in the area of the city because the city divination spell has "area of effect: 1 city" and the metamagic applies damage to "all targets in the area of effect".

It all boils down to the DM wielding a riding crop on the dedicated rules-lawyer-munchkin-charop people, lest the game devolve into utter stupidity.
No, it's got a range of like, several miles, and will find cities in that range.

What you DO is you stack something which lets you do 1 cold damage or something to everything in the area, then a metamagic to change that to force or sonic type, I forget, and then another feat that lets you make any Sonic or Force whichever one it was spell also throw people out of the area of the spell, causing some damage based on how far they get thrown and if they hit anything hard.

BAM.

You can use similar tricks to make it do energy drain, draining 1 level from everybody in the area, killing all the level 1 commoners, and, due to how dying to that works, causing them to raise as Wights in a few rounds.

Seatox
Mar 13, 2012

Zereth posted:

No, it's got a range of like, several miles, and will find cities in that range.

What you DO is you stack something which lets you do 1 cold damage or something to everything in the area, then a metamagic to change that to force or sonic type, I forget, and then another feat that lets you make any Sonic or Force whichever one it was spell also throw people out of the area of the spell, causing some damage based on how far they get thrown and if they hit anything hard.

BAM.

You can use similar tricks to make it do energy drain, draining 1 level from everybody in the area, killing all the level 1 commoners, and, due to how dying to that works, causing them to raise as Wights in a few rounds.

Ah, right.

Slams DMG closed Ok, it's time for us to have a sensible, adult discussion about our game. If you'll just pass me your character sheet while I dig up some matches...

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*

There's no level 5 effect in this progression.

Is that an artefact of the rules, or just a mistake?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!

Mors Rattus posted:

They were created first by a man named Ismael Hawker and originated solely from America and Canada in the '30s, made by dehydrating a corpse and anointing it with dust, then putting a drop of water on the lips. This raised them as a Promethean of endless hunger and thurst, both spiritual and physical.

Wizards: no sense of right or wrong

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

potatocubed posted:

There's no level 5 effect in this progression.

Is that an artefact of the rules, or just a mistake?

Apparently Monte Cook has not discovered the long-forgotten (and perhaps forbidden) number between 4 and 6.

Also the long-forgotten (and perhaps forbidden) number between 6 and 8.

Worldwalker_Pure
Feb 27, 2015


Seatox posted:

"Rain of Fire" (DC50, no additional cost), which rains down 1 point of fire damage a round over a 2 mile radius for 20 hours.

I did some quick calculations based on what I remembered of round length in 3.5 and I think this adds up to 12k damage total?

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.
Unlockable Ben
So you're a super-powered wizard in a surreal alternate world and you're bothered by your neighbour's dog barking too loud?

I mean, if this was actually taking a Terry Pratchett view of the whole thing that'd be fantastic, but it doesn't seem to be.

The Skeep
Sep 15, 2007

That Chicken sure loves to drum...sticks
"well there's a nice park and the neighbours are helpful but a dog is loud sometimes and there's low income housing so you all take one despair."

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Well, given the wizards get more valuable EXP from tragedy, I imagine they're all taking a dive and rolling around wailing about the existential horror and sorrow of everything that happens to them to try to farm.

EXP, drawing a red card, same principle.

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