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jagerfury

Greyhawk Magic World

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So I'm feeling the World of Greyhawk is a great setting for starting a homebrew fantasy campaign utilizing Magic World. Here are my initial thoughts on hacking this classic D&D setting for a BRP based game;

Character races available; Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling. The three demi-humans use the bestiary stats for characteristic rolls. Otherwise follow regular character creation steps.

However you qualify magic ability for starting characters establish the "schools" of magic for the type of magic wielding "classes".

Wizards/Sorcerers use the school of magic known as Sorcery. This is established in the MW rulebook so you have your mechanics. Create some "academies" where sorcerers come out with specific known spells. Utilize MW, old Rolemaster Spell Law Essence lists, and TSR's Player's Handbook for custom spell lists. The other sorcerer school would be "shamanism". A specific, hand me down or self-taught path of spell casting. This would need a limited starting spell list customized by the player and the DM. Don't forget to blatantly rip off Palladium for the summoner and use the Stormbringer mechanics for demons to iron out the mechanics. In true MW fashion new spells would have to be acquired through adventure.

Clerical or Divine magic I would use Jennell Jaquays' fabulous Revised & Expanded Petty Gods and make the PC pick a deity if they are unhappy with the standard Greyhawk pantheon. Useful as well for Paladins and Druid-like characters. Once again customize a starting spell list specific to the conception of the god/servitor chosen. Lamentation of the Flame Princess is a good place for inspiration here and the DM would be wise to keep future acquired spells a bit of a mystery while at the same time allowing the player to craft future spells per the rules. Rolemaster's spell law book "Channeling" is useful in crafting custom spell lists. The important thing here is not get hung up on what further spells will be available from the "Cleric's" god. The PC should be required to define their deity's wishes and attributes through play. Then appropriate future spells will naturally occur to both the PC and DM.

What about those f#$ing demi-humans? You will need an additional school of magic and call it Fey. Here the magic is inherent to the race. Not learned. Both spells and rune magic would need to be defined. Runes for those stubborn dwarves. Elves and halflings just eat berries and smoke weed and fart magic out of their ass. Dwarves need to crush metal and burn ore to get their magic rocks off. The mentalism book from Spell Law and the druid spell lists from the Player's Handbook are good resources here. Of course you will want to rip off the Diabolist from Palladium for the Dwarves. While you are at it steal liberally from the Alchemist rules for an additional school for the Wizards/Sorcerers. 

You do all this and you should be able to use Magic World rules for a very Greyhawk fantasy experience built on BRP. Magic World is aptly named, as this is what gives the game its unique stamp.

So why is the book so light on magic? I think Magic World should see the magic section just massive. DCC has shown that a very thick fantasy rulebook is saleable. Magic World could really show how a b-i-g fantasy rpg rulebook is done.

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Yep, and it should be under the covers of Magic World. Big, fat, chunky. And just the beginning. Come on, "twenty four new spells for sorcery", that needs to be one hundred for starters.

Edited by jagerfury

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Well, Magic World isn't going to see any new editions ...

But on the topic of new spells, I think "generic" spells are best taken directly from AD&D if you're going to run a Greyhawk game. They need hardly any tweaking, and that can be done on the fly. That's what we did when I ran an RQ2 game in Greyhawk (Against The Giants) way back when. Don't worry about balance.

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1 hour ago, jagerfury said:

Yep, and it should be under the covers of Magic World. Big, fat, chunky. And just the beginning. Come on, "twenty four new spells for sorcery", that needs to be one hundred for starters.

I know nothing about Greyhawk but I don't know that I'd want/need hundreds of new spells... especially if they're just going to be slight permutations of existing ones. Like a bunch of unique shapeshifting spells... 'Transmutate Badger', 'Transmutate Weasel', 'Transmutate Shrew', etc.
What I'd find more useful is different sorts of magic rules for capturing certain flavors... such as one to stress darker fantasy/horror and make magic a lot more unreliable/scary (not sure BRP has any quite like the sort of wild spells in Unisystem's Witchcraft or The Whispering Vault's Mortal Magic - with its awakened spells that will come back to haunt the caster.).

Perhaps some system for designing spell systems?

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This is worth looking through - http://talmeta.net/ - in the RPG section there is a bunch of stuff aimed at RQIII and Greyhawk; and despite its old school looks it seems the site at least is still getting updated. Whilst the mechanics are RQ based, adapting them to MW should be pretty straightforward. 

Cheers,

Nick

 

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I really don't think the obsession with "more spells" has ever really developed a campaign or made a system better. Though it would be thematic for Greyhawk in the sense that the Council of 8 gave their names to many D&D spells. (Bigby, Mordenkainen etc...) I think, though I do not know for sure, that each corresponded to a type of magic found in D&D. (Evocation, Alteration, etc..) and if I were going to alter / enhance Greyhawk, that is how I would line up the spells. Almost like Houses of Magic, each with it's own rules for getting in.

As for Clerics and Druids? Cleric abilities can be pretty limited really: Heal/Harm; Bless/Bane; Consecrate/Desecrate.. They can be individual "spells" or simply based off a POWx5 (or 4) roll. Druids get fewer "spells" but get to shapeshift. 

As an aside, I would think Mystara, the world of the B and X and CM books for ole D&D would make for a nice Magic World conversion. It has a darker feel in many ways, less political AND Basic D&D alignment system is built on Law, Neutrality, Chaos - a perfect segue for Magic World's allegiance system. Plus only four "professions" for humans and the demi-humans can have their magical powers.

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re: Clerics

I would think the harder job would be to come up with rules for turning Undead. I mean POW vs. POW makes sense, but how do "get" the ability? How do you create a level system where a more experienced "Cleric" turns Undead better than a lower level one does?

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44 minutes ago, ReignDragonSMH said:

re: Clerics

I would think the harder job would be to come up with rules for turning Undead. I mean POW vs. POW makes sense, but how do "get" the ability? How do you create a level system where a more experienced "Cleric" turns Undead better than a lower level one does?

Just using the Magic World and Advanced Sorcery books, I've just started experimenting with this (being still a somewhat green GM with d100 systems).

I've tied the acquisition of "Light" spells to the Allegiance system. The ability to cast Light spells is a granted boon from some divinity or divine cult and you "cast" these powers with an Allegiance Test. The magnitude of the spells available I'm still tinkering with, but I'm leaning toward a system where MP of the spells available to the character are <= to 1/10th of Allegiance.

Edit:

Not to favor characters who are allied with Light, I'm still tinkering with something that makes sense for Balance and Shadow. I want them to be distinct and not just a 1:1 copy.

Edited by Nick J.
mucking about with grammur
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Just now, Nick J. said:

Just using the Magic World and Advanced Sorcery books, I've just started experimenting with this (being still a somewhat green GM with d100 systems).

I've tied the acquisition of "Light" spells to the Allegiance system. The ability to cast Light spells is a granted boon from some divinity or divine cult and you "cast" these powers with an Allegiance Test. The magnitude of the spells available I'm still tinkering with, but I'm leaning toward the a system where MP of the spells available to the character are <= to 1/10th of Allegiance.

So your ability to turn undead would be tied to how deeply aligned to the Light you were? That makes a ton of sense to me.

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3 minutes ago, ReignDragonSMH said:

So your ability to turn undead would be tied to how deeply aligned to the Light you were? That makes a ton of sense to me.

Yeah, especially since there are spells like Beckoning Earth, and whatnot that specifically deal with combating the undead. I'm probably going to write up a slightly watered down version of that spell, that doesn't take 10 MP (otherwise, there'd be no access until somebody becomes a champion of light).

The "Key of Shadows" spell in Advanced Sorcery comes to mind. It only costs 2MP, but I'll probably make a "Light" version that doesn't enslave the fixed-INT undead, but instead drives it off.

Edited by Nick J.
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I had something like this in mind.

Magic World Turning Undead

 

Creature

(MP)/

Alliegance

Skeleton

(1)

Zombie

(1)

Ghoul

(2)

Ghast

(2)

Wight

(3)

Wraith

(3)

Vampire

(4)

 

1 to 25

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

26 to 50

T1

T

-

-

-

-

-

51 to 75

T

T

T

T

T

T

-

76 to 90

D2

D

T

T

T

T

T

91

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

MP Costs are PER creature

  1. Turn is used for those who have allegiance to Light; those with allegiance to Shadow can “Control” the undead, taking temporary control.

  2. Destroy is used for those who have allegiance to Light; those with allegiance to Shadow can 'Dominate' the undead, taking permanent control.

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9 minutes ago, ReignDragonSMH said:

I had something like this in mind.

Magic World Turning Undead

 

Creature

(MP)/

Alliegance

Skeleton

(1)

Zombie

(1)

Ghoul

(2)

Ghast

(2)

Wight

(3)

Wraith

(3)

Vampire

(4)

 

1 to 25

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

26 to 50

T1

T

-

-

-

-

-

51 to 75

T

T

T

T

T

T

-

76 to 90

D2

D

T

T

T

T

T

91

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

MP Costs are PER creature

  1. Turn is used for those who have allegiance to Light; those with allegiance to Shadow can “Control” the undead, taking temporary control.

  2. Destroy is used for those who have allegiance to Light; those with allegiance to Shadow can 'Dominate' the undead, taking permanent control.

It's interesting, I think I'd lean to the more d100/BRP way of handling it with a MP:MP resistance table roll. Also what would you do with characters who are allied with Balance? I should probably open up my copy of Classic Fantasy and see if there's anything to steal from it.

Definitely something to mull over.

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Oh yeah, I did not note that but it is an MP cost and then a POW vs POW Resistance roll against each creature targeted. 

"Balance" is a great question. By tradition, neutrals either follow along with "Good" (everyone hates undead) or can choose to follow the Good or Evil method as they wish. I would vote for the latter personally. But it would be a choice they have to stick with. 

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3 minutes ago, Nick J. said:

Also what would you do with characters who are allied with Balance?

Dance with undead? Mutual disinterest with undead? Shake hands and part as friends with undead?

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5 minutes ago, Simlasa said:

Dance with undead? Mutual disinterest with undead? Shake hands and part as friends with undead?

Lol. Something like that.

Actually maybe Allegiance to the Balance opens up spells and powers that deal with the natural world (i.e. Beast Shape as cult power, that lasts for rounds equal to Balance points, or abilities with elementals). Allegiance to Shadow opens up diabolist powers/spells, etc. 

I'm still trying to sort it out (and this is something I'd like to get player input on in our game, instead of me just spit-balling on my own).

Edited by Nick J.

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You could model the level of a cleric as a level of initiation. At the simplest, this might involve a POW sacrifice and a temple willing to promote the cleric - not in its administrative hierarchy, but in his spiritual allegiance to the deity, and the breadth of energy he can channel back - both within religious rites and out there in the field. You can make things more complicated involving concepts like temple size, pilgrimage sites and holy days. You could demand a minimum POW stat before investing more POW to the deity, depending on initiation level. And you might grant a stored spell (or parts of one if you have real powerful ones requiring more than one point) per POW point invested, magic points pre-paid while performing rites to the deity. Almost like RQ divine magic, but close enough to D&D effects.

 

 

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5 hours ago, ReignDragonSMH said:

I really don't think the obsession with "more spells" has ever really developed a campaign or made a system better.

"More spells" is my shorthand for what I really mean; a dense magic chapter in the Magic World rulebook which details all sorts of magic "systems" so a game master has many templates to work from when designing their fantasy campaign. And yeah, I would want sample spell lists for each system. Kind of a call for Magic World to earn its name. The ship sailed a long time ago and Magic World is what it is and anything between its covers can be cobbled from other Chaosium editions. For what it is Magic World is a useful utility, but there was an opportunity to create a gigantic rpg classic with a voluminous magic chapter. 

Edited by jagerfury
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1 minute ago, jagerfury said:

"More spells" is my shorthand for a dense magic chapter in a Magic World rulebook which gives all sorts of types of magic "systems" so a game master has many templates to work from when designing their fantasy campaign. Kind of a call for Magic World to earn its name. The ship sailed a long time ago and Magic World is what it is, but there was an opportunity to create a gigantic rpg classic with a voluminous magic chapter. 

I can see where that might be something people would have liked, but while the magic system seems pretty basic, it falls in line with what I can only imagine was an idea make magic special and powerful but not all powerful? I dunno. In my mind that direction lies Rolemaster, which I love, but I don't need that many spells to blow someone to bits. But then I am a less is more kind of person. 

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1 hour ago, Nick J. said:

Actually maybe Allegiance to the Balance opens up spells and powers that deal with the natural world (i.e. Beast Shape as cult power, that lasts for rounds equal to Balance points, or abilities with elementals).

I like that... as nature seems free of any ideologies beyond basic survival... continuing. Not that nature isn't cruel and violent and kind of lacking in any sentimentality.
This is a write-up of druids that I liked a lot:
http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2014/09/7-myths-everyone-believes-about-druids.html

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Nick I really like the concept of attaching certain abilities to a character's allegiance score.  I am going to be forced to steal that idea :-)

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I did have another thought about using the Allegiance system and giving characters abilities tied to it: Should they be replacements or additions to the Allegiance benefits presented in the Magic World book? My gut tells me that in most games these special powers/abilities should be presented as mutually exclusive options.

Needs some play-testing I think.

Edited by Nick J.
Grammur
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1 hour ago, Nick J. said:

Should (they?) be replacements or additions to the Allegiance benefits presented in the Magic World book? My gut tells me that in most games these special powers/abilities should be presented as mutually exclusive options.

That sounds right, unless you're aiming for something more superheroic (BRP Exalted!).
 

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17 hours ago, rsanford said:

Nick I really like the concept of attaching certain abilities to a character's allegiance score.  I am going to be forced to steal that idea :-)

Different Nick, but I used Allegiance as the basis of Priestly miracles in Ulfland (written up for the BGB in Uncounted Worlds volume 1).

cheers,

"other" Nick :D

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On 4/5/2017 at 7:07 AM, NickMiddleton said:

Different Nick, but I used Allegiance as the basis of Priestly miracles in Ulfland (written up for the BGB in Uncounted Worlds volume 1).

cheers,

"other" Nick :D

Is there a PDF copy of Uncounted Worlds that I can download somewhere? I'd like to take a look at it and mine it for ideas.

Thanks.

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