Friday, 31 January 2014

Spell Reformulation 1: Change One Letter

Fact: a magic spell is an arcane formula which can bring about a certain well-defined effect.

Hypothesis: new spells are typically researched by making a series of small modifications to known spell formula.

Proposal: the game-mechanical description of a spell mirrors the corresponding arcane formula. Modifications to the former also apply to the latter. The description and the formula are inextricably bound -- one is simply a modern-Earth-human translation of the other.

Techniques: various forms of modification are possible, from altering, removing or adding single letters of a spell's name or description, to advanced splicing of the formulae of two different spells.

Note: obviously, this is weird. Such processes are only suitable for players and referees who are open to improvisation, free interpretation and radical re-workings of standard spells.


An Example
The sequential modification of the common sleep spell (text from Labyrinth Lord) by one-letter changes to its name. The description of the new spell is created by making small modifications to the text of the spell it was derived from, adjusting meaning as appropriate.

This simple example proves not only the silly fun but also the simplicity and practicability of this system.

Sleep
Level: 1
Duration: 4d4 turns
Range: 240’
A sleep spell causes a magical slumber to come upon creatures with 4+1 Hit Die or fewer. The caster may only affect 1 creature if it has 4+1 HD, but the spell will otherwise affect up to 2d8 HD of creatures. Calculate monsters with less than 1 HD as having 1 HD, and monsters with a bonus to HD as having the flat amount. For example, a 3+2 HD monster would be calculated as having 3 HD. Hit Die that are not sufficient to affect a creature are wasted. Creatures with the fewest HD are affected first. Sleeping creatures are helpless and can be killed instantly with a blade weapon. Slapping or wounding awakens an affected creature, but normal noise does not. Sleep does not affect undead creatures.

Change one letter → sheep

Sheep
Level: 1
Duration: 4d4 turns
Range: 240’
A sheep spell causes a magical fleece to come upon creatures with 4+1 Hit Die or fewer. The caster may only affect 1 creature if it has 4+1 HD, but the spell will otherwise affect up to 2d8 HD of creatures. Calculate monsters with less than 1 HD as having 1 HD, and monsters with a bonus to HD as having the flat amount. For example, a 3+2 HD monster would be calculated as having 3 HD. Hit Die that are not sufficient to affect a creature are wasted. Creatures with the fewest HD are affected first. Fleeced creatures are warm and snuggly and can be shorn instantly with a blade weapon. Slapping or wounding enrages an affected creature, but normal shearing does not. Sheep does not affect undead creatures.

Change one letter → cheep

Cheep
Level: 1
Duration: 4d4 turns
Range: 240’
A cheep spell causes a magical chirruping jubilation to come upon creatures with 4+1 Hit Die or fewer. The caster may only affect 1 creature if it has 4+1 HD, but the spell will otherwise affect up to 2d8 HD of creatures. Calculate monsters with less than 1 HD as having 1 HD, and monsters with a bonus to HD as having the flat amount. For example, a 3+2 HD monster would be calculated as having 3 HD. Hit Die that are not sufficient to affect a creature are wasted. Creatures with the fewest HD are affected first. Chirruping creatures are merry and gay and can be shooed instantly with a brandished weapon. Stealing of seeds enrages an affected creature, but normal foraging does not. Cheep does not affect undead creatures.

Change one letter → cheap

Cheap
Level: 1
Duration: 4d4 turns
Range: 240’
A cheap spell causes a magical frenzied 2-for-1 everything-must-go sales jubilation to come upon creatures with 4+1 Hit Die or fewer. The caster may only affect 1 creature if it has 4+1 HD, but the spell will otherwise affect up to 2d8 HD of creatures. Calculate monsters with less than 1 HD as having 1 HD, and monsters with a bonus to HD as having the flat amount. For example, a 3+2 HD monster would be calculated as having 3 HD. Hit Die that are not sufficient to affect a creature are wasted. Creatures with the fewest HD are affected first. Sale-frenzied creatures are merry and gay but can be sobered instantly with a brandished weapon. Stealing of goods enrages an affected creature, but normal haggling does not. Cheap does not affect undead creatures.

2 comments:

  1. "Sheep does not affect undead creatures."

    This reads like a challenge to me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The awesome of this post cannot be understated.

    ReplyDelete