Tuesday 27 September 2011

The vivimancer is finished!

After many months of gradual work, I'm finally happy with the spell list for the vivimancer -- my new nature-warping magic-user class. Here's the final spell list (including over 50 new spells), and a couple more spells for your perusal. I'm going to keep the rest of the spells under wraps until Theorems & Thaumaturgy is finished, to maintain some element of surprise ;)

1st level
  1. Detect poison
  2. Edibility (reversible)
  3. Entangle (D)
  4. Jump (MU)
  5. Natural weaponry
  6. Read magic
  7. Reptilian metabolism
  8. Skin transformation
  9. Sleep (MU)
  10. Speak with animals (D)
  11. Spider climb (MU)
  12. Spore cloud
  13. Summon familiar (MU)
  14. Vitality surge
  15. Yeast growth
2nd level
  1. Accelerated immune system
  2. Accelerated metabolism
  3. Divide body
  4. Drone
  5. Fungal growth
  6. Infravision (MU)
  7. Life energy protection
  8. Polyvorousness
  9. Staunch blood flow
  10. Symbiotic familiar
  11. Venom
  12. Water breathing (MU)
  13. Warp wood (D)
  14. Web (MU)
3rd level
  1. Accelerated healing
  2. Cannibalize
  3. Feign death (MU)
  4. Fly (MU)
  5. Hibernate
  6. Hold animal (D)
  7. Insect swarm (D)
  8. Natural weaponry, improved
  9. Neutralize poison (D)
  10. Plant growth (D)
  11. Repel vermin (D)
  12. Spore blast
4th level
  1. Hive mind
  2. Hive sight
  3. Hold vegetation and fungus (D)
  4. Immunity to disease
  5. Plant metabolism
  6. Plant symbiosis
  7. Polymorph others (MU)
  8. Polymorph self (MU)
  9. Speak with plants (D)
  10. Swarm transformation
5th level
  1. Animal growth (D)
  2. Anti-plant shell (D)
  3. Devolution
  4. Divide mind
  5. Immunity to poison
  6. Insect plague (D)
  7. Regeneration
  8. Transfer pregnancy
  9. Wall of thorns (D)
6th level
  1. Anti-animal shell (D)
  2. Charm plants (MU)
  3. Impregnate
  4. Life cycle
  5. Reincarnate (MU)
  6. Repel wood (D)
  7. Transformative pupation
  8. Virus
7th level
  1. Egg of life
  2. Meld
  3. Mutate
  4. Parasitic implantation
  5. Regeneration, greater
  6. Replicate lifeform
  7. Vats of creation
8th level
  1. Clone (MU)
  2. Explosive growth
  3. Mass devolution
  4. Regenerative pupation
  5. Shape change (MU)
  6. Survival of the fittest
  7. Xenogamy
9th level
  1. Artificial intelligence
  2. Creeping doom (D)
  3. Extraordinary regeneration
  4. Extinction
  5. Genesis
  6. Mass mutation
  7. Temporal stasis (MU)

The rest of this post is designated Open Gaming Content according to the Open Gaming License.

Level: 3
Duration: Instant
Range: Touch

This gruesome spell enables a vivimancer to magically consume the living tissue of other creatures and transmute its energy to regenerate damage to his own body. The caster's touch inflicts 2d6 points of damage, which manifests as a visible reduction in the volume of the victim's body – chunks of flesh or limbs may be ripped off, the target may become emaciated, and so on. The caster instantly regenerates an equal number of hit points to the damage taken by the target.

A successful attack roll is required, unless the victim is willing or helpless. The damage inflicted by this spell can generally only be healed by magical means.

Plant Symbiosis
Level: 4
Duration: 1 day per level
Range: Touch

The caster is able to meld his physical body with nearby plants. While in this symbiotic state, the caster can survive without food or water, being nourished purely by the root systems of the host plants. At the caster's option he may meld his body completely so that it disappears inside the plants, may leave sensory organs exposed so that he can still see or hear while in symbiosis, or may choose to leave larger portions of his body outside of the host.

This spell may be used to target a single intelligent plant-based creature, providing it is of at least twice the caster's volume. The creature is allowed a saving throw versus polymorph to resist the symbiosis, but if it fails it is affected by a charm (in the same way as charm person) while the caster remains in symbiosis.

The caster can choose to end the symbiosis at any time during the spell's duration.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Hex mapping

I usually just draw maps freehand, but somehow, as I sat down today to do a bit of mapping, the urge for hexes came upon me! A quick google search for hex paper later, I was disappointed to find that what I had in mind wasn't quite as easy as it at first seemed -- I couldn't find A4 size hex-gridded paper with a per-hex number anywhere!

On the way I did find some very useful websites, which I shall share for others on a similar mission:
I ended up using the latter, which is an extremely and easy to use flexible tool allowing you to generate hex grids exactly to your own specification. I'd really recommend it. One tip, for anyone who does use it: the default grids it generates include a dot in the middle of each hex (apparently some games require this). For D&D mapping this was unnecessary, but it took me a while to work out how to remove it (there's no option for that in the tool's dialogue box). The secret is that the tool actually generates four layers, one of which is the dots. So you can just delete that layer.

Here's the PDF of my hex paper anyway, so you can see what I ended up with.

Addendum: I just started filling in those hexes, probably for the first time in 20 years -- what a joy!

Saturday 10 September 2011

Old Aalia map decriptions -- part 1

Here's some more descriptive info around some of the locales depicted on the campaign map which I posted previously. Locations which are marked with a star on the map are listed with the corresponding number.

The sunken palaces of Garm (1). In ancient times the city of Garm, located in the middle of Harln, the magical forest, was the seat of a powerful kingdom ruled by sorcerers. Five centuries ago a cult of lizard and serpent gods emerged in the forest, spread like wildfire, and soon became a dominant force in the region, threatening to overrun neighbouring states. Legends are unclear on whether the city of Garm itself was dominated by the lizard cult, but it is well known that a great war ensued and that the city perished at this time, sinking into the great lake around which it was situated. This is presumed to have been as a result of some mighty magic, but none now know the truth. Rumours persist of great riches which lie untouched within the sunken palaces of the ancinet city, and of a secret entrance somewhere in the forest.

The dungeons of Thraal (2). Before it was the seat of the Imperium, S'raka was ruled for several generations by a line of vicious tyrant kings and queens known as the House of Raelle. Their kingdom encompassed the area for a hundred and fifty miles around S'raka, as far as Lope in the south, and Micmar in the east, and covering all of the North Riding of Old Aalia. King Thraal, the last in this line, who was known and reviled for his especially sadistic nature, conceived and had built a series of underground prisons to the north of S'raka. The prisons, constructed initially with the aid of the Dwarrow of Minitol, were intended to bring hell on earth to those poor souls who were cast within. King Thraal lived to the extraordinary age of 126, and his dungeons saw many decades of use and constant expansion. Upon the coming of the Emperor to S'raka, the gates of Thraal's dungeons were opened, granting freedom to any prisoners who wished it. Not all wished for freedom, however, as over decades of suffering a certain contingent among the incarcerated had become twisted by dark forces, and chose to remain in the depths of the dungeons. Over the two hundred years since the dungeon was opened, it has become a stronghold of evil, home to a vast array of monstrous beings, and a legendary goal for adventurers, who hope to retrieve the loot which has, so rumours say, been accumulated in the vast underground complex.

The Eld tree (3). Situated in the middle of the forbidden forest of Gong, the Eld tree is the legendary settlement of a people known as the Meng. Few souls have ventured far along the accursed paths of that forest, and only the most fanciful tales mention the city of the Meng. What such tales describe is a great tree, hundreds of yards in height, which the Meng worship as a deity. The tree is rumoured to grant strange powers to its worshippers, who were once human, but who are now transformed into something other, having the ability to see into the future and the past, and being immune to the ravages of disease and aging. Tales also tell that the wondrous abilities posessed by the Meng are not without a price, and that they send out strange calls to lure the unwary into the eaves of the forest in a lust for human sacrifices.

The fastness of the giant king (4). The preponderance of the race of giants in the regions of the Barrier Peaks around the pass of Oregonn is well known. The giants extract heavy toll from all who use the pass, and hunt and enslave those who dare to seek an alternate route through the jagged mountains. Seventy miles east of the pass, and visible looming above in the high peaks on a cloudless day, stands the great citadel of the king of the giants. Such is the strength of the giants that they are known to take carefully selected captives from time to time, in order to ransom them as political prisoners. The elite of the cities of Lope and Varnmeet have suffered especially at the hands of the giants, but the might of the giants is unassailable to those cities, and the Emperor fails to hear their pleas for action to be taken. Aside from this oft-discussed political tension, other stories tell that the treasure vaults of the giants are beyond the wildest imaginings of men, and of the bold few who have ventured there in search of their fortune.

Grbla, city of the swine-folk (5). Standing on a plateau at the centre of the barren plains of the East Riding of Old Aalia lies the great, sprawling city of the swine-folk. No human has ever visited this city and returned, and the region is shunned by all with a glimmer of sanity. The scant reports from those who have strayed near to the plateau tell of a grotesque meeting place for the roaming tribes of the swine-folk, where humans are kept as slaves to be sacrificed to ancient demonic gods.

The realm of the Ja (6). In the depths of the ancient and tangled Braggling forest which forms the north-western bound of Old Aalia, the fey race called the Ja are known to dwell. Stories say that the Ja are beings of mist and shadow who haunt the ruins of a city of unknown antiquity. The gates and cellars of this city are said to lead into the fey realm of the Ja, wherein can be found a vast winding network of dark tunnels which border on the world of shadows and dreams.

The chasm of Nayellem. Seventy five miles from end to end, and almost a mile deep, the vast chasm of Nayellem lies in the featureless expanse of the East Riding. Very little is known about the chasm, as access to its depths is strictly controlled by a strange fey people who call themselves the Rim. The city of Yelleth, in the closest civilised region to the chasm, conducts sporadic trade with the chasm, via the Rim, and reaps bounties of emeralds and ensorcelled wooden items therefrom. The traders tell that the Rim will allow travellers to enter the chasm, for a price, but that the peoples who dwell in the depths are so savage and ruthless that none dare to descend. Among the inhabitants of the chasm itself are known to be several tribes or factions, which, it is said, are continuously at war. The Rim have managed to maintain a position of complete neutrality among the factions, and are thus able to conduct trade among them.

Friday 9 September 2011

Divide and conquer!

A glimpse into my on-going development of the vivimancer class, here are two new spells hot off the press :)

The rest of this post is designated Open Gaming Content according to the Open Gaming License.
Divide Body
Level: 2
Duration: 1 turn per level
Range: 0

This spell causes the caster to physically split into two identical copies, which can be controlled individually.

During the first turn of the spell's effect, the caster undergoes a horrific process of transformation, during which his body swells and mutates. At the end of this period a second body splits away, leaving the caster with two separate and identical forms.

Each body can be controlled completely independently of the other, and both may engage in speech and spell-casting, sharing all knowledge and experience. As the two bodies share one mind, they effectively have a continuous telepathic link, experiencing everything which the other does.

However, the two bodies must share the caster's hit points, having half of his current total each. If either body is killed while the spell is in effect, the remaining body must make a saving throw versus death or fall unconscious for 2d6 turns.

When the spell comes to an end one of the two bodies (chosen at random) weakens and dies. The hit points possessed by the dead body are not regained, and must be regenerated by natural or magical means.

Divide Mind
Level: 5
Duration: 1 turn per level
Range: Touch

This spell allows the caster to imbue a fragment of his living consciousness into another being. The target must be touched, and is allowed a saving throw versus spells to resist.

Once the mind fragment is imbued, the caster experiences everything the target does, in addition to the perceptions of his own body, and is able to communicate telepathically with the target.

The caster can also attempt to control the target's body, overriding the mastery of its own mind. Each round the caster has a base 50% chance of being able to control the target's body, modified by 5% per point of difference in INT scores. It is only possible to control the target's body in this manner – the caster has no access to the target's mind, and it is thus not possible, for example, to force the target to reveal information or to cast spells.

If the target dies during the spell's duration, the caster must make a save versus death or fall unconscious for 1d6 turns. If the caster's own body is killed while his mind is divided, he must make a saving throw versus spells. Failure indicates that the mind fragment imbued in the target also dies. If the save succeeds, the caster's mind takes refuge in the target, and continues to exist beyond the normal duration of the spell. In this case the caster's mind may be retrieved from the target's body by spells such as magic jar or limited wish, and will automatically return to the caster's real body if he is raised from the dead.

Friday 2 September 2011

It has a name!

I wasn't sure whether to "announce" this formally yet -- or at all -- but what the hell. My heretofore untitled book shall henceforth be known as...

Theorems & Thaumaturgy
Advanced Arcana for the Discerning Magic-User

I like it. And I'm very pleased to have got both alliteration and an ampersand in there! What's more (according to google search) it's not a name that's been used before in any context -- which I find somewhat surprising, but ideal.

Thanks to Quibish for the oblique inspiration... I didn't end up using any of the titles or words you suggested, but somehow your ideas pushed me in a new direction where I was able to find something. (And I managed to slip the word "arcana" into the sub-title :)