Saturday, August 17, 2019

Runecaster Kit

Runecaster Kit

The Runecaster is a kit available for any class, representing someone who has learned and practiced the magic of carving runes. Runes are thought to be the fundamental language of the universe, akin to the Power Words of wizard magic; some believe that the world itself is written in the Runes, and that any aspect of creation can be controlled from them. If this is true, however, the runes to do so are long-lost, what remains is a handful of magics; powerful in their own right, but not the ultimate arbiters of reality.

To create magic, runes must be carved; they cannot be drawn or painted. Runes must also be carved deliberately; many runes are also letters of the runic alphabet, and simply carving “Halfdan carved these runes” will not wreak havoc on the world.

Required Attributes: Dexterity 11, Intelligence 13, Wisdom 13
Required Non-weapon Proficiencies: Read/Write (Runic Alphabet), Artistic Ability (Runecarving), Rune Lore
Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: None

Special Abilities: Runecasters begin knowing one rune, with possible bonus runes if they are particularly sagacious (See Table 1). Each time the runecaster gains a level, they may attempt to master a new rune, rolling their “Chance to Learn Spell” from their intelligence; failure on the roll means that the rune is forever beyond their grasp. The runecaster must have an example of the rune to work from, and must declare their study at the beginning of each level; a 1st level Runecaster may begin knowing the Berserk-rune, and declare that they will attempt to learn the Catch rune at the beginning of the game; when they achieve 2nd level, they may actually attempt to learn it. Some runes may be learned multiple times, with the runecaster unlocking further secrets of the rune each time; this will be noted in their description. A runecaster wishing to learn a rune again simply announces it at level-up, and then studies the rune they know for their level. There may also be times, due to extraordinary circumstances, that the ability to learn a new rune may be granted, but those are exceedingly rare; they are boons from powerful dragons, giants, or gods, not scrolls in the pouch of every orcish witch-doctor.

With knowledge of the runes come the ability to shape and carve it. The first step is planning the rune; which rune, for which purpose, on what material, with which tools. All of these must be known before the actual carving takes place; you can decide you want a rune, but knowing how to actually carve it requires knowing what it will be carved upon. Carving takes time; unless otherwise noted, a rune requires 15+1d20 minutes to carve. Any interruption in the carving forces the runecaster to begin again; interruptions are anything that takes one turn or longer. Some runes require one or more hours in shaping; these may be halted for sleep, but no other interruptions that require more than one turn per hour. Carving a rune requires a successful (and secret) Artistic Ability proficiency check; failure on this check means that the rune is carved poorly, and will fail to function (or, in some cases, function poorly).

Lastly, runes must be annointed to be activated; while some runecasters use special poems, most will use a non-poisonous liquid; beer, mead, spit, or blood. Runes must be annointed within five minutes of the shaping being finished. Only when the rune is annointed does the Runecaster make their Rune Lore check to activate the runes.

A runecaster may have no more than one rune per level active at a time (so, a third level Runecaster Bard might have 3 runes active at one time). If they attempt to exceed this, then the oldest rune they have carved fades away, and the new rune replaces it.

Determining Initial Runes: While some leniency in allowing initial runes should be allowed, they should not be totally under the player’s control. The suggested method is to arrange the runes in the order the player prefers (or alternating between the player’s and DMs preferences), then go down the list, rolling Chance to Learn Runes for each one, until the amount the character knows at 1st level has been reached. Failures here should not be counted against the player in the future; this is merely to determine the happenstance of fate, not whether they have actually learned the runes.

Drawbacks: While rune magic is powerful, it is also a consuming study; three or four non-weapon proficiencies to even begin the study of rune magic, with several runes having drawbacks if they are improperly carved. Furthermore, as Runecaster is a kit, it precludes the study of other kits; one cannot be both a Runecaster and a Swashbuckler, or a Runecaster and a Jongeuler (a possible exception exists for the Skald; see below). Additionally, runecasters do not gain bonus experience for high prime requisites.
Runecasters acquire a degree of reputation for their mastery of the art. They gain only half the number of henchmen, and half the bonuses (but not penalties) from their Charisma (round up). Thus, a Runecaster with a 14 Charisma would only be allowed 3 henchmen, not 6, and would gain +1 to Loyalty and Reaction, instead of the usual +1 and +2. With a 6 Charisma, they would be allowed only a single Henchman (rather than two), but would still have -3 Loyalty and -2 Reaction. Additionally, runecasters do attract only half the number of followers at high levels compared to other members of their class (rounded up). So, for example, a Thief Runecaster would, at 10th level, acquires only 2d6 followers, not the usual 4d6, and a bard would acquire only 5d6 0th level soldiers. As the runecaster does round up, a Paladin’s mount is not affected, and a fighter still attracts an able Leader for his troops, but the resulting contingent will be half the size indicated on the tables.
Lastly, Runecasters may not wear heavier than chain armor, and do not gain warrior exceptional strength or constitution modifiers. Runecaster priests do not gain bonus spells for high wisdom; runecaster wizards and bards must reduce their maximum number of spells per level by 4.


Skalds (Special): Bards with the Skald kit can, if they choose, forgo learning the ability to learn wizard magic altogether, and instead choose to master Rune Magic. If they make this choice, they must begin with or acquire the prerequisite Non-Weapon Proficiencies of this kit; from that point forward, they may function as both Runecasters and Skalds. Note that since Skalds are forbidden from beginning with the Reading/Writing proficiency, this will delay their acquisition of Runecaster abilities until later. A skald who learns rune magic does not suffer the drawbacks of the Runecaster kit.

Table 1:
Additional Runes Based on Wisdom
Wisdom Score - Additional Runes Known
15 - 1
16 - 2
17 - 3
18 - 4
19 - 5
20 - 6
21 - 8
22 - 10
23 - 12
24 - 14
25 - 16

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Rune-Lore (Wisdom, 1 slot; S&P: Wisdom/Intuition, 4CP)
Groups: General
Prerequisites: Read/Write (Runic Alphabet)

Rune-lore is the study of runes and their magical properties. While it may be studied by anyone, who can then use the knowledge to understand the effects of runic magic, only those of the Runecaster Kit may use Rune-Lore to actually evoke magic from the runes.

If a student of Rune-Lore observes and overhears someone who is shaping a rune, or if they examine the shaped rune, they can attempt to identify the rune and its potential effects. A proficiency check must be rolled to make a correct identification; Runecasters who know the rune in question gain +3 to identify the rune. The proficiency may also be used to know the potential of rune magic (does such an effect exist) and, in the hands of a Runecaster, used to evoke magic from the Runes.

Rune-lore can also be used as a form of sortilege divination. By casting stones or sticks inscribed with the runes, someone skilled in Rune-lore may attempt to gain insight into the future. This is handled much as with the Astrology proficiency. If used in conjunction with an Augury spell, the character may choose to use either their Rune-lore proficiency, or the chance afforded by the spell.
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The Runes

Accuracy
Shaping Time: 1d4 turns
Prerequisites: Triumph
Learnable: Twice

The accuracy rune is inscribed upon the haft of a missile weapon such as an arrow or javelin.
The next time that weapon is used, the wielder receives a +2 bonus to his or her attack roll.
Note that this effect lasts for one attack only.
Accuracy runes inscribed by casters who learned the rune twice bestow +4 bonuses to
the wielders attack roll.

Ale-rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This rune detects the presence of poison and protects against poisoning, after a fashion. The rune must be carved on the rim of a cup or horn. The effectiveness of the rune is not permanent; it is only useful for a single drinking session, though the cup may be refilled many times. If during this time the contents of the cup are poisoned (either a poison drink being placed inside, or poison being added to an existing drink), the cup shatters. Once the cup is broken, the ale-rune is obviously cancelled.

Beast-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This rune allows the runecaster to understand the speech of a particular animal. When shaped, the rune must name the particular animal it is intended to affect. A type of animal is not sufficient (“any bear”); an exact individual must be specified (“the bear that lives in the big cave at the mouth of Flossis stream”). Once the rune is carved, the caster can converse with that animal as if by normal speech, both man and animal understanding each other. Speaking animals are typically friendly, even helpful; perhaps the novelty of speaking humans intrigues them.

Berserk
Shaping Time: 1d4 hours
Prerequisites: Change-rune
Learnable: Once

This rune is shaped upon the haft or hilt of a weapon. In battle, the wielder of this weapon can call upon the runes power to enter into a berserk fury. Assuming the rune was properly shaped, the weapons wielder may make an attempt to become berserk at the end of any combat round by making a save vs. paralysis. If the save is successful, the wielder enters into the fury. If it is unsuccessful, they must wait and try again next round.

While in the berserk state, the wielder gains +2 points of Strength, a +2 bonus to AC, and a +2 bonus to all saving throws. In return for these benefits, however, they must remain in melee combat for the entire duration of the fury. If they manages to vanquish all of his enemies during this period, they must begin fighting his friends.

Once invoked, the berserk state lasts 1d4 rounds. At the end of this time period, the berserker may attempt a save vs. paralysis (without the berserker saving throw bonus) to recover from the fury. If this save is unsuccessful, the berserker remains in the fury but makes an additional recovery attempt at the end of each subsequent round.

Binding-Rune
Shaping Time: 1d6 hours
Prerequisites: Beast-rune
Learnable: Once

This rune is shaped upon a collar, a saddle, or any other object potentially worn by an animal. If the caster can place this object upon an appropriate creature (of animal or semi-intelligence), the beast is affected as though the target of an animal friendship spell. Like that spell, the total Hit Dice of all the creatures the caster befriends with such runes cannot exceed twice his level. If the runed object is ever removed from the charmed creature, the spell is instantly broken.

Catch-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: Shield-rune
Learnable: Once

This rune must be tooled onto the palms of a pair of leather gloves. When the rune is shaped, the wearer, place, and time must be specified (i.e. “these gloves are for Katra Erlingsdottr in the battle against Brightmoon we are about to fight”). The gloves are effective for one day. When worn, the named character can try to catch any weapon thrown at them -- spears, axes, knives, etc. -- by making a saving throw v. death. If successful, they catch the weapon and suffer no damage from that attack. If the attempt fails but the attack succeeds, the character suffers one extra point of damage from the attack (as they DID stick their hand in the path of an axe). The rune is not effective against arrows, sling stones, crossbow bolts, thrown boulders, or the like.

Change-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This rune allows the runecaster to assume the form of a natural animal. When shaping the rune, the runecaster must specify what creature they will become. The rune is then carved on a bone or hide of that creature. Upon completion, the caster assumes the form of the animal. Their clothing and equipment do not transform with them. The caster has the armor class, movement, attacks, and damage of the creature but retains their own hit points, ThAC0, and saving throws. The change lasts for 1d6 hours or until the character sleeps or goes unconscious, although the caster may end it earlier if they wish.

Charm-rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This rune, when correctly shaped, functions as a powerful love charm. It is, however, dangerous to use. Each charm rune must be shaped with a particular pair in mind and then carved onto a plank. The plank must then be placed underneath the mattress of the victim. After each night spent sleeping over the rune, the victim must make a saving throw v. petrification. If the saving throw is successful, the rune has no effect that day. If the saving throw is failed, the victim is charmed. They regard the other subject in the rune most favorably, and behaves as if in love with the other subject. The charm effect only remains in effect so long as the plank with the rune remains in place beneath the mattress.

Charm-runes are dangerous to use for a variety of reasons. If misshapen or poorly carved, the charm-rune does not simply fail to work; instead, it becomes a disease-rune. Additionally, the charm-rune is only effective so long as it remains in place; when discovered, the charmed person (or their kin) are apt to take a dim view of magical seduction. Finally, of course, is the injunction to “be careful what you wish for”; love can lead to jealousy, after all, and Hel hath no fury like a woman scorned (unless you count the fury of a woman who realizes that she was magically forced into love by some rune-scribbler)

Curse-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

A curse-rune (also called a niđ-rune) is a highly charged and emotional rune to use, since it is a grave insult to the person named in the rune. It is a rune to bring shame and disgrace upon your foe, naming them a traitor or kin-killer.

To fashion this rune, the runecaster must name a particular person to be affected, and fashion with runes the wrongs that person has committed against the runecaster to justify the curse. A curse-rune fashioned without good cause automatically fails (with the consequences below). The rune is carved on a pole, set in the ground, and topped with an animals skull. The pole must be on the property of the person being cursed, or on the common or a crossroads for those without land.

The type of curse delivered depends on the imagination and desires of the runecaster. Typical curses inflict madness, misfortune, bad luck, illness, poor harvest, harsh winters, bad hunting, or evil weather. The curse can never directly cause the death of the victim, though it may contribute. For example, the runecaster may curse them with feebleness of body, or that a storm might arise when they attempt to sail, but they could not give them a deadly disease or simply sink their ship.

If the rune is fashioned and activated successfully, the victim is allowed a saving throw v. death to resist the effects of the curse. If the save is failed, the curse takes hold; if the save is successful, the curse is negated.

There are several risks involved in using a curse-rune. First, it is difficult to fashion, and the Artistic Ability check is made at -1. Second, the pole must be placed where it can be found. Since the runes clearly name the runecaster and his victim, this may result in revenge being visited upon the runecaster; this rune is a grave insult. Finally, a poorly fashioned rune (one whose Artistic Ability or Rune-Lore checks are failed) will rebound upon the caster. The runecaster receives a saving throw v. death to avoid their own curse.

The curse remains in effect until the conditions of the curse are fulfilled, the curse-rune is negated, or the two parties arrive at some kind of reconciliation.

Dead-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This dark and potent rune allows the runecaster to converse with those departed. When shaping the rune, the runecaster must know the name of the specific individual they seek. The rune is then carved on a pole and driven into the earth of the grave mound (or cast into the sea for those unburied). The mound then opens (or a hall appears in the waters) revealing the dead spirit seated at their high seat. The runecaster can pose up to three questions to the spirit. Although the summoned spirit cannot lie, it typically answers in riddles and poems. The spirit will invite the character to enter, but anyone foolish enough to do so is lost forever.

The dead-rune has a significant risk in that not all spirits are cooperative or helpless. Each time it is used to summon a new spirit, there is a 10% chance the runecaster has contacted one of the uneasy dead. The summoning frees such spirits from their mounds and they take on physical form. Such spirits are treated as wights.

Death-rune
Shaping Time: 1d8 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Three times

This rune is placed upon the blade of a weapon. If the rune was properly shaped, the weapon automatically inflicts double damage against an enemy of a specified race, breed, organization or nationality (determined by the caster at the moment of shaping the name of the target group is inscribed upon the weapon next to the rune). This effect lasts only until the weapon has been used to kill a member of the targeted group. Thereafter, the weapon functions normally in all respects.

Learning the death rune twice has no additional effects, but a caster who has learned it three times can scribe runes that cause triple damage to their specified targets.

Disease-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This rune is very similar to the charm-rune. When shaped, the victim must be named and the rune carved on a plank. This is then placed beneath the mattress of the victim. Each morning thereafter, the victim must make a saving throw v. death. If successful, the rune has no effect. If failed, the victim weakens, losing a point of Constitution each day. This process continues until the victim’s Constitution reaches 0 and the character dies. Constitution lost in this fashion cannot be regained until the rune is discovered and destroyed.

Exploding Arrow
Shaping Time: 1d4 rounds
Prerequisites: Death
Learnable: Twice

This rune is inscribed upon an arrow. When fired, this arrow inflicts explodes upon impact, inflicting double damage to its target (triple damage if the caster learned the rune more than once).

Flame-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

A flame-rune is a powerful charm to protect against fire. When shaped for a specific person and carved onto an amulet, the flame-rune protect the bearer against fire, providing a +3 to save against fire attacks, and reducing the damage from fire by 1 point per attack. This effect lasts until the amulet is removed, or until it fails a saving throw against fire (saving as its material, with a +3 for its own magic)

Healing-Rune
Shaping Time: 1d8 hours
Prerequisites: Ale-rune
Learnable: Twice

This rune is shaped on the side of a cup, goblet, or bottle. (The rune has no effect upon substantially larger quantities of water.) Thereafter, the first time the cup is filled, its contents transmute into a potion of healing.

When shaping this rune, the caster must make his activation check behind a shield, out of his own view. If the activation roll is a 20, the contents of the cup do not metamorphose into a potion of healing, but into a deadly Type J poison that is indistinguishable from a potion of healing.

If the caster has learned the healing rune more than once, the contents of the runed cup metamorphose into a potion of extra-healing (or a particularly deadly Type I poison; save at -2).

Note that any brew created by the cup must be consumed within one hour or it instantly reverts to normal water.

Help-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: Limb-rune
Learnable: Once

This valuable rune can be fashioned to cure diseases, including most of those caused by magical means (unless otherwise specified; the disease-rune, for example, cannot be cured until the plank is destroyed). When shaped, the caster must know the name and symptoms of the sufferer. The rune is then carved on a plank and placed under the ailing person’s pillow. Each morning, the patient makes a saving throw v. death. If successful, the disease lessens and one of the symptoms vanishes (fevers abate, pox heal, aches depart, etc.) When all symptoms are gone, the person is cured, and the rune loses effectiveness.

Imprisonment-Rune
Shaping Time: 1d12 days
Prerequisites: Speech-rune
Learnable: Once

This rune is placed upon a door or portal. If successfully activated, a specified creature imprisoned beyond the portal cannot cross it through normal means (though any appropriate wizard spell such as teleport or dimension door can still be used to exit). Once placed, the rune remains active for a number of days equal to the casters level.

Every imprisonment rune has an associated freedom word incorporated into its shaping. If this phrase is pronounced by the trapped creature, the runes power instantly fades. Part of the runes magic requires the freedom word to be both known to the imprisoned creature and particularly appropriate to the imprisonment. For instance, the freedom word for a character imprisoned for murder might be the name of his victim, the location of the murder, the name of the weapon used to commit the murder, etc.

Iron-Can’t-Bite-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: Shield-Rune
Learnable: Once

This potent rune is much valued by warirors of all types, and is frequently used by raiders and berserkers. The rune is shaped for a particular person and carved onto a wooden amulet. The charm must be donned as soon as it is carved (it is not possible to stockpile them against future need). The amulet must be worn around the neck at all times. Thereafter, the wearer suffers 1 less point of damage from all attacks made by weapons. The rune is only effective as long as the character wears the amulet or until their hit points are reduced to 0 (or lower). If the rune is removed for any reason, the power is broken. A character may only use one of these runes at a time.

Levitation-Rune
Shaping Time: 1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: Wind-rune
Learnable: Unlimited

Functions as the second-level wizard spell levitate for three turns for every time the caster has learned the rune.

Limb-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This useful rune can be used to heal injuries, particularly those suffered in battle. To be effective, the rune is shaped with the injured person’s name and then carved onto the branch of a living tree. Blood from the wounded person must be touched to the carved letters. If the runecasting is successful, the injured person heals 1d10 points of damage.

Alternatively, limb-runes can be used to speed the process of natural healing. The process for the shaping is the same as above, but the rune is instead carved on the inside of a piece of bark stripped from a living tree and placed against the wounded character’s skin. Thereafter, the character heals at twice their normal rate. When used in this fashion, the rune remains effective until the character has made a complete recovery. Only one limb-rune per character can be used at a time.

Lore-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This is a potent and dangerous rune, great both in its rewards and its risks. It allows the runecaster to seek the answer to a single question. The runecaster formulates their question, then carves that question, in the runic alphabet, into a stone. If the rune is successfully shaped, an answer to the question will come to the character in a dream in 1d6 nights. Like most prophetic answers, the vision will be couched in strange and mysterious terms that must be puzzled out. If the rune is fashioned wrong, either in the carving or the activation, the character will instead be visited by a specter each night for six nights.

Love-Rune
Shaping Time: 1d8 hours
Prerequisites: Ale-rune
Learnable: Once

Similar to the healing rune, the love rune is inscribed upon a cup or goblet. If properly activated, the first time the cup is filled, its contents will metamorphose into a philter of
Love.

When shaping this rune, the caster must make his activation check behind a shield, out of his own view. If the activation roll fails, the contents of the cup metamorphose into a brew with the exact opposite effects of a philter of love (that is, the imbiber hates the first creature he or she sees after consuming the draught).

Any waters transmuted by the love rune must be consumed within one hour or their power is lost.

Luck-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This rune, carved on a stick or other wooden object, gives a single person luck for one day. The shaping of the rune requires the name of the particular person to be protected. They must then carry the rune with them for it to be effective. If the rune is successfuly shaped, the recipient gains beneficial 1 point modifier to all rolls for that day (so, a +1 to attack and damage, but a -1 to initiative and proficiency tests). This modifier is considered a natural result, and cannot increase or decrease the dice beyond their natural range (so, a d20 cannot be below 1 or above 20). If the rune is badly formed, this is instead a detrimental 1 point modifier.

Good luck remains from sunrise to sunset, but only so long as the rune is kept on the character’s person. Bad luck has the same duration, but stays with the character even if they lose the rune. No more than one luck-rune may be in operation on a character at one time; all others they may attempt to carry are negated.

Quench-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

A fast and practical rune, this rune is carved into wood in only 1d6 rounds, then cast into a fire. 1d6 rounds after that, the fire (or a house-sized portion of a large fire) will be completely extinguished. The fire cannot be relit in that space for 1d6 hours, but a new fire can be built and lit in its place.

Sanctuary-Rune
Shaping Time: 1d8 days
Prerequisites: Speech-rune
Learnable: Once

The sanctuary rune is the exact opposite of the imprisonment rune. It too is placed upon a door or portal, but instead of preventing an imprisoned creature from leaving through the portal, it prevents all creatures outside the portal from entering. Note that the runes power bars entrances by normal means -- translocation spells such as teleport, dimension door, etc. are unaffected.

After one day per level of the caster has elapsed, the rune automatically fades on its own accord. Unlike the imprisonment rune, sanctuary has no associated word that automatically deactivates it.

Sea-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: Water-Rune
Learnable: Once

The sea-rune is one of the most prized and practical of all runes along the coast. With it, the chances of a safe voyage are improved greatly. Since the rune is most effective if shaped and carved when the ship is built, wise shipwrights seek out the most skillful runecaster they can find. The runecaster shapes the rune and carves it on the prow, rudder, and oars of the ship. The rune remains in effect until any of these items are lost or broken. A rune shaped during the building of the ship adds +5% to later seaworthiness checks.

Once the sea-rune is carved (assuming it was successful), the ship has better chances of surviving any storm. In dangerous seas, the vessel handles as if the wind and waves were one category less (Strong winds are treated as favorable, storms as strong winds, gales as storms, and hurricanes as mere gales). The ship gains a +10% bonus to all seaworthiness checks (+15% total if the rune was fashioned with the ship). Multiple sets of sea-runes on a single ship are not allowed.

If a sea-rune is negated because of a broken or lost oar, the rune can be repaired by any runecaster who knows how to shape a sea-rune. They can examine the runes already on the ship and carve a new one, though a check for the work must still be made, and if the first rune was carved with the ship, the additional 5% bonus is lost. If the prow or rudder is broken, the sea-rune is permanently destroyed; the ship is considered ill-fated and cannot have another rune placed on it.

Shield-rune
Shaping Time: 1d8 turns
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Three times

When placed upon a shield, this rune improves that shields AC benefit by an additional +1, and a +1 to saving throws. This effect lasts only for the duration of the next battle in which the shield is used.

If the caster has learned the shield rune twice, it improves the AC bonus of the shield upon which it is placed by +2 (+3 if the caster has learned the rune three times).

Shout-rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: Wyrm-rune
Learnable: Once

This peculiar rune can be used to free others, or sometimes oneself, from bonds and fetters. It can also open locks. To use, the runecaster names the person to be freed or the item to be opened and carves the rune on the bonds themselves. They then shout to activate the rune. This unties notes, open locks, breaks fetters, and undoes any other restraints.

Sight-rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This rune is carved on a piece of wood and can be shaped for a particular individual. Once activated, the runecaster can look at the named person with the power of second sight, allowing the runecaster to predict their future in a limited manner; it tells what will happen, but cannot tell the outcome of singular actions. A character with second sight cannot look at a chest and know that opening it will be bad, since that action may or may not happen (if opening the chest will be bad, no one will open it, so the prediction will not come true). It cannot be used to predict the outcome of a duel or battle, since those rely on the actions of individuals; second sight determines things beyond mortal control, and individual instances of the sight may reveal nothing. The sight rune only functions for a single reading.

A runecaster may also shape the rune so that the named bearer is are given the ability to see invisible creatures. In this shaping, the rune provides the equivalent of the see invisibility spell for 1d6 hours.

Speech-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This rune is shaped for a particular person, then carved on an amulet for the person to wear. The rune is effective for twelve hours after the carving. During that time, the rune prevents enemies of the wearer from speaking evil of them. Those attemtping to defame, denigrate, or spread lies about the protected person must make a saving throw v. spell to do so. Furthermore, the spell prevents others from casting runes (such as the curse-rune) on the protected person unless, again, a saving throw v. spell is made. This also prevents magics which command or curse the individual from taking effect; charms and other long-duration magics are suppressed, while shorter-duration magics will see their duration expire before they affect the bearer.

Speed-Rune

Shaping Time: 1d4 turns
Prerequisites: Limb-rune
Learnable: Twice

This rune is placed upon a set of footwear (even a horseshoe will do). If properly activated, it increases the MV of the creature wearing the footwear by 50% for a number of turns equal to the casters level. If the caster has learned the rune twice, the MV bonus is 100%.

Strength-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: Limb-rune
Learnable: Once

The Strength rune does as its name implies; it increases the strength of the recipient. When shaping the rune, the runecaster must include the name of the strengthened person and then carve the rune on a piece of wood or stone. This is driven into the earth and touched by the named person. Thereafter, for 1d4 hours, the character’s Strength is increased by 1d3 points (or by 10% per point if above 18).

Sun-rune
Shaping Time: 1d8 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Three times

Once activated, this rune turns an undead creature that views it (as a 6th-level priest). If the rune is learned twice, its effectiveness improves to that of an 8th-level priest. If learned three times, the rune is as effective as a 10th-level priest. Regardless of the number of potential targets who stumble across the rune, it turns only the very first undead to see it.

The sun rune gets its name from the brilliant flash that accompanies its effects. The resulting burst of light (equivalent to a sunray spell) illuminates everything within 200 for a single round.

Thunder-rune
Shaping Time: 1d3 days
Prerequisites: Wind-Rune
Learnable: Three times

The thunder rune is useless until a natural thunder or rainstorm arises. During such a storm, a hammer inscribed with the rune beat on the ground for three rounds summons a powerful lightning bolt from the heavens (as though cast by a 7th-level wizard). This bolt will strike any target the character beating the hammer desires (not necessarily the caster), but it is incapable of striking targets that are indoors, underground, or otherwise inaccessible to the sky. Up to three thunder runes may be placed upon a single hammer (make separate activation rolls for each; each requires the full Shaping Time), allowing the wielder to conjure up to three lightning bolts.

Learning the thunder rune more than once allows the caster to increase the damage inflicted by the lightning bolt it summons. Casters who have learned thunder twice can shape runes capable of summoning lightning bolts equivalent to those cast by a 9th-level wizard. Learning thunder three times enables the casters runes to summon 11th-level bolts.

Transformation-rune
Shaping Time: 1d6 hours
Prerequisites: Change-rune
Learnable: Once

This rune is inscribed upon an article of clothing. By wearing this article of clothing, the caster (and only the caster), may polymorph self as per the fourth-level wizard spell. The polymorph effect lasts only for a number of turns equal to twice the casters level.

Triumph-rune
Shaping Time: 1d3 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

Like death, this powerful rune is inscribed upon the blade of a weapon. If the rune is properly activated, the next time that weapon is used in combat, its wielder may add +2 to all his damage rolls and treat the weapon as though it is +2 for the purposes of attacking creatures struck only by enchanted blades. (The wielder does not receive the +2 bonus to his THAC0.)

Note that the triumph runes effects last only for the duration of a single battle.

Unblinking Eye-rune
Shaping Time: 3d4 hours
Prerequisites: Sight-rune
Learnable: Unlimited

This rune is allows the runecaster to scry upon any creature in the multiverse. To achieve this effect, the caster must inscribe the true name of a target creature or object upon the bowls base, shape the unblinking eye rune three times around the outside of a large, deep bowl (the listed Shaping Time assumes the caster is shaping all three runes), and fill the bowl with water. The three runes must be perfectly and evenly spaced around the bowls circumference or the bowl shatters upon activation, totally spoiling the cast. (DMs should require the PC runecaster to pass an Intelligence check; success indicates proper positioning and readiness for activation, failure indicates a shattered bowl and wasted time.) Only one activation roll is needed to activate all three runes.

Once the runes are properly activated, a reflection of the target individual appears in the water inside the bowl, allowing all present to scry the target and his/its present surroundings as though using a crystal ball. Note that the bowl transmits only visual images it is impossible to hear any sounds in the targets vicinity. In total, the vision lasts for a number of rounds equal to the casters level multiplied by the number of times the caster has learned the rune. In other words, a 10th-level caster who has learned the rune twice receives a vision that lasts for 20 rounds.

If the target of the casting is a living being, he or she feels a disturbing chill for the entire duration of the vision, as does the caster. If the target has a higher Wisdom score than the caster, the caster must save vs. paralysis or succumb to fright and upset the bowl, ending the vision.

Rare among runes, the Unblinking Eye will not function unless it is inscribed using rare pigments costing no less than 1,000 gp.

Water-RuneShaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

This practical rune is often used by sailors to protect against the risk of drowning. The rune is shaped with the person’s name and then carved onto a piece of wood. This is set adrift on the ocean. Thereafter, the person named can hold their breath twice as long as usual, and is automatically considered proficient in swimming. They gain +1 on checks required due to swimming, and they do not suffer from exposure to icy waters, and -1 damage from drowning or similar water-based attacks.

Weakness-rune
Shaping Time: 1d12 hours
Prerequisites: Limb-rune
Learnable: Once

The weakness rune is the exact opposite of strength. It too is scribed upon a helmet or girdle. Anyone who is tricked into wearing this item must subtract 2 points from his Strength ability for a number of turns equal to the level of the caster. Note that while the runes magic is in effect, the victim is totally unaware of its influence he or she does not feel weak or different in any way.

Should the victim of weakness somehow discover the runed object and remove it, the weakness effect instantly dissipates.

Wight-rune
Shaping Time: 1d8 hours
Prerequisites: Dead-rune
Learnable: Four times

Allows the caster to control undead creatures. Up to 3 Hit Dice of undead can be affected for each time the caster has learned the rune (that is, a caster who has learned the rune three times can affect 9 Hit Dice of undead). In all other respects, the effects of the rune are treated as a charm monster spell.

Wind-Rune
Shaping Time: 15+1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

A wind-rune is carved onto a small piece of wood, then cast into the air. It is shaped with a direction the caster wishes the wind to blow, and causes a strong breeze in that direction for one turn per level. If there is existing wind in that direction, it will increase its speed. If the wind is in the opposite direction, it will slow that wind by approximately 25 miles per hour/40 km per hour. If the wind is from some other direction, it will modify its force a like amount; a northern breeze being introduced into an eastern wind will reduce the east wind by about 12.5 miles per hour.

Wisdom-rune
Shaping Time: 1d12 hours
Prerequisites: Lore-Rune
Learnable: Once

This rune functions exactly like the strength rune, only it increases the subjects Intelligence and Wisdom scores by 1 point each.

Wyrm-rune
Shaping Time: 1d12 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once

In some legends, dragons are synonymous with decay and destruction, a belief that undoubtedly dates back to the great war between the giants and dragonkind. By placing the wyrm rune upon an object, the caster targets that object for rot and decay The rune causes metal to rust, food to rot, and wood to warp. It has no effect upon plant or animal life.

Once the rune is properly activated, it will rust, warp, or decay its target into uselessness in 1d10 days. The only way to nullify this effect is via a remove curse or a dispel magic. Due to certain limitations in its energy patterns, the wyrm rune will not affect any item larger than size S.

Ysgard
Shaping Time: 1d6 weeks
Prerequisites: Sight-rune
Learnable: Once

Among the most powerful of all known runes, Ysgard allows the caster to temporarily open a portal between Toril and Annams palace of Gudheim located on the plane of Ysgard. To open the portal, the caster must scribe the rune upon a closed doorway. After the rune is activated, the next time the doorway is opened it leads directly to Ysgard instead of its normal earthly destination. Once active, this bridge between worlds remains open for a number of minutes equal to the level of the caster.

One particularly nasty problem facing runecasters who hope to visit Ysgard via this method is that there is no guarantee of a return trip. Once the portal closes down, it is impossible to reopen it from the Outer Planes. Of course, a true runecaster of the giants would tell you that this is the sort of restriction that daunts only cowards!

Friday, July 26, 2019

A Style for Every Race, A Style for Every Class

A while back, I posted some rules for using Oriental Adventures/Complete Ninja style martial arts in all parts of AD&D... making two different fighters with swords and shields very different, and allowing them to gain some neat abilities with training.

As part of that, I also decided to create a series of martial arts for different races and classes... each of the ones in the 2e PH, in fact.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

By the Power Of/For the Honor Of Greyskull!

The Grey Skull is an ancient place of power, long hidden by is Guardian from its enemies. A crumbling castle with the appearance of an ancient skull of grey stone, it is a repository of knowledge and magic long-lost to the world.

The Guardians of the Grey Skull are many; there is always one who resides within the Grey Skull itself, whose purpose is to protect the castle itself, and train those who the Grey Skull chooses to act as its hands in the world. Those hands may not always be selected; sometimes, the Guardian of the Grey Skull will be alone for many centuries, served only by their apprentices. When tyranny and injustice arise, however, the Grey Skull will reach out to the worlds to which is it connected and choose a Champion to fight with the power of Grey Skull, and for the honor of Grey Skull.

Guardians and Champions of Grey Skull must begin Good in alignment.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Dragons... IN SPAAAAAAACCCCCEEEEE!!!!

Star Dragons
The Star Dragons are ancient beasts, living in small flights lead by their chief astrogators. Feeding on solar emissions, they may dip into atmospheres to see rare sights, or live their entire lives in the vast depths of space. For many centuries, they were considered to be little more than clever beasts, with the rare tales of dragons coming to land and speaking with people considered little more than fancy. As beasts, they were often hunted.

But Star dragons are more than simply beasts. Capable of great understanding, of learning languages, and forming relationships with humanoids, some rare, young, members of their species will do so. As they must land to lay their eggs and raise their young through the first few years (until they are capable of sustained space flight), Star Dragons have dipped their massively clawed toes in galactic society from time to time, with rare hatchlings even eschewing life in their flights for the more dynamic interactions with smaller creatures.

Star Dragons have no native technology, but have a well-developed Force tradition. Force use is almost unheard of among the hatchlings; they are seldom even Force-sensitive. As they age, into Walker-scale adults, then Starfighter-scale Elders, some will develop Force abilities, most of which focus around Sense and the ability to plot hyperspace courses through the force. Rumors abound of powerful other abilities, but they may simply be rumors; Star Dragons have little need for the things of the land, save safe places to raise their young.

Attributes
Dexterity: 1D/4D
Knowledge: 1D/3D
Mechanical: 1D/2D
Perception: 2D/4D
Strength: 3D/6D
Technical: 1D/2D

Move: 10/15
Size:1.5-2m tall at the shoulders on all fours; folded wings may add 1m to height. 3m-7m from tip of nose to tip of tail. Adults (more than 600 standard years old) are much larger.

Special Abilities:
Space Flight: Star Dragons are capable of flight, both in a planet's atmosphere and through space. Their speed in atmosphere is equal to ten times their Flight skill (under Dexterity), plus any Pips. Their speed in space is equal to their Flight skill. Thus, a young dragon with a Flight skill of 3D+2 would have an Atmosphere speed of 32 (3D * 10 + 2 pips), and a space speed of 3. Star Dragons do not need to breathe, though find it useful for speaking.

Hyperspace Flight: Star Dragons are able to enter hyperspace, flying slowly between star systems, with a hyperspace multiplier of *20. Such flights are incredibly taxing and difficult, both due to the energy needed to enter and leave hyperspace, but also due to their extreme length. Every day spent in hyperspace (recall, they have a *20 hyperspace multiplier) inflicts 1D of stun damage, which can be resisted by the dragon's Stamina skill (not merely Strength, but receiving no benefit from their scales or worn armor). If the damage would be enough to Incapacitate, Mortally Wound, or Kill the dragon, they are instead unconscious for 2D hours, days, or weeks, respectively. While they have a natural sense for Astrogation, they still must take a +10 penalty to Astrogation checks if they do not have an external computer (as opposed to the standard +30). Groups of Star Dragons will often travel as a flight, following the lead of the most skilled Astrogator (and, indeed, Astrogator is a title of high esteem among their flights and rookeries). 
Star Dragons can improve their Hyperspace multiplier, though it is expensive to do so. Improving the multiplier by 1 requires 30 character points, minus their current Hyperdrive Multiplier; so, improving from 20 to 19 requires 10 character points, then 11 from 19 to 18, 12 from 18 to 17, usw. They may not improve their multiplier beyond *10.

Breath Weapon: Star Dragons are able to breath out a stream of plasma, quite similar to a blaster bolt. However, their reserves of this energy are quite low, compared to the capacity of a blaster. At their maximum, they may have ten times their Strength attribute in available dice of damage, and may put no more than their Strength attribute in damage into each blast. (So, a dragon with 4D in Strength could release ten blasts that would do 4D speeder scale damage, 40 blasts of 1D speeder scale damage, or somewhat in between, without recharging) In an atmosphere, they recharge spent dice of damage at a rate of 1 per hour; in space, it is 3 per hour. For this attack, they use the Breath Weapon skill, which is based on Dexterity. Their range in atmosphere is comparable to a blaster rifle; in space, it is a mere 1.

Claws, Teeth, and Scales: Star Dragons are, of course, dragons. Their teeth and claws do Str+1D damage, and their claws provide 1D in protection from both physical and energy damage.

Story Factors:
Speeder Scale: Dragons are not small; they average between three and seven meters in length, and their wings are five to eight meters when spread. They are effectively speeder scale, which affects their Dodge against character scale weapons, and their Brawl and Breath Weapon skills. However, as Speeder-scale creatures, their damage is increased against the same.

Wings: Star Dragon's ability to fly and traverse hyperspace derives from their wings; they generate a natural impeller field which allows the wings to push off seemingly empty space, propelling the dragon forward. Significant damage to the wings reduces a dragon's ability to fly (represented as wound penalties reduce the effective flying speeds).

Speech: Star Dragons are perfectly capable of understanding Basic and a wide variety of other languages, but their vocal apparatus makes pronunciation difficult, especially at anything resembling a conversational tone. If you need a couple syllables shouted across the wasteland, a dragon is perfectly capable; if you want to have a quiet chat about discrete cargo transport, they're less capable. Speech in the Star Dragon language is also not possible in space, and so they have no less than three languages; their verbal speech, their own sign language, and an altered sign language used to communicate with humanoids when they cannot hear them (such as when in space), plus their understanding of Basic. They have no great gift for languages, and so must learn all languages, aside from Star Dragon and Star Dragon sign language, with their skill dice.

Technology: Star Dragons are a wonderfully adapted species, with no native need for technology. Most of their energy comes from stars and solar gasses; their bodies are weapons and armor and transportation. Furthermore, they are enormous creatures, tall as a human when on all fours, and longer than a cargo skiff. While their hindpaws can serve as crude hands, their forepaws are not so dextrous.
As a result, they are quite incapable when it comes to technology; they have little exposure to technology that is designed for them, or even remotely usable by them. At character creation, they may not put any skill dice in any Technical skill save First Aid, nor any Mechanical skill save Astrogation, nor any Dexterity skill dealing with technological weapons (such as blasters, firearms, or grenades). In almost all cases, they suffer a -2D when attempting to do any but the most base manipulations with their forepaws, and a -1D if attempting to manipulate objects with their hindpaws while in flight.

Youth: Playable Star Dragons are young, by their species estimation. While elder Star Dragons may live for thousands of years, they are only young for a few hundred. As they age, they grow longer and larger, with adolescents approaching Walker scale, and the truly ancient in the low Starfighter range. Rumors exist of great old dragons, a dozen meters in length, with tails that reach another score. These increases in size also make it harder and harder for the Star Dragons to interact with humanoids, and, indeed, even to enter atmospheres. Young Star Dragons are somewhat subject to influence from their elders, and may be forced to choose between leaving with them, or being stranded in a star system.




Star Dragons and the Force

Star Dragon hatchlings are sometimes sensitive to the Force, but seldom skilled in its manipulation. As they age, however, their sensitivity to the Force often increases, so that many adult Star Dragons (more than 600 standard years) are Force Sensitive, and most elder Star Dragons (more than 2400 standard years) are highly skilled in its use.

Star Dragon understanding of the Force is rooted in Sense. The picture the Force as strings of energy which suffuse the galaxy, flowing from stars and crisscrossing in an emphermeral web. Thicker threads connect to certain creatures, including the Star Dragons themselves, and by seeing, then touching, those threads, the Star Dragons are able to influence the galaxy. Control is seen as influencing the threads within oneself; Alter is changing the threads as the intersect with others.

One of the first powers most Star Dragons will learn is Instinctive Astrogation (Sense variant); its knowledge is crucial to the life of the Star Dragons. While they are able to astrogate without the force power, it is far more limited. Most Elder dragons will then attempt to teach their students the ability of Receptive Telepathy. Once the dragon has mastered those five powers (Instinctive Astrogation, Receptive Telepathy, and their prerequisites), they have what their teachers consider the basic tools; if nothing else, both dragons knowing Receptive Telepathy makes communication far easier, even across distances. Once these basics are mastered, the student is ready to progress to other things. When Control is learned, it is most often in conjunction with training in Concentration, though Absorb/Dissipate Energy may be learned if the environment is particularly hostile. Alter is always taught with Telekinesis; the fine control afforded by Telekinetics is too valuable to the large-pawed beasts who have to interact with the rest of galactic society.

(A special note about Absorb/Dissipate Energy: this can be used to recharge the dragon's plasma breath more rapidly than normal. If used as a defense, Absorb/Dissipate Energy will restore a number of dice equal to the damage code of the attack, adjusted for scale. If used to simply absorb ambient energy, it allows the restoration of dice at 1 or 3 dice per minute kept up, rather than per hour, as usual).

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Sixteen Tons (Warforged Version)

Some people say a man is made outta mud
A warforged's got oil for blood
Metal and wood and steel and bronze
A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day's orders and ya ain't free yet
Sweet Maker don't you scrap me 'cause I don't know....
What happens to a warforged when he ain't no mo'

If you see me coming
Better step aside
Lotta men didn't, lotta men died
Got one fist of iron, the other of steel
If the left one don't get you
Then the right one will

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day's orders and ya ain't free yet
Sweet Maker don't you scrap me 'cause I don't know....
What happens to a warforged when he ain't no mo'

I was made by the Cannith, I was rune-forged
Given a sword and sent to the wars
I was raised by a sergeant on the front line
Though it's made of stone, got a heart like a lion

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day's orders and ya ain't free yet
Sweet Maker don't you scrap me 'cause I don't know....
What happens to a warforged when he ain't no mo'

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Krynnish Minotaurs in Star Wars

Krynnish Minotaurs in Star Wars d6

Pirate Minotaur
Dexterity 1D/3D+1
Knowledge 1D/3D
Mechanical 2D/4D+1
Perception 2D/4D+1
Strength 3D/5D+1
Technical 2D/3D+2

Special Abilities:
*Senses: Minotaurs have very sensitive senses of hearing and scent, and receive +1D to Search checks when those senses are involved.
*Horns: Minotaurs can use their horned heads as a brawling attack; doing so is Easy difficulty, and inflicts STR+2D damage. A minotaur may also charge, which requires 3 meters of running room, and increases the difficulty to Moderate, but inflicts STR+4D damage.
*Large: Minotaurs are larger than most species of the galaxy. While this doesn't matter for a lot of things, in some cases, it can be a big problem. Vacuum Suits, space suits, and armor are frequently inadequate to minotaur physiques. Many standard starships aren't well suited to minotaur physiology, meaning they receive a -1D penalty to vehicle operation, shield, and vehicle weapon skills if the vehicle isn't designed to adjust to their size. This is, to an extent, a matter of GM fiat, but Imperial craft are noted for the relatively narrow range of sizes they will accommodate. Refitting a craft to accommodate minotaur crew members is usually an Easy to Moderate task requiring an hour's worth of work for each station to be converted.
Likewise, minotaurs find many standard-built weapons to be awkward; Heavy Blasters, Blaster Carbines, Blaster Rifles, and larger weapons are quite comfortable, but blaster pistols, sporting blasters, and hold-out blasters will require modification to fit minotaur-sized fingers. While most melee weapons pose little problem for a minotaur, they do find that human-scale weapons are often inadequate to take advantage of their size; the fist of a minotaur can crush a man’s skull easier than a strong man can with a club.

Story Factors:
*Honor: Minotaurs live by a complex code of honor that involves their personal reputation, the reputation of their clan, and their standing within the clan and their clan’s standing within the Imperium. Impugning a minotaur’s honor can drive them to rash acts, and a minotaur’s assessment of another’s honor can influence their reaction to them.

Move: 11-15
Size: 2m-2.8m tall

Imperial Minotaur
Dexterity 1D/3D+2
Knowledge 1D/3D+2
Mechanical 2D/4D
Perception 2D/4D
Strength 3D/4D+2
Technical 2D/4D

Special Abilities: *Senses: Imperial Minotaurs have very sensitive senses of hearing and scent, and receive +1D to Search checks when those senses are involved.
*Horns: Imperial Minotaurs have bred for smaller horns than the Pirates prefer, and are more prone to trim them, resulting in a somewhat less effective weapon. They can use their horned heads as a brawling attack; doing so is Easy difficulty, and inflicts STR+1D damage. A minotaur may also charge, which requires 3 meters of running room, and increases the difficulty to Moderate, but inflicts STR+3D damage.
*Large: Minotaurs are larger than most species of the galaxy. While this doesn't matter for a lot of things, in some cases, it can be a big problem. Vacuum Suits, space suits, and armor are frequently inadequate to minotaur physiques. Many standard starships aren't well suited to minotaur physiology, meaning they receive a -1D penalty to vehicle operation, shield, and vehicle weapon skills if the vehicle isn't designed to adjust to their size. This is, to an extent, a matter of GM fiat, but Imperial craft are noted for the relatively narrow range of sizes they will accommodate. Refitting a craft to accommodate minotaur crew members is usually an Easy to Moderate task requiring an hour's worth of work for each station to be converted.
Likewise, minotaurs find many standard-built weapons to be awkward; Heavy Blasters, Blaster Carbines, Blaster Rifles, and larger weapons are quite comfortable, but blaster pistols, sporting blasters, and hold-out blasters will require modification to fit minotaur-sized fingers. While most melee weapons pose little problem for a minotaur, they do find that human-scale weapons are often inadequate to take advantage of their size; the fist of a minotaur can crush a man’s skull easier than a strong man can with a club.

Story Factors:
Honor: Minotaurs live by a complex code of honor that involves their personal reputation, the reputation of their clan, and their standing within the clan and their clan’s standing within the Imperium. Impugning a minotaur’s honor can drive them to rash acts, and a minotaur’s assessment of another’s honor can influence their reaction to them.

Move: 11-15
Size: 2m-2.5m tall

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Athasian Psionic Bard

The Psionic Bard is a variation on the standard Athasian Bard, which replaces the standard bard's facility with poisons with some improved psionic powers. While not a true psionicist, a Psionic bard is more akin to his non-Athasian counterpart... a dabbler in many fields, not simply an assassin who dances prettily.

All aspects of the Psionic Bard are as the Athasian bard; they have access to all thief skills, with 20 points per level to improve them, they may influence reactions, inspire, and countersong as an Athasian bard, and "learn a little bit of everything." Their NWPs are Rogue, Warrior, General and Psionic. The sole difference is a lack of facility with poisons, and the advancement of psionic powers. Bards are not true psionicists, but expand their abilities slightly as time goes on.

At 1st level, a Bard is a wild talent, as with all other Athasian characters, with the same number of powers and PSPs as any other Athasian character. At levels 2, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, and 19, the Bard learns one devotion for which they meet the prerequisites, from any discipline. Certain disciplines are more difficult for bards to explore, due to the ubiquity of certain sciences as prerequisites; these remain closed to the Bard unless their wild talent provides the necessary powers. As they do not properly study psionics, they have no primary discipline, and so no restrictions on numbers of powers from a discipline based on that. Most Bards lack the ability to engage in psionic combat (since they do not have access to Mindlink, save through wild talents, and that forms the backbone of the discipline), but most will acquire a psionic defense as soon as they are able.

At each level beyond the first, Bards gain PSPs. However, they only gain 1d6 plus their ability modifier for Wisdom (per the Inherent Potential Table on page 38 of the Dark Sun book; Wisdoms of 15 or less result in only a 1d6 roll of PSPs).

This version works well for both S&P and CompPsi psionics, whichever you prefer; the only difference would be in psionic combat, where Psionic Bards would be counted as other wild talents, able to learn up to 3 defense and 3 attack modes as proficiencies.

Why a psionic bard kit? Because the standard bard in Athas is an assassin, to the point where one questions why anyone would accept bards that have been sent to them... if bards show up, someone is going to die. This version allows there to be a LOT of different bards, and they're less "scary assassins" and more the dabbler that other bards are.