Champions of Lemuria

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8/16/2017 2:53 pm  #1


There are things in the world man was never meant to know...

Having recently inducted some new players to BoL, I thought I might talk about how I handle sorcery and alchemy especially for new players. As a house rule I generally don't allow players in my games to start with Magician or Alchemist as one of their four starting careers (unless they have a really good idea for it!). I prefer to let them buy it later with AP so that they have time to learn how to use the basic mechanics of the game first, as sorcery and alchemy can require some pre-game prep on the players part which may be difficult to do.

This brings me to my second point; Tomes of Knowledge! These serve as a way for existing player characters to "discover" sorcery or alchemy, allowing them to buy into the career (Remember kids: Winners don't use books!). These are typically rewards I place hidden about in dark dungeons and wizard towers for the players to find and they contain recipies and spells that the player reading it can unlock by spending AP to conduct research between adventures. Here are some rough examples I've made: 

C = Common 
U = Uncommon
L = Legendary
M = Mythic 
1st/2nd/3rd = Magnitude

Furi's Folio of Thaumaturgy(Alchemy), an ancient tome bound in yew plates inlaid with iron. It once belonged to the thaumaturge Furi, who vanished in the Temple of Mist. (Requires Mind 1)
-Sleeping Powder(C)
-Healing Salve(C)
-Blackpowder Bomb(U)
-Armorbright(U)
-Firmament Stone(U) 

The Tome of Giants(Alchemy), a large tome written in illuminated script upon linen pages. It was written by a monstrous goddess for the illustrious alchemist Gwali. (Requires Mind 4)
-Potion of Giants Strength(U)
-Bottled Lightning(U)
-Lightning Gun(L) 

Phesipho's Scripture of Desecration(Sorcery), a set of etched glass plates contained in a gold coffer set with silver pearl. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of the great necromancer Phesphio, who fell at the battle of Hydral Chasm. (Requires Mind 2)
-Summon Rat Swarm(1st)
-Raise Dead(1st)
-Drain Life(2nd)
-Summon Ghost Ship(2nd)
-Plague of Undead(3rd) 

Side note: Tomes for Sorcery can have the additional effect of fufilling one of the casting requirements for spells from the book, if the caster is able to read directly from the book while casting.

Last edited by Crom (8/16/2017 3:19 pm)


He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?
 

8/28/2017 7:33 am  #2


Re: There are things in the world man was never meant to know...

A good alternative approach - I've noticed that when PCs become sorcerers 'in game' rather than in chargen, they seem to treat magic as more of a big deal (which is as it should be).

​Like the book examples. Do you ever have books that are...umm...less good than others? I am drawn to the idea of a demonology book of true names that is perhaps not as accurate as it could be. Hilarity ensues!!


My real name is Steve
 

9/04/2017 5:19 am  #3


Re: There are things in the world man was never meant to know...

Ha! That does sound like a cool adventure idea. A sorcerer summons a demon and tries to bind it to his service with its true name. Only to find that its name is in fact not "Walter", leaving it to run rampant!


He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?
     Thread Starter
 

9/04/2017 8:54 am  #4


Re: There are things in the world man was never meant to know...

Of course, the City Guard are out for the sorcerer's blood, so he has to go into hiding. But there are certain adventurers who owe the mage a big favour, and today he's calling in the debt. All they have to do is find and slay/dispel the demon.

​Only problem is that the demon loves to assume the appearance of human beings before causing mayhem - which is its delight. Unfortunately when it assumes the identity of a human, the real human dies - their body turning to dust. (Still, omelettes, eggs, etc.) The demon soon realises that the best way to make mischief in the city, is to assume the identity of various members of the ruling council.

​So, it's an easy job. Discover which councillor is actually the current identity of the demon, and kill him. And explain to the city authorities that you are actually saving the city, and can your friend the wizard come out of hiding, as it was all a terrible mistake.

​Myself, I blame the get rich quick publishers of E-Z Demonology For Dummies.


My real name is Steve
 

11/11/2017 8:31 am  #5


Re: There are things in the world man was never meant to know...

Now I've been thinking about how I would actually use this mechanic in my game, I realise that a better idea is that when they wish to conduct research you (The GM) make a task roll on their behalf (adding their mind score and any relevant careers) to see how well they translate/transcribe the original text with more powerful spells/devices being more difficult.

For example, if a player failed task roll to learn the "Plague of Undead" spell from Phesipho's Scripture of Desecration, the GM could decide that should the task roll fail, the player has unknowingly transcribed the ritual incorrectly so that when the player tries to summon an army of bloodless to do his bidding during an adventure he causes the dead to rise across the region without being able to control them! So now the players are left with not only their original task, but now must contend with the hordes of flesh hungry undead!

Last edited by Crom (11/11/2017 8:40 am)


He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?
     Thread Starter
 

11/25/2017 11:05 am  #6


Re: There are things in the world man was never meant to know...

A thought occurs.

​As well as transcribing/translating spells incorrectly, the nature of an old spell might be obscure. I'm thinking of the medieval sword fighting texts that were deliberately written in an obscure way (sometimes as poetry!) to preserve the secrets of the sword masters, among the uninitiated.

​So a spell may have a flowery title (think the titles in the stories by Vance of Cudgel the Clever) which is open to interpretation. Especially so, if the spell is written in a dead language. Your party mage is sure about what the spell does - but are they right?

Last edited by Gruntfuttock (11/25/2017 11:06 am)


My real name is Steve
 

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