Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Playing with Time

I love playing with time but incorporating it into a tabletop RPG can be like playing with fire. Adding leaps forward and backward in time to an action packed story complicates things. That said, time is cool enough to make the effort worth it. Time tends to play a role in everything in some way. It tends to make effects more powerful and sometimes corrupted, mythical creatures influence time by simply being, and spells can erase existence. I've also incorperated time effects into creatures, places, enchanted objects, and spells. The following are ideas:

Fae Environmental Effects

The presence of fae has been described as euphoric, out of time, enlivening– if beauty and majesty were a feeling that would be it. Like the presence of shadow, the effects of the fae also impact the emotions of living beings. This can manifest into many wonderful and also terrifying ways. The fae includes fae, magical creatures, and powerful objects that derive their power from primeval magic and to a lesser degree, sorcery.

Environmental Effects: Time slows; figments of light, colors, and shadows disappear and reappear at random. The environment glows and darkens, seemingly on a whim. The area is tied to the emotions of the fae source.

Time is out of sync in the presence of the fae. When a creature first enters the radius of effect roll a d6. A result of 1-3 means time passes slower relative to the outside world and a result of 4-6 means time passes more quickly. A 1 is half the rate, 2 a quarter, and 3 an eighth, while a 4 is twice the rate, 5 is four times the rate, and 6 is eight times the rate. Once within the area, creatures become distracted, unless they have a magical bonus to Perception checks.

Edmund Dulac


Creatures immune to temporal effects: Undead, Outsiders, Planar Creatures. Idea being this can create some interesting situations. Like a spell that reverses time, changing everything but the undead creature standing in front of you or an undead creature enters into a scene where you and a fey creature are speaking, suddenly moving much faster than you (because time is passing slowly for you).


Ákos: Ákos in Keleti means white falcon. It is the staff of Aliz Eszes, the last remaining member of her family. Aliz was gifted Ákos in the Free City by her mentor and friend Ewart Bellamy, a wizard of some renown. This ashen white staff, tall and smooth has a large crystal imbedded at its topmost point. The staff houses a single extraordinary spell, Outside Time. Perhaps because of its nature Ákos also protects its owner from temporal effects.
Brass Sundial: This sundial fits in the palm of the hand. Intricate engravings round the handsome trinket; otherwise it does little more than tell the time with its shadow. But to those that can perceive weaves of magic, confounding enchantments form a labyrinth of protections. Solid as a block of steel, at noontime each day, applying moderate pressure to a circular engraving on its underside reveals a hidden compartment. What was there originally is anyone’s guess. Once closed, the contents of the compartment become completely hidden.

Tryphon’s Rings: Tryphon the Ancient is associated with time. Tryphon’s Rings is an orrery. Text describing its design exists in Elne’s Tower of Remembrance and copies buried in the Library of Halia. Though it’s only ever been described in text, Tryphon’s Rings is believed to have existed at some point. Altering the position of its rings moves time forwards and backwards.


Spell Dice determine the strength of a spell, how hard it is to resist, and how taxing it is on the spellcaster. Magic is a volatile energy that can produce unexpected results.

For each Power spent casting a spell, roll a Spell Die (d6). The resulting roll is the spell’s CR, which the target must exceed to resist. You may never roll more than 4 Spell Dice to cast a spell.

And each time you cast a spell and roll doubles it creates an unintended effect. Here are the time based effects:

Spell Dice and the Identical Dice Effect

Two 1s: Time warps around you, your position in the Initiative order drops by two. If you are already last, your position in the Initiative order increases by two instead (temporal effect).

Three 1s: Everything that’s happened this round is undone. Round restarts and characters reattempt their chosen actions (temporal effect).

Four 1s: The encounter restarts. Everything that’s happened this encounter is undone (temporal effect).


Range: 50 ft./Spell Dice
Duration: 1 rnd/Spell Dice result
Check: Intuition

Affected target becomes unable to coherently perceive the passage of time and therefore the events that transpire around it. The target must make a check each round to perform its actions normally. If the target fails its check, it rolls one less d6 on all checks until its next turn, when it can once again attempt a check. If a target makes three failed checks in a row, it becomes nauseated for Spell Dice result minutes.

Lose Time

Range: 50 ft./Spell Dice
Duration: Permanent
Check: Intuition

The body of target living creature ages Spell Dice result years. The target ages 1 year per round. It cannot be healed except by a restorative spell or effect.
Partial Effect: If resisted, the target is fatigued.


Range: 50 ft./Spell Dice
Duration: Instantaneous
Check: Dexterity

This rare and dreaded spell not only destroys, but also erases from time. The target is bathed in white-hot fire. The target is dealt damage equal to the 3 highest Spell Dice. If the target is brought to 0 Life it immediately dies and its previous actions are undone. Its life is erased for 1 round, minute, hour, or day per Spell Dice result. A Spell Dice result of 1-9 is rounds, 10-15 is minutes, 16-20 is hours, and 21-24 is days. Undone actions include damage, spells cast, creatures killed, etc. as if they had never happened.
Partial Effect: If resisted, the target is dealt damage equal to the lowest Spell Die.

Outside Time

Range: 50 ft./Spell Dice
Duration: 1 min/Spell Dice result
Check: Intellect

The target is forced outside of time, sending it into the future 1 minute per Spell Dice result, unless it makes a successful check. From the perspective of the surrounding creatures, your target suddenly disappears. The affected target likewise perceives its surroundings and then the next instant, minutes into the future.
Partial Effect: If resisted, the target is sent into the future 1 round.

 Identical Dice Effect:

Two 1s: A flash of light blinds all creatures within 50 ft. (1 rnd).

Three 1s: You and the target are transported to a divine realm (the target is not dealt damage).

Four 1s: The environment flickers around you. Every creature within 50 ft. is transported to a divine realm for Spell Dice result rounds.


Range: 50 ft./Spell Dice
Duration: Instantaneous
Check: None

Cause rapid decay in organic materials. Destroy inanimate organic materials such as wood or vines as if aging the objects over centuries. You can destroy a Small inanimate thing with 2 Power, Medium with 3 Power, and Large with 4 Power.


Range: 50 ft./Spell Dice
Duration: Permanent
Check: Intellect

Unless the target makes a successful check it is immediately frozen in place. Once its body becomes completely immobile it can no longer be influenced by the outside world as if sheathed in an impenetrable membrane. Weapons cannot pierce it, fire cannot burn it, and even stone cannot crush it. The target is held in Stasis until you release it, the effect is dispelled, or a designated trigger is activated. You may set a trigger or amount of time, which frees the target as part of the spell.
Partial Effect: If resisted, the target is slowed. It can only perform 1 action, movement, or immediate action for 1 round.

Time Loop

Range: Personal
Duration: See text
Check: None

Once cast this spell creates an anchor. Once the duration of Time Loop is up, your mind returns to that moment when the anchor was formed (overwriting your previous self). You may choose a duration of rounds, minutes, hours, or days per Spell Dice result. Once returned you may alter events as they play out. You are in control of your own actions, but events transpire exactly as they did before, except for how you influence them. How you influence events may cause an entire encounter to change or it may change only slightly or you may find that the momentum of events ends with a familiar result. Once returned, the duration of the spell ends and the events play out without being able to go back and change them again. If you have a mental condition, such as nausea or even death by the time the duration is up, your addled or dead mind returns to the anchor point. Likewise, returning to an earlier point in time does not change the amount of Power you had and it does not revitalize you.


Range: 50 ft./Spell Dice
Duration: 1 rnd/Spell Dice result
Check: None

For moments at a time everything around the target seems to freeze, granting it an advantage during encounters. For the duration of the spell, its actions go first.
Edmund Dulac

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


I finished the conversion. Now its level-less and based on a d6. What's nice is I think the creatures are pretty easy to translate to other systems. I tried to make it so each one gives a unique experience (or at least a flavor). Still, there's more editing to do for the Campaign and Handbook , but I think its really getting to where it needs to be. This one has all the creatures, places, some fables, and a campaign.

Try it out, tell me what you think: The Northern Realm Campaign Book

John Bauer

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


While working to convert the Campaign World book over to the d6 system, I thought I'd make some adjustments to the traditional creatures that I left alone in the original. Here's my attempt at a dryad.

Resting beneath the giant oak, I lean back, enjoying the respite from the summer sun. Placing my hands behind my head and reclining against the trunk, slowly I drift off to sleep… I wake in darkness, coughing and sputtering wet earth, gasping for air only to let in more dirt. Choking, head throbbing, I again slip from consciousness, catching glimpses of what appears to be a face nose to nose with me.
Dryads live in the deepest, furthest groves. They live under the roots of great gnarled trees and reach up through the woody earth like hands stretching through prison bars. They’re said to seize resting travelers, drawing them below and leaving them in the dirt to suffocate and fertilize their homes.
Born in a womb of hard earth and dense roots, dryads are strange creatures of wood and shadow. When a dryad leaves her home tree, its roots and trunk part. Under its eaves and the shade of the forest, the dryad is nearly imperceptible, like a dark blotch it can dart across the forest floor unseen.
A dryad only becomes visible in sunlight. Otherwise, it moves like the shadows of swaying tree branches. The only indications of its presence are snaking movements in the shadows where patches of sunlight pierce the canopy of the forest.
Dryads rarely leave the safety of their tree burrow but if ever one leaves and crosses into the sunlight, it becomes wholly visible, appearing like an abstract painting, hard to make out details and brushed with dark hues. Their skin is damp and knotted. If it again slips into the shade, its body melds into the shadows and becomes invisible again.

Edmund Dulac

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Goodbye D20, It's been fun

I love the d20. It's big, it's swingy, and it's pretty much the universally recognized symbol of tabletop rpgs. I will miss it.

One of the biggest changes I made between the first iteration of Northern Realm and the second was the spell system. The spell system was based on a pool of points that you could spend to roll d6s. The d6s would determine the spell DC, crazy extraneous effects, and its power level. I like the spell system a lot. So when it came to reconciling the d20 system I had in place and the new spell system, I had to fudge the mechanics. I've been fudging it for months now, until a couple weeks ago when I finally decided, fuck it, change everything. It's going over to d6 mechanics. Oh and I never liked levels so those are gone as well.

I don't have much experience with d6 rpgs but what I was doing seemed to balance out really well. My goal with the system had always been to make the game more strategic and risk-based without making it crunchy. Resource management plays a huge role as well. I didn't always succeed in doing that with the d20, but I think I'm succeeding here.

Anyone interested in trying it out: The Northern Realm PHB

A note: The campaign world book now needs new creature statistics so that'll take priority over editing. Until it's done the stats are incompatible with the new system.

And a question: How important is character advancement? Now that its level-less, there are only a few mechanisms for making your character numerically better other than wealth. There are a couple of other things, but they won't always play a role (like boons or tomes). To me, mechanical advancement is not so important. That said, flexibility is, so I added the statement, "You may choose to pick skills during play rather than during the character creation process– however; once each skill has been chosen it cannot be changed later." I added the same for spells. Is that sufficient for most?

Edmund Dulac

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Havren

The name Havren is often used as a bogeyman in children's stories and adults flippantly blame them for unsolved mysteries. To most, they don't truly exist, and yet they do and they hide in plain sight. Its members are scattered throughout the city. They are rogues, performers, barflies, diplomats, and spies. The Havren are curators of history. Each is charged with making sure that lost things are remembered, and purposefully hidden things remain secret. They specialize in deception, mind manipulation, and special meditation practices. The Havren are able to access collective mental constructs, which each adept adds to over the course of their lives.
A Havren adept is an infiltrator and collector of information. They are movers and motivators behind the scenes, always working in secret. They can manipulate the minds that surround them, force their thoughts on others, erase memories, capture minds, and enter dreams. Yet even with this power, the Havren are devoid of ambition and even a desire for companionship or status. They expect to have no greater relationships beyond what is constructed in the Palace of Memory. They do not have friends or lovers or enemies. It may be that the Havren are devoid of true emotion, perhaps that is what drives them.
The Palace of Memory: The Havren do not keep their knowledge in a physical location where it could be discovered or destroyed. Instead, they keep all their records in the Palace of Memory. This is a mental construct, which lies within the mind of each Havren adept. Though it may seem unwise to house secrets in a number of individuals who could be captured, interrogated, or compelled, the palace is not formed equally in all adepts. It is continually built, augmented and added to as the adept increases in mastery. A low level adept will have a humble palace with precious few secrets to surrender. Complete palaces are housed safely in the minds of the greatest adepts, who guard it well.
The palace houses not only basic facts but the very memories of individuals that the Havren have been exposed to. Any knowledge deemed significant is added to the collective Havren memory. Some memories are complete enough to house full personalities. The most illustrious and knowledgeable of these are the Predecessors. They are deceased Havren adepts who have rendered sufficient service to be granted the immortality of preservation within the archived memory. The higher the Havren’s level of mastery, the more personalities are manifested within the palace. Most of these personalities are safe and will only aid the adept. However, some are dangerous and only accessible in the Protected Memory. While these personalities seem fully formed and lifelike, they are not souls or life energiesonly memories.
If the adept wishes to gain information, he may refer to the Palace of Memory. While inside he may access whatever information his age and experience will entitle him to obtain. An adept may enter the Palace of Memory while in a meditative state. If he is physically disrupted during the meditation, he must make a Will resistance check to remain there. At the GM's option, the Palace of Memory may be navigated like an actual library. Each additional level of advancement adds new characters to assist the adept in his studies. Through the use of some mental connection, the adept can also bring trusted companions into his mind to explore the space together. However, access and learned information can be simplified with a series of Knowledge checks. This can be used to derive information about anything pertaining to the Havren and their experiences.
The Hall of Protected Memory: This is a separate subset of knowledge that is under guard within the adept’s mind for their own protection. These are the shards of memory gleaned from disturbed individuals or minds too great and terrible to access normally. The adept may choose to access the Protected Memory even if he has already made a Knowledge check using the Palace of Memory. However, he does so at great peril. He must make a Will resistance check, DC 10. If he fails, he is attacked by the dark minds within the hall and must roll a d20 then refer to the result of failure as listed in the table below. The powers within the Protected Memory are malevolent and will do harm to the adept if they are able. Success means that the adept has definitely gained some useful information or a scene relating to the inquiry begins playing out and the Havren is free to participate in it.
D20; Affect
1 Adept’s mind is overcome and destroyed. He dies.
2 Adept is filled with a temporary compulsion to kill himself (1d6 rounds).
3 Adept’s mind is overcome and he is driven permanently insane and uncontrollable.
4 Adept’s mind is shattered and he loses the ability to use his adept powers.
5 Adept is permanently blinded.
6 Adept suffers greater amnesia. Lose one level including any recently acquired powers and skills.
7 Adept has permanent voices in his head that distract him. Make all future Intuition checks with a -2 penalty.
8 Adept’s will is permanently damaged. Lose 1d6 of Power (it cannot be recovered).
9 Adept is filled with a temporary compulsion to kill a party member or friend (1d6 rounds).
10 Adept has lesser amnesia. Lose 1d3 random powers.
11 Adept gains a phobia of the powers within the Protected Memory and will not willingly enter it again.
12 Adept has a permanent compulsion to self-harm in some way. Make a Will resistance check whenever he sleeps or lose 1 Life instead of healing with a full nights rest.
13 Adept has permanent nightmares. Only half as much Power as normal can be recovered from a full night’s rest. These dreams also cause the adept to wail and scream loudly while sleeping.
14 Dark powers become aware of the adept’s mind. Future Protected Memory checks must succeed DC 20.
15 Adept has minor amnesia. Lose a total of 1d3 skills.
16 Adept feels constant paranoia. Checks to sense motive are made at a detriment and failure always gives the player the impression that the NPC is a threat to the player or party.
17 Adept has a new random permanent phobia or aversion.
18 Adept becomes unconscious for 1d6 days.
19 Adept is nauseated for 1d6 days.
20 Adept becomes Confused and babbles non-sensibly for 1d6 hours.

Magdalena Zwierzchowska

Special Havren Skills
Left Hand of Darkness: Within the Palace of Memory an adept can learn many old tricks and discover lost knowledge. Some talents can be imparted to the adept, if he asks the right questions and looks in the right places. And sometimes there are weapons where there is knowledge, and they too can be imparted to the adept. One such weapon allows an adept to record the memories of others. If an attack kills a target, a fragment of its mind is added to the Palace of Memory. Thereon the adept may access the Palace of Memory and delve into its thoughts.
Right Hand of Darkness: Protracted amounts of time spent in the Protected Memory can be dangerous. Mere proximity to Arahn’s mind can spur changes within his own. This skill represents a growing similarity between the adept and the long dead Master. The adept gains access to his ancient trappings. On a successful sneak attack the adept’s weapon manifests into Arahn’s legendary sword, but only for an instant. Regardless of the weapon used, it becomes the Vorpal Sword, a longsword that lops the heads off its victims upon an attack roll of 20.
Student of Arahn: Some adepts choose to walk the perilous road of studying the Protected Memory. The most learned, complete, and devious personality in the Palace of Memory is that of Arahn, one of the 7 Masters. If an adept chooses this skill, it means he has attempted to learn a set of mental disciplines to better resist the negative effects of these memories. When rolling a resistance check in the Protected Memory, the adept may spend Power to add to the result. However, because the character is exposed to these minds more often than usual, they are able to take greater advantage of weaknesses and failures. The effects of Arahn influence are more deep-seated than those of the other Protected Memories, but they may also confer dark augmentations as well. Failed DC checks with this skill now use the following table to determine effects.
Special: Locked within the confines of the Hall of Predecessors, lies the recorded memory of Arahn, the Master. Why the Havren believe it necessary to preserve such a cruel and devious mind in the Palace of Memory is a mystery, but there are a number of safeguards to protect adepts. Firstly, he can only be contacted by speaking his name while in the Hall of Predecessors. Moreover, he appears in the center of a protective circle. The Predecessor personalities are all programed to contain and restrain him if he attempts to harm the adept. However, if the adept chooses to step within the circle he will be in grave danger. It is possible that Arahn may attempt to take possession of the character. In this event, the Predecessors will attempt to kill the adept to prevent Arahn from gaining control of the Palace. If they are unable to react in time, Arahn’s personality will possess the character, killing the old personality in the process. This would create an extremely dangerous creature. While this avatar would not have the magical or physical abilities of the true Master, he will have considerable mental powers. He would immediately begin scheming some great devilry to increase his power and prestige. He may attempt to revive the spirit of Arahn to reclaim his power. On the other hand, he may view this spirit as a threat to his own ego if he defines himself as separate from the real Arahn. There have been no recorded instances of such a creature existing, and the mentality and motives of this abomination are unknown. He would retain the physical characteristics of the adept, but he would have access to telepathic powers up to level 4.
D20; Affect
1 Adept's mind is rewritten with the mind of Arahn. He is killed and his body becomes possessed.
2 Predecessors destroy the adept’s mind to prevent possession. He dies.
3 Adept’s mind strays from the Palace to the deep recesses of Arahn’s memories. His mind comes into contact with an entity within the Shadow Realm. Afterwards, he gains access to the shadow nature of demon magic. He immediately learns 1 shadow spell equal to or less than his highest telepathic power level known. At future levels, he may choose from both the telepathic and shadow natures of demon magic. Future attempts to access the Palace of Memory require a Will resistance check, DC 15 to resist the Predecessors, who try to block his entrance. A failed resistance check results in the inability to access the Palace of Memory for 1 week.
4 Over the course of a week, the adept slowly becomes Arahn. After 7 days, his mind becomes lost and his body is possessed. In the meantime, the adept gains 1 point of Intellect per day.
5 Adept is gripped by a homicidal urge to find secret enemies and destroy them. Every week, he must make a Will resistance check to resist the compulsion to seek out a victim to murder. If the only people available to kill are his companions, the adept is allowed a second Will resistance check. Once the murder is complete, he will be free of the compulsion for one month and will receive a dark epiphany. The answer to one question will become clear to the adept in the aftermath of the slaughter.
6 Adept’s memories are supplanted. He loses 1d3 levels of adept and gains that many levels of a wizard necromancer. He loses higher-level powers if he does not have sufficient Adept levels.
7 Adept is consumed with the desire to live forever. Each time a companion is knocked unconscious or killed in combat, the adept has to make a Will resistance check to refrain from retreating to safety. Each time a demonic or undead force is encountered, the adept must make a Will resistance check to refrain from attempting to use the creature to become undead. If the adept ever becomes undead, a successful Will resistance check allows him to retain his thoughts and personality after the change.
8 Adept is afflicted with a craving for blood. At the sight of human blood, the adept must make a Will resistance check or enter a frenzy, adding +2 to attack. In a non-combat scenario, a failed check means the adept is compelled to lap up said blood. Blood confers no physical bonus and merely satisfies the craving.
9 Adept has an irrational hatred of clergy. Every time one is encountered, he must make a Will resistance check to resist the urge to kill them, DC 10. If a clergy member is in the party, this check must be made daily at a DC of 5.
10 Adept has a constant urge to kill and take life. He feels empty and listless if this has not been done recently. If the adept has not taken a life that day, he will make all actions and resistance checks with only ½ the bonus of each modifier. If he personally kills another living creature, he gains a ½ again bonus of each modifier on all actions and resistance checks for the next 24 hours. If a creature is ever at the adept’s mercy and he wishes to spare it, he must succeed on a Will resistance check, DC 10.
11 Adept is plagued by feelings of being watched. Upon entering any room or confined area an adept must spend at least 1 minute searching it.
12 Adept is plagued by disturbing hallucinations. He has a detriment on resistance checks versus illusion spells.
13 Adept is plagued by feelings of paranoia. Adept must make an Intuition check upon meeting a new character. All failures mean the he is convinced the character is threatening.
14 Adept can no longer easily tolerate opinions that differ from his and must make a Will resistance check during every argument to refrain from compelling an opponent with a telepathic power.
15 Adept becomes obsessed with consulting the Protected Memory. Every time the adept enters the Palace of Memory he must make a Will resistance check to avoid asking a question of Arahn.
16 Adept’s mind is warped with a twisted form of logic. The adept’s Intellect modifier increases by ½, conversely the adept’s Intuition modifier decreases by ½ (it cannot be recovered).
17 Adept has an irrational aversion to sunlight. In sunlight he makes all resistance checks with only ½ the bonus. The adept also has an affinity for darkness and makes ½ again bonus on all resistance checks made in darkness.
18 Adept feels affinity for undead. He is able to sense them as if a Detect Undead spell was permanently active.
19 Adept feels compelled to seek more knowledge and asks another question of the Protected Memory. The player may choose the question but a question must be asked and another Will resistance check made.
20 Adept’s memories are supplanted. His mother tongue is lost and he now speaks only an ancient dialect of Common (Ancient Common). This is a dead language and it is unintelligible to all except scholars. His mother tongue has to be relearned.
Will of Arahn: Knowledge passed down from the Masters often served to better humanity. At other times it served no purpose but cruelty. And sometimes it could be both useful and cruel. Within the Protected Memory an adept can learn to trap the soul of a dying target within its body. If an attack would kill a target, its mind and soul linger in its slain body for 3d6 minutes. In that time, he may ask it questions or use telepathic powers on it and it can answer, no matter how destroyed its corporeal body is. It cannot raise up as if it were an undead creature, but it retains some degree of mobility. When the time is up, the anchor, which keeps its soul from passing, relents and the corpse loses animation.
Magdalena Zwierzchowska

Monday, April 24, 2017

Role Playing Tools

An idea for an indirect social mechanic. Instead of your character rolling some extra influence or rolling in place of an interaction, this mechanic provides a path. Beginning with this idea and after some discussion I've landed here: Degrees of Separation and Ability Checks (not new but it goes hand and hand). We're going to give this a whirl this week and see how it goes.

Degrees of Separation
Six degrees are all that separates us. When you meet an NPC you may spend a Luck Die to define how your character is related to them. Once defined, it may provide a path to the NPC, reveal information, or decrease the difficulty of certain ability checks. If the connection is not believable, the GM may require you roll your Luck Die instead. The result on the roll determines how many degrees of separation there are between your character and the NPC. If there are few enough degrees then your story is confirmed. If there are too many, you (or the GM) must define a new relationship or drop the matter. You may roll only once per NPC, the NPC must be one of the playable races, and you cannot use degrees of separation to reinforce an established relationship.
Ability Checks 

Role-playing generally means you act and speak through your character, but because you are acting through your character and the GM is acting through NPCs, it may be difficult to get a sense for nervous tension, subtle mannerisms, and hidden meanings. To incorporate this into the game, players have some tools, namely Intuition and Will checks, that in essence provide context to what is otherwise a purely verbal exchange between you and your GM. While speaking, you may roll Intuition checks to notice things like facial ticks, shiftiness, tremors in a character’s voice, and so on. Likewise, roll Will checks to keep your composure when lying, projecting confidence, or under the influence of a third party. The skills Sense Motive and Composure can aid in these sorts of checks. With the Sense Motive skill, for example, it is one step easier to spot a lie, whereas with the Composure skill it is one step easier to keep your poise (making your deception or confidence more believable). If both these skills come into play (one character has the Sense Motive skill and the other Composure), then roll opposing checks, Will versus Intuition.

Some notes on Luck

Every character has a Luck score. It aids characters in the following three ways:

-First, Luck determines your character’s Spell Resistance or SR, equal to your Luck modifier.

-Second, you have as many Luck Dice as your modifier. A Luck Die can be spent on any roll to add 1d6 to the result. To use a Luck Die, you must declare your intention to add the Luck Die before the result of the roll is determined. If a Luck Die is used as a Spell Die, it counts towards the identical dice effect. Only 1 Luck Die can be used to modify a check at one time. Likewise, if you have negative Luck Dice your GM can use them to lower a roll by 1d6 following the same rules. Recover Luck Dice after a full day.

-Third, you may spend a Luck Die to define your relationship with a character you meet.

Magda Zwierzchowska

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Items of Power: Part 2

A staff is an incredibly powerful magic item. Up to 4 Power and 1 spell can be stored within it. If you use a staff as a weapon, it is a magical quarterstaff. To use a staff you must know its name and you must be able to cast sorcery spells. You may use the Power stored within the staff to cast spells you know. Likewise, you can cast the spell stored within it using your Power. Once the staff is sapped of Power it regains only 1 Power each day.
Ákos: Ákos in Keleti means white falcon. It is the staff of Aliz Eszes, the last remaining member of her family. Aliz was gifted Ákos in the Free City by her mentor and friend Ewart Bellamy, a wizard of some renown. This ashen white staff, tall and smooth has a large crystal imbedded at its topmost point. The staff houses a single extraordinary spell, Outside Time. Perhaps because of its nature Ákos also protects its owner from other temporal effects.
Daron: Oswin ever the romantic and scholar, named his staff for the Grey’s goddess of writing and language. Made from strong cherry wood, Daron has been with Oswin for over half a century. There is no spell stored within Daron. Instead it possesses the ability to modify spells with metamagic. What’s more, it seems to have a mind of its own and will modify spells as it sees fit, depending on the target or intentions.
Rædenna:  The Rædenna are a symbol of the Free City’s ruling body, the High Council. There are nine, one for each council member. Created by the first of the Optimits, they appear as if splintered from solid rock. Each Ræden is unique, thin and a different shade of slate, they are also heavy and cumbersome, it’s a wonder all the Rædenna have survived unbroken. Every Ræden possesses a unique spell and act as keys. Only with a Ræden can one enter the most secret places in the city. Separately, that is the extent of their power. However, together the Rædenna are able to perform special magic. Each Ræden contains a shard of a spell. Nine Rædenna can cast spells such as the Spell of Lingering Darkness (a rare spell unknown to others in the Free Realm and thought only to exist in a single scroll in Anyavera).
Edmund Dulac
Wands are exceedingly rare. A wand bears no power in and of itself. Instead, magic is channeled through it. It can have any shape– a stick, shaft of wood, figurine, and so on. Wands have 3 basic types, one that adds, one that changes, and one that produces. All types of wands require a spell cast into them.  
Adelaida’s Charm: A small silver trinket, Adelaida’s Charm is detailed with engravings of swans. This fragile charm produces a numbing sensation when held. Casting an evocation spell with Adelaida’s Charm alters the spell so that it can interact with incorporeal things.
Aelan: When the high priestess faced hordes of the enemy, Aelan, was a beacon in choking darkness. Its light smote down Serra’s foes in a purifying blaze. There was hope in the screams of her enemies, in their agony. When you cast a spell expending 3 or more Power, Aelan produces destructive white fire. Target creature or object within 50 ft. bursts into flames dealing 1d6 damage per Power. Targets reduced to 0 Life are rendered to ash.
Anydros: There is inherent magic in Anydros. A perfect crystal sphere, water won’t touch it. Anydros is a treasure of House Athelon. The sphere predates the study of magic and indeed its believed to be older than the aelfs. All Danons are free to study the mystery of its power, but few are able to take it from the gardens. If one feeds Power into Anydros, the radius of its water aversion increases ten fold per Spell Dice.
Behelen: A slender, crooked piece of black metal, Behelen is unremarkable, but when a spell is cast through it, the crooked rod begins to twist and writhe. Behelen never quite appears the same as its shape changes with each spell. This wand turns any visual aspect of a spell invisible.
Belucan: A small broken music box, Belucan seems little more than a curious bauble. Even when a spell is cast upon it, it does nothing, but perform a counterspell with it then the music box begins to play. Not only is the target spell countered, Belucan also blocks conjuration spells from being cast within hearing distance of the music and dismisses (temporarily) conjured things for as long as it plays.
Frore: An old gnarled stick, there is little to differentiate Frore from a pile of dead twigs. There is however something different about it. Lifting it from the ground, it has the heft of a much denser object. If a spell is cast through it, it produces a chilling aura. If a spell with a specific damage-type, such as a Fireball it changes to cold damage. Creatures reduced to 0 Life with this wand, become frozen and perish.
Hierdan: Sitting on Ealhstan’s shelf is Hierdan, a statue of a soldier. The little man has a tall spear and a tall shield. Casting a Shield spell through it will render the spell more effective (it will now block melee attacks as well). Likewise, casting Sword through it will instead conjure a spear that can defend while also making ranged attacks.
Mother Goddess: This small figurine has the appearance of a pregnant mother with wide hips and swollen breasts. Lozenge-shaped and painted in red ochre, this powerful artifact has a profound effect on magic. Spells cast through it gain +1 Spell Die. This additional Spell Die is not a cantrip die and it does not trigger the identical dice effect. Once the spellcaster has spent half their total Power they become fatigued. Once all Power is expended they become exhausted.
Tarvos: A sensation of unease is sure to send feverish goosebumps up anyone’s arms that touch it. Tarvos is an unnerving thing. The dagger is cold steel; a coldness that gives the impression it cannot be warmed. Casting a spell with a fear effect through this dagger increases its potency one step. In addition, any mind-affecting spell shakens the target.

Objects include enchanted jewelry, tools, books, clothing, and more. They range from strikingly powerful to subtle. Enchanted objects tend to either affect your abilities or produce a spell-like effect, but they are not limited to it.
Brass Sundial: This sundial fits in the palm of the hand. Intricate engravings round the handsome trinket; otherwise it does little more than tell the time with its shadow. But to those that can perceive weaves of magic, confounding enchantments form a labyrinth of protections. Solid as a block of steel, at noontime each day, applying moderate pressure to a circular engraving on its underside reveals a hidden compartment. What was there originally is anyone’s guess. Once closed, the contents of the compartment become completely hidden.
Ecgan: The Ecgan is often referenced in Naerodian stories as a mythical object; sometimes a tool of Bogdan the god of craft and other times the whetstone of the great smith Anselm Maur. This celebrated object was said to make an edge so sharp it could split granite. If a slashing weapon is sharpened on Ecgan its critical range increases for the day.
Living Lamp: This ornate silver lamp is forever lit. A tiny blue flame, imperceptible when it wants to be, but undeniable in the dark, flickers on its wick. Speak the name Akhet and the tiny flame flares to brilliant life. The tiny mephit lives in this silver lamp. Akhet produces a bright azure flame and can leap from the wick to fulfill a request. Once Akhet is drained of power it must return to the lamp to rest. If ever put out or smothered, Akhet is destroyed.
Magdalenian Altar: Remnants of Naerod are evident throughout Vale. The court of Erod is built around the Magdalenian Altar. The altar’s heavy stone slabs have no seams, giving it the appearance of being carved out of Erod’s foundations. The ruling seat of Erod is positioned directly behind the altar. Those who make an oath or swear to the altar are forced to adhere to it. Once sworn, the oathkeeper cannot perform an action that would violate the oath. If the oathkeeper should try, they become physically unable to complete that action.
Marble Throne: Miklos, the lord of Fenyovar sits on a marble throne. Like many abandoned artifacts of Naerod, it is designed to appear as if carved from the rock it sits on. Likewise, the backrest of the throne seems to meld into the marble wall of the castle. When Miklos sits upon the Marble Throne he appears taller and more imposing. When he speaks, he speaks with suggestive power. Any who sit on the Marble Throne speak with the power of suggestion.
Null Spike: Tall and cruel looking, this wicked lance has long stood piercing the ground. Nothing grows around it, nothing for miles. In far eastern Greywood the blackened earth goes on and on from the spike in a perfect circle until the barren ground gives way to rotten vegetation. The black spike is an unrecognizable metal. It destroys growth and with time, the circle of destruction increases. To what limit is unknown.
Seven Crow Puzzle: The small sculpture of crows forms a complex puzzle. Each crow can only be removed in a specific way and disassembling it is surprisingly difficult. There is also a secret puzzle, more difficult than the physical one. If a spell, any spell is cast on the Seven Crow Puzzle; the mind of the spellcaster becomes immediately trapped. The ancient maze which confines the caster’s mind is massive, but if the physical Seven Crow Puzzle is solved, the trapped spellcaster is released.
Scinnian Gate: The Great Fen obscures many things. In its north end, broken remnants and dense undergrowth give way to an ancient fortress. Few structures still stand, but near its heart are three pillars. Each has engravings that depict a woman, fae creatures, and a black rose. Just beyond them is the Scinnian Gate. Ruined and overgrown, this circular portal leads into the underground. Roots surround it and cross the entrance in such a way that they appear as part of the gateway. The opening leads to an extensive underground complex. Studying it closely reveals distortions in the dark beyond as if black jewels twinkle inside. Passing the threshold into the first chamber reveals a dimly lit hall. The rooms are made visible by some unlight emanating from its walls, like an outline. These rooms exist only in the Shadow Realm as does everything else beyond the Scinnian Gate.
The Knight and the Dragon: This is the story of Ned. Ned is a young prince in a peaceful kingdom. One day a pesky dragon named Hror comes and steals his sheep. The story follows Ned on his adventure through his kingdom. He travels up the river to the fen, into the forest and to the mountains. The long journey is recounted as a children’s tale. At the end, it’s revealed that Ned is a young boy asleep in his bed and the dragon Hror is just a dream. The story is not unusual, except reading the book multiple times seems to reveal new things in the story as each time Ned’s dream changes. In truth, this old book is a prison. Ned is real. He is the son of Godric, the last King of Storgeard and he is trapped in his favorite book.
The Winter Witch and Other Fairytales: This illustrated book of tales belies a strange purpose. Though beautiful, the art has an enchanting quality with eerie imagery. The stories are odd as well. The theme of shadow and fae features prominently. It is full of fairy songs, poetry, and silly witch chants. Strangest of all, the described rituals and much of the poetry are real spells. Many demonic and fae rituals can be gleaned from its text, indeed spoken and performed correctly they act as described in the book.
Tryphon’s Rings: Tryphon the Ancient is associated with time. Tryphon’s Rings is an armillary sphere. Text describing its design exists in the Tower of Remembrance in Elne and copies buried in the Library of Halia in Tegea. Though it’s only ever been described in text, Tryphon’s Rings is believed to have existed and when it did, it was terribly powerful. Altering the position of its rings moves time forwards and backwards. Its limits are not described.
Ziva’s Trinkets: The Khoro are known across the Hereg, from Crocáno to Vad. Ziva was a founding member of the Khoro and the stories of her dances are still told today. Khoro songs tell of her many bracelets, bangles, and rings. The songs say when her jewels and baubles ring together all would quiet and watch. Ziva’s Trinkets add a mesmerizing quality to dances that charms all the watchers.

Edmund Dulac