Monday, June 3, 2013

FLAILSNAILS of Ur-Hadad: Ore & Wizardry

Recently, I started my project to run FLAILSNAILS Swords & Wizardry games in Ur-Hadad and, in doing so, uncovered the fact that I had no house rules in place to discuss character creation and other fiddly bits of running an Ur-Hadad-ly game. I have yet to sort out exactly how I'd rather see thieves function (and I'm a little afraid to make up something game-breaking), but in the mean time, I've thought more than a little bit about WIIIIIIIZARDS! 

Every mage, wizard, sorcerer and warlock on Ore has one thing in common: with a combination of skill, talent and sheer will, they deliberately violate the laws of the universe to wrench new realities from the boundless tapestry of potentiality. These reality-terrorists face down soul-searing terrors as they progress down whatever path they pursue (usually that of irrevocable damnation), following their particular idiom of magical practice (or malpractice). While often powered by supernatural patrons, there is no substitution for dedicated study or an indomitable will.

Stardust casts Fletcher's awkward disintegration
Magic user characters in Ur-Hadad must make a choice between one of two (for now) major magical traditions: wizardry or sorcery. Wizards function the same as magic users in standard S&W Core/Complete, needing to use spell books to prepare daily allotment of spells. There are no restriction on the number of spells that wizards can add to their repertoires in this manner (other than the "Learn Spells" effect of Intelligence), and they may learn new magics from found spell books, scrolls or magical research; the only limitation being that the wizard must transcribe the spell (at least once) either into a permanent spell book or onto a scroll. This transcription process requires rare inks, parchments and mind-focusing incenses of a value equal to 20 bits per spell level. Wizards usually maintain multiple spell books throughout their careers, often copying and re-copying their assembled spell knowledge into different larger or smaller tomes, heavy, immobile texts or short-hand, limited travel books. A new standard spell book has 100 pages and costs 100 bits (5 crowns), with each spell taking up a number of pages equal to its level. Smaller-format travel spell books may be purchased for 75 bits, having 50 pages, but weighing one-fourth as much as a normal spell book. A permanent, reference-style book suitable only for a well-equipped library costs 200 bits and has at least 250 pages and often even more. Wizards can craft magic scrolls for 100 bits per spell level as well, a process which takes 1 week per spell level to perfect his workmanship (Holmes rules).

Magic users who follow the sorcerer's tradition do not consult moldering tomes for their arcane knowledge, but instead have a fixed repertoire of arcane knowledge. Per spell level, a sorcerer knows a number of spells equal to the number of spells per day he can cast of that level, plus one (plus two if his Intelligence is 15 or higher). Thus, a 1st-level sorcerer knows 2 1st-level spells (3 if his Intelligence is 15 or better), while a 3rd-level sorcerer may know up to 4 (or 5 if Int 15+) 1st-level spells and 2 (or 3) 2nd-level spells. Unlike the wizard, the sorcerer does not prepare his spells beforehand, instead choosing to cast one of his known spells each time he casts a spell. When a sorcerer is eligible to learn a spell of a level he hadn't previously been able to cast (such as gaining the ability to cast 2nd-level spells at 3rd level), he may gain the appropriate number of new spells either at random or at the DM's discretion. When he becomes eligible to gain new spells of a level he can already cast, he must engage in magical research (to invent a new spell or discover an existing one) or find some outside source of magical knowledge (such as a scroll or tutor). Just like wizards, sorcerers can create Holmes-style scrolls.

Magic user characters created for the Ur-Hadad FLAILSNAILS game will be able to choose one of these options, but it is anticipated that most in-coming magic users from outside the world of Ore will follow the wizard model. I'd like to offer a third magic use model, one that reflects the DCC rule set more closely, but that's not the sort of thing I can pull out of my butt (unlike these rules, which are "magic user + Holmes scrolls = wizard, ACKS mage + Holmes scrolls = sorcerer). If you're interested in getting in on the FS/UH action, drop me a line so I can see about getting you on the short list. Oh, and one last parting thought about wizards: