Thursday, June 19, 2014

DCC Donnerstag: More Thoughts About Spellcasters & Patrons

Once again, it's DCC Donnerstag and so, I'm going back to the well that treated so ... well... last week: Patrons & Spellcasters. Props to +Gabriel Perez Gallardi for letting me borrow his character, The Formerly Hairy Wizard Formerly Known As Ian, for an example below.

Spellburn and Patron Bond

Here's the deal: Patron bond is one of the best times to do a little Spellburn. Players new to DCC wizards & elves tend to underestimate how important and powerful Spellburn is; it mitigates at least some of the randomness involved in the spell check, not so much smoothing out the probability curve as setting the bar higher, making spell casting a little less "random-ass crap shoot" and little more "dear god, not another spell... they take so much out of me!" Which is badass. No sorcerer worth his salt should discount the idea of Spellburning while casting Patron bond, remembering that the better results allow more and greater access to a particular supernatural patron. Giving of one's own life essence to fuel the casting of Patron bond makes so much sense (thematically) that it's damn smart that the rules reward it with better results! For more flair, try to make your Spellburn worthy of your would-be patron's notice by attuning it to his/her/its particular idiom. For Azi Dahaka, for example, you might Spellburn 5 points or Stamina and swallow sand or drain a cup of adder's venom. This is an awesome opportunity to inject massive amounts of roleplaying flair into your games!

On a related note, I'd like to mention that, as per the DCC rule book, a sorcerer must Spellburn in order to cast Invoke patron. How much he Spellburns is up in the air, but again, I'd recommend to go big or go home, and use the casting of this spell as an opportunity to really flavor-up the game.

Patron Bond Score Over Time

It is possible to improve your bond to a supernatural patron over time, by improving your standing and worth in the eyes of your patron(s). A Judge may wish to handle increasing a bond score as akin to awarding Luck; points may be added to this score (or these scores) for further the patron's goals, helping his servants, offering him the correct sacrifices, etc. Please note that some sorcerers may attempt to increase their Patron bond score by re-casting the spell. Since each casting of Patron bond is, in effect, a re-negotiation of terms with the supernatural patron, I do not recommend allowing successive castings to overwrite a previous score. Instead, consider the following method: each successive casting of Patron bond alters the bond score by an amount equal to the difference between the new roll and the prior score, divided by the number of times the spell has been cast. Thus, if the Formerly Hairy Wizard Formerly Known As Ian (or, "Formerly Ian" to his friends) had a bond score of 14 with, say, Bobugbubilz, and decides to cast Patron bond again, this time rolling an 18, he may add 2 to his bond score ( (18-14)/2 = 2). By the same token, if Formerly Ian were to roll a 10, his bond score would go down by 2 to 12! That's the price you pay for a bad negotiation.

No One Needs Invoke Patron!

If you're casting Invoke patron, it means that you have a supernatural patron. Which means that you've already cast (or already had cast upon you) the spell Patron bond. Your bond to your patron tells you how often you can cast Invoke patron, and therefore it is unnecessary to use a spell "slot" for it. As of this moment, no sorcerer in my games can learn Invoke patron, but rather gain access to it due to the strength of their bond to their supernatural patron(s).

So, there you have it. If any readers have any questions or ideas about patrons and patrons bonds, drop me a comment; I'll try to work an answer into an upcoming post. By the same token, if you have any ideas for future DCC Donnerstag posts, I'll take those, too. This post (and its antecedent) have brought up enough questions in my brain-space that, barring any sudden revelations, I think that next week's post will be a return of my Master Class on Spellburn.