Thursday, March 21, 2013

Saints and Ritual Path Mages in Dungeon Fantasy

I wrote this article a few years ago, while trying to make Ritual Path Magic work in Dungeon Fantasy. I've since abandoned the effort (hence the focus on my new College Book Ritual system), or at least postponed until the generic Ritual Path Magic book comes out. I thought I'd add it for archaeological interest.

Revised Templates 

Use Dungeon Saints from the article in Pyramid.

Remove Magery 3 and the optional Magery 4, 5, or 6 from the Advantages list. Remove Hidden Lore and Alchemy from the Primary Skills list. Remove all 30 points in Spells. Add Ritual Path Magery 2 as a mandatory advantage to the Advantages list. Add Alchemy to the Background skill list. Spend 50 points on Ritual Magic Path skills, Thaumatology, or in TBD "fire and forget" spells. "Fire and Forget spells" can also be bought as Advantages, as well as Ritual Path Magery 3, 4, 5, or 6.

Magery and "Fire and Forget Spells" 

A wizard may know one or more spells as "Fire and Forget". These can be bought as Alternate Abilities to his Ritual Path Magery, in which case he can only cast on spell at a time, and its effects end as soon as he casts a new ritual. More powerful or experienced wizards may know multiple "Fire and Forget" spells that can be used at the same time and that don't end when he casts a ritual. 

All "Fire and Forget Spells" have the Magic Spell modifier (-25%) (Magic Power [-10%]; Accessibility: Must have arms, hands, and mouth free to cast [15%]). Each spell may be bought as an alternate ability of the wizard's Ritual Path Magic, or an independent ability, or an alternate ability of an independent ability. 

Templates Needing Further Revision 

One simple solution would be to give bards access to only path of mind, but that would make the magery advantages fairly expensive and open the door for niche invasion. A better solution is to exchange all the magic for Songs from DF: Powerups, along with beefing up the power and cinema of the enthrallment skills.

I like my druids as shape-changers with minor magical abilities, but neither Divine Favor nor Ritual Path Magic is the right approach here.


Summoners, as focused casters, are problematic in normal df. in exchange for saving a few points on magery, they get crippled spell lists. Translating them into distinct and effective RPM casters is tricky since they aren't that effective normally.

Give them Path of Spirit, Path of Crossroads, Path of Magic and call it a day?

Give them Path of Energy, Path of Matter, Path of Spirit, Path of Magic? Just get rid of them?

Path of Undead, Path of Magic

Track down Phil Masters and thump him one. Alternately, grab a bunch of Crusader powers or something?


The basic concept here is to get rid of GURPS Magic as much as possible. Divine Favor versus Ritual Path Magic gives a sharp difference between Clerics and Wizards. Issues I think the big change is reliability versus scope. Standard DF spellcasters are very reliable: they can do 20-30 different things, most of which are small and specific, but they do them very reliably and consistently. Divine Favor reverses that for Saints: their abilities are random and unreliable, but they can do just about anything if they get lucky enough. Though Learned Prayers increase the reliability quite a bit, but only in a few areas.

 Wizards are in an even worse spot. With low skill levels, Wizards have to specialize in what kind of magic they'll perform. They have a fair amount of flexibility at that level, but powerful effects need to be prepared in advance via charms. Toting grimoires around is pretty useful for wizards, letting them recreate spent charms while the delving band has downtime. But still, I'm worried that wizards would be useless under these rules - they'll certainly feel much more like 1st or 2nd level AD&D wizards than proper GURPS wizards. 

Obviously, I don't know what to do with Summoners. Making them highly specialized casters is the easiest, and works well for Demonologists and Necromancers. Shamans and Elementalists already have problems under the normal templates, and these rules don't help them. I don't know what to do with Druids, either. They're the weakest of the DF: Adventurers spellcasters normally (worse even than Bards, boo-hiss!). Shapechanging might help, but the kind of Earth Elemental one can change into on 70 or so points is not that impressive. So I just dunno.


  1. Did you have any examples of the "fire and forget" spells as powers for Wizards in mind? I mean, is that where he'd learn some quick combat powers, for example, and low-powered instantaneous cantrips?

    1. Exactly. Stuff like this, maybe:

      **Air Burst (3d cr Innate Attack w/ Accessibility (Must Shout and Move) (+1); Area Effect (2 yd); Armor Divisor (0.2); Double Knockback; Explosive (Damage / 3xYards); Increased Range (1/2D Range only) (x5); Mana Sensitive; Partial Dice (+2); Reduced Range (x1/5); Takes Extra Time (+1)) [24]
      **Fireball (4d bu Innate Attack w/ Accessibility (Must Shout and Move) (+1); Costs Fatigue (+3); Explosive (Damage / 3xYards); Increased Range (1/2D Range only) (x5); Mana Sensitive; Takes Extra Time (+1)) [23]
      ** Icy Touch (3d toxic Innate Attack w/ Armor Divisor (3); Costs Fatigue (+1); Follow-Up (+1); Mana Sensitive; Cannot Parry; Melee Attack: Reach 1,2; Partial Dice (+1)) [23]
      ** Lightning Bolt (1d cr Innate Attack w/ Based on Innate Attack (Projectile) +2; Accessibility (Must Shout and Move) (+1); Accurate (+1); Armor Divisor (Arcing Surge); Costs Fatigue (+3); Incendiary; Extra Recoil (Rcl 3); Increased Range (x2); Increased Range (1/2D Range only) (x5); Mana Sensitive; Partial Dice (+2); Rapid Fire (+5); Side Effect (+1)) [24]

      My spells may be a bit over the top and cinematic.

    2. Yeah, those can get a little pricey for a low-powered game, but for straight-up DF, I don't think they're all that out of line. No more expensive than Turning Undead, for example.

  2. So, if the Bard looses all his spells. What advantage does he take to have the 10% discount on his songs?

  3. You don't need to take a Power Talent in order to get a Power Modifier limitation.

    However, given the precedent set by Wizard-Bards (Next Level p36), bards would still take Bard-Song talent at 8 pts/level to get a bonus on their bardic abilities.

    1. Just found something of interest: On page DF11:19 it says:"Bardic Talent up to 6 - or Bard-Song Talent up to 6 [5/level] for a bonus with Bard-Song abilites but not witch spells.

      I think this is the route I'll take.

      Thanks for your wonderful post, gets the juices flowing!

  4. d'oh... please disregard. Just now looked up DF3 next level ;)