Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summoners and College Ritual Book Magic

For the most part, the summoner templates introduced in DF9: Summoners work very well with my College Book Ritual Magic system. Instead of getting a trivial discount on Magery in exchange for getting a drastically limited spell selection, they become masters of a single college, augmented by a focused and inexpensive talent. The only difficulty is the shaman, who uses a Power Investiture system instead. I have some thoughts on improving the shaman, and I'll add some comments shamans for CBRM.

CBRM Demonologist

Replace Demonic Attument 3 [24] and 10 points in demonologist spells with Magery 0 [5], Extra Magical Ability 2 [20], College of Demonology (VH) IQ [8]-15, and the Perk: Reader of the Black Grimoires [1]. Add additional levels of Extra Magical Ability to the general advantage list. If using Rational Spell Damage, add all forms of the Blight, Fire, and Ruin elemental attack spells to the College of Demonology.

The Close to Hell talent no longer gives bonuses to Religious Ritual or Theology but gives bonuses to College of Demonology and College of Death instead. Reader of the Black Grimoires allows the substitution of Hidden Lore (Demons) for Thaumatology when using grimoires to cast College of Demonology spells (even if the grimoire was written for an entirely different magical tradition!)

CBRM General Elementalist

Replace Elemental Influence 3 (All Elements) [30] and 20 points in elementalist spells with Magery 0 [5], a suitable 5 point talent [5], Extra Magical Ability 2 [20], the Perk: Elemental Understanding [1], and 19 points distributed among College of Air, College of Earth, College of Fire, College of Metal, College of Water, College of Wood, and/or College of Void, as appropriate. Add additional levels of Extra Magical Ability to the general advantage list.

Elemental Understanding allows the substitution of Hidden Lore (Elementals) for Thaumatology when using grimoires to cast spells from an Elemental college (even if the grimoire was written for an entirely different magical tradition!)

CBRM Specific Elementalist

Replace Elemental Influence 3 (One Element) [24] and 20 points in elementalist spells with Magery 0 [5], a suitable 5 point talent 2 [10], Extra Magical Ability 2 [20], the Perk: Elemental Understanding [1], and College of (One Element) (VH) IQ+2 [8]-17 (includes a +2 bonus from the talent).

CBRM Necromancer

Replace Deathliness 3 [24] and 10 points in Deathly spells with Magery 0 [5], Extra Magical Ability 2 [20], College of Death (VH) IQ [8]-15, and the Perk: Secrets of the Dead [1]. Add additional levels of Extra Magical Ability to the general advantage list. If using Rational Spell Damage, add all forms of the Blight and Cessation elemental attack spells to the College of Demonology.

Secrets of the Dead allows the substitution of Hidden Lore (Undead) for Thaumatology when using grimoires to cast College of Death spells (even if the grimoire was written for an entirely different magical tradition!)

CBRM Revised Shaman


As normal for CBRM, Shaman spells are individually IQ/E skills, and are sorted into three colleges.
College of Life: Beast Summoning, Command, Compel Truth, Cure Disease, Daze, Deathtouch*, Dream Projection, Dream Sending, Fear, Madness, Major Healing, Mass Daze, Mental Stun, Message, Minor Healing, Panic, Paralyze Limb, Presence, Remove Contagion, Retrogression, Rider Within, Rooted Feet, Sense Life, Silver Tongue, Sleep, Soul Rider, Spasm, Stop Spasm, Strike Blind, Strike Deaf, Strike Dumb, Strike Numb, Terror, Total Paralysis
College of Spirits: Affect Spirits, Animation, Animate Shadow, Astral Block, Astral Vision, Awaken Craft Spirit, Banish, Beacon, Command Spirit, Control Elemental, Create Elemental, Entrap Spirit, Final Rest, Materialize, Pentagram, Planar Summons, Planar Visit, Planar Shift, Repel Spirits, Sense Spirit, Skull Spirit, Solidify, Soul Jar, Summon Demon, Summon Elemental, Summon Shade, Turn Spirit, Turn Zombie
College of Wisdom: Bless, Create Door, Curse, Detect Magic, Dispel Magic, Divination, Force Touch*, Hide Object, History, Know True Shape, Magic Resistance, Mystic Mist, Nightingale, Pathfinder, Predict Weather, Projection, Remove Curse, See Invisible, See Secrets, Sense Mana, Sense Observation, Sense Spirit, Summon Shade, Suspend Curse, Trace Teleport, Utter Dome, Watchdog.

A spell's effective prerequisite count (and its penalty to casting rolls) is equal to it's PI - 1, so a shaman can cast all PI 1 spells in a College at his skill in the college. Shamans do not use grimoires, but have spirit guides that serve a similar purpose.

Each level of Power Investiture (Shamanic) increases Threshold by 10 and Recovery Rate by 15, with both starting at 0. Power Investiture (Shamanic) does not provide a bonus to learn spells.

On the template, replace 10 points in Shamanic spells with one of the following spell packages
  • Focused caster: One Shamanic College at (VH) IQ [8]-14 and the other two colleges at (VH) IQ-3 [1]-11; or
  • Generalist caster: Two shamanic colleges at (VH) IQ-1 [4]-13 and the other college at (VH) IQ-2 [2]-12; or
  • Scattered caster: Choose 10 shamanic spells at (E) IQ [1]-14.

Spirit Guides

A spirit guide is a friendly or controlled spirit who advises a shaman in the practice of magic. A shaman may have zero or more spirit guides.

Each spirit guide gives a bonus to casting one or more spells from the college default. The bonus can only buy off the prerequisite penalty to cast the spell and the effective skill cannot exceed the shaman's Hidden Lore (Spirits) skill.

A spirit guide is a 1 point advantage and can give on of the following sets of bonuses:
  • +1 to three different spells
  • +2 to one spell and +1 to two different spells
  • +2 to one spell and +3 to another
  • +4 to one spell
Spirit guides can be transferred from one shaman to another. Spirit guides can be voluntarily transferred between shamans as an act of will, but the shaman who gives away the spirit guide loses any bonuses immediately and the shaman who acquires the guide does not get the bonuses until he has slept (or meditated for shamans who do not sleep) for at least 8 hours and made contact with the spirit guide.

A shaman can steal another shaman's spirit guides. Spirit guides may be stolen from another shaman's physical body (including his corpse) or from a shaman's house or other place of power. The ritual to steal a spirit guide takes an hour to perform and fails automatically if it is interrupted in any way.

Design Notes

Most of this is pretty straightforward application of CBRM concepts to the summoner templates.

Shamans are obviously a bit weird. I think converting PI levels back to prerequisite counts is a workable solution, but it is a bit unorthodox.

Spirit guides are basically Fine, Dwarven Grimoires purchased as signature gear. The rules for stealing them are intended to make stealing someone else's guides about as difficult as stealing a wizard's physical grimoires would be. I figure that a thief had an hour's uninterrupted access to a wizard's house could steal the wizard's grimoires.

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