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The Path of Sorcery
- Spells. T spell slots for prepared spells.
- Aegis. +T floating bonus to magic saves and counter-spells.
- Magical devices. Use or create enchanted items.
- Scrolls. The creation and use of inscribed spells.
- Alchemy. Prepare magical concoctions usable by anyone.
- Magical research. Create new spells.
- Banishment. Turn away undead or force demons back to their home.
- Thrall-binding. Summon or create sorcerous minions.
- Supplication. Call on favors from demons, spirits, and other powers.
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Spells. T is the number of spells slots which can be used for prepared spells. 1 spell rank requires one slot. The maximum spell rank (called spell capability) which may be prepared is character level divided by 2, rounded up. So, for example, a third level character with spells 3 could prepare one second rank spell and one first rank spell. That same character could not prepare a third rank spell, however, as that would require spell capability 3 (and thus character level 5 or higher). When a spell is cast, the character makes a saving throw versus magic. If the saving throw succeeds, the spell works and is also retained for later use. If the saving throw is a 1, the spell fails and a magical mishap occurs (see magical mishaps section). If the saving throw fails but isnot a 1, the spell works but is wiped from the sorcerers consciousness and may not be cast again until it is re-prepared. Similar spells vary based on their source and have incidental effects in addition to primary effects (such as a blast of cold air or a crackling of static electricity). These effects act as a kind of signature. When learning a spell from an specific external source, the incidental effect is also preserved. For example, if a character learns the spell Flashy Blockade, discovered by Manikelme, players should write Manikelme’s Flashy Blockade on their character sheet along with the incidental effect (which in this case might be a cloudy roiling of smoke around the sorcerer’s feet). There may be other Flashy Blockades with different incidental effects. More importantly however, sorcerers who have learned a particular version of a spell gain advantages in resisting the spell (+2 saves, -1 damage per die, +2 at counter-spell attempts). Thus, sorcerers are hesitant to share their knowledge, because it makes them more vulnerable to potential enemies. Though the number of prepared spells is limited by mortal consciousness, sorcerers may prepare further spells for use by encoding them on properly prepared material receptacles (see the scrolls trait). New spells may be located during play in books or on scrolls, fetched by demons (see the supplication trait), or invented (in which case the spell will bear the character’s name and have a unique incidental effect; see the magical research trait).
Aegis. Magical attacks can’t be dodged like blades, but they can be resisted or countered with practice. +T floating bonus to saving throws versus hostile external magical effects. This bonus may be applied to companions nearby in lieu of the self. Multiple sources of magical aegis do not stack. In addition, aegis allows sorcerers to attempt counter-spells, which may be used once per turn in response to enemy spell casters. The character makes a save versus spells (modified by the difference in spell capability between the two casters). Unused aegis points may also be used to help with this save. Upon success, the spell is temporarily countered (that is, the effect is cancelled, but the spell is retained by the enemy spell caster). If the countering sorcerer is willing to expend prepared spells, the spell may be permanently countered (that is, the enemy may not use it again without re-preparation); an equal number of spell slots worth of prepared spells must be expended for a permanent counter. On a natural 20, the spell may be torn from the enemy’s consciousness and hurled back at its caster. On a natural 1, a magical mishap occurs in addition to any other negative effects from the original spell.
|Flying Carpet from Dark Classics|
Magical devices. Many magical devices require esoteric knowledge to operate. Save versus magic +T to activate or understand a device. Some items may cause disastrous effects upon save fail or fumble, or may curse users without training who attempt to use them. Sometimes, a check is only needed once, after which a device may be used any number of times, and sometimes a check is needed for every use (this depends on the item in question). Some items require a certain level of arcane master to even attempt to make sense of, and these devices will specify a minimum magical devices score. Magical devices does not only apply to portable things like wands, but also potentially to large immovable things.
|Faust image from Dark Classics|
Scrolls. Spells may be partially cast and then bound to a material receptacle, needing only a final command to activate. This is much like preparing a spell, but requires valuable components to be expended in the process of preparation. Costs are 100 GP and one day per spell level. Note that the form of “scrolls” need not be paper (though that is common); scrolls may be made of any material. Choose a description for scrolls that you create taking this trait. Add the read magic first level spell to your spell book when you first take this trait. If you do not have the spells trait, you may still cast read magic between sessions with proper ritual preparation (one day required per scroll).
Alchemy allows sorcerers to prepare potions, which are like scrolls, but limited to personal effects. Any such spell known (of level T or less) may be brewed as a potion. Additionally, specific potion-only formulae may be discovered in play. Potions can be imbibed by any character for effect. Potions are not as reliable as scrolls, however, and have a chance of expiring before use. A potion brewed just prior to an adventure will not have a chance of failure, but any other potion will have no effect on a d20 roll of 1. Costs are 100 GP and one day per spell level. Potions usually consist of approximately 8 oz of liquid, and must be fully consumed for effect. Any effect takes 1 turn (10 minutes) to manifest and is thus most useful while exploring (as potions are too slow to take effect if consumed during combat).
Magical research. Create spells up to rank T. [Still working on this one, but I’m pretty sure it will be a trait separate from spells.]
Banishment. Turn away undead or demonic creatures. Max HD creature affected = T + 2. Total HD affected = Td6. May only be attempted once per target. If the max HD affected is 5 greater than the actual target, the creature is destroyed or banished.
Thrall-binding. Many sorcerers rely on minions to do their bidding, called thralls. This trait controls the number of such creatures that can be controlled at one time. Choose a thrall type. Possibilities include necromancy, golem-crafting, minor diabolism, or something of your own devising. The type may give minor benefits and weaknesses (example: undead are immune to mind effects but vulnerable to holy water and turning). Max total hit dice = T, divided as desired. For example, if T = 6, three 2 HD thralls may be controlled. AC for all thralls is +T (e.g., six 1 HD thralls will all have +6 AC). Attack bonus is also +T, but must be distributed between thralls (e.g., six 1 HD thralls might each have +1 to attack). Additional special abilities (such as flying) count as one HD (so a 5 HD poisonous minion would count as a 6 HD minion). Creation or ritual costs (in GP) are 1 HD: 100, 2 HD: 200, 3 HD: 400, 4 HD: 800, 5 HD: 1600, 6 HD: 3200. Sorcerers must find formulae diegetically (or perform magical research) to learn how to summon/create and bind a given type of thrall. Any number of thralls may be created or summoned (as long as the costs are paid), but thralls in excess of T will be free-willed, and almost certainly hostile and malevolent. Sorcerers must spend an action to give their thralls commands during combat, but thralls will continue any actions to the best of their ability without direct guidance. Sorcerers may take control of monsters that fit their thrall type with a successful saving throw versus magic. Note that perhaps more than any other type of sorcery, thrall-binding is considered chaotic and must be concealed when in civilized areas. (Thanks to Paul from Dungeonskull Mountain for the term thrall-binding.)
|Vision de Saint Jean a Patmos from Dark Classics|
Supplication. Some sorcerers bargain directly with powerful entities from other dimensions. These may be demons, genies, saints, ghosts of past heroes, or beings totally beyond human comprehension. The kind of entity dealt with should be declared when the trait is taken (and may affect the type of information the entities have access to). Supplication requires performing complex rituals, of which there are several kinds. The cost to perform one lesser ritual is generally T x 100 GP (and T days worth of preparation and performance). Treasure rituals result in the equivalent of a treasure map of level T (see treasure section). Divination rituals may be used to pose questions, the complexity of which is dependent upon the ritual level (and must be adjudicated by the referee; the 2d6 reaction roll is recommended). Spell rituals can be used to acquire a spell of level T. Lesser rituals may be attempted at half cost, but then require a save versus magic for protection from the (usually hostile) entity, as well as a reaction roll for the degree of service ultimately rendered (the charisma modifier applies). Entities dealt with using supplication rituals may be summoned fully for direct intervention in the sunlit realms, but such is extremely dangerous, and is usually the last resort of the hopeless or insane. Thus, supplication is more commonly used for divination purposes. Such greater rituals require T x 1000 GP and T weeks of preparation and performance. When the entity arrives a saving throw versus magic is required for protection for the sorcerer (companions are not protected, and other means must be used if such protection is desired). Services rendered may be determined by a 2d6 reaction roll, and additional means to garner favor (such as sacrifices) may be attempted, but nothing is guaranteed when dealing with greater rituals. Such entities, when summoned, may choose to stay or return as they see fit (many demons would like nothing better than to trick mortals into opening such doors). Characters that begin with the supplication trait may start with T x 100 GP worth of ritual components (which may not be redeemed directly for money).