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New ways of learning spells...

Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:17 am
by Slloyd14
I'm adding this to my Stone Age document. In my Stone Age and Bronze Age rules, characters cannot start with magic skills, so I was thinking of other ways of gaining spells.

The most common way for characters to learn spells is to learn them from spirits, gods or other spellcasters, but there are other, ore primitive ways of gaining spells.

Knowing spells without having the skill to cast them

The methods presented below allow characters to learn spells possibly before knowing the skill to cast them. I can think of 3 ways to approach this.
1) You know the spell but can’t cast it until you learn the skill. This is the meanest version – or it might lead to a new quest!
2) If you get a spell you can’t cast, you gain its XP equivalent for its cost (cantrips give 10xp, priest powers give 60xp)
3) You can cast the spell if you roll equal or less than your magic on 2d6, but it will be at twice the cost in MAGIC POINTS or STAMINA (cantrips will cost 1 MAGIC POINT). You can use this spell if all starting characters start with a MAGIC score of 4 and 8 MAGIC POINTS. A priest power will drain 1 LUCK when used and can only be used once per day.

Areas of magic
There are some places in the world that just ooze magic. If characters go to them, then they can benefit from its power. Of course, none of these places are easy to access – they are in remote islands, or on the top of volcanoes, or deep underground. These areas could be approached as standard dungeons with a magical spell at the end instead of physical treasure. They might also require a lot of skill rolls to get there (such as Climb, Underground lore or Sea Lore). Also, the spell you receive should be worth the equivalent xp of the dungeon (so easy dungeons give cantrips or 1 cost spells and super hard megadungeons give 6 cost spells) and it should be in line with the atmosphere of the area (water and mariner domain spells for remote islands, underworld domain spells for caves etc.)

Ordeals
Powers can be awakened in people through great trauma. An ordeal might involve walking through fire, or swimming underwater or surviving a great fall. There is a lot of risk to taking an ordeal, but it is the simplest way to gain a spell.
An ordeal should be at least 1 roll against SKILL or LUCK and failure should cause a large amount of damage. Success should cause a small amount of damage. All ordeals should leave a permanent mark on the person who takes it. In the case of minor ordeals, it could be a -1 penalty to one particular skill roll (for example, a limp that gives a -1 to movement rolls). The spell that you gain should be associated with the nature of the ordeal. For example, firewalking should give the fire bolt or HOT, but not the WET spell.

The power of the spell should be linked to the number of tests the character makes. An ordeal that requires 1 roll gives a cantrip. For wizard and sorcery spells, the cost of the spell is equal to twice the number of rolls needed for the ordeal. A priest power can be considered to be a spell that costs 3 points for these purposes.
The number of ordeals a tribe or priesthood should know should be kept at a minimum – at most 1, unless in very exceptional circumstances. Otherwise, players might be able to game the system to get easy spells.

Ordeal of Fire
A large fire is constructed in the centre of the temple of the fire god Conflag. The subject must holds their hands in the fire for 30 seconds to gain the god’s power. It may not seem like much, but when your hands are on fire, it seems like an eternity.
The subject must test their luck twice. If they are lucky, they lose 2 stamina points. If they are unlucky, they lose 1d6+1 stamina points. If they survive, they now have access to the Ignite wizard spell or the SUN sorcery spell. They also have charred hands and must permanently lose 1 SKILL point.

Ordeal of the Sea
The character must swim underwater from the shore to the rock of Marinus, the local god of the ocean. The ordeal requires rolling less than or equal to the character’s SKILL + Swim twice with a -3 penalty. If the character fails, they make no progress. For each roll, the character must make a drowning test, but rolling equal to or less than their SKILL with a cumulative -1 penalty each time after the first. Failure results in losing 1d6 stamina from drowning damage. After each drowning roll, no matter what the result, the character must lose 2 STAMINA POINTS from the exertion.
If the character succeeds at the ordeal, the will permanently lose 1 STAMINA point but they will also gain knowledge of the Breathe wizard spell or the AIR naval sorcery spell.

The ordeal of the pit
The character is taken to a deep pit which they must jump down. There are rocks that they can land on to prevent them from falling too far, but they might miss them. According to legend, the pit is also full of the spirits of the tribes ancestors who howl around the pit causing wind to unbalance any takers.
The pit is 80m deep, but the character can try to land on rocks every 20m down. To land on the rock, the character needs to make a successful SKILL + Jump test with a -3 penalty. If they have 2 or more points in Acrobatics, they get a +1 bonus. If they fail, they will fall, following the rules on page 49 of the Advanced fighting Fantasy corebook. If the first test fails, they will fall 80m. If the second test fails, they will fall 60m. If the third test fails, they will fall 40m. If the fourth test fails, they will fall 20m. However, even if the character succeeds, they lose 2 STAMINA points through the impact of jumping down.
If they survive getting to the bottom (either by jumping or falling!), they can climb up some steps on the other side of the pit. If they survive, they gain the use of the levitate wizard spell or FAL sorcery spell. However, the spirits’ howls will always haunt them, meaning that they don’t restore any stamina through sleep.

The ordeal of burial
The subject is taken to a hole in the ground and rocks are used to fill in the hole. The character has to dig themselves out. The character has to make 4 SKILL + Strength rolls at -3 to dig themselves out. If they have 2 or more points in Underground Lore, they get a +1 bonus. Each success makes progress. Each failure means that the character stays where they are. Either way, the character loses 2 stamina through exhaustion. If they succeed, they character can use the Breach wizard spell or ROK sorcery spell, but they also get a -1 penalty to rolls in confined spaces due to claustrophobia.

Lost knowledge
The characters might find tablets or books that contain spells. Most of these will be written in lost languages.
Translating these items requires a lot of work. There is a base penalty of -6 to translate a lost language.

There is a +1 bonus for every other item that the heroes can get that is written in the same language.

The Natural Linguist talent gives a +1 bonus to translating the item.

If you are using the rule that a language needs 2 points in its skill for fluency then a character gets a +1 bonus if they have 4 or more points in any one language skill.

If you are using the rule that a language needs 4 points in its skill for fluency then a character gets a +1 bonus if they have 6 points in any one language skill.

If a character is fluent in 3 or more languages, they get a +1 bonus.

A character may only attempt to translate a tablet once and cannot try again until a circumstance changes (they find something else written in that language, they gain the Natural Linguist talent or they become better at a language skill)

The spell can be determined randomly. If it is from the Stone Age, you can use the spirit spell list to work out what spell it is.

If it is from the Bronze Age, you can either use the spirit spell list or determine the domain of the god that the item belonged to and randomly decide what spell it is from the god’s domain.
Beyond that, you can come up with your own way. Of course, you could choose the spell based on what the party’s situation is.

Re: New ways of learning spells...

Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:27 pm
by Lorian
A M A Z I N G