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Shadow magic - new magical style

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:12 am
by Slloyd14
Hi all! Here's a new magical style. If you want this in a word document, its in ... FVzd2p3X28.

Shadowcsters are a type of wizard whose magic specialises in the use of light. Their spells are usually shadow themed which either involves reducing light, reducing darkness or using shadows for some other purpose. Shadowcasters are shunned as they are thought of most people to be evil. However, shadowcasters are not necessarily evil and many neutral people take up the art, believing shadow to represent the balance between light and darkness. The spells of a shadowcaster does make them excellent spies and assassins, however and lords would be very willing to pay handsomely for a shadowcaster’s services.
Shadowcasters have an order, though it is very secretive and very few know who leads it, even within the order. Lower level shadowcasters simply get visits or messages from their superiors to carry out a task. Once completing that task, they simply then move on to something else.
The shadowcaster’s MAGIC + Magic – Shadow is called their Arcane power score.

Invoke the Shadow (1)
This spell invokes the shadow archetype deep down in a person’s psyche. It has the same effect as the Fear wizard spell.

Light (1)
This spell has the same effect as the Light wizard spell.

Darkness (1)
This spell has the same effect as the Darkness wizard spell.

Open (1)
This spell has the same effect as the Open wizard spell.

Umbral Aura (1)
This spell creates and aura around the caster of dim light with a 5m radius, creating the effect of twilight (-1 to all combat rolls). This counters all darkness (including magical darkness) and dims all light (including magical light).

Silent as a Shadow (1)
This spell has the same effect as the Silence wizard spell.

Shadowblade (1)
This spell requires a specially made hilt and crossguard made from obsidian or black marble. It will cause a blade of shadow to spring up from the hilt and be used as a sword. Apart from the material of the component and the look of the blade, this spell is just like the Spectral Blade spell.

Glowing Eyes (1)
This spell has the same effect as the wizard spell of the same name.

Shadow Sleep (1)
For the next hour, creatures in a 100m radius of the caster get a -2 penalty to resist sleep effects. Also, creatures who are already asleep get a -2 penalty to wake up because of noise (such as someone sneaking through their house) or wake up because they are being attacked. However, violently shaking someone wakes them up.

Weave Shadow (1)
This spell has the same effect as the Illusion wizard spell.

Shadow form (1)
You can alter the shape of your shadow, which alters your form. The spell lasts for 1 minute for every point of arcane power you have and gives a +4 bonus to disguise rolls and the target can count as being camouflaged for the purposes of sneaking.

One with the shadows (1)
The caster of this spell can hide in the shadows as if they are a hole leading somewhere. This spell effectively gives the shadowcaster automatic success on any attempt to hide in the shadows or darkness. They can also use the spell to avoid being hit by missile weapons. This spell lasts a number of minutes equal to the arcane power of the shadowcaster. When it ends, the spell forces them out of the shadow into the nearest spot as if they were puked out.

Coldness of Shadow (2)
An aura of cold surrounds the shadowcaster. This aura has a 5m radius and causes everyone in it to lose 1 STAMINA point per round unless they are protected from the cold. The spell lasts a number of rounds equal to the arcane power of the shadowcaster.

Darksee (2)
This spell has the same effect as the Darksee wizard spell.

Shadow Watch (2)
This spell has the same effect as the Sentry wizard spell.

Drain Shadow (2)
The caster’s shadow seems to grow bigger as the target’s grows smaller. This can be cast on any target within 5 metres. For the next 5 minute, the target reduces their SKILL by 1 and the caster increases their SKILL by 1.

See Through (2)
This spell has the same effect as the See Through wizard spell.

Shadowcurse (4)
This spell causes the target to get a -1 penalty on all SKILL rolls, LUCK rolls, damage rolls and armour rolls. This spell lasts for a number of rounds equal to the caster’s arcane power. It is similar to the Ill-Luck priest power.

Cloak of Shadow (4)
This spell envelops the shadowcaster in shadow, making them almost impossible to spot. It has the same effect as the Invisibility wizard spell.

Shadow Walk (4)
This spell enables the shadowcaster to walk into one shadow and emerge in another shadow within a 100m radius.

Shadow Control (4)
This spell has the same effect as the Control wizard spell.

Animate Shadow (4)
This spell allows the shadowcaster to give their shadow some semblance of life for a number of minutes equal to the shadowcaster’s arcane power score. The shadow is able to move and communicate telepathically with its owner, making it useful as a scout or spy. When the spell ends, the shadow returns to the caster and tells them what they saw.

Shadowform (4)
This spell makes the caster as insubstantial as a shadow for a number of rounds equal to their arcane power. This means that they can walk through walls. If the spell ends with the shadow caster in a wall, they are returned to where they cast the spell.

Evoke Shadow (4)
This spell makes an opponent’s shadow come to life and fight them. The shadow’s SKILL is 1 less than the target’s SKILL and the shadow’s STAMINA is 2 less than the target’s stamina. The shadow has the same weapon as the target, but no magical abilities. The spell lasts for a number of round’s equal to the shadowcaster’s Shadow score.

Shape Shadow (4)
This spell enables the shadowcaster to make a simple small object from shadow. For example, it could be a dagger, some coins, a warm cloak or a sword. The spell cannot create intricate items like a key. The object lasts a number of minutes equal to the caster’s arcane power score and acts just like a real object. However, someone may spot that there is something wrong if the manage to roll equal to or less their SKILL + Awareness with a -3 penalty.

Build Shadow (4)
This spell has the same effect as the Grand Illusion wizard spell.

Eclipse (4)
The shadowcaster can use this spell to blot out the light of the sun (or the moon), making an area the size of a small village or field come under night time darkness. This spell lasts for a number of hours equal to the arcane power of the shadowcaster.

Shadow Wall (4)
This spell has the same effect as the Wall wizard spell.

Chains of Shadow (4)
This spell has the same effect as the Restrain wizard spell.

Shadow Bridge (4)
This spell has the same effect as the Bridge wizard spell.

Summon Shadow (6)
This spell can create a living shadow to serve the shadowcaster. It has a SKILL 8 STAMINA 6 and a small claw damage.

Shadow Portal (6)
This spell has the same effect as the Teleport wizard spell.

Wall of Power (6)
This spell has the same effect as the Wall of Power wizard spell. The wall created by a shadowcaster is made of shadow.

Shadow Life (8)
You can weave shadow to create a person who can take on any form. The shadow clone is lifeless and unintelligent, but life can be brought to it with a conjuration spell. The clone lasts for a number of months equal to the arcane power score of the shadowcaster.

Shadow of Death (8)
This spell has the same effect as the Death wizard spell.

Shadowcaster Oops! Table
2: Bright light starts to hurt the caster’s eyes. They get a -1 penalty to all rolls involving sight (including combat) in daylight. This is permanent!
3: Caster becomes incorporeal for the next 1d6 hours!
4: Everyone within 10m of the caster gets a 3 in 6 chance of getting -1 to damage rolls for the next 10 minutes.
5: The caster is overcome by crippling fear for 2d6 rounds.
6: A shadow (SKILL 8 STAMINA 6, small claw) appears and attacks random enemies for 1d6 rounds.
7: The shadowcaster’s shadow moves around at the worst possible times for the next week. -1 to all sneaking and deception rolls.
8: Caster loses all magic points.
9: Magical darkness surrounds the caster in a 5m radius for the next 2d6 rounds.
10: The caster goes blind for the next 1d6 rounds
11: Caster becomes possessed by an evil spirit for the next 1d6 rounds.
12: The caster now has an aura of cold and unease around them. -2 to all social rolls. This is permanent!
Shadowcaster minor spells
The following minor spells are the ones a shadowcaster will learn. If they learn all of these, they can choose which other minor spells to learn.
Glimmer, Shadow Puppet, Drowsiness, Cool, Extinguish, Hear, Mistake, Repulsion, Secrete, Smudge, Sober, Sour

Shadowcaster conjurations

Ritual of the Shadow Hunter
See Heroes’ Companion page 17.

Ritual of the Featureless Shade
See Heroes’ Companion page 18.

Ritual of the Death Shade
Magic – Conjuration 6
Type: Summoning
Time taken: 1 week
Rarity: Legendary
This ritual summons a shade (Page 122 of Beyond the Pit)

Greater shadowcasters may have been able to summon and converse with lesser and greater shadow demons and gain powers from them. No one knows this for sure, though.

Shadowcaster magic items
Obsidian Mirror
Enchantment required: 5
Cost of recipe:
Cost of ingredients:
Time to craft:
The obsidian mirror is a scrying device that only someone with 4 points or more in Magic – Shadow can use. It allows the scryer to see a particular creature that they know the name of or place that they know the name of. The place or person needs to be within 1000 miles of the mirror.

Staff of Shadow
Enchantment required: 6
Cost of recipe: N/A
Cost of ingredients: N/A
Time to craft: 1 year
The Staff of Shadow was forged by the mightiest shadowcaster to have lived. Some say that no shadowmaster has come close to the power of the crafter of the Staff of Shadow. The staff bestows the wielder with a +4 bonus to their arcane power. It also makes them slightly shadowy and incorporeal, giving them a +2 bonus to Dodge rolls and gives them a +2 bonus to armour rolls. If they have no armour, the staff grants them the equivalent of monster light armour. Once per day, the wielder can make use of the Shadowform and the Summon Shadow spells each.

Sword of Dusk
Enchantment required: 6
Cost of recipe: N/A
Ingredients: Heart of shadow demon, moon rock, star metal
Cost of ingredients: N/A
Time to craft: 1 year
The sword of dusk is a shortsword made by a long-forgotten shadowmaster assassin. The sword’s blade is icy cold, causing 1 extra point of damage. Also, anyone struck by the sword has their voice stolen for 1 round afterwards, meaning that they can’t yell for help or cast spells in the next round of combat. The sword is able to hide itself by turning into shadow. Anyone who searches the wielder will not find a sword, but they may spot that the wielder’s shadow has a sheathed sword. If the wielder kills someone with the sword, they can restore 6 Magic points and get a +2 bonus to spellcasting for the next 24 hours.

Re: Shadow magic - new magical style

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:45 am
by Nuvole!
Wow! can I steal with pride? :P

Re: Shadow magic - new magical style

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:52 am
by Slloyd14
Nuvole! wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:45 am
Wow! can I steal with pride? :P
By all means.

Re: Shadow magic - new magical style

Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:45 am
by SkinnyOrc
I like the shadow theme a lot and the mage/spy/assassin thing is an interesting angle too. Is it based on anything from the FF gamebooks? With a little more development this would be a great addition to the Heroes Companion.

I'm not sure how it works having an order with some members who believe in balance and some evil. That's especially true if the order is organised enough that instructions are given to them to do tasks. Either the unknown leaders of the order have evil aims or not, and therefore the order does or not. If the members really vary that much in their willingness to harm others then it might make more sense the order is only very loosely organised. Maybe they regulate the passing on of their knowledge to new members but not how it's used. Or if they are organised enough to give missions to their members then maybe the order is dedicated to balance, but because of their willingness to kill they're sometimes seen as evil outside the order. But actually they only kill when it's thought necessary and take no pleasure in it, although a few members may more enthusiastically embrace that part than others. Mostly they just get themselves into positions where they can gather information, manipulate and sabotage.

Am I right in thinking that you take Magic – Shadow instead of Magic – Wizardry, so it's a base magic style rather than a supplemental one? That's suggested by there being a fair number of reskinned Wizardry spells but should be stated.

Evoke Shadow could be renamed Shadow Self and summon that creature (from Return to the Pit) in the target's shadow. If not it should be noted what armour it has. Summon Shadow is one of the few other combat orientated spells. For 6 MP it could perhaps summon more than one but be restricted in needing to be summoned from shadows and having quite limited duration. It should probably reference the creature on page 161 of RttP.

For the conjurations, I would like to see new ones for using the shadow creatures in Return to the Pit as servants and guardians. Ritual of the Shadow Hunter from the HC sounds like a good fit from the name, but the Spirit Stalker is an intelligent zombie rather than a shadow creature. Ritual of the Featureless Shade from the HC summons Nightgaunts, which are demonic and corporeal (Ritual of the Featureless Servant might have been a better name). The new conjuration summons a Shade, which are incorporeal but undead spirits rather than shadow creatures.

But the shadow creatures from pages 161-163 of RttP would make great conjurations for Shadow Magic. On those, Shadow Fiend is the only one marked as Undead rather than Magical Creature so I'd treat that as a typo. Those would be good for a ritual to summon an assassin. Also Shadow Monster and Shadow Self are almost identical. Both have the PC's SKILL and weapon, the Shadow Self also has the PC's STAM and armour while the Shadow Monster has 20 and None. Both are magical guardians of a location. The only real difference seems to be the Shadow Monster guards a location that sees natural light and the Shadow Self can use artificial light like a lantern. I'd treat these as one in the same and Shadow Self is a better name. But anyway, that seems like a guardian ritual waiting to happen.

Re: Shadow magic - new magical style

Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:17 am
by Eddie
am wondering if the inspiration is from Steven Erikson's excellent books the Malazan books of the Fallen?

like the idea behind the shadow caster idea in any case.

Eclipse in particular seems like a minor villain spell: cast repeatedly upon a field it would prevent crops growing unless paid an amount of money or whatever plot hook desired.

Re: Shadow magic - new magical style

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:28 am
by Slloyd14
Hi all!

Many thanks for your feedback! I originally got the idea from a unit from the game Battle for Wesnoth. Shadowmages are rogue mages who learn dark magic to help them survive. They aren't particularly evil, but just use evil magic. I ran with that as a tool because I remember the bad guys getting all the cool stuff in cartoons and films etc. so the shadowmage is also kind of like the person who says 'Why can't I have the cool evil spells too?'. However, they don't want to do evil stuff, they just want the cool evil toys.

SkinnyOrc - that's a great idea for how Shadowmages are organised. I basically copied their organisation structure from the Dimir Guild in MAgic the Gathering, adding the idea of balance. What you say is better.

You also have some great ideas for the monsters! Many thanks!

Re: Shadow magic - new magical style

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:32 am
by SkinnyOrc
Now I've read the post on magical styles I can see where you were coming from. All the other new magic styles that are aimed at PCs (Conjuration, Enchanting and Battle Magic) you add to Wizardry or Sorcery (or just Wizardry for Battle Magic) and that means they don't need a lot of spells. But Conjuration and so on are clearly side studies of magic that make sense to be extra to the base style, whereas these are shadow magicians. So it seems obvious it be a base style, but then there's a load of things they need to do which existing spells already cover, and you need a lot of spells for a base style. Which gives you all those reskinned from wizardry.

What I'd suggest is make it a supplemental style, where their unique magic sits on a foundation of wizardry and they use that where it does the job. They could take Magic - Shadow as early as Wizardry 1, with all the other training they'd need that might make sense. There could be criteria they have to meet to be accepted in the order, like special skills at a certain level. Stealth skills are obvious choices, social skills like Con and/or Etiquette, maybe some Movement skills like Acrobatics and Dodge, and some weapons skills. If that's the case a starting PC probably can't qualify, which might be a good thing.

To make it supplemental you'd look at each spell that reskins an existing and keep it only if the effect needs changing to match the subtle, stealthy way they operate, not just to make it shadow themed. You can list Wizardry spells that are usually learnt by them, and maybe name a few that aren't, but those don't need to be hard restrictions. You could also have exceptions like Fear, where it is the same but having it being fear of things in the shadows is just a nice touch. That could be made more different though, maybe it needs natural shadows to work, maybe the more there are the bigger the penalty to resist?