Monday, 25 February 2013

Lets Read Mythus pt 23

This week in Let's Read the Garynomicon we'll look at the sample Dweomercraeft (wizardin') and Priestcraeft (godbotherin') Castings on offer to players who foolishly assumed that Dangerous Journeys: Mythus was a complete game in itself.

Reading scores of Mythus spells castings descriptions: it'll do that to ya.


For those playing along at home we're starting on page 278 of the big brown book. Expect the usual acronyms, neologisms, and wordiness, and - for this week only - the introduction of an additional rule: drink once each time you've seen this somewhere before.


Sample Castings

Casting Grades (aka Spell Level in D&D-ese) I-V, 3-5 example castings per level.

Casting time is included in the name of the spell. This wouldn't be so annoying except that the text explaining required casting time isn't even listed in this chapter. The casting times are all the way back in the Mythus Prime section on p22! "Put magickal casting times in the magic chapter? Oh what a card you are my lad..." For the record:

Mythus Casting Times
Eyebite - instantaneous
Charm - 1 CT (3 seconds)
Cantrip - 5 CT
Spell - 1 BT (30 seconds)
Formula - 5 BT
Ritual - 1+ AT (5 minutes)

Oh, and the E/F/M notation that precedes the descriptive text of each spell. If you check Mythus Magick you discover it means "Effect, Force, Material". So "spell effect" in any game that got edited to make sense to the people of Earth.

Dweomercraeft I

Armor, Physical Cantrip
Anti-kinetic energy effect. Useless against Mental or Spirit attacks.
Costs the base 20 Heka + 1 per point of protection desired to to a max = Caster's Mental TRAIT. Lasts 50 minutes, or until destroyed.
Basically a fiddly combination of the D&D spells mage armour and stoneskin. Sucks.

Detect Heka Spell
*ping* presence, type, source and strength of Heka in a 1 Rod radius.
Detect magic, innit.

Reflections Spell
Basic scrying spell. Requires a reflective surface.
Spy on someone for 5 mins per 10 STEEP.
Difficulty depends on how far away they are and how well you know them.
Lead, stone and various dweomers block your tele-perving.

Trigger Effect Formula
Creates trigger for other magical effects. Used in conjunction with another casting. Description is gobbledegook.
"Whaaaa-?"

Remember the nightmare of nested effects that was 3E contingency? All that for 20 Heka. *shudder*

Wickaflame Charm
Spark 1 or more small non-magical flames in existing tinder. Range is 1 Rod per 10 STEEP.
Probably meant to be a "wave hands, lamps light" spell; actually an arsonist's charter.

Dweomercraeft II

Armor, Mental Cantrip
Anti-brainfondling defence.
35 Heka + 1 per point of Mental defence. Max = Mental TRAIT if caster is Full Practitioner Master Race, MRCap if Partial Practitioner Untermensch.
Otherwise as Armour, Physical Cantrip above.

Forcedart Charm
Creates a single "dart-sized missile of golden energy".
Dart does 2d6+1 per 10 STEEP Physical Impact damage at a range of up to 1 chain per 10 STEEP.
Hits unerringly, ignores physical armour. Muggles cri moar plz.
A magical missile you say? How unprecedented.

Heka Trap Spell
Magic landmine on on object that endures until triggered.
Say the wizard's chosen safe word or take damage = 3d6(+caster's MRCap+any extra he buys at 1:1 Heka). Damage is any non-continuing type.
Boring "gotcha!" version of a guards and wards effect.

Ritual of the Heart Ritual
Expend a week, Heka equal to 2xSpirit TRAIT and make a DR "Hard" Dweomercraeft roll to bind a 'mascot' or totem item.
Why would you want to do this? Refer to Mythus Magick for more.
This casting is one you may find familiar (pun intended, for once).

Dweomercraeft III

Armor, Spiritual Casting
50 Heka +1 per point of Spirit defence.
Doesn't prevent attempts to forge Spiritual Links, just grants ablative soul padding.
Otherwise as Armor, Mental casting.

Avoid Heka Attack Ritual
Grants an Avoidance roll (aka Saving Throw) against any one Heka-powered effect.
Base chance to avoid is the average of your Physical Speed scores + 10% of you STEEP in the skill used to create the effect. This chanced is then modified by arbitrary GM-fiat difficulty levels.
Don't waste your Heka.

Heka Darts Charm
Creates multiple darts (1 per 10 STEEP), each doing 1d6+2 Physical Piercing damage at a range of 1 yard/STEEP. Darts Strike unerringly and ignore physical armour.
Several magical missiles, eh? The innovation! It burns!!!

Implant Spell
Photographic memory of written text for 24 hours. Caster can duplicate anything memorized for the duration of the casting.
Semi-interesting, I might use that in a Classic game. Actual usefulness, is that you? *gluk gluk*

Dweomercraeft IV

Armor, Heka Cantrip
75 Heka +1 per point of anti-Heka armour.
Otherwise as Armor, Mental Casting.

Barrier Formula
Magical electric fence in 1 foot radius/STEEP.
Lasts 5 minutes per STEEP +5 mins per Heka spent.
Barrier causes 1d3+1 damage to any creature touching it. Physical beings take Physical damage, otherworldly beings and ghosts take Mental or Spirit damage.
A creature damaged must save or, sorry, wrong game make a DR "Hard" check against its PNPow (or MRPow, or SSPow *gluk gluk*): success = pass through barrier taking an additional 1d6+1 damage, fail = recoil.
Successive tests to push through the barrier are at DR "Moderate" for 2nd attempt, "Easy" for the 3rd.
Non-absolute protection from evil spell. May be of interest for your Classic game if you dislike the existing spell.

Mask Heka Spell
Renders the Heka aura of an object or area undetectable.
Up to 1 rod diameter per 10 STEEP. Permanent until dispelled.
Masking an area from Supernatural and Entital Heka requires additional castings.

Dweomercraeft V

Cloud of Magick Spell
Heka smoke bomb.
Lasts 5 minutes per 10 STEEP and makes everything in a 1 foot diameter per STEEP *ping* equally when detected for Heka.

Heka Bolt Charm
Straight line burst of Heka hitting every target in a line out to 1 furlong.
Does 5d6 Physical Piercing damage +1d6 per 10 Heka to a maximum of 10d6.
Hits unerringly. Ignores physical armour.
Wizard HAET queueing!

Invisible Alert Formula
Creates an alarm bubble up to STEEP feet in diameter.
Lasts 1 AT per STEEP + 1 AT per Heka spent.
Any physical thing ("...including gaseous liquid...") entering this zone of misanthropy alerts caster to "...direction of passage, point of breach, and who or what passed into or out of the sphere."
Might be useful for paranoid sleeping wizard, except: nocturnal animals exist, that is all.

Priestcraeft, General
Rites and rituals which affect only those who follow a particular ethos (white hat, black hat, one of Mythus' three shades of ambiguous hat), pantheon or religion.

Priestcraeft General I
Rites Ritual
Seven quasi-sacramental rites:
  • Birth
  • Death
  • Marriage
  • Separation/Divorce
  • Acceptance of Ethos, Pantheon and Deity
  • Service
  • Penitence
Regular participation in these rites is required to keep in good standing with one's religion.
Basically the clerical ceremony spell from Unearthed Arcana.

Priestcraeft General II
Blessing, Minor, Spell
One-off +/-5 bonus to next die roll.
May only be cast on person who follows the same pantheon.
Yeah, the bless spell for a percentile system. It's even reversible.

Priestcraeft General III
Consecration Formula
Hallows a sacramental object or area so that any sacrilegious action or profane touch causes 1d3 Spirit damage to anyone not of the ethos. Damage from multiple acts of desecration stack.
A direct damage equivalent to the d20 SRD hallow spell?

Priestcraeft General IV
Blessing, Major Ritual
Negates opposing curses resulting from Grade I or II Castings, or grants +/-10 bonus to one die roll. Can also be used for non-mechanical social effect (blessing crops, animals, ships, etc.) if you want to burn Heka for the sake of seeing the peasants smile.
Additional subjects can be blessed in the face for 5 Heka each.

Priestcraeft General V
Guidance Spell
Allows the caster to bother Upstairs for advice, or to give good counsel to others in accordance with the tenets of their ethos, pantheon and religion. Anyone following the advice enjoys the benefit of the Blessing, Minor Casting.
A classic 'clue me' spell, with a minor mechanical benefit. Is a clue worth +65 Heka to you?

Priestcraft, Basic
Common spells. Less 'pastoral care' than General Castings.

Priestcraeft Basic I

Lightsee Charm
Causes 1 object per 10 STEEP to glow like a candle for 5 minutes per STEEP.
Renders books readable, dark passages navigable, etc.
Light is visible from 100 yards in darkness.
A less torch-negating light spell.

Prayer Cantrip
Increases the STEEP of one of the caster's K/S Areas by 10 for about 2 minutes.
Can be used to enhance caster's own Priestcraeft K/S for cheesy synergy shenanigans.
Half the Casting description is spent advising the GM to punish uses of this spell which are contrary to the ethos of the caster.
Interesting meta-magic effect, not sure if it would be back compatible to Classic games.

Produce Meal Ritual
Produces one typical priest's meal (as appropriate for the religion) per 10 STEEP.
So: 20 Heka/day, no expenditure on rations.

Pronouncement Spell
Caster spends 1 Battle Turn (30 seconds) pulling rank and proclaiming [preferred flavour of god] is on our side. The player is required to state exactly how 'we're right, they're wrong' today.
All within 1 chain radius enjoy/suffer a half-strength version of the DR modification granted by Joss in their support/opposition to the stated fact.
An actual worked example would have been helpful here.
Pronouncement can also compel agreement and obedience from any co-religionist with a lower STEEP than the caster. This lasts 1 AT per STEEP.
A supercharged version of command affecting a 40yd diameter? Not bad for 20 Heka.

Smokecloud Formula
Generates stable, non-moving incense smoke (complete with caster-selected scent) in 1 foot radius per STEEP.
The smoke lasts 1 AT per 10 STEEP and reduces visibility to 6 feet.
Fog cloud, sponsored by AirWick?

Priestcraeft Basic II

Healing, Minor Formula
Restores Physical damage: 2d3 damage per 10 STEEP of the caster.
Touch range, instantaneous effect.
CLW. That is all.

Heal Mental Damage Ritual
Restores Mental damage to someone other than the caster: 1d6 damage per 10 STEEP of the caster.
Touch range, instantaneous effect.

Meditate Spell
Allows meditating casters in a 1 square rod/10 STEEP area to gain the benefits of an hour of meditation in 5 minutes.
D&D4E style short rests: done first by EGG.

Rightcourse Cantrip
Divinatory casting which indicates whether a given course of action will result in transgressions against the ethos of the caster.
No idea why this has an area of effect, duration and range.
Spend 35 Heka to play "Mother may I" as an in-game effect? Not to all tastes. Pass.

Priestcraeft Basic III

Bounds of Action Charm
Restricts a physical target to a 1 rod radius area centred on their current location for 1AT per 10 STEEP.
There's a paragraph of rules about breaking free of this effect, but its limited to characters with a PMPow (aka Str) of 30+.
This is an interesting, pulpy variation on the old standby of hold person.

Enhance Spiritual Power Formula
Boosts the caster's Spiritual Mental Power and Spiritual Psychic Power to the maximum Capacity possible for each Attribute for a duration of 1AT/10 STEEP.
If no increase is possible then both Attributes are enhanced by +1 each instead.
Resembles nothing so much as the stat enhancing spells of the SRD.

Enlightenment Ritual
The player gets to ask the GM one "Yes/No" question about past events or contemplated activites, which must be answered truthfully.
Another "clue me" spell, one with echoes of the contact other plane Classic D&D spell.

Heka Defences Cantrip
Grants the target 1d6(+caster's SMCap if a Full Practitioner, SMPow only is Partial Practitioner) protection which wards against all damage types.
Otherwise similar to the Physical, Mental or Spirit Armor cantrips.

Priestcraeft Basic IV

Protection from Lightnings Spell
Generates a magical Faraday cage of 1 yard diameter/10 STEEP centred on the caster.
The spell dissipates _dice_ of electrical damage equal to the caster's STEEP (1/2 STEEP if a Partial Practitioner).
A nice counter-balance to the hair-raising (no pun intended) power of electricity in Advanced Mythus.

Sanctification Ritual
Can either double the damage inflicted by the Consecration Formula (above), or can be used to enhance a single consecrated object (for example, the priest's holy symbol). For each 100 Heka expended the sanctified object will cause 1d3 Mental and Spiritual damage on sight, 2d3 Physical damage upon touch, to any being of an opposed ethos within a 1 rod radius.
An interesting variation on clerical turning. Probably a bit number-crunchy for players of Classic games though.

Wound, Spiritual Charm
Causes Spirit damage of 1d6(+1d6 per 10 extra Heka, max added dice = 1/10th caster's STEEP) to one target within yards = STEEP.

Priestcraeft Basic V

Heal the Soul Spell
Heals Spirit damage: 1d6 per 10 STEEP (1d3 per 10 STEEP if Partial Practitioner).
The target must be of the same ethos as the caster.

Thunderbolt Cantrip
Calls a lightning bolt from the blue within 1 yard/STEEP.
This causes 5d3(x1d6 Exposure roll) Electrical Physical damage to the primary target and 3d3(x1d3) to all subjects within a 1 rod radius.
The accompanying thunder startles all creatures with a Mental Reasoning Power (aka Intelligence) of 10 or less; startled creatures run in panic for 1d3 Critical Turns (or stampede if animals).
A numerically fiddly version of D&D's call lightning spell with a nice panic!!! fillip.

Word of Command Charm
Causes 1 subject(+1/10 STEEP) within earshot to obey a single word command for the next CT.
This is the Classic D&D command spell, right down to the proviso that "Die!" results in auditors only appearing dead for one round CT.

-----

If you're at all familiar with any of the spell lists from Classic D&D your deja vu will be going nuts by now (feel free to drink until it abates). The Castings on offer indicate a typically Gygaxian folkloric implied setting; one where wizards lurk over scrying pools, sling various sizes and shades of burning arcane arrow, and leave cursed objects lying around, while priests alternately bless their flock and call high-amperage arcs from the sky onto the heads of the unbelievers, etc.

Some of the spell variations from the more familiar D&D norms are interesting (and the similarities are certainly not worth a lawsuit); it's just a shame the spell names are so, soooooooooooo tin-eared. Seriously, "Ritual of the Heart Ritual" is only the stand out offender in a full and busy field: "Summon Familiar" is quicker to say, conveys more information, and doesn't repeat itself in an awkward Dept of Redundancy Dept way. Once again Advanced Mythus reminds us that editing is not optional.

In the Small Mercies column of the ledger: at least the bad joke that was material components didn't make it into Advanced Mythus.

Next Time: Apotropaism, Astrology, Herbalism and Mysticism Castings.

Pic Source: teh intawubz

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