Wednesday, September 28, 2022

OSR: New Rules for Wizards, stolen from Fantasy Novels

Ideas borrowed from Wheel of Time, The Stormlight Archive

artist unknown

1: All Wizards can innately sense Magic and other Wizards

Wizards can innately detect magic, as a byproduct of them having opened their third eye.  The more powerful a spell, the more likely a nearby Wizard will be able to detect it.  A cantrip might only be detectable across the hall or in the neighboring room, but a fireball would easily be detectable streets away, assuming the Wizard didn't see any of the other effects of the spell.

Similarly, Wizards can detect a creature's ability to cast and manipulate magic as easily as you can see the color of someone's eyes.  Two Wizards can find each other in crowded room, even if neither of them have met or know anything else about each other.  The stronger the Wizard, the more powerful this aura is.  An Archmage will appear to the magical senses of any half-trained apprentice if he's in the same building, but the apprentices might go unnoticed until they're down the hall or right outside the door.

 Note that this works like listening- it is possible to miss certain sounds, especially if they're quiet or you're distracted.  It's not perfect.  If you're not paying attention, a Wizard can sneak up on you.  It's just harder.   

2: Wizards have a varying level of Potential

All Wizards have a varying level of magical strength.  When you create a Wizard at level 1, have them roll 1d12 on the following table.  When you get the result, roll the number of proscribed dice to see what their maximum potential strength is in terms of MD.  A Wizard's growth rate is the number of MD they gain per level.     

Magical Potential Table

1- 1d4+2 MD.  You have a growth rate of +1 MD per level.
2- 1d6+1 MD.  You have a growth rate of +1 MD per level.
3- 1d6+2 MD.  You have a growth rate of +1 MD per level.
4- 1d6+3 MD.  You have a growth rate of +1 MD per level.
5- 1d8+2 MD.  You have a growth rate of +2 MD per level.
6- 1d8+3 MD.  You have a growth rate of +2 MD per level.
7- 1d8+1d6 MD.  You have a growth rate of +2 MD per level.
8- 2d6 MD.  You have a growth rate of +2 MD per level.
9- 2d8 MD.  You have a growth rate of +2 MD per level.
10- 3d6 MD.  You have a growth rate of +3 MD per level.
11- 4d6 MD.  You have a growth rate of +3 MD per level.
12- 5d6.  You have a growth rate of +3 MD per level.

3: Wizards can pool their energy

Wizards can form a mental link, forming a circle and pooling their strength.  Forming a circle requires at least two Wizards to meditate and synchronize their mana-streams, then for them to link their minds together.  This requires quiet and cooperation, and in combat or an otherwise stressful situation, may require an appropriate check. 

Once the Wizards are linked, one of them must lead the circle.  Usually the person who initiates the link will be the leader, but they can pass leadership of the circle to someone else. 

While linked, all of a Wizard's power will be at the disposal of the circle's leader.  The circle's leader may then cast using the collective MD of the circle to power his spells.  He may only cast spells he has personally prepared. 

The other members of the circle may not cast while in a circle, but can take another action on their turns.

Once a circle is formed, those who are linked must stay close, within 50', to share power.  The circle's link will remain no matter how far apart they go, but if they are more than 50' apart, no power sharing can occur.

The circle lasts until the leader of the circle releases the others and dissolves it.

While in a Circle, should a spell trigger Chaos or Corruption, it affects all members of the Circle.  However, depending on the number of people in the circle, the leader can reroll X-1 MD. So if it's a Circle of 2, the leader can reroll 1 MD.  If it's a Circle of 3, the leader can reroll 2 MD, and so on.

4: Wizards can store power

Certain items, such as Gemstones, can be used to store MD.  A Wizard, by meditating for at least 1 minute, can transfer MD from themselves into the chargeable item.  The MD transferred are lost to the Wizard, but can be used by any spellcaster who can make physical contact with item. 

Besides Gemstones, other items that could potentially store mana include, but are not limited to: crystals, mirrors, prisms, rings, tattoos, piercings, warded lanterns, enchanted cups or cauldrons, along with works of artifice specially designed to store mana.

Wizards can also draw power out of such a container to restore their own lost MD. 

by Petar Penev a.k.a. dnavenom


  1. Replies
    1. So you can store power for more powerful spells. This is most helpful at lower levels, as if your Wizard only has 1 to 2 MD at level 1-3-ish, then you're limited in the amount of power you have on hand, unless you've stored stuff up.

      Plus, it gives another purpose to gemstones and such besides selling them.

      And it lets you show off how powerful enemy Wizards are when they're wearing jeweled necklaces, each stone blazing with brilliant light.

      It also just looks cool.

  2. Not sure whether my previous comment was eaten by the grue, but I was reminded of your Magical Potential again after browsing through the Black Company wiki. Having an inherent magical limit differing from mage to mage really does make it feel more like natural, in-world thing.

    1. I'm glad you think so. I was just rereading Wheel of Time and I noticed that in a lot of the scenes with the Aes Sedai (female casters), they were constantly judging status amongst each other based on their relative level of power to each other.

      Additionally, I like that idea too. Some people are stronger, faster, smarter, so why wouldn't their be people better at magic than others?

      And yeah, that first comment was definitely something's meal.

    2. The only concern I'd have would be whether the players will be enthused with the chance to "cripple" their spellcaster with a single roll in session 0. Though I guess it's no different form rolling your stats. The blow of a low Potential roll could be softened by allowing some weird ways to raise it, like eating raw dragon hearts or injecting occultum into your brain. :D Especially if they have a high chance of being lethal ordetrimental, to explain why not everybody will do it.

      Also number 4 is nicely favourful. :)