Friday, March 22, 2024

OSR: Even More Schools of Magic

As usual, I'm very late to this trend, if it ever was one.  Consider this post a companion piece to this one.

by SeaofFireflies
The Imperial Model:

The Arcane University in Au-Mar categorize Magic as divided between the Greater and lesser schools.  

The Greater Schools are as follows:

- Conjuration, which focuses on moving things, namely objects, creatures and information from one place to another.
- Evocation, which is dedicated to the manipulation of energies.
- Transmutation, which is focused on the changing of one item to another.  

The Lesser Schools are said to be derived from one of the Greater Schools.
Divination is a Lesser School, derived from Conjuration, as it focuses on moving information from one location to another.  

Illusion is a Lesser School, which derives from Evocation, is focused on the manipulation of light, sound and the senses.  

And of course, there are fierce debates about where some Schools fall.  Does Shape-shifting count as it's own School, and if it does, does it count as a part of Biomancy?  And on the subject, is Biomancy derived from Transmutation, as it is the changing of an existing substance, or is it merely the manipulation of existing energies and material, thus making it derive from Evocation?  There is no consensus on this topic, only arguments of varying validity.  

by yigitkoroglu
The Winds of Magic Theory:

The Strixa, an ancient civilization that produced unparalleled advances in sorcery and mathematics, theorized that magic flowed from various sources that, when intermingled, formed a flowing, fluid network that changed and altered based on external forces.  They called these forces The Winds of Magic.  

The Winds were:

The Wind of Fire: The Red Wind.  Originates from the Sun.  Enabled the manipulation of fire, heat, light and time.  Also useful for purification.  

The Wind of Change: The Silver/White Wind (varies by tradition).  Originates from the Moon.  Enabled the manipulation of the mind, the creation of illusions and shapeshifting. 

The Wind of Heaven: The Teal/White Wind (varies by tradition).  Originates from the Stars.  Enabled the acquisition of knowledge, the manipulation of fortune and space and invisibility.  This was considered the most useful Wind to draw upon when Scrying.  

The Wind of Air/Sky (see above): The Blue/Azure Wind.  Originates from the Sky, but only during the day.  Enabled the manipulation of the weather, lightning, clouds and wind.  The best Wind to draw upon if you wanted to fly.  

The Wind of Stone: The Yellow Wind.  Originates from the Earth.  Enables the manipulation of rock, stone, earth, metal and minerals.  

The Wind of Tides: The Blue/Cobalt Wind.  Originates from the Ocean.  Enables the manipulation of water, storms and sea-life.  Scholars are split on whether or not this or the Wind of Sky grants better control over weather.  

The Wind of Shadow: The Purple Wind.  Originates from Darkness.  Enables the manipulation of shadows, darkness, decay and hidden things.  It is the best Wind to use when concealing things  and debately, practicing Necromancy.  

The Wind of Life: The Green Wind.  Originates from the World-Spirit.  Enables the manipulation of life, living creatures, poison, growth, disease and mutation.  The best source to draw upon for Healing magic.  Also some argue that this Wind is a better source for powering Necromancy than the Wind of Shadow.

The best argument for this theory is that it is possible to draw mana from the above listed natural sources, though it is dangerous and usually not worth the effort, unless you're attempting a massive working.  The best argument against it is that it's rather arbitrary.  According to some Scholars, the Stars are present during the day, we just can't see them.  And why does the Sky get two Winds associated with it?  And who gets control over weather, the Wind best for controlling water or the one that controls clouds?  And what, exactly is the World-Spirit?  

Some Strixan scholars argued it was the true source of all life, an Ur-creature, an All-Mother that could have looked like anything, from a divine Goddess to a hermaphroditic demigod to a continent-sized slab of flesh.  Others, meanwhile, argued that the World-Spirit was all living things collectively, or the soul to the physical body of the world.  

That latter group ruthlessly persecuted those who specialized in the tapping of the Wind of Life, for they believed that excessive use could harm the world itself and potentially lead to the death of all living things.  There was never any agreement, not when the Strixans ruled a third of the world and certainly not now, as the civilizations living on their bones squabble over the detritus they left behind.   

by zhaoenzhe
The Metal Magi of Yi'Fa:

The lands of Yi'Fa categorize Magi into a series of schools named after and based on the their Theory of Metallurgy, a spiritual and philosophical school that governs much of their government policy, cultural activities and religious practice.  The Theory of Metallurgy is based on the idea that the universe can be divided into five aspects which interact and battle with each other.  These aspects are each tied to one of the five "Prime" metals.  The Five Prime Metals are Gold, Silver, Iron, Pewter and Mercury. 

To the Yi'fan, Gold represents the Sun, Eternity, Divinity and Royalty.  As such, Golden Magi are among the most honored in their society.  Golden Magi practice magic relating to healing and protection, using their magic to protect, heal and restore.  Their orders are highly exclusive, recruiting only from the most talented and noble.  Though sought out by nobles and Kings alike, Golden Magi are still beloved by the common people and play a great role in the folklore of Yi'Fa.  Golden Magi can often be identified by the fact that by practicing their arts for long enough, parts of their flesh will transform into living gold.  

Silver represents Quickness, Motion, Commerce, the Sea and Luck.  Silver Magi command wind and water, as well as the tides of fortune.  They are prized by merchants and sailors, who employ them to speed journeys on their way or bring them safely to a distant destination.  Silver Magi are much more egalitarian, recruiting anyone who wishes to and possesses the talent.  Their academies are known across the region, for both their effectiveness in training Magi and their ruinous prices.  Still, many Silver Magi earn more than enough to pay off their debts, and many even go on to command their own businesses, fleets or combines.  A Merchant's Guild that does not keep at least one Silver Magi on staff is sure to lose out to those that do.  That being said, Silver Magi are not well-loved by commoners for they have a reputation for being heartless money-grubbers.  The Nobility also generally aren't big fans of them, as the wealth of some of the merchant-princes threatens to eclipse that of even the Great Houses.  

Iron represents Blood, Law, War and Wild Beasts.  Iron Magi have the ability to tear men apart with their bare hands or reduce crowds of attacks to chunks of bloody meat with a shouted word.  They are killers and mercenaries, warlords and wild-men stalking the wild.  In times of strife, Iron Magi are revered by soldiers and utilized to tear apart enemy armies and assassinate rival princes.  However, as soon as the war ends, Iron Magi find themselves treated with cold respect.  The more generous ones retreat to the wilderness or frontier, or accept a well-paid position somewhere politically inconvenient and very far from anywhere relevant.  The less gentle ones become bandits and criminals, using their bloody skills to amass wealth and power.  Iron Magi are feared by all, but are very convenient friends to have.  Plus, while the Nobility do fear them, they fear what would happen if they tried to purge the Irons more.  

Pewter represents the Earth, the People, Cities and Industry.  Pewter Magi can manipulate stone and metal, as well as altering people's perceptions and feelings.  They are known for their ability to construct buildings without a single tool and repair damaged objects with a wave of their hand.  Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Pewter Magi are celebrated as heroes wherever they go, friends of the common man and threats to corrupt officials and tyrants.  If Golden Magi are beloved, Pewter Magi are basically worshiped by the common people.  They are similarly feared by the Nobility, as they tend to not be fans of the ruling dynasty, even when things are going well.  And when things go poorly, many a peasant revolt has been headed up or aided by Pewter Magi.  

Mercury represents Transformation, Longevity, Knowledge and Chaos.  Mercury Magi, also called Mercury Mages or Mercurians, command the strange power to transform themselves into beasts or other strange forms, as well as to transform one substance into another.  They also possess the ability to spy on enemies from far away, steal knowledge and trigger disruptions that can cause everything from bad luck to disease to natural disasters.  Mercury Magi are the rarest of their kind, known for their research into the far reaches of accumulated knowledge, as well as their bizarre and often dangerous experiments.  According to the stories about them, most are interested in two primary abilities, the ability turn non-precious metals into gold and the ability to extend life or grant immortality.  For this reason, they are often courted by kings and Emperors for their unique knowledge, while the common people fear them.  Despite the fact that they are often greatly favored by the powerful, Mercury Magi are rarely content to be a monarch's caged mage and often abandon such a lucrative post to pursue their own agendas.  Their reputation for being capricious, mysterious and paranoid is well-earned.  Despite this, however, no one powerful will turn away a Mercury Magi, if only for what they might know.  

The main problem with the Yi'fan's theory of magic is that it is tied to their Theory of Metallurgy, which makes it unwieldly and impractical.  The Theory is so prized and central to their culture that though it is not a religious text, it's tenets have taken on a sacred aspect, especially among the upper classes.  As such, scholars and Magi alike contort their logic and stretch definitions to categorize them under one metal or the other.  This leads to many highly passionate and ferocious debates over spells that cannot neatly fit into one of the Primes.

For example, most would argue transformation spells fall solidly under Mercury, as it the school that commands the power of transformation.  However, Iron also has power over wild beasts, so what would a spell that transforms someone into a wild beast fall under?  Similarly, what about a spell that tears apart a large stone and hurls out a shower of stones at high speed?  Is that Pewter, because it manipulates the Earth, or Iron, because it is primarily used for violence?  

Or what about a simple spell to conjure fire?  Most would argue that falls under Gold, as the Sun is often associated with fire, but what if you accept the notion that fire is just air moving rapidly?  Wouldn't that make that conjured flame fall under Silver instead?  And as these definitions are not just academic, but tied closely to religious and political convictions, the debates tend to quickly devolve into shouting, brawling and petitioning the government to ban your academic or philosophical rivals as seditious rebels.

by muju

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

OSR: Power Armor

This is my new rules for Power Armor.  Good for your Sci-Fi setting of choice, or with a bit of refluffing, could easily be reworked into rules for Mecha or fantasy power armor.

artist unknown, from here
Power Armor:

There are cultures out there who value honor and fairness when they wage war, preferring to keep their conflicts civil and polite as possible.  Some even make war a ritual, engaging in almost ceremonial battles where only the warrior class battles, or where leaders are taken hostage and ransomed back for great sums.  

This weapon system did not originate from such a culture.  Powered Armor is the ultimate unequalizer.  It is constructed of the hardest possible materials to grant the wearer the maximum protection while it's internal servos grant that wearer enhanced speed and strength, allowing them to move just as fast in their armor, if not faster, while also allowing them to carry even more war-gear than normal.  It is designed by the same sort of mind that would use close-air support, napalm and miniguns to slaughter a peasant militia armed with antiquated guns and knives.  It is the supreme statement that you believe war is a game and one you intend to win, no matter the cost.

Base Abilities:

All Power Armor begins with these base traits-

Hermetically Sealed: Unless severely damaged, Power Armor is equipped with sufficient countermeasures to protect the wearer against all but the most virulent poisons, toxins and other dangers present in the environment.

Life Support: All Power Armor, unless modified otherwise, contains it's own air supply and life support systems.  It can protect the wearer from environmental troubles such as extreme temperatures or even the vacuum of space.    

Rules for Use:

All types of Power Armor have a number of Daily Uses.  Depending on quality, these can vary in number.  When a suit of Power Armor is activated and utilized, this counts as 1 Use.  It can then be used for 1 hour or until the wearer chooses to deactivate it.  After a suit's Daily Uses have been expended, it can be used for 12 hours as it must recharge.  Hooking a suit of Power Armor up to a sufficiently potent power source such as a fusion reactor or a battery meant to store the city's reserve power may be able to grant extra uses, but could also damage the suit.  

All Power Armor comes with a number of Attachment Slots.  These are places where Attachments can be strapped.  Each Attachment, unless marked with a specific number; (2), (3); takes up 1 Attachment slots.  A set of Power Armor cannot have it's Attachments exceed it's Attachment Slots or otherwise it will be unable to function.  

All Power Armor comes with in-built Attribute Bonuses.  If you are wearing a suit of Power Armor and the Armor's Attribute is higher than yours, use that for the purposes of rolling an ability check or save.  Ex: If you have a STR of 13(+1) and your Armor has a STR of 16(+2), use the Armor's STR score instead of yours.   

Put on the Suit:

To customize a suit of Power Armor, consult the tables below.   

Quality Level:

- Low.  Base FS +6, DR 1.  Usable 1/Day.  4 Attachment Slots.  STR 16, DEX 13, CON 17.
- Moderate.  Base FS +7, DR 1.  Usable 1/Day.  5 Attachment Slots.  STR 17, DEX 15, CON 18.  
- High.  Base FS +8, DR 2.  Usable 2/Day.  6 Attachment Slots.  STR 18, DEX 16, CON 19.
- Legendary.  Base FS +10, DR 2.  Usable 3/Day.  7 Attachment Slots.  STR 19, DEX 18, CON 19.


- Shield Generators (2).  Boost your Armor's DR by +1.  
- Grapple.  Allow you to fire a hook that sticks to solid surfaces and allows you to climb more easily.  Also can be used to grap objects or creatures and pull them closer.  
- Jump-Jets (2).  Thrusters that allow you to jump up to [10*STR Score] into the air and move up to the same distance horizontally.  In zero gravity, can be used as a clumsy jetpack.    
- Magnetic Grip.  Modifications that increase the suit's maglocks, allowing it to cling to metallic surfaces and stick metal objects to itself.  You get advantage on any roll made to cling to a metallic surface or object, or to grapple a creature clad in metal (armor, cybernetics, etc).    
- Scanner.  All Armors have built-in sensors, but this is a sensory device that would ordinarily be mounted on a capital ship.  You can learn 1d6 facts about anything you can see if you take an action to scan it.  You also have a 50% of detecting ambushes and surprise attacks before they happen.
- Radar.  A powerful radar that allows the sensing of objects and movement from a far distance.  You cannot be surprised by creatures not using anti-radar countermeasures.      
- Satellite Uplink (2).  Want to talk to someone anywhere on this hemisphere or in orbit?  Now you can.  This attachment allows communication with anyone with a radio or similar communication device on this side of the planet you're on or in orbit.   
- Active Camo (2).  An attachment that allows you to change the coloration of your Armor so that it blends into the background.  Grants advantage on any stealth rolls, provided you aren't doing something that would immediately break stealth, like firing a dozen guns or lighting yourself on fire.    
- Auto-Repair System (3).  Devices that when installed in a set of Armor allows it to repair itself.  When activated, this attachment allows you to regain 1 FS per round, but each time it is activated, it lowers the amount of time the Armor can function by 10 minutes, such is it's demand for power.      
- Guardian Angel.  A "dumb" AI, installed in the Armor.  Can assist in targeting, monitor sensor suites, calculate probabilities and make predictive models, as well as do anything a digital assistant could do.  
- Water Reclaimer.  A device that allows you to recycle your own water and reclaim some from the atmosphere.  It can produce enough water to provide for one person or if there is any water available in the atmosphere, anywhere from 2 to 10 people, depending on the available moisture.   
- Food Synthizer (2).  A device that allows you to synthesize food from avaible organic matter.  Requires existing organic material.  Can produce rations that feed 1 person for 1 day.  It takes 10 minutes to make one of these rations.  They also aren't very good and though they provide enough nutrition to live on, their taste leaves much to be desired.  
- Greatshield.  A slab of metal torn from a battle-cruiser with it's own built-in shield generators.  Boost DR by +1, FS by +2 and can 1/Round be used to reduce the damage one attack does by 1d12.  Can also be shattered to reduce the damage by 12.  


- Wrist Blades.  Do 1d6+Atk+STR damage.  Concealable, hidden inside your gauntlets until you let them out.  When you have no other weapons, these ones will not fail.  
- Flamethrower.  Does 3d6 damage, save for half.  On a failed save, creatures are set on fire and take 1d6 damage a round until they take an action to extinguish the flames.  
- Rocket Launcher (2).  Varies depending on ammunition type.  See below.    
- Grenade Launcher.  Varies depending on ammunition type.  See below.  
- Machine Gun (2).  Does 1d12+1 damage, enemies get a save vs firearm.  Reloads on a 13+.  Can fire on full auto and does 1d12+8 damage, but must be reloaded after.    
- Assault Rifle.  Does 1d10+1 damage, enemies get a save vs firearm.  Reloads on an 11+.
- Striker Gauntlet. A thick gauntlet that allows you to more efficiently crush anything you grab.  Do 1d8+Atk+STR damage and gives you advantage on any STR check made against something weaker than yourself, or to destroy something with a fist clad in a Striker.   
- Arc Blade (2). A sizzling blade of pure destructive power.  Cuts through anything short of an energy field or a personal shield.  Does 1d12+Atk damage.    
- Rail Rifle. An incredibly powerful gun that fires magnetically accelerated projectiles.  It ignores armor when dealing with armored targets.  On a hit it does 3d6 damage, but must be reloaded after each shot.  
- Thunder Hammer. Want to wield the Hammer of Thor?  This is your best option.  It does 1d10+STR+Atk damage on a hit.
- Painkiller. A rotating series of metal blades that spin like a propeller and reduce living creatures to a fine red paste.  Does 1d10 damage on a hit and an additional 1d6 damage per round a creature remains in contact with the blades.  
- SRAMP Gun or S-Ramp. A futuristic blunderbuss, this gun is equipped with an autoforge and can manufacture it's own ammo on the fly, as long as it is fed solid material.  Metal is preferred, but it can also turn concrete, stone, dirt or even bone into a blizzard of projectiles.  Does 1d12 damage if fed with metal, 1d10 if fed with stone, brick or concrete, 1d8 if fed with wood or 1d6 if fed with dirt or organic material.  Enemies get a save to halve the damage.      

Ammunition Types:

Unless stated otherwise, Grenades affect a circular area with a diameter of 30'.  Rockets affect a circular area of 50'.  

1- Fragmentation.  Explode, spraying chunks of razor sharp metal everywhere.  Effective against infantry.  Grenades do 3d6, Rockets 4d6, save for half.  If a creature has a shield or decent armor, he has advantage on his save.  
2- Incendiary.  This type sprays flammable liquid everywhere.  Welcome to 'Nam.  Grenades do 2d6, Rockets 3d6, save for half.  On a failed save, creatures are also caught on fire and take 1d6 fire damage a round until they take an action to extinguish the fire.        
3- Freeze.  Using a network of rapidly firing lasers, this grenade slows the movement of local particles, causing the affected area's temperature to plunge.  Does 2d6 ice damage, save for half.  On a failed save, creatures are also covered by a thin layer of ice that they need to break out of before they can move.  Machines hit by a Freeze Grenade also have a chance of malfunctioning, if a creature is operating a machine vulnerable to the cold, that creature must make a CHA save.  On a failed save, the machine malfunctions until it is warmed up.  Machines automatically malfunction if they are directly hit and covered with ice.  
4- Neutron.  These bombs unleash waves of deadly radiation that leaves non-organic material undamaged but kills living creatures, leaving undamaged ghost towns littered with unmarked corpses.  Grenades do 5d6, Rockets do 6d6, save for half.  The affected area for Grenades is a circle with a diameter of 100', and for a Rocket it is a circle of 300'.  Wearing anti-radiation gear will protect you, but not being there is much better.
5- Overload/EMP.  Bombs designed in case the AI decide they don't need to listen to us.  Miniaturized EMP devices designed to melt computers, fry robots and blast the enemy back to the iron age.  Does no damage to organic material, but non-hardened electronics must save or die (use the user's save).  Hardened electronics have advantage on their save.  Additionally, some types of electronics might be immune by design or have active countermeasures that must be disabled first.  Grenades affect a circular area of 100', while Rockets affect a circular area of 300-500'.
6- Anti-Armor.  Grenades designed to rip through thick armor and turn tanks and armored vehicles into blazing coffins.  Do double damage if detonated close to armored targets.  Grenades do 2d6, Rockets do 3d6, save for half.  Against un- or lightly armored targets, no bonus damage.  
7- Chemical.  Loaded with horrible toxins, these bombs flood the affected area with toxic gas.  This one is loaded with 1d4 [1= Nerve Agent, all non-shielded creatures must immediately save or die; 2= Mustard gas, non-shielded organics take 2d6 damage, save for half, then 1d6 acid damage a round until they leave the cloud; 3= Chlorine gas, all creatures within the cloud take 1d4 CON damage a round.  If reduced to 0 CON, they fall unconscious and X turns later, where X is their CON modifier, choke to death and die; 4= Hallucinogenic gas, all organic creatures within the gas cloud start hallucinating and will continue to do so for 1d4 hours.]       
8- Virus.  These are biological agent deliver systems.  All creatures in the affected area must save or be infected.  Those infected will be affected by the disease.  These warheads are loaded with 1d6 [1= Cap'n Cough, a horribly infectious influenza strain that infects quickly and kills rapidly; 2= Seoul Ebola, a terrifying and lethal disease that spreads only through infected fluids, but is fairly non-infectious; 3= Flayer, a modified leprosy strain that infects quickly and works fast, causing the flesh to peel from flesh in real time- an absolutely ghastly way to die, but easily treated if given decent medical care; 4= Rabies, it makes you afraid of water, drives you crazy and makes you violent, followed shortly by death.  Even the best medicine can only slighly raise your chances above certain death; 5= Tuberculosis, makes you cough, strips of your strength, you cough up blood, then you die.  Spread through close contact and infected fluids, sprayed by those coughs; 6= Giggling, a disease of the mind, induces violent psychosis within 3d6 hours of those infected.  Makes the infected relentlessly violent and horny.  Spread by infected bloods, including blood and semen.  And yes, it's exactly as horrible as you're imaging.        

by Wolfdawgartcorner 
Special Variants:

Predator Model: A model designed for stealth missions.  FS +6, DR 1, STR 13, DEX 17, CON 15, Usable 3/Day.  Comes equipped with active camoflague, an advanced hacking suite, noise dampeners and special gripper gloves that can adhere to any mostly-flat surface.  Grants advantage on all checks made to sneak, hide and hack into systems.  The gripper gloves also grant the ability to effortlessly climb any surface that is not deliberately made slippery, such as with grease, water or an energy shield.      

Terminator Pattern: A model designed for the most dangerous of combat situations.  FS +10, DR 4, STR 18, DEX 16, CON 18, Usable 2/Day.  Comes equipped with a Flamethrower, Striker Gauntlet, Machine Gun, and a Rocket Launcher with 4 warheads.  Also equipped with a Teleporter that allows it to teleport as a free action, but this cuts the amount of time it can be used by 10 minutes. 

Starshell: A model designed for void-battles, boarding actions and built to survive atmospheric re-entry.  FS +8, DR 3, STR 15, DEX 18, CON 16, Usable 2/Day.  Comes equipped with a Rocket Launcher and six warheads, a Grenade Launcher and 12 grenades, Jump Jets, SRAMP Gun, an Assault Rifle and a Wrist Blade.  In Zero-G, the Starshell can fly as fast as a Starfighter and usually carries Anti-Armor warheads to shoot down enemy fighters and Starshells, or to punch holes in capital ship armor in Void Actions.  Also, grants immunity to fire damage at full health and Resistance at all other times.  Note that your immunity to fire damage still won't protect you from a capital ship's laser weapons or the nuclear fire of a star though.   

by BiagioDAlessandro

"Fuck it, we ball."