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Treasury of Games: Alternate Adventuring Rogue

This is a system-agnostic alternative rogue class for D&D style adventures which goes well with the previously posted Cleric, Fighter, and Wizard.

Rogues are skilled tricksters who live by guile and cunning. Their skills are much sought-after by other adventurers, because delving dungeons and fighting evil often reward an indirect approach. Rogues gain their level bonus to tasks only if they know one or more skills in the related skill tree. The bonus is only half level without. Rogue skills are divided into 4 trees, as follows:

Tree Skilled in
Thuggery Dirty tricks and mischief
– Thugs are skilled in combat, but in sneaky ways rather than how a fighter is. Initiative is a good skill for them, but they’re only half-level skilled in attack rolls unless pulling off some kind of sneaky trick, such as a low blow, sneak attack, or feint.

Traps Laying, recognizing, and disarming traps
– Called pranksters or “security experts” depending on respectability, rogues with these skills can lay and recognize traps with skill. They are also skilled with locks and other mechanisms, and often well versed in figuring out magical items.

Stealth Hiding, silence, noticing others, tracks
– Sneak-thieves can be identified mainly by which valuables are missing after they’ve been through. They also find work as spies and scouts, often being skilled at following tracks without being tracked, as well as noticing others while remaining un-noticed.

Deception Lying, forgery, reading faces, appraisal
– Charmers and confidence men, these rogues not only know how valuable your mother’s antique vase is, but can talk you into believing it’s worth a tenth of what it ought to be – and then talk their next mark into believing it’s worth twice what it ought.

Any kind of rogue is skilled at gambling, including cheating. Of course, the style of play and cheating will change depending on the skills of the rogue, but it is an activity which exists at the perfect sweet spot between all rogue skills.

Whenever a Rogue learns a skill, he or she also gains (or remembers) a contact, who not only teaches (or taught) the Rogue that skill – but ended up owing him or her a favor when they last parted. Thus, for each skill the Rogue knows, there is a contact out there who has similar skills and can be called upon for a favor trade, and the Rogue starts one up in the trading. For example, Jimmy the first level rogue starts off with the Thuggery skill “Twist the Knife.” He’ll always remember the crazy old hobo who taught him how to really make someone squeal when he shanked them, so they wouldn’t mess with him again. If he ever needs backup for going after someone near his hometown, it’s that hobo he’d probably look for. After all, he did always buy him another bottle, whenever he had the cash.

Hit Die: d6

There are five levels of skill in a tree, each requiring a certain number of skills already learned in that tree:

Level Name Required Skills
1 New Fish 0
2 Beginner 2
3 Competent 4
4 Old Hand 6
5 Teacher 8

Thuggery New Fish Skills

– When an opponent is in a bad position, this rogue knows how to get a cheap shot in. Double any penalties to defense suffered versus this rogue’s attacks.

Twist the Knife
– This rogue – possibly due to a slightly off-kilter psyche – enjoys inflicting pain. When damaging an enemy with an attack, the rogue inflicts a -1 penalty to d20 rolls due to pain. This penalty can stack up to the rogue’s Level.

Quick Escape
– Rogues often learn when it’s best to get OUT of a fight. When an enemy misses with an attack, the rogue may take an extra move action away from that opponent, once per round.

Thuggery Beginner Skills

Cloak and Dagger
– When an opponent believes the rogue is unarmed, the first attack she makes on him rolls twice for damage and takes the better result.

Shiv and Blackjack
– This rogue is skilled with improvised and unusual weapons. No matter the environment, if anything can be brought to hand besides the rogue’s own body, a 1d6 weapon can be fashioned out of it.

Groin Shot
– Rogues will take the dishonorable action just to shock an opponent into some kind of reaction. By foregoing damage on an attack against a sentient opponent with whom the rogue shares a language, that opponent may be stunned for 1d4 rounds.

Thuggery Competent Skills

– An unaware opponent is a dead opponent waiting to happen. When the target is taken by surprise, this rogue does double damage.

Nimble Evasion
– The rogue is comfortable hanging upside down from a ledge or walking a tightrope or in any precarious fighting situation. Nothing short of being bound hand and foot gives the rogue a penalty to defense – and the penalty for being restrained without being fully immobilized is only -2 defense.

Brazen Pickpocket
– When striking or struck by an enemy in melee, the rogue may make a check as if picking the enemy’s pockets, and if successful may take any item carried on the enemy’s person – including a weapon or other item held in the hand.

Thuggery Old Hand Skills

Eye Gouge
– This rogue is quite practiced at going for the eyes, suffering no called shot penalty to do so.

Dark Alley
– In his element, this rogue is quite intimidating. If encountered in a close, dark setting, this rogue may provoke a save versus terror when revealing a weapon.

Thuggery Teacher Skills

Stumbling Attack
– Whenever this rogue deals damage, she also knocks an opponent prone.

Rusty Blade
– This rogue’s idea of caring for a weapon would sicken any real warrior. However, this also sickens people he stabs. A save versus disease is required the next time anyone wounded by the rogue rests; a failed save indicates a crippling disease has been contracted.

Traps New Fish Skills

Small Game
– Traps set by this rogue are undetectable to small game such as rabbits or squirrels.

Large Game
– This rogue can set traps for large game such as deer or bison which the game will not detect.

Man Trap
– Traps set for people may be made to deal damage as an oversized weapon (1d12) or to immobilize (effectively tied up and unable to act until freed, on failed save).

Traps Beginner Skills

Cunning Mechanism
– Finding this rogue’s traps without setting them off is half again as difficult as normal.

Rugged Design
– Attempting to simply smash the mechanism of this rogue’s traps will set the trap off instead.

Poisonous Trap
– This rogue can safely set up a poisonous trap, never poisoning himself with his trap materials.

Traps Competent Skills

Quick Traps
– A trap may be set up as quickly as one combat turn – however, it will benefit from no other skills but this one. One other skill may be applied per additional combat turn of setup.

Contingent Trap
– This is the skill to flawlessly design a specific way around a trap. For example, a pressure plate trigger designed not to go off when stepped on at a specific spot, or a series of tripwires which allow a certain pattern of steps and ducks to get through safely.

Inconvenient Trap
– Traps to do less obvious things like marking someone with a smell or color, indicate that an area has been searched, or other objectives are possible without a check with this skill.

Traps Old Hand Skills

Personal Hazard
– Attacking a rogue with this skill is dangerous. When missed in combat, the attacker must save against a trap hidden on the rogue’s own person. This is actually a reactive action taken by the rogue, but the rogue has prepared the weapons for it in such a way that it must be defended against like a trap.

Complicated Mechanism
– A single trap can be made to perform multiple attacks, triggering multiple saves with one trigger, using this skill. Up to the rogue’s level in different save effects may be keyed to one trap without needing to roll.

Traps Teacher Skills

Redundant Mechanism
– Traps this rogue sets must be successfully detected and disarmed twice, because there are back-up triggers and extra hidden delivery mechanisms.

Natural Danger
– Normally, it requires fairly extensive materials to set up a trap, or at least that the rogue have some kind of tools and supplies. This skill represents a mastery of using found objects to create traps. This rogue can set up traps using random detritus which are equally effective as traps crafted with proper tools and materials.

Stealth New Fish Skills

Hold Still
– Once this rogue has found a hidden spot, assuming she does nothing but stay put and says nothing, nobody will find her short of tripping over her. That is, opposed rolls against her stealth can’t be retried if she has a hiding place.

Don’t Breathe
– For one combat turn per level, the rogue can move at full pace without making a single sound, even breathing.

Tactical Movement
– If this rogue begins and ends his movement in total cover or concealment, treat the condition as not ending due to the movement.

Stealth Beginner Skills

– It is possible with this skill to focus attention on just one person and be invisible to that person by avoiding his or her gaze, even though others nearby can see the rogue.

Crowd Sense
– This skill covers disappearing in crowds by becoming a member of them. With affectations of posture and mannerisms – and sometimes a quick change of a clothing item – the rogue becomes indistinguishable from just another person on the street. This allows attempts to hide in plain sight as long as there is a crowd present.

Movement and Color
– This rogue knows how to use movements and colors in the environment as camouflage. Blending in with natural elements of scenery, the rogue may move without penalty to stealth so long as he hasn’t gotten involved in combat or other activities which would alert observers.

Stealth Competent Skills

Where You Least Expect
– There are a lot of places people just don’t tend to look very often, including anywhere a few feet above or below eye level. Rogues trained to know how to recognize these excellent hiding places gain double the bonus to stealth from having any cover at all, and can take advantage of unusual cover such as pressing themselves into the corner of wall and ceiling.

– Trained well, a rogue can vanish in the momentary distraction provided by a smoke bomb, flash bomb, or even dropping a curtain over enemies. This skill eliminates any penalties for opponents being aware of the rogue’s presence before she tries to enter stealth, as long as she has some kind of tool of distraction.

– Using tricky echoes, a rogue can make sounds which seem to come from somewhere he isn’t, tricking an opponent into looking in the wrong place. When using stealth to evade pursuit, this skill doubles the margin of victory when the rogue wins the opposed check.

Stealth Old Hand Skills

Faster than the Eye
– Darting back and forth, rolling, flipping, jumping off scenery; this rogue is everywhere except where an enemy is looking. With no cover at all, a rogue trained this way can still make an opposed check to gain stealth until her action ends; this requires moving flat out, but never in a straight line.

Sounds Unheard
– Trained to listen to background noise carefully, this rogue can match his movements to the timing of environmental noise. Any bonuses to moving unheard for ambient noise are doubled for this rogue, therefore.

Stealth Teacher Skills

Brazen Palming
– This rogue’s hands are so quick, she may take any object small enough to be lifted easily in one hand and conceal it on her person in plain sight with no penalty to the check not to be noticed, even under intense scrutiny and right out in the open.

Cover Up
– If this rogue gets initiative over an enemy who has noticed him, he may kill that enemy (save or die on hit) silently, so that no others will notice him.

Deception New Fish Skills

White Lie
– It’s easier to conceal small things, especially by omission. If no evidence to the contrary is available to the deceived, then he cannot make an opposed check to detect this rogue’s lies. He must decide whether or not to believe based on the rogue sounding genuine and reasonable, and the rogue’s reputation.

Good Rep
– Getting away with deceit is easier when you’re trusted already. This rogue has learned to make a habit of doing small favors for people in her downtime – and should often be called on for bigger favors during play. In return, NPCs should always have one category better reactions to her, unless she’s specifically made a mortal enemy of a particular NPC.

Selective Truth
– The best way to persuade is often to share only the facts which support your case. This rogue is skilled at this, and thus may safely capitulate against an opposed roll to sense his truthfulness when using this tactic – he will seem truthful because everything he is saying is true. An opponent can’t determine he’s leaving things out without an independent source.

Deception Beginner Skills

Honest Mistake
– Unless solid proof of this rogue’s ill intent is presented, no character will blame her for providing false or misleading information; she must have made an honest mistake. Reaction categories of NPCs will therefore not decrease without specific evidence.

Wishful Thinking
– If this rogue knows what his opponent wants, he can use that desire to make the opponent persuade him or herself in the rogue’s case. This forces the opponent to succeed at a save in such a case before even trying to make the opposed check with the rogue, automatically failing the check and being convinced if the save fails.

– Words can be twisted to mean almost anything, by making irrational assumptions but backing them up as if they should be taken seriously. No penalty is applied to the opposed check made by a rogue with this skill for lacking evidence for his claims.

Deception Competent Skills

– This rogue doesn’t always hurt the one she loves, but when she does, they never see it coming. Attacks against characters who trust her are always unexpected. Obviously, any given character will stop trusting her after she starts attacking!

Poker Face
– If the rogue chooses not to say anything, nobody can make him talk. The rogue may choose to make a save before an opposed check for someone questioning or scrutinizing him; if he makes the save, then he automatically wins the opposed check.

Read Tells
– Liars often need to know if they’re being lied to. Skilled in reading tells, this rogue knows when someone else is lying, unless that person makes a successful save.

Deception Old Hand Skills

Freudian Slip
– Sexual arousal loosens lips. Any character who is attracted to the rogue loses any attribute bonus on an opposed check to avoid being persuaded by her.

In Vino Veritas
– Skilled at working his marks with alcohol, this rogue gains double advantage when his opponent in a social situation is drunk to any degree.

Deception Teacher Skills

Late is the Hour
– Double all fatigue penalties to opposed social checks against this rogue, and halve the penalties she suffers from fatigue to such checks. She is skilled in overcoming fatigue, and using it against her enemies, because late at night is the best time for her work.

– Anger is weakness; this rogue may turn an opponent’s anger against his own purposes. Negative reaction modifiers instead become bonuses for this rogue, who has equal ease using a person’s good or bad opinions to persuade him.

Ian Price, author of the Tabletop Treasury posts on this site, is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem. Bad Decisions has a Kickstarter project, which successfully funded!

Treasury of Games: Alternate Adventuring Wizard

This is a system-agnostic alternative wizard for D&D-style adventures which goes along with the previously posted fighter and cleric classes.

Wizards, Magic Users, Mages, Magicians, Warlocks, Witches – such are the names given to those whose inquest of the world unlocks the secrets of magical power. To learn spells requires the deepest study and commitment, leaving little time for other pursuits – but in the course of this study, is is required to learn supporting skills. The lore of forgotten lands and times is known to these wise ones, for in those ancient places magic was first developed. Magic requires a balance of the body and the mind, so wizards are often surprisingly athletic, despite their scholastic bent. Those who see reason find wizards quite compelling, because their knowledge gives them mastery over logic, and they pair this with a cunning intuition – both skills learned along the path to mastering their spells.

Hit Die: d6

Spells affect your personality when prepared. The more powerful the spell, the more it influences you – although, if it is a spell within your level of understanding, the influence is quite controllable. Spells a MU works out for him/herself may be prepared without a spellbook. Those learned from other sources must be recorded and referenced to be used. Each level, a magic user works out one spell, within the following range of mastery:

1-4: 1st
5-8: 1st or 2nd
9-12: or 3rd
13-16: or 4th
17-20: or 5th

A Magic User may also prepare one spell per day per level. It is possible to prepare the same spell multiple times, if its fully unleashed effect is desired more than once, or the mage wishes to retain the attuned effect after once using the full effect.

Level 1 Magic User Spells

1 Magic Hand
Prepared: The mage may use an invisible force to manipulate objects he can see with a strength and dexterity equal to half his intelligence. This may be used to make attacks by wielding a weapon with the force.
Cast: For 1 hour/level, an invisible force with strength 18 will perform a simple task – such as carrying objects loaded onto it, holding a door closed or open, and so on. The invisible force may also be expended all at once, in attempting to do one-time tasks such as forcing a locked door open or bursting chains; for this purpose, the force adds the mage’s intelligence bonus and level to the check, instead of using its strength score. If used to make an attack, the one-time force does damage equivalent to a crossbow without making an attack roll.

2 Arcane Understanding
Prepared: While attuned, this spell allows a mage to read any language – including the languages and codes of magic spells in written form.
Cast: If cast on a person, that person’s language becomes understandable to the caster, who may also speak it, for 1 hour/level. If cast on a magical effect, the mage understands that magical effect, unless it is protected by concealment magic of a higher level mage; in which case, the spell is not expended. If cast on the mage herself, she can see invisible things and listen to the surface thoughts of those she can see as if those thoughts were spoken aloud, for 1 hour/level.

3 Mystical Charm
Prepared: Attuned to the charm spell, a mage seems more charismatic, adding his intelligence bonus to his charisma bonus for checks to influence others.
Cast: If cast on a group, then a group of creatures (1/level) will consider the mage a trusted friend for 1 hour/level or until he does something to prove otherwise (such as associating in a friendly way with people who recently attacked the targets). Only works on groups of like-minded individuals, such as a band of orcs or a squad of city guards. If cast on a single target, that target will consider the mage a friend indefinitely, and doesn’t automatically see through the deception unless the mage directly attacks her; other causes of suspicion (such as the aforementioned association with enemies, or perhaps borrowing too much money without paying any back) merely give her a new attempt to save.

4 Light and Shadow
Prepared: While attuned, this spell allows a mage to cause any object she touches to glow as bright as a torch, or dim any terrestrial light source to nothing (she may not dim the sun, moon, or stars – but may dim lamps, bonfires, torches, and lights created by other mages). Creating or dimming a light source takes a turn in combat, and these effects last until the sun next rises or sets.
Cast: For darkness, a zone up to (Level) meters in radius is entombed in darkness, impenetrable even to the sun, moon, and stars, for an hour per level. For light, the mage may either cause an object to shine as bright as a bonfire indefinitely, or summon up (level) floating torches which move and orient themselves according to his will until the sun next rises or sets. These floating torches may shed any color of light, and may even set things aflame as a torch would – or be perfectly cool, at the mage’s will. Finally, the mage may make himself or one willing creature invisible for 1 minute/level, bending light instead of snuffing or creating it.

5 Sound and Symbol
Prepared: Attuning to this spell allows a mage to write on any surface which could hold ink that he can see using only his thoughts, and similarly to make his voice come out of any object in his line of sight instead of his mouth.
Cast: Manipulating sound and meaning, the mage may do many things: erase any writing he can see, an effect which remains available for 1 minute/level; the erasure may instead be used all at once on the mind of an enemy, who if she fails her save will forget up to 1 minute/level of memories which happened up to 1 day/level ago; send an audible message up to 1 mile/level to a known recipient; record an audible message which will play back from an object when a known recipient comes near it; or create any sound he can imagine and make it originate from any point in his line of sight.

6 Baleful Fingers
Prepared: The terrible potential in the mage’s hands forces mundane portals to obey his will; any non-magical lock will lock or unlock at the mage’s will.
Cast: This is the most destructive spell of the first level, capable of wreathing a mage’s hands with fire or lightning for 1 combat turn/level; lightning strikes as a heavy melee weapon (d8 damage), fire as a light thrown weapon (d4 damage), but both use intelligence bonus instead of strength and will set flammable materials on fire. The destructive force may be inverted to create a shield, which grants the mage +4 defense for 1 hour/level, and +2 to save versus spells which attack physically. If focused on a nonmagical object in the mage’s line of sight, the destructive force shatters it; if someone is holding the object, they must save or take 1d6 damage.

7 Might and Weakness
Prepared: Any person or object the mage touches may be grown or shrunk by 50% for 1 minute/level. While shrunk, Strength is -2, Dexterity is +2; reverse these modifiers while grown.
Cast: If focused inwards, the mage’s strength is increased to 18 or by +2, whichever gives the higher result, for 1 minute/level. This effect may be granted to an ally for 1 combat turn/level. If focused only on the hands and feet, this strength may be used for gripping power, allowing the mage or the ally (same durations as the previous effects) to climb any surface without equipment at normal movement speed. If focused on another for baleful effect, this spell weakens them, removing (twice Mage’s level) from the target’s strength score if the save is failed. If focused balefully on the hands and feet, the target who does not save is unable to stand or hold onto anything, because the feet and hands have no grip.

8 Heroic Power
Prepared: Attuned to this noble magic, the mage can sense the presence of inherently evil creatures, or whether a person bears her evil intent.
Cast: The power may be infused into a person or an object. A person so infused is protected for 1 minute/level, becoming immune to spells cast for evil reasons by lower-level magic users, or gaining +4 to save against those cast by higher level magic users; physical attacks from inherently evil creatures suffer -4 to hit the protected person. This protection may also be inscribed in an immobile circle, large enough to protect 2 persons/level, for the same duration. If the power is infused into an object, the object radiates magic and becomes obviously magical and desirable to evil creatures and those of selfish and evil intent. Those who fail their save against this last effect will gladly accept the worthless trinket (which they think is potently magical) in exchange for sparing the caster and/or his friends, or some other trade, which will be honored for 1 hour/level as the goodness in the magic prevents the target from taking the evil actions it has been talked out of.

9 Cords, Ropes, and Tendrils
Prepared: The mage may cause ropes to coil around things and tie themselves in knots, as if used by someone with great skill (use int bonus and level bonus to the check).
Cast: Up to 1 square meter/level of net, weighted net, or sticky web is created. Nets and weighted nets are permanent in their existence. They may catch a target as if thrown upon them when the spell is cast (int + level bonuses for the attack). Webs instead prompt all targets within their area (the mage may exclude allies) to save or become stuck; but the webs will only remain for 1 minute/level. Alternately, a single tendril of magical power may be formed from the mage’s shadow, which will obey the mage’s will for 1 hour/level, capable of holding objects or grappling targets with strength and skill based on the mage’s intelligence and level; the tendril’s action is at the mage’s will, but independent of the mage’s own opportunities to act.

10 Fire and Smoke
Prepared: Any normal fire may be affected mentally while attuned to this spell. The mage may pick up the flame itself with his bare hands, cause it to burn without consuming material or consume it twice as fast. He may make the flames jump across a gap (if used to attack, use int and level bonuses) to new flammable material, and he may double or halve the size of a nonmagical fire each combat turn he concentrates his action on it. Nonmagical fire may not hurt the mage while this spell is ready, nor will he suffer by breathing nonmagical smoke or incense of any sort.
Cast: Flammable material within line of sight may be set alight; if cast on a living thing, it gets a save, but on a failure takes 1d4 damage/level and is on fire. On a successful save, it is merely on fire, taking no extra damage for the initial burst. An existing fire may instead be caused to explode, dealing 1d6/level damage to anyone within 5 meters of it; a successful save allows for half damage. All within the radius are set on fire regardless of save. Finally, the mage may release a cloud of choking smoke. Only the mage and those who can see the invisible may see through this cloud, and those caught within it who are not the mage are forced to save versus drowning due to the asphyxiating nature of the smoke.

Level 2 Magic User Spells

1 Minor Time-Spell
Prepared: The hours may be made to press heavily on one target per combat turn of concentration; affected targets must save or be put to sleep. Alternately, this may speed the rest of those already asleep, waking one sleeper per combat turn as if fully rested.
Cast: Fully unleashed, time is temporarily sped up or slowed down for a single target. A sped target gains +2 defense and initiative, +1 to attack and damage, and may move twice as far in a combat turn; this lasts 1 turn/level. A slowed target gets -2 defense and initiative, -1 to attack and damage, and may only move half as far – similarly for 1 turn/level. There is no save versus the slowing effect. It is possible to attempt to stop the target entirely instead of slowing it; this prompts a save, and on a failed save, the target may not move or take any action for 1 turn/level. However, the target may not be harmed during this time either – though this spell does not prevent it being moved around by outside forces, those forces simply cannot alter the time-stopped individual.
Side effect: The mage is somewhat absent-minded, and tends to lose track of time. This may impose penalties to noticing things if the mage is lower level than 5.

2 Mystic Eye
Prepared: The mage projects her senses to another location, which she must know how to travel to. As long as she concentrates on that location, she may perceive events there. When her senses are not projected, the mage has the ability to see perfectly well in pitch darkness.
Cast: The mage may project her senses along with the ability to see in darkness, and may locate known or described persons or objects (with only a description, a check based on intelligence and level bonus is required, difficulty based on the quality of the description) regardless of knowing how to travel to the location – it is even possible to scry on other planes of existence thus, without knowing a gateway to those planes. This scrying ability is attached to a reflective object and may be used by gazing into that object for 1 hour/level. While the mage gazes into the object, what the mage sees may be seen by any who look upon it. If the spell is cast without projecting the senses, it may instead reveal curses to the mage, who may then (at his option) negate them with the spell’s power (one curse per casting). If the mystic eye is laid over another’s eyes with a false image in it, then casting the spell instead suggests a course of action, confuses the target’s senses (causing him to act randomly for 1 minute/level), causes intense fear (cower in fear for 1 turn/level), or creates a mental illusion (1 minute/level) which may only be disbelieved when someone not part of it attempts to interact with it. A mental illusion of an altered landscape may be placed on all targets in the mage’s line of sight for 1 turn/level, but if any target disbelieves, then all do. All baleful uses of this spell prompt a save.
Side effect: the mage becomes a major snoop, and fails to respect anyone’s privacy. This may impose a social penalty on mages lower than level 5 who prepare this spell.

3 Minor Distance Spell
Prepared: One non-magical attack per round automatically misses the mage.
Cast: The mage may travel, or cause one willing person or inanimate object to travel, instantaneously to any point in the mage’s line of sight. Unwilling targets may be chosen, but get a save. If used to dig up the ground, 10 cubic meters per combat turn may be moved for 1 turn/level; the dirt and rocks so dug up require an attack roll (int + level) to hit if transported above an enemy. Finally, space may be warped into a safe camping spot for the mage and his allies, which none may enter from the outside, which lasts until the next sunrise or sunset.
Side effect: The mage becomes extremely cocksure and smug. Mages below level 5 who prepare this spell may have to save in order to back down from a clearly idiotic confrontation, which they are likely to bring on themselves.

4 Command the Sky
Prepared: The mage may fly as fast as he could run, but without tiring (as though engaged in only sedentary activity, such as reading). While not flying, the mage may cause the wind to blow in any direction desired – including strong gusts of up to 100kph. Individuals caught by these gusts must save or be knocked head over heels, unless they are much more massive than humans.
Cast: The wind may be formed into a whirlwind, picking up and flinging even massive objects, potentially many kilometers away; this whirlwind may be conjured for only 1 effective turn, and it takes a full minute to form, dissipating over the next minute after the touchdown on the hapless target. The wind may instead gather stormclouds, causing hail over 1 square kilometer/level which deals 1d6 damage/round for 1 turn/level to all except the mage. In addition or instead, the stormclouds may strike one target per round with lightning, which requires the target to save or take 1d6 damage/level.
Side effect: Mages with this spell ready have tempestuous temperaments. When under stress, this spell is likely to cause the mage to suddenly change to the opposite mood. If below level 5, his mood swings may come regardless of stress, requiring a save to avoid alienating friends with nonsensical actions.

5 Sear and Freeze
Prepared: The mage may fire an arrow (int + level bonus to hit, 1d6 damage) of fire or ice once per round. Ice arrows which hit objects will spread out to cover a small area (though will melt or stay frozen according to ambient temperature). Fire arrows will, of course, set things on fire.
Cast: The manipulation of flame and frost may create a wall of either – a wall of ice remains magically frozen, providing cool air near it and also staying solid with 10 hp/level for 1 hour/level. The wall of fire does 1d8 damage/level to any creature passing through it; if it is summoned on top of a creature, that creature may save to get out of the way. The wall is up to 1/4 meter tall and 1 meter long per level. Alternately, a burst of flame or frost may be hurled, striking a sphere or cone of targets with a radius of 1 meter per level for 1d6 damage per level, save for half. Finally, the burst or wall may also be set down as a trap. The condition of the trap is linked to an object, and may be linked to an action. The mage may exclude herself and one additional person per level from the condition. The trap will persist for 1 day/level. Actions the trap could trigger on include “picking up this sword” or “reading these words” or “walking through this corridor,” and so on.
Side effect: Mages using this spell are sensual and forward. Indeed, if the mage is below level 5, she may be so overcome by passion that she will thrust herself on any attractive partner she meets, unless she makes a saving throw.

6 Meta-Spell
Prepared: Any spell “cast” while the meta-spell is prepared will act as though cast by a mage one level higher in all respects.
Cast: Meta-spell will recall any spell the mage has already cast that day to attunement.
Side effect: Mages using Meta-Spell are practical and blunt. Mages below level 5 using Meta-Spell may have to save in order to value a comrade’s life when it’s a choice between trying to complete a plan or saving the friend.

7 Control of Bodies
Prepared: While this spell is attuned, the mage is unhindered by the need to breathe, and may even appear to be dead (requiring an opposed int check, with the mage getting her level bonus, for someone to tell the truth).
Cast: When unleashed, Control of Bodies may transform a target into any other creature (or plant). The creature resulting must be one the mage is familiar with. It is even possible to transform multiple targets at once, if all targets (1/level) are changed into the same creature (or plant). Unwilling targets get a save – and in the case of a mass casting, one successful save covers all. This transformation can produce a perfect physical disguise, if the mage is familiar with the person to be impersonated.
Side effect: The mage’s features tend to shift and moliate when he isn’t paying attention. In mages below level 5, this is so severe he will often not be recognized after being separated from friends, until he focuses his will on looking like himself!

8 Material Dweomer
Prepared: Any object which was crafted for a purpose, the mage may mend to wholeness if all the parts are present – so long as she witnessed the object in wholeness and can identify it from its pieaces after the breaking.
Cast: Infusing an object’s dweomer with magic, it becomes enchanted and unbreakable without magic. In weapons and armor, this gives an enchanted bonus equal to 1/4 the mage’s level. A similar bonus is applied to other checks which might be made with other items. Other thematic improvements may be made as well, based on other spells the mage has prepared at the time – such as paper which does not burn, but reveals its writing when held in fire.
Side effect: Being more interested in things than people while this spell is prepared, the mage develops sticky finges. If she is below level 5, she may be forced to make a save to avoid stealing objects she is interested in, which are small enough to be hidden on her person.
9 Conjure Familiar
Prepared: A small creature of some kind finds the mage who prepares this spell. It will follow him around and obey his spoken commands – it may even speak in human tongue, as well as communicating with other animals of its kind as animals do. It posesses the same level and hit die type as the mage and attributes of 10 (no bonus or penalty). The creature conjured may be the same type every time the spell is attuned, or it may vary from time to time.
Cast: The creature grows to monstrous size, gaining an attack as a heavy weapon (1d8), and temporarily boosting its attributes to 18. This burns up the power of the spell, causing the conjured familiar to vanish at the end of 1 combat turn/level.
Side effect: The mage gains some physical and mental traits of his familiar. For example, a rat familiar may grant whiskers and a cowardly attitude, while a cat could grant facial hair which looks like the cat’s head fur and a very selfish demeanor. Characters below level 5 may be mistaken for monsters because of the degree of transformation! (requires a charisma (no level bonus) check, opposed, for the mage to convince someone he’s not a monster – the mage gains half his level bonus to convince allies).

10 Anti-Spell
Prepared: If she holds her action, the mage may make an opposed (int + level bonus) check against another person casting a spell once per round, countering and dispelling the spell as it is cast if successful. This may counter prepared or cast uses of spells – although fully cast spells get +2 per spell level to the opposed check.
Cast: As with prepared, this spell may cancel a spell as it is used – however, there is no check, it always succeeds. Also, even if used to counter a “prepared” use of a spell, the spell is de-attuned from the caster as if expended. Alternately, the Anti-Spell may be wrapped around the mage or an ally she touches, protecting them from any spell of lower level than the mage herself could create (so if the mage is level 5, it will protect against level 1 and 2 spells) for 1 minute/level. Finally, the Anti-Spell may be placed on an area, preventing any magic at all from operating within a 1 meter/level radius for 1 hour/level.
Side Effect: The Anti-Spell creates antipathy for other spells, and while she has it prepared, the mage will be loath to cast the others. A mage below level 5 may even have to save successfully in order to try to cast any other spell.

Level 3 Magic User Spells

1 Necromancy
Prepared: The Hound of Death follows the mage everywhere he goes while attuned to this spell. If any bear him ill intent, it senses them (even if they are invisible) and growls at them. If the mage wishes, it will attack. Its bite deals 1d6 damage and it has Strength 18; however, its defence has no bonus, and if struck it will vanish, only reappearing after combat is over.
Cast: The magic bound into the hound may be expended several ways: to animate a corpse, to cause a single target to die instantly, or to create a cloud with a short duration which could kill anything which breathes it. If the hound is discorporated, the mage casts this spell at -1 level.
When a corpse is animated, the hound seems to leap inside its mouth, animating it with a number of d12 hit dice equal to the mage’s level, and it is then otherwise identical to the hound. The hit dice may be divided up to form multiple animated corpses, causing a black cloud to spew from the mouth and nostrils of the first corpse and take residence in the other corpses, minimum of 1/2 hit die each (for 1d6 hp per corpse). If the hit die is halved, the strength of the corpse drops to 10 and it can no longer perceive invisible creatures.
If used to kill, a single target will be slain. A save may be attempted, but it is at -5. If the killing energy is released as a cloud, then any who breathe the 1 square meter/level cloud must save (no penalty) or die; the cloud persists for 1 round/level.
Side Effect: Attuning to the Necromancy spell fills the mage with morbid fascinations. Given the slightest reason, he will kill without mercy. Mages below level 9 may be forced to save against the spell to choose not to kill a foe when they have the chance – regardless of the costs of doing so.

2 Queen of the Tempest
Prepared: A pair of elementals, one of air and one of water, accompany the mage and do her bidding while attuned to this spell. They are equal to the mage in level and in all respects have the same abilities as standard elementals of their type.
Cast: Unleashing the spell fully, the elementals may be called on for a service before they depart.
– Weather: the mage may control the skies, conjuring any weather she desires. It takes 10 minutes of concentration to change the weather (over which time the skies darken or lighten, or the wind picks up or the sun intensifies, etc.), and the control remains for 1 hour/level. It is not possible to control individual lightning bolts, but it is possible to direct where a tornado goes.
– Water: a body of water may be caused to flow in unnatural ways. The water level may be lowered by 1 meter/level over 10 minutes of concentration, and it will then stay at that level for the next 1 hour/level. This may even affect an entire ocean, causing an unusual tidal fluctuation. The water may also be parted, creating a dry pathway from one bank to the other for as long as it takes the mage and her party to cross it.
– Air: The mage may provide herself and 1/level additional people with an air supply which remains fresh and unimpeachable for 1 hour/level. While so provided for, the affected person can fly at the same speed they could walk or run, but without the physical exertion.
Side Effect: Attuning and casting this spell requires a blood sacrifice to the elementals, requiring 1d6 hp lost to attune and another 1d6 to cast. If she is below level 9, the HP loss is 1d10 instead, each time.

3 Lord of Earth and Metal
Prepared: The mage gains +2 strength and +1 defence as his muscles become hard as stone or iron, and at his very touch he may cause rock to melt away into mud (1kg/level per round).
Cast: For the next 1 minute/level, the mage becomes the Lord of Earth and metal, gaining these abilities –
– Wall: A wall of metal or stone may be raised with 1 combat turn. Stone walls are 1 meter tall by 2 meters long per level, metal walls are half these dimensions. Stone walls have 10 hp/level; metal walls have 12/level hp, and are immune to attacks from hand weapons. Wall are real and permanent once created.
– Move Earth: Loose earth weighing 1 ton/level may be moved up to 10 meters/level over the course of 1 minute/ton; this takes the whole spellcast to do.
– Shape Stone: Solid stone of 1 cubic meter/level may be shaped as desired over 1 minute/cubic meter, moving no further from its starting point than 10 meters/level. This takes the whole spellcast to do.
Side Effect: The mage becomes dumb as rocks, dropping his intelligence by 2. If he is below level 9, his int drops by 4 instead.

4 Greater Mystic Hand
Prepared: The mage gains the use of a translucent hand (mostly invisible, requires opposed int bonus (mage gets level bonus) roll to perceive) with strength 10 + level which may be directed mentally without the use of actions. The hand is invulnerable except to dispelling magic.
Cast: Instead of a hand, the mage may create an invisible and immovable wall of magical force. This wall has no thickness, and may form only one contiguous shape (meaning no holes; it must be a wall, not a grid or swiss cheese), although it may be reshaped into a new contiguous shape each action (sphere to hemisphere to rectangle to pyramid etc.). The wall may be formed as the mage desires within her line of sight. If a wall is not a suitable force, then the force may affect objects in any way as though they were affected by Strength and Dexterity of 10 + (twice mage’s level). Blows from the force itself strike as gauntlets (1d4 damage), or it may be used to wield weapons. The force may pick up any number of objects and use them in concert as the mage’s action; the total weight may not exceed 50kg/level. If the force is used simply to hold one creature, then it does so without save for its duration. All these uses of the invisible force may be swapped between from round to round, for a duration of 1 minute/level.
Side Effects: The mage is so distracted by directing the arcane forces she wields that she forgets to direct her own body, losing 2 dexterity. If she is below level 9, she insead loses 4 dexterity, as the mental strain is truly overwhelming.

5 Major Distance Spell
Prepared: The mage may cause the distance between himself and any location within his line of sight to act as though doubled or halved while concentrating part of his attention (which does not take his action in combat) on this effect. This can halve the time necessary for overland travel. By using his action in combat, he may pass through 1 meter/level of solid wall by not traveling through the intervening space.
Cast: As a boon, this spell transports the mage and 1 willing ally/level to anywhere on the same plane of existence which the mage has previously seen. 100kg/level of gear and possessions may come with.
– Used balefully, the spell may instead target an enemy of the mage, which must save or die as its constituent parts are rearranged at random so that nothing is left but dust and mist, and a puff of warm air. On a successful save, the target taked 1d8/level damage instead of instantly dying.
Side Effects: While the energies of this spell are harnessed, the mage has absolutely no sense of direction, and may not apply any bonus to finding his way on foot to anywhere, regardless of attribute, class or legacy bonuses which would normally apply. Mages below level 9 instead automatically fail, and may be forced to save against the spell in order to accept that the route they’ve picked is wrong.

6 Thought Control
Prepared: So powerful are the mage’s thoughts while attuned to this spell that she remembers everything that the places she walks and items she touch remember. When it comes to knowledge of history and myth about items or places the mage has seen, while this spell is prepared she receives the maximum twice-level bonus to her intelligence check.
Cast: The thoughts of another may be controlled through a Geas – a potent spell which affects the thoughts of the very world. When Geas is invoked, the mage states a condition with an exception. Unless the Geas is broken by other magic (such as could remove a curse), the condition will hold true in all circumstances save the exception. The Geas could state, “you will serve me from this day until I betray your trust,” and the subject of it would be unable to do otherwise. There is no saving throw against a Geas; only its exception or a curse-removing spell may get rid of it. Geasa may also state conditions that do not involve action, such as “you will die only when a red-haired woman seduces and poisons you,” and the world will conspire to make it true.
– If simply turned to the bane of a foe, the control of thoughts may crush them altogether, reducing Int, Wis, and Cha to 1 until the curse is removed. A successful save means they are instead only reduced to 3, enough to retain the ability to speak the person’s native tongue haltingly.
Side Effects: Unbidden, the power of this spell will control the minds of others. Anyone who disagrees with the mage in conversation while she is attuned to this spell must make a save against the spell or be force to change his mind. If the mage is below level 9, then she won’t even notice that the spell is doing this to people around her.

7 Dominion Over Flesh
Prepared: Attuned to power over the flesh, the mage’s own body becomes hale and hardy, ready to fight and spill blood. He gains access to one of the fighter abilities and all the bonuses based on level a fighter would have, and +2 to strength and constitution.
Cast: A creature may be deprived of its flesh by the mage’s will, turning it to stone – or creatures so enchanted may be freed and returned to their flesh; hale and healthy and whole, even from partial dust of the statue they became, should the mage know this dust was once part of a creature. Other fragments of the statue elsewhere will disappear when the mage brings the stone to life again as a whole person at his own location.
– Dead flesh may even be returned to life, but as the intervention of man may not refute the cycle of life and death, the new flesh the spirit is reincarnated in will not be the person’s original body; consequently, the person’s memories of their former life will be vague and faded. The same general friendships and allegiences will remain, but specific events will be difficult to remember. There is a 50% chance of gender swap, and in any case the person will be physically unrecognizable. The person’s class (or species, in the case of racial classes such as Elf) remains unchanged, as does her level. This use of the spell will automatically affect the mage himself if he should die while the spell is attuned! The mage’s spirit may refuse it, or delay it for up to 1 hour/level, in case his situation was not good for getting back up without instantly being slain again when he died.
Side Effects: The mage will disdain magic as a form of combat while attuned to this spell. His body is a fighting machine, and magic has already honed it as much as could be; he will not use magic to fight unless he has already lost half his hit points to damage. If he is below level 9, he will refuse to cast any other spell until he has used up Dominion Over Flesh even then.

8 Mage-Lord’s Eye
Prepared: While attuned to the Eye, the mage may look through any opaque material as if it were transparent, of thickness up to 1 meter/level. Additionally, this and any other spell which creates an illusion or mental effect completely fails to affect the mage while this spell is prepared.
Cast: For 1 minute/level, the mage may project any image her imagination can conjure into the minds of all within her line of sight. Those who fail their saves will interact with the images as if real, even taking damage from them if appropriate. This is the dominion of the Eye over the lesser senses of those who do not possess it.
– The Eye may instead be infused into an object, which causes those who fail the save to be repelled by the object, running in fear from it – or cowering in fear if they cannot run.
Side Effects: It’s quite easy to walk into solid objects when one is incautious in peering through them transparently. The mage must make a dexterity (half level bonus) check to avoid stumbling into solid objects for 1d4 damage whenever running while thie spell is prepared. Mages below level 9 get no level bonus at all to this check.

9 Arctic Chill
Prepared: The mage is immune to fire or frost based damage – including inclement effects of hot or cold environments – while attuned to this spell. As far as the mage is concerned, is is always a perfectly comfortable “freezing.”
Cast: Any 10 cubic meter/level area the mage chooses within his line of sight is filled with a cold snap which deals 1d8/level damage; half on a successful save.
– This spell may be prepared and cast reversed as “Volcanic Heat.” In this case, the temperature which the mage feels is a pleasantly balmy “boiling,” and the damage of the spell is fire based instead of ice.
Side Effects: Depending on which way the spell was prepared, the mage’s body is either as cold as ice (literally, 0 degrees celsius) or boiling hot (again, literally, 100 degrees C). While the mage finds this comfortable, others likely do not. Mages below level 9 experience even more intense temperature extremes (which do not bother them), and will inadvertently cause 1d8 damage to things they touch if they aren’t extremely careful. While this could be used in combat, it’s more troubling that this will set most clothes on fire (or freeze and then shatter them), and otherwise render most tools unusable to the low-level mage as well.

10 Soul Inscription
Prepared: Attuned to the Soul Inscription, the mage’s own surroundings protect him from harm. If he is pursued by enemies, a thick fog will rise up, obscuring all vision (even darkvision) beyond 10 feet – save the mage’s own. Any door the mage wishes to be secure will be locked, and not unlock without magic. If an enemy of the mage pursues him up or down a set of stairs, that enemy will be caught in sticky webs as per the web casting of the Ropes and Tendrils spell. If the mage takes a turn out of sight of a pursuer, it is 50% likely that the evidence will be confused, showing his passage to go a way he actually didn’t. Doors will appear to be plain walls if they would lead the enemy closer to the mage, and the enemy fails to save versus this spell. Finally, any magic which attempts to undo any of these safeguards, the mage may check against as if countering it with the prepared effect of Anti-Spell; this does not take an action.
Cast: If inscribed on another creature and a gem, the Soul Inscription may transfer that creature’s soul into the gemstone; as part of this process, the mage may inscribe himself as well, causing his mind to transfer into the target creature’s body. Instead of a standard saving throw, there is an opposed check using intelligence, wisdom, charisma, and level bonuses for both parties (always level, never half or double or inapplicable). The loser is trapped in the gem; the winner controls the body of his choice. If the mage loses, he still retains the ability to use spells.
– If instead inscribed on the empty air, it conjures an incomplete soul which may be fashioned to hunger the life of a person the mage has previously met. This stalker is invisible (if seen by someone who can see the invisible, it looks like something from the mage’s nightmares – unique to each mage’s soul). It unerringly moves at a sedate float (equal to a man’s walking pace) in the shortest path possible to the target. It can fit through spaces as a breath of air would. When it closes with the targt, it will start attacking with teeth and claws; these always hit the target, and deal 1d6 damage – which may not be healed by healing magic, as it has damaged the soul. The stalker has 4 hp per level of the mage who created it, and no defenses other than its invisibility.
Side Effects: The passive effects of preparing this spell key off the mage’s subconscious and the intentions of others, also subconsciously. It won’t distinguish between people the mage simply doesn’t like and people he really needs to hide from. If the mage is below level 9, it will sometimes not even distinguish between friend and foe – seeking to obfuscate the mage from ANYONE who seeks to find him, for whatever reason.

Level 4 magic user spells

1 Wicked Vanity
Requirement: To attune to this spell requires an expensive and masterfully-crafted full-length mirror.
Prepared: The mage becomes exceptionally attractive and magnetic in personality, doubling her charisma bonus or adding +4 charisma, whichever is the greater bonus. She is so charming that even plants will speak to her – although plants usually don’t have much to say, they do know when and how they have been touched and what shadows have fallen on them.
Cast: If unleashed fully upon herself, then all who gaze upon the mage at the time of casting will be affected as though by the single-target application of the first level spell Mystical Charm.
– The spell may instead be unleashed upon another. As a boon, this gives that target the same benefit the mage would have gotten. As a bane, it creates the opposite effect: instead of being charmed, those who view the mage’s victim will have an irrational hatred of him.
– Those who view the subject of this spell get saving throws, which act on a per-individual basis.
Side Effects: A part of the mage’s soul is trapped in the mirror while this spell is attuned. Roll 1d6 to determine which moral quality she loses while this spell is prepared:
1: Chastity
2: Honesty
3: Frugality
4: Loyalty
5: Charity
6: Courage
– If the mage is below level 13, then the quality indicated by the die roll is the ONLY moral quality she RETAINS while attuned.

2 Terrible Command
Requirement: To attune to this spell, a made needs apiece of paper with one of the true names of God written in angelic script with gold ink, which he must eat while preparing the spell.
Prepared: As his action in a round, the mage may order someone to perform an action; the target will perform that action repetitively until allowed to stop if it fails to save.
Cast: The mage may command reality to forget him, rendering him immune to scrying and divination of all kinds.
– The mage may command a target to grant his desire, so long as the target has no more than twice his hit dice, and the desire is within the target’s power. (this spell imparts knowledge of what is in the target’s power, and may be withdrawn if the target hasn’t the power to accomplish the end desired)
– The mage’s target may instead be commanded to do nothing; this traps the target’s mind in an inner world which affects nothing outside it, while its body wastes away.
– There is no save against this spell when cast.
Side Effects: The mage’s personality turns unpleasant while attuned to this spell. All charisma checks save Intimidation fail for him automatically. If he is below level 13, even Intimidation fails, and only through magic may he influence others’ decisions and actions.

3 Truespell
Requirement: The truespell may not be prepared without a master-crafted sword to hold it.
Prepared: While residing in the sword, the weapon becomes able to move according to the mage’s will without taking her action, and it attacks with the mage’s intelligence and twice-level bonus. It deals double damage for a weapon of its type, and is unbreakable; it is capable of damaging creatures regardless of their resistance to damage.
Cast: If taken into herself, the mage is protected from all other spells by the Truespell, for 1 hour/level.
– If instead cast upon another spell with a non-instant, non-permanent duration, the truespell makes that spell permanent.
Side Effects: Other spells are cast as if the mage were 1 level lower while the Truespell is attuned, because of how much of her magical potential it ties up. If she is below level 13, then other spells are cast as if she were 2 levels lower instead.

4 Complete Soul Glyph
Requirement: A priceless gem, masterfully cut to attune; to cast, the target’s true name must be etched into the gem or at least spoken aloud.
Prepared: The mage may cast a spell into the gem at any time while the glyph is attuned to it, or attach the prepared effect of a spell to the glyphed gem. Then, leaving the gem somewhere away from his person, the stored effect will notify the mage if a valid target comes in range – the mage will get to see the target from the gem’s perspective, and decide whether to trigger the stored spell effect.
Cast: By inscribing a person’s true name in the symbols of magic within the glyph on the gem, that person’s soul will be trapped in the gem if they ever lay eyes upon it (a save may be made not to look at the gem if the target is aware of this, but there is no save upon looking).
– By calling out the target’s true name while holding the glyphed gem, the power will instead stun the named target, disallowing any action (including dodging or parrying based defense bonuses) for 1 turn/level. If the target is looking at the gem at the time, then the spell also blinds its target permanently.
Side Effects: The gem prepared for this spell is unnaturally desirable. Any who can be swayed by greed must save against the spell or else try to take the jewel for themselves when they see it. If the mage is below level 13, then any who see the gem, greedy or not, must save or begin desiring it so intensely.

5 Profane Conjuration
Requirement: the true name of a demon of at least twice the mage’s hit dice.
Prepared: A simulacrum of the mage may act as she wishes it to, carrying out her own activities in another place. The simulacrum may even be attuned to spells, although these come out of the mage’s own allocation. If the simulacrum is left without specific orders, though, it will enjoy itself in the most selfish and evil way its creator has ever wanted to.
Cast: If the mage dies with this spell attuned, it may be cast as she expires to transport her soul into the simulacrum, so that the simulacrum becomes her real body. Mages who do this are always subtly changed by the experience, usually becoming more selfish and aggressive, or otherwise enhancing bad character traits.
– To fully unleash it without dying, the mage speaks the true name of the demon empowering this spell, while in the presence of the simulacrum. Doing so uses the spell’s force to reach into the nether planes and summon up the demon’s true form, replacing the simulacrum of the mage with the demon itself. This spell provides no protection against the demon, so the mage is best advised to seek such protection before she uses this spell.
Side Effects: Receive less benefit from holy magic (it is cast upon the mage as if at -1 caster level), much less (-2 levels) if she is below 13th level.

6 Hellblast
Requirement: A piece of brimstone from hell, used to focus the attunement.
Prepared: A mage attuned to this spell may not be harmed by the elements, or magic which calls upon them – only by force of arms, illness, or disease.
Cast: Unleashing this spell causes the elements to condemn and reject a target or a target area of up to 1 meter/level radius. The damage in either case is 10/level, and the element which afflicts each being which takes damage is fire, unless another element would hurt more – in which case, it is that element. For example, a fire dragon would instead be afflicted by freezing cold, while the mortal human army fighting alongside it burned.
Side Effects: The mage becomes sadistic, delighting in the suffering of others; he becomes murderous instead if below 13th level, craving to see living things die.

7 The Lie of Substance
Requirement: Attuning this spell requires keeping an important secret from a trusted friend.
Prepared: The mage may reduce herself to her shadow alone while this spell is prepared, slipping through two-dimensional spaces by virtue of being no thicker than said shadow. While taking this form, the mage always adds twice her level to checks for stealth, because it is very easy to hide when you have no body. However, while most things cannot harm a shadow, any attack which can (such as thrusting a torch into the shadow) deals triple damage.
Cast: Unleashing the Lie upon any creature or object may permanently change it into any other creature or object. Creatures transformed into objects are not killed, but the objects are not granted any special mobility by the fact that the creature’s senses are now tied to them. However, such objects radiate magic to appropriate senses, and occasionally exhibit strange magical properties – especially if they are left as such for a long time. Objects transformed into creatures exhibit personalities and attributes typical of the original object. For example, a rock turned into a horse would have exceptional endurance, while a stream turned into a woman would have an exceptional flowing figure.
– The caster may instead cause himself, or one willing ally, to gain the ability to become a stone statue at will for 1 hour/level. This may be used as a defense against an attack (reducing the damage of any standard weapon by 20 as the attack strikes the unyielding stone), or as camouflage (since, apart from a weak magical aura, the character is simply a statue of stone). The shift from flesh to statue and back is instantaneous and may happen as often as desired.
Side Effects: Incapable of directly speaking the truth; if below 13th level, actively tries to mislead everyone about everything.

8 Mastery of Strength and Weakness
Requirement: A mage may only attune to this spell if damage has been experienced in the past, both dealing and receiving, through physical combat.
Prepared: Attuned to this spell, any object the mage touches may be made steel-hard so long as he is touching it. Cosequently, any clothing the mage wears is treated as full plate armor for protection purposes during this time.
Cast: Unleashing this spell reverses the effect in the mage’s favor; the mage may pass through solid objects unhindered at will for 1 minute/level. This includes the weapons of enemies, as well as walls, floors, ceilings, etc. The mage may selectively pass parts of his body through while treating the objects as solid to other parts of his body as well.
Side Effects: People seem like objects; halve any bonuses to understand people’s desires. Less than level 13, eliminate bonuses.

9 True Conjury
Requirement: May only be cast at sunrise or sunset.
Prepared: While ready, this spell allows the mage to bring to her hand any object she owns, instantly teleported, as a simple action taking 1 turn in combat time. The mage also is able to concentrate for a mere moment and know the location of any object she could summon with this ability, without even taking an action in combat time.
Cast: Unleashed at the proper time of day, this spell binds a potent beast to the mage’s will until the sun next crosses the horizon. Any creature she is familiar with (whether through encounter or study) of up to half again her own hit dice may be so summoned and bound. Unfortunately, without extra precautions, when this spell wears off the creature does NOT return from whence it came – it merely is no longer bound by this spell.
Side Effect: Though her will reaches across the veil of distance, her sight is clouded in turn by the displaced veil. The mage has impaired vision (no bonuses to any checks for spotting things) while attuned to this spell. If below level 13, blinded instead.

10 Destroy the Senses
Requirement: Stare into the sun while attuning.
Prepared: The mage and up to 10 allies/level may be invisible as long as he desires it to be so.
Cast: A target object or creature, or part of one, vanishes. At the mage’s option, it may be transported somewhere else (either a location the mage is familiar with, or some random safe place in the world, suitably far away as to not be back soon), or it may be simply made ingangible, invisible, inaudible – in every way, as if it were not there, even though it is; detectable only by a faint aura of magic as if it were there. Creatures deprived of a vital body part in this way must save or die. Objects deprived of a key support will crumble, because the intangible object is not supporting weight. Returning the object later is possible with a reversed casting of the spell (and in the catastrophic cases mentioned, would make working out what happened to cause the catastrophy very difficult).
Side Effects: Invisibility doesn’t turn off for the mage. If lower than 13, mage also can’t be heard.

Level 5 magic user spells.

1 Greater Geas
Requirement: To cast this spell, a ruler with legitimate authority over the group it will govern must make the pronouncement it will enforce. The mage may do it herself if she is a queen or similarly in charge of a nation, or else the mage must become an advisor to a highly placed individual of that sort in order to get them to make the edict. This spell cannot function on a scale smaller than a nation.
Prepared: While attuned to the Greater Geas, the mage speaks with preternatural authority about things to come. Her predictions usually (70% chance) come true in the near future – and can always be seen as truth with hindsight later. This gives a practical benefit to the mage, who is never surprised; stealth is impossible against her, and because she knows the immediate outcome of all her actions before undertaking them, there is no task she does not get at least her whole level as the bonus to the d20 check for.
Cast: The mage, or the ruler she advises, makes a grand pronouncement of bane and blessing. Everything pronounced in this edict will come true, no matter what those governed by it wish or attempt to do about it. This spell must balance itself; mages are wise to consider carefully the boon and bane they wish pronounced, because attempts to avoid the cycle of fate will only produce catastrophe. Greater Geasa last until the ruler who pronounced them revokes them. There are several models of greater geas:
– Exclusive Blessing, in which only those who meet the description included in the exclusive group gain the blessing. Such as, “Only men with red hair may father children who shall become warriors.” This would ensure that red-haired men would indeed father many warriors, and others would not.
– Inclusive Blessing, in which a blessing is made which excludes only a small group. For example, “Except for women whose dress reveals their thigh, none of this land shall need to fear rape.” This would cause rape to be a virtually unknown crime in the kingdom – but women whose thighs were exposed would provoke unnatural lust.
– Exclusive Bane, confining a pronouncement of evil tidings to a small group. If it were pronounced, “Any who speak the name of the King or Queen except to honour them will die within the hour of so speaking,” terrible tragedies would indeed occur each time someone spoke incautiously the names of the King or Queen.
– Inclusive Bane, in which only a small group are protected from a bane inflicted on everyone else. Thus, the Geas might say, “You of this rebellious land shall suffer poverty and diseases of every kind; only those who have never raised a hand or a voice in anger against King or Country will be spared.”
– Specific Boon, describing a particular good which will definitely occur. “On her sixteenth birthday, the most beautiful woman in the land will surely marry the king, for she will love him most of all.” Wise mages use this model sparingly, as there is always some form of unexpected problem which balances out the good gained this way.
– Specific Bane, causing an explicit tragedy to occur. “A one-legged man will kill you before the week is out.” Wise mages take care with this as well, for there is certain to be good in the resolution of such a Geas which aids the person cursed and his or her allies.
– Sacrifice Exchanged for Boon, in which the mage, ruler, and/or kingdom give up some good or invite some evil in return for getting rid of some evil or gaining some good. “Though crops will fail for three years hence, yet none will starve who would have been fed had they come in, and the hands of the oppressors of the poor will be revealed – then cut off.”
– Other models may exist at the GM’s discretion. The effects of a Greater Geas rarely cause an immediate reaction or effect, but it may be possible to do so – if the balancing doom is sufficient.
Side Effects: While attuned to fate and portent, the good luck afforded to the mage’s allies is siphoned off. She causes any nearby allies (line of sight) who fail to do so critically. If she isn’t yet level 17, her allies may not critically succeed, and must reroll any successful checks, only succeeding if the second roll also succeeds.

2 Name Un-Speaking
Requirement: This spell may only be cast upon someone whose true name the mage has heard spoken by a heavenly being, or which he has read from the Book of Life in Heaven.
Prepared: By speaking someone’s name, the mage deals 1d6 damage/level (save for half) to that person, if they are within earshot. By speaking the person’s true name instead of what they are called, the damage is maximized.
Cast: Unleashed, this spell un-speaks the target’s name in the Voice of God. Their name is unwritten from the Book of Life. Not only does the target die with no save, but any mortal who never knew the target’s true name forgets the target ever existed.
Side Effects: Every word the mage speaks is agony to hear. Anything he writes sears the eyes of those who read. He may not speak a name WITHOUT hurting its bearer, if heard by the unfortunate person named. Anyone who understands the mage’s meaning even through telepathic means or reading body language will suffer pain for the understanding, so tainted and wrong is he because of this spell. A mage below 17th level attempting to attune to this spell must save; on success, the spell is not attuned, and the pain the mage has caused himself teaches him of his folly. On failure, the mage suffers the spell’s fully unleashed effects on himself, for recklessly attempting to contain a power he could not understand

3 Judgment of Heaven
Requirement: A representative of heaven (such as an angel or a level 17+ good cleric) must grant permission for the mage to attune to this spell. It may also not be cast without such a representative present and in approval.
Prepared: Heaven protects its messenger of judgment. Attuned to this spell, the mage may not be harmed in any way.
Cast: Holy bolts and meteors of judgment rain down from the skies, smiting any and all targets within the mage’s line of sight which she desires with 2d10 damage/level, save for half.
Side Effects: While attuned to this spell, the mage may not refuse or ignore instructions from the representative of heaven who authorized her to attune it. If the mage is below 17th level, she may not ignore ANY cleric or holy being’s requests, being forced to do as they say!

4 Door of Roads
Requirement: May only be attuned in the presence of a natural border crossing between the mundane world and that of faerie.
Prepared: Any road the mage travels may lead anywhere he wishes it to. The journey from one destination to another will take as long as it ought, but the mage need not know the way – he need simply travel on a road, and it will at some point along the way transition to being the right road. This applies to any allies traveling alongside him as well, though not to fellow travelers going to different destinations – they will either pull ahead or be left behind and not make the same transition.
Cast: The mage opens a door from the inside of a building, and it leads to anywhere the mage desires. The mage might want it to open into the bordello of an emperor in a far off nation – there it will be. Even heaven, hell, or any world in between are accessible. If the place exists, a door may be opened to it.
Side Effect: No matter where the mage goes, trouble follows. Random encounters will be with persons or beings specifically seeking the mage with mischief in mind, and enemies will generally seek to harm the mage before his companions. If the mage is below level 17, then he will soon find himself pursued by many powers of the worlds of level 17+ who wish to control the spell.

5 Entomb
Requirement: May only be attuned while the mage is buried alive, deeper than this spell would let her escape.
Prepared: The mage may escape any bonds, and cannot be contained by spell or by physical barriers thinner than 1cm/level.
Cast: A single being within the mage’s line of sight is trapped (with no save) in a tomb of solid anti-magical stone (cannot be affected by spells), 2cm/level thickness. The stone is real and permanent once thus created.
Side Effects: Aside from a tendency not to be supported by floors, walls, or furniture at all if below 17th level, the mage will feel severely claustrophobic and avoid enclosed spaces which could actually hold her while attuned to this spell, regardless of level.

6 Time-Spell
Requirement: Preparing this spell is only possible after the mage has just arrived too late to accomplish something of great importance.
Prepared: Attuned to the Time-Spell, the mage may step in and out of time’s flow at will. He may interact with objects while outside of time’s flow, but doing so will bring those objects (or beings!) outside of the flow along with the mage, until the mage steps back into the flow.
Cast: A single subject is placed into a state where time may not affect it. Only a second application of this spell or the removal of a curse by a mage as potent as the original caster may revoke this stasis. Luckily for the subject, while in this state, it is completely invulnerable.
Side Effects: The mage does not age while this spell is prepared, but neither does he heal wounds. If below 17th level, his personal time flow is so disrupted by the spell that he may not even digest food or drink.

7 Chaos Magic
Requirement: This spell may only be attuned and may also only be fully unleashed when within a zone of wild magic.
Prepared: Wherever the mage goes, a zone of wild magic extends for 3 meters/level around her.
Cast: A completely random spell (of a random level), save that the mage may specify it be good or bad for the target, is cast upon a subject in the mage’s line of sight.
Side Effects: The randomness of all things near the mage is increased. All d20 checks in the mage’s line of sight vicinity are given a bonus or penalty of 1d10 – 1d10 (bonus if the difference is positive, penalty if negative – choose which is the first and which is the second die before rolling). If the mage is below 17th level, double the bonus or penalty caused.

8 Illusion and Substance
Requirement: This spell may only be cast when the mage is shown his own reflection in a mirror by someone who saved against its prepared effect; the mage must successfully save against his own spell, then decide to cast it.
Prepared: The caster appears to any who look on him and fail a save to be any creature he can imagine. Those who believe the illusion will react as if interacting with it to the extent possible, even believing themselves wounded or dead.
Cast: The mage becomes the substance of his current illusion in truth, permanently, including gaining the use of any magical powers the new form would have.
Side Effects: The mage does not remember what his original form looks like while attuned to this spell. If below level 17, the mage is also afflicted by a mental sickness which prevents him from believing that anyone else’s face is their real face either.

9 Escape Body
Requirement: Attuning Escape Body is only possible while near death (1% or less HP).
Prepared: The mage may telepathically communicate with any willing person she has ever talked to while attuned to this spell. This communication need not be limited to words; she may exchange entire experiences in memory with her allies.
Cast: The mage and 1 ally/level shed their bodies, which dissolve into the world’s dweomer, undertaking a journey into the Astral. After accomplishing their journey, they may return to their bodies – assuming they can find their way back to the material plane, and all who wish to return are present with the mage when she does so. The mage may later return any astral spirit she encounters which she freed from its body in the first place, as well.
Side Effects: It is easier to kill someone whose spirit is so tenuously connected to its body. The mage’s maximum HP is halved while attuned to this spell. If she is below level 17, she is reduced to 1HP maximum.

10 Angelic Visitation
Requirement: This spell may only be taught by an angel, whose true name the mage must know. It always calls upon the same angel; if that angel falls in battle, the spell is useless for a thousand years while the angel recovers in the heavenly realms. No mage has ever been recorded to receive the honor of permission to summon a second angel.
Prepared: While watched over by an angel, the mage may not die. If he takes enough damage to kill him, his body disappears and he will reappear later when enough damage has healed that he may awaken (as per normal healing over time rules).
Cast: An angel from heaven descends in a beam of sunlight (or moonlight or starlight), and will aid the mage as it sees fit.
Side Effect: While attuned, the mage may not intentionally harm others, nor intentionally allow harm to come to them through inaction – even enemies. If the mage is below level 17, he must even go out of his way to serve the needs and desires of anyone he interacts with, friend or foe.

Ian Price, author of the Tabletop Treasury posts on this site, is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem. Bad Decisions has a Kickstarter project, which successfully funded!


While Wizards cast different spells, and Clerics are granted various miraculous powers, Fighters train in the skills of combat. There are three areas of training for a fighter:

– Dueling, which deals with single opponents. The passive bonus of Dueling adds to Defense.
– Duelists are also skilled in witty banter, womanizing, riding, athletic feats, attack rolls for fancy maneuvers, medium sized weapons, paired weapons, civilized gambling (baccarat, bridge, etc.), and fine cuisine (both identifying and preparing).

– Brawling, which deals with multiple opponents. The passive bonus of Brawling allows the fighter to attack multiple opponents of lower hit dice.
– Brawlers are skilled in grappling, unarmed fighting, improvised weapons, small weapons, drinking without passing out, bar bets, whoring, low gambling, and bad food that won’t kill you (identifying or preparing).

– Killing, which teaches how opponents may be slain – or incapacitated (it is necessary to know what kills to avoid doing it accidentally). The passive bonus of Killing adds to attack (and sometimes damage) rolls.
– Killers are skilled with all weapons, not only attacking with them but caring for and cleaning them. Killers know how to negotiate a price, and how to intimidate others. Killers aren’t necessarily stealthy, but they do know how to conceal their weapons about their person, even larger ones sometimes (though this is difficult, and requires props large enough to disguise the weapons).

Fighters learn one skill each level. At level 1, the fighter gets a passive bonus from the specialization tree he or she learned a skill from. Fighters above level 1 who have no skills outside of one tree gain the full passive bonus (equal to level), full level bonus in the skill checks of that specialization, plus extra depending on the specialization.
– Dueling adds the ability to taunt an opponent into single combat, requiring that opponent to make a save or else accept the challenge.
– Brawling adds defense when fighting multiple opponents.
– Killing adds its bonus to damage rolls as well as attack rolls.

Fighters with skills in multiple specializations get the full passive bonus and skill check bonus in the one with the most skills, half of them in the one with the second most, and none of the passive bonus (half level skill check bonus with at least one skill) in the other. None of the extra bonuses are gained, because versatility sacrifices the benefits of exclusive focus. Fighters who have learned a Master level skill in a specialization may gain its extra bonus even if they have skills in another specialization. The secondary and tertiary specializations remain unchanged in how much bonus they get.

Hit Die: d8

Fighter skills are organized into tiers of skill, based on how deep into a specialization the fighter must be to learn them:
Tier Skills Required
Novice 0
Student 2
Advanced 6
Master 14

//Skills per tier:
//Novice – 3
//Student – 5
//Advanced – 7
//Master – 2

Dueling Novice Skills

– When an attack misses the fighter, he may make his attack on the enemy who missed him immediately, instead of waiting for his next combat turn; this uses his combat turn, and he may not do this if he has taken an action this round.

En Garde
– Against one opponent, the fighter is ready to defend; when that opponent would hit, the fighter may roll an opposed check against the attack roll. If the fighter beats the attacker’s roll, the attack is parried, and does not hit.

– Opponents of lower level cannot get a bonus to defense based on their level against this fighter.

Dueling Student Skills

– When attempting to disarm an opponent, the fighter may dictate what happens to the disarmed weapon on a success – it can be taken in a free hand, flung to a particular place on the battlefield or to an ally with a free hand, etc. (Normally the GM would dictate what happens to a disarmed weapon)

– The fighter may attempt to trip an opponent with any weapon, not just weapons which are well suited to it.

– Instead of a damaging attack, the fighter can attack to get something in the opponent’s eyes (describe appropriately for setting; dust, a bedsheet, burning cinders, etc. all work equally well). The opponent will fight as if blind for 1d4 rounds (1d6 or 1d8 if the GM considers the blinding tool especially effective) if the attack hits.

– A swift jab with a blunt part of the weapon or with the fighter’s body knocks the opponent off balance in some way – whether leaving him breathless, senseless, or wobbling, the effect is the same. That opponent skips his next turn in combat due to recovering (instead of taking damage), if this special attack is successful.

– The fighter has trained to use any melee weapon to damage an opponent in a grapple, not just specialized grappling aids.

Dueling Advanced Skills

High Ground
– When taking advantage of a bonus granted by terrain, this fighter is so adept that the bonus is doubled.

Leaping Attack
– When executing a leaping attack, the fighter’s weapon(s) is(are) considered one size larger for damage.

Strike and Move
– When successfully striking an opponent, the fighter may take an extra movement to a spot just outside that opponent’s reach.

Unexpected Angle
– This fighter has trained so that he charges from an oblique angle, and does not lose any defense for charging.

Inside the Guard
– If this fighter remains adjacent to an opponent after attacking in melee, then on the next turn her attack against that opponent ignores any skill or agility based defense bonuses.

Feign Weakness
– For a combat turn, the fighter drops his defense bonus from level. He gains a counterattack against any opponents who attack him while he uses this stance, which does not require his action. (if used with parry-riposte, it IS possible to counterattack the same enemy twice; it IS possible to both Feign Weakness and be En Garde against the same opponent – just remember that Feign Weakness applies to all opponents, while En Garde applies to only one)

Instant Readiness
– It does not take this fighter an action to read her weapons, and she loses no defense against surprise attacks.

Dueling Master Skills

Minimum Effort
– This master duelist suffers no defense penalty for engaging in strenuous or attention-focusing tasks like lifting heavy objects or engaging in delicate negotiations. These tasks are also not penalized for defending against attacks.

Coup de Gras
– If the opponent is suffering any kind of penalty to defense, this master duelist may exploit it; foregoing any damage, attacks against such opponents may cause them to die on a failed save.

Brawling Novice Skills

Skull Crack
– Skulls sound like hollow coconuts when cracked together. That discovery is inherent in discovering this skill: how to grapple two opponents at once.

Shoulder Throw
– Also known as a hip check, hard shove, etc. The skill of moving an opponent, violently. When voluntarily ending a grapple, this fighter can throw an opponent (level + strength bonus) meters in a straight line. Any attack may forego damage to push the opponent half that far.

Reverse Strike
– In a crowd, there are always enemies behind you. The fighter with this skill has tricks to counter them, and suffers no penalties to attacking or defending for being flanked.

Brawling Student Skills

Dual Strike
– So many enemies, so little time! This fighter has such experience fighting groups that any time he attacks one enemy in melee, he may attack a second one as well. This doubles each attack made with the passive brawling bonus.

Send Them On
– When an opponent misses her, this fighter may throw that opponent as if with Shoulder Throw.

Borrowed Weapons
– When voluntarily ending a grapple, this fighter may steal an opponent’s weapon with any free hand.

Crowd Chaos
– For each combatant – ally or enemy – adjacent to him, this fighter gains +1 defense.

Single Out
– Some opponents are more important than others; this skill allows a fighter to forego damage to maneuver an opponent into a corner or other disadvantageous position – and, most importantly, a position where no other combatant can assist him without going through the fighter.

Brawling Advanced Skills

Triple Strike
– This refinement of brawling allows a fighter to strike simultaneously with every limb she isn’t standing on. This fighter must first know Dual Strike; upon learning Triple Strike, the number of opponents hit at once in melee becomes three instead of two.

Keep Distance
– Some crowds, you don’t want to mingle with. Using dirty tricks and thrown detritus, the fighter may attack – foregoing damage – against the highest defense in a crowd adjacent to him; on hit, a gap of (level) meters is opened between the fighter and the nearest enemy, putting the fighter in a safe spot. If enemies would be forced to move to open this distance, they may be put in unsafe spots.

Double Shot
– One arrow or javelin just won’t do when there’s an onrushing mob, so this fighter has learned to launch multiples. She may attack two enemies at once with ranged weapons; this applies to each attack made with the brawling passive as well, just as with Dual Strike.

– The brawler knows that multiple foes can hinder each other. Upon successfully tripping one foe, this fighter may immediately try to trip any foes adjacent to that enemy.

Coming Through
– Enemies may not block this fighter’s movement without grappling or tripping him.

Crashing Charge
– When charging and striking more than one enemy, treat weapon damage as if one size larger.

Team Up
– This fighter gets an extra +2 to hit and +1 to damage when an ally is flanking the target of her attack.

Brawling Master Skills

Whirlwind Strike
– This master, trained in Triple Strike, has reached apotheosis; each attack made in melee strikes all enemies in reach. This does mean that the master may exploit the defensive weaknesses of lesser foes crowding him to make multiple attacks which also hit an equal or greater foe – a feat which Dual and Triple strike did not allow.

– This master, trained in Dual Shot, has learned that even the most skilled defender has little chance against an arrow from afar. The brawling passive applies to ranged attacks against enemies of any hit dice for this fighter.

Killing Novice Skills

Steady Hand
– This represents the training to consistently strike the same spot over and over. A fighter with this training halves penalties for called shots.

Strike Deep
– All armor can be pierced, from the right angle, with the right pressure. This training in penetration allows the fighter to halve the (non-magical) defense benefit of enemy armor.

Reckless Attack
– Sometimes there is advantage in foregoing caution. This fighter can accept up to his level in penalty to defense in return for the same amount of bonus to damage.

Killing Student Skills

Painful Blows
– Striking pressure points for pain instead of trying to kill, this fighter can forego rolling damage with an attack to instead inflict a -2 penalty to actions and defense on the opponent struck.

Exploit Opening
– For every -1 penalty to defense an opponent is suffering, this fighter gets +1 damage against that opponent.

Bleeding Wound
– When rolling damage, instead of inflicting all of it at once, the fighter may opt for half damage and a bleeding wound. The wound will bleed for 2 damage each turn, for a number of turns equal to the amount of damage actually dealt.

Infected Wound
– When striking an injured enemy, the fighter knows where to strike to cause internal injuries to infect each other. This sort of attack deals half damage, but forces the opponent to save; failed saves result in sepsis, gangrene, or other infection appropriate to the wound location.

Poisoned Weapon
– There are few methods more sure to kill than lacing a weapon with poison. This fighter knows how to do so without risking herself. Any hit from a poisoned weapon requires a save against the poison’s effects.

Killing Advanced Skills

Heart Pierce
– With a called shot, using a stabbing or cutting weapon, the fighter may instantly kill any creature with a heart, if the attack does damage. The creature may save, and live on a success.

Heart Stop
– With a blunt weapon, this fighter may cause a creature with a heart to go into a coma if an attack to the torso does damage. The creature may save to retain consciousness.

– With a blunt attack to the head, this fighter may stun any target with a brain if the attack does damage.

Brain Pierce
– Attacking the head with a sharp weapon, this training allows a fighter to kill the target with any damage on a failed save if the target has a brain.

Skull Crush
– If the target has a brain, then a successful attack to the head with a blunt weapon and this skill allows a permanent -2 to all actions to be imposed if damage is dealt. This penalty may be stacked up with further crushing.

Lung Pierce
– If the enemy needs to breathe, then by attacking the torso with a sharp weapon and dealing any damage, the fighter may cause it to take 1 damage per round until it dies or gets medical treatment.

Throat Crush
– On a target which needs to breathe, this fighter may cause it to begin to suffocate with any damaging attack to the throat. The suffocation will continue until it dies or receives medical treatment.

Killing Master Skills

– This attack strikes several nerve clusters, causing intense pain. The total penalty is -10 (halved by Steady Hand) to strike these nerve clusters with one attack. This attack causes no damage, but instead causes total paralysis in the enemy. After 1d4 rounds, the enemy may attempt a save to escape the paralysis, with each failed save extending it by 1d4 rounds. If the fighter re-applies the nerve strikes (requiring no roll against a paralyzed target), then the save timer is reset.

Instant Death
– Any damaging attack from this fighter may be fatal. What seems a slight scratch might have avoided nerves, but opened an artery. An opponent who receives damage from any attack made by this master must save or die, in addition to any other saves provoked by the attack.

Ian Price, author of the Tabletop Treasury posts on this site, is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem. Bad Decisions has a Kickstarter project live now!

Treasury of Games: Alternate adventuring cleric.

This is a mostly edition-agnostic alternative cleric for D&D.

Adventuring Clerics (priests, holy men, etc.) gain in the power and confidence of Heaven as they level up. One power may be selected per level (including first), but the powers available are restricted based on what level was gained.

Level – Title – Meaning
1-5 – Initiate – The cleric has just begun in the faith.
6-10 – Acolyte – The mysteries of faith begin to unfold.
11-15 – Ordained – Ordained clerics learn by teaching.
16-20 – Prophet/Mystic – The cleric speaks with God directly.

Each day, the cleric may invoke divine blessing when using these powers once per level. Initiate powers have a constant effect and a blessed effect. Acolyte powers also have a Righteous effect, which activates every time the cleric does a certain kind of good deed. Ordained powers also have a Minimum Standard; if the cleric takes certain kinds of evil actions, the power ceases functioning (including the constant ability) for the rest of the day. Prophetic powers have all this, and also Divine Fiat; a special extra power which only comes into play when the GM determines that it is God’s will.

Any time a cleric power references giving extra experience points, an Initiate power will give 1xp, an Acolyte power 2xp, 3xp for Ordained, and 4xp for Prophetic.

Hit Die: d6

Initiate Powers

1 Heal
Always: By laying hands on someone and praying with them for one minute, the subject is healed 1hp/level.
Blessed: The healing is 1d6/level, and takes only one turn in combat.

2 Repel the Unclean
Always: The cleric gains +(level) to Defense against demons, undead, and other beings tied to evil powers.
Blessed: All inherently evil creatures within the cleric’s line of sight must save or flee; those which save receive -(half level) on attack rolls agains the cleric’s allies (including the cleric).

3 Inspire
Always: Spending his action giving words of encouragement, the cleric grants half his level as a bonus to an ally’s d20 roll.
Blessed: Praying for guidance in his heart, the cleric is answered with a reinforcement of his ally’s morale; one chosen ally may re-roll a d20 check which just failed, and use the new result if it is better.

4 Provide
Always: The cleric and her allies never need worry about supplies of food and water. Divine providence will ensure clean and nutritious supplies.
Blessed: Food and water is provided for a greater number of people – up to 20/level.

5 Purify
Always: The cleric is immune to non-magical poisons and diseases.
Blessed: By laying on hands and praying for one minute, the cleric purges any poisons or diseases from an ally, including magical ones.

6 Smite
Always: Inherently evil enemies take double damage from the cleric’s attacks.
Blessed: The cleric indicates a foe, cursing it before God. The foe is blasted from the heavens for 1d6/level damage, unless it makes its save. Inherently evil creatures may only save for half damage.

7 Guidance
Always: The cleric never loses track of where she is in relation to known places.
Blessed: Asking a question of God, the cleric is answered yes or no, truthfully (though not always helpfully).

8 Endurance
Always: The cleric gains 1 bonus HP per level, retroactively as well as from gaining this power forwards.
Blessed: The cleric and his allies are refreshed as if they had a full night’s rest. This even restores a magic user’s mystical power.

9 Strength
Always: The cleric’s Strength gains 2 points permanently on learning this power.
Blessed: The cleric grants an ally sufficient Strength to complete any one task requiring it; if the task is combat, the ally’s Strength becomes 18 or is raised by 2, whichever is greater, for the rest of the fight.

10 Lighted Path
Always: The cleric may see in the dark, and may glow softy at will to allow allies to see.
Blessed: The cleric and her allies may walk safely across an unstable surface such as water or thin ice, or a tightrope. Each blessed use of this power allows transit only one way. It ends the next time the cleric and her allies step on a stable surface.

11 Righteousness
Always: The cleric may remain un-tempted by earthly pleasures. Nobody gains a bonus to a non-magical roll to seduce, bribe, or otherwise tempt him.
Blessed: With a few words of wisdom and a blessing, the cleric grants one of his allies this temptation-resisting righteousness.

12 Charity
Always: The kindness the cleric sows reaps threefold kindnesses in return. She receives double her level bonus to any attempt to persuade someone she has recently materially helped to help her in some way, until that person has done her three favors of equal expense (or one of greater expense).
Blessed: If someone refuses to return her kindness, the cleric may give up any bonus to persuade that person and instead experience the blessing of kindness un-looked-for. Someone else who happens into the cleric’s life will provide something which helps her with the needs she was trying to meet.

13 Peace
Always: If the cleric and his allies do not initiate violence, then it requires a successful save against this power to initiate violence against them.
Blessed: Once violence has broken out, the cleric may invoke this blessing to force it to stop. Those who wish to continue fighting must save against this effect to do so, but those who do not save against it will try to restrain their allies.

14 Patience
Always: Any mind-affecting saving throws the cleric makes always receive twice her level bonus, due to her conviction that all troubles are temporary.
Blessed: One ally of the cleric’s choice may be exhorted to patience (including exhorting herself), granting immunity to mind affecting magic until the ally falls asleep or otherwise loses consciousness.

15 Unfailing
Always: The cleric never lets others down. When attempting any action requiring a d20 check on another person’s behalf, any failure may be re-rolled once. The failure may be re-rolled a second time if necessary, if the action is to the benefit of the cleric’s enemies, despite their crimes against him.
Blessed: Praying for blessing, the cleric may grant an ally a bonus of his (the cleric’s) level on one d20 check. An enemy may be caused to automatically succeed at such a check by this blessing.

Acolyte Powers

1 Taming the Tongue
Always: The cleric adds her wisdom bonus to any charisma check to persuade others, due to her honesty and clean, plain speech.
Blessed: Invoked as a blessing, this power prevents anyone who fails a save against it from lying to the cleric. This lasts the whole day.
Lesson: Whenever she tells an uncomfortable truth which needs to be told, or speaks kindly when it is tempting to be harsh, this power’s blessing may be invoked without spending one of the day’s blessings. If it is already in effect, then the target number for the saving throw against it increases by 1 for the rest of the day.

2 Love and Chastity
Always: Because of his pure heart, the cleric enjoys +2 to Strength and Constitution.
Blessed: A loving union may be blessed so that a child (or children) definitely will, or will not, result – according to the needs of the lovers.
Lesson: Each time the cleric passes up the opportunity for unwholesome sexual pleasures, or engages in faithful and loving sex with a life-long lover, he gains an additional blessing for the day.

3 Giving Up Greed
Always: Because she is sustained by faith, the cleric no longer needs to eat or drink. She may still do so for enjoyment.
Blessed: The cleric may accomplish any one task which would normally require a substantial sum of money, such as buying passage for a long trip, purchasing a house or other expensive property, etc. Either the money becomes available just in time, or the owner of the item/provider of the service decides to give it to the cleric for free.
Lesson: If she lives in moderation, taking no extravagant luxuries for herself, the cleric may extend her ability to go without food and drink to anyone who lives with her.

4 Discovering Contentment
Always: Each time the cleric fails a d20 roll, he stores one automatic success for a later d20 roll which he could possibly succeed at; up to his level in successes may be stored this way.
Blessed: One of the cleric’s stored successes may be granted to another person whom he encourages as the action is being taken.
Lesson: Each time the cleric voluntarily passes up a chance to improve his own lot, allowing someone else to take the chance instead, he stores a success for this power as if he had failed a d20 roll.

5 Rising Above Despair
Always: The cleric radiates hope and joy, giving everybody within her line of sight (even enemies, unless they are inherently evil creatures; also including herself) a bonus to save against magical effects (but not cleric powers) equal to her level.
Blessed: Removes a curse or other harmful magic from an individual the cleric lays her hands on and prays for, over the course of one hour.
Lesson: When she gives hope to someone who had lost it through her actions, the cleric gains extra experience points above and beyond the usual bonus for acting in accordance with her class. [exact amount TBD with experience rules, pending]

6 Love Replacing Anger
Always: The cleric takes 1 less damage per level, each time he would be hurt.
Blessed: Prevent all damage by an event (such as an attack, or a turn of touching fire) the cleric witnesses, by a miraculous occurrence.
Lesson: If the blessing of this power is used to save an enemy, that enemy is affected as though by the Magic User spell Mystic Charm (single target effect of full cast), unless a successful save negates this.

7 Justice, Not Vengeance
Always: The cleric does +1 damage/level with any attack she makes.
Blessed: The cleric may look into her enemies’ hearts and know if the crimes she believes they committed were truly theirs. This reveals the hidden nature of any concealed inherently evil creatures.
Lesson: When the cleric forgives someone who actually intentionally wronged her, she may heal herself and that person of all HP damage and associated penalties less severe than amputation. She must heal both; this is a sign of the forgiveness.

8 Acts of Mercy
Always: The cleric may speak and understand the language of anyone he is actively helping.
Blessed: A deadly enemy who has defeated the cleric and/or his allies must spare their lives when this blessing is invoked; a saving throw is possible, but if it is made, then the cleric and his allies are healed of all HP damage and wounds less severe than amputation.
Lesson: When the cleric spares a defeated enemy’s life, or convinces an ally to do so, not only must that enemy honor its surrender (no save), but forever afterwards the cleric and all his allies who were present for the occasion get +2 to peacefully persuade that enemy, so long as they do not initiate hostilities. If they are then attacked, it is possible to keep stacking this bonus; but the bonus goes away for any person who starts a fight with that enemy.

9 Speaking the Word
Always: When the cleric speaks the truth, it is obvious; none may honestly disbelieve her when she speaks without falsehood. They may know her to be mistaken, but never take her for a liar.
Blessed: Mediating between Heaven and Earth, the cleric may gain heavenly messages to pass on. The will of God determines these messages, not that of the cleric; the answers which the cleric and the allies she mediates for seek may not be what they need most. Messages from Heaven gained by this spell are always helpful, but not always easy.
Lesson: Any time she shares dire news gained from this spell, and helps the recipient prepare for it, the cleric will gain access to an additional blessing she normally does not have until the prophecy comes to pass.

10 Humble Piety
Always: By divine providence rather than his own merit, the cleric is unable to critically fail on d20 rolls.
Blessed: Putting another before himself, the cleric moves his action to the bottom of the initiative order in combat, moving another person’s to the top.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric refuses to take credit or compensation for his good deeds, he stores up a chance to use this power’s blessing without moving his own initiative count down.

11 Divine Humor
Always: Seeing the humor inherent in misfortune often lessens it. The cleric may negate up to her level in penalties do any combination of d20 rolls each combat turn.
Blessed: Irony is said to be one of the highest forms of humor; at the cleric’s request, something terrible happens at the best possible time (or, depending on perspective, something excellent happens at the worst possible time. The coincidences caused by this blessing are within the bounds of possibility under the mundane course of events, but highly unlikely – such as a sword breaking on an opponent’s parry, but just right so that the broken part flies off and strikes the throat of the far more dangerous evil mage.
Lesson: When the cleric is able to laugh at her own misfortune, she may call upon this blessing to find a silver lining in the dark clouds; the misfortune turns out to have good aspects which at least equal the bad. (This never negates the bad, only counterbalances it.)

12 Holy Mission
Always: The cleric cannot be delayed in his good works; nothing physical nor magical can impede his movement. Difficult terrain, an amputated foot, or a magical spell of slowness – none will deter him from moving (though ill effects might be applied for doing so, such as bleeding from the wounded limb). If an impediment makes progress impossible, such as a sheer cliff, then this effect does not help.
Blessed: Seeming impossible obstacles to travel will be removed by this blessing, in what seems a miraculous coincidence. These coincidences may seem dangerous at the time, but will never harm the cleric or his allies. In the example of a sheer clif face blocking the cleric’s journey, a rockslide could occur to create a usable path – which, despite appearances, would be stable.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric pursues his mission for God – which may have been imparted by the Speaking the Word blessing or other divine contact, or could be the more general clerical mission of ministering to the needs of body and soul for others – at the cost of some potential personal gain, he may invoke this blessing to make the missed opportunity present itself as still possible, and possible to share with others. For example, if the cleric missed the opportunity to romance his sweetheart because he was tending the sick and poor when she called at his home, this lesson could cause her to hear about where he is and nudge her to decide to join him in his work.

13 Cast Out the Unclean
Always: The cleric, and her allies within line of sight, reroll any failed saves against the powers of inherently evil creatures.
Blessed: All inherently evil creatures who behold the cleric are paralyzed by fear of the holy power suffusing her. If within line of sight and wishing to continue acting without beholding her must voluntarily act under blindness penalties, regardless of any special senses, to avoid beholding the divine glory.
Lesson: When the cleric shuns a friend who is behaving in an unacceptable manner, she grants that person the ability to resist temptation as though benefiting from the always-on effect of the Righteousness Initiate power.

14 Rebuke for the Wise
Always: Heroes traveling with an Acolyte soon learn to listen to his advice. Allies gain the cleric’s level as a bonus to d20 rolls so long as they have not refused his ethical or moral advice that day.
Blessed: Choosing one target, the cleric sets up a condition which lasts for the rest of the day – if a certain evil act is performed, that target will take three times the cleric’s level points of damage. There is no save allowed, because the target chose its fate.
Lesson: An ally who has comitted an evil act against the cleric’s advice may be chastised verbally; if the ally repents of and makes an effort to amend the evil deed, then that ally gains experience points. This may also be applied if the act in question was considered, but avoided based on the cleric’s advice.

15 Seek Wisdom
Always: Whenever there is an unanswered question of facts, the cleric may pray for a revelation. On a successful d20 check based on Wisdom, the necessary information will be revealed somehow within the day. This check may be attempted only once for any given question, and the GM may automatically fail thinly veiled variations; if it is God’s will to keep the truth hidden for now, then so it shall be.
Blessed: instead of being revealed during the following day through come miraculous coincidence, the knowledge is imparted directly to the cleric’s mind instantly in a divine vision. This also automatically makes the check successful.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric and her allies are able to overcome a major obstacle of knowledge (whether or not this power was used), all gain extra experience points. Extra bonus if there was an alternative to fight or steal or some other morally less attractive option, which was avoided by gaining knowledge.

Ordained Cleric Powers

1 Sign of Jonah
Always: Any evil creature, or person who the cleric witnesses perfoming evil acts, who the cleric can see may be inflicted with supernatural fear on a failed save. This takes one turn per creature in combat.
Blessed: Simultaneously inflict fear on all evil enemies in line of sight as one action. No save versus the blessed power.
Lesson: While fighting alongside one or more former enemies who have been converted away from evil and become allies, the cleric also makes all allies immune to fear when using this power’s blessing.
Ethics: If the cleric ever kills someone (excluding creatures of inherently evil types) without giving that person a chance to repent, he loses a level, and this power.

2 Lazarus is Sleeping
Always: The cleric is immune to death by disease, poison, or spells causing instant death. She will never succumb to her wounds, and must be finished off by an enemy’s action.
Blessed: The benefits of this power are extended to one of the cleric’s allies for the rest of the day.
Lesson: When an ally dies in service of a holy cause (such as defending the innocent), this blessing may be used to restore that ally to life.
Ethics: If the cleric attempts to revive an ally who is undeserving, a demon will instead possess the dead body, which will attack the cleric and her allies as punishment.

3 Touching His Robe
Always: Anyone who takes an action to touch the cleric’s vestments and pray will be healed as if by the Initiate power Heal’s blessed effect. It is possible to withhold this effect, but note the Ethics of this power.
Blessed: When the cleric takes a combat turn to pray for healing over someone, that person is fully healed of all wounds except death.
Lesson: Every time the cleric heals someone with this power, he learns that person’s name, what he or she is currently thinking, and the secret buried deepest in his or her heart.
Ethics: This power requires the cleric to have the Initiate power Heal. If the cleric ever refuses to use his healing abilities when asked, he loses them until he agrees to heal the person he refused. If that person dies, then the cleric loses a level, and this power.

4 Pick up Your Cross
Always: The cleric can carry up to double the maximum encumbrance her attributes would suggest, and will never tire any faster for doing so.
Blessed: The cleric and all allies who spend a few minutes praying with her are refreshed, both mentally and physically. For the next day they will need no food or sleep, and will be mentally at their best no matter what horrors they have faced or will encounter. This also includes a +2 bonus to all attributes.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric voluntarily accepts a hardship on behalf of another, she gains her level as an extra bonus to any rolls required to make it through the hardship. If she accepts death on behalf of another, she may not be raised, but the person or people for whom she died will be blessed so that they cannot be killed, lasting until they next reach a safe place.
Ethics: If the cleric ever tries to shirk a duty which is rightfully hers, she loses use of this power and tires twice as quickly from all activities until she completes the duty and makes up for any loss incurred because of her tardiness in her duty.

5 Transfiguration
Always: Creatures of evil cannot bear to look upon the cleric. The blessed effect of Cast Out the Unclean is always on instead of requiring a blessing.
Blessed: The cleric’s body and equipment become holy as those of an angel. His attacks deal double damage to inherently evil creatures, and he adds his level to his defense bonus and saving throws against such fiends. This lasts until there are no evil creatures remaining in his presence.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric or one of his allies in his line of sight slays an inherently evil creature, restore one of the cleric’s used blessings for the day.
Ethics: This power requires the cleric to have both the Repel the Unclean and Cast Out the Unclean powers. If the cleric ever allows an inherently evil being to live by choice, he loses this power until he hunts that being down and destroys it.

6 No One Shall Know
Always: Those with evil intentions cannot track the cleric, and will not find information about her whereabouts when questioning witnesses. Spells of scrying and divination cast with evil intentions also fail to find her.
Blessed: All enemies in the cleric’s line of sight are struck blind unless they make a saving throw. Inherenly evil creatures get no save.
Lesson: Always preparing for eternity, when the cleric gains experience for class-appropriate heroic deeds, the amount is increased.
Ethics: If the cleric compromises on an important moral issue, she is struck blind until she takes a firm stand on that issue instead.

7 Faith, Hope and Love
Always: The cleric and his allies are filled with hope and love because of his faith, leaving no room for the manipulations of others. All mind-affecting magic fails, and mental trauma fails to harm.
Blessed: Cures any insanity, curse, or detrimental magic affecting someone for whom the cleric prays (whether that person is present or not when the prayer occurs, the cleric must simply know the person is afflicted).
Lesson: When the cleric gives of his own resources (enough to make an impact on them) to help a stranger or an enemy, he gains the attention of an angel. This angel (who is at least twice the cleric’s HD) will use one of its powers to help the cleric out at some later time, usually to prevent the cleric or one of his allies from coming to serious harm or dying. The cleric may have multiple favors from angels stored up like this, up to his level.
Ethics: Requires the Patience initiate power. Any hurtful word the cleric speaks against another person in anger inflicts one HP damage on him. Anger at evil actions is allowable, but saying unkind things about the person responsible is not – unless the person responsible is an inherently evil creature, in which case these restrictions do not apply.

8 Gideon’s Miracle
Always: The cleric can see even in complete darkness, and she adds her level to save against illusions.
Blessed: All allies within the cleric’s line of sight are granted this power’s constant effect for the rest of the day.
Lesson: While she sees a long-term holy mission to its end, the cleric may not be ambushed or caught off guard.
Ethics: This power requires both the Guidance and Speaking the Word powers. If she doubts her mission, even after receiving divine messages through the prerequisite powers, the cleric loses ALL class abilities until she repents and takes up the mission once more.

9 March of Joshua
Always: The cleric has a supernatural ability to lead and inspire. Any time a roll would be called for to inspire or gain the trust or cooperation of loyal soldiers, the cleric instead automatically succeeds.
Blessed: Praying and playing worshipful music for an hour, the cleric may destroy an entire building and everything and everyone in it. This may affect even a fortress.
Lesson: When an enemy commits a blasphemy or unforgivable sin, the cleric may use this blessing to instantly cause that enemy to die on a failed save.
Ethics: This power requires the Initiate power Smite. If the cleric fails to chastise an ally who commits an evil action, he loses a level, and this power.

10 Curse of Cain
Always: The cleric’s attacks do double damage (whether physical or spell), but may never slay an enemy of a race which is not inherently evil.
Blessed: In the moment it would be slain, a creature of an inherently evil race is instead redeemed, turning it into a mortal of an appropriate race according to its original race. For example, orcs would become elves, goblins would become dwarves, and demons would become humans. Undead are a special case – in the case of bodies animated by magic, this blessing cannot affect them. In the case of unquiet spirits, they are sent on to the afterlife in peace.
Lesson: When the cleric uncovers a crime done in secret, she may force the criminal to confess on a failed save.
Ethics: The cleric must take responsibility for investigating wrongs she hears of – or at least making sure a responsible authority is doing so, or else she will suffer double damage from all attacks until she follows up on the investigations.

Prophetic Cleric Powers
Prophetic powers are granted by archangels. If one archangel abandons a cleric, all of them do; this reduces the cleric’s level back to 15 and removes all prophetic powers.

1 Gabriel
Messenger, explains God’s will
Always: The cleric gets Guidance automatically on all questions, and any time he prays, he may speak with Gabriel directly as through the blessing of Speaking the Word.
Blessed: Through a blessing, Gabriel directly imparts a divine message to someone of the cleric’s choosing. It is impossible to disbelieve this message, though it is possible to deny it. Those who choose to deny the message will automatically fail any action they take which opposes its dictates.
Lesson: Gabriel teaches humble listening. Whenever one of the cleric’s allies follows through with a divine mission shared by the cleric, Gabriel grants that ally experience points.
Ethics: Gabriel watches over only clerics who bear Gideon’s Miracle. Gabriel requires his charges to boldly speak the Word of God to all – including creatures of pure evil. If his charges falter in this, he will abandon them.
Divine Intervention: Gabriel will, when there is an important divine message to be shared, appear to proclaim it. When Gabriel appears, witnesses will be convicted utterly of his message. Gabriel may even convert creatures of inherent evil into mortal races, and convince them to join the side of good.

2 Michael
Warrior, leads God’s armies
Always: The cleric gains a bonus to all attacks, as if she were a fighter.
Blessed: One attack made by the cleric or one of her allies automatically hits.
Lesson: The cleric and any of her allies may elect to take an attack intended for an ally, before the attack is rolled. If this is done, the attack automatically hits the new target, for minimum possible damage.
Ethics: Michael never retreats from battle, and holds her charges to the same standard. She abandons anyone who retreats or otherwise acts from cowardice rather than courage in God.
Divine Intervention: Michael may show up personally on the battlefield from time to time, or send one of the angelic hosts. Michael is a 25-HD archangel with numerous holy powers and a flaming sword which instantly slays whatever it hits. His angelic hosts consist of 200 15-HD angels, each wielding a shining weapon which deals 1d10 + 5 damage. This intervention is especially likely against overwhelming odds of inherently evil creatures.

3 Raphael
Healer, brings God’s mercy
Always: Allies in the cleric’s line of sight heal his level in HP each combat turn. Amputated body parts re-grow after HP are full, as if they had a value of 10% of the person’s HP. Lost attribute points re-grow as if worth 10 HP apiece. While in the cleric’s line of sight, no disease may overwhelm and no poison may kill, all will eventually be recovered if the cleric continues watching.
Blessed: All disease and wounds and poison and curses and harmful magic is purged from the cleric’s line of sight.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric shows mercy to an enemy, that enemy must make a successful save to again attempt an evil act. Once a successful save is made, this effect ends – but failed saves prevent the evil action (which may not be attempted again), and also continue the effect so that the next such act considered prompts another save, and so on.
Ethics: Raphael only guards bearers of the powers Touching His Robes and Curse of Cain. Raphael does not condone murder. If one of his charges allows an ally to kill any person of a non-inherently-evil race, Raphael abandons him.
Divine Intervention: Raphael will intervene to prevent the death of his charge unless it is God’s will that he die. No amount of damage may kill the cleric, nor any hazard of magic or what may come. Only when God decides it may the cleric die.

4 Azrael
Angel of Death, destroys the wicked
Always: Creatures of inherently evil races must save each turn they are in the line of sight of a cleric guarded by Azrael; on a failed save, they take 1d6/level damage.
Blessed: With this blessing, the cleric may kill any number of plants or nonsentient beasts. This may blight a forest, ruin a crop, slay livestock or war animals, or whatever the situation calls for.
Lesson: If an enemy is given a chance to repent, and refuses, the cleric may call upon Azrael to transform that enemy into an appropriate inherently evil race.
Ethics: Only takes clerics blessed with the March of Joshua as her charges. If any innocent person should die as a result of the blessing granted by Azrael, she leaves the side of the cleric who invoked that blessing. Causing hardship to a land is one thing, but killing the innocent through starvation is horrible and detestable.
Divine Intervention: When an enemy is truly evil, but beyond the cleric’s reach or that of her allies even with all the miracles and powers at their disposal, Azrael will occasionally take matters into her own hands – slaying the tyrant, and any of his or her most evil followers.

5 Uriel
Protector, saves the innocent
Always: The cleric may prevent his choice of 10 damage per level per round. He chooses the damage which is negated as it would happen, after relevant rolls are made.
Blessed: The cleric may choose one person to become immune to damage for the remainder of a dangerous encounter (such as combat) – that is, until the danger has passed and the target has had a chance to rest.
Lesson: Whenever the cleric and her allies save one or more innocent lives, Uriel gives them a significant XP bonus.
Ethics: Uriel will no longer guard a cleric who intentionally harms, or allows to come to harm through inaction, any person of a non-inherently-evil race who has not just sinned against the cleric or his allies.
Divine Intervention: Uriel guards his charges from harm in extreme cases. If untold destruction would be wrought, and no mortal hand could stop it, Uriel may intervene on behalf of one of his charges to prevent the catastrophe.

6 Raguel
Marshall, delivers God’s justice
Always: The cleric’s words may bind. Whatever she delcares bound is bound. This may seal any opning (such as a door or cave mouth or window) so that it may not be passed, or any living being so that it cannot move or do anything. It can be allowed to speak, but only if the cleric wishes it. It is allowed a saving throw when this is applied.
Blessed: Through this blessing, hearts and minds may also be bound. The cleric may bind someone’s heart with any of the ethical principles required of her because of her miraculous powers. If the person so bound acts against this binding, then he or she loses a level.
Lesson: When the cleric confronts someone with evidence they have sinned, that person must either repent and try to right the wrong, or face punishment. The punishment for sin is death, but the cleric may specify some lesser punishment such as a debilitating curse or disease.
Ethics: Raguel requires her charges to act when they find evidence of wrongdoing. Sinners must be confronted, and she will forsake those who do not have the courage to do so.
Divine Intervention: Raguel will often intervene in small ways, far more often than most angels intervene; through her power, the cleric will never fail to gain insight or clues to an investigation. If all else has failed, Raguel’s intervention will ensure a miraculous revelation at the last moment.

7 Saraqael
Soul Shepherd, angel of the resurrection
Always: The cleric no longer uses a blessing to invoke the Lesson of Lazarus is Sleeping. He may also interrogate the soul of the dead person he wishes to raise, who must truthfully answer – so it is no longer possible for the cleric to attempt to raise the undeserving, and be punished with a demon in the flesh instead.
Blessed: A dead body may have a demon bound into it in the cleric’s service. This servant has terrible strength and endurance – treat as an undead with d12 HD equal to the cleric’s level, which deals 2d10 + 10 damage on hit. It automatically succeeds at feats of strength which would normally require a roll; if an opposed roll is involved, it adds +20. The demon-animated body must obey everything the cleric tells it to do.
Lesson: If the cleric wishes, he may speak with the demon. If he convinces the demon of the worthiness of following God, then the demon is converted into a human soul, and along with the body it animates, it is resurrected as a member of an adventuring class.
Ethics: Saraqael only guards clerics blessed with Lazarus is Sleeping. If the cleric allows a demon bound with Saraqael’s blessing to perform an evil act, Saraqael will withdraw his favor.
Divine Intervention: Saraqael may resurrect anyone he sees fit; sometimes, though the death of one of the cleric’s allies was unrighteous, Saraqael may decide to raise that ally anyway – so that the cleric may continue to teach his friend a better way for a while longer.

8 Remiel
Angel of Hope, guards God’s chosen
Always: Remiel allows her chosen clerics to change one initiate power for a different one whenever they pray for a minute to do so.
Blessed: With a blessing, an acolyte or ordained power may be changed out instead.
Lesson: When none of the cleric’s powers will help, but she still does not give up hope and keeps trying, Remiel intercedes and the cleric may ask for help from a different archangel than usually watches over her.
Ethics: To be guarded by Remiel, the cleric must already have the power Rising Above Despair. Remiel cannot abide self-pity, angst, or depression. Her chosen clerics must guard themselves against such attitudes, or she will forsake them.
Divine Intervention: Before abandoning a charge, Remiel will personally appear to offer tidings of hope. If the cleric still refuses to take heart, then Remiel will leave her.

9 Zadkiel
Liberator, breaks unjust bonds
Always: What the cleric declares opened is unbound. Any portal may be forced (whether physically or magically sealed), and any binding (similarly, physical or magical) may be removed, simply by the cleric’s word.
Blessed: Hearts and minds may be similarly freed by this blessing. If an idea or a relationship is oppressing or harming someone, this blessing reveals that to the victim and oppressor alike. If magic binds a person’s behavior, that magic is eliminated.
Lesson: When the cleric confronts an oppressor with the slaves she has freed from bondage, the oppressor must relinquish any claim to those she has freed. If any continued relationship is desired, then the oppressor must become an equal, and give up whatever desires caused him or her to bind his or her victims in the first place.
Ethics: Zadkiel forsakes any cleric who places another in bondage for any reason other than preventing further evil actions.
Divine Intervention: Rather than intervening directly, the power Zadkiel grants simply cannot be opposed. Only power such as could defeat the magic of a 25-HD archangel may bind what a cleric guarded by Zadkiel wishes loosened.

10 Jophiel
Teacher, delivers language and law to God’s people
Always: The cleric may communicate with any being which has a language, as if no barrier of language differences existed. While the cleric is present, everybody understands each others’ words – it is not even possible to use coded messages to obscure meaning.
Blessed: Perfect understanding of intention is granted between the cleric and one person for one conversation. If it is possible for either to convince the other, the means for that will be laid bare.
Lesson: When the cleric resolves a conflict with someone whose intention was known to be completely hostile, without resorting to violence, then that formerly hostile person will become a friend permanently. If that person was a creature of inherent evil, this undoes that nature, turning the creature mortal and friendly.
Ethics: Jophiel only guards bearers of Taming the Tongue. Jophiel leaves the side of any cleric who resorts to violence before negotiation.
Divine Intervention: Jophiel may decide to intervene behind the scenes when enemies of her chosen prophets scheme and plot and lay honeyed words against them. The sweet words of schemers are turned to bitter ashes, and just when the evil plots would trap the cleric they instead collapse on themselves.

Besides the powers bestowed on them, clerics are skilled in knowledge of history and mystical truths. They always have a kind word to share, or a rebuke for bad behavior. Clerics can always read and write, and often make beautiful illuminated works of calligraphy or other pieces of art as acts of worship. Higher level clerics gain skill in anything necessary to teach the lessons their powers call them to teach.

Ian Price, author of the Tabletop Treasury posts on this site, is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem. Bad Decisions has a Kickstarter project live now!

Treasury of Games: Plot Hook Generator

Sometimes you don’t know how you want to grab your players’ attention. Here’s a handy table to create that hook, and give you an idea how to pitch it.


Table A: Type of Hook

1 Friendly NPC

2 Hostile NPC

3 Cryptic Message

4 Mission or Quest

5 Omen or Foreshadowing

6 Obtain an Item

7 Lose an Item

8 Abduction!

9 Battle!

10 Roll twice more and combine results.


Friendly NPC

1 An old man answers one of the PCs’ questions. He wasn’t part of the conversation before, he just jumped in. Does he know the PCs, or is he a stranger? Where did he come from?

2 A little girl invites the PCs to follow her. Back at her home/hiding place, the PCs will find exactly what they need (to progress the plot).

3 “I’ve been sent to help,” the stranger says. The PCs have heard of the stranger’s sponsor, but are surprised to hear their interests and the sponsor’s align.

4 “Come with me if you want to live.” The PCs are in trouble, but this NPC shows up with a way out.

5 “Oh wow, you’re really them!” A fan of the PCs’ exploits is looking for help with the kind of thing they do.

6 An attractive member of the opposite sex has a proposition for one of the PCs… but not THAT. Well… Not unless the PC can do the job.

7 An attractive member of the opposite sex gets involved with one of the PCs in a whirlwind romance, but he or she is also involved in something big.

8 The PCs stumble across somebody in a running fight with the same kind of opponents the PCs usually fight, and it looks like they could use some help.

9 A childhood friend of one of the PCs shows up again in unlikely circumstances, with a surprising story, and a request.

10 Someone is selling exactly what the PCs need, at a fair price, and is even willing to make a deal if they need it but are short on cash.


Hostile NPC

1 An old enemy has a new way to get back at one of the PCs.

2 Somehow, the PCs have offended this person, and a fight breaks out.

3 1-10 armed thugs break in and start shooting at the PCs.

4 A PC is mugged in the street.

5 This NPC wants something the PCs have, and won’t take no for an answer.

6 One of the PCs is about to be an involuntary organ donor; this NPC needs an internal organ and one of the PCs fits the profile to give it.

7 The NPC is apologetic, but must do something terrible to the PCs.

8 The PCs might not realize it, or they might remember clearly why, but this NPC considers them all enemies and is back for vengeance.

9 A jilted lover from a PC’s past (or possibly someone messed up enough to hold a grudge over an unrequited crush) turns up to cause trouble.

10 Someone wants the same thing the PCs want, and isn’t shy about sabotaging their efforts to get it.


Cryptic Message

1 A note is delivered with the characters’ meal (in a modern setting, it’s perfect if this is inside a fortune cookie).

2 One of the PCs sees messages written on surfaces which nobody else can see.

3 A letter is delivered to one of the PCs. It’s addressed to the PC, but has no return address. The piece of paper inside the envelope is blank.

4 After making a normal purchase, the seller tells the PC, “they’re coming for you.” If asked for clarification, he/she says, “run, you fool!” What happens next?

5 A series of people come to the door and each says one word and then leaves. This occurs over the course of several days, no more than an hour separating each one, and when taken together the words form a message. If setting appropriate, the people who speak the words are actually some form of zombie.

6 The next time the PC is handed a receipt for a purchase, there is a message written on the back of it in a foreign language. The person handing over the receipt doesn’t know how it could have gotten there.

7 A public announcement (news broadcast in a modern setting, something publicly posted in town in pre-modern, etc.) mentions a PC by name, with an anonymous message, “You are almost ready.”

8 “They are coming,” a small child whispers to one of the PCs, and hands over a note, then runs off giggling.

9 A message is delivered in a usual way, from a PC’s normal contact (email in a modern setting, letter by a messenger in an older setting, etc.) – but it reads entirely differently from that contact’s normal writing, or if a voice recording, it isn’t the contact’s voice.

10 The wall catches fire, and the fire spreads into the shape of words on the wall. After the whole message has formed, the fire goes out, leaving it written in ashes and scorch marks.


Mission or Quest

1 Go and retrieve an item… but it’s big, so how will you actually carry it?

2 Go to a location and survive there for 24 hours.

3 Capture an enemy and interrogate them.

4 Extract a friendly from enemy hands.

5 Find the missing piece of this puzzle. A clue can be found where you want the PCs to go.

6 Destroy a specific item, before it can be used for disastrous purposes.

7 You can’t stay here! Escape to safety!

8 Fetch me a donut; the PCs are given an inconsequential task, but it turns out to be important once they complete it.

9 Fetch me a shrubbery; the PCs are given a task which is truly inconsequential, meant only to keep them busy and out of the way.

10 It’ll be dangerous… The PCs must do something which seems suicidal, but failing to do it would be even worse.


Omen or Foreshadowing

1 A bat in the daytime: The PCs must soon take a long and dangerous journey.

2 A butterfly in the bedroom: The PC will soon have a great joy, but could destroy it by doing the wrong thing.

3 The broken chain: A PC’s wallet or watch chain breaks, and (s)he will soon suffer disappointment.

4 Crossed knives: Soon there will be conflict and strife in the PCs’ future.

5 Shooting star: What the PCs desire will come true, but it won’t necessarily be good.

6 A gun on the table: The plot device you will use to introduce the next challenge is in plain sight in an establishing scene.

7 An instant dislike: The antagonist is first introduced in a friendly setting, but at least one PC doesn’t get along with him (or her), for some reason.

8 Hidden meaning: An NPC tells the PCs something which seems straightforward, but also foretells something in the next encounter you have planned.

9 The gods must be crazy: an important plot device literally falls from the sky.

10 Retroactive: pick a scene that’s already happened in the game – something from that scene is now a key to your next plot device. (Preferably pick a memorable scene; if you’re just starting the game, pick something in a PC’s background.)


Obtain an Item – an opportunity to get something useful or interesting can motivate PCs and drive a story.

1 A weapon

2 A tool

3 Something magical (or symbolic)

4 Something foreign/exotic

5 A gift from a friend

6 A gift from an enemy

7 A prize in a contest of skill

8 A prize in a contest of luck

9 One man’s trash

10 Something written


Lose an Item – losing something valuable or even the threat of such loss can give focus to the PCs’ actions.

1 Something personal, of sentimental value only.

2 A favorite piece of equipment, which is used all the time.

3 An expensive piece of equipment which is used rarely.

4 One of the PCs’ homes.

5 Somewhere the PCs often meet.

6 A favorite food stops being available.

7 Communication with the rest of the world – in the form of the ability to write or phone calls or whatever items would normally allow such.

8 Transportation – a mount, vehicle, or other equivalent. Even a pair of shoes.

9 Luxury – a source of relaxation or comfort, such as a bed, pillow, food, etc.

10 A hat – something worn on the head.


Abduction! – Players love rescue missions. It’s a clear focus and grabs the attention of most PCs instantly. When someone important is kidnapped, the PCs will follow after them.

1 A family member (child, parent, sibling, cousin, etc.).

2 A lover or spouse.

3 One of the PCs! (Make sure the PC still has things to do, even if escape isn’t possible without help from other PCs)

4 A mentor or teacher.

5 A trusted NPC supporter – someone who isn’t usually part of the adventure, but provides things the PCs need in between.

6 A contact the PCs need to achieve their current goals – best if kidnapped right in front of the PCs or otherwise under their noses when they are about to get what they need but haven’t quite yet.

7 A POTENTIALLY useful but not current NPC contact/supporter

8 A political figure (1-3: local, 4-6: regional, 7-8: national, 9: roll again and add “aligned with the PC’s views”, 10: roll again and add “opposed to the PC’s views”)

9 A cultural figure (same chart as above, or roll for type of cultural – entertainer, artist, etc)

10 Roll again, ignoring this result if rerolled.  Add “…and the PC is a suspect in their abduction” to the result.




1 Roll for initiative! Someone has jumped out and attacked!

2 Surprise! Perception checks, to see if any PCs notice the ambush.

3 Opportunity! The PCs have a chance to surprise some enemies, who they’ve noticed before being noticed in return.

4 Sports – the PCs are challenged to a form of sporting mock combat appropriate to the setting.

5 Duel – a PC is challenged to one on one combat.

6 Standoff – a tense situation arises where one wrong move could result in a deadly battle.

7 Bystanders – battle erupts between two parties other than the PCs in the PCs’ presence!

8 Nonviolent – a conflict in some form other than physical violence, such as an argument or hostile corporate takeover.

9 Misunderstanding – the PCs get involved in a fight they don’t want, because an NPC takes something they said or did the wrong way.

10 Outnumbered – The PCs are surrounded by a more numerous enemy, and must escape; cue chase music!


Ian Price is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem.

Treasury of Games: Plot Coupons

If you play RPGs, you are probably familiar with the standard model of play in these games: the GM narrates most of the world, the players choose the actions of their characters, and the GM interprets the results of a random number then narrates the resulting situation, and so on. There are five major components to telling the story of the game in this model:

  • World state control (usually in the hands of a single GM)
  • Protagonist control (usually in the hands of a group of players, each having one protagonist)
  • Supporting character control (usually in the hands of a single GM)
  • Outcome control (usually given over to random number generation, often using dice)
  • Outcome interpretation (usually in the hands of a single GM)

Obviously, the GM holds a lot of cards here, especially looking at it this way. Really, the roles of the players collectively and the GM individually are about equal, because of the inherently pivotal role the players have in the story of the game, simply because the PCs are the focus characters. However, sometimes it can be fun to change up the roles a little. Some games do this with a meta-game currency which goes by many names: hero points, action points, action dice, fate points, etc. For this essay, we’ll call them “plot coupons.” They are an ephemeral credit a player can trade in or a GM can award to change who or what has control in a narrative situation. If plot coupons are used, they play as follows:


  • The GM may offer a player a plot coupon once per game session to dictate what choice the PC makes in a situation if the PC accepts. (Example: GM asks, “will you accept a plot coupon to choose to help the man instead of ignoring him?” Player says, “OK, despite his inclinations, Sir Varec will agree to help.” Player gains a plot coupon.)
  • The GM may award players plot coupons for any reason or no reason at all, depending on how much the GM trusts the players with their use and what kind of storytelling is desired. For example, the GM may decide that each player gets a free plot coupon each game session, which might or might not be stockpiled, or might award a plot coupon for any action which really impresses the group and gets a good reaction, or for success in a character’s story goals, or for failure at critical junctures.
  • Speaking of failure, the GM may offer the player a plot coupon in exchange for automatically failing any one roll. This CAN be a roll which would kill the character on failure, but the player must know that if so. Also inherent in the agreement is that the player will have continuing participation in the story, even if this character dies. If the player refuses, then the roll is made as normal.


  • A player may spend a plot coupon to automatically succeed on one roll. This may be done once per game session.
  • A player may add something not already described to the world state by spending a plot coupon. This must be in-genre and must not contradict the GM’s already stated description. (Example: “But there happens to be an old friend of mine in town, who wouldn’t mind sheltering us in his cellar while we wait out the guards’ search.”)
  • A player may expend a plot coupon to force a roll on something narrated by the GM which wasn’t already going to be rolled for. If the roll goes in favor of the player, the player narrates a version of the event instead of the GM. The new narration must be in-genre, and may only contradict events which were not separately rolled for. If the roll goes in favor of the GM, then the original narration stays. The roll is a 50/50 chance. (Example: GM narrates, “the dam breaks, and the waters flood down the valley, smashing the village to flinders…” Player interrupts, “I would like to change that. Plot coupon and roll off.” Roll goes in player’s favor, so Player narrates, “Warning reached the village in time, and many villagers were able to evacuate to higher ground. Though their homes are smashed, we don’t have the deaths of the whole village on our conscience, and can still go to them for aid.”
  • A player may spend a plot coupon to narrate an interpretation of success or failure for an action his/her character took. The group must agree that the description is consistent with success or failure as appropriate to the dice results; if the player is just trying to cheat the dice results with a weasel-worded description, the plot coupon is refunded and the GM describes the results as per normal.
  • A player may spend a plot coupon to dictate an NPC’s action in a situation; the GM may refuse this the action seems too out-of-character for the NPC.

This system can be used with any game to shift some of the narrative opportunities to the players. Players don’t often get to exercise the kind of storyline creativity required of the GM, so tapping that energy from the players’ minds can be a great asset. However, this is not a system for game groups where a high degree of trust does not exist between the players and the GM. The GM and players have to be on the same page about creating a certain kind of story – serious or silly, for example, and what genre conventions are important. If that trust does exist then opening up control to the players adds to the pool of creative ideas, and the energy that can be brought to bear on them.

In a game which already uses a similar mechanic (and there are many: 7th Sea with drama dice, FATE and fate points, Willpower in World of Darkness, and so on), consider how you will integrate this mechanic with it. You may want to avoid duplicating uses; for example, if you added these to a World of Darkness game, since Willpower already allows increasing the chance of success in desperate situations, you might not want to allow plot coupons to buy success. You may want to replace existing mechanic. Whatever you choose, make sure you tell your players explicitly before starting to play, and keep a reference for how any house rules you are using work so everybody is on the same page.

Ian Price is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem.

Treasury of Games: Erriapus Harvester Post A58.

This irregular satellite of Saturn was captured and nudged into a more stable orbit to provide a staging area for harvester barges making runs up and down the gas giant’s gravity well. Saturn’s atmosphere and rings provide rich sources of a variety of elements and minerals, essential to the Solar system’s heavy industry. It’s also a battleground, the first place extrasolar fleets coming for humanity’s homeland must secure. Historically, no fleet which failed to secure Saturn’s harvester posts succeeded in claiming Terra. Currently, the debris of past battles is just one more resource to harvest.

The post is run by an old spacer named Garth. He comes across as a solid, stubborn, capable organizer. Stubborn he is, but though he trades heavily on his reputation for having held the post through the past two wars and three attempted invasions in the course of them, he tends to overcompensate for the way technical details of engineering have outpaced him by using bureaucratic details to frustrate others. Ship captains don’t look forward to having to submit requests to him, because they inevitably come back two or three times for clarifications or corrections. However, his crew like him because of his quick and jovial wit, and this makes him popular with not only the few others on the post but the barge captains who work with him enough to know the quirks of how he wants the paperwork done.

The newest barge captain to come out to Saturn’s rings is Hyman Ward. A 19-year-old graduate of the Ares Piloting Academy on Syria Planum, Ward is a shining example of the first class to come out of that school, founded at the end of the Solar-Gliesean conflict 5 years ago. He has an open and forgiving command style, while still keeping his crew of six adhering to regulations and getting the job done. His major flaw is his naïvete, a trait which old Garth finds endless amusement in by turning the boy’s head with pranks and tall tales.

Possible dangers or encounters at the harvester post:

  • One of Garth’s pranks went a little too far, and Ward’s barge ended up losing engine power. It’s falling towards Saturn!
  • A leftover mine from the last war was mistaken for scrap metal, and it went off inside the harvester post. Can anyone be saved from this catastrophic mishap?
  • All transmissions from the post have cut out. What’s wrong? They could be jammed because of an incoming attack, or it could be a simple electrical problem.

Treasury of Games: Contains Unsavory Illustrations

Some books are banned for good reasons. The Comics Code Authority was founded by conservative moralists, but it found a greater purpose than censoring skin and blood. On rare occasions, something dangerous to more than the morals of children would be published, if not for a small team within the CCA. The “unsavory illustrations” label sometimes has this deeper meaning: that the publication so labeled has been censored to remove images with real magical meanings.

Naturally, when subversive cults or warlocks look to publish their spell-symbols to put into effect some grand-scale ritual or to alter the minds of millions or whatever the reason, they would rather not see their publication censored by the authority. However, none of the major distribution channels will pick up a non-CCA-approved publication, so the scope of other publications is limited to local markets. The team in the CCA is independent and can’t help with local problems directly, they specialize in recognizing occult symbols so they can ensure none get into mass publication.

The CCA symbol has been modified over the years to contain a hidden cipher. It serves dual purposes – as a warning to rogue occultists seeking to publish damaging materials, and as an offer to other groups seeking to curb those publications. The CCA occult team exists to prevent the widespread distribution of materials which could cause memetic contagion or a massive reality altering event. Though they can’t reach directly to at-risk communities and the hiding places of the warlocks who might publish these materials, they can offer resources to like-minded groups who might be able to do something, while deterring the less venturesome cults from raising their heads. The message of the cipher to those who can decode it is, “We are watching.”

It may be an empty message, but the team does what they can to provide information to others like them who fight against the darkness.

Ian Price is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem.

Treasury of Games: Dragon Altar

A cliff overlooking the eastern sea, six miles from the town of Layton (known for the roast boar prepared at the inn of the Bowman’s Pony), “Dragon Altar” is said to be where kings and queens of old were joined together by no lesser officiant than a true dragon. A weathered stone monument at the highest point describes the ritual in the ancient tongue of dragons. Only a few scholars can read the marks in this fallen age, but the ritual not only binds two souls in matrimony, but involves the dragon’s pledge to protect them and their lands. Since it is said that when dragons pronounce their own speech, the words are magic itself, enforcing the truths pronounced by the dragon, the ritual is thought to have made a mystical connection between the dragon, the monarchs, and the land. Some scholars believe this accounts for the reported longevity of these ancient rulers, when they were not killed in battle.

Sadly, dragons have been absent from the land for many years. When the king from beyond the eastern sea came with his men and ships and the power of foreign gods and conquered the land, his people knew nothing about the traditions linking the dragons and the kingdom, save that dragons were in service to their enemies. Then, later, the remaining dragons were seen as feral menaces to be eliminated, because they had lost their connection with the land and the people had forgotten the traditions which would have made dragons their allies. Now, dragons are legends, and haven’t been seen near these settled lands in generations.

Weddings are still held at the Dragon Altar cliffs, though, in front of the slab where the words most cannot read are inscribed. High ranking officials of the land travel to these cliffs to be seen honoring the old traditions, not knowing what those really were. If a pair were to find a true dragon and enact the true wedding ritual of this altar, they could obtain a connection with the land which has been absent for centuries. Besides being able to command the loyalty of a dragon, the lands belonging to a pair so mated will be blessed with fertility (as will the pair themselves). The humans in the bargain gain the ability to properly pronounce the speech of dragons, and thus perform magic in their way. The dragon gains the ability to transform into a human at will, and may dominate the minds of any humans who owe loyalty to the pair it is joined to. The three may speak to each other in the tongue of dragons at any distance as well, though they may not lie in that speech – for attempting to do so will levy a curse, because peaking in dragon language makes magic, and speaking lies in it will thus twist the speaker. Dragons might learn to lie to each other without twisting themselves, but between those bound by oath at Dragon Altar, the oath ensures any lies among the three will be punished. Some possible ways the liar might be twisted:

1 Hears all speech as lies.

2 Sees people who are not there occasionally.

3 Fails to see people who are there occasionally.

4 Can’t hear people who aren’t first perceived by another sense.

5 Colors are muted and hard to distinguish.

6 Both eyes change to random colors, and hair changes color and natural shape.

Ian Price is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem.

Treasury of Games: How to decide what to play?

You may be a GM with too many game ideas to run, or part of a gaming group with multiple GMs vying for people’s limited free time. If you are lucky enough to have multiple games to choose from, it sucks to have to choose, but with a fair method everyone can game happy.  Have a pitch night with your gamers to decide what games will be played!

The Pitch: Each person who wants to GM will have up to 15 minutes to sell the game idea. Take your audience into account when doing this, and make sure to sell the game you’ll be running, not simply the system you’ll be using for it or yourself as a GM. The essential rule of the pitch, however, is that you must build up the game on its own merits; comparisons with what others plan to run, or appeals to particular players based on their tastes or habits or your relationship with them are not allowed in the Pitch. Those things may play a role in who votes for what in the end, but the idea of making a Pitch is to overcome those tendencies, not strengthen them.

The Sign-Up Sheet: On this sheet, there will be a paragraph or so describing the game, reminding people what they’re signing up for. It will list the GM’s name. It ought to list the expected running length of the game, as this will be a key selling point, indicating a strong story-arc plan on the GM’s part. Everybody except for the GM will sign in one of three spots:

“I would play this” – marked PLAY, these are up-votes, plain and simple. Voting for a game means you commit to show up for as long as it runs, if it is the game chosen by the majority.

“I’d give it a shot” – marked TRY, this is an abstention. By signing here, your vote will be counted only for tie-breaking purposes. This vote means that if this game is chosen, you will at least show up to try it for the first two or three sessions, because while the game doesn’t push your buttons specifically, you enjoy socializing with us on Tuesday nights, and the game doesn’t push you away too much for that.

“I would not play this” – marked BOW OUT, this is also an abstention. By signing here, your vote will be counted only for tie-breaking purposes as well! However, this vote commits to not showing up on Tuesday nights for the duration of the game in question if it is chosen. In other words, this game is so uninteresting or sounds actively un-fun that you would rather stay home and/or seek other entertainment than hang out with your friends here while playing it.

Tallying Votes: The game with the most names in the PLAY column will be chosen, no matter the names in the TRY and BOW OUT columns. If one game gets 3 PLAY votes, and the most another game gets is 2 PLAY votes, then the game with 3 PLAY will run even if it got 5 BOW OUT votes and one of the games with 2 PLAY votes got 6 TRY votes. In other words, players enthusiastic enough to commit to the game will be given more weight than those who would merely try, or those who do not wish to play.

Breaking Ties: In the case of tied PLAY votes for the most popular game, the game with the better TRY/BOW OUT ratio will be chosen. So if two games each received 4 PLAY votes, but one received 2 TRY and 2 BOW OUT, while the other received 4 TRY votes, then the latter game would be chosen.

The advantage to this method, similar to this “Approval Voting” method explained by CGP Grey, is that you end up with the most enthusiastic players in your game. Adding the option to drop out and do something else with the free time ensures you won’t have any grudging/whining players cluttering up your gaming table as well. And there’s no reason you can’t invite them to the next pitch night – your friendship with them will probably be all the better for not making them play a game they don’t like.

Ian Price is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem.