Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Empress core rules - Section 6.8 - 6.9

Here's where we wrap it up: the master list of spell effects that we are using from LotFP, and some general guidelines for how particular magical effects should be handled.  That's it for the Empress core rules!

6.8. Complete spell list

The following sections list all the spells currently supported by Empress.  Keep in mind, however, that it’s really easy to add new ones.  Spells here are described in the LotFP rules, or in these rules, above.

6.8.1. Level one

  1. Arcane Justice
  2. Audible Glamour
  3. Augury
  4. Bless
  5. Bookspeak
  6. Cause Light Wounds
  7. Cause Fear
  8. Charm Person
  9. Change Self
  10. Command
  11. Comprehend Languages
  12. Corrupt Food & Drink
  13. Darkness
  14. Delay Poison
  15. Detect Invisible
  16. Detect Magic
  17. Enlarge
  18. Enthrall
  19. ESP
  20. Faerie Fire
  21. Feather Fall
  22. Floating Disc
  23. Force of Forbidment
  24. Forget
  25. Heat Metal
  26. Heroism
  27. Hide Object
  28. Hold Portal
  29. Identify
  30. Invisibility
  31. Knock
  32. Levitate
  33. Light
  34. Locate Object
  35. Magic Aura
  36. Magic Missile
  37. Magic Mouth
  38. Mending
  39. Message
  40. Minor Invisibility
  41. Mirror Image
  42. Obscure Aura
  43. Obscure Languages
  44. Penetration Curse
  45. Phantasmal Force
  46. Protection from Evil
  47. Purify Food & Drink
  48. Rally the Spirit
  49. Ray of Enfeeblement
  50. Remove Fear
  51. Resist Cold
  52. Resist Fire
  53. Rush of Vitality
  54. Sanctuary
  55. Sequester Memory
  56. Silence 15' Radius
  57. Sooth
  58. Shrink
  59. Speak with Animals
  60. Stinking Cloud
  61. Touch of Bliss
  62. Turn Undead
  63. Undead Attraction
  64. Wall of Fog
  65. Web
  66. Wizard Lock

6.8.2. Level two

  1. Air Breathing
  2. Army of One
  3. Bestow Curse
  4. Cause Disease
  5. Cause Serious Wounds
  6. Charm Monster
  7. Clairvoyance
  8. Confusion
  9. Creation, Minor
  10. Cure Disease
  11. Detect Illusion
  12. Detect Lie
  13. Dig
  14. Dimension Door
  15. Dispel Magic
  16. Divination
  17. Drain Life
  18. Evil Eye
  19. Expel Parasites
  20. Explosive Runes
  21. Extension
  22. Fly
  23. Gaseous Form
  24. Globe of Invulnerability, Minor
  25. Gust of Wind
  26. Hallucinatory Terrain
  27. Haste
  28. Healer’s Ward
  29. Hold Person
  30. Howl of the Moon
  31. Inflict Poison
  32. Invisibility 10' Radius
  33. Invisibility, Improved
  34. Magic Vestment
  35. Mnemonic Enhancer
  36. Neutralize Poison
  37. Phantasmal Psychedelia
  38. Penetration Curse
  39. Plant Growth
  40. Polymorph Others
  41. Polymorph Self
  42. Protection from Evil 10' Radius
  43. Protection from Normal Missiles
  44. Protection from Normal Weapons
  45. Remove Curse
  46. Sacrifice
  47. Secret Page
  48. Seven Gates
  49. Shadow Monsters
  50. Slow
  51. Speak with Dead
  52. Speak with Plants
  53. Spell Immunity
  54. Strange Waters II
  55. Suggestion
  56. Wall of Fire
  57. Wall of Ice
  58. Water Breathing
  59. Water Walk
  60. Witchsight
  61. Wizard Eye

6.8.3. Level three

  1. Airy Water
  2. Animate Dead
  3. Animate Dead Monsters
  4. Anti-Magic Shell
  5. Babble
  6. Barrier
  7. Blessing of Life
  8. Cause Critical Wounds
  9. Chaos
  10. Cloudkill
  11. Commune
  12. Contact Outer Sphere
  13. Contingency
  14. Creation, Major
  15. Death Spell
  16. Disintegrate
  17. Dispel Evil
  18. Dream of the Great Seer
  19. Faithful Hound
  20. False Seeing
  21. Feeblemind
  22. Fey Blade
  23. Find the Path
  24. Flesh to Stone
  25. Forbiddance
  26. Geas
  27. Glass Eye
  28. Globe of Invulnerability, Major
  29. Harm
  30. Heal
  31. Hold Monster
  32. Insect Plague
  33. Interposing Hand
  34. Legend Lore
  35. Lose the Path
  36. Lucubration
  37. Magic Jar
  38. Magic Scroll
  39. Mind Switch
  40. Move Earth
  41. Obscure the Path
  42. Passwall
  43. Penetration Curse
  44. Phantasmal Supergoria
  45. Projected Image
  46. Quest
  47. Seal of the Ocular Curse
  48. Secret Chest
  49. Shades
  50. Speak with Monsters
  51. Stone Shape
  52. Stone to Flesh
  53. Suggestion, Mass
  54. Telekinesis
  55. Teleport
  56. Tongues
  57. Transmute Rock to Mud
  58. Transmute Mud to Rock
  59. True Seeing
  60. Veil
  61. Wall of Force
  62. Wall of Iron
  63. Wall of Stone
  64. Weird Vortex
  65. Word of Recall

6.8.4. Level four

  1. Animated Artwork
  2. Antipathy/Sympathy
  3. Bestow Spell Ability
  4. Charm Person, Mass
  5. Clone
  6. Control Weather
  7. Demand
  8. Duo-Dimension
  9. Earthquake
  10. Eternal Possession
  11. Grasping Hand
  12. Holy Word
  13. Instant Summons
  14. Invisibility, Mass
  15. Magic Sword
  16. Maze
  17. Mind Blank
  18. Part Water
  19. Penetration Curse
  20. Permanency
  21. Phase Door
  22. Polymorph Any Object
  23. Power Word Stun
  24. Remote Surveillance
  25. Restoration
  26. Reverse Aging
  27. Reverse Gravity
  28. Simulacrum
  29. Spell Turning
  30. Statue
  31. Symbol
  32. Trap the Soul
  33. Unholy Word
  34. Vanish
  35. Vision
  36. Witchlamp Aura

6.8.5. Level five

  1. Freedom
  2. Immortality
  3. Imprisonment
  4. Penetration Curse
  5. Power Word Kill
  6. Shape Change
  7. Temporal Stasis
  8. Time Stop

6.9. Magical concepts

Magic in Empress is pretty open-ended, allowing effects to take many different forms.  However, in the interest of providing the GM with guidance in certain cases, this section will describe different concepts of how magical metaphysics could operate.  The GM should feel free to incorporate or ignore any of these mechanics as desired.

6.9.1. Illusions

The creation of illusions can be a very rich and flavorful way of using magic.  Illusions can be very powerful; the ability to manipulate others’ senses can give one great power over them.  However, there are limits to what illusions can accomplish (i.e. they generally can’t physically affect the world), which forces players to be a little clever about how they will use them.  Likewise, they can present compelling tricks and traps for players.  Finally, illusions are very flavorful, with connotations of mystery, deception and restrained spectacle.  

In a fantasy setting, it generally won’t do to treat illusions as some kind of science-fiction hologram.  This lacks ambiguity.  Instead, the Empress approach is to consider illusions to be a kind of quasi-reality.  They are real - in a sense - but also lack a true objective physical reality.  It is more like they are part of the collective subconscious.  With works of great magic, it may be possible to lend this dream-matter a temporary physicality.

Illusion vary in terms of how real they are.  The GM can feel free to play loose and fast with this for specific instances, but the following sections provide a guideline for different levels of illusionary reality.  Note that more “real” illusions require higher level spells, and tend to last for shorter periods of time.  Certain supernatural creatures can manifest illusionary bodies, and the intensity of these illusions will generally increase with proximity to their “homes.”  For instance, an elemental in its cave might be able to manifest as a conjuration (see below) of some terrible creature of muck and corpses.  Elsewhere in the forest, it may only be able to appear as a short-lived phantasm (also see below) of same, or by possessing animals.  Outside, the forest, it might be able to appear only in dreams.  Gods might have similar abilities to manifest within ground consecrated to them. Seeming

This is the weakest kind of illusion.  Its effect is to make something seem different from its normal self.  A seeming can change the way a person looks and sounds so that they seem like a member of the opposite sex, but it couldn’t make a person look like a dragon.  It might make a person look like a log or rubbish heap if they remain absolutely still.  Anyone looking closely at a seeming gets a Mind saving throw to see through it, once per turn.  On a success, it is dispelled for them.  If a seeming is too improbable (like a log that walks on its own), it fades away. Phantasm

This is a very limited kind of illusion.  It may operate only a two or three senses, and may possess errors (like a rainbow shadow or afterimage).  These usually have only very primitive behavior, although may be capable of any activity if under the direct control of their creator.  These disappear as soon as they are touched.  On a Mind saving throw, an observer will instinctively know that this is not a normal thing, although they would not necessarily guess that it is an illusion if they don’t know about such things. Illusion

This is the most typical form (hence the name).  Illusions may affect all senses, although they cannot inflict damage.  If a character tries to act in a manner contrary to the physical nature of the object, such as passing through an illusionary wall, then he or she is permitted a Mind saving throw.  On a failure, he or she will subconsciously prevent the action, if possible.  If not possible (such as falling through an illusionary floor) or the save succeeds, then the illusion is dispelled for that character.  Otherwise, there is no saving throw.

Illusions are able to engage in fairly simple pre-programmed behavior, although they can act quite sophisticated when directly controlled.  They fight with HD equal to caster level when directly controlled, or 1/3 of that, otherwise.  Of course, they can’t cause damage, but they can grapple. They actually have hit points, and if “slain,” their corpses remain for the duration as part of the illusion.  The maximum Protection of the illusion is equal to the caster’s level divided by two, rounding down.  Maximum speed is 150% of the unencumbered human movement rate, and flight is entirely feasible). Glamour

Glamours are a more convincing form of illusion.  Characters will always refrain from violating the physicality of the glamour, and even if the circumstances will not avoid it, their minds will go to great lengths to perceive the situation otherwise.  In very extreme situations, the character may be permitted a Mind saving throw at -4 to have the illusion dispelled for that character.   They are still unable to have a true physical effect on the world.

Glamours may behave with some independence and intelligence, and can carry out instructions like a simple-minded child.  They are fight on their own as illusions can fight under control, and glamours are able to cause a kind of phantom damage.  A character who is damaged by a glamour will seem to lose HP, but keep track of any such phantom damage.  It will disappear when the glamour is destroyed, or a day after the character leaves its presence.

If a character is killed by a glamour, then he or she will seem to die, but really fall into a deep slumber that lasts until the effect is dispelled.  When the character wakes, he or she suffers a stress event.  The maximum amount of damage it can inflict in a single attack is roughly equal to the caster’s Mage level.  Ranged attacks do half damage and have the same range characteristics as a javelin. Conjuration

A conjuration is much like a glamour, with a couple of key differences.  First of all, can be made to be essentially independent, and as intelligent as its creator desires.  Second, anything “killed” by a conjuration will either go irretrievably mad or die due to somatic feedback of some kind.  Finally, there is no way to disbelieve a glamour; even if something happens that proves its lack of physicality, it still persists. Miracle

A miracle is essentially an illusion that is temporarily real.  This can only happen for short periods of time, or in very special places.

Miracles are the most powerful works of magic in the game, since they represent serious intrusions of Chaos into the universe, giving the mage the ability to reshape reality.  Spells which are designated to have a miraculous component require two more condition points, and at least one condition must be valued at three points or more.  

These conditions could also be used to suggest that the supposedly miraculous effect was really sorcery or even science.  For instance, a gradual transformation could be an act of sorcery, which is hard-pressed to achieve such spectacular ends.  Or an alchemical levitation spell might rely on helium bags or even weird science anti-gravity, and that would make it a more demanding feat that the level might suggest.

6.9.2. Avatars

In the context of Empress, an avatar is an independent entity that is somehow connected to a primary entity, often one of spiritual significance.  The avatar generally exists to serve the interests of the primary entity, and in return, receives a portion of its power.  Often, the primary being is a god or demon, but it could also be a magician or some kind of magically empowered being who creates an artificial spirit.

The avatar is basically a spirit, which is simply a sentient entity with a mystical essence, if not quite an immortal soul  However, this spirit could be attached to a soul, and even, in turn, a material being.  Other avatars may be immaterial spirits, or spirits that are connected to illusionary bodies.  Complex illusions like glamours and conjurations may essentially be considered avatars. Creation of avatars and gods

Notice that we say “primary entity” and not “creator”?  That’s because the primary entity isn’t always the creator.  Sometimes a totally independent being is somehow transformed into an avatar of another, greater being.  And on some occasions, the avatar actually spawns its primary being!  

In the most common case, the avatar is created by the primary being.  The creator can be a god, demon, sorcerer, faerie, etc.  The more powerful the creator or the spell to create it, the more intelligent, independent and powerful the avatar may be.  Many are ad hoc and temporary, but powerful ones may last for long periods of time or even indefinitely.

Another case would be existing beings that are somehow transformed into avatars.  There’s a lot of ways this can happen.  This could be a ritual, performed with or without the consent of the avatar-to-be.  Or one may somehow inherit the mantle, through the completion of a quest or even being publicly identified with the primary entity.  For instance, a man revered as the reincarnated God King might become the living avatar of that being...or perhaps he always was.

In the final rare case, the avatar can create the primary entity.  This sometimes happens at the birth of a god, when an actual being is worshipped as a divine entity.  This worship spawns the godhead, a distinct yet connected being that fulfills this divine worship.  The original entity, worshipped as a god, becomes the living avatar of the godhead. Uses of avatars

As stated, although avatars are nominally independent, they will generally act in the interests of the primary entity.  A common use of immaterial avatars is to control the bodies of those possessed by the primary being.  This is a way that one entity may possess and control many others at once.

A living avatar of a god would be able to take direct action for the god on the physical plane, as well as spread the deity’s faith throughout the land.  

In one sense, many or even most of a magician’s spells might be considered to involve some kind of avatar to provide independent control of the spell effects.  For instance, a magician could implant an avatar in an animal in order to make it his or her familiar.  And as stated, intelligent glamours and other powerful illusions might be considered avatars of a kind.

Avatars may share information between themselves and the primary entity to varying degrees.  At one end, they may share a continual telepathy, but contact is likely to be periodic instead of continual.  In some cases, it may require whatever measures one would need to communicate with anyone else. Dispelling avatars

Getting rid of simple ad hoc avatars is usually accomplished with spells that dispel magic or prevent arcane forces.  More powerful and long-lived avatars, not to mention living avatars and other late adoptions, will require either potent spells to possess and control them, or a simple knife to the heart in the case of living avatars. Rogue avatars

Occasionally, an avatar may act contrary to its primary entity’s interest.  This is far more likely to be due to misinformation rather than some kind of out outright rebellion.  However, in the case of avatars who were adopted or the sources of their primary entities, some resistance is possible.  Since the primary entity is more powerful, it usually either wins the test of wills, or it simply re-absorbs or even kills the rogue.  However, on extremely rare occasions, rogue avatars may survive and even go independent.

6.9.3. Possession What is it

Possession is one of those classic tropes of magic, in many genres besides just fantasy, and it is often depicted in very different ways.  For this reason, we’re going to present a way that it can be used with some flexibility, to achieve many of those classic effects we associate with the idea of possession.

Let’s start with a definition.  For our purposes, we’re going to say that possession generally means that the possessor has control of the soul of the victim of possession.  What we mean by control is that the possessed soul loses control of its body, and it is cast into a dream world of the possessor’s design.  The soul of the possessed is always bound to some physical object or being.

A victim may also be partly possessed, which generally means that the possessor has a limited ability to control what the victim perceives. How it happens

Possession can be performed either via a spell, in the case of magicians, or by spell-like effects of certain kinds of beings.  Ghosts and the avatars of gods and demons are prone to such shenanigans.  The victim usually gets a saving throw.  It generally takes multiple attempts, since three such successes are needed to obtain a full possession.  However, a critically failed saving throw causes immediate full possession.

Having more than zero but fewer than three possession successes against a character means that there is a partial possession.  This basically gives the possessor the ability to control the part of what the victim perceives.  After one success, the possessor may affect about 25% of what the victim perceives for about one turn per day.  After two successes, this goes to a maximum change in perceptions by 75%, for a total of about two hours a day. What can you do with it

If the soul is mortal and the possessor is powerful enough, then the victim’s soul may simply be sent to the afterlife (i.e. killed), leaving the possessor potentially in control of his or her body.  If the possessed soul is an otherworldly being, then it may be dispelled from this plane of existence.  If these options are not available, or if the being is simply too powerful or the mage too weak, then it may be possible simply to imprison the possessed soul.  

Note that all of these effects require different kinds of spells.  In general, mere possession of a soul doesn’t give one the ability to do what one wants with it.  Neither does it provide the ability to take control of the body of the possessed.  That’s another spell.  Those who are possessed and controlled by a being or its avatar will be affected by magic that would affect that being.  For instance, if a human is possessed by a demon avatar, then that human is held at bay by a spell that prevents demons from approaching. How do you cure it

The spell Remove Curse removes a single possession success.  Multiple castings are required to remove a full possession, or a partial possession with two successes.  This must be cast on the victim, if the possession is partial, or on whatever vessel or location the victim’s soul is trapped in, in the case of a full possession.

No comments:

Post a Comment