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Monday, 29th January, 2007, 01:03 AM #1
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
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ø Block Griffith Dragonlake
Skills, Feats, & Sanity Wizard (long)
Below is my skills, feats, & sanity wizard which I call the Magus. My attempt is to present a scholarly magician with a Mediæval flavour, albeit with sanity as the price to pay rather than one’s soul. In addition I believe that scholars would have lots of skill points to invest and that they choose to invest them in occult skills. Likewise with feats. Note that this class is not intended to be balanced against the standard D&D classes in a standard D&D campaign. Rather, it is designed for a somewhat lower magic campaign such as the Conan RPG. Comments are appreciated….
A magus dares to learn the dark occult secrets of primordial chaos that man was not meant to know. He acknowledges that such sorcerous knowledge could ultimately drive him mad but his inherent belief in his personal strength of mind and discipline of imposing formulaic rituals are what enable him to plumb the depths of cosmic secrets.
Adventures: A magus may seek adventure when searching for forgotten lore, ancient artefacts, and exotic spell components.
Characteristics: A magus’ strength is his knowledge—both occult and mundane.
Alignment/Allegiance: Magi seek to harness the chaotic and primordial power of magic through formulaic rituals. Success at imposing some Law over the Chaos requires that the magi himself be of both Lawful and Chaotic in spirit—and ideally balanced between the two. As such most magi are Neutral with regards to Law and Chaos. While magi are certainly tempted by the forces of darkness more aggressively than then the common man, the strength of their ego allows a greater resistance. Hence most magi are Neutral with regards to Good and Evil. Allegiance is typically Hermeticism, College or University, and lastly the crown.
Religion: Magi are adepts of Hermeticism—a philosophical and religious belief system based on the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus (Latin Mercurius ter Maximus, Egyptian Thoth). Hermeticism holds that man was created in the image of GOD and that GOD granted man the potential to learn the secrets of creation and in turn become godlike. Note that The Church holds such beliefs to be blasphemous and heretical. A magus caught teaching such ideas would undoubtedly be required to burn his books if not be burned himself.
Background: Magi are highly educated and typically hold a doctorate of magic (Doctor Magicæ) from a university. They are typically born to wealthy families since a university education is very expensive.
Races: Ars Hermetica is practised by Aryans and Semites but there is nothing that would prevent other races.
Other Classes: Magi view sorcerers and warlocks with disdain bordering on contempt. They are seen as practising low or vulgar magic.
Rôle: Magi are highly versatile magicians. Given enough preparatory time, they will employ their magic to overcome anything.
Notable Magi: Albertus Magnus, Geber (Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan), Nicholas Flamel, Plato, Pythagoras, Ramon Llull, and Roger Bacon.
Upon receiving the Doctor Magicæ, the Magus swears the following oath:
I swear by Thoth, Hermes Trismegitus, Mercurius ter Maximus, and Merlin, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgement, the following Oath:
To consider dear to me as my parents him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and if necessary to share my goods with him; To look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art if they so desire without fee or written promise; to impart to my sons and the sons of the master who taught me and the disciples who have enrolled themselves and have agreed to the rules of the profession, but to these alone the precepts and the instruction.
I will cast spells for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgement and never do harm to anyone.
To please no one will I cast a deadly spell nor give advice which may cause his death.
But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts.
I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art.
In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves.
All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal.
If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.
Game Rule Information
Magi have the following game statistics:
Abilities: Constitution helps maintain concentration when attempting to cast spells during combat. Intelligence determines what level of spell may be learned as well as provide bonus skill points. Dexterity helps in making ranged touch attacks. Intelligence also gives additional skill points and is used for Knowledge skills and Spellcraft. Wisdom improves resistance to attacks on the mind including resistance to insanity.
Alignment/Allegiance: Usually True Neutral.
Hit Die: d4.
Sanity Die: d12.
The magus’ class skills [& the key ability for each skill] are: Concentration [Con], Craft (all skills, taken individually) [Int], Decipher Script [Int], Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) [Int], Profession [Wis], Speak Language, Spellcraft [Int], and Use Magic Device [Cha].
Skill Points at 1st Level: (8 + Int modifier) ×4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 8 + Int modifier.
Table M-1: The MagusCode:
Base Attack Fort Ref Will Level Bonus Save Save Save Special 1 ±0 ±0 ±0 +2 Noviciate, 7 Liberal Arts, Magical Aptitude, Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Skill Focus (Knowledge: Universal Magic), & Skill Focus (Use magic device) 2 +1 ±0 ±0 +3 Bonus Feat 3 +1 +1 +1 +3 Initiate of the 1st Circle 4 +2 +1 +1 +4 Bonus Feat 5 +2 +1 +1 +4 Initiate of the 2nd Circle 6 +3 +2 +2 +5 Bonus Feat 7 +3 +2 +2 +5 Initiate of the 3rd Circle 8 +4 +2 +2 +6 Bonus Feat 9 +4 +3 +3 +6 Initiate of the 4th Circle 10 +5 +3 +3 +7 Bonus Feat 11 +5 +3 +3 +7 Initiate of the 5th Circle 12 +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Bonus Feat 13 +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Initiate of the 6th Circle 14 +7/+2 +4 +4 +9 Bonus Feat 15 +7/+2 +5 +5 +9 Initiate of the 7th Circle 16 +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Bonus Feat 17 +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Initiate of the 8th Circle 18 +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Bonus Feats 19 +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Initiate of the 9th Circle 20 +10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Bonus Feat
All of the following are class features of the magus.
Sanity Points (sp): As a magus learns more of the true nature of the cosmos with all of its planes, demiplanes, and inhuman secrets he improves upon his ability to deal with such mind shattering information. This is represented by sanity points (sp). Sanity Points are a way of measuring how much sanity damage a person can withstand before they go mad in much the same way as hit points measure how much physical punnishment can be sustained before death. Learning dweomers & dark secrets, casting dweomers, and encountering outsiders causes sanity damage. High level magi can handle this a lot easier than other classes. As such they receive a d12 whereas all others receive a d4. Sanity is modifed by your Wisdom score.
Natural Sanity Healing: Sanity damage is naturally healed at a rate of 1 point per character level per day.
Sanity of 0 or below: When your sanity points drop to 0 you become insane for 1d12 days. All additional sanity damage is taken as temporary Wisdom damage. If your Wisdom drops to 0 or below you become permanently insane.
Weapon & Armour Proficiency: Magi are not proficient with any weapons, armour, or shields. Armour of any type interferes with a magus’ movements, which can cause his spells with somatic components to fail.
Benefit of Clergy: As part of their university education, magi become experts in the liturgical language of their culture (e.g. Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek). In legal terms they have met the requirements of being clergy (literate in liturgy) and are exempt from secular authority. Any crimes they commit will be handled by the ecclestical court. In addition, any secular person who harms a member of the clergy will be excommunicated and unable to receive the benefit of divine magic. Note however, that any cleric who is in possession of armes or armour is willingly forgoing the benefit. In other words, a person in armor and/or armed with a weapon cannot claim benefit of clergy and is subject to secular law. Also note that this benefit holds no authority over heretics, infidels, pagans, or heathens. Hence the popularity of infidel assassins.
Noviciate: A 1st level magus is a noviciate of the Hermetic Order. He knows all arcane cantrips (subject to college restrictions) which are recorded in his grimoire(s).
Seven Liberal Arts: The seven liberal arts consist of the trivium (Grammatica, Rhethorica, & Dialetica) and the quadrivium (Musica, Arithmetica, Geometria, & Astronomia). For game purposes this class feature provides a +2 bonus on Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Perform (Orate) checks.
Magical Aptitude & Skill Foci: A 1st level magus has the magical aptitude, skill focus (spellcraft), skill focus (knowledge:universal magic), and skill focus (use magic device) feats as a bonus.
Spells: A magus casts arcane spells which are drawn from the magus spell list. Magi are not required to prepare spells ahead of time but they are required to devote 1 hour each day in study of their grimoire. In addition, spellcasting is not automatic, and even when it does succeed the magus incurs sanity damage.
To learn or cast a spell, the magus must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 11 + (2 × the spell circle). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a magus’ dweomer is 10 + the spell circle + the magus’ Intelligence modifier.
Learning Spells: In order to learn a spell, a magus must have access to a grimoire containing the spell as well as sufficient ranks in spellcraft and knowledge (spell college) and pass a spellcraft check = DC 25+(4×spell level). Learning a spell from a grimoire takes 1 day per level of spell, minimum of 1 day. If no grimoire is available, then the magus may research the spell which takes 1 week per level of spell (min. 1 week) and costs 1,00gp per level of spell (500gp for Cantrips). For example, learning an abjuration spell of the second level requries 8 ranks in spellcraft and knowledge (abjuration). The magus reads the grimoire and makes a spellcraft check DC 33 (die roll 16, 8 ranks in spellcraft, +2 synergy bonus from 5 ranks in knowledge:abjuration, Int 15, skill focus:spellcraft, and magical aptitude). Success indicates the magus has learned the spell but at a price…. Learning a spell of the 2nd circle incurs 2d12 points of sanity damage.
Failure to Learn a Spell: If the magus fails to learn the spell, he take 1 point of Sanity damage per level of the spell plus 1 point per caster level. Upon attaining another rank in spellcraft he may try again.
Automatic Spell Knowledge: At each new magus level, he gains 2 new spells of any spell level or levels that he can cast (based on his new magus level) for his grimoire. In addition, he also incurs sanity damage as if he had just cast those spells, i.e. caster level + spell level.
Table M-2: Learning SpellsCode:
Spell Min Skill Learn Sanity Level Int Ranks DC Damage 0 11 4 25 1d6 1 13 6 29 1d12 2 15 8 33 2d12 3 17 10 37 3d12 4 19 12 41 4d12 5 21 14 45 5d12 6 23 16 49 6d12 7 25 18 53 7d12 8 27 20 57 8d12 9 29 22 61 9d12
Successful Spellcasting is Not Automatic Nor Safe: Each time a magus attempts to cast a spell, he must make a spellcraft check DC 15 + (4 × the spell level). A magus may not Take 10 or Take 20 on this check. A successful spellcasting incurs sanity damage equal to caster level + the level of the spell. For example, a 2nd level spell crafted by a 4th level magus incurs 6 points of sanity damage. A failed spellcasting check incurs the same amount of sanity damage as if the check was successful.
Spellcraft Check Bonuses: Every 5 ranks in the appropriate knowledge skill (e.g. Knowledge: Necromancy) grants a +2 synergy bonus to the spellcraft check. Casting a spell from a masterwork grimoire grants a +2 circumstance bonus. Spell College specialisation grants a +2 specialisation bonus and Magical Aptitude grants a +2 bonus. Casting a spell without a grimoire incurs a penalty of –2.
Bonus Languages: A magus may substitute High Atlantean for one of the bonus languages available to the character because of his race.
Bonus Feats: Starting at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter (4th, 6th, 8th, &c.), a magus gains a bonus feat. The magus must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat, including caster level minimums.
Grimoire: A magus must study his grimoire each day to keep his spell knowledge fresh. He cannot cast any spell not recorded in his grimoire, except for read magic, which all magi can prepare from memory. A magi begins play with a grimoire containing all cantrips (except those from his prohibited college or colleges, if any; see College Specialisation, below). At each new magus level, he gains two new spells of any spell level or levels that he can cast (based on his new magus level) for his grimoire. At any time, a magus can also add spells found in other magus’ grimoires to his own.
Masterwork Grimoire: A masterwork grimoire will grant a +2 circumstance bonus to spellcraft checks when attempting to cast or learn a spell.This involves reading aloud from the heavy tome which provokes attacks of opportunity and prevents casting defensively. Masterwork grimoires have a base price of 315gp.
Upon initiation into the 1st circle of initiation, a magus must specialise in Alchemy, Astrology, or Nigromauncie. The alchemist is the master of Transmutation, the Astrologer of Divination, and the Nigromauncer in Necromancy, Conjuration (Calling), and Conjuration (Summoning). Alchemists and Nigromauncers are prohibited from Evocation, Conjuration (Creation) and either enchantment or illusion. Whereas the Astrologer is prohibited from Evocation and Conjuration (Creation) only. Note that the term ‘nigromauncer’ is term invented in the Middle Ages due to confusing necromancy with black magic. Hence a nigromauncer practices black magic which consists of necromancy as well as Conjuration (Calling) and Conjuration (Summoning).
Behind The Curtain
- As an alternative to granting spell circle initiations at set levels, the GM could define each one as a feat with requirements of skill ranks, ability score, caster levels, and previous feats.
- An Intelligence ability score of 29 may seem impossible to achieve. Consider that natural aging will confer up to +3 Int upon reaching venerable age. Also that Grey Elves have a +2 Int and are LA+0/ECL 0. In some campaigns such as the Conan RPG it is possible to increase ability scores up to +9. There are also magic items that will bost Intelligence. But always keep in mind that magical secrets are alien and not meant for humans to know so it should not be a surprise that it is very difficult for Humans to learn such high level magic.
- As an option, a magus could elect to specialise in abjuration with prohibited colleges of Evocation, Conjuration (Creation), and either Enchantment or Illusion. However I could not find any reference to a type of magician who specialises in protection. While there are enchauntresses in Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte D’Arthur they do not strike me as the scholarly type. I think that enchantment and illusion spells are better handled by the sorcerer class for those people with fey or dæmonic blood.
Last edited by Griffith Dragonlake; Monday, 5th February, 2007 at 12:17 AM.
Monday, 29th January, 2007, 05:46 AM #2
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
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ø Block Primitive Screwhead
Thanks for posting this!
The concept and mechanics are interesting.. its not a full blown skills-n-feats conversion, but is a step closer to that... I have an idea that I need to let grow for a bit to see if it can mature enough to be posted
I really like the fluff.. something I have never been to good at when it comes to rule-sets.
Tuesday, 30th January, 2007, 02:39 AM #3
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
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ø Block Griffith Dragonlake
Originally Posted by Primitive Screwhead
Tuesday, 30th January, 2007, 05:21 AM #4
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
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ø Block Arkhandus
What Primitive Screwhead meant, likely, is that the only difference between this and a pure skills-and-feats magic system is that you tied these to a specific class, rather than being open to all characters (which would require making the spell-access granted by feats rather than being granted as a class feature at 1st-level in the Magus class).
Well, don't take my constructive criticism too hard, but I see various problems and gaps in the rules description at the very least, and some typos.
Originally Posted by Griffith Dragonlake
7 Liberal Arts: A 1st level magus hase 4 ranks in the following skills—Grammatica, Rethorica, Dialetica, Musica, Arithmetica, Geometria, and Astronomia. These skills are in addition to the skills the player chooses for the magus upon hero creation.
Magical Aptitude & Skill Foci: A 1st level magus has the magical aptitude, skill focus (dweomercraft), skill focus (knowledge:universal), and skill focus (use magical device) feats as a bonus.
To learn, prepare, or cast a dweomer, the magus must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 11 + (2 × the dweomer circle). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a magus’ dweomer is 10 + the dweomer circle + the magus’ Intelligence modifier.
You're basically requiring them to get a +2 or better Headband of Intellect before 10th-level and then to wear it all the time, and somehow get a +4 HoI before 14th-level, and then a +6 HoI before 16th-level. And even then they won't actually have access to 9th-level dweomers until 20th-level, rather than 18th. Any sub-optimal Magus (starting Int of less than 18) will likely never cast 9th-level spells, nor would they be able to cast other high-level spells as soon as an optimal Magus could.
The Tomes that grant inherant mental ability bonuses require Wish or Miracle as a prerequisite to create them, if I recall correctly, and that couldn't be done until the Magus already had an Int of 29 and a class level of 18th+ (needing actually 20th-level if they don't have an ECL+X race with an Int bonus). Also, the maximum Inherant bonus is +5, which would only yield 28 Intelligence at best; a Headband of Intellect is thereby absolutely necessary regardless.
Learning Dweomers: In order to learn a spell, a magus must have sufficient ranks in dweomercraft and knowledge (dweomer college). For example, learning an abjuration dweomer of the second circle requries 7 ranks in dweomercraft and knowledge (abjuration). The magus reads the grimoire and makes a dweomercraft check DC 33 (die roll 20, 7 ranks in dweomercraft, +2 synergy bonus from 5 ranks in knowledge:abjuration, Int 11, skill focus:dweomercraft, and a masterwork grimoire). Success indicates the magus has learned the dweomer but at a price…. Learning a dweomer of the 2nd circle incurs 2d12 points of sanity damage.
Assuming you use 3.5 Skill Focus (+3 to the skill check), and assuming the masterwork grimoire adds +2 like a masterwork toolkit would, the total result is a check of 34, or 36 if you increase the Intelligence from 11 to 15 as it ought to be......which is still neither a 33, nor the required 37 to succeed. Furthermore, this calculation doesn't include the +2 bonus from the Magical Aptitude feat....or does your Magus assume that the Spellcraft skill is not, in fact, completely synonymous with the Dweomercraft skill? In which case, more clarification is needed. Even so, this makes the total check 36 or 38....the 38 would at least succeed, just barely, but keep in mind that this was with a natural 20 on the roll.
Further comments on this part: If the Magus fails to learn a spell through the Dweomercraft skill check, how much time is wasted in the study, and when are they allowed to try again? Does it cost any gold in the research or study when it fails, and does it cost that much again if they re-try the dweomer learning attempt later?
Why does learning 0-level dweomers incur no Sanity damage (rather than something like 1 Sanity or 1d6)? When does a Magus suffer the Sanity damage for learning the free dweomers they get at each class level? Does the Magus need to roll checks to learn those dweomers, too?
Also, how do you expect Magi to succeed at the required Dweomercraft checks when they seem to need a natural 17, 18, 19, or 20 (depending on Int score) to have any chance of success at all? Why does the set of check DCs to learn new dweomers have no logical pattern to it (a mix of 6, 3, and 5 point increases to the DC, without a solid pattern; it varies in the number of 3-point increases between each 5-point increase, plus the 0-circle DC is 6 points lower than the 1st-circle DC)?
Let's see what a 20th-level Magus could do when trying to learn his or her first 9th-circle dweomer..... DC to learn is 64, according to your chart. 23 ranks in Dweomercraft, +3 Skill Focus, +2 Magical Aptitude, +2 synergy from Knowledge (whichever college of magic the dweomer is from), +9 Intelligence (from the required 29 Int, coming from base 18, +5 from level advancement, +6 from a Headband of Intellect). That's a total bonus of +39. Even with a natural 20 on the roll, it'd be a result of 59, still 5 points short. Boosting the Intelligence to maximum for a human, 34, by adding a +5 Tome of Clear Thought (although it'd be bloody expensive and rarer than a snowflake in the Elemental Plane of Fire, given this class' set-up and all).....it'd still be 2 points short of the DC. Problem.
Dweomercrafting Check Bonuses: Every 5 ranks in the appropriate knowledge skill (e.g. Knowledge: Necromancy) grants a +2 synergy bonus to the dweomercrafting check. Crafting a dweomer from the magus’ open grimoire grants a +2 circumstance bonus. Dweomer College specialisation grants a +2 specialisation bonus to all dweomer-crafting checks.
Question, why does having the grimoire open help with this? Also, do they need to prepare their spells beforehand, and is there any limit to that if so? If not, then shouldn't they probably already require checking the grimoire every single time they cast a spell, for lack of complete memorization (I hardly think that a human could store all the complex formulae, equations, components/reagents, symbols, and other stuff for every single spell they may store in their grimoires over the years......especially since there seems to be no limit, as with a Wizard, but Wizards have their prepared spell slot limits....)?
Furthermore, does it take any time/actions/rounds to open the grimoire to the right pages or anything, and would it provoke attacks of opportunity? If so, what type of action, or how many rounds, would be required? ALSO......does the bonus from a masterwork grimoire add to this, in addition to the circumstances bonus? Seeing as you have no mention of what exactly a MW grimoire does/costs......
There are three sub-classes of Magi—Alchemist, Astrologer, and Nigromauncer. The alchemist specialises in transmutation, the astrologer specialises in divination, and the nigromauncer in necromancy or conjuration. Evocation must be one of the prohibited schools and the other must be either enchantment or illusion. For example, the Astrologer is a specialist in Divination and has Evocation as his prohibited school. The Alchemist is a specialist in Transmutation and has Evocation & Enchantment or Evocation & Illusion as his prohibited schools. The Nigromauncer is a specialist in Conjuration or Necromancy. His prohibited schools are Evocation & Enchantment or Evocation & Illusion.
Further: Keep in mind that 3.5E added a lot of offensive Conjuration spells to the wizard/sorcerer spell list. Dunno how many are in the Spell Compendium itself, but.... The Orb spells from Complete Arcane at least would be troublesome (they originated in Tome & Blood for 3.0E, but back then, they allowed saving throws and required touch attack rolls). In any case, banning Magi from Evocation while leaving Conjuration in place seems odd, since Conjuration is nearly as much of a blow-lots-of-stuff-to-smaller-and-smaller-smithereens school as Evocation these days.
Monday, 5th February, 2007, 12:14 AM #5
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
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Originally Posted by Arkhandus
I have corrected all the typos and added some clarifications. Do let me know if you have any other comments.
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