Category Archives: Spells

Using ICRPG for Ritual Magic

Yes, I’m a homebrewer/rules hacker sort of guy. It’s what I enjoy doing. Tweaking all sorts of various rules to fit what think would be the best a campaign. Now, my current campaign is mostly based on Professor DM’s Deathbringer with some ICRPG elements and my own weird imagination.

I’m not using all of ICRPG. I might do a campaign for it later on but right now I’m just using it as one of my favorite GM Tool Kits. One of the things that I’m not really using is EFFORT. Well, not completely any way. Normally, EFFORT is basically damage. It’s used to complete dramatic or time sensitive tasks. Make a d20 roll and if you beat the Target Number then you do “damage” to the task. What you roll for damage depends on the character and whatever equipment that they might be using. For this campaign, I decided to use EFFORT only for some very special circumstances. That is for magic. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to only focus on a couple of uses. Summoning demons and banishing/exorcising them.

OK. Here’s where you’re going to learn more about ICRPG. First, the GM will set the Target Number. This should be from about 10 to 18. Sort of the overall difficulty. It’s part art and part science setting that number. Then how much EFFORT will it take? That’s the easy part. It’s Hit Points. So how EFFORT do you do with a successful roll? Well, if you’re just using magic words and waving around your hands that’s d4 (Basic). If you’re using better and better spell components, materials, tomes, or whatever then work you’re way up the die chain; d6, d8, d10, and d12. What about bonuses? Since I’m not using the full ICRPG rules that would be INT bonus to casting but the magic using types would add that to their EFFORT. Roll that Nat 1 along the way then things go bad. Roll a Nat 20 then that’s a crit.

This will probably freak out the folks who are used to ICRPG and folks who don’t know it, will be scratching their heads. Think about it. Apply it how you want. And have fun.

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White Box Wednesday: Clerics and Their Spells

This post is finally going up and the OGL drama is still going on. But let’s talk about those clerics and their spells this week.

I know this image isn’t from White Box but it is an iconic cleric image. And I also know that I’m going to rehash some stuff in this post. So clerics. Nope not healbots. That is the biggest shock for anyone new to older games. But let’s stick the White Box version. No spells until 2nd Level. That’s right. And one of my favorite options, make Turn Undead a first level spell. This option is good if you want a really gritty game. Otherwise let them turn those Undead all day.

Like Magic-Users, Clerics have a very limited spell list. Another case of less is more. They already have decent armor and weapons, they don’t need any flash bang spells. It’s just my opinion but the original Cleric is a bizzaro combination of a Knight Templar, Van Helsing, and a Saint performing miracles. Their spells cover the basic things that they need to that is divine or supernatural. Everything else relies on their grit, determination and skill. Think about it. At best, a high level cleric will only get 4 1st level spells per day. That’s it.

And with that, I’m probably going to give White Box Wednesday’s a rest. Why? I want this OGL drama to get resolved and have a solid path forward. But that also basically (IMHO) a whole new version of many of these games and possibly more games on the horizon. Even maybe something from your truly. So keep with the other posts. Keep up with the blog. And have some fun gaming. We all need that now.

Like this post or others? Want to see more behind the scenes rants and stuff. Want to support the blog? Check out the RPG Pig Pen on Locals or the Patreon.

White Box Wednesday: Magic User Spells

I wasn’t sure if I was going to do this post with all that’s going one but then I figured what the hell. Let’s keep this going. This week let’s talk about Magic User Spells. Mainly, First Level.

I might touch on higher level spells later on but I think the first level spells are key to whole feel of White Box Magic-Users. There’s only 8 spells. That’s it. Charm Person, Detect Magic, Hold Portal. Light, Protection from Evil/Chaos, Read Languages, Read Magic, and Sleep. That’s all. No Magic Missile. None of the others that have become classics. I admit that I do use the others in my campaigns. But this simple little list emphasizes that the first level character is really an apprentice. It also emphasizes that your answer isn’t on your character sheet vibe. There’s usual no spell for every situation. You have to come up with some out of the box thinking.

But then those few spells are more powerful than later versions. The key spells (IMHO) are Charm Person and Sleep. Why? Charm Person lasts “until dispelled”. No time limit. No extra saves. The target is charmed. And then there’s Sleep. Every grognard out there knows that this is “attack” spell of the low level Magic User. The Magic-User can put to sleep that mob of goblins. No Save. Yeah.

I know this post is a little ramble. It’ s not my best but as of this writing the whole OGL 1.1 drama is still unfolding so I have no idea how I’m going to move ahead this and a few projects. Maybe things will start to clear up soon.

White Box Wednesday: Price of Rebirth

I dug into the depths and pulled this little gem from the nether hells. Let’s make death a little more interesting.

The Price of Rebirth is a cool little supplement by Stellagama Publishing. I know they are most famous for products using Cepheus/Traveler rules but they got other stuff. The subtitle pretty much says it all: Expanded Injury, Resurrection, and Lichdom Rules.

Each of these three factors revolve around Saving Throws and special effects based around the margin of success or failure. By the rules, when a character reaches 0 HP then they are dead. In this case, make a Save and maybe you’re dead. The results can end up being anything from you’re so dead that you can’t even be raised to popping back up with 1 HP. And in between, there’s all sorts of lasting injuries.

So you’re dead? Well, raise you might not be easy. This is another Saving Throw based effect. Maybe the gods just say, “Nope.” or something gores wrong with the ritual and there’s some lasting effect on the character.

And in that rare instance that somebody wants to become a Lich or the DM wants an NPC to do it. There’s a whole set of rules for doing that.

This is a handy little set of rules to add into your White Box game. Heck, you could add to other games too with little or no conversion. All in all. I now I’m adding it to may DM tool box.

You can pick up The Price of Rebirth on DrivethruRPG. Remember, one of the objects of the game is not to die.

Deathbringer: Magic & Monsters. Oh My!

I make it no secret that I’m a fan of the simple Deathbringer rules. They are simple without being too rules lite. They are pretty much compatible with any edition’s adventures. And it’s really easy to hack. One thing that I find is a feature is that there’s no spell list nor any monsters. Why? Well, why add the same old monsters and magic again? Really. Just use the version you want.

There’s tons of books of monsters and spells and since I’m an old-school kind of guy I figure I should dig around a pick a few that are off the beaten path.

Shadowdark/Cursed Scroll Zine: The core book will be released soon but I’ve got my hands on the beta rules, the quick start, and Cursed Scroll. Sure there’s the usual spells but there’s also a few that take a bit of grim dark turn. The spell descriptions are to the point. No extra blah. And it uses zoned combat and a roll-to-cast system. This is what I’m using in my current campaign.

Black Libram of Naratus: While this one is designed for Castles & Crusades, it’s not hard to convert. And yes there is a warning that these aren’t meant for player characters since they are pretty evil but then making a few available could an interesting and corrupting touch.

Realms of Crawling Chaos: You want some Lovecraftian monsters and spells. Well here you go.

Teratic Tome and Lusus Naturae: Both by Rafael Chandler. If you want weird, gory, and completely out there and usual not safe for work and some adults. Then take a look. Really, there’s some crazy, dark stuff in there.

Check out the Dark Arts series by Kai Putz. You get a bit of everything monsters, magic items, and spells. And all dirt cheap.

Yeah, I know I didn’t include probably someone’s favorite. And just maybe right now, I’m getting in the mood for a weird, grim dark type of campaign. But more about that later.

Unpleasant dreams!