Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ideas for spellcasters from the days of yore…

While I was thinking on my next “reskinned” core race for Sword & Sorcery Golarion, I unavoidably started pondering about which spellcasters class I would allow on such game. As usual, I’m not a great fan of divine spellcasters on these campaigns. However, as I already had written about a campaign without divine casters, I wanted something new; a different approach. I also figured out that a second reason: I could use this new campaign frame to run a game centuries before the current timeline of Golarion.

Well, I knew that I didn’t wanted alchemists, bards, clerics, inquisitors or paladins. Druids were in. Shamans were a necessity (maybe I should build a better class). Rangers were in only in their spell-less version (maybe Bards too). Summoners were out (too “anime” or “high fantasy” for me) – but could appears as NPC villains. Witches were too “medieval” and needed a proper “reskinnning” (or just an alternate version).

Oddly, I found myself putting Wizards as a NPC class (for races like Serpentmen). Finally, I thought of only two spellcasters that I knew I really wanted in my game as player-classes: the Oracle and the Sorcerer. Both classes had the right “feel” for a Bygone Age/S&S game. The fact that they were spontaneous casters with a limited number of spells known would make each player character more unique – which I find fitting with a number of pulp fantasy or Classical Age casters.  

But I wanted something more…

I was musing about dividing PC magic in three basic groups:
(what follow is just some mental ramblings, I had these ideas just a few hours ago)

Spells would your usual spells known for each character;
Charms would represent a new type of magic item. They would work as a scrolls (probably cheaper), but the caster wouldn’t be limited to his spells known. In fact, he would have a “charm grimoire” (it doesn’t have to be a book, it could be a staff, runes, tattoos, familiar etc). Charms would be one-use-only expandable dweomers that only its creator could use. Things like bizarre potions, powders, symbols, living snakes etc. Charms would be the result of Sorcerers and Oracles trying to surpass their innate limitations of knowing just a few spells. They also would allow these casters to have a good excuse for searching old ruins and temples for “forbidden knowledge”;
Rituals would be your classic Cthulhu stuff. Powerful dweomers that required time, expensive/exotic/weird components and locations. I would probably steal stuff from the Incantations and d20 Cthulhu.

Another idea that crossed my mind is that both Sorcerer and Oracles would have the option of crafting a talisman. Talismans are special casting focus. They allow the caster to ignore, when casting, either a verbal or a somatic component. However, it’s expensive to create a talisman and if it’s stolen, the caster becomes vulnerable to their enemy magic (or something crazy like a geas-like effect).

That’s it for now. If I ever get to organize it better I’ll post my thoughts on a future post.