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Saturday, 20 September 2014

Real(ish) Magick in (Late Medieval) RPGs (Dark Albion Preview)

I'm exhausted. I've been working like a madman on the magic chapter of Dark Albion (which, if you don't keep up, is my fantasy-war-of-the-roses setting that is soon to be published as a system-neutral OSR book).

I can barely function, so I will just tell you that it is thus far about 18 pages, and will probably be another few pages more, with the sections (as yet unwritten) on magical research, magic items, and item creation; but the bulk of the chapter is the Summoning rules.

The summoning and binding of demons in Albion is not a spell; any magic-user can attempt a summoning if he has the right equipment (a space to do it, the design of the magic circle and triangle of summoning, magical tools, etc.).

He also needs the Sigil, Call, and Name of a demon.  Finding these are the slightly-tricky part.  As each demon has its own powers and qualities, it's finding the right one for your needs that is the challenge.

Well, that, and not having a crazy fuckup in the attempts to summon and then dominate the demon.

There are rules for generating demons by rank, along with their abilities, and (optionally, randomly generated) special powers they can confer on the summoner.  These special powers have been taken right out of medieval grimoires for your pleasure.

A few examples:

Minor Powers
11. Escape: the beneficiary of this power will be able to escape imprisonment; shackles or stocks will unlock, prison doors will open, guards will walk away or fall asleep. The effect will last until the beneficiary is safely out of captivity, but will in no way effect any of the conditions that led to his imprisonment in the first place.
12. False Gold: will transform up to 5000 coins of copper or silver to appear to be gold coins; this will last for 13 days, at which point they will revert to their original appearance. (a 'dispel magic' spell will annul the effect earlier, and the coins will register as magical for detection purposes while the effect lasts).
13. Find Hidden Wells: to locate the nearest source of drinkable underground water that can be reached by digging with common implements. The power cannot create water, only locate the nearest hidden water source.
14. Find Secret Entrances: this power will allow the beneficiary to locate any secret entrances to a building, castle or walled town/city. It will not create entrances, only reveal their location to the beneficiary if such entrances already exist.
15. Fire: this power will start a raging fire within a single building. The wielder need only be within visual range of the building, and the fire will appear to have occurred by natural accident. While its eruption will be sudden and intense, if discovered quickly enough it may be put out (but the fire will always begin in some location with flammable materials that no one is currently observing).

Major Powers
14. Lord's Friendship: this power will cause a single Noble to look very favorably upon the user. If the user is of a lower social class the lord will see them as a highly valued servant; if of equal class, they will see the user as a close friend. If the noble in question has prior cause to dislike the user, the noble is entitled to a saving throw; and the effect on the lord counts as a Curse.
15. Misadventure: this power will cause a single individual or a group traveling together to become lost, utterly unable to find their way to their planned destination. If the individual (or the person guiding/leading the group) is of 5th level or higher, or a Cleric of any level, they are entitled to a saving throw to resist the effect. If affected, the individual/group will find it impossible to get to their destination, no matter how straightforward the journey, for at least 13 days, after which they will be able to attempt to find their way normally. While under the effects of this confusion, the traveler(s) count as being Cursed.
16. Palsy: this power will cause an individual (whose name the user of the power must know) to be afflicted by paralysis in one arm or leg. The individual is entitled to a saving throw to resist the effect, it is otherwise permanent unless removed by clerical miracle. The affected individual counts as being Cursed.
17. Perdition: this power will cause a single victim to lose the single thing they most value (their fortune, their love, their child, their most prized possession, reputation, etc.). The victim is entitled to a saving throw to avoid the effect only if they are Lawful and piously devoted to the God of Law.

So there we have it.  A little spoiler of Albion for you.


Currently Smoking: Davidoff 400-series Apple + C&D's Pirate Kake 


  1. I actually have a statuette based on that image of Buer you show.

    1. Really? I wouldn't have marked you as a Goetia guy, much less an "I have a statue of a goetic demon" type.

  2. So, there's a chance that we'll see DA this year?

    1. It's extremely unlikely. Crouzet would have to work lightning-fast at editing and layout. Given that it's already close to October and I'm not even done writing the damn thing yet, I suspect that the earliest we'll see it is the first quarter of 2015.

    2. I will do my best, but everyday-life's chores are regularly going in the way alas...

    3. I hope you know I don't expect it of you. I want the final product to be good, not fast.