The new and improved defender of RPGs!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Working on My "Medieval Authentic" OSR Hack

So, been busy the last couple of days trying to work out the one really complicated part of my little project: the planned expansion of my Appendix P rules (first seen in Dark Albion), to a more general rule-set for highly 'medieval authentic' OSR gaming.

The hard part, of course, being the magic.  If I want to make the system more Medieval Authentic, the main thing I need to get rid of is the Vancian spellcasting.  Clerics and Magic-users will instead have magic (miraculous powers in the case of Clerics, lores and magical techniques in the case of Magisters) that are simple and generally based on medieval perceptions of how magic worked.




Clerics will have considerably less variety of abilities, but will be able, at higher levels, to make recourse to direct divine interventions.  Naturally, these will have a lot of terms and conditions that apply, and can't just be flung around frivolously.

Magisters will have a set of fairly varied magical techniques, but many of them will require either time-consuming rituals to perform, or they will require the creation of talismans or other objects.  Thus, the utility of a Magister in combat or adventuring will depend on their level of preparation.


So here's a very basic outline of the powers I'm considering for the two classes. Note that this is not yet definitive and my list might yet change:


Clerics

-Blessings
-Divine Inspiration
-Holy Light
-Holy Weapon
-Laying Hands
-Sanctuary
-Turn Undead
-Visions
-Divine Intervention (higher level)



Magisters

-various non-magical lores (knowledge), including chemical alchemy, apothecary/medicine, and languages.
-Astrology
-Cures
-Banishing and purifications
-True magical alchemy
-Curses
-Charms
-Scrying
-And of course, the Summoning/Binding of demons and spirits.


So that's what it's looking like so far. Feel free to share any thoughts!


RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti  Egg + H&H's Chestnut

21 comments:

  1. Looks interesting, but must be easy to use from a purely gaming/mechanical point of view... but yet not too simple.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the plan. It'll have a lot of descriptive stuff, but mechanically it will be very simple.

      Delete
  2. How about a Favor pool for the Cleric to power his abilities, replenishes by leading Mass and attending other religious duties and/or doing good deeds ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To me that's a bit too far from the mechanical concepts of D20/D&D. I also don't care for 'mana point' mechanics.

      Delete
    2. Then maybe "prayer slots" replenishing one at the time by doing daily priestly stuff...

      Delete
  3. My only thought is that "real" magic shouldn't be reliable. With the Vancian spells of D&D you always know exactly what you will get if you use the spell, if there is a way you make this stuff powerful but unreliable I would be very interested to read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Profane magic should be unreliable as it is linked with Chaos. Divine magic should be reliable, imo.

      Delete
    2. DCC does this pretty well.

      Delete
    3. My plan for most of the magic in the system to work with "spellcasting check" rolls. They'd work fairly similarly to DCC.

      Delete
  4. Cleric spell/power: Stigmata, 10ft radius.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So will clerics still be in an 'order of clerics' and use blunt weapons etc, or will they be closer to real world priests? And is there a place for paladins in this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They'd be like what they are in Dark Albion: a special order of warrior-monks (with shades of the Templar knights in style). They'd probably be able to use whatever type of weapons they want. In some ways the Clerics would be closer to paladins than to priests.
      In the setting, regular priests wouldn't have any special powers at all.

      Delete
  6. Signs and portents are going to have an impact on magical operations. Rituals are going to be as time consuming as hell. The flavor is there already.
    Mother Church is going to be real pain in the ass to deal with as a priest. Watch out for those others, magick itself is going to be time consuming and don't cross your betters. Glad your getting rid of the Vancian model, Magick should be chaotic, dangerous, and very unpredictable.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Clerical Death Prayers: At one point in the MA, it was believed that priests were able to kill someone by performing the Last Rites for a yet-living, absent person, and at least two monks were tried and executed for this (around 1360, I think?). I could dig up a citation if you like.

    Also, the Philosopher's Stone: In a campaign, I'm right now using a D&Dified, late 19th-Century Theosophist description of the process which involves fighting monsters conjured up during the Magnum Opus, namely the Green Dragon at the beginning and the Red Dragon at the end. Which probably isn't terribly authentic, but better suited to a gaming session than someone sitting in a lab and making a DEX check or something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd never heard about that, though I guess something similar to it might be possible. But it would seem kind of strange given that the Last Rites are ALWAYS performed on the yet-living. You can't give last rights to someone who's already dead.

      Delete
  8. The only advice I can give here is to write, playtest and revise the utter living shit out of it. You've got a solid grasp of what needs to be done, but I've seen so many Magick systems go to waste because they looked great on paper, but were never properly playtested around the game table.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Adventures in Middle Earth works very well as a D&D variant with no Vancian spellcasting. I have no doubt you can make it work.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Whitehack 2nd ed has a nice way of doing 'miracles" (spells, mutations, superpowers what have you) .. they cost HP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not particularly 'medieval authentic' either.

      Delete
    2. I don't know, the though that magic corrupts you 'somehow' is pretty medieval. HP is just a simple kind of abstract one, there are a lot of in-game mechanics you could use to reflect this: This guy http://matt-landofnod.blogspot.ca/2015/11/black-death-preview.html seems to have co-opted wfrp chaos corruption into deviltry points or something that leads to permanent 'marks of the devil' or whatever. But really, as you have noted in your list, a lot of D&D-style magic spell effects don't really fit any real world magic system I have ever heard of, I am sure you know more, but I have studied a little bit of actual real life magical stuff. For example the Goetia is all about rituals and stuff to bind a 'demon' into an object, say a talisman or whatever. the rituals themselves are no doubt painstaking, exhausting, and expensive to get all the correspondances right and do correctly and totally not the kind of thing a medieval sorcerer could do on the spot like a D&D mage, but in the end they have a potent magical talisman that could directly release a spell-like effect or compel the demonic servant to do so. So I suppose all that prep could get abstracted and the sorcerer has a few talismans or items of power to release some of the desired spell-effect immediately. But I don't think the idea is simply about a non-Vancian magic system because 'authentic' medieval magic would all be done behind the scenes and allow for the effects to manifest for the magicians pleasure in the real world over some time. I have personally struggled with this idea many times as I prefer the literary sword and sorcery genre to D&D style flashy magics, and like campaigns that work that way. In S&S it seems then you have to likewise limit the sorcerer to brief and limited personal-type powers like charms and compels, animal-mimicking powers and limited-shapeshifting, enscorcelling weapons, unwholesome recuperation or strength powers. And scrying and curses as you mention. these I think would be the only immediate effect stuff they could do. Another low-key way to do it might be that the magician calls supernatural to increase the effect of any mundane thing they do into the supernatural. So the magician calling on power as he tips over a brazier at the heroes for instance and rather than the mundane effect only, the natural source of fire briefly and magically becomes many times hotter and more powerful. Or the wizard thrusts with his knife yet the target still receives the wound from a distance. I guess what I am saying is that the magician's supernatural power is limited to magnifying mundane effects somehow. Anyway I am rambling lol

      Delete