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Wednesday 15 July 2015

How Does Dark Albion Handle Magic?

Dark Albion presents a lower-magic and generally 'grittier' world than the standard for old-school D&D adventuring.  So naturally, some people have been asking how that parses with the standard magic level of most OSR games?  In the book's magic section, I detailed some changes to the basic magic rules to serve as guidance for how to make this work.

There's three big ways in which magic is different: first, the magic chapter outlines how one should alter/restrict the spell lists. There will be less explosive-style combat spells, as well as certain other types of spells that are some of the more power-house spells of a magic-user, without completely depleting the magic-user's usefulness.
On the cleric side of things, there's no 'raise dead'.

Second, magic items are rarer than in many settings (certainly rarer than what new-school D&D would be used to, but also rarer than more magic-rich old-school settings). It's practically impossible for modern wizards to make magic items other than scrolls or potions. Magic weapons and armor are either incredibly valuable family heirlooms or only ever likely to be found in unexplored tombs/cairns/barrows from prehistory. The default magic sword is a "Sword +0", which means that it can harm creatures immune to non-magical attacks but offers no other bonuses.

Finally, there's the demonology rules. They're inspired by real medieval demonology (the Goetia, etc.), and can allow magic-users to access a lot of power, if they can obtain the right seal and name, and dare to do a battle of wills with a demon. Since these are new rules, they can pretty easily be added to whatever OSR rule-set you're applying.

Dark Albion is currently available in hardcover from Lulu (with an exclusive variant cover also available), and on PDF from RPGnow (with a PoD softcover and PoD+PDF deal soon to follow!).


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