MAY BLOG CARNIVAL – Spiritualist Sorcerer and Exorcist Background

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One might wonder, what is the power of a spiritualist?  It’s very much laid out in their name, someone who works with the spirits of the deceased.  Such sorcerers are fabled for calming angry spirits who lacked desire to move on to the after life.  In some instances, they have found ways to harness the spirits, whether out of mutual pact or magical extortion.

For most of your life, you have felt a connection with spirits.  Over time, you tried to develop talents to reach out to the realms beyond.  While not a bloodline in its own right, you have been touched by the nether realms, planar domains where souls travel upon death.  Harnessing your talent, you are more than capable of communing with spirits either through seance or through a known spell.

However, conjuring and working with spirits is often taboo, and is such practiced in secret.  While some may hear of you and seek you out for counsel when dealing with the dead, others might see you as a second rate necromancer.  Some orders have even formed within various religious organizations as exorcists, while others revel in individual freedom when dealing with the shadows beyond our world.

Author’s Notes:  I’m back with Blog Carnival content once more!  This time, I thought I’d dabble into the Occult theme by making a Spiritualist based circle for the Sorcerer.  While other classes also felt like good picks, this felt like the quickest match for me.  So, let’s speak with the dearly departed as we explore the Nether World with the Spiritualist.  And as a bonus, have a background on exorcism. 

You may find more on the May 2017 Blog Carnival here!  Alternatively, you may be interested in the Sage Variant: Occultist background that I made last year.  This would better fit a medium who contacts spirits through seances and the like, should you favor a more gothic flavor over a high fantasy one!

Also, this is the first pass for this sub-class, it will be due for revision in subsequent weeks.  This first draft is experimental and possibly volatile.

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The Ancient Magi – A Patron of Arcane Remnants for D&D 5th Edition

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Many incredible mages exist throughout the multiverse.  They have unlocked the secrets to incredible power, twisting magic into spells rarely seen by fellow spellcasters… if at all.  Those of great power tend to be reclusive, for a powerful mage makes many enemies.  Some even take their magic to new and epic levels.  Whether they become archmages, demigods or just powerful spirits locked in some dimension; some yearn for a student to pass their work onto in some capacity.  After all, while some magical secrets should die with their creator, other gifts should be passed on.

The Ancient Magi Patron provides one such method.  Those in service to the ancient magi are typically scholars of the arcane, seeking ways to expand their knowledge and craft.  Many are devotees to the very arcanist they serve, while some are just greedy and desire to steal forgotten magic for their own benefit.  More often than not, their arcane superior is aware of their intentions and will use them accordingly.  Many ancient magi aren’t even on this plane anymore.  Many of them have long since passed away or are locked in other realities.  Some have been stranded in the Astral Plane, effectively frozen in time; while others are permanently sealed in unknown demiplanes.  Some lucky ones dwell on material planes, but try to make their presence as nuanced as possible.  Great mages like Mornenkainen and Elminster are examples of such magic-users.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Looking back, I wasn’t really too happy with my original draft.  The general idea was solid, but I tried to make it feel too much like a binder vestige instead of a patron.  Plus, some of the mechanics were made when I didn’t fully understand the warlock class.  Now, some of the ideas here are heavily experimental.  Giving a class ability to cast a certain spell 1 – 2 per day… and at the strength of the warlock’s level?  That might be a bit strong, but I wanna see where I can develop this.  None the less, I wanted to make a warlock patron that carries both a bit of sorcerer and wizard flavor to it.  Plus, I created a quick-n-easy class variant for those of us who are nostalgic for the Archivist from the 3.5 Book, “Heroes of Horror”.

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Bizarre Bazaar Addendum – More Spooky Items

“Haven’t had enough of the ol’ hunchback shopkeeper’s wares, huh?  Well, there’s more where that came from!”

Here is a small helping of even more magical items for Halloween.  Enjoy.

Author’s Note: I wanted to make a few more magical items in addition to what I made before.  Also, more JoJo references?  I figured why not, since Part 1 is airing on U.S. television.  I had to hold myself from making anything Vento Aureo, Stone Ocean, Steel Ball Run or Jojolion because not enough people read the manga… and they should.  Also, be on the look out for how many Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem references I can squeeze into one item.

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Arcane Corruption: The Dark Side of Magic for D&D 5th Edition

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Wizards are weird.

In darker settings, distant beings and magical powers are hard to trust… and for good reason.  In older iterations of the game, as well as darker fantasy RPGs like “Dungeon Crawl Classics”, delving into the supernatural had a risk far beyond a price tag and losing a spell slot or gaining the ire of a church.  Exploitation of eldritch powers could leave the victim becoming mad, diseased, or both.  Turning the forces of chaotic energy into an orderly event is by all means a paradox in and of itself, taking its toll on those who craft too much.  Likewise, making bargains with incomprehensible entities too takes its toll.  Those who take either too far risk becoming mad or warped beyond recognition.

And worse than exposing yourself to the unknown in immersing yourself is realms tainted by absolute corruption.  Desecrated lands, alters to dark gods, creatures that are the truest essence of evil and so on.  These sources of the most vile powers in existence are just as likely to twist and decay the soul into something it is not… or was not.  While some struggle with sanity, distortion at the hand of dark powers are far worse.

If you prefer, here are some alternative lists that can work as well.  Mutations – Part 1 (Benefits), Mutations – Part 2 (Drawbacks), Wild Magic Surge (Alternate)

Author’s Note: This is inspired by corrupted magic from Dungeon Crawl Classics, Carcosa, Taint from D&D 3.5 Heroes of Horror and the Insanity option from the Dungeon Master’s Guide.  At its core, this is a variant of the Sanity and Madness rules from the D&D 5E DMG.  Also, this is merely a draft for my concept.  Expect revision at some point!

Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.

IMAGE SOURCE: Dungeon Crawl Classics

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A Planar Grimoire Spell List (Book available on DM’s Guild)

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Of course I’ll teach you my magical knowledge… after you take care of some tasks for me…

The planes holds countless secrets, countless beings, and countless magicks!  Some are willing to share their knowledge with the multiverse, while others keep their secrets and will keep to protect them; extraplanar forces are no exception.  For those lucky enough, the powers of the cosmos begin to fall into their hands.  Their ideals grow stronger as the planes begin to change alongside them.  At the very least, their ideals shape into new spells, crafted from distant points of reality.

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Grittier Magicks: Alternatives to Cantrip Rules

Abusing cantrips can be taxing on the mind!

While house-ruling the game to fit higher/epic fantasy games seems pretty simple (lift restrictions on magic items, utilize cantrips RAW, modify crafting to be less toilsome), lower fantasy seems to be a bit more of a challenge.  Before I accidentally cause backlash, I find cantrips to be a neat idea and realize their intent is balancing out caster classes for the newest edition.  No matter, I pondered ideas on modifying cantrip casting in an effort to make classes fit other narratives, genres, and gaming styles.  Of course, I thought of alternatives that are hopefully pretty balanced against cantrips themselves.  Plus, I’ve been curious on how to merge OSR-inspired mechanics and concepts into more modern gaming such as D&D 5e.  As a result of that thought experiment, here are some ideas to replace the cantrips mechanic.  All of these replace the rules for cantrips as written.

  • Basic Idea – Choose one of the following below.  Unless an ability below says otherwise, you may cast Cantrips as many times as your casting stat + 1 before taking a short rest.  (If you feel proficiency bonus is more appropriate than caster stat, replace it with that instead.)

Exploiting Resources – You may safely cast Cantrips as many times as your level + your casting stat mod per long rest.  Upon casting cantrips after this, you must make a saving throw (DC 12 + 1 for every successful save) using your casting stat for the saving throw.  Failure results in losing your action for that round. This modules allows for at-will casting, but at a potentially dangerous price.

In addition, the DM can choose one of the following options.

  • You may not use cantrips again until you take a short rest.
  • Depending on the severity of the failed save, the character suffers from a level of the Madness condition.
  • Failure could result in arcane corruption akin to 3rd Edition’s “Tainted” mechanics.  This will be covered at a later time.

AD&D Style – Instead of the short rest mechanc, you gain 1 extra Lv. 1 spell slot.  In addition you always know the spell “cantrip” (or “orison” for divine characters.)  This spell lasts for 1 hour and replicates the effects of any cantrip spell from your appropriate class list.  However, you only gain the benefit of one of those cantrips at a time, unless an ability states otherwise.

Imbuing Power – You’re able to form magic into a minor weapon of some sort as an action, using your caster stat for attacks (e.g. A shard of ice dealing d4 + caster cold damage, a small flame on a staff dealing d4 fire + caster damage, or the like).  You can only have 1 minor magical weapon at a time, each lasts for 1 minute.  You may do this as many times as your caster stat before taking a short rest.

Battle Knowledge – Weapons you’re proficient with can use your casting stat instead of their regular stat for attack/damage.

Slot-Like Cantrips – You can cast each 3 times before taking a short rest; also, you can sacrifice 1 cantrip to cast another more times.

Arcane Scholar – You may use Detect Magic as a class ability as many times as your proficiency bonus + 1 per Long Rest; Also, the Read Magic cantrip is rolled into the Arcana (or possibly Religion) skill.

These house rules are very volatile, as they haven’t been tested.  If you try them, let me know what happens!  Also, I’m always open to feedback in general.

Image Source: Xzar by Myrskyt