Spur of the Moment Magic

A wizard should always be ready for action. Having a good staff helps.

Khenn the wizard is thinking up a new spell, or maybe re-doing an old one.

 

People are curious about what will be in the new Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls.  Right now I’m not entirely certain what will be there. I know what I want to see, and that’s all I can talk about right now.

A few of you have asked if there will be a system for inventing spells on the fly.  I hope so.  I created one.  What follows is a preview of the spell creation system that I would like to see made available in Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls. Remember, none of this is set in stone yet.  It may or may not happen; it may or may not look like this.

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3.6   Suggested rules for creating new spells.

Spells not found in the lists above fall into two categories: (1) spells devised by Game Masters as part of their adventures or treasures, and (2) spells created by players who feel the need to do so.

Game Masters may do whatever they want within the limits of their own adventures.

The following rules are suggested for player-developed spells.

1.  Only Wizards and Specialist Wizards may create new spells during the playing of a game.  Spells thus created are subject to the Game Master’s approval.  The general rule to be followed by Game Masters here is what is reasonable under the circumstances.  Could a Level One wizard develop a spell to tame a rat or small creature?  Yes, it seems reasonable.  Could that same Level One wizard create a spell to disintegrate stone and make towers fall down?  No.  Totally unreasonable!

2.  Wizards can only create spells of their own level or lower.  A level 3 Wizard could create new spells of levels 3, 2, or 1, but could not imagine or create a level 4 spell or higher.

3.  Spells that have effects measured by rolling dice are limited to double the level of the spell for the number of dice rolled.  Thus, one could not create a spell that does 3D6 of damage with a level 1 Wizard.

4.  Spells that utilize attribute values to accomplish something may be created at level one and higher.  Example: Take That You Fiend!

5.  Newly created spells, being naturally inefficient until refined over the course of years, have spell costs measured by dice rolls of double the level of the spell being created.  Thus, to calculate the cost of a new level 2 spell in WIZ, roll 4D6, giving that spell a potential cost ranging from 4 to 24 points of kremm for the basic cost.

6.  In order to invent a new spell during play, the character must succeed in 2 saving rolls: one on INT and one on DEX.  These rolls must be made at one level higher than the spell being created.  Thus to create a new level 2 spell, Khenn who is a 2nd level wizard would need to make a saving roll at level 3 on both his INT and his DEX.

7.  New spells created in this manner remain the exclusive property of the wizard who creates them, and must be explained to the Game Master whenever first used in a game.  Of course such spells could be offered up in an article about magic for a gaming product like TrollsZine and thus gain wider currency.

Here’s an example of creating a spell during the course of a game.  Khenn the wizard and his party of adventurers find themselves crossing through a large stony area full of geisers and volcanic fumaroles from which poisonous fumes are issuing.  After being poisoned and damaged more than once by sulfuric gasses, Khenn decides to invent a level 2 Purify Air spell.  His player talks to the G.M. who says “Yes, I think you could do that.  Make your level 3 saving roll on INT and DEX.  Khenn’s player then rolls the dice twice and succeeds in both saving rolls, getting triple what he rolled each time in adventure points.  He then rolls 4D6 getting 6, 5, 5, 3.  The Purify Air spell has a basic cost of 19 WIZ points.  Khenn’s player then describes what the spell does:  Purify air separates the gasses in the atmosphere within 10 feet of the target into oxygen and all other gasses.  The other gasses are expelled from the area within a 10 foot radius of the target.  The effect lasts for one game turn, and moves with the target if said target is moving.  The spell may be leveled up in the normal fashion, and doing so increases the number of game turns that the spell lasts.

That’s a fairly expensive spell, but if player characters were dying or falling down sick because of bad air around them, it might be worth the cost.

Suppose Khenn’s player had said that the Purify Air spell cleaned the air for a radius of 100 feet around the target.  The G.M. might have said, “that seems excessive” and not allowed it, or at least negotiated that number down to a more reasonable volume of air.

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I’m sure you can all think of better spells to invent on the spur of the moment. As players you can roleplay this any way you want–you could say the invented spell is the product of long thought, planning, and study, or you could say your wizard is one of those mad fellows who dashes things off on the spur of the moment–a flash of inspiration, a moment of mental genius, and bang–the Ignite Uruk spell is born.

Comments should probably appear inside the Inner Sanctum or by starting a forum here.

–end

wizardess

 

 

The Spell Creating Wizard

Someone asked about the rules for creating magical items. In the past, we always did it by Game Master fiat–you want a cursed blowgun that never misses when shooting at fairies, the G.M. made it for you, and set whatever limitations on it he wished to set.

In Deluxe T & T we are giving you formulas for making your own spells and magical items. Just to get some feedback on that, I’m giving you the item creation formulas here and now. Try them out. Let me know how you think they work.

lioness mage

Other Items

For a reasonable fee, the Wizards’ Guild is willing to provide virtually any magical items that you desire. The game master has to provide these services. The price depends on the complexity of the object and the amount of magic it would take to produce it.

The list of wizardly tools, enchanted items, and magical potions could be very long indeed. Every spell in the spellbook (section 3.5) may lead to a magic item, potion, or ward of some type. Rather than fill the book with long lists, I’ve provided some short lists and principles of how to make such items for yourself.

Definition: A bespelled item is one that has one spell cast upon it one time.
The magic is not permanent and typically is only good for one use. These are the least expensive magic items, and are sometimes given away for free to attract customers. These are the kinds of things that certain rogues and wizards make during an adventure. Vorpal Blade is typical of such spells.–a low-level combat spell with a temporary effect. In magic shops, such spells can be cast with an activation trigger (such as going into combat) to remain on the weapon until it is needed. These are the least expensive types of magic to buy, and generally sell for about the cost in WIZ points that a wizard would have to expend to cast the spell. Thus, to vorpal a blade would be a very reasonable 5 gold pieces.

Definition: An enchanted item is one that has two spells on it: one to leech kremm from the wearer or user, and the other to produce an effect of some kind using that kremm. These are the typical magic items found in dungeons and sold in shops. They are not single use items and can be used repeatedly. Buying an enchanted “vorpal” sword blade would mean your combat total for the sword is always doubled, but your WIZ attribute would always be reduced by 6 points for each use. The enchantment would fail when the character no longer had a high enough WIZ rating to power it. The leech spell has an average cost of 50 gold pieces. The rest of the spell usually costs the kremm cost of the spell. Thus, a magic key that would open any first level lock would cost perhaps 1 gold for the key, 50 gold for the leech spell, and 3 gold for the Knock Knock spell on it for a total of 54 gold.

A second class of enchanted item has a “kremm battery” embedded right into it. Kremm batteries cost 10 gold pieces per each point of WIZ stored. Thus, a battery powered key like the one above would cost 31 gold pieces if it only had a single charge. 61 for 2 uses, 91 for 3 uses and so forth. The Knock Knock spell requires 3 points of kremm, and a battery that holds 3 points would cost 30 gold. Such items store magical energy and are good for a certain number of uses before losing their magical power. You can always tell these items because they come with a limited number of uses (or “charges”).

A truly magical item comes with at least two enchantments: One that produces each spell or effect for which the item is designed, and the other to absorb the necessary kremm from the planet itself to power its spell(s) or effect(s). Such magical artifacts never lose their power, and do not reduce the WIZ attribute of their wielder. This is the best type, and they are both rare and expensive. The enchantment to tap into the world’s kremm goes for 5000 gold. The cost of the spell is the same as its casting cost in kremm. In order to produce a magical item like a Medusa skull that would turn the viewer into stone would require a total cost of 5066 gold pieces plus a skull to hold the enchantment.

WEAPONS

A bespelled Vorpal weapon does double the basic dice roll in combat and costs 5 gp plus the cost of the weapon. All daggers and swords can be Vorpalled. The spell is triggered on the next use of the weapon. For an additional 10 gp, a trigger command can be added, allowing the spell to be saved until activated by the wielder. Tridents, spears, maces, bows, crossbows, polearms and hafted weapons cannot be vorpalled.

An enchanted Vorpal weapon also does double dice in combat and costs 50 gp plus the cost of the weapon. It uses the WIZ score of the wielder to activate, and drains the appropriate amount of kremm per use.

Magical Vorpal blades do double dice damage and cost 500 gp plus the cost of the weapon. These require no kremm from the wielder, and always remain active.

Similarly, weapons can be Whammied (tripling the dice in combat) for the cost of the weapon plus the cost of the magic (bespelled for 10 gp, enchanted for 100 gp, magical for 1000 gp).
Other combat spells may be placed on or built-into weapons using the same formula.

One more example: A flame sword using Blasting Power would cost 9 gold to bespell, 90 to enchant, and 900 to be permanently magical. Blasting Power has a base cost of 9 gold pieces and would cause the sword to throw bolts of magical fire with damage equal to the user’s level in D6 plus his/her combat adds.

Armor is just another form of weaponry. Here is an example of a magical target shield that always absorbs 12 hits in combat.

Magic Target Shield (1635 gp). A target shield with a Zaparmor bonus, absorbs 12 hits per combat round.

WARDS

With magic so plentiful in Trollworld, it only makes sense to buy protection from it if one can. Such protection comes in the form of wards. Wards are usually small talismans made of silver or carved rock, but may also be flimsy concoctions of paper, string, leaves, or any substance that can be magically charged. Wards come in two versions—those that simply give warning, and those that warn and protect. They may be extremely cheap, or extremely expensive, depending on the materials used and the magic involved.

The most common form of magical ward on Trollworld is one that uses the kremm resistance formula–i.e. the wearer of such a ward cannot be targeted by spellcasters with a lower kremm rating. Such wards are generally made of meteoric iron–yes, there is a brisk trade in meteorites on Trollworld–and cost 2D6 X 10 (DARO) in gold pieces. The workmanship of the less expensive ones is often very crude. It is the iron that protects the wearer, not any magic placed upon it. Non-meteoric iron that comes directly from Trollworld itself is so imbued with kremm that it has no protective or magical absorbent ability at all.

Warnings: These wards simply deliver some kind of warning when something happens or is about to happen. They are often extremely flimsy—perhaps a diagram or incantation on paper. They work by evoking a sound—the ringing of a bell, or howl of an animal. Or, if warn next to the skin, they could cause a tickle or a small shock. If flimsy, their cost is equal to 2D6 (DARO) gold pieces. If made of a sturdier, longer lasting material multiply that cost by 10.

Protectors: These wards actually deflect magic or turn it back on its caster. They are called Shields and Strikers. A Shield simply turns aside a magic attack. A Striker rebounds the attack on the sender. Shields cost 2D6 (DARO) times 10 gold; Strikers cost 2D6 (DARO) times 20 gold.

Wards come in two forms: enchanted and magical. These forms increase the cost of the ward by the same formula used above. Note that wards may either leech kremm from the wearer/user or be powered by a kremm battery or tap into Trollworld’s magical kremm energy.

Wards are generally keyed to the spells in the spellbook. For example, there can be a ward against TTYF spells, or there could be a ward against Befuddle spells. Any named spell can be warded.

Likewise, one could ward against a whole level of spells. A First Level Ward would deflect or rebound any first level spell used against its owner. A Tenth Level Ward would do the same for all spells up through 10th level. Etc. Level spells cost 1000 times their level to purchase/construct.

Wards can be broken or overcome or nullified by higher level magic. A L2 TTYF spell will still strike a person who is only warded against L1 spells.

Wards are magical creations. Any wizard using his/her Detect Magic ability can detect the presence of a ward on a foe, and get an impression of power (what level is the ward), but in order to do so, the player must specifically state that he/she is checking for magical wards. Otherwise, the magical feeling of the ward may be masked by other forms of sorcery at play.

Example: Khenn the wizard wants to buy a ward that will protect him from all first and second level spells. He wants it to be magical and always on, so it has to be powered by the world’s kremm. He asks for it at the Wizards Guild and a master wizard agrees to make one for him. Khenn brings in a silver talisman with an engraving of an owl on it, and rolls 2D6 getting a 3, 1. The shield costs 40 gold pieces. To power it magically costs 1000 gold times the level, which is two. Total cost to Khenn for a ward that always protects the wearer against 2nd level spells and below is 2040 gold. Expensive, but not impossible for a delver to pay for. By studying this section one can figure out how to buy any ward from the Wizards Guild. See the spellbook for rules on casting and making wards for oneself as a player.

JEWELERY

Jewelry and other manufactured items follow the same formula as weapons: Cost of the item plus form of magic x level of spell.

For example, a 200 gp gold ring is turned into a magical ring of invisibility:

Ring of Invisibility (1200 gp). A gold ring set with a star-shaped diamond. Wearing it will cause the wearer to become invisible—exactly as if he were in a Hidey Hole spell.

Remember that the costs of the spells to be placed on the jewelry is based on the amount of kremm needed for the basic spell. Simple one use magic is the spell’s kremm cost in gold pieces. Bespelled to either leech kremm from the wearer or use a kremm battery is 10 times the spell cost in kremm. Permanent magic because it taps the world’s kremm field is 100 times the spell’s cost in kremm. Thus, to buy a silver bracelet that allows the wearer to fly 3 times might cost 50 gold for the bracelet and 70 gold for the Fly Me spell and a battery that would hold 21 points of kremm would add another 210 gold. Total for the Fly Me Bracelet would equal 330 gold.

Any object can be enchanted to do almost anything by using the formulas given above.

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A couple of years ago I sponsored a contest to find effective behaviors for wizards in combat.  I thought I’d share some of the strategies that members of Trollhalla came up with.  It doesn’t have to be all “Take That You Fiend, Blasting Power, and Hold That Pose.”

Here are some unconventional spells and unconventional ways to use them to liven up your next T & T melee.

That’s a Natty Beard Combat Tactics

by Angus of the Longbeard
A strange new spell included in 7th ed. At first glimpse, That’s a Natty Beard (TNB) appears to be a complete throw-away useful only for comic relief. As with all good magic ideas, it is the little details that make TNB a useful spell in combat, “… regardless of gender.” In other words, a beard grows even on beings who normally cannot grow facial hair. Couple this simple statement with, “… this spell can cause the beard to be fashioned into … any other such style and shape, as the caster wishes.”

Combat Tactic #1 – the Blind Beard: Grow a beard and sideburns very long and fashion it into a big frizzy puff ball sticking up into the target’s entire face. The target loses a great deal of sight and should face an immediate combat penalty of ×1/2 to their generated HTP until 1 round is taken to clear the eyes by cutting the beard shorter.
Combat Tactic #2 – Tripped up: Facing down a stampede? Perhaps just a charging army… In this case, cast TNB on the creature at the head of the stampede. Grow its beard very long and thick to literally trip the creature up with hair underfoot. The target trips and falls and is likely to be trampled by those behind it. Please remember the spell’s 20 foot range and be prepared to take advantage of the limited chaos.
Combat Tactic #3 – Loudmouth: One opponent leading the others? Someone giving a lot of commands and needs to be stopped? Use TNB and grow another amazingly long beard fashioned straight down the being’s throat and into the lungs. It’ll quickly choke to death within 2 combat rounds. Perhaps someone will be clever enough to pull the beard back up saving the victim from immediate death. Still it will take some time for the victim to fully recover having hair dragged out of the lungs and across the vocal cords.
Combat Tactic #4 – Hair in the Machine: This last tactic only works around mechanical devices. Gears and pulleys have a habit of dragging in loose clothing or hair. At this point, you may completely understand this tactic. Make the beard grow long and aim it at the nearest set of gears. Normal creatures will be mangled in the process.

A caution must be given when using this spell. That’s a Natty Beard must overcome the target’s Kremm Resistance.

Spell Casting in Combat

By Khalfrrrd

Although a combat round and it’s associated combat total, represents all the dodging, weaving and opportunity blows that occur, spell casting is a standalone, distinct action.

That means that if a wizard casts a single spell that has instantaneous effect, what does he do for the rest of the two minutes of the combat round other than stand there and get pummeled?   They get no further combat totals or combat rolls, nor do they get to cast another spell…or do they?

Tunnels and Trolls uses the character’s attributes as the basis of most things, so why not use them as the basis for determining the characters ability to perform actions in combat.

In the basic game, there is no real need for initiative, or any of that other mucking about, but when you are a magical type who has very little combat ability, knowing if you can get a spell off before you are splattered is a major benefit.

So, if the spell casters speed is higher than the highest speed on the opposing side, they can cast a spell that takes effect BEFORE the combat roll is made by either side.   This is always good if the spell would impair the opposing sides ability to fight.   All normal rules for the spell and it’s effects in combat apply.   Only one spell can be cast before the combat roll, but, it can be of any level.

The next issue comes with the fact that a spell that takes no time to cast, bogs down the caster for the next two minutes preventing them from casting more spells – well that is not really the case.   Spells take a certain amount of concentration, dexterity, finesse and raw power.    Combat is not really conducive to performing such an action, in fact, combat could be considered downright hostile to the entire spell casting process.   But still, a high level spell caster would be experienced enough to deal with those situations and still let fly with an arsenal of spells, so how do we show this in the game?

Every wizard can cast a number of level of spells equal to their speed divided by 10, round up, per combat round, with a minimum of one spell regardless of level.

What this means is that a spell caster with a speed of 24 can cast three “Take That You Fiend” spells at level one, each spell at a different target.   The total number of levels cast can never be higher than the spell-casters speed divided by 10, with a minimum of one spell, regardless of level.  This maximum also includes any spell cast before the combat roll is made.

Now, a spell caster can face multiple opponents or perform a wizards dual, all the while having a fighting chance.

(Khalfrrrd was once of our most enthusiastic and innovative members.  He developed his own highly original variant of T & T, and the better that system got, the less time he spent around here.  Like most creator gods, he got  good enough to move on and do his own thing.)

 

Battling Porta-Vision 

By Betty the Bountiful, the Unknown Wizardess
The most frustrating part of using Porta-Vision is the patience required to become a Level 6 Wizard. The wait is worth it. Porta-Vison can be used to tell stories as this illusion comes with motion and sound. In otherwords, Porta-Vision does not have to be limited to one item. Here a clever wizard takes advantage of people’s assumptions, and it just gets better when employed with other spells. Some spells help remind us we get further with our friends.

Combat Tactic #1 – Who’s There?: When in the thick of battle, say aloud, “We’re under attack by the unknown! Oh There It Is!” Instead cast Porta-Vision to create menacing looking purple glowing fiends. Works best when your side knows of this tactic. A well timed, “About time they got here!”, “Cancel that spell, you’re giving away the People Eaters’ positions!” Fear and confusion will reign throughout the enemies ranks. It will reduce their combined effectiveness (multiply their HPT × 3/4).
Combat Tactic #2 – Doubles like Me: A classic diversionary tactic with a helpful twist. Use this spell to create duplicates of yourself. It is reasonable to assume a decent wizard can produce at least six (6) copies stepping out from your space. Each copy is busy casting a horrible spell while advancing menacingly. Immediately follow up this spell with a Protective Pentagram about one of the copies, the one casting a dreadful Summoning, “Blood and Souls for my Lord Arioch!” I know illusions cannot actually cast spells, but if it looks and sounds like a spell how many people will risk standing still to question it? Other wizards can help by casting actual spells that you mimic. A smart friend might even cast Slush Yuck underfoot of a copy.
Combat Tactic #3 – Wyrm Friend: A mighty wyrm suddenly bursts forth from the ground. It screeches a blood curtling shriek of hunger. Its attention swivels to the foes as you cry out, “Behold Master I brought you dinner!” Make sure you point at your foes. Even a balruk might hesitate. Goblins just hope to outrun their companions.
Combat Tactic #4 – Ashes to Ashes, Stone to Stone: Two wizards should practice this tactic. One casts Slush Yuck underfoot of your foes. Simultaneously, the other wizard casts Porta-Vision. A horrible scene unfolds of a massive and bizarre new spell melting those caught in the area covering them in lava. Foes melt into ever spreading glowing magma flow. Include some screams to keep everyone on edge. In a round or two, cast Hard Stuff to bury the evidence and change the Porta-Vision to show nothing but cold ashes.
While Porta-Vision is not a death dealer, it does wreck havoc distracting foes and unsettling their ranks. Routing the less courageous will more than halve the ranks of your enemies. Do they know how powerful a wizard they face? Doubtful. Is it wise to assume the wizard seeks to trick them? No, Trollworld is a place where spells kill fast.

Hidey Hole the Specialist’s Perspective

By Hill Bert Master of the Unseen

Hidey Hole is not for the weak or cowardly. It is the life-blood of the small folk. We live literally underfoot or in the rafters of the most dangerous predators. Speed, agility, and a plucky attitude are the prerequisites to reading this journal. What I teach here are life lessons to finding your place in the annals of history. While big folk can try these maneuvers they should keep in mind, the magic works best for those who can move quickly and keep one step ahead of others. Leprechauns, Fairies, and Hobbs have natural gifts that make them naturally superior combatants. Make sure Kremm is on your side.

Combat Tactic #1 – Solitary Confinement: Find yourself alone in a dangerous place? Facing impossible odds? Then pit the enemy against each other. Get within five feet of your first victim. Cast Hidey Hole. Now you and the victim are invisible, but wait there’s more. Now dodge and weave like a bee and get more than five feet away while getting closer to someone else. Cast Hidey Hole. Remember that, “People covered by the same HH are visible to each other, but not visible to those within a second HH spell.” So your first victim(s) cannot see the second. Repeat as many times as your Kremm lasts. The chilling effect, the group watches their colleagues vanish in ones or twos. In the end, you can see them all, they can all see you, and few can see each other. It is hilarious to see their faces as they swing at you miss and cut one of the companions. The spell ends for the one hurt, but his unseen attacker must avoid a counter attack!

Combat Tactic #2 – Work with Betty: A great team spell. Classic HH stuff. Turn your team invisible while your wizardly pal creates a Porta Vision of the team behind the enemies. The illusionary team laughs, “Outflanked them again”. Naturally, the enemy will turn to face “you”. Silently run away or shoot your enemies in the back. When the team becomes visible everyone should laugh, “Outflanked them again.” It is funny when they turn around to attack the non-existent “invisible” team.

Combat Tactic #3 – Team One-Two Punch: A personal favorite and another team tactic. Cast HH using Combat Tactic #1. Meanwhile, your pals liberally cast Protective Pentagram and Slush Yuck. Big groups are quickly isolated. One or two trapped inside an impenetrable PP with a powerful invisible wizard, big Poo Poo. Others bump into the PP from the outside or step in a SY yucky mess. Also a good way to teach your young impressionable apprentices. Your young apprentice cast support spells. The Hold That Pose apprentice freezes up those still visible getting too close to you. The Sparkle apprentice casts Sparkle all over the place including the body armor of mutually invisible foe (i.e. single HH made the apprentice and the foe both invisible). Everyone will see the light will anyone attack the bait? Oh There It Is apprentice must judge carefully when the right time to make everyone glow. The most nimble apprentice can be assigned Oh Go Away to keep a mutually invisible foe chasing him or if lucky running away from the budding mage. Beings tend to run into each other when they cannot see each other. Pretty funny to watch.

Combat Tactic #4 – Mix and Match: Surely you can see more opportunities here by now… Very well, one last tidbit cast HH around your team and followed by Upsidaisy on your archer. It is like shooting fish in a barrel. An invisible archer shoots invisible arrows from an impossible place. BTW, a clever flying wizard can get close and cast a second HH on the archer. Makes the archer invisible even after someone else on the team takes 1 point of damage. Don’t let your archer fall. He really hates when you do that.

Hidey Hole is really cool. Oh There It Is lasts one only combat round while the great HH lasts five times longer, plus Oh There It Is only reveals outlines. Hidey Hole does not target anyone specifically. “Makes user and all within the radius of the spell invisible for 10 minutes”. As an environmental spell there is no Kremm Resistance. Don’t believe me? Read up on Mind Pox now that spell targets individuals. Isn’t invisibility fun?

Explaining Kremm Resistance
Adam the Wizard is going to cast a TTYF at an MR 10 Carnivorous
Crumpet, a monster distinguished by having a WIZ score equal to its
MR. Adam is a level 1 Wizard, with INT, DEX, and WIZ of 15 each; he is
at full strength, and is not using a focus. The spell costs him 6 WIZ,
and does 15 points of damage to the Crumpet, killing it.

Later, Adam runs into the Crumpet’s big brother, which has an MR (and
WIZ) of 20. Adam is back to full strength, but gets the “bad feeling”
as he prepares the spell. He casts the spell anyway, and cuts the
Crumpet’s WIZ from 20 to 14. Adam is going to need help…

Bruce the Wizard also encounters an MR 10 Carnivorous Crumpet, and
casts a TTYF at it. Bruce also has INT, DEX, and WIZ of 15 each, and
is at full strength, but Bruce has a CHA of 30, and is therefore a
level 3 Wizard. Bruce also has a staff enchanted as a focus, so the
TTYF spell only costs him 1 point of his personal WIZ. The spell does
15 points of damage, just like Adam’s did, and this Crumpet also dies.

Later, Bruce also runs into an MR 20 Crumpet. He prepares his TTYF,
gets the “bad feeling”, and casts the spell anyway. Now we have the
controversy: On targets with 15 WIZ or less, Adam’s spell and Bruce’s
spell are IDENTICAL, even though, by virtue of skill and superior
tools, Bruce’s spell only cost him one point of personal WIZ, as
opposed to Adam’s 6. It might seem logical that the two spells would
continue to be identical when cast at targets with 16 or more WIZ, but
that is not the way Kremm Resistance works. To understand this, a
couple of metaphors (and some details about spell casting) will come
in handy.

The Carpenter Metaphor: Two carpenters each set out to build a chair.
One has next to no experience; the other is a master. The master will
build a better looking, stronger chair, and use less wood, fewer
fasteners, and less glue in the process. This is the equivalent to the
“level v. level discount”. ALSO… The beginner will have very limited
tools, while the master will have a whole shop full; this is
equivalent to the “focus” discount.

The Catapult Metaphor: Suppose, as a medieval artillerist, you want
launch a firebomb over the wall of a castle. If your catapult doesn’t
have enough range and lift, you will NEVER get the bomb over the wall;
this is equivalent to the basic phenomenon of Kremm Resistance. If you
WERE to get the firebomb over the wall, it would cause significant
death and destruction, but since you don’t have enough lift, all it
does is crash into the wall. The wall isn’t flammable, so the bomb
doesn’t do nearly the damage it would normally do, but it is still a
heavy object hitting the wall at high speed, so it does SOME damage.
This is equivalent to the phenomenon of Kremm Ablation.

How Spells Work: A Wizard decides to cast a spell. He pulls out one
point of his personal kremm, and weaves a rough framework of the
spell, including, if the spell requires it, throwing an ectoplasmic
tendril (or some such) to the target of the spell. It is at this point
that he will get the legendary “bad feeling”, if his current kremm is
lower than the target’s. If the wizard gets the “bad feeling”, he can
go ahead and finish weaving the spell, but it is, at this point, a
broken spell; as soon as he got the “bad feeling”, he knew it would
never do what it was supposed to do, so essentially all he is doing is
throwing spell fragments at his target’s kremm.

Now, let’s go back to Bruce and his MR20 Carnivorous Crumpet. He has
options. They are not, immediately, GOOD options, but he has them. He
can hurl the broken spell as originally planned, costing himself one
point of kremm, and ablating one point of the Crumpet’s kremm. Or he
could choose to NOT use his advantages, and hurl 6 points of broken
spell at the Crumpet, and ablate 6 points of its kremm. In either
case, though, he would still have to find some other way of dealing
with the beast if he did not wish to be Crumpet Chow.

All of this suggests one minor tweak to the rules, and a new spell:
The tweak is that, if a wizard gets a “bad feeling” and decides to
abort the spell, he should probably still be out ONE point of kremm.
The spell follows.

Spell Name: Ablate Kremm [Combat]
WIZ Cost: See Below
Range: Line of sight up to 100 feet.
Duration: Instantaneous
Power Up?: Double range for each level increase.
Description: This spell destroys one point of the target’s kremm for
each point of WIZ spent. This spell specifically ignores Kremm
Resistance, and DOES allow level versus level discounts and use of
foci.
Notes:
(1)This spell shifts wizard versus wizard combat from “high kremm
wins” to a tendency to stalemate when the two wizards are fairly close
in WIZ. It allows Wizards to chip away the Kremm Resistance of high MR
creatures and eventually make an effective attack.
(2) Game masters should seriously consider making this one of the
“Standard” first level spells that every Wizard knows.

Paul (G’Noll) Haynie

Battling Mud

By Hsul Syuk the Rotund

Many wizards have survived awful fates by relying on Slush-Yuck. It is a simple spell with clear uses. That does not mean this spell lacks finesse. A surprising mage uses the familiar in new ways to achieve victory against the odds. It is important to remember that Slush-Yuck is flexible, “This spell transmutes up to 1000 cubic feet of stone into a semi-liquid form resembling quicksand.” As well as self correcting, “At the end of the spell, it reverts back to stone.” In other words, the spell caster can melt any 1000 cubic foot area of stone or less and reshape it; features key to using this spell in combat. Wizards should always embrace environmental spells to beat their foes regardless of Kremm Resistance.

Before we get into combat tactics, we need to appreciate the weight of rock. Use this chart as a starting point in your studies. Being able to recognize different types of stone helps you in more areas than just wizardry. You’ll find all the rock densities to be for dust/fillings and solid stone, a very important distinction. I find that Slushed stone always functions closer to dust weight.

 

Type Density (pounds per cubic foot) Type Density (pounds per cubic foot)
Basalt 174 Basalt (crushed) 187
Clay 50 Clay talc 52
Coal 68 Coal powder 87
Granite 168 Granite fillings 170
Limestone 143 Lime dust 168
Marble 149 Marble dust 168
Sandstone 137 Sand 174
Shale 149 Shale (crushed) 174
Slate 168 Slate (crushed) 174

 

Combat Tactic #1 – Mud Slinging: Having studied the table of rock densities, you should immediately see the obvious. Mud is heavier than rock. Use Slush-Yuck to make a deep 10-foot wide hole 40 feet in front of you (maybe underfoot of the charging foes). That leaves a 100-foot deep pit of mud. (Adjust width as necessary if you worry about not having enough earth below you.) The next round, cast Upsidaisy on the mud and sling it at one or more foes (size permitting). Ideally, you will wrap part of a body or just body parts in mud. Generally, most foes should be burdened with additional weight. Third combat round, Slush-Yuck has hardened back into stone, and Upsidaisy allows you to still move it about. At the very worst, the rock bound enemy must move forward while you hold the attached rock in place. At the very best, you have crippled a foe wrapped in rock. Best used on goblins. Do not try this on trolls. They are strong enough and likely to enjoy a quick snack.

Combat Tactic #2 – Slip n’ Slide: Best when cast in a narrow corridor, cast Slush-Yuck 2 feet deep and the width of the corridor. In a common 10-foot wide corridor this gives you a 50-foot long corridor filled with mud. Not only blunts an effective charge, but also traps foes ankle deep in rock. Some will make it across. Dispose of them immediately, and then cast Oh Go Away on the trapped to watch ankles snap (running toward or away from you does not matter in the least). Worried about disposing of those who cross? Isn’t that what warriors are for?

Combat Tactic #3 – Cave in: A maneuver to use only in the direst situations. Helps if you know Protective Pentagram or Blow me to…. Cast on the rock ceiling above (natural stone or cut stone does not matter). The subsequent collapsing ceiling will prove quite deadly. This is a great spell for expert architects who can collapse areas with less worry about weakening structural integrity. For those ignorant of structure, be careful. You may weaken the area and cause a greater collapse.

Combat Tactic #4 – Undermining: The opposite of tactic #3 and requires deep knowledge of local geologic formations. Nothing more effective than dropping your enemy into an underground cavern or aquifer.

There you have a wealth of ideas to help you confound your next game master.  And we’ve barely scratched the surface.  If you have some ideas on how to use magic creatively in combat, why not leave a comment?