Saturday, January 30, 2010

Magic-Users of Dwimmermount

This morning, I was inspired and finally put the finishing touches on the character class write-ups for Dwimmermount. Here's the chart for magic-users, to give you an idea of how I'm presenting them.

As I always intended, I've included level titles, both because I think they're something that's sadly absent from all the retro-clones to date (though I understand why) and because I think their presence can, if done properly, add a lot of flavor to a campaign setting without the need for adding any mechanics. In this case, the titles are Thulian in origin (or, rather, Termaxian-influenced Thulian) and correspond to degrees within the state-sponsored schools of magic. So influential were these schools that, even after the fall of the Thulians and their Termaxian masters, the degrees remain common terms by which to refer to magic-users of varying power.

MAGIC-USER LEVEL PROGRESSION

Experience

Level

Title

Hit Dice

Combat Bonus

0

1

Neophyte

1

+0

2,501

2

Zealot

1+1

+0

5,001

3

Beholder

2

+0

10,001

4

Practitioner

2+1

+1

20,001

5

Philosopher

3

+1

40,001

6

Minor Adept

3+1

+1

80,001

7

Major Adept

4

+1

160,001

8

Exalted Adept

5

+2

310,001

9

Magister

6+1

+2

460,001

10

Mage

7

+2

610,001

11

Archmage

8+1

+3

760,001

12


8+2

+3

910,001

13


8+3

+4

1,060,001

14


8+4

+5

1,210,001

15


9+1

+5

1,360,001

16


9+2

+6

1,510,001

17


9+3

+6

1,660,001

18


10+1

+6

1,810,001

19


10+2

+7

1,960,001

20


10+3

+7

19 comments:

  1. I was thinking about asking about "archmage" but I see you just added it!

    I agree that level titles - specific to a given campaign - are a simple and effective way to add to the ambiance. I went a step further in my own campaign for clerics. I've given different titles and honorifics for each major religion (at least the ones in play) to spice things up a bit. Of course, of my two PCs with clerics, one was really into that idea, but has since been killed, while the other wants to "cast spells, turn undead, and use a mace" and could care less about these details or who his cleric even worships!

    Alas, the tribulations of DMing...

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  2. Things like level titles are so easy to forget when building a system, especially since they're not necessary for play, and you're so right about the power of those details in bringing a campaign to life. A GM who works hard on those background flourishes can make me, as a player, forget about the numbers altogether.

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  3. I always thought fantasy games should hew closer to real occult lodges and doctrines for this sort of stuff. I'd suggest adding "Ipsissimus" at perhaps level 15. "Secret Chief" at 20...things like that.

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  4. Do they have to fight Choronzon at 9th level? :)

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  5. Loving the level titles. Very evocative. I can just imagine a Beholder bragging to a Zealot how he personally witnessed the Magister summon a lesser demental.

    Just wondering: why two thousand five hundred and one? Why does one need 2501 XP to get to second level but only 2500 XP to get to third?

    Also, does "...8+2, 8+3, 8+4, 9+1, 9+2..." mean he loses three hit points when he gets to fifteenth level or does he get ten (1+2+3+4) extra hit points over levels 11-14?

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  6. How about keying "minor"/"major" (or other adjectives) to the unlocking of a new spell level?

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  7. Just wondering: why two thousand five hundred and one? Why does one need 2501 XP to get to second level but only 2500 XP to get to third?

    The XP requirements are those of Labyrinth Lord. As I recall, Dan Proctor, its creator, based his XP charts on a specific formula in order to avoid "artistic presentation" issues with the original material.

    Also, does "...8+2, 8+3, 8+4, 9+1, 9+2..." mean he loses three hit points when he gets to fifteenth level or does he get ten (1+2+3+4) extra hit points over levels 11-14?

    All Hit Dice are D6 and re-rolled at every level, but the player only keeps a result that's higher than what he had before. So at 14th level, the player rolls 8d6+4 for his character's hit point total. At 15th level, he rolls 9d6+1. If the result is more than he'd previously rolled, his hit points increase; if it isn't, he keeps what he had previously.

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  8. I take it you haven't switched to variable damage dice, yet?

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  9. You understand why retro clones haven't had level titles? Please tell me why, I don't know.

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  10. Dig the titles, but some should be spread out a bit more between the levels. Also, for level 20 I would have one more title bestowed such as Grand Archmage. A magic user makes it that high you know he's one of a kind. Just my two CP's.

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  11. Just wondering: why two thousand five hundred and one? Why does one need 2501 XP to get to second level but only 2500 XP to get to third?

    The XP requirements are those of Labyrinth Lord. As I recall, Dan Proctor, its creator, based his XP charts on a specific formula in order to avoid "artistic presentation" issues with the original material.

    Basically, it uses experience point ranges, as with AD&D:

    0-2,500 = Level 1
    2,501-5,000 = Level 2
    5,001-10,000 = Level 3

    ...and so on. this logic sometimes gets lost in the idea that you needs such and such a number of experience points to achieve the next level.

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  12. Um...I don't understand why. Why are there no level titles in the retro-clones?

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  13. i have been using level titles since 1990s ; however, I make them semi-specific for NPCs -

    for PCs titles are not specific at all , since a fifth level fighter may be stuck with the title of 'veteran' since he might not have endeared himself with his superior officers

    "Some of the best fighters
    were the worst soldiers."

    Stephen Ambrose

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  14. JB Said -
    Um...I don't understand why. Why are there no level titles in the retro-clones?

    It's another point of difference between the retro/clone versions and the originals - so if someone gets a bug up their posterior and decides to take them to court - and insanity strikes the retro's publisher to actually spend the money to fight back - it's another spot where they can claim that the game is not a copy of the original, because there are (X) points of difference, and there is no direct copying of tables, etc. going on.

    How necessary it actually is, and how useful it would be? Nobody knows - it's never been tested in court.

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  15. ...and there is no direct copying of tables...

    Sort of. The problem is not copying, but artistic presentation. It is totally legal (or so it is thought) to copy rules that are directly derived from mathematical formulae. However, the level titles are more like artistic presentation and have not been made available as open game content, so it is risky to use them in the form that a publisher would want. Of course, the level titles themselves are simply the result of Gygax looking up synonyms in a thesaurus (seriously, and often in the same order), so they are not exactly propriety...

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  16. The thing is, the idea of level titles in the original D&D came from things in the real world, like the various level titles of the old Latin Rite Catholic minor and major orders of clergy. (Acolyte, Exorcist, Lector, Porter, Subdeacon, Deacon, Priest, Bishop,Archbishop, and Pope. With "Monsignor" and "Cardinal" to add honor without levels.) :)

    The names of bardic levels, OTOH, were actually those of real level titles of poets in Irish society, which were in turn modeled on the hierarchy of "degrees" of monk-students and teachers at the pre-university Irish schools. (Which were probably modelled on the minor and major orders, so back you come again.)

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  17. Just passing through and had to comment. Don't know anything about Thulians, but dig that list overall, but #5 is not right. Philosopher is a loaded term and has better use outside of this list. So consider:

    4. Practitioner
    5. Skilled Practitioner
    6. Minor Adept

    The nuance on Practitioner is justifiable. At level 5, the Skilled Practitioner is interesting via the 3rd level spell in the same way a skilled practitioner in any field whatsoever can make a potent demonstration of his or her particular craft. Similarily, the reach of the Adept is renowned - that word alone truly is an old school throw back to some very tasty fantasy writing. Le Guin, Howard, Norton, etc,...

    What an excellent 3-part, pre Magister, pre Mage platform, then.

    Keep on rocking, good sir.

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  18. I take it you haven't switched to variable damage dice, yet?

    I'm somewhat inconsistent on this point. I have started using different dice types for large and/or exotic weapons, but most other weapons still use 1D6. The same goes for attacks by monsters.

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