Nordlond is my renamed Torengar for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG project I’m working on. Naturally, I have a playtest crew. Kalzazz is on it. For fun, and because one of the Festivals that are a key part of “town” in the adventure features a story about a bull . . . he wrote up a Nordlonder bull as a creature.

Bulls are unaltered mature male cattle, often clocking in at a ton or more of muscle and bad attitude, complete with horns. Nordlondic cattle are known for coming in a variety of colors* and have upswept curved horns. This represents a bull in his prime that is a survivor in the harsh Nordlonds. Bulls will fight to defend the herd, to drive off rivals, and because they plain do not like people.

ST 33
DX 9
IQ 4
HT 13

Per 12
Wil 12
Speed 5.5
Move 5/10 (Enhanced move 1)

HP 40
DR 2 (Tough Skin) / 6 (Skull) / 5 (Feet)
Dodge 9
Parry (Horns) 11
SM +2

Attacks
Kick C, 1 14 – 3d+5 cr
Gore C, 1 14 – 3d+8 imp. Can also be used as a slam. Counts as a weapon.

Bad Temper (12)
Lecherousness (12)
Domestic Animal
Herbivore
Peripheral Vision
Combat Reflexes (included in defenses above)
Quadruped
Weak Bite
Peripheral Vision

Skills – Brawling 14

Notes – based off the Ox from Campaigns, but upgraded because its not an altered ox, its a bull!

*per wikipedia, Icelandic cattle do come in many bright colors! They also are on the small side, but Nordlond is the land of mighty barbarians, so presumably Nordlondic cattle are NOT on the small side!

CER
OR 4 skill + 37 damage + 4 move + 3 FP = 48
PR 6 AD + 3 DR + 3 HT + 30 HP + 3 Wil = 45
CER 93

Moe Tousignant has a rep for thorough and detailed reviews. We’ve been in each others’ gaming orbits for a while, as he discussed below. When his dance card came up empty after reviewing James Spahn’s White Start, I teased him about reviewing Dragon Heresy.

He accepted.

He’s working through the preliminary-but-playable PDF file I’ve been working with, screen-shotting, and from which the edited manuscript will emerge, eventually. He notes the fix I made to moving Alignment where it’s supposed to be under Character Background somehow didn’t “take.” A few other things need fixing as well. This is why you need an editor.

Even so, he’s posted two long examinations so far, and will continue through the book. It’s readable, it’s thorough and fair. And he’s given me permission to re-host it.

So here we go, from Moe Tousignant’s RPGaMonth Group in Google+:

My history with Dragon Heresy and first look.

I’m finally caught up. It’s the fourth month of the year and I’m starting on my fourth RPG book for #RPGaMonth. If I can finish this one by the end of April then I will actually be on schedule!

For those just joining in, I’m reading this book as part of #RPGaMonth, where the goal is to read one RPG a month for the entire year. The main drive is to get those books that have been sitting on your shelf/hard drive unread and unused for far too long off that shelf/drive and get them read or, even better get them read and run.

My history with Dragon Heresy and it’s designer, Doug Cole

That goal of getting stuff off my shelf/drive? Well, that doesn’t apply here. Dragon Heresy is new to me, as of yesterday. Actually right now it’s kind of new to everyone. Well, really, it’s not new to anyone yet as it’s not actually out, or finished.

Dragon Heresy is a new fantasy RPG written by +Douglas Cole aka Gaming Ballistic. It’s up on Kickstarter right now (there will be a link at the end of this if you want to check it out).

So why am I writing about a game that’s not even finished yet? Well, it seems I must be doing something right with these reviews as Doug really liked my White Star Review and contacted me and asked if I would consider reading a pre-production copy of his new game next.

Now I’ve known Doug for as long as I’ve been on social media. From what I remember we first “met” in the Old School Gamers group on Facebook. Over time I’ve also grown to know him as That Thursday GURPSday guy, and now he’s becoming that Dragon Heresy guy (and with that, the Viking shield making guy).

I’ve always enjoyed my interactions with Doug so agreed to give Dragon Heresy a read. So take this as my full disclosure. While I don’t know Doug personally, as in, in real life (we’ve never met), I do know and respect him through our online interactions. Also, he did send me a pre-production copy of this game. Will that affect my thoughts on the game itself, I don’t think so, but it is something to consider when reading my thoughts on Dragon Heresy.

What I know going in

Due to the fact Doug was on pretty much every RPG podcast ever created in the last few weeks, I’ve heard quite a bit about Dragon Heresy. I know it uses Dungeons & Dragons 5e as it’s base. I know it’s more crunchy than D&D 5e. I know it’s about Vikings but still keeps all the magic and fantasy and I know that you don’t need to own D&D 5e to use it. It’s a standalone game. That’s pretty much it.

What is going to make this review interesting is that I have not read Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Yes, you read that right. I don’t play nor have I read the worlds most popular roleplaying game. For shame. Now I did do the whole D&D Next playtest, back when it was just the Caves of Chaos and Fighters still did damage on a miss. I’ve also got a ton of XP with D&D 4th Edition, 3.5 edition, and AD&D 2nd Edition. So it’s not like Fantasy D20 games are new to me. But I thought it worth noting that I haven’t played/read 5e so in some cases I’m not going to know if a rule in Dragon Heresy is new or something straight from the D&D 5e core rules.

First Look

Obviously, Dragon Heresy isn’t done yet and that needs to be taken into consideration for the entirety of this review. I’m dealing with PDF files here and not physical books.

That said, I was very impressed by how far along the game is. There’s art. It’s laid out. It’s full color. It looks like a complete RPG. Which I have to admit is awesome to see for a Kickstarter. When I received files from Monte Cook for playtesting they were just word documents. I really wasn’t expecting to see something this polished.

The book (you still call it a book when dealing with PDF’s right?) looks beautiful. It’s two-column justified text that looks to flow well. Most charts are in line as is most of the art (with a few bigger images squeezing one column or the other). I’m not sure if more art is coming but there are some sections where it’s a bit sparse, I found one section where it’s 12 pages between pieces of art. The art that is there is solid and appears to feature multiple artists (one of the pages I don’t have are the credits).

As expected from a book based on D&D, it looks like a large portion of the book is dedicated to spells and monsters. It’s also worth noting this is a one book system. No separate campaign book or monster manual. It does look like there’s still art coming for the Monsters as I didn’t notice any during my flip through the book.

First Impressions

My first thought as I scrolled quickly through the Dragon Heresy PDF was: man this looks like a complete game. As I got near the end I noticed there was still some layout to be done and art missing but overall it looks done, at least as far as the rules are concerned.

I haven’t actually read any rules or anything more than some random headings so I can’t speak about any of that yet, but I can say this is going to be a great looking game once it releases.

Now we just need to see how the rules look… next time.

Part 2 Covering: Introduction, Core Mechanics, Creature Characteristics, Ability Scores, Generating Characters, Character Races, Character Classes, Character Background, Beyond 1st Level and Equipment Continue reading “Moe Tousignant Reviews Dragon Heresy (preview edition)”

This post initially appeared on Michael’s Google+ feed, but I liked it so much I asked him if I could repost it on my blog. He agreed.

Since disadvantages are unofficial topic of the week I’ve been thinking about our storied history of disadvantages and I was writing a HUGE response to Douglas Cole and realized it wasn’t really even on topic. So I decided to post separately.

For the longest time we had religiously made characters with 40D 5Q. We fell into some very predictable patterns because at that range we all had favorites. We may try a different disadvantage that fit the character but Chris always had Bad Temper, Nate Always had Sadist, Alex always had Sense of Duty, and as much as I like to pretend I’m the Alpha roleplayer, a lot of my characters had Impulsive. We just found things that worked better for our play style and personality as roleplayers but that turned into a rut. Players anticipated that we’d make these characters and they built characters on that assumption. We didnt’ try new things or grow very much.

We had also done those insane games with 100points in disadvantages, but we weren’t used to that scope so we didn’t have that balance of disadvantages that Douglas Cole talks about. We’d go all in on big-point disadvantages or have just a huge laundry list of disadvantages that we couldn’t manage to roleplay well. And we’d invariably choose those favorite Disadvantages again too. Continue reading “Disadvantages: An argument for template (guest post by Michael Wolf)”

Inspired by Douglas’ cool post on organization of disadvantages, I also follow a certain way of thinking about disadvantages.  Buckets of Points (Pyramid 65) presents an option for giving players different amount of points for different amounts of positive traits, skills, attributes, advantages etc.

While I do not strictly budget disadvantages, I have for a long time regarded them in the same way, and believe that it helps to keep in mind three buckets when choosing disadvantages for a character, allowing a character that has characterization but is not a menace to society for DM or player!

  1. DM facing Disadvantages – These are disadvantages such as Enemies, Weirdness Magnet, Klutz, Unluckiness, Dependents . . . disadvantages that rely on the DM having something happen to the character.  These are the first sort of disadvantages I felt needed to belong in a bucket of their own for two reasons
    • Being DM facing, they place an extra level of burden on the DM keeping up with them across an entire party of characters, and I could feel swamped as a DM when to many of them reared their head.   
    • Since they are something the DM directly implements, they are a nice tool the player is kindly providing to the DM to help guide, flesh out and make interesting scenarios in the game!
  2. Player facing Disadvantages – These are disadvantages such as Intolerance, Lecherousness, Honesty, Bloodlust . . . disadvantages that are reliant on the player roleplaying them to be implemented, rather than on the DM.   Since these are roleplaying focused, they add quite a bit to the flavor of the character, but can add quite a bit of load to the player to keep track of playing a lot of them.   The DM can of course fit challenges appropriate to these disadvantages into the game, but they are dealt with by the player and thus can be far less of a load on the DM.  This is the second category I felt stood out, and in one of my campaign notes I specifically requested players take primarily ‘player facing’ disadvantages, which at the time I considered everything not DM facing!
  3. Game facing Disadvantages – These are disadvantages such as Reduced Stats, Vulnerability, Maintenance, Bad Sight – disadvantages which are primarily in terms of game mechanics which just exist, not reliant on the DM putting them into play, nor reliant on the player roleplaying them.   They can provide interesting challenges to the player to deal with, and the DM can incorporate them into scenarios, but since they are straight game mechanics they add very little load to player or DM.   They are often not as interesting for guiding the game or characterization however.   I originally considered these to be ‘player facing’, but now believe they fit into a category of their own.

One consideration is that disads can jump boundaries based on the perspective of the DM and implementation, a particular example being Vulnerability.   I tend to view Vulnerability as pretty much Game facing and as a DM do not worry about it, as I figure that in the course of DMing I will throw a miscellany assortment of damage types along, and that Crushing, Fire, Unholy, or Antimagic or what have you will come up in due course.   But for other things, particularly lower frequency items such as say Silver or Jade, the DM must remember to actually appropriately outfit enemies with them as suited to the commonness chosen for the vulnerability.   Thus it can also be DM facing.   

While I have never advocated a particular budget of points between the three buckets, I believe it can be important to keep a balance between them, and that the balance can shift between different games.   For instance, with a large party, fewer DM facing disadvantages might be chosen, as with several party members the DM could well get swamped.   The opposite with a smaller party . . . . a single solitary PC could do well to have Enemies, Dependents, and so forth oh my!

For a decent sized party, I would recommend no more than a couple DM facing disads for any given party member.   Several more player facing disads can be appropriate can be proper for each character as the player is focused on their own character.   Game facing disads can be added pretty freely, as they help make things interesting without loading anyone down . . . . having played and DMed in a number of games with more generous disadvantage limits I find them quite indispensable in such situations.

Since that is rather dry, let us look at an example of an actual character I’ve played.   Said character was expected to be played in a party ranging from 2 to 5 or so party members.

DM Facing Disads

  • Duty (Council of Archmages)
  • Flagrant Aura
  • Supernatural Features, overly warm

Player Facing Disads

  • Obsession (Become a member of the Council of Archmages)
  • Callous
  • Honesty
  • Truthfulness
  • Curiosity
  • Overconfidence

Game Facing Disads

  • Dependency, Mana, Constantly
  • Increased Consumption
  • Restricted Diet, Mundane Food
  • Vulnerability DN, Antimagic  x2
  • Lowered Per/Will
  • Lowered ST

Thus, following the ideas of breaking the disads into the three buckets, you can arrive at a fairly well characterized character with all manner of interesting bad things about them, but without burning out the DM or player with the load of them all!  This approach is based around sharing the load between DM, Player, and leaving it up to the game system, and I think it works out pretty well.

I would like to thank starslayer for looking at the first draft of this and helping me improve it, and in particular for bringing up the vulnerability issue.

The post below is duplicated from Roland Warzecha’s Patreon page, which everyone should visit and support. If you are a fan of historical swordsmanship, you definitely owe yourself a visit his way.

Here is the completed illustration which I did for a role-play adventure written by Dougas Cole, that is currently campaigning on kickstarter, to attract as many backers as possible. (One of the stretch goals will be more art work such as this!)

The adventure is apparently set in a fantasy world, partially drawing on Norse mythology and culture. In the background, you can see a page from the Icelandic Codex Regius (the King’s Book) which is the oldest written source for the Poetic Edda. The typographic elements are verses from the Hávamál which is included in the Codex Regius. Naturally, I thought it appropriate to depict Viking arms and armour with the image’s leading character. Doug had suggested a female warrior, and so I created this heroine, which I named Sólveig Ravnsdóttir. Her first name can be interpreted in a number of ways, e.g. as path of the sun, mistress of the hall, power of the house. Her last name means Raven’s daughter.

Sólveig wears lamellar armour of oriental origin. Remains of this kind of protection have been found in the Swedish Viking settlement of Birka. It consist of small plates, so-called lamellae which are laced to form individual belts. These belts are laced more loosely to each other in such a fashion that they overlap and can move much like a telescope, assisting hinging motions of the wearer’s torso.

Her head is protected by a helmet with ”spectacles“ based on a Norwegian find from Gjermundbu, the only original Viking helmet ever to be discovered.

The account of an Arab chronicler who had met Eastern Vikings described them as being tattooed. Accordingly, I decided to show Sólveig being tatted in ornaments of the so-called Urnes style which became popular in the late Viking Age. Her sword with bronze fittings is of the typical late spate type that was widespread in Scandinavia and Russia. Its scabbard is mounted with an eastern bronze scabbard chape in the shape of a raven. Her arms are adorned with various bracelets.

The bottom hem of her wide tunic is tucked up above her thighs to allow for freedom of movement, as seen with a sword-fighter in the 9th century Utrecht Psalter, and some men wading through water on the late 11th century Bayeux Tapestry.

She has just deflected a spear thrust with her flat round shield, then turned the shield pushing forward its edge to keep the sear at bay and pin her opponent, at the same time striking a death blow.

Her adversaries are Hobgoblins which carry both bucklers as well as large Celtic style shields. They are armed with swords modeled on both Viking Age ones as well as late medieval ranges messer. One also brandishes a bearded axe. The helmets are so-called kettle hats based on late 14th and 15th century models. All Goblin arms are made from bronze, because they cannot stand steel, as Douglas explained to me.

Obviously, they have a weak spot for the same beard styles that I like myself, and it appears to be a custom with this tribe to put on war paint made from some local berries.

I have also picked kind of a motto for Sólveig which is based on a line from the collection of Hávamál verses that Douglas had provided me with: “Never slain shall she bow before sword.”See it somewhat concealed in the image above.

If you like this art work, keep an eye on the stretch goals suggested by Douglas for his kickstarter project.

A 300 dpi version of this image is available as a download for $7+ patrons.

What’s next? The up-coming weapon documentation and photo set will feature a late 14th/early 15th century type XIV sword from Switzerland which will be made available for $25+ patrons, with the full scale drawing to follow for my $35+ patrons.

New Reward Level – Dimicator Stythja

As you can see, the detail work in Roland’s piece is amazing. If you want to have your character illustrated by him, in this style . . . now you can!

I have introduced another reward level: the top-tier Dimicator Stythja. At this level, for $750 you will get a quarter-page illustration in the same style as the image featured above . . . or for a kingly sum of $2,000, a full page.

As with all of the Stythja (Patron) levels, the first task is to create a level 3-6 character that will either come from the SRD, or the Dragon Heresy preview chapter that I will send to the patron backer. Once the character is created, the patron backer will provide reference images, and I will provide art direction to Roland based on the character, the images, and our conversations.

I’m sure the result will be quite inspiring!

These rules are a literal blast from my past being well over a decade old, from the days when I ran many many games of D6 Star Wars and my own D6 Star Wars / D6 Fantasy / Kitchen Sink inspired D6 Space Fantasy.   Cinema offering like Star Wars, and games like Dark Forces, X-Com (especially Apocalypse), and MechWarrior feature generous amounts of brightly colored rapid fire death and destruction, which I felt the D6 system needed a better approach to bringing to life.   I also wanted to give players even more play options at the table for ‘I shoot the guy’, without making automatic weapons fire into a complex minigame.   I also did not    

These rules have all been extensively playtested and to my mind work very swimmingly, with the caveat I like and encourage grand fireworks shows of automatic weaponry.   They also make automatic weapons in the hands of skilled marksmen a very awesome thing, and make blazing away a very good idea as the only drawback is the occasional burnt action reloading and needing extra ammo.  If you want a squad of stormtroopers dropped in a hail of blaster bolts in a single action by the mighty hero these are your rules!   If you want rules firmly grounded in reality . .  . these are probably not your rules.

D6 Autofire Rules

For all choices, the make by X over numbers can be decreased by whatever nifty widgets reduce recoil in the setting of choice.  Note, while the rules below mention hexes, hex maps are not required, simply use the abstract unit spacing representations of choice, yards, squares, hexes, inches etc.

Standard Autofire Attack – A normal attack to increase damage by attempting to land more than one round, it uses 1 action.

Declare how much ammo you will use before rolling.  

  • If you make the attack by 0-4, nothing special occurs, normal damage.
  • If make  the attack by 5 over, and fired at least 3 rounds, +1d damage.
  • By 10 over, and at least 6, +2d damage,
  • By 15 over, and at least 9, +3d and so on.  

This assumes an automatic weapon.

For semi-automatic and double-action and whatnot, see above but replace 5, 10, 15 and so on by 10, 20, 30 and so on.

Spray Attack

A normal attack with intent to better your chances of landing a hit through multiple rounds.

Declare how much ammo you will use before rolling, then get +1d to attack for every 3 rounds expended.

This uses 1 action and requires an automatic weapon.

Sweep Attack

An attack to sweep across a group of enemies in sequence to engage multiple targets.

Declare how many enemies attacking, all enemies must be in a row more

or less, though vacant hexes are acceptable. Declare the order the enemies are to be engaged, from left to right or right to left.  Ammo cost is 3 rounds per enemy and vacant hex between enemies.

Only one attack rolled is made, and compared against all targets.   The damage is base damage.

First target needs 5 over to hit, 2nd target needs 10 over, 3rd target needs 15 over and so on.  This uses 1 action and requires an automatic weapon.

Area Saturation Attack

This is an attack to engage multiple targets by filling the area they occupy with shear weight of rounds.rather than attacking them directly.

The hexes attacked must be contiguous and there is a minimum of 5 hexes.   Hexes may or may not be occupied, but the cost in rounds must be paid for each hex.

A single attack roll is made, and compared against all targets.

Three levels are possible.

  • Light – requires 3 rounds per hex.  The attack must be made by 10, and damage is reduced by 1d as attacks into the general area are less likely to hit individual targets and the damages may not be square hits or may be flying debris.
  • Moderate – requires 6 rounds per hex.   The attack must be made by 5, and damage is base damage.
  • Heavy – requires 9 rounds per hex,  The attack must be made by 0,, and damage is base damage.  Also, if the attack roll is 10 over, damage is base +1d.

Creating Automatic Weapons (Optional)

In D6 Star Wars and other D6 products, often a weapons nature as an automatic weapon is subsumed into its stats.    For instance, a Star Wars Light Repeating Blaster may do 6d damage have ammo capacity of 25, since 25 ammo is rather low for a squad support weapon in a setting where normal rifles have 100 round capacity, it is very likely that 6D comes from multiple shots at once.  You could say reduce the weapons damage to 5D and increase ammo to 100 and allow the weapon to use these rules.   

Comments

I haven’t used these rules in years . . . but, I could still remember them even before I found my old writeup!   I had a lot of fun with these back then, as these rules were used for years with many a hail of fire from a blaster rifle.   Since I am now a pretty dedicated GURPS player, I notice my old D6 rules split ‘make it easier to hit’ and ‘give chances for more damage’ into two separate options,  while in GURPS firing away with automatic fire does both at the same time!   Some of the inspiration for this comes from D20 Arsenal by Perpetrated Press, an excellent book for magical gatling guns and other fun toys for your D20 needs, a book sadly out of print.

And today, a guest post on Ritual Path Magic by forumite and Discordian Kalzazz. RPM is not my forte, so I’m happy to host articles by folks for whom it’s their bread and butter. -dhc

My first real serious joyful introduction to the concept of RPGs and what made me a huge fan was the old SEGA Genesis game Shining Force.   And one thing in Shining Force I loved was Tao the Mage and hitting enemies with fire spells for horrible death.

RPM was a giant step for GURPS, in that its ‘build your own spells’ system allowed not only all that secret magic for urban fantasy and monster hunters stuff, it also allowed good old fashioned fireball slingers with Charms as Memorized spells!

Here I discuss how a simple boring fireball, of the classic ‘erupts into being’ sort that I associate with fireballs can actually be a rather multipurpose tool.   This will help show the flexibility of RPM, and that a single ritual can be a starting point rather than a straightjacket.

RPM allows you to do such nifty things as cooking your enemies with fire!  First, on pg 17 of RPM we see that in order to do an Indirect damage spell at range (like the classic fireball that simply erupts into being, as opposed to one thrown like a fiery baseball) we add a Range for where the spell will be created, and roll Innate Attack to hit.  Notably this spell also goes off when we create it, not requiring a round to throw!

So what is a fireball?

Pg. 19 of RPM we see ‘Specific Definition’, it notes that a ritual must be specifically defined for Ritual Mastery perks and for Grimoires.   A mage may or may not invest in ritual mastery perks, but it might not be a bad idea.  Grimoires are love though, so trying to buy a grimoire for your favorite spells is a great thing!

  1. Specific Spell Effects – For ‘Classic Fireball’ we want Greater Create Energy.
  2. What those effects do – A fireball erupts into being and cooks people with painful hurtings.
  3. Modifiers pt 1 – Very important it says these can be changed ‘On the Fly!’, don’t list specific values.   For our Fireball we want ‘Area Effect’.
  4. Modifiers pt 2 and their specific effect – We don’t need the numbers, but we need what they are.   For our Fireball we want ‘External Burning’ damage.
  5. It notes we don’t need to worry about Range here.   

So there we have it, ‘Classic Fireball’, a Fireball erupts into being and cooks people with painful hurtings (External Burning).

Maybe a bit of improvement would help to get an even better spell.   For instance, ‘Classic Smart Fireball’, which has Bestows a Bonus, Narrow, To Hit with Me, as well as ‘Area Effect, with Exclusions’.   This is ‘A fireball that erupts into being (hopefully where intended) and cooks people with painful hurtings (but not the people you don’t want cooked!)’.  It adds a Lesser Control Magic effect to accomplish ‘helps hit where its supposed to’.

Classic Smart Fireball

Greater Create Energy, Lesser Control Magic.  A fireball erupts into being to cook people with painful hurtings, helped by the magic to hit the correct people where desired!  (Area Effect with Exclusions,  Burning External Damage,  Bestows a Bonus, Narrow, ‘To Hit with Me’)

We are going to want to use this as a charm, so another Lesser Control Magic will be involved.

Before actually writing down rituals, we need to get an idea of the Mage who is going to be casting so we know the numbers to play with.

Let us assume then our Mage has Magery 6,  skill 18 in Path of Magic and Path of Energy, and has Ritual Mastery (Classic Smart Fireball), and a +4 grimoire of the same (relatively affordable!), and a +1 Charm Lab (not so affordable, but we are hopeful), and Higher Purpose Pyromania (I mean, Pyromancy!).   So we consider our Effective skill since this spell uses two Paths to be the lower of the two, but in this case they are the same (this is usually the case, you want your Path of Magic to be high enough you don’t turf spells using them as charms), so 18, +2 for Ritual Mastery, +4 for Grimoire, +1 for Charm Lab, and +1 for Higher Purpose = 26.   

How much energy do we have to play with then?   Well, 18 from our Magery 6 (3 per), and we look at the Quick and Dirty Charms Rules on pg 26.   So 125 energy = Safe Threshhold.   So 143 energy to play with without exceeding our safe threshhold.

Here is our most basic elemental form of this spell!

Classic Smart Fireball

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 3d (0) + Range, 2 yds (0) + Bestows A Bonus, +1 to To hit with me (1) + Area Of Effect, 2 yards (0). 51 energy (17×3).

Created using this extremely awesome tool by Nick Coffin

(Note, I’m not sure the number it came up with for the Area Effect there is correct!  But, whatever, what the tool says is what I am using!)

Add some more damage and stuff and see what we get?

Classic Smart Fireball

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 13d-1 (13) + Range, 30 yds (7) + Bestows A Bonus, +4 to To hit with me (8) + Area Of Effect, 3 yards, excluding up to 2 subjects (3). 141 energy (47×3).

That is a nice spell!

But this blog post is ‘The Many Faces of Fireball’.   Say instead you want to hit someone farther off?  We can lower damage and raise range!

Classic Smart Fireball, Sniper’s

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball, Sniper’s – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

Sniper’s – This one trades damage for better range and accuracy!

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 4d+2 (2) + Range, 100 yds (10) + Bestows A Bonus, +5 to To hit with me (16) + Area Of Effect, 3 yards, excluding up to 2 subjects (3). 141 energy (47×3).

Or a closer ranged harder hitting one?  

Classic Smart Fireball, Intense

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball, Intense – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

Intense – This one focuses on intensity of the flames sacrificing range and accuracy

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 21d (24) + Range, 7 yds (3) + Bestows A Bonus, +1 to To hit with me (1) + Area Of Effect, 3 yards, excluding up to 2 subjects (3). 141 energy (47×3).

How about one with greater area of effect to hit more targets?

Classic Smart Fireball, Widefire

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball, Widefire – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

Widefire – This one spreads weaker flames over a farther area, trading accuracy and intensity. It also increases exclusions as you may have more people you don’t want to hit!

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 10d-1 (9) + Range, 30 yds (7) + Bestows A Bonus, +1 to To hit with me (1) + Area Of Effect, 20 yards, excluding up to 4 subjects (14). 141 energy (47×3).

It wouldn’t be right to avoid mentioning grappling!  Here is one intended to help squishy mages avoid being grappled!

Classic Smart Fireball, No Touch Me

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball, No Touch Me – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

No Touch Me – This ones range is less than its area effect, intended as a resort for mages in danger of being overrun! The wise caster will choose themselves as one of the exclusions.

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 18d (20) + Range, 2 yds (0) + Bestows A Bonus, +1 to To hit with me (1) + Area Of Effect, 10 yards, excluding up to 4 subjects (10). 141 energy (47×3).

There are 5 different versions of the same ritual, cast at the same level of energy, all doing the same thing.   But doing it in 5 different ways, so that they can each play a similar but different role on the battlefield.

Hopefully this illustrates that creating a spell for RPM need not be one and done, instead, by moving the numbers around you find new uses for the same ritual, and get more bang for your buck out of the same grimoire and Ritual Master purchase!   It also greatly helps out designing your spell loadout, as this way you can have several Classic Smart Fireballs listed.

I have used this method in play with several characters and it has seemed to work well . . . . until you run into enemies who are fireproof at least.   Which leads us to our next Face of Fireball.

Using the same Classic Smart Fireball we can make a Classic Smart Forceball by just changing ‘Burning’ to ‘Crushing’ and changing the text to say ‘A forceball erupts into being, smashing those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid smashing those not intended and actually hitting the intended)’

Unlike all the versions of Classic Smart Fireball, the Classic Smart Forceball IS a different ritual!  It is using force (or kinetic energy or whatnot!) to smash people, not fire to cook people, but, the actual writeup is identical.   Lets assume our example mage still has 18 in skills and 6 magery and a +1 charm lab. So the mage buys a Grimoire of Classic Smart Forceball at +3 (doesn’t want to spend as much on a secondary spell) and has no Ritual Mastery and no Higher Purpose, so, are looking at a 22.   Safe Threshhold is 85, so our spells energy is 103.

Classic Smart Forceball

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Crushing + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Forceball – A forceball erupts into being, smashing those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid smashing those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Crushing 9d (8) + Range, 20 yds (6) + Bestows A Bonus, +1 to To hit with me (1) + Area Of Effect, 3 yards, excluding up to 2 subjects (3). 102 energy (34×3).

This way you do not have to reinvent the wheel, just tweak an existing spell and off you go!

I have been using RPM since it came out in MH1, and the ‘make one spell, and then fiddle with it for several variations’ is one of my favorite tricks, so I hope this was of use.   Thank you very much to Doug for agreeing to host this!