Not much to post today. Beat Pokemon Platinum last night (got the last of the legendaries out), and now it’s time to evacuate the cart and restart the game.
Meanwhile, Red is my bitch (courtesy of a level ~65 team taking on his late 70s-80s bastards), so HG is almost cleared as well.  Down to 14 Pokemon left to have captured the entirety..

Work on the wedding dungeon continues apace. Lots of interesting ideas need to get forced into a ~3-5 hour playtime (with booze and food). Still deciding on a good denouement or two, other than “Everybody dies” (which is still a distinct possibility for this one..).

Also, remember my bitching about that shitty Charlemagne record? A week later, Sabaton announced they were releasing a new record.. about Carolus Magnus. Coincidence? Of course. Still fills my shorts with glee.

New Skill: Occultism (LotFP)

Can it be? Back to posting every day? We shall see..

Anyway, this is the Occultism skill I mentioned yesterday, had to go in and tweak it a bit overnight. In my current campaign, I’m using rules options 2&3 (the Doctor and possibly the Archaeologist appear to be going for it). Should be fun.
Edit: added a new mechanic inspired by Fractalbat

Occultism

Inspiration: Johnathan from The Mummy, countless Mediaeval dabblers and fools, Enlightened dilettantes, &c..
Note: this post is preserved for the Archives, but my current rules are available here

This skill allows the character to cast up to 3 cantrips (if used) or a single first-level spell once per day, per level of the skill. This limit applies only to successful casting (see below). The character must roll against his Occult Lore skill each time he casts. If the roll fails, the character may chose to burn HP (or years of his life..) at a rate of 1:1 for each point of failure. This expenditure does not cause System Shock. He may also attempt to cast again at a later time, with one exception: if the roll is a 6 (or double six for a fully Skilled character) on a Summons of ANY kind, the summoning is successful, but horribly botched. The character automatically fails the initial save vs Magic, and his Control roll is penalized by -5.

The character may understand 2 cantrips or one first-level spell (of black or white magic) for every point he invests into this skill. He does not automatically gain a new spell on increasing the skill, but must instead learn the new spell(s).

To learn a new spell, there are two options. First, the caster can roll for inspiration on unknown spells immediately after encountering them – if he has the materials (a spellbook or scroll, or witnessing the spell being cast) and a free slot: this uses the same rules as Language rolls. He must still transcribe the spell within 24 hours (this takes about 6 hours of dedicated work, plus the writing materials). Otherwise, a relevant grimoire must be laboriously prepared and annotated – treat this as researching the spell included, using any bonuses for high intelligence and for having the spellbook to hand.

Lay Occultists have not yet grasped the ability to force a twisting creation of Magic into their minds and prison it for future use; Magi have their mental hotel filled to capacity already, and prefer the safer prisonment of a page. Thus, to cast these spells, Occultists must use great tomes of magic detailing the rituals and motions to be performed, etc. These are twice the size of a standard “dungeon” spellbook. Each spell takes a Turn to cast; cantrips require a full minute of preparation and incantation.

The Occultist may use scrolls as would a Mage or Cleric, but must roll against his skill in Occult Lore or fail. If a 6 is rolled, roll again: a 4 or more indicates that the Winds of Chaos or the Lords of Law are angered by his meddling. The character is struck by a curse, and their scroll will be consumed. Any other failure does not destroy the scroll, but the character must have a few moments of rest and study to attempt the rune again. The character may not “burn” HP or years to force the scroll to work.

Finally, an Occultist may use rituals of divination and identification on magic items. Each attempt takes an hour and 100sp worth of sacrifices and materials; it generates an impressive smell, and summons local spirits for help. Wise dabblers (is there ever such a thing?) will choose safe places with (hopefully helpful and knowledgeable) spirits available. The DM should add such modifiers as he deems appropriate for contacting specific spirits, better-quality sacrifices, the local spirit and undead population, etc. A successful summoning/divination counts as the daily spell. If the caster rolls a 6, he will get false but logical information (got a bored and/or annoyed spirit today). Failure merely requires another attempt, but the magic circles must be redrawn and new offerings prepared (costing another hour and 100 more sp in materials). If the skill roll passes, the caster is told of one power – generally major powers or abilities first, curses last – or given a cryptic divinatory phrase that helps unlock the item’s powers. The GM should skip information they already know about the item (although it makes a suitably frustrating answer to a failed divination roll, as well)

An Occultist who reaches 6 pips in the skill may make the appropriate obeisances, selling his soul to Law or Chaos, and gain the abilities of a first-level Cleric or Mage. From this point forward, he must give half his earned experience into the new class. He may also choose to remain but a dabbler; yet the twin spectres of failure and his galling inability to advance in knowledge and skill will one day drive even the most vacuous, vacillating of hearts to the madness outside Men’s Earth. A character who is aligned with the forces of Law or Chaos may not use spells of the other power, but Neutral Occultists can play off of both.

{Playtest options}
Rule 1: Clerics and Magi do not gain this skill (this leaves the skill as the domain of Specialists and new classes)

 Rule 2 (Higher-magic campaign) Magi gain Occultism 3 at 1st level, and progress in it as a Dwarf would in Architecture (note: this ruleset does not have a maximum known spell pool. Also, the character does NOT gain bonus spells on start, nor upon gaining levels of Occult Lore)

 Rule 3: Any player with a Starting Skill may sacrifice it to gain Occultism 2.

New class: Tribal (LotFP)

This post is as much for my future players as for myself.

So, I’ve always been dissatisfied with the “barbarian” as presented. It’s mostly a Viking Berzerker class, which is all well and good for a Dark Ages game. But I’m running a Colonial-era game, where there’s plenty of place for other sorts of “barbarians” – hell, it’s a central trope even in the modern era. And berzerkers really don’t fit the literature.

What I’m gunning for here is a sort of Le Pacte des Loupes-meets-Lost World vibe, probably somewhere in the 17th or 18th centuries. This necessitates Natives. And surely not everyone’s going to be a 0-level Warrior.. plus, what happens when someone joins the party? We’ve got countless literary examples to draw on, and I think this does the job..

Anyway, anyone offended can go boil their head, but comments are always welcome.

(Note that Occultism is a new skill, which I’ll detail shortly. is detailed here)

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From the Archives: Not actually.

New magic item for LotFP or your system of choice.  Designed for lulz.

The Ring of Selene

An intricately-carved, but otherwise plain red-gold ring. The lettering cannot be read by Read Magic or Comprehend Languages unless the user is also under the effects of a Protection from Law spell. The wording reads as follows: “I <character name> do pledge myself to the eternal service of (Chaos, or an appropriate Infernal entity)”. Hand the character a note with this writing: if they read it aloud, they must immediately save vs. Poison or become pledged as below.

 Wearing the ring grants a mage an additional level for spellcasting purposes, and grants the spellcasting ability of a 1st-level mage to any other class. It also prevents restful sleep after one full day of wearing, however, and for a further 24 hours after being removed. The user’s dreams are wracked with visions of alternately alluring and terrifying infernal beings pledging great power or “other” rewards to any who will serve them.

If the user pledges themselves to Chaos/local infernal entity while wearing the ring, the following occurs:

• All previous effects of the ring cease.

• The character gains an immediate 2,000 XP (if an arcane or infernal caster – IE, an Elf, Dilletante, or Magic-user), becomes a Magic-user or Cultist (if they exist in your campaign) of the same level if a Cleric – note that this destroys their Clerical powers – or becomes a first-level Magic-User if any other class. The latter characters retain their ability with weapons, skills, etc, and their HP, but are considered a 1st-level Magic-user in all other respects, and must restart from 0 XP.

• They may Read Magic at will, and understand an appropriate Infernal language.*
• They gain a +2 to saves vs. fire and fire magics.*
• The ring transforms into an Impish familiar, pledged to serve the character (it can freely transform to and from the ring form, but finds it irritating and confining – it will only do so to further its own ends). If the character is killed, the imp must roll a 5 or 6 on a d6, or it will be immediately banished to its home realm. If the imp is killed, the character loses 1d4 Con and any benefits other than the XP (the penalties remain, and cannot be removed by any means other than a Miracle AND a Geas or similar)

Penalties:
• The character loses 1d4 HP permanently.
• The Character becomes a Turnable Chaotic being, native to the Nine Hells or another appropriate realm. They will flag as Demonic to any character able to sense such: physical stigmata may be inflicted at the DM’s whim.
Raising the character is subject to the whims of their Infernal patron, and may take unexpected or extremely unpleasant forms.

The character may not take other patrons &c. without incurring the wrath of the current one, but may invoke their patron for aid. Again, the effects of this are up to the DM, and may be extremely unpleasant.
*You may remove, or freely substitute these abilities for others to reflect the nature of your campaign or the character’s patron. These assume patronage by Ose, for anyone interested.

And then stuff happened

Short post today, I’m busy addressing and mailing invitations for my wedding.

• Sudden windfall = LotFP hardcovers for me. Definitely worth the $30.

• 5e playtest dropped. It’s resoundingly meh. I wish they hadn’t decided to make it a test of the magic system, and I really wish the “at-will” powers weren’t so ridiculously overpowered. Hell, I’ve allowed free cantrips before, but Shocking Grasp? More to follow later, probably.

• Got Pokemon Platinum. Well on my way to finishing the game and cleaning out the cartridge (don’t worry, ~PENI~, your pokemon – and Logan and Karen’s – will be well-treated. Except for the Pichus, I drowned them). Next is a possible Nuzlocke or Mystery Egg run, courtesy of /vp/.

• Work on the wedding dungeon proceeds apace. The look on my 4e-loving brother-in-law’s face when I drop the LotFP books and charsheet in front of him should be frigging priceless.

• One of my best friends has returned to Washington. Unfortunately, that return has apparently been fraught with bullshit and pain.

• A car landed in my back yard yesterday morning. On top of the jungle gym. Thank God nobody’s kids were out there. Driver hurt, but not badly. Nice picture of my patio on the news.