Saturday, May 9, 2020

[Lands of Ub] Campaign Notes and Other Orders of Magic

To fully run a Lands of Ub campaign you will need either Labyrinth Lord AND the Advanced Edition Companion OR Advanced Labyrinth Lord, by Dan Proctor published by Goblinoid Games; and

Here are some suggested rules upon which the material in this book are based:

1) Races and Types: The world has human, demi-human (dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, halflings, half-orcs, pixies), humanoid (bugbears, gnolls, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, orcs), and four-fingered talking animal (animal-folk in a wide variety of types) races. These many different races have always lived together in the Lands of Ub; cave paintings from the days of cave men, cave elves, and cave rabbit-folk show all three and many others living and fighting together. Nobody thinks it is at all unusual, as it has always been so.

Lands where only one racial type are found are unknown; lands where one type is overwhelmingly dominant are fairly rare (usually these are areas where demi-humans (dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings) are found). Most areas are relatively cosmopolitan, having a mix of three or more races and/or types; major cities are fully cosmopolitan. Humans are a plurality in the world, but only just.

Racial animosity is quite rare; unusual individual cases generally stem from a negative personal interaction, or applying a rivalry/enmity with a land and its people to the broad general type (for example, many mouse-folk and rabbit-folk citizens of Carrot County loathe the pig-folk Svinings of the Southern Consolidated Jarldoms due to generations of being raided, but very few apply that enmity to pig-folk as a whole).

The only major exception is in the case of humanoids versus everyone else, but then, generally, humanoids don’t much like each other, let alone others!

Note: All human, demi-human, humanoid, and animal-folk races can interbreed; children take after one parent or the other, only half-elves and half-orcs “mix” of the two parents. Though some of the animal-folk can look more human than others. Note that there is a 1 in 20 chance that a child is a “throwback” to a random ancestor other than the specific races or types of the parent (so for example, a rabbit-folk man and a human woman have a 1 in 20 chance of having a child of random racial or type sort, depending on their own ancestry). The Leonine Clans of the Highlands are an example of this type of ancestral mix; two Highlander lion-folk might have a human child, and two Highlander humans might have a lion-folk child, as the two groups have thoroughly mixed over long centuries.

2) Classes and Level Limits: All races and types can take any class, can multi-class (per AEC/ALL rules), and are unlimited in class level attainable.

3) Death & Healing Rules: Player Characters and Important NPCs have Resistance to Death. Upon being reduced to 0 hit points, PCs and important NPCs are merely knocked unconscious for 1d6 rounds (if a 6, roll 1d10 minutes; if a 10, roll 1d6 turns; if a 6, roll 1d12 hours). When the time ends, the character awakens with 1 hit point. If another character is able to tend to an unconscious character’s wounds for one round, they awaken with 1 hit point.

A character who is unconscious and naturally awakens or is given first aid and awakens is wounded, and all attacks and saving throws are at a penalty of -2. Such wounds are cumulative, occurring each time the character is knocked unconscious (-2 “stunned,” -4 “groggy,” -6 “witless,” etc.) A cure wounds spell or similar magic that restores hit points restores unconscious characters and eliminates all wounds the character has suffered (with no need for bed rest).

PCs have a pool of Self-Healing Dice equal to their Hit Dice number and type; they may use these during a rest that lasts at least one Turn (10 minutes), rolling any number of dice they wish, and modifying each by their Constitution modifier, to restore hit points (each die heals at least 1 hit point). A full night and day of bed rest heals all hit point damage, cures all wounds from unconsciousness, and fully replenishes the pool of self-healing dice; a night of rest heals/restores only half.

4) It is suggested that you use PC Boons, Luck Points, and Nature as outlined in R&R.

School of Black Magic
The School of Black Magic is the domain of wicked witches (female and male, both called witches). It is not prestigious like P.U., in fact, it is quite frowned upon, and witchcraft is outlawed in many realms. The school itself is hidden by magic; doors to the school can open just about anywhere, usually wherever beings of flexible morality and weak ethics seek power to smite their enemies, gather wealth, or rule over others untrammeled by law or ethics. There a door appears, and a voice promises them power, in return for service…

After 666 days of training at the Black School a witch is released into the world. The process has transformed them; their skin (fur/scales/etc.) has been transformed to a sickly green, their hair black and frizzy, their grin one of sublime villainy, and a mad glint of nastiness dances in their eyes. They leave the school with a ghoulish grimoire, a witching wand, a broom of flying, a wicked cauldron, and a horrible hat.
  • The ghoulish grimoire contains all 12 of the basic 1st level magic-user spells plus a 13th – summon familiar (they start play with a familiar already summoned, always an imp or quasit).
  • The witching wand enables them to zap their enemies with a bolt of black magic (1/round, roll to hit, range 30/60/90, 1d6 damage).
  • The broom of flying is a standard broom of flying that can also be ordered to attack enemies as a broom of animated attacks.
  • The wicked cauldron enables them to brew potions at half the normal time and cost, regardless of their level (i.e., a 1st level witch can brew potions). Once per month per level the witch can draw forth from the cauldron one vial of any potion she has ever brewed therein in merely 1 turn.
  • The horrible hat is a traditional black-brimmed witch’s hat; it acts as a bag of holding.

These items are not replaced if lost, stolen, or destroyed.

Witches are not always Chaotic nor necessarily Evil; some are just power-hungry and misled, or have delusions of grandeur, believing they can avoid “paying the bill when it comes due.” But the “sponsors” of the School of Black Magic always get theirs in the end. Witches are required to travel to a regional Assembly of Witches eight times a year, and the annual Grand Assembly on the Isle of the Dark One; the witch’s broom can travel to these and back in merely an hour (on these occasions only). Failure to appear at an assembly means the “bill is due,” and a collector will be sent.

Most witches and warlocks wear whatever they please, especially when they are in public, but when at home wear the traditional witch and warlock clothing of dark blue or black robes, long pointed shoes, and of course, their black brimmed hat, accompanied by silver or bone jewelry featuring skulls, spiders, black cats, and similar creatures and motifs.

School of Fairy Magic
The School of Fairy Magic, like the School of Black Magic, is not as prestigious as Prestidigitators University, but it and its graduates are generally far more welcome than those of the School of Black Magic. This is the school for good witches –  men are not unwelcome, however, they are definitely in the minority.

The school is in the Fair Realm, in the city of Grandshee; however, like the School of Black Magic, it has many doors that go elsewhere, and the Fairy Godmothers of the school travel far and wide to find those with the magical talent and proper disposition. [Note: Graduates of the School of Fairy Magic are always known as Fairy Godmothers, even when male; Fairy Godfathers are the leaders of the Fairy Mafia, a completely different organization.]

Usually after 777 days of study a student graduates with her book of shadows, containing all 12 of the basic 1st level magic-user spells. She also starts out with a witching wand, a tiara of disguise, and a magic mirror.
  • The witching wand allows her to make a stunning attack of shooting stars at a target within 60’. The target must make a save versus Wands; failure indicates it is stunned for 1 round.
  • The tiara of disguise allows her to appear to wear any kind of clothing she wishes – from something a fishwife might wear to a ball gown worn by a royal princess.
  • The magic mirror is a large wall-hung mirror that allows her to speak with any other fairy witch she knows who also possesses a magic mirror, over any distance; however, it must pass through the Magic Mirror Exchange Tower at FT&T (Fairy Telepath & Teleport) in Grandshee, so it takes 1d6 rounds to put through a connection per mortal realm between, and then there is a chance the target of the communication is not home. A message of up to three rounds length may be left if no one answers. Magic mirror calls cost 1 sp per round, due on the 1st of the next month, collected by fairy courier.

In addition to the usual magic-user abilities, a fairy witch possesses the following powers and responsibilities:
  • A fairy witch can grow wings and fly like a pixie or sprite (180’ (60’)); must rest 1 turn after 3 turns of flight. If already a  pixie, she can fly without need for rest; if already a sprite, flying speed increases to 240’ (80’).
  • At 4th level a fairy witch can shrink to sprite-size or back at will (if already a pixie or sprite, the fairy witch can grow to human-size or back at will).
  • Starting at 8th level a fairy witch becomes a Fairy Godmother and is assigned a “hard case,” a poor young woman (or sometimes man) who deserves better out of life, and the fairy godmother must help them realize their goals (even if they do not know them yet). She must help this hard case before she can rise in level, regardless of total experience points. Each level a fairy godmother gets a new hard case.

Right Honorable Order of Legerdemainists
A lesser regional guild considered one step above hedge mage, the RHOL trains both arcane illusionists and stage magicians. Based out of Burrowburgh, it has nowhere near the respect as P.U., nor even that of the Fairy Witches, but it is a legally chartered guild, operative in most of the Frelengian successor states. Local guild halls assist members to find gigs and stay out of the way of Johnny Law (no few members of the guild, and even whole guild chapters, are tied in with the local Thieves Guilds). After a three-year apprenticeship, a newly-minted illusionist begins play with a spell book with three 1st levels spells of choice, and one 2nd level spell of choice.

Hedge Mages and Meadow Witches
Those who learn arcane magic outside the university or school system are known as hedge mages or meadow witches (also called wise-men, wise-women, wise-guys, mountebanks, charlatans, quacks, crones, addle-casters, granny-cantrips, gaffer-crack-spell, and other pejorative terms by the “better-educated” of good old P.U.). These magic-users learn at the knee of a master, having been taken on as an apprentice (read “indentured dogs-body”), and sometimes actually manage to learn magic. Some even rise to great power and prestige; after all, even Frelengo DeFriz started out as a hedge wizard, and he founded P.U. (the fact of which graduates are never happy to be reminded).

Hedge mages and meadow witches have no special benefits, privileges, powers, abilities, or tools – however, they are also not bound by any restrictions or requirements, other than local laws about the use of magic (and hedge wizards are often more than willing to break these). They start out with a spell book with read magic, two 1st levels spells of choice, and one 2nd level spell of choice.

Bonus Spell for Magic-users and Illusionists
In the Lands of Ub, magic-users and illusionists gain the benefit of additional spells to memorize, or perhaps a chance to fail in casting a spell, based on their Intelligence score, as clerics and druids do based on their Wisdom score.

Use Wisdom Table II and give a magic-user or illusionist bonus spells or a chance of spell failure based on their Intelligence on that table, rather than their Wisdom. Thus, an illusionist with an Intelligence of 16 would gain two 1st and two 2nd level spells, while a magic-user with an Intelligence of 10 would have a 15% chance of spell failure every time he casts a spell!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

[Now Available] The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells

The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells
By James Mishler and Jodi Moran-Mishler
16-page PDF; $3.00 MSRP, currently on sale for $1.50 -- CHEAP!

The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells is a 16-page PDF that expands upon the classic “hand” and “fist” magic-user spells, providing a legendary historical context in which to fit them; guidelines on their use; 21 new magic-user spells; six new Manos-based magic items (including the infamous relic, the “Hand of Manos”); and not one but three Manos entities that a magic-user can evoke to gain power when casting Manos spells – though often at the peril of one’s soul!

Designed for use with Labyrinth Lord and Advanced Labyrinth Lord, the spells and magic items can be easily used with any Old School RPG.

1st: Manos’ Iron Gauntlet (NEW)
1st: Manos’ Jarring Hand
1st: Manos’ Useful Hand (NEW)
2nd: Manos’ Burning Hand (NEW)
2nd: Manos’ Helpful Hand (NEW)
2nd: Manos’ Under Hand (NEW)
3rd: Manos’ Defiant Digit (NEW)
3rd: Manos’ Flaming Fist (NEW)
3rd: Manos’ Crooked Finger (NEW)
4th: Manos’ Malevolent Hand (NEW)
4th: Manos’ Harrying Hand (NEW)
4th: Manos’ Guarding Gauntlet (NEW)
5th: Manos’ Tyrannous Thumb (NEW)
5th: Manos’ Interposing Hand
5th: Manos’ Fists of Fury (NEW)
6th: Manos’ Hurling Hand (NEW)
6th: Manos’ Forceful Hand
6th: Manos’ Upper Hand (NEW)
7th: Manos’ Black Hand (NEW)
7th: Manos’ Grasping Hand
7th: Manos’ Haunting Hand (NEW)
8th: Manos’ Heart-Seeking Hand (NEW)
8th: Manos’ Clenched Fist
8th: Manos’ Mighty Fist (NEW)
9th: Manos’ Crushing Hand
9th: Manos’ Hand of Fate (NEW)
9th: Manos’ Maxima Manus (NEW)