Friday, April 19, 2013

Digesting various mechanics - Wordrunes

Going through the game that is much the talk of rumors and jokes among gamers. Dragonraid, the Christian Adventure Learning System.... yeah retitle it all they want but it actually is a roleplaying game. I picked up out of sheer curiosity a year or so back. Finally getting around to digging into the books (there are many) that they packed into that big ass red box (damn big box).

First thing I'm going to talk about are the Wordrunes. These are basically spells with a very specific twist on them. In order to cast them you must repeat, outloud, a specific passage from the Bible. If you can do it from memory then you can put points towards raising your both your ability to use Wordrunes but also to another attribute that it is specific to. I'm guessing this is the learning part as it requires you to commit these passages to memory.

All in all it's kind of a neat idea also these seem to be the main way of raising your characters abilities. There are a ton of these in the players guide and a bunch more in each of the adventures they tossed in the box as well. I'm wondering how well one could rewrite it using phrases specific to their game worlds, fictional religions or even the history of their game world. The asshole in me almost wants to go pick up a copy of the Satanic Bible and use stuff from it just to piss people off... but I think I'll skip that idea.

But reciting a bit of the world history involving a defender of an old king who stood his ground against many which gives you a combat bonus does sound neat. A quick two line prayer of the Goddess of Life that works as a healing spell. This has potential but I'm not sure how many players out there would be into committing all this to memory. In Dragonraid these can be used by reading them from the card but you don't gain any of their version of experience when you do this. Maybe an alternative could be a reduced gain if not recited from memory.

Also there is a Difficulty Level as well. These work a bit like spell levels in most other games. Your ability (Sword of Spirit in this game) has to be equal to or higher than the level. Along with a connected attribute that also has to be equal to or higher. They provide a little chart showing how they come up with the DL which is based upon the number of words you must recite. More words mean a higher DL. One odd bit is once you get so high in your Sword of Spirit level you can no longer cast the lower level Wordrunes. Doesn't really explain why this is either, although an alternative could be you can cast them but gain no experience for doing so. They've become to easy.

Other bits. The number of Wordrunes that may be read is limited to three per adventure. However the number they may use from memory is unlimited. You must begin and end the wordrune with the Scripture reference. There are also team runes which the entire group must say in unison.

So some of the ideas could be used in other games. Basing wordrunes off a fictional religion and it's tomes could really add some flavor to a game. It could also raise some eyebrows on people who still cling onto the 'gaming is evil' mode of thought.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Six Pack - A small selection of Magical Items

This six pack contains six odd magic items for use in most fantasy era roleplaying games. These are presenting without any system mechanics what so ever. Hopefully you will find some use in them and your players find much delight.

Skulls of Light – Basically they looks pretty much like you would think. It's a polished black human skull, minus the lower jaw, placed on top of a stick. However it also acts like a light source with the light shining from within the skull and out through the eye sockets. Some claim this is actually a trapped soul slowly being burned off causing the light which is why they never seem to dim go out.
Rumors say these are left over artifacts from a kingdom ruled by necromancers and dark magicians. In the stories they used many of these 'torches' to light the hallways of their castles and keeps and were made from the heads of dispatched enemies. Some even say the soul trapped inside is fully aware of it's surroundings.

Poison detector cups – These range from very simple metal drinking cups to a few very expensive goblets made of rare metals and ornately decorated. They do one thing and they do it well. Whenever a poison is put into the cup it turns the liquid into vinegar immediately. So when you raise it up close to your nose there is no doubt that it is unsafe to drink.

These are said to be left from a noble family who made such cups for many of their lineage. The ornate ones for those who held lofty positions and then the simple ones for those who did not have as much prestige. There is no difference in their effectiveness though.

Copy cat Quills – A set of seven quills displaying exceptional quality and craftsmanship. Six of them are done with a silver tip that blends in with the shaft of the feather seamlessly. The feathers are almost perfectly identical and are crisp with a color that starts as white and then goes black at the tips. The remaining one is done with gold instead of silver but is otherwise completely identical.
To use them you lay each of the silver quills down on a piece of parchment with an ink bottle along side. Place them as identical to each other as possible. Then the person would use the gold one on a separate piece of parchment (ink bottle in the same place). When they are writing the other quills will raise up and move along the same lines, effectively making six copies of the work.

Combs of Grooming – Rather nice looking combs made out of various semiprecious metals, some even have a few gem stones placed in them. The craftsmanship is of great quality so without knowing their enchantment they would appear to be of value. The enchantments make them worth even more to the right people. Each is made to help keep your hair in a specific style. Whenever one is ran through your hair it automatically trims it off to a specific length, causing it to go straight or curled and whatever else is necessary to make the hair take the appropriate shape.
This rather large set is scattered out among the world. Believed to have once belonged to the royal family of a kingdom that has long since vanished nobody knows how to duplicate their ability. From estimates there are around a hundred of these combs each with it's own style, some for men and others for women.

Circlets of Social Circles – These are thin silver circlets worn on the head. Each is very exquisite design, inlaid with diamonds and other fine gems, very feminine in appearance. Those wearing one gain a significant bonus on any rolls involving social situations along with a resistance to anybody trying to use social actions against them such as seduction or persuasion. After being worn for five hours they begin to cause a headache that becomes steadily worse until removed.

Message in a bottle – This is a pair of identical matched bottles. Each is very well made, long necked wine style with a dark smoked color. A dark colored cork is stuck in the tip, the top of which has an unknown symbol burned into it. Each bottle is kept in it's own wooden box made specially just to hold them stationary wrapped in velvet so they don't break during travels. A brass latch is along the side of the lid to keep it shut.
To use these one simply writes a message onto a sheet of parchment, rolls it up and places it inside the bottle. Making sure to replace the cork and to latch it shut. Whenever the person with the other box opens it up the letter will now be in their bottle. The actual transfer of the parchment does not happen until the other person opens their box and then only if the other box is latched shut as well. There does not seem to be any limitation in distance but all it will send is the parchment, anything else placed inside stays in the original bottle.