Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hunted Magician OpenQuest Character Concept

I must admit to my "house rules" concerning the casting of magic in the design of my OpenQuest Fantasy campaigns.

The core rules require a successful roll against your magic skill for your spell to be cast and take effect. If you fail your skill roll the spell does not take effect and you suffer a single magic point loss.

With an unmodified 33%-36% average starting Battle Magic skill level many character creation points need to to be invested to give any starting spells a decent chance of success.

A character who pursues Sorcery at character creation can expect to see up to +40 free character creation points in which to bump up their starting skill roll added in, but you are still looking at a steep price to pay for a reasonable chance of your spell casting to take effect.

In my campaigns I prefer a known spell to be automatically successful (excepting fumbles on 99,00) while a "successful" skill roll will cut the magic point cost of the spell in half. Therefore a magnitude 4 spell costs 4 magic points to cast, but if you roll a successful skill roll this cost is only 2. Fumbles can cause up to double the magic point cost and the possibility of other damaging effects. To give sorcery a more grim and darker aspect spell casters may sacrifice a living being during spell preparation to avoid any deadly effects from the result of a fumble roll.

This should create a magic system where methods of using magic points other than your characters own would be sought with hideous desire. Spells which took advantage of the spilt blood of sacrifice as well as protect the caster greater sought still.

Xagyg's Guide to Celestial Protraction is the name of the curious tome our Hunted Magician has had for many years. He has discovered at least two spells of sorcery buried in its complicated formula as well as the mastery of potions which cloud the judgement of the mind. It is his most prized possession and his shop is known for quality love elixirs and mind altering brews.

I sink the six magic points given at character creation into both Battle Magic and Sorcery. Battle Magic is a school of magic open to all characters at creation and I choose "Create Potion" and "Enhance Skill Influence" at two points each. The remaining two points are spent in the school of magic known as "Sorcery". These spells are completely made up and one is offensive and the other is defensive. Flame of Obru and Skin of Plazar are crafted to allow the spell caster to travel with some protection through other worldly planes. In the fantasy realm which our character finds himself these two spells create a devastating blast or a skin tight layer of physical protection.

The plot hooks which can be devised from arcane formula and obscure text should be endless for the enterprising GM. The need to protect a fragile vessel such as a parchment bound book should provide he charcter with endless motivation.

But why is this magician hunted? OpenQuest encourages you to begin character creation with a character concept. For the Hunted Magician I rolled on a table from Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque for some type of afflication. This ended up with a gambling addiction which has racked up an impressive debt in one of the lowest gaming houses of the starting sandbox city. The PC's debt is so far past due that there is no chance of squaring it except through the most magnificent sums. The criminals who the PC owes the debt have contracted assassins to kill you as an example to others. If your secret was exposed your small, successful alchemy business in the city would be ruined.

I have house ruled OpenQuest character creation some and the method is described in this post.