Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Project Odd: Arcana

This will probable be the last big chunk of game content I'm going to post for Project Odd, so would very much appreciate any thoughts and feedback, especially on this last section.

Arcana is my attempt to give magic an unusual twist from the usual while still allowing use of familiar D&D spells.

Arcana - Powers you do not understand.
Anything that can store and release magical power including staffs, rings, tomes, tablets and orbs is an Arcanum. An Arcanum will contain one or more spells that its wielder can use.

Spell Power: A Spell’s Power is a measure of its difficulty to cast. If using spells from a Classic RPG double their Spell Level to find their Power. Cantrips have a Spell Power of 1.
Arcane Burden: Each Arcanum a character is carrying with a Power higher than their INT Score subtracts 1 from all rolls that character makes.
Using a Spell: An Arcanum requires at least one hand to use. The user chooses one of the Spells stored in the Arcanum and casts it, using entire round. The spell may also require material components, words of activation or special movement. Before the Spell is complete the wielder must pass an INT Save vs the Spell Power. If they fail this the spell backfires on them, targeting them instead. If the spell was already targeting the wielder they take 2d6 damage instead.

A Starting Character’s Arcanum
New characters roll 3d6. If this roll is equal or lower than their INT score they begin the game with an Arcana with this Power Score. This is the total Spell Power contained within Arcanum. The GM will provide a list of spells for characters to choose from.
For example, a character starting with a Power 12 Arcanum will select spells totalling up to Power 12. This may be a single Power 12 Spell or four Power 1 Spells, two Power 2 Spells and a Power 4 Spell.

Advanced Arcana Use
Creating and Altering Arcana: There doesn’t seem to be a reliable method to alter an Arcanum and nobody who claims to have created their own seems eager to share their secret.
Security: Owners will often trap their Arcana with a curse to anyone other than them who tries to use them.
Bonding: Owners can bond themselves to a single Arcanum in a day-long ritual. If they do this anyone else using the Arcanum must pass an INT Save vs your INT or take 1d6 + your INT modifier in damage. If they pass this save the bond is broken. A bonded owner can always sense the direction of their Arcanum and may sometimes have access to a greater Spell stored within.
Dangers of Bonding: Arcana, once bonded, can have an addictive sense of power, often being impossible to remove from the owner while active. If they drop the Arcanum they must pass a WIL Save vs 20 or take 2d6 damage. If they pass this Save the bond is broken.
Intelligent Arcana: Many arcana have an intelligence of their own and will communicate mentally or verbally. They may have a more simple form of intelligence, like a plant or animal, responding to a certain stimulus by activating a spell. This is the most common way Arcana are used as traps.
Static Arcana: Not every Arcanum is as portable as a wand or scroll. Many more closely resemble furnishings or even structures. Remember, no one fully understands Arcana, so prepare to be surprised.

A Note on Ability Scores and Arcana
INT is a measure of how well a character can actively use own Arcana and harness its power.
WIL is used to passively resist magical effects coming from another.

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