Universities of magic are a mainstay of fantasy worlds, but with few exceptions (Discworld's Unseen University premier among them), they don't feel much like real universities. This is a shame, as the myriad horrors contained within our own institutions of higher education are worthy of occultification. Secret centuries-old student societies, subterranean tunnel-networks, restricted libraries of ancient tomes, the mysterious and ominous contents of the Governing Council's investment portfolio, what exactly that never-ending construction is building, the byzantine labyrinths of the Registrar's office...
As truth is stranger than fiction, and I am trapped in the bowels of an unending, uncaring, undergraduate hell, I submit unto you for peer review: a new GLOG wizard.
Schools for this wizard are quicker to write. To adapt extant schools, just grab the first or most interesting 6 spells, then invent or steal a flavorful second sight and augury method. Mishaps and dooms are generic for this post, but feel free to substitute other sets as you see fit.
Start with Template A. Gain Template B by going on adventures to gain practical experience, or by completing a degree at an accredited institution of magical learning. Advance beyond template B by acquiring Delta Templates, found at the bottom of this post. Some Delta templates can be gained before acquiring Template B. Wizards have a d6 Hit Die and do not gain more.
A: Spellcasting, Program of Studies, Augury, Second Sight
B: Independent Studies, Lingua Occulta
Δ: Spell Mastery
Δ: The Primary Doom of Wizards - Scarred
Δ: The Secondary Doom of Wizards - Blighted
Δ: The Terminal Doom of Wizards - Damned
Wizards begin with a robe and pointy hat in the colors and style of their Program of Study, a few half-used sticks of mage's chalk, a thick notebook, and three heavy textbooks. Each textbook takes up an inventory slot, losing them will indebt you 10 gold each to the campus bookstore, they have no practical use.
To cast a spell, roll any number of d6s, up to your total number of Wizard templates (including Δs). Each day, after each time you cast a particular spell, your risk of a Mishap grows by 1-in-6 (starting at 0-in-6). If any dice show values equal to or less than the casting's Mishap risk, resolve those entries on the Mishap table. Mishaps scale with sum and dice. Each spell tracks Mishap chance separately, and all risks reset after a daily rest.
- Mutate. Apply the result of highest on the Experiment table.
- Spellburn. Take sum damage.
- Fizzle. highest doesn't count towards sum.
- Ricochet. Bounces to an additional dice targets within range.
- Amnesia. Can't cast this spell again today.
- Detonation. sum+dice damage to you and everyone around you.
If you roll 3 or more Mishaps at once, you experience a Doom (see Delta Templates). There are three Dooms of wizards, experienced sequentially from Primary to Terminal.
Dooms are more common and less punishing than is traditional. Because Dooms are also delta templates, as you become more Doomed, you even become more powerful - but commensurately isolated from society, and dangerous to yourself and others. Damned wizards are the BBEGs of campaigns.
Many spells require you to concentrate. You can only concentrate on one spell at once. Everything you try to do while maintaining concentration is made at disadvantage, and if you fail, you break concentration.
You can learn spells, cantrips, methods of Augury, and college-specific Second Sights from a variety of sources, though your Independent Study will only grant you access to more spells from your college of choice. Memorizing a new spell (etc.) takes a week of vigorous study and research materials that contain the spell, akin to cramming for a final exam for a class in which you skipped all the lectures. Casting a spell that you haven't studied, directly from the source material, has a baseline dice-in-6 mishap risk and rolls dice at disadvantage.
Program of Studies
Choose a college of magic. Gain all three of its cantrips and two of its spells; apply its methods of Augury and its Second Sight. You may instead choose to double major in two separate schools; gain one of each of their cantrips and one spell from each school, pick one of their methods of Augury and gain the other's Second Sight.
Seven colleges are included within this post, all under the umbrella of Glogxford University for Lichcraft and Lizardry (motto Fucke Notte Around Lest Ye Findeth Out). Each is listed under its parent department, with a helpful list of common terms for its graduates and the most similar programs of study from our mortal plane (in attitude, if not content).
Archmage Georg X. Zolomortis Institute for Occult Interventionism (Zolomortis Institute)
1. Applied Thaumaturgy. Olive and brown robes, starched, military cut. Hats are perfectly conical and flat-brimmed. Battlemages, Thaumaturges, Elementalists. (sports scholarships, military history, Reserve Officers' Training Corps)
2. Extraplanar Affairs. Gold and navy robes, embellished, flattering cuts. Hat fashion changes with the seasons, but always far more expensive and flamboyant than anyone else's. Covered in stars. Summoners, Binders, Planeswalkers, Legates. (political science, economy, business, law)
Faculty of Arcane Artes & Fell Magicks (Artes & Magicks)
3. Darke Artes. Black and violet robes, flowy and concealing, often ornamented with spikes and bones. Hats are big, floppy, and ominous (perhaps with skulls on). Necromancers, Occultists, Witches, Warlocks. (liberal arts, the (in)humanities)
4. Surreality Studies. Cyan and orange robes, covered in personalized shifting illusory patterns. Hats are covered in elaborate 3D dioramas of flowers, theatrical scenes, taxidermied creatures. Illusionists, Mentalists, Artomancers, Dreamwalkers. (visual arts, theatre, cinema, psychology)
5. Viscerology. Crimson and bone robes, either red to conceal blood or white to flaunt precision. Hats are short, floppy, and very wide. Fleshcrafters, Biomancers, Barber-Surgeon-Wizards. (biology, medicine, kinesiology)
Department of Magical Engineering (MagE)
6. Industrial Alchemy. Steel and flame robes, thick and covered in pockets like coveralls. Hats are short and thin-brimmed for practicality, almost like a deerstalker cap or a chaperon. Allomancers, Magewrights, Pyromancers, Alchemists. (mechanical engineering, chemistry, the trades)
7. Paraspatial Engineering. White and lime robes, mathematically perfectly fitted, grid designs. Hats are pointy, thin-brimmed, and tall to the point of flopping in half. Conjurers, Transporters, Gatekeepers, Surveyors. (math, physics, computer science)
Augury (stolen from Locheil)
Your college taught you a method to divine truth from the chaos of the world. Roll up to wizard templates d6s while you perform your college's method of Augury. You may ask highest questions, and receive answers of "Yes," "No," or "Unclear."
If the questions fall within the purview of your school (ex. an Applied Thaumaturge asking about a battle's fate, a Darke Artiste inquiring into the lives of the dead, a Surreality Student seeking the source of someone's inner turmoil) the Augury may elaborate upon its initial answers with "Yes, and...," "No, but...," or "Unclear - to know more, you must..."
When you dislocate your vision (like crossing your eyes but more painful), the occult spectrum of paracolors opens up before you, from octarine to turquoi to groon. Magical effects, creatures, and items register as such by sight. You can identify particular spells by taste, though if you've never encountered the spell before you won't learn much about it. When you lock eyes with another wizard, you each instinctively learn the other's name and level of magical prowess compared to your own.
You may alter a spell to suit your needs while casting it, such as expanding or contracting its range, changing its appearance, increasing its power, or selectively applying its effects. Consult with your GM, and be creative. When you alter a spell in this way, resolve the Experiment table entry equal to the spell's sum. You still resolve any rolled mishaps.
- Bust. Roll d6 on the mishap table and resolve the result.
- Off-Kilter. +1 to mishap risk for further castings of this spell today.
- Piercing. The spell affects its target, but also passes through to hit whatever's behind them.
- Twinned. Double the effects of the spell, as if you had cast it twice with the same die rolls. If you rolled any mishaps, double them as well.
- Vocal. The spell gives you its frank opinions on your technique, choice of target, and fashion sense. Everyone's a critic.
- Exploding. Roll an additional d6; adding 1 to dice and its result to sum. This can cause Mishaps.
- Flashy. The spell is much too bright, ear-splittingly loud, and otherwise flagrantly obnoxious. If someone didn't know you were there, they know now.
- Demystified. -1 to mishap risk for further castings of this spell today.
- Rider. In addition, cast another random spell you know at the same target with 1 die and sum equal to lowest in this casting. This doesn't cause mishaps.
- Sapped. This spell is so powerful it drains ambient magic from the area. Each extant magical effect nearby has a dice-in-6 chance of being dispelled.
- Engorged. The spell blossoms like a flower or a rock dropped into a pond. It affects everyone and everything nearby, including you.
- Eureka! A sudden insight hits. Learn a new spell from your School's list.
Lingua Occulta (stolen from Locheil)
You become fluent in the secret languages of the occult, allowing you to converse with monsters, demons, elves, spirits, and gods on their own terms. You may now also read ancient texts and inscriptions, and can decode any cipher with a few days of work.
Programs of Study
1. Applied Thaumaturgy
A kinder name for war magic, practiced ever since the first mortals pulled magic from the aether. Regrettably, peace is currently in fashion, and so it's "unacceptable" to advertise a program of study as preparing your children to die honorably for king and country, against the hated foe. GALL's Applied Thaumaturgy program still makes bank by funding vast amounts of full-ride scholarships for wizard college sports (especially their Fireball team, the Screeching Possums), promoting celebrity adventuring parties, and actively seeking out foreign wars in which they can provide all sides with recent graduates.
Cartomancy. Draw a spread of tarot cards while meditating on the events you wish to divine. While convenient, the cards are fickle - they roll d4s rather than d6s, and will not answer the same question twice in a day.
You can see the combat statistics (hit points, armor, attack bonuses, etc.) of all combatants.
Thaumaturgy involves studies of a variety of elemental classification systems, and a focus on a specific element. When you join this program, pick an element. Once you have Independent Study, you may Experiment to change the element of a spell you're casting to a similar one (fire to magma, air to aether, wood to meat). On an 11+, you learn that element as well.
Classical: 1. Fire, 2. Water, 3. Earth, 4. Metal, 5. Wood, 6. Air, 7. Aether, 8. Void.
Alchemical: 1. Acid, 2. Heat, 3. Cold, 4. Salt, 5. Oil, 6. Gunpowder, 7. Magnesium, 8. Mercury, 9. Sulfur, 10. Phosphorus, 11. Chlorine, 12. Lead, 13. Copper, 14. Bronze, 15. Iron, 16. Steel, 17. Silver, 18. Gold, 19. Homunculi, 20. Quintessence.
Thaumaturgic: 1. Lightning, 2. Shadow, 3. Force, 4. Meat, 5. Blood, 6. Ooze, 7. Magma, 8. Smog, 9. Sound, 10. Thought, 11. Radiation, 12. Gravity, 13. Disease, 14. Soul, 15. Magic, 16. Decay, 18. Sand, 19. Space, 20. Time.
- Magic Missile. Fire a magical bolt that deals 1 damage of your chosen element to a target within line of sight, and automatically hits with no save.
- Mark. Choose a creature or object you can see. It becomes magically highlighted, with its outline visible through fog, darkness, and dense brush (though not walls). This effect breaks upon leaving line of sight. The highlight provides advantage to attack rolls against the marked target.
- Shield. May be cast in reaction to an attack. Give +2 Armor to a target you can see. Only one target can benefit from this shield at a time, and it lasts until the shield successfully protects from an attack.
- Elemental Blast. Wield raw elemental power to smite your enemies. The elemental attack manifests in different shapes depending on the number of dice used to cast it, and applies additional effects based on the chosen element. You may choose to use a shape from a lower number of dice.
- Ray or Mageblade.
- A ray is a ranged attack against a target within line of sight. Roll to hit; deal sum+dice damage on a hit.
- The mageblade is a melee weapon that deals dice d6 damage on a hit and occupies the hand you wield it with, preventing you from casting spells. The blade is dispelled if dropped or if you need to do something else with the wielding hand.
- Ball or Glyph.
- A ball is a ranged attack against a targeted point within line of sight. Roll to hit; on a miss, scatters dice*10' in a random direction from the targeted point. Deals sum+dice damage to everyone within a sum' radius of the landing point, or half damage on a save.
- A glyph is an occult symbol drawn on a surface. When the symbol is broken, read, or after up to sum hours (your choice), it explodes, dealing sum damage to everyone within a dice*10' radius, or half damage on a save.
- Blast or Bolt.
- A blast is a cone attack that deals sum+dice damage to everyone within a room-sized cone, or half damage on a save.
- A bolt is a ranged attack that deals sum*dice damage to a single target, or half damage on a save.
- A cloud is a sum*dice*10 cubic foot volume that lasts as long as you concentrate, and deals dice d6 damage to each creature that starts its turn within the cloud (or its precipitation). May take the form of either a fog that blocks vision, or a precipitating cloud high in the air.
- Ray or Mageblade.
- Control Weather. Conjure or dispel your choice of up to dice of the following weather effects. Lasts until you stop concentrating or the weather naturally changes, and spans a sum*dice*100' radius.
- A high wind, enough to blow hats off of heads or get a sailing ship underway.
- A dense cloud, which may precipitate if you so choose.
- A frosty chill of down to sum°C below freezing.
- A blistering heat of up to sum°C above body temperature.
- Dispel. May be cast on or in reaction to another spell, an extant spell effect, or at a magical ability. Decrease the targets's dice and sum by this spell's dice and sum (or otherwise scale it down proportionally).
- Field of Force. Create sum sheets of force within line of sight that can each be spread across an area the size of a large rug or wrapped and shaped around a volume the size of a person. They must be contiguous, cannot be passed through, moved, or distorted, and each resist sum damage before dissipating.
- Haste. Target up to dice creatures you can see. They each get dice extra actions per turn until sum actions have been taken this way. You can also hasten objects, they move at dice+1 times speed.
- Shatter. Deal sum damage divided between items of your choice within a room-sized cone. Glass has 1 Health, blades and wood have 2, stonework and metal bars have 3 unless they're particularly thick. Armor has Health equal to its Armor bonus. A 10' cube of masonry (if you want to, say, break through a wall) has 6 HP. Shrapnel from these objects deals the damage the object took to everyone adjacent to it.
2. Extraplanar Affairs
The practiced wizardly disdain for the divine can only be maintained so long as when the divine comes calling, you can tell it to shove off. Students of Extraplanar Affairs engross themselves in interplanar contract law, tomes of truenames, rooms thick with chalk-dust and tangy with blood sigils. They are exemplars of the wizard's most dangerous nature - to wield vast cosmic power with no proportionate sense of scale or consequences.
To mitigate this unfortunate trend, professors of Extraplanar Affairs (as wizards who've managed to live long enough to earn such a status) teach their students a variety of spells for escaping the consequences of their actions. Magic circles to ward against intruding entities, lock spells to hold doors against escaped imps or nosy professors, and dimensional gateways to hide from or outrun one's problems.
Astrology. Gaze into the stars and receive their icy, burning wisdom. Only works when you can see the night sky, and the sky changes slowly - you may only Augur this way once per night.
Deception tastes like an acrid tang on the wind. The more direct the lie is, the sharper the taste, but sincerely-held false beliefs have no flavor at all and the taste holds no clue to what the underlying truth may be.
Many Extraplanar Affairs spells require magic circles. A magic circle takes 10 minutes per die to properly draw, and can be drawn with blood, silver inlay, gold leaf, or Mage's Chalk.
- Mage's Chalk. With your fingertips, you can draw glowing octarine lines that will not fade for 24 hours. They can only be erased with alcohol, countermagic spells, by applying Mage's Chalk to the line, or by destroying the underlying surface.
- Raise Voice. You can magically empower your speech so that it cannot be ignored. Anyone within earshot hears your voice as if they were standing in front of you. This has the added effect of concealing where you're speaking from.
- Skim. By touching a book, contract, or other written work, you can instantly read and comprehend its contents (if you can read the language it's written in). The understanding gleaned is precise but incredibly literal; you miss metaphors, implications, and symbolism, but get all the fine print. You still need to study the book to learn spells within it.
- Summon. Draw a magic circle and inscribe the name of an entity within it. Do not roll the dice for this spell until the entity departs. Pronounce its name loudly, followed by up to dice of its epithets (Light-Eater, Who Fruits Truth From Their Boughs, Death's Executioner, Ninth Circle Princess, etc.).
- The named entity will appear within the circle, negotiate with you to perform one service for you within the purview of the chosen epithets (it will want to endanger itself as little as possible, and revenge itself upon you for this disruption to its day), then depart.
- Any magical effects it provides have sum equal to the number of letters in its name (minimum 2), and dice equal to the number of epithets provided.
- When the entity departs, roll the dice for this spell. If sum is less than the number of letters in its name, it is not safely banished - instead, it's loosed upon the world at large, and especially you.
- Bind. Draw a magic circle and inscribe the name of a being within it. Once that being is inside of it, roll the dice for this spell.
- If sum is greater than or equal to the number of letters in its name, it will perform dice services for you (negotiated, within its power or epithets as Summon) until you choose to safely banish it.
- If sum is fewer than the number of letters in its name, it will not serve you, but remains bound within the circle for sum hours.
- If sum is fewer and you roll a mishap, the binding fails and the circle breaks.
- Gate. Draw a magic circle on a surface and specify another magic circle for it to be linked with. The other magic circle may be anywhere, on any plane of existence, but you must know its unique series of sigils in order to connect to it and it must not be connected at the time of use. The Gate may be used by sum beings before falling into disrepair. Permanent gates are often crafted through Artifice.
- Knock-Lock. Unlock a door locked and barred by fewer than dice mundane means, or magically lock an unlocked door. If locked, requires 10+sum Strength to force open or break down, or a Knock of equal or greater sum to unlock.
- Scry. See and hear through a point within sum miles that you've been to before as if you were there. Lasts as long as you concentrate This creates a slight distortion in the air, noticeable with a roll of 10+sum. If your scrying is noticed, the spell ends. You can cast through Scrying, but doing so ends the spell, and its dice and sum cannot be greater than the Scrying's. You cannot move the scrying point.
- Warding Circle. Draw a magic circle and specify dice qualities. The circle cannot be entered by things with those qualities unless they roll higher than 10+sum, or dispel the circle through magical means. The circle lasts until erased.
3. Darke Artes
Long ago, the Governing Council of Glogxford University decided that certain magics were too icky for them to teach, but too useful or too tempting to forbid from campus. Such were the Darke Artes (or, the Inhumanities) codified, and made into a proper College, taught by the professors that the Council at large wanted nothing to do with (but had tenure and so couldn't be fired). The program is chock full of the professors - and students - who would do anything to get ahead, but would be too dangerous to the status quo to allow anywhere near institutional power.
So a problem has arisen. This college has institutional inertia, but is definitionally, capital-E Evil. It produces alumns notable for their shockingly widespread infamy, but all press is good press. The Darke Artes program brings in a staggering amount of revenue from the tuitions of aspiring dark lords and scheming viziers. What ever is a university to do?
Necromancy. Throw a collection of scrimshawed knuckle-bones while calling upon the name of a nearby spirit to act as your bridge to the spirit world. Requires such a nearby spirit (though not necessarily a willing one), or a location that's reasonably haunted.
You can see spirits and determine corpses' causes of death at a glance, no matter how little remains or how old the corpse is.
- Corpse-speech. While touching a corpse's skull, you can make it speak. The corpse is not the spirit or mind of the body it was in life, but it knows much that the body once knew (like the myriad exertions, injuries, and tastes of the flesh), and everything that has happened around it since its spirit severed from this mortal coil.
- Hex. Name a living thing you can see and an action it might take. The next time it takes that action within 24 hours, it needs to roll even if it wouldn't normally, and it does so at disadvantage. Failure may be comedic and improbable, but the more improbable their failure is the more likely they'll know they were hexed.
- Terror. Distort your face into a horrific masque that inflames mortals' atavistic fears for as long as you concentrate. Everyone who looks upon your visage must save vs. fear or cower. If they succeed, they're immune to this effect for the rest of the day. If they fail, they'll become immune to it once they inflict damage to you, and they know this.
- Curse. Name a living thing. For each die, you must also burn a piece of their body (hair and blood are most common, each type of body part counts only once) or destroy an item that has sentimental value to them. Inflict upon them a specific and usually ironic misfortune that will last for or come to pass within sum*dice minutes, hours, or days (your choice), and seriously inconveniences them in dice different ways. Can't directly deal more than sum+dice damage with the curse.
- Darkness. Create a magical cloud of darkness that eclipses all mundane lights and all magical lights with dice equal to or less than this spell's within a sum*10' radius sphere within line of sight for as long as you concentrate. You can see through this darkness.
- Possess. Enter someone's mind at a touch. You may control their body instead of your own for as long as you concentrate, including casting spells. Takes a save of 10+sum to shake off; they may save against it when targeted and at the end of each of their turns. If they fail to or choose not to shake it off before you end the possession, your later castings of Possession may target them if they're within line of sight, rather than at a touch.
- Raise Dead. Animate up to dice Hit Dice of corpses for sum hours or sum Hit Dice for sum minutes. Corpses each retain dice abilities they had in life. You may split corpses into multiple undead, or merge corpse-parts together into one greater mass.
- Shadowform. Take on a form of shifting, intangible shadows for as long as you concentrate. In the shadowform, you take half damage from mundane sources, are invisible in shadows or darkness, and gain your choice of dice of the following abilities.
- Teleport from one shadow to another within line of sight.
- May cast spells without breaking concentration on this spell.
- Fly at your walking speed, but only through darkness (ex. a moonless night)
- Throw shadowbolts at will. These deal dice d6 damage to anyone they hit (requires a ranged attack roll), are the approximate shape and size of skipping stones, and can be skipped across solid ground.
- You can walk through walls if both sides of the wall are in darkness.
- Withering. Fire a sickening beam that deals sum+dice damage to a target within line of sight (save for half). They go through an accelerated process of decay, aging and shrivelling if organic or eroding and crumbling if not. While this reverses itself if they heal, it takes twice as long to do so, and if it destroys the target they flake away and crumble to dust until naught but clean, dry bones remains.
4. Surreality Studies
The base matter we perceive is but the skin of a roiling ocean of truths. There are more dimensions in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in other departments' philosophies, and real power is locked not inside the vaults of gods or the deep places of the earth and sky, but within the minds of mortals. Such is the pitch for Surreality Studies - and recruiters have had to get good at it, because public perception is that they're all frog-licking hippies too blissed out to wield any real power.
It's ironic that the faculty that deals with perception and influence is so bad at managing its image, but consider the alternatives for a school that teaches enterprising young mages to step through the dreams and psyches of others, to slip invisibly through the dark corners of society, to see your deepest fears and make them real. A reputation of fools casting simple tricks, tripping balls, and throwing the best ragers on campus is a great way to dissuade prying eyes - and act as a smokescreen for its less scrupulous students.
Hallucinogens. Lick the back of a certain brightly-hued frog, inhale psychogenic gasses from an underground vent, or bliss yourself out on psychedelic mushrooms. This knocks you out for an hour no matter how many questions you ask, but it's a fantastic trip - at least for the first time. Each additional trip per day has an additional 1-in-6 chance of going bad, and dealing 1 damage to you per question you ask - roll after you've asked your questions.
People are surrounded by auras with colors influenced by their mood and general disposition. Auras don't provide much more information than just studying their facial expression and mannerisms for a few minutes, but you can't cover up your aura unless you have magic, and auras are visible at a simple glance or from a distance.
- Emote. Induce an emotion at a touch, of magnitude similar to a dramatic play or a moving speech, for as long as you concentrate.
- Light & Sound. Create up to templates magical light sources of up to a torch's brightness within one round's walking distance, or extinguish a mundane light source within same distance. The magical light may be of any color you wish on the visible spectrum, and lasts as long as you concentrate.
- Telepathy. You can telepathically communicate with people with whom you are making unbroken eye contact. This link is two-way. You may have templates permanent telepathic links that do not go away when eye contact is broken; these can go away if the recipient chooses to disconnect them, and you may connect and disconnect these telepathic links at will to have group telepathy, though you must be a part of all groups made this way.
- Animate. Animate up to dice Hit Dice of items for sum hours or sum Hit Dice for sum minutes. A collection of small items, like a tableful of silverware, counts as 1 Hit Die and acts as a swarm of creatures. You may amalgamate animated objects into larger creatures. Animated objects follow simple commands and take your words literally.
- Dreamwalk. Touch someone's head and project your consciousness into their mindscape. If the target is awake, they get a save vs. 10+sum to repel you. While dreamwalking, your body is insensate and defenseless. When you break physical contact, end the dreamwalk. In your target's mind, you can walk through and affect their memories and cognition as if it were a physical realm, though movement and interactions follow strange dream logic.
- If the target notices your intrusion, they can try to push you out. The GM names a game (I recommend something short, like tic-tac-toe or best 3-of-5 rock-paper-scissors); play that game vs. the GM. Between each turn of the game, you can take dice actions in their mind, including meta-actions that affect the game being played. They can take 1 action as well. When you lose dice times, you are ejected from their mind. If they lose, they can challenge you again.
- Once you have dreamwalked into someone's mind, you can return whenever they're asleep by casting this spell again. They get a save vs. 10+sum to detect your intrusion, and if they sleep with more than dice symbolic protective measures, you cannot enter their mind at all.
- Illusion. Within line of sight, create an illusion up to the size of a head. This illusion requires a 10+sum save to be detected, or for an interaction to be clearly nonsensical. Second Sight counts as a sense for the purposes of detecting illusions. The illusion lasts until you stop concentrating on it, and can move around within line of sight as you wish. Choose dice of the following.
- Increase the size of the illusion by 1 step (head ➞ person ➞ adventuring party ➞ house ➞ castle).
- The illusion perfectly fools 1 sense of your choice (no save).
- The illusion lasts for 24 hours even if you stop concentrating.
- Invisibility. Target yourself, or a creature or object you can touch. The target becomes invisible. If an object, it stays invisible for sum hours. If yourself or a creature, it stays invisible for sum*10 minutes. Anything an invisible creature picks up remains visible, anything invisible that they drop becomes visible.
- Sleep. Sing an soporific lullaby. Up to sum Hit Dice of creatures that can hear it save or fall asleep. Alternatively, up to dice Hit Dice of creatures that can hear it fall asleep, no save. Sing the lullaby in reverse to waken sleepers; sleepers wake when interacted with if they get sum or higher on a save, or after sum hours.
- Suggestion. Implant an intrusive thought at a touch. The thought may have up to sum words, and cannot be forgotten for sum*10 minutes. If it's not dangerous to take action on the thought, it takes a 10+sum save to ignore it. If it is dangerous, it takes a sum save; if it's potentially lethal or damning, it takes a dice save. When it ends, they know you did it.
Viscerology is the most recent addition to the Glogxford curriculum, breaking off from the Darke Artes in an "Interdepartmental Civil Dispute & Police Action" a scant few decades ago. It pushes the boundaries of conventional wizardry, as for centuries healing magic has been the exclusive provence of the Church (which Church? the wizards don't care to differentiate between them). This puts it at odds with the rest of the faculties, who don't see them as wizard enough. Their coping mechanism? Creating and/or becoming abominations against nature. Moreso than wizards already are, at least.
There's a deeply unwizardly camaraderie among students and faculty of Viscerology; as the professors don't have the centuries of experience over their students that other field's luminaries boast. It's possible for students to make real contributions to the field, even as lowly undergraduates, with nothing but of a ready supply of meat (one's own body and/or the cafeteria's buffet) and a strong gag reflex. Does the thrill of discovery throb in your beating heart? Do you want more beating hearts for things to throb within? Become a Viscerologist. Then half-frog.
Haruspicy. Cut into the belly of a fresh corpse and lay out its entrails in revelatory patterns. Quick and dirty, requiring approximately one rabbit-corpse per question (a human corpse counts for three). Cannot substitute frozen or preserved for fresh.
You can see through layers of skin and flesh (but not bone) as easily as layers of stained glass.
- Bond Skin. Fuse two pieces of skin together at a touch. Typically used to suture surface wounds, or to attach together body parts that were never meant to be attached.
- Haemogen. Generate a litre of blood that flows from your hands. You cannot generate more blood in a day this way than you have in your body. The blood can be your blood type (including any magical effects), or type O (the universal donor), your choice.
- Preserve. Touch a piece of rotting organic matter. It will not decay for the next 24 hours.
- Boneturn. For dice*10 minutes, you can reach through skin, blood, and flesh without harming them and interact directly with sum bones within. The target takes 1 damage whenever a bone is inserted or removed this way, regardless of how much damage it would reasonably do to their physiology. You can alternatively restore dice health by repairing bones this way, or provide sum temporary hit points by inserting bones you've found as reinforcements or ablative armor. After a daily rest, their physiology integrates the new bones (temporary HP remains temporary, however).
- Grow Organ. An organ of your choice blossoms from a pool of blood. It requires a constant supply of fresh blood to function, and will shrivel away by the end of the day. The organ can be connected to blood vessels or other organs by means of Bond Skin or other relevant spells. Choose dice of the following characteristics for it to exhibit, beyond its expected mundane qualities:
- The organ is unusually larger or unusually smaller than normal.
- While supplied with fresh blood, the organ will not shrivel away.
- The organ has an independent reservoir to store blood, and need only drink it occasionally rather than be constantly supplied.
- The organ is animated, can follow simple commands. and move under its own power (classically by means of spindly limbs, but fleshcrafters are a crafty and daring cohort).
- Engorge. Touch an organic creature. Increase their volume by dice times. This increases its Hit Dice by dice. You can give it +sum points divided equally between Strength, Constitution, and Armor (you choose); if you do, similarly decrease its Intelligence, Wisdom, and Dexterity. This lasts until the creature next sleeps, or until they lose all their additional Hit Dice.
- Polymorph. Touch an organic creature and choose up to dice of the following.
- Choose a mutation from a mutation table (find one yourself, or ask your GM) and apply it to the creature. They have a vision of the end result, and if unwilling, they can save vs 10+sum to resist. They messily shed the mutation when they next rest.
- Multiply the duration of one of the creature's Polymorph-mutations by sum; the mutation expires after that many rests. Each time you want to stack this option, requires the spell to be cast with an additional die.
- If the creature has 3 mutations from this spell you can shapeshift them into a creature with those features until one or more of those mutations expire. This cannot add Hit Dice or substantially increase their mass.
- Repair Wound. At your touch, choose dice of the following: fuse one broken bone, restore one organ to its normal function, staunch blood flow from an area the size of your hand.
- Work Flesh. For ten minutes, target's flesh becomes as malleable as clay to your touch. You can use this to deal sum damage, but that ends the spell immediately. Worked flesh will gradually set back into old shape over the course of sum days, but any use of healing magic will delay it by that magic's sum. Doesn't work on hard tissues like bone or teeth or nails.
6. Industrial Alchemy
Industrial alchemists are the modern, mechanized outgrowth of an ancient and storied tradition. While modern cities depend on their labor and magic for burgeoning industrial conveniences, they've fallen far in the public eye - from ingenious madmen seeking immortality at any cost, to grease-covered public servants squinting through telescopes at bridges and criticizing the labors of the common man. Other wizards, ever-hungry to look down on their fellows, agree wholeheartedly: the industrial alchemists are nerds.
The alchemists, naturally, see things differently. They're the only wizards willing to get their hands really dirty, to build things that'll last beyond even their lengthy lifespans. You need a tower? Go to the IA department and see what they're willing to budget. Want precisely calibrated arcane machinery? IA knows how to build it, and if they don't think you need it, you aren't getting it. All the ruins of ancient ages were constructed by their civilization's equivalents of industrial alchemists, and by the gods, the future will look upon this department's mighty works - and despair.
Pyromancy. Light a pyre, fuelled by something of value (1 gold piece or sentimental memory per augury), and stare at its heart until it burns out. The pattern of the flames, the crackle of the embers, and the ashes left behind hold the answers you seek. The fire burns for 10 minutes per question.
Areas of stress, tension, and weakness in structures and natural formations tint your vision from a healthy green to a ruddy orange and an alarming crimson. You can tell when they are likely to fail, and how much force one would require to speed up or reinforce against collapse.
- Mage Hand. Conjure a spectral hand that moves at your walking speed. It can manipulate items as if it was one of your hands, and is visible only to Second Sight. If you concentrate, you may conjure and manipulate up to templates of these hands, but they go away (dropping anything they're holding) when you stop. Hands dissipate when they leave your line of sight.
- Safety Rivet. Conjure and fire a finger-sized bolt of pig iron up to 10', strong enough to connect two metal plates. It stops if it would deal any damage to a living creature. If somehow it would harm someone (perhaps through reckless experimentation), it deals d4 damage.
- Spark-Weld. At a touch, conjure an intense plasma that rapidly melts and welds metal. You are immune to heat from this effect, others are not; this acts as an unarmed attack that deals fire damage if applied to a person. Only works through your physical hands, not Mage Hand.
- Bombard. Touch a slug of metal the size of a cannonball and impel it at high velocity. It deals sum damage, or sum*dice damage to artificial structures, and immediately breaks structural weak points. If the sphere deals more damage to the target than it has health, the sphere continues on its path, dealing remaining damage to the next target, and so on until impacts something it can't destroy in one hit or otherwise slows to a stop.
- Extrude. Touch a base metal (iron, copper, tin, silver, etc. - nothing alloyed or processed) and extend one of its faces up to sum'. This extrusion dissipates after sum hours, but its duration may be extended with further castings of this spell.
- Hazard Ward. Inscribe sum blood wards on creatures or objects. Each ward protects from a mundane environmental condition (heat, cold, drowning, pressure, toxic gasses, radiation, etc), and ablates once it has prevented dice damage or protected from one failed save. If a ward is damaged or erased through other means, it loses its magic. You may inscribe multiple of the same ward on one target.
- Mill. Carve sum cubic feet of material into equipment or crude sculpture. This is a purely subtractive process. Equipment created this way will break after dice uses. This is primarly useful for creating ammunition, ablative armor, temporary tools, etc.
- Refine. Refine up to sum cubic feet of material you touch as if it was smelted, alloyed with another mundane material you can also touch, polished, etc. It retains its shape. This can make armor, supports, and barriers more durable, hone sharp edges, etc.
- Universal Solvent. Conjure up to sum millilitres (cubic centimetres) of a colorless, odorless solvent that will melt through an equivalent volume of anything. Can be applied at 1 mL/second; is conjured 1mm from your hands so it doesn't burn you. Resulting smoke is octarine and highly toxic to non-wizards.
7. Paraspatial Engineering (thanks, Vayra!)
Logistics are an oft-overlooked aspect of the wizarding lifestyle, for obvious reasons. It's boring, and time-consuming, and the fun part of raising a zombie army is the cackling and the lightning - not the finding of an appropriate graveyard, or the movement of the army from said graveyard to the field of battle. Powerful wizards and magically-adept governments can only overlook this, however, because paraspatial engineers exist. Specialists in spatial relationships, teleportation, and the shape of the world around them, paraspatial engineers chart the uncharted and reduce the vast wondrous scope of the world to tidy equations and ruled diagrams.
Many wizards think paraspatial engineers are killjoys, but saying such to one of their faces will get you a blank stare and subsequently an incredible view of the campus from the air before you frantically try to remember the first few syllables of Feather Fall.
Asterimancy. Interpreting portents from atmospheric omens. Requires a clear view of the sky during the day; can't Augur again until the weather changes. Also gives you the time until the weather next naturally changes, and what it will change to.
You can discern exact distances (and thus dimensions, volumes) and masses at a glance.
- Hammerspace. Open/close a 6.66" tear in space next to you, which acts much like the mouth of a bag. The inside is cool, dark, persistent, and has about a 40 litre capacity.
- Carry. Lift and carry up to your body weight within eyesight, by means of an invisible force. This doesn't provide any ability for fine manipulation or sudden impulse. Lasts as long as you concentrate.
- Jaunt. Step orthogonally to the world, allowing you to pass through objects over the course of that step. You can step about 5' this way.
- Immovability. Touch something, make it a fixed point with respect to a frame of reference. The frame of reference must be an object with equal or lesser mass. Gains additional durability; +dice Armor and +sum Health until the spell ends, but can't move from that relative point. Useful for floating platforms, transportation, defense, "attaching" things to arrows or thrown projectiles.
- Levitate. Target up to dice creatures or objects you can see. Each round, you can move them at up to dice times your walking speed, in any direction, until they've been moved sum*10' in total. Targets can break free with a successful save at the start of their turn. You may hurl a target at high speeds; this breaks the spell for them and throws them up to the full distance in one round. If they impact an obstacle while thrown, both they and whatever they hit take dice d6 damage.
- Pocket Dimension. Open a visible tear in space 6.66' tall next to you. It acts as a door into an extradimensional space made of sum 10' by 10' by 6.66' rooms of dark spongy stone that faintly sparkles like the night sky, and can be up to dice floors tall. By default, the dimension has air and gravity like the outside world, and is illuminated by the glimmering stonework within. There is no "outside" the rooms created, and digging through the stone causes it to flow back into shape like water. You may combine and shape the rooms as you wish; make all layout decisions when casting the spell. You may only nest a higher-dice Pocket Dimension inside another Pocket Dimension. Decor is spartan at best, with all furnishings made of the same dark, sparkling, stone as the walls. The dimension will last for sum hours; when the spell ends, anyone inside is ejected through the tear in space. In addition, choose up to dice of the following:
- You may open further castings of Pocket Dimension with the same dice into this space. Its contents are persistent even after the duration expires, though all living beings inside are still ejected. You may only have one persistent dimension per dice amount.
- Add a quality to the entrance. This can increase or decrease the size of the entrance, change the entrance's appearance, or make it impassable without a password or other sort of test.
- Change an environmental quality within the pocket dimension, like the atmospheric composition, the gravity, the quality of light, etc.
- Add decor and other items to the inside of the space, like beds, furniture, a kitchen, torches, tapestries, etc. Can be as elaborate as you want, but nothing borne of this effect can leave the room, and any effects it provides (nourishment, healing, damage, etc.) will not persist upon exiting the space.
- Teleport. Teleport a creature or object you can touch (including yourself) up to sum*10^dice'. An unwilling target may save to prevent this. The endpoint must be within line of sight. All items on teleported creatures get teleported as well. You may add up to dice of the following effects.
- Teleport sum willing participants; all must be contiguous.
- Create a semipermanent portal between the start and endpoints that's 6.66' in diameter. Lasts for as long as you concentrate.
- Reverse teleport; teleport something you can see to you.
- The endpoint of the teleport is not limited by line of sight; it can be a particular magic circle (requires you to inscribe the circle's unique identifying glyphs) or somewhere you've been in the past sum*dice days.
- Warp Space. Elongate, shrink, or otherwise warp space in a line of sum*100', an area of sum*10 feet squared, or a volume of dice*sum*10 feet cubed. You may contort space-time as you wish within that area while you concentrate, compressing or expanding the space within up to sum times. This does not inherently damage matter within.
- Warp World. Reshape natural materials (as opposed to artificial, worked materials) within a 10*sum' radius around you. The effect is slow, and creatures may save to avoid being trapped, crushed, et cetera. Simple structures can be constructed with ease, but fine details or moving parts such as weapons, hinges, specific likenesses, or traps require a relevant test (but gain a +dice bonus). All changes are confined to the area, and you control the area for only so long as you concentrate.
These templates are obtained upon the completion of the listed task. Gaining the template is not optional, especially for the Dooms.
Speak to a wild animal in its own tongue and offer it a deal - in exchange for access to a portion of your magical power, you will provide it with a service it wants. If it accepts, perform the service, and gain this template upon completion of that service. If your familiar dies, you must find another familiar to gain the benefits of this template.
Become your familiar's Patron. It is sworn to your service, accompanies you everywhere, and you can see through its eyes when you close your own. You may cast spells from your Familiar's location, though Mishaps cast this way affect both of you. You can always communicate with your familiar as if it was next to you, though this still requires you to speak out loud. You may only have one familar at a time.
Join an order of wizards and help them cast a ritual spell. Wizarding orders are secretive, and their entrance requirements invariably involve hazing. If they expel you from the order, you must join a new order to benefit from this template.
You can empower spells by casting them ritually, with time, effort, pomp, and circumstance. Choose one of the following per hour of preparations; each hour also requires you to use up a valuable reagent that has some arcane significance to the spell. Each additional wizard helping you cast the ritual can cut the number of hours by 1, but the number of reagents remains the same.
- Choose the result of a die rolled in casting.
- Roll an additional die for the spell.
- Increase the size of a die in the casting from d6 to d12. If a d12 rolls a mishap, subtract 6 to find the result on the mishap table.
- Prevent a chosen die from causing a mishap.
- Choose an Experimental result, if experimenting with the spell. Cannot choose Eureka!.
Acquire and read a textbook on alchemy, available in most wizards' private collections or university libraries. Also acquire a set of precisely calibrated alchemical equipment, including flasks, distillation tubes, a mortar and pestle, filters, and bottles. This equipment takes up 3 inventory slots, is incredibly fragile, and can be acquired for about 30 gold at a reputable glassblower. If you cannot refer to the textbook while brewing, your mishap risk increases by 2.
With an hour's careful work and your alchemical equipment, you can brew a cantrip or 1-die spell into a liquid medium, to be cast upon consumption. Roll for mishaps (but not sum) when doing so; brewing counts as casting for the purposes of mishap risk. The spell affects the potion's taste, appearance, and consistency. Roll the dice again for sum and mishaps when the potion is drunk.
- Mishaps rolled during brewing apply to you, mishaps rolled during drinking apply to the drinker. The drinker's mishap risk is equal to the number of potions they've drunk that day beyond the first
- Make all choices for the spell during brewing (including any experimentation) besides the target. The spell targets the drinker.
- If you have Ritual and a laboratory's worth of alchemical equipment, you can use ritual magic in that lab to infuse higher-die spells into potions.
Acquire and read a textbook on artifice, available in some wizards' private collections or Industrial Alchemy department libraries. Also acquire a set of artificer's equipment, including a hammer and anvil, a lathe, an engraving chisel, pliers, tongs, and a whetstone. This equipment requires a wagon to carry around, and can be acquired for about 100 gold at a reputable blacksmith. If you cannot refer to the textbook while enchanting, your mishap risk increases by 2.
Spend a day's hard labor and a valuable reagent (about 10 gold) to forge an item and enchant it with a cantrip or 1-die spell. Roll for sum while doing so; mishap risk is equal to the number of items you've enchanted this week. If you roll a mishap, the enchantment fails, and the reagents are consumed regardless.
- Make all decisions for the spell while enchanting the item, including its target. Targets are usually the wielder, someone the wielder chooses during enchanting, or the item itself.
- An enchanted item can act as a focus for spells with durations, maintaining the spell on its target indefinitely. For foci, sum is the number rolled during enchanting.
- An enchanted item can, alternatively, allow its wielder to cast the spell. The wielder rolls for sum and mishaps on casting, and this increases their mishap risk as usual. If the item takes damage from a mishap, it breaks.
- If you have Ritual and a workshop's worth of artificer's equipment, you can use ritual magic in that workshop to forge and enchant items with higher-die spells. Ritual artifice takes additional days, rather than hours like ritual casting. Additional dice require exponentially more valuable reagents and extend the enchanting time - 100 gold and weeks instead of days for a 2-die spell, 1000 gold and months for a 3-die spell, 10,000 gold and years for a 4 die spell. Each wizard helping you can take on an equal share of the time burden.
- Ritual magic also allows you to forge an item enchanted with multiple spells so long as you spend the necessary time and reagents for each spell (and roll for mishaps each time).
Δ Spell Mastery
Experimentally cast a spell from your school and roll Eureka! while you already know all 6 of the school's listed spells.
You become a Master of that spell, and further castings of it at minimum dice cannot trigger mishaps (though they do increase your mishap risk).
Take on a hapless fool with no other prospects in life and no innate magical aptitude as an apprentice, and induct them into the ways of wizardry. If they ever become your equal, strike out on their own, or strike at you in anger, you must obtain a new apprentice to benefit from this template.
You can teach others how to cast spells you know. It takes at least a week of diligent practice on both of your parts, and unless the student is a wizard (or has some other sort of formal magical training), they can only cast it at 1 die and always cause a mishap when casting it. Your apprentice begins as a 0th-level wizard for the purposes of this template, and you may teach them your school's cantrips, Augury, and Second Sight in the same way as spells.
Construct or take over a tower at least 100' tall, taller than any other structure for miles around. If it's ever taken over, destroyed, or surpassed in height by another nearby tower, you must either start again with another tower or remedy the problem (by retaking the tower, rebuilding it, building it higher, or destroying the other tower).
There are no mundane towers. Towers are magical accumulators, as raw ambient magic flows to the highest point around. Treat the minimum value of each die for the purposes of sum rolled at its summit as the tower's height divided by 100 (round down). Possession of a tower also allows you to found an order of wizards, which other intrepid mages may seek to join. Use the tower as a gathering place for occasional meetings, rituals, and inductions into the order.
Δ The Primary Doom of Wizards - Scarred
Roll 3 Mishaps in the casting of a single spell.
The spell burns itself into your flesh and mind, jealously demanding your affections. Each time you want to cast a different spell, you must cast your Scarred spell at least once.
Δ The Secondary Doom of Wizards - Blighted
Roll 3 Mishaps in the casting of a single spell while Scarred.
All around you, flowers wilt, insects fall out of the air, small animals turn from you in fright lest they shrivel into husks. You are feared instinctively by all living things save for your familiar, if you have one. This path of sorrow can be easily followed, and many will hunt you down. You can no longer cast spells with fewer than 2 dice.
Δ The Terminal Doom of Wizards - Damned
Roll 3 Mishaps in the casting of a single spell while Blighted.
Your transformation into a monster among men is complete, if you were ever anything else. Stormclouds gather around you no matter the season or the climate, the blight spreads to all plant life around you, and you can no longer cast spells with fewer than 3 dice.
Love your menacing text style!ReplyDelete
Very nice. Lots of fun ideas here.ReplyDelete
I think it would be amazing if someone wrote up a few Wizarding Colleges. A low rent state collage that specializes in cantrips with secret societies that are about beer. A high brown ivy league school full of wanna-be politicians getting that degree for their resume combined with legacy Wizards with some serious skills. Could be lots of fun.ReplyDelete
While I've grown out of love for the idea of Wizard colleges and the like, this is very evocative and creative. I think that such a system of Wizards would fit very well in some sort of Early modern game, set in a time period reminiscent of 1500 to the late 1800s, in that turbulent time as feudalism was passing away and the modern era of technology, science and nation-states was just starting to emerge from it's cocoon.ReplyDelete
This is fantastic! Looking forward to throwing this and MIR together in a stewpot and seeing what crawls out.ReplyDelete
Does the chance of mishaps increase for all spells after casting any spell, or is it tracked on a per-spell basis?
Each spell tracks its own mishap chance separately, as written, but you can absolutely change it to a shared mishap risk if you want a lower-magic game!Delete
Gotcha! I think I'll try and mess around with the Instability Dice from the Sorcerer, try and use that as a more generic measure of "spell exhaustion", combining that with these excellent delta templates will make for a good mixDelete
This is excellent stuff. I've wanted to run a game with an all-wizard party for ages, and these classes seem perfectly suited to that.ReplyDelete
I do wonder if the mishaps are a bit too punishing. Two of the six deal [sum] damage, and given the wizard's very low HP cap, that has a seriously high chance of knocking out (or killing/dismembering/maiming, depending on your ruleset) a character in one blow. A traditional GLOG wizard can stay safe by sticking to casting with one die, but these wizards need to spread out their castings among as many spells as they can if they don't want to explode.
Now that I think about it, "get more spells so you don't explode" is a pretty good motivation for a party of wizards ... may have to do some playtesting and report back.
Because Mishap risk doesn't require you to reroll the dice, your first two casts of a spell (0 mishap risk and 1 mishap risk) won't cause you to explode, and the next three only have a 1-in-6 chance at one die (spellburn). If you're casting a spell more than 5 times, well, that's the price to pay for magic. Spellburn also only deals 2 damage at 1 die, because the result you look at for the mishap table is the same as the die that triggered the mishap, so a wizard with 4 HP should be able to screw up with Spellburn twice before hitting 0 (presuming they haven't done anything else risky that day).Delete
This is *wonderful*.ReplyDelete
I've been running an all-wizard campaign for about 8 years now and this fits the tone just beautifully.
Is there a way to reach out so we can swap ideas?