[UPDATE] Occult Magic for Fellhold


[edit: In my excitement, I was pretty lazy about attributing sources or making explicit how much stuff I got directly from other folks, so I've edited the post to reflect that.  In adding the proper attributions, it's pretty embarrassing how little of this stuff is my own. ]

This seemed to warrant a blog post. Here are the (mostly) complete rules for Wizard (magic user) magic in the new Fellhold house rules.

These are a modification of the rules at Logan Knight's Last Gasp Grimoire here.  Many of the "Chaos Reigns" and "That Which Should Not Be", along with a few of the Corruption results came from the Black Magic Remix at gloomtrain.  The "taint" results came from this Dungeon of Signs entry with barely any changes except reducing to a D20 table, and many of the other corruptions are from the Warhammer 40k roleplaying games and from DCCRPG, but with different mechanics (if any).

I've attempted to streamline a few things, but I may have gone a bit nutty with the tables.  It ought to be fairly easy to make the big result tables optional and ad-lib weird stuff or come up with your own.  Speaking of which, I haven't figured anything out for patrons yet, other than the vaguest guidelines.

So, with all of this stealing other people's stuff, what's my own? Not a lot! But a few things:

  • When wizard's (magic users) advance in level, they get 2 picks from some standardized advances. One of those picks is to get a new Doom die, which a wizard can pick twice at a level-up.  Other choices include improving saving throws, gaining HD, or improving attack bonus
  • When a wizard chooses to gain a new doom die, he makes a save vs spell with a penalty equal to the new Doom die total. If he fails, he gains a corruption point.
  • Corruption points are detailed below, but my contribution is that every time you get a new one, you roll a number of d6s equal to your current total, and if you get certain values, suffer a taint, minor corruption, major corruption, or utter malignancy
  • These are spaced out so that it's possible to get worse results with low numbers, but it will quickly become more and more likely that you get weird effects until it's almost guaranteed you become a weird creepy monster


Occult Magic
[These are taken almost entirely and sometimes verbatim from Logan Knight's Last Gasp Grimoire, with some of the table entries from M. Diaz's gloomtrain, and the Taint table is made up of entries from Gus L. at Dungeon of Signs. To make these attributions absolutely clear (which I failed to do originally), I'll be using the following color coding to indicate where things come from along with tons of links:
Logan Knight
M. Diaz
Gus L.
Me, Jeff Russell

If anyone sees anything of theirs that I have not attributed properly, please do not hesitate to contact me and let me know how you'd like to handle it. I'm all about people getting credit for their awesome ideas.]

Learning Spells
Wizards begin play with 1d6 spells of 1d3 level each.  After this, they must find spells and record them in their spellbook or research them.  Wizards can transcribe or research spells of any level that is equal to or less than the number of doom dice they have.


Casting Spells

Doom Points
As wizards increase in power, they can cast more and more powerful spells safely.


Every wizard has a Doom point pool as an easy measure of how much casting is safe, and every spell uses points equal to its level. A wizard may cast rather high level spells early on, but that will make any further spellcasting very risky.


If a wizard attempts to cast the same spell more than once in a day roll on Conduit of the Cosmos. Repeatedly calling up that kind of power in the same way can attract unwanted attention.


Once a wizard has reached his Doom limit, he can attempt to cast further spells with a Cast the Bones roll, taking a penalty for every point needed after the first.

Doom Dice

After each extended rest, a wizard may roll a d6 per doom die they possess.  The total of the dice rolled together is the number of Doom Points the wizard has available that day.  Wizards gain doom dice as advances when they level.

Spell Components
Spell components can be used to gain a bonus to Cast the Bones/Conduit of the Cosmos rolls, or if the Wizard hasn’t already reached their casting limit can be used instead of Doom points, channelling the energy through more of a prepared ritual rather than the caster’s mind and body.


Spell components take an extra round per bonus to prepare, and in terms of encumbrance an item’s worth of spell components is enough for 5 bonuses.

Casting from a Spellbook
Unless they have already turned to the spell in preparation, casting from a spellbook takes one round longer than usual while they turn through the pages to the correct spot.


Casting from Prepared Items
Wizards can inscribe specific spells onto individual items that they keep ready rather than in a spellbook.  Each of these counts as one slot for encumbrance purposes, even if it is in fact very small, and it needs to be accessible in the fast inventory section.  The wizard should detail what it is and where he keeps it.


Casting from a Hex
A hex is a physical object that channels a particular spell.  It can only be used by wizards, as it does not cast the spell itself, it only acts as a channel and focus for the magical forces involved. Hexes can only be inscribed with one spell.


Hexes can only be crafted from items that have undergone prolonged exposure to magical energies. Possessions, bones, building materials, anything that has seen much spellcraft.


Casting using a hex does not use any Doom points, as the hex bears the strain of the spell.


Hexes can also provide a bonus equal to their spell level when used to enhance a Conduit of the Cosmos roll. This can be used with any spell, and uses Doom points as normal.


Inscribing a spell takes spell level x 2d6 days, and costs 50sp per day for components necessary to prepare the item.


Every hex has an Integrity value based on how many years organic items were exposed to magic, or how many decades for inorganic items. If it isn’t known how long it was exposed to magic, roll percentile dice to determine how many years/decades. Integrity can be increased by 2d4 by spending a further day fortifying the hex with smaller mystical materials, such as those suitable for material components. This can be done a maximum of 3 times and costs nothing but the materials.


When a spell is inscribed it decreases the hex’s Integrity by 1d4 per spell level. If a hex is Insignificant (like a pinky bone in a vial), it only has half the Integrity it would normally have.


Every time the wizard uses the hex, he has to roll under its Integrity, otherwise Integrity is decreased by d100. When it reaches zero the hex is torn apart by the energy being channeled through it and they must roll on the Overload chart. If the hex was Insignificant roll d10 instead of d20.

Overload Chart


1
The hex dissolves into your flesh and seeps into your blood. Roll on the Chaos Reigns table. -Logan Knight
2
The magic seeps out of the hex and leave it a painfully normal object. Gain 1 point of corruption for every spell level of the hex 
3
Roll on the spell collapse table and the hex crumbles into dust. -Logan Knight
4
Turns into glowing embers, the sizzling of which holds whispers about the world that only the wizard can hear or understand.  Even after the embers crumble into ash, the wizard continues to hear the whispers. Save vs spell to sleep from now on. -Modified from Logan Knight
5
Implodes into a tiny vortex, taking a number of fingers equal to its spell level. -Logan Knight
6
The hex casts one random spell equal in level to its inscribed spell, with a random target (if applicable). -Logan Knight
7
Regardless of the intent of the spell, the hex’s magical energies all shoot towards the target at once and deal 1d6 damage per spell level of the inscribed spell. -Logan Knight
8
With a bright flash, the hex shows the wizard a glimpse of the true patterns governing manipulation of the chaos from which magic comes.  Wizard immediately suffers a breakdown.
9
Becomes a magic sink and immediately absorbs all of the Doom points of every being within 50 ft and then explodes in a magical backlash, dealing a number of hit points equal to the doom points absorbed to all creatures capable of casting any spells (wizards, seers, et cetera) in the same range.
10
The shrieking voices of thousands of dead shout the secrets of a random spell unknown to the wizard and one level higher than the hex.  He is deaf for 2d6 hours, and if he does not record the spell in that time will forget it forever and never be able to learn that spell. -Modified from Logan Knight
11
Everything around the wizard stops for the 1d6 rounds as the hex crumbles to dust and slips away like the sand in an hourglass.  The sand will pour through anything between the hex and the floor. -Logan Knight
12
Becomes immensely cold and heavy.  No being weaker than a giant can lift it, and it deals 1d6 damage per round of contact.
13
The hex explodes, dealing 1d6 per spell level in damage to everyone within 10 ft, save vs breath weapon for half.
14
Burns momentarily white hot and disappears in a flash, leaving the wizard with a new Taint.
15
Imbeds itself into the caster’s flesh and pulses with its power.  It can no longer be used as a hex, but it can still be used to enhance conduit of the cosmos rolls. Every time you do, take a point of corruption.  -Modified from Logan Knight
16
Falls apart and the pieces are black, shiny skittering bugs, 1 HD each, AC 5 for their small size and hard shells, in a number equal to the spell’s level that go for your eyes. -Modified from Logan Knight
17
Explodes into sticky blue globs of fire. Each character within 10 feet is struck as if by lamp oil and gains a point of corruption for every point of damage done.
18
Melts into hot molten material. Save vs breath weapon modified by dexterity or lose the hand holding the hex. -Modified from Logan Knight
19
Pops into a gateway for magical energy. Roll on the That Which Should Not Be table -Modified from Logan Knight
20
Collapses into a gate into outside.  Treat as a summoning spell. -Logan Knight



Casting Without an Aid
Wizards can also attempt to cast any spell they know without reading from their spellbook or an item, but since that’s an awful lot to remember it requires a Cast the Bones roll, with a penalty for every spell level above 1st.



Casting Beyond Your Doom Points
When they can’t cast any more spells safely, Wizards may attempt to cast further spells with a 3d6 Cast the Bones roll. A penalty is applied for every spell level above 1st, but bonuses may be applied by using appropriate spell components, requiring a further round per bonus to prepare. There can be consequences to this. For a minor consequence roll on the Chaos Reigns table. When wizards push too far, roll on That Which Should Not Be.

3d6

Cast the Bones
14-18
Success
11-13
Success/Chaos Reigns
8-10
Chaos Reigns
5-7
Success/That Which Should Not Be
1-4
That Which Should Not Be
Restrictions on Casting
Taking Damage
Taking damage doesn’t stop a wizard from casting, but it does mean he needs to make a Cast the Bones roll with a penalty equal to the damage he took if he wants to finish the spell.


Being Encumbered
You can’t cast while halfway encumbered or worse, or with your hands full of anything besides your spellbook, inscribed items, or hexes. One hand holding a staff is okay.


Spell Effects
Spells normally have the same effect every time, as they have been recorded by generations of wizards in the safest and most effective way possible. But if the Wizard wishes, he can relax his hold on the spell and attempt a greater effect with a 3d6 Conduit of the Cosmos roll. The player announces what he wants to happen, and the Referee applies penalties accordingly. An effect without penalties would be something like double duration/damage.


Creativity should be encouraged, so if the Wizard spontaneously conceives of a way to use the fundamentals of a spell they know for a different purpose, they can attempt it with a Conduit of the Cosmos roll, taking penalties as the Referee sees fit, and bonuses up to +4 if it is significantly less powerful than the true spell.



3d6
Conduit of the Cosmos
14-18
Success
11-13
Success/Chaos Reigns
8-10
Spell Collapse
5-7
Spell Collapse/Chaos Reigns
1-4
That Which Should Not Be


On a result of Spell Collapse roll or just decide what makes most sense for the spell/situation.

1d6

Spell Collapse
1
Normal spell effect inflicted on caster
2
Half spell effect inflicted on caster
3-4
Spell works in unexpected way
5
Half spell effect inflicted on random target
6
Half spell effect inflicted on target
Chaos Reigns


1
Bad moon rising. Animals begin to act aggressively and with vicious cunning, madmen become violent and adept at escape, monarchs begin to plot invasion, and the general populace is driven to fear, paranoia, and despair. The tides are erratic and extreme. Lasts 2d4 weeks. -M. Diaz
2
Anything you say for the next 1d6 hours comes out backwards.  Besides sounding creepy as hell, any attempts at spell casting are at -4 on the cast the bones roll.
3
Your face is covered by impenetrable shadow for the next 1d4 weeks.
4
Thousands and thousands of bats -M. Diaz
5
For the next 24 hours, you glow like a coal and are about as hot to the touch as a hot cup of coffee
6
Stolen Voice. Your voice has been taken from you for 1d4 weeks, unless you can find who has it and get it back.
7
You are covered in hideous boils.  They are painful and disgusting and highly contagious.  Save vs death once a day until you pass and they go away.
8
You are overcome by an intense and bizarre lust.  Suffer -1 to all rolls due to the distraction until you slake your unnatural desire.
9
You are consumed by murderous rage.  You can’t cast any spells until you kill someone bloodily and messily.
10
For the next hour, replace your regular doom points with 9d6 doom points.  If you use any of them to cast a spell, gain 9d6 corruption points at the end of the hour.
11
The Stars flare to life in the sky, then vanish. Navigation by night becomes impossible, roads lead astray, and currents lead to strange seas. Lasts 2d4 weeks. -M. Diaz
12
Torrentially vomit black, oily fluid for 1d3 rounds.  You cannot take any action except stagger around and sway.
13
Everywhere you step turns momentarily to mud and sticks to your feet, then hardens into muddy looking footprints after you pick up your feet.  Lasts 1d6 hours.
14
You turn a pale bluish white, and your skin is about as cold to the touch as actual ice.  Lasts 1d4 days.
15
You are now wanted for (1: theft 2: murder 3: witchcraft 4: embezzlement 5: arson 6: public nudity 7: antisocial behavior 8: assault 9: sedition 10: trespassing) in the nearest town, city, or settlement, even if such a crime was impossible. -M. Diaz
16
A black cat walks out of the nearest deep shadows and calmly sits next to you.  It will follow you everywhere, is surprisingly lucky when it comes to general mishaps, but otherwise acts like a cat.  It is not protected from any direct negative attention, except for the usual claws and teeth.  But obviously it’s not just a cat, right?
17
A spring opens up beneath your feet. Its water is sweet and clear, and every time someone drinks from it, they age one year. -M. Diaz
18
It starts raining sticky black tar. -M. Diaz
19
Visitation. A being from outside notices your efforts and sees potential.  Time stops for everyone else as it makes a proposal to you and you negotiate.  It offers to become your patron for a mutually agreed upon price.  The price will probably be neither cheap nor nice.
20
As you reach into the magical energies around you, you touch something you shouldn’t have.  Gain 1d4 corruption points.


That Which Should Not Be


1
You turn white hot, then detonate, dealing d6 damage per character level to everything within 50 feet -M. Diaz
2
You are now a cat. Roll a new character. -M. Diaz
3
Something from outside notices you and makes plans.
4
All the magic leaves your body in a rush, taking some of you along with it.  Lose 1d6 points from a random attribute.  On the other hand, you do lose all corruption points and effects.  You can no longer cast spells of any kind.
5
Bees! So many bees! Bees coat every surface in the area and sting mercilessly, falling dead to the ground. Everyone in the area takes 2d6 HP damage with no wounds possible and can do nothing but flail and stumble about for 1d6 rounds.  If a character reaches 0 HP, he passes out in a painful and itchy mass, but suffers no permanent damage.
6
Everything goes dark. If you or your allies manage to produce a light, it is flickery and tenuous. The darkness is filled with singing things with soft hands and pale faces. -M. Diaz
7
You are dead.  Otherwise you’re fine, and you can continue to act normally, but you are dead.  People might not be too happy about this when they notice.
8
The floor beneath you is pulled into a  neatly circular pit exactly 10 feet in diameter and you are pulled in with it.  You can be heard screaming for a solid minute before becoming too faint.  The pit is utterly black except for a growing roiling pink light far below.  1d6 turns after opening, pink fire will shoot out and 1d100 droplets will land randomly in a 50 foot radius. Wherever the fire lands, a horrific and twisted being will form and begin terrorizing anything nearby for the next 1d4 hours.  The fire will subside, but the pit will remain open.
9
Somewhere in the world a child is born.  It is yours, especially if this is impossible.  It sports a sign of infernal taint, and will age at a rate of 1 year a month, and upon reaching maturity will seek you out.  Roll a normal reaction roll when he or she finds you to determine how they feel about their absentee parent that they know everything about.
10
A shadow version of you is born. Its attributes are the opposite of yours. If you have a 3 in an attribute, the shadow version’s is 18; if you have a 13 in an attribute, the shadow version’s is 7. It wants to kill you, and it is willing to play the long game to do so. -M. Diaz
11
You sink deep into the earth, where you are encysted awake, aware, but unable to move or act for the next 1,000 years and a day.
12
A small crack opens up beneath your feet. You can feel heat rising up from it. It is the beginnings of a volcano, and will rise height by 50 feet a minute and erupt when it is mountain sized. Run. -M. Diaz
13
A black spider about the size of a small dog claws its way up your throat and out of your mouth, causing 1 wound.  It will begin cocooning you in webs for its own mysterious purposes.
14
The energies formerly at your control spin out from you and touch those around you.  For each of your doom dice, randomly select a character nearby (including yourself and any other sentient beings). That character gains that doom die and must test for corruption as normal for a wizard (even if you get your own). Any character that never previously had doom dice can now cast spells if they learn them.
15
You have been spurned by the Earth itself. All animals within 100 miles of casting will do their best to kill you. -M. Diaz
16
Everything (everything) within 10 feet of you ages 1d100 years
17
Your mind is consumed by a malign spirit, which then inhabits your body. It is a level 20 Wizard and has Big Plans for this new body. -M. Diaz
18
A massive meteor storm centered on your location covers everything in a 3 mile radius. Most are just especially bright shooting stars, but some are large enough to be destructive and some are made of stranger materials than iron.
19
You lose all Doom points. A golem, animated from the available materials and with a number of HD equal to Doom points lost, comes to life and tries to kill everything. -M. Diaz
20
You fall through the ground and see the world tree above you, and you never stop falling.


Corruption
[This Section is actually by me, except where noted on the tables]

Corruption is caused by too much exposure to magic and otherworldly entities.  Wizards are at the greatest risk, but some unwholesome magic and beings can inflict it on others.


Corruption Points
Characters gain corruption points in a number of ways, the most common of which is a failed saving throw when a wizard gains a new Doom Die.  Short of intense rituals or divine intervention, they are permanent.


Effects of Corruption
Once a character gains 6 or more corruption points, he detect as chaotic, and once he gains 12 or more, he can be turned by seers who can turn chaotic beings.


Every time a character gains a corruption point, he must roll a number of D6s equal to his new corruption point total, add them together, and compare the result to the following table:


1-5: No effect. For now.
6-11: Taint
12-17: Minor Corruption
18-34: Major Corruption
35+: Utter Malignancy


Taint
Taints are physical signs of corruption.  Usually minor in effect, but potentially obvious in appearance.


Minor Corruptions
Minor Corruptions are physical or behavioral changes that reflect a darkening soul. They often result in a permanent minor game effects or significant physical or behavioral changes.


Major Corruptions
Major corruptions take the form of significant behavioral or physical changes.


Utter Malignancies
Utter malignancies are major, possibly fatal, transformations of body or soul.


Optional Corruption Effects Tables
Taint


1D20
Signs of Outsider Taint - by Gus L. of Dungeon of Signs
1
Small octopus-like suckers on palms.
2
Must drink small amount of human tears once a month or develop blisters of tiny eyeballs.
3
Veins visibly writhe beneath skin like worms when excited.
4
Skin has tiny almost invisible scales.
5
One or both eyes (1-2 Right, 3-4 Left, 5-6 both) has no pupil or iris and instead shows starry immensity of space.
6
Porcelain skin tone (injuries cause permanent crazing instead of scars)
7
Prominent third nipple.
8
Third, flaming eye in forehead.
9
Tiny harmless black flame occasionally puffs from mouth while speaking.
10
Halo of flames visible when seen from peripheral vision
11
Tongue is extra long and either worm like or forked. Lolls if distracted.
12
Body glows softly orange in absolute darkness.
13
Sweats blood.
14
Mouth full of fangs.
15
Small Rams Horns (5”)
16
Reddish (1-3) or matte black (4-6) skin tone.
17
Small horns (2”):1-2 red sickle shaped, 3-4 black spikes, 5-6 Bone knobs
18
Horn nubs
19
Tail: 1-2 Long red and spade tipped, 3-4 snake like, 5-6 rat like
20
Cloven feet/foot: 1-2 Right, 3-4 Left, 5-6 both


Minor Corruption


1
You develop horrid pustules on your face. These pustules do not heal and impose a -1 penalty to Charisma -DCCRPG
2
When you are struck by a silver weapon, it reduces both your HP and Doom Point  pool. -M. Diaz
3
All of your hair falls out and does not grow back.  All of it.
4
Everyone within shouting distance hears your voice as a rasping whisper, no matter how loud everything else is. There is no way to stop this. -M. Diaz
5
Your ears elongate and grow a fine fur, like those of a donkey.  You also develop an annoying, braying laugh. -DCCRPG
6
Your legs grow crooked and disfigured.  Reduce your base movement by one quarter.
7
You don’t have a reflection or a shadow. -M. Diaz
8
Dark obsession. You are obsessed by something sinister, like collecting trophies from victims, pointless vivisections, obscene rituals, or the like. -Dark Heresy
9
Your eyes slit horizontally, like a goats, and you can see especially well in the dark, but you gain -1 to any rolls performed in full daylight.
10
If someone says your name, you know where they are. If you say someone’s name, they become aware of your attention. -M. Diaz
11
Infernal Fascination.  Any time a demon or other outsider makes you an offer, you must make a save vs spell, modified by wisdom, to refuse it.
12
Bizarre Nausea.  The sight, sound, or smell of something innocuous, like holy symbols, bare skin, children’s laughter, fresh bread, et cetera, makes you violently ill. -Dark Heresy
13
Distrustful. All reaction rolls taken in your presence are at -1 as it is extremely obvious even to people of other races that you have nothing but contempt and suspicion for those unfamiliar to you. -Dark Heresy
14
Palsy. You develop tics, shakes, and so forth. -1 to dexterity -Dark Heresy
15
Your thoughts become morbid and disturbing, and you find it hard to concentrate on anything except the dark and unpleasant. -1 to intelligence. -Dark Heresy
16
You slowly but inevitably sap the heat from everything around you, making it colder the longer you stay in one place.
17
Hatred.  Pick a particular race, profession, class, or other group.  You will only work with or help this group in the most dire circumstances, and then grudgingly.   -Dark Heresy
18
Flames around you burn blue, announcing your presence
19
You gain a tremendous amount of weight, becoming gross and fat.  -1 dexterity.
20
You are increasingly cruel, callous, and vindictive.  -1 Charisma -Dark Heresy


Major Corruption


1
You are subject to a vision of Hel, the Land of the Dead. Your skin becomes ashen. You take d6 damage/minute in direct sunlight, but you can bring false life to the fallen. By spending a number of Doom points equal to a creature’s HD, you can reanimate it to do your bidding. This only lasts until the next sunrise, at which points the creature crumbles to dust. -M. Diaz
2
Your muscles atrophy and weaken. -1 Strength -DCCRPG
3
You become addicted to some bizarre substance, such as blood, insects, the tears of the innocent, and become erratic and unstable when you are deprived of your preferred substance. -Dark Heresy
4
Bloodlust.  If you are wounded in combat, you must make a save vs spell modified by wisdom any time you wish to avoid killing a foe. -Dark Heresy
5
You suffer from unexplained blackouts.  What they are and what you do during them is up to the referee. -Dark Heresy
6
Cold iron burns you like lamp oil.
7
Malign sight.  You can see the auras and essences of things.  You always count as benefiting from Detect Chaos, but you find beings powerfully devoted to Law repellent and blinding. -Dark Heresy
8
Whenever you sleep, you have horrific nightmares featuring demonic tormentors.  You no longer regain any HP from sleep.
9
Mouth of Ash.  Any normal food you eat or drink tastes of dust and ashes.  While you must still eat to survive, you do not enjoy it and you do not gain any benefit to HP from a solid meal. -Dark Heresy
10
Consumption.  You waste away and lose a good deal of weight, leaving you gaunt and thin. -1 Constitution -Dark Heresy


Utter Malignancy


1
A duplicate of your face grows on your back.  It is fully functional and with concentration can be operated separately from your original face. - DCCRPG
2
A third eye grows on a random location of your body -DCCRPG
3
Your tongue forks and grows long, and you can now smell with your tongue, like a snake. -DCCRPG
4
Decay.  Your flesh rots off of you in disgusting chunks.  Take a wound daily that can only be treated by magical means.
5
Interest.  Part of a deal you may or may not know that you made comes due and a piece of your soul is ripped away from you as payment.  -2 to all ability scores
6
Chosen.  You now have a demonic patron, whether you want one or not.
7
All of your skin grows scales or fur or feathers.
8
Your mouth grows together into smooth skin, and you can no longer speak, but you can somehow cast spells without words.
9
Unstable.  You must Cast the Bones every time you cast a spell, even if you still have Doom points.
10
Massive mutations.  You immediately and painfully undergo 1d10 random mutations.



Patrons
[More on these guys later, but honestly, this should be enough to go on to get started]

Otherworldly beings who grant power for a price.  Mostly demons.  Dealing with them is likely to result in increased accumulation of corruption points in exchange for enhanced magical power.