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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:43 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:22 pm
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Location: Rockford, MI
Spellburn is a pretty cool mechanic, but one thing that struck me as odd is that spellburn actions are completely random, but some spellburn actions are much worse than others. For example, you might spellburn 20 points and just have to lose a little blood. Or, you might spellburn 2 points and sell your soul.

So, I was thinking that it would make sense if the seriousness of the action you had to take had some correspondence to how much you spellburned (with a random element thrown in, of course).

So, I created an Alternate Spellburn Actions table. The wizard rolls d20, adds the number of points spellburned, and subtracts his Luck modifier (higher results are worse).

Lower results are mostly "flavor" whereas the higher results impose penalties. Many of these are opportunities for further adventures to fulfill the requirements of the spellburn action.

A couple examples:

26-27 The wizard agrees to aid followers of a patron saint. They will find him in the next 1d20 days, probably at the most inopportune moment, and demand his aid. Refusal to immediately help results in all healed spellburned points being lost again. They will not heal until the aid is given.

36+ The wizard promises his soul to serve a powerful demon in the afterlife. If the wizard dies, his friends will have an especially difficult time bringing him back to life, should they attempt such a thing. The demon is also eager to collect on the wizard’s service and will try to hasten him to the afterlife from time to time. Furthermore, any Luck checks to recover the wizard’s body are at -4.

The full table with explanation is here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4koWWa ... sp=sharing

Check it out and tell me what you think. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:23 am 
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I like your ideas here! Your flavor seems very much in keeping with Appendix N style adventures. 8)

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:20 pm 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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Love this and hope to bring this into our game (which Judge Hook is a part of). Very creative table. Now we need Judge Hook to write up some new patrons...awesome work!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:13 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:22 pm
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Location: Rockford, MI
Thought people might not want to have to follow the link to get to the content, so I'm posting a text-only version here. Link is a nicely-formatted PDF.

Roll Result
1 The wizard magically enervates his body in order to fuel the spell (i.e. no further action)
2 The wizard must spill his own blood – one tablespoon per spell level.
3 The wizard must notch his ear in acknowledgment of each time he has been aided.
4 The wizard must yank out his hair and burn it.
5 The wizard must place his hand into an open flame.
6 The wizard must cut off one of his fingertips.
7 The wizard must cut his cheeks and let the blood flow down his face.
8 The wizard must tear apart his clothing, leaving him naked.
9 The wizard must use a hot iron to brand a supernatural symbol on his arm or torso.
10 The wizard must ritually scarify his back, chest, or biceps with the symbol of a powerful supernatural creature.
11 The wizard must tattoo a mystical symbol on his cheek, forehead, or hand.
12-13 The wizard taps into his subconscious mind to fuel the magic. He is plagued with nightmares for 1d30 days. He must make a DC 10 Fort save each night or be at -1 to all actions the next day from fatigue.

14-15 The wizard taps into his subconscious mind to fuel the magic. He develops a phobia related to the setting in which he casts the spell. E.g. fighting a giant spider results in a fear of spiders. Each week he may make a DC 10 Will check to be cured of the phobia.

16-17 The wizard uses a supernaturally loud primal scream to focus the extra magical energy, ravaging his vocal cords and leaving him unable to speak (including casting) for 1d6 rounds. His voice is hoarse for days.

18-19 The wizard draws out his own body heat to fuel the magic, resulting in hypothermia. Frost forms on his hair and skin. He will fall unconscious in 3d4 rounds unless he focuses on getting heated back up.

20-21 The wizard must destroy a valuable non-magical possession. It must be worth at least 100gp per spell level.

22-23 The wizard must stab himself with a blade. The blade absorbs some of his life energy; 1 hit point per the wizard's current level are now bound into the blade. He doesn’t lose the hit points, but if the blade is ever destroyed, the wizard loses those hit points permanently.

24-25 The wizard develops bleeding sores that will not heal until he pays back the aid of the power that assisted him. Any magical healing is at -2.

26-27 The wizard agrees to aid followers of a patron saint. They will find him in the next 1d20 days, probably at the most inopportune moment, and demand his aid. Refusal to immediately help results in all healed spellburned points being lost again. They will not heal until the aid is given.

28-29 The wizard swears an oath to a minor demi-god, who aids him in his time of need but curses him with weakness until the oath is fulfilled. Until the oath is fulfilled, only ½ of the spellburned attribute points will return.

30-31 The wizard must speak aloud his own true name, weakening himself as a result. A supernatural entity hears the name and will use it against the wizard unless/until he performs a service for the entity.

32-33 The wizard begins muttering under his breath, repeating the name of the entity that has aided him. He can’t stop until he repays the favor. If the wizard really needs to stay quiet, he must make a DC 8 Will save each round. To cast a spell, he must make a DC 8 Will save, or suffer a -1 to his spell check.

34-35 The wizard must cast away one of his most favored magical possessions. A companion (or an enemy) can recover it, but the wizard may never use it again.

36+ The wizard promises his soul to serve a powerful demon in the afterlife. If the wizard dies, his friends will have an especially difficult time bringing him back to life, should they attempt such a thing. The demon is also eager to collect on the wizard’s service and will try to hasten him to the afterlife from time to time. Furthermore, any Luck checks to recover the wizard’s body are at -4.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:21 am 
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Mighty-Thewed Reaver

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Thanks for doing this. This is exactly the sort of deterrent I was looking for to prevent Spellburn abuse. I come from the camp that prefers GM's to be neutral referees, so having something like this is very much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:05 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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You're welcome. Glad you found it useful!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:39 pm 
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I experienced this new table first hand in Judge Hook's recent adventure. Lucky for me, I rolled pretty well, so all I had to do was promise the Elf King that I would tattoo his face on my back when I got back to town... :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:49 pm 
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I really like this as well! :)

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:32 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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Location: Rockford, MI
Cojo,

Of course, you're from a small logging village. Not sure there's a tattoo artist readily available, and you probably don't want to tick off the King of Elfland by having someone do a crappy amateur tattoo of him... Perhaps your tattoo will become a mini-adventure of its own. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:48 pm 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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Judge Hook wrote:
Cojo,

Of course, you're from a small logging village. Not sure there's a tattoo artist readily available, and you probably don't want to tick off the King of Elfland by having someone do a crappy amateur tattoo of him... Perhaps your tattoo will become a mini-adventure of its own. :)



Oh, you sneaky judge, you! Game on! lol :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:59 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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Location: Rockford, MI
Based on the experience using the table in our last session, I've added a couple supplementary tables to help the judge and player come up with entities and oaths on the fly. New version posted to Google Drive:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4koWWa ... sp=sharing


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:41 pm 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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I like the addition of the supplemental tables to help the judge on the fly.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:40 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:16 am
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Thinking about adding this in my home game as an "under the hood" kind of thing.
But I'll be tweaking it a bit, The way I plan on using it is for every point of spell burn I roll a D4 and consult the table.
This means no random result of a 22 on a 2 point spell burn.
The only reason for this is that it will make things a bit easier on the player on the low end, and harder for them on the high end.

For example:
A spell burn of 9 with the D20 roll is a 10 minimum and a 29 Max, but rolling 9d4 you get an array of Min 9 Max 36.
On the low end of things however a spell burn of 1 can only be 1-4 instead of 1-22.
Though I suppose you could (in the spirit of DCC) use a D3 for this and accomplish more or less the same thing.

I also think to match this modified way of doing things I'll make a few more results, as long as you don't mind.
Of course I'll just be using it for my home game and no where else.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:44 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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Absolutely use and modify however you want.

I like the idea of rolling more small dice to make spellburn less dangerous for small spellburn amounts. However, I'd be worried that it makes it too dangerous for large spellburn amounts. For 20 points of spellburn, rolling 20d4 on the table would make it almost guaranteed (over 99%) that you'll get 36+ and sell your soul. Of course, maybe that's what you're going for... and if you modify the table, you can address this issue, of course.

One other thing, which could be good or bad depending on your intent, is that the more dice rolled (of any type), the more the results are concentrated in the middle of the range. For example, 10d4 will produce either 24-25 or 26-27 42% of the time, is over 90% likely to produce a number between 20 and 31, which is only 6 different results. Definitely makes the results more predictable.

Another possibility would be rolling a different die depending on spellburn amount and then also adding the number of points spellburned (PSB). For example: Minor Spellburn (1-5 PSB) = 1d10 + PSB; Moderate Spellburn (6-10 PSB) = 1d20 + PSB; Extreme Spellburn (11+ PSB) = 1d24 + PSB.

Whatever you end up doing, let me know how it works out! Any comments on how various results work out in practice would also be very welcome.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

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Oh wow, I really like the idea of changing the die up based on what amount some one is burning, I actually like it more than my D4 idea. Will definitely give it a try and tell you how it goes. I have a feeling there will be a lot of spell burns in my next session so it's a perfect chance to mess around with it.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:18 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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I will be imposing these on my spellburn-happy wizard at today's session. Thanks for expanding on a rule which I've been too lazy to use just yet; all we've been doing is have him lose ability score without any specific action happening. I'll offload some of the work onto the player to keep things rolling. The guy who plays the wizard is actually the most role-playing focused member of the group so novel spellburn actions will really enhance the session.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:13 pm 
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I used this table Sunday night. The Elf burned 2pts and rolled 24. I had modded the result to make the Bleeding sores = -d4 hps until the Spellburn damage is healed. The player got very upset and said he'd never roll on the table again... this as his spell finish off the battle just as seems to happen every session. I wasn't too sympathetic.
Honestly, a wizard with high stats really dominates this game with consistently high rolls. So far there's just been one Corruption chance which was avoided with a Luckburn.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:00 pm 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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This definitely helps judges keep the players guessing and not just defaulting to spellburn on the final encounter.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:54 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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As I grew up on the D&D magic system one of the concepts I am finding most difficult is the fact that a Wizard can burn ability scores with full knowledge in time they will recover. I get that Spellburn is an integral concept to Magic being wild and dangerous. Years ago I implemented a die roll to succeed on spells similar to hit an opponent in melee.

This being said I think this house rule really resonates with me. I think giving up ability scores to improve anything needs a more severe consequence.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:11 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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I am glad that others see the magic/spellburn as I do.

However, I see with with Bless spells and Halfing Luck as well --- spellcasters can get absolutely consequence-less high 20's-low 30's results without resorting to spellburn.

I am toying with the idea of a "max bonus" by level. This would keep lower level spell casters on the lower end of the results tables no matter where their bonuses are coming from.

For example, a Lvl 1 character can only get a bonus for spell checks of +3, not matter the source (excluding level and INT bonus). And then incrementing from there, so like so:

Level Max Spell Check Bonus
-------------------------------------------------
1 +3
2 +5
3 +7
4 +9
5 +11
6 +13
7 +15
8 +17
9 +19
10 Unlimited

And maybe allow bonuses beyond this but perhaps with Corruption and/or Patron Taint not avoidable with Luck burn.
So characters MAY spellburn beyond the already-dangerous limit, but with GUARANTEED and tangible negative consequences.

Simply, 2 arcane spellcasters in my group blow through any tough monster, and are using the Halfling's Luck and a Cleric's Bless in lieu of spellburn now, and are getting high 20's and low 30's almost at will, and they are 3rd level. Got to nip this in the bud before it gets to be too much. A +13 spellcheck for a 3rd level Elf or Wizard should not be common -- it should be dangerous to do. The RAW do not make it dangerous enough, and it imbalances my games.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:50 pm 
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atlascott wrote:
And maybe allow bonuses beyond this but perhaps with Corruption and/or Patron Taint not avoidable with Luck burn.


Yeah, I already don't allow luck to avoid taint or corruption. They can avoid losing the spell if they spend enough, but they still get the corruption.


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