Corruption Alternative

Discussion of all things magical for DCC RPG -- "Let the Phlogiston take you where it will..."

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cjoepar
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Corruption Alternative

Post by cjoepar » Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:36 am

As I mentioned in another thread, I spent a little time tweaking the corruption system for my gaming group. One of my favorite things about DCC is that it's open ended in so many ways, and you can take a great idea (like Corruption) and make some changes to make it your own. A few people expressed an interest in seeing it, so I agreed to share it with the community. I hope you find it an interesting read.

I made two changes to the way that I use corruption in the games that I run. First, I increased the likelihood of it occurring whenever a spellcaster uses spellburn. Secondly, I changed the corruption tables to reflect ideas about how I think meddling in the arcane arts would warp someone. The two changes do not rely on each other, so you could freely use both or one and not the other. Also, these aren't “fixes”, just ways that I've personalized this for the game I run.

First, I increased the likelihood of corruption occurring when spellburn is used to help reduce the desire of a spellcaster to do a massive spellburn whenever they were casting spells outside of the dungeon environment (like Patron Bond, Wizard Staff or Write Magic) and also during climactic encounters at the end of the adventure. I know there are a myriad of other ways to discourage such things, most of them very good, but this is the route I took. And for many, this is the way they want the system to work and they're scratching their heads wondering why I feel the need to make any changes at all. To each his own. Using my version of the system, the wizard or elf can still use massive amounts of spellburn, but they increase the risk of corruption as they do so, so they are more likely to give pause and only do so when and with as much as they really need to. I increase the chance of corruption occurring by one for every point of spellburn when the spellcheck is made. So if a wizard uses 4 points of spellburn, they will suffer corruption if they roll a 1-5 on their spellcheck. If they use 10 points of spellburn, they will suffer corruption if they roll a 1-11. If they use 19 or more points of spellburn, they will automatically suffer corruption. A spell can be successfully cast and the wizard still suffers corruption, and the only time a misfire occurs is if a 1 is rolled (I use the same results in the Spell descriptions, but reroll misfire results unless they rolled a 1 on their spellcheck). In addition, if any amount of spellburn is used and a natural 1 is rolled for the spellcheck, they caster suffers a minor corruption result in addition to the result that is determined normally.

The second change I made was to revamp the corruption tables. My perspective on the idea of corruption is that the wizard or elf who is trying to unleash these powerful magics is risking his sanity more than anything else. I also run my game in a campaign world where most of the peasantry view magic in a very suspicious way. As such, I found that the existing tables were quickly marking the spellcasters in my game for being burned at the stake anytime they tried to have dealings with people in civilized lands. Again, there are lots of other ways to deal with this, but I chose to make changes to the tables to increase the likelihood that the results of corruption would generally not be visible, and also to slowly drive the spellcasters mad. I took the existing corruption tables, kept a few things, but replaced most of the results with effects that warp the mind of the poor soul who tried to control things beyond his ability. I also tried to sort the tables a little better to that the results get gradually worse the lower you roll, so that the caster's LUCK modifier has more meaning. Here are my versions of the tables:
Corruption01.JPG
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Corruption02.JPG
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Corruption03.JPG
Corruption03.JPG (128.1 KiB) Viewed 10409 times

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cjoepar
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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by cjoepar » Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:38 am

There are some things that players and judge need to keep track of, but it's really not much extra work if the players are cooperative and trustworthy. Note also, that most of the effects have an affect on game play in some way now, instead of just being a change in appearance. I wanted there to be more of a quantifiable cost for meddling in things that the wizard doesn't completely understand. I also tried to tie saving throws to the character's level, so that the effects are similar regardless of the character's level. These offer up quite a bit more opportunity for role playing as well, and I think they work best in a group of players that like to focus attention on that.

Most results are fairly straightforward, but the phobias need some additional attention. Especially since phobias occur in 20% of the results! First, I did a little quick research and built a table of interesting phobias to choose from:
phobiaA.JPG
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phobiaB.JPG
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The second part of this is that I needed some rules for how a character behaves when forced to confront something they have a phobia of. The effects are broken into three groups, depending on the severity of the phobia and try to simulate a characters growing sense of panic if forced to deal with the thing they fear so much:
phobiaKey.JPG
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That's pretty much it in a nutshell. I hope it's all clear. It's still a bit of a work in progress, so I'm always interested in hearing other people's opinions about shortcomings you see or opportunities for improvement. Also, I don't have a huge amount of play-testing with it, only about ten or twelve sessions, so there may be snags that I haven't hit yet with it in practice. And finally, I want to reiterate that this is just my personal twist on the idea of corruption, and I'm not trying to “fix” something that I perceive as “broken”. I just feel that one of the best things about DCC is the way we can easily take the system and make a few tweaks like this to make it our own. I hope some of you find it useful, if not in its own right, maybe just to get you thinking about ways you can do stuff like this in your games. Thanks for taking the time to read through it.

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Raven_Crowking
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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by Raven_Crowking » Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:43 am

Good stuff, this.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by AQuebman » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:25 am

I only have one question and that is in your and other DM's opinion how would you introduce this if you wanted to fold your corruption results in with the ones from the book? I'd love to grow my corruption tables to be massive so that no two spell casters experience the same corruptions. Feels much more cosmic and unexpected then.

I tried using the Metamorphica but it felt too much like I was making a supervillain in a comic book then corruption from a wild god. These additions you made though fit right in line with Appendix N which I love.

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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by Skyscraper » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:39 am

Nice tables, I love it.
AQuebman wrote:I only have one question and that is in your and other DM's opinion how would you introduce this if you wanted to fold your corruption results in with the ones from the book? I'd love to grow my corruption tables to be massive so that no two spell casters experience the same corruptions. Feels much more cosmic and unexpected then.
I would simply put the DCC book results first, and those, second, then have the player roll 1d20 instead of 1d10. It might not be perfectly balanced due to possible luck influence, but what the heck.
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by AJClark » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:18 am

the two sets of tables seem to be split between physical types of corruption (in the DCC book) and mental types of corruption (cjoepar's tables) I'd leave them separate and just roll an extra die...it comes up even, I roll on the physical corruption tables, odd... I roll on the mental corruption table.

it's an extra die roll, but i don't mind rolling dice. :)

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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by cthulhudarren » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:37 am

These are great cjoe! Do you have these in some document form you could share?

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Skyscraper
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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by Skyscraper » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:07 am

cthulhudarren wrote:These are great cjoe! Do you have these in some document form you could share?
Yep, would like to have them too if you're willing to share.
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by oncelor » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:34 pm

Nice!

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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by AJClark » Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:47 am

I also would be interested in a document format if you have one. These tables are awesome and I would love to use them in a game.

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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:28 am

+1. I can see plenty of use for your work...... :twisted:
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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cjoepar
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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by cjoepar » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:38 am

Thank you all for the kind words. PM me with your email if you'd like a .pdf of the charts, I'm happy to share.

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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by caveman » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:28 pm

I really like this rule as a way for the magical world to "push back" at particularly powerful spellcasters. I wouldn't use this as a baseline for all spellcasting, but it seems like a great one to use when spellburn is getting out of hand, or it feels like a particular spell is taking over a game as can sometimes happen as a combination of stats and mercurial magic rolls.

Two particular cases where I can see tying corruption chance to spellburn are One-shot games, and spells that are cast between game sessions, such as Find Familiar, Patron Bond, Enchantments, etc.

I'm totally gonna keep this rule in the back pocket.

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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by AQuebman » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:55 pm

Hey CJ was that you who sent an email that something was messed up with the attachment? I didn't recognize the email but now that i've come back I think it may have been you who sent it.

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Re: Corruption Alternative

Post by Rostranor » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:29 pm

I'm looking for it as well.

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