Thursday, September 9, 2021

To Truly Master the Art, You Must Be Prepared to Die for It (Class: Wizard, also Monk)

 A base class for BLACK STAR OF THE CANNIBAL KINGS. This one draws heavily from several wizards and also a saint and at least one more (commercial) source which will, I imagine, rapidly become obvious.

The Fool.

Class: Artist

I consider the positions of Kings and rulers as that of dust motes. I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles. I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags. I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake as a drop of oil on my foot. I perceive the teachings of the world to be the illusion of magicians. I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the sacred alchemists as flowers appearing in one's eyes. I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, enlightenment as a nightmare in daytime. I look upon the judgment of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of beliefs as but traces left by the four seasons.

You are a Wizard, a practitioner of a Secret Art, one who seeks after the secrets of the cosmos—and has already learned more of them than is strictly good for a person. You have the same ability as the cleric to perceive the spirit world, but spend your Magician Dice to interact with it in a much more personal manner. You don't get any direct bonuses to-hit or anything like that, but read The Self Remade below.

Skills: Esoteric History, Occultism, and one of 1. Acrobatics 2. Musicianship 3. Alternative Medicine

Starting Equipment: Two elaborate ornamental weapons of your choice, one slot full of muscle, sinew, or fat, martial artist's wrappings, simple robes, a pouch full of pre-fried flour, a canteen of water, one occult instrument from the list at the end.

A The Self Remade, Secret Art, 1 MD
B Dark Studies, Secret Tongue, +1 MD
C The Art Realized, +1 MD
D Mastery of Life and Death, +1 MD

A: The Self Remade
You may fill up to [templates] inventory slots with muscle, sinew, or fat, through a day of focused effort (working out, stretching, eating a lot) per slot filled, emptied, or changed. Each slot of muscle grants you +1 STR, each slot of sinew grants you +1 DEX, and each slot of fat grants you one point of damage reduction.

A: Secret Art
You are almost a spellcaster, having the ability to see and communicate with the spirit world and a pool of Magician Dice which work very much like MD generally do, except you know no spells. Instead, you may decide before rolling to perform a feat of strength, agility, or endurance to add any number of MD, which exhaust just like they would when casting spells. When using MD in this way you may perform the feat with any part of your body; grappling with your bare feet, lifting heavy objects with one finger, etc.

You may define and name your Art, which will grant you a benefit and a drawback. Here are some examples, but feel free to make up your own with the GM's assistance.

  1. STITCH VEINS RED
    Associated with the sign of the Queen-in-red. A careful style of barely-controlled momentum and frantic movement.
    Benefit: You may expend MD when touching a target to harm (requiring a successful unarmed attack) or heal them by [sum].
    Drawback: Failing to honor a promise causes you to immediately roll all your MD (exhausting them as usual) and suffer the [sum] as damage - though this never causes serious wounds.

  2. EXCELLENCE IS UNATTAINABLE
    Associated with the sign of the Judge Arbiter. A languid style that appears as drunken swaying to the uninitiated.
    Benefit: Those that interact directly with you treat all critical successes as fumbles.
    Drawback: You treat all critical successes as regular rolls.

  3. POISON NEEDLE HEART
    Associated with the sign of the Witch-in-the-woods. An elegant, defensive style which is beautiful to observe.
    Benefit: Look into someone's eyes and roll opposed CHA. If you win, they obey a single not-obviously-suicidal command. If they win, they're immune. You win ties.
    Drawback: This is basically mind control and survivors will, once the command is discharged and they've had at least a day to think about it, be appropriately horrified.

  4. HUNDRED PACES LIGHTNING
    Associated with the sign of the Nomad Inquisitor. An unassuming style with little grace but much power in its movements. Includes instruction in horse archery.
    Benefit: Once per round on your turn, you may transport yourself up to 100' in a flash of white light without spending an action.
    Drawback: You take 1 damage each time you do this, which is impossible to mitigate.

  5. EVERY TOWER FALLS
    Associated with the sign of the Captain of Industry. A precise style with few applications outside of violence.
    Benefit: When you enter a fight, choose peace or violence. If you choose peace, you gain [templates] points of damage reduction. If you choose violence, your attacks ignore armor and can, with effort, shatter stone.
    Drawback: When you choose peace, you become incapable of dealing direct damage. When you choose violence, attacks against you always hit. These effects last until the end of the fight and you may not switch.

  6. SIX POINT AMPHORA
    Associated with the sign of the Madwoman Demagogue. A flowing, artful style which exhausts its users quickly.
    Benefit: You may edit your number of arms with an hour of meditation. Your final number of limbs may not exceed 6.
    Drawback: Each time you do this, take 1d6 damage. Walking around with a nonstandard body layout is considered freakish and undesirable.

  7. UNCARING DEPTHS ENFOLD
    Associated with the sign of the Eternal Crone. An occult style whose practitioners appear to be in many places at once. 
    Benefit: You may roll CHA to order around creatures of the night (spiders, bats, black cats) and fish.
    Drawback: This does not convey the ability to converse with or understand them. They'll try their best to fulfill valid orders, but only have normal animal intelligence.

  8. BLUE FLAME HELLION
    Associated with the sign of the Firebrand Vanguard. A vicious style incorporating powerful shouts and focused anger.
    Benefit: When you shout while making an attack, your hands and/or weapon become wreathed in crackling blue flames, deal an additional 1d6 damage, and ignite targets that fail a DEX check.
    Drawback: You take double damage from fire.

  9. TEN TON SKELETON
    Associated with the sign of the Tradesman Father. A brutish style which absorbs blows and crashes through defenses.
    Benefit: You have +1 HP per template and cannot lose your footing or be moved against your will.
    Drawback: You weigh ten times as much as normal.

  10. TWIN SOUL CHAINED
    Associated with the sign of the Revenant Spectre. An arcane style which channels energy into the duplication of matter.
    Benefit: You may manifest a twin self which acts separately from you, but may not range beyond 10' from your body.
    Drawback: Your twin shares your pool of HP - any harm dealt to one of you is mirrored on the other.

  11. EXTRACT UNCOMFORTABLE TOGETHER
    Associated with the sign of the Knight Myrmidon. A defensive style heavy on feints and parries.
    Benefit: Those you have not acted against cannot bring themselves to harm you directly.
    Drawback: When wronged, roll CHA or swear an oath of vengeance. You must fulfill these oaths when able.

  12. END THE LINEAGE
    Associated with the sign of the Nobleman Gambler. A style which shifts effortlessly between artful flourishes and sudden, deadly strikes.
    Benefit: You deal double damage to those in positions of power (mayors, officers, nobility) and quadruple damage to Kings.
    Drawback: You fumble on d20 rolls of 2 as well as 1.

  13. KICK YOU APART
    Associated with the darkness between constellations. A grim, utilitarian style focused on lethality with no elegance or beauty to it.
    Benefit: Your feet are light weapons which deal an additional +[templates] damage.
    Drawback: Your soul is accursed, and will be dragged down to the underworld by devils upon your death.

B: Dark Studies
You have a [templates]-in-6 chance to understand ancient writings, witchcraft, curses, and other matters of mystic import immediately upon encountering them. If you fail, you may try again for the same matter upon gaining another template.

B: Secret Tongue
Choose something weird, like minerals, plants, water, beasts, or corpses. For deep metaphysical reasons, you may not choose birds. You may converse with things of that nature.

C: The Art Realized
You are able to fully manifest your Art, gaining her as a spell. MD exhaust only on a 5 or 6 when invested in her, and when using your Secret Art ability she can be seen inhabiting your body and enhancing your movements. You may use your Art to exert non-impacting force (push, lift, carry, throw, etc) on things within a stone's throw as if you were standing next to them, without spending MD.

The exact effects of your Art when cast as a spell depend on her name and nature:

  1. STITCH VEINS RED
    Animates target corpse of [dice] * 2 or fewer HD that used to have blood, raising it as undead for [sum] hours under your control. If [dice] is 3 or higher, the effect is permanent. If [dice] is 4 or higher, the undead is sapient and not under your control, though it will be inclined towards gratefulness. Red ribbons extend several feet upward from major veins and arteries, driving it around like a puppet.

  2. EXCELLENCE IS UNATTAINABLE
    Tells you something the target is ashamed of, without alerting them. Higher [sums] yield more cutting insights.

  3. POISON NEEDLE HEART
    Plunges [sum] golden needles into the target's heart. Each time they act against you while needles remain, they roll CHA or take [dice] damage as one is ripped out. They understand this perfectly, even if you share no methods of communication.

  4. HUNDRED PACES LIGHTNING
    Summons a horse and bow, each made of actinic blue-white radiance. The horse has [dice] HD, and the bow conveys a +[dice] bonus to hit and fires bolts of lightning which deal [dice]d6 damage. Each lasts [sum] rounds.

  5. EVERY TOWER FALLS
    Topples target structure up to [dice] * [sum]' in its largest dimension.

  6. SIX POINT AMPHORA
    Pours forth [dice] ^ [sum] gallons of water from your mouth. The water mirrors the composition of the last water you drank.

  7. UNCARING DEPTHS ENFOLD
    Submerges the targeted area [dice] * 10' in diameter (which must contain you) in a hadeal, lightless pocket dimension filled with cold, dark seawater for up to [sum] hours. You do not need to breathe while in this space, but others do. The portal appears, on the mortal plane, as a pool of the same diameter which accepts anything but light. Unwilling targets may roll STR to avoid being sucked in when the spell is cast.

  8. BLUE FLAME HELLION
    Transforms you into a giant ram-headed monkey demon for [sum] minutes. While the duration lasts, you are [dice] stories tall and have [sum] STR and [sum] times your HD additional HP, which are lost first.

  9. TEN TON SKELETON
    A second skull erupts from yours and encases you. It extends [dice] * [sum]' in radius beyond your own body, has that much HP, and is permanent until destroyed.

  10. TWIN SOUL CHAINED
    Chains the targeted soul (actual soul, ghost, spell, etc) to the targeted person or object for up to [sum] hours, so long as each has [dice] or fewer HD. Chaining a person's soul to their body makes them immune to death, provided their body is repaired before the duration runs out. Chaining a spell to something will often prevent it from taking effect at range. Further interactions will be adjudicated on the spot by your GM.

  11. EXTRACT UNCOMFORTABLE TOGETHER
    Sets a table for you and up to [dice] targets, and compels you to conduct a tea party for [sum] rounds which can only be interrupted by damage. If 4+ MD are invested, the effect is permanent until interrupted.

  12. END THE LINEAGE
    Permanently abolishes the target touched, erasing them from the present, past, and future and preventing them from rising as undead. Sapient targets may roll CHA to suffer only partial effects. Works on progressively more powerful targets depending on MD invested:
    • 1 MD - Dead or dying.
    • 2 MD - Unnamed.
    • 3 MD - Of little specific metaphysical import.
    • 4 MD - Anything.

  13. KICK YOU APART
    Does not answer to her name, or any other. Her powers are therefore unknown.

At this point you are also capable of commanding other spells, should you persuade one to follow you.

D: Mastery of Life and Death
You are no longer bound to the eternal cycle, and are not affected by disease or age. Unless killed, you will not die before your time. Should you die, your next character may appear as a suspiciously similar sibling, clone, or reborn form and begins at the minimum experience point value necessary to have the same level, regardless of class.

In addition, you attract a student, who you are expected to teach in the ways of the occult. They are a level 1 Artist of the same Art as yourself, played by the GM. Should they die, you will attract a new one within 1d6 days.

Occult Instruments

  1. Bladed Hat. A stylish accessory and a deadly weapon. A medium (1d8) weapon, 1 slot. If you start with this, you know how to throw it such that it'll return to your hand except on a fumble.
  2. Twin War Fans. A pair of light (1d6) folding blades designed after paper fans but made from high-quality steel, 1/3 slot each. If you start with these, you know how to throw them such that they'll return to your hand except on a fumble.
  3. Three-Line Rifle. A heavy (2d8) bolt-action rifle, decidedly anachronistic, can be fired once per round maximum. 2 slots for the rifle and another 1 slot for 10 cartridges, holds 5 rounds at a time.
  4. Four-Section Staff. Some idiot chained two nunchucks together and now it's your problem. A heavy (2d6) weapon that folds for easy concealability or storage and takes up only 1 slot.
  5. Blowgun. Not one of those wussy little ones, this one's about five feet of hollow bamboo and launches foot-long darts hard enough to lodge them in wood. A medium (1+STR) ranged weapon. Comes with five darts, but you can make more with a knife, five minutes, and access to woodland. 1 slot for the pipe, the darts are negligible.
  6. Six-Foot Jian. A massive (3d6) bronze blade with tasseled ring pommel. 4 slots.
  7. Broomhandle Mauser. A medium (1d8) semi-automatic pistol, also decidedly anachronistic. 1 slot for the beeeg pistol with 10 rounds already in it, another 1 slot for another 10 cartridges.
  8. Fighting Umbrella. Metal fabric, reinforced ribs. A medium (1d8) weapon that can be unfolded into a shield that grants cover (+4 AC and saves that make sense) when held in two hands, but can't be fought with in that configuration. 1 slot.
  9. Meteor Hammer. Nine feet of sturdy cord or fine chain with a heavy mace-head at one end. A medium (1d8) weapon that requires two hands but can strike at any distance out to 10'. 1 slot. If you have another melee weapon with something to tie it to, you can, and wield both at once.
  10. Ten Ring Broadsword. Nine on the back of the blade, one on the pommel. A medium (1d8) weapon. 1 slot.
  11. Martial Artist's Wrappings. Tight bandage-like wrappings across the abdomen and chest, for compression and to keep everything in place. No slots.
  12. Simple Robes. Crude linen, undyed and untreated. A utilitarian garment. No slots.
  13. Pre-fried Flour. A good way to keep it ready-to-eat, used as porridge when there's water and fire available and eaten straight in emergencies. 3 rations, 1 slot.
  14. Canteen. A bulky tin with a screw-on lid. Filled with good, clean water. 1 slot.
  15. Cursed Horse. Ill of temper, cloven of hoof, long and forked of tongue, fond of eating carrion, and refuses to be ridden. 3 HD, much too big to carry.
  16. Tarot Cards. Nobody plays with these anymore, they don't have enough suits. The magus card is blank. Negligible weight/bulk.
  17. Embalming Fluid. 3 flasks, each enough to preserve the corpse of a horse or anything smaller. 1/3 slot each.
  18. Fire Powder. Unlimited use as long as you're careful with it, comes in the color of your choice, turns flames that color. You could really freak the hell out of some peasants with this. 1/3 slot.
  19. Apprentice. Currently in the form of a frog. They don't listen too well (hence being a frog) but are literate and somewhat canny. 1/3 slot.
  20. Something Weird. Roll 1d6:
    1. Talking Bust. Your own likeness. Hates you, but hates everyone else even more. 2 slots.
    2. Wizard Blanket. Manifests cutlery, plates, cups, a basket etc. when spread across the ground or a table. Doesn't manifest any food or drink. Manifested items wither to ash when removed from the blanket. 1 slot.
    3. Death Incense. Summons the most local ghost when burned, and allows communication with it. 10 doses. 1 slot total.
    4. Cursed Wooden Nickel. Tails on both sides. Once ever, allows you to replace any die roll made by anyone with a natural 1 after the fact, at which point the coin disappears and passes on to a new owner. Negligible weight/bulk.
    5. UPSETTING TO WITNESS, name known instinctively. She is a +0 medium (1d8) cut-and-thrust sword of ironwood, with sharkskin-bound hilt and elaborate guard. Summons a completely normal frog, toad, or regional equivalent (gecko?) when name is spoken. 1 slot.
    6. Baby Clone. One day, this'll be a whole new you—but for now it mostly just poops and cries. 2 slots.

2 comments:

  1. I like the Art names and the (always ominous) names of special weapons. Do you have any particular method for generating them?
    For my own games I’ve been keeping a list of suitable phrases, I think my favourite is Horizon Clarity.

    ReplyDelete