Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hollow Earth: Magic in the World Below...

Good Evening, All:

In thinking further about what I would do with a Hollow Earth campaign, my first thoughts, of course, were in regards to the game mechanics for characters. After some consideration, I believe I would fall back on a three class concept akin to 3E Unearthed Arcana's Generic Classes. In essence, I would want to see a Warrior whose focus is combat, an Expert whose focus is skills, and a Ritualist whose focus is magic. The classic Vancian magic system doesn't seem appropriate for this particular environment, considering that I'm looking for a Swords & Sorcery feel. I started thinking, then, that a Ritualist would be the more setting-appropriate spellcaster. Since I was throwing Vancian magic out, what did that leave me as options?

I considered an effects-based magic system for about two seconds, ala E.N. Publishing's Elements of Magic - Mythic Earth, which is an exceptional approach to effects-based magic. Once I let go of that idea, I considered the concept of magic as it was described in Swords & Sorcery novels. Most spellcasters in these stories are mages that use abilities taught to them by creatures from other worlds of existence. I started thinking about that, and realized that a class that deals in spell-like abilities might be good, something akin to the Warlock class from 3E's Complete Arcane.

Game mechanically, part of my inspiration for this idea stems from the Seraphist class found in the old Role-Aids Sentinels supplement. In essence, that was a class that granted spells and such much like a Cleric, but required the Seraphist to negotiate with celestial beings to gain his spells known. The class could also negotiate for spell-like abilities instead of spells, such that they take up a particular spell slot. In a similar manner, I picture the Ritualist negotiating for special abilities based on their pacts with their otherworldly masters. Mechanically, I'd have a slow progression of these gifts, based on the type of pacts the Ritualist has achieved. Below is an example of the type of table I'd consider for such.

Table: Pact Gifts By Level
Level1st Rank2nd Rank3rd Rank4th Rank5th Rank

While I'd probably use the MyD20 Lite engine to power such a game, this class would likely replace the standard casting classes. I'm still thinking about this, as the setting continues to inspire my creativity and pique my gaming interests.

More Later,

1 comment:

migellito said...

I really like the idea of negotiating with an entity to convert a ritual slot into an ability. I think the setting would be a wonderful home to a sorcerer of the Dr. Strange mold, and this fits that mechanic very well.