Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Boons of the Greek Magical Papyri, Part 1

The Ancients sometimes saw little difference between the ways clerics and magic-users cast spells. All things came from the Gods after all, including magic, so both classes would use similar methods at times. This fact is reflected in game terms by not only the custom spell lists available in Divinities and Cults: Volumes I & II, but also in the boons.

Below are a number of other boons available for spellcasters in your game, so that they can increase the usual chances of a spell’s success or even attempt greater elaborations (q.v.) Inspired by the historic Greek Magical Papyri, and all its many cultural influences (in addition to Greek), here is part 1 for your gaming enjoyment.

More Boons

Appeasement (+1, +2, or +3): Provide food, drink, and any other gifts that would appeal to the being that is summoned. The more appeasement provided and the greater its relevancy, the greater the bonus. This boon only works for spells that would summon beings, of course.

Scribing (+3 or +5): Carve special characters on a fitting object to help in the spell. The process usually takes at least 1d20 minutes to finish the carving, in addition to the time needed to either fabricate or acquire the object (per Referee). The particular item can then no longer be used for this boon, if and when the spell succeeds. The higher bonus is given if the item is particularly valuable.

Smearing (+2): Cover the target’s body with a substance or substances that match the spell’s intended effect and/or the cultural tradition of the caster. It takes at least 4d6 minutes to apply and also 1d4 hours to get the unpleasant smell off the target, once the spell is finished. The target suffers a -4 penalty to all Charisma checks, as well as Saves vs. Magic during that time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hard Core Magic

Magic is sacrifice. How could it not be? The Gods demand a heavy price for such great power – one only the truly willing can afford. Who will pay it? Not any mere simpleton, otherwise Reality itself might become forfeit. No, it is only the truly capable that engage in such amazing acts: those not only with the ability, but those willing to give up everything. 

Most RPG's miss this important fact, making it easier to cast a spell than to hit someone with a sword or shoot them with a bow! One has to roll to hit a foe with a weapon, but a spell always works? Where is the fun in that? How is that magical?

Divinities and Cults offers an alternative. Though the roll is usually relatively easy, one must still be made to work magic. What is more, magic is dangerous! Something more and possibly unpleasant can unfold for those who are unlucky, arrogant, or who simply tried to push the Will of the Gods too far.

But then again, such is the sacrifice of magic. And each God and Goddess has his or her own price.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


This is the term I decided upon for my upcoming novel, Red Noon At Helltowne, to reflect the tyrannical attempts at Forced Equality that has and will continue to do so much harm in the land of the Shenbyrg Vale. Unlike 'Egalitarianism', 'Equalitarianism' is more obscure and also holds its root 'Equal' more obviously. This not only fits well with the novel's style of using more obscure words to reflect its fantasy future setting, but also the overall theme that even though some tyrants may claim that their goal is Equality, it is often really only an excuse to diminish certain other groups that they don't like, ironically creating even worse inequality. Think Animal Farm.

In the case of Red Noon At Helltowne, the red dwarves are using the goblins (as well as another terrible weapon revealed at the end of the book) to try to annihilate Dinglesfuhr. A particularly warped Cult has assumed power there, which espouses the cause of Underreign in order to promote Equalitarianism. Will it be any wonder that so much of the awfulness of Helltowne could become recreated in Dinglesfuhr? Perhaps even the insane cultists won't be that surprised?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Upcoming Books

Here are some projects that I'm working on now, or will be starting on soon. Stay tuned for further announcements!

Red Noon At Helltowne: a fantasy novel exploring the dire threats of Forced Egalitarianism upon the Shenbyrg Vale. Anticipated release: October 2016.

Gaming Modules set in the Shenbyrg Vale: a line of adventures exploring the Night Skies Over Valhallow world, compatible with most old-school roleplaying game systems. First module projected release: Early 2017

Divinities & Cults: Volume II for Swords & Wizardry: just as in Volume I, I'll be having Curtis Lyon do the conversion to Swords & Wizardry, as well as the print-on-demand version of this excellent Roman Gods, Celtic Gods, and Demon Lords resource. Projected release: TBA.

Dan O Poems: a book of collected poems from my site of the same name. Projected release: Early 2017.