Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Totems: Raven, Part IV

Raven shamans and other cleric-types who call upon the totem gain access to 1d2+1 of the following spells per level, otherwise following the basic guidelines of totemic magic (link). Unlike others though, the magic of the raven is often quite unnerving- see further below for any additional notes...

RAVEN SHAMANISM
1st Level Spells (d10)
1. Crow's Feet Detection: as Detect Evil or Detect Magic, but also detects illusions.
2. Crow's Message: as Message*, but the recipient may also become unnerved...
3. Cure Light Raven Wounds: as Cure Light Wounds, but only works on those who follow the raven's ways.
4. Dark Feathered Protection: as Protection from Evil, but only works against those who aren't at least mostly adorned in black.
5. Insight of the Raven I: as Comprehend Languages* or can select a randomly determined 1st level spell from another totem of the raven follower's choice- which one it is changes each day.
6. Quoth of Fear: as a reversed Remove Fear, but must stare at the target rather than touching them.
7. Raven Companion: as Animal Companion (D), but must be a single raven.
8. Ravenfall: as Feather Fall*, but any subjects must be clothed at least mostly in black.
9. Raven's Command: as Command, but caster must be positioned higher than the target.
10. Raven's Leap: as Jump*, but any subjects must be clothed at least mostly in black.

2nd Level Spells (d14)
1. Cloak of Crows: as Darkness Globe*, but raven types can see through it fine.
2. Crow's Nest: as Levitate*, but must be used to end at a higher perch.
3. Greater Crow's Feet Detection: as Detect Evil, Detect Magic, or Detect Invisible*, but work on raven types.
4. Insight of the Raven II: as Insight of the Raven I, but a randomly determined 2nd level spell can be selected.
5. Magic Murder: as Magic Mouth*, but those hearing it may become afraid...
7. Murder's Messages: as ESP*, but the target may also become unnerved...
8. Muninn's Passing: as Amnesia*, but only works on non-raven types.
9. Phantom Raven: as Spiritual Weapon, but appears as a spirit raven that can keep attacking even if the shaman doesn't concentrate. It also attacks at up to triple the range, but only causes 1/2 the damage of a usual Spiritual Weapon though.
10. Raven Blessingas Bless, but grants allies a +1 to Saving Throws and AC bonus instead.
11. Raven Spirit: as Unseen Servant*, but is faster, better at delivering messages, and has better senses (like a raven). It can even harass ethereal foes.
12. Raven's Scare: as Scare*, but only affects those under 5 HD, though none are automatically immune (even demons and undead).
13. Speak with Ravensas Speak with Animals, but only works with ravens, who can in turn translate other languages for the follower.
14. Trickster's Cawing: as False Gold* or False Trap*, but which one is available for the follower to cast is determined at random each day.

3rd Level Spells (d10)
1. Crow Whispers: as Clairvoyance* or Clairaudience*, but the caster and any targets of the spell may become unnerved...
2. Crow's Curse: as Remove Curse (reversible), but someone or something else within 1d12 x 10' must also gain the curse (if a new curse is being bestowed) or gain the curse instead (if removing it from another).
3. Dark Feathered Protection 10' Radius: as Protection from Evil 10' Radius, but only works against those who aren't at least mostly adorned in black.
4. Dark Feathered Repose: as Feign Death, but the recipient and any witnesses may become horrified...
5. Insight of the Raven III: as Infravision* or can know a randomly determined 3rd level spell from another totem of the raven follower's choice- which one it is changes each day.
6. Nevermore Dead: as Animate Dead, but only creates 1 HD of undead per 2 caster levels, which will follow the ways of the raven while animate. Finally, they will disintegrate after 1 hour per caster level have passed.
7. Quoth the Dead: as Speak with Dead, but those present may become afraid...
8. Raven Cure: as Cure Disease, but only removes disease from raven types or those who dress like them.
9. Raven Dispel: as Dispel Magic, but the caster and any targets may become unnerved...
10. Ravenskin Magic: as Polymorph Self* or Polymorph Other*, but can only take on or grant the form of a raven or crow.

4th Level Spells (d7)
1. Caw Call: as Summon Animal I (D), but just summons ravens or crows.
2. Crow's Tongue (reversible): as Tonguesbut those present may become horrified...
3. Cure Serious Raven Wounds: as Cure Serious Wounds, but only works on those who follow the raven's ways. 
4. Exorcism of the Raven: as Exorcism, but those present may become afraid...
5. Insight of the Raven IV: as Divination or can know a randomly determined 4th level spell from another totem of the raven follower's choice- which one it is changes each day.
6. Raven Séance: as Commune with Nature(D) or Contact Higher Plane*, but those present may become afraid...
7. Raven's Truth: as Detect Lie, but those present may become unnerved. If an actual lie is detected, then the liar may become afraid...

5th Level Spells (d7)
1. As the Cow Flies: as Fly*, but only lasts for 1/2 the duration and recipient cannot hover unless pointing directly into steady wind.
2. Corvidae Hideway: as Secret Chest*, but can only contain small, shiny objects.
3. Cure Critical Raven Wounds: as Cure Critical Wounds, but only works on those who follow the raven's ways.
4. Evil Nevermore: as Dispel Evil, but works on demons too. Those present may also become afraid...
5. Huginn's Passing: as Feeblemind*, but only works on non-raven types.
6. Insight of the Raven V: as Insight of the Raven IV, but a randomly determined 5th level spell can be selected.
7. Raven Strike: as Flame Strike, but the damage is done by phantom ravens and crows instead.  Those present may also become horrified...

6th Level Spells  (d4)
1. Raven Death: as Death Spell*, but appears as a murder of ravens and crows killing the victims. Those present  Those present may also become afraid...
2/ Raven Realm: as Plane Shift, but only transports to and from ominous places dominated by ravens, crows, and ominous things.
3. Raven Room: as Passwall*, but passage must conclude at a room or chamber, typically one known to the caster.
4. Raven's Tongue: as Speak with Creatures, but those present  Those present may also become horrified...

Additional Side-Effects of Raven Magic
Afraid: must save vs. spell/ make a Will save DC 15 or flee in terror for the next 3d6 rounds. Those who do save will become just unnerved (-2 to all rolls) for the duration instead
Horrified
must save vs. spell/ make a Will save DC 15 when the spell ends or take -4 to all rolls for the next 3d6 rounds.
Unnerved: must save vs. death/ make a Will save DC 10 or take -2 to all rolls for the next 1d6 rounds


Next week: Totems: Raven, Part V! 


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Totems: Raven, Part III

"Huginn and Muninn fly every day over all the world;
I worry for Huginn that he might not return,
but I worry more for Muninn." - Grímnismál

Totem Tests
1-9. The raven caws and deeds must be done. The devotee loses access to some of his spells or special abilities (50% chance for each one) until he do so. Roll 1d6 for those that are lost to see what it is.
[1] Stare at the next stranger he sees until either they leave or become unnerved (opposed Wisdom checks might be needed).
[2] Find someone or something new to play with. They may not take kindly to the arrangement though (a base 50% chance). If they do, then the follower must leave them a small present the next day.
[3] Spend time in quiet solitude until another disturbs it (a base 1d6 x 10% chance per hour, depending on the place).
[4] Succeed well (by 5 or better) on a spoken Charisma check that occurs in a naturally occurring situation.
[5] Lose a thought or memory (per Referee)
[6] Identify 
a user of non-raven magic or a physical danger to one's kind and warn of the threat it poses.


10-13. Be like the raven. 
For the next 7d4 days, the follower undergoes a strong, psychological impulse that can only be resisted by saving vs. spell/ making a Will save DC 15. Note that if the same is experienced twice in a row, it becomes permanent. Roll 1d4.
[1] Dress primarily in black, eschewing the company of all except other raven types, or those who at least dress so.
[2] Only speak when spoken to, and any replies will be croaking and cryptic. 
[3] Take trophies of every foe slain (preferring eyes), or at least dip all of one's food in water.
[4] Support those with wolf totems too, not just other raven totems, for they aid in the spoils.

14-16.
 Be of the raven. 
The follower becomes more visibly ravenlike now, gaining some trait along with a cumulative 20% chance of causing fear and/or revulsion in any non-raven types who notice it. Such a change also increases the chances of experiencing the totemic side-effect Nevermore by one by replacing another totemic side-effect with it too. Roll 1d4 to see which trait is bestowed, rerolling if the same is rolled more than once, as the follower increasingly becomes a raven hybrid.
[1] Lithe: gain +1d3 Dexterity, but also -1d3 Constitution too.
[2] Raven-hued: always covered in black now, gain a +6 bonus to hide in shadows, but also can be mistaken for evil via magical detection (a 50% chance).
[3] Sharp: gain the excellent eyesight and hearing of the raven, but also the uneasiness of those under one's gaze, reducing Charisma checks with non-raven and non-wolf types by 4.
[4] Harbinger of Death: gain a raven's head, allowing a bite attack for 1d4 + Strength modifier damage. 50% chance of gaining raven's feet & 50% chance of wings too. The former grants +5' speed and the latter, the ability to fly clumsily at normal land speed. Each also adds 20% to the chance of horrifying non-raven types.

17+ "Nothing more" croaks the raven. The follower is tested for the next 1d3 days per totem test result over 16. Roll 1d5.
[1] Huginn did not return. The follower must make an Intelligence check to perform simple actions. More advanced thought and difficult actions will be beyond him.
[2] He is turned into a raven, though for 1d3 weeks instead.
[3] Muninn did not return. The follower must make a Wisdom check to remember simple things. More advanced memories and magic spells will be beyond him.
[4] The raven comes to visit each night, causing the follower to save vs. death/ make a Will save DC 10 or go insane.
[5] The follower is sent to some Ravenlike Otherworld, his body lying comatose and his spirit floating on the floor, hopefully returning- a base 85% minus 10% for every 1d3 days gone- otherwise, nevermore.


Next week: Totems: Raven, Part IV!



Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Totems: Raven, Part II

Totemic Side-Effects
"The dark raven shall have its say, and tell the eagle how it fared at the feast..." -Beowulf

Roll 1d12 whenever one who calls upon a raven totem uses a special ability or spell.

1. Nevermore: The follower cannot use the special ability or spell again until he or she uses another spell or special ability and experiences a different side-effect. What is more, experiencing this side-effect thrice will also provoke a totem test.

2. Dark Shroud
: Not all magic is easily known. Rather than the intended spell or ability occurring, another raven one does so instead. It is determined at random, even if the follower is unfamiliar with it.

3. Cawing
: Like the raven, the follower must caw loudly, giving away not only his location, but his devotion to the totem too.

4. Ominous Scene: Dark, shadowy bird phantoms circle the area for 1d12 rounds, causing all within 1d12 x 10' to save vs. death/ make a Will save DC 10 or flee in fear for the duration.

5-8. No Side-Effect: Though a raven might be seen to alight nearby or heard at a distance, the spell or special ability occurs otherwise normally.

9-11. Nameless Way: As long as the target of the special ability or spell doesn't know the name of or can see the one using it, then its effect, range, or duration can be increased by 50%. And if the follower has had a chance to stare at the target for at least 1d3 rounds prior too, then one of those aspects may be doubled instead.

12. Quoth of the Raven: The special ability or spell's range, effect, or duration is raised by 50% and the follower may immediately use another randomly determined raven one once after too.


Totem Spell Requirements
In addition to rolling on the table above, shamans and other cleric-types must perform a certain task for at least 2d3 rounds when casting a raven totem spell. It must be done before the spell can be completed, though if they make a Wisdom or Charisma check (DC 15) to better placate the local raven spirits, it can be done that round. Roll 1d6.

1. Caw Loudly or Stare                                2. Dress all in Black                  3. Drum or Rattle     
4. Make an Offering 
or Paint Face              5. Play with the Spell's Target          6. Roll 1d5 twice      


Next week: Totems: Raven, Part III!


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Totems: Raven, Part I

Ways of the Raven
* Adapt as needed, remaining dark
* Transcend with your attention
* Be vigilant, helping other raven-types
* Voice skillfully, but beware non-raven magic

Followers of Raven Totems
Special: The raven is followed by shamans and barbarians, along with other classes including thieves, magic-users, and cleric and fighter-types too. 
Associated Divinities: Odin, the Morrighan, Lugh, Apollo
Allowed Weapons: Dagger, short sword, bow, staff, spear
Allowed Armor: Raven feathers or lighter, though always dark
Spirit of the Raven: Those who follow the raven will gain a random special ability for every odd level they have, drawing from the same list whether they are a raven shaman or raven barbarian. Otherwise, See the wolf totem (link) for general guidelines on how such abilities work.

Raven Abilities: (roll 1d12)
1. Raven-skin: Assume the form of a raven, whether ethereal or solid, becoming one in all ways but cognition for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day. The transformation takes 1d3 rounds, but doesn't count towards the duration limit. And if becoming ethereal, the follower's body is left behind for the duration, helpless and comatose. At 5th level, causes fear (as the spell) constantly in these forms. And at 9th level, the constant cause fear effect when in such forms is 5 harder to save against.
2. Raven Aspect: Gain a raven's superior sense of eyesight and hearing for up to 4d3 rounds per level per day. At 5th level, can gain either a +4 Dexterity bonus or can ignore up to 1d4 x 10' of falling damage instead. At 9th level, can glide up to 40' per round for the duration, arms/wings outstretched.
3. Raven Guardian Spirit: Call upon an ethereal raven ally to fight other spirits, scout an area, send mental messages, or detect other supernatural forces. It will obey for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day. Starting at 5th level, it can even become corporeal for up to one round per level per day of the duration: attacking, relaying physical messages, or performing other tasks if need be. And at 9th level, it can become corporeal for the entire duration as required.
5. Psycawmetry: Sense impressions from/ know some of the history of an object that the follower holds, up to 2d3 rounds per level day, but must save vs. death/ make a Wil save DC 10 or be unnerved by them (-2 to all rolls for the next 3d4 rounds)..
6. Keen Caw: Gain a +1d3 bonus to a roll involving loud speech (including casting a spell if heard by the target), up to once per day per level.
7. Strange Endurance: Receive a +1d3 bonus that can be added to either saving throws or to reduce damage done, as long as one is acting fatalistically, vengefully, and/or mysteriously. Usable up to once per day per level.
8. Crow's Feet: Detect disguised, hidden, or altered beings for what they really are, or even detect magic (per the spell), a total of up to twice per day per level.
9. Black as Raven's Wings: Can cause fear (as the spell) in those who hear or see them, up to once per level per day. Two daily uses can be used at once to cause fear in even those normally immune, such as undead.
10. Death Caw: Ignore fear and similar mental effects (via spell or otherwise), up to twice per day per level. The follower is also now considered to be undead 50% of the time, even if already fully so.
11. Murder: Gain a cumulative +1 bonus to all rolls when within 30' of other raven followers. It can be used up to once per day per level, lasts 2d3 rounds per use, and has a maximum bonus of +6. Half the bonus can even be added when working with wolf followers.
12. Raven Type: Gain a randomly determined ability from another chosen totem.


Next week: Totems: Raven, Part II!


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Totems: Bear, Part V

Bear Divinities & Folk Variations
"And when Arcturus leaves the main, to rise, A star bright shining in the evening skies; Then prune the vine."
– Hesiod

Characters can opt to substitute specific bear totem abilities, spells, side-effects, and tests for ones they would normally have, reflecting how the bear can come more to the fore with their divinity. Select or roll 1d6.

1. Thor: Berserkers (detailed in Volume I) may become more bearish, substituting some uses of their berserkergang ability to have the greater versatility (but less potency) of bear barbarian abilities. Other Norse characters may even have a bear ancestor, granting them select martial bear abilities mixed with their viking or cleric ones. 

2. Artio: Followers of this Celtic bear goddess instead more often turn into bears or have them as companions. This approach helps them to be focused with the land, favoring healing spells, though all bear abilities and spells can be used by her druids. The bear is also associated with kingship in some Celtic lands (e.g. 'Arthur'), so some Fianna and Gaesatae (see Volume II) may give up their move bonus to instead grant a +1 bonus to the morale of any who fight for them or their king.

3. Artemis: Those who call Artemis patron may tend towards bear transformation, especially for those who remain virgin in keeping with the tradition of Callisto. The same could be said for some other Greek divinities too: Zeus transformed Arcas/ Arcturus into a bear as well in order to prevent him from shooting his mother.

4. Mielikki: Similar to Artio in promoting the nurturing aspects of the bear, Mielikki's way also involves other woodland creatures. As such, her clerics might only select some bear spells of that type. Followers of other Finnish deities could do the same. In any case, they will never say their totem's actual name, instead using terms like "Pride of the Thicket", "Honey Paw", and other pleasant kennings.
 
5. Perun: Strong but nurturing, followers of Perun may select a variety of bear abilities and spells if they feel such an association. Being so popular, many other Slavic gods and goddesses might do some of the same, but the bear is universally respected in any case.
 
6. Cave Bear: The worship of the great bear is ancient, and some remaining isolated tribes of cave men continue to follow it as originally done, prizing the strength and endurance the totem gives above all others. Their approaches may be brutal and savage, but they do keep to the old ways.


Next week, our series on totems continues with the Raven!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Totems: Bear, Part IV

 

What the bear may not eat may be left for others.

Bear shamans and other cleric-types who call upon the totem gain access to 1d2+1 of the following spells per level; half of these are determined at random and all come from spell levels that they can cast.

BEAR SHAMANISM
1st Level Spells
Bear Companion: as Animal Companion (D), but must be a single bear, and it may not be cuddly.
Bear Size: as Enlarge*, but only works on men or women who follow the ways of the bear.
Detect Foodas Detect Magic, except that it senses the presence of things the shaman could eat at quadruple the usual range.
Eat Away Light Wounds: as Cure Light Wounds, but only works on those who have a large meal and/or nap afterwards.
Glutton's Purify Food & Drink: as Purify Food and Drink, but must be consumed immediately and in its entirety.
Lesser Bear Strength: as Strength*, but confers only 1/2 the bonus, though it is applied to the recipient's Constitution too.
Ursine Protection: as Protection from Evil, but only works in areas where food is available or in places fit for sleeping.

2nd Level Spells
Bear Spirit: as Unseen Servant*, but is stronger, has better senses (like a bear), and can even attack ethereal foes.
Bear Hide: as Barkskin (D), but also makes the subject furry.
Black Bear Strength: as Strength*, but only works on those who have just rested or who have had a meal. The bonus is applied to the recipient's Constitution too.
Phantom Bear
: as Spiritual Weapon, but appears as a spirit bear that can keep attacking even if the shaman doesn't concentrate. It has a 25% chance of stopping to eat or rest each round though.
Speak with Bearsas Speak with Animals, but only works with bears, who do become friendlier with the casting (still not cuddly).
Ursine Blessingas Bless, but grants a +1 to Strength and AC to allies instead.

3rd Level Spells
Bear Cure: as Cure Disease, but only removes disease from those who eat or rest a great deal soon after.
Bearskin Magic: as Polymorph Self or Other*, but can only take on or grant the form of a bear 
Brown Bear Strength: as Strength*, but grants an additional +2 Strength bonus with no limit of 18 and is applied to the recipient's Constitution too.
Cave Bear Size
: as Animal Growth, but just works on bear-kind.
Pawing: as Striking, but the bonus can only be used by those who are seeking food, rest, or maintenance of the old ways.
Ursine Protection 10' Radius: as Protection from Evil 10' Radius, but only works in areas where food is available or in places fit for sleeping.

4th Level Spells
Bear Call: as Summon Animal I (D), but just summons bears. 
Eat Away Serious Wounds: as Cure Serious Wounds, but works on those who have a large meal and/or nap afterwards.
Exorcism: only works on non-bear type spirits.
Glutton's Create Food & Water: as Create Food & Water, but must be consumed immediately and in its entirety.
Grizzly Bear Strengthas Strength*, as Brown Bear Strength, but the bonuses are +4.
Honey Swarm: as Insect Swarm (D), but requires throwing something sweet on the target.
Tiny Caveas Tiny Hut, but must be cast in a cave in order to work.

5th Level Spells
Bear Communion: as Commune with Nature(D), but only works in areas where bears inhabit.
Eat Away Critical Wounds: as Cure Critical Wounds, but works on those who have a large meal and/or nap afterwards.
Greater Bear Call: as Summon Animal II (D), but summons a werebear. 
Greater Bearskin Magic: as Polymorph Self or Other*, but can just take on or grant the form of a cave bear or werebear.
Greater Ursine Protection from Evil: as Ursine Protection 10' Radius (above), but provides triple the benefit.
Polar Bear Strength: as Brown Bear Strength above, but the bonuses are +6.

6th Level Spells
Bear's Resurrection: as Raise Dead, but caster provokes an automatic 4d6 roll totem test.
Forceful Paw: as Forceful Hand*, but just works on one who threatens food, a place of rest, or the old ways.
Ursine Realm: as Plane Shift, but only transports to and from places dominated by bears and bear-beings.


Next week: Totems: Bear, Part V! 



Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Totems: Bear, Part III

Totem Tests
1-9. Bearishness awakens from its slumber, and the devotee loses access to some of his spells or special abilities (50% chance for each one) until he performs some task. Roll 1d6 for each one lost to see what he must do.
[1] Immediately destroy everything possible in a 1d6 x 5' area. All who don't get out of the way will face the same.
[2] Sleep in a comfortable cave or other area for 1d4 hours, attacking any who might be foolish enough to try to wake him.
[3] Devour the first substantial area of foodstuffs he finds. He must eat everything and will only feel a bit tired after.
[4] Commune with bear spirits, doing nothing else but drum, dance, chant, or the like for 2d6 turns.
[5] Do something to honor the old ways, whether punishing one who violated them or teaching others about them.
[6] Destroy a non-bear shamanic magic item.

10-13. 
The bear demands more of the follower, causing him to undergo effects that last for the next 7d4 days. Each may only be resisted by saving vs. spell/ making a Will save DC 15 during this time. And if the same is experienced twice in a row, it becomes permanent. Roll 1d4.
[1] Whenever he sleeps, the only has a 1 in 4 chance of awakening to sounds, but when awakened, he must drive off anyone around.
[2] Whenever he eats, he must consume everything else available in the area too.
[3] Whenever he fights, he must use either melee weapons or his bare hands, getting in close to grapple.
[4] Whenever he encounters something new, he must forcefully tell those doing it that it's wrong, attempting to stop them if possible.

14-16. The follower becomes more visibly bearish now, gaining some bear trait along with a cumulative 15% chance of causing fear and/or revulsion in any non-bear types who notice it. The trait also increases the chances of experiencing the totemic side-effect Get Out of My Way! by one by replacing another totemic side-effect with it too. Roll 1d4 to see which trait is bestowed, rerolling if the same is rolled more than once, as the follower increasingly becomes a bear hybrid.
[1] Bear Ears: gain excellent hearing, with a +4 bonus to such checks.
[2] Bear Snout: gain an excellent sense of smell, with a +8 bonus to such checks, along with a bite attack for 2d4 +STR mod damage.
[3] Bear Claws: gain 2 claw attacks for 1d4 + STR mod damage. Can also hug foes hit with both for the same damage each round- an opposed STR check is needed to break it.
[4] Bear Hide: gain a +2 AC bonus, +4 vs. bludgeoning attacks.

17+ Someone has poked the bear. The follower is tested for the next 4d6 hours per totem test result over 16. And if he dies in the process, he can save vs. spell/ make a Will save DC 15 and be resurrected- otherwise it will be grizzly. Roll 1d4.
[1] The devotee is turned into a werebear, full of famished rampaging.
[2] The devotee is turned into a normal bear fitting for the local area, though for 4d6 weeks instead.
[3] An enraged cave bear with a HD equal to the totem test result tracks and attempts to eat the devotee and his comrades, arriving within half the time remaining of the test's duration. It will continue until either slain or the test's duration expires.
[4] The devotee is sent to a Bearlike Otherworld, his body lying comatose and his spirit returning with 1d10 hit points lost  per 3 hours gone.


Next week: Totems: Bear, Part IV!



Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Totems: Bear, Part II

Totemic Side-Effects
Its ponderous strength endures, whether the follower can bear it or not. 
Roll 1d12 whenever one calls upon a bear totem to use a special ability or spell.

1. Get out of my way! The follower lashes out at all objects and individuals within 30', attacking for 1d3 rounds or until they're down. What is more, he rolls again on this table due to all the momentum released. For those unfortunate to be in the follower's way, they'll realize one should never poke him.

2. Rest Now... All this tapping into the power of the bear can be  tiring, and the follower feels the overwhelming need to lay down. He must fall into a brief hibernation for at least 10d6 rounds at the earliest opportunity, preferably with something to munch afterward. Until then, he will be quite sluggish, suffering a -2 to all rolls and only being able to move at 1/2 speed.

3. Food! How can the devotee use his powers on an empty stomach? He much gorge on whatever's available for at least 5d6 rounds as soon he finds something!

4. Bjorn/ Birna: The devotee takes on the appearance of his totem, appearing quite large and shaggy. As a result, he gains a +1 bonus to Strength and Constitution, but also a -2 penalty to Dexterity for the next 1d6 turns, along with a -5 penalty to Charisma checks with those who don't appreciate such bearishness.

5-8. No Side-Effect: Though one might feel the urge to roar, cuddle up in a cave, or gorge on sundry foodstuffs, the spell or special ability occurs normally.

9-11. Ursine Embrace: If the devotee successfully hugs his target or is doing something specifically to protect the old ways, then the special ability or spell's effect and duration can be boosted by 50%.

12. Might of the Bear: The special ability or spell's range, effect, or duration is increased by 50% and the follower also gains a +1d4 bonus to his Strength and Constitution for the next 2d3 rounds!


Totem Spell Requirements
In addition to rolling on the table above, shamans and other cleric-types must perform a certain task for at least 2d3 rounds when casting a bear totem spell. It must be done before the spell can be completed, though if they make a Wisdom or Charisma check (DC 15) to better placate the local bear spirits, it can be done that round. Roll 1d6.

1. Roar or Gorge Oneself                            2. Dance or Lay Down            3. Drum or Rattle     
4. Make an Offering or Don Bear Parts     5. Bear Hug or Babble          6. Roll 1d5 twice      


Next week: Totems: Bear, Part III!


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Totems: Bear, Part I

Ways of the Bear
* Grow large with much eating and rest
* Protect yourself and your loved ones, being terrifying when need be

* Keep to the old ways
Eschew non-bearish things, especially non-bear shamanic magic!

Followers of Bear Totems
Special: The bear is honored by shamans and barbarians, though other cleric-types and fighters can do so as well. 
Associated Divinities: Thor, Artio (Celtic), Artemis (Callisto), Perun, Mielikki, Ukko
Allowed Weapons: Club, hammer, axe, dagger
Allowed Armor: Bear hide and shield or lighter (and often little else)
Spirit of the Bear: Those who follow the bear will gain a random special ability for every odd level they have. See the wolf totem (link) for specifics, noting that those who access the bear's power must also make a Wisdom check first, as well as roll for totemic side-effects (see Part II) and even totem tests at times.

Bear Shamans: (roll 1d6)
1. Bear-skin: Assume the form of a black bear, becoming one in all ways but cognition for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day. The transformation takes 1d3 rounds, but doesn't count towards the duration limit. At 5th level, they can assume the form of a grizzly bear instead, and at 9th level, a cave or werebear.
2. Spirit Bear-skin: Can project their spirit as an ethereal bear. The shaman's body is left behind for the duration, helpless and comatose. Otherwise treat as #1 above, along with the advantages discussed in #4 below.
3. Ursine Aspect: Gain either a black bear's bite attack, hug or climbing ability, superior sense of smell, hearing, or hit points for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day. At 5th level, two can be used at once or one of the grizzly bear's can be used (they can't climb though). At 9th level, three of the black bear's or two of the grizzly's can be used at once.
4. Bear Guardian Spirit: Call upon an ethereal bear ally to fight other spirits, scout an area, or even detect other supernatural forces. It will obey for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day. At 5th level, it can be an ethereal grizzly bear instead, and at 9th level, an ethereal cave or werebear.
5. Hibernate: Can sleep in a cave for 1d3 weeks per odd level, not needing food or water and only waking if truly disturbed.
6. Bear Breed: Gain a random bear barbarian ability or even a magical ability from a similar totem, reflecting the totem being a specific type of bear (black, brown, sleeping, little, or the like).


Bear 
Barbarians(roll 1d6)
1. Hardy: Gain a +1d3 bonus per odd level that can be added to either increase their damage or to reduce damage done to them each round, for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day.
2. Hug: Can make a free grapple attempt against a foe that they hit in melee, gaining a +1d3 bonus for attempting to do so for every odd level they have.
3. Rage: Can fight in an especially outraged manner for 2d6 rounds up to 1d3 times per level per day, gaining a +2 to hit, damage, and hit points while suffering an AC penalty of 4. To stop the rage early, they must save vs. spell/ make a Will save DC 15, otherwise they may even attack allies until it's over. What is more, the barbarian has a base 33% chance of actually turning into a grizzly bear for every 3 rounds that he is raging, in which case it lasts 2d6 rounds longer and he also gains +2d4 Strength and Constitution during that time.
4. Tough: Gain a natural +1 AC bonus and reduce any damage done to them by 1.
5. Large: Gain +1d4' in height and girth, along with +1d2 Strength, +1d2 Constitution, -1d3 Dexterity, and -5' speed.
6. Bear Breed: Gain a random bear shaman ability or even martial ability from a similar totem, reflecting the bear totem being a specific type (cave, grizzly, polar, mama, papa, or the like).


Next week: Totems: Bear, Part II!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Totems: Wolf, Part V

 
Wolf Divinities & Folk Variations
"Geri and Freki the war-wont sates, the triumphant sire of hosts; but on wine only the famed in arms, Odin, ever lives." - Grímnismál, Poetic Edda

The wolf totem is a well-known attendant of various divinities and groups. Reflecting this, clerics and fighter-types of those folk can opt to substitute specific wolf totem abilities, side-effects, tests, and/or spells for ones they would normally have, reflecting how the wolf aspect can come more to the fore with them.

Select or roll 1d8
1. Odin: Ulfhednar (see Volume I) focus on ferocity, and can substitute such wolf aspects at later levels for uses of their unique, Odin-granted Wolf Fury, though such Norse always select that at first level due to its reliability (it, like other divinity-granted abilities can be reliably selected and requires no Wisdom check to use). Odin's clerics can do the same with certain magical side-effects and spells too if they have a particular bond with Freki & Geri, though the Fury of Freki and Geri magical side-effect would be naturally maintained.

2. Fenrir: its fell followers can focus more on swapping certain frightening wolf abilities, side-effects, tests, and spells, though doing so might make them somewhat less murderous and demonic. All keep the Fenris Curse ability at 1st level, of course, though afterwards, others might do.

3. Apollo & Artemis: harkening to Apollo Lykaios, their followers' powers would often wane in the sun and wax under the moon (or vice verse). Otherwise, such Greeks would wear only belts (many being Koryos) and at times even eat the occasional human flesh that happens to turn up in order to be turned to wolves for extended times.

4. The Morrighan & Cernunnos: Celts who follow these divinities can focus on summoning wolves, whether to terrify those upon the moor in the former case) or have a more mystical communion in the later. Morrighan goes further with opting to turn her faithful more often into full wolves, while those who follow Cern tend more to wolf-hybrids.
 
5. Mars: dutiful always, his Roman clerics might not substitute much in the way of wolfishness. Still, velites are wolfish peltasts (link), paying special homage to the she-wolf who nursed young Romulus and Remus by coordinating attacks to take down prey, and his other followers may do the same. 
 
6. Veles & Dazbog: focus more on being able to move well and having wolfish senses, Slavs who follow these gods might substitute wolf powers, whether to ultimately be cunning or to discover truth. Furthermore, those who follow Veles tend to gain wolf heads, while those who follow Dazbog instead tend towards having full wolf forms, especially amongst the southern Slavs. 

7. Dacians: known as wolves themselves, they focus on wolf aspects in defending their lands, having wolfish heads, and, when turning completely, being great white wolves. Until their divinities can be examined more at a later date, they would fit closely with full wolf shamans and barbarians.

8. Scythians: like the Gteeks, they have Neuroi that are known to be turned to wolves for long periods of time. And being horse archers, they can get a wolf's speed and sensing ability too.
 

  
Next week: Totems, Bear!


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Totems: Wolf, Part IV

 
"The wolf changes his coat, but not his disposition". ~ Traditional Proverb

Wolf shamans and other spellcasters who call upon the wolf gain access to more magical abilities in the form of knowing 1d2+1 of the following spells per level. Half of these are determined at random and all come from spell levels that they can cast.

1st Level Spells (d7)
1. Alpha Command: as Command, but only works on those who you have already established dominance over.
2. Detect Wolf: as Detect Magic, except that it senses the presence of wolf spirits, wolves, or those others who emulate their nature.
3. Howling Fear: as Remove Fear (reversible), except that it only removes fear from those with wolfish nature and causes fear with those who don't.
4. Full Moon Charm: as Charm Person*, but requires aggressive, animalistic seduction.
5. Lick Light Wounds: as Cure Light Wounds, but only works on those with a wolfish nature.
6. Lupine Protection
: as Protection from Evil, but only works against non-wolf-kind.
7. Wolf Companion: as Animal Companion (D), but must be a single wolf.

2nd Level Spells (d6)
1. Halt Prey: as Hold Animal (D), but only works on non-wolf types.
2. Howling Terror
: as Scare*, but the same.
3. Lupine Blessingas Bless, but grants a +1 initiative, to hit, and to damage bonus to allies instead.
4. Phantom Wolf: as Spiritual Weapon, but appears as a spirit wolf that can keep attacking even if the shaman doesn't concentrate, and has a 25% chance of attacking someone else of its choice each round instead.
5. Speak with Wolvesas Speak with Animals, but only works with wolves, who do become friendlier with the casting.
6. Wolf Spirit: as Unseen Servant*, but is faster and has better senses (like a wolf), and can even attack ethereal foes.

3rd Level Spells  (d5)
1. Fang: as Striking, but the bonus can only be used by those with a wolflike nature.
2. Howl: as Prayer, but only helps those who are behaving in a wolflike manner and harms those who are not, whether actually friend or foe.
3. Wolf Cure: as Cure Disease, but only removes disease from those with a wolflike nature.
4. Wolfskin: as Polymorph Self* or Other*, but can only take on or grant the form of a wolf. 
5. Worg: as Animal Growth, but only works on wolf-kind.

4th Level Spells (d5)
1. Lick Serious Wounds: as Cure Serious Wounds, but only works on those with a wolfish nature.
2. Lupine Honor: as Detect Lie, but if one is detected, then the shaman must attack!
3. Pack Protection
: as Protection from Evil, 10' Radius, but only works against non-wolf-kind.
4. Wolf Call: as Summon Animal I (D), but only summons wolves. 
5. Wolf Terrain: as Hallucinatory Terrain (D), but can only appear as a forested and/or cold area.

5th Level Spells
 (d5)
1. Greater Wolf Call: as Summon Animal II (D), but summons a werewolf. 
2. Greater Wolfskin: as Polymorph Self*, but can only take on the form of a dire wolf or werewolf. 
3. Lick Critical Wounds: as Cure Critical Wounds, but only works on those with a wolfish nature.
4. Lunar Gaze
: as Confusion* or Feeblemind* (determined at random whenever cast), though eye contact with the target must be made.
5. Wolf Communion: as Commune with Nature(D), but only works in forested and/or cold areas.

6th Level Spells (d3)
1. Lupine Realm: as Plane Shift, but only transports to and from those dominated by wolves and wolf-beings.
2. Spirit Stalker: as Invisible Stalker*, but sends an invisible wolf instead that has 2 less HD, but double the speed and wolf senses.
3. Track the Path
: as Find the Path. but shows the shortest way to an individual instead.


Next week: Totems: Wolf, Part IV! 



Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Totems: Wolf, Part III

 “Hunger drives the wolf out of the wood.” – German Proverb

Totem Tests
1
-9. Lupine urges overwhelm the devotee, forcing him to lose access to one or more of his spells and/or special abilities (50% chance for each one) until he performs some deed. Roll 1d8 for each one lost to see what must be done to get it back.
[1] Take down one prey with only his has hands, teeth, or other natural weapons. 
[2] Guard at least a 1d6 x 100' diameter area from any non-wolf follower interlopers for at least 1d6 turns, killing them if need be.
[3] Establish dominance over another so as to best empower his pack.
[4] Breed with one's mate, or if unavailable, find a fitting one to breed with for the rest of his life.
[5] Run unclad in the woods, acting wolfishly, marking territory for 1d6 turns.
[6] Commune with wolf spirits, doing nothing else but drum, dance, chant, or the like for 2d6 turns.
[7] Slay at least 2d3 livestock and feast upon their raw flesh.
[8] Destroy a non-wolfish magic item.

10-13. The spirits demand more of the wolf follower, lasting for the next 7d4 days. And if the same is experienced twice in a row, it becomes permanent. Roll 1d4.
[1] His power wanes in the daytime and waxes at night, especially under the full moon. He suffers a -2 penalty to all wolf totem-related rolls when the sun is up, but a +1 bonus at night, +3 under a full moon.
[2] He behaves wolfishly, even when it would seem inopportune.
[3] Like the wolf, he may only have his hunger satisfied with fresh meat. Eating anything else will make him feel ill.
[4] His bite confers the wolf totem-hunger. When a worthy target (per Referee) is found, he must bite them. The target must then save vs. death/ make a Will save DC 10 or become a wolf totem follower too. The wolf-hunger can only be conferred once per instance of this test. 

14-16. The wolf shows more apparent in the follower now. He transforms forevermore, gaining some wolf trait, along with a cumulative 15% chance of causing fear or revulsion in any non-wolf types who notice it. The trait also increases the chances of experiencing the totemic side-effect Carnage! by one by replacing another totemic side-effect with it too. Roll 1d6 to see which trait is bestowed, rerolling if the same is rolled more than once, becoming increasingly a wolf hybrid.
[1] Wolf Eyes: gain a +3 bonus on rolls made to cause and resist fear.
[2] Wolf Ears: gain superior hearing, allowing a +8 bonus to such checks.
[3] Wolf Snout: gain a superior sense of smell, allowing a +12 bonus to such checks, and a bite attack for 1d6 +STR mod damage.
[4] Wolf Claws: gain +15' speed.
[5] Wolf Fur: gain a +3 AC bonus.
[6] Wolf Tail: gain a +5 bonus to checks involving hiding in woodland or cold settings.

17+
 The moon rises and the devotee howls to greet it. It is then that the test begins, lasting 4d6 hours per totem test result over 16. And if he dies in the process, he can save vs. spell/ make a Will save DC 15 and barely survive instead. Roll 1d4.
[1] The devotee is turned into a werewolf, full of bloodthirsty frenzy.
[2] The devotee is turned into a normal wolf, though for 4d6 weeks instead,
[3] One dire wolf per totem test result over 16 tracks and attempts to eat the devotee and his comrades, arriving within half the time remaining of the test's duration. Its HD will be equal to the devotee's level.
[4] The devotee is sent to a Wolfish Otherworld, his body lying comatose and his spirit returning with 1d10 hit points lost  per 3 hours gone.


Next week: Totems: Wolf, Part IV!


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Totems: Wolf, Part II

Totemic Side-Effects
"It never troubles the wolf how many the sheep may be" - Virgil.
Roll 1d12 whenever one who calls upon their wolf totem to use a special ability or spell.

1. Carnage!
The wolf demands blood or some other carnal satisfaction. The follower must attack 
prey for at least 1d4 rounds, either when the magic is used or soon after. A save vs. death/ Will save DC 10 is required to resist even going after the first tasty person he sees. If not, then he must go after someone or something else- he will not rest until it is done.

2. Stay Back! Those who violate the wolf's territory should beware. The follower must drive off one interloper who is within sight, even a party member if they are foolish enough to not respect the wolf. Marking his territory too also wouldn't hurt.

3. With Wolfish Grin: The follower takes on the appearance of his totem, gaining anything from very wolfish features to actual wolf parts. Those not partial to such traits may respond with fear (save vs. death/ Will save DC 10 negates). This effect lasts for the next 1d6 turns when he would otherwise appear human, though the follower might wish it was longer.

4. Hunting Ground: A lupine presence is felt by all, granting a +2 to hit, +4 against those who are wounded or notably sheepish. The area affected is 1d6 x 10' and it lasts for 2d6 rounds.

5-8. No Side-Effect: Though one might feel a cold, forest breeze or hear howling in the distance, the spell or special ability occurs normally.

9-11. Wolf Pack: If the follower has at least one other wolf follower ally who is present and also working against the same foe, then he can increase the special ability or spell's range, effect, or duration by 50%.

12. Who's Afraid of the Wolf? Not only can the follower add 50% to the special ability or spell's range, effect, or duration, but he can also have the foe he faces save vs. spell/ make a Will save DC 15 or flee in terror!


Totem Spells
In addition to rolling on the table above, shamans and other cleric-types also must perform a certain task for at least 2d3 rounds when casting a wolf totem spell. The task must be done before the spell can be completed, though if they make a Wisdom or Charisma check (DC 15) to better placate the wolf spirits, it can be done that round. Roll 1d6.

1. Chant or Sing                                        2. Dance or Be Wolfish            3. Drum or Rattle     
4. Make Offering or Wear Wolf Parts    5. Lie Comatose or Babble      6. Roll 1d5 twice      


Next week: Totems: Wolf, Part III!