Recently I’ve started running Barbarians of the Ruined Earth for my Rochester group. We are four sessions in and everyone seems to be having a blast thus far. Hopefully someday I’ll have time to do a quick summary of the sessions, but who knows.
After the second session, my wife, who is playing a Sorcerer stated that she wasn’t a fan of the Alternative Casting rules I had written. So upfront- my wife isn’t a gamer. She plays once a month and does proofing and art for me (to which I am eternally grateful)… so when she starts debating mechanics in a game with me- I listen.
After hearing her feedback/concerns, I really looked at why I went that route. I listed the standard spell list found in The Black Hack (and other OSR books) for those who preferred that, as well as the free form casting. The reason behind this was to try and capture the feel of Thundarr the Barbarian.
When I really started looking at it though, it is overpowered and I felt it ended up being more confusing and cumbersome than it was worth. I then looked at the standard magic list and system and felt that didn’t quite work for me either.
So after some thought, here’s where I’m leaning on this.
New Magic System
There are “schools” of magic, each has three spells the Sorcerer can cast. At 1st level a Sorcerer begins play knowing three schools and one spell from each. Every even level a Sorcerer chooses a new spell from a school they know. Every third level they learn a new school and gain one of the spells in it.
To cast a spell the Sorcerer knows, they must succeed on an Int save (like attacking). If they roll a 20, they lose the ability to cast spells for 24 hours. A sorcerer can attempt to cast any spell they do not know, but the roll is made with Disadvantage. If they roll a 20 on a spell they do not know, the spell backfires disastrously and they lose the ability to cast spells for 1d3 days. Note that some spells may require an additional roll (as per the spell’s description) to function properly.
Detect: The Sorcerer chooses to detect magic, Stupendous Science, or danger at the time of casting. Everything Nearby that is considered that category glows. Duration: 5 minutes. If the Sorcerer studies the object for 10 minutes, it is identify for what it is and how it functions.
|Cure Wounds: The Sorcerer heals a Nearby target for 1 HD of hit points. At 5th level this increases to 2 HD of hit points.|
|Cure Disease: The Sorcerer releases a wave of healing energy at a Nearby target, removing a single disease from them.|
|Neutralize Poison: Energy flows from the Sorcerer, encasing a target for just a moment, removing any poison from a Nearby target or making them immune to poison for 10 minutes (Sorcerer’s choice).|
|Force Field: The Sorcerer conjures a protective bubble that encases them. The bubble has 1 HP per level. The bubble must be destroyed before the Sorcerer takes further damage. This sorcerer can still cast spells while in the bubble, but not physically attack or use their staff. At 5th level the Sorcerer can cast this spell on an ally and the bubble has 2 HP per Sorcerer level. Duration: Lasts until consumed.|
|Sorcerer’s Aid: All Nearby allies defend against attacks with Advantage. Duration: 1d4 rounds.|
|Wall of Fire/Ice/Stone/Energy: The Sorcerer summons a wall covers a Nearby area. Duration: 10 minutes (see description). Choose type of wall below: Fire: Targets that are within 5’ of the wall take 1d6 fire damage per round until they get further away. Running through the flames results in an extra 1d6 damage. Frost: Targets that are within 5’ of the wall take 1d4 frost damage per round until they get further away. Targets become frozen and can only take a partial action (either move or attack) per round while near the way and an additional round after. Running through the frost results in an extra 1d4 damage. Stone: Thick stone wall bars passage. The wall is 10’ tall and will only crumble if 50 points of damage has been done to it. Energy: Yellow swirling energy bars passage and will even block magical attacks and effects.|
|Charm: The Sorcerer uses magic to beguile a Nearby target. The target obeys any command of the Sorcerer, If the Sorcerer gives a command that would directly result in the target’s death or is out of their character, the Sorcerer must succeed a WIS test (with Disadvantage). The Sorcerer must pass a Wisdom test each turn to see if the effect lasts.|
|Sleep: The Sorcerer places a 1d3 targets in a Nearby radius in a magically sleep. Targets with 2 HD or more are immune to this effect. At 5th level the Sorcerer can affect 2d4 targets in a Nearby radius. At 10th level the spell can affect creatures with 4 HD or less. Duration: Number of rounds equal to Sorcerer’s level. Loud noises can arouse affected targets.|
|Hold Person: The Sorcerer uses magic to paralyze 1d6 Nearby targets. After the first round, the Sorcerer must test their Wisdom each round to see if the effect lasts. Targets with 6 HD or less are immune.|
|Light Bridge: The Sorcerer creates a bright golden bridge of pure light that extends from the caster’s feet up to the Sorcerer’s level x 30’ away. The bridge can handle up to an automobile in weight. Duration: The bridge remains for 10 minutes per Sorcerer level or the Sorcerer cancels the effect.|
|Web: Release a web from hands that grows to encompass a Nearby area. Web stops movement. Must make a STR test (Disadvantage), cut it, or burn it to break free. If free, movement is reduced to one quarter of normal. Target must make a new test each round (or Luck roll for NPCs) to remain free. Test Wisdom each hour to see if the effect lasts.|
|Float: The Sorcerer touches target, granting them the ability to float down from great heights (roughly 60’) and land on the ground safely. The distance is increased to 150ft when the Sorcerer reaches 5th level and the Sorcerer can cast this on all Nearby allies. Duration: 10 minutes.|
|Mist Form: The Sorcerer can transform into mist and float around, up to 50’ high, and back, at will. While in this form the Sorcerer can move through cracks, keyholes, etc. They move slowly, roughly 10’ per round. Only magical attacks can harm the Sorcerer while in this form. Duration: 1 minute per Sorcerer level.|
|Morph Object: The Sorcerer uses magic to transform a mundane object (or weak Stupendous Science items) into something else. For example, an enemy’s laser pistol can be turned into a stick or a metal girder transformed into manacles that bind a target. The effect is permanent and cannot be reversed.|
|Change Shape: The Sorcerer transforms themselves or a willing target into another creature of equal or less HD. The target gains all abilities of the new form. At 7th level the Sorcerer can transform an unwilling target. Duration: 1 minute per Sorcerer level.|
|Invisibility: The Sorcerer uses magic to bend reality and make themselves or a touched creature invisible. This does not mask sounds or hide tracks made. Duration: Lasts until the target attacks or the Sorcerer dispels the effect.|
|Silence: Magical silence covering everything Nearby to a target. Duration: 1 hour.|
|Darkness: The Sorcerer release an inky cloud of smoke covering a Nearby area that blocks all types of vision (all melee attacks suffer Disadvantage and ranged attacks miss automatically). Duration: 1 minute per Sorcerer level.|
|Magical Ally: The Sorcerer summon an ally composed completely of magic. The creature’s appearance is as Sorcerer desires. These creatures have 1 HP per Sorcerer level and deal 1d6 damage. Increase to 2 HP, 1 RP, and 1d8 damage when Sorcerer reaches 5th level. A Sorcerer can summon a number of these allies equal to their level (must be cast multiple times). Duration: Lasts until killed.|
|Dispel Magic: The Sorcerer dampens a Nearby Arcane spell effect, be it a piece of Stupendous Science, magical item, or another Sorcerer or Death Priest. If cast on Sorcerers and Death Priests, but they get to roll a WIS save with Advantage to avoid the effects. If the Sorcerer or Death Priest has more HD than the caster, they are immune to this effect. Duration: 1d4 hours.|
|Animate Object: The Sorcerer uses magic to imbue a Nearby object with motion and simple intelligence. Duration: 10 minutes.|
|Stunning Orbs: The Sorcerer conjures 1d4 balls of light that can be directed at Nearby targets. The Sorcerer must succeed a Dex test to hit the target. If successful, the target is stunned for 1d4 rounds. Targets of 3HD or more are immune to this effect.|
|Blast: The Sorcerer release a bolt of energy at a target up to Distant range for 1d6+1 damage. This spell ignores armor. When the Sorcerer reaches 5th and 7th level they gain an additional bolt. These bolts of energy can be released at one or separate targets. A Sorcerer can forgo multiple blasts by releasing a wave of energy that hits all targets for 1d8 damage in a Nearby radius.|
|Whirlwind: The Sorcerer conjures a whirlwind which engulfs up to three targets (must be standing next to one another). At the start of the next round the whirlwind flings them Nearby distance, stunning them for 1 round and dealing 1d6 damage. A Sorcerer can concentrate increasing the effects of the of the spell each round for three rounds. Second round: stunned for 2 rounds and suffer 1d8 damage. Third round: stunned for 3 rounds and suffer 1d10 damage.|
|Plague: Sorcerer makes a Wisdom test against all Nearby targets. If successful, targets suffer 1d4 damage per round for the next 1d6 rounds (ignores armor). Targets are covered in boils, sores, and have a clammy, pallid appearance.|
|Confusion: The Sorcerer reaches into the mind of a target, befuddling them for 1d4 rounds. Each time the affected target attempts to act they must roll 1d8: 1-4) Do nothing; 5) Act normally; 6) Attack ally; 7) Flee for 1d4 rounds (do not roll during this time); 8) Attack self.|
|Animate Dead: The Sorcerer uses dark magics to summon forth 1d4 Skeletons/Zombies with 2 HD each, from nearby bodies. These undead remain until destroyed or banished. The Sorcerer caannot summon any more undead until all current Skeletons/Zombies have been slain or banished.|