Sunday, October 26, 2008

From Across the Table - Books

From a thread over on Dragonsfoot, here's my list of magical books - not spellbooks per se, but essential & not-so-essential reference works for the adventuring spellcaster. IMO, I'd avoid any kind of hard and fast general rules for the books. Rather, I prefer more of a Swords & Wizardry-type approach. Detail each individually and make a note about it's general rarity, gp cost, benefits & required level to understand and benefit from it. This way you can make each book as detailed and interesting as you like without worrying about throwing the game system out of whack and having to ditch everything. I've included an example at the end to give an idea of whay I'm talking about.

The Flesh Manual of Inimical Copulation (Procedures for making chimerae)
Vivimancy Studies of Horbus Zell (Necromantic processes for golem creation)
The Alexite Thaumaturgion (Thaumaturgic case studies)
The Alchemical Wedding of Artemus Phlox (Alchemical philosophy)
The Tenfold Phylactery (Warding and Protection spell theory & practice)
The Telluric Lectures of Xox (Elemental Earth magic)
The Protean Plates (Elemental Fire magic)
The Epistle of Illusymus the Younger (Charming magics)
The Hierarchical Omnibus of Gesticulated Dweomers (somatic spellcasting procedures)
The Copper Lexicon of the Venerable Archons (verbal spellcasting procedures)
Worley's Ethereal Taxonomy (ethereal creatures and methods of ethereal travel)
Oxfam's Astral Monographs (astral landmarking and navigation)
Nagora's Extemporaneous Phantasmagoria (impromptu illusion magics)
The Umber Hornbook (herbology & plant magics)
The Prophecies of Uong-Sal (fortunetelling methods)
The Indivisible Jade Tablets (1st level magics)
Telemachian Quattros vol.1-9 (common spellcasting case studies by level)
Shoshanna's Guide to Incipient Conjuration (procedures for ritual spellcasting)
The Scarlet Compendium of Conflagratory Evocations by Emerikol the Chaotic (fire magics)
Elder Phlonk's Teleology & Topography of the Hidden Realms (planar geography)
Magister Gharkal's Systemic Conjuration (conjuration magic)
Effulgent Theurgical Inscriptions of Simak the Inscrutable (procedures for inscribing scrolls)
The Aquamantic Exegisis of Marinus Rolias (elemental Water magics)
Cutullus Boreali's Atmospheric Dweomercafting (elemental Air magics)
Geoffrey of Kant's Unexpurgated Guide to Ethical Occultism (magical standards & procedures)

Here's 10 few more, this time not so helpful:

The Greatest Glamour by Thedris of Thred (an allegory on botched spellcasting)
Ghoff's Interpretive Supernumerology (a flawed theory of mathematical conjuration)
Ogg's Abyssal Onomastikon (a badly transcribed and dangerous list of demonic names)
The Kyuss Commentaries (untested and thoroughly evil methods of undead manufacture)
The Fervent Tome of Scald the Unflinching (a cursed book that inspires feverish obsession)
Journeys Among the Planes by Scoliosi Magus (a fantastic and entirely fictional planar travelogue)
The Homonculi Monologues (a deceitful series of essays on various diabolical topics)
The Fifth Elemental by Krekkius vos-Savant (a misguided manual on elemental summoning)
Miscibility for the Soul by Ralhd the Resplendent (parables encouraging freeform somatic gestures)
The Xhelddannic Living Bestiary (an engrossing cursed book that devours the reader bit by bit)

Here's an example:

The Protean Plates: These comprise 8 or maybe 9, it's not certain, beaten copper plates bearing etchings in Old Wyrmish. Only 3 sets are known to exist, although there may be more. The subject matter deals with the sources and properties of elemental fire and includes a summary of spells and creatures that derive their existence from that element. Studying the plates requires fluency in Old Wyrmish and (20-INT) weeks of relatively uninterrupted study after which the magic-user must succeed at a standard Chance to Know roll. If successful, the Magic-User gains the ability to cast elemental fire-related spells & control fire elementals as if they were 1 level higher than normal. The DM should decide which spells qualify for the bonus but a good rule of thumb is to include only those spells whose descriptions specifically mention 'elemental plane of fire' or 'elemental fire'. Magic-Users only. @8,500gp/Very Rare

Monday, October 13, 2008

From Across the Table - Men part I

Here's some more old school AD&D plug and play stuff - this time a selection of randomly generated human groups, straight from the Monster Manual

A band of 140 BANDITS (highwaymen)
Currently they are laying in wait
BANDIT Chief: Gonsalvo, a 10th-lvl Fighter (hp 49)
Lieutenant: Tollanuir, a 7th-lvl Fighter (hp 24)
Bodyguards: 6 2nd-lvl Fighters (hp 9,13,10,14,11,9)
Clerics: Aldahararon, a 6th-lvl Cleric of Abbathor (hp 25) and a 3-lvl Assistant, Borochoth (hp 14)
Wizard: Edlicknitz, an 8th-lvl Magic User (hp 29)
3rd-lvl Fighters: 7(hp 13,17,19,9,20,16,22)
4th-lvl Fighters: 5(hp 20,29,18,16,18)
5th-lvl Fighters: 4(hp 27,28,38,34)
6th-lvl Fighters: 3(hp 46,28,34)
Treasure:
Potion of Clairvoyance,
Rod of Absorption (36 charges)
Human-sized Chain Mail +1
Edlicknitz' Spellbook:
Level 1 -Alarm, Animate Rope, Chill Touch, Grease, Hypnotism, Identify, Read Magic, Magic Missile, Protection from Good, Charm Person, Push, Ventriloquism
Level 2 -Darkness, Levitate, Ray of Enfeeblement, Web
Level 3 -Hold Person, Lightning Bolt
Level 4 -Polymorph Other, Fire Shield
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A band of 59 RAT BERSERKERS with a fleet of 4 Longships. They are hauling their booty back home.
Chief: Skalla-Gjuki Bjarnisson the Deep-Minded, a 10th-lvl Fighter (hp 49, Axe + Spear (1-8/1-6))
Subchiefs: 2 6th-lvl Fighter Subchiefs, Yngvar (hp 36) Axe + Spear (1-8/1-6) & Eyvind (hp 29) Sword (1-8)
Clerics: Geitir, a 7th-lvl Cleric of Loki & 1 4th-lvl Assistant (hp 10)
Special Followers: Audun,a Wererat (hp 19)
SHIELD BROTHERS
1st-lvl Fighters: 6 (hp 10,4,2,4,8,7)
2nd-lvl Fighters: 3 (hp 6,13,11)
3rd-lvl Fighters: 2 (hp 16,7)
4th-lvl Fighters: 1 (hp 31)
5th-lvl Fighters: 1 (hp 31)
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A band of 170 BUCCANEERS on shore leave
BUCCANEER CAPTAIN: Stuttering Seberddru, an 8th-lvl Fighter (hp 50, axe (1-8))
Lieutenant: Blind Shadrach, a 7th-lvl Fighter (hp 40, axe (1-8))
Boarding Party: 3 4th-lvl Fighters (hp 25,19,13, swords & handaxes (1-8/1-4))
Ship's Doctor(s): Portsider Einar, a 2nd-lvl Cleric of Ares (hp 7)
Ship's Mates: 3 3rd-lvl Fighters (hp 9,8,10, light crossbow (1-4))
Ship's Officers: 2 5th-lvl Fighters (hp 36,28, sword (1-8))
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A MERCHANT CARAVAN
Currently they are traveling/marching.
Merchants: 10 0-lvl Normal Men (hp 3 each)
Drovers: 10 0-lvl Normal Men (hp 3 each)
Pack Animals: 60 mules
Mercenary Captain: Gromel, a 7-lvl Fighter (hp 39)
Mercenary Lieutenant: Damballah, a 6-lvl Fighter (hp 30)
Mercenary Guards: 12 2nd-lvl Fighters (hp 11,5,9,11,12,10,10,4,11,12,8,8)
Mercenary Troops: 80 1st-lvl Fighters (hp 6 each)
Paychest: 2,000gp 200pp and 11 gems (100gp each)
Trade Goods: total 30000gp including trunks of iron ingots worth 350gp each
& bags of raw wool worth 12gp each
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A band of 64 TRIBESMEN from a SPIDER clan
They place elaborately carved totem poles and are zombie masters.
Chief: Witchdoctor/Chief Motuha-Mataeula, 8th-lvl Magic-User (hp 29)
Shamans: 2 6th-lvl Clerics (hp 21,17) & 6 4th-lvl Clerics (hp 18,12,21,16,18,18)
Braves: 6 3rd-lvl Fighters (hp 14,6,14,14,21,29)
Servants: 5 Juju Zombies (HD 3+12 26,24,22,25,24)

Witchdoctor/Chief Motuha-Mataeula's Spellbook
Level 1 -Read Magic, Chime of Release, Charm Person, Affect Normal Fires, Ventriloquism
Level 2 -Ghoul Touch, Skull Watch, Darkness 15' Radius, Stinking Cloud
Level 3 -Blink, Flame Arrow
Level 4 -Fear, Polymorph Other