Re: The Spider God's Bride - Re-write DONE, FINISHED!

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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Re-write DONE, FINISHED!

Postby The Wolf » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:26 pm

Hi all, so I've read the reviews and I have seen the feedback. I'm glad most of the adventure text and the use of the Legend system in that regard is OK. That's what I was involved in mainly, I am not glad that the NPC stat-blocks appear to be broken and that wasn't something I had a hand in converting from d20 to Legend.

I can't add any more pages to SGB, what I can do however is re-write the material which is lacking for Magic, Gods/Demons/Cults etc. I can also fix the NPC stat-blocks. Which means I'll be converting them myself from d20 to Legend and adding the new magic as well as Sorcery to their spell lists.

Expect a lot of dark magical things and evil sorcerous tricks. You want pacts with demons? Sure, I can do that...just let me summon my little imp to help me.

So, the good news.

Magic: Well, magic wasn't at all the flavour of Swords and Sorcery it seems that a lot of you wanted in your blood and mayhem. I agree, so I have torn down Magic and replaced it (so far) with a set of guidelines and simple rules for you to add a S&S flavour to your adventures in Xoth (and other worlds). There are simple rules and suggestions on how you might use multiple casters, magical failures (and backlashes) as well as Places of Power for those all important (and sexy) Temple Dance rituals where your NPCs can turn into a giant snake and slither around.

I'm going to add a handful of S&S spells in there too, using Sorcery as the basis for Magic is the way forwards. Sorcery is already close enough to work with Xoth and by adding a few custom S&S spell variants like Summoning and Customized (serpent/animal) God transformations I'm hoping to make this feel far more like the Conan-esque romp it is meant to be.

Hang in there, we're committed (and I know I am) to make this the jewel in Legend's crown...and it won't be stolen by any Barbarian thieves either!

DWP.

OK. Here's a little sample of something from the Magic Chapter. Please bear in mind as well that as it is in Arcania: Blood Magic, the S&S spells aren't designed to be fair or balanced. These are the powers of nightmare for many servants and slaves, even adventurers in Xoth.

New Sorcery
These new spells form the backbone of Swords and Sorcery, they are designed to mimic the flavour of the genre and make a few assumptions regarding that magic. There are no flaming balls of doom, no arcing bolts of lightning or words that kill. There are however blood-churning sorceries, heart-popping magic which tears a living heart from inside someone’s ribcage and more. These are the magic spells which dare to flirt with the power of dark beings, call upon things beyond the stars and should put the fear of Yot-Kamoth into the soul of every Xoth player. For those Sorcerers wanting to call on the power of gods and demons, keep your eyes on the Gods/Cults and Demons chapter of this manuscript. More on Shamanistic and forbidden cannibal rituals can be found there too.

Blood Boil
Concentration, Resist (Resilience)
In the darkest reaches of Xoth there are magic users who dare to perform evil rites; they call forth terrible magic in the name of their chosen gods and demons. With a single gesture they focus the malevolence of their concentrated will onto a target. The target then suffers intense agony as their blood begins to boil in their body. The target takes 1D6 damage from the boiling blood per location every round that the spell is active and the caster concentrates. The caster can pay 1 extra Magic Point per round beyond the initial cost to prevent the victim from resisting the effects once the spell has taken hold.

Progress

Magic: Done
Gods/Demons: Done
Adventures 1-8: Done
Creature Appendix: Done
Page Numbers for Layout: Done on 1-8

To Do: Minor edits/tidy ups/finish up Adventures 9,10 and write poison appendix for blade traps.
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby DamonJynx » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:01 pm

+1. That is very much more like it (bear in mind I've not seen the original book). This is the kind of stuff I think a lot of us have in mind.
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby Deleriad » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:10 pm

The Wolf wrote: Blood Boil
Concentration, Resist (Resilience)
In the darkest reaches of Xoth there are magic users who dare to perform evil rites; they call forth terrible magic in the name of their chosen gods and demons. With a single gesture they focus the malevolence of their concentrated will onto a target. The target then suffers intense agony as their blood begins to boil in their body. The target takes 1D6 damage from the boiling blood per location every round that the spell is active and the caster concentrates. The caster can pay 1 extra Magic Point per round beyond the initial cost to prevent the victim from resisting the effects once the spell has taken hold.
Some rules trapping (because I do that kind of thing.)
1) you need to specify that it happens at the end of each round otherwise it is unclear when in a round it happens?
2) does this effect take place at the end of the first round in which the spell was cast or does there have to be a whole round?
3) does the caster have to concentrate for all their combat actions or only some? If the former, what happens if the caster spends a CA to do something reactive like an evade?
4) the pay extra Magic Point mechanic doesn't make sense in Legend as once a spell has overcome resistance it remains effect for its entire duration. Note that dropping concentration doesn't end the spell it simply means the spell is lying dormant.
5) Finally this spell doesn't follow the implicit structure of sorcery which is to scale with Intensity.

On the more general point, I'm not sure that this feels anymore S&S than Wrack (boiling blood). Wrack potentially does more damage but only to one location at the time. Personally, rather than producing minor variations on existing spells I would like to see the word count spent on overall mechanics and flavour.
E.g. one mechanic might be that there always has to be a ritual destruction of something (i.e. a material component) as part of casting a spell. So for Wrack (Boiling Blood) the sorceror must keep a phial of blood and hold it over a flame. For Wrack (Splintering bones) he keeps dried sparrow bones and wings and cracks them as part of concentration. Smother (Stinking Cloud) requires a phial of dried skin ground to dust which has to be thrown to the wind where it expands magically etc.

That would be my take on it.
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby DamonJynx » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:18 pm

See what I mean about proofing/editing...
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby The Wolf » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:16 pm

This is pretty much the first pass on something that is definitely WIP.
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby The Wolf » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:22 pm

Deleriad wrote:
The Wolf wrote: Blood Boil
Concentration, Resist (Resilience)
In the darkest reaches of Xoth there are magic users who dare to perform evil rites; they call forth terrible magic in the name of their chosen gods and demons. With a single gesture they focus the malevolence of their concentrated will onto a target. The target then suffers intense agony as their blood begins to boil in their body. The target takes 1D6 damage from the boiling blood per location every round that the spell is active and the caster concentrates. The caster can pay 1 extra Magic Point per round beyond the initial cost to prevent the victim from resisting the effects once the spell has taken hold.
Some rules trapping (because I do that kind of thing.)
1) you need to specify that it happens at the end of each round otherwise it is unclear when in a round it happens?
2) does this effect take place at the end of the first round in which the spell was cast or does there have to be a whole round?
3) does the caster have to concentrate for all their combat actions or only some? If the former, what happens if the caster spends a CA to do something reactive like an evade?
4) the pay extra Magic Point mechanic doesn't make sense in Legend as once a spell has overcome resistance it remains effect for its entire duration. Note that dropping concentration doesn't end the spell it simply means the spell is lying dormant.
5) Finally this spell doesn't follow the implicit structure of sorcery which is to scale with Intensity.

On the more general point, I'm not sure that this feels anymore S&S than Wrack (boiling blood). Wrack potentially does more damage but only to one location at the time. Personally, rather than producing minor variations on existing spells I would like to see the word count spent on overall mechanics and flavour.
E.g. one mechanic might be that there always has to be a ritual destruction of something (i.e. a material component) as part of casting a spell. So for Wrack (Boiling Blood) the sorceror must keep a phial of blood and hold it over a flame. For Wrack (Splintering bones) he keeps dried sparrow bones and wings and cracks them as part of concentration. Smother (Stinking Cloud) requires a phial of dried skin ground to dust which has to be thrown to the wind where it expands magically etc.

That would be my take on it.
There are only a few new spells, since I really want to keep Sorcery as the primary Swords and Sorcery spell path. Boiling Blood is probably something that Wrack can be used for, but tearing someone's skeleton from their body or their still beating heart from their chest is probably worth a few hundred words - as are some simple rules for summoning demons and raising the dead. The idea is not to use Blood Magic and keep the book self-contained to just SGB and Legend as much as possible for magic.

As for using the word count on flavour and so on, this is hopefully what I've been able to do with magic so far (as pertains to the document as it is now).

I've actually introduced some general guidelines on using additional costs to S&S magic, such as material components (bones etc) and of course blood, lots of blood.

Many thanks!

Of course if you have Blood Magic, you can use Boil Blood directly from that. I just spent the last hour or so looking through that book.
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby The Wolf » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:09 am

So, the Necromancer's Knife.

City Guard of Belthaar
Male Susrahnite
Value
STR 14
CON 10
SIZ 12
INT 11
POW 10
DEX 12
CHA 10

1D20 Hit Location AP/HP
1-3 Right Leg 2/5
4-6 Left Leg 2/5
7-9 Abdomen 1/6
10-12 Chest 1/7
13-15 Right Arm 1/4
16-18 Left Arm 1/4
19-20 Head –/5



Combat Actions 2 Armour: Leather Shirt and Hard Leather Pants (-2)
Damage Modifier +1D2
Magic Points 10 Traits: None
Movement 8m
Strike Rank +12 (+10 in armour)

Common Skills: Athletics 52%, Brawn 42%, Culture (Own) 32%, Dance 24%, Drive 24%, Evade 61%, Evaluate 43%, First Aid 25%, Influence 52%, Insight 53%, Lore (Regional) 54%, Perception 53%, Persistence 43%, Resilience 47%, Ride 24%, Sing 22%, Sleight 25%, Swim 26%, Stealth 33%, Unarmed 38%
Advanced Skills: Courtesy 73%, Language (Native) 73%, Lore (Tactics) 37%, Streetwise 45%

Weapons
Type Range Size Reach Damage AP/HP
Short Sword - M S 1D6, Bleed, Impale 6/8
Javelin 30m H - 1D8, Impale, Pin Weapon (shield) 3/8

Combat Styles
Sword 61%, Javelin 59%

Possessions: Leather shirt and pants, short sword, javelin, 3 SP.
Description: These guards wear simple grey uniforms over their armour.
Tactics: The city guards hurl their javelins first, before surging into melee with their swords.

This I have taken directly from the d20 Spider God's Bride. I've converted everything using Prime_Evil's solid guidelines and added 250 free skill points across this guy's skills. As well as tweaking some numbers here and there using P_E's +5% and +2%. I felt this produced a better NPC overall and I will be converting all the SGB NPCs (a mammoth task) for the book this way.

Expect the Captain of the Guard to have a helmet too ;)
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby RangerDan » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:29 pm

Hi Wolf. I'm very happy SGB is getting a second pass. I agree that the first priority should be to ‘fix’ NPCs so that it’s playable out of the box with a minimum of tinkering.

The Guardsman above seems sensible at first glance, though it was admittedly not with this type of NPC where the problems lie. Some random thoughts/wishlist on the topic while you are converting NPCs:

• Remember that any NPC/monster against which combat is expected needs skill entries for Evade, Resilience and Persistance, as these will likely come up. Many entries (especially towards the end of the book) are missing one or more of these.

• It would be good to bring the original NPC descriptions back in, as they seem to have been deleted alongside the d20 statblocks. I realise it could mess up layout and/or page count but quite frankly in most cases they have a lot of useful GM information. On the positive side I don’t think they would actually need any conversion.

• Similarly to above, it seems that in most cases the Possessions and Tactics entries were deleted. The Tactics entries offer some help in playing out encounters and would be nice to have, though some of them would need to have D20 references removed. Possessions also show that many NPCs have useful non-weapon stuff, like keys, drugs, tools, rope, etc. that could be useful to PCs. I’ve found one entry with a plot relevant detail, Osan Kadri’s message scroll (p.52-53), which might otherwise have been missed from the text or forgotten. Possessions would also need some conversion work done to remove reference to GP and D20 mechanics.

• Be generous with helmets - it avoids the dreaded ‘Choose Location: Head’ spam, and realistic to boot! :-)
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby The Wolf » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:47 pm

Hey RangerDan,

I'm working directly from the original SGB d20 book (which I now have a copy of), so expect the NPCs to be more or less direct conversions where possible in that regard. I'm going to be working on both the NPC (humans) and monsters per adventure in the book since I have decided the direction for magic will be Sorcery.

Expect a couple of new spells and a completely reworked magic chapter (which I wrote last night)

The NPC above for example uses the d20 SGB text exactly as it appears for their description, possessions and tactics. When I do things for myself I tend to be far more effusive when describing even minor guard NPCs. But I will make sure to put the NPC descriptions in as I find them in the SGB d20 document.

The same as with the possessions - the grand thing with me doing this is that I'm working from a seperate document per adventure, so those will be written and compiled then sent to Mongoose with the correct page numbers so layout can slot them in with little to no hassle.

This is btw how I would have done things had I written it myself to begin with. If I feel an NPC description might be a little too sparse, I'll attempt to add a bit more to it.
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby RangerDan » Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:44 pm

On the topic of magic, I think it’s wise to focus on Sorcery , as this will always be the most iconic of magics in S&S settings. Having said that, Legend does have 4 types of magic and, space permitting, you may want to drop some words on using other magic types in the world of Xoth, to serve as a minor toolkit to GMs who want to go in that direction.

As an example of what I mean, something like this could be used for Common Magic:
  • Optional Magic Rules
    For GMs wanting to add further variety of magic to their game, some optional rules and guidelines on using non-Sorcery magic systems are included below.

    Common Magic
    Magic is anything but common in the world of Xoth, and so Common Magic as described in the Legend book does not exist. There is however a low form of magic practiced by hedge wizards and wise women that is noticeably weaker than Sorcery. Practioners of this ‘Hedge Magic’ may face the same superstitions and hostility from the common people a Sorcerer might face – and unlike the Sorcerer, the hedge wizard lacks the magical powers to defend himself against a mob.

    Hedge Magic is a new Professional skill (POW+CHA) that functions in the same way as Common Magic, except as detailed below:

    • The spell-list is limited to: Babel, Beast Call, Becalm, Befuddle, Chill, Clear Path, Countermagic, Countermagic Shield, Demoralise, Detect X, Disruption, Endurance, Extinguish, Fanaticism, Fate, Ignite, Light, Lucky, Mindspeech, Push/Pull, Second Sight, Spirit Bane, Warmth.

    • Progressive spells cannot be learned past level 1.

    • Hedge Magic is subject to Taint and catastrophic spell failure as per Sorcery.
I don't know how realistic this is given space limits, but I do have S&S-ey ideas for Divine and Spirit magic as well. Any thoughts?
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby The Wolf » Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:50 pm

I'm tight on space as it is but those are good ideas. I might be able to work this into another Xoth book however. Magic has been re-written to use Sorcery (with reference to Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic if the GM owns that) as it stands since most Sorcery is fairly S&S to begin with.

The Magic Chapter has gone to Matt at the moment and now I've got the path of Sorcery fixed in my head, expect to see the High Priest as a more formidable opponent with higher skills and more spells compared to the previous iteration. (as pertains to Necromancer's Knife) - once I have reached him I'll throw the text on here time permitting.

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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby jux » Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:54 pm

I really like this kind of open development.
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby Deleriad » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:42 pm

The Wolf wrote:So, the Necromancer's Knife.
This looks like a good, solid conversion to me. Only technicality is that you can probably have a "city guard" combat style which has sword & javelin and maybe some other weapons in it.

I don't know the original d20 stat block, but as a combatant he is poorer than most combat-oriented starting PCs in Legend (a Legend PC is likely to be in the high 70% range if optimised for combat.) On other hand his Courtesy is very good so this may be deliberate.

Other thing I just noticed is the lack of Stealth skill. Possibly not hugely important but I find it really useful to have a standardised list of skills which I copy and paste for NPCs otherwise I always forget something.
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby The Wolf » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:12 pm

Yep, I missed the Stealth skill originally and then noticed it'd vanished about an hour ago. That's been amended for the guy. I was literally copying all the Common Skills down and for some reason Stealth totally slipped the net. We did have a new washing machine delivered about that time though, so :) I've gone back and added that one in bold, the way I see it, these guys aren't really great sneakers though.

Necromancer's knife is pretty much the first SGB adventure, so I figured that I'd go for a slightly lower combat skill for the generic guard. The guard captain on the other hand. I'm not sure regarding the City Guard Combat Style (Sword and Javelin)... that could work. I figure that the numbers here are much better than the previous SGB outing for the same NPC.

I always tend to see city guard as a kind of rank-file generic guardsman, who really don't tend to outshine the PCs. More trouble in groups than in single encounters, whereas a guard captain can often be better trained and have a lot more skill in battle. I suppose again it's personal preference, thanks for the feedback :)

As an example the guard captain's combat skill in both sword and shield as well as sword are over 80%, he's also got a helmet :>
Last edited by The Wolf on Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby The Wolf » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:15 pm

jux wrote:I really like this kind of open development.
Unless I'm on an NDA I do like to be as semi-transparent as I can be, especially when a product I've had a minor hand in can be improved by giving me more scope to fix things that were troublesome in it. I'm on the Keepers at the moment, which means the first of the magic using NPCs in the book.

Now the Keepers are level 1 sorcerers in d20. So what I'm going to do is literally keep them as sorcerers in Legend. I'll give them a few spells, which they were missing from the original Legend take on the supplement and I'll also make sure that they have the appropriate Grimoire/Manipulation skills.

So you'lll get the Common Skills, Advanced Skills, Magic Skills and Spell list as part of the NPC writeup. I've also taken the liberty to expand the original's tactics list for some of the NPCs where I feel that a Legend GM would like to have a broader scope of the character's tactical prowess.
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Redux

Postby The Wolf » Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:05 pm

This is the first shot on the Keepers, bear in mind we're on the first adventure only and things are ramping up slowly. The Keepers are level 1 sorcerers in the original and they have several illusionary magics at their command. To this end I've given them slightly less in the way of combat skill, but beefed up a few things I thought they would have.

The Keepers (16) (Page XX)
Funerary Priests of Belthaar, Male Susrahnite
Value
STR 13
CON 11
SIZ 12
INT 10
POW 14
DEX 13
CHA 13

1D20 Hit Location AP/HP
1-3 Right Leg -/5
4-6 Left Leg -/5
7-9 Abdomen –/6
10-12 Chest –/7
13-15 Right Arm –/4
16-18 Left Arm –/4
19-20 Head –/5

Combat Actions 2 Armour: None
Damage Modifier +0
Magic Points 14 Traits: None
Movement 8m
Strike Rank +12

Common Skills: Athletics 47%, Brawn 35%, Culture (Own) 39%, Dance 34%, Drive 26%, Evade 62%, Evaluate 37%, First Aid 40%, Influence 44%, Insight 39%, Lore (Regional) 47%, Perception 58%, Persistence 42%, Resilience 53%, Ride 39%, Sing 27%, Sleight 35%, Stealth 40%, Swim 32%, Unarmed 51%
Advanced Skills: Courtesy 40%, Language (Native) 75%, Lore (Theology) 60%, Language (Other GM’s choice) 35%
Magic Skills: Grimoire 60% , Manipulation 57%
Spells (5): Phantom Sense (sight), Phantom Sense (sound), Phantom Sense (touch), Palsy, Castback

Weapons
Type Range Size Reach Damage AP/HP
Quarterstaff - M L 1D8, Stun Location 4/8
Combat Styles
Quarterstaff 65%

Possessions: Clothing, quarterstaff, 8 SP. There is a 30% chance that at least one of the priests will be carrying a small golden idol, this is worth 50 SP. They have ancient books with their sorcery within (Grimoires) hidden in the temple.
Description: Dressed in purple hooded robes, with white bone skull-masks, these priests may easily be mistaken for undead by the superstitious, and they may also use their spells to reinforce such beliefs.
Tactics: The Keepers prefer to stay out of melee, but if combat breaks out, they use their staves to best effect while a few priests try to flee and alert their superiors. They will use Palsy to hinder characters and if they can setup in advance, they will attempt to trick foes by pretending to be undead using their Phantom Sense magic.

I've added a small bit to the tactics here to flesh out the Keepers a little more.

Now if you compare this to the Legend Spider God's Bride version you should see this is closer to the original and works far better in Legend terms. (or at least I'd like to think so) - the main thing is that they possess Grimoire, Manipulation and 5 spells - as well as having expanded possessions and tactics. I also don't want them to overshadow Othbanes, or the High Priest himself.

Cheers.
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Ongoing re-write/development th

Postby Bifford » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:20 am

Come pay-day I'll be tempted to pre-order the SGB in print just so I can get the broken PDF and then get the fixed PDF when you are finished on it :D (and hopefully the fixed book too)
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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Ongoing re-write/development th

Postby The Wolf » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:38 am

Thank you, Bifford :)

The print version will go to print when me/Matt are happy with it and definitely not before, everyone who has a copy of SGB in PDF will also get the fixed PDF. I'm not going to let this one lie and I am determined.

The NPCs are my #1 priority at the moment. I doubt I can do anything with the races etc since that's not where I'm focussed. I've got the magic chapter and I will be changing the chapter on the gods, trying to remove the gods from club status and make them something more interesting - keeping the flavour of the original d20 Xoth.

Just bear with me/us since this is a huge task (one which I would seriously prefer to have been involved in right from the start).

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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Ongoing re-write/development th

Postby Bifford » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:57 am

The Wolf wrote:Thank you, Bifford :)

Just bear with me/us since this is a huge task (one which I would seriously prefer to have been involved in right from the start).

Darren
No problem... and Hindsight is a bitch :D

Better late than never though, eh?? :)

I've never seen or read the SGB so I'll be coming to it with new eyes.) Will you be incorporating the world map everyone has been mourning the loss of? I know it's free on download, but a small copy of it in basic form would be good to have in there.

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Re: The Spider God's Bride - Ongoing re-write/development th

Postby The Wolf » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:14 am

I can't say on that I'm afraid (if it was up to me, yes, I would). Matt will be the one to make that call though, you could perhaps email him and ask if he'd be willing to put a small version in. Personally I think it is a great idea.

Yeah, hindsight is indeed. Though I only did the conversion of the Legend mechanics in the adventures, due to space though we had to cut down the individual poison mechanics into just 1 flat Resilience roll. I am tempted to put a note at the start of the book which basically says: when using poison use these poison types from the Legend core when the trap in question asks for a Resilience roll. I came into the conversion after several other authors, so I am determined to be the one who removes the curse from Spider God's Bride once and for all.

I've just finished my conversion of Othbanes, and I can tell you that he is vastly different from the previous Legend SGB version. He's certainly not as tough as the High Priest in certain ways, but this version reflects his interest in the undead and his mastery of ghouls. Though since inventing new magic to command the undead is beyond the scope of the book at the moment.
Last edited by The Wolf on Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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