I’m running a new campaign, starting this Saturday. I’m going to use a few of my own rules. Most of these are adapted from various unpublished systems/fragments my brother used for his campaign. While I’m here, I’m going to go ahead and plug his blog: kill your dungeon master
The most glaringly obvious change in my system is the removal of the cleric in favor of the Adept class. The Adept represents any spellcasting class that doesn’t get its power from study, like wizards. The Adept is meant to include (at least thematically) the characters typically divvied up into Paladin, Sorcerer, Druid, Monk, and Cleric, and is thus highly customizable. All of the classes that I will be using will have this feature- there will only be four classes, but each one can do wildly different things. Again, I got this idea from my brother’s first few attempts at a homebrew system.
The below table represents the “shell” of the class. How the Adept actually plays, and what they are actually capable of depends on the specific “Way” of the given Adept. Adepts are united by their spell casting mechanics, which use power points. As an Adept levels, they can generally expect to gain powers that can be spontaneously cast as long as enough points are available.
As will soon be seen, this is not at all representative of the abilities and benefits of a player character Adept. Ideally, each type of Adept will probably have their own table, and I use this as a starting point. The only thing that should be constant is experience and, in most cases, HP.
Spells, special abilities, drawbacks, additional spell points, additional saves, and additional to-hit bonuses (in the case of particularly martial orders/religions) are all determined by the specific religion (or even sub-order of a religion!) adhered to by the Adept. You could even have special kill-counting perks* for martial orders. This usually means additional observances that the character must, uh, observe. The penalty for not following these observances is up to you- in a low-fantasy setting this usually just means mundane punishments dealt out by the order: expulsion, exile, execution, etc. Sorcerers are effectively Adepts without a religion and a shit ton of power points.
A note on powers/miracles/initiations for the Adept class: They are not prepared, and have a base point cost and potentially a corollary available for additional cost. The normal rules for casting apply**. As there is no spell level associated with powers, in general Adept spells are far more reliable than wizards, but also tend to be less flashy and immediately powerful. Many can also wear armor without a penalty to casting, and generally don’t have to roll mishaps. The exception for this is Sorcerers.
Gaining powers also depends on the actual religion. The more organized religions probably have their adepts pick. Disorganized religions probably have a mix of randomly gained and deliberately chosen powers, and sorcerers/shamans are random (with a possible caveat that I’ll explore when I actually get around to writing the class). Some of them, like the one below are actually a mix of these.
*from the fighter class in the GLOG, but my brother designed (at least partially) a tree (or several) for each type of weapon, something I also intend to use.
**the system I intend to use has a spell casting roll, that works in things like spell failure and spell retention.
In my setting, there is an empire. Well, several, actually, but the one the players will be near to/inside of is/was formed on the basis of strict two-class system. I’ll get into the specifics of it later, but basically each of the two classes in the society has its own cult. This one represents the junior class in society, which worships a tricky (but servile!) monkey god. Their disciples are usually tanky, tricky, and disruptive in a fight. Nowadays many of the disciples serve as a kind of special forces/secret police role in the greater empire, but there are monasteries that don’t serve the government- directly, anyway.
- Draw No Blood.
- Never Disobey Your Leader.
- Do Not Allow Someone to Suffer in Your Stead.
- Do Not Harm Children.
- No penalty for casting in any armor.
- Immediately gain Expertise (Weapon Mastery) for any bludgeoning melee weapon and gain that weapon. (unlocks kill counting for this specific weapon)
Monkey Leap 1P D: Instant T: Self
Bound forward up to (MV+1)*10 ft instead of moving normally, and add 1 to damage if attacking someone at the end of the move.
Corollary 3P- Leap a distance of 2MV*10 ft instead, but you are unable to attack at the end.
Note: MV is yet another invention of my brother’s that abstracts overland, combat, and dungeoneering movement into a single statistic. For now, all you need to know is that each point in MV = 10ft of movement in combat.
Monkey Stand 1P D: Concentration T: Self
Lock yourself in place, requiring STR 20 to displace as long as you remain stationary. Save if you take damage or the spell ends.
Corollary 1P- This may be cast as a reaction.
Corollary 4P- If you pass the save against damage, it is reflected back at the source. You still take the damage.
Invigorate 2P D: 1 Turn T:Self
Fill yourself with life energy, gaining 1d10 temporary health.
Corollary 2P: gain an extra 1d6 of health for each additional PP. Incrementable, cost increases by one per increment.
Feather 2P D:Instant T: Object or Creature R:100’
You make an object or creature the size of a human the weight of a feather, either for one round or, if airborne, until it lands. Most objects will fall about 2’ per second so affected. Can be cast as a reaction.
Corollary 1P: The creature/object affected increases by 1 SZ.
Deafness 2P D:1 Turn T:Creature R: 5*LVL ft Sv CH Negates
Target creature becomes unable to hear.
Silence 2P D:1 Turn T:Creature R: 5*LVL ft Sv CH Negates
Target creature becomes unable to speak.
Fool’s Strike 3P D:1 Round T:Self
On your next attack with a bludgeoning weapon, instead of dealing damage, move a target (weapon damage die) * 10 ft in a given direction. Crashing into a wall or another person inflicts the remaining movement/10 as damage to both.
Corollary (S)P- may apply (S) bonus for the purposes of calculating damage/distance
Fool’s Gambit 3P D:1d6 Rounds T:Self
You conjure two images of yourself, causing the next attack against you to have a 1/3rd chance of missing. Images disappear when struck.
Corollary 4P- conjure two additional images
Blindness 2P D:1 Turn T:Creature R: 5*LVL ft Sv CH
Target creature is struck utterly blind for the duration.
Monkey’s Coin 3P D:1 Turn T:Self
The Houhai Disciple manipulates fate, causing the next roll they make to be either 1 or 20.
Corollary 2P- instead targets the next attack or spellcasting roll with the disciple as the target.
Feeblemindedness 2P D:1d4 rounds T:Creature R: 5*LVL ft Sv CH
Target creature is struck utterly stupid, such that their Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma are 1 for the duration of the spell
Clangor 2P D:Concentration R: 10*LVL (max 50) feet diameter Sv SP Negates
By releasing an unpleasant howl, the disciple causes everyone within range to become dazed (-1 to all rolls and no reactions). Once a creature saves, they are immune to the effect for the rest of the combat.
Corollary 2P – Affected creatures also receive your WIS bonus as a penalty to all rolls.
Corollary 2P – Affected creatures are stunned (either move or attack, -2 to all rolls) instead of dazed.
Shake 5P T: Self R: 10’ ft radius circle Sv BR Negates
The disciple slams their weapon on the ground, dealing their weapon damage, and knocking all in the area prone, with their Strength bonus as a penalty to the save.
Corollary 5P – increase the radius of effect by 10*STR bonus
Minimize 2+Target SZ squared P D: 1 Turn T:Self
The disciple shrinks themselves, gaining a strength penalty equal to the sum of all the SZ changes while gaining 2 plus that sum to AC. Damage die for weapons is reduced by one size per SZ.(So SZ 0 to -3 would be 1+2+3 = 6 Strength penalty, and +8 AC)
Maximize 2+Target SZ squared P D: 1 Turn T: Self
The disciple grows in size, gaining a strength bonus to equal to all the SZ changes and losing that sum plus 2 to AC. Damage die for weapons is increased by one size per SZ. Sufficient room to grow must be available, otherwise this spell fails.
Note on SZ: yet another of my brother’s inventions. SZ 0 is human sized. Negatives are smaller, positives larger. Goes 4 categories in each direction; creatures larger than or smaller than that have special rules.
Monkey’s Blessing 6P D: 1 Turn T: Self
The disciple channels the wily nature of their deity, becoming slippery and impossible to hit. For the duration, the disciple can not be struck by a counter-attack or attack of opportunity, and gains +2 to all saves as long as they did not attack this round.
Monkey’s Curse 6P D: 1d6 rounds T: Creature R: 5*LVL ft
The disciple lays a divine curse upon a target they have not dealt damage to recently, causing them to immediately fail one kind of save caused by the disciple’s powers or abilities.
Invisibility 6P D: 1 hour/LVL T:Self
The disciple turns invisible. The disciple is not silent, and the spell ends early if they attack someone.
Monkeyhide 6P D: 1d6 rounds T:Self
The disciple toughens themselves against assault, reducing all incoming damage by 1 per die as long as the disciple has not attacked the source this round.
Corollary 6P – reduce incoming damage by 2 per die instead.
Screech 4P D:1 Turn T:Creature R:15 ft Sv SP Negates
The disciple emits a frightful supersonic screech, dealing 5d6 sonic damage to all those caught in the area and stunning them for 1d4 rounds. This will also shatter glass and other fragile objects.
Corollary 2P – deal no damage, but those in the area of effect are automatically stunned for 1d6 rounds.
Decoy 2P D:1 Turn T:Creature R: 5*LVL ft
The disciple disappears, a nearby object no larger than the disciple (and no smaller than their) clenched fist) taking their place. The monkey disciple reappears where the object was. This MUST be cast as a reaction to an attack
Corollary 4P- instead switch places with a willing target.
Note: in general, classes have a an achievement gap at levels 6-9 where they progression as more effective killing machines halts for a bit. This idea was revealed to my brother* in a dream, and therefore must be valid. It also has the effect of bringing characters into the domain game earlier and closing the gulf between higher and lower level characters is less drastic (though not so small as GLOG characters).
Gain one randomly rolled.
Miraculous Sense 30P T:Creature R:Touch
The disciple channels their holy power to return sensation, sanity, or ability to a willing target. This spell can cure blindness, deafness, the loss of any other sense, feeblemindedness and insanity, as well as wake someone from a coma or allow a crippled person to walk again.
Earthquake 20P D: 1 Turn T:Creature R:100 ft radius circle Sv CH
The disciple, by merely touching the ground, causes a great tremor to affect a local area around the disciple. For 1d4 rounds no creature in the area of effect can move or act, and take 6d6 damage. Further effects determined by the terrain the spell is cast in. (blatantly stolen from SRD)
Cave, Cavern, or Tunnel
The spell collapses the roof, dealing 8d6 points of bludgeoning damage to any creature caught under the cave-in (Sv BR half) and pinning that creature beneath the rubble (see below). An earthquake cast on the roof of a very large cavern could also endanger those outside the actual area but below the falling debris.
Earthquake causes a cliff to crumble, creating a landslide that travels horizontally as far as it fell vertically. Any creature in the path takes 8d6 points of bludgeoning damage (Sv BR half) and is pinned beneath the rubble (see below).
Each creature standing in the area falls down. Fissures open in the earth, and every creature on the ground must save vs Breath or fall into a fissure 20 feet deep.
Any structure standing on open ground takes 100 points of damage, enough to collapse a typical wooden, masonry building, stone, or reinforced masonry, but probably not a massive curtain wall. Any creature caught inside a collapsing structure takes 8d6 points of bludgeoning damage (Sv BR half) and is pinned beneath the rubble (see below).
River, Lake, or Marsh
Fissures open underneath the water, draining away the water from that area and forming muddy ground. Soggy marsh or swampland becomes quicksand for the duration of the spell, sucking down creatures and structures. Each creature in the area must make a save vs Breath or sink down in the mud and quicksand. At the end of the spell, the rest of the body of water rushes in to replace the drained water, possibly drowning those caught in the mud.
Pinned beneath Rubble
Any creature pinned beneath rubble takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per minute while pinned. If a pinned character falls unconscious, he or she must make a save against Death or take 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute thereafter until freed or dead.
Monkey Walk 10P D: 1 day T:Self
The disciple becomes extremely fleet of foot, moving at double rate and becoming able to freely walk on ceilings, walls, or any surface wider than a hand across.
Corollary 10P- Increase the MV multiplier by 1.
UP NEXT IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: Some worldbuilding nonsense for my ringworld setting, two/three more Adept subclasses, short explanation of classes and other game mechanics I’ll use.
*Did I mention he has a blog? I’m going to mention it again. Check it out here: kill your dungeon master.