Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Magical Alternatives for AD&D/D&D

The Greyhawk Grognard has an article about runecasters. 

My own solution involves 4e style rituals.

I have a rule that to cast any spell that is a ritual you need components equal in value to the spell level squared time 10 gp.

I have another rule that says that ritual take a minimum of a turn (10 minutes) to cast.

Then I created magic using classes that can only cast spell using rituals.

In order to cast spell in combat they need to create a scroll or in the case of runecaster runes.

The advantage of Runes is that you can place them in a wider variety of locations. Make a rune staff, wand, dagger, etc.

There also two types of runes. One shot runes which work just like scrolls. And permanent runes.

Permanent Runes cost double whatever you have for scrolls. But afterwards can be recharged for HALF the cost of a scroll.

To determine how many rune and object can have. I ruled each rune take up a space two inches by four inches. Basically divide the length by four and that how many runes that can be scribed.

The advantage of this system is that you don't have to modify AD&D's spells. A fireball rune work just like a fireball spell. A fireball ritual works the same as well but you would have to be in a siege, behind the battle line, or a special combat circumstance to pull off the ten minute casting time.

I would rule that the time to activate the room is the same as the equivalent scroll.

In my campaign magic user can cast ritual equal to 1/2 the highest level spell they can cast rounded down. So when you can cast 2nd level spells you can cast 1st level ritual.  But this is optional. You can have ritual caster as a separate class and not have magic-user being able to use rituals.

The effect of this on game is that the player loads up on runes to the limit he can carry. They have more "firepower" but once expended they have no quick way of regaining spell power. Since scroll/rune making take days and weeks of in-game time it is an important consideration as to when runes are used.

I flesh this out in further detail in my Majestic Wilderlands supplement


Reese Laundry said...

Hi Rob,
I have always been curious as to why you limit rituals to half the level of spells the caster can cast normally. to me, it seems an ideal way for caster to have access to spells of a higher level than normal, through expenditure of time & gold.

Secular Transhumanist said...

At the risk of being pedantic, my article wasn't about runecasters per se, but used that as an example to illustrate the point that magic-users in (A)D&D use a wide variety of different sorts of magic, including runes among many others.

word verification: "dicess". What Gollum uses to play D&D. "We rolls the twenty-sided dicess, my precioussss..."

Robert Conley said...


In a nutshell because it fits how magic works in the Majestic Wilderlands. The main aspect of which is that ritual caster continued to exist to the "present" despite memorization magic being around for a thousand years.

My handwave is that when memorization was developed, it practitioners lost some of the ability to cast higher level spells as ritual due to the focus of their training on memorization.

Your campaign may have a different assumption about all this. Thus tweak the rule accordingly.

To allow magic users to case ritual of higher spell level then they are capable of; the most D&Dish way is to use the same rules for casting higher level scrolls.

Necropraxis said...

Myself, I like to allow magic-users of any level to scribe scrolls (following Holmes). I'll need to check out the Majestic Wilderlands book again about rune casting. That sounds like a fun variation.

Trent_B said...

So good.