Wednesday, May 13, 2020

B/X Bolt-On: Magic

I love B/X. It's the perfect game to noodle around with. I can bend, and break, and change things without having to worry about something else getting jacked up. It's also a game that I can play RAW without griping about the way something works.

Today, we're noodling.
I've been wanting to do something with the magic system in B/X to make it more...DCC. I considered doing a direct port, but things get real messy, real quick. I feel like Goodman Games got it right with the DCC magic system. It's chaotic, and dangerous, and most importantly comes from something that isn't mortal. I want a taste of that in my B/X games.

This house rule makes the assumption that there is only one magic-using class in your game. Call it whatever you want, but I only intend to present a single spell list. Cleric spells, and the Turn Undead ability are rolled into this list.

We also assume that magic comes from some other power. Be it a god, a demon, a ghost, that really big fish in the pond, etc. A patron, if you will. This patron also grants unique corruption when a spells spectacularly. These patrons can be ported directly from DCC's various sources.

Lastly, we assume you're okay with the sin of pseudo-vancian magic.
Gygax, forgive me


When the Magic-User casts a spell, consult the table below.

Failure, lost, corruption
Failure, lost
Success, lost
Great Success, lost
Great Success, Retained

On a result of 12 the mental imprint of the spell remains on their mind, and the spell may be cast again as if it wasn't cast in the first place. 

You could include bonuses for Intelligence, or level, but I prefer to let the curve of 2d6 do all of the lifting. If you decided to allow bonuses, you need to consider what happens when a 2 is rolled. Does the bonus override it, or do you treat it as a natural 1?

DCC aficionados will notice a lack of misfires. This is for 2 reasons; 1) I don't have the energy to write misfires for each spell, 2) This is already slowing down combat.
You could easily lift the misfires presented in DCC to fill the need.


Example spells

Turn Undead
Range: 150' | Duration: 1 turn
Success: 2d6 HD worth of undead monsters are turned. The monster will not touch the Magic-User and will flee from the area if it can.
Great Success: 2d6 HD worth of undead monsters are Dispelled (destroyed or disintegrated).
Corruption: The Magic-User takes takes on the visage of the creature they were attempting to turn. Skin melts off the face, finger bones become exposed, flesh rots, etc. This should result in difficulties with future social encounters (penalties to reaction rolls, and the like). 

Detect Magic
Range: 60' | Duration: 2 turns
Success: Magic items the Magic-User can see within range glow.
Great Success: As success, and the Magic-User gleans additional information about these items. If they are cursed, the items glow a different color than the rest. The Magic-User may select one item (if more than one are being looked at) and know generally how powerful it is, and how to use its basic functions.
Corruption: The Magic-User is blinded for the duration of the spell.

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