[PnP] More Peril with the Powers

Alex Koponen akoponen at mosquitonet.com
Fri Mar 25 01:24:05 CET 2005

Finally, I have some time to devote to gaming matters.

Some time ago I mentioned that in order to keep mysterious and 
excitingly dangerous I use certain house rules:
1) I restrict all newly created spellcasters to an initial number of 
spells as listed in Book 4, Rule 1.24. With the same restriction on the 
maximum starting EL of their spells. I let them roll for spells randomly 
one at a time until they have their full allotment of spells or until 
the player chooses to pick the rest of their spells. The randomly rolled 
spells are instructed, but the chosen spells are learned alone and do 
not have the cost break that the instructed spells do. After paying to 
learn EL0 in their spells they may allot the remaining expertise to 
their spells as they see fit, subject to the maximum starting EL limit.

This has the advantages of simplicity, players knowing their spells 
better, the characters better with the spells known and the spice of 
seeking spells remains longer.

2) In order to make the casting of magic a more dangerous occupation and 
encourage conservative use of magic I do the following:
If possible (sometimes too many spellcasters to keep track of) I 
secretly roll the success rolls for all spells cast and inform the 
players as to the effect of the spell. Anytime a spell failure (not 
success or abysmal) occurs I make another roll (with the same chance of 
success) to determine additional loss in Energy Level (EnL) and of mana, 
both of which I secretly keep track of.

If this second roll is in the range of success - treat as ordinary spell 
failure with the spellcaster getting 1 expertise point in the spell.

If the second roll is a failure - as above but additionally lose EL+1 
from EnL; lose 1d6 mana points (as if used); stunned for EL+1 phases.

If the second roll is an abysmal failure - the spellcaster gets 1 
expertise point in the spell; loses (EL+1)x(EL+1) from EnL; loses 
(1d6)x(1d6) mana points (as if used); character is stunned for as many 
phases as EnL points lost.

Should a character's Mana be lowered to zero the character is stunned 
for an additional EL+1 phases.
Should a character's Mana be lowered below zero the character loses EnL 
to make up the difference and is in a coma until the EnL recovers to 
Should a character's Energy Level (EnL) be lowered to zero or less the 
character is permanently, irretrievably dead.

In addition to keeping spellcasters nervous this tends to weed out the 
incompetent, brash and unlucky spellcasters. There are old spellcasters 
and bold spellcasters but very few old bold spellcasters.

Note: There are certain ways to judge ones mana and EnL. Mana Sensing 
helps, Mana Reading is more accurate. Spells such as Divination, 
Perception, Soul Sight (on another) and Detection can be used to more or 
less get an idea of how much mana or EnL is left. 

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