I saw Eli’s post about his entry into the 200 word RPG this year. It inspired me to create a variant.
This game is protected under the Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License. This is based on the game Caltrops by Eli Kurtz, found here. I made changes to the theme of his game, the dice used (d6 instead of d4), expanded the rock-paper-scissors mechanic to seven items, and added rules for gaining items over time.
You are two wizards locked in a magic duel. Both wizards must choose whether or not the duel is to the death.
Requires: 2 players, 8d6, 20-60 minutes
Each Wizards starts with seven spells under their command:
- Stone Fist: Earth Magic; Advantage vs Fire, Blade, and Arid Magic
- Burning Bolt: Fire Magic; Advantage vs Blade, Wood, and Arid Magic
- One Thousand Knives: Blade Magic; Advantage vs. Wind, Wood, and Arid Magic
- Withering Blast: Arid Magic; Advantage vs. Wood, Wind, and Ice Magic
- Choking Vines: Wood Magic; Advantage vs. Wind, Earth, and Ice Magic
- Hurricane Wind: Wind Magic; Advantage vs. Fire, Earth, and Ice Magic
- Shards of Ice: Ice Magic; Advantage vs. Earth, Fire, and Blade Magic
Each wizards secretly chooses a spell to attack their opponent. Both wizards reveal their spells at the same time and determine the number of dice to throw:
- Standard Spell: 1d6
- Name and describe a new spell: +1d6 (must be an existing form of magic)
- Roleplay the duel before casting the spell: +1d6
- Advantage over enemy spell: +1d6
Throw your dice to start the battle! Whoever rolls highest is the victor, and may describe the battle. The loser may describe their injury.
A wizard with three injuries is defeated or dead.
It strikes me that the game would be simpler with five schools of magic instead of seven. I think next post will offer a five magic base set of rules with two extra schools available as a variant.
What also strikes me is how easily this would be to made into a more detailed game:
- Vary the power levels of the wizards by changing the number of spells available. Newer wizards would have fewer spells, older ones would have more (or all seven).
- Provide an alternate wizard that will eliminate the advantage die. This wizard would have an eighth school of magic. It would important to name new spells for both combatants.
- Provide an alternate wizard that starts with 2d6 for a standard spell at the cost of three additional schools of magic. In a standard game, this wizard would have access to three schools of magic at 1d6 and the specialist school at 2d6. In a game with varying power levels, it could be quite interesting.
- Add different dice to represent a small advantage/disadvantage. These could be the instruction of a specific teacher, growing up poor, bonds with an extraplanar power, or a host of other things.
- Provide an alternate combatant whose power is to nullify magic. This could be an anti-magic priest, or wizard hunter. The wizard hunter wins a battle, the wizard loses a spell. Yikes!
It almost feels like an Ars Magica game because the focus is entirely on wizards. Between duels, the grogs and companions help the wizard they serve. It could be fighting non-magical creatures, searching for magical artifacts or ingredients. It’s also possible to add non-magical combatants with different ways to add dice. I could imagine a barbarian that starts with a 1d10 and adds a 1d10 for describing his/her unique hatred for wizards.
I could also see this as a subsystem for a more traditional RPG. S&W could bolt it on fairly easily. I’d use all but necromancy from the d20 schools of magic for the seven forms of magic and use necromancy as the eighth as an alternative wizard. In the Black Hack, this could be the rules for a wizard duel. I’d probably give it a Dog Latin spell name and have characters search for new dueling spells to allow them to get a bonus 1d6 for a new spell.
If you use this game or tinker with it, let me know.