Electrum Pieces and Paper Pills

Base 16 Initiative

The tonal system came up in my mind because of how the time units seem to work so well for old school D&D and possibly 5e, but I'd have to look at it more. Bear with me, I'll get to how this thought exercise helps me.

A hexadecimal second is 1.31 seconds long. This would really change anything.

A hexadecimal minute is about 21 seconds. This could be considered a round. It's twice as long as I'd normally have a round, but I could say that you can take four actions in a round instead of my normal two actions in a round.

A hexadecimal maxime (there is no analogue in our current time system) is about 5 and half minutes long. I could call this a turn.

I am a pianist, so I can easily think in terms of two 16th notes makes an eighth note, four of them make a quarter note and so on.

Get on with the game part of this

In the game, two rounds make 1/4 turn. four rounds make 1/2 a turn. For spells that last for turns, I feel like I can track them easier. I have a circle for each spell that lasts turns and mark the time elapsed in quarters.

I do clothespin initiative, but I get two different colors of wooden clothespins and make two color clothespins. After determining the initiative order and placing them on my referee screen, after each person finishes their turn, I turn the clothespin around. When I see all the same color clothespins on my side, it's another round.

If I have yellow and green clothespins and start with the green side facing me, every time all the clothespins facing me are all green, that would mark a 1/4 of a turn. In the circle representing the spell, I quickly shade in 1/4 of the circle.

My old system was that since 10 rounds equals 1 turn, I would use tick marks for every two rounds.

Something to think about more.

ACKS, Electrum Pieces and Paper Pills

More from My Son

My son is a creative boy. In light of John Cleese's commentary on creativity, he has the lifestyle.

One of his favorite things to do is to ask what an object would be like in a magical 'land' where it could walk and talk. For example, he will ask things like, "what are dolphins like in Dolphin Land?"

Today's question was, "what are letters like in Letter Land?"

This got me to thinking about a place in the Astral Sea where everyone can cast 1e style cantrips with a simple sound. This would be little things like burp, hiccup, spice, clean, etc. However, more powerful magics require multiple individuals speaking their spell together. This is analogous to letters coming together to form words.

I don't want to do anything as complex as determining which individual cantrips come together to form more powerful spells. Most languages with an alphabet (as opposed to a syllabry) have individual sounds that form words together without assigning a meaning to the individual sound. For example, in the word "fun" in English, the letters by themselves have no meaning.

What this means is an entire culture where individual spellcasting is practically non-existent or somehow culturally abhorrent. There wouldn't be mages or clerics in an adventuring party, but the party as a collective whole could perform magic.

What this allows is a party that is connected together by their religion adventuring together. The collective whole functions like a cleric (heal spells, turn undead, etc.) but individually, the members have different functions. In a D&D sense, the party would basically be variations of fighters and thieves.

Thinking further, though, it may not make sense to have a dichotomy between divine and arcane magic at this point. Combining the spell lists, so to speak, leaves open the question of how the party could turn undead. As a tangent, being undead could come to mean in this culture, that the individual no longer has their cantrip and cannot contribute to a community casting a spell. Being undead means a loss of identity and a loss of community which is why undead are so feared.

As a tangent to the tangent, individuals that lust for power would work on a different kind of magic that the society would find abhorrent outside of necromancy. Necromancy is bad enough, animating bodies that have no identity or community. This new form of magic would seek to artificially create a community so that an individual, instead of a group, could cast more powerful spells. This could be something like a secret room in a stronghold that imprisons individuals or as odd as somehow combing individuals as an amalgam. The Amalgam would be abhorrent to the society because it is not willing community and because of the stripping of identity of many so that one can become its own community.

Back to adventuring parties, there are two ways to increase diversity in the spells that they can cast. One way is for individuals learn more cantrips. This would not be a frequent event. An individual may learn three or four cantrips in an entire lifetime. (No, they cannot combine them to cast spells for themselves.) The other way is to increase the size of the party over time. This would give new members of the party a meaningful way to contribute without functioning strictly as meatshields. (Meatshields aren't bad. I use them in other settings. In this society, though, I'm not sure the idea of meatshields would fit.)

Another thing this idea allows is for a village to be able to ward off a big bad monster without necessarily hiring some mercenaries to do it. The entire village can come together to cast one "big" spell to banish a demon or ward off an ancient dragon.

It occurs to me that there should be a class of individuals that study magic so that it is known who to put together in order to cast a spell. Individuals know their cantrip(s), but someone outside of the individual would need to know how to put them together. (This could be this society's idea of leadership.) Thinking of Fighters as people that solve problems with weapons and strength and Thieves as people that solve problems by using their skill, one of the skills a thief (or an LOTFP specialist) would be the study of magic. In essence, he or she would be like a sociologist.

This would also make certain monsters, like orcs, dangerous at all levels of play. Increasing the number of orcs increases their sword power *and* their magic power. Hmmm.

Passing thought - maybe dragons can still be individual spellcasters, one of the many reasons that they would be feared, but their power would come from the amalgam type of magic mentioned earlier. Dragons wouldn't eat people, but keep them for the ability to be a spellcaster.

For ACKS, the party may need to be able to gain proficiencies as a group. I need to think about that some more. What do you think?

Just some food for thought on a Saturday. Feel free to steal and use for your purposes if it spurs some ideas.

Electrum Pieces

The Mamen

noisms over at Monsters and Manuals posted something fun that I couldn't resist.

The idea is to roll randomly to pick 2d6 monsters from your bestiary of choice. (Fiend Folio, MM2, Monstrous Compendium from 2e, etc.) Then turn those monsters into PC races for a campaign setting.

I pulled out my Dragon Warriors Bestiary and rolled 8 creatures. Sabre-Tooth Tiger, Tapestry Wards, Caitshee, Titan, Wild Boar, Ire Goblin, Okeman, and Water Leaper. I tend to over-think things, so bear with me as some of these are more fleshed out than others.

Mamen (Tapestry Wards) - These creatures were magically brought into this world from a two-dimensional plane to serve a cruel wizard intent on using them to build an unstoppable army. The Mamen escaped the control of wizard, but not before gaining the ability to appear as three-dimensional humanoids. Three generations later, some Mamen have come out of seclusion to explore their new home. The fourth generation Mamen have adapted mostly to three-dimensional existence, but still rely on talismans made for them at birth that allows them to maintain their three-dimensional shape.

Mamen have the ability to remove their talisman and re-attach it at will. This allows them to become invisible (turn sideways) and attack while invisible (like a monofilament weapon). A strike from a two-dimensional Mamen does 1d8 damage at first level, but increases as the Mamen increases in level.

Mamen cannot be clerics, but can be any other class.

Caitshee - These humanoids have a slight feline appearance in the face due to the inverted triangle shaped nose. They are resistant to magic and can disrupt magic with a certain range per level. This includes disrupting the magic of a party's mage.

Due their magic resistance and magic disrupting abilities, there cannot become mages. Caitshee prefer to be rogues.

Ire Goblin or Bugbear - Nothing too new here except that a few smaller, orange splotched and weaker Bugbears can be psionic. Otherwise, Bugbears cannot be psionic.

Titan - When the gods defeated the Titans, the titans that survived went into exile and lived with other humanoids. The children of those Titans became the epic heroes of legend. The grand-children of those epic heroes are what other races call Titans today.

Physically, they appear human ranging from six to seven feet tall. They prefer to be clean-shaven and wear their hair short. Titan villages are fairly common near Zominakapra and Puli settlements.

Titan can be any class they wish. When a Titan character is created, a d6 is rolled. The result determines which ability score receives a +4 bonus. Depending on rolls, it is possible for a Titan to have a 22 score for an attribute, though that is quite rare.

Zominakapra (Boars of Zominthos)  - These boar-men have the torso and lower body of a man and the head of a boar. Despite their fierce appearance, Zominakarpa are quite thoughtful and intelligent. Zominakapra can communicate with pigs, but rarely do so preferring the company of others.

They can often be found exchanging ideas and philosophies. Those that practice sorcery form societies that mutually benefit all members. Research and discovered spells are eagerly shared with other members. For this reason Zominakarpa characters that choose to be sorcerers gain an additional spell per level for their spellbook.

Despite their perchant for intellectual pursuits, Zominakarpa are swift and deadly in combat. Those that choose to be fighters gain the ability to temporarily use primal rage to wreak havoc on their targets.

Okeman - The okeman vary widely in height, body type and coloration. All okeman have dense skin, can move quickly and are susceptible to fire. They can range from four to seven feet tall. They can be thin or thick. Their color can range from light grey to dark brown to any color in-between. Their multi-colored hair contains yellow, auburn, a bit of orange and traces of green.

Okeman believe that everything has an associated spirit. Stones have spirits, tree have spirits, rivers, mountains, even blades of grass are believed to have spirits. Any Okeman employ a unique form of magic that they call Galli Nir. Magic is generated by the proper alignment and invocation of specific spirits. To aid with proper alignment, Okeman mages use a vast array of pre-made charts to help with protocol when addressing the spirits. Their belief and work with spirits leads the Okeman and Puli to be very close allies.

Okeman avoid things made of wood as they believe that all wood contains the vengeful spirit of the tree that it came from. Their respect for tree spirits makes them close allies with the Puli.

Okeman are skilled in leather and stone craft. They also have great strength. All okeman have the ability to call down lightning which does 1d8 damage to all within 30 feet, including the Okeman.

Water Leaper - These albino limbless toads  are extraordinarily  adept at using teleportation magic and other spells that help makes things or people travel easier. Water leapers themselves move around on floating platforms which they call life chairs.

Water Leapers have very little physical defense and can only attack through the use of magic. Once per day, they can concentrate and strike an opponents with a magical disease that targets the bones of the body. Successful usage of this power will either turn an opponents' bones to jelly.

Puli - Despite being relatives of the Caitshee, they do not have magic resistance or magic disruption abilities. Physically, Puli are quite similar. The most striking difference is seen in the long, curved fangs of the Puli.

Puli can be any class, but they are known for their magic. Their particular form of magic relies on ghosts and spirits to access magical powers. Many times, the spirits serve as a conduit of energy, but there are a few times that they are called upon to act more directly.

Puli clerics do not turn ghosts or spirits. They seek to command them instead. A Puli cleric that successfully commands or controls ghosts or spirits are granted an additional spell to cast. The ability works once per day at lower levels, but can be performed more frequently for powerful clerics.