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Six and Twenty Rune System by Keith Mathews

I mentioned a rune system in my last post, so I received permission from the author to talk about it in detail. Please read Keith's post here. I'll return to my thoughts on the Words of Power system in a later post.

In the Basic Fantasy facebook group, Keith Mathews posted about a rune system he developed to make magic require experimentation to gain new spells. The idea is that a wizard using this option is not a part of a formal school, but more of a hedge wizard or DIY dabbler.

Before going into the details, if you are unfamiliar with Basic Fantasy, the key thing to know for this system is that the game has six spell levels. There are supplements that add 0 level and 7th level spells, but the standard game has six.

The System

Six and Twenty is not Keith's name for it, it's mine. The system is based on six runes. Using three of the six generates a spell. This creates a possible 120 permutations, each permutation is a spell. To make tracking easier on the GM, the runes are numbered 1 to 6. There is no effect or keyword tied to a rune, it is only the sequence of the three runes used that determines the spell.

The first rune determines the spell level, the next two determine the spell. If I choose the runes 1,4,6 I have a 1st level spell with whatever spell I assign to it. The system provides for 20 spells for each spell level. Considering that BF has 68 Magic-User Spells (and 48 Cleric spells, if you want to include some or all of them), there's plenty of room to add in your own spells. Keith also suggested that you could also make some of the permutations 'bad spells' that create a magic mishap. For example, using 3,4,2 in sequence will always generate a poisonous smoke bomb centered on the caster.

I created a chart of the 120 permutations grouped by spell level and began to fill in the 1st level spell spaces with BF spells.

Starting with 1st level BF Spells

I decided that I didn't want to use Cleric spells or make the other slots magical mishaps. Instead, to add to the weirdness and the sense that magic is dangerous, I'm going to use Space Age Sorcery by Hereticwerks (it's free). It also has only six spells levels on its spell lists, so it should fit the system perfectly.

Here's my updated list:

Now with Added Space Age Sorcery Spells

If you're not familiar with Space Age Sorcery, here is the description for the Melt spell:

Caster gains the ability to liquify metals and alloys on touch, affecting up to one pound per level. This spell can be used to sculpt metal into new shapes, should the caster have some aptitude or talent for such things. It can also be used to inflict 1d4 damage per level on metal-based lifeforms, golems, robots and the like, or to make spontaneous modifications to the hull of a ship, etc.

Some spells cause cranial swelling, alien globs, and even weirder things. It's just the thing to convey that magic is dangerous and strange.

Once I fill out the other possibilities, I have a list of 120 spells that PCs can discover. Again, encourage the PCs to experiment with the runes to discover what each combination can do.

You may have noticed that I had a column for DM Name. Per Keith's suggestion in his post, I plan to let players name the spell based on the description that I provide to them. For my own sanity, I have the name listed in the books while still providing a chance for players to own their spells.

Final Thoughts

This is a fun system to play with. Feel free to use other BF supplements to add Druid or Illusionist spells. If you use other supplements that add 7th level spells, you could add them into the entries for 6th level spells or create a special 7th rune that activates only for high level wizards.

Let me know if you want my full list.

M20 on My Mind

I have a lot to catch up on over at Nevermet Press. Many, many wiki entries and posts are just bursting to get out of my mind. Alas, energy and concentration are not my friends.

So a quick brain dump here in an attempt to get going:

Odd Retroclone Idea One:

Wanted to be successful with M20 Odd Duck inspired by this post. Basically, the spell list would be substituted with the spells from The Fantasy Trip. Conversion of the spells has been problematic. I finally figured out that IQ level =! M20 spell level. ST cost also doesn't seem to translate as some spells have 50, 60 or 100 ST cost while many others range from 1 to 10.

I created a spreadsheet to rank them relatively to each other. An IQ 14 spell that cost 1 ST would be a higher level than an IQ 8 spell that cost 2 ST. The formula is not that complicated as I opted out of trying to determine a normalized distribution. Besides, I'm not that good at normalization (in math or databases) anyway.

I may never finish it. Ugh. It's a good idea that I just cannot implement.

Odd Retroclone Idea Two:

I also have some bizarre deathwish to create my own retro-clone. It would be a complete vanity project that 'feels' like the amalgam of B/X, 1st and 2nd edition AD&D with some new found love for BAB and other d20 conventions. The other oddity would be how everything is inspired by Paul M. Crabaugh. I will include a class generator (which only needs options for illusionists) and a monster generator. I am about 33% done with the generator - it only generates non-magical beasts at the moment.

What compels me on this idea is a mystery to me.

First Posted Generator – Sanskrit-ish City Names

Here are the original tweets for this idea in the order they were written. Better write up coming soon. The available yould egine, if folks want to use Yould, is called sk. (This is a note for myself more than anything.)

Properly, the web enhancement is called Mahasarpa and it's available as a web enhancement from WOTC here. Please bear with the misspelling.

THinking about Masharpa (from WOTC) and India flavored articles from old Dragon magazines.

Then came across Inkwell Ideas' generators for city names: http://bit.ly/6H6lYC and http://bit.ly/4BvC2z about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Then thought about adding an area with India-like flavor for BFRPG setting. Would use Anti-Paladin Games format of one-page descriptions. about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Of course, when creating a new setting, I start with the language so that I know what to call things. Most of the time, it's English. about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

This time, I want something Sanskrit-ish. I turn to my favorite tool, Yould, which I helped document. http://bit.ly/7PvMfM about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Firing up Yould, I realize that I prefer transliterated texts to work up a few ideas. You see, Yould requires texts to "train" the generator about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

In a perfect would, I would use documents written in Sanskrit and generate from there (Yould is UTF-8, works with anything) about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

But I am looking for 'good enough' because I do not want to get bogged down in my linguist OCD issues. (Yes, I love languages) about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Not finding any larger transliterated texts that I could use easily, I take a readily available English text and use google translate about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Google Translate provides "romanization" of the English to Hindi translation of my long passage. I use the romanization to train yould. about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

After some work, yould has a masharpa engine I can use to make Sanskrit-ish words. Decision: generate 100 words and choose the best ones? about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Or create a name generator similar to the ones I saw on Inkwell Ideas. I decide to create a name generator similar to the Chinese City one. about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

I generate small words to correspond to same concepts used (directions, geologic features, pleasant adjectives, colors,etc) and expand list about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Final Generator has Five Colums with 20 entries per column. Roll D6 twice to choose which colums. Roll D20 to find entry. Viola! about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Final Generator produces names with the flavors I want, as well as provide 100 vocabulary woods for the setting. Will post on sycarion soon about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Example results: Vanataane, Lahekan, Prekham, Rushaim, Apharuen, Pahrahta, Itashaya. 38 minutes ago from TweetDeck

Life is good, I feel like I can make some one page writeups of various areas. 38 minutes ago from TweetDeck

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