The Summoner in PDF

The Summoner class posted yesterday had a number of errors. Thanks to folks in the Black Hack G+ Community for pointing those out. I really appreciate the support and +1's from everyone. Thank you!

The final PDF can be downloaded here.

This PDF offers a variant class called the Beastmaster as well as more animals for your bestiary. I had fun adding the animals, especially aquatic and aerial creature that could help the Beastmaster. One thing pointed out to me was that it seems summoning animals was done only for combat. I made changes that hopefully will encourage the creature use of various called creatures and animals.

Next up on The Black Hack list of projects is Rune Magic. I plan on using Turkish Runes (a misnomer really). Based on how the runes work so far, there should be a far number of spells added.

The Summoner for The Black Hack

Summoner

Starting HP : d4 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting : 1d4
Weapons & Armor : 1-handed Sword and Staff
Attack Damage : 1d4 / 1 Unarmed or Improvising

Special features

Roll with Advantage when testing CHA to avoid mind control or charm effects.

Leveling up

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for CHA or WIS.

Creature Summoning

Summoners can call any creature personally encountered and placed into their sketchbook to serve them. As they gain experience, the summoner can call more powerful creatures.

Sketchbook

Summoner starts with a large book containing a total of 1d4 1 HD creatures and one 2 HD creature.


Summoning

Summoners can cast call any creature by reading from their sketchbook or can memorize a number of creatures to summon equal to their Level. Memorized creatures can be called without the sketchbook.

They have a number of 'spell slots' they can use each day as shown in the table below. These represent a summoner's 'energy' and the taxing nature of calling creatures over a long period. When they run out of spell slots, they cannot summon any more creatures.

Daily Summoner Spell Slots

Note: columns are spell slot levels, lines are character levels.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

2

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

3

3

1

-

-

-

-

-

4

3

2

-

-

-

-

-

5

4

2

1

-

-

-

-

6

4

3

2

-

-

-

-

7

4

3

2

1

-

-

-

8

4

3

3

2

1

-

-

9

4

3

3

2

2

1

-

10

4

3

3

2

2

2

1

Determining Spell Slots Used

A summoner can call a creature or groups of creatures whose HD is no greater then twice spell slot avaiable. For example, a 5th Level spell slot can be used to call a creature up to 10 HD. Alternately, the spell slot can be used to summon a group of creatures whose total HD is 10 HD or less. Only one type of creature can be called at a time. Another creature(s) cannot be called until the previous ones have been killed or dismissed by the summoner.

Extended Creature Damage Table

As summoners can call creatures up to 20 HD, use the following table to determine creature damage.

Monster HD

Damage

1

d4 (2)

2

d6 (3)

3

2d4 (4)

4

d10 (5)

5

d12 (6)

6

d6 + d8 (7)

7

2d8 (8)

8

3d6 (9)

9

2d10 (10)

10

d10 + d12 (11)

11

2d12 (12)

12

d6 + d20 (13)

13

d8 + d20 (14)

14

d8 + d10 + d12 (15)

15

d12 + d20 (16)

16

d10 + 2d12 (17)

17

3d12(18)

18

d8 + d10 + d20 (19)

19

2d20 (20)

20

d10 + d12 + d20 (21)

Combat with Summoned Creatures

Summoners must succeed a CHA test for a called creature to successfully hit their target. The summoner must succeed a WIS test for a called creature to avoid damage. Since the called creature is under the complete thrall of the summoner, STR, DEX, and INT saves fail. CON saves are rolled against the called creature's HD or 8, whichever is higher.

Link to Sections 1 to 14 of the OGL

Section 15 of the OGL:

15. COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Open Game License v 1.0 Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
The Black Hack © 2016 by David Black
Additional Things © 2016 by David Black
The Summoner for The Black Hack © 2016 by John Payne

 

Chart Based Spellcasting

This post uses a chart that is not obviously reduced down to a simple formula. I say that because you have to give it to Delta. He broke down the Turn Undead table causing me rethink this post. Once you realize that the Turn Undead table is basically rolling 5+ on 1d6, it didn't seem worth presenting the original tweak. It felt like redoing the 2d6 spellcasting class presented earlier.

Where's the fun in that?

Still, I have created a Turn Undead based caster before here. It's not a tweak like my previous posts, but it's there for anyone that wants to use it.

To use a table, the challenge was to come up with a table that was not easily reducible to a simple die roll. After quite a few experiments and lots of research, I attempted to use a drop table or the original FASERIP table.

The drop table is not a bad idea, but my lack of art ability makes this a rather unattractive option. The FASERIP table (and the ZeFRS and 4C variations) were interesting, but it introduces column shifts and basically still feels like a percentage roll. Redoing a percentage roll is too much like another previous post.

So I looked for a chart in any game I have that wasn't so obvious. Despite the fact that it requires custom dice, I ended up choosing Paydirt, the American football simulation game. One reason for the choice was the ability to make something visual within my limited artistic abilities. The main reason was that it was different.

Blah, Blah, Blah, we saw the chart as the featured image.

Using a custom chart means, of course, that I am beyond making small tweaks, but introducing a new mechanic that doesn't exist in any S&W or OSR clone I know. I still plan on using the spell table to be a check on this spellcasters' power, but more on that later.

The link to the chart is here: Spellcasting Paydirt The top row represents the level of the attempted spell. The leftmost column represents the possible dice roll results. Roll the dice, look down the first column for the result and then look right for the level of the spell attempted. Green means success, red means failure. If you choose to use them, purple is a major success and black is a major failure.

Paydirt used some truly funky die. The dice for the chart use the custom dice rolled for offensive plays.

The offensive dice are:
Black die: 1-2-2-3-3-3
White die: 0-0-1-2-3-4
White die: 0-1-2-3-4-5

The Black die was the tens digit and the White dice were added together to get the ones digit. Because of the zeroes, the results range from 10 to 39. When you do the math, the results do not make a simple curve, so looking at the chart does not provide likely probabilities at first glance. Only seven of the twenty-nine cells for a 9th level spell are red or black, yet these are the most difficult spells to cast (about a 50-50 chance). First level spells have eight red or black cells, yet they are the easiest to cast (about a 90 percent chance).

The other appeal of these charts, are that there is some ability to make designs without affecting the odds of successful spellcasting. (If there is interest, I'll make a few.) I thought about using these to represent astrological charts. Let's say a simple die roll (1d6 or 1d8 determined by the number of charts made up) determines which chart is available. The charts wouldn't be too different (although that could be fun, too) but interesting enough that a player is not always trying to roll in the 30s.

Like the other two classes in earlier posts, a spellcaster using this chart is still an unreliable spellcaster. Spells are not guaranteed in the same way as the traditional S&W Magic-User. We could have them make magic items that increase their reliability. We could also have them make potions to guarantee the spell is cast. You can certainly mix and match the special abilities of the previous classes, but let's do something a bit different.

Going with the idea that these spellcasters use astrological charts, let's add in a dash of numerology. At every even level, roll the custom dice to add a magic number to add to the character sheet. Results are cumulative. An 18th level spellcaster would have nine magic numbers. When casting a spell, rolling a magic number results in success. No matter what the result says on the chart (good or bad), rolling a magic number is a standard success, not a major one.

Still, the spellcaster may get no benefit from the magic numbers, even at high levels. Instead of adjusting the XP Chart, we'll add another minor ability, a small hex ability.

This hex ability uses the custom chart to determine success. Roll 1d8 to determine which column to use and roll the custom dice to check the result. A character's magic numbers can also be used to determine success.

On a successful roll, chosen targets within a 20 by 20 foot area are struck with a saving throw penalty for three rounds. If the 1d8 result is 1 to 4, the penalty is -1. If the result is 5 or more, the penalty is -2.

Again, not a tweak, but with a new mechanic, an astrologer or numerologist class with some interesting abilities. Even with the hex ability based on the Prayer spell, it is a class that is still weaker than a Cleric and on par with a standard Magic-User. The choice of a standard Magic-User is still a good one as the M-U always successfully casts whatever spell he or she wants. Want something different? Well, not as reliable, but fairly interesting without being overpowering.

As for a type of magic item that can be found, it could be a gem, a stone, or other kind of object inscribed with a magic word. The word provides another magic number for this class to use on a one-time basis. If you have a houserule that allows all M-U to create scrolls, you can use a similar rule for the creation of these magic words. The cost is 1d8 * 100 gp and take 1d8 days to create. A spellcaster can only use one of these items per spell attempt.

A more powerful magic item cover a group of ten rolls. Specifically, these gematric perfections would make rolls 10 to 19, 20 to 29, or 30 to 39 into successes, regardless of what appears on the chart. The cost of these items would be 4500gp and could be used only once. Unlike the lesser magic item, this expensive magic can be stacked.

In the next few posts, I'll talk about the interchangeability of the four classes and new types of magic items that affect all of them. The goal of this series of posts is a modular system to create interesting NPCs or classes. More soon.