Recent Work on Projects

I'm sorry for the recent spam. I got overwhelmed by the spam when I didn't update my hashcash filter.

I have been working on a few things. I'll update the current development page soon. Really.

I stopped the football project long enough to actually play Statis-Pro Football again. I have a pretty good team with a few holes to fill in the draft. I made the questionable call of not keeping a good RB. I am afraid that will haunt me.

Anyway, I have used yould to generate most of the Lenga language. This is the last piece in creating all the crunchy bits for the backstory of this world.

I have also stumbled upon an old usenet posting of a spell description language. I have modified it, adding an element and a few actions. Using it, I am translating the OGL spells from the SRD into the magic system I have created. It's not as straight-forward as I would like. There is a bit of fuzziness in some of the descriptions. It also takes a while. There are even a few spells that do not translate, like Air Walk.

The goal is to have something that is more or less systematic in determining difficulty and power of a spell without making the player use a lot of math to create their own. I think this has been done. In the player's book, it will basically show a spell, a description of the effects, a mana cost and a TN. To make a spell, a player must use simple sentences to describe the effect of the spell. Conjunctions cannot be used, only one verb per sentence.

For example, the Aid spell is described in the SRD this way:

Aid grants the target a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls and saves against fear effects, plus temporary hit points equal to 1d8 + caster level (to a maximum of 1d8+10 temporary hit points at caster level 10th).

This translate to:
Give target bonus against fear.
Give target temporary LIF.

Using the rules, the GM then figures out the Mana Cost (11) and TN (24).

One rule about Magic is that it is easier and cheaper for spells to do one simple thing. If a person casts two spells instead of a combined one, the breakdown would be:

Bonus against fear spell: Cost 5, TN 20
Give temp LIF points: Cost 5, TN 18.

If someone has time to cast two spells instead of a combined one, it is 1 point cheaper and about 10% more likely to work as intended.

Other spells demonstrate this more dramatically, like Animal Messenger, which I'll detail later.

Alternate Magic System

Let's say you have a magic system similar to Lenga in your Action! System game. Using magic adds three new attributes, spells are skill rolls based on one of those three attributes. Like other attributes in the Action! System, there is an attribute that represent raw power, magic control, and magical defense.

In Lenga you would roll 3d6 and add the attribute and skill to the roll For example, let's say a spell that turns a pound of lead into a pound of gold has a TN of 30. This spell relies on the control attribute which for your character is 6. Your skill with this spell is an 8. Rolling attribute (6) + skill (8) + 3d6, the total needs to meet or exceed 30. In other words, you need to roll a 16 or better. Instead of using 3d6, consider the following to add to the attribute + skill roll:

Roll nine dice and arrange them in a 3 X 3 square. You don't get time to pick and choose, just quickly group them. You have the possibility to get up to 8 successes. How you determine those successes will change depending on the attribute related to the spell. Consider the dice positions below:

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9

If the power attribute was the base of the spell, your eight chances would be determined by eight lines. Namely: 123, 456, 789, 147, 258, 369, 159, 357.

If the control attribute is the base of the spell, your eight chances would be determined by corners. Namely: 412, 236, 698, 874, 426, 842, 684, 268.

If the defense attribute is key, total all nine dice and divide by three. Round up the result to the next whole number. Yes, this gives defensive spells a slight advantage, but it's not as much as you would think.

The number of successes will determine how many dice are rolled to add to the effect. I haven't worked out exactly how many successes equals a number of dice, but let's say that:

1-2 Successes yields One Effect Die

3-5 Successes yield Two Effect Dice

6-7 Successes yield Three Effect Dice

8 Successes yield Four Effect Dice

Using the same example spell above, your attribute is 6, your skill is 8, you roll nine dice in this pattern

3 4 2
5 1 6
2 6 5

Because it is an aptitude based spell, use the corners to determine the 8 rolls added to your attribute + skill. The results are:

5+3+4 or 12
4+2+6 or 12
6+5+6 or 17
6+2+5 or 13
5+4+6 or 15
6+5+4 or 15
6+6+5 or 17
4+6+6 or 16

Since you need results of 16 or greater, you have three successes. This means you get two extra dice for the spellĀ  effect.

Give it a shot.

Life Force

In Lenga, there are no real 'undead' so to speak. A thing is alive or it is not. The definition of alive is a union of body and soul. Once the soul has separated from the body, it travels to the afterworld, or it remains in the world of the living as an incorporeal being. The soul cannot travel into another body if it decides to stay in the living world.

The body, on the other hand, can be animated. It can even be given the power to speak and understand simple commands. However, it is not alive. It cannot think for itself and will only do exactly as it is instructed. Animations have no impulse to self-preservation. This means if ordered to march off a cliff, they will march off the cliff without hesitation. The body is just like any other object in this respect - any object (statue, block of wood, pile of dirt) can be animated. A reanimated body is called a skeleton or zombie in other game systems. An animated collection of material is called a golem in other game systems.

Either kind of animation is rumored to be able to understand 1000 words only. There's a story of an ancient golem whose creator wanted to teach the monster every word he could. Unfortunately, he never made it past the A's. Instructions to this golem can only be given in words that start with the letter A. Most magician syndicates have a standard list of 1000 words for 'animations'. A few use Ganarii due to the nature of their spoken language. (Ganarii animations can almost pass as intelligent.)

The soul, however, travels to the afterworld at death. It first travels to Hades. Hades is a holding place for the soul until it decides to travel to the Elysium fields for rest, or to Limbo in search of a way back to the world of the living. Some souls never leave Hades - at first this may be due to indecision, but ultimately as Hades tends to destroy desire, a soul stays because it has no desire to move on.
The Elysium fields are a place of rest for those that choose it. Ultimately, it is a place that allows for continued ambition and desire with the comfort of immortality. The fields are large enough that those that do not wish to be caught up in the ambitions of others can readily escape. As a place that allows for desires, no one can be compelled in the Elysium fields.
Limbo is a place of motion. The soul in Limbo loses its identity. Once 'blank' it returns to the world of the living as another person.
There are gateways to these places in the world of the living. A few even try to direct the incorporeal souls that remain to Hades. Souls that enter directly into the Elysium fields from the world of the living are unique and very rare cases. Most are the 'nobility' of the Elysium fields. Many an emporer has sought to keep their power by attempting to bypass Hades.

However, there are tales of three mages that have chosen a fifth option. These mages were all stricken with the Phage that debilitates some spellcasters. In an attempt to find a cure (instead of seek treatment which robs them of their ability to use magic), these three sought to reconnect the soul with the body immediately after death. When the body dies and the soul separates, the Phage goes away. Seeking to take advantage of this, these three sought to return to their own Phage-free bodies.

To their delight, it worked. To their dismay, however, they found that the body must be sustained by magical power. Since the body died, it cannot produce new blood cells or heal by normal means. These three use magic to repair all damage to their bodies at a very rapid rate. (This extends to the cellular level.) As a result, they never age, never grow hair longer, never shave. Other body systems also shut down, so they do not eat or feel the need for sleep. The only living organ is the brain.

Unfortunately for them, they feel perpetually hungry. Occasionally, they consume the blood of sentient species. Doing so allows them to appear as normal humans in skin color. It also offsets some of the gauntness they are prone to have. One has been driven mad by his condition, the other two may not hold out much longer. They have supposedly recorded their steps in order to duplicate the process.

Only the gods or titans can actually create new life force. It is presumed that the presence of these three has gotten their attention and completely reviled them all. Many believe that the tales of these three mages are simply moral stories to teach children the evils of unbridled ambition.