Sunday, December 29, 2013

Obsolete Simulations Roundup: Chivalry and Sorcery, Part II -- Sorcery

Tim Snider over at The Savage Afterworld blog started the Obsolete Simulations Roundup as a way of giving love to those games from days of old that aren't played much nowadays.

I chose Chivalry and Sorcery by Ed Simbalist and Wilf Backhaus, published by Fantasy Games Unlimited in 1977. This is Part II. Part I is here.


One of the best things about C&S to me is the magic system.

Whereas most old school RPGs give you only one or maybe three or four types of mages, C&S gives you 17 distinct magic using classes. These run from historical types of magic users, such as shamans, mediums, alchemists, and astrologers, to the tropes of fantasy literature, such as necromancers, enchanters, Kabbalists, conjurors, and weaponsmith-artificers. This is the treasure trove of wonderful ideas for all sorts of magic users.

The C&S magic system is based on the idea that everything has an innate resistance to magic. The process of enchantment of a material is the process of lowering the magic resistance of a substance. Spells also have a magic resistance, which determines how difficult they are to learn. Tables of ingredients for magic items and potions list the Basic Magic Resistance (BMR) of many substances. So, gold has a BMR of 2, but gold from a dragon's hoard has a BMR of 0, because of being in proximity to the magical dragon for a long period of time. Lead has a BMR of 9, making it difficult to enchant. The process of making a magic item involves first determining what materials are needed. This process requires one to know the astrological sign of the magic item, which determines which materials are needed.

The C&S character system was one of the first I tried translating to GURPS. The complexities of the C&S magic system, as well as the generic nature of the GURPS system made this very difficult, and I still haven't finished. I've made Drug Trance Magery and the Primitive Talent.

GURPS Translations

Primitive Talent Magery
Drug Trance Magicians


Now that I'm firmly ensconced in the OSR, I've shifted my project from translating to GURPS to translating to OSR D&D.

OSR Translation

Chivalry and Sorcery has three types of magical artificers that create magical devices: the Weaponsmith, the Jewelsmith, and the Mechanician. Here I present my translation of the Mechanician to the OSR, specifically Labyrinth Lord, but usable for OD&D, S&W, and other OSR games.

Mechanical Artificer



Requirements: None
Prime Requisite: INT
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: None


Mechanical Artificers are a branch of magic users that combine the skills of a military and mechanical engineer, a fighting man, and a mage.
A mechanical artificer designs and builds temporary and permanent fortifications, conducts sapping operations during sieges, and can detect enemy sapping. They construct siege engines and towers and supervises their operation. Traps, secret doors, mechanisms, and automatons can also be built by the mechanical artificer. Because of their knowledge of the construction of traps, they can detect and remove them like a thief.

Mechanical Artificers often organize into a Mechanician's Guild. The Guild has a library of trap, fortress, and automaton designs, and assigns apprentices to master mechanical artificers. Details of the guild are up to the GM.

This form of magic is popular among dwarves.


Class Abilities
  1. The mechanical artificer has the skill of a military engineer, which includes building temporary and permanent fortifications and dungeons, building and operating siege engines, knowledge of performing and detecting sapping operations during sieges. If the campaign setting has gunpowder weapons, the mechanical artificer can build those, as well. Because of this skill, they can detect traps, false walls, hidden construction, and sloping passages like a Dwarf.
  2. They are also talented mechanical engineers, capable of building traps, secret doors, mechanisms, and automatons. Traps and secret doors take a week to design, build, and install, unless they are particularly complicated or difficult to install. It takes two days to move an existing trap from one location to another. Automatons are covered below.
  3. The mechanical artificer can learn 4 spells per level, but these can only be placed in a artificer's creations: fortresses, siege engines, traps, mechanisms, and automatons. Spells can be chosen from spell levels equal to half the artificer's level (rounded up).
  4. Since mechanical artificers are military mages, their abilities lay halfway between Magic User and Fighting Man. They use the Hit Dice and combat progressions of a Cleric, they are able to use any weapon, but are restricted to chainmail armor or less because of the requirements to see and move when conducting siege operations and operating catapults. They save as Magic Users.
  5. Build Automatons: The mechanical artificer can build automatons, if they have access to a workshop. The artificer is limited to creating automatons with HD no more than twice his level (e.g. a 5th level artificers can create automatons of up to 10 HD). The caster must have a formula or sample of the type of automaton he wishes to create. Formula can be found as treasure in rare manuals, or developed by the artificer (see below). The remains of a automaton destroyed in battle can serve as a sample.
  6. Design Automatons: At level 5, the artificer can create automaton formulas of new forms. The artificer is limited to designing automatons with HD no more than twice his level.

Max.
HitSpellNo. ofFind and
LevelXPDiceLevelSpellsRemove Traps
101d61414%
225002d61817%
350003d621220%
4100004d621623%
5200005d632033%
6400006d632443%
7800007d642853%
81600008d643263%
93200009d653673%
104700009d6+154083%
116200009d6+264493%
127700009d6+364895%


Automatons

Mechanical Artificers may build magical automatons to serve specific purposes -- anything from a hand-sized surveillance spider to a golden fighting man to an animated 40-foot statue of an eight-armed death goddess.


Building Automatons
Building an automaton requires 2,000 gp per Hit Die of the automaton, plus 1,000 gp per spell level of spells enchanted into the automaton, plus an additional 5,000 gp for each special ability not covered by spells the automaton possesses. The construction takes one week, plus one day per 1,000 gp of cost. Creating a automaton requires a magic research throw. The target value for this throw is increased by +1 for every 5,000 gp of automaton cost. To build a automaton, the artificer must have access to a workshop at least equal in value to the cost of the automaton throughout the construction. For every 10,000 gp of value above the minimum required for the automaton, the artificer receives a +1 bonus on his magic research throw. By using precious materials, the artificer can gain a bonus on his magic research throw, as described above.

Automatons follow the orders of their owners. The artificer who creates an automaton becomes the first owner. They can then transfer ownership to another person by ordering the automaton to accept a new owner. If the owner dies without transferring ownership, the automaton will follow its last orders. In some cases, an unowned automaton will go crazy and attack anything in sight.


Designing Automatons
Automatons must have a minimum of 1 HD. Automatons have a default Ascending Armor Class equal to ½ their Hit Dice + 10. Most automatons are immune to poison, gas, charm, hold, and sleep spells. These collectively count as one special ability. The automaton can be given additional immunities, such as immunity to non-magical weapons, with each extra immunity counting as another special ability. Automatons may have from one to four attacks per round. Their attacks may inflict up to three times their HD in maximum damage per round (a maximum damage of 10 translates into a d10 damage die). This damage may be divided among all their attacks as desired. Any special attacks or powers count as special abilities. Designing an automaton requires 2,000 gp per Hit Die of the automaton, plus 1,000 gp per level of spells placed in the automaton, plus an additional 5,000 gp for each special ability beyond the spells the automaton possesses. The design process takes one week, plus one day per 1,000 gp of cost. Designing a automaton requires a magic research throw. The target value for this throw is increased by +1 for every 5,000 gp of automaton cost. To design an automaton, the artificer must have access to a library at least equal in value to the cost of the automaton throughout the construction. For every 10,000 gp of value above the minimum required for the automaton, the artificer receives a +1 bonus on his magic research throw. A successful design creates a formula that the artificer can use to create the automaton.


Special Abilities
Below are detailed some specific special abilities for Automatons. The GM may create more to suit their campaign world. These special abilities may be known and part of an artificer's library, or they may require additional research to discover.


Standard Immunity: Most automatons are immune to poison, gas, charm, hold, and sleep spells. These collectively count as one special ability. All mechanical artificers know to design with this ability when they can start designing automatons at 7th level.


Immunity to Non-Magical Attacks: This immunity means that only magical weapons and spells can harm the device.


Anatomically Correct and Fully Functioning: Automatons with this special ability may be able to pass as a natural version of whatever creature they are formed to emulate. A bipedal, man-sized automaton could be made to pass as a human, even naked, and a mechanical horse would appear as a natural horse, at least until it breathed fire or flew. They can eat food and drink liquids, they have skin, though it may be of an outlandish color or texture, they can perform all the functions that a real human or horse or whatever could perform.


EXAMPLE: Quintus, an 11th level mechanical artificer with 16 INT, is designing a clockwork guardian. He chooses to design it with 10 HD. This gives the automaton a base cost of 2,000 gp x 10 or 20,000 gp. He wants it to be immune to fire in addition to its standard automaton immunities. This means his automaton has 2 special abilities, costing an additional 10,000 gp, making its total price 30,000 gp. At 10 HD, it has a default AC of 5. The automaton can inflict a maximum of 30 damage per round, so Quintus decides to give his automaton 3 attacks, each doing 1d10 points of damage (3x10 = 30). It will take 37 days to design the automaton (1 week + 30,000/1,000). He is using a guild library with a value of 40,000 gp. The magic research throw value to design the automaton is 12+ (base 6+ plus 30,000/5,000) but Quintus gets a bonus of +2 for his INT bonus and +1 for the library quality [(40,000-30,000)/(10,000)]. Quintus will therefore need to throw 9+ to succeed.
                                                                                                                                   
(These automaton rules are modifed from the Construct rules from Adventurer Conqueror King. Their Dwarven Machinist class from the ACKS Player's Companion helped a little.)

I've put up a collection of my Chivalry and Sorcery content in the left navbar and below: