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.
GURPS TranslationsPrimitive 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 TranslationChivalry 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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