Player’s Handbook Update {Shattered Empire}

Just finished the stat blocks for all of the animals that can be Summoned or called as Animal Companions. It’s a good sized list, and many will double as Natural Beasts that can be encountered in the wild as enemies, etc.

Spellbook is done, Character Creation options are done, weapon list is done.

Getting very close now!

Magical Implements and Consumables {Shattered Empire}

When running a game of Shattered Empire (or any High Fantasy RPG for that matter) there seems to always be some confusion over just how magical implements and such work. What’s the difference between a spellbook and a spellscroll? How is a magic wand different from a magic staff? What the hell is a rod? (And do I want to know?)

So for clarity’s sake–and because I don’t think this information is spelled out in detail all in one collection in any of the game documents–I shall now give a full explanation of what each item is and how it differs from others of the same category.

 

Spellbooks:  These are books that hold the “recipe” for casting a certain spell, invoking a Deity, etc. They do not have intrinsic magical properties themselves (unless the owner has cast Arcane Lock or something like that on it to keep snooping eyes out.) Meaning, an untrained warrior can’t pick up a spellbook and use it to cast a spell. Someone trained in the proper spell school can study it to learn new spells, and therefore they are sought after by competing wizards and such, but otherwise they are just an interesting–if not valuable–curiosity.

Scrolls:  Scrolls are single-use magical parchments that hold a specific spell. They can either be used to cast the spell they hold, or they can be studied to learn the spell they hold. Either way, the scroll is consumed after once use. Scrolls are unique in the fact that ANYONE can use them, since most of the magic is already imbued within the parchment in a potential state, waiting for activation by the user. This usually means just reading off an activation phrase, giving anyone with literacy an opportunity to cast a magic spell.

Wands: Wands are objects of power that, like scrolls, house one spell. The major difference is that wands usually have multiple uses, and can be “recharged” in order to continue using it to cast the spell. To use a wand you do not need to know the specific spell it holds, but you do have to be trained in the general school of magic to effectively use them. Untrained users may accidentally succeed, but often times there will be devastating results in trying to manipulate a type of magic that you don’t fully understand. A spell cannot be learned from a wand.

Staffs: Staffs function very much in the same manner as wands, however staves never “run out” of magic. They need never be recharged. Additionally, staffs (or staves) can sometimes be re-enchanted with a different spell or prayer. This is something that would normally destroy a wand. A spell cannot be learned from a staff.

Orbs: Orbs do not contain magic spells, though they are charged with pure magic themselves. Orbs are used as a focus for Arcane spellcasters, giving them all kinds of potential boons and boosts to their spellcasting. Orbs are Arcane Implements.

Rods: Rods function in the same way as orbs, only for Nature-benders, such as Druids. These are Nature Implements. They boost Commune with Nature and Commune with Spirits power schools.

Holy Symbols:  Holy Symbols are Divine Implements. They are focuses for all manner of Divine prayer schools.

Psionic Focus: Psionic powers can be amplified by a Psionic Focus. These are Psionic Implements. They augment the powers of Telekinesis and Telepathy.

Bard Instruments:  In the hands of a normal person these are no more than average musical instruments. In the hands of a Bard they become Bardic Implements, augmenting or changing the power of their Bard Songs.

 

Of course there are many other items that can have spell-effects associated with them. Potions, rings, amulets–these all can hold magical properties that anyone can make use of.  Shrines and Temples may grant blessings.  A circle of trees deep in the forest may grant a boon to those that stand inside.  Exploring the world of Gildeon is the only way to discover them all.

Summoning {Shattered Empire}

Summoning has always been its own school of spells under the Arcane tree in Shattered Empire. As I’m moving forward into SE 2nd Edition, one of the major spellbook changes I’ve made is to eliminate this school. The individual summoning spells will still exist, they will simply be absorbed by the other schools that make sense to govern the type of creature being summoned. Summoning Undead will all fall under the Necromancy school, Summon Ice Golem will be under the Elemental Ice school, etc. Summoning animals will be under Nature spells in the Spirit tree. You get the idea.

So you can still be a wizard that focuses on summoning, but your Class Points will have to line up with the kinds of creatures you want to summon.

Back In The Proverbial Saddle 

After essentially taking the entire summer off from gaming and game-making in order to work and participate in a media tour for my scifi webseries Dead Drift, I am back to development.

Distant Earth is taking a back seat for now, as I am finishing up Shattered Empire Second Edition. Putting together the spellbook for this edition has proven to be time consuming and slow moving, but I’m just about halfway done. After this I will put together an updated bestiary for GMs and a quick character generation help file, and the Player’s Handbook should be finished!

Will try to keep updates steady moving forward.

All About The SP [Distant Earth]

In the BASE12 Universe of games, SP often means something different from one game to another. Sometimes it stands for Spell Points, sometimes it stands for Stamina Points, and sometimes it stands for Skill Points. It really could potentially stand for any pair of words that begin with the letters S and P. But there’s one common connection tying them together from one game world to another, and setting them apart from other Ps like HP and AP: You can SPEND them.

Sure, AP is consumed and HP is raised and lowered. But SP is actually spent, on purpose, with intention, at the player’s will. So what does SP stand for in the Distant Earth gameworld, and how or why would you spend it?

First of all, let’s define SP: Stamina Points. This is the collective expression of your ability to push yourself beyond your normal borders, to practice and practice and practice something until you get better at it even if you hate practicing it, and your overall ability/willingness/mental-emotional-physical capacity to augment what you already have and work harder for it. You know: Stamina.

The most basic use of SP comes at character creation, and again at the beginning of each new day cycle. You collect an amount of SP based on certain stats and factors, and then spend it to learn new skills and trainings. You can also Bank it for future spending, most often because you can’t afford what you want to get with it yet. Any amount that you don’t spend or bank immediately becomes your Max For Day, and this can be used for little boosts here and there like running faster or performing special actions. SP that you use from your Max For Day pool can be replaced throughout the day…but that’s it. At the end of the day, it all disappears and you start over with a fresh set of dice rolls and modifiers to see how much SP you start the next day with.  Banked SP carries over as long as you like, until you spend it on something, but it is never replenished unless you actively bank more of it.

So each new day cycle you will find yourself making a decision. Do I use all my SP now to get better at Hacking and using Sniper Rifles? Or do I save some of it for when I’m in a sticky combat situation and I need a little boost to make it to cover?  Finding a balance with SP will be a key part of Distant Earth, but remember, you can always start fresh the next day as long as you remember to eat your Mush to keep your strength up.