Sunday, July 23, 2017

Savage Dark Sun: Magic of the Table Lands

In our last post we dealt with the races of the Burnt World. The great thing about Savage Worlds is a lot of things fall into place as far as equipment or most edges. If you're big brute, take Brawny. If you plan to fight with twin blades, take ambidextrous and two-fisted. This post however will focus on a specific theme that permeates the setting: Esoteric Powers and what they do for both the character and the world of Athas.

There are four Arcane Backgrounds available in this setting: Defiling (Magic), Preserving (Ritual), Psionics, Miracles (Elementalism), Miracles (Druidism)

Arcane Background: Defiler
Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 3
Arcane Skill: Magic
Banned Powers: Healing, Succor, Greater Healing
Backlash: On a Critical Failure result a Defiler is struck by a backlash of necrotic energy. He is Shaken (this may cause a Wound). His Backlash also reduces the area around him by 1 depending on his Area of Effect.

Defiling is using a combination of one's internal arcane power (also known as mana) and the life around the caster to fuel their magic. Defilers care little for the world around them and will gladly take in order to cast their powers. Defiling works like normal Magic with the following exceptions.

-There is no Wizard edge available. Instead, a Defiler who gets a raise is granted the boon of a Wizard (they deduct 1 from the cost of Spell). 

-Defiling trappings can include elemental trappings, force energy, or necrotic trappings. Death and destruction are what surrounds Defilers.

Drain: Defilers working their magic drains life around them. Use the following tables to determine the size of the area that the Defiler drains and what effect they have on the environment.

Area of Effect
Area of Effect
Small Burst Template (SBT)
Medium Burst Template (MBT)
Medium Burst Template (MBT)
Medium Burst Template (MBT) and the damage/slaying of 1 living creature (Vigor Resists)
Medium Burst Template (MBT) and damaging/slaying the lives of creatures in an MBT area (Vigor Resists).


-Creatures can be automatically slain at GM's discretion. Resistance should be reserved for Wild Cards, Wild Card NPC's, and powerful minions.

Spell Effect

The area teams with plant life, a beautiful rarity on Athas. However, such life so precious is also quickly extinguished. On a Defiler's success the zone drops a level.
This zone is typically a grassland but can also contain life such as trees or flowering plants. It is hardier, but less appealing. On a Raise for a Defiler this area drops by 1 level.
The area is sandy and sports only the barest life. Certain hardy plants, such as cacti can find some nutrients in the earth below. This zone is battered, but not broken. It requires 2 raises of a Defiler or a major Defiler ritual to drop this zone 1 level.
The area is dead. Quite dead. No cacti, no insect, there is barely enough food for scavengers. Fortunately, the Defilers cannot take anymore life, but who can take much of anything from a corpse?

Example: Leland the Defiler is a Novice rank character. He casts a Bolt power in a Verdant area. A SBT portion of the zone immediately becomes a level 3 spot (Average). He can continue to cast while standing in the same spot. The next round he casts the Armor power and gets a Raise. The area around him drops to 2 (Arid). Another raise will drain the spot of life and require him to move. As he gains ranks the area he effects grows larger until whole swathes of land and creatures are slain.

Arcane Background: Preservation
Power Points: 5
Starting Powers: 3
Arcane Skill: Ritual
Banned Powers: Healing, Greater Healing, Succor
Backlash: On a Critical Failure a Preserver's spell fails and they are Shaken (this cannot cause a wound). Preservation is slow, but it is also safer.

Ritual Mechanics: Casting a spell for a ritualist
consumes their entire action; they cannot take
any other actions while doing so. In addition,
they may only move half their Pace in a round
in which they are casting. Ritualists must
also use their hands to perform their rituals.
Normally, they use both hands, but they may
attempt to perform a ritual with only one
hand at a –2 penalty (and at an additional –2
if attempted with their off hand).

-By using slower rituals and energy a Preserver can cast Arcane Magic without fear of destroying the world around them. Of course the consequence is that Preservers take time to gather the same power as Defilers and never cast quite as quickly. Still, Preservers are a patient and hardy lot, after all, they've managed to survive so far.

Trappings that Preservers can take include: Elemental trappings and Force energy. While Preservers can learn rituals such as Zombie. True Necrotic energy is very rarely taught among Preservers.

Arcane Background: Psionicist
Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 3
Arcane Skill: Psionics
Banned Powers: None
Backlash: On a Critical Failure a Psionicst lets off a wave of Psychic Energy that Shakes all characters in a Large Burst Template area. This effect can wound targets who are Shaken.
This Arcane Background works much like what is found in the Savage Worlds Dexlue book. Psionics is rather common on Athas. It might be looked on as strange by the populace, but it is not quite as hated as Arcane Magic.

Trappings for Psionics include: Cold, Fire, & Electricity. Other trappings are considered rarer for Psionicists. Healing is done by Psionic 'bio-science' warping the body to regenerate while telepathy is using waves of energy to send messages back and forth between brains.

Arcane Background: Elementalism
Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 2
Arcane Skill: Faith
Banned Powers: Special
Backlash: A character who rolls a Critical Failure is Shaken (this cannot caused a wound). They are also sworn to the service to an Elemental philosophy which has certain taboos below.
-It appears that the Gods have abandoned Athas to its fate. In their stead, Clerics now worship the philosophies of the Elements, which include the concepts of Air, Earth, Fire, & Water.

-At character creation, a Cleric chooses their Elemental patron. This cannot change without some form of ritual or event that the GM allows an alteration of patron. By choosing a patron, the character gains that elemental trapping for free on any power they learn. They also gain an opposing Element, which bars them from ever taking that trapping. All other Elemental trappings are available, but require the Cleric to learn them through study or through a mentor.

Element opposition includes Fire vs. Water, Earth vs. Air. 

Example: Derek makes a Cleric who worships the philosophy of Water. His trappings are Cold/Water and he is unable to take any power or trapping that surrounds Fire. During the course of play he finds a Priest's scroll that teaches him a power with an Earth trapping. He can study it, but must make a roll that might have penalties to learn said power.

Arcane Backgrounds: Druidism
Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 2
Arcane Skill: Faith
Banned Powers: None
Backlash: On a Critical Failure, a Druid is Shaken (this cannot cause a Wound).

-Druids are somewhat Clerics, but their focus is instead worshiping the spirits of Nature. At the start of play they are considered having a Vow/Obligation to fight to protect Nature at all costs.

-Druids do not have any barred school. Any spell that is of natural origin (such as a Lighting based bolt power, but not a force-based Magic Missile version of bolt) can be learned by a Druid.

-Druids gain +1 when casting spells affecting plants of animals. Their devotion to their spirits gives them some minor influence over the natural world.

No comments:

Post a Comment