Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dark fey: Bugbears

Shhh!  Did you hear that?  That scraping sound - something under the bed, or in the closet?  You heard that because he wanted you to hear it.  When he doesn't wish to be heard, he is as stealthy as midnight's own wings.  He thrives on your fear, savors it like an intoxicating drink.  And there is no keeping him out.  His joints bend every which way you please, and his bones are all of gristle that flexes without breaking.  He can pry doors and windows with his long clever fingers, or squeeze through gaps and hide in crannies you'd never think to check before blowing out your lamp.

 He likes to taunt and tease with little noises, bumps and scrapes and huffing breaths.  He knows you won't dare spring from your bed and flee.  You're in his power now.  Then, perhaps, as you tremble beneath your blankets, praying for the dawn to come, he'll unfold himself, all seven or eight long and gangly feet of him, and let you see the shadow he casts in the moonlight upon the wall, but only for an instant.  The next you'll see of him is his great leering face, with its mad, bloodshot eyes, its straggly hair, and above all its too-wide grin full of gleaming yellow fangs.

No, my lass, don't cry for your father or your mother.  He'll kill them, with nary a thought, with his sharp barbed knife or his strong grasping hands.  It isn't them he wants.  It's you. 

Into his great black sack you'll go, with bones and snails and bits of rats, and then he'll steal back to his dark lair where he dwells with all his brothers.  What will he do with you there?  Oh, fear not, he doesn't want to eat you.  He's far too lazy for that.  The bogey-folk never do for themselves what they could have done by helpful slaves instead, nothing, anyway, except frightening people and stealing naughty, lazy little children.

And so you'll dig and dig and dig in their dank smelly tunnels, and catch rats and toads and worms for their dinners, and you'll grow up there in the darkness among them.  Oh, they'll take a shine to all-grown folk sometimes too, and spirit them away to the dark mines, but for those ones, the toil and the drudgery are all they have to look forward to for the rest of their born days.  Only one in a hundred ever slips away and manages to find his way out of the depths of the lair to feel the warmth of the sun again.

Little children, though...especially little children who whine and complain and won't do their chores as they're asked...those are their favorites, for they remind them of themselves.  They might take a real liking to you, and frighten you extra-special, because that's their way.  And if you amuse them with your cowering and sobbing, and if you eat your slugs and worms like a good little lass, and if in the end you put down your spade in spite of all their frightening and scaring, and show yourself to be as stubbornly lazy as they are...well, you might just grow up to be one of them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A few spell families

This is sort of a proof-of-concept post.  The gist of the system is that the entire spell family is memorized as one spell and the caster may choose at which level to cast it within the limits of his available spell slots.  Number of spells which can be memorized is equal to the number of 1st level spells the magic-user can cast; thus a level 5 magic-user in a B/X-based game can memorize two spells, and cast them at the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level of magnitude by expending a corresponding slot.

The 0-level line represent a minor at-will powers that a magic-user may access while having that spell memorized, i.e. a cantrip.  Presented for your examination, three popular magic-user spells:

Range: 120' Duration: See below
Minor Vanishing
Makes a small object, weighing no more than ½ pound, invisible for 1 round (10 seconds.)
Lesser Invisibility
Subject is made invisible for 2d6 rounds. Attacking or spellcasting ends the effect.
Subject is made invisible for 2d6 turns. Attacking or spellcasting ends the effect.
Circle of Invisibility
Caster and all within 15' radius become invisible for 2d6 turns. Attacking or spellcasting ends the effect for that individual only. Stepping outside spell radius ends the effect for that individual. Subjects can see each other.
Indefinite Invisibility
As Invisibility, but the effect is permanent until the subject attacks, casts a spell, or voluntarily cancels the effect. If cast on an object, effect ends when the object is touched.
Intermittent Invisibility
As Invisibility, but effect may be toggled on and off at will. Attacking or spellcasting renders the subject visible, but may become invisible again in one round.
Improved Invisibility
As Invisibility, but attacking and spellcasting will not end the effect.  After initial attack, the subject may be attacked at -4.

Range: 120' Duration: Special
Charming Presence
Character is treated as one row higher on the Charisma adjustment table for 1 round. Makes a good first impression, but any given creature may be affected only once per day.
Charm Person
Single living humanoid of no more than 4 HD treats the caster as a trusted friend and ally.  Receives another save in 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month, for high, average, or low intelligence.
Charm Animal
Charms a single normal or giant mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, or fish.
Charm Group
Charms up to 6 humanoids or animals of no more than 2 HD each.
Charm Monster
Charms a single living (not undead, construct, or extraplanar) creature of unlimited HD.
Mass Charm
Charms up to 18 living creatures of 4 HD or less.
Charm Enchanted
Charms one construct or extraplanar creature whose HD do not exceed twice the caster's level.

Range: 120' Duration: Concentration +1d6 rounds (if not permanent)
Miniscule Phantasm
Create an illusion affecting one sense, which must fit within a 1' cube and lasts 1 round.
Lesser Phantasm
Illusion affecting one sense in a 20' cube within spell range.
Illusion affecting up to two senses in a 20' cube, which may be moved at will within the spell's range.
Mass Phantasm
Illusion affecting up to three senses, which may fill the entire spell range, i.e. a diameter of 240'.
Permanent Phantasm
Illusion affecting up to four senses, which may fill the entire 240' diameter of the spell's range, permanent until dispelled.
Programmed Phantasm
Illusion affecting up to five senses, which may fill the entire 240' diameter of the spell's range, triggered by a specific event of the caster's choosing, permanent until dispelled.
Grand Delusion
Affects all within a 20' cube. Alters the target creatures' perceptions of themselves, e.g. they believe themselves to have grown or shrunk, been polymorphed into toads, lost a limb, gone blind or deaf, changed sex, etc. Save vs. spells to avoid; thereafter permanent until dispelled.