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The Heroes: Lore & sneak peek on Spells/Abilities

Discuss the creation of new Heroes and share Heroes you've created.

The Heroes: Lore & sneak peek on Spells/Abilities

Postby Bfriudo » Monday July 8th, 2019 7:25am

[EDIT: Adding all characters under one post, modifying header and deleting other posts. Don't want to clutter up the page]

Woo, I'm finally posting again....can't believe it.
Been tinkering with HQ as usual. The house rules we play introduce a whole lot of new stuff, but rather than bore you ladies and gentlemen with a blob of rules, I figured I could at least share some of the lore I've been writing all along, together with a very small teaser about Spells/Abilities. The scope is to provide ye olde inn customers with some minutes worth of (hopefully) entertaining reading. Think of it as a humble thanks for the many resources offered!
All the lore provided is supposed to be written in a tome which has been delivered to Mentor, with the scope of accustoming him to some history, trivia and information about the Kingdom of Lorica. Mentor is on his way to the capital city of Val, his assistance requested by the King himself. Nothing else has been disclosed yet, and Mentor still wonders how could such a far away Kingdom (imagine at least 2-3 weeks worth of travel) know of his own deeds. So he figures that, while he's at it, he may as well kill some time skimming through the pages of the book...sounds somewhat "inspired" by the tales of the Sword Coast but that's another story...
Feel free to provide any input, suggestions, questions, even correcting any Engrish you may stumble upon, I wouldn't mind the text having sort of a "finished" look...hope you guys like it.

Warlocks

Of all the inhabitants of the Kingdom able to manipulate magic, none is as notorious as the one called "Warlock", and for many a good reason. A warlock deliberately chooses to forego traditional spellcasting and dedicates himself to the obscure arts of Darkness and Chaos Magic, the influences of his studies gradually making him grimmer, darker and always wanting to experiment one step farther, with little care for the danger of the outcome.
These forms of magic are strongly opposed by Kingdom authorities: warlocks have since long adapted to a life of deception and trickery in order to maintain their relationships and roles within the society. Contrary to reclusive necromancers, warlocks enjoy discreet company and the luxuries and pleasures of modern life such as a comfortable bed, a cozy fire behind a stone wall, a well-stuffed larder, a library or a brothel. To such extent they are even willing to perform certain jobs for the community, bar all the annoying heavy lifting which they happily leave to the peasantry. The average warlock possesses high standards of education, ranging from classical studies to modern sciences, and as such he can be found in many places without his fellow citizens knowing. A city clerk, a librarian, a teacher, an engineer, an antiques seller, a scholar expelled from an academy, a cleric gone mad, an estate owner or a bored noble could all fit into the example, but there are many more.
The population generally dislikes warlocks as they are usually banned if their cover blows; in other cases they may even be hung or stoned. Fortunately for them, most peasants are so frightened by the possible consequences of exposing a warlock that they may also choose to keep silent by their own will or swear silence after veiled threats. And bribing is always a possibility.

Warlocks and Combat
As the reader of this tome could guess, warlocks are not exactly tailored for combat and clashing steel against the monsters that roam the Kingdom; having to part his time between the regular daily businesses and his secretive studies, a warlock has little time left to refine combat tactics. This means a warlock usually carries the bare minimum for self defense, with a preference for light weapons (daggers, staves, rods, slings, perhaps a relic or a magic tome) and the chance to don a magically enhanced robe or tunic; this is likely to be the case, as a warlock has often more gold in his coffers than he needs for survival. Anyone having fought at a warlock's side, as much as this sounds foolish, can however witness his fondness for combat and the fact that he doesn't always turn the chance down: it seems that warlocks enjoy a good brawl and spilling blood on the floor, even if it has to be their own in the end. They can be seen wielding swords efficiently, far better than the frightened peasant trying to swing blindly at a goblin. Perhaps this is due to many warlocks belonging to the upper classes, and fencing lessons are still fashionable recreative activities for the richest. Chance is there is magic involved in their increased combat prowess, as more than one witness would be ready to swear that his warlock companion didn't seem to carry a sword all along, only to suddenly unsheathe one from an unknown and previously unnoticed scabbard.

Warlocks and Magic
Magic is simply the obsession of a lifetime for a warlock. While many would say this bears no difference with a wizard, a warlock's approach shows more than the typical curiosity and crave for greater power every magic user covets. With no boundaries nor limits and punishments inflicted by watchful instructors, warlocks enjoy large freedom of learning and are strongly encouraged by their masters to use their own initiative and wits to experiment with magic in any direction, and to bend any Magic School to their will if so they wish. Experiments to meddle with Light and Order Magic have proven deadly until now, since both schools are extremely powerful and believed to possess a strong will of their own, but other branches seem more suitable for testing. The Fire branch of Elemental Magic, for instance, seems particularly prone to deviate its innate destructive power towards Chaos, and consecutively most warlocks know at least a spell or two in said school. This is also due to the relative ease of learning Fire spells and the large availability of textbooks, academies and instructors dedicated to this task.

Darkness Magic
Darkness Magic is considered to belong to one of the earliest and primitive forms of magic, born and developed thousands of years ago. At times when the concepts of good or evil were unknown, Darkness Magic has freely grown and developed together with other forms of Magic (Light or Order, probably Arcane or Non-Elemental as well) and with the races inhabiting the lands now known as Kingdom of Lorica. It is no surprise it is still popular, although formally banned from the Kingdom because of its corruptive powers. Warlocks are natural Darkness Magic learners and have added many tricky spells to the collection during the centuries. Summoning spells are a mainstay in this school, being them actual flesh beings, illusions or objects. Alteration spells are also common and usually directed at reshaping matter or alterate physical properties, including the condensation of particles to be released as harmful bolts. Some dangerous spells can even influence the mind and thinking with all kind of possible results, from transforming the intellect of the poor victim to that of a donkey, to refreshing and rejuvenating effects on the wielder - warlocks have been seen being able to cast magic with increased vigor even after supposedly yielding to fatigue.

Chaos Magic
Chaos Magic is the most mysterious and potentially dangerous form of magic in the Kingdom of Lorica. Documentation and knowledge is poor, and most key information on the history of its development is lacking. Even a great archmage could just shrug at a seemingly simple question about Chaos powers, for there is still much confusion and debate, properly fitting for a magic dubbed "Chaos".
Some theorists, including the highly regarded dwarven priests, believe Chaos to be nothing more than the perpetual challenge pitted against Order Magic for domination over all forms of life, and are well supported by elven representatives in the courts of both dwarven and human leaders. This agreement on Chaos Magic is dangerous though, as it saps the drive to investigate further in its motives and roots in order to openly clash against it - and the facts prove this has not been an effective way to steer the situation in favor of the Kingdom. Another current of thinking envisions Chaos Magic as the prime force meant to fuel the entire universe at first, then to slowly consume it until everything will be lifeless. At this point, Chaos would engulf itself and produce a complete Void, effectively cancelling everything that exists and negating the possibility of a rebirth.
A warlock is usually an amused spectator of this debate, watching the dust of the clash from afar and laughing bitterly. The wicked Chaos acolytes soon stop asking themselves about these mere philosophical matters and only concentrate on the pleasure of destruction and pain brought by their spells and the possible expedients to increase its effects. Verily, the word itself "Chaos" is just a traditional designation used by the detractors. While in truth this Magic and its servants show no care for labelling themselves as anything particular, they have grown to accept the epytome of Chaos since it brings fear and desperation into the hearts of the subjects in the Kingdom, and makes their work easier and more entertaining.
Although, tangible chaos it does provoke, in the consequences of its use: one linear feature that has been noted in Chaos Magic is the tendency to demand a tribute in life force when its powers are conceded to mortals. It matters little if it is the victim's, the caster's or anyone else's life that is sucked dry. It is believed all sapped life force is transferred somewhat into a primordial essence that grows stronger and gains more coscience every day, until it will be unleashed in some harmful manner. This suggests some kind of grand scheming behind the use of Chaos magic which has little to do with chaotic or erratic behavior, but rather a well defined purpose.
Inside the folds of this scheme, most warlocks have actually a restricted access to the seemingly infinite array of spells Chaos Magic has to offer. Even a warlock has his limits - the Chaos masters surely know their own acolytes could scheme against them had they enough power, and still limit the knowledge they pass on. Chaos spells in a warlock's spellbook do not differ too much from Darkness ones; they are mainly based on deception, mind control, evocation and alteration spells, albeit still more powerful than Darkness: Chaos Magic for example is known to be able to alterate the tissue of time itself and interfere with the correct flow of other Magic.
Chaos Magic practicioners also bear another large difference from other magic users, being seemingly divided into two different factions with each one having been gifted with some spells that the other hasn't, and causing increased rivalry. While all that has been dealt with in these pages regards the disgraced human or dwarf warlock (elves aren't yet known to have yielded to Chaos, at least in the Kingdom of Lorica), there are yet many blank pages to fill with the mysterious customs and practices of Chaos Magic by the more evil creatures that plague the lands. Chaos "Sorcerers", as they have been called, can wield a whole different set of spells that still defies understanding. This comes as no surprise to the well-learned or to the seasoned, for if this chaos mage is a human with an undead skull or a fanged dwarf, no horrors can really be unexpected. These evil sorcerers dwell deep into dungeons, in faraway ruins or unknown lairs atop rugged mountains, and few adventurers have come back to testify.
The latest news from hunter bands roaming the northeastern borders report a new era of discoveries for Chaos adepts, as it is rumored that fragments of tablets and drawings found in catacombs and dungeons would make it possible to access a whole new level of Chaos mastery, albeit with little control over it. The hunt for these magic items has already started.

Spells (18):
Cursed Armor, Red-Hot Weapon, Confusion, Charm, Corrode Weapon, Corrupt Magic, Bolt of Darkness, Time Distortion, Summon Illusion, Summon Evil Dwarf, Conjure Sword, Ethereal Form, Spawn Mimic, Stupidity, Mental Paralysis, Recall Spell, Chaos Tarots.

Tarot Cards (28):
Animate Weapon, Animate Walls, Demon Claw, Summon Chaos Warrior, Summon Wandering Monster, Summon Chaos Dwarf, Summon Evil Swordsman, Summon Wraiths, Favor, Conjure Demon Whip, Minotaur Strength, Gligziar, Deafening Wail, Phantom Monster, Chaos Wave, Gold for Blood, Pact of Alacrity, Pact of Strength, Pact of Power, Pact of Toughness, Acid Rain, Punishment, Rabies, Replicate Monster, Displacement, Thertharaxal, Blazing Gaze, Void.

Chaos Tarots rules: spells within the spell
It is important to note that the tarot deck can never be inspected by anyone, not even during the "rest, refit & buy" phase. The only way to gather informations about these spells is to actually play the card during a quest. The act of receiving the spell card represents your trusty(?) warlock having found a mysterious deck of tarots during one of the quests. These cards are imbued with chaos magic, their faces continuously changing and shifting to a different card. This makes impossible for anyone to draw a specific card from the deck.
Upon receiving the spell card, the warlock draws 6 random cards from the tarot deck of 28, always keeping their front hidden, and places the rest of the deck away for the current quest. These 6 cards will make up his "mini-deck" for the current quest. If the warlock chooses to cast the spell, he turns one of the 6 tarot cards face up and then follows whatever instruction the spell commands...
At the end of the quest, the warlock has to regroup and reshuffle the whole tarot deck and redraw the 6 cards, but if he likes the one spell he managed to cast during the quest, he is eligible to keep its card into the 6-card deck and only redraw 5 new cards from the now 27 card-strong deck. When a second, new desirable spell is cast during a quest, the warlock can add it to his 6-card deck and only redraw 4 new cards. By doing this consistently, it is possible to somewhat customize the 6 card deck, although still with little control over what is going to be cast.
There are two items that can help the warlock gain better understanding and control of the tarots: one unique artifact allows to draw 2 cards and choose 1 when casting the spell; another piece of hard-to-get equipment can store an extra "Chaos Tarots" cast.
"...the hunt for these magic items has already started..."
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Bfriudo

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Re: The Heroes: Lore & sneak peek on Spells/Abilities

Postby Bfriudo » Sunday July 21st, 2019 6:46am

Wizards
A "Wizard" is not an uncommon sight in the Kingdom of Lorica. Studying of Elemental Magic is strongly rooted in most races dwelling, or having dwelled, in the lands and regions of the Kingdom during the past millennium. Being the Kingdom mostly inhabited by humans, and being dwarven mages not too keen on showing up in the cities, the stereotypical human wizard also corresponds to the usual wizard sighted shuffling around the city. The most prominent wizards known to the populace are male humans, and they usually either share or hold power in major cities, and also run the town's magic school.
Archmages are known to exist and dwell in the Kingdom, but they live away from cities in harsh, dangerous or hard-to-find places. They are known to wield considerably greater power than ordinary wizards and are also known for guarding their secrets firmly. They hardly let anyone approach them, and interact as little as possible with the ordinary society, making use of slaves or squires to take care of everyday duties and needs. Local population has generally a good opinion of wizards and strives to comply with them as best as possible, although half of the time it is due to fear more than anything else.

Wizards and Combat
Wizards are of course not good at combat. Although they carry at least a weapon with them, it's mostly ceremonial or magically enhanced, and it's always some kind of primitive weapon. Favored among them are staves, daggers, slings or magic rods, all lightweight and relatively easy to use. Also they are not trained in sustaining proper armor or any kind of heavy or metal protection, relying more on the magic items they may obtain. In fact, a successful and powerful wizard can be easily recognized by the spoils he wears and proudly shows off like magic trinkets, hats or staves. Their experitse with magic also allows them to wield the powerful magic relics scattered across the Kingdom of Lorica.

Wizards and Magic
Study, understanding and development of magic in the small Kingdom of Lorica has grown similarly to most other realms. The presence of several different races thriving in the past centuries has brought to development of various forms of magic, although only the most civilized ones have kept and passed their knowledge on through the generations. With many races progressively abandoning the regions of the Kingdom or retreating to the mountains or the underground, only humans, dwarves and elves have kept a steady tradition and some cooperation through the centuries. Their studies and preservation efforts are concentrated mainly towards Elemental (with its four branches), Order and Light Magic, although the last century has seen interest towards Arcane Magic grow thanks to the multiple discoveries of ancient magic tomes. Other forms of magic, such as Darkness or Necromancy, are present but still ostracized, neglected, or not deeply understood by the official authorities.

Elemental Magic
Elemental Magic is the most widespread magic wielded in the Kingdom of Lorica, due to a centuries-long tradition and the relative ease of study and understanding compared to other forms of magic. Wizards of the Kingdom have good chances of learning plenty of spells from the four branches, although most scholars yield to the lust for sheer destructive power more than most. Fire, Air and Earth spells all offer a good degree of offensive spells, with the former two being slightly easier to master and thus offering more spells available for learning. This also means that more means of defense have been found against such magic; this is especially true for Fire spells, which are always present in a Wizard's spellbook - a Wizard unable to cast Fire spells would be probably ridiculed in the Kingdom, if there were one. Water spells are less oriented towards offense, and less popular among its users.

Arcane Magic
The last century has seen a new age in discovery after the unearthing of many ancient magic tablets and scrolls from newly discovered ruins. A large knowledge of ancient magic, dubbed "Arcane" by the authorities, has been since then quickly collected and regularly included in courses and chores. It is unknown if there is more to discover, but Arcane Magic seems to have developed with greater balance compared to Elemental Magic and as such it offers a wide variety of spells. The gear towards balance seems to confirm speculations that Arcane Magic was initially developed by elves. A proven feature of this magic is its power to work seemingly in every condition, and to find very little being able to resist it. This is why Arcane spells have quickly grown in popularity amongst the scholars, on par with the beloved Fire and Air branches.

Non-Elemental Magic
Almost everything known about this magic is speculation. It is supposed that a less refined and primitive form of magic exists, and that it has given birth to (or evolved into) the magic schools known and taught at present. The strongest proof among common wizards comes from a simple and widespread spell, which allows to release non-magical locks. The origins of this spell are lost in time and seemingly untraceable after several centuries, and the mechanics of its working can not be explained by conventional Elemental Magic. The same wizards also believe the secret of Non-Elemental Magic to be jealously kept hidden by the highest Archmages and authorities of the Kingdom. A second faction of wizards, mostly made up by the richer or more instructed ones, believes this form of magic to to be a branch of Arcane Magic which has not yet been understood, and works tirelessly to prove the point - it is not unusual for them to form into guilds and finance dangerous expeditions. The High Mages of the court and the few, scattered Archmages living at the edges of the Kingdom have either kept silent on the matter or made themselves hard to find.

Spells (31):
Burning Aura, Icicles, Clairvoyance, Consume Magic, Courage, Magic Darts, Disintegrate, Dissolve Magic, Psychic Challenge, Flame of Wrath, Blaze, Discharge Lightning, Mirth, Immunity to Fire, Partial Invisibility, Wind Blades, Ice Lance, Slow, Boulders, Fire Wall, Stone Wall, Magic Eye, Fireball, Readiness, Return, Bolt, Release Lock, Magma Sphere, Blur, Teleport, Earthquake.
Last edited by Bfriudo on Sunday July 21st, 2019 6:49am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Heroes: Lore & sneak peek on Spells/Abilities

Postby Bfriudo » Sunday July 21st, 2019 6:48am

Barbarian
"Barbarian" is a term used by most inhabitants of the Kingdom to refer to the tribes who regularly settle in small hamlets all around the land. These populations seemingly moved from the northern empires roughly five centuries now, leaving harsher and poorer regions for the richer soils and promising lands of Lorica. Since then, barbarians have been slowly absorbed into the social tissue but still mantain a strong identity and a degree of indipendence from the rest of the Kingdom.
Barbarians like to settle relatively close to at least one city or town in order to conduct the needed trade, and prefer to spend their lives in their hamlets, often made up of no more than two dozen huts, tents and shacks. They are used to life in the wilderness, and show an innate independence from most comforts the citizens regard as necessary. They are particularly fond of hilly and montanious terrain, where they carry their hunting sessions: in fact, hunting, skinning and curing game meat takes many hours a day to the average barbarian, while women and the young usually take care of woodworking, bone works (for which the women are renown), village safety and any necessary duty. Other activities include sheperding, though their flocks hardly surpass ten heads of cattle (goats or wild boars are their favorite animals), fishing if the local waters allow, and leatherworking - they handcraft and sell their own clothing and armor using wool from their goats and hides and skins of wild animals. Barbarians generally dislike farming and mining activities, since these require either a better climate than what they are best accustomed to, or a more stable and safe settlement in order to invest in long-term activities. They prefer trading or bartering in order to obtain metal tools, weaponry and cereals.
Although their name may imply differently, Barbarians are mostly peaceful and collaborating towards the Kingdom: they recognize the authority of the King and his vassals and pay their taxes regularly, the only difference being most tribes insist on not paying with gold but with the goods they produce. This is a long-lasting tradition for barbarians and it is generally accepted by the King's envoys. There is more of a friction, though, when it comes to military service: Barbarians are extremely reluctant to conscription and will never allow their offspring to enlist in a regular army. They have no hesitation in raising their weapons against the military, and this issue has proven to be the cause for regular clashes and bloody battles during the centuries. In order to solve the matter, eighty years ago the wise King Mavarr lifted them from the duty of conscription with a Royal Edict, after witnessing how Barbarians drove out an orc invasion along the Gord river. Barbarian tribes and villages will organize themselves into their own armed bands if the Kingdom is threatened, and will fight and defend any nearby city and village if needed; all they ask is to carry out their duty as they see fit and not meddle with the regular army if at all possible.
It's not hard to find the random, classy nobleman who doesn't like a barbarian around, but barbarians are generally welcome just about anywhere in Lorica, since they have proven their strength, valor, loyalty and resourcefulness on many occasions, earning the respect of the society.

Barbarians and Combat
Spending a lively, outgoing life in the wild, performing manual activities and living without many comforts are all solid traditions for barbarians, and this translates in a degree of fitness and health that makes the average citizen pale in comparison. Barbarians are almost always healthy, resistant to sickness, muscular and agile. Even the elderly maintain a good fitness and an aged, retired barbarian could still knock out a younger Tna'dass ("city dweller" in ancient barbarian idiom) with a single blow.
All things considered barbarians are excellent fighters, with an average physical strength allowing them to sustain the weight of practically any weapon the Kingdom can offer, and swing it with the same deadly strength. Some army instructors believe barbarians could increase their prowess even further if they allowed themselves to learn the subtle tactics of the military, while others cite their freedom as their main source of strength. They prefer to develop their own combat style based on aggressiveness, predatory instinct and their combat code and dress of honor rather than following a canonical martial training.
All barbarians show disdain and dislike for the complicated mechanisms and care needed to use and maintain a crossbow; pikes and halberds are also mostly ridiculed, being the mainstay weapon of the lowly Kingdom infantry and thus symbolizing submission to conscription. There is one kind of weapons in which they are specializing, though without realizing it. A typical recreative activity for barbarians of all ages and sex is a friendly throwing weapon contest, either domestic or official one, where they challenge for the farthest and strongest throw out of all kinds of weapons that can be hurled: daggers, axes, spears, javelins, or rocks if it's a kids' contest. In dire straits, barbarians are known to even take out their underwear and use it to sling stones at the enemy.

Feats (9):
Charge, Mighty Strike, Mighty Throw, Double Pass, Projection, Cleave, Challenge, Second Wind, Whirlwind.

Easy peasy, keeping the barb simple and direct with a handful of feats - chances are he can only roughly bring 2-4 per Quest. There is often tension for who controls the barbarian, reason why I had to come up with a second, similar class in case more than one person wants to play a straight melee character.
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