Arcane Backgrounds

The following Arcane backgrounds are available in the campaign:

  • Alchemist: A crafter of potions and poisons, able to share their wares with others.
  • Mystic: A divine caster who draws upon his own inner power to perform miracles.
  • Sorcerer: An arcane caster who uses his innate abilities to perform feats of magic.
  • Cleric: A divine caster who meticulously learns and prepares spells ahead of time.
  • Mage: An arcane caster who learns and prepares his magic through diligence and study.
Alchemist

Arcane Skill: Alchemy (Agility)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 3

Spell List: Armor, Blind, Boost Trait, Darksight, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Healing, Obscure, Smite, Speed, Stun, Succor, Wall Walker

Alchemy is the creation of magic through potions, salves, unguents, or other concoctions. Alchemists are often looked upon as second-rate wizards, unable to harness the raw power of the universe without resorting to powders and potions. Alchemists see things differently. Their concoctions come with a guarantee they will work every time, they can ensure their spells are available at their maximum potency, and their magic does not require them to be present for it to be wielded.

Most commoners view alchemists as slightly dangerous — more than one tavern has been destroyed by catastrophic backlash. Even those who specialize in healing arts are encouraged to work their magic away from buildings or livestock.

To create a potion, the alchemist needs access to at least a small lab (such as might be carried in a trunk – cost 100 sp) and one hour per spell Rank (eg: Novice spells takes one hour to imbue into a potion).

At the end of the required time, the alchemist rolls his Alchemy die and pays the relevant Power Points. These Power Points are not recovered until the potion is consumed or destroyed (poured on the ground, dispelled, etc.). At that point they return to the caster at the usual rate (typically one per hour).

If the casting roll is successful, the potion is complete. It can be used as a single action by any living being. A potion of Strength, for example, might contain the boost trait spell, whereas a potion of fireballs might contain blast and need to be thrown. The effects of the potion are the same as the spell. This includes any additional effects from raises on the original Alchemy roll.

Range: Alchemists don’t go around throwing balls of fire — they throw exploding potions. Any spell with a Range of Touch, Sight, or Self requires the potion to be drunk or smeared onto the body, as deemed appropriate for the effect. Spells with range brackets or based on an attribute usually require the potion to be thrown, depending on the effect. This requires a Throwing roll and ranges are reduced to 3/6/12.

Duration: Alchemical powers last as per regular power, though the alchemist may put extra Power Points into the potion to make it last longer. This must be determined during creation — not when drunk.

Labs: Most alchemists have a portable lab, allowing them to create potions as and when needed. Access to a modest laboratory (at least the size of a small room or a large wagon) grants a +2 bonus to Alchemy rolls, whereas access to an full alchemic workshop grants a +4 bonus.

Alchemic Backlash: Alchemists work with many volatile compounds and unstable reagents. If an alchemist rolls a 1 on his Alchemy die, regardless of Wild Die, he must roll on the Alchemic Backlash table.

Alchemic Backlash
d20 Effect
1–10 Noxious vapors affect the mage’s ability to think straight. His Smarts and all linked skills are lowered by one die for an hour per Rank of the spell he was casting.
11–15 The power immediately activates, with the caster as the target. While this may produce some unwanted beneficial effect (gaining armor while miles from any action), a blast spell is more deadly.
16–18 The casting goes out of control, resulting in an explosion. Everyone within a Medium Burst Template centered on the alchemist takes 2d6 damage.
19–20 As above, but the damage is 3d6 in a Large Template.

Mystic

Arcane Skill: Faith (Spirit)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 2

Spell List: Analyze Foe, Armor, Beast Friend, Blind, Bolt, Boost Trait, Burrow, Burst, Conceal Arcana, Confusion, Darksight, Deflection, Detect Arcana, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Fear, Healing, Legerdemain, Light, Lower Trait, Obscure, Shapechange I, Smite, Speak Language, Speed, Stun, Succor, Summon Ally I

Those who draw on miracles are priestly types, holy champions, or naturalistic druids. Their power comes from a divine presence of some sort, including gods, nature, or spirits. Their powers are usually invoked with a few words of prayer or by performing established rituals.

Protector: Those who cast miracles are champions of their particular religions. Good priests vow to protect the innocent, fight evil, and obey all other tenets of their particular religion. Evil priests typically vow to defeat those who oppose their religion, or simply to cause as much misery and strife as possible. The player and Game Master should come up with a simple list of what is important to the character’s religion and use this as a guide.

Champions who violate their beliefs are temporarily or permanently forsaken by their chosen deity. Minor sins give the character a –2 to his Faith rolls for one week. Major sins rob him of all arcane powers for one week. Mortal sins cause the character to be forsaken until the penitent hero completes some great quest or task of atonement to regain his lost powers.

Sorcerer

Arcane Skill: Spellcasting (Smarts)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 2

Spell List: Analyze Foe, Armor, Beast Friend, Blind, Bolt, Boost Trait, Burrow, Burst, Conceal Arcana, Confusion, Darksight, Deflection, Detect Arcana, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Fear, Legerdemain, Light, Lower Trait, Obscure, Shapechange I, Smite, Speak Language, Speed, Stun, Summon Ally I, Wall Walker.

Magicians range from powerful warlocks to vile cultists. They draw on raw supernatural energy to fuel their eldritch fires. This energy often infuses the worlds in which they live, and is drawn forth with elaborate rituals, words of power, runes, or perhaps even dark sacrifices.

Backlash: When a sorcerer rolls a 1 on his Spellcasting die (regardless of his Wild Die), he is automatically Shaken. This can cause a wound.

Cleric

Arcane Skill: Faith (Spirit)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 3

Spell List: Analyze Foe, Armor, Beast Friend, Blind, Bolt, Boost Trait, Burrow, Burst, Conceal Arcana, Confusion, Darksight, Deflection, Detect Arcana, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Fear, Healing, Legerdemain, Light, Lower Trait, Obscure, Shapechange I, Smite, Speak Language, Speed, Stun, Succor, Summon Ally I

Unlike mystics, who tap into their own natural (or unnatural) arcane power, clerics learn their craft through devotion and study. Years of prayer and study yield knowledge of rituals stored in prayerbooks from which they draw. The power of the spells is held ready in the cleric’s heart until it is needed, requiring only a moment of concentration to release. This process is exhausting, and once the cleric releases the power, he must wait to regain the power. Additionally, the cleric may scribe scrolls of magic, allowing him to store some of his divine power in the mystical runes, to be unleashed at a later time.

Clerics must spend 1 hour each morning preparing spells from their prayerbook. They may allocate all of their Power Points, essentially ‘precasting’ spells up to their PP limit, in any combination they require. The cleric may save some PP for prayer later in the day, requiring at least 10 minutes per spell rank to accomplish the task. Cleric Power Points only refresh at dawn, once in any 24 hour period.

To create a scroll, the cleric needs access to his collection of prayer beads and scribing supplies (could be carried in a small trunk – cost 100 sp) and one hour per spell Rank (eg: Novice spells takes one hour to scribe). At the end of the required time, the cleric pays the relevant Power Points, and has completed the scroll. These Power Points are used up for the day, but can be recovered at dawn. A cleric may only store 5 Power Points in scrolls at any one time.

Spells are cast from scrolls just as if the cleric had prayed for them, except that he must have the scroll in hand. He cannot modify the spell from its original scribed form (ie: by adding Power Points to gain additional effects). The scroll is destroyed when its magic is released. In order to use another cleric’s scroll, he must spend one hour deciphering the arcane writing and succeed on a Knowledge(religion) roll. He may attempt this roll once per day.

When a cleric takes the New Power Edge, he gains a new power to add to his prayerbook.

Protector: Those who cast miracles are champions of their particular religions. Good priests vow to protect the innocent, fight evil, and obey all other tenets of their particular religion. Evil priests typically vow to defeat those who oppose their religion, or simply to cause as much misery and strife as possible. The player and Game Master should come up with a simple list of what is important to the character’s religion and use this as a guide.

Champions who violate their beliefs are temporarily or permanently forsaken by their chosen deity. Minor sins give the character a –2 to his Faith rolls for one week. Major sins rob him of all arcane powers for one week. Mortal sins cause the character to be forsaken until the penitent hero completes some great quest or task of atonement to regain his lost powers.

Mage

Arcane Skill: Spellcasting (Smarts)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 3

Spell List: Analyze Foe, Armor, Beast Friend, Blind, Bolt, Boost Trait, Burrow, Burst, Conceal Arcana, Confusion, Darksight, Deflection, Detect Arcana, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Fear, Legerdemain, Light, Lower Trait, Obscure, Shapechange I, Smite, Speak Language, Speed, Stun, Summon Ally I, Wall Walker.

Unlike sorcerers, who tap into their own natural (or unnatural) arcane power, mages learn their craft through hard work and study. Years of research and experimentation culminate in a tome (or series of tomes) containing their spell formulae and rituals. The power of the spells is held ready in the mage’s mind until it is needed, requiring only a moment of concentration to release. This process is exhausting, and once the mage releases the power, he must be well rested to resume the process. Additionally, the mage may scribe scrolls of magic, allowing him to store some of his arcane power in the mystical runes, to be unleashed at a later time.

Mages must spend 1 hour each morning preparing spells from their spellbook. They may allocate all of their Power Points, essentially ‘precasting’ spells up to their PP limit, in any combination they require. The mage may save some PP for memorization later in the day, requiring at least 10 minutes per spell rank to accomplish the task. Mage Power Points only refresh after a full rest of 8 hours, which can be accomplished only once in any 24 hour period.

To create a scroll, the mage needs access to his collection of scribing instruments (could be carried in a small trunk – cost 100 sp) and one hour per spell Rank (eg: Novice spells takes one hour to scribe). At the end of the required time, the mage pays the relevant Power Points, and has completed the scroll. These Power Points are used up for the day, but can be recovered after a full rest. A mage may only store 10 Power Points in scrolls at any one time.

Spells are cast from scrolls just as if the mage had memorized them, except that he must have the scroll in hand. He cannot modify the spell from its original scribed form (ie: by adding Power Points to gain additional effects). The scroll is destroyed when its magic is released. In order to use another mage’s scroll, you must spend one hour deciphering the arcane writing and succeed on a Knowledge(arcane) roll. You may attempt this roll once per day.

When a mage takes the New Power Edge, he gains a new power to add to his spellbook.

Backlash: When a mage rolls a 1 on his Spellcasting die (regardless of his Wild Die), he is automatically Shaken. This can cause a wound.

Arcane Backgrounds

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