Thursday, March 19, 2009

more class musings

Here’s a variant class inspired by the NPC classes in 3e and some scribbled notes about NPCs in the World of Cinder.

HEDGE MAGES
Requirements: NPC
Prime Requisites: Intelligence (see below)
Hit Dice: d4 (flat amount, not per level)
Attacks: Normal Man
Saves: Normal Man

As a non-adventuring NPC class, the level of a hedge mage is based upon the number of years they have spent puttering around in labs, reading musty old tomes, tending herb-gardens, etc. A high Intelligence score reduces the years needed to advance a level (13-15 equals -1 year; 16-17, -2 years; and 18, -3 years) while a low Int adds to the time needed to advance (3, +3 years; 4-5, +2 years; 6-8, +1 year).

YearsLevel1st2nd3rd4th5th6th
0-911-----
10-19211----
20-293111---
30-3941111--
40-49511111-
50+6111111

For most purposes hedge mages and magic-users are mechanically interchangeable: The magic-user rules for spellbooks and memorization also apply to hedge mages. Hedge mages can use magic items otherwise only useable by M-U’s. Spells developed by hedge mages can be learned and cast by magic-users, etc. In fact, the members of each class do not see the other class as a separate profession. Rather most magic-users consider hedge mages to be MU’s who have failed to live up to their potential for awesome power and many hedge mages tend to see magic-users as corner-cutting slackers. Magic-users may have apprentices who go on to become hedge mages and vice versa.

Lore: Starting at 2nd level a hedge mage gains a non-spell ability called a Lore. No hedge mage may have more than one Lore per level over first, but some have fewer than that. Some sample Lores are listed below:

Brew Potions
Herbal Healing
Identify Magic Item
Cast Horoscope
Enchant Magic Items
Create Golem
Concoct Gunpowder
Summon, Bind, & Banish Ethereal Spirits (or demons, elementals, etc.)
Decipher Ancient Languages
Hear Whispers on the Wind
Knowledge of the Hierarchy and Protocols of Hell (or the Fairy Kingdom, Atlantis, etc.)

Assigning and adjudicating these abilities is left to the individual referee. Most Lores cannot be taught to magic-users, who rarely have the patience required, but at the referee’s option some Lores may be ‘translated’ into spells. Consider this as a research project that takes half as much time and money as developing a new spell, but the hedge mage must assist during the entire project. Some Lores will require more than one spell (Summon Spirit, Bind Spirit, Banish Spirit, for instance).

Given a hedge mage’s abysmal combat abilities and potential if they stick to the books long enough, you can see why most hedge mages would be extremely loathe to go adventuring.