Monday, June 16, 2008

Uresia Musings

S. John Ross's Uresia: Grave of Heaven is one of my favorite FRPG settings. For one thing it's got a great mix of high and low fantasy with enough whimsy (I really hate that word...) to place the tongue firmly in cheek without going overboard. But what I really like is that it's a fantasy setting that organically explains the existence of vast rambling underground catacombs! The Skyfall Ruins, buried under the current layer of the remains of the heavens, can contain anything from a buried castle to a vast underground city and anything in between.

Over on the Uresia Yahoo group a few months back, Mr. Ross mentioned the idea of using classic D&D (specifically the Rules Cyclopedia) to run Uresia. I don't know why, but I'd never considered that idea...until then! And then my brain was set alight. It was that, actually, that got me to go back and look at classic D&D again for the first time in years.

Since then I've been sort of incrementally working on some conversion notes for porting Uresia's unique setting into D&D (for an example see below), and I've got quite a bit done but one recurring hang-up for me has been magic.

Magic in Uresia is very specialized. Certain types of magic have certain effects. This suggests a specialized approach to magic, ala AD&D 2e. What's hanging me up is trying to adapt RCD&D's magic system along the lines of the former while still maintaining the simple elegance of the latter.

Was there ever a "specialist" magic system worked up for classic D&D? Should I even go in this direction? Or should I just take a page from the classic "Color of Magic" article from Dragon #200 and just make all spell-casters function as Magic-Users, but with different "special effects" for their spells?

At any rate, here's one of the new character classes I worked up:

Dreed Sporting Chef

Prime Requisite: Intelligence and Charisma.
Other Requirements:
Dexterity 9.
Experience Bonus:
5% for an Intelligence score of at least 13, 10% for a Charisma of 13 and an Intelligence of 17.
Hit Dice:
1d4 per level with Constitution adjustments up to 9th level. Starting at 10th level, +2 hit points per level and Constitution adjustments no longer apply.
Maximum Level:
36
Armor Allowed:
As thief.
Saves: As thief.
Attack Advancement: As thief.
Weapon Mastery: Normal (see below).
Damage:
Special (see below).
Special Abilities:

  • The Sporting Chef gains the skill of Profession (Cooking) for free.

  • God of Cookery: While using any "normal" weapon, the Sporting Chef does a mere 1d4 damage; while wielding food as a weapon (baguette, sausage links, hot soup, etc.), the Sporting Chef does 1d6 damage. Furthermore, the Sporting Chef may use Fighter Weapon Mastery when wielding food items.

  • Additionally, every level the Sporting Chef may add the abilities of Buffet Demon, Connoisseur, Culinary Encyclopedia, Gustatory Focus, Judge Cook, Lightning Chef, and Portable Kitchen, one ability per level (see Uresia for details).

  • At 3rd level, the Sporting Chef begins attracting followers. The first batch of followers (sous chefs) consists of 1d6 retainers, who work for the Chef free of charge and enjoy a +4 bonus to morale. Every other level thereafter, the Chef attracts 1d6 more retainers (apprentices), up to the maximum allowed by his Charisma.

  • At 5th level, the Sporting Chef's damage increases to 1d8 when using food as weapons. Furthermore, the Sporting Chef's food weapons count as +1 weapons for the sole purpose of determining whether the Chef can hit creatures who can only be damaged by magic weapons. At 10th level, the effective bonus is +2, at 15th it increases to +3, and at 20th it increases again to +4.

  • At 9th level, the Sporting Chef becomes an internationally recognized celebrity chef. He enjoys the benefits (and drawbacks) of celebrity, and also attracts an "honor guard" of faithful followers:

1d100

Sporting Chef Follower

01-10

10 mounted knights: 1st-level fighters with field plate, large shield, lance, broad sword, morning star, and heavy war horse with full barding

11-20

10 1st-level elves with chain mail, long sword, long bow, dagger

21-30

15 wardens: 1st-level fighters with scale mail, shield, long sword, spear, long bow

31-40

20 berserkers: 2nd-level fighters with leather armor, shield, battle axe, broad sword, dagger (berserkers receive +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls)

41-65

20 expert archers: 1st-level fighters with studded leather armor, long bows or crossbows (+2 to hit)

66-99

30 infantry: 1st-level fighters with plate mail, body shield, spear, short sword

00

DM's Option (pegasi cavalry, Emerald Knights, Minotaurs, a cooking school's worth of Sporting Chef apprentices, etc.)


Level

Experience

1

0-1,800

2

1,801-3,600

3

3,601-7,200

4

7,201-14,400

5

14,401-30,000

6

30,001-60,000

7

60,001-120,000

8

120,001-240,000

9

240,001-360,000

10

360,001-480,000

11

480,001-600,000

12

600,001-720,000

13

720,001-840,000

14

840,001-960,000

15

960,001-1,080,000

16

1,080,001-1,200,000

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