Monday, July 21, 2014

5th Edition Wild Magic Arcane Tradition Draft!

Random crazy eyes wizard from
page 126 of the 2e Tome of Magic

I love Wild Mages. I love jumping the gun on things I don't understand. I'm trying to make a 5e style Arcane Tradition for the Wild Mage. This is a terrible idea. My one 5e character is level 1! The PHB isn't even out yet! What am I doing!?!?!

I'm making a Wild Mage dammit!

My first D&D character ever was a Wild Mage. I still play her, much to the consternation of Reynaldo Mandarin and Zach Marx Weber, and the delight of Kasper Blombdell. I've played them in 3.5 edition, when they were a prestige class, and 4th edition, where they were really some weird variation on the Sorcerer. I think they're cool, and stuff. So, while I imagine Wizards will probably come out with their own version, I wanted to jump the gun and also see just how flexible 5th could be.

This is a rough draft because I like putting out rough drafts on the interwebs and going "hey interwebs, fix this" because the interwebs is actually pretty smart about these things.

BEFORE YOU GO OFF BEING "HELPFUL" HOWEVER, PLEASE, please, Please familiarize yourself with AT LEAST the 2nd edition Wild Mage rules. Purple Worm is helpful! Also, please have read the (freeee) 5th edition rules, specifically the bit about Wizards and Arcane Traditions

Direct links:
Wild Mages
Level Variation Rules
Level Variation Table
~WiLd SuRgE tAbLe!1!1!~
Tome of Magic Wizard Spells (Spells with asterixes are Wild Magic spells)

Things I stole from 3.5 Edition: an attempt to use a die roll to determine level flux, instead of a table
Things I stole from 4th Edition: Wild Soul, Chaos Burst which is really Chaos Action but kind of merged into a different thingy

The core concepts of the Wild Mage since 2nd edition have been:
> Their spells do random things, are random in nature, and fluctuate in power
> Their spells have the potential to blow up in their faces and cause horrible things to happen

Keep that in mind when making suggestions. While I do want this Wild Mage to be balanced, randomness IS a central theme. The idea is that while the Wild Mage should have the potential to be more powerful than other wizards, this power should come with all kinds of weird headaches, disadvantages, and potential for terribleness.

Questions I have: Do the Arcane Tradition abilities make sense? Are they too powerful for their level? Not powerful enough for their level? How do I make Arcane Flux both better balanced (atm, you basically have a 1/4 chance of casting the spell at its level) and easier to use (This may be worse than the original table, idk). Is rolling for Wild Surge every time too much work? How are the few spells I've written up so far? Which Wild Magic spells that I haven't fully written out look like they have potential, and which ones should I just chuck out of a window? Any suggestions for other Wild Magic spells (I feel like there should be more Wild Magic than the average Cleric gets from a domain, but less than you get from the average school of magic)?

Here's the draft so far.

Arcane Tradition: Wild Magic

Wild Magic is a dangerous and strange tradition of magic. Most Wild Mages are mavericks, shunned by their peers for their unpredictable nature. Wild Mages study the magic of pure chaos and randomness.

Said Tradition grants a few more features than most Traditions, but at considerable cost.

Wild Magic

Starting at level 2, you access to the Wild Magic school. Other wizards cannot use these spells: they require considerable study to master.

Arcane Flux

Starting at 2nd level, all of your spell slots are treated as being 5 levels lower than they actually are for the purposes of effects that vary by level (such as the damage of a Magic Missile spell). Instead, when you cast the spell, roll 2d4 and add the total to the effective slot level. AFTER adding the result of the 2d4, the level of the slot cannot be less than 1.

For example, if you are a 3rd level wizard and you choose to cast Magic Missile using a 1st level slot, the spell level is treated as -4. The spell can thus fluctuate between level 1 and level 4 slot (with the chances of being level 1 about 60%).

This flux is ONLY used for determining effects that vary by level. Spell slots otherwise behave normally (eg, you use spells in the slot appropriate for your level).

This ability does not effect cantrips, and it cannot raise a spell above 9th level.

Wild Surge

Starting at 2nd level, roll a d20 any time you cast a spell (if the spell requires a to-hit roll, just use that roll). If you roll a 1, you trigger a Wild Surge. Roll on a Wild Surge table to determine the result.

Level Flux does not apply on a triggered Wild Surge; if the spell functions at all, it functions at the level you cast it at.

Student of Chaos

Starting at 6th level, whenever you encounter any random effect, you have advantage on the roll to determine what that effect is. For example, if you are targeted by Prismatic Spray, you can roll twice to determine which color you are hit by. If you use a Rod of Wonder, you roll twice to determine its effects. 

This ability does not apply to your own spells and abilities, except where otherwise noted.

Wild Soul

Starting at 10th level, whenever you take a short or long rest, roll 1d10 to determine a damage type:

d10 Damage Type
1 Acid
2 Cold
3 Fire
4 Force
5 Lightning
6 Necrotic
7 Poison
8 Psychic
9 Radiant
10 Thunder

You gain resistance to that type of damage until your next short or long rest. Any spells you cast that deal that damage type deal 2x their normal damage until your next short or long rest. You deal half damage with that damage type to creatures that have immunity to that type. 

Chaos Burst

At 14th level, you can imbue spells you cast with a beneficial effect by reaching into the power of raw Chaos. Roll 1d8.

d8 Effect
1 You become invisible until the start of your next turn.
2 You teleport a number of feet equal to 5 x your Intelligence modifier
3 Roll a hit die; gain that many hit points (this does not expend your normal Hit Die uses)
4 Until your next short rest, each ally within 25 feet of you gains resistance to the damage type you resist with your Wild Soul.
5 You teleport an ally and an enemy within 50 feet of you, swapping their positions.
6 Gain a bonus to AC equal to your Intelligence modifier until the end of your next turn
7 Gain a bonus to all saving throws equal to your Intelligence modifier until the end of your next turn
8 All enemies within 10 feet of the target are knocked prone

The first time you use this ability, you suffer no averse effects. If you use this again before you take a long rest, your Wild Surge occurs on a roll of 5 or less on a d20. Each time you use this feature again before resting, your Wild Surge chance increases by 5 (to a maximum of occurring on a roll of 20).

Wild Magic Spells

Chaos Bolt
Wild Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 50ft
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You hurl a crackling orb of shimmering lights and terrible noise at your target. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 Psychic damage. If your attack roll was even, make another spell attack on a randomly determined target within 50 ft of the primary target. On a hit, that target takes 1d6 Psychic damage. This spell cannot hit the same target twice. Continue making secondary attacks until you either roll an even number or run out of targets.

This spell's primary attack damage increases by 1d10 when you reach 5th level (2d10), 11th level (3d10), and 17th level (4d10). The secondary damage never increases.

1st Level Wild Spell (Ritual)
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (A small hand lens)
Duration: 10 minutes

This spell lets the Wild Mage make sense of chaos and entropy. It has these main functions:
  • Visualize how something broken looked when whole
  • Pick out individual elements in a crowded group—for instance, picking out a single set of footprints from a crowded muddy market square (though not whose footprints they are; just allowing you to follow them), understanding a single voice over a crowd's roar (though, again, not who the voice belongs to, or what they're saying if you don't understand the language), finding a needle in a haystack, etc
  • Determining the exact number of objects in a group of similar objects (gold coins in a dragon's hoard, soldiers in an approaching army, etc)
You must be able to see or hear the thing you're trying to make sense of, and you cannot gain specific information about it beyond what's described above (you can't determine that a given cup is poisoned, just that the liquid inside is different than the liquid in a bunch of identical cups). You can't use this spell to determine a secret message in a pattern (that implies that there's already order to the pattern in question). The spell doesn't work on magic items, so you cannot see how to reforge the Shards of Whatever Magic Sword it Is This Week.

You can get a basic idea of how to put a broken object back together; Patternweave gives you advantage on checks to repair broken objects (but not magic items).

Nahal's Reckless Dweomer
1st level Wild Spell
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Special
Components: V, S
Duration: Special

You pull pure magic out of the Weave and try to shape it into something useful. Pick any spell in your spellbook. You attempt to cast that spell, but the casting automatically triggers a Wild Surge. You have advantage on the Wild Surge table roll.

Regardless of if you use the included Wild Surge table, the classic 2e Wild Surge table, or some other, random Wild Surge table, there is ALWAYS a 1 in 100 chance that the spell functions normally when using Nahal's Reckless Dweomer to set off the Wild Surge. If you're using some giant crazy weird Wild Surge table other than the original 2e one or the modified one I've included, roll d100 first, and if you get a 100, the spell functions normally. If not, do whatever weird voodoo you do when doing Wild Surge results.

Hornung's Baneful Deflector
2nd level Wild Spell
Casting Time: 1 reaction, when you or a target within reach are hit by a single target missile attack
Range: Touch; but see below
Components: V, S, M (A small prism)
Duration: 1 round

You create a shimmering field of force around the touched creature. Until the start of your next turn, all single target missile attacks against the shielded creature instead target a randomly determined creature within 15 feet (including allies and the shielded creature).

Other Wild Magic spells from 2nd Edition that I might adapt or whatever
2nd level
Nahal's Nonsensical Nullifier (gives random results to divination spells targeted at you)

3rd level
Alternate Reality (lets someone re-roll a roll from the last round)
Fireflow (Control and move preexisting natural fire)
Fool's Speech (People you touch speak garbled words that are only intelligible to each other)

4th level
There/Not There (50% chance of objects existing or not existing, rolled individually for each person interacting. Normally a 50% miss chance, but can also cause hilarity on things like bridges)
Unluck (creature gains disadvantage on all rolls for the next some amount of time I guess)

5th level
Vortex (mobile 5 ft diameter sphere, 50% chance of controlling its motion, requires concentration. 1d4 dmg / caster level per round to normal creatures; 1d6 against magical creatures & spellcasters. 5% chance every time it deals damage to a creature to explode in a wild surge)
Waveform (control normal water??? why is this almost a page long spell and why is this wild magic. 2e...)

6th level
Wildshield (absorb 2d6 spell levels. If the caster ends the spell early, or it absorbs exactly its capacity, it dissipates. If it absorbs over its level, it detonates in a wild surge)
Wildstrike (smack a dude in the face, next some amount of rounds/turns all spells or magical abilities or magical items used by said dude automatically trigger a wild surge)

7th level
Spell Shape (as a reaction, absorb a spell cast at you; immediately cast a spell of the same level or lower, regardless of whether it's usually a reaction or not)

8th level
Hornung's Random Dispatcher (chuck a dude into a totally random plane)
Wildzone (creates a 300 x 300 area where every spell cast / magic effect activated turns into a wild surge)

9th level
Stabilize (negates wild magic zones, wild magic effects [wildstrike, wildzone, wildwind]. Might add some effect of banishing chaotic creatures?)
Wildfire (sort of like Wish, but lame, I guess?)

Wildwind (creates a 150 ft long wall that the caster can move at 60 ft per round. Being hit by the wall deals 2d6 damage, & any spellcaster hit by the wall automatically expends their highest level spell slot on a spell, & triggers a wild surge while doing so. Magic items also activate, & trigger a wild surge)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Scrooge McDuck's Magic Money Bin

Conversation with Allandaros last night led to us talking about Jammer Hearts, which in turn lead to talking about Scrooge McDuck's magic money bin. Mostly, we were talking about how that thing NEEDS to be in Jammer Hearts, because I mean, it's THE money bin. The discussion led to Cool Shit.

As the AD/HD video Scientifically Accurate Ducktales points out (WARNING: NSFW, also discussion of duck-on-duck rape and cannibalism), a giant bin of gold coins would be rock solid. Now, while I could just handwave and say that Scrooge swims in the money bin Because Reasons, it's much more fun and interesting to come up with some bullshit D&D reasons this works.

Basically, the money bin is magic. Super, super powerful ancient magic.

THE MONEY BIN (magical location)

In Jammer Hearts, as in the original TV show, Scrooge is a former adventurer. One of his last adventures before retirement involved delving into an ancient factory built by an unknown, long-extinct race. While in this factory, he discovered what would eventually be termed the Money Bin.

The Money Bin's power is that any metal placed inside of it below a certain threshold (indicated by a silver line inside, below a platform sticking out into the bin) turns into a room-temperature liquid. The liquid metal stays the same color as whatever metal it originally was, remains opaque, and is imiscible with other metals placed in the bin (so if you place gold and iron in the bin, you get a blob of gold liquid and a blob of iron liquid). In all other ways, the metal in the bin has properties identical to water: they gain the density of water (so lead doesn't sink to the bottom and tin doesn't float to the top), and become non-toxic (so you can swim in lead with no harm; best to make absolutely certain you wash it all off first!). However, unlike water, the liquid metal is also entirely inert and non-reactive, regardless of what properties it had before; you could put raw sodium in there if you wanted to contain it, or even radioactive metals.

Alloys separate into their component parts; for instance, if you put in steel, the carbon will separate from the iron and usually float to the top (non metal objects react as though the liquid had the density of water). This is a great way of purifying metals, and of getting metal out of ore.

Metals removed from the bin revert to their solid form instantly and regain all their normal properties. They take on the shape of whatever container is used to remove the metal. If you simply dip a cup into the top of the bin, you'll get a swirl of whatever metals happen to have been placed in there last, fused into a solid.

The Money Bin has a number of differently sized spigots at the bottom with a whole slew of levers next to it, all of which are labeled with the names of various metals. There are even a few blank ones, and slots for inserting more levers. Pulling an individual lever will place a filter on the spigot that will only allow that type of metal to be poured out. This can be a slow process, as if there's a glob of iron floating at the top of the bin, it could take some time for it to sink far enough to come out of the spigot (it will sink eventually, however). This allows for separating the metal slurry into pure metals. There's even a few levers for alloys, though the alloy components must be in the bin to allow pouring of alloys.

There's a second device, a giant siphon, at the top of the bin. The siphon can be moved around via levers at the top platform, and dropped into the slurry. The siphon can do the same thing as the spigot, but from the top, and it can drain larger quantities of metal (so if you were making a bigger object; the spigot is mostly for things you can hold in your hand, the siphon is for very large projects). The siphon also has another unique property; there's a chute through which you can dump worked objects. The siphon can remember the worked object in a database (accessible from the platform) and basically 3D print an exact copy of the object using any of the metals currently stored in it.

Magic items made of metal dropped into the Money Bin must make a Constitution save (or Save vs Magic Device, or Save vs Polymorph, depending on what edition you're using) every round it is in the bin or be destroyed. The magic in the object is undone and the object is melted down into its component metal. Obviously, there are some exceptions, and especially powerful or old magic items may be immune, or cause unpredictable interference with the Money Bin's magic (a keyblade, for instance, would likely not be affected).

The bin has one final ability: it can create a liquid metal guardian (or series of guardians!) to defend the bin. The guardian is composed of animate metal (this time with the same density as whatever metal it was created from -- often gold is used for this purpose simply for its great weight) and is not intelligent. Treat as an iron golem, only instead of a breath weapon it has an attack like a rust monster's. Instead of rusting items, it causes metal to turn to liquid and re-solidify into useless, twisted shapes.


Scrooge McDuck found the bin in his younger days, during one of his adventuring expeditions. The bin lay at the center of a huge, ancient, abandoned weapons factory, a place created by a forgotten race for a long-past war. The rest of his adventuring party were interested only in the bin's liquid metal contents, along with the various uncut gems in the bottom (from the earlier users throwing ore into the bin to separate the metal from the ore) and the weapons and items in the factory's store rooms. Scrooge, cannily, said that he wanted no part of the gold or items; his party could take the lot... in exchange for the bin itself. The rest of the party happily agreed. Scrooge then brokered a deal with an off-planet business for a one-year contract to provide exceptionally pure metal for use in manufacturing in exchange for the manufacturer moving the bin to his own home.

Within five years, Scrooge's adventuring partners had wasted all their gold on frivolous pursuits, and Scrooge was wealthier than all of them combined through the use of the Money Bin in manufacturing. Scrooge hired many top mages and scientists to study the bin's properties to see if they could replicate it, but to no avail as yet; the bin's magic is too ancient and strange. Scrooge recently halted all progress on researching the bin, though he did not cite any reasons why.

Now that Scrooge is the richest being in the galaxy, he doesn't use the bin for manufacturing as much anymore. He owns a number of subsidiary companies that provide him with more than enough money, and though he often grumbles about "parasites" and "people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps" he secretly has a soft spot for up and coming adventurer types and secretly runs various charities to help young adventurers find their feet. Instead, he uses the bin for purely recreational purposes, as his own private, completely ridiculous, and very expensive lap pool.


> A bitter rival wants to destroy Scrooge's business. Said rival has no idea of the magic properties of the bin; he merely believes that the bin just stores Scrooge's gold. He hires the adventurers to steal from it.

> Someone has managed to secretly activate the Bin's Guardian, out of Scrooge's control. The monster is rampaging around Scrooge's estate, completely unstoppable. Scrooge blames David Xanatos, saying that Xanatos managed to steal the magical research done into the bin's properties, and was thus the only other person who knew about the Guardian. Xanatos denies that it was him, saying that his own estate was recently broken into. Scrooge doesn't believe Xanatos, and is working on legal action, even while he tries to hire people to deal with the rampaging Guardian. If it's not Xanatos, then who awakened the Guardian, and to what purpose?

> Something is stirring in the ancient factory that Scrooge retrieved the Bin from. What is it? Who built the bin in the first place? Does the factory really predate the last Heartless incursion, and, if so, what happened to the people who built it? Perhaps they have some secrets that will allow the universe to fight back... or perhaps they will only serve as a lesson in hubris.