Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Mechanics: Errant Spellcasting

Starting Point

Spell: A specific, codified form of magic, somewhat limiting a caster's flexibility but maximizing speed and allowing for much more dramatic effects. Most spells can appear differently when cast, depending on the caster's personality, or can be modified in specific ways while casting.

Mana: The arcane mental energy that is infused into a spell to 'prepare' it in the caster's mind. Only prepared spells can be cast. Most casters also have a limit of mana they can hold at any given time.

Preparing spells: A caster can prepare spells during an hour long ritual, which looks different depending on the individual. During this time, they can prepare any spell they know, so long as they have the mana for it. Additional mana can be invested to enhance the spell, and prepared spells can be discarded during this time to regain their mana. Prepared spells do however count against a caster's maximum mana, but are ready to be cast. When cast, a spell is no longer prepared, and the mana is expended.

Cliffside Ritual
Cliffside Ritual by space gooose


Turning the idea into a reality. During the casting time, a caster may use either skill casting to alter the spell. This incurs risks, as a low skill roll can weaken their spell. They can also use a class ability instead. Skills usually gain a bonus depending on which kind of arcane focus they are cast through.

Magic Skills

Gesture: complex motions that form the spell more rapidly in reality. Can increase (or decrease!) a spell's casting speed.

Incantation: ethereal words, spoken to draw a spell deeper into reality. Can increase (or decrease!) a spell's range.

Sigil: the linguistic form of a spell, focused upon to draw it more sharply into reality. Can increase (or decrease!) a spell's magnitude as specified in the description.

Arcane Focus

A tool which allows mortals to cast spells, by giving the magic a soulless conduit into reality. The arcane focus can be any non-living item you can lift. It takes a week of dedicated rituals to attune a new arcane focus. Many items will give bonuses if attuned and used as a focus. These take one hand to hold and use, unless otherwise noted.


Magic wand: the brightened end of this otherwise plain rod can grant +1 to Sigil or Gesture rolls, depending on how it is used.

Silver bell: this fine bell's unearthly toll can grant +1 to Gesture or Incantation rolls, depending on how it is used.

Tome of magic: this instructive book can grant +1 to Incantation or Sigil rolls, depending on how it is used.

Runic sword: this blade has runes etched into the blade, which can grant +1 to Sigil rolls, but incurs -1 to Gesture rolls made using it.

Resonant shield: this shield creates a soft echo, which can grant +1 to Incantation rolls, but incurs -1 to Sigil rolls made using it.

Singing Poleaxe: this two handed weapon emits a hum in perfect rhythm, granting +1 to Gesture rolls, but incurring -1 to Incantation rolls made using it.

Crystal ball: this misty orb of semiprecious stone can grant +2 to Gesture or Sigil rolls, depending on how it is used.


There are four primary spellcasting traditions. Those of the wizard, druid, bard, and sorceress.



Arcane Dreams: recover mana through arcane dreams, which require twelve hours of comfortable sleep.

Chromatic Mana: your mana pool is greatened, but split between six colors.. You can only prepare spells that you have enough mana of the correct colors. (white, blue, red, green, yellow, purple)

Spell Study: if you have access to a spell in written form, you can learn it with a week of dedicated study. With a teacher you can understand, you can learn the spell from two days of dedicated teaching.

Dual Casting: instead of using skill casting to modify a spell, you can choose two skills instead, with each roll being much harder.

Ritual by Irina Nordsol Kuzmina


Sacred Groves: recover mana by entering a Sacred Grove, which you can recognize on sight as a point of great natural conflux.

World Mana: you have a decreased mana pool, but also gain one World Mana. World Mana can be used to prepare any one spell at its base level.

Spell Communion: each time you commune with a new wilderness and successfully sleep a night unprotected, you learn a randomly selected spell.

Material Casting: instead of using skill casting, you may sacrifice a material component to boost a spell as you cast it. Material components are always lost upon use, and each spell describes both the type of component, and what may be gained by its sacrifice.


Enchanting Performances: you may spend all your mana and prepared spells while putting on a public show for a few hours. Roll your performance skill. The higher the roll, the more mana you gain. This class has no mana limit.

Mana Ante: each spell's mana cost is instead a Prepare Penalty for you. You can spend mana to lower the penalty by 1 each (must spend at least 1 mana, and the penalty can never go below 1). Roll 1d6, if you roll higher than the final penalty total, you successfully prepare the spell. If you roll lower, that mana is lost.

Spell Inspiration: you can spend all prepared spells and mana, as well as a week of dedicated practice, to discover one new spell. The more mana spent, the higher the chances of learning a spell. Prepared spells count for 0 mana. Practice with another bard for a large bonus.

Mana Casting: when you cast a spell, instead of using skill casting you may expend mana to boost one of the same parameters. 1 mana per interval, and you may only choose one.


Mystic Souls: when you cast a prepared spell, all mana that were used to prepare it are immediately regained by you. Your mana pool is however, greatly decreased.

Signature Spell: designate one spell as your signature spell. You will always cast it as if you had invested one extra mana than you spent preparing it. It takes three days of dedicated practice to designate a new signature spell.

Spell Absorption: each time a spell is cast on you, you have a chance to learn it. The more damage you take from a spell, the higher the chance.

Blood Casting: expend your enchanted blood instead of using skill casting, allowing you to increase damage or impact at the cost of your Stamina.



Flaming Orb

Mana cost: 2 red, 1 green.

Casting time: one attack.

Target: visible point within 60 feet.

Effect: a destructive burst deals 3d6 damage to all creatures within 10ft of the target area. Sigil rolls can increase the area of effect by intervals of 5ft.

Material component: crush an ember from a tree that burned naturally, to leave a damaging field behind. The field deals 1d6 rounds to anyone standing in or passing through it, and lasts 3 rounds.

Lightning Bolt

Mana cost: 2 blue, 1 red.

Casting time: one attack.

Target: a visible creature or metal object within 120 feet.

Effect: a destructive bolt strikes the target, then arcs to another fitting target of your choice within 30 feet of the original target. Deals 3d6 damage to each target hit. Sigil rolls can change the number of fitting targets that the bolt will arc to.

Material component: throw a clump of earth that was struck by lightning to arc the spell to a second fitting target within 20 feet of the first.


Commission - Like A... Fox in the Night?
Commission - Like A... Fox in the Night? by Quartervirus


Mana cost: 1 green, 1 white.

Casting time: one movement.

Target: visible creature or plant within 10 feet.

Effect: restores 1d6 Guard to the target. Sigil rolls can change the amount of Guard recovered.

Material component: break a lock to restore 1d6 Guard to another fitting target.


Mana cost: 3 black, 2 white.

Casting time: one encounter.

Target: up to 3 touched creatures.

Effect: renders the targets nigh undetectable for 1 hour. Fast movement such as sprinting, attacking, or receiving an attack will break the shroud. Sigil rolls can increase the duration by 20 minutes each.

Material component: consume a piece of fish meat that you have never once looked upon, to allow targets to become ethereal whenever they hold still.

Notes: Errant is the working title for my current RPG project. At least, the one I feel comfortable posting about on this blog. It's been a while, but when I thought about it I have a lot to share, so next week look forward to melee combat! Then maybe summoning, which I may have finished... eventually. Believe it or not, summoning is both entirely separate from spellcasting and maybe even MORE fleshed out, which is a lot for me.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Auto Generator repository

Character generator, using races and classes based on Tajira, my homebrew setting. If you want to change those details though, it should be perfectly usable for just about any setting, from epic to historical fantasy. Also, it generates a fully original name each time, so feel free to just roll up names! (This is probably my best work here, and also the most liable to change.) 

(The character generator has been removed until I have a better sense of the world and some more well established content.)
Name generator:


Weapon generator:

Specific sword generator, because swords are surprisingly unusual in a lot of weirdly specific ways:

Shield generator:




Crystals! After following a lot of mineral and crystal accounts on social media I feel like a major element fantasy crystals tend to miss out on is the sense of contrast that's almost inherent to any crystal. So I tried to capture that, as well as the incredible, beautiful variety of crystals.

Notes: this page is where I'll be keeping all my auto-generator buttons. They're fun to make, but I don't want to fill my blog with endless posts of just one or two generators. Instead, I'm going to make this post, pin it somewhere prominent, and just add generators to it whenever I make them! I won't be deleting my old generator posts, but I'll probably be redoing as many of them as I feel are worth preserving and posting it all here. The generators in the current sidebar will likely be replaced with a link to this post.

As always, all of these are thanks to Spwack on Slight Adjustments for creating an incredible tool that lets you, yes you! turn your lists of words into auto generator buttons. I've failed to learn programming around half a dozen times so if I can use the tool to make these, truly anyone can.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Worldbuilding: bandits and villains

1. Copper Blades

Tactically efficient bandits known for carrying distinctive copper-plated daggers. They use their uncommon combat coordination to attack larger merchant convoys. Led by Copper Bobby, who supposedly wields a solid copper sword.

BIG FIVE - There Were Times Of Courage, by Sebastian Gromann

2. The Drove

Grotesque brigands who wear raw, leathery pig skins, including masks and hoof-decorated boots. Rumored to be cannibalistic. They loosely take command from the Hog, a huge warrior who was once a renowned knight named Sir Hopper, until he abandoned that life seeking easier pleasures.

3. Men of Polis

A well-dressed gang who prefer to take victims out of sight and brutalize or kill in secret. The city guard are in their pocket just enough to leave their hidden crimes without investigation. The leader is Father Bizzie, who fronts as a moderately successful innkeeper.

4. Heatrazers

Zealous marauder cultists who set their weapons aflame and ritually scar themselves with burns. The high priestess Pyela fights alongside her men, fighting with gauntlets that somehow burn without crippling her hands.

5. Finest Ones

White-robed assassins who wear masks and always kill in ways that leaves no stain upon themselves. They take contracts about as often as they kill for their own inscrutable ends. Led by a mysterious figure known only as Lord Law, who works alone and kills without leaving any visible wound.


Notes: shorter post this time, but I like the characters and unique bandit groups. They may seem a bit familiar in some ways.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Worldbuilding: Wrestling Vines

Within the Mebirin jungles there are countless deadly plants and fungi. These natural traps hunt without limbs or teeth. One of the relatively less deadly but most well known is the Shocherik vine, a plant which lies dormant beneath mild flowers. Coiled tightly in the dirt and ready to spring. The moment a beast steps on the flowers and begins to move away, the vines burst forth and wrap themselves about the unsuspecting prey.


Lost, by Ksanda CreepyCrafts

There is a long-standing tradition in Mebirin to cultivate these vines. They are kept in pots, and bred to be mild. These potted vine flowers are used in semi-formalized competitions, put to the challenge of fighting one another. The gardeners are given small dishes of water with which to guide the growth of their vine, and the first pot to spill dirt onto the table or floor loses.

This is the sport of vine wrestling, a fine tradition and considered a thrilling type of battle in the Mebirin lands. Every five years, the Garden of Might is held. This tournament is not the greatest competition in all the lands, but it’s quite famous in Mebirin, and entrants from anywhere are allowed to compete.

The victor is given the Golden Seed, which is fated to either feed or destroy the entire land. None have been yet able to grow the seed yet, though many have held it.


Steelflower Chak: a powerfully-built man with a hard head and harder plants. His wrestling vines are most well known for their grey flowers and extremely broad leaves (which signify a sturdy vine). Often arrested for drunken brawling.

Dyedif the Sharpstar: a tall, elegant gardener of flamboyant fashions and even more flamboyant vines. His vines are known for having brightly colored thorns. He is known to be quite rich, and holds moderate authority in his land.


Gardening, by LOLICO BOX

The Vinesinger: a mysterious woman who seems to wander the land, quietly competing in numerous vine wrestles. She has a quiet demeanor, and hides her identity under face wraps. Her plants have vivid flowers and no thorns, instead relying on supreme speed and strength to defeat every foe who stands before her. Many challengers wish to seek her out and become the first to conquer her plant.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Healing hit points

I don't like HP for a number of reasons, and I'd like to replace it with something better. Abstracted as 'hit points' it could mean almost anything, but most people tend to read it as 'health' or 'life,' which makes turn-based battles feel like everyone is standing in place, just hacking away at each others abdomens until one of them finally drops. But that's not really how fights work, and it leaves you with what I think is a pretty weak conceptual and mechanical foundation to combat.

This is where I die
Fatigue, by Magnus Fallgren

The first change is pretty simple, just call it Guard instead, with successful melee attacks wearing away at your guard until you become vulnerable. Another successful attack beyond that will cause a Wound that leaves the target incapable of combat. It could be anywhere in a wide range of severity, but personally I'd recommend making the player the one who ultimately decides if their character will die. I'm also a big fan of downtime, taking a break to really heal so that the game doesn't feel like an insane rush where an entire world-saving campaign happens in a week or two. To this end I like a week to a month as the healing time for most Wounds.

(I also like a week of downtime required for leveling up, but that's probably even more controvertible)

Characters also have Endurance, which they can spend a turn using to restore their Guard. Endurance would also be what most non-melee threats deplete, since you don't exactly block or parry arrows or a rolling boulder. You could have Endurance recover after a night's sleep, but a full day off makes more sense to me. Most people don't feel fully recovered until they spend a day relaxing, after all.

Day 21: Furious Undead, by Konstantin Vavilov

There might be a mental analogue to Guard, such as Focus for spellcasters and potentially archers or other ranged attackers, refreshed in a similar way by expending Endurance. To add some extra spice and realism to melee combat, characters can also make a Finishing Strike or Aggressive Attack where you roll a larger damage die, instantly Wounding the target only if it rolls higher than their current Guard. It does nothing if it rolls lower though, and might cost Endurance to attempt.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Class questions

There are some good built-in questions that you can ask in D&D to flesh out your character and your story based on the class you've chosen, but the game doesn't actually ask these questions, so they can be easy to ignore. Here are some good questions for any D&D character, starting with "What are you hiding?" Each class will also have two more specific questions as well.


  • What are you hiding?
  • What do you rage against?
  • What confuses you about these people and their customs?


  • What are you hiding?
  • What do you play?
  • Why do you play it?


  • What are you hiding?
  • Why were you chosen?
  • What do you miss about the church?


  • What are you hiding?
  • How did you first wild shape?
  • What do you hate or fear most about civilization?


  • What are you hiding?
  • Where did you fight before?
  • Who do you admire?


  • What are you hiding?
  • How were you trained?
  • Why did you leave the monastery?


  • What are you hiding?
  • What do you stand against?
  • How do you pray?


  • What are you hiding?
  • Who is your favorite animal?
  • Why do you hunt for yourself?


  • What are you hiding?
  • What was your greatest heist?
  • How have you lost it?


  • What are you hiding?
  • How has your bloodline affected your family?
  • How did your bloodline awaken?


  • What are you hiding?
  • Why did you take the deal?
  • How do you feel about your patron?


  • What are you hiding?
  • Who taught you magic?
  • What do your spells look like?


  • What are you hiding?
  • What was the first magic item you saw?
  • How do you get materials?


The incredible Cavegirl over on Cavegirl's Game Stuff is working on an incredible game called Dungeon Bitches. That's where I got this idea from, and I highly recommend checking out her blog (if you somehow follow this one but not that one). This was fun to make because it's kind of easy to come up with questions but each one creates so much empty space that people could fill out with their characters. I have a lot of trouble writing characters, so I really like seeing stuff like this (again, thanks Cavegirl) because it helps guide things a lot more. No art this time, but I hope you enjoy the stuff that I've made anyways.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Seven Saints

 Siblings who were heroes in their time, each was dedicated to a holy pursuit and exemplified it to an incredible degree. It has been decades since then, and they are considered holy figures. Especially for adventurers or other outsiders to normal society, the saints are an excellent way to pursue faith, along with strong personal virtues and goals to align with.

A depiction of the saints can be identified most easily by a golden body part, differing depending on the saint in question. An image of a woman with chaotic golden lines along her skin however is blasphemy, and is often a sign of great evil.

Yashtas, Saint of Song

Weaver of the saints' many tales, throughout her life she struggled to spread her name without losing her sense of self, or becoming distorted in the minds of the public. Sometimes those who inherited her charge seek only personal fame to the exclusion of all else, and are warned by her teachings about the risks of such behavior. 

Body: tongue

Symbols: purple, crescent moon, snapdragon, quartz, peacock, rapier

Task: grow your reputation, leave memories

Boon: speak a message to any people you can see, which they will surely hear even if whispered amid a storm.

Priestess, by Mahealani Rodrigues

Ishrar, Saint of Roads 

Never satisfied in one place for long, Ishrar saw many lands and tried always to leave any place she visited better than she found it, a difficult feat at times. Her followers are almost all nomads, and oftentimes traders though she mainly lived on the land.

Body: feet

Symbols: orange, cooling wind, daisy, opal, deer, spear

Task: come to a place you’ve never been

Boon: your step is sure, and you will not tire until you next stop walking.

Amarin, Saint of Battle

A mistress of weapons and all manner of fighting styles, she sought power but struggled with an inner rage that often drove her to unwarranted violence. It is thought that later in life she was able to find peace, but to this day many of her followers seek only might and care little for the restraint she tried to uphold.

Body: teeth

Symbols: red, black cloud, carnation, ruby, tiger, lance

Task: defeat a worthy foe in deadly combat

Boon: you can carry one weapon without encumbrance for a week.

The Last Step, by Ignis Bruno

Meshar, Saint of Gardens

By far the longest lived of the saints, some say she still lives even to this day, hidden away deep in a labyrinth of flowers and herbs. As her teachings emphasize survival and health above other virtues, some think her followers to be cowardly. In truth, among them one can find some of the toughest, hardiest people imagineable.

Body: heart

Symbols: brown, gentle rain, sunflower, obsidian, carp, halberd

Task: go a week without injury

Boon: gain immunity to disease as long as you remain unharmed.

Zaraf, Saint of Libraries

Studious and soft-spoken, Zaraf spent so much time learning that she sometimes failed to make use of the knowledge she gained, and tried to hand down teachings to help others with that very task. Her followers are intended to be just as studious, though there is more variety in how and what they may study.

Body: eyes

Symbols: blue, starlight, hydrangea, sapphire, owl, dagger

Task: read a sizeable book

Boon: understand and read all languages for the rest of the day.

Ritual, by Livia Radman

Sunesh, Saint of Weddings

Lascivious saint, partner and spouse to many, and with nearly as many appearances over the course of their life. Sunesh was known as a generous and lively person, sometimes to a fault. Followers of Sunesh are expected to venerate them in whatever form is personally preferred, as that is how they shared love in life, and the saint's teachings emphasize consent and sensitivity to a partner's (or potential partner's) desires or needs.

Body: hands

Symbols: pink, full moon, rose, emerald, dove, whip

Task: spend a night or day with a lover

Boon: for the rest of the week, you can tell if love is true.

Niket, Saint of Home

Amarin would be the first to tell you that Niket was stronger by far. However, Niket struggled to keep up with her siblings and eventually learned to build, her creations eventually becoming the city of Il Kamiyar, the Great Bridge. Her followers congregate their, but can also be found striking out elsewhere, to spread that industrious spirit.

Body: shoulders

Symbols: green, warm sunlight, orchid, peridot, sparrow, axe

Task: sleep within a building you helped create

Boon: you can lift one object and carry it, so long as you could drag it.


Alexandria the Black Mage, by Maika Sozo

Tevresh, Saint of Blasphemy

Said to have betrayed her siblings, they cast her out and tried to erase her memory. However a memory cannot be so easily suppressed, and may only become more resilient with each attempt to exterminate it. Those scarce teachings that can be found from her time ecourage one to abandon their duties, reject any role or path set out for you and struggle alone if you must.

Body: scars

Symbols: black, new moon, windflower, howlite, moth, broken sword

Task: destroy a shrine, or kill a leader

Boon: the next time you could die, fate may be turned aside.


I've been trying to come up with ways to engage the player with the setting more, and a huge part of that is religion. Historically religion has always been a very important in life as well as fantasy, but it seems like a large portion of the gaming community (myself included), are atheistic, so that sense of worship and service to a higher power can be... off-putting. It creates a divide between the player and the average person in the game world, their analogue.

Thus I create instead aspirational figures, so that even the most power-gaming edgy anti-theist could start from a point of "oh yeah I want to be cool like that person," and then once the player is engaged with these figures I think it becomes easier for them to shift that engagement toward roleplaying something more spiritual or worshipful. I've been told that D&D also has demi-gods and high priests and what not, but that doesn't really address this rift between the player and the average character in the world, instead making it probably wider by suggesting that we roleplay worshipping something that isn't even a god? It feels strange.

Oh hey, Skerples recently made a few blog posts about saints and gods and all that jazz. Hope they like this (or at least see it).