OPTIONAL RULES FOR MAGICIANS
The following optional rules would allow CKs and players to tailor the Magician class to their own Campaigns. Some create role-playing challenges, some replicate the qualities of Magicians from cultures other than medieval Europe, and some greatly increase the power of Magicians.
POETIC INCANTATIONS: Instead of the Magician using a Magical Implement, she would create her Incantations through Poetry. Every time such a Magician wants to use an Incantation she knows, the player must spontaneously create a rhyming couplet that indicates the spell effect desired, and its target. The player must create a new couplet each time she wants to use an Incantation. This option would replicate much of the magic of Celtic legend, which often relied on just such Poetic Incantations.
MULTIPLE TALISMANS: Instead of having only one Talisman active at a time, the Magician could keep many charged at the same time. The total Levels of active Talismans would be equal to the Magician’s own Level. Therefore, an 8th Level Magician would be able to keep 8 total levels of spell effects constantly bound in Talismans. This option would more faithfully replicate the historical employment of Talismans, but also increase the power of the Magician class. It is only recommended if the CK is somewhat stringent in his placement of magic items in treasure. The Magician might also pay for this power with a 20% penalty to earned Experience Points.
PERSISTENT TALISMANS: Instead of Talismans only lasting 28 days, they could persist until the Magician either discharges them, or dies. By itself, this option would increase the power of the Magician slightly. If combined with the Multiple Talismans options, Magicians would become much more powerful than any other character class. The CK is advised to decrease the availability of magic items severely if both the Multiple Talismans and Persistent Talismans options are employed in the Campaign. The CK might also decide to inflict a 10% penalty on the Magician’s earned experience points to pay for the power to make Talismans persistent.
EMPOWERING ACT: Instead of having a Power Object, the Magician could draw her strength from a obsessive daily ritual. Typically, this would mean a period of silent meditation, but acts of a more illicit nature have also been used by the Magicians of legend. The Magician character would have to perform her Empowering Act every day, for a number of minutes equal to her character Level times 15. For example, a 10th level Magician would have to perform their Empowering Act for at least two and a half hours each day. Failure to perform the Empowering Act would deprive the Magician of the ability to use magic until the next day.
EMPOWERING BANS: Rather than possessing a Power Object, the Magician might be inflicted with mysterious Bans, or Taboos. This option would replicate the taboos of shamans, the as well as the geasa of the Irish Druids. The Magician would acquire a new Ban every Level. Bans might include never wearing a certain color, not eating a certain kind of common meat, never saying a certain word, never refusing a request from a certain kind of person, etc. For every Ban broken, the Magician would lose one Level for the remainder of the day. Naturally, CKs should try to create situations where the Magician might break his Bans!
GRASPING AT POWER: Using this option, a Magician could attempt to cast a spell that he knows, but is normally above his Level. The player would roll a d20, and add their character’s Intelligence modifier. The result would be compared to the chart below, to find the result of the Magician’s Grasping At Power.
Effect of Grasping At Power:
1-2 – Spell fails, and the Magician is slain, body and soul. Resurrection is impossible.
3-4 – Spell fails, and the Magician is killed from physical strain. Can possibly be Raised or Resurrected with appropriate magic.
5-6 – Magician is bodily transported to another plane of existence and imprisoned there.
7-8 – Spell occurs, but backfires. If it was an offensive spell, it affects the caster. If the spell was a Summoning, the Summoned creature is extremely hostile, and can ignore any of the Magician’s spells intended to hinder or harm it. If the spell was intended to help the caster, it instead harms him. Ability increases become penalties, healing spells inflict damage, and protection spells that backfire inflict total vulnerability (i.e arrows always hit, etc.)
9-10 – Spell occurs and assumes a life of its own, becoming permanent until someone dispels it. The Magician has no control over the spell. If it is a offensive spell, it continues perpetually in its original area of effect, but not necessarily against its intended target. If the spell was a Summoning, it continues to Summon its intended subject (which is under no kind of control) once every day in a perpetual loop. Spells like Telekinesis or Unseen Servant can create an effect similar to a Poltergeist haunting. A Spell like Teleport could cause the caster to randomly and constantly disappear and re-appear in strange locations. Spells that are personally beneficial will inevitably become twisted curses, such as a perpetual increase in Intelligence eventually causing the Magician’s brain to swell and explode. A creature inflicted with perpetual healing may turn into a regenerating freak covered with bizarre growths. A perpetual Wish might trap the Magician in an alternate reality where everything he says becomes literally (and horribly) true.
11-13 – Spell simply fails, with no side effects.
14-15 – Spell is cast, but the Magician is reduced to 1 hp, and falls into a deep slumber from which they cannot be roused for a number of days equal to the Level of the spell they attempted.
16-17 – Spell works, but the Grasping At Power attracts the notice of an extraplaner creature inimical to the Magician, who will thereafter become a constant annoyance.
18-19 – Spell works, but is only minimally effective (minimum damage, etc.).
20+ – Spell works as normal, with no side effects.
If the player rolls a natural 20, the Magician also attains new insight into magic, and gains Experience Points equal to 1,000 x the Level of the spell.
TEST OF ALLEGIANCE: If this option is used, every time time the Magician uses a Pact there would be a percentage chance, equal to the Pact’s Level, that the granting Power will demand an appropriate service from the Magician for the right to continue using the Pact. Tests of Allegiance appropriate to specific powers might include:
Angels: Rescue an orphan from a pack of werewolves. Anonymously deliver food and money to a starving family.
Demons: Throw a rotting dog down a local well to poison it. Unseal the terrestrial prison of a Demon.
Devils: Seduce a local beauty studying to enter a chaste religious order. Falsely accuse an innocent woman of being a witch.
Fairy Folk: Help a Fairy gain a human lover. Secretly replace all the holy hymnals at a temple with bawdy songs.
Note: Thanks to Serleran for suggesting the The Grasping At Power and Test of Allegiance options on the Troll Lord Games Forums.