... now with 35% more arrogance!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Obsessed Magicians

I was kicking around an idea about higher-level Magic-Users getting obsessed with some theoretical magical concept. You know: the crazed wizard who gets an idea to cross-breed fantastic beasts or create a new kind of enchanted servant, or create a seemingly useless spell. After all, look at all the weird monsters that are supposed to be the product of magical experimentation. To a certain extent, any player who picks Magic-User as a character class is probably going to have some crazy magical obsessions already. But what about those useless experiments? How can you encourage that kind of craziness?

I hate the idea of taking over a player character, so that's off the table. But then I thought: why not just say that obsessed characters can't rest while avoiding their obsession? In other words, no healing unless you've indulged your obsessions recently.


  1. Sounds like a prime opportunity to implement an alternate expression of the carousing for XP mechanic?

  2. In Dungeon Crawl Classics, this is a prime area for patron taint.

    In D&D and OCR games modelled more directly thereon, you can easily make learning Spell X contingent on solving problem Y, or make solving problem Y a step in creating magic item Z.

    And, hey, those old spell books? They contained a curse that prevents you from resting until you've spent 4 hours each day trying to do F. Or F-all. Your choice. :D

  3. Actually, that would be cool, and I could see it quite easily.

    The players say, "So, let me get this straight. This loon was trying to crossbreed slime molds and carrots? Because he thought this would be an invincible army? Riigggghhhhtttttt...."

    Then, "Well, at least we got his spellbooks."

    A few months later, "Hey, Goodgulf. What's with all the slime molds? And is that a carrot patch?"

  4. If you have magic item creation or spell research rules you could make it an option in there.

    They could choose to be obsessed and get a bonus to research chance but also have to roll on a table of side effects.
    e.g. +20% bonus
    1-4 As desired.
    5-7 Mildly sidetracked, spell or item slightly different.
    8-9 Very sidetracked, spell or item completely different.
    10 Breakdown. Exhausted for number of weeks equal to their level. 50% chance of lab explosion.

    Alternatively you could just add a saving throw to the creation process and if they fail then something goes wrong.
    e.g. save vs spells, fail roll on table below.
    1-2 Obsessed. Research takes another d10 weeks, DM decides what you end up with.
    3-4 Lab explosion. Half equipment lost, 10d6 dmg save for half.
    5-6 Enmity of rival magic user. Will try to attack you in the next 10 weeks.
    7-8 Enmity of supernatural entity. Will try to attack you in the next 10 days.
    9-10 Object or spell is corrupted and possess Magic User. Item is evil, or if character is evil then item is good. Immediately possesses Magic User and begins working towards own goals.