... now with 35% more arrogance!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

White Magicians

Since I took spells away from clerics to make them feel more like faith-based miracle workers, what am I going to do with cleric spells? Easy: give 'em to white magicians.

A white magician is almost exactly like a regular magic-user (same hit dice and experience requirements,) but uses the cleric spell list instead of the magic-user spell list. White magicians can't use magic daggers and suffer the same armor restrictions as magic-users (whichever way the GM implements them,) but they can use all clerical magic items and most magic-user items as well, and can create clerical magic items using the same rules as magic-users.

White magic (cleric spells) is formula-based rather than faith-based, so the usual M-U prep times and procedures apply. White magicians are dedicated to Law, but their piety has a lesser effect; they can't turn undead and only make a reaction roll if they use a reversed spell or certain big spells like Commune and Raise Dead. An Extremely Low reaction doesn't negate the spell, but the caster loses piety, becoming tainted, which acts as a reaction penalty when dealing with beings of Law that can sense evil; when the taint reaches 10, the caster becomes a black magician. Anytime a black magician attempts the "good" version of a reversible spell, a Low reaction means the reversed form is cast instead (or, in the case of Raise Dead, the corpse is raised as a zombie instead.)

White magicians also risk becoming tainted when using wand or staff magic that causes damage. They can't research any Magic-User spell or add any to their spell books except for Read Magic, which allows them to use Magic-User scrolls (with a risk of taint.)


  1. Sounds good in theory, but I wonder if anyone would want to play this character type?


  2. Maybe not, but there it is, just in case. It will probably mainly be of interest to GMs who want a specific limited selection of classes.

  3. Interesting. I ditched PC clerics and rolled the divine spells into the mage lists. White Wizards can't cast the reverse of spells such as cure X wounds, stone to flesh, or any of the dark necromantic spells such as finger of death or animate dead, while black wizards are just the opposite.

  4. @imago1: since you're combining spell lists instead of keeping them separate, a clean separation between white and black magician is probably better for what you're doing. If I were combining spell lists, I'd probably go with the alchemist approach I posted a while back.

  5. Oh this is so dope!

    My Vote:

    'Hell yes I'd play with these guidelines/house-rules!'

    Great design & thoughtful process~

  6. @Chad: Thanks! Let me know how it turns out.

    Your comment on the Clerics Without Spells post about Lankhmar reminded me to mention that imago's solution (combine the classes and restrict reversed cleric spells to black magicians) is pretty much identical to what TSR suggested in various Lankhmar products.