Monday, February 27, 2023

Lost Galmagia Week 8: Under the Moon Ward

The surviving piece of architecture directly under the Moon Ward is the vault of the great cathedral. That has been taken over by Brother Blade and his cult, and they have already liberated some of the treasures of the cathedral – before they riled up a lot of disquiet dead that they now don’t dare go into the crypts to deal with. When it stood the cathedral appeared as a caduceus, and the lower passages that made up the serpents still exist, and have special properties. If the PCs ever excavate all of the entrances they can do an approximation of the Naeddre (the walk through the snakes) and earn a +1 to their Divine Favor stat (offer only open on the first days trips through). 

2.20 The final, or first, challenge:
This is the entry from M26, but once the block is cleared and the PCs can enter, they find circular stairs leading down to a round room with a 6” high lip at partially blocking the passage out. That well holds 5 Spitting Cobras which will only bite if attacked, but will spit at people entering. The pilgrims should be wearing blindfolds (or casting Snake Charm). These snakes reappear on each new moon, but you only get XP for outwitting them once. 

2.21 a & b: The Wet Wings
Both of these spaces were library/recordkeeping/artifact keeping for the cathedral. The artifacts have been stolen by the Brotherhood, and water damage from leaks above left the books as sludge. Other than the stairs down to the tombs these rooms hold but bitter disappointment.

2.22: The Abbess Sitting Room
This tastefully appointed space did not have its water wards fail and avoided the damage in the wings: the furniture, carpets, tapestries and inset hardwood paneling and floor are intact. Brother Blade lives here now, but he’s not present, the first time the PCs enter, as he is disposing of the inert naga he stripped from the true caduceus. The Abbess’ secret study can be found under the carpet under the hardwood, doubly concealed and secret. 

2.23: The Great Vault
This long hall is now home to unruly members of Brother Blade’s cult; there are always 12 present (1d12 acolytes, the remainder berserkers), while the rest are out Under the Giant’s Shadow or lower in the dungeon. The room is crossed repeatedly by raised mosaic trails that are part of the Naeddre – those walking them are invisible to the room, and cannot see the room – that the brotherhood ignores… but can never bring themselves to defile. Amongst their stuff is a sack with 1000 sp (the cash the acolytes have collected to purchase things from Turnip Hill, the settlement to the north and of Amethyst Spire where they have cultivated a reputation as harmless eccentrics), and a fist sized dodecahedron with runes on each surface which is the stone of controlling earth elementals Lily HazelsDottor from 1.15 is looking for. 

2.24: Entry to the Crypts:
This space once held the public entry to the crypts, but the Giant’s attack shattered the pillars holding up this section of the vaults, so there’s a 5’ lip around the outside of the room and an open space to below. The entire room reeks of ordure, because the cultists have been reliving themselves over the lip. Down below are 20 skeletons of the disquiet dead type who dead type who desperately want to get up here and kill the intruders; they can be seen scrambling through the rubble, and there’s a 1 in 10 chance each time the players are here that this is the time they figure out how to make a bridge of themselves from the highest shattered pillar to get up to this level. 

2.25: Snakes at the Midway:
This is halfway through the Naeddre, and therefore there are two snakes here identical to the ones in 2.20; there should be 5, but the Brotherhood killed 3, and has hidden another bag of 2000 sp. here. 

2.26: The Door of the Moon:
A concealed door in 2.23 leads to this maintenance room (full of cleaning supplies), but at its end is a secret door identifiable by a hemisphere of colored stone near the ceiling; if it is rotated to the current moon phase and depressed the door will open to the secret passage leading to 1.17b. The lock is repeated on the other side. The door closes and rock spins after 1 turn unless SERIOUSLY blocked. 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Clerical spells and reversals 3rd-4th level

Third Level Cleric Spells

Continual Light  (as Magic-User)
4th level Reversals: Continual Darkness

Detect ‘Evil’ (as Magic-user)
4th level Reversals: Alignment Ward

Find Traps (as Magic-User)
4th level Reversals: Rune Trap

Speak with Animals: This spell allows a cleric to talk to any normal or giant form of animal life that is represented in the human mythology. At the moment this is snakes (wisdom and protection from evil) and lizards (psychopomps), but the pantheon is vast and essentially players can talk to anything if they come up with what the animal represents in the mythology. It will not affect intelligent animal races or fantastic creatures. The animal may be talked into doing a favor for the cleric, if the monster's reaction so indicates. The favor requested must be understood by the animal and it must be possible for the creature to do.
4th level Reversal: Invisibility to Animals: The reverse of this spell makes one type of natural animal ignore the caster (and one ally per level) for the spells duration. They won’t attack, track, or alert others to the cleric’s presence. The caster does have to select the animal type, as per Speak with Animals

The reasoning behind all of this is that it’s always kinda bugged me in a world logic sense that there are identical spells in the two classes’ spell lists approached from two totally different directions. Hence the splitting of clerical magic into erudition based magic that hews very closely to Magic-user, and faith based magic (more on that next week) that operates on entirely different principles.

Does this mean that the party cleric can share spells with the party magic user if the spell is on both lists? Yes, it does. I’m already making things a little difficult for the magic user in their need to track down spells, no reason to over-complicate.

If all goes to plan, the Under the Giants Shadow: Lost Galmagia campaign starts tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Clerical spells and reversals, zero and first level

 A cleric’s formal education has let them learn the formal nature of spellcasting used by magic-users. Clerics learn these spells out of the necessity of their field, and lack the breadth and rigor (as well as world changing spells) of magic-users, focusing more on divination and defense. Many of these spells are on the magic-user spell list and are interchangeable. The others draw power directly from divine intermediaries and require the Faith power to function, even if they are not, strictly speaking, acts of faith – that drawing of power from divinities places them outside the magic-user spell list.   

The Cleric keeps a spelbook just as a magic-user does, staring play with 3 zero level and 2 first level spells. Their maximum number of spells per level is based on their erudition. Unlike magic-users, clerics share their spells through their church, and a Cleric can pick one new spell per level attained, without the need to find them in the wild or pay usurious spell trading fees.

0 level Cleric Spells

Abey Curse This spell places any curse into abeyance for 24 hours, giving the victim time free of the debilitating enchantment. It can’t remove the curse entirely.
1st Level Reverse: Enhance Curse: If someone is already under the effects of a Curse, this spell makes it worse! There isn’t a save vs. this effect. For one turn, the effects of the curse are increased by half (so a -4 to hit becomes a -6).

Abey Poison: This spell places any poison harming a living being into abeyance for 24 hours, given them time to get to a Place of Safety where they might be cured. Cast if the target has failed all other saving throws against the poison, it keeps the target up and active, with no change to their hit points or abilities, until the spell ends. If the target is not yet cured, the poison starts effecting them again.
1st Level Reverse: Venom of Undead and Demon Abjuration: Snakes are divine animals inside the human pantheon, bringers of wisdom and defense against the unnatural. This spell turns a vial of water into a magic toxin that acts as a Turn attack on the undead or summoned creatures at the Caster’s level of ability.

Detect Magic (as Magic-user)
1st Level Reverse: Magic Aura

Purify Food and Water
1st Level Reverse: Befoul Food You can render the same volume of food inconsumable to humans and demi-humans and more attractive to carrion eaters and vermin.

First Level Cleric Spells

Light (as Magic-user)
2nd level Reverse: Darkness

Protection from Evil (as Magic-user)
2nd level Reverse: Summon Evil

Resist Cold
2nd Level Reverse: Resist Fire

Snake Charm Snakes are divine animals inside the human pantheon, being the guardians of wisdom and defense against demons. Aggressive snakes will not attack for 2-5 turns, If cast on passive snakes, the snakes remain charmed for 2-5 turns, and the cleric can use this opportunity to perform Ophiomancy in the dungeon, entering the rumor collection phase; this takes 1 turn to start and then 1 rumor per turn in the time remaining the spell. 

2nd level Reverse: Snake Abjuration: If there are snakes present, the caster can call on them to provide the equivalent of a protection from evil 10’ radius spell for the duration of the spell; the snakes will form a magical barrier between the caster (and their allies) and Evil threats.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Under the Mage's Ward

The Mage’s ward is the most mysterious of the wards, given that the magical amber in which Sregor Viridian bound the place can only be bypassed with a Knock spell. The PCs have learned via rumors that the amber needs a touch of arcane magic to open, but not specifically what. Turns out this is the space in the dungeon that most interests at least a couple of the players, and that makes getting in an intriguing challenge (there’s a knock spell in the spellbook of T’tam the Bird, back in 1.29, but casting it before a M-U hits 3rd level and can copy it into their book means losing the spell. Challenges, challenges. This space is just the barest part of what’s under the Mage’s Ward – if the players do get regular access to a Knock spell they’ll be able to enter others from above (or below from the 3rd level), but Sregor’s is the only one that is still connected to the custom’s house road.

2.13: Bindings
Entry to this room from the Customs House Road has a portcullis that unlocks from the tower side from an obvious lever. Attempts to toss something around the lever are hindered by a bound Unseen Servant, which will interfere with basic attempts to pull the lever via ropes, etc. Inside the room proper is a table bearing thread, large sheets of paper, and other bookbinding equipment; bookshelves that contain 5,000 cp in blank books, and a large, halfling-sized hourglass that takes 8 hours to run. If the hourglass is tipped over it summons and Unseen Servant which, if not given other instruction will start putting together a book with the materials in the room; it can make one book every 8 hours if not interrupted.

2.14: globes, blades, and blood.

Approaching from the west the portcullis is twisted and easily navigable due to ceiling damage, and the door has fallen into the room. The room is covered in a layer of dust and debris, but the ceiling held up due to the very strong cross beams; this was the victim of the Giant’s first strike before Stregor put up the amber. Dangling from those crossbeams are 6 globes that appear to be mud and earth construction but are actually magical globes holding 6 stirges each in suspended animation, but the globes would have to be VERY carefully cleaned to learn that. Hanging on the walls of this room are ‘blanks’ for 8 elfcraft swords – bronze blades that have not yet had runes carved on them – that can still be sold for 50gp each if you can find an elf who wants to buy and finish them. Attempting to remove the swords without first looking for traps will mean missing the thin cables under the mud that connect the swords to the globes; take any sword and the globes fall, one by one. 6 of the Stirges will attack the PCs as they flutter around in a mad rush, but the bulk of them will take off through the portcullis and plague the dungeon for years. Players can, if they ask, make saves vs. Traps to catch the globes (11 STR minimum) to stop any one from falling.

2.15: Alchemy Lab
This room contains an alchemy lab that holds 3 crates worth of glasswear (200 gp each; and the crates are broken down and re-assemble-able) set up in brewing potions. There are two completed potions in the glasswork (which contains dozens of partially evaporated, cooked down, or clogged components) but unless great care is taken by a magic-user to extricate them the glasswear will collapse and release a toxic plume. Everyone has 1 round to exit the room or save vs. Poison or die. The toxins take 1 hour to settle to the ground. Also in the room are a half dozen lead or cedar boxes holding among them 300 gp of gold, silver, mercury, and platinum. The herbs and other reagents have dried up or evaporated.

2.16: Pixietown
This room is full of terra cotta pots that are either full of plants on the ground or stacked, suspended, or shelved sideys on shelves made from animal horns lashed together with vines from the plants. In theory there’s 300 gp of fine terra cotta and 44 gp of animal horns in this mess. The mess is home to a band of 5 pixies, who are invisible the moment the PCs enter. They are highly capricious (ok, they can be murderous brats) but react well to being spoken to in faespeak. If violence breaks out they will flee (these pixies can ‘blink’ which lets them get back to the surface past the wards), but if any are dropped to 0 HP they are sore wounded but salvageable, and will try to ransom themselves with the 1000 sp hidden about the room.

2.17: The Sitting Room
This space has a central stair that runs up to the amber boundary, and down to the 2nd level. It is apportioned as a sitting room with three comfortable chairs, a humidor, a wooden carry case holding art supplies, and a coatrack against the west wall containing a finely made oilskin slicker and an equally finely made heavy fur coat. The humidor, if checked, contains several well past expired cigars and other tobacco products, along with a pouch containing a single large black sapphire of 1000 gp value. It is also the key to the portals that make up half the doors of this room – the archway of each of the portal doors as a notch in it the size of the sapphire. If inserted, the door acts as a portal. If not inserted, it opens on a bare wall. Door d actually has two notches, one on the left and one overhead. The one on the left leads to a tiny rocky ocean island, overhead to a snowy mountain cliff; both spots have stone sitting benches at them.

2.18: Triangle/Circle/Square
This circular room has a protective triangle cut into the stone, and a summoning circle cut into that (the first etched in platinum, the second silver). Inside circle is a summoned gelatinous cube, bound these last 25 years. Insude the cube are two ambiguous gemstones (created by the undigestible things that the bound cube kept schlorking in) that are worth 50 gp as curiosities, a spear, and a suit of chain mail. Both the items are of +1 enchantment. Of the PCs enter the circle, or break it by laying anything across it, the cube will have free reign in the protective triangle. The players can reach things over the circle and might find a way to fish things out of the cube, or kill it without risking reprisal.

2.19: Oceanside Guest Bedroom
This circular bedroom exists somewhere out west. The room is well furnished and comfortable, with a dresser, table, chairs, and a bed whose linens desperately need turning, and a magical chamber pot underneath it that teleports away anything left in it a moment after it is put down (100gp value). The skylight is the main attraction to the room, as it shows the sky over the ocean coast and if the center pane is opened (there is a 10’ pole in the room for that purpose) it lets in sea breezes. The window can be opened sufficiently for a halfling to get through into an ocean rainforest. Once the PCs have been in the room for a few minutes another pane of the skylight opens in and lets in the illusion of a parrot-headed winged monkey that screeches at them, flaps around avoiding blows, speaks magical curses, and definitely forces a morale check on any retainers. It can’t actually harm them and goes away for this visit if they say “I’m a guest of Sregor” or something similar. The runes for this are etched around the skylight.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Bonus on Earned Experience

 When I started this I had no intention of providing experience adjustments for high attributes, but the more i read of the OSR, the more I decided to do so… as long as I went back far enough. I’ll let Stephen Wendell explain.

Like many other people in the OSR, I find the Complementary style elegant: smarter and wiser fighters get bonuses that can offset a lower strength score when it comes to getting that sweet, sweet experience point bonus. The OD&D rule has a lit of fiddly bits, so I’m also going to gleefully steal Ivan the Unpleasant’s house rule for this (
and just use his secondary attributes
• Fighters and Dwarves have Strength as primary and Erudition and Divine Favor as secondary.
• Thieves have Dexterity as primary and Erudition and Divine Favor as secondary.
• Clerics have Wisdom as primary and Strength and Erudition as secondary.
• Mages have Intelligence as primary and Dexterity and Divine Favor as secondary.
• Halflings are treated as both a fighter and a thief, i.e. halflings add their Int bonus (if they have one) and their Wis bonus (if they have one) to both their Str and their Dex for the purpose of figuring XP adjustments.
• Elves are treated as fighters and mages separately, adding any Eru bonus to their Str, any Dex bonus to their Int, and any DF bonus to both their Str and Int when figuring XP adjustments.

This all works on the standard table from B/X

Prime Requisite

Modifier to earned XP











The one PC we have rolled up so far, evynrude’s Fighter has the following
Str 12 (+0); Eru 13 (+1); DF 9 (+0), Dex 18 (+3); Con 9 (+0); Cha 13 (+1)
which means she has an effective Prime Requite of 13 (her 12 Strength is increased by +1 from her superior Erudition). While she has an amazing Dexterity that doesn’t factor into a Fighter’s prime requisite. Her Strength isn’t increased for purposes of hit and damage, but it does get her that sweet, sweet +5% on earned XP. The character sheet will have to have an entry for “effective prime requisite” next to experience points. But this all feels much better than lowering some attributes to raise others. 

Why designate “Earned XP”? I’ve just decided that since the rules are specific on this, there are going to be places in the Giant’s Shadow where you can get Gifted XP – usually from the gods or powerful magical effects – and those are not subject to a modifier from your prime requisite.

Likewise, I’m going to be including more places that modify your attributes on a semi-permanent basis. There’s already a curse that cuts your prime requisite in half (a standard curse effect), and a trap that if it should have killed you instead mangles your hand for -3 Dex until you can get some magical healing from a 6th level caster (which is, admittedly, better than being dead).

I’m really appreciating the way these rules are interacting to make the characters more distinct and dynamic, especially if they can change frequently during play.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Saving Throws

I’ve been doing some reading in OSR literature on Saving Throws in theory and practice and am ready to embrace, if slightly tweak the old school design for them (for example, In part to play into the design truism that high attributes are nice to have and not need to have, and keep things more tied to class.

That being said, I am changing the terminology and technology a little to keep with my other design principles. The saving throws are divided into five categories that are both specific and evocative.

·  Death, Disintegration, or Poison: basically, anything that makes your character keel over dead. This is also what you roll to avoid death if a fight ends with you at untended 0 HP.

·  Wands, Traps, or Lightning Bolts: your chance to dodge out of the way of things that need to be aimed at you, or that pure reflexes would protect you from, that armor wouldn’t normally stop.

·  Paralysis, Petrification, or Polymorph: The three p’s of taking away your bodily autonomy, essentially anything that changes your physical form without your consent.

·  Dragon Breath, Cave-in or Fireball: anything that your need to leap clear of a larger area or find cover to avoid or mitigate the effect.

·  Fear, Charm, or Spells: this is essentially any other magic, these are usually resisted based on willpower at the last moment as there’s no sign of what is coming your way, unlike other magics.  

The goal here is for players to immediately know what they would need to save against vs. what’s happening, just by looking at their sheet, while also letting them know that some of this $#!^ exists in the game world. “Dragon Breath? Petrification?! Disintegration!?!? Oh My!”

As for numbers, I’m going to give one set, and they state that while you’re 5-8th level if you’re dealing with a save from a 1-4th level threat you have a +3 on the roll. When you’re 9th level or higher you get a +3 on saves vs. 8th-9th level threats and +7 vs. 1-4th level threats. This is pretty much 13th Age tiering but it standardizes some of the rules, means that spells are still effective against high level PCs (provided they are high level spells!), and sticks with my 1 in 6 chances motif. I do vary between 14+ and 15+ because of the gap in translating 1d6 to 1d20.

Your Divine Favor attribute provides a modifier to all saves. This is a change from the willpower aspect of Wisdom providing bonuses to just some saves: if the gods love you, you’re more likely to survive. If they hate you, not so much.

I’m also splitting out dwarves from halflings to give halflings and edge on the reflexes aspect of Wands/Traps/Bolts.


Death, Disint., Poison

Wands, Traps, Bolts

Paralysis, Petrification. Polymorph

Dragon Breath, Fireball



















































Monday, February 13, 2023

Lost Galmagia Week 6: Under the Sword Ward

All the remains under the Sword ward are the reinforced basements of Fort Rodemus, named for the Tarmalanian bloodline that was settled here by the emperor to oversee the city’s security when rumors of the Galmagian family line being a little… tweaked got back to the court. The Rodemus clan brought with them the mirror mechanisms that connected Galmegia with the rest of the empire via light communication (which are still somewhat extant on this floor and the one below) and the hiring of an elvish unit from Deepwater that provided the city critical, if insufficient, magical defense. 

In the center of this room is the alcove that can be entered from above to gain access to a entry gate into the space. There are stairs leading down to a 10'x20' plaza that holds the locked gate mentioned in S31.

2.6: The DMZ
The passage to the nobles ward has a locked gate that needs to be unlocked with a different key on either side (the key from the nobles slide is on the Silver Caste Galmagian in 1.30). In addition, this room is barred from the hallway side. Basically it’s the DMZ between the goblins and the Galmagian Nobles. 

2.7: Guard Quarters:
These are quarters for the two goblins who are on patrol on the surface; as such it’s almost always empty, and any goblins here are determined by random encounters. Since no one lives her permanently there’s nothing of value here.

2.8: The Old Chapel:

This used to be a temple to Qasque, the lion-headed human god of defense, and an altar to him is on the north wall, centered on a lion-faced metal carving on the wall. The pews have all be pushed to the sides of the room (the goblins were trying to use this as a barracks but….). Any non-humans in the room for one turn or more will start to feel distinctly unwelcome, if a fight breaks out they are under the effects of a blight spell as long as they stay in the room. If the party examines the carving they will see it’s plastered to the wall, and can be pried off, revealing it as a Shield +2 only usable by humans. If the party carries it, any non-humans in the party are under a blight within 20’ of it. 

2.9: The Trapped Stairs
Footsteps show considerable traffic in this room through the broken door, but the ceiling is partially collapsed and clearly unstable. Or is it? Any dwarf will see that it’s actually stone weighted nets camouflaged to look like a bad roof. The trigger for the trap is weight related (one large creature or two or more small creatures) in the space before the top step. Anyone in the room has to save vs. Cave In save or be trapped under the rubble for 1 turn. This also releases the fire beetles in 2.11, who will come over and eat. In 1 turn goblins will show up to investigate the survivors. 

2.10: the Mirror Works
There’s a large hole in the center of the room leading down to the second level, and it’s full of mechanism that once ran the mirror tower. Even sketches of these are valuable to craftsmen in the west as they were a state secret. They are also possessed by angry elemental spirits where anyone trying to manipulate them must take 2d6 damage (save vs. traps for half), and if that damage would kill them it instead mangles their hand; they live, but with a -3 Dexterity reduction until they get the 6th level Devotion of Cure Serious Wounds. 

2.11: In the Goblins Garden
This room has a broken door that is held in place with a counterweight strung from room 2.9 (5+ on d6 to feel when opened) that is holding in 9 fire beetles. The light from these beetles are providing the light for farming potatoes in the dirt floor. The beetles won’t attack (they only attack the trapped or helpless) but will stream out of the room if the PCs let them. 

2.12: The Sinkhole and the Strategist
There’s an irregular stream of water coming through the ceiling from a small lake in the rubble on the surface that has collapsed the floor of this room, making a small pool that is surprisingly potable. Near the puddle’s center is a statute covered with mud that, if cleaned off, reveals an elf warrior. If that is cleaned and reset it will usually (3+ on d6) answer questions on magical and mundane strategy and tactics. This is a connection the HQ of the Company of the Green Sword in Deepwater, who has been wondering why no one has called with any questions in the last few years. There’s sometimes a delay in responding as the company member present has to consult reference materials. This weighs a lot but is immensely valuable if carted back to human or elf authorities. 

Friday, February 10, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Fighter Advantages 2

Continuing the thoughts from Wednesday, here are the other ways Fighters are constantly maneuvering to improve their chances in combat. I went through several  ideas before realizing that the right method was basing it on weapons carried: that played to the OSR tenet of not having a lot of specialized powers in a class, lets the player decide whether they want to always use the same weapon and not worry about it or if they want to be the sort of fighter who is constantly switching out to the right weapon. 

Offensive Maneuvers

If the fighter has hit their target with a natural d20 of 18 or higher, they have options based on what weapons they are wielding. The phrase 'new foe' means an enemy whose armor class is equal to or lower than the target the fighter just hit. (Note that this takes the place of “critical hit” rules)

If armed with a single, one-handed weapon:

·  Harry: You engage in a duel of pressing and giving ground with a like-sized opponent (no more than one size category bigger or smaller than you), repositioning both of you on the battlefield.

·  Opportunity: Do 1d6 damage to a new foe who is engaging one of your adjacent allies.

·  Wound: your target starts bleeding out 2 HP per round for the next 3 rounds.

If armed with two one-handed weapons (one of which must be of small or medium size)

·  Off-hand Throw: a new foe at range takes 1d4 damage as you throw your off-hand weapon at them. If you have another weapon available, you grab it and keep fighting 2-weapon.

·  Off-hand Strike: your target takes an extra 1d4 damage from a hit with your off-hand weapon.

·  Corps-a-Corps: you and your target (if your size or smaller) lock blades for a moment before you are able to push them back 10'.

If armed with a 2-handed weapon (either large or heavy weapon)

·  Cleave: if your attack kills your target, you can hit an adjacent new foe for 1d6, adding any damage you delivered but didn't need to kill your target, i.e., if you cleave a 5 HP monster for 8 HP, your damage to the new adjacent foe is 1d6+3.

·  Sunder: you damage your target's shield/armor, giving them -3 AC for the rest of the battle.

·  Charge: If you move and attack, the momentum from that charge increases your damage by 1d6.

If armed with a weapon & shield

·  Shield Bash: your target takes +1d4 damage from being hit with your shield.

·  Shield Wall: an adjacent ally gets the advantage of your Shield for their AC until your next action.

·  Charge: If you move and attack, you strike an adjacent new foe in your path for 1d6 damage

If armed with a pole weapon, such as a staff, lance, or spear

·  Back Rank Strike: rather than attacking your original target, you can hit a new foe they are defending or blocking you from approaching.

·  Knockdown: Your target (if your size or smaller) falls. If mounted or at an elevation, they can take 1d6 damage to avoid falling.

·  Spear-Through: your target takes an extra 1d4 damage.

If armed with a ranged weapon

·  Precise Shot: target takes +1d4 damage from an accurate shot.

·  Second Shot: new target takes 1d6 damage as you managed to make a second accurate shot this round.

·  Running Shot: you can move, shoot, and move, letting you reach cover or avoid engagement.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Fighter Advantages Part 1

I’m making some changes to the Fighter class to make them a little more interesting without making them a lot more powerful. The inherent problems with fighters are:

a)       they rely a lot on the randomness of their ability scores and HP. By standardizing HP I’ve solved part of that problem, but there’s really no way around how useful higher than average strength is in a fight.

b)      They are just generally better at combat and not specifically better. There’s nothing a fighter can do that any other class can’t try. And at low levels they can miss just as often, which diminishes the cachet of being the one good at fighting. But you don’t want to have them hit all the time….

c)       There’s nothing in the early stages of play that makes it clear that Fighters are will become commanders of armies and conquerors of nations.

Natural Commanders: 

Fighters can:
when commanding henchmen, reroll one die out of the set. For example, if commanding 3 henchmen in a battle the player rolls 3d6 and can re-roll one of the dice. When rolling to see how well retainers work in your absence, take the better of 2 rolls.

Be intimidating as heck, and can use their Fighter Background (+1 at levels 1-4, +2 at 5-8, +3 at9+) for tests to negotiate, bluff or intimidate when martial skill or force of arms would be a useful negotiating tool.

Make morale tests for troops under their command as one stage less complex. They can recover their troops from a morale loss – normally impossible – as a contested d20 roll.

Find it easier to recruit soldiers, and may add or subtract their Fighter Background modifier from the roll to identify henchmen type, pushing the rolls to median to reliably find other militarily minded individuals.


In addition to a fighter's raw combat ability, they are constantly trying to take advantage of the battlefield. This flexibility lets them make Maneuvers, special bonuses they get when the natural d20 roll is particularly high or low, and whether they are capitalizing on a hit or explaining why they missed. These come into play about half the time.

Defensive Maneuvers: If the fighter has missed their target with a natural d20 of 7 or less (2 on 6 chance), the fighter instead has succeeded on one of the following options, at the player’s choice.

Tactical Insight: The player can request one piece of information their PC could identify about the enemy or combat situation. DMs will be more generous with information if you ask a specific question rather than “do I see anything?”

Aid Another: The fighter spent the bulk of their time assisting an ally's attacks, giving that ally a +2 to hit on their next attack roll. This option is only available if there are allied PCs who have yet to make an attack this round.

Defend Allies: If the PCs have initiative, the fighter spent the bulk of their time defending an ally, giving that ally +2 AC against the incoming attacks of the enemy who lost initiative.

Rally Allies: if the PCs lost the initiative, the fighter spent the bulk of the round improving the party’s chance to win initiative next round, giving a +2 bonus on the roll.


Monday, February 6, 2023

Lost Galmagia Week 5: Under the Noble’s Ward

Entering February we have the other half of level 1, and the start of the wards for the more specialized parts of the city. This means tying back to the rumors table, dealing with more entrances to the surface, and similar fleshing out of ideas. The roads from the customs house should lead to 6 basements in the noble quarter, but only three of them are extant, and only one still sees regular passage in the form of Mortis Erinnson, a were-rat who had escaped burning in Amethyst Spire by fleeing into the Giants Shadow. Any Rogue can make a challenging Rogue Background test to recognize that he had been exiled for theft of key supplies 15 years ago, but entry into Rumor phase is needed to recall his arouranthropy.

1.30: the passage to the Gorm bloodline
This expertly shored up basement (even a dwarf would be impressed) has two Galmagian Nobles (Eherlich of the copper caste, and Melchor of the silver; there should be another copper caste in here, but he’s on the wandering monster table) in here, guarding the things they had recently recovered from room 1.21 (bolts of cloth, fine hardwood). These are for trade with the other families and kept here where they are less likely to be stolen. The pair are armed with their precious metal inlay clubs, wearing their masks of a man with leonine features, and killing time with a card game being played with Plaques of Divination; the Silver Caste knows what they are, but isn’t using them for magic right now. The heavy bolts of cloth are lying over the stairs down, making those stairs an effective concealed doorway.

1.31: the passage to the Usamigaras bloodline
This room is crumbling but a dwarf will declare it safe enough. There’s little sign of passage through here as the Usamigaras bloodline has little truck with the upper levels, but if the first person in makes a careful examination they can find footprints leading through a crack in the wall that shields a Continual Light rune over a staircase down. That space is disturbingly bright, with no shadows anywhere, and vermin of all sort are uncomfortable there.

2.1: the Maduara family home entrance
The greatest of the Galmagian bloodlines, the passage from the customs house that used to hold incoming goods is home to the Prairie Rat nest from T29. There are 50 prairie rats here who will fight to guard the territory as their young are here, along with rat fur, guano, dust, disease and, in the center pile, the skeleton of a bounty hunter who fell prey to a bear trap long ago; the man wears a silver and amethyst badge (25) of a recovery company that failed a decade ago.

2.2: the old wine cellar
The passage from T29 exits here, into what remains of the Maduara wine cellar. The place is bristling with prairie rats when the PCs enter from above or 2.4, but those will fall back to 2.1 (if they enter from 2.1 there may not be rats left). A careful search reveals lots of valuable grape vintages (worth 5 times as much on the west coast), but the plum and apricot brandies have been stripped clean. (One of the Galmagian curses – cannot drink things made from grapes).

2.3: passage to the Maguara bloodline
This room contains stairs down that glow an eldritch green. The whole space is warded to kill rats, but any creature at 1 HP must make a Death save each turn or die (and can feel death approaching). Anyone passing through the stairs takes 3 damage unless silver is touching their skin.

2.4 Rat Warren
This mostly collapsed space has human-navigable passages, and crawl spaces that lead to 1.31. 2.5, and the customs house road. There’s a 3 in 6 chance of 2 giants rats here, but they will flee to 2.5 if the PCs enter.  

2.5: home of Mortis Erinson, master thief
Mortis is here, and either the sounds of the fight in 2.1 or the giant rats running in from 2.4 let him know the PCs are coming (they can surprise him if they just crash through the rubble that is this rooms north wall from the corridor), and his shape and demeanor will be based on what he thinks will benefit him. If the party approaches with friendship he can share a lot about the dungeon, but will want their permission to leave the Giant’s Shadow (which has repercussions back in Amethyst Spire). If they try to fight he’ll either run (if they have silver or magic) or enter a shape whose invulnerability to normal weapons gives him an edge – he won’t chase them if they flee, but his laugh echoes after them.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Third Level Spells and Reversals

This is as far as I've gotten on the spells and reversals, but I think this will hold me for a long period of play. 

Continual Light
4th level Reversals: Continual Darkness

Detect ‘Evil’
4th level Reversals: Alignment Ward: The reverse of this spell protects one target from registering under the “Detect Evil” spell for one day per caster level.

4th level Reversals: Thought Ward: The reverse of this spell protects one target from having their thoughts read for one day per caster level.

Feather Fall: Duration: 8 hours or 1 turn: The caster protects themselves against falling (and falling damage) for the next 8 hours. Any time during this period that the caster starts to fall, they float at a non-threatening pace to the ground. At any point during the 8-hour duration the spell the caster may re-direct this to another living creature or unliving mass of up to 5000 coins (500 lbs); the caster loses the advantage of the spell, but the new recipient gains it for 10 minutes.
4th level Reversals: Levitate

Find Traps
4th level Reversals: Rune Trap: The caster can place a rune onto any space or on any object that has no effect other than convincing people that there is a trap. A Save vs. Spells is needed to overcome the belief that it is trapped. The rune is permanent, but takes 10 minutes to cast.

Glamour: This spell creates or changes appearances within the area of the spell effect: up to a 20' x 20' x 20' cube. The caster should create an illusion of something he or she has seen.
4th level Reversals: Suppress Glamours: This spell suppresses any active illusions inside a 20’ radius of the caster. This effect continues for concentration: free standing illusions are dispelled, but those that are permanent parts of the dungeon, or are being actively maintained via concentration by magic-user or elf casters, will reappear when the caster stops concentrating.

4th level Reversals: Detect Invisible

Wizard Lock
4th level Reversal: Knock

Locate Object
4th level Reversal: Divination Ward: The reverse of this spell allows the caster to create a magical protection against anyone scrying on them (or their conversations if other people are talking to them) lasting 24 hours. This blocks magic mirrors, crystal balls, clairsentience, and similar spells.

Mirror Image
4th level Reversal: Phantasmal Forces: The reverse of this spell, rather than creating duplicates of the caster, creates a number of phantasmal warriors equal to the caster’s level that appear in the most believable fashion the caster can contrive within 60, and attack the caster’s enemies as per the Glamour spell. The each solider ‘dies’ if hit, gets 1 attack per round, and does 1d8 damage per hit. These phantasmal forces will move and act in a believable fashion for 1 turn, must remain within 60’ of the caster, and do not require concentration to maintain.

4th level reversal: No reversal has yet been found for this spell.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Lost Galmagia: First Level spells and Reversals

Since there was interest, here are the first level magic-user and elf spells and their reversals. Resist Cold and Fire, normally Cleric spells, are on here because Clerics now have two magic pools – faith-based miracles and erudition-based spellcasting learned in study similar to the magic-user. The overlap between the spell lists is thus explained, and it helps drive home my preferred clerics-as-educated-members-of-an-organized-religion style.

Charm Person
2nd level Reverse: Generate Enmity: Rather than the target considering the caster a friend, they consider some other person designated by the caster as an enemy. This enmity doesn’t immediately rise to immediate violence (unless that is a strong part of the target’s personality), but they will begin scheming against their new ‘foe’. The caster doesn’t have to say or do anything for the enmity to play out, but any suggestions the caster makes that would lead to the downfall of the target’s new enemy will be considered.

Enlargements: The target of the spell has its size doubled (for an unliving object) or increased by one half for a living target. Living targets can resist with a save vs. Spells if they desire, or just accept the growth.
2nd level Reverse: Reductions: The reverse of this spell shrinks non-living matter to 1/4of its size. Humans, dwarves and elves become the size of halflings. Halflings become the size of cats.

Floating Disc:
2nd level Reverse: Forceful Disk: Rather than an invisible carrying cart, the caster can point and direct that force to push a single human sized or smaller target within range backward. On a failed save vs. wands the target is pushed back 10’. If a barrier keeps the target from moving the entire distance, it is pinned against the barrier and cannot move until the caster stops pointing or the target roll a 5+ on d6 (, adding Strength modifier). The caster can take no other action while continuing to point at them.

Hold Portal
2nd level Reverse: Unlock: Rather than holding a portal closed, the caster can not just unlock a door or simple lock but prevent it from being locked during the duration of the spell. This will not open a held portal, nor will it unlock a complex lock. If cast on a trapped lock, it will harmlessly triggers the trap (unless it is designed to hurt someone other than the lock opener in which case effects happen as normal).

2nd level Reverse: Darkness

Magic Missile
2nd level Reverse: Shield

Protection from Evil
2nd level Reverse: Summon Evil: The reverse of this spell draws ‘evil’ opponents to them; this triples the rate of wandering monster encounters for the duration, and if a monster occurs the DM should select the ones on the table that best fit the protection from evil criteria as the ones to arrive.

Resist Cold
2nd Level Reverse: Resist Fire

2nd level Reverse: Elf’s Blessing: The reverse of this spell makes the caster plus 1d4+1 members of their party immune to sleep magic and paralysis from ghouls for 4 hours. If cast just before a normal rest, the affected creatures can act normally for another 4 hours, and only need 4 hours rest.