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Variant Arcane Backgrounds
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MadTinkerer
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:30 am    Post subject: Variant Arcane Backgrounds Reply with quote

Inspired by the Fantasy Toolkits, I've come up with a few variant ABS of my own. Here's the first, an attempt to make something more or less like the Mages in the Ultima games (specifically with Ultima VII, Serpent Isle, Ultima Online and Ultima IX most in mind):

Arcane Background (Academy Mage)
Arcane Skill: Magic (Smarts)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 3-6, see below
Spell List: All but healing and greater healing.
Background: Academy Mages are those who have trained at an expensive Mage School rather than the traditional master-apprentice system. Students study the basics of the mystical arts and sciences focusing on a broad range of minor effects and spells. When they graduate, most students have learned detect arcana, elemental manipulation (air), elemental manipulation (earth), elemental manipulation (fire), elemental manipulation (water) and light. Because of their rigorous mental training, Academy Mages do not suffer backlash.
Spell books: Because of their strict training in an academic environment, most students become dependent on using their spell books in casting their spells. The spell book must be “readied” or drawn like a weapon in combat. If the student is unable to read from their book, they have a –2 penalty to their arcane skill. Before they leave the academy, all students are trained to make their own “traveling spell book” with copies of the spells they have learned but they may also have books with other spells as well(see tomes in 50 Fathoms or the Gear Toolkit).
Shortcuts to power: Some students have neglected the standard curriculum and pursued their own studies. Other powers may be selected as starting powers, but at a cost of two-for-one. For example, one student may have learned detect/conceal arcana (the “broader” version) in place of detect arcana and elemental manipulation (earth), while another might have learned bolt in place of elemental manipulation (fire) and light.

Academic Wiz-kid
Requirements: Veteran, Academy Mage, Smarts d8
Your hero may use any power he or she knows without the need of a spell book without a penalty. Your hero still needs to study the spell books occasionally (which is assumed to be happening during the adventure), and the –2 penalty applies if your hero is deprived of the books for more than 24 hours. If necessary, a new traveling spell book and new copies of other tomes may be made with a bit of time and money (varies depending on the kind of currency available and how nice the GM is).

P.S. This and all the ABs I'll be posting in this thread were written before I read JB's "Random Thoughts on Arcane Backgrounds". Wink


Last edited by MadTinkerer on Sun Mar 12, 2006 12:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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MadTinkerer
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the second one. It's another one based on the Ultima games. In the Ultima games there are no gods and thus there are no D&D style Clerics (at least, not after Ultima III). However, there are quite a few characters known as Healers (one of the most prominent being Lord British himself) who mix rennaisance level medical knowlege with just a little magic to be very, very good at healing. In Savage Worlds terms, the Healer AB gets a novice rank power and a veteran rank power and the Healing skill does double duty as the Arcane Skill. There is one small catch though...

Arcane Background (Brittanian Healer)
Arcane Skill: Healing (Smarts)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: healing and greater healing
Spell List: That's it, unless otherwise allowed by the GM
Background: Healers are a combination of physician and mage, but with an exclusive focus on healing spells. In fantasy worlds that lack Clerics, Healers are essential to the well-being of the people.
Healers can only learn the healing and greater healing powers, unless there are other powers available in the campaign of very similar theme, such as the succor spell from Deadlands: The Weird West. But it's the GM's call.
Using the healing and greater healing powers simply requires concentration and physical contact with the patient, no spell books or foci are necessary.
Herbs & such: Most Healers have a policy of not using their Arcane powers when regular medicine can do the job just as well. This means setting broken limbs, bandaging scrapes and prescribing herbs and ointments for minor problems (all using the Healing skill). Thus preserving Power Points for true emergencies.

Note that the really good Healers also have the Healer Weird Edge. Wink

AB: Academy Mage and AB: Healer, despite being called Arcane Backgrounds, are not fundamentally exclusive in an Ultima campaign. With the GM's permission, both may be chosen but the starting Power Point total remains 10 points.
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MadTinkerer
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a quickie: a simple Power Edge that all Arcane Backgrounds can have. An Edge with the identical name has already appeared in my Savage Fu article in Shark Bytes. This is the revised version.

Focused Mind (Power Edge)
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background, Spirit d8
Your hero gains +4 bonus to Arcane Skill rolls for the purpose of maintaining concentration.
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MadTinkerer
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a new variant AB stolen from The Matr- er, I mean inspired by LPJ Design's Reality Hacker Advanced Class for d20 Modern.

Arcane Background (Reality Hacker)
Arcane Skill: Reality Hacking (Smarts)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 2
Power List: analyze foe (World Builder toolkit), armor, barrier, detect/conceal arcana, darksight (WBtk), decipher (WBtk), deflection, environmental protection, healing, farsight (WBtk), freeze pattern (WBtk), fortune, leaping (WBtk), locate (WBtk), smite, speak language, speed, quickness, telekinesis, teleport, transparency (WBtk), wall walker (WBtk), and any others with reasonable trappings. Additionally, at the GM’s discretion: fly, intangibility(WBtk), mirror self(WBtk), precognition(WBtk).
Background: One day your hero woke up from ordinary reality and found that he or she could see The Code. The Code was all around and through everything. The Code could be manipulated. The Code was not just something in movies but was actually real. Then your hero decided to try using The Code, and things have never been the same…
Power of One: All Reality Hackers can only use their powers on themselves (with the obvious exceptions of barrier, locate, smite and telekinesis) until they reach Legendary Rank.

File Sharer (Professional Edge)
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Reality Hacker), Connections, Knowledge (Computers) d10
Your hero has come in contact with an organization of Reality Hackers who have a variety of “files” that can boost your hero’s Skills, Attributes and/or Edges when “uploaded” into your hero’s mind using The Code. Your hero may use boost trait or warrior’s gift (World Builder’s toolkit) on him or herself without spending power points or penalty to your hero’s Arcane Skill. Your hero may only have one Trait boosted at a time and one Edge from warrior’s gift at a time.

(pretend this is a sidebar: )

Example of exotic but Matrix-y trappings

A player wishes to gain the seemingly un-Matrix-like summon elemental spell from the World Builder’s Guide as a power for his Reality Hacker hero. The GM replies that he’d like to hear the justification for this. The player explains that his hero has befriended a few “elemental spirit” programs, which can only directly interact with the “physical” world when summoned using The Code. The rest of the time, they are forced to stay in the “background” as they were originally simple maintenance programs. The “spirit” programs were made obsolete by the Architect and were going to leave the Matrix until the player’s hero convinced them to join his side. Impressed by his story (this time), the GM allows the player to take the power.
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MadTinkerer
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

New Weird Edge:

Air Slash
Requirements: Seasoned, Trademark Weapon(melee weapon), Fighting d10, Strength d8
Your Hero is able to swing his trademark sword (or other melee weapon) in such a way that it causes a slashing "blade" of air to shoot from the weapon. This is handled just like the bolt spell, except that it is not really a magical effect and requires the hero to swing the weapon without interruption.
The Arcane Skill for this ability is Fighting, the Hero gets 5 Power Points (which may be increased with Edges).
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razorwise
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Air Slash? Methinks, someone has been watching Samurai Champloo. Razz

Regards,

Sean
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

razorwise wrote:
Air Slash? Methinks, someone has been watching Samurai Champloo. Razz

Regards,

Sean


Samurai Champloo, Ruroni Kenshin, Slayers, Inu Yasha, Sailor Moon... It seems Air Slash is the new Florentine, so I figured I should write it up! Smile

EDIT: Also: Chrono Trigger and Kung Fu Hustle, although technically that was a musical instrument and not a melee weapon.
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MadTinkerer
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Invest Power
Requirements: Seasoned, Arcane Background (Magic or Miracles), Smarts d10 or Spirit d10
Your Hero is able to “invest” Power Points into a spell or miracle to make it last longer instead of maintaining it manually. When the spell or miracle is used, simply declare how many Power Points beyond the minimum cost you want to invest. Those PP count as double for the purpose of determining how long the power lasts. For example, an armor spell with 3 additional PP invested in it (for a total cost of 6 PP) lasts a total of 9 rounds (3 rounds for the spell, six extra rounds for 3 extra PP). An armor spell with 6 additional PP invested in it (for a total cost of 9 PP) lasts a total of 15 rounds (3 rounds for the spell, twelve extra rounds for 6 extra PP). Powers that have PP invested in them don’t count as maintained powers and don’t cause Arcane Skill penalties or require maintaining concentration. Once invested, the PP cannot be “taken back”.

I'm working on a new AB, which comes with two new powers, an Edge and even a new race. Coming soon!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, I was going to post the Shapeshifter stuff, wasn't I? Well here it is:

Arcane Background (Shapechanger)
Arcane Skill: Shape Changing (Spirit)
Starting Power Points: unlimited (yes, you read that right)
Starting Powers: 1
Power List: beast friend, berserker (self only, WBtk), burrow, growth/shrink (self only, WBtk), leaping (self only, WBtk), impersonate (see below), poison touch (self only, WBtk), racial form (see below), shape change, speak language (self only), wall walker (self only, WBtk).
Background: Rather than manipulating the elements around them, Shapeshangers focus on altering their own bodies for various purposes. This may be magic, some sort of bio-psionics or a natural racial feature.
Maintaining Shapes: Although Shapeshifters have an unlimited supply of Power Points for the purpose of changing their body, they must maintain concentration and suffer the standard Trait penalties for maintaining powers.

Racial Form
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 3
Range: Self
Duration: 1 minute (1/minute)
Trappings: biological shapeshifting.
This power allows a Hero to temporarily change into a member of a different species. A different species is chosen every time this power is chosen. Each different “form” is identifiable to those who know the Hero, so a Human Hero who picks Elf as the Form turns into the same Elf each time.
If a Race has a choice of beginning Racial Features, such as the free Edge for humans or the choice between a free edge or an increase in Agility for Half-Elves, the choices must be made when each instance of this power is taken. If the Race has a starting minimum for Traits, the Hero’s Trait dice are increased by a like amount. So an Elf Hero who takes on a Dwarf form temporarily gains an extra Vigor die type and Toughness is increased by +1. The maximum any Trait can be increased in this way is d12+2.

Impersonate
Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 5
Range: Self
Duration: 1 minute (1/minute)
Trappings: Biological shapeshifting, illusion, mental manipulation.
This power allows the Hero to change his or her appearance to look like another person. The trappings may determine whether clothing, skin texture or other things are affected as well as appearance. This does not grant any Racial Features, Trait changes or other benefits, apart from possibly affecting Charisma. At the GM’s discretion, the Hero may gain bonuses or penalties to social skills such as Persuasion for impersonating particular people.
The person being impersonated may be chosen each time this power is used. The Hero may only impersonate what he or she is familiar with. If the Hero has only seen a picture of a person, the voice cannot be properly impersonated.

Changeling
Changelings are a race that live within the cultures of other races in secret. Changlings usually live in human cultures, but may live with any humanoid race.
Ugly: Changelings’ natural forms aren’t very pleasing and they suffer –2 Charisma unless they use impersonate, racial form or similar powers.
Shapechangers: Changelings start with Arcane Background (Shapechanger) for free and a d6 in Shape Changing. Changelings usually pick Racial Form as their starting power, with Human as the race and Attractive as the starting Edge, but may pick any power on the list.

Shape Master
Requirements: Seasoned, Changeling, Spirit d8, Shape Changing d10
Your Hero is able to ignore two points of Arcane Skill penalties for maintaining Shapechanger powers.

I have a few other things I'm going to post here. Coming soon, in less than a month!
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razorwise
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heya Matt...

Too busy, eh? Razz

Later,

Sean
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MadTinkerer
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had written the Shapeshifter stuff a while ago (on december 7, before I posted the Invest Power Edge, I only had a couple paragrahs to finish on the Shapeshifter stuff) and was too busy to post it. You'll notice it took me three days to notice your post. Wink

More Arcane stuff is on the way, once the stuff I'm currently busy with is dealt with. Probably saturday-ish. Maybe.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This Arcane Background is for my Zombie Run campaign. We've already veered off course of the written plot a little, and I've decided to add in an Arcane Background for the campaign. It ties in with a Big Secret I've added for my version of the plot (which I'm not revealing here yet lest my players see it). Anyway, the Edge works as follows:

Arcane Background (Zombie Dominator)
Arcane Skill: Spirit
Power: the ability to control zombies, see below

Zombie Dominators are those who have suffered the effects of becoming a Carrier (in the course of the game or deliberate choice at Hero creation) and have discovered that somehow they can control individual zombies at a time with a successful opposed Spirit roll. There is no particular limit to this ability, except for the obvious fact that it is very useful against one to three zombies (using one to attack the others) and not nearly as useful against a whole horde .
Also, this ability can* be maintained while a Dominator sleeps or is otherwise occupied. However, without specific orders, the zombie simply stands, lies still, or mindlessly attempts to carry out the last order depending on what the GM thinks the zombie would do.
The range of this ability is up to the GM, but can be fairly long.
Dominated Zombies kept for a long period must be fed a little fresh meat (not necessarily human meat) at least once per day or they will start to rebel.
If the Dominator dies, the zombie is immediately freed.

Carrier (Minor Hindrance)
Your Hero carries the zombie plague. However, your Hero is immune to the effects of it. However, the plague infects every bodily fluid your hero has. Touching your hero causes no harm to others, but your hero's blood, saliva and other fluids must not be exposed to another human being's bloodsteam or else they might become infected just as if they were bitten or scratched by a zombie. So no double dipping. On the plus side, in the rare event that your Hero might need to use it as a weapon, your Hero may bite someone and infect them deliberately.
Naturally, there are quite a few folks who wouldn't tolerate your Hero's condition if they knew about it. Best to keep it a secret.

*If you're wondering about this, since no other AB gets a neat deal like this, it's related to the specifics of the Big Secret. Wink
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C.A.Pryde
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wrote up some notes on cybernetic characters/bionics as an arcane edge.

http://pwomack.com/savageworlds/CyberneticsNotes
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MadTinkerer
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool! Very Happy
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C.A.Pryde
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you liked it! Cybernetics seems like one of those basic things that should just always be in a good sci-fi setting, and I've noticed that in a monetary-cost-only system, it often seems like there is not a good reason to not go out and blow a few thousand bucks on a set of designer eyes or weapon implants. I felt that the Arcane Background system offered a better way to measure those costs in a fashion that would actually force your players to think seriously about their choices.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anything on Focusing or Chi powers? I have a player wanting to use this. I am subbing in Parts of Faith and parts of Psionics, but it still isn't exactly what I am thinking of. He wants to immulate the old Kungfu movies/Bruce Lee type stuff. Any ideas?
Thanks!
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MadTinkerer
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harsh wrote:
Anything on Focusing or Chi powers?


As a matter of fact, I wrote an in-depth Mystic Martial Artist AB for Shark Bytes long before I started this thread. I think it's in Shark Nibbles issue 3 or 4. http://www.sharkbytes.info
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MadTinkerer
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No variant AB this time, but a power relatively common in Anime that hasn't been covered in SW:

Protection Sphere
Rank: Veteran
Power Points: 3-5
Range: Self
Duration: 1 round (1/round)
Trappings: telekinetic force feild, divine protection, air modulation emitter
When a Hero activates this power, a temporary transparent sphere (or the upper half of one, usually) is created centered on the caster. The Sphere covers an area equal to a Medium Burst Template for 3 PP or a Large Burst Template for 5 PP. The Sphere has a Toughness of 14, 18 with a raise and has the Heavy Armor special quality.
The Sphere is purely protective and won't normally damage creatures or objects. Creatures or objects stuck partly in and partly out may be moved in or out of the sphere, but once they leave contact they cannot move past it.
While the Sphere is maintained, it is "attached" metaphysically to the caster. The caster may move around, but at half pace, with the sphere staying centered on the caster. Exactly what happens to things around the caster if/when the caster moves around is up to the specific trappings and the ruling of the GM.

This power is recommended for Miracles, Psionics and Weird Science ABs.
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does the sphere move with the caster if it is maintained, or is it in one spot until dispelled?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slasher, I edited it to make that more clear. Now for something a little different:

I finally got around to Googling my own name today and it seems that nearly everything I've ever written on the Internet has stuck around in some form, with the exception of threads from old messageboards that were wiped out during upgrades (if you're wondering where the original Technomancer thread disappeared to). I ran across something I had nearly forgotten: my variant Technomancer class for Dragonstar. Since such a thing is definitely on-topic for this thread, I present the (Dragonstar-esque) Technomancer Arcane Background for Savage Worlds:

Arcane Background (Technomancer)
Arcane Skill: Magic (Smarts)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 3
Power List: Same as AB(Magic) plus a few new powers detailed below.
Background: In the Dragon Empire, some spellcasters have invented new spells and techniques to deal with advanced technology unknown to backwater "swords & sorcery" worlds. Technomancers are essentially wizards with high-tech style.
Backlash: Technomancers suffer Backlash just like normal Magic spellcasters.

Magical Hack
Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 1
Range: Smarts x2
Duration: 1 minute (1/minute)
Your Hero may alter the trappings of any Magic spell or the type of damage that an energy weapons deals. For example: changing a laser pistol so that it shoots a freezing beam, or changing a sonic burst into an acid burst.

New Trappings:

armor: Reinforce. Technomancers may use the armor spell on objects, constructs and vehicles.
boost/lower trait: Arcane Tools. The Technomancer can create tools from scraps of junk to aid in Repair and Lockpicking attempts. When using this application of boost trait, the tools last for hours, not rounds so that they stick around long enough to actually be useful.
contanimate (see the Low Life book): Create Junkbot. Technomancers may create robots in the same manner that Contanimators in Low Life create Contanimated Constructs. But Junkbots are made out of junk instead of filth.
environmental protection: Protects from radiation as well.
puppet: Meld With Construct. When your Hero uses the puppet power on a construct (in Dragonstar this is nearly always a robot of some kind but may include some vehicles), your hero turns into an "energy pattern" and enters the contruct to control it from within.


Altered Powers:

healing: Repair (not the 50F version). instead of healing, Technomancers learn the repair spell. Repair works just like healing, except it fixes "wounds" on objects, vehicles (car-sized) and robots. Repair ignores the "Golden Hour" rule.
repair(see 50 Fathoms): Renamed Greater Repair. Works like the 50F write-up except that Technomancers can repair spaceships with it. How big a spaceship this spell effects is up to the GM. Larger ships may require a lot more PP.

P.S. Magical Hack is a slightly upgraded version of the original Energy Flux ability, and renamed after my favorite Magic: The Gathering card of all time.
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