Odds and Ends 10

Derek Holland

Alternates to spellbooks, a question on elementals, Mutant Future mutations relating to skin and some very basic rules for flight in MF.


When I came up with the idea for seeds replacing spellbooks for vivimancers, I took a very quick look at the other classes. Now I think I have some ideas worth posting.


The illusionist should have a spellbook at first but can use alternate forms of spell memorization later on. Mirrors covered in sigils are common and used in groups. Looking at the reflections of multiple mirrors from different directions effectively replace many pages from a book. Two mirrors 1' in diameter are equal to 50 pages. Every mirror thereafter adds an additional 25 pages. Larger mirrors can be used but they are fragile for adventuring (unless magically enhanced). A pair of 4' tall by 2' wide mirrors are equal to 500 pages and subsequent ones add 250 pages. An illusionist can use mirrors in this way starting at 5th level.


For the illusionist who doesn't plan on being away from home for long, there are metallic dust mixtures that color flames. When used correctly, they can replicate a spellbook by showing magical secrets in their patterns. Making the dusts is just as difficult as making other magical dusts. The minimum level is 9th for making and using them. When exposed to fire attacks, the illusionist must save for the dusts, otherwise they are incinerated.


Necromancers have a lot of obvious spellbook replacements- skulls (hey Bob), bones, hides, organs, other body parts, the walls of crypts, etc. Most of these can be used from 1st level. Talking skulls are for 9th level or higher necromancers and they have their downsides (mumbling when being ignored, making rude comments to others, making obvious errors in spell memorization when they don't get their way).


I had a few ideas for elves but the one that I think the idea that would work best for a race that can see 2000 years is stone. Runestones, dice and menhirs (for the stay at home types) can last for a very long time, far beyond paper. The runestones and dice are used in a similar manner to the illusionist's mirrors, but can be used by a 1st level elf.


Fey (an alternate elf class) are creatures of whimsy and might use things like plants, seeds, the stars, food and even bubbles. Magical seeds that grow into spell plants magically appear in the fey's hand once per day. Bubbles are similar to illusionist metal dusts. Food is used to bring back memories and is as difficult to make as the metal dusts. The minimal levels for using them is dependant on how the fey are used. I would think all would be used in some settings from 1st and in others from 9th.


And then there are a couple ideas that are not from T&T. Dragon that can cast spells might benefit from having spellbook analogs. They could be shed scales (to use lost magic), pools of water, cave walls and even patterns in the treasure hoard. They should have more unique spells, those they have created themselves, than any other race. Randomly destroying their lairs may very well destroy all knowledge of such spells. Witch doctors, humanoids with cleric and magic-user levels, can have a wide array of spellbook replacements. Knots in silk or twine, feathers, carved bones, teeth or 8 ton idols are all possible.


How these spellbook replacements interact with Read Magic is up to the LL, but I suggest taking a look at Wild Hunt Studio's Way of the Magus: On Language and Research. An excellent resource for those GMs who want to leave clues on, or fragments of, spells rather than the spells themselves.




What makes an elemental an elemental? There are three different kinds of creatures that might be looked upon as elementals. There are the summoned spirits that inhabit collections of the four elements, the other creatures with the elemental type and outsiders that live on the elemental planes (like xorns). Pathfinder deleted the elemental type and that does work for most elementals but I don't believe it works for the four. Outsiders have biological systems. They may be alien in nature, but demons do have eyes, stomachs and muscles or analogs of such. Air, earth, water and fire elementals have none of those, making them very different. I am not saying that the elemental type should be brought back, just that GMs should keep that in mind when designing their own elemental creatures. It may very well have an impact on a setting.




Mutant Future mutations relating to the skin.


Adhesive Skin Flakes turn to glue if they are exposed to water. This only happens after the flakes have been shed for 5 rounds. The amount of glue is about one ounce per 200 pounds of the mutant per day. Its strength is one half that of the mutant and it retains its strength for 3 months. As all creatures drop skin flakes all the time, this mutation makes life difficult for those creatures that have a powerful sense of smell. They inhale the flakes, which turn to glue in their noses. Most creatures can sneeze these out without issue, but a few, those with Increased Smell, find it much more difficult. They lose their powerful sense for at least an hour after being near a mutant with Adhesive Skin Flakes. After an hour has past after leaving the mutant's presence, the creature with Increased Smell can make a save versus poison every turn to regain their sense.


Conductive Skin allows the mutant to redirect electrical attacks through their body. If shocked, they can either ground the power or send it into a conductive material they are in contact with. This mutation fails if the mutant is flying or is in contact with only non-conductive materials.


Embedded Spines are not visible but can be felt with minimal effort. Any creature constricting or biting the mutant takes d6 points of damage per round or bite.


Hydrophobic Skin repels water. When submerged, the mutant automatically moves at a rate of 90' (30') and can not stop. The skin is highly resistant to corrosives (acids and bases) as it repels the water component. The mutant takes one half or no damage from such attacks, depending on their save.


Sponge Skin allows the mutant to drink through their skin and store some of the water. This makes the mutant immune to ingested poisons, resistant to ingested diseases (+4 on the save) and resistant to dehydration. The mutant needs only one quarter the normal amount of water and dehydration based attacks only do one quarter or no damage, depending on the mutant's save.




I also came up with a mutation that doesn't actually work within the existing rules in MF.


Spring Legs allow a flying mutant to take off without any forward motion. For all mutants, with or without wings, the legs also allow jumping 30' straight up. This may be reduced by encumbrance if that optional rule is used.


So, how far does a creature with wings have to move to take off? I suggest 10' per 100 pounds of weight, body and gear. So a standard mutant human, who can move 40' in one round and weights less than 400 pounds, can lift off in one round. Yes this is quite cinematic, but it is Mutant Future. If you want to make it longer, 80' per 100 pounds isn't bad either (20 seconds for lift off of a winged human isn't very long). If you want a creature that breaks this rule, give them Spring Legs.