Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Remains of Atlantis: Magical Traditions of the Lost Continent (OGL d20 System)

NUELOW Games is getting ready to publish some comics written by the great Marv Wolfman (with art by Ernie Colon, Don Heck, and others). We're still deciding exactly what the content of the book will be, but as is our habit, we are including game material and other content that is based on, or inspired by, the comic book material. This time, expanding our version of Atlantis (referenced in several of our titles, such as Secrets of the Immortals and Jungle Terrors) in ways that take cues from Wolfman's stories, while providing an alternative feats- and talents-based magic system for OGL d20 System games.
   Here is a our second preview of the book that's tentatively titled The Love Witch--more information on Atlantean spellcasting methods for your OGL Modern games. This material is compatible with the rules found in NUELOW Games releases like Feats of Mysticism & Magic and both the Sorceress of Zoom and Three Lives of Fantomah series.

By Steve Miller
Instead of calling on forces outside themselves to power their spells, Atlanteans mostly drew upon their own life energy to power their spells. Only the most powerful of spellcasters were able to call upon more powerful entities to spare themselves from the cost that magic exacted upon body and soul.. As such, it is a more "egalitarian" magical tradition, as the need for a large and steady supply of rare or expensive components, such as black pearls, diamonds, or dragon scales, is unnecessary. All a would-be magic user needed was a willingness to give up a piece of themselves.
   Atlantean magic was not limited to "wizards" or "clerics." Anyone with an aptitude and a willingness to bear the personal cost of being a magic-user could find a home among the ranks of spellcasters. "Fighters," "thieves," "barbarians"--anyone could tap into the power of magic in Atlantis. There were dozens of orders and schools who would admit anyone who they felt had the right mindset to fit among its practitioners. Foremost among these were the Aeromancers, Biomancers, Geomancers, Philiamancers, and Technomancers. These are also the only traditions that have survived (albeit in diminished and distorted forms) to modern times, hidden from view within secret societies. Those who gravitate to Atlantean magic usually do so because of family heritage or because it is the first (and sometimes only) magic tradition they encounter, so they never consider other options.

OGL d20 Rules for Atlantean Spellcasting
Regardless of which magical school or tradition practiced, the following OGL d20 talent tree models the fundamentals of Atlantean magic. While the different schools of Atlantean magic cast different spells, the game mechanics of how they acquire and cast those spells is the same.
   To use Atlantean magic, spellcasting works is the same regardless of the spells being cast. Characters must first have the Atlantean Magic feat, and they can then gain talents from the Atlantean Spellcasting Talent Tree. It, in turn, provides access to feats and talents specific to each of the major Atlantean magic traditions

Atlantean Spellcasting Talent Tree
No matter what order or school Atlantean spellcasters follow, they have access to the following talent tree. Any time a character who meets the prerequisites earns a new talent, he or she may select one from this tree.
   Initiate: The total number of spells you may cast per day increases by 1. The XP cost for 1st - 3rd level spells is reduced to 50XP per level.
   Prerequisite: Atlantean Magic
   Brother/Sister: The total number of spells you may cast per day increases by 1. The XP cost for 4th - 6th level spells is reduced to 50XP per level.
   Prerequisite: Initiate
   Thaumaturgist: The total number of spells you may cast per day increases by 1. The XP cost for 7th - 9th level spells is reduced to 50XP per level. You may cast 1st level spells without losing XP.
   Prerequisite: Brother/Sister

The text in this post is presented under the Open Game License (OGL). Content in the section titled "OGL d20 Rules for Altantean Spellcasting" is Open Game Content and may be reproduced in accordance with the OGL, but everything else in this post is defined as Product Identity. Copyright 2016 by Steve Miller.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Remains of Atlantis: The Daughters of Burnick and the Watchers of the Stones

One of the books that's moving its way through the NUELOW Games production process has the tentative title of The Love Witch. We're especially thrilled at this one, because we're producing it through an arrangement with the legendary Marv Wolman , the co-creator of the title character. Wolfman is perhaps best known for his work on Marvel's Tomb of Dracula and DC's The New Teen Titans, but he has worked on many, MANY great series and characters over his four-decades-and-counting long writing career. Words can't express how excited we are to be able to produce The Love Witch book.
By way of preview, here's a sample of the non-comics material that will be in the book. It is by Steve Miller, inspired by Wolfman's work. The feat (Atlantean Magic) is released under the Open Game License, but all other text in this post is considered Product Identity and may not be reproduced without the express permission of the copyright holder. Copyright 2016 by Steve Miller.

Atlantean Magic
You have discovered the magical practices a lost civilization.
   Prerequisite: 3rd-level, Allegiance to the Daughters of Burnick, the Watchers of the Stones, or some other secret society that traces its roots back to Atlantis.
   Benefit: The character may cast a number of Arcane or Divine spells equal to the total of your Intelligence and Wisdom bonuses per day. The character may cast the spells at will, with no need to memorize them ahead of time, but you can only cast spells that you have mastered by learning them from someone who already knows them, or by learning them from Atlantean texts. The casting time, somatic, and verbal components of the spells remain, whatever is listed in the spell description, but all material components are replaced by this feat. The caster level is equal to the character's total number of levels.
   Special: Each spell cast drains some of the character's life force. Each spell cast drains 100 XP per spell level. The character can't lose more XP than the absolute minimum of the current character level, and any attempt to cast a spell that would cause the character to drop below that threshold automatically fails. (0-level spells of course drain no XP.)

Daughters of Burnick
After the destruction of Atlantis, the magic-using orders in the colony on the modern-day British Isles fell into a state of civil war. The Philiamancers (whose magic practices were based in personal connections and love) and Biomancers (whose magic was drawn from the savage power of nature) struggled against each other for generations, each order becoming more brutal and unforgiving of each other and even their own members with each passing decade. The last leader of the Philiamancers was Burnick the Love Witch, a woman who had been raised to wage war and whose heart was full of hatred rather than love. She was eventually defeated as much by the Biomancers as her own dark heart, and her passing also marked the end of the entire art of Philamancers.
   In the early 19th century, an amateur archeologist and mystic, Lady Elizabeth Harrow, discovered a coastal cave that had been the home of Burnick and her closest retainers. She spent 30 years translating the manuscripts and discerning the purpose of the many artifacts she located, and, upon practicing some of the rituals, she became the first person in more than 10,000 years to practice the lost art of Philamancy.
   Shortly afterwards, Lady Elizabeth founded the Daughters of Burnick, a chartable organization on the surface but in actuality a secret society made up entirely of women. Today, the Daugthers of Burnick are active around the world, openly promoting awareness about women's rights and healthcare issues, while secretly working to change male dominated societies through a variety of means. The organization is funded through charitable donations and a trust that Lady Elizabeth established in her will. The Daughters of Burnick has been headquartered in Harrow Manor, and, unknown to all but the most highly ranking members, Lady Elizabeth remains in charge, having acquired eternal youth and near-immortality through the ancient Atlantean rites.
Elizabeth Harrow, leader of the Daughters of Burnick
   Purpose and Goals: The Daughters of Burnick exists to defend women against abuse and oppression  of male dominated societies, and to promote the equality of women around the world. They generally use social activism and political means to further their goals, but the secret part of the organization use a variety of means, up to and including magic, to achieve their ends.
   Attitudes: The Daughters of Burnick are fiercely devoted to economic and social equality between the sexes, but they always use measured responses when dealing with opponents. When facing philosophical disagreements, they use words and logic in their attempts to overcome them; when faced with legal challenges, the court room is where they face them; and when confronted with violence, they use violence--or magic. Violence, magic, and other extreme measures are the province of the hidden part of the organization, and such activities are always approved and coordinated by Lady Elizabeth herself.
   Membership: Anyone can join the public Daughters of Burnick charity for a $15 annual membership fee. The organization also employs hundreds of people in all sorts of capacities worldwide, from janitors, to security officers, to accountants and attorneys. Women of particular skill-sets (such as those possessed by those with levels in hero classes), or who have an aptitude for magic and share the organization's distaste for social inequity and the mistreatment of women, may be invited to join the hidden side of the Daughters of Burnick. The vetting process is a long one, and prospective members are put through many tests before they are invited to meet with Lady Elizabeth and initiated into the ancient secrets at the heart of the organization.
   Enemies: ISIS, the Taliban, and other groups who include the oppression of women as their agenda frequently target Daughters of Burnick. The Watchers of the Stones are suspicious of the Daughters of Burnick, as they fear it will be the vehicle that will bring about the foretold return of their ancient enemy.

The Watchers of the Stones
After the destruction of Atlantis, old rivalries between the male-dominated Biomantic and the female-dominated Philiamantic schools of magic erupted into full-fledged war, as the citizens of the Atlantean colony on the modern-day British Isles turned on each other in a desperate struggle for survival. It was a conflict that lasted for centuries, but eventually the Biomancers won, completely eradicated the Philiamancers with a tremendous ritual that left the center of Biomantic power nearly drained of all energy. The victory of the Biomancers over the Philiamancers was further made hollow by the fact that they themselves were also nearly wiped out in the final battle.
   Today, the mystic traditions of Atlantean Biomancers are continued by a small and secretive cult of druids. They are based in Amesbury, a small town near Stonehenge. Long ago, a seer predicted that the last Philiamancer, Burnick the Love Witch, would emerge from the mists of time and resume the war.
   Purpose and Goals: The Watchers guard what magic that remains in the ancient structure. They fight anyone who tries to use its magic without their permission and cooperation. They also watch for the return of Burnick, and if they cannot reason with her they hope that they will be strong enough to destroy her.
Mason Garrity, leader of the Watchers
   Attitudes: Until the occult craze of the 1960s, the Watchers were secretive and kept their true beliefs and performed their ceremonies hidden from view. Now, the order owns and operates a shop in Amesbury, named Children of Stonehenge, that sells Stonehenge souvenirs and occult paraphernalia. Most of what the store offers is trinkets for tourists and toys for wanna-bes, but those with knowledge of the occult will recognize that some of the pricier items are genuine magical foci and other components needed for rituals and spells. Similarly, those extremely well-versed in occult lore will recognize the ancient druidic symbols that are plainly part of the shop's logo. If a person asks about the symbols, whoever is working in the shop will quietly acknowledge that the store is indeed run by druids who have dwelled in the area since before Stonehenge was erected.
    Membership: Membership is the Watchers of the Stones is limited to the twelve families that have been the heart of the order/secret society since its founding. The families have been prolific, however, and the Watchers have potential members everywhere in the world. They have always very carefully tracked the lineages of the Twelve Families, and they sometimes reach to a "lost member" in times of need, informing the person of their heritage and giving him or her the change to unlock the mystical potential he or she possesses.
   Enemies: Any organization that uses magic to harm innocents or twist the proper course of nature will find themselves opposed by the Watchers of the Stones. The group is also anticipating the eventual return of Burnick the Love Witch, and they stand ready to fight her when that day comes. They also have a general dislike of Lady Elizabeth, leader of the Daughters of Burnick, since she has used magic to restore her youth and extend her life.

If you found this post interesting or useful, we hope you'll check out some of our releases that tie into the NUELOW Games tale of Atlantis, such as Secrets of the Immortals and Jungle Terrors.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New Talent Tree and Feat for OGL d20 Modern

All text in this post is presented under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2016 by Steve Miller.

The Knee-Jerk Apologist is a talent tree for all hero classes.

Your support for a group of people, philosophy, or cause is marked by blind devotion. The people in question can do no wrong, and you leap to their defense at every opportunity. You also know who is REALLY at fault for any perceived wrongs committed by the object of your devotion.
   Apologist: Pick a group (For example: Christians, Muslims, Black People, Hentai Fans, Transgendered, or Republicans). Gain a +6 bonus to all Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks when expressing your support for them.
   Special: You may choose this talent up to four times. You must identify a different group each time you select it.
   Master Apologist: For any groups selected for an instance of the apology talent, the gained bonus increases to +8. Additionally, if someone attempts to counter your argument with their own Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate skill checks, their DC is your total skill check +5.
   Prerequisite: Apologist
   Fanatical Devotion: You gain a +4 bonus to attack and damage against any character that has the temerity to speak out against the abused and downtrodden group you are the defender of.
   Prerequisite: Master Apologist

The Perpetually Offended feat should be available to all characters who meet the prerequisites.

No matter who you're dealing with, what is going on, or where you are, you can find something to be offended by.
   Prerequisite: Maximum INT and WIS scores of 10.
   Benefit: Pick a reason and a target. Gain a +4 bonus to skill checks (such as Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate) and attack rolls and damage rolls directed at it for a number of hours equal to 1/2 your character level. For example, if you take offense at a book you see for sale online (like this one), you gain a +4 bonus to your Craft (writing) skill while posting online about how you want a boycott of the horrible item, and a +4 bonus to Intimidate when you post to the Facebook page set up by fans of the work you hate.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Trumpkin Talent Tree

While driving around today, I heard not one but two callers to the Michael Medved Show angrily express how offended they were that he was referring to Trump Supporters as "Trumpkins." It perhaps goes without saying (especially if you're a regular reader of this blog's d20 System offerings and/or consumer of ROLF! products) but I was inspired to write a Talent Tree for OGL d20 Modern.

A gaggle of Trumpkins in their (extremely small) comfort zone.

The following text is presented under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with it. Copyright 2016 by Steve Miller.
The Trumpkin Talent Tree is available to any character that meets the prerequisite and who may select a talent due to level advancement. Especially those who love reality TV shows and want to make America Great Again.

   Trump Supporter: Gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls against anyone you think disagrees with you in any way, shape, or form. The bonus increases to +3 if you think your target doesn't support Donald Trump.
   Prerequisite: The Power of Embarrassment feat, or Spirit of a Nation feat, or one talent from the White Male Talent Tree.
   Recite Slogans: Gain a +4 bonus to Bluff and Intimidate skill checks when repeating The Words of Trump to the ignoramuses that don't share your devotion. (You may use this talent a number of times per day equal to your Charisma bonus.)
   Prerequisite: Trump Supporter
   Dish It Out: Gain a +2 bonus to Bluff and Intimidate skill checks when engaging in verbal exchanges with those you disagree with. A number of times per day equal to your Wisdom bonus, you may force your target(s) to roll a Will save (DC11+your Charisma bonus). If the saving throw fails, your target is enraged and attacks you, suffering a -2 penalty to attack and damage rolls. You gain a +2 bonus to your Defense Rating. You may affect a number of targets up to your skill ranks in Bluff.
   Bonuses stack with those gained from other talents.
   Prerequisite: Can't Take It
   Can't Take It: When confronted by someone who doesn't share your devotion to The Donald, you must roll a Will save (DC14). If you fail, you must attack the target of your ire either verbally (-4 bonus to Bluff and Intimidate skill checks) or physically (+2 bonus to attack and damage rolls).
   Prerequisite: Trump Supporter

The preding text is presented under the Open Game License. Copyright 2016 Steve Miller

Monday, March 7, 2016

Do you need help with your Trump Anxiety?

TRIGGER WARNING! DONALD TRUMP AHEAD! (Although this post will provide with information on how to deal with your Trump Anxiety, we realize that you are fragile and we want to prepare you, so we don't cause you to have an episode.)

A new disorder is sweeping the nation--Trump Anxiety. Once thought limited only to certain segments of the Republican Party leadership, and particularly hysterical Democrats, this condition has spread to a surprisingly wide percentage of the population in the United States of America and even abroad. The Chicago Tribune (courtesy of the WaPo's syndication service) reports on the affliction and those tortured souls who suffer from it, here.

Does this man haunt your dreams? NUELOW can help!
We here at NUELOW Games hate to see our fellow human beings suffer, so we've created some material to help those who suffer from Trump Anxiety to confront your fears and move beyond them.... and they'll cost you far, far less than what you'll pay a therapist, be it for massage or mental therapy.

Follow these easy steps, and you'll be on your way to curing yourself of your Trump Anxiety. Roleplaying has long been used to confront fears and derangements by therapists. We are now taking those concepts into the realm of self-help/self-service and rollplaying.

Step One: Verify You Actually Suffer From the Condition. If the header of this post, or the picture of The Donald above troubled you, maybe you suffer from Trump Anxiety. To be sure, however, you need to click on this link to inspect a different post on this blog. It contains another picture of Trump, along with a set of stats that represent him in the ROLF! rollplaying game system. If your distress grows by viewing that page, you suffer from Trump Anxiety.

Step Two: Get a copy of You vs. Me and Relentlessly Gay. These rollplaying products provide the framework within which you will confront your fears. Also, get a copy of Professor Fiend. This book contains additional tools to help you overcome your Trump Anxiety, as well as game statistics for The Donald similar to the ones you've already seen on this blog. (To provide maximum access to the therapeutic powers of rollplaying, all three of those products are available in one easy download, at a discount. Click here to get the Trump Anxiety Self-Help Kit.)

Step Three: Find a friend, or a Fellow Sufferer of Trump Anxiety. Create characters of yourself and your friend, using You vs. Me. Then, using either the statistics for Donald Trump presented on this blog, or in Professor Fiend, pit the character you have made against Trump, within the safety of a rollplaying game. You will see that he is nothing to be afraid of. Take turns defeating him if necessary. You can also play through the battle scenario in Professor Fiend for a further illustration of how ridiculous Trump is... and how ridiculous it is to suffer from Trump Anxiety. For extra relaxation and perspective, read the comics in Professor Fiend.

Step Four: Actively Support Another Candidate. America is a democratic Republic for God's sake. Trump may behave like he's going to be the Dictator-in-Chief, but if everyone gets off their asses and stops whining about him on the internet and instead becomes active in the Republican or Democratic parties, he will be relegated to his rightful status as a joke and a footnote in history even before the primaries have run their course. You can join Step Three and Step Four together, doing them at the same time. You can even pit Hillary Clinton or other political figures against Trump using other NUELOW Games releases, further proving to yourself that your Trump Anxiety is completely unfounded. (Just don't use Bernie Sanders. He's going to lose every time.)
Step Five: Vote in the General Election. If you know who you're going to vote for, you know you have nothing to fear from Trump... because you know other sane people are going to be voting like you are. Especially if you've been talking to them while engaging in Step Four.



Click to order a Trump Anxiety Self-Help Kit from NUELOW Games!