War Mage

(RJ Lambert)

The intent of the war-mage is in part a new offering for player-characters, but also with an eye to the kind of super-villain that a GM might want to incorporate into their game. A scenario, perhaps, where a War Mage is about to reach the peak of their summoning ability and make war - can the player-characters stop him in time?

Base Statistics

ATTACK 13 or 14 (see below)
DEFENCE 7 or 6 (see below)
MAGICAL DEFENCE 4
EVASION 4
Health Points d6+7

The War-Mage looks for all intents and purposes like a Knight* or Barbarian*. However, he has a hidden trick up his sleeve. He can use magic to assist his cause in battle, but has no MAGICAL ATTACK score per se (spells requiring MAGICAL ATTACK describe therein how the spell generates such a value). Unlike Warlocks*, however, there are far less spells but also far less pitfalls in combat ability.


The War-Mage must select whether he is a Barbarian* or Knight*. His Base Statistics then increase at the rate equivalent of that profession. He will also attain the Skills of the Mighty* appropriate to that profession at later rank. War-Mages are unimpeded by the wearing of armour also.

The War-Mage is considered a heretic to the True Faith* and chivalry by Knights*, and Barbarians* (a little less concerned by such things) very warily for they know the great power these wield at later ranks. Amongst magic users they find no kinship, all of whom regard them also with considerable concern – they are thought to be harmless at lower ranks but, if allowed to strengthen, potential dictators upon reaching 10th rank. Magic users will therefore accept their company in a party, but will have little trouble being convinced to hunt a War-Mage down (even if they were once a colleague) once persuaded of the power they potentially wield at 10th rank. Accordingly, they are to be relatively rare – rarer than Elementalists*, for instance – in the adventuring world.

Dwarves* and Elves* can not be War Mages and both regard them with loathing and contempt, as – in their minds – they represent the worst of what men are capable of. Though a Warlock* might at times be mistaken for a War Mage, the latter will never find acceptance or be offered peace by magical folk such as these, as well as Halflings* and other friendly Faerie* folk. In fact, evil magical folk such as Orcs*, Goblins* etc treat War Mages’ with great respect and fear, for they suspect that they might one day be thralls of such a being. They will not answer a War Mage’s call unless the War Mage is consumed with Darkness* (see below) in which case only creatures of their kind answer the Summoning (see Rank 10 spell).

The Darkness

Little is known of the source of the War Mage’s abilities. Some suspect they are allies of Ares the ancient Selentine* god of war. The truth is that, somewhat like the Force in Star Wars, there is a risk that the War Mage might be so consumed by his potential power that he becomes truly evil. Hints of this might come through during the game, but at 10th rank the reckoning will occur. With each casting of the Summoning (see below), a new attribute emerges for the War Mage – the Reckoning. Only the GM knows the War Mage’s ranking on the Reckoning. It begins at a number equivalent to the War Mage’s rank when he first casts the spell. Upon casting it, he loses d6 in the Reckoning, or d10 if he invests the HP into the spell also. He can hold back the darkness by doing good deeds, and the improvement to his roll on the Reckoning for doing such deeds is determined by the GM. Furthermore, evil deeds (again at the GM’s discretion) send the modifiers the other way. The War Mage never achieves perfection on this front – he is never so far in the Light to be immune from the pull of the Darkness*. However, if his Reckoning score reaches 0, he must immediately (as in, right now!) set out on a quest of moral purity to salvage himself from the Darkness*. If he fails in that quest within d12 months (known only to the GM) the Darkness consumes him and he begins summoning either human (or inhuman) legions to his new desire for power and reign over Legend*.

Whether the War-Mage becomes a powerful noble or a Saruman-like megalomaniac is best determined by the GM in consultation with the PC, who should have the choice whether he wants to role-play his new calling, be a summoner of men or orcs etc, or take up a new character altogether. War-Mages have no Magic Points or Psychic Fatigue – instead, they are simply limited in the number of spells they can cast in one day. A given Spell can only be cast once per day. Also, if a War Mage casts more than 2 spells in one day, on the casting of the 3rd spell the GM rolls d20. If the roll exceeds the War-mage’s current Health Points score (minus any HP invested in a spell), then after the number of combat rounds’ difference between the roll and the HP, the War-Mage will collapse unconscious (0 HP) from fatigue. Spells are not automatically obtained upon attaining Rank. Rather, Rank-d6 days must be spent learning the new spell (the PC can be doing other things at this time, except an arduous intellectual task such as learning a new language) before it may be used. Spells must be incanted, and may take whatever form the PC thinks fit – calling upon strange gods, summoning mystic energies or uttering prayers. Durational spells last for as many hours as equate to the Mage’s rank. Health Points invested in a spell can not be recovered.

Spells

Level 1 Healing The War-Mage earns the ability to heal himself by Rank-d6 HP. He can heal others at Rank-d4 HP, but only once per day. He can not invest HP in this spell.

Level 2 Armour (durational) The War Mage can magically add Rank/2 to his AF. Not effective against magical weapons, however for an expenditure of 2 HP this can also be provided.

Level 3 Strength (durational) The War Mage can add the number of points equivalent to his Rank to his Strength, to a maximum of 20.

Level 4 Energy Bolt The War Mage projects an energy bolt at opponents that has a SPEED of 10+Rank and damage of d6+Rank.

Level 5 Quicken (durational) The War Mage can add the number of points equivalent to his Rank to his Reflexes, to a maximum of 18. For an extra 2 HP, the War Mage can extend (if Rank permits) to 20, which brings +1 more ATTACK, +1 more DEFENCE and +1 more EVASION

Level 6 Magic Sphere (durational) The War Mage is protected by a Magic Sphere against all forms of Direct and Indirect Attack Spells. The protection is only against such HP or MP damage as equates to the War-Mage’s rank. After that, the Magic Sphere is broken. For an investment of extra HP, the Magic Sphere can be further strengthened by a trade of 1 HP for 1 point of strength.

Level 7 War Cry The War Mage must cast this spell before entering a given combat – during combat is not acceptable, unless new opponents enter the fray, in which case the War Cry affects them only. The spell has a MAGICAL ATTACK equivalent to 11+Rank and affects all participants in the combat who are below 7th rank. If they fail the roll, they will have to roll on the following table on d20 – Rank:

D20 Roll General Effect Statistics-specific Effect
1
(or less)
Fights on with unease. -1 ATTACK until combat ends.
2
Fights on intimidated. -2 ATTACK until combat ends.
3
Fights on in fear of life. -3 ATTACK until combat ends.
4
Drops weapon. when recovered (after 1 CR) fights at -4 ATTACK.
5
Ceases attacking and stands dumbfounded unless attacked.
6
Lowers weapon and offers surrender.
7
Drops weapon and stands shaking unsure what to do.
8
Drops weapon and raises hands in surrender.
9
Drops weapon and falls on knees to surrender.
10
Runs away.
11
Runs away.
12
Runs away in fear, screaming.
13
Cowers behind nearest cover, unwilling to fight on.
14
Cowers behind nearest cover, unwilling to fight on.
15
Shake with fear, unwilling to fight on.
16
Urinate in one’s pants, unwilling to fight on.
17
Defecate in one’s pants, unwilling to fight on.
18
Faint from fright. Loses 5 HP (non- fatal).
19
Faint from fright. Instantly to 0 HP.
20
(or more)
Dies from fright.

Level 8 Warhorse (durational) The War Mage summons his ethereal mount, which will have base stats enhanced by his Rank value as follows: ATTACK 14 + Rank; DEFENCE 8 + Rank, MAG. DEFENCE same as the War Mage; EVASION 4 + Rank/2 (rounded down); HP Rank x d4. For the expenditure of 8 HP, the Warhorse can be a Hippogriff* (i.e. it can fly).

Level 9 Ring of Enchantment (durational) The War Mage is surrounded by a powerful 3m zone of magical energy. For its duration (in brackets appears extra strength if 8 HP are invested):
  • No missile weapon can enter (including magical missiles, but not spells).
  • PCs and NPCs under 3rd rank will quake with fear and be unable to speak coherently or attack (this effect can be invoked at will by the War-Mage, whereas without the HP investment all are so affected).
  • Animals will be rendered tame within the zone, but return to being wild outside (animal will attack for Rank CR at the War Mage’s bidding).
  • Traps and invisible objects will glow red to the War Mage’s eyes (all can see them).
  • The temperature is appropriate for the comfort of the War Mage (the zone will be either very humid and hot, or frigid cold, depending on outside conditions, to any entering whom the War Mage wills to feel this effect – will reduce ATTACK and DEFENCE by 2 for the duration).
  • Other spell-casters will have the vision of fire burned in their minds such that they must invest +1 MP or suffer +1 Psychic Fatigue when casting spells in the zone (affects only those the War Mage wills – otherwise it affects friend and foe alike).

Level 10 Summon Allies (durational) This spell can be envisaged like a magical call to arms. All professions within the War Mage’s Rank-d10 kilometres suffer a MAGICAL ATTACK of a strength equivalent to the War Mage’s Rank. As such, it is relatively weak at first but as the War Mage becomes more powerful, his Summoning power increases. The GM can use his discretion as to how, in practical terms, this might work rather than rolling en masse for all professionals in the zone one at a time (i.e. an aggregate roll). Those so affected find themselves magnetically, inexorably drawn to the War Mage with haste. Depending again on their Rank they will (for weaker NPCs) drop everything and answer the summoning; or (for stronger Ranked NPCs) battle with the urging but come once setting their affairs in place and farewell their loved ones. Of course, in an immediate combat where the War Mage finds himself in trouble, the War Mage might use it to switch foes’ allegiance. The natural consequence, however, without the HP investment (see below) is that others start arriving to answer the call. For an investment of 9MP, the War Mage can: - specify the range (which can be no more than what he rolls in kilometres – but he might, say, specify 10 metres!); and - specify the types of professions so summoned, or the allegiances of those summoned (eg “Summon all who are not the allies of my enemy Hegric”) - specify a gathering point other than his own present location, and a future time to which the summoning must be answered (eg “Gather on Aelfric’s Plain three days hence, at sunrise”) War Mages therefore, upon reaching higher rank, become potent political allies and indeed foes. They are thus feared amongst the nobility and treated with great suspicion. Indeed, if a war mage is known to exist, they will find themselves at times hunted ruthlessly by nobles (sometimes hastily assembled into a grudging allegiance) who do not desire their Summoning ability in their fiefdom or kingdom.

Note: War Mages crave one magical item - a Torc of Continual Restoration*, or such similar device. Having read the spells above, one can understand why. A War Mage might, with the ability to continually restore HP, cast his spells at increased power all the time, and, accelerating thus to 10th rank, issue a powerful Summoning of allies for their ultimate aim. Evil war-mages therefore scour Legend* for such items, and one who wears one will (probably unbeknownst to them) be target of an evil War-Mage once one of his spies – or allies’ auguries – locates the Torc*.

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