The King is Dead

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grimoires Continued

More thoughts on grimoires, their uses, and examples.  And scrolls.

I've been doing the math on the Power Points provided for the example scrolls in Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion; it looks like instant duration powers get enough Power Points to cause their maximum effect but ongoing powers vary between having enough Power Points to last between five and nine extra rounds.  It would make more sense to me if a single duration had been used -- one minute (10 rounds) seems logical -- but I suppose I'll just go with seven rounds/minutes/whatever total for the powers I will hereafter delineate.  (Seven is a nice magical number.) Cost is very simple: $50 per Power Point.

There's a few powers in the main list that don't have scrolls, and some of these are exactly what I think would be appropriate for the ritual magic use a grimoire evokes.  Since the places I am most likely to use grimoires are in a Pirates of the Spanish Main or a Regency/Gothic campaign, I'll also turn to 50 Fathoms and Savage Worlds Horror Companion to fill out the scroll cost/Power Points list:

from Savage Worlds Deluxe...
Cost     Type
$150     Banish* (3 Power Points)
$250     Divination (5 Power Points)
$200     Havoc (4 Power Points)
$150     Mind Reading (3 Power Points)
$100     Slumber (2 Power Points)
$500     Summon Ally** (10 to 14 Power Points)
- $700
$550     Warrior's Gift

from 50 Fathoms...
Cost     Type
$550     Becalm (11 Power Points)
$500     Mend (10 Power Points)
$250     Quake (5 Power Points)
$500     Settle Storm (10 Power Points)
$400     Storm (8 Power Points)
$600     Summon Elemental (12 Power Points)
$400     Water Walk (8 Power Points)
$250     Zephyr (5 Power Points -- though a caster can extend it up to 4 hours by rereading it over and over and over again)

from Savage Worlds Horror Companion...
Cost     Type
$200     Banish Entity* ** (4 to 24 Power Points)
- $1200
$400     Bind Entity** (8 to 24 Power Points)
- $1200
$500     Consecrate Ground (10 Power Points)
$450     Corpse Senses (9 Power Points)
$1000   Drain Years (20 Power Points)
$600     Enhance Undead (12 Power Points; the Zombie scroll allows one to raise 4 zombies, so I built this to match that)
$450     Grave Shroud (9 Power Points)
$550     Grave Speak (11 Power Points)
$200     Nightmares (4 Power Points)
$500     Spirit Shield (10 Power Points)
$650     Strength of the Dead (13 Power Points)
$200     Summon Demon** (4 to 24 Power Points)
- $1200
$400     Summon Spirit** (8 to 24 Power Points)
- $1200
$300     Suppress Lycanthropy (6 Power Points)

* Banish and Banish Entity are the same power for all intents and purposes.  Banish Entity costs more Power Points for more powerful entities; I assume this is to add extra risk and worry to a horror campaign.  I would use Banish in more lighthearted, action-driven campaigns where encountering evil entities is not a primary threat (like most fantasy campaigns) and Banish Entity in campaigns where supernatural evil is more threatening (like Pirates of the Spanish Main or Regency/Gothic).
** This power cost different Power Points depending on the size of the Spirit die of the entity you are seeking to control.  Different-priced scrolls are therefore available.

Example Grimoires

The Holy Bible
Cost: $0 to $85,000 (see below)
Powers: Banish or Banish Entity (see below)

In settings that use Christian mythology, the Holy Bible enables even the most humble soul to stand against the forces of Satan.  Simply reading aloud from any passage works as the Banish or Banish Entity power against minions of Hell; unlike normal grimoires, the Bible is considered to supply as many Power Points as needed.  It can be used by anyone literate in the language it is printed in.  In the modern day, free versions are available for digital download while antique, gilded Bibles can run tens of thousands of dollars.

The Drowned Book of Prospero (for Pirates of the Spanish Main)

Cost: Priceless
Powers:  Banish Entity (30 Power Points), Becalm (15 Power Points), Bind Entity (30 Power Points), Settle Storm (10 Power Points), Storm (8 Power Points), Summon Elemental (30 Power Points).

 …But this rough magic
I here abjure…I’ll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than ever did plummet sound
I’ll drown my book. – William Shakespeare, "The Tempest"
The famous spellbook of the sorcerer Duke Prospero, this tome was believed destroyed by Prospero himself when he left his island but was recovered by the half-demon Caliban in an attempt to learn his former master's arts.  The Drowned Book is heavily water-damaged and imposes a -4 penalty on a user's first attempt to read it.  It contains a unique version of Bind Entity that allows a user to bind the Wild Card air elemental Ariel to her service permanently; Ariel was promised freedom by Prospero and will be a sullen and faithless servant (see 50 Fathoms for air elemental statistics).  The Drowned Book of Prospero also includes much of the duke's learning on elementals (acts as Forbidden Knowledge against elementals) and many... unsavory... details Prospero gleaned from the witch Sycorax about icthynites (acts as Forbidden Knowledge against icthynites; see Savage Worlds Horror Companion). 

Possession of the book would bring great power to the crew who can wield it, but it will also make them the target of governments and powerful individuals who seek Prospero's secrets.  Caliban himself is still alive and seeks to regain "his" book; treat him as a full-blooded icthynite (the years have wrought a sea-change upon him) with Smarts and Spellcasting d8.

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