Tuesday, June 15, 2021

DATE OF EXPIRATION -- Preview

Cover could change, but probably not.


This is the main project I've been working on...

Below are two sample pages (sans the actual info) the first of which includes the dungeon doodle that sparked this whole thing. There are 43 sections like these and each section usually has multiple rooms and corridors. After I drew them, I pieced them together, forming a massive tower complex, and then set about making sense of it all.






And from my first tease...




I've drawn tons of art for this; the dungeon itself is art. 

Stats will be generic OSR like I've done before, e.g., (Armor: as plate.) 

The book I tend to reference the most for stats, spells, and such is the Rules Cyclopedia.

Levels are tentatively 4-7.






Shooting for the Fall...


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Knock! Issue 2 Is Live On Kickstarter!

Here we go again!

If you were a fan of Knock! Issue One, Knock! Issue Two looks every bit as good if not better!

More OSR goodness from around the blogosphere!

The first Knock! kickstarter had the fastest turn-around for a kickstarter that I've ever seen and this one looks to do the same! 


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

A Little Nod To Basic Fantasy

 Haven't drawn a hot dwarf in a while!

The four books below, 1 hardback, 3 soft covers, cost me a total of $26.45. 

  • Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game
  • The Basic Fantasy Field Guide of Creatures Malevolent and Benign
  • The Basic Fantasy Equipment Emporium
  • Morgansfort: The Western Lands Campaign.

All you need to play D&D, literally, for years

And, the PDFs are all actually FREE to download (along with optional races, classes, adventures, spells, etc.) at: https://www.basicfantasy.org/

I like to reward such efforts with a physical purchase. Plus, I prefer books.

Most of you know Basic Fantasy already, but I make this post on the off chance that you do not.

So, Basic Fantasy's been around for a while, why am I only buying it now? Not sure. It popped into my head recently, as things do... actually, I was thinking about saving throws and different ways to do them and I seemed to remember that Basic Fantasy saving throws followed a different progression than B/X, BECMI, or AD&D.

One thing that bothers me (well, "bothers" is actually too strong a term) about old-school D&D is that your saving throws don't progress more smoothly.

Even if you're aware of Basic Fantasy's existence, you might not know how it actually differs from the game it clones (mainly B/X) and how it differs from other clones. Some things I noticed after a quick glance:

  • Race and Class are separate: 4 races, 4 classes. More options can be found at their website.
  • Turn Undead uses a d20, not 2d6 (but 2d6 is used to determine the number of undead.)
  • Individual initiative.
  • Slightly (and I mean slightly) different spell list.
  • Sleep allows a saving throw.
  • Every 2 levels, 2-4 of your 5 Saving Throws improve by 1, sometimes 2.
  • Class levels are 1-20.
  • Energy Drain gives "negative level" penalties, but not actual loss of levels.
  • Scale Armor is considered better than Chain Mail. (In the Equipment Emporium)
  • Dragon Breath is based off Hit Dice not Hit Points.
  • Demons & Devils are called Infernals. (In the Field Guide)
  • Gold for XP is listed in the optional rules section (as are customizable thief skills.)
  • NO ALIGNMENT. 

A solid clone.

And it's easily the best bang for your buck.


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Papers & Paychecks!

3rd-level Fashion Model
Stress: 9, Poise: 16


We daydream about the apocalypse.

We fantasize about danger.

We pretend we could take it.

But in a crazy world that seems to be on the verge of catastrophe every single day, eventually the shit will hit the fan and those of us that remain may find ourselves longing for less adventure as we relax to a nice ol' game of...

Papers & Paychecks!*

Yes, a game where you play as a 3rd-level Engineer, a 1st-level Plummer, a 4th-level Lawyer, a 5th-level Accountant, a 6th-level Nurse...

  • Hit Points are called Stress. You would lose Stress by failing rolls. Reaching 0 Stress might result in a nervous breakdown or some such thing that causes you to retreat from society.
  • Narcotics temporarily restore Stress at the risk of addiction and/or death.
    • Armor Class is called Poise, perhaps affected by your level and fashion accessories.
    • Dungeons would be events -- parties, weddings, conventions, disasters, vacations, etc. They might be a flow-chart, a point-crawl, or randomly rolled occurrences (challenges) interrupted by periodic preordained incidents. Longer, more stressful events would have a fixed number of minimum challenges.
    • Saving Throws might be:
      • Disease
      • Toxins
      • Injury
      • Depression
      • Lust
      • Peer Pressure
    • Getting fired from your job might result in negative levels, much like energy-drain, or at least pause your advancement.
    • Getting arrested might cause a mandatory dip into the Criminal class. 
    • Failed rolls in prison or war cause twice as much Stress.
    • Marriage, divorce, and children would be things that happen to you along the way that have both pros and cons that assist or hurt you with this roll or that.
    • Character Sheets would definitely look like job applications or tax forms.
    • Aging would come with both boons and banes.

    So, after a long day of scavenging for food and dodging what few bullets remain, cozy up to that warm fire in that make-shift shelter with a few of your surviving pals. Grab those strange looking dice you found in that burned-out town (who knows how those unused notebooks and pencils survived!) Roll up some career-folk and see if you can handle the day-to-day angst and stress of normal life in...

    Papers & Paychecks!*

    Almost sounds fun.

    *See pg. 111 of the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide for inspiration.


    Friday, April 9, 2021

    RIFTS: Dial O For Operator

    Still working away at something, but can't neglect the blog, so...

    RIFTS Operators...

    I wonder how many people have played an Operator?

    They're basically just mechanics. Regular folks good at fixing stuff. They'll die in M.D.C. combat immediately. And they won't last terribly long in S.D.C. combat either. Unless you gear them up in either case. Which kind of makes sense, because gear is what they do.

    They should almost be a necessity for any RIFTS group, just like the thief is (or should be) a necessity for any group of dungeon-crawlers.

    You see, if you don't know, JUNK is all over RIFTS earth. Old junk, new junk, alien junk, all kinds of junk. In fact, if any setting needs a plethora upon plethora of random tables for what you find in this ruined town or that battlefield, it's RIFTS.

    A good GM should be littering broken, but potentially useful items (weapons, vehicles, armor, etc.) of all sizes all over the place...specifically for the Operator to shine. Not everything will get fixed (or fixed in time) some rolls will fail, but the Operator will always be busy and could become a cherished member of the group.

    Imagine they find some ungodly cool thing that's going to take awhile to fix, but it's in a dangerous place with lots of random encounters. How many fights are the PCs willing to risk while the Operator tinkers with this thing? (The Operator get's to fight too of course.)

    The younger me wouldn't have looked twice at this class, but now (especially after I drew that pic) I'm digging it.

    BTW, Palladium has been printing hard-covers of their rulebooks and they have a special hard-cover reprinting of RIFTS 1st Edition coming very soon. I've preordered one. That iconic Splugorth Slave Barge cover by Keith Parkinson....damn, if that doesn't fire up your imagination...

    Back to writing.

    And drawing.



    Tuesday, March 30, 2021

    A Teaser Of Sorts...

    This is not the title or the cover.

    ...for what I'm working on.

    Sat idle for a year.

    Back at it with a vengeance.

    Closing in on 80 pages.

    It's a very unique thing. 

    And then there's this guy...




    Sunday, March 7, 2021

    Marvel (FASERIP) Praise + Revised Character Sheets

    Opal. See stats below.

    So there I was, experimenting with different ways to draw dungeons, when out of the blue, Marvel popped into my head, and stayed there (such is my brain.) I should redesign the character sheet, I thought...again. Make it more user friendly. Put the charts (Universal Table) directly onto the sheet. People don't really like charts any more. They can be very useful, but the Holy Grail of game design -- well, charts don't seem to belong.

    But Marvel Super Heroes (FASERIP) is the greatest super-hero role-playing game ever made. Even though I played it to death, haven't touched it in years, having moved on to Heroes Unlimited or some variation there-of, including whole systems invented by yours truly (should post them here one day.) I now feel that no game captured comics like Marvel did.

    Next thing you know, it's 3 A.M. and my sheet's been redesigned, with variations over the next couple of days. I guess the dungeons will have to wait a minute.

    Marvel Super Heroes is such a solid game, they could republish it today with minimal tweaks. Our young minds didn't appreciate the finer details enough. We never used the defensive maneuvers (how cool is block? -- granted I would use it more proactively than rules-as-written) and we weren't all that creative with our powers -- some of which need to be fleshed out a bit more and given more practical use examples. 

    Another thing Marvel could've done better is character creation. As it stands, it's completely random -- which is a good thing, I love making sense of random rolls, but, there should be more archetypes available. Something like this:

    01-20  Altered Human
                01-50   Experiment
                                    01-60  Super-Soldier (usually no powers, but very good stats + weapons)
                                    61-80  Altered Form (animal, plant, mineral, etc.)
                                    81-00  Random Powers
                51-00   Accident
                                    01-50  Altered Form (animal, plant, mineral, etc.)
                                    51-00  Random Powers
    21-40  Mystic   
                01-40   Martial Artist (plenty of fighting talents, limited selection of mystic abilities)
                41-70   Sorcerer (quite a few lower powered powers "spells")  
                71-00   Mystically Bestowed
                                    01-30  Random Powers
                                    31-80  Magic Weapon/Item
                                    81-00  Altered Form (animal, plant, mineral, etc.)
    41-60  Mutant
                01-30   Altered Form (animal, plant, mineral, etc.)
                31-50   Experiment (Random Power + a cybernetic or two.)
                51-00   Random Powers 

    61-80  Hi-Tech
                01-40   Power Suit (roll on list of powers commonly found in battle armor)
                41-70   Gadgeteer (each power is a separate gadget)
                71-00   Cybernetics (roll on list of enhancements)

    81-90  Robot
                01-20   Swarm
                21-60   Android -Human Form (random powers)
                61-80   Non-Human Form
                81-00   Transforming

    91-00  Alien
                01-20   Altered Form (animal, plant, mineral, etc.)
                21-80   Alien race (list of strange beings, multiple eyes, arms, etc.)
                81-00   Myth or Legend

    There's tons of fan stuff for FASERIP out there. Many have expanded the universal table to include new in-between ranks such as: Awesome, Fantastic, Sensational, etc. I've looked into this before, but now I feel that it isn't necessary. I always felt Monstrous as a descriptor didn't quite fit. If I had to replace it from the list below, I'd probably choose Sensational.  Anyhow, here's a list of words you could use if you're looking to expand:

    • Awesome
    • Marvelous
    • Outstanding
    • Uncanny
    • Magnificent
    • Sensational
    • Spectacular
    • Astonishing
    • Fantastic
    • Impressive
    • Astounding
    • Exceptional
    • Stunning

    And if you wanted to play a horror themed Marvel game you could rename the ranks from the following list:
    • Dreadful
    • Horrendous
    • Terrible
    • Ghastly
    • Unspeakable
    • Atrocious
    • Shocking
    • Pathetic
    • Nightmarish
    • Awful
    • Eerie
    • Abominable
    • Lousy
    • Alarming
    • Daunting
    • Formidable
    • Harrowing
    • Distressing
    • Terrifying
    • Ungodly
    • Mundane
    • Maniacal
    • Demented
    • Beyond
    • Unreal
    • Ridiculous

    Let's give it a whirl:
    • Feeble -- Pathetic (2)
    • Poor -- Lousy (4)
    • Typical -- Mundane (6)
    • Good -- Formidable (10)
    • Excellent -- Daunting (20)
    • Remarkable -- Alarming (30)
    • Incredible -- Shocking (40)
    • Amazing --  Ghastly (50)
    • Monstrous -- Maniacal (75)
    • Unearthly -- Horrific (100)
    • Shift X -- Abominable (150)
    • Shift Y -- Unspeakable (200)
    • Shift Z -- Beyond (500)

    An oddity with the Universal Table: Shift X and Shift Y are almost identical. First of all, in my humble opinion, Shift Y should be 250, not 200. A yellow success should be 36, not 41, and Shift Z's yellow should be 31, not 36. Ignore what this does to the Class 1000 side of things -- those ranks are pointless to regular super-hero game-play.



    No creation charts allowed you to roll up really powerful characters -- Unearthly and up (not even the Ultimate Powers Book.) But you could use a chart like this:

    01-10  Good (10)
    11-20  Excellent (20)
    21-35  Remarkable (30)
    36-55  Incredible (40)
    56-70  Amazing (50)
    71-80  Monstrous (75)
    81-90  Unearthly (100)
    91-94  Shift X (150)
    95-99  Shift Y (200) or (250)
       00    Shift Z (500)

    Or if you want to limit things to Shift X...

    01-05  Typical (6)
    06-15  Good (10)
    16-25  Excellent (20)
    26-45  Remarkable (30)
    46-65  Incredible (40)
    66-80  Amazing (50)
    81-90  Monstrous (75)
    91-98  Unearthly (100)
    99-00  Shift X (150)


    The Character Sheets!

    In order to make the result table fit, I combined the Blunt & Edge, Fighting & Agility results columns into one. This means you can now Slam with a throwing blunt attack. Which actually fits -- how many times have you seen Cap's thrown Shield or Thor's flying Hammer slam an opponent into the next area? How about a certain cinematic manhole cover? -- "Superman...!"

    This was the first revision. The idea was to record the numbers you need to roll for each color feat, per ability...

    Marvel FASERIP Revised A


    Then I decided to simply include a condensed version of the whole Universal Table showing the rolls needed for every rank...



    And then I added lines...


    And here's a sample character named Opal, an entity from the Darkforce Dimension -- that's all we know, that's all we'll ever know, because mysterious is better, every time. For a randomly rolled character, she makes a lot of sense. She can't control the Darkforce like Cloak, but she can generate it, and that stunning option is enormously powerful -- stun your opponent for 1d10 rounds if they fail their endurance roll. Yikes! I would allow and endurance roll every round to snap out of it. Maybe I would change it to touch only (she reaches an ethereal Darkforce hand inside you and grasps your heart...!) She makes a good villain, dangerous, and if she starts to lose, Bamph! -- she's gone to the Darkforce Dimension --she has to roll for that, of course.

    And Martial Arts D allows her to slam and stun opponents with body armor who take no actual damage from the attack (I would ignore the fact that you're supposed to study your target for 2 rounds first, hate that kind of crap.) Very useful considering she only has typical strength, i.e., if she ever finds herself unable to generate Darkforce blasts. This Talent is an example of something we almost certainly overlooked or forgot while playing.



    So play some Marvel, have a blast! And remember, when villains win, they usually leave the hero lying battered and unconscious in a dark alley or they capture them and leave them unattended in some sort of death trap. Playing one-on-one? -- introduce a new hero who has to rescue the first one (guest starring, the Marvelous _________!)

    And keep track of the villains that you've captured, who are now locked up in a super-max facility. When in need of a random encounter, create a random breakout table. No need to explain how...

    Could look something like this:

      1  Doctor Octopus  
      2  Vulture
      3  Scorpion
      4  Electro
      5  Sandman
      6  Hobgoblin
      7  Speed Demon
      8  Hydro-Man
      9  Roll Twice
    10  Everyone on this list!

    And what are they doing...?

      1  Robbing a bank  
      2  Hunting Spider-Man
      3  Hunting __________
      4  Building a new Secret Base
      5  Recruiting henchmen
      6  Raiding a scientific laboratory
      7  Planting a bomb
      8  Holding a hostage
      9  Marauding maniacally
    10  Whereabouts unknown...

    Their Secret Base is...

      1  In the sewers  
      2  The top floor of a sky-scraper
      3  An abandoned warehouse
      4  Underwater
      5  Basement of an old house
      6  A penthouse apartment
      7  A mobile truck or van
      8  A junkyard
      9  An old factory
    10  Hidden in an iconic landmark

    It's Clobberin' Time!


    Monday, February 22, 2021

    Making Daggers A Deadly Option

    The dagger is an iconic symbol of death.

    Yes, it's also a tool used to cut and skin, but it's main purpose, as a dagger and not a knife, is to kill.

    At 1d4 points of damage, good luck with that. Even at low levels, unless you score a critical hit, your opponent is not going down. Now, that does make sense. There's a reason warriors took swords and axes and maces and spears into battle, and not daggers. They all had daggers, though, just in case.

    As did/does every single D&D character ever made. You always buy a dagger. Always.

    You almost never use said dagger. Even if you're a wizard of some sort. When most editions allow quarterstaffs/staffs (staves) to do 1d6 points of damage, a dagger is pointless. As an aside, I would argue that if a spear does 1d6, a staff should only do 1d4.

    Anyhow...

    The fact that daggers were an important tool for the heavily armored knight is starting to show up in cinema. Two knights dueling with long weapons, swords, poleaxes and such, would mainly do so to tire each other out. The idea seems to have been, to exhaust or overpower your opponent, knock them prone, pull out your dagger and go for the kill. Many knight duels turned into armored wrestling matches. Lacking a time machine, such is only my current impression.

    One game out there expressed this well: Pendragon by the late Greg Stafford. In Pendragon, if you make a successful grapple attack, you can get in close and stab with a dagger at weak points in your opponent's armor. Mechanically, armor is damage reduction, which is cancelled out by daggers if you have successfully grappled your foe. Since damage is mainly based on strength and not weapon, your dagger has just become very deadly indeed.

    The drawback to grappling is that it's not that easy to pull off.

    Let's import this to D&D.

    First you need to grapple, dagger in hand. Ignore armor class for this. A grapple should be a contested "to-hit" roll with longer weapons having advantage (or +4 to hit.) If you're using Thac0, you'll need to figure out your actual "to-hit" bonus. You may allow someone to add their shield bonus to the roll, but once grappled, that person will have to drop their shield, or that bonus becomes a penalty. Strength bonuses also apply.

    A grappling attempt, successful or not, is your turn spent for that round. If you succeed, your opponent may spend their round trying to escape (another contested roll) or trying to hurt you (also a contested grappling roll, doing unarmed damage) or, if they're holding a dagger, they can attempt, as you were attempting, a killing blow -- which is most likely in the form of stabbing the throat. Another option, if you've been grappled and aren't wielding a dagger, but would like to grab yours instead of trying to escape, simply make a contested grappling roll. Note for contested grappling rolls, you can not use any bonuses gained from non-dagger weapons, i.e., no matter how magical your longsword is or how proficient you are with it, it's useless to you when making grappling rolls. An argument could be made on behalf of short swords.

    Killing Blow: Another contested grappling roll. If you succeed, your opponent must save vs. death or be killed instantly. If they make their save vs. death, you merely do the usual 1d4 dagger damage.

    This might seem too deadly, but four rolls must go your way for it to work: Your first grapple, their resistance to that, your killing blow, and their saving throw. Also, this maneuver is much less likely to succeed against higher level/HD characters due to them having better death saves.

    It brings some grit to your games. It adds some of that classic "dishonor" to daggers, and it puts just a touch of fear into the hearts of heavily armored knights when someone decides to fight dirty

    This shouldn't be allowed against non-humanoids and larger humanoids. 

    Unless of course, you want it to...


    Tuesday, February 9, 2021

    Rifts: To Juice Or Not To Juice?


    What is it that you need...?

    Revenge?

    Money?

    Freedom?

    Adventure?

    What price are you willing to pay...?                                                                                                               

    And so you paid...

    And now your body, filled with nanobots and cabled with drug-pumping tubes, is capable of astounding feats that defy the limits of humanity. You are cold and efficient -- very efficient. You're so fucking fast. The battlefield around you moves in slow-motion. It's almost too easy. 

    So hard to kill. You don't tire for days and when you do sleep, well, it's barely a nap.

    The juice has made you the perfect super-soldier.

    And after 5 years your heart will explode.

    Thanks for your service.

    Juicer.

    Hope it was worth it.


    And now, some Juicer death mechanics, for which, there really are none. Juicer Uprising has a table to roll on when you reach your final year, detailing symptoms of the end such as the shakes and memory loss, but nothing that signifies death itself or even when that final year actually arrives. Savage Rifts has Burn mechanics -- which aren't bad, but I prefer...

    Burn-Out in 3...2...

    • Burn-Out utilizes a usage die. Anyone reading this should know what that is, but just in case: If you roll a 1 or 2 on a usage die, that die becomes the next lower die, e.g., d20 becomes d12, which would become d10, then d8, then d6, and finally a d4.

    1st level Juicers begin with a usage die of d20. At the end of every session, roll your usage die, if you roll a 1 or 2, it falls to the next die. If a session sees no or very minimal combat, the GM may wave your burn-out roll for that session. You should theoretically have many sessions (absolute, extreme bare minimum of 6) before reaching a burn-out die of d4.

    Death Is Imminent...

    Once you roll a 1 or 2 on a burn-out die of d4, death is imminent starting the following session. At which point -- after every single round of combat, you need to make a burn-out save against target number 20. Juicers already have a +8 vs. toxins which can be applied to this roll along with any bonus received from a high P.E. stat. Subtracted from this roll is your level.

    Burn-Out Roll = +8, +P.E. bonus, minus your level vs. 20

    If you fail this roll, your heart will explode and strange chemicals will froth forth from your mouth as your well-used and smoking body falls dead. If combat is still ongoing however, you immediately get one last free round of actions before you expire, wherein any damage you do is doubled as you burn out in a wild blaze of glory.

    Just a thought.

    Afterthought...

    • You want to play extreme? Roll the burn-out die after every combat instead of every session from the very beginning.

    So cool.

    Sunday, January 31, 2021

    5 Experimental Magic-User Templates


    Here are 5 templates for the Magic-User class to make them just a bit more interesting, especially at lower levels. Unless stated otherwise, Hit Dice, Saving Throws, Attack Bonus (THAC0), Weapons, Armor, and XP progression remain as per any standard old-school Magic-User class.

    The one common sacrifice for choosing a template over the standard Magic-User is...(because otherwise, why would anyone just be a Magic-User?)

    • You use the Magic-User spell progression but only half as fast, gaining spells at levels 1,3,5,7,9,11,13,etc.

    Seer -- You have the sight; you see things. Every night, you dream of what may or may not come to pass. Your mind is a cloud of possibilities; you can affect the fortunes of many...

    • Visions -- Every morning you receive a number of visions equal to 1d4 + wisdom bonus. Roll this many d20 and record the results. You may replace (after the fact) any d20 rolled by anyone that day with one of your vision rolls. In games where skills are rolled on a d6 (or for secret door type rolls), you may roll any number of d6 instead of d20s. You may also spend one of your vision rolls to reverse the numbers of a percentile roll. Unused visions fade away like old dreams by the end of the day. You receive one extra vision at levels 4, 8, and 12.
    • Fortunes -- You may sacrifice one of your daily visions and let someone else roll one in the form of a fortune. The recipient of the fortune can apply that fortune roll just like a vision roll but it can only apply to themselves, i.e., their own skill/attack/saving-throw roll or the roll of someone trying to harm them. A fortune can also be spent to reverse the numbers of a percentile roll.
      • Example of a fortune -- During morning preparations, the party fighter notices that the seer keeps staring at him. "What?" he asks. The seer wanders over and whispers something in his ear (or maybe he throws some bones or flips a few cards.) The fighter's eyes widen as he receives a cryptic message that will make more sense at a later time. He nods as he gives the seer an odd look. Later, in a fight against an ogre, the fighter zigs when he could've zagged, avoiding what might have been a fatal blow.


    Witch -- You cohort with the Devil, or so they say. Either way, your eye is evil and your body bares a forbidden mark. You most certainly practice the dark arts, but sometimes you dabble in the light.

    • You can cast both Magic-User and Cleric spells.
    • Evil Eye -- If you have not yet acted this round, you can immediately give someone or something the Evil Eye, thus placing a hex on whatever roll they are about to make. The target of this hex suffers extra-disadvantage on that roll (rolling three dice and taking the worst result.) Using the Evil Eye uses up your action for this round. A Witch can use the Evil Eye a number of times per day equal to 1d4 + her charisma bonus
    • Cauldron -- You can prepare, as potions, any spell you know with cure or remove in the title, along with sleep and charm, and any other spells your DM agrees to. You do not need to lug around a large cast-iron cauldron to do this, a small, portable leather one (2 GP) will do.

    Alchemist -- You've discovered that the secrets of magic can be distilled from substances in the physical world. Potions, vapors, ointments, powders, and oils are your game, but your work isn't necessarily, an exact science.

    • You can cast both Magic-User and Cleric spells.
    • Alchemical Spells -- Any of your daily spells can be prepared as, or later converted to, elixirs, potions, oils, ointments, vapors, etc.,(use your imagination) that anyone can use. These alchemical spells lose their potency after one day if not used. Converting an already prepared spell takes 1 turn per 2 levels of the spell.
      • Examples -- Drinking a fireball elixir might result in someone spitting said fireball from their mouth. After drinking a charm person elixir you may only need to breath softly in someone's face. A web elixir might expand when the vial is shattered on the floor. Alchemical sleep might result from the vapors released from an small uncorked jar. Remove fear could require sniffing some sort of powder. Locate object would be a bead of rolling mercury. Spider climb might be an oil rubbed on your hands.
      • Volatility -- Alchemical Spells are unstable and have a chance of exploding or corroding equal to the spell's level in 20 (d20 rolled by the user.) If the solution proves volatile, the spell fails and the user must save vs. poison to avoid taking 1d3 points of damage per spell level. Alchemists can safely use their own Alchemical Spells and if using one created by another alchemist, they have advantage on the saving throw.
    • A portable Alchemy Kit is required to make alchemical spells. The initial kit usually comes in the form of briefcase-sized box, costs 75 GP and can produce 12 levels of alchemical spells. There-after, the equipment (vials and such) needed to produce 10 levels of alchemical spells is 30 GP.

    Necromancer -- Pariah doesn't even begin to cover it. Nobody likes you. You smell of death because you play with death. You are cold and dark and morbid and consumed with secrets from beyond the grave. 

    • Necroscope -- By cutting open and sifting through the innards of a corpse, you can glean it's secrets. This morbid, trance-like process takes as long as one turn per hit die of the corpse and often results in quite a mess. Once a corpse has been torn apart by this ritual, you can never glean secrets from that spirit again. Anyone watching (who isn't a necromancer) must save vs. death or violently retch for 1d4 rounds and also suffers disadvantage on their next saving throw vs. death in whatever form that takes. A Necroscope ritual can be used for the following:
      • Cause of Death -- Use this ritual to discern exactly how and when someone or something died. This isn't so much a conversation, as it is, a reliving of the experience. 
      • Spells From Beyond -- You can use Necroscope to speak with dead Magic-Users, directly from their corpse (as above) or by sleeping on their grave, to gain a bonus spell that is potentially far more powerful than any spell you can ordinarily cast. Make a 2d6 charisma-based reaction roll as you discourse with the dead. If you roll 8+, you can choose any magic-user spell of any level the deceased wizard had access to. If you roll 3-7, the spirit gives you nothing. If you roll snake-eyes (natural double 1's) the spirit blasts you violently from their "rest" and you must save vs. death or suffer 1d4 points of necrotic backlash damage and cannot cast any spells for 1d4 days. You can only have one of these spells in your mind at a time, can cast it only once, and it fades from your memory if not cast within 1d4 + intelligence bonus days.
      • Other Classes -- Communicating with a dead Fighter gives you a "to-hit" bonus equal to 1/2 their level (and the ability to use any weapon.) From a Cleric you gain turn undead equal to 1/2 their level or a Cleric Spell From Beyond -- see above. And from a Thief you gain thieving abilities at 1/2 their level. All levels are rounded up with a minimum level of one. Gaining these abilities requires a reaction roll of 8+ (double 1's have the same backlash as above.) These abilities stay with you for 1d4 + intelligence bonus days. You can only have one classes' abilities at a time and none if you currently have a Spell From Beyond.
    • Skeleton Minions -- While others pay for hirelings, you raise yours from the grave. You need access to a long-dead corpse (graveyards are great) and 1 hit point of blood. The blood must be spilled onto the corpse (or grave) and a ritual performed that takes 1 turn to complete. Finally, you must successfully save vs. death, after which one skeleton will claw itself out of the grave and serve you until destroyed (use standard skeleton stats.) If your saving throw fails by 5 or less, the skeleton rises but will not serve you and may even attack. If your saving throw fails by more than 5, then the ritual fails completely. A Necromancer can have a number of skeleton minions at any time equal to their 1/2 their level (rounded up) plus their charisma bonus
    • Graveyards -- A typical graveyard will yield up to 2d6 raiseable skeletons (assume they come with rusted armor and weapon.) There is also a 13% chance (rolled by the Necromancer) that any particular graveyard is the resting place of some sort of adventurer. Roll 1d12 to determine the adventurer's level and 1d4 to determine the class: 1. Cleric, 2. Fighter, 3. Magic-User, 4. Thief.

    Warlock -- You're a mysterious one, a haunted loner who makes his living by sword and spell. Your spells function more like powers, bestowed to you by a distant patron whose pawn you undoubtedly are. 

    • You may use weapons and armor like a Fighter, but still attack as a Magic-User.
    • Your spells must be determined randomly, as it is up to your patron what powers you possess.
    • Invoke Patron -- You can call upon your patron for assistance giving you one of the following boons:
      • Advantage on attack rolls for 1d4+1 rounds.
      • Cast a spell that you have already expended.
      • Cast a spell that you do not know, but of a level that you have access to.
    • Invoke Patron functions with a usage die, starting at d6. When you invoke your patron, roll your usage die, on a 3+ your boon is granted. On a 2 your boon is granted, but the usage die now becomes one die lower. On a 1, your boon is ignored, and your usage die becomes one die lower. If you roll a 1 or 2 on a d4 usage die, your patron ignores you for the rest of that day.  At 5th level, your usage die becomes a d8, and at 10th level it becomes a d10. Your usage die resets to the maximum die every day. You can invoke your patron and take action in the same round.



    DATE OF EXPIRATION -- Preview

    Cover could change, but probably not. This is the main project I've been working on... Below are two sample pages (sans the actual info)...