Twisted Tunnels RPG: Spells (Updated 12 Jul 2016)

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This post is part of the Twisted Tunnels RPG project. Jump to Index

These are rules from the earliest rendition of the game. I’ve done a lot of playtesting and I have a completely revised playtest draft. Contact me at “deeperdelvings” at Gmail if you’d like to check it out!

Purchasing spells

It takes money to run a secret society, and the Cabal sells magic to budding warlocks to generate revenue.

As with any illicit product, prices may vary by season and locale, based on market conditions. For spells, prices are derived from their Power cost, since more powerful spells draw more Power from the magician.

The “average” price for a spell is 120 coins times its Power cost. But the referee may choose to determine prices randomly—at 2d6 (DARO) × Power cost × 15 coins—or set prices based on some abundance or scarcity that has arisen in the course of play.

The Cabal will not sell its secrets to warriors or rogues. Rogues may find their spells while adventuring, or purchase them from willing warlocks in their party. Warlocks who sell magic to rogues may set their own prices, keeping in mind that they will be shunned by the Cabal—or worse—if found out.

The spells of the Cabal inhere in the magician’s bones and marrow, not in scrolls or books. In order to “learn” a spell, a magician must receive it through the magic of Roto-Tutor (below), or by consuming a tincture made from the bones of another magician or magical creature.

Casting spells

When you unleash a spell that you know, subtract it’s cost from your Power rating. The spell takes effect according to its description.

To unleash a spell, you must be able to call out its name loudly enough for the Unseen Awful Powers to hear you. Spells also have tags that may impose other requirements, and this is what they mean.

The spell takes affect on the caster alone.
You have to touch the target, either with a hand, or with a magical device. In the case of an unwilling target, you may have to resolve a Clash to see if you “hit”.
You must have a free hand, or holding nothing other than a magical device, to “throw” the spell; and you must be able to see the target in some manner. After you spend the Power, you must hit the target with a ranged attack.
Like a Ranged spell, except no ranged attack roll is required. After you spend the Power, the spell strikes unerringly.
You must have both hands free, or holding nothing other than a magical device, to unfurl the spell. If the area isn’t defined in the spell, assume it effects a space about the size of a “room”. If the spell also has Ranged or Sight tags, the area can be centered on any point you can see. Otherwise, you are the center of the area.
X round(s), or X turn(s)
The spell lasts the number of rounds or turns indicated.
The spell lasts until sunrise.

Spells with range-related tags can be cast at closer ranges when it makes sense: A Touch spell, for example, can usually be cast on your Self; and Ranged or Sight spells can be cast on a target you touch, or on yourself. Use common sense: If you cast a Ranged spell on yourself or on a target you are touching, you needn’t resolve a Clash to “throw” the spell.

Apprentice spells

Learning apprentice spells requires a minimum Intelligence of 2. All warlocks know these spells upon reaching Level 1.

Scent of Brimstone (1)
Smell good and bad magic in the area.
Self, 1 round
Wiggling Wisp (2)
Light up your finger or device with sickly green flame, about as bright as a candle.
Self, 1 turn
Opportunity Knocks (3)
Open a mundane lock, or bolt any lock or door. This spell will also unbolt a magical lock cast by a lower-level magician.
Ranged, 3 turns
Roto-Tutor (3)
Breathe one spell you have mastered in the soul of another magician, who can cast it thereafter.
Finders Keepers (4)
See a smoky aura around anything hidden or invisible in the area.
Self, 1 round
Sharpest Knife in the Drawer (5)
Sharpen a blade. Anyone who uses it doubles their Combat dice.
Touch, 1 round
Skedaddle (5)
Barf forth a cloud of panic among your enemies. Combine your CHA, LCK, and INT. Every monster whose MR (or sum of equivalent ratings) is lower than your total flees in terror. A cornered monster might freeze or go berserk instead. Any monster who resists the spell attacks you exclusively.
Area, 1d6 turns
Face of Evil (6)
Smite a living creature with your grimace, causing psychic trauma. Deal damage equal to your INT, ignoring armor.
Crowd Shroud (9)
Turn yourself and your allies invisible.
Touch, 3 turns

Elder magic [Starter Pack]

Controling elder magic demands increasing measures of grace and arcane lore. You must have a minimum Intelligence rating of 3 to learn any elder spell, and only then if its raw Power cost is no greater than your DEX × INT.

For example, a warlock whose Dexterity is 0 and Intelligence is 3 lacks the capacity to master even the most basic elder magic. A caster with Dexterity 1 and Intelligence 3 can learn Ouchy Kiss and Throw the Goat, but not Foreboding Fear or anything more demanding.

Ouchy Kiss (3)
Restore your level number to one injured rating—your own, or an ally’s.
Throw The Goat (3)
You jinx an enemy. Subtract your level number from one of the target’s ratings.
Foreboding Fear (4)
You get an insight about the next wandering monster encounter. The referee will tell you how many and what kind of monsters, but not where you will find them.
Foul Mouth (5):
You can speak and understand the speech of any one monster type you have met before.
Self, 1 turn
Owa Tana Siam (5)
Command absolute, unquestioning loyalty from a captive or defenseless monster whose MR (or sum of equivalent ratings) is no greater than your combined CHA, INT, and STR.
What The Hex (5)
The referee will tell you about one magical effect influencing a person, place, or thing, including its level and type.
Tiger Eyes (6)
See in total darkness.
Self, 3 turns
Elemental Blast (7)
Barf forth gouts of fire or sheets of ice at your enemies. Roll your Combat dice, plus dice equal to your level. Add 1 die to your roll for each enemy in the blast, after the first, and subtract the same number of dice after you roll. The fire or ice may have other logical effects on the scene.
I Fly, You Fools (7)
Hover or fly at your running speed.
Self, 1 turn
Necrotic Nostrum (7)
Remove any effects of a drug or poison from a living creature.
Psychic Pong (7)
Conjure an orb of crackling psi energy and hurl it at an enemy. If the creature is holding a pit-forged weapon or magical device, it can make a Saving Roll to knock it back at you. Likewise, if you have a pit-forged weapon or magical device, you can make a Saving Roll to hit it back at the enemy. Take turns making Saving Rolls until someone misses. The loser suffers hits equal to your Intelligence, plus the number of Saving Rolls, counted against the loser’s Intelligence.
The Sleep of Ages (7)
Lock your gaze on one creature, and combine your CHA, INT, and STR. If your total is higher than the creature’s MR (or sum of equivalent ratings), you subdue it in a trance. If you speak the creature’s language, you can ask it questions. The creature will answer each question the best it can, and remember nothing about your questions on waking. But if you make more demands than the creature’s Intelligence rating, it grows confused and incoherent.
Sight, 1 turn

[This is sampling of the elder-level magic.]

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