Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Peek at Perilous Journeys 6

With this post I turn my attention to all things magical - spell descriptions and magic items, specifically - in the Perilous Journeys Fantasy RPG rules.  Keep in mind that this series of posts are basically just a summary of what I have read followed by my thoughts and impressions.  This is not a typical review but scattered thoughts.

The spell descriptions are the largest single section of the rules with 33 pages of content; that equates to 26% of the complete rules.  The magic system presented in Perilous Journeys is a skill-based system based on having the ability (learned skill) and how competent your character is in that ability.  The higher the competency the more spells your character can know and cast.  Your character does not fire and forget spells, either.  The spells are powered by a Mana Pool that is directly tied to the Mind attribute. The cost to use a spell is tied to the power level of the spell and the casting time.  The power levels are I - X (with I being the lowest), the casting time can be somewhere between instant or 4 rounds, and the associated mana cost will be 2 for the low power spells and up to 16 for the high power spells.  As an example of spells found in Perilous Journeys, here is Time Stop, a power level V spell from the Enchantment school:

Time Stop     V
The time in the local area of effect is halted for 2 rounds.  It does not affect caster who can about with impunity.  The caster can manipulate objects, but their effect won't happen until time begins again, e.g. a box can be placed above a targets head, but it won't fall until time starts again.

The spells are grouped under seven categories that correspond to the professions and guilds. Dimensionology is magic that deals with parallel dimensions, alternate dimension, and time. Elementalism is magic dealing with the four elements of air, earth, fire, and water; there are rumors of a fifth element. Enchantment is a form of arcane magic that draws power from the void.  Necromancy is arcane magic dealing with the dead and spirits.  Shamanism is a form of divine magic calling on nature gods and spirits. 
Sorcery is magic using the power of Hell Dimensions and is connected to summoning demons, devils, and fiends.  Theurgy is divine magic used in rituals to invoke gods to action.  The spells are listed alphabetical in each school by power level order.  The descriptions are done in alphabetical order.  I think it works out just fine being done that way because the number of spells is a manageable size instead of hundreds of them all lumped together.

Just a quick aside her to note that the spell descriptions are just that.  There are some magic related rules in the next section of the rules, titled gameplay, and it makes perfect sense to have the information in that spot.  The rules and guidelines in the gameplay section related to magic include modifiers to magic use, spell books, spellcasting in combat, and mana recovery.  By placing this information in the gameplay section the reader will have all of the appropriate information together instead of flipping back and forth for melee rules or magic rules or both.

The second part of this post is about the magic items in the Perilous Journeys rules.  These rules take up seven pages of content; that equates to 5.5% of the rules alone or 32% of the rules when they are grouped with the spell descriptions.  Magic has a big part in the game because the descriptions of spells and items alone sits at just under one-third of the information in the book.

The section on magic items begins with a sample list of items available in the game.  Similar to spells, each item is rated on a scale of I - X.  I find it interesting to note that it is mentioned the items go up to XII power in theory but none are listed. There is no doubt that the items above grade X are only the most powerful of artifacts.  There are 78 sample items listed among five categories such as staves and wands, armor, weapons, and miscellaneous.  Although lower in quantity than the number of magic items in games such as D&D, the items show a wide diversity and weak to powerful and serve as easy to model examples for adding items to the list.  An example of a magic item description is presented below.

Hat of the Ranger     VI
This hat grants Ranging Ability at 20, or adds 20 to Ranging if already possessed.  In addition, the wearer has a 90% chance of knowing what direction he is facing at all times.  He can pass through wooded areas without leaving a trace at 90% effectiveness.

There is enough information there to be  useful but the rules do not try to define every circumstance or situation related to the item.  It should be pretty easy to add items to the list.  The only thing I noticed that some might consider an omission is the lack of cursed items. Honestly, it is unnecessary to have a standard list of those items.  It should be easy enough for the GM to use the magic items as a reference and come up with unique cursed items.     


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