Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Scoundrel, Part 12: Languages and Magic

With this post, we'll sort language and magic skills and abilities.

Memorize Spells: Scoundrels would, of course, have a much slower advancement rate for spell memorization, and maybe they should have a chance to mess this up as well. Anyway, this isn't without precedent, either in the literature (I seem to remember the Gray Mouser casting a spell- without a scroll- in an escape he made before he met up with Fafhrd) and in gaming, as Mountebanks, a type of rogue in the Majestic Wilderlands, can cast spells. Verdict: Ability

Use Magic Scrolls: As Delta recently pointed out, this has great precedent in the literature. It's very important to have a chance of failure, but I don't think this should be available to any other class. I'd say that a scoundrel succeeds if the player rolls a d20 and meets or is below the character's INT+character level-spell level. Verdict: Ability

Ancient Lore: Basically, you get to know stuff, like ancient prophesies, identifying legendary weapons and rare mythical creatures, etc. I don't see why this should be limited to scoundrels. Magic-users and clerics should totally have access to this as a skill, and fighters could conceivably study this as well, especially if they hail from cultures with strong oral traditions. Verdict: Skill

Read Languages: Being able to puzzle out something written in a language you don't know. This also seems like something other classes should have access to, especially magic-users and clerics, especially if you're running a game where there's an ancient dead language that most languages descend from and that religion and scholarship still use, like Latin in medieval Europe. Verdict: Skill

Thieves' Cant: A thieves' secret language, so full of slang and jargon that others can't understand it, with roots in historical fact. This seems like a very setting-specific thing to me. I'd either leave it out entirely or make it an automatic feature of every character with a certain background- namely, a member of the Thieves' Guild. Verdict: Out