Wednesday, February 24, 2016

GURPS Hekinoe Racial Templates: Elduman

Alright, so this one is just another one I've previously completed. The Elduman.

Origin: Elduman originally came to The Known World due to their empire of Kaleshmar being destroyed by a sorcerous cataclysm and partially crashing into The Known World when it fell from the sky.
Favored Regions: Haven, The New Empire, The Old Empire.
Appearance: Superficially, the Elduman resemble their descendants of The New Empire and The Plains of Dust that were born from Elduman and Uncout interactions. Like their descendants, Elduman have a humanoid appearance. The most obviously different feature of the Elduman race is that their eyes appear to be uncut gemstones.
The hair on Elduman bodies is actually composed of thin crystalline fibers that appear to be pale shades of normal hair colors such as brown or blonde. This fibrous hair only grows on the face and head of Elduman. Elduman flesh also appears paler than the skin of Uncout and does not tan or burn when exposed to the sun. Aside from this oddity, the flesh of Elduman is fairly normal. It sweats and bleeds and heals. However, it feels somewhat waxy to the touch.
Racial Characteristics: The most well known trait of Elduman is their ability to wield psionic powers. This trait is possessed by some of their descendants as well. These powers are varied in nature and do not appear to be linked to sorcery in any way, despite being able to perform similar effects.
Because the eyes of the Elduman are living crystal, there is no need to keep them moist or protect them with eyelids. While Elduman do have eyelids of flesh, they do not need to blink to moisturize their eyes or protect them from grit. This endless, unblinking gaze has been described as unnerving.
While their flesh appears to be somewhat unnatural in nature, the oddest quality of the bodies of the Elduman are that this flesh is merely a thin covering. Beneath this faux-flesh is a body composed entirely of bluish crystal. This crystal flesh is somewhat flexible, though somewhat stiffer than that of flesh and blood creatures, and flesh-like and contains crystalline versions of muscles, bones, and internal organs.
In addition to their various advantages their psionics and crystalline bodies provide them, Elduman are well adapted to the hot climate of The Known World. The Old Empire is a scorching desert of gleaming sands utterly devoid of shade and Elduman bodies have adapted to survive in similar environments.

Elduman Racial Traits
0 points
Mandatory Traits
Basic Attribute Ranges At Character Creation
ST 8 - 14
DX 8 - 14
IQ 8 - 14
HT 8 - 14
Secondary Characteristics
SM +0 (5’ 6” - 6’ 6”)
Advantages [46]
Alternative Sustenance: Doesn’t Eat or Drink [10]
Crystalline Flesh: Temperature Tolerance 2 (Cold 1/Hot 1) [2]
Elduman Resilience: Damage Reduction 5 (Biokinesis, -5%; Active Defense Roll, -40%; Costs 1 FP/Use, -10%; Requires Attribute Roll: Will, -5%) [10]
Groinless: Injury Tolerance (No Groin) [2]
Immortal: Unaging [5]
Psionic: Energy Reserve 3 (Psionic) [9]
Reduced Sleep: Less Sleep 4 [8]
Disadvantages [-45]
Crystalline Flesh: Fragile (Brittle) [-15]
Shatter Prone: Vulnerability (Occasional Substance: Sonic Damage; Damage Multiplier x2) [-20]
Strange Biology: Unusual Biochemistry [-5]
Vulnerable To Gifts: Revulsion (Occasional Substance: Gifts) [-5]
Quirks [-1]
Stiff Limbs: Stiff Limbs (-1 on Climbing, Escape, and Erotic Art rolls) [-1]

Optional Traits
  • Enhanced Elduman Resilience [+2/1 DR]: The Elduman may increase their Elduman Resilience up to Damage Resistance 15 and may do so at any time.   
  • Passive Resilience [10 - 30]: Some Elduman possess a passive form of Elduman Resilience that functions at all times, this form of the resilience ability replaces the active ability and because it requires more effort and psionic energy to maintain, it is weaker. Passive Elduman Resilience is purchased as Damage Reduction 2 - 6 (Biokinesis, -5%).

Feature: Elduman are psionic creatures and my use all five types of psionics and may purchase a wide variety of advantages as psionic powers.

Feature: Elduman may not purchase sorcerous advantages or access sorcerous energy in any way.

I'm not going to bother with Elduman Descended Uncout. They would normally be next, as these are going alphabetically. Basically they're human, but they have a longer lifespan and a feature that allows them to use some forms of psionic powers. Specifically they have access to a more limited form of biokinesis than Elduman, a more limited form of esp than Elduman, as well as psychokinesis and telepathy. They can also use sorcery, making them one of two races in The Known World that can use both psionics and sorcery.

The next race is the Fallen. They're always where I typically get stuck when doing GURPS versions of Hekinoe's races. This is partly because they're somewhat difficult to craft, as they are completely immortal and that and their transformation to their spirit form is somewhat complicated to craft. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, February 19, 2016

GURPS Hekinoe Racial Templates: Dwenoren

Next up, we've got the Dwenoren, who have appeared on the blog here several times. So once again, we're just going to copy and past without really getting into the nitty gritty of everything. Again, please excuse any formatting or font oddities. 


Origin: The Dwenoren are native to The Known World and have existed here since before the fall of Kaleshmar.
Favored Regions: Kusseth, Volungshemle, Whurent.
Appearance: The Dwenoren are a relatively short race of humanoids, typically only reaching around five feet in height. They have pale, perpetually moist, hairless skin, no finger or toenails, and though their heads appear normal, relatively speaking, they completely lack eyes and eye sockets.
The fluid coating their skin is not sweat, it is an oil they secrete that insulates them from the cold temperatures in their lightless caves. Instead of empty eye sockets they have a bone plate above their nose that provides further protection to their brains. Their ears are large and wrinkly and are decidedly bat-like in shape. Along their jaws and chins they have thick grey spines, almost like a beard, that are a sensory organ that is able to detect minute shifts in air current and pressure.
Racial Characteristics: Dwenoren possess the ability to emit a form of ultrasonic noise that allows them to sense their environment similar to the noises emitted by bats. Their highly developed hearing and unique ear structure allow them to sense the echo of these normally imperceptible noises as they strike objects. This allows them to form a mental picture of their surroundings. Though completely blind, these noises coupled with their sensory spines allow them to navigate their surroundings.
The Dwenoren race does not have a male/female gender distinction, though they can perceive and understand the difference in other races. Most Dwenoren accept being referred to as male by other races, though they have no gender prefixes in their own tongue. Their method of reproduction is primarily unknown, but the Dwenoren are supposedly related to some manner of worm or grub.
Because of the cold temperatures found below the surface, Dwenoren are resistant to cold temperatures. This is a byproduct of the oils secreted naturally by their skin. This oil is somewhat thick and also serves to make them rather slippery, giving them an advantage when grappling with foes or attempting to escape bonds.

Dwenoren Racial Traits

25 points
Mandatory Traits
Basic Attribute Ranges At Character Creation
ST 8 - 14
DX 8 - 14
IQ 8 - 14
HT 9 - 15
Secondary Characteristics
SM +0 (4’ 6” - 5’)
Advantages [75]
Echolocation [51]: Scanning Sense (Sonar; Extended Arc: 240, +75%; Targeting, +20%; Increased Range: 2x, +10%) [41], Ultrasonic Speech [10]
Excellent Hearing [2]: Acute Senses (Hearing) 1 [2], Ultrahearing [0]
Eyeless [5]: Injury Tolerance (No Eyes) [5]
Groinless [2]: Injury Tolerance (No Groin) [2]
Sensory Spines [12]: Vibration Sense (Universal +50%; Limited Effect: Front 120 Degree Arc, -30%) [12]
Skin Oils [3]: Slippery 1 [2], Temperature Tolerance 1 (Cold) [1]
Disadvantages [-50]
Eyeless [-50]: Blindness [-50]

Optional Traits
Enhanced Echolocation [+2]: Some Dwenoren possess a greater ability to emit and receive the frequencies of their race’s echolocation. These Dwenoren replace the Increased Range: 2x, +10% enhancement of their Scanning Sense (Sonar) advantage with Increased Range: 5x, +20%.

Feature: Dwenoren may purchase Acute Senses for their Scanning Sense (Sonar) and Vibration Sense advantages.

Alright, so that's the Dwenoren. Weee.

Monday, February 15, 2016

GURPS Hekinoe Racial Templates: Children of Volung

Alright, here goes. Forgive any font/formatting oddities here, I'm basically going to be typing these in the main Google Drive document and pasting them here. I've already completed the Children of Volung racial template before on the blog, so I'm just going to copy and paste that into the post instead of getting into the what and why of the various advantages and disadvantages and whatnot. Once I get into some races I haven't finalized before I'll take longer and discuss things as I figure out the precise components of each race.

Children of Volung

Origins: The Children of Volung originally came to The Known World in the year 5006 DK from the distant homeland they refer to only as The North.
Favored Regions: Kusseth, Volungshemle, Whurent.
Physical Appearance: Volung's Children stand head and shoulders above other races, with the majority of them reaching at least seven feet in height when their bodies mature. Their bodies are composed of very tough hide-like skin, lean and wiry muscles, and thick bones that are evidently more durable than the bones of other races. It is said that beneath their skin, their ribcages have an additional layer of protection in the form of bony overlapping plates similar in structure to that found in dragon scales and archaic forms of scaled armor.
Their hair is universally raven black, as are their eyes. The eyes of Children appear to be orbs of solid black with no sign of white or iris. Their lips are thin and like their skin they have a leathery appearance and behind them are the pointed teeth of a carnivore. The ears of their race are long and taper backwards to points.
Like the Uncout and the other humanoids of The Known World, they have the standard collection of humanoid features, two arms, two legs, a head, ears, a nose, etc. Like other races, they require food, water, and air to live.
Racial Characteristics: One of the main characteristics of the Children of Volung is that they are physically immortal. Once they reach maturity, their bodies cease to age. Barring injury, their lives seem to extend indefinitely. They also appear to have an innate resistance to poisons and diseases. This resistance to ailments is fortunate as common treatments and elixirs found in The Known World often work unexpectedly on Children unless specifically designed for them.
Perhaps due to their origins in the distant north of Hekinoe, the Children of Volung possess an increased tolerance for cold temperatures. This advantageous adaptation is unfortunately of little use in the warm climate of The Known World.
Children of Volung also appear to be incredibly durable. Whether this is merely a side effect of their tough skin, muscle, and skeleton, or a separate adaptation is unknown. Regardless, they tend to be more difficult to kill outright or knock out than other races.
The most iconic characteristic of the Children of Volung is their rage. Admittedly, popular culture and gossip makes the rage of Volung’s children out to be more than it is, but as a species, they do possess what might be called a racial rage or bloodlust, though how vulnerable they are to this innate aggression is of course down to the individual.

Children of Volung Racial Traits

8 points
Mandatory Traits
Basic Attribute Ranges At Character Creation
ST 9 - 15
DX 8 - 14
IQ 8 - 14
HT 9 - 15
Secondary Characteristics
SM +1 (6’ 6” - 7’)
Advantages [33]
Hardiness [10]: Resistant (Common: Diseases; +3 HT To Resist, x1/3) [5], Resistant (Common: Poisons; +3 HT To Resist, x1/3) [5]
Immortal [5]: Unaging [5]
Northern Blood [1]: Temperature Tolerance 1 (Cold) [1]
Plated Rib Cage [5]: Damage Resistance 1 (Partial: Torso, -10%) [5]
Tough Bones [5]: Injury Tolerance (Unbreakable Bones; Limited Effect: x1.5 Damage To Cripple Limbs, -50%) [5]
Tough Hide [3]: Damage Resistance 1 (Tough Skin, -40%) [3]
Tough To Put Down [4]: Hard To Kill 1 [2], Hard To Subdue 1 [2]
Disadvantages [-25]
Strange Biology [-5]: Unusual Biochemistry [-5]
Volung’s Rage [-20]: Berserk (Self Control: 12, x1) [-10], Bloodlust (Self Control: 12, x1) [-10]

Optional Traits
Secret Access [25]: At character creation, Children of Volung characters may take Unusual Background: 24 [25]. This advantage grants you access to a special selection of equipment available only to Children of Volung. You may not know what this equipment is before taking this Unusual Background, and neither the player nor the character may speak of what is available to other players or characters. Doing so will cause the advantage and the purchased gear to be removed with no refund of character points or marks.

Feature: Children of Volung may purchase up to 3 levels of Hard to Kill and Hard to Subdue (4 levels for player characters) rather than the normal maximum of 2 levels (3 levels for player characters).
Feature: Volung’s Rage is a longstanding biological trait of the Children of Volung, and the Self Control numbers to resist their Berserk and Bloodlust disadvantages may be modified, but the disadvantages themselves may never be completely bought off.

Alright, so that's the Children of Volung. Woo!

Friday, February 12, 2016

GURPS Hekinoe: Racial Templates

I need to kick it into gear here. This campaign for The Known World is taking stupid long. It's been in the works for over a year. I keep slacking and losing focus and getting distracted by shiny things (or ugly pixelated things in the case of Minecraft). Need to focus up. Magic is about where I want it, so it's time to move my ass along. I have an introduction and character creation chapter that's mostly complete. At least until I figure out what else needs to go in there. Heh. Those sections are followed by a section on optional rules and that sort of thing.

My thought is that following that stuff should be the races and nations of The Known World. The people and places are so integral to the setting, for obvious reasons, so they should come next. From time to time I've worked on the racial templates and gone back and altered them as I've become more familiar with the system. I feel like the time has come to finalize them. For reals. So let's do that.

The first thing we need to do as part of finalizing the racial templates is establishing a format for the entries. This isn't difficult, I've mostly already done it in the various entries. One thing I really truly want to hammer home in these racial templates is separating biological and cultural traits. So each racial template will consist of the actual racial template, a physical description of the race, and any noteworthy biological traits that are common to them. That's it. Anything else like attitudes and relations with other races, like you see in DnD race entries, is cultural information. Which will go in the cultural template section.

We're going to break the rules section into a fairly normal arrangement of parts: mandatory traits, optional traits, and features. Mandatory traits will contain the biological advantages, disadvantages, quirks, and perks of the race, as well as the character creation attribute ranges. Optional traits will govern special biological advantages, disadvantages, etc, etc, that some, but not all of the members of the race have. For instance, some Sereth retain the innate resistance to sorcery that their ancestors had when the Sereth and Vyanth were just the Vyanth. Features are special options and allowances that the race has. For instance, Rankethlek and Soulless have no FP, so they are immune to most effects involving FP, but they also can't use FP.

Before I get into the racial templates, I want to establish a sort of player character template. GURPS is a very very deadly game, especially with things like magic and firearms added into it. I like this aspect of GURPS. There's a reasonable chance for characters to die or be seriously injured in any combat. It's a design focus they had, because combat is typically deadly, so they made combat deadly. GURPS is a game where you're not throwing combat encounters at the players simply to wear away 10% of their resources. Which is the design intent of many DnD combat encounters. Even though I like this, I'd like player's to have an edge, because I like players to grow attached to their characters and for those characters to not drop like flies. 

First off, we give the template Weirdness Magnet [-15]. This is a disadvantages that I have re-purposed from what it exists as in the rules. I forget what it normally does. What it means in my campaigns is that as player characters, there are going to be things that happen to the players because they are player characters. There are going to be lots of unforeseen consequences to their actions. Some random mook they kill will end up having a extra powerful witch as a mother. Some random mook they maim, but don't kill, will end up surviving and swearing vengeance. Ancient supernatural entities will decide they are interested in the players. Etc. Weirdness Magnet is me recognizing that and granting you extra points because of it. 

The first two features are going to allow players to increase their HP and FP to 40% of their Strength and Health, rather than the normal 30%. So a normal character with a 10 in Strength and a 10 in Health can have 13 HP and 13 FP, but a player character could have 14 and 14. It's a small modification, but it is recognition that players are special. 

The second two features are going to allow players to purchase up to three levels of Hard to Kill and Hard to Subdue, rather than the normal two levels. Again, a small boon, but still one that definitely sets PCs apart from mooks. 

Player Character Template
0 points
Disadvantages [-15]

  • Weirdness Magnet [-15]

Feature: Player characters may purchase HP up to 140% of their Strength, rather than the normal 130%.
Feature: Player characters may purchase FP up to 140% of their Health, rather than the normal 130%. 
Feature: Player characters may purchase up to three levels of Hard to Kill, rather than the normal maximum of two levels.
Feature: Player characters may purchase up to three levels of Hard to Subdue, rather than the normal maximum of two levels. 

Alright, so that's the player character template. We'll move on to the races next week. Hopefully. Maybe. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

GURPS Hekinoe Magic: I'm Bloody Fucking Brilliant

So one of the reasons I switched to the college skills for casting spells instead of having characters buy spells was because I wanted to represent the fact that there are not individual spells with specific incantations and uses in Hekinoe. You're just using fire magic and shaping it with your will. This style of magic is normally called wildcard magic and you typically purchase a very hard skill called magic at triple the cost and apply penalties to your effective skill level for each prerequisite spell the spell has. I split it into very hard college skills for two reasons. The first was to reduce the cost of magic, at least for specialists that don't want to cast all types of magic. The second reason was so I could associate a skill with each college that allowed you to buy it higher than the normal cap on purchased level, in addition to certain advantages granting that permission.

Those advantages were Unfazeable, Versatile, and Visualization. This coupled with the skills associated with each college allowed the college skills to be purchased at up to attribute+5. The reason I capped the college skills was because there is only so much you can do to get better at making magic in a certain way. It's not something you can endlessly get better at. I also increased the Magery cap of The Known World to 10. The reason I did that was because of the prerequisite spell modifier to effective skill level issue. 

I had discussed adding a technique that allows you to negate the prerequisite penalties, but I felt that that was not in keeping with the intent of techniques, which is to modify specific uses of a skill, not every use of the skill. 

Last night (two weeks ago) I think I hit upon a solution that balances all of my goals and desires here. 

The first step is to switch the college skills back to one very hard magic skill that is triple the normal cost. The next step is to cap that skill at attribute+2, with having the Unfazeable, Versatile, and Visualization advantages each increase the purchase cap by +1, allowing you to potentially purchase the Sorcery/Magic wildcard skill at attribute+5.

The second step is to drop the Magery advantage cap back down to 7 (with the one individual on Hekinoe with the highest Magery having a 7, not a 10). 

The next step is to add a technique associated with each college of spells that allows you to negate part of the prerequisite spell penalty for that college. So there will be a technique associated with the fire college, air college, technological college, etc, etc, etc. This fits more with the design of techniques, instead of modifying every use of a skill, you're modifying using the skill to cast air spells or fire spells, or whatever. 

Now the issue becomes representing the fact that knowledge of a certain type improves your ability to shape magic of a certain type. My thought is that each of these techniques, regardless of how high you buy them, only negates 1/3 of the prerequisite penalties to effective skill level with a spell. So with fireball having three prerequisite spells, regardless of how much of Fire College Better Yeah technique you had, you would only negate a -1 penalty to effective skill level with fireball. My thought is that having a skill level of 15 with a college's associated skill would allow your technique to remove up to 2/3 of the prerequisite penalty for spells of that college, and having the associate skill at 16+ would let your technique remove all of the prerequisite penalties for spells of the associated college. 

With this system, I'd separate the colleges of spells again to be closer to the way they appear in GURPS Magic. Metal would still get lumped in with earth and weather would still cease to exist. The whole purpose of reducing the amount of colleges was to reduce the amount of points it would cost to be a generalist sorcerer, and switching it to one wildcard skill for magic instead of one skill for each college already does that.  

So yeah, I'm brilliant and whatnot and that works pretty nicely for my tastes and purposes and allows the prerequisite penalty issue to be handled. 


Friday, January 29, 2016

GURPS Hekinoe Magic: Alchemy, Enchantment, and Other Stuff.

So like I said, I want to talk about some other stuff related to magic, especially stuff I haven't spoken of before. We'll start with alchemy. And we'll start with alchemy by discussing how it normally works. Actually, we started with alchemy like three or four weeks ago, but then I found more things to talk about and just kept writing and writing and writing. Someone please stop me.

Adjustable Spells
GURPS Thaumatology has an option called adjustable spells that I've decided is very appropriate for the way spells work in Hekinoe. There are two things you can do with this. The first is that you can pay 4 more energy to reduce the spell's casting time by 1 second (but not to 0). The second thing is that you can add enhancements to spells, similar to when you add them to advantages. So you could apply No Signature (+20%) to cast an invisible lightning bolt or fireball or you could choose Increase Range (2x, +10%) to change fireball's range of 25/50 to 50/100. The only issue is that spells modified this way cost 1 more energy and have -1 to effective skill level per +5% of enhancement. The extra energy used to speed up spells or modify them with enhancement does not count as as base energy for the spell, so it will likely lead to addition penalties to effective skill level due to exceeding base energy cost.

Adjusted Colleges

There are a lot of colleges in GURPS. 24 to be specific. Here's a list: air, animal, body control, communication and empathy, earth, enchantment, fire, food, gate, healing, illusion and creation, knowledge, light and darkness, making and breaking, meta, mind control, movement, necromantic, plant, protection and warning, sound, technological, water, and weather. DnD only has like eight or so. To be fair, the collections of spells in GURPS are way more fucking organized and sensible than in DnD. There doesn't seem to be a lot of organization in DnD in terms of what differentiates a conjuration spell from an evocation spell for instance. 


I feel like there are too many colleges, especially since this newest system of sorcery in GURPS relies on buying the colleges rather than individual spells. In the chapter on sorcery in the campaign book, the in world justification for colleges, because there are no real spells per se, is to create common language between sorcerers to help them understand what they are talking about. So my purpose here is to reduce the amount of colleges that must be bought by characters that want a broad range of magical ability. Also, there's a lot of overlap in the weather college, all of its spells are either air or water spells already, so the weather college is completely gone. Also, metal spells are lumped into technological, and I feel they are more appropriately earth spells. So here are the new colleges and their contents: 

  • Air: Air
  • Body: Body Control, Healing
  • Earth and Metal: Earth, Metal
  • Enchantment: Enchantment
  • Fire: Fire
  • Flora and Fauna: Animal, Plant
  • Food: Food
  • Illusion and Creation: Illusion and Creation, Light and Darkness, Sound
  • Knowledge: Knowledge
  • Making and Breaking: Making and Breaking, Technological
  • Meta: Meta
  • Mind: Communication and Empathy, Mind Control 
  • Necromantic: Necromantic
  • Protection and Warning: Protection and Warning
  • Transportation: Gate, Movement
  • Water: Water
  • Removed Colleges: Weather
  • Removed Subcolleges: Divination, Plastic, Radiation
So that consolidates things just a little bit, making it a little bit more cost effective for generalists. 

Alchemy is an IQ based very hard skill with no defaults. So you need to have the skill to use it. Once you have the skill, you can make alchemy stuff. This typically requires the purchase of raw materials and doing various things to them over the course of several days, finally culminating in a skill check to see if you produced or did not produce a viable elixir of some kind. There's a list of like two or three dozen elixirs in GURPS Magic and an alchemist can produce any of them. The elixirs all modify your effective level with alchemy based on how difficult they are to create/how powerful they are. For instance, beast-speech is made using alchemy-1 and the resurrection elixir is made using alchemy-6. An alchemist can buy a technique for each elixir to offset their penalties to his skill level though. During the crafting process, an alchemist can make multiple doses of an elixir at once (at a penalty to his effective skill level) and there are several physical forms of elixir that can be made (potion, flammable powder, regular powder, or ointment). Some elixirs are restricted to being made in certain forms. The reanimation elixir, which lets you reanimate a corpse long enough to question it, can only be made in ointment form, for instance. Also, ew.

So that's a rough outline of how alchemy works in GURPS, let's talk about how it works in Hekinoe.

The first major thing is that alchemy is a Will based very hard skill with no defaults. As a side note, it also no longer functions as a default of chemistry. The second major thing is that Magery of at least level 0 is required to utilize the alchemy skill to produce elixirs. The reason for these changes is because the assumption in regular GURPS alchemy is that certain materials have magical essence that can be alchemically manipulated to create magical effects. In Hekinoe, an alchemist is using his willpower to guide and shape sorcerous energy into reagents that have symbolic meaning. In effect, the reagents and the cooking processes are the alchemist's equivalent of a sorcerer's mental constructs. Because alchemy involves the use of sorcerous energy, the region's unreliability penalty applies to a character's skill level when using the alchemy skill to craft elixirs. Because the assumption in GURPS Magic is that alchemy requires rare components, reduce the cost of raw materials for elixirs by 10%.

Elixirs will check for misfire when they are used on or by a target, not when the creation process is completed. The misfire level of an elixir is the effective skill level of the creator's alchemy skill when they crafted the elixir. Every week the elixir exists, roll against its misfire level. A failure on this check reduces the elixir's misfire level by one. In GURPS Magic, the various forms of elixirs have specific ways in which they lose their power, in an instance where an elixir would  lose its power normally (such as a potion being left uncapped for a day or mixed with another fluid) it automatically misfires.

Aside from those aspects, Hekinoe alchemy will work the same as it is described in GURPS Magic. As has been mentioned before, magic items explode when they misfire, this holds true for alchemical elixirs. Originally, I was going to dig through all the elixirs and find the relevant spells or effects they duplicate to figure out how much "energy" was in each of the elixirs, but many of them do not copy specific spells. They just do things. I came up with an alternate solution though. In GURPS, the suggested price of an enchanted item you buy in a store is $33. What I did was find the cost in raw materials for each elixir and divide that by 33 to come up with an "energy" amount for each elixir. These energy values will be used to determine how hard an elixir misfires.

Let's move to our next topic.

Blood Magic
This is more of a side note than anything else, as it is totally useless and impractical in The Known World, but it bears mentioning. In normal GURPS magic, casters use FP and have the option to use HP to pay the energy cost of casting spells. Because sorcerers in Hekinoe disperse some of the excess sorcerous energy from their spells by absorbing it into their bodies, this is an option for casters in Hekinoe. However, the amount of lingering energy in a sorcerer's body is very small, and accessing it is painful. It is only possible in areas of normal, high, and very high ambient sorcerous energy. The conversion rates are 3 HP/FP for 1 energy in very high regions, 6 for 1 in high regions, and 12 for 1 in normal regions. So it's very impractical in the first place and incredibly likely to kill you in regions of normal energy. Basically, you're using your ability to sense sorcerous energy, finding it in your body (or someone else's), and tearing it out with your will. Unliving casters, such as Fallen and Soulless, are immune to this. This practice is known of in The Known World, but it's basically useless due to the amount of sorcerous energy present on the continent. I mean, hypothetically speaking, if there were sorcerer prisons deep beneath Serethnem which Kusseth accesses via a super secret underground railroad of pain and suffering overseen by Brasscoats, sorcerers in such a completely hypothetical prison that find themselves cut off from sorcerous energy because they've been entombed in a blackstone pyramid older than time, might find a use for it. Too bad such a place is completely hypothetical.

Ceremonial Magic
Ceremonial magic is used for two things in GURPS, group spells and enchanting. Spellcasters are allowed to use it on their own if they are enchanting. I'm not going to outline how it works normally, because that system is completely pointless in Hekinoe. Normal GURPS forces spellcasters to rely on their own FP to power spells and the level of mana in the area immediately restores a portion of that energy. In Hekinoe, magic is completely external. This means the main benefit of ceremonial magic, increasing the amount of FP a caster has for casting a spell, is irrelevant. But I want to keep ceremonial group castings in Hekinoe. In regular GURPS, non-casters and bystanders can also add their energy to a spell, but that's stupid.

So what's the goal with ceremonial magic in Hekinoe? I want there to be an element of increased power as well as an element of increased stability. I do want to keep the feature of ceremonial magic taking ten times longer than the spell being cast normally does. I am going to remove the whole thing about enchantment using ceremonial magic. With individual sorcerers being able to command butt tons of sorcerous energy in The Known World, the penalties association with using ceremonial magic to enchant items make it super pointless and impractical. It's a thing that could happen, but there's no reason for it to come into practice in The Known World.

The way I see it working is the group of casters sort of attempt to synch up their minds and form a sort of collective. The easiest way to do this is via the telepathy spell, but it can be achieved via a successful meditation check from each participant. Meditation defaults to Will-6 and autohypnosis-4. This method takes longer, one minute per participant.

These collectives are basically a group of casters working together to make a spell, so there's no real leader. There might be a leader in the sense that someone is guiding the process and declaring the goal to be dropping the biggest fireball ever on Kusseth City, but it's more like an assembly line. Because of this, there are several aspects of ceremonial magic that are an average of all the participants. The averaged aspects are the Will of the participants, the Magery level of the participants, and the level at which they purchased the college of the spell they wish to cast. The level at which they purchased the skill refers to attribute+1, attribute-1, etc. Each of these aspects will be rounded up.

Let's look at an example with a fireball spell.

So we have three casters. They have a Will of 14, 12, and 16. They have Magery levels of 2, 3, and 6. They know the fire college at attribute+0, +1, and +3. So the collective has a Will of 14, a Magery level of 4, and a fire college level of attribute+2. So the collective's base effective skill level with fire college spells is 18. With fireball, its base skill level is 13 (due to the three prerequisite spells of fireball and the -2 due to The Known World's unreliability.

I jumped the gun here, there are more modifiers. For every participant that has a Will of 13+, increase the Will of the collective by +1. For every participant with a Magery level of 3+, increase the Magery level of the collective by +1. For every participant that bought the relevant college at attribute+3, increase the base level of the collective's college skill by +1. With all this factored in to the above example, the collective has a Will of 16, a Magery level of 6, and knows the fire college at attribute+3. Which changes things to a base fire college skill level of 22 and a base skill level of 17 with fireball.

One more thing needs to be averages. I spoke of a technique last post, one that neutralizes penalties to skill level due to exceeding the base energy of a spell, extending if for additional durations, etc. If any participant possesses such a technique, average the value that it is possessed by all participants and round up. So one participant doesn't have it, another knows it at default+2, and the third knows it at default+5. This means the collective knows the Sorcerous Stabilization technique at default+3.

Because there are several minds working on different parts of the spell to make it stable and disperse excess energy and that sort of thing, each participant negates one -1 to effective skill level from exceeding minimum energy, extended duration, etc.

Casting times are ten times longer with ceremonial magic. So a normal maxed out fireball spell would take three seconds. Casting it ceremonially would take 30 seconds. However, the effective skill level of the collective does modify casting time. This doesn't affect the casting time of the collective we are currently using as an example, but one with an effective skill with fireball of 20, rather than 17, would only take 15 seconds to cast it ceremonially.

To be fair, that doesn't seem that beneficial. The third set of statistics, 16, 6, and attribute+3, actually has a fire college skill level of 22 and a base skill level of 17 with the fireball spell and has the Sorcerous Stabilization technique at default+5. So he alone is as competent as the collective.

The problem is that I've used fireball as an example. Fireball is really too simple of a spell to be cast using ceremonial magic. We've also used a very small group of casters with wildly different statistics. If we take a more modifiable spell, like rain of fire, which is an area spell and one with a duration that can be extended, and we take a larger group of casters with attributes that are closer together, the benefits of ceremonial casting become much more stark.

That single caster has a base skill level of 18 with rain of fire (-2 from prerequisite spells, -2 from sorcerous energy). If that single caster, we'll call him Kn'otnak Man'der, chose to cast the 2d-2 burning damage per second version of rain of fire, he could cast it on a 5 yard radius area with the -5 from increased energy cost immediately negated by his Sorcerous Stabilization technique. The base duration is one minute (for a total of 120d-120 burning damage in 2d-2 increments) though. If he wanted it to go for two minutes, he'd immediately generate -5 from increased energy (the spell costs the same to maintain as it does to initially cast), and another -1 from extending the duration. His effective skill to extend the duration would be 12 instead of 18. If he and say 12 other casters were holed up in a secure place casting it as a collective, he'd have a little bit more wiggle room to keep it going and make it larger, especially if the other members of the collective were as skilled as he is.

So that's how ceremonial magic works in GURPS The Known World. In other areas of Hekinoe, it will be slightly different, but the fact that sorcerous energy is so plentiful in The Known World makes those differences irrelevant.

There are two types of enchantment, the kind that uses actual enchantment college spells to enchant an item, and the item version of some spells that allow you to create an item that duplicates the spell's effect (such as the wand or staff you can create for 800 energy and a $400 ruby that casts the fireball spell when powered). Some enchanted items have passive effects that are always on, others are activated effects that cost energy and duplicate a spell. Enchanted items that have activated effects must have a powerstone integrated into them or they cannot function. Well, they can, but a sorcerer would need to channel sorcerous energy into them, which is of minimal benefit since they could cast the spell themselves. There is one benefit though, activating an enchanted item has no ritual component like casting a spell might.

All of the rules outlined for enchanted items and their creation and using them outlined in GURPS Magic operate as normal. Enchanted items have a power rating, the GM makes all the creation rolls for the player, they don't become cursed on really bad rolls, but they do become wonky.

Just as with spells, the misfire level of a magic item is the effective level of the creator's spell that creates it. Each enchantment on an item has a separate misfire level. Enchanted items check for misfire when they are used, but no more than once per minute. So a weapon with the accuracy enchantment checks for misfire when you attack with it, but you probably only have to check for misfire once during a battle. . Every week an enchanted item exists, roll against its misfire level, failure on this roll reduces the misfire level of the enchantment by one. Additionally, the misfire level of enchanted items is modified by the material being enchanted. It's a range of -2 to +2, with materials like glass and paper being -2 and materials like wolf-iron being +2. The material also modifies how often the enchantment checks for misfire.

Blah blah blah, misfires, explody, boom. There is more to enchanting but for some reason I wrote the actual mechanics in the campaign book instead of outlining it here. Most of the rules are already in place anyways, so it would kind of just be retyping pre-existing material. I'd like to talk about how enchanted items are made rather than how they break. The only real change I made was that the exploding enchantment must deal enough damage to destroy the object it is on before it can deal damage to anyone else. I don't think I've specified it before, but if an enchanted item is broken, the enchantments on it automatically misfire.

There are two ways objects are enchanted in GURPS, slow and steady enchantment and quick and dirty. These methods both exist in GURPS Hekinoe, but the rules outlined here replace those in GURPS Magic. Regardless of which method you use, enchanting is an exhausting process. The enchanter expends 1 FP per hour spent enchanting.

Enchanting an object is basically investing an object with so much focused sorcerous energy that you carve your mental construct of what you want the spell to do into the object on the atomic level. Or something more magical sounding. Heh.

Quick and dirty enchantment is precisely that, quick and dirty. It's faster, but slightly more unreliable. Basically, you just dump energy into the item and its enchantment. You're focusing on speed here, not super stable casting. This allows an enchanter to dump energy equal to his Magery level into the enchantment process every minute. However, once the item is completed, there is a -2 penalty to the enchantment's misfire level.

The other method, slow and steady, takes significantly longer. You're slowly and steadily feeding energy into the object to give the enchantment permanence and solidity. This method allows the enchanter to dump energy into the spell equal to his Magery level each hour. This makes the process lengthy, but grants a +1 bonus to the enchantment's misfire level after it is completed.

Shadow Magic
Shadow magic/sorcery is a thing. The Shadowlands/Land of Shadows/Nychtemihar/etc are the only true plane that exists in my universe. There are planes, which I call realms or adjacent realms to be difficult, but they are fleeting and not permanent cosmological fixtures like those we think of from DnD. Nel/Immortal holdings fade when the Nel/Immortal dies or is weakened. Sorcerer's can create little realms, but because misfire, those are unlikely to persist forever. The Shadowlands are permanent. They are where shadow sorcery comes from. Shadow magic is the act of using sorcerous energy to pull shadowstuff from The Shadowlands to do stuff with it. Typically this involves various forms of attack and defense, summoning allies made of shadowstuff, etc.

In previous versions of the GURPS Hekinoe magic rules, this was an advantage based system that relied upon having a connection to sorcerous energy to activate it. I may continue to use that system. Or not. I honestly don't know. The other route to do it is to make a shadow college of spells. This college would basically duplicate spells found in other colleges, but modify them in specific ways. This route would be easier on the player, somewhat, but more difficult on my end because I have to dig through all the spells, which there are lots of. Then I'd have to modify them and recalculate their energy costs and such. Which actually isn't that hard.

Sorcerous Constructs
In the Pathfinder version of Hekinoe, it was easy to resolve issues of the summon type spells. In Pathfinder, these spells summon a creature from elsewhere to do your bidding. Since Hekinoe has no planes, the way to resolve this was to simply say these summon spells were creating a creature from the caster's imagination and it was composed of pure magic. This required no real alteration to the way anything worked in Pathfinder and amounted to a cosmetic change. In GURPS Hekinoe, we have to get a little more involved. In GURPS there are a variety of summon spells (elemental, demon, etc). These no longer exist. The summon beast spells are a bit different, and are unchanged because they use magic to call an already existing creature from the environment to the sorcerer's side. 

So after we've removed the inappropriate spells, we need to create a new spell. We'll call it create sorcerous construct. This spell is based on the removed summon spells. Most of them cost 1 energy per 10 character points and have an hour duration, so I've used that as a base for this spell. 

Basically, the spell costs 1 energy per 10 characters points that the sorcerous construct has. The base value of the spell is considered to be the value of the sorcerous construct meta-trait. So exceeding that carries the normal penalty. The base duration of the spell is for an hour, and it costs half of what it cost to cast it to maintain it. The create sorcerous construct is an illusion and creation spell and it has six prerequisite spells from that college, meaning at its base it will have a -6 modifier to your effective skill level when casting it. It will have additional prerequisites, potentially, for enhancing the creature with certain abilities (for instance granting it fire related abilities will add create fire to its list of prerequisite spells). 

The current value of the meta-trait is 15 character points, so it costs 2 energy to create. This assumes a bipedal creature with a value of 10 for all its basic attributes, no personality or empathy, and no real special abilities beyond the innate abilities garnered from being made out of sorcerous energy (mainly resistance to injury and various living weaknesses).

I cannot sorcery anymore. I have been poking and prodding and writing and researching on an almost daily basis since the previous post appeared. There's still more to discuss, but I need to take a break.