Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Upcoming Magic School Campaign Sourcebook: Larius Firetongue's School of Sorcery

Note: this is not official artwork for my book

Once I wrote my Playable Monsters for Fifth Edition sourcebook, I was at a temporary loss on what to write next. I had a lot of ideas, but aside from a few exceptions most of them would have to start from scratch. But then I recalled a certain topic which I talked a lot about in the past, both on this blog and in various gaming sessions and message boards.

After gathering the necessary material together, I realized that by volume of content I had enough to make a large sourcebook, but even then I had to manage and streamline things out so as to make it presentable. I can tell that it's going to be much larger than my previous works I put out, but my passion for the genre will be the muse which helps drive me forward!

Larius Firetongue's School of Sorcery is a magic school sourcebook and hex crawl for Swords & Wizardry but can be converted to other OSR games easily enough.


The book can be more or less split up into two major sections: new rules material and the sample setting.

New Rules: The first section of the book is dedicated to material specialized for creating OSR magic school campaigns. An example is the use of treasured tomes, books which impart in-game benefits to diligent readers. They range from the mundane to the magical; a Chiurgeon's Textbook can grant the ability to heal a patient of 1d4 hit points of damage once per day, while Secrets of the Pactmaster treats your Charisma score as 2 points higher for social interactions with extraplanar beings (perfect for summoners and demon-binders!).

Another example utilizes the partial separation of race and class common to Swords & Wizardry. I noticed that the "core races" have around three dominant traits: for example, dwarves save great vs magic, can see in the dark, and detect abnormalities in interior and underground environments.

I extended that further with new playable options for more exotic inhabitants of a sorcerer's academy, such as beastfolk, pixies, and tieflings who all have three traits along these lines.

Finally, and most thematically, the adventures students may go on may differ a bit from standard adventuring. PCs may go into the deepest, darkest reaches of the forests to pick a rare flower which blooms only on the winter solstice for a valuable spell component. Arcane Lore (based on an earlier blog post) grants an effective gold piece value to treasure of a magical nature, which can be used for personal growth in magical potential in leveling up and resources for creation by "spending" it on facilities and magical research.

The Setting: The setting takes place in the lands of Frelundia, a rural barony home to a few modest cities, deadly wilderness, and a militaristic nation to the north threatening its borders. Larius Firetongue, a sorcerer of no small fame discovered through years of research that the magic ley lines of the world converge heavily in this backwater land. Seeking like-minded souls in hopes of unlocking their secrets, he built an academy and used his name recognition to recruit talented minds from lands far and wide to make a full-fledged school dedicated to the magical arts.

The PCs are assumed to be newcomers to the Academy, and don't necessarily have to be of the Magic-User class. Clerics, Druids, and other magical traditions are present among the student body. The Academy acts as a "hub" of sorts for the party, and while there's plenty of adventures and schemes going on within its halls the outlying barony has its fair share of locations to explore in true hex crawling fashion.

One week the PCs might be heading off to the Desert of the Valiant Rose in search of the Library of Mede. The next week they may head off into Direblack Swamp on the hunt for spell components to bolster their magical abilities, or hear rumors among the student body of an eternal torrent of rain above the Green Ruins threatening to flood Moonshade Forest. A few of the adventure locations may be connected, but a lot of them are meant to be stand-alone, the better to insert into one's home campaigns and to let PCs visit places which sound of interest to them instead of leading them along a linear path.

I will go into more specific detail on sections of the book in future blog posts, depending upon the factors of personal whim and reader interest. If there's any particular aspect you want to hear more about, feel free to leave a comment in the section below!