Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Excerpt: Sorcerers of the Black Gate

Ongoing playtesting for Warriors of the Red Planet has been set in my Omegea campaign setting, which you'll be familiar with if you follow my main blog, Beyond the Black Gate. Omegea has a little of everything genre-wise: Sword&Planet, Dying Earth, Pulp Sword&Sorcery. I originally used the Magic User class from Swords & Wizardry, but as the classes of WotRP evolved, this just didn't mesh very well them.

So it became clear that in addition to the standard classes of WotRP, it would be helpful to include a bit of magic as well, though very firmly planted in the tradition of Vance's Dying Earth as opposed to the more ubiquitous wizards of "high fantasy" literature and gaming. While I felt it should be included, I also didn't want to make it a focus or even standard option of WotRP, but rather something the Referee could decide whether or not to include if it fit his or her own setting. Thus, the Sorcerer class has its own appendix (called "Sorcerers of the Black Gate") at the back of the book, and includes all-new spells (some of which were previewed by a certain Hot Elf Chick recently) and magic items as well as some other goodies. In this humble position, you are free to ignore it or include it, as you will.

Here's an excerpt from this short, but hopefully helpful, appendix:


Sorcerers are weavers of mystical energies and practitioners of Dark Arts. They are typically obsessed with the acquisition of lore and lost knowledge, be it through esoteric research or physical exploration. Beware a Sorcerer – their minds do not move in the same directions as normal folk!

Sorcerers may use any weapon (some are actually quite accomplished fencers!), but typically carry little more than a belt knife. They almost never wear any sort of armor.


Magic Sense: With one minute of uninterrupted concentration, a Sorcerer can determine whether an item, location, or creature has been sorcerously enchanted. While this sense will give a vague impression of the nature of the enchantment, specificity requires more intense and lengthy research.

Esoteric Knowledge: This percentile chance represents a Sorcerer’s ability to decipher ancient languages or magical script, to research lost knowledge, and to learn new spells. Sorcerers with high Intelligence (13+) may add +5% to this chance.

Spells: Legends purport that, in the distant past, thousands of sorcerous spells were once known. Today, fewer than a hundred are known to remain. The more spells a Sorcerer is able to acquire, the greater his infamy and renown! Sorcerers begin their careers with 1d3 spells in their spellbook, and may copy new ones into their book as they find them. While a character automatically knows how to use their "starter" spells, newly acquired spells require an Esoteric Knowledge roll to learn. If the roll is a failure, special instruction must be sought to to help them learn the spell.

At their essence, spells are a refined combination of materials, incantations, geometric patterns, quantum equations, and arcane physics. A spell must be memorized and held captive in the Sorcerer’s mind, like a caged beast screaming for release, until cast out. A Sorcerer may only memorize and cast a limited number of spells each day. Sorcerers of unusually high Intelligence (13+) may memorize one additional first level spell per day.

Corruption: The use of Sorcery is often damaging to the mind and body of the arcane practitioner. Upon attaining each level after the first, the Sorcerer must roll on the RANDOM CORRUPTION TABLE and suffer the result!


  1. Let me be the first to applaud the inclusion of RANDOM CORRUPTION. I love it!

  2. It almost reads like Sorcerers from the Mongoose Conan game, but old-school. Keep up the good work!

  3. I'm really looking forward to this