DI #4 (Early December 1994)


  1. News & Notes
  2. A New Wizard's Musings
  3. Mythic Revelations: Making a Casting Known
  4. New Vocations: Nursery Rhymes?
  5. Future Shock: Guns for Dangerous Journeys
  6. Magic: The Gathering in Mythus
  7. Magick is What? A different view on the background of it all
  8. Magickal Items: Enchanted Holy Symbol
  9. Finis: Notes from Hawkeye

News & Notes

SLOWLY BUT UNSTOPPABLE: First off, sorry it took so damn long for me to get around to putting this issue out. With school and the new job I started, time was not a luxury to be had, especially while trying to run a campaign and play in a number of others.

So, anyway, here it is. Thanks to all of you out there who gave me stuff to toss in! That means a lot, that people are really taking the time. If your creations did not make it into this issue, don't worry! They are the advance stuff for the next one! I'd love to cram tons of stuff into a single issue, but making them short makes life easier on myself. I do, in fact, have enough submissions to make another issue after this one, but after that I will need some more. So, feel free to send something in! And now, on to better things:

A New Wizard's Musings

Here's what will hopefully become a regular feature. Anyone else willing to create 'regulars' will get preferential treatment from me! :) Creating a background in which your submissions are immersed makes it a lot more interesting and a lot more fun!

Aleksandr Gerasimov

msphil@widomaker.com (Mike Phillips)
[To understand the following in its appropriate context, consider that the persona described herein was run in a low-magic world. The gentry played with magick (household and entertainment castings), but never on any significant level, and the darker arts were actively suppressed by the various churches, which also showed a low amount of prayer magick. In a more magick-oriented world, where wonder is commonplace, the approach Aleksandr takes to magick might not be as impressive or useful.]
              _____   _____
            / ^^   \|/ ^^   \      From the Library of
          / ^^ ^ ^^ | ^ ^^^ ^ \
        / ^^^^^^ ^^ | ^^ ^^^ ^^ \       ALEKSANDR GERASIMOV
      /__---~~~~~~~\ /~~~~~~~---__\
       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aleksandr Gerasimov was born to a fairly rich merchanting family, who saw fit to see him well-schooled. He quickly developed a love for philosophy and magick, resulting in a solid 'classical' education and an attraction for the Art, as he is wont to call it. He does not believe in Good or Evil, having proved (to himself) the incapability of their existence. He believes that the ends can be beneficial or malevolent but sees no harm in the knowledge, only the action.
In his first grand adventure, he discovered (along with several companions) a small stash of magickal writings, including several works on necromancy and black dweomercraeft. The school he had attended ignored the existence of the Black Art, and to him this discovery was particularly fascinating. He quickly and secretly absorbed the work, resulting in a passing knowledge with this dark skill.
During the day, for the next several months, he slowly constructed a dweomercraefter's dream, a shop wherein various reagents and other magickal components were traded, but in the nights, instead of sleeping, he researched and read and practiced until he felt he was, after all, ready to prove worthwhile to his boon companions.
Aleksandr sought a subtle approach, that of intimidation and quiet menace, rather than outright destruction and devastation (though he would certainly be willing to back up any threat).

This is a small sample from his early researches:


Time: 1 AT per 10 STEEP
Area: Self
Distance: 0
Other Heka Costs:
R&D: Nil
Other: Nil

E/F/M: With the application of this Casting, the caster's eyes go utterly black, devoid of any feature other than a menacing and void-filled stare. Those subjected to a stare for one CT will feel uneasy and inferior to the caster, and a continual gaze will eventually result in all but the self- possessed and strong-willed groveling before the unblinking, black, and menacing gaze. Obviously, nothing else can be going on, and combat is generally too quickly paced to allow a caster the chance to transfix an opponent.


Time: 1 AT/STEEP
Area: One object
Distance: Touch
Other Heka Costs:
R&D: Nil
Other: Nil

E/F/M: This Casting causes little 'witchfires' to run over the object. The fire is illusionary, shaped out of the stuff of shadow, but it appears to be dancing along the object for the duration of the Casting. They cause no damage, but touching them does not dispel them. Obviously, creatures without sight will not even notice them, even if touched, as they have no substance whatsoever. This is purely a visual effect, intended to be combined with other visual effects in order to create an imposing image.


Time: 1 AT
Area: Self
Distance: 0
Other Heka Costs:
R&D: Nil
Other: 10:1 AT

E/F/M: By means of this Cantrip, the caster introduces a vague and barely perceptible shadow around him, a faint suggestion that there is something larger and nastier, and that the caster is but a cat's paw for this being. While ineffective in impersonating, for instance, entital power, it is useful in dealing with weak-willed and magick-poor personas. With the expenditure of additional Heka, the caster may extend the duration by one AT per 10 Heka spent, to a maximum of 1 AT per 10 STEEP possessed.

Personal notes:

Aleksandr is known to be witty and charming, when the mood strikes him, and very skilled in philosophy. He is also known to have decent skill in Alchemy, Astrology, Magick, Pantheology, Religion, and Grey Dweomercraeft. He is a skilled writer, and quite the linguist. Few people are aware that he possesses any skill in Black Dweomercraeft, although he is certainly learning quickly.
It is said that he wears an intricate silver locket at his throat, said by some to have carvings that store some fraction of his Heka. He often dresses in darker colors, and black with silver highlights when he feels the need to make an overpowering impression.

Making a Casting Known

John Teske (teskej@dgabby.mfldclin.edu)
The time to needed to make an unknown casting "Known" is based on the number of things that a HP can study simultaneously (from MMPow), read from the chart on page 136 in Mythus 1. (i.e., an MMpow of 15 will give 3 'slots' per day)

The base time for memorization is 1 slot per grade.

Casting time modifies total memorization as follows:

        Eyebite :       x1/4 total
        Charm   :       x1/2 total
        Cantrip :       x1 total
        Spell   :       x2 total
        Formula :       x3 total
        Ritual  :       x4 total
The HP's STEEP in the area in which the casting is located also affects the total study time, based on the normal difficulty at which the HP can use the casting:
        Easy         :  x1 total
        Moderate     :  x2 total
        Hard         :  x3 total
        Difficult    :  x5 total
        V. Difficult :  x7 total
        Extreme      :  x10 total
This time is to make Known an unknown or Studyable casting. If attempting to make a Recallable casting Known, or an unknown/Studyable casting Recallable, 1/2 the time is required.
Once the total cost in 'slots' is determined, the HP divides that number by the number of 'slots' he can use per day, as determined by MMPow.

Here are 2 examples:

Take an HP with 15 MMpow (3 'slots'/day) with an Apotropaism STEEP of 41, trying to memorize Protection vs. Drowning Charm, an unknown grade 4 casting.

Grade 4 = 4 slots
charm   = x1/2 total time
hard    = x3   total time   (grade 4 spell is at hard difficulty)
          6 slots
Making an unknown casting Known, so there is no extra modifier. The HP has 3 slots in a day, so the spell is memorized in 2 days.

Example #2

A Full Practitioner with a 41 STEEP in General Dweomercraft attmepts to make a grade 6 Formula Recallable. His MMPow is 16. This spell is, with his STEEP, at a DR of Very Difficult to cast.

Grade 6    = 6 slots
Formula    = x3 total time
V. Diff.   = x7 total time
Recallable = x1/2 total time
             63 total slots
16 MMpow corresponds to 3 slots per day, so this Formula would be Recallable in 21 days, a formidible task.
As you can see, this system is weighted toward the quick memorization of short, easily used castings. Long or difficult castings take a great deal of time, as they must be understood as they are learned.
This only leaves the question of whether or not the HP can be interrupted during the study of the casting. A simple way to interpret this problem is to say for every two days the HP interrupts his studies, an additional day is added to the end of the study time. So, in the second example, if the HP studied the casting for 20 days, then took 4 days off, he will have to study for 45 more days, rather than the 43 he would have without the modifier. This represents the fact that if the HP is doing something else, he will slowly forget what he has learned, and will need to move back a bit to remember where he was.

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker

Glen R. Martin (75050.2421@compuserve.com)

The Mythus game system offers a wide variety of vocation for heroic personas to choose from. In the appendix section (p. 387) of the Dangerous Journeys rules manual there is a section referencing a number of occupations that would be suitable for the use in the Mythus game. Among these are a Spy (Mental) and a Monk, Martial, Oriental (Physical). Below are descriptions of how these occupation are used in my personal campaign. I hope they will prove to be useful as heroic personas and other personas in your own campaigns.
To help facilitate the creation of these heroic persona vocations a new persona-creation rule is needed:


A character may start the game with K/S Areas that have the condition that only certain Sub-Areas of that K/S may be chosen when the HP is created. The HP can learn other Sub-Areas of the K/S only if the opportunity presents itself, it does not interfere with any Vows, and the gamemaster approves the learning.

Example: Chin Su' Nygen is a Monk HP. His restricted K/S is Criminal Activities, Physical. If Chin Su' Nygen's STEEP was 42, he would normally receive four Sub-Areas of knowledge. Since this is a K/S with restricted Sub-Areas he can only learn the three which are allowed. If Chin Su' Nygen was to begin to develop the darker side of his HP while adventuring the JM may allow him to develop the other aspect of this K/S (This may not sit well with Chin's former instructors).


Vocation Category        Level
 Range  HP SEC at Start  TRAIT

 Spy                        1-7           3            Mental
 Monk, Martial, Oriental    1-9           4            Physical
Monk, Martial, Oriental: Monks posses an interesting array of talents. The monk is excellent in unarmed and non-lethal physical combat. The monk is centered around the Physical TRAIT, but has a variety of Spiritual, and Mental K/S Areas as well. They also possess limited priestly abilities. Monks are person as that are thoughtful, honorable, and stoic. Try to think of a balance between the physical, mental, and spiritual sides of the monk when creating the HP. Monks tend to use speed over might, think of this when deciding where to place ATTRIBUTE scores (PN ATTRIBUTES should tend to be higher then PM ATTRIBUTES).
The monk strives to be at one with nature, theirs surroundings, and the cosmos. This vocation tends to use physical force as a last resort. When force is needed the monk is properly trained to deal with most threats.

Monk, Martial, Oriental Vocation (Physical TRAIT)

K/S Area                        Base Steep   Attribute
Combat, Hand-to-Hand, Non-Lethal   24        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5
Combat, Hand-to-Hand, Lethal       24        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5s
Medicine, Oriental                 20        (SMCap+SPCap) x0.5
Priestcraeft*                      16        SMCap*
Religion*                          16        SMCap*
Acupuncture                        12        PNCap
Acrobatics/Gymnastics              12        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5s
Combat, Hand Weapons               12        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5s
Criminal Activities, Physical r    12        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5*s
Endurance*                         12        (PMPow+PNPow) x0.5*
Education                          10        (MMCap+MRCap) x0.5
Foreign Language: [choice]          8        MMCap*
History                             8        MMCap*
Logic                               8        MRCap
Nature Attunement                   8        SPCap *s
Pantheology*                        8        SMCap *s
Survival                            8        PMCap*
Yoga*                               8        SMCap*
Apotropaism*                        8        (MMCap+MRCap) x0.5*s
Divination*                         8        SPCap *s
Demonology*                         4        MMCap*
Exorcism*                           4        SMCap*

Base STEEP Total                   250
(Only the sub-areas of Sneaking, Hiding, and Ambushing may be chosen under Criminal Activities, Physical)
Spy:The spy is an intriguing and formidable HP. The spy fits well in campaigns involved in politics, war, and other "noble" endeavors. The spy combines a knowledge of foreign lands with thieving abilities to be able to complete any mission they might encounter. This vocation is based around the Mental TRAIT, but also has enough Physical K/S Areas to help them in tight situations. Think of double-crosses, intrigue, sabotage, quick thinking, and covert action when creating your spy.

Spy Vocation (Physical TRAIT)

K/S Area                        Base Steep   Attribute
Espionage                          20        (MMCap+MRCap) x0.5s
Criminal Activities, Mental        16        MMCap *s
Criminal Activities, Physical      16        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5*s
Deception                          16        MRCap*
Disguise                           16        PNCap
Escape                             16        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5
Combat, Hand Weapons               12        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5s
Criminology                        12        MRCap
Cryptography                       12        (MMCap+MRCap) x0.5
Etiquette Social Graces            12        MMCap
Foreign Language: [choice]         12        MMCap*
Linguistics                        12        MRCap
Police Work                        12        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5s
Combat Hand Weapons, Missile        8        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5s
Foreign Language: [choice]          8        MMCap*
Geography/Foreign Lands             8        MMCap
Influence                           8        MRCap s
Streetwise                          8        SPCap *s
Travel                              8        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5
Combat, Hand-to-Hand, Lethal        4        (PMCap+PNCap) x0.5s
Current Events                      4        (MRPow+MMPow) x0.5
Divination*                         4        SPCap *s
Engineering, Military               4        (MMCap+MRCap) x0.5
Surveillance/Security               4        PNCap
Toxicology                          4        MMCap

Base STEEP Total                   256

Future Shock: Guns in DJ


This article does not attempt to address the skills necessary to using firearms in combat or otherwise. Certainly some kind of Gunsmith K/S Area and certainly Rifle and Pistol K/Ss will be necessary. Only those weapons that are historically possible for the assumed time period for Mythus (1400-1700 AD) have been included here, with the exception of the M16A3 which I included because I felt some kind of comparison was necessary. The problem with using the Dangerous Journeys system in modern settings is the large amount of damage HPs can take. Because it is "realistic" for a modern firearm to kill on a single shot to any moderately valuable vital area of the human body huge numbers of dice need to be rolled (13d6, 30 times in a CT for the M16A3). When I do rules for modern weaponry I will probably change some of the numbers and ways of doing damage to make the dice more manageable. But that is, pardon the pun, in the future. Also there are no guidelines for autofire here so I wouldn't suggest using the M16, who knows what could happen.

NOTE: RC, DC, TL and the statistics of these weapons are based on the rules or guidelines presented in Guns, Guns, Guns 3rd edition by the BTRC.

Weapon              TL   Spd  WP   Dam  Cost ROF  Clip RC   DC
Hand Cannon         5    4    0    4d6  140  1    1    1    2
Triple Cannon       5    5    0    3d6  230  3    3    1    2
Cavalry Pistol      6    4    0    4d6  150  1    1    2    2
Double Pistol       6    4    0    3d6  180  2    2    1    2
Flintlock Revolver  6    4    0    4d6  130  3    5    2    2
Personal Pistol     6    3    0    4d6  140  1    1    1    2

Matchlock Musket    5    7    5    7d6  240  1    1    2    2
Double Musket       5    7    5    7d6  860  2    2    2    2
Wheellock Carbine   5    6    5    6d6  200  1    1    2    2

Arquebus*           5-6  7    0    5d6  90   1    1    2    2
                                   3d6x9*    1    1    2    1
For comparison:
M16-A3              11   6    10   13d6 1740 30   30   4    3
* The Arquebus (don't ask me how to pronounce it) can fire either a single large slug or it may fire 9 pellets like a shotgun. See below for special shotgun rules.

The cost of ammunition is .25 per bullet which includes the cost of powder and other sundries necessary. The multiple pellets of the Arquebus (3d6x9 damage) costs .75 per shot. A clip for the M16A3 would cost about $10 and each bullet would cost $0.60 (Whole clip of 30 bullets would be $28).

TL: Tech Level; 5 = 1400 AD, 6= 1700 AD.
RC: Range Class; See below
DC: Damage Class; See below.
Clip: Number of shots the weapon may fire before needing reloading. Except in the case of the Revolver and the M16, this is also the number of barrels on the weapon.
ROF: the number of shots the weapon may fire per CT, this is not affected by the skill of the firer.

Reloading time for muzzle loading weapons are listed below:

Pistols   6CTs + 5CTs for each additional barrel
Rifles    8CTs + 5CTs
Carbines  7CTs + 5CTs
All ranges are in meters which are about the same as yards. :)
RC Table:
RC   PB        S         M         L         E
1    0-5       6-10      11-15     16-25     26-50
2    0-7       8-15      16-25     26-50     51-150
3    0-10      11-35     36-70     71-150    151-400
4    0-15      16-70     71-150    151-300   301-1000

DC Table
DC   Full      3/4       1/2       1/4       1/10
1    0-35      36-100    101-200   201-600   601-800
2    0-70      71-200    201-400   401-1000  1001-1500
3    0-150     151-400   401-800   801-2500  2501-3500
4    0-300     301-800   801-1500  1501 4500 4501 6500
Armor against firearms: In general, all forms of ancient armor do not work very well against high velocity projectiles. Treat all firearm damage as piercing and quarter the effect of all leather armor and half the effect of all metal armors except rigid plate (breast plates, plate armor). Conversely, Kevlar does not work well against an Axe.

Combat Example:

A Cavalry Pistol is fired at and hits a knight 80 meters away (Extreme range). The player rolls a vital hit location (x2 damage) and 17 points of damage on the dice. Total damage done is 17 {rolled damage} x2 {Hit Location} x0.75 {Range modification} or a total of 26 Piercing PD (round up in this case). The knight is wearing an Breastplate over a suit of leather armor and a gambeson (he's a poor knight) the piercing AV is 19, which divided by 4 provides 5 points of protection so the knight takes a final 21 PD. Probably only enough to anger the knight, hit him in the head (U) and wait till he gets closer next time, if you get a next time.

Aiming: These firearms are notoriously innacurate and any kind of called or specific hit location shot is absolutely impossible. Unless you have massed units of men, chances of hitting a target are small, so the difficulty should be at least difficult (rather than hard). However, remember that firearms produce a lot of noise and smoke and even a bit fo flame so they are good at scaring off many creatures, even if you don't hit them.

Reliability: These weapons are not very reliable, any to hit roll over 95% will cause a potential problem. Roll again on the table below to determine the exact situation.

Reliability    Miss      Dud       Jam       Critical  Explodes
     VI        --        01-05     06-20     21-95     96-00
     V         01-50     51-55     56-70     71-95     96-00
     IV        01-75     76-80     81-95     96-00     -- 
     III       01-90     91-00     --        --        -- 
     II        01-95     96-00     --        --        -- 
     I         01-95     96-00     --        --        -- 

1 Joss can reduce the roll by 20.

Miss: Nothing special happens, the round simply misses.
Dud: The round does not fire and will need to be cleared before the weapon may be fired again (3CT's for most of the weapons here, 1CT for more modern ones)
Jam: The round fires but becomes fouled in the action or the barrel. It needs to be cleared before the weapon may be fired again (5CT's and a skill roll).
Critical: The weapon is seriously damaged and will need to have extensive repairs. These repairs require a gunsmith's skill and several hours and possibly parts.
Explodes: The barrel explodes and the firer takes one half the damage from one round, no armor and no hit location roll is made. If the weapon has additional barrels or a clip, roll for them also. Only count explodes results. The weapon is destroyed.

Weapons Reliability Class
Class II: Cavalry Pistol, Double Pistol, Personal Pistol, Matchlock Musket, Double Wheellock, Wheellock Carbine, Arquebus, M16A3
Class III: Hand Cannon, Triple Cannon, Flintlock Revolver

The Reliability class worsens due to bad maintenance from 1-3 Classes (or more).

Also if any of the weapons (except the M16, of course) gets damp or wet they will not fire. The TL 5 weapons are especially bad for this. The modifiers for ROF only come into play if the weapon has an ROF greater than 3. To preform maintenance the HP must have some sort of Gunsmith K/S Area.

Shotguns (Multiple Projectiles): The pellets have a tendency to spread after they leave the barrel so only targets hit directly and at relatively close range will be hit by all of the pellets. Remember to treat each pellet as a separate attack, and armor affects each pellet individually.

Range          % Hits    Arquebus Hits
Point Blank    100       9 
Short          80        6-8
Medium         50        3-5
Long           25        2
Extreme        10        1

Magic: the Gathering

Mike Phillips (msphil@widomaker.com)

Okay, with a header like that, y'all are already all mad at me :-)

I have been running a bastardized Prime campaign, set in the land of Mordant, where image-magic is real. To throw the players a serious loop, I am setting up a scenario where the villain is actually a teenaged kid with a deck of Magic: the Gathering to fuel his magic (in other words, each round of combat he can act like a normal 'turn' of M:tG play, BUT he is restricted in that land can only be put into play if there is a piece of land nearby of said type -- and in Mordant, that's mostly forest and plains).

Here is a critter out of that encounter, probably the nastiest one there.
[A quick side note on the Prime-variation: I use damage types, but not strike locations, so the armor table can be treated as averaged armor, and the normal armor table for Advanced can be extrapolated. Also, I use the CATEGORIES, but I use the Prime scale, so double each category before dividing it up for advanced -- oh yes, and to avoid making them TOO nasty if you want to use them in Advanced, put most of the categories into the capacity]

Craw Wurm
Mental: 180       Physical: 240    Spiritual: 100
  Mnemonic: 90      Muscular: 120    Metaphysical: 50
  Reasoning: 90     Neural: 120      Psychic: 50
                  WL: 180
  Claw (STEEP: 40, 2/CT, 4D6 piercing)
  Bite (STEEP: 30, 1/CT, 3D6 piercing)
  Tail (STEEP: 20, 1/2CT, 6D6 IMPACT)*
* the tail strike is limited to creatures behind the Craw Wurm, and
  it can be used no more than once every other CT

Cut  Prc  Bldg SmlArms Enrgy
 36   36   24     24     12
[the party has no other types, treat energy and fire as the same]
Notes: The Craw Wurm is a very very very nasty critter, being some 50' long. It thumps and galumphs along, unable to fly, breaking through foliage when summoned to the fray. Its scales glisten green, and legend says that it can hide in the woods (although it has been very active every time anyone has ever sighted it).
Few survive and tell of the damage it does.

A Different Rationale for Magick

danbeck@po-1.star.k12.ia.us (Dan Beck)

A Rationale for Magic in the Mythus Roleplaying Game System

Heka and Chi Energy

Magical effects are phenomena that appear to violate physical laws of time, space, momentum and energy. All magick practitioners are aware that, despite appearances, there is always a cost involved (usually involving the Law of Conservation of Energy). They have to meditate and store up personal reserves of internal life energy called chi before they can gain access and control over the energy of magick known as heka.
Chi energy is the source of all kinds of mystical powers, such as used by yogis, faith healers, diviners, certain martial artists, and even some poets and musicians (spellsingers). It is a part of all living beings--plant, animal or person. The ability to manipulate this energy to produce unusual effects does not violate any physical laws. It takes a certain sensitivity to one's spiritual side, as well as faith and self-confidence to be able to store up significant amounts of chi and use it to affect yourself and the external world.
Heka energy is the source of all kinds of magickal effects--especially those which seem to violate physical laws. Heka is not native to this dimension. It is matter or energy which has been transported from one dimension, where one set of physical laws holds true, to another dimension having differing physical laws. If a plant or creature were to somehow switch dimensions (or planes, as they are sometimes called), they would be perceived as magickal by the inhabitants of the new dimension.

The Relationship between Chi and Heka

The first true magicians were those mystics whose chi levels enabled them to perceive the existence of other dimensions. They used their chi to penetrate into other dimensions and carry some non-native heka energy back into their native dimension. They discovered that, not only did the heka they brought back produce strange and powerful effects, but that their chi, while on the other dimension, also had unusual and unanticipated effects.
These effects seemed to depend on the interaction of two basic forces common to all detectable dimensions--the Force of Law and the Force of Chaos. Their ratio is what determines how precisely defined energy states and positions of matter become, and how random the momentum of matter and duration of events become. The ratio of Law to Chaos is constant for a given dimension, but varies along a logarithmic scale of -10 for total Chaos, unaffected by Law to +10 for completely static Law, unaffected by Chaos.
The ability to produce magickal effects requires accessing relatively Chaotic heka and moderating it with relatively Lawful heka. The Prime Material Plane is considered to be located at +0 on the above scale, and is ideally situated for simultaneously reaching into both extremes. This is why beings of power from extreme dimensions often attempt to secure a foothold on moderate dimensions, or gain the aid of spellcasters from moderate dimensions.


Access and control of heka depends on the ability of the magick practitioner to gather and focus their body's chi to pierce between dimensions. Once a link is established with the desired dimension, an equal exchange of chi-for-heka occurs. The spellcaster must then direct and control the effects of the heka on this dimension, using up still more chi. The ability to accomplish this successfully depends on the inherent capacity to store up chi and heka, the knowledge, skill and experience built up from prior successful Castings, as well as unbroken visualization and concentration during the actual casting of the spell.

The Establishment of Schools of Magic

Once they began reaching out into the manifold dimensions, the first mages found that they were not alone! Extra-dimensional beings of power were waiting, and were desirous of encouraging an exchange of heka. The most powerful of these beings were perceived as deities, and adjustments were soon made to appease them. A formal tutelage of magick was set up, with apprentices being taught certain shortcuts to accessing heka, requiring less of a sensitivity to the spiritual side of chi, and more attention to gathering it up and shoveling it through to the "other side". An equal amount of heka would be returned, and the exchange of energy would be mutually beneficial to both sides. Different schools of magick were established, subject to the differing philosophies, ethics and goals of the sponsoring deities, but one thing held true for all schools of magick: The sponsorship of extra-dimensional deities was a secret known only to the highest initiates in the hierarchies of the schools.
Of course, magick development still takes place outside of the established schools, with independent mages picking up whatever bits and pieces of formal magick fall their way. There seems to be more of a danger with this approach, as "demons" and other extra-dimensional beings of power are quick to take advantage of the unwary untutored, absorbing all of their chi and discarding their empty husks.

Priestly Magic

Certain deities have no wish to remain behind the scenes. They wish to recruit as much heka exchange as possible. These deities directly make themselves known to inhabitants of other planes, and have their priests recruit worshipers. These predatory and expansionist "evil" deities can ultimately threaten the balance of entire dimensions, and are usually opposed by certain "good" deities who use sometimes similar methods (i.e., priests and worshipers) to contain the expansion. The wisest of the "good" and "evil" deities recognize the importance of balance and tolerate the co-existance of the other, even while attempting to minimize the other's influence. The less wise sometimes attempt out-and-out extermination of the other. However, whenever a plane shifts further towards Law or Chaos, its native inhabitants find it more difficult to access the moderating heka of the opposite order. Ultimately, heka supplied to the native's deities diminishes, and the deities must spread their influence to a more moderate plane in order to continue their agenda of aggressive gathering of power.
There exist certain deities who depend less on worshipers and priests to provide them with large supplies of heka, than on a continual, low-level intermixing of related dimensions. Their ability do do this is threatened if major infusions of heka occur from any particular dimension. Their priests are few in number and maintain a low profile, but represent guardians of the balance. Their ability to utilize the heka from interdimensionally-mingled plants and animals is almost unhindered, and other priests tread lightly around them.

Types of Spellcasters

Mystics are specialists in the intricate and obscure ways of utilizing chi to affect their own abilities, characteristics and traits, as well as those of others. They have no need to access other dimensions for heka, and refuse to obligate themselves to extra-dimensional beings of power at the expense of their own independence. Their secret techniques depend on manipulation of their own internal chi, stored either internally or externally in crystals.
Spellsingers also do not exchange chi for heka across dimensions. Instead, they use music and rhythms to gather, channel and direct the chi of the natural world, contained in all living things, to produce similar effects as mystics. Their focus of chi is not so much internal as external, as suits their extroverted nature.
Certain spell effects of mystics and spellsingers seem impossible to explain, unless some low-level access to heka is invoked. Regardless, the emphasis of these two spellcasting disciplines remains on the internal and external application of chi, rather than heka.
Mages usually train in a specific school of magick which is devoted to a particular philosophic point of view, and which allows access to particular dimensions. Independent mages do exist, but their access to magick is somewhat hindered, since spell-sharing outside of one's school seldom occurs. The independent (or generalist) mage also has a harder time accessing the required dimension than the specialist mage (perhaps due to the lack of cooperation of the "sponsor" of the school from which the spell originated...)
Certain branches of magick seem equally accessible whether a mage is a generalist or a specialist. These include the alchemical and healing arts, the occult branches of necromancy, conjuration, sorcery and witchcraft, the protective arts of apatropaism and exorcism, and arts of foreknowledge and divination. These branches of magick are maintained and passed on as expedient for individual vocations which find them useful, or are sometimes even made the focus of a vocation.
Priests generally do have an agenda for the use of their spells, because their deities grant them access to heka, making them less chi-dependent. In return, they seek to further the goals of their deities for this dimension. Priests have no established and formal schools of magick, but their individual contact with deities of particular ethical trends colors the churches and ceremonies they organize and supervise.

Full and Partial Practitioners of Magic

Some students of magick have higher potential than others, and might come to the attention of a deity with an interest in accumulating more heka from this dimension. A deal would then be offered--in return for a Vow or Pact to serve the interests of the "sponsor", the ability of the student to store up and access heka would be extended to its fullest potential. Students who accept this offer become Full Practitioners, while those who decline or who were never offered the deal become Partial Practitioners, who must develop their potential unaided.
By virtue of patience, diligence, effort and luck, some Partial Practitioners are eventually able to become equivalent to Full Practitioners in regard to heka storage. However, the ease of access to heka which occurs upon taking a Vow or Pact can never be otherwise obtained. Such is the price of independence.

Summary of Additions & Modifications to Mythus

  1. Chi energy is used to gain access and control of heka. Whenever the Mythus books mention "heka generation" within a native dimension, it is referring to the generation of chi.
  2. Crystals, gems and minerals do not intrinsically contain heka, unless they have crossed over from another dimension (such as the elemental plane of earth). They can be imbued with the ability to store chi or heka, based upon the value and quality of the substance.
  3. Certain herbs and creatures have crossed over from related dimensions (such as the Realm of Phaerie) and thus possess various amounts of heka in this dimension.
  4. The persona's basic chi store (Vocational TRAIT(s) plus chi generated from their K/S areas and subareas) is the maximum amount of chi available to a Partial Practitioner. This amount can be increased by the making of a Vow or Pact.
  5. There are ten Grades of preternatural heka Castings, to reflect the ease of access to the various dimensions. Thus, a 5th Grade Casting is required to access heka from a dimension at +5 or -5 from the caster's dimension. Note that the more extreme the dimension, the more difficult the casting grade is to obtain opposing heka of the same level.
    Theoretically, a tenth grade of Preternatural Heka is supposed to be the 1st grade of nine levels of Supernatural Heka, with its tenth grade in turn being the 1st grade of nine levels of Entital Heka. This is a false rumor, spread by extra-dimensional beings of power to keep mere humans from poking into their affairs.
    In truth, Supernatural beings exist in the dimensions from +9 to +1 and from -1 to -9. They do indeed need to make Castings of 11th to 19th grade in order to access heka from opposing dimensions. They retain this Casting Grade capacity in whatever dimensions they happen to be visiting (they like the moderate ones best!) But what they aren't saying is that beings from moderate dimensions are tapping the same heka that the Supernatural beings do! +8 Heka requires a 8th Grade casting from the Prime Material Plane, but requires a 12th level Casting if the spellcaster is on a -4 Chaotic dimension!
    Actually, there is only one grade, not nine, of Entital Heka. It is located at -10 of the Chaotic Dimensions (sometimes called the Negative Plane) and at +10 of the Lawful Dimensions (sometimes called the Positive Plane). The Entital Beings living on these planes can all make 20th level Castings.
    The Mythus books refer to Entital Heka as being 10 X more powerful than Supernatural Heka, and to Supernatural Heka as being 10 X more powerful than Preternatural Heka (so that Entital Heka is 100 times as powerful as Preternatural Heka). This is actually a reflection of the ability of the Supernatural and Entital Beings to store up more chi and heka than is possible for spellcasters from the moderate dimensions. All this really means is that deities are magickal practicioners whose differences from "mortals" are really more in degree than in kind! ( A personal aside: IMHO, it's pretty tough to roleplay a deity as anything OTHER than this, given the merely human nature of *most* gamers and journey masters!! Of course, these modifications would be HIGHLY inappropriate for truly high-powered games, such as the ones incorperating The Primal Order, for one example. But they appeal to my own set of biases and preferences. May they appeal to yours, too!)
  6. Full Practice is available to mages and priests whose Vocational TRAIT exceeds 100 and who make a DR roll of "extreme" against their Spiritual or Mental TRAIT totals, with a bonus of +1 for each Physical TRAIT point in excess of 100. Success means they may make Castings at 1 DR easier within their school, if they in addition make a Vow or Pact to serve the ends of a particular deity. Upon acceptance, they receive the X10 STEEP bonus for purposes of heka accumulation.
    Full Practitioners automatically have their Vocational TRAIT as an additional personal store of Heka. Partial Practitioners have a 9 in 10 chance for this. Anyone with one TRAIT as a store of heka has a 1 in 10 chance of adding a 2nd TRAIT to that total. And anyone (Full or Partial Practitioner) having two TRAITs as a store of heka has a 1 in 10 chance of adding in the 3rd TRAIT, as well.
    It is possible (but difficult) for a Partial Practitioner to make a Vow or Pact to gain up to a X6 STEEP bonus to their heka total.. This would first entail undertaking a quest or great deed to gain the notice of the deities concerned. Then, with appropriate surroundings and ritual, the practitioner would make the Vow or Pact and try to absorb and hold as much heka as possible. Now roll vs. your STEEP at "easy". Success adds your STEEP to the total. Repeat for "moderate", "hard", "difficult", "very difficult" and "extreme" DRs. Once a roll is failed, the ritual has ended and may never be attempted again.
    At least once each year, the recipient of this heka bonus must undergo some sort of "test" of the Vow or Pact. Success would add the practitioner current STEEP to his or her total (up to the maximum of 10 X the starting bonus STEEP). Failure during the attempted test would subtract the practitioner's current STEEP from his or her heka total (down to the minimum of the starting bonus STEEP). Failure to attempt the test would void the Vow or Pact entirely, removing all of the bonus STEEP from the heka total (in addition to leaving the practitioner open to whatever other retaliation or punishment the deity feels is warranted!)
    A similar reduction of heka occurs for Full Practitioners if they do not meet the obligations of their initial Vow or Pact. Again, works of service and devotion may restore lost heka.
  7. All practitioners must reserve 10% of their heka capacity to psychically wall-off and protect a section of the mind from the effects of heka storage (unnecessary for chi storage). If this wall is removed by mystical or magickal attack, it must be reestablished or remaining heka in storage drains directly from your Vocational TRAIT pool at a rate of (Recovery Level - 10% of Heka left) per round.
  8. For every 10 points of additional chi spent to access and control heka (beyond the indicated ACE and TAD requirements of the Casting), the effective STEEP of the spellcaster increases by 1 for the chances of determining success for that Casting.
  9. Priestly vocations, by virtue of having "divinely guided" access to heka across dimensions, have the above bonus as: for every 5 points of additional chi spent , their effective STEEP for the Casting increases by 1.

These additions and modifications to Mythus rules are only suggestions, of course. They happen to fit comfortably within my own need for a framework of logic and consistency (I'm a high school physics teacher!). I believe that the assumptions I have made about chi-assisted dimensional access to heka lead logically to the establishment of the various magick-using vocations, as they exist in the Mythus sourcebooks. The same set of assumptions will also work for any other "traditional" RPG systems that utilize level-or skill-based spellcasting and various classes of spellcasters.
One other thing: I have about 12 years of experience in the practice of yoga and martial arts. Based upon what I have occasionally been able to "touch" and perceive, I do believe that chi energy exists as a tangible aspect of living--that it can be accumulated and manipulated (in mostly minor ways) as described for mystics. In my experience, though, chi energy is very transitory and if not constantly maintained, soon drains away. I have never seen any evidence that it can be stored externally, or that dimensional access is possible. Too bad...this reality could use a little heka, couldn't it?

Magickal Treasures

Here is a short collection of some more of the magickal items I have received. Like I've said before, this is my favorite part of role-playing--the more imaginative the better!

Xerk's Amber Helm

ndb1@cec.wustl.edu (Nathaniel D. Brazy)

Xerk was a famous Dwarven Heka-Forger in the Early Era of the Dwarven empire. He was known for his very unorthodox techniques and equally effective equipment. The Amber Helms were developed by Xerk to be used by Dwarven warriors in their battles against the mage supported Human armies. A special squad of highly trained warriors wearing these helms would spear-head an attack directly at the mages who were supporting the human troops. These helms protected these warriors from the "evil" magicks that the mages would try to use to stop them. These squads were very effective at first, but the humans soon learned to protect their mages by more conventional means.
The Amber Helms give their wearers an additional mental resistance of 150 and a spiritual resistance of 50. They also provide 200 points of mental armor and 100 points of spiritual armor. The armor doesn't regenerate, but can be restored by infusing the helm with Heka using a fairly simple ritual (but it's not as simple if you don't know what the ritual is). The helm does have a small side-effect. The wearer will always feel annoying sensation in their head as long as they are near an active mage (as opposed to a priest). This helps sharpen their aggression towards such people (be they friend or foe).
Not too many of these helms were made since they weren't that easy to make and Xerk always had much better things to do than mass produce things. Unfortunately his techniques were far enough from standard that few other dwarves dared to try and duplicate them.

Magickal Rings

John Teske (teskej@dgabby.mfldclin.edu)

Ring of Antitoxin - This ring is always magically active, and it immediately lessens the strength of any poison encountered by the wearer (insinuitive, ingestive, or contact) by 10, before any damage is accrued. Thus, for example, if the HP wearing the ring was struck by a dagger, poisoned with an insinuitive poison of strength 40 of an instantaneous type (all 100 damage at once), then this would be reduced to a strength 30 poison of instantaneous type (75 points all at once). At lessen strengths, this effect of -10 to the strength becomes considerable. Some of these rings are more potent, and others delay the onset of the poison to longer than the norm expected.

Ring of Protection vs. Drowning - This ring provides the same effect as the Apotropaism spell of the same name cast at a STEEP of 100, for the mere investment of 100 heka. This effect is considered an eyebite in effect once the heka is invested, for purposes of how fast the effects of the ring become manifest.

Ring of Mental Attack Perception - This ring will operate continuously for 24 hours for a mere 50 heka; during the 24 hours, it will flawlessly detect all mental links to the wearer during that time, alerting its owner the same CT the link is made by any means the DM so chooses (eg. flash, tightening, gets hot/cold, etc.). If for any reason the wearer is not so able, the wearer is also given the ability to channel heka into defense against a mental attack. Some of these rings also grant a minor amount of Mental Armor. These rings usually require more base heka to activate.

Ring of Spiritual Attack Perception - This ring will operate continuously for 24 hours for a mere 50 heka; during the 24 hours, it will flawlessly detect all spiritual links to the wearer during that time, alerting its owner the same CT the link is made by any means the DM so chooses (eg. flash, tightening, gets hot/cold, etc. If for any reason the wearer is not so able, the ring also grants the ability to channel heka into defense against spritual attacks. Some of these rings also grant a small amount of Spiritual Armor; these rings usually require more base heka to activate.

Ring of Mental-Spirtual Attack Percetion - This ring detects both Mental and Spritual attcks; for the mere investment of 75 heka, it will flawlessly detect all mental or spiritual links over the 24 hours following heka expenditure. The ring alerts its wearer of a Mental or Spiritual link the same CT the link is made. If for any reason the wearer is not able, the ring also grants the ability to channel heka into defense against both mental and spiritual attacks. These rings are considerably more rare than the above two rings; the ones that provide small amounts of mental and spiritual armor are even more rare and desirable, usually having an even higher base heka activation cost.

Orbs of Communication

ndb1@cec.wustl.edu (Nathaniel D. Brazy)

Hundreds of years ago there was a guild where mages from all over the continent came to learn, study and experiment. This guild had responsibilities to the nations in which it was present and to the general wellfare of everyone. To fullfill these responsibilities the head guild members developed these Orbs. Their purpose was to allow a way for the leaders of various nations communicate to each other directly without having to go on long risky trips. It is not certain exactly how many of these Orbs were made, but there was at least one for each of the nations and there was a master orb that the guild kept to itself. Each orb had a specific color associated with it and to use an orb, you would try to "call up" another orb by concentrating on that color. If someone was monitoring the other orb, they would see the color of the orb that you were using and could choose to respond (or not). In their most simple form the Orbs could allow two-way communication between any two orbs. This communication would be through thoughts and emotions that were specifically directed at the orb. In this way users could control what the other person "heard".
The orb that the guild kept for its own use was the White orb. It could act like a normal orb (the color Black was reserved for the White orb acting in this respect), and it had many other abilities. The White orb could immitate an orb of any of the other colors and the White orb could also eavesdrop on any conversation taking place through any two orbs without the users of the other orbs knowing. Of course the Guild only used this orb sparingly and with everyone elses best interests in mind...
A rumor that spread, despite the best of efforts by the guild, was that it is possible to cast spells through the orbs to other users. If this is true then the spells would have to be specially prepared or they would have to be some sort of "priming" spell. It is also possible that this use would only work from the White orb. Seeing as how the guild denied these rumors, none of these spells are known to exist, but I'm sure an enterprising mage might be able to recreate them with enough time, effort, and luck (if they didn't kill themselves first).
Anyway during the [insert major catastrophe here], the guild was destroyed (mostly) and many of the orbs were lost. Now many years later only a few of the orbs have been recovered and these are guarded very carefully. It is not known how many fo the orbs still exist and nobody knows (or at least admits to know) the whereabouts of the master White orb.

Finis: Notes from the Editor

Hey, not bad for the longest issue yet! Hopefully we can keep this thing going! Well, I hope all of you have a great time during finals! I will try my best to come up with the next issue during these next two weeks, to give you all something more interesting to read than a textbook!
In the meantime, keep the faith! Since, in our case, no news is good news, perhaps those knuckleheads over at T$R will decide to do something favorable with the Dangerous Journeys system... :)

Always Faithful: Hawkeye

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