Young Wizards pre-production

Today we bring you a work in progress, made up jsut for fun. I started this a while back after reading Wizards’ A practical Guide to Wizardry. It’s a fun little book and quite inexpensive if you want a copy. It’s more or less a cute Harry-Potter-meets-DnD book. So I decided to set about building a game to match. The result is definitely not ready for primetime. For one thing, I still have to finish writing up all of the spell seeds, class schedules, and monsters. (Now there’s a sentence I didn’t see myself writing…) Feel free to post comments or suggestions. Anything accepted would certainly be noted in the final free version.

Young Wizards

A D20 Sourcebook for All Ages

Why? Because there isn’t a Harry Potter Role-Playing Game yet.

Every child wants to be at least three of the following things: a superhero, a different superhero, a heroic warrior fantasy hero, and a wizard who may or may not be a superhero. Between this and Champions, we’ve got you covered.

Inspired by Wizards or the Coast’s charming A Practical Guide to Wizardry, we present Young Wizards, a Fantasy Role-playing game with heart. Yes, this is blatantly a Harry Potter rip-off. So what?

What This Game Is

This book covers the rules for playing a promising young wizard, eager to have all kinds of adventures while learning the basics of magic. The system works in any number of settings, with several points in mind.

First, we need enough wizards to populate a school with at least several hundred. Second, magic must be commonplace enough for students (or their families) to casually purpose magic items. Third, all adults are completely incompetent, but not that it shows too obviously, while the children keep everything secret from them for no good reason.

Yes, all of those are important. Adults never do anything much, unless the kids are already as good. Adults never take proactive measures, never question the obviously lying students, and never take heed of the blatant warnings. There are no useful police around, the kids need enough convenient magic to defeat the powerful but erratic or dim villains

Fortunately, the same goes in reverse for the villains. Their plans are always vulnerable to sabotage by a few random kids, who mysteriously stumble across convenient clues. They never settle for immediately killing the children who stumble across their most evil of evil schemes, and they definitely don’t kill the ones who keep messing up their plans time and time again. If  the villains do try to hurt the kids, expect them to use spells of dubious usefulness instead of, say, stabbing one with a sword, or in more modern games, using a gun.

Playing the Game

The most common tool for determining results in the game is a roll of three six-sided dice. Most checks in the game use this, and more information appears in relevant sections. You may need some different kinds of dice, or simple more of them, for spell effects.

Character Creation

Step 0: Basic Characters

Every character has several basic abilities no matter what. He or she has 4 hit points (health). He or she can carry 3 Major magical items at once. And the character will possess some basic magical abilities.

Example: Therrin, a new student to Swinemole Academy, hasn’t even begun to figure out his own talents. However, as a base he can carry 3 Major magic items (that is, notable and important magic goodies). He is also tough enough to take up to 4 points of damage before falling unconscious.

Step 1: Assign Attributes

You have nine attributes which form the basis for your character. These are Strength, Agility, Willpower, Curiosity, Artistry, Memory, Charisma, Courage, and Leadership, and each one does something special for you. You may assign the following numbers as your please.

+3, +2, +2, +1, +1, +0, +0, -1, -2

Strength tends to be associated with Courage and Charisma, Agility with Artistry and Curiosity, and Willpower with Leadership and Memory, but you may assign values as you please. These will control how effectively you accomplish tasks, including using spells.

Strength – Modifies starting hit points and how many Major magic items you can carry.
Courage – Modifies Protection magic and resistance to fear or some Destruction magic.
Charisma –  Modifies Enchantment magic and persuasion.

Agility – Modifies your ability to dodge enemy spells, target foes, and many skills.
Artistry – Modifies Illusion magic and crafting skills.
Curiosity – Modifies Information magic, investigation skills, and resistance to illusions.

Willpower – Modifies Destruction magic and resistance to Enchantment magic.
Leadership – Modifies Summoning magic and resistance to Change magic.
Memory – Modifies Change magic and lore skills.

Example: Therrin chooses to make Courage his best attribute, at +3. He will enjoy a +3 on every skill associated with Courage, as well as a +3 bonus on any roll to resist fear and cast Protection magic.

He also chooses to put a -1 in his Strength score, because he’s not very tough. This changes his basic hit points to only 3, and he will only be able to carry 2 Major magic items at once. He also has a -1 penalty to all Strength-based skills.

Step 2: Choose Perks and a Hindrance

Every character receives two Perks and one Hindrance. Every character receives the Academy Knowledge perk for free for their specific academy.

Perk List

Academy Knowledge – +1 when defending against any spell cast by someone who learned at your school. You can take this more times, if you’ve made a study of the techniques of other schools, too – just pick a new school each time. If you’re a third-year or better student, you can take this again (for a total of +2 defense) for your own school.

Bonus Caster Level – +1 Caster Level for a spell school. You may only take this once.

Familiar – Familiars are handy friends and companions on your adventures. As long as you live, your familiar will assist you in every way. While still an animal, a familiar is more intelligent that others of his or her kind, and can perform many useful tasks for you.

Free Spell Slot – You gain a free spell point to cast any spell. (As a starting character, Great Attribute is a better choice).

Great Attribute – +1 to an Attribute (may only be taken once)

Magical Resources – You gain a free Major magical item at the start of the game.

My Specialty – +2 Caster Level with a magical specialty. Pick a specialty, such as fire spells for Destruction magic or enhancement spells with Change magic. You get the +2 Caster Levels whenever you cast that kind of spell.

Wealthy Family – You receive 3 silver coins per game session instead of 1. You may take this up to three times. The second time, you receive 6m silver coins per game session. The third, you receive 1 whole gold coin (equal to 10 silver).

Hindrances

Poor Family – You receive no Allowance and have 1 fewer Major magic item as a starting character. You may not take this and Wealthy Family.

Role-Playing  – You have an appropriate disadvantage for your character which isn’t covered mechanically. This kind of disadvantage is always very annoying to the character, and you do have to actually play it out. However, it should be fun to play with for everyone, too. You should bring it up once every session or two even if your Gamemaster doesn’t – or be prepared to take another Hindrance instead. Examples include having a thick foreign accent, so that even other characters can often fail to understand you, or having very bad eyesight.

Weak Defense – You are at a -1 penalty against one spell school’s effects.

Weak School – Pick a spell school. You have -1 Caster Level in it. You must take at least one class from that school per year.

Step 4: Choose Skills

Each point in an attribute assist with every use of its associated skills. However, every point in an attribute also gives you 1 free skill point you may place into a single skill for that attribute.

Example: Therrin [XXX]

Acrobatics (Agi) : If you need somersaults and rolls, or to stand on your head, it’s time to pull out the Acrobatics skill.
Animal Care (Lea) : The proper care, discipline, and attention to riding falls under Animal Care.
Bargain (Cha) : Convince people to trade, and make better trades yourself.
Brawling (Cou) : Not all fighting comes down to magic. When duels devolve to punching and wrestling, it’s the Brawling skill which counts.
Climb (Agi) : Climbing does exactly what it says: you climb up something
Combat (Str) : Not many wizards trains with real weaponry, but even the mightiest magic only goes so far…
Command (Lea) : Command lets you tell less-important people what to do, and in Young Wizards, that’s mostly means younger students. While this starts out a weak skill, it becomes quite powerful later in your education.
Craft: Cloth (Art) : All Craft skills allow you to work with a specific material or style to create a useful or artistic object. In this case, it covers the use of cloth in creating clothing, sails,  tents, or anything else.
Craft: Metalwork (Art): [Covers all metalworking skills]
Craft: Other (Art) : [Create a new skill as appropriate.]
Craft: Painting (Art) : [Covers drawing, sketching, painting, and other 2-d artwork]
Craft: Paper (Art) : [Covers paper-folding and origami]
Craft: Stonework (Art) : [Covers masonry, stone carving, and sculpture]
Craft: Weaving (Art) : [Covers any kind of weaving, from baskets to sweaters]
Craft: Woodwork (Art) : [Covers all woodworking, from making bows to cabinets]
Followers (Lea) : Followers nets you a number of servants equal to the points you put into the skill (your attribute does not count). They’re not very useful individually, but it’s always helpful to have a few minions
Gadgetry (Mem) : Gadgetry covers the creation and maintenance of mechanical devices.
Listen (Cur) : Listen helps you notice and understand what you hear.
Lore: Arcane Magic (Mem) : All Lore skills cover your knowledge of an academic subject. Arcane lore is knowledge of arcane spells and techniques.
Lore: Divine Magic (Mem) : [Covers divine powers and religion]
Lore: Geography (Mem) : [Covers the lay of the land, national borders, rivers, and seas, etc.]
Lore: History (Mem) : [Covers past events and known history]
Lore: Monster (Mem) : [Covers the biology, habits, and powers of monsters]
Lore: Other (Mem) : [Create a new lore skill as appropriate.]
Lore: Wizards (Mem) : [Covers specific wizards, including those in political positions, important researchers or teachers, and anyone the character might have met or would know about.]
Jumping (Str) : Leaping, vaulting, and all other hops of all fall under Jumping.
Perform (Art) : Play an instrument, dance, sing, or some other active art.
Persuasion (Cha) :  Persuasion is the skill to use on someone of your own social standing – a student on your own year.
Pleading (Cha) : When you suck-up to a teacher or beg staff for supplies, Pleading is what to use.
Puzzles (Cur) : When playing cards, chess, or solving the crossword, Puzzles is the way to go.
Resistance (Wil) : Resistance protects you from the social skills and spells of others, giving you a defense against flattery and bullying alike.
Running (Str) : Running simply allows you to move swiftly, a useful skill any time.
Search (Cur) : Search allows a thorough and systematic inspection of anything – from books to the entire academies.
Sneak (Agi) : Move around quietly or hide carefully.
Spot (Cur) : Use this skill to notice hidden clues or connections.
Steal (Agi) : Take something without being noticed, hide an object, or
Stunt (Cou) : When you try something utterly crazy, this skill lets you come through unscathed whether you succeed or not.
Swimming (Str) : If you want to become a strong swimmer, this is the obvious choice.
Throw (Agi) : Throwing accurately isn’t easy unless you master this.

Note: Number of skills per attribute
Strength  4
Agility  5
Willpower 1
Curiosity 4
Artistry  2*
Memory 2*
Charisma 2
Courage 2
Leadership 3

Step 5: Pick your Class Schedule

Almost done! One last big decision remains: what classes do you want to take?

Every character’s coursework is important, because it decides what spell seeds you know, and therefore what magic you can create. Don’t worry if you can’t get all the spell you want right now – you’ll eventually have more chances to learn spells. Additionally, every character must take certain classes, so you will have a basic grounding in some spells.

Step 6: Finishing Up

Calculate Spell Points: Every character gets a daily allotment of spells equal the total value of all attributes. Thus, a starting character with no modifiers gets 6 Spell Points. Each one is used to cast one spell.

Every character gain an allowance of one whole silver coin per game session, unless they modified it with Perks. Characters start play with their allowance ad the basic magic items required for school.

Skills

Why put skills before the actual magic? Well, skills have generally been honed by the character over time, so they’re much more personal and a greater part of your identity. Additionally, even a character who never studies magic has some skills. Monsters and warriors alike possess skills.

Skill tests are quite simple. Take three 6-sided dice and roll them. Add the results of all three dice to the skill and its relevant attribute. A result of 17 or 18 is always at least a minimal success, while results of 3 or 4 are always at least a minimal failure. In this cases, the Game Master sets the results based on your skill level, the situation, and what seems reasonable.

The Game Master will set a difficulty for each action you attempt, based on how hard or complicated it is. Sample Difficulties Classes (DC) for each skill are listed below. Usually a DC 5 item doesn’t require active rolls – they’re for comparison unless the character using it is totally useless. On the other hand, some tasks are simply beyond the scope of skills for children (not always adults), and these are marked “Imp” for Impossible.

Skill List

Acrobatics (Agility)

Acrobatics is the skill which measures your ability to somersault, roll, balance and tumble. Skilled acrobats move with grace.

DC 5 Do a cartwheel
DC 10 Stand on your head
DC 15 Roll after being thrown to avoid damage
DC 20 Backflips
DC 25 Unassisted forward flips
DC 30 Safely fall from a tower
Imp Walk across a thin string while blown about by powerful gusts

I’m going to stop with some of the less-neccessary formatting, since I’ll wind up doing it all over again later.

Animal Care (Leadership)

Everything to do with caring for, riding and training animals falls under Animal Care. Those who develop their talents here find that beasts of all kinds pay attention.

DC 5 Domesticate a puppy
DC 10 Ride a tame horse
DC 15 Teach an old dog a new trick
DC 20 Tame a wild horse
DC 25 Herd cats
DC 30 Tame a wild tiger
Imp Tame an angry dragon

Bargain (Charisma)

Salesmen and snake-oil sellers alike use Bargain to make deals, and more than one budding wizard has done the same. Anything to do with trade falls under Bargain, from making deals to getting discounts, or even knowing what’s hot for trade and what’s not.

DC 5 Find a coupon
DC 10 Reduce prices by 5%
DC 15 Convince a shopowner to let you in after-hours.
DC 20 Reduce prices by 10%
DC 25 Convince someone to trade their prized and treasured item.
DC 30 Reduce prices by 15%
Imp Convince someone to trade their beloved family heirloom

Brawling (Courage)

Brawling is the sweet science – the skills of boxing, wrestling, and all kinds of hand-to-hand fighting.  Any and all

DC 5 Hit a punching bag
DC 10 Punch a classmate
DC 15 Grapple a classmate and hinder their spellcasting
DC 20
DC 25 Shatter a block of ice
DC 30 Land a hit on a master martial artist
Imp Punch a ghost

Climb (Agility)

Kids love to climb all over things – and so do adults when they think nobody’s watching. Naturally, Climbing is the skill to use. Whether you’re swinging from tree limbs or hammering in pitons at 15,000 feet, it takes balance, judgment, grace and skill.

DC 5 Climb the stairs
DC 10 Climb a tree with many branches
DC 15 Climb a tree with sparse branches
DC 20 Climb a cliff
DC 25 Climb a near-vertical mountainside
DC 30 Climb a stone tower bare-handed
Imp Climb a smooth, greasy surface bare-handed

Combat (Strength)

Combat is an unusual skill for Wizards. Most prefer to master the arts of magic instead of war. Still, even magical swords don’t run out of energy like wizards throwing spells, and even the most powerful spellcaster is helpless once stuck with a blade. And some wizards greatly prefer to use their magic to assist them in putting that blade where they want it…

DC 5 Avoid stabbing yourself
DC 10 Accurately place an arrow into a target thirty feet away
DC 15 Win a fencing match
DC 20 Throw a knife into a tree
DC 25 Hit the target with an arrow while blindfolded
DC 30 Smoothly slice a falling brush lengthwise
Imp Parry a blow from the Black Knight’s unstoppable doom-blade, Damocles.

Command (Lea) : Command lets you tell less-important people what to do, and in Young Wizards, that’s mostly means younger students. While this starts out a weak skill, it becomes quite powerful later in your education. This skill is different from Followers, because your minions are always temporary.
DC 5 Order a puppy to sit
DC 10 Order a lower-classman to do your chores
DC 15 Order a lower-classman to do your homework
DC 20 Order a classmate to do your chores
DC 25 Order a classmate to do your homework
DC 30 Order an upper-classman to do your chores
Imp Order a professor to sit

Craft: Cloth (Art) : All Craft skills allow you to work with a specific material or style to create a useful or artistic object. In this case, it covers the use of cloth in creating clothing, sails, tents, or anything else.
DC 5 Make a dishrag
DC 10 Sew competently with close instruction
DC 15 Cut a tent with
DC 20 Sew stuffed animals
DC 25 Tailor a pricy suit
DC 30 Make the most elegant of clothwork
Imp Sew a dress fit for an empress from moldy burlap

Craft: Metalwork (Art): [Covers all metalworking skills]
DC 5 Bend a nail ninety degrees
DC 10 Forge a nail
DC 15 Craft a moderately complex work, like a birdcage
DC 20 Reliably produce steel with a low-quality furnace
DC 25 Craft extremely complicated work, such as an intricate puzzle
DC 30 Forge a quality sword from cold iron using a rock for a hammer
Imp Hammer cold iron into a tool with your forehead

Craft: Other (Art) : [Create a new skill as appropriate.]
DC 5
DC 10
DC 15
DC 20
DC 25
DC 30
Imp

Craft: Painting (Art) : [Covers drawing, sketching, painting, and other 2-d artwork]
DC 5 Toon-like doodles
DC 10 Quality pictures or paintings
DC 15 Recreate events in a drawing
DC 20 Classmates pay you for art
DC 25 Your scenes are breathtaking
DC 30 A youthful equivalent of the Mona Lisa
Imp Your art hypnotizes those who see it

Craft: Paper (Art) : [Covers paper-folding, calligraphy and origami]
DC 5 Make a paper airplane
DC 10 Fold commonplace origami
DC 15 Make paper armor
DC 20 Fold beautiful origami
DC 25 Craft your own high-quality paper from almost any plant fiber
DC 30 Fold paper into effective tools
Imp Make a paper airplane… and glide around on it

Craft: Stonework (Art) : [Covers masonry, stone carving, and sculpture]
DC 5 Break a rock to two mostly-even pieces
DC 10 Make rough decorative stone walls
DC 15 Carve a professional block of stone
DC 20 Find a weak point in a wall
DC 25 Replacement arms for the Venus de Milo
DC 30 Michelangelo’s David
Imp Personally carve Mr. Rushmore

Craft: Weaving (Art) : [Covers any kind of weaving, from baskets to sweaters]
DC 5 Tie a knot
DC 10 Knit a sweater
DC 15 Weave a (very comfy) blanket
DC 20 Weave body armor… with the right materials
DC 25 Weave advanced futuristic body armor from modern-day materials
DC 30 Weave a basket from soggy straw… while underwater
Imp Weave rotten straw into effective body armor

Craft: Woodwork (Art) : [Covers all woodworking, from making bows to cabinets]
DC 5 Sharpen a stick
DC 10 Craft a strong and strong wooden pole or beam
DC 15 Craft a simple bow
DC 20 Construct fine wood work
DC 25 Craft a masterful bow
DC 30 Build a railroad ridge from beanpoles and cornstalks
Imp Chew green pine wood into solid oak beams

Followers (Lea) : Followers nets you a number of servants equal to the points you put into the skill (your attribute does not count). They’re not very useful individually, but it’s always helpful to have a few minions.

Gadgetry (Mem) : Gadgetry covers the creation and maintenance of mechanical devices.
DC 5 You manage to use a crowbar
DC 10 Set up a chain and pulley
DC 15 You can build all kinds of hobby
DC 20 You can make simple engines and fix modern vehicles
DC 25 Rube Goldberg has nothing on you
DC 30 You can repair the Space Shuttle
Imp Perpetual-motion devices

Listen (Cur) : Listen helps you notice and understand what you hear.
DC 5 Hear someone calling your name
DC 10 Make out a garbled message
DC 15 Few could sneak up on you even when asleep
DC 20 You can often track by sound
DC 25 You have little-to-no penalties at night
DC 30 You get a tingle down your spine if someone mentions your name nearby
Imp  Hear anything at all after being deafened

Lore: Arcane Magic (Mem) : All Lore skills cover your knowledge of an academic subject. Arcane lore is knowledge of arcane spells and techniques.
DC 5 Wizards use magic
DC 10 Wizards need wands to focus their magic
DC 15 You know the basic concepts of most common spells, even if you haven’t mastered them
DC 20 Wizards use magic gestures and items to narrow magical channels and cast exactly the effects they want
DC 25 You know the details of every common spell in existence, and many rare ones
DC 30 Wizards manipulate the aetheric forces through the concentration of will, use of symbolic mystical materials, and body positioning, creating alterations in the universal constants which define the probability of events and even the rules of reality
Imp Create a new branch of magic

Lore: Divinity (Mem) : [Covers divine powers and religion]
DC 5 Some people, like, believe in gods, right?
DC 10
DC 15
DC 20
DC 25
DC 30
Imp Deities from numerous dimensions drop by for afternoon tea

Lore: Geography (Mem) : [Covers the lay of the land, national borders, rivers, and seas, etc.]
DC 5 You know your own address
DC 10 You’ve got the lay of the land
DC 15 You remember most major nations and their capitals
DC 20 You know every quirk of the region around you
DC 25 The details of geography never escape you
DC 30 You could re-draw by hand every alley and driveway in the county
Imp GPS devices are measured against you

Lore: History (Mem) : [Covers past events and known history]
DC 5 Romans wore togas, right?
DC 10 You vaguely recall a few important dates
DC 15 You’re fairly well-read
DC 20 You could write popular history
DC 25 You’re a respected historian yourself
DC 30 You’re in constant contact with esteemed historians
Imp You routinely correct history books based solely on your superior knowledge

Lore: Monster (Mem) : [Covers the biology, habits, and powers of monsters]
DC 5 Undead aren’t alive
DC 10 Elementals have opposite-element weaknesses
DC 15 Vampires can’t cross running water
DC 20 Giants must offer hospitality if you request it politely
DC 25 You know how to stop a Hydra’s regeneration
DC 30 Dragons have a one-inch unarmored point which leads directly to the heart
Imp Monsters gain weaknesses because you just declared it

Lore: Other (Mem) : [Create a new lore skill as appropriate.]
DC 5 The ancient secrets of knotting your own shoelaces
DC 10 The usual hiding places for lost keys and socks
DC 15 Your grandmother’s phone number
DC 20 The name of your forgotten friend from kindergarten
DC 25 The exact wording of a dictionary definition
DC 30 What you ate for lunch six years, two months, and seven days ago
Imp The details of your own birth

Lore: Wizards (Mem) : [Covers specific wizards, including those in political positions, important researchers or teachers, and anyone the character might have met or would know about.]
DC 5 You recall your own spell list
DC 10 You recall the most important wizards today
DC 15 You recall the structure of wizard government
DC 20 You recall the  notable spells of most famous wizards
DC 25 You recall which wizards really influence events behind the scenes
DC 30 You recall that Dark Lord del’Nasty’s true name is Dastardly Don Lerk
Imp You recall the details of Dark Lord del’Nasty’s secret research

Jumping (Str) : Leaping, vaulting, and all other hops of all fall under Jumping.
DC 5 Jump over a stream
DC 10 Jump a hurdle
DC 15 Pole-vault a chasm
DC 20 Olympic high jump competitor
DC 25 Jump to the second story with legs alone
DC 30 Jump out of a fifth-story window… and walk away
Imp Leap tall buildings in a single bound

Perform (Art) : Play an instrument, dance, sing, or some other active art.
DC 5 I’m a Little Teapot
DC 10 Decent piano player
DC 15 You may not be a star, but you could dance with them
DC 20 You regularly play for money, and don’t go hungry
DC 25 You may not be a Tsar, but you could dance for one
DC 30 Faeries weep at the memory of you
Imp The Brown Note

Persuasion (Cha) :  Persuasion is the skill to use on someone of your own social standing – a
student on your own year.
DC 5 “Hold these books while I go to the restroom”
DC 10 “You should join our study group.”
DC 15 “Can I copy your homework?”
DC 20 “Can you do my homework?”
DC 25 “Hold this incriminating evidence while I go tell a professor”
DC 30 “Dare you to jump off the tower!”
Imp “Hey, let me test this chainsaw on your precious torso.”

Pleading (Cha) : When you suck-up to a teacher or beg staff for supplies, Pleading is what to use.
DC 5 Convince a teacher to give a pop quiz
DC 10 Convince a teacher to give extra potion supplies
DC 15 Convince the custodian to clean a mess early
DC 20 Convince a teacher to offer extra credit
DC 25 Convince a teacher you deserve a better grade
DC 30 Convince a custodian to keep quit about that bubbling cauldron in the bathroom
Imp Convince a teacher to falsify grades

Puzzles (Cur) : When playing cards, chess, or solving the crossword, Puzzles is the way to go.
DC 5 Solve a well-known riddle
DC 10 Solve a simple guessing game
DC 15 Solve a crossword
DC 20 Solve a Rubik’s cube
DC 25 Piece together a page from a shredded mass of paper
DC 30 Sphinxes have been known to ask for new riddles
Imp Solve Fermat’s Last Theorem

Resistance (Wil) : Resistance protects you from the social skills and spells of others, giving you a
defense against flattery and bullying alike.
DC 5 Resist your worst enemy demanding your life for stick of gum
DC 10
DC 15
DC 20
DC 25
DC 30 Resist your favorite professor offering your greatest desire for the slightest favor
Imp Resist flawlessly-performed mind control spells

Running (Str) : Running simply allows you to move swiftly, a useful skill any time.
DC 5 One foot in front of the other
DC 10 You avoid embarrassing yourself
DC 15 You routinely win school sprints
DC 20 Four-minute mile
DC 25 Respectable Marathon time
DC 30 Olympic-level sprint
Imp Faster than a speeding bullet

Search (Cur) : Search allows a thorough and systematic inspection of anything – from books to
the entire academies.
DC 5 Search your desk
DC 10 Research common information – available in any decent book on it
DC 15 Search a house
DC 20 Research complex subjects – something only available in rare documents
DC 25 Search a huge castle
DC 30 Filter through the contents of an entire library
Imp Locate a needle in a haystack… that’s on fire

Sneak (Agi) : Move around quietly or hide carefully.
DC 5 Sneak past the room of a sleeping teacher
DC 10 Hide under the bed
DC 15 Duck out of class early
DC 20 Hide yourself in
DC 25 Set up elaborate machinery
DC 30 Hide from a team of hunters in an empty room
Imp Build a wall around an alert guard without him noticing

Spot (Cur) : Use this skill to notice hidden clues or connections.
DC 5 See a tree branch in front of your face
DC 10 See a friend across a busy room
DC 15 Notice the similarities in two books secretly by the same author
DC 20 Realize you’ve seen a certain man in three places today – he’s following you!
DC 25 Find the hidden text encoded in a perfectly normal book
DC 30 Notice a bead of sweat in poor light
Imp See a paint fleck in a completely dark room

Steal (Agi) : Take something without being noticed, hide an object, or
DC 5 Take an unattended item in an empty room
DC 10 Pick a cheap lock
DC 15 Pick a pocket
DC 20 Unlock a bank vault
DC 25 Pick an alert person’s pocket
DC 30 Figure out the weak points in the magical security of a master wizard
Imp Pick a pocket… and get underpants

Stunt (Cou) : When you try something utterly crazy, this skill lets you come through unscathed
whether you succeed or not.
DC 5 Bellyflop into a pool
DC 10 Jump from the bleachers
DC 15 Stand while riding a horse
DC 20 Leap from a tower
DC 25 Surf a tsunami
DC 30 Eat a jar of Jellyjuice without losing your bones.
Imp Fling yourself into a chipper shredder

Swimming (Str) : If you want to become a strong swimmer, this is the obvious choice.
Throw (Agi) : Throwing accurately isn’t easy unless you master this.
DC 5 Float in a calm lake
DC 10 Swim 100 meters
DC 15 Dive from the high board
DC 20 Rescue a drowning swimmer
DC 25 Outswim a shark
DC 30 Swim across a raging, stormy sea
Imp Swim across the ocean

Using Magic

Knowing the theory of magic is merely a bit of knowledge. Practicing magic takes more work. Actually using it successfully can be quite difficult. But knowing when and how to use it – now that’s the hard part.

Characters in Young Wizards don’t have to memorize spells, and they don’t have to write a hundred different tricks in a spellbook, either. Instead, we generalize. We assume that characters studying magic learn a variety of spells within the fields they study, and can use them at will  until they run out of energy.

That doesn’t mean a character can whip up any effect he or she likes with a basic effect, however. The character must continue to study those magical effects in order to develop the ability to use more and more powerful spells. Additionally, the character must know the specific alteration techniques – like expanding the spell to affect an area, or making it last longer.

Actually casting a spell is simple. Much like skill rolls, take three six-sided dice, roll them, and add all the faces. Then add in any bonuses or penalties from Attributes, Perks, wands and other special bonuses. If that’s equal or higher to the total difficulty from the spell effect and any modifiers, the spell is cast and you mark off one of your spell points.

However, there are a few limits and complexities to worry about, so read on.

Caster Levels and Wizardry

As wizards become more and more skilled, they gain Caster Levels. Each wizard character starts his or her studies with one Caster Level. Each year of study gives one additional Caster Level. A wizard will therefore have Caster Level when he or she starts play, and a total of five after finishing four years of study.

Caster Levels are very important. Many spells become more powerful based on the Caster Level of the user. There are other ways to get more Caster Levels, and therefore more powerful spells. Some magic items grant special-purpose Caster Levels, for instance. Wands are also a good way to get specialty Caster Levels.

Characters with a wand properly-attuned to a certain field of magic gain +1 Caster Level and a +1 bonus on the skill check for that entire field of magic. Many starting wands are not attuned to a specific field of magic, because young wizards should be encouraged to experiment a bit. So getting a properly attuned Wand is a good idea once you have some spells, but it isn’t important right at the beginning of play.

Characters with a proper Charm also gain a +1 Caster Level and a +1 on the skill check to cast a spell with a specific spell seed, like Fire or Teleport spells.

Classes

No, this game has no character class, but characters certainly have a lot of classes. As characters proceed through their education, they learn new spells and develop talents further. Spells are taught in the order listed, with one spell seed learned in the listed school quarters.

Choosing your classes wisely, but some are required and you must take them. Don’t worry if you miss some effects you really want – you can always take them next year!

General Aptitude
101. Basic Studies. (You can learn spells taught in classes. Levitation, XX)

201. Spellwriting. (You can make scrolls of spells)

301. Spellcraft Theory. (You can design your own spells?)

Alchemy
101. Basic Alchemy.

201. Alchemy II.

301. Alchemy III.

401. Advanced Alchemy.
404. Ingredient Analysis.
403. Potion Design.

Destruction Classes
101. Elemental Spells. You learn to create and focus raw elemental energy. (Conjure Fire, Conjure Ice)

201. Fireballs. You learn to handle and manipulate advanced fire magic. (Explosion, Piercing Flame)
202. Lightning Bolts. You learn to control advanced electricity magic. (Call Lightning, Energize)
203. Ice Storms. You learn to control advanced ice magic. (Freeze, Ice Rain)
204. Magical Missiles. You learn to direct pure magical energy.

301. Acidic Destruction. You learn to use advanced earth forces.
302. Sonic Combat. You learn to control the power of sound.

401. Forcefulness and You (204 req). You learn to control directed kinetic energy.

Information Classes
101. Detection Spells. You learn basic warning-spells of nearby dangers.
102. Scrying. You learn to peer through mystic foci and see things far away.
103. Communication Spells. You learn the art of one-way and two-way messages.

Illusion Classes
101. Lights and Sounds. You learn the basic spells to create active illusions to fool others.
102. Invisibility. You learn how to hide yourself, others, and objects from sight.

Enchantment Classes
101. Curses. You learn how to cause nuisances and hindrances to your foes.
102. Love Spells. You learn to create and instill emotion in a target.

Change Classes
101. Transformation. You learn the basics needed to turn one thing into another.
102. Movement Spells. You learn how to increase speed or move about magically.
103. Enhancement Spells. You learn the ways to amplify a target’s natural strengths.
102. Adv. Transformation.

202. Temporal Adjustment.
203.

Summoning Classes
101. Animal Friends. You learn the basics of calling on ordinary animals as allies.
102. Basic Teleportation. You learn how to transport objects with magic.

201. Summoning Monsters (101 req). You learn to summon and control local monsters.
202. Living Teleportation (102 req). You learn to teleport yourself.

301. Planar Summoning (201 req). You learn to summon outer planar creatures.
302. Object Teleportation (202 req). You learn to transport lots of mass long distances.
303. Long-range Teleportation (202 req). You learn to teleport yourself far away.

401. Gates (301 and 302 req). You learn to create, analyze, and control magical gates.

Protection Classes
101. Shields and Wards. You learn starting personal protection spells.
102. Counterspells. You learn how to cancel other’s magic by sacrificing your own.

201. Bindings (101 req).

301. Magical Immunity (101 and 201 req).

 

Spell Seeds

Alchemy
Itching Powder
Jellyjuice (who needs bones?)

Destruction
Acid (1d4/level armor piercing)
Earth (1d4/level, knockdown)
Electricity (1d6/level, arcing)
Explosion (1d4/level, effective against objects)
Fire (1d6/level, ineffective against armor/objects)
Force (1d2/level, invisible)
Ice (1d4/level, freezing)
Sonic (1d4/level, deafening)
Stone (1d4/level)
Water (1d8/level in water, 1d6 with large nearby source)
Wind (1d2/level, knockdown, armor piercing)

Information
Analyze Magic
Analyze Matter
Hear
Remember
Trigger
See
Speak

Illusion
Darkness
Hide (self)
Image: Animal
Image: Mineral
Image: Vegetable
Light
Sound

Enchantment
Anger
Apathy
Confuse
Float (self)
Friendship
Hold
Levitate (other)
Love
Luck
Unluck

Change
Attribute
Form
Mind
Skill
Time

Summoning
Beast (control an animal)
Monster (control a monster)
Portal (opens tele-portal)
Spirit (control a spirit)
Summon (Call any summon)
Teleport

Protection
Antimagic
Bind
Counterspell
Shield
Ward

Spell Alterations
Increase Power

Short Range
Medium Range
Long Range

Homing

Small Area
Medium Area
Large Area

Short Duration
Medium Duration
Long Duration

 

Familiars

Cat
Dog
Dragon
Ferret
Fox
Lizard
Owl
Pig
Rat
Raven
Snake
Sparrow

 

Magic Items

Minor

Itching Powder
Jellyjuice

Major

Spell scroll

In any case, you get the idea. it’s not quite a D20 product yet, but will probably end up with a nice, big D20 label. I’d certainly enjoy seeing someone play it right alongside Pathfinder. Hopefully that’s enough to give you the sense of what’s coming.

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2 Responses

  1. I think this sounds like a great game, and I look forward to seeing the finished work! Though it’s worth noting that the old d20 label is no more, and this sounds like enough of a variant that using any of the new d20 labels floating around doesn’t seem appropriate. This seems closer to Mutants and Masterminds, for example, than, say, Pathfinder.

    I find myself wondering what the system for character advancement/improvement will look like, partly in the mechanics of improving the character’s stats, but also in what actions undertaken by the PCs will result in experience points (or whatever rubric is used to measure character growth).

    I mention that because it doesn’t seem quite appropriate for the characters here to be constantly killing/defeating enemies to “power-up,” but at the same time players seem to function better when they know ahead of time what actions will (meta-game) benefit their characters. Of course, there’s something to be said for a game that doesn’t function this way (e.g. the players only know what will benefit their characters from an in-game perspective, e.g. money and magic), but it’s a staple of d20 games.

    Beyond that, I’m a bit leery of what seems like a large list of skills when characters get so few skill points. Likewise (and this may be purely nostalgia), I miss having ability scores with numbers, rather than just bonuses, even if this system doesn’t seem any weaker for the changes there. But as far as skills go, there seems to be little room for marked improvement across so diverse a spectrum.

    I also hope that there are in-game reasons for some of the limitations here, such as why you can’t hold more than three major magic items at a time (and, for that matter, what the difference is between “major” magic items and other kinds).

    Still, this sort of game is something which I’m amazed hasn’t been developed for d20 before now, and I can’t wait to see more. Keep up the great work!

  2. To answer briefly (I was going to wait until more people had commentyed, but that ship seems to have sailed)…

    I do understand your love of attribute scores, but it just wasn’t needed for a simplified game. SImpler attributes also feeds into my system (not yet listed) for comparing Adult and Young wizard magic, because they’re not even on the same scale. Suffice it to say that even the most talented starting students do *not* want to cross wands with an wizard at the height of his or her powers. Now, with a couple years of training, the right Perks and a little luck, you can begin to hold your own in your own specialty.

    I was thinking xp earlier, but now I may change it to a simpler attribute/skill/spell improvement system. However, one thing I am changing is ending the endless character improvement loop. Characters don’t get things for adventuring, but improve over time. At various stages in their education they get more points or spells on a quarter-by-quarter basis. However, attribute improvemens are very hard to come by.

    Speaking of which, note that there’s no penalty for lacking skill points on your skill checks. Attributes make up a huge chunk of your skills, so skill points are less important to start. Of course, you gain skills faster than attributes, so a 4-5 character party could reasonably cover almost every skill later on in the game. You are correct in seeing that skills won’t become radically better over the game, though. If that turns out not to be popular, I might strip out the limits on skills, start them off at almost nothing, and add many more skill points to the character development schedule.

    Finally, there is a reason for limiting major magic items (mostly ones with a permanent magical effect). It’s not the weight. Instead, stronger characters are also more magically resiliant and handle a larger active charge. Minor magic items are less effective, but because they get used up, must be replaced – one of the major uses of allowances.

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