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[Iron Heroes] Let's do it. Howard and Lovecraft: CoC d20 Magic in IH

Calculon

Emergency Comedy Hologram
Validated User
Okay, we've read much about how even Mike Mearls wasn't fully satisfied with the Iron Heroes magic system. I'm not entirely versed in it myself; there are a few things I'm not sure about but I'm going to be re-reading and I'll try to hammer it together.

So, we've got this treasure trove of material in Call of Cthulhu d20: a vast bestiary of horrifying weird creatures (leaving aside the Old Ones and Elder Gods for a moment), and a vast grimoire of soul-destroying magic.

For the moment, let's focus on the magic. Most of the spells won't transfer directly to Iron Heroes' Arcanists. The Ability Score damage would be crippling, and there's no "Sanity" to drain (though I can't see why Mana wouldn't be an acceptable substitute). There also is no such thing as a "level" of spell. Finally, the system for "learning" CoC d20 spells is to find a Book That Should Not Be Opened, and sacrifice some sanity to read it and find a random number of spells.

Now, the thing is, the CoC d20 spells are exactly the sort of thing that Howardian "dabblers-in-what-should-not-be-messed-about-with" spellcasters are always pulling out of their hats - turning into snakes, summoning and banishing monsters, and lighting people on fire. It's a flavourful fit. Also, the Books from which you find spells would be situated fairly deliberately, in keeping with IH's "it's not all about random treasure" and "magic things are plot points" tenets.

So. To "import" CoC d20's magic, we'd need to either write up conversions of the spells (and the list of spells is quite fixed, which is nice) or we'd need to change the Arcanist to have some sort of "Sanity" or something, replacing the Mana pool, and find something that replaces the Ability Damage (probably Mastery level, and you suffer the drain if you overreach).

Anyone feel like this is a project we could take on here at teh RPG.net?
 

Brand_Robins

Retired User
As with Jim, I think this idea is MADE OF AWESOME.

However, as with Jim, I have no copy of CoC d20 and so.....
 

Sprue Rubbles

makes rubbles from sprues
Can anyone post a link to where Mike Mearls actually states that he is unhappy with the magic system for Iron Heroes? I found a design journal entry where he grumbles about the magic system in Mystic Secrets.


Regardless, I would love to see a conversion as well. Since Monte Cook was involved with both I wonder if this has come up with the folks at Malhavoc.
 

Anders

compagnon du crépuscule
I, however, am sitting here with CoC as my only d20 rulebook. I think this is the definite push for me when it comes to purchasing Iron Heroes! :)

(Don't expect any help with the conversion, though... ;) )
 

Brand_Robins

Retired User
Sprue Rubbles said:
Can anyone post a link to where Mike Mearls actually states that he is unhappy with the magic system for Iron Heroes? .
http://www.iron-league.com/displaycontent.cfm?iCatId=6&iConID=18

He says that it is the part of the book with which he is least happy, the exact quote being:

Q. Which part of your vision was the most difficult to design?

A. The magic system is the one part that I'm the least happy with. I'm not sure that IH should even have a magic system, but it's a part of fantasy that the game needs. It'd be dumb to have a fantasy game without magic, but I really don't feel I hit the mark as well as I could have.
 

Sprue Rubbles

makes rubbles from sprues
ah thanks. I guess this IS his weak point. I only got to skim over the magic last night and I didn't think it was too bad especially because of the disaster rule and his perception that it's chaotic.


Anyways, back to the conversion idea...

Off the top of my head, in order to keep the ruleset to a minimum, perhaps the sanity mechanic can be changed to "negative" feats much like you can have levels of feats, maybe someone could create a list of feat progression for "going crazy."
 

mearls

really should be working.
Validated User
squideye said:
Anyone feel like this is a project we could take on here at teh RPG.net?
Yes, that's an awesome idea. Please do it, if only so I can use it myself!

(Seriously, this is my favorite thing as a designer. I love seeing people take stuff I do and remix, redo, and improve it. I'm really curious to see what comes of this.)
 

drnuncheon

Registered User
Validated User
squideye said:
So. To "import" CoC d20's magic, we'd need to either write up conversions of the spells (and the list of spells is quite fixed, which is nice) or we'd need to change the Arcanist to have some sort of "Sanity" or something, replacing the Mana pool, and find something that replaces the Ability Damage (probably Mastery level, and you suffer the drain if you overreach).
Sanity in the CoC magic system is a limit on the number of spells you know, while the ability drain is a limit on the number of spells you can cast at any one time. As such, I'd replace the ability damage with the mana pool, something like this: "A spell does ability damage as per CoCd20, but you can spend an equal number of points from your mana pool to counteract that damage."

For limiting the number of spells you know, perhaps something like the Taint system from UA could be used - the forbidden knowledge warps the spellcaster physically as well as mentally.

J
 
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