Radiance RPG: Electric Bugaloo

AncientSpirits

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The Angel Binder looks pretty cool, though I think resisting the temptation to eat meat has to be the lowest price to pay. "You're saying I can access all this awesome power, and all I have to do is be a vegetarian? Done! Let's go buy some potatoes!"
The vow's limitation is meant to be more flavor than anything else. To be honest, in my experience, players always find a way to minimize a vow's impact regardless of what it is. Maybe it's just my campaigns, but I don't see PCs being forced to have sex, etc either. And playing the silent type is also a trope that I think some players love and work around easily. This is why there is no "flaw" system in Radiance except for the optional insanity cards and those are not easy to ignore. LOL. If you like, you can say that the GM needs to approve the nature of the vow or at least play upon the vow at times, such the PCs are invited to dinner by barbarians (or devils, or...) and it's a faux pas not to eat.
 

AncientSpirits

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2. Binder Monk (Wis)*
A binder monk devotes himself to bind a spirit for 24 hours and otherwise keeps vows of straight and simple living.
Binder Monk Skills: Boost Arcana, Acrobatics, Athletics, Literacy, and Religion checks by +2.
Calisthenics: Once daily after a 5-minute routine, you gain 1d4+1 vitality. This may exceed your normal maximum vitality.
Double Vow: Select 2 vows such as not speaking, eating meat, accepting money, having sex, or moving more than 500 ft from a specific location. When you fail to keep either or both of the 2 vows, you loose access to your binder monk magic abilities for 24 hours.
Lawful Bent: You cannot have a chaotic alignment, and if you even commit a chaotic act, you lose access to Singular Spirit for 24 hours.
Singular SpiritM: You know 1 spirit, and once daily, you can bind that spirit to gain its benefits for 24 after conducting a 2-minute ritual that includes drawing its seal with blood, chalk, salt, or a similar substance. The way you bind the spirit aligns with its legend. There is no vitality or material cost, nor fear of taint, though your appearance shifts to more closely appear like your spirit and your alignment shifts 1 step closer to lawful neutral. Resolve the spirit’s abilities using Wisdom.
Unarmed Strike: You use your entire body including fists, feet, head and torso to deliver damage as a melee weapon. An adjacent foe must resist using Reflex or suffer 1d6 damage (or 1d4 if you are Small). Apply a +1 bonus to your attack roll and add your Strength modifier to your damage roll.
Vocational Skills: Select any 2 skills reflecting your unique background and interests. You enjoy a +5 bonus on checks using those skills.
 

theCimmerian

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This is why it's critical that players generate their PCs BEFORE they come in for game day. You are right: it needn't necessarily take long to make a character, but there are a lot of options and players can drag that out if they can't decide.

Note that multi-classing is described as an optional rule. Also, it's already a rule that a PC can only have 1 theme at time of creation. Only through actual leveling up, can you add a theme. As stated in paragraph 3 on page 108: "With the GM’s permission, you may change a character’s theme up to 2x during his career. However, when creating a character above 1st level, you must always start play with a single theme. When changing themes, you keep awards gained from earlier themes."

I think it's also helpful to ask players to fill out party roles. That's the same across many game systems: stealthy/ranged striker, melee brute, healer/protector, artillery, technician, party face/diplomat/noble, and special movement.
I think a lot of what you write here assumes veteran gamers. I'm trying to take my kids right from Minecraft multiplayer servers (which have a simplified set of DnD class options in some minigames) and Munchkin (the DnD spoof card game) to Radiance without an intermediate stop at DnD or any other RPG.

As for the benefits of pact magic, I like your idea of explicitly saying it does not require radiance dust. After all, it often requires pieces of magical creatures instead. The two main benefits of pact magic are diversity/flexibility and early acquisition of power. You have access to different spirits with very different abilities, perhaps ones that wouldn't normally go together in any class combos. Also, you have access to an advanced tier ability plus two intermediate abilities at 1st level! (Of course, that lasts only 2 minutes, 1/day, but still.) This allows a PC to do stuff he or she can't normally do by literally any other means. Even for a Prodigy, to have 1 advanced and 2 intermediate doesn't come until 5th level, and the prodigy is specifically limited to those abilities, rather than the pactmaker who can switch from day to day.

BTW, thank you loads for your question. This needs to go in the book upfront. :)
Oh, since I didn't have the book yet I didn't realize what prerequisites these pacts have. Sure, if they allow lots of power early then it's very tempting to characters. It also opens up the possibility of low level but exceedingly dangerous adversaries. Though Radiance has plenty of that before Pact Magic too. You probably went over the low requirements to access Pact Magic earlier in the thread, but it's been too long and I've forgotten.
 

AncientSpirits

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I think a lot of what you write here assumes veteran gamers. I'm trying to take my kids right from Minecraft multiplayer servers (which have a simplified set of DnD class options in some minigames) and Munchkin (the DnD spoof card game) to Radiance without an intermediate stop at DnD or any other RPG.
You are right, I was assuming veteran gamers. Maybe it's best to pre-make some characters for them and let them choose. If there are 4 players, then make 5 or 6 characters that cover the various bases. I have 1 player who prefers to not get involved in all the mechanics so we just chat for a few minutes about what kind of character he wants to play and I already know his play style, then I fill out the character details for him. Another option: after they initially settle on something, then print out those pages for them to work from. Thus, they won't have the books in front of them to tempt them ;-). The great thing about 1st level is that everything (except the deity boons) fits somewhere on the character sheet. "Butcher of Braggarton" has 6 pre-made characters though they are level 5.

Oh, since I didn't have the book yet I didn't realize what prerequisites these pacts have. Sure, if they allow lots of power early then it's very tempting to characters. It also opens up the possibility of low level but exceedingly dangerous adversaries. Though Radiance has plenty of that before Pact Magic too. You probably went over the low requirements to access Pact Magic earlier in the thread, but it's been too long and I've forgotten.
It's been quite a while.
 

AncientSpirits

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Today's pactmaker townie:

3. Devil Binder (Con)*
A devil binder is the worst sort of pactmaker, nearly irredeemable, as he focuses on channeling the powers of devils.
Devil Binder: From among standard devil options (RMG, pages 60-63), select 2 kinds such as “Barbazu” and “Harmatula” when taking this ability. You know these as spirits you can bind using Occult Power. When doing so you gain their unique abilities (but not base devil abilities). You must be within 1 step of lawful evil.
Devil Binder Skills: Boost Arcana, Bluff, and Intimidate checks by +3.
Infernal Mana: You start each day with a special pool of 3 vitality points that you can only use to pay the cost of abilities gained by Infernal Pacts. Unlike standard vitality points, you cannot lose these any other way, thus combat damage does not reduce them.
Infernal PactsM: Three times daily, for 1 vitality as a move action, you can bind a spirit you know for 3 rounds. The spirit can be any of 3 fiend constellation spirits, Wheels Turn Within Wheels, or a spirit you know from Devil Binder, but not any other spirit. These spirits’ seals are permanently inked as tattoos on your body. Each use expends 2 gp worth of special fiendish materials. While bound, you acquire the spirit’s physical appearance and you alignment moves 1 step closer to lawful evil. You do not risk acquiring taint. Resolve the spirit’s abilities using Constitution. This ability acts as Occult Pact for the purpose of meeting prerequisites.
More Infernal Lore: You know 3 additional devils (RMG, pages 60-63) that you can bind.
Profane Lore: Apply a +5 bonus on Arcana, Bluff, History, Insight, and Perception checks when dealing with a fiend or recalling lore about fiends. Also, you speak Abyssal and Infernal and have a permanent fiendish sigil on your body.

I am torn between keeping Profane Lore or dropping it and improving Infernal Mana to 10 points daily (that is, from basic to intermediate tier ability). Having more power is of course the usual desire of evil folk, but considering the heavy exposure to fiendish spirits, Profane Lore feels appropriate.

BTW, just now in reviewing this townie, I realize that the angel binder (posted a few days ago) wrongly has 10 design points rather than 9 as it should. I'll remove the angel binder's Taint Immunity ability since the angel binder already ignores the danger of taint when binding.

Oh, the Mexican Netflix show Diablero is fantastic. And it plainly features a demon binder, which is pretty close to the devil binder above though the show's demons are like those in the show Supernatural or Radiance RPG's ashkar fiends.
 

AncientSpirits

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Without further ado:

4. False Vessel (Con)*
A false vessel is a simulacrum, an unnaturally durable faux flesh body crafted by spell or electrotech that houses a sneaky fragment of an occult spirit.
Double Lasting Taint: You permanently have 8 taint points or a number of points 1 less than your Wisdom score, whichever is less. If your taint score ever exceeds your Wisdom, you go insane. Nothing short of Miracle or Wish can remove these permanent taint points.
False Body: You are immune to all ailments including poison and disease. You do not need to breathe, eat or sleep and have no need to make Endurance checks. You cannot be raised from death if slain except using Miracle or Wish. You gain only 1/2 the benefit of spells that heal wound damage. However, once daily, you may attempt a DC 15 Heal check to regain wound points equal to the check result minus 15. Thus, a Heal check with a result of 23 heals 8 wounds.
False Vessel Skills: Boost Arcana, Bluff, and History checks by +3.
Limited Lifespan: Your lifespan equals 1000 days. At the end of the last day, you fall to 0 wounds and die the next round. A Miracle or Wish grants you a normal lifespan.
Singular and Total PactM: Each midnight you automatically bind 1 specific occult spirit decided when taking this ability. If the spirit is exorcized at any time, it rebinds at the next midnight. You do not require materials when binding, nor do you acquire taint when you do so or suffer a change in appearance unless you wish it.
Unnatural Personality: Owing to your otherworldly tainted origins, you permanently suffer a -2 penalty on Charisma-based skill checks.
 

AncientSpirits

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Next up...

5. Ghost Binder (Con)*
A ghost binder focuses on acting as a medium or channel of ghosts rather than lost spirits and often helps right past wrongs.
Breach the Past: You enjoy a +5 bonus on History or +10 1/day.
Ghost Binder: From among standard ghost options (RMG, pages 84-85), select 2 kinds such as “Banshee” and “Wraith” when taking this ability. You know these as spirits you can bind using Occult Power. When doing so you gain their unique abilities (but not base ghost abilities) and your alignment moves 1 step closer to true neutral (rather than neutral evil).
Ghost Binder Skills: You enjoy a +3 bonus on Arcana, Disguise, and Stealth checks.
Haunted PactsM: Three times daily, for 1 vitality as a move action, you can bind a spirit you know for 3 rounds. The spirit can be any of 3 ghoul constellation spirit, Reflections of the Vampire, or a spirit you know from Ghost Binder, but not any other spirit. These spirits’ seals are permanently inked as tattoos on your body. Each use expends 2 gp worth of special undead materials. While bound, you acquire the spirit’s physical appearance and you alignment moves 1 step closer to neutral evil. You do not risk acquiring taint. Resolve the spirit’s abilities using Constitution. This ability acts as Occult Pact for the purpose of meeting prerequisites.
Not ThereM: As an immediate action you wink out of existence until the start of your next turn. Costs 2 vitality.
Slow to Act: You suffer a -3 penalty on Initiative checks.
 

AncientSpirits

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Today's townie:

6. Occult Detective (Int)*
An occult detective solves puzzles and tracks quarries by tapping the omniscient senses of occult spirits.
Combat Ready: You are proficient with Medium armor plus the dagger and 2 specific weapons of your choice.
Tracking: Boost Survival checks by +3, on by +10 2x daily when using the tracking sub-skill.
Omniscient PactsM: Three times daily, for 1 vitality as a move action, you can bind a spirit you know for 3 rounds. The spirit can be any magi constellation spirit, Vestige of the Hag Countess, or any other 2 spirits that you already know, but not any other spirits. These spirits’ seals are permanently inked as tattoos on your body. Each use expends 2 gp of special materials. While bound, you acquire the spirit’s physical appearance and your alignment moves 1 step closer to lawful neutral. You do not risk acquiring taint. Exorcism ends the effect. Resolve the spirit’s abilities using Intelligence. This ability acts as Occult Pact for the purpose of meeting prerequisites.
Locate SuspectM: Once weekly, after 1 minute of concentration, you learn the distance and direction to the nearest person within 2 miles who has ever committed a crime (RPG pg 258) against a specific named person. Costs 5 vitality.
Occult Detective Skills: You enjoy a +4 bonus on Arcana, History, Insight, Stealth, and Streetwise checks.

Commentary: Needless to say, this townie is quite rare, even among binders. The ability to locate a suspect might sound game breaking, but consider that it only IDs someone within range who has committed any kind of crime, which might even be petty theft or a moment of slander. The occult detective's hidden strength is of course pactmaking. Besides Vestige of the Hag Countess, which grants mind reading, the 3 magi spirits are: Portentia, Xalen d'Marek, and Cave Mother. They can question a corpse, Q&A with spirits in another realm to answer a question, and the locating an object.
 
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