So I'm planning to run "Against the Slave Lords" on Roll20 this sunday, and I'm not sure where to set it. I can use the default greyhawk setting, but then I'd have to lookup all the lore on Greyhawk (a setting I've never used) I'm thinking of either using the Savage Coast setting, or just leaving it vague and fleshing it out as I go. I'm leaning towards the savage coast, but therein lies the problem. How would I handle Spell-like abilities as a magical mutation in acks? If you aren't familiar with the savage coast, its saturated in the "Red Curse" a magical dust in the air which causes horrible mutations (but also spell-like abilities) when exposed to it without wearing Cynibrill, a magical metal that protects against the red curse.
When you say spell-likes as a mutation, you mean the ability to cast a spell via mutation?
I’m not 100% sure whether your question is about balance, thematics or mechanics. As far as mechanics, if your problem is that you need to generate a random spell, you could use the scroll generation rules.
Mostly about Mechanics and Balance. The thematics are just part of the setting. Basically how do I balance the ability to cast spells of varying levels with deformities of equal suffering? All fo the setting stuff is well covered by the books. The setting is like the later middle ages spanish colonies with a deformity causing plague. All of the additional races will have to wait till I have time to work up their race-classes, and the monsters will be haphazardly converted as I go.
Ah, if you want to balance them with deformities for a net neutral power effect, I’d take a look at the custom powers spell-like costs.
You can come up with deformities that have penalties equivalent to a negative amount of custom powers. (You can also invert proficiencies for a 1-power penalty.)
Personally though, for random stuff like this, I don’t think balance is all that important. You’re already using them for flavor more than for actual character design. All that’s really important is that nothing gets absolutely busted, if it’s a little strong or a little weak, well, who cares? It’s not going to ruin a campaign.
(Especially if it’s on the weak side from something they would have wanted to avoid. If they complain about their new one-armed penalties, ask them if they’d rather have been killed outright.)
I mean, spell-likes aren't hard to handle. I don't think ACKS distinguishes between spells and spell-likes, so you just... say that character can use that ability once a day or whatever. That's pretty easy to write from a crunch perspective.
As for mutations, I might take inspiration from the Tables of Limb and Mortality.
The Autarch Patreon just released a document on the 'colour of magic' (white, grey, black) and it's effects - black magic gains you corruption via use over time and has a table of mutations.
That'd be easy to incorporate.
Might be an interesting twist, at that. As I recall once you're under the Red Curse you probably shouldn't leave the area? Maybe everyone's already doomed by that and actually invoking the powers it grants is what mutates you; and as you accept the ... infection? and use the powers you gain more mutations and more powers.
...hm. Imagine, if you will, a no magic world, except this one area. In this area, once you're infected/invested/whatever with the Red Curse, you start to gain (1) spell-like ability, and if you use it, you mutate. If you *really* use it, you continue to mutate and start replacing whatever your class levels are with levels of some custom spellcaster with Mage HD/Fighting/Saves - that spell like ability is your first level 1 spell, and you eventually progress as that spellcasting class once you're out of "normal people" class levels.
And that's how sorcerers are made - transformed into monstrosities who can tap into the quantum foam to create magical effects in an otherwise no-magic world.
yeah I was coming into this thread to say exactly that. The latest Axiom article seems to be exactly what you need, just make it mandatory. Instead of gaining a point of corruption for learning a new black magic spell, you learn a new black magic spell when you're afflicted with a point of red curse. I'd assume casting should still work the same way. There's even a blurb at the bottom of the article about assuming all magic from that particular school is inherently corrupting, even the "white" or "grey".
Jeez, sounds like I need to get in on this patreon.
Yeah, me too when the budget allows.