Six Magicians for Pits & Perils

This is the final installment of my series of creating basic characters for Pits & Perils.

Creating Magicians is a little different because what shapes them is not just their favored stat or background, but also the initial choice of magic spells. You could be a battle mage, a discoverer of secrets, a maker of illusions, or a necromancer. So the following six magicians are not to suggest that there are only six kinds, but rather six among many. As your magician advances, he will discover new spells, artifacts, and secrets that shape his development.

The initial spell choice may reflect either an interest or a practical consideration of the magician. The subsequent spell choices may also reflect either consideration. As such, magicians may well be the most varied characters as far as mechanical effects are considered.

That being said, mechanical effects are sometimes less important than how the character is played. Magicians only wield daggers and staves, but that does not mean they are wimpy. Perhaps they cannot take a lot of punishment, but that does not mean they cannot dish it out. A Strong Magician, for example, may be a beefy knife fighter  (previous link to off-site fictional podcast about a knife fight) preferring his weapon to offensive magic. A dexterous Magician may also be a skilled knife fighter, but preferring quick slashes and pokes to heavy strikes. A Wise Magician may well observe his foes’ patterns, and striking in the weak point of the enemy routine. Same mechanics, different flavor. Hopefully a good referee and good player takes this into account when narrating combat scenes. Perhaps this interpretation is more suited to Blood Of Pangea, but I would not rule out a thematic knife fighter who uses his magic to befuddle, debuff, and confuse his adversaries.

All spells taken from the Complete Pits & Perils.

I use 40 gp for money like the other characters I made.


Strong Magician

Background: Farmer

Spells: Mend, Obey, Cure

Gear: pack, bedroll, rations(7), staff, dagger, cloak, lamp, oil, sack, rope, 23gp

Adelaide served as wizard to a village of farmers. Her surprisingly great strength helped in restraining difficult animals, but also she could cure their diseases and fix the farmers broken equipment.


Dexterous Magician

Background: Bowyer

Spells: Ruse, Keen, Bolt

Gear: pack, bedroll, rations(7), Short Bow, arrows(20), dagger, dagger, cloak, torch(6), sack, 26gp

A bowyer by trade, Biff offsets his lack of facility with weapons with his magical powers. Even if he misses, his spellcraft gives the illusion of accuracy.

Note: I cannot imagine a bowyer not being able to fire the weapon of his creation. So this magician is allowed to fire a bow. Otherwise the same as an ordinary magician.


Intelligent Magician

Background: Fisherman

Spells: Fear, Form, Ally

Gear: pack, bedroll, rations(7), staff, cloak, dagger, lantern, oil(2), sack, sextant, rope, 7gp

Charlie uses his magic for practical purposes, often driving fish into the waiting nets of his fellow fishermen.


Wise Magician

Background: Carpenter

Spells: Lift, Find, Hole

Gear: pack, bedroll, rations(7), dagger, mallet, cloak, lantern, oil(2), sack, mirror, stakes(6), rope 6gp

Dana built cranes and assisted researchers in digging up ancient sites.


Sturdy Magician

Background: Gambler

Spells: Link, Ring, Obey

Gear: pack, bedroll, rations(7), dagger, dagger, cloak, latern, oil, sack, mirror, mule, feed(7), playing cards, 5gp

Gina cheated at cards and was good at it. When she wasn’t, her sorcery was sufficient to drive off any displeased persons.


Charismatic Magician

Background: Performer

Spells: Urge, Vine, Wink

Gear: pack, bedroll, rations(7), staff, dagger, cloak, lantern, oil, sack, shackles, rope, 18 gp

Harry earned his daily bread with parlor tricks and escape acts.

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A Witch Class for Pits & Perils

After browsing several Witch related supplements for Swords & Wizardry and D&D, I thought it might be fun to make a Witch class for Pits & Perils.

There are many interpretations on the Witch, but I think something that fits in with the medieval perception that Witches made pacts with devils or other spirits would be one that fits nicely into the P&P game, given the Clerical orders devoted to the Triune God.  I figured they’d at least be suspicious of witches, if not hostile.  Adjust the flavor as needed to suit your game.

Before I begin, I want to explore the possibility of using the tools we already have in the Collected Pits & Perils.   It may be possible to just create a magician and pick the right spells to make it a Witch.  For example:

CALL – to summon the familiar

JINX – to curse a target

OBEY – to mind control a target

URGE – for witchy cantrips

MASK – for hags appearing beautiful, and vise versa

STUN – with proper narrative flavor, a terrifying hallucination that leaves the target feeling helpless: covered with biting spiders, seized and abused by demonic succubi, etc.

RISE – for riding that broom, albeit you might have to increase the movement speed to make it better

Throw in allowing the magician to make potions, I think you can do a fairly decent witch with the rules as they exist.  However, I’m going to try a custom witch now.

I want to make the description of the Witch short and sweet.  P&P is minimalist in terms of rules and class powers, so the implementation should also be minimalist.  So my goal here is this:

Something between the Magician and Alchemist

Invoking the powers of spirits not specifically aligned with Triune

And for now, I’ll stick to the mechanics of the Witch and flavor text will come later, as I’m tired.   A witch can be a man or a woman, but the mythology of witches often portrays them as female, so the female pronoun will be used here for simplicity.

The Witch begins with 1 Spell point, and gains 1 spell point every other level.   The witch knows PACT (see below) and any one spell of her choice.

The Witch can create a potion for any spell she knows that stays fresh for one day per level of the witch.

The witch can learn any magician spell, but the power does not increase with level.  Her main power lies in her ability to commune with otherworldly spirits:

The Witch begins the game having a pact with a spirit.  Describe the domain of authority of this spirit: it could be an element like fire or air, but also more abstract things like secrets, vice, luck, gain, (any of the 7 deadly sins might work well), seasons, growth, death, a type of animal, a type of plant, etc.   It might be easier to pick some spells from the spell list to help describe the nature of the spirit.  I haven’t worked this bit out yet.

The Witch can then cast the spell PACT (without spending spell points), cut herself (taking one hit) and with the blood offering cast any spell in that spirit’s domain.

At 5th and 10th level, the witch can make a pact with another spirit, provided it is not in conflict with the spirit she already has a pact.

The witch has the same HP, weapons and armor restrictions of a magician.

New Spell:

PACT – Allows the caster to access the power of a spirit with whom she has made a spiritual contract.  The caster must offer her own blood, taking one hit, to use the power.  Each spell effect requires taking another hit.  PACT spell effects can be brewed into potions, provided the witch’s blood is used in the potion.

More coming soon after I’ve had time to think about it.