Kroncalypse Design: It’s Magic!

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about what gives miracles its own flavor in Kronocalypse. Today we’ll take a look at miracle’s sister arcane background: magic.

Like miracles, magic is available to characters from the stone age and iron age. Rather than harnessing the spirits, however, mages study arcane spells and rituals to manipulate the world around them.

Wizard vs. Drones

There are two big influences that led me to Kronocalypse’s spin on magic. I remembered my first wizard from the Mentzer Basic Dungeons and Dragons, and how excited I was finding scrolls that let him master new spells. Finding a new spell sometimes was a quest on its own.

The other influence is console roleplaying games that utilize different elements for spells, such as Final Fantasy‘s fire, thunder, and blizzard. In particular I enjoyed figuring out what monsters are vulnerable to which elements, and using mages to deal out massive damage.

I thought briefly about letting mages learn any spell (power) they came across, but I decided that could get out of control quickly, so I found a middle ground between how characters normally learn powers in Savage Worlds, and how they learned them in classic D&D.

In Kronocalypse mages have base spells that correspond to powers in Savages Worlds, and all of these base spells have different sub-spells, which are their trappings. Mages start with three base spells and learn new ones by taking the New Power Edge. For every power, mages begin with one trapping, however, for every power they know they can learn multiple trappings. Characters gain new trappings not through leveling up, but through roleplaying. They might learn it from another wizard, find a spell scroll, or unearth an ancient tablet. This gives wizards potential flexibility but still imposes some limits. Because time travel is key to the setting, some trappings will only be found in the stone age, while others are only in the iron age.

To make the different trappings useful, they are designed so none is clearly the “best,” but there are some situations where one trapping is better than another. One way I’m doing this is by including a range of enemies with different vulnerabilities. Saurians are vulnerable to cold, while robots are vulnerable to electricity. I’m also trying to give the trappings different tactical effects. Fire has a higher damage potential, while cold hampers movement.

I’ll leave you with a few examples of trappings for the ever-popular bolt power.

Bee Bolt
Era: Stone age
On a raise, the target also suffers a -2 penalty to Parry until its next action.

Fire Bolt
Era: Stone age or iron age
On a raise the target also catches on fire. It takes 1d10 damage each round until the fire is extinguished

Lightning Bolt
Era: Iron age
The bolt has AP 3 against metal armor.

Frost Bolt
Era: Iron age
On a raise, the target cannot move during its next turn.

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