Strange Magic aims to be the spiritual successor to 2006's Tome of Magic, featuring three new or totally rebuilt magic systems for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: ethermagic, musical composition, and truename magic!
Written in association with Jason Linker of Flying Pincushion Games and reviewer extraordinaire Thilo “Endzeitgeist” Graf of the GMS Magazine network, Strange Magic is ~200 pages* of unfettered magical creativity. Each magic system herein has been designed to fill a gap that classic Vancian magic simply cannot address, creating new and balanced play experiences that feel nothing like being a standard spellcaster, and, in one case, removing the “linear warrior, quadratic wizard” problem in its entirety. Each class, archetype, and prestige class in Strange Magic includes a full iconic character writeup for Game Masters, making each magic system’s insertion into a campaign world as easy as a cut-and-paste affair.
(*~125 pages content previously released in PDF format, ~75 pages new content, more content from stretch rewards and high-level backers)
- 3 new systems of magic unlike anything else compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: truename magic (redesigned and remastered), musical composition (custom bardic performances), and ethermagic (advanced warlock)
- Over 500 manifestations, compositions, and recitations!
- 7 new base classes: cantor, ethermagus, ethermancer, etherslinger, maestro, scion discordia, and truenamer
- 4 new prestige classes: polycosmic theurge, speaker of the word, willshackler, and wordsworn defender
- 9 new archetypes: arranger, herald of creation, herald of madness, herald of the void, orator, truescribe, verminspeaker, virtuoso, and voidstalker
- NPC writeups for all classes, archetypes, and prestige classes - Strange Magic is a stealth NPC codex!
The Fluff: Our universe is but one pancake in the infinite shortstack of creation. For some, the realization that the universe in which they live is but an infinitesimal speck in the whole of creation can be an utterly maddening experience. What's more, these universes need not be anything like one another! For one universe, up is up, and down is down. For its neighbor, up is left, and down is purple. The differences vary wildly, but are generally great enough to rend apart both universes should they ever collide, insignificant worlds, organics with an inferiority complex, and gods included.
The only thing saving the universe from becoming one colossal explosion is a fluid known as the ether. Nestled in the interstitial space between universes, the ether absorbs the translational energy of the various universes in its care, much like a stern nanny with a mob of unruly children. The end result is an infinitely-large tapioca pudding of unfathomable cosmic power.
There are some puny and insignificant organic creatures who are born with a silver pudding spoon in their mouths. These individuals, collectively called the ethermancers, have the ability to communicate with and draw raw, shapeless power from the great extrauniversal fluid itself. Some believe that the multiverse chose them to carry its greatest gift and to use it to protect all of creation. Others feel their gift is the perfect thing to lord over everyone else. Given humanoid nature, the latter is far more common.
The System: The advent of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game saw a huge increase in the power of the average martial character, necessitating an increase in hit points across the board. Vancian blast magic, however, having been suboptimal to begin with, fell even further behind, making many an evoker build fairly useless after the third or fourth combat of the day. Ethermagic seeks to give the blaster a safe haven by offering a system that is balanced against martial damage output rather than the "nuke and hide" of the Vancian spellcaster.
Ethermagic is defined by the presence of both a spell point pool and a regeneration rate that is measured in points per round. Rather than mindlessly blast like a warlock or be "one and done" like a Vancian spellcaster, a practitioner of ethermagic must carefully balance ether points spent on etherspells and various class abilities with ether points incoming via his regeneration rate. Every user of ethermagic has the ability to nuke within this framework, but doing so rather quickly forces the caster to use all but the feeblest of abilities until he's regained his stamina.
Etherspells are composed of the etherheart, which sets the range, base cost, duration, and base effects of the etherspell, and manifestations, which add specific effects, special geometry, and other bells and whistles. Some etherhearts allow for extreme customization, allowing up to a maximum of five manifestations, while others allow only one.
In a Nutshell: Multiple classes based on an advanced warlock system whose fluff is equal parts Douglas Adams and Lovecraft
Ethermagus - Blending the limitless power of the ether with the physical prowess of a warrior, the ethermagus carves a path through his enemies with a sword condensed from the raw material of the void. Through the use of the exclusively-available voidmeld etherheart, an ethermagus’ void blade can be customized on the fly to deal with whatever threat rears its ugly head.
Ethermancer - Touched by the boundless energies of that which cushions all things, the ethermancer finds himself linked with a source of power that can never be totally exhausted. Faced with the dilemma of what to do with all of this power, ethermancers subscribe to multiuniversal philosophies, which provide bonuses to ethermagic based on the ethermancer’s viewpoint on this topic.
Etherslinger - In the icy blackness of space, she has yet to meet one that can outsmart bullet. Blending ethermagic's terrain control with supernatural control over firearms, etherslingers are capable of negating misfires and producing bullets of condensed void energy on the fly. Pushing back against the autogrant nature of the original gunslinger, the etherslinger introduces a talent system, which, coupled with her command over ethermagic, allows for a wide variety of unique character designs. Capable of shooting haunts truly dead (without having to fear crossed beams), evading hostile magic, and spiking local terrain with tiny, slippery spheres of gooey ether, the etherslinger always has a trick up her sleeve. And if she ever gets lonely on her sniping post, she can still talk to her beloved gun - the thing actually answers!
Archetypes and Prestige Classes
Herald of Creation - Heralds of creation, an ethermancer archetype, understand that, on its own, the ether is nothing. Just as the ether must keep the multiverse safe in order for it to have meaning, so must the herald protect others in order to give her gift worth. Heralds of creation are immune to the mutating nature of the ether, and instead act as passive conduits of the stuff, granting all they protect a small measure of the ether’s power.
Herald of Madness - Having pledged his fealty to strange eldritch horrors lurking beyond the confines of the ether, the herald of madness, an ethermancer archetype, rapidly mutates in their image. Among these gifts from beyond are tentacles, wings, and the ability to spread insanity with but a glance, all tools that the typical herald gleefully uses to further his patrons’ plans.
Herald of the Void - The herald of the void, an ethermancer archetype, believes that the ether is the multiverse’s greatest bandit. Consider, in a realm of limitless energy and limitless dimensions, it has found a way to tap into not one, but all universes, making it the ultimate endpoint for all energy. Following the ether’s example, the herald of the void takes what he wants, unleashes massive blasts of energy at all those who resist him, and leaves nothing of use behind.
Voidstalker - This archetype for the ethermagus base class exists for the sole reason that a base class with a glowy beam weapon is going to make people want a double-ended glowy beam weapon.
The Fluff: The great composers of the world are as renowned for their intellect as they are for their frequently-monolithic egos. Responsible for the innovations in musical composition and theory that are enjoyed by the public and are subsequently used by performance professionals, such as bards, composers are effectively the wizards of the musical world. Unlike wizards, who can remain locked away in their towers with no ill effects beyond pale skin, composers are charismatic individuals by necessity, for they frequently rely on the patronage of the masses to afford the lifestyle their egos demand they live. Constantly seeking new material, many composers go to amusing extremes for that next flash of inspiration.
The System: Musical composition effectively takes the concept of bardic performances and makes them customizable. These customized scores are made up of an intro, a number of melodies, and an outro. Intros and outros trigger when the performance begins and ends, respectively, while melodies simply function for the duration of the performance. While melodies usually do not scale with level, most of them stack and can be taken multiple times to enhance their effect. The number of melodies that can be placed in a score increases as a composer’s level increases, allowing for the choice of wacky hijinx or stacked bonuses at higher levels.
In a Nutshell: Make your own custom bardic performances and act like a bigshot in the process
Cantor - Named after the individual who leads a choir in worship, the cantor is effectively the cleric of the musical world. Spontaneous casting, domain abilities, and channel energy combine with the musical composition and opus systems to produce a support character of exceptional flexibility.
Maestro - The original musical composition class, the maestro is effectively a cloistered bard who puts far more emphasis in the creation of the world’s next grand symphony than in mastering a particular instrument. Lacking the physical ability of the bard, this class is instead wholly dependent upon its ability to lay down layered area effects on the battlefield by conducting his pieces, supporting nearby allies, debilitating nearby enemies, or both. For particularly sticky situations, once-per-day opuses allow for dramatic effects that can swing a battle.
Archetypes and Prestige Classes
Arranger - The arranger archetype, compatible with both the cantor and maestro base classes, is obsessed with the optimization of the masterworks of the past. As such, arrangers have unparalleled flexibility regarding opuses.
Virtuoso - The virtuoso archetype, compatible with both the cantor and maestro base classes, throws away the class’ ability to cast spells, but grants the ability to use bardic performances. Performance, opus, and conducted score can all be maintained at once, leading to absolute aural saturation.
The Fluff: The universe is. Barring some of the more pretentious philosophers, everyone can agree on this point. Asking "How?" or "Why?", however, tends to start religious wars. Though they tend to disagree on why and from whose efforts the universe began, truenamers, scholars of the First Language, agree that this most primal tongue was the tool by which all that is was brought into being.
The First Language, also known as Truespeech, is the only all-encompassing tongue. This language has words for all that is, has been, and will be, in this, and all possible universes. What's more, when any being speaks in this tongue, the universe must make the statement so. Given this, to learn even a tiny portion of the First Language is to hijack the machinery of creation itself, and those who master the grammar of even a tiny sliver of the language become as gods with incredibly specific portfolios.
The System: A from-the-ground up reconstruction of the classic 3.5 system with entirely new core, metamagic, and spell systems, classes using Interjection Games' truename magic uses pseudo-Concentration checks in order to cast spells. Flexible metamagic, called inflections, allows for the application of special modifiers, such as faster casting or additional targets, to any spell, called recitations, that the class can cast; however, as casting gets harder the more a specific spell has been cast per day, and as using inflections increases the rate at which a spell gets harder, using these inflections literally dumps the caster's resources up to five times faster than casting without. Combined with copious resources provided by lower level recitations that get easier and easier to cast, but do not scale with level, this new truenamer is perfect for those players who love to spam numerous effects and chain combos in order to keep up with the party. It's dynamic. It's rewarding. But, as the abilities never scale, it's never overpowered.
In a Nutshell: Truename magic that actually works!
Scion of Discordia - Though the First Language is the language of creation, as it encompasses all things, it is also the language of its own annihilation. The scions of discordia are practitioners of the deleterious side of Truespeech, masters of unraveling that which displeases them, piece by piece, until what remain ceases to make them unhappy. Whether done to ensure peace and safety, to relieve boredom, or to fulfill the commands of a higher authority, the methods a scion of discordia uses are universally feared and reviled, for what is more terrifying than watching reality unravel around you in the last moments of your life while your own magic simply refuses to respond to your call?
Truenamer - Truenamers concern themselves with the study of the First Language and the subsequent transmutation of the universe through its use. Always seeking to build up or convert, truenamers are a fairly cloistered group who find a new pronunciation guide to be among the most exciting things in the world. Many pursue knowledge for its own sake, though whether this takes the form of decades of research and the penning of a few volumes on newly discovered vocabulary or edited field notes detailing the effects of truenaming on flaming zombies varies from truenamer to truenamer.
Archetypes and Prestige Classes
Orator - As truenamers can alter the universe to suit what they say, and as politicians wouldn’t need to lie if they could do the same, the orator, a truenamer archetype, is perhaps the universe’s most effective statesman.
Savant of Heart and Mind - In order to properly recite the various codices, a truenamer must be able to think like a thing, think like a place, and think like an idea, this, of course, being in addition to being able to thing like a living creature. Some truenamers have a mental block regarding this, for they are effectively too alive to stoop to thinking like a rock or like a hammer. These individuals, the savants of heart and mind, instead dive deep into the Codex of Heart and Mind, mastering it to such an extent that the universe starts to bend its laws a little.
Speaker of the Word - The Word created all. The Word is the Truth. Shunned from his church because he dared to embrace the first language rather than established dogma, speakers of the word are members of a divine/truename magic theurge prestige class with the ability to combine recitations with channeled energy. Alarmingly for the church, the speaker’s god seems to approve of this change of belief system, for rather than refuse to grant spells to his wayward follower, he chooses to grant special domain spells that mimic recitations instead.
Truescribe - A language is most useful when it also has a written form. Truescribes, a truenamer archetype, take the bewildering complexity of the first language and reduce it down to a bewilderingly complex shorthand. The upshot? Truescribes can make truename magic scrolls, and do so in an almost compulsive fashion.
Verminspeaker - Language is most useful when it is understood. Verminspeakers, a truenamer archetype, study the behavior of mindless creatures, from scorpions and spiders to zombies and oozes. To the mindless, language is merely a meaningless vibration, a buzz in the air and nothing more. With practice, a verminspeaker can force these vibrations to have meaning, effectively translating her speech into a form that is unintelligible to the sapient, but full of meaning to those who rely on instinct to survive. To facilitate her research, a verminspeaker keeps some sort of vermin as an animal companion.
Willshackler - Proper nouns exist within the First Language. To know a creature’s true name is to own that creature, but the process necessary to learn a proper true name takes months and months of effort. Rather than learn individual true names, Those identifying with the willshackler prestige class learn what syllables are most common in a true name based on a creature’s race, gender, and so forth. By spouting off a chain of likely syllables, a willshackler can inconvenience, maim, or even kill a creature whose actual true name is close enough.
Wordsworn Defender - There will come a time when truename magic is doomed to fail and only martial might can carry the day. The wordsworn defender prestige class is the martial arm of truename magic, combining a defensive, tower shield-centric combat style with recitations. Given the size of a tower shield, most wordsworn defenders tack pronounciation notes and other guides onto the back of their shield, making them more effective reciters while wielding it.
Ye Olde Addons
$5 - Add the Antipodist PDF - Let's face it. The $15,000 stretch goal likely wasn't going to happen, but people started talking about it, I got excited, and now I have there's this whole bundle of joy in my lap and I don't know what to do with it. Then I got to reading "A Modest Proposal" and realized selling it was the best thing I could do.
Interjection Game's 12th base class, the antipodist is a full caster base class that specializes in the use of diametrically opposing forces, light and darkness, as two sides of the same coin. Fueled by a radiance pool and a shadow pool, the antipodist must carefully balance her expenditure of magic in each of these two halves, lest she lose access to half of her tricks halfway through the day. Those antipodists who scoff at such balancing acts can act contrary to their colleagues (thus becoming antipodists for a totally different reason!) and choose to throw their lot in with light or darkness, to the exclusion of the other side of the coin, thus ensuring that all of her power is concentrated in a single pool.
Designed to be a fun and fairly simple spellcasting experience, perfect for first-time spellcasters, but refreshingly different for veterans, the antipodist's design is predicated on fun combos, the ability to create wildly different characters based on limited spell selection, and some of the most wickedly difficult advancement decisions ever found in an Interjection Games product. Though no single advancement choice will cripple a character, every choice is tracked by the class itself, spitting out different opportunities and passive bonuses based on the road the antipodist has chosen to take. To get the full experience of this class, starting at level 1 and moving on up is recommended. As any wanderer will tell you, it's not the destination that matters. It's the journey.
$10 - Add a Spell or Ability - Your spell, feat, or ability becomes part of the Strange Magic canon! Simply propose your idea or mechanic and we'll work with you to add it, and maybe a spinoff variant or greater version, to the appropriate section of Strange Magic. You can also name the ability (within reason - slap your name on it like the good old days, if you like.).
Interjection Games reserves the right to randomly extend the offer to produce more than what is paid for if the spells and abilities suggested are A: easy to write or B: really cool.
+$250 - Rolling Art Stretch Goal - A new piece of art will be added to Strange Magic for every $250 raised above the minimum funding level of $2,000. (Subject to change if additional artists with differing rates are brought onto the project. Monetary investment into art will not change.)
+$1,000 - Rolling Archetype/Prestige Class Stretch Goal - A new archetype or prestige class will be added to Strange Magic for every $1,000 raised above the minimum funding level of $2,000. Once a good idea is produced, an update will announce the new addition!
$4,000 - The Eccentric Prestige - At $4,000, a second book, The Eccentric Prestige, is unlocked. The Eccentric Prestige is a collection of brand-new prestige classes crowdsourced from Pathfinder fans, balanced and edited by Interjection Games, and released in a 32-page minimum tome of the strange and unusual. Including gun-toting witches, rangers who passively have nature rise up to protect them, warriors who have transcended death so many times that they have the Reaper on speed dial, and wise swordsmen who draw forth the very magical spirits of their blades to do battle, among others, this book is all about twisting two classes together in a way that doesn’t yet exist or transformative prestige classes that allow multiple paths for qualification.
Once unlocked, the PDF is available as an add-on for $6. Those who purchase the PDF may also purchase a printed copy at cost once it’s ready.
~$4,000 - Profit Sharing - At about $4,000, or the point at which I have enough profits to pay 3 months of bills while I focus on testing and layout of Strange Magic, 15% of all gross profit beyond this point will be shared with the rest of the writers on this project. At an estimated $17,000, writers on Strange Magic and The Eccentric Prestige will be getting paid better than by Paizo itself. Help me give these deserving gentlemen a check that’ll mean much more than beer money!
$7,000 - Color Spray - At $7,000, all art produced for Strange Magic becomes full color!
$10,000 - Quickened Color Spray - At $10,000, all art produced for The Eccentric Prestige becomes full color!
$15,000 - Shadow Magic! - At $15,000, shadow magic gets revamped for Pathfinder as the antipodist base class and included in Strange Magic, with a full complement of art, at no extra charge! In addition, due to flavor similarities, the already-written Edgewalker Base Class, a combination monk/assassin/shadowdancer with a light “ki” pool and a dark “ki” pool, will also be added. If we reach this goal, Strange Magic’s delivery date will be pushed out to April 2015, not February 2015. (Est. 50 pages new content)
Bradley Crouch is the one and only madman behind the curtain that is Interjection Games. Since his first release in 2012, Bradley has gone on to release 11 base classes and about 60 other products, winning slots #2 and #9 on Endzeitgeist’s top 10 of 2013 with three nominations for top 10 of 2014 at the time of posting. As this is a full-time gig, when Bradley is not coming up with new gaming material, he’s more than likely scheming about the creation of new gaming material.
Jason Linker is a member of Flying Pincushion Games’ senior staff whose duties include writing, balance and mechanics editing, and about a thousand other little things. He’s done freelance work with d20PFSRD Publishing and TPK Games.
“It was little more than a happy accident that brought me onto this project, but I couldn’t be happier with what we’ve made. Brad’s creations are wonderfully complex, and working on and with them is even more of an honor and privilege for how challenging it is.”
Thilo Graf (the "h" is silent), more commonly known by his screen handle "Endzeitgeist", has written over 1,500 reviews of roleplaying supplements by 3pps. When he's not teaching or attending a goth party or metal festival, he's devouring literature in one of the various languages he speaks, following his cultural interests, or dabbling in philosophy and psychology. Beyond his reviewing, he has had the joy of seeing his works published in numerous supplements and books for roleplaying games (Rite Publishing, Kobold Press, AAW Games, TPK Games and more...) and in papers and translations. He's currently living in his Franconian home in Southern Germany with too many books, trying to keep the ideal of the Renaissance man alive.
Risks and challenges
Yes, this is my first Kickstarter, but steps have been taken to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. By hijacking the firmly-established OneBookShelf print-on-demand shipping system and keeping the team of writers on the main project small, a finished product of some description is all but assured, save a zombie apocalypse or the like happens.
The weakness in this project is the art. The art for the seven base classes, nine archeytypes, and four prestige classes that come standard with Strange Magic puts Gary Dupuis, our associated artist, at about capacity for a February release. Large amounts of additional art does carry the highest chance of knocking Strange Magic off schedule, though due diligence, strong communication, and a willingness to grow the team as large as it needs to get the job done should mitigate this risk nicely.
As of launch, 17 of the 20 classes/archetypes/prestige classes in this book are ready for beta testing, and the remaining three are filling in very quickly indeed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)