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Admiral Squish
2010-08-26, 06:42 PM
So, I was thinking and I had an interesting idea. Sorcerer magic is bloodline-related. And of course, those with magic are, on a general basis, much more powerful than those without.

So, wouldn't it be interesting to have a setting where royalty are all sorcerers? Sorcerers would be the high royalty. There would be a lower tier for warlocks (Family lines given power in exchange for servitude to the sorcerers) and those of magical families born without magic. Wizards would be outlawed, as it would be a method for commoners to take on the power of magic and potentially overthrow the sorcerer nobility. Perhaps there would be a few closely-monitored, endorsed wizard/artificer colleges to study magic and advance the arcane arts. Clerics would be similarly watched, but their general humility and good natures would mean they're less likely to take up arms and overthrow the sorcerers. In the country, sorcerers awakened outside of the families would be quickly picked up and brought into nobility. Wizards could learn in secrecy, but casting spells without a noble endorsement would get you arrested by warlock royal police.

I think it would be a pretty interesting arrangement.

Connington
2010-08-26, 06:50 PM
As written, the priesthood is going to the the main route to power and influence for the magically-inclined commoner. I actually suspect you'd get a a sub-culture of wizards who join clerical orders (or clerics who take up wizardry). You could get a fair amount of church/state rivalry that way.

If that's not what you're looking for, consider Favored Souls. Obviously, if the gods have chosen to bestow great powers on them without being asked, they must make better priests than a cleric ever would.

Lord Raziere
2010-08-26, 06:53 PM
well in Dark Sun there are sorcerer kings.

but those aren't exactly the same thing, still rule by magic though.

SurlySeraph
2010-08-26, 06:54 PM
That would certainly be an interesting setting, and by adding social penalties would help tone down the power of wizards a bit. Having Favored Souls be more respected than Clerics would also work. I could see a pretty interesting game coming from this, with acquired knowledge vs. instinct being a major theme.

jguy
2010-08-26, 08:07 PM
I actually really like this idea. Encourage people to play slightly less powerful characters (with wizards being outlawed) and being a sorcerer would actually be very socially acceptable. I do like the warlock police.

How would druids be taken into account in this world by the way?

Admiral Squish
2010-08-26, 08:13 PM
Hmm, druids... Probably viewed in the same light as barbarians.

Favored souls would indeed be quite powerful. Likely as leadership among the clerics.

jguy
2010-08-26, 08:22 PM
Favored souls of the leading deities would be leaders. Ones of enemies would probably be burned as a witch when found.

Paladins would be body guards of the royalty I think, Binders might be similar to warlocks in status...depending

Zaydos
2010-08-26, 08:27 PM
Sounds like a fun concept. Would sorcerers still have draconic blood as the believed source of their power?

If I was playing in such a setting, depending upon the nature of the government (is it a good government, is it a bad one) I'd either play a freedom-fighting wizard (illusionist most likely) or possibly a spoiled young noble who (mistakenly) thinks adventuring is a fun game, or else did something to get himself in his family's bad graces and now has to earn his way back into their good books.

FelixG
2010-08-26, 08:37 PM
I really like this idea! run with it!

Admiral Squish
2010-08-26, 08:49 PM
Sounds like a fun concept. Would sorcerers still have draconic blood as the believed source of their power?

If I was playing in such a setting, depending upon the nature of the government (is it a good government, is it a bad one) I'd either play a freedom-fighting wizard (illusionist most likely) or possibly a spoiled young noble who (mistakenly) thinks adventuring is a fun game, or else did something to get himself in his family's bad graces and now has to earn his way back into their good books.

OOOH! Draconic noble lines could have half-dragons and draconic nobles in their house, and maybe ever draconic patriarchs that are still alive and well since the very founding of the line!

I wouldn't call it a 'good' or 'evil'. There are good and evil leaders, but the government is the government. It is, by nature, a neutral entity.

Randel
2010-08-26, 08:55 PM
Hmm, what about Bards? They could be something like low-tier sorcerers or something.

What if genetically there is a sorcerer gene and there are three different ways it could go:

Full sorcerers have two copies of the sorcerer gene.
Bard or other limited spontanious casters only have one copy
Normal people have no copies of the gene.

Two sorcerers will always sire sorcerer children
A sorcerer and a bard will have a 50/50 chance to sire a sorcerer or a bard
two bards have a 1/4 chance of having a sorcerer, 2/4 chance of a bard, or 1/4 chance of having a normal.
A sorcerer and a normal will always sire bards
a bard and a normal will have a 50/50 chance or siring a bard or a normal.


Wizards or clerics are generally normal people who have to study magic to use it or to get power from the gods. Sorcerers and bards get them naturally on account of their superior bloodline.

So, there could be whole established families of sorcerers who use their powers as evidence of their natural superiority and right to rule. They often keep their marriages between established families to ensure that all of their children are full-fledged sorcerers. However, there are plenty of sorcerers who have dalliances with non-magical servants or the like which results in bards.

The bards who result from these affairs could then marry and sire full sorcerers who could then start full magical families. These new families would be granted respect but wouldn't be seen as powerful as the older ones (if they even try to start their own House instead of marrying into one of the established one.).

Since Sorcerers gain their power naturally and can cast spontaniously (instead of those faker wizards who have to prepare their spells beforehand) then they are of superior genetic stock then other casters. Wizards would be treated with suspicion because they might pretend to be sorcerers.

Since a non-magical who has a child with a sorcerer is guaranteed to have a Bard for a child (even a little magical aptitude is good for the family) then a woman who has an affair with a sorcerer would likely be looked on favorably by society (since she's obviously ensuring her child would have a future). If a wizard tosses magic around and pretends to be a sorcerer, he might attract women, but any resulting child would be non-magical. So there is a stereotype that wizards are just trying to pretend to be a superior sorcerer so that they can prey upon young women or something like that.

Sorcerers are superior humans due to their blood and powers.
Bards are the children of sorcerers and bring prosperity to their family.
non-magicals are the common man and should respect their magical betters.
Wizards and other prepared casters are fakers who are trying to trick their way up in society!

jguy
2010-08-26, 08:56 PM
Hmm...the draconic patriarch/matriarch still being alive might lead to some hectic game play, especially if one of the main villains is a noble. Even if you do kill/expose the noble, mom and dad might not be very appreciative.

Noneoyabizzness
2010-08-26, 08:57 PM
just sorcs or will your caste system have other sponts in the nobility? would be interesting for some noble houses to be specialist sponts like dread necros.

and what of bards?

Admiral Squish
2010-08-26, 09:54 PM
Wow, that's quite the in-depth thingy. I'd say instead of just bards, though, it would be all half-arcane casters. Hexblades, Duskblades, warlocks, bards, beguilers... Anything else I can't think of.
They'd be sorta secondary nobility. Not able to take positions of power, but still allowed to enjoy most of the noble life.

jguy
2010-08-26, 10:05 PM
So spontaneous arcane casting will be nobility, with Sorcerer being highborn and half-casting being more minor nobility. Interesting. Wizards being outlawed for effectively "cheating" while divine casting being seen as a different source all together. Cannot upset the gods and their servants if you want to stay in power.

What about Psionics? It's inherit yet very powerful.

Zaydos
2010-08-26, 10:19 PM
Also where do Dragonfire Adepts place in?

This really does sound like a fun concept.

Coidzor
2010-08-26, 10:20 PM
Since a non-magical who has a child with a sorcerer is guaranteed to have a Bard for a child (even a little magical aptitude is good for the family) then a woman who has an affair with a sorcerer would likely be looked on favorably by society (since she's obviously ensuring her child would have a future).

I do not think you thought this bit through fully.

The rest though, I like.

jguy
2010-08-26, 10:22 PM
Also gives me a thought that it'd make racial integration a lot better. Say orcs are normally low class citizens, if not outright barbarians. Dragons are frisky little buggers and one takes a liking to their animalistic charms and a orc is born with sorcerer powers. This makes them a high noble almost automatically. As a noble, they can fight for equal rights and all his children down the line will be rather strong. (Since he will be half-dragon Orc, he might not be the most powerful sorcerer but a extremely strong fighter. Very good Gish)

Admiral Squish
2010-08-26, 10:28 PM
DFA/DS-es would probably be mostly unchanged. Those who worship dragons. There would probably be a couple that have pledged themselves to the dragons of sorcerer lines.

Psionics? Hmmm. It's got the randomness of sorcerer, the intellect of a wizard, but without the divine ties of clerics. I'd say they'd be viewed as dangerous by the sorcerers. They're wild cards. Unpredictable. They can be powerful allies, but it's usually safer to just kill 'em.

RndmNumGen
2010-08-26, 10:30 PM
I do not think you thought this bit through fully.

The rest though, I like.

Yeah, you bring up a good point. Why would a high-born nobility have a relationship with a lowly peon? Even if it was just like a one-night stand thing, their child would be declared a bastard essentially. If giving your child minor magic work denying him a father? Well... actually, maybe, but I still don't think it would be looked upon highly.

Anyway, I really like the sorcerers-as-nobility thing, and may adopt it into one of my campaigns as well. Probably need to mess around with divine casters as well so they don't completely overpower the sorcerers, or maybe scraping the cleric class altogether and making a weaker priest class. Other Tier 1 classes will probably be banned as well...

HunterOfJello
2010-08-26, 10:33 PM
The Mistborn novels use a similar theme to this one. Members of the noble class all have bloodlines that trace back to people who can use alomancy (a sort of metal-based magic). The commoners are all peasants and work as indentured servants to the nobles or merchants if they're especially lucky.

The Emperor watches over the nobles and is the most powerful allomancer alive.

Ormur
2010-08-26, 10:37 PM
Funny I also though that magic would equal power when I created my campaign but I figured the nobility would send their kids to wizard school to monopolize it while viewing sorcerers as dangerous commoners.

But your idea makes a lot of sense if the inheritance of sorcerous powers is pretty regular. The nobility would be even more obsessed with preserving the purity of their blood than normally.

jiriku
2010-08-26, 10:57 PM
Wow...creepy. This is actually the basis of one of the human empires in my homebrew. Almost exactly. Parallel evolution is funky.

From my experience, it's great fun, and since spellcasting PC are automatically either members of the nobility or outlaws, it provides loads of plot hooks for involving your characters with the world.

A couple of questions to consider: do you want magical POWER to be important, or is the ability to cast any spells at all the only thing required. The former is a classic, but the latter can create a situation where the bloodline has run weak, and perhaps the current king can barely muster a few cantrips and struggles to fill the shoes of his predecessor, who was a mighty sorcerer.

Is spellcasting required to hold authority? If you can't join the Imperial Bureaucracy without a spell, or perhaps can't even own property without magical strength, you create the potential for resentment among the talented members of the lower classes who can't find a way to rise.

Then there's wizardry. If you outlaw wizardry, you need an Inquisition, and you need witch hunters. If the PCs count rogue casters among their numbers, the witch hunters will be recurring enemies. If the PCs are part of the establishment, then they might be the witch hunters. Either way, there' a strong divide between those with legitimate and illegitimate power, and the players will probably have to decisively choose a side.

You've got a lot of potential in this idea. It's a gold mine.

mobdrazhar
2010-08-26, 10:59 PM
PrC like Occult Slayer would be good in this setting to be used to hunt down renegades

Connington
2010-08-26, 11:02 PM
I like the idea of a Sorcerer/Secondary Caster divide. Presumably, the oldest Sorcerer Son/Child (Adjust according to feminism and flavor) would be the heir apparent, with the secondary casters being kept out of the line of inheritance.

So, our caste system looks something like this:

- Sorcerers: Descended from the dragons themselves. The king and most of the nobles should probably be human, but it'd be cool if a couple were dragons. Perhaps one of the heads is a dragon that conceals his identity?

Anyways, these guys are the nobility, the top 0.5%, or however rare you want to make them. Contra to the PHB, they're mostly Lawful, due to their social station. They normally marry among themselves, but taking spouses from the less gifted people is not uncommon, if only to keep from inbreeding. Actually, the king and his immediate family might be a little inbred, but I'd give them a slightly cheesy prestige class to reflect the power of their blood.

- Secondary Casters: The unfortunate product of a Sorcerer and a warlock or commoner, or a family with a generally diluted bloodline. They cannot inherit the titles and position of a sorcerer, but they can cast spells spontaneously. What class they take presumably depends on temperament and training. Nice guys become bards, sneaks become beguilers, etc.

Unlike the sorcerers, their advancement depends very much on merit. They're the ambassadors, governors, merchant princes, generals, ninjas, etc. If they're exceptionally good, they're awarded with a title of hereditary petty nobility.

- Warlocks: Sort of the middle class. These people are awarded with Eldritch Power by secret rituals known to the Royal Family, and the major noble houses. Administrators, notable merchants, battle-mages, NCOs in the army and captains of the guard. They're technically nobles, but their titles will not be passed on to their children.

Most of them are civil servants in some form, but a fair smattering are private citizens. It's rumored that some crime-lords and assassins are enrolled as warlocks by the Crown or one of the great nobles, in return for fealty or just a special pass.

- The Faith: Outside of the command structure, there's the faith. Or possibly faiths, depending on the setting. Either way, the basic hierarchy is the same. Every sworn member of the Church has magic. The rank and file are adepts, while the rectors and fathers are clerics. Favored Souls are the movers and shakers, blessed by their god with divine power. They typically rise to leadership position, but the wise Favored Soul who pretends to be a mere Adept rather than play church politics is a favored stock character.

If the main faith is lawful good, or there's a Lawful Good church among the many, they have paladins. Because a paladin cannot be trained, she is in a similar situation to Favored Souls, only more martially inclined. In terms of hierarchy, paladins rank slightly above the clerics. In terms of respect and reverence, favored souls rank somewhat higher. But the common folk adore paladins like no other. Usually, paladins stick to adventuring, or protecting the temples. On occasion, if they think he or she deserves and needs protection, they guard or go to battle beside the king or one of the nobility.

- High Commoners: Merchants, tradesmen, entertainers, and any of a dozen other profession. Every single of them dreams of being noticed and made a powerful warlock. They have a lot of social overlap with the lower warlocks actually, and many of them are married to one, or have a warlock somewhere in there extended family.

- Low Commoners: The serfs, urban poor, and servants. They don't come into contact with any of the upper nobility except to polish their shoes or die on a battlefield for them. Any relationship is presumably an illicit affair, and for even a secondary caster to marry one would be talked about for decades. They don't usually socialize with Warlocks, but they know them, and the practical girls dream of marrying one.

If they want to advance themselves, they'll join the clergy, take up a trade, or take the dangerous route of becoming wizards

- Wizards: The underclass of society. Wizardry is outlawed, but that doesn't stop people. Most wizards use their magic in secret to get ahead. Most of them are high commoners, but a few are clerics, and it's whispered that some warlocks are secretly wizards. Most of them are low level, and paranoid. They generally take feats like still spell and silent spell, and focus on not getting caught. A few are more powerful, living in towers on the borders of the country. Every once in a while, the government tries to stomp one or more of them out, but usually the don't bother.

Randel
2010-08-26, 11:37 PM
Yeah, you bring up a good point. Why would a high-born nobility have a relationship with a lowly peon? Even if it was just like a one-night stand thing, their child would be declared a bastard essentially. If giving your child minor magic work denying him a father? Well... actually, maybe, but I still don't think it would be looked upon highly.

Anyway, I really like the sorcerers-as-nobility thing, and may adopt it into one of my campaigns as well. Probably need to mess around with divine casters as well so they don't completely overpower the sorcerers, or maybe scraping the cleric class altogether and making a weaker priest class. Other Tier 1 classes will probably be banned as well...

Well, when I say 'look on it favorably' I say because if the society views magical ability as a good thing (ie, if you have magic then you are respected by society because of it... unless you're a cheating wizard) then if a lowly peasant has a magical child then the child brings fortune to the family. At the very least, a bard can cast curative magic (even if its not on the level of divine casters) and thus if your child can cure injured people or animals then its definatly a good thing.

The arcane families might see a magical 'peasant' as a threat to them or beneath them, but other peasants would look on them favorably. In the old days, people would try to marry into wealthy families due to the families money, in a world were magic is genetic then just having a magical child would be a boon to the child and to the family.

Though, it could be viewed differently in different circumstances or cultures. I suppose if a lowly non-magical peasant family had six non-magical children, and the wife has an affair/one-night stand with a sorcerer and gives birth to a half-caster child then it could be seen a 'mixed blessing'.

On the one hand, there is infidelity there... but during the medieval ages then nobility pretty much had a divine right to rape or order around any girl they wanted. Plus, once the kid manifests magic powers then the village might just say he was 'blessed by a dragon'. These dragon-blessed children are most likely the result of affairs with magically inclined nobles, but everyone says that they are normal children who were blessed by dragons to have magic. It's mostly so the parents (and nobles) can save face.

Some nobles would probably disavow all knowledge of the child and pretend they have no idea how it happened ("They are dragon-blessed. Doubtless a dragon saw the child had a great destiny and gave him his powers. I certainly have nothing to do with it.") while others might show favor or something. Regardless of how the noble (or the husband) involved feels about the act, the result is a child that can cast magic to at least a limited degree.

Society might not look favorably on peasants wanting to sleep with magically inclined nobles, but once the child is born and can use their powers to help the family/village or whatnot then people will likely gloss over the bad parts and focus on the good parts.

Of course, very few sorcerer nobles would go around randomly sleeping with peasants (although there might a few decadent ones who do this with their servants) but there could be wandering bards or evil rapists or the like. Arranged marriages between arcane nobility and particularly influential non-magical families could exist as well.

But basically... if humans are living in a world with dwarves, elves, orcs, and all sorts of fantasy creatures and spontanious casters get their power genetically... then why wouldn't society try to make as many caster humans as possible? The elves may be an ancient race that lives in the woods and looks down on short-lived humans, the orcs are all strong hoards that think humans are weak and fun to attack. But if a bloodline of humans show up who can toss fireballs and cast magic without having to really train for it then its a huge evolutionary advantage for humans.

Some arcane noble families might want to keep all the power to themselves to keep their bloodline "pure". But if a sorcerer lord can add a whole mess of new (half)spellcasters to his land by sleeping with every woman in town then he probably would. It would probably tick alot of people off and they all say he's an immoral monster... but in one generation a land with one sorcerer and a thousand women could have about six hundred or so half casters appear. The combined magic power could prove threatening to any orcs or elves who want to invade his land.

So... keep in mind that this takes place in a world where slaughtering goblins by the hundred is considered A-okay, most peasants can't find two silver pieces to rub together, and people with incredible powers (and questionable backstories) have a chance to make a fortune by having adventures and killing stuff.


Ed the Beguiler: Lord Lester... I shall strike you down today, you killed my father!

Lord Lester: No Ed, I am your father!

Ed: What... no... NO It's impossible!

Lord Lester: I'm the father of pretty much every half-caster in a fifty-mile radius of this castle. Odds are I killed your mothers husband about... oh, twenty years ago and...

Ed: No! No you monster!

Lord Lester: Hey, I did what I had to do! You see all those real monsters out there? Huh? Thanks to me there are about three hundred half-casters out there running around becoming adventurers and helping fight off the darkness. The grey goblins of the ashen wastes... the boneblades of the twisted forest... the bandit kings of death mountain.

Ed: ... *is in shock*

Lord Lester: So, if you must strike me down then do so now. But regardless of the outcome... if you do decide to get married I suggest you look for someone who wasn't born around here. Try the empire to he east, I was never there.

Ed: ...

Lord Lester: Oh, and Princess Devona is your sister... along with pretty much every other half-caster born in a fifty-mile radius of here.

Ed: ...

Lord Lester: I'm not a nice person.

jguy
2010-08-26, 11:44 PM
I really, really like this setting. I might have to adopt it into a campaign one of these days. Everything provides a lot of plot hooks.

Admiral Squish
2010-08-27, 01:59 AM
I'm honestly surprised this caught on so well. It was just like five seconds of thought.

Coidzor
2010-08-27, 02:09 AM
In the old days, people would try to marry into wealthy families due to the families money, in a world were magic is genetic then just having a magical child would be a boon to the child and to the family.

Sure, be advantageous to do, but not looked on favorably, which is where the stretching it came into play.

Randel
2010-08-27, 02:10 AM
Actually, how many people have read the fanfic Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/22/Harry_Potter_and_the_Methods_of_Rationality)? Its basically an alternate universe thing where Harry was raised by a university professor... its like what if Light Yugami went to Hogarts instead of finding the Death Note.

Anyway, I mention this because in chapter 22 (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/22/Harry_Potter_and_the_Methods_of_Rationality) and 23 (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/23/Harry_Potter_and_the_Methods_of_Rationality) Harry and Draco are researching the rumor that wizard magic is weakening in the world. The various slytherine say that its due to muggles and mudbloods marrying into wizard families and diluting the pure bloodlines.

However, Harry proposes other possibilities for the weakening of wizard magic (spells being lost, the ambient magic levels weakening, wizards having fewer children, etc.) and they run tests by checking records and such.

However the data they gather points to the fact that magic hasn't been weakening over the last few hundred years and that blood purity doesn't work (there's only one gene responsible for magic affinity and muggles, squibs, and wizards are the result of having zero, one, or two copies of the gene. Mudbloods and wizards are both equally magical). This comes as quite a shock as it suggests that the long established wizard houses don't lose power by 'dilluting' their blood with muggles and wizards born from parents with no magical prowess are just as capable of being powerful as ones from established families.

This could be an interesting point, if the noble houses that have their magic abilities are not in fact 'divine' or whatnot and wouldn't lose anything by marrying outside established houses. They want to keep established houses to keep the power to themselves but they could just as easily spread their genes around and raise hundred or thousands more half-sorcerers or spellcasters if they wanted (or even knew about how it actually works).

Maybe it takes a wizard or other high-intelligence character to make the connection but the sorcerers hate wizards because they are "fakers who steal the rightful power of the sorcerers".


Oh, and bonus points if it turns out that dillution or whatnot actually is the case with divine casters.

Say that each God out there gains power from their followers and they can send that power down to give powers to their clerics and paladins. Maybe each temple maintains a basin of Holy Water which is the gods method of transmiting their power to their followers.

Clerics perform a ceremony where their god sends power into a basin of holy water and the cleric washes their hands in it (or drinks it) to gain their divine power for the day. Paladins do the same, and all divine casters are baptized into service by being immersed in holy water.

If people stop worshiping a God then the god can't bless as much holy water for their divine casters. So divine casters are in fact limited by resources and if a god tries making too many casters then they won't have enough energy for all of them (which is why clerics are out to spread the faith).

However, arcane casters can generate their own energy. If sorcerers just intermarried with more non-magical humans or otherwise spread their genes then humanity could eventually become a predominantly magical race and could generate near limitless magical power. But the Sorcerer houses want to keep the power limited to their own houses and the Gods don't want humanity to just all become magical (because who would worship a God if they could just cast their own spells?).

The wizards are otherwise non-magical but learned to cast spells through hard work (which could mean that all humans have the potential for magic and the sorcerer gene is just that one last piece of the puzzle that lets them manifest that power instinctively while wizards have to study hard to pull it off) the sorcerers think they are somehow stealing power from the sorcerers blood or something. Maybe one wizard discovered genetics and its relation to sorcerer power and figures that the human race could accend to becoming a super-powerful magical race of pure casters... through a sorcerer breeding program.

Wizard: Hey guys, I found out that the human race could become a race of super-magical beings if we just have all the spontanious spellcasters sleep with everyone else. I even wrote up this breeding program!

Elves: Oh... yeah, you humans always have to solve every problem by sleeping with it.

Half Orc: It not work so well last time, it not work well this time.

*Sorcerer and Cleric look at eachother*

Sorcerer: He's trying to dilute the pure blood of our houses and steal our power for himself!

Cleric: His filthy magi-science will lead you to sin!

Wizard: Expeditious Retreat! Darn it, I have 18 int! Why won't anyone take me seriously!?

jguy
2010-08-27, 02:24 AM
Well if genetics was discovered in the fantasy world, as in specific genes and such, it'd be a huge issue. I know selective breeding has been done since man first domesticated animals but that specific might be further away.

How big of a gulf would commoners be from even minor nobles? How big of an issue is magic needed? And can one "fake it" with items?

Halae
2010-08-27, 02:43 AM
another point I'd like to raise - Dread Necromancers. They're essentially sorcerers, but how would they fit into this society? Most countries, even evil ones, don't particularly like the undead

jguy
2010-08-27, 02:48 AM
Dread Necromancers....Hmm. They are spontaneous arcane casters but they don't fit the "dragon blooded" theme, meaning in this world it has to come from somewhere. Perhaps they have a innate connection to the negative energy plane and that is their source of power and magic.

hamishspence
2010-08-27, 02:58 AM
I think in the Ghostwalk setting, one of the countries is ruled over by sorcerers- sorcerer ability has been "engineered into the bloodline" of the noble caste, via magical experimentation.

Connington
2010-08-27, 03:24 AM
@ Harnel: I imagine Dread Necromancers would be sorcerers who took a darker turn. For whatever reason, they turned their back on society and their draconic heritage, and utilized their innate magic for necromancy. There'd be no way to tell on the surface that someone was casting a DN spell rather than a standard sorcerer spell, but the different spell lists would give it away if you weren't careful. Some sorcerers turn to necromancy due to an early childhood brush with death, growing up around a source of negative energy, or simple inclination.

Some of them go more or less public with it, and are generally shunned. In fact, I could see sorcerers intentionally confusing necromancy and wizardry in people's minds. If they aren't hunted down, they're quietly disinherited. Others are smart enough to keep quiet about it. A small percentage of the sorcerers hanging about are actually Dread Necromancers. They generally can spot their own kind, and they occasionally ally with each other, or at least band together to keep people from looking too closely.

Anyways, you know, now that I think of it, the idea someone had earlier of using Paladins as bodyguards was pretty cool. Instead of the role I suggested for them earlier, what if we made a few adjustments to the Paladin class, and did just that?

Refluff them entirely of course. Their power is derived from Arcane sources now, bound to serve the sorcerers in a way not unlike the Warlock. However, while Warlocks often have their own agendas, paladins are closely bound to their sorcerer masters, who generally require that paladin to behave strictly according to their wishes, and can take away the Paladin's power with a thought if they wish. Since nobles, and sorcerer nobles in particular, are often capricious, this can be difficult.

The paladin institution is an old one, dating back to the days of the dragon. As such, paladins have an innate connection to dragons, which they use

Start with a Paladin. I think I've already clarified what happened to his code of honor, so let's move on. He looses his Aura of Good, but can now use his Smite Evil attack against people of all alignments. He can't detect whether anyone is of evil alignment, but he can detect if someone plans to kill someone in the immediate future. No more Turn Undead, but instead he gains Arcanists (Wizards, Warlocks and Sorcerers alike) as a favored enemy, like the Ranger ability. He trades Knowledge: Religion for Knowledge: Arcana, and picks up Intimidation as a class skill. Finally, his special mount is automatically a Dragonnel, from Dragon Magic. Technically that should require a feat to take it at level 4, but whatever. Call it a Christmas gift.

So basically, our divine champion of good has become a dragon-horse riding, mage killing machine than can tell when you're looking to kill the sorcerer he's sworn to protect. He's a good bodyguard, but can just as easily be dispatched on his dragon pony to go kill a wizard. Instead of maintaining a Lawful Good code of conduct, he has to be careful to stay on his lord's good side.

I imagine that every noble house would have a couple of these paladins for personal protection. The king himself probably has a small corps of them as his royal guard, probably headed by a hexblade or a duskblade. The commoners probably tell stories to their children about heroic paladins fighting along side their lords in heroic battles against outlandish numbers or hunting fiendish wizards, but many of the adults have had to deal with an overbearing paladin on the trail of one of those wizards, and found it less than pleasant.

gorfnab
2010-08-27, 04:00 AM
For an easy "wizard hunter" you could do the following

1. Take the Urban Ranger (UA) variant.
2. Add Intimidate, Knowledge: Arcana, Spellcraft, Survival, and Tumble to class skills. Take out Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge: Geography, Ride, and Swim.
3. Take out Wild Empathy add Track back in or use the Trapfinding ACF (DS).
4. Switch out the ranger spell list with say the Vigilante (CA) spell list (also add in these and maybe some non-nature oriented Ranger or Assassin spells; 1st level: Detect Chaos/Good/Evil/Law; 2nd: Knock; 3rd: Discern Lies, Speak With Dead; 4th: Dimensional Anchor, Faithful Hound, True Seeing)
5. Scrap the Animal Companion for Distracting Attack ACF (PHBII).
6. Take the Arcane Hunter ACF (CM).

You could set these guys up as say a family or clan, funded and backed by the nobility perhaps publicly or secretly, which has trained for generations to hunt down wizards and other rogue casters.

Note: You could also take out the Distracting Attack ACF and go with Mystic Ranger (Dragon #336) spell progression (9 of the Vigilante's first level spells are sorc/wiz cantrips anyways, just add in some appropriately themed 5th level spells).

Admiral Squish
2010-08-27, 06:22 AM
I'm gonna have to actually homebrew something for this, aren't I?

Wardog
2010-08-27, 06:51 AM
On the subject nobles having affairs with commoners and producing illegitimate children:

In the real middle ages it was frowned on, but it happened, and often led to all sorts of infighting as people squabled over who should be the true heir etc.

William the Conqueror (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_the_Bastard#Early_life) was the illegitimate son of the Duke of Normandy and a woman who was said to be a tanner's daughter (but may actually have been of higher standing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herleva)).

Despite this, William (known then as William the Bastard) was named as his farther's heir, and was subject to numerous assassination attempts at the hands of relatives who thought they had a better right to rule than he did).


So having such things in this setting would be quite reasonable, and could be the source of all sorts of plots, schemings, intreagues, etc.

Aroka
2010-08-27, 07:05 AM
On the subject nobles having affairs with commoners and producing illegitimate children:

In the real middle ages it was frowned on, but it happened, and often led to all sorts of infighting as people squabled over who should be the true heir etc.


I'm not really convinced it was all that frowned upon, even. The Church probably disapproved, at least officially, but I doubt most of society was very concerned with who a man slept with, so long as the man had a proper heir. Indeed, if a king's only legitimate son was a bastard, they might still be considered heir - Henry VIII's bastard son Henry FitzRoy ("Henry son of King" - very subtle) was Duke of Richmond and Somerset and Earl of Nottingham, Henry's first son, and was pretty much set to inherit until he died (Edward VI, born the next year, would have displaced him in the line of inheritance, being legitimate).

Inheritance law can be all kinds of complicated, though - to what degree do legitimate children (and their heirs) take precedence (does a legitimate grandson go ahead of a bastard son?), how eligible bastards are at all, and how much authority does a man have to name someone as an heir over their children? (Law might protect the rights of a legitimate son to inherit regardless of a father's wishes.)

If there's a magical bloodline involved... well, diluting it would only be an issue if bastards were allowed into the the noble bloodline. If the bastards can't be nobles themselves, can't hold titles and so on, and their children can't enter the noble line, they'd probably not be considered an issue. Purity of blood doesn't care about bastards running around outside the official bloodline.

Uncertainty does introduce more potential conflict, though, and that's always good.

hamishspence
2010-08-27, 07:09 AM
I'm not really convinced it was all that frowned upon, even. The Church probably disapproved, at least officially, but I doubt most of society was very concerned with who a man slept with, so long as the man had a proper heir. Indeed, if a king's only legitimate son was a bastard, they might still be considered heir - Henry VIII's bastard son Henry FitzRoy ("Henry son of King" - very subtle) was Duke of Richmond and Somerset and Earl of Nottingham, Henry's first son, and was pretty much set to inherit until he died (Edward VI, born the next year, would have displaced him in the line of inheritance, being legitimate).

Wasn't that because Henry had "delegitimized" both Mary and Elizabeth- and had they remained legally legitimate, they'd have been ahead of him in order of inheritance despite being female?

Esser-Z
2010-08-27, 07:09 AM
Last time I encountered a mage queen, she tried to turn the Paladin and my Swordsage into sex slaves, then awoke her god to smite us after we rolled the best pair of 20s ever, and ended up getting squished by said god for cheating on him.


Not relevant at all, but one of the highlights of that game.

Vantharion
2010-08-27, 07:27 AM
Wizard: Hey guys, I found out that the human race could become a race of super-magical beings if we just have all the spontanious spellcasters sleep with everyone else. I even wrote up this breeding program!

Elves: Oh... yeah, you humans always have to solve every problem by sleeping with it.

Half Orc: It not work so well last time, it not work well this time.

*Sorcerer and Cleric look at eachother*

Sorcerer: He's trying to dilute the pure blood of our houses and steal our power for himself!

Cleric: His filthy magi-science will lead you to sin!

Wizard: Expeditious Retreat! Darn it, I have 18 int! Why won't anyone take me seriously!?

I think I love you.
This thread is giving me a lot of good ideas.

I think this level of power would also do good for spontaneous/wizard balance.
Wizards are vastly powerful because of the extents that their spellbooks can cover. If they're generally hated for practicing, they won't be able to have quite as large a personal library. This would weaken them significantly.
Sorcerers are limited by their spell choice and lack of capabilities beyond that. This setting would give them much more social influence and options aside from casting spells. [I threaten you with dungeon time]
I like these ideas.

Aroka
2010-08-27, 07:34 AM
Wasn't that because Henry had "delegitimized" both Mary and Elizabeth- and had they remained legally legitimate, they'd have been ahead of him in order of inheritance despite being female?

I doubt it, but I'm not sure. I certainly haven't ever heard or read that. Male primogeniture means the eldest son is first (legitimate preferred, but I rather imagine Henry might have seriously challenged Edward VI, especially as he was 17 years older, and was almost made King of Ireland). I'm not sure whether it was strictly agnatic primogeniture, obviously, since both daughters did inherit the crown in time - it's always tricky, since it becomes a question of how far are you allowed to go looking for a male relative in preference over close female relatives?

AFAIK English primogeniture, at least at the time, meant that the monarchs children come first, with male ahead of female, in order of seniority; and then siblings, male ahead of female, in order of seniority, with each sibling's children taking precedence over the next younger sibling...

The thing with inheritance law is that the higher the stakes, the more the law is subject to how much power the people involved actually have.

hamishspence
2010-08-27, 07:43 AM
I've looked it up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Succession_Act

Elizabeth was delegitimized very shortly before Henry Fitzroy's death, but Henry Fitzroy was never official heir:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_FitzRoy,_1st_Duke_of_Richmond_and_Somerset

Asheram
2010-08-27, 08:04 AM
Maybe one wizard discovered genetics and its relation to sorcerer power and figures that the human race could accend to becoming a super-powerful magical race of pure casters... through a sorcerer breeding program.

Wizard: Hey guys, I found out that the human race could become a race of super-magical beings if we just have all the spontanious spellcasters sleep with everyone else. I even wrote up this breeding program!

Elves: Oh... yeah, you humans always have to solve every problem by sleeping with it.

Half Orc: It not work so well last time, it not work well this time.

*Sorcerer and Cleric look at eachother*

Sorcerer: He's trying to dilute the pure blood of our houses and steal our power for himself!

Cleric: His filthy magi-science will lead you to sin!

Wizard: Expeditious Retreat! Darn it, I have 18 int! Why won't anyone take me seriously!?

Reminds me of this twisted Idea that a character of mine had in a campaign with lots of were-creatures.
He wanted to properly understand what chance there was for a were-creature to be born and what species you could mix. He had an extensive breeding-program laid out (Being elf helps when you've got to research a couple of generations)... unfortunatly it was voted down by his friends.

Noneoyabizzness
2010-08-27, 08:11 AM
you know some dragons actually experiment in necromancy. the idea of a still living necromancy practicing dragon is not that hard to imagine.

or at least living when he was breeding with the fleshy people. he might have given up the nasty habit of breathing and decided to be the power behind the powers of a certain region

Renchard
2010-08-27, 10:01 AM
I really like this idea, and I think I might have to steal it for my next game. I think I'm going to add a "religion is mostly dead" aspect to it, with divine magic being outlawed by the sorcerer-nobles. The only divine caster that's really around is the archivist, who goes questing to find the ruins of old temples that have been erased from the official maps by the sorcerers and their warlock minions. I like the archivist for this kind of game, because the archivist has a vibe of "dangerous and forbidden magic", and also allows divine magic to play the role of "learned" magic in the theme of "innate vs learned" magic that this game could showcase.

Sorcerer: The nobility. Inheriting two copies of the "magic" gene allows them access to all kinds of magic, but they typically only master a few powerful spells. They heavily favor magic items that give them access to other kinds of spells (such as runestaves).

Warlocks and Dragonfire Adepts: The servitors of the sorcerers, they rarely possess actual magical genetics, instead being imprinted with their magic through rituals only known to the most powerful sorcerers. Their magic is not passed on to their ancestors. Warlocks and DFAs who are released from their service are often sought after agents by lower ranking sorcerer-nobles, who lack the ability to create their own warlock agents.

Limited casters (bard, beguiler, dread necro, warmage): Born with 1 magic gene, these casters possess strong magic, but a limited ability to shape it. Their magic ability makes them nobility by default, but they are minor nobility, often turning to trade or other pursuits to earn their keep.

Magewrights (Eberron CS): Typically the agents of lower ranking nobles, these commoners are given small magical talents in exchange for service. As the sorcerer-nobles often don't bother to learn utility spells, these servants can fill in for the areas where their master lacks.

Randel
2010-08-27, 02:15 PM
Another thing:

Bards can cast healing spells, although not as much as clerics can.

If all it takes is one copy of the magic gene to make a bard with limited healing ability, then one sorcerer and one commoner are guaranteed to have a bard (or other half-caster class). Clerics have to seek the favor of their gods to get healing magic, but a sorcerer can get a bunch of bards by having illigidimate children.

So, bards could be a sort of legally recognized bastard child. They are seen as less 'pure' than the official heir who is a result of two sorcerers having a child (guaranteed to be another sorcerer), but Bards can use healing magic while sorcerers can't. So the sorcerer could have a bunch of bards around as mid-rank nobles who would use their magic to help the nobles and knights and guards and such.

Clerics would be rare (limited to the power of the god to bestow divine magic on their followers) but sorcerers could raise all the Bards they want. Why bend over backwards to please a cleric to get healing magic when the sorcerer nobles can raise a whole bunch of bastard bards who can cast healing magic as well?

The heirs who are sorcerers would be the princes and princesses who are first in line for the throne. Anyone trying to take out the bloodline wold aim for them, and they would likely keep all their infighting amongst eachother. However, if some disaster befalls the royal family and all the sorcerer heirs are dead... then the kingdom can look through all the bards for the next heir.

If the sorcerers are all dead and a bard comes to the throne then the royal family can continue, if he has children with another sorcerer then his kids have a 50/50 chance to be bards or sorcerers. If he marries another bard then its 1/4 chance of a sorcerer, 2/4 chance of a bard, and a 1/4 chance of a mundane.

Prodigious breeding (with possibly some illegitimate children on the side) would guarantee that the sorcerer bloodline would never go extinct. There might be times where its weak and there are only bards or half-casters around, but in a generation or two then full sorcerers will return and the family line returns to its former strength.

Thus, sorcerers would be the noble rulers of the land and bards would be their illegitimate but respected children. Give the bards a decent education and privileges in return for their bolstering songs and curative magic and the kingdom is secure. Any bard with healing magic can spontaneously heal, which makes them a real bonus for bringing on missions. They are respected, even if they aren't the best fighters or are in charge of a mission.

Actually... if most bards are basically the children of the sorcerers then they have familial loyalty to the sorcerers themselves. Bards are great to bring on a mission (even if they don't fight themselves) because they can toss in healing magic, use their bardic songs, and have bardic lore. Each official mission would have a bard along to help, and after the mission is done then they return home and tell Mom or Dad what happened.

Sorcerers are the head of the state, bards are the eyes and ears, all the fighters and rogues and whatnot are the arms and feet.

Why bother with paladins when you've got a fighter and a bard to boost and heal him? Why bother with clerics when you've got who knows how many bastard children with healing powers? Divine casters could have a shaky existence around the sorcerer kingdom because while they do have magical powers and the will of the gods, the sorcerers and their immediate family have powers of their own.

So it could be a case where the church and state are each trying to get power for themselves, but the state has the sorcerer bloodline and a potential for great power. The church has power of their own but has to keep an eye on the state.

Dread necromancers, warlocks, and others could be members of the sorcerer bloodline who are augmenting their power with divine or infernal magic. Letting the churches or cults or whatnot work their way into the noble family.

Considering that all sorcerers have the same spell list its likely that many of them choose the same spells known (after all, some spells are better than others and they've been exploring and honing their magic for generations) then in the event of a sorcerer duel then there could be alot of counterspells. A noble who augments his powers to get a new spell list or extra class abilities could have an advantage over the others.


Plus, sorcerers and bards base their powers off of charisma... which would make them excellent at diplomacy and bluff. They might not have the intelligence of wizards, but they can always get high-int experts to advise them if they need a brainiac to help them. High int experts could work alongside the bards to see what is going on in the kingdom and what should be done.

Heck, bards get stuff like dancing lights (for long distance signals), disguise self, read or detect magic and of course healing. Add all their skill points and knowledge skills and they would make decent spies/lieutenants/generals. Couple them with a high int expert if they need brains and any fighters/rogues or whatnot if they need muscle and they could be the long arm of the kings. Not always intimidating by themselves but they can pulls strings to make life miserable for any adventurers that poke fun at them.



*Bard is holding a scroll with the sorcerer kings latest decree for raised taxes. He decides to employ his high ranks in perform(rock) and bluff to get the population to support it*

Bard: Freedom isnt' free, it takes folks like you and me. To pay the way... to save the day! From goblin tyranny!!"

Commoners: Yay! Take our money! Lord Devisator needs it!

Expert: We support our dark army!

Adventurers: Oh, hey bardork! Maybe if you chose a decent class you could actually fight the goblins instead of dancing around like an idiot.

Rogue: Yeah, I bet you've never even landed a critical!

Bard: ... they're with the enemy! Guards, get them!

Adventurers: Oh nuts.

Bard: Stomp stomp stomp the traitors! fight fight fight for justice!

*later that day at the castle*

Bard: Dearest father, the village of Adobo was enthusiastic about your new taxes and the coffers should be here by the end of the week.

Sorcerer: Thank you my son.

Bard: But I encountered some rabble-rousers there as well who didn't like my patriotic song. One was even a rogue who questioned my fighting prowess.

Sorcerer: Oh?

Bard: Oh yes, I had them beaten and thrown into prison for treason. I do hope that nothing else like this happens... perhaps we should have some extra guards to watch the tax money as it is delivered to the royal coffers?

Sorcerer: An excellent idea, my son. I leave the security measures in your hands.

Bard: I predict nothing less than a... critical success!

*both laugh*

Eldan
2010-08-27, 02:36 PM
I actually worked on a similar thing for a while.

Now, the thing is: Wizards are difficult to train. They need magical books, and writing, spell components (which sorcerers needs as well, but can easily get, being nobles), and years of study.

So, they don't just pop up. Possibilities are: a wizard is travelling, pretending to be a bard. Bard because while the bard has abilities the wizard has difficulties faking, the bard also places importance on learning, with his lore ability, and may legitimately collect books and legends. Now, he could take another "bard" as his apprentice.

The other possibility that came to me are essentially "Mob Wizards". A criminal organization, or even a rather ruthless merchant family could invest money in an underground wizard training program. The benefits would be enormous: battle magic against rival families, divinations to predict market developments, the production of magical items for sale.

Mark Hall
2010-08-27, 02:37 PM
So, wouldn't it be interesting to have a setting where royalty are all sorcerers?

Something similar, though not identical, was part of the idea for the Birthright setting (2e). Certain families had the blood of the Old Gods (who died many years ago in a mass battle), which gave them certain innate powers and an ability to connect to the land in a more intimate way than unblooded leaders.

To further this, magic was not as freely available to wizards. Humans without god-blood couldn't become full wizards... they could cast any spell of levels 1 and 2, but higher than that, they were limited to Illusion and Divination magics. Humans with god-blood, and anyone with elven blood, could become a full wizard, or a specialist.

I like the idea, and think it could work well, but you'd need something to deal with the disparity between wizards and sorcerers... while certain blood-clans may have innate sorcerous powers, why don't the more flexible and powerful wizards take over? I think you'd also want a number of semi-sorcerer classes... hexblade-types who manage to mix martial weapons with arcane power, but because they don't study the blood-power exclusively, are slower advancing. Perhaps your various spontaneous classes represent different families? One group of families are all Battlemages, another are all Beguilers, etc?