View Full Version : The Book of Izz: Half-Baked Homebrew from 2002

2015-03-21, 05:51 PM
I was looking through things on my computer, and peeked in this folder from, apparently, 2002. I thought I'd share some homebrew from the dawn of the 3rd Edition era. It's what we'd now call a fantasy heartbreaker (I had not heard that term in 2002, and this wasn't designed to sell or publish, just to use, and we never got around to playing it. But I'm dusting it off anyway, just to take a look.)

It looks like a classless or build-your-own-class system, using the PHB and D&D concepts as a basis. Taking the customizability of 3.0 skills-and-feats and taking it a step further.

Presented straight from the archived file, except for formatting the table and the spoiler tag.

Note: PHB references are almost certainly to the 3.0 edition, not 3.5

The Book of Izz
1. Table of Contents
2. Character points
3-4. Priests and Priesthoods of Izz
5. Spellcasters of Izz
6. Alchemists
7-9. Stuff about Yogis

Skills—Many Knowledge skills have been consolidated into Knowledge—Book Learning. (Cannot be used Untrained). Each rank you spend on Knowledge-Book Learning represents a book you own in the game. You get a one-page typed summary, and can ask the DM questions based on that. In addition, anything you don’t have a book on you might have encountered in your readings. (Roll a skill check). For example, your Book Learning—Greek Mythology might give you the information you need on Centaur culture, from the stories of Herakles and his mentor Chiron.

2. Character Points v1.2
Character starts with 6 character points, uses them to buy things from the following chart.


Poor (2+Int/level)
1/ 3 levels

Fair (4+Int/level)
1/ 2 levels

Good (8+Int/level)
1/ 1 level
Priest magic


Wizard magic

Skills. All skills are in-class. Characters need a good explanation for a skill, however. A dirt-poor peasant isn’t going to learn how to appraise gems or flatter an emperor, and 90% of villa-born aristocrats don’t know how to milk cows.
Poor = 2+Int bonus skill points per level, Fair = 4+Int bonus, Good = 8+Int bonus.

Feats. All characters receive one feat at first level in addition to the feats from the progression. Most of the old class abilities are available as feats. Again, a decent explanation is required for why your character has the feat(s).

Combat ability.
We will be using 2nd edition weapon proficiency rules. You know only certain weapons.
Poor combat ability (0 points) means the Wizard base attack table, d6 hit points per level, no armor proficiencies, and one weapon proficiency every three levels.
Fair combat ability (1 point) means the Cleric base attack table, d8 hit points per level, light armor proficiency, and one weapon proficiency every two levels.
Good combat ability (2 points) means the Fighter base attack table, d10 hit points per level, medium armor proficiency and one weapon proficiency every level.

Ability to cast wizard spells costs 4 Character points, priest spells 2 Character Points. (This is a reduction from version 1.1)
I have no record of version 1.1 or 1.0

2015-03-21, 06:01 PM
Priests and Priesthoods of Izz.

Divine Magic in Izz.
Priests serve their communities as religious leaders, focusing the collective energy of the community towards collective goals. Priests work magic in three ways, either through Powers, Holy Words or Miracles.

1. Powers are available to the priest at will. Most priesthoods have two of these Powers.

Discern lies (195)
Detect magic (193)
Immunity to Fear
Calm Animals (182)
Speak with Animals(254)
Speak with Dead (254)
Command Undead
Turn Undead
Healing touch (1 hp)
Emotion (199, one target)
Produce fire (as torch)
Predict weather

2. Holy Words cost the priest one Spell Point. A priest has two spell points plus his Wisdom bonus per level. At 1st level, a priest knows two Holy Words. At 4th, 7th and 10th level the priest learns to use another Holy Word if it is available to his religion. A priest using a Holy Word may use more than 1 spell point at a time, either to affect multiple targets (*) or to strengthen the spell (Servant, Heal). PHB references are for spell aspects not mentioned here. Some spells have been altered.

Bless—Gives a +1 luck bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws and skill checks to all allies within 30’ of the caster. (PHB 180)

Bravery*—Recipient becomes fearless. +1 morale bonus to attacks, saves. +10 to fear checks.

Command—One word which will be obeyed by all targets who understand. (PHB 184-185)

Fear*—As spell, Cause Fear, PHB 182. Target will flee, cower, hide or surrender as he sees fit.

Heal—Cures 1d8 damage per casting, plus the level of the caster. When used for a Heal check, modify check by +5 for each spell point spent. (Ex. Blindness, DC 40.)

Sanctuary*—As Sanctuary spell, PHB 247, plus barrier effects of Protection from Evil, PHB 240

Servant—The caster conjures assistants to aid the caster for one hour. Each casting summons ˝ HD of Servants. Multiple castings summon more or stronger Servants.

Rage*—Causes one ally to go into a barbarian rage, PHB 25

Waterwalk*—Enables recipient to walk on water as if they were traversing a very slippery surface. Balance checks against base DC 5. (As spell, PHB 271)

3. Miracles require the cooperation of several priests with a higher level priest, with the support of the community. Common examples include Fertilize Crops, Protect Town, Perfect Construction, etc. Taps the energy of the community to some common, major goal.

Priesthoods of Izz
Together, Dominus Omnes (aka Zeus Alexander, Horus/Osiris, Jove, etc.) and Mater Magna (aka Isis, Demeter, Ishtar, Hera, Juno, etc.) formed the Dyad. During the Empire, the old pantheons were assimilated, except where the gods were clearly outside the simple Dyad of man/father/sky/ war/strength and woman/mother/earth/fertility/comfort. With the fall of the Dyad in the Cataclysm and destruction of their clergy, the loyalists of the particular gods scramble for followers. From the chaos, new faiths emerge.

Major Priesthoods. 5 Holy Words. Universal acceptance, or large loyal following.

Poseidon. PW: Predict Weather, Immune to Fear HW: Heal, Bravery, Sanctuary, Waterwalk, Command
Artemis—adopted by many elves. Artemis’ priests are Druids, scorning metals. PW: Calm Animals, Healing Touch HW: Sanctuary, Heal, Rage, Bravery, Servant (animals)
Vulcan / Hephaesteous / The Maker—adopted by the dwarves, many gnomes. PW: Produce fire, detect magic HW: Bless, Heal, Bravery, Command, Servant (constructs)
Chronos. Minions of the Dark Lord. Emerges after Cataclysm. PW: Command Undead, Speak with Dead. HW: Bless, Heal, Fear, Command, Servant (shades)
Red God. Orc shamans. Emerges during Cataclysm, as orc legions adapt Mars to orc culture. PW: Immune to Fear, Rage. HW: Bless, Heal, Rage, Fear, Command
Mithras. Sun, justice, dualism (good/evil). PW: Immune to Fear, Discern Lies. HW: Heal, Bless, Command, Fear, Bravery

Minor Priesthoods: 3 Holy Words.
Athena PW: Detect magic, Discern lies HW: Bless, Heal, Command
Mars PW: Immune to Fear, Rage HW: Bless, Heal, Rage
Juno (West only): PW: Detect lie, healing touch HW: Sanctuary, Heal, Servant (Animals)
Hera (Greek only): PW: Detect lie, healing touch HW: Bless, Heal, Command
Persephone: PW: Speak with Animals, healing touch HW: Sanctuary, Heal, Bravery
Ishtar (Asia only, no males): PW: Healing touch, produce emotion HW: Bless, Heal, Fear
Saturnius (West) PW: Speak with, calm animals HW: Sanctuary, Heal, Servant (Animals)
Dionysus PW: Emotion, immune to fear HW: Heal, Rage, Bravery
Hestia/Vesta: PW: Detect lie, healing touch HW: Bless, Heal, Command
Apollo: PW: Detect magic, healing touch HW: Heal, Sanctuary, Bless
Aphrodite: PW: Emotion, healing touch HW: Heal, Command, Bravery
Roma: PW: Immune to fear, Detect lie HW: Sanctuary, Heal, Command

Some Priestless Faiths/Philosophies
Children of the New Dawn—fanatical opponents of all gods who seek to assassinate all priests.
People of the Law--followers of a local, exclusive god who was apparently destroyed after a rebellion against the Empire. Despite their lack of priests, their communities can still create Miracles. Scholars in theography, the gods, and divinations disagree on the meaning of this.

2015-03-21, 06:02 PM
Spellcasters of Izz

In this section, Wizard will be used as a generic term. Yogis follow the same rules, but have access to different spell lists.
1. Introduction and Totems
 Wizard spells are formulae of magical energy which the wizard integrates into his mind and makeup, becoming a conduit for the energies of the world and shaping them to his will in accordance with the fundamental laws and nature of magic and the world.
 A wizard must have a totem to focus his concentration when renewing his psychic resources, his ki. Totems are items that encode the information required for a spell in arcane languages and codes comprehensible only to wizards. The most popular totem is a spell book. Other totems have included tattoos, specially woven cloths, runestaves, ceramics, metal plates, and could conceivably include any high-quality item that people can write on, carve, color or in any way encode information. A wizard deprived of his totems, or whose totems are damaged, cannot both replenish his ki and maintain access to those spells. If he replenishes his ki, he loses access to those spells. (See below)

2. Spells known
 Wizards can know a number of spells equal to their Intelligence bonus times their level.
 If a wizard researches and develops a spell into a new spell, he is allowed to cast either the new or old version of the spell, and create totems of the new spell. This new spell is “free”, in that it does not count against the number of spells known.
 Once a wizard has learned a spell, it is very difficult to “unlearn” it and reuse that slot. One method is to create a permanent or major magic item. This can divorce the wizard from the spell, clearing a slot. Limited wish, wish, divine intervention can all clear a slot.

3. Learning new spells
 For a wizard to learn a new spell, he must have a spell slot available, and must have access to a totem of that spell. In learning the spell, the wizard makes the spell a part of his makeup, and creates his own totem of the spell.

4. Ki damage.
 Each time a wizard casts a spell, he suffers ki damage equal to the level of the spell.
 Ki damage is a special kind of damage. It cannot be cured by healing magic, and is cured by a night’s sleep and meditation with the wizard’s totems.
 A wizard who has suffered any amount of ki damage and falls below 0 hit points falls unconscious and stabilizes. He is not killed unless he suffers further damage.

5. Forbidden topics
 Since the beginning of wizardry there have been forbidden topics. Necromancy spells and spells that seek to control a being against its will have been outlawed since the beginning of the schools of magic. This does not mean that those spells do not exist. They are illegal, taboo and in common opinion evil—but they are out there.

Hailing from the distant Han Empire, alchemists do not have spell books in the traditional sense. They create potions, salves, ointments, and other substances which capture and hold magical effects. These are ephemeral, and lose their potency after 24 hours if not re-created.

Alchemists function as 3rd edition Wizards, “memorizing” spells by brewing potions. Replace Scribe Scroll bonus feat with Brew Potion. Hailing from a very different culture than the western wizards, the cultural limitations on western wizard spell lists are ignored.

2015-03-21, 06:03 PM

Yogi spells only affect the caster until very high levels. The yogi learns that mind rules matter, and the stability of the visual world is an illusion. The first illusion that must be escaped is the unchanging self. Therefore the yogis spells focus on changing the self before changing the rest of the world. As the yogi advances, the unity of the self with the universe becomes clearer, and it becomes possible to change things outside oneself.

Yogi spells do not require material components. Verbal components (mantras) can be whispered with full effect.

Yogis can know one mantra plus the yogi’s intelligence bonus per level, not one spell. A yogi, unlike a western wizard, can “upgrade” a spell by learning a higher level spell that duplicates or supersedes the effect. The old mantra is included in the new mantra. For example, a 3rd level yogi with the Endure Elements spell who has access to the Resist Elements spell can “upgrade” from Endure Elements to Resist Elements. Resist Elements replaces Endure Elements on the yogi’s spell list.

Examples of mantra upgrades
Remove Paralysis/Sound Body
Delay Poison/Sound Body
Lesser Restoration/Restoration/Greater Restoration
Endure Elements/Resist Elements/Protection from Elements
Invisibility/Improved invisibility
Change Self/Alter Self
Wild Shape I/Polymorph Self/ Wildshape II/Wild Shape III/Wild Shape IV/Shapechange
NOTE: Wild Shape I, II, III, IV refer to the Druid's Wildshape abilities gained at 5, 8, 11 and 14. I was baffled until I saw the spell list below.
Mage Armor/Barkskin/Stoneskin/Iron Body
Dimension Door/Teleport/Word of Recall/Teleport Without Error
Bull’s Strength/Divine Power/Righteous Might/Tenser’s Transformation
Expeditious Retreat/Haste
Ethereal Jaunt/Etherealness
Message/Whispering Wind/Sending

New mantras
Thief in the Night (0 level)
Duration: Concentration
The caster becomes inconspicuous. The caster is not invisible, but is not worthy of notice, thus gaining a +5 on Hide and Move Silently checks.

Cat’s Feet (0 level)
Duration: Concentration
The caster becomes surefooted, +5 to Balance checks

Hands of Stone (1st level)
Duration: 1 minute
The skin of one of the caster’s hand becomes as hard and heavy as stone. An unarmed attack with the Hand of Stone is treated as a magic weapon whose base damage is d6 and whose bonus is the caster’s Charisma bonus

Claws of the Tiger (2rd level)
Duration: 1 minute/level
The caster’s hands turn into razor-sharp claws, which do d6 damage plus the caster’s Charisma bonus. The claws are natural attack forms, and thus do not suffer penalties for fighting with two weapons.

Detect Scent (2nd level)
Duration: 10 minute/level
As Scent Feat.

Sound Body (3rd level)
Duration: Instantaneous
Can be cast as Remove Disease, Cure Blindness/Deafness, Neutralize Poison or Remove Paralysis.

Evasion (2nd level)
Duration: 1 hour/level
As Rogue class ability

Uncanny Dodge (1st level)
Duration: 1 hour/level
As Rogue class ability

Alter Reality (6th level)
Duplicate any Yogi spell of 5th level or lower
Duplicate any Transmutation, Divination, or Abjuration spell of 4th level or lower
Duplicate any spell of 3rd level or lower

2015-03-21, 06:04 PM
Yogi Spell List

0 Cat's Feet (New)
0 Cure Minor Wounds
0 Detect Magic
0 Light
0 Purify Food/Drink
0 Thief in the Night (New)
1 Change Self
1 Delay Poison
1 Endure Elements
1 Enlarge
1 Expeditious Retreat
1 Feather Fall
1 Hands of Stone (New)
1 Invisibility to Animals
1 Jump
1 Mage Armor
1 Message
1 Pass without Trace
1 Protection from Evil
1 Reduce
1 Sanctuary
1 Speak with Animals
1 Spider Climb
1 Uncanny Dodge
1 Ventriloquism
2 Alter Self
2 Barkskin
2 Blur
2 Bull's Strength
2 Cat's Grace
2 Claws of the Tiger (New)
2 Darkvision
2 Detect Scent (New)
2 Discern Lies
2 Endurance
2 Evasion
2 Invisibility
2 Levitate
2 Protection from Arrows
2 Resist Elements
2 See Invisible
2 Silence 15' Radius
2 Whispering Wind
3 Clairaudience/Clairvoyance
3 Detect Thoughts
3 Fly
3 Gaseous Form
3 Haste
3 Meld Into Stone
3 Remove Curse
3 Resist Elements
3 Scrying
3 Sound Body
3 Tongues
3 Water Breathing
3 Water Walk
3 Wild Shape I (as Druid 5)
4 Air Walk
4 Arcane Eye
4 Dimension Door
4 Divine Power
4 Freedom of Movement
4 Improved Evasion
4 Improved invisibility
4 Nondetection
4 Polymorph Self
4 Restoration
4 Sending
4 Spell Immunity
4 Stoneskin
5 Commune with Nature
5 Ethereal Jaunt
5 Phase Door
5 Plane Shift
5 Prying Eyes
5 Righteous Might
5 Spell Resistance
5 Teleport
5 True Seeing
5 Wild Shape II (as Druid 8)
5 Wind Walk
6 Alter Reality
6 Antilife shell
6 Antimagic Field
6 Etherealness
6 Globe of Invulnerability
6 Repulsion
6 Tenser's Transformation
6 Wild Shape III (as Druid 12)
6 Word of Recall
7 Greater Restoration
7 Regenerate
7 Shadow Walk
7 Spell Turning
7 Statue
7 Teleport Without Error
7 Wild Shape IV (as Druid 16)
8 Holy Aura
8 Iron Body
8 Mind Blank
8 Protection from Spells
8 Shapechange
9 Astral Projection
9 Time Stop
9 Wish

2015-03-21, 07:53 PM
So what does this little time capsule from the early days of 3.0 tell us?

1. Class balance was an idea--Combat power and wizard magic were assumed to be equal. Skills and feats assumed to be equal.

2. Priest magic was assumed to be inferior to arcane magic. (Even my idiosyncratic priest magic.)

3. Class features just aren't a thing. Who had class features back then? Paladins and monks, and we know how 3X treated them, and rogues. It didn't faze me at all that Priests didn't get any new abilities after 10th level, max.

4. Balance within the Priest class isn't a thing--some priesthoods get more Holy Words than others, some Powers are way better than others. This is a legacy of 2E's Complete Priest alternate rules, which I used a lot.

ANyone else have thoughts?