Topic: Tweaked M-U Class (For a Game without Clerics)

Hi everyone!

New forum member here (also new to LotFP). Great to be here, etc!

Anyways, for my soon-to-start campaign (project name "Wilderlands of Weird Mutant He-Man"), I've decided to remove clerics from the game world (and from the rules) entirely. The whole "Does the Cleric Really Fit In Swords & Sorcery-Style OSR?" debate is not new, and I know that other OSR systems (such as "Crypts and Things") have removed the cleric class/merged it with the magic-user in various ways. I also know about that the next edition of LotFP will be sans clerics, as presented in Eldritch Cock and so on.

However, wanting to stick to LotFP and not use any other system, and also wishing to keep the Vancian style of magic, I tweaked the magic-user class from the core rules and added many cleric spells to the m-u spell list (healing spells, of course, but a few of the other interesting ones as well).

In addition to that, I made spellcasting less reliable, adding the possibility of spell failure, and riskier, in that failed spellcasting can result in nasty Magical Mishaps.

I made a rather neat-looking PDF that I uploaded here: 

It contains some text from the core rules, but I hope I haven’t infringed any copyright or upset any decent people or anything (the clipart image is public domain).

Summary of changes

It buffs the magic-user up by…

  • Granting the class access to several of the spells from the cleric lists.

  • New magic-users also gets Cure Light Wounds from the beginning, in addition to Read Magic + 3 randomz.

  • Increasing the number of spells per day that the m-u can cast (tweaked m-u at level x can cast as many spells per day as a vanilla m-u level x+1)

  • Save vs Magic increased (decreased?) by 2 on each level in the progression chart, up to level 18.

However, it also makes the magic-user weaker/riskier by…

  • Changing the magic rules so that “[t]he same spell cannot be prepared multiple times, though reversible spells can be prepared once in its “normal” version and once in its “reversed” ditto” (to avoid having the m-u turn into too much of a healer class)

  • Introducing a Spellcast Roll, which the m-u must make every time he or she attempts to cast a spell, meaning that spells are not guaranteed to work, even outside of combat.

  • Even worse, if the m-u fails his or her Spellcast Roll, he or she must Save vs Magic. Failure means a roll on the Magical Mishap table (basically an expanded version of a table from Jack Shear’s “Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque”, and thus not something I can reproduce here, but to give you an idea, a minor mishap would be “black but harmless blotches appear all over the caster’s body”, a medium one would be “caster turns insane for 2d10 weeks” and a really nasty one would be something like “explosion killing caster and those in his/her vicinity”).

  • The +2 bonus on Save VS Magic mentioned above is compensated for by a -1 penalty on Saves vs Paralyze, Poison and Device. No such thing as a free lunch.

  • Oh, I also removed a couple of m-u spells from the spell list, partly because I thought they were somewhat boring, but also in order to have a roll:able number of spells for each level (no level has more spells than 24).

I’m also compiling a Madness Table and a Mutations Table, but I’ll leave it here for now.

I’ll appreciate any and all feedback on my tweaks. Could something be added, should something be changed or removed etc? Please let me know!

Last edited by boggit (2018-11-15 19:46:22)

Re: Tweaked M-U Class (For a Game without Clerics)

I don't know if I have much feedback, but I don't see any issues with what you propose. Part of the fun is house ruling and making the game what you want it to be, and my own take is wildly different from yours! wink

I completely agree with the removal of the cleric, although it creates some issues when so many OSR modules refer to Clerics (even LotFP stuff such as England Upturn'd). My solution was to essentially make Clerics and M-U mechanically the same - they are both like M-U that use the same spell list, and the ruleset from VAM/EC, with two differences: 1) Clerics use Wisdom for their saving throw, while M-U use Charisma, and 2) Clerics can replace a spell with Bless (my own version: allows a normal weapon to damage chaotic creatures, or cures a curse) while M-U can replace a spell with a sort of Magic Missile (using the rules from Wonder & Wickedness).

Essentially, this allows players to choose to be a spellcaster if they have either a high wisdom or charisma, and allows us to keep some of the flavor of Clerics (as religious kooks) while ignoring the healing focus traditionally assigned to them.

I also support the idea of risky spellcasting and mutations and mishaps. I highly recommend The Metamorphica if you haven't already picked up a copy. It is my go to for mutations, curses, and blessings.

My solution to the lack of healing: PCs can eat/drink from a selection of things to heal a bit with each break/meal, light things like tea, chocolates, or coffee, heal a small amount but carry no risk, then things like beer and wine heal a bit more but carry a small risk, while harder drugs and spirits heal a lot but carry a larger risk.

I also created a spreadsheet that includes every spell from every book that I think has interesting spells...I think I'm up to about 2500 right now. Players look forward to getting to "roll" on this list! smile