This section contents cool content for Monsters & Magic created by players and GMs. Some of it is available directly, some of it at other websites and blogs.
Classes and Sub-classes
Religions and Temples
Houserules and Cool Ideas
Christopher Cortright’s Espeth Setting
Christopher Cortwright’s Hard Luck Ink Writings blog has a “Monsters & Magic Wednesday”, where he’s posting brand new Monsters & Magic content for his Espeth campaign setting. There are cool new race write-ups and some old favourites, lots of campaign background, temples, gods, and more.
- Races of Elspeth
- New Classes and Sub-classes (Technist, Brawler, Rune Caster)
- The Espeth Pantheon: Aberone the Fallen
If you’ve written something for Monsters & Magic which you’d like us to link to, or even put up here on the site, contact us at email@example.com!
Classes and Sub-classes
Custom Class: The Blademage
Travis Casey presents the “Blademage”, an unofficial fan conversion of a specialist class combining magic and melee combat. Check it out here.
New Sub-class: The Pardoner
Ether UK of the Google+ Community presents the “Pardoner”, an awesome cleric sub-class straight out of the Canterbury Tales. The Pardoner uses his god’s powers to pardon the sins of his flock by removing their points of Alignment Drift. A great class and a very evocative use of the Monsters & Magic alignment rules – check out the Pardoner here.
New Sub-class: The Janissary
Gianni Vacca, author of The Celestial Empire and member of the Monsters & Magic Working Group, posts his take on a cool fighter sub-class, the Janissary. Almost an alternative take on the Paladin, this sub-class is great for disciplined fighters who develop a strong emotional bond with one another – it could equally apply to Spartans and Samurai as well as Crescent Moon soldiery.
Check out Gianni’s Janissary sub-class here.
Image by Yasinyayli of DeviantArt.
New Sub-class: The Knight-Errant
Julian Stanley presents the “Knight-Errant”, a homage to the Cavalier, a specialist mounted fighter sub-class bringing law and justice to all according to the Code of Chivalry. Check it out here.
Classes and Sub-classes of Espeth
Christopher Cortright presents three new classes and sub-classes from his Monsters & Magic campaign setting “Espeth” – the Technist, the Brawler, and the Rune Caster. Check them out here.
Religions and Temples
New Temple: Aberone the Fallen
Aberone the Fallen, Lord of Law, is one of the major deities of Christopher Cortright’s “Espeth” Monsters & Magic campaign setting – check it out here.
New Temple: The Bektaşi
Here’s a Sufi clerical order from Gianni’s Crescent Moon Empire in his “Fair Kingdom” setting. Great for more mystical clerical characters, with some very cool abilities to see the “Hidden Truth” behind the veil of reality.
Check out the Bektaşi order here.
New Temple: Saint Elizabeth
Here’s Gianni again with a clerical cult for his fantastic-European “Fair Kingdom” setting – this time on the opposing side to the Crescent Moon. This temple is great for healing-focussed cleric characters, and has some cool ideas for clerical powers based on healing rather than turning undead.
Check out The Temple of Saint Elizabeth here.
Races of Espeth
Christopher Cortwright is posting expanded races for Monsters & Magic from his Espeth campaign, including some old favourites and some unique new ones, as well as some deep campaign background. Check out his first M&M expansion at his Hard Luck Ink Writings blog.
Houserules and Cool Ideas
A new trait by David Thomas
With an INT check a magic user can perform simple magic tricks, such as: lighting a candle or a fingertip, moving a very light object, tying or untying a knot, spilling a cup, creating a coloured orb, making a small sound (creak, rap, murmur, giggle, whistle), causing a being a minor reaction (yawn, belch, sneeze, wink), making a puff of smoke, and causing a minor breeze.
A consequence on a failed check generally means the cantrip works but does something unintended. A candle flame causes a larger fire, etc.
Cantrips are a great addition for settings or games where “petty magic” is a thing, where all magic users could receive it as default, and other classes can even learn it as an advancement without unbalancing the game – perhaps a “wizardly thief” sub-class. Magic users become a bit more effective without becoming too powerful, especially in games which use Vancian spell loss.
More Uses of Alignment Focus and Drift
Travis Casey and Adam Minnie have been brainstorming some very cool things to do with Monsters & Magic alignments at the Google+ community. This is a quick overview.
Artifacts and Ego Swords
The Alignment Drift rule for adventuring on outer planes (p82) is well-suited to modelling anything that’s supposed to present a temptation to a character. In particular, for those who enjoy intelligent, aligned weapons, such a weapon could give its user an Alignment Drift that would take him/her closer to the weapon’s alignment.
This effect becomes especially interesting with powerful but chaotic or evil items like the Eye or Hand of Vecna. The extent to which you employ the imposed Drift indicates how well you please or displease the item, causing it to react accordingly. You can regain hero points when you let such an Alignment Drift get you into trouble, as well as gaining trait bonuses and XP when you act accordingly. Often you’ll get bonuses and get into trouble at the same time!
For example, when I willingly wield the Axe of the Dwarven Lords, it may replace my Drift with something like “In recompense for ancient injustice, I will bravely assault green-skins and giant-kin (most large humanoids)” a behavior which may drift me from my Neutral Good alignment toward Lawful Neutral.
Such an item may give you an additional Alignment Drift, or suppress and replace your normal Alignment Drift, as long as it is in your possession. In some cases – perhaps particularly chaotic or evil weapons – the replacement may only happen when you wield the item. If you want to emulate Elric’s mental conflict with Stormbringer in Monsters & Magic, this is how to do it.
Relationships, Loyalties, and Social Pressure
Maintaining relationships with liege lords, patrons, temples, factions, followers, or lovers may affect a character’s motivation, replacing the character’s Alignment Drift or Focus. PCs are often most interesting when their Focus, Drift, and Goal aren’t immediately compatible, requiring the character to change in some way (which is usually the basis for good plot) to resolve some or all of them.
If a relationship with a liege lord, patron, temple, or lover is significant enough, the GM can offer a player the choice of greater advantages from deepening the relationship (in the form of advancements and constructs) at the cost of granting the GM some control over the character’s Drift (or less commonly Focus or Goal as appropriate). The Druid character class already gives an example of a player choice guiding the tenor of that character’s Focus.
Since Alignment Focus and Drift can give trait bonuses, using them to represent social pressure is increasingly effective at higher levels, when any new opportunity to add your level to a check is welcomed and tempting. This makes sense, since players are likely also more deeply engaged with groups, factions, and responsibilities at higher scales, while low-level adventurers tend to be more footloose and fancy free.
For example, Sir Lancelot’s Focus might serve his lord King Arthur, while his Drift—imposed by his love for Guinevere—leads him into treason. Likewise, the idea of a Jedi wrestling with the Dark Side’s immediate benefits presents another good example of this concept in play. Finally, when Han Solo comes back to help out at the end of A New Hope, he is definitely activating using his Drift trait, possible related to the Rebel Alliance faction, but more arguably due to a more personal relationship.
Here are some example where such Drifts, Focuses, or Goals could come with valuable advancements:
- A commander may increasingly respect, promote, and empower you as you align with her ideology.
- A lover may withdraw from or reject you as he hears of you performing behaviors distasteful to him.
- A shadowy patron may bring you deeper into the inner circle as your actions prove worthy of the cause.
- Acceptance into a guild or order of knighthood may require adherence to a code of honor.
- A dynastic mercantile family may offer more lucrative employment the more you demonstrate loyalty to the family on their terms.
- A cabal of mages or elementals may offer increasing access to power and assistance as you embody or accomplish their will in the world.
- Being named successor to the throne, the family, or a command rank may require greater demonstration of particular kingdom values than all your competitors.
- Escaping the City of Brass without violence requires making a deal with a powerful djinn.
Whenever a PC pursues a deepened relationship with a significant individual or faction—let’s say it’s a new patron—compare the alignments of both.
Match Made In Heaven
If their alignments match, consider offering a greater benefit at the cost of requiring the PC to shift his Focus to something the would-be patron values. The benefit may be access to more unique or otherwise unavailable advancement options—like The King’s Elite Bodyguard trait, a potent special effect, or even a custom sub-class (reminiscent of prestige classes)—or perhaps a higher-level construct than would normally be accessible at the character’s current level (perhaps command over a regiment of soldiers at adventurer scale rather than heroic). Of course, different characters in a party may face different benefits and different alignment changes from the same patron.
The drama here comes from tempting players to lose their advantages and preferment with certain social circles if they don’t adhere consistently to certain values. Knowing players, chafing against a single set of values will be inevitable before long, and if it doesn’t, the player character gets to wrestle with losing individuality and freedom by being someone else’s pawn or lapdog.
Running with a New Crowd
If a patron’s alignment varies from the character’s (which it likely will), then offer a benefit at the cost of shifting the PC’s Drift to something the patron values, tempting the character toward the patron’s alignment. Progress in the relationship or the patron’s pleasure with the character is as easy as tracking use of the Drift trait vs Focus.
Very rarely, a significant relationship may offer a player to shift a goal, but often that should remain under the player’s control.
Shifted Focuses or Drifts aren’t very interesting unless they conflict with a PC’s other alignment trait and goal (or other players’ Focuses, Drifts and goals), so don’t be afraid of putting them at odds. Keep in mind that this level of play is modular and optional; players ultimately choose whether they want such internal drama dynamics in their games, and otherwise can simply leave the patron’s wishes as description, without affecting the mechanics. Often you may just want to keep things simple – hack ‘n slash delving, exploring, and looting, without focussing on motivations and conflicting loyalties.