Saturday, 25 December 2021

If Your Enemy Is of Choleric Temperament (Wizard School: The Warmind)

 Wizards of the Nine Hells! 

A planned Big Post I never even really started. Here’s a ninth of it:

A good old fashioned Wizard School. 



Bel, General of Avernus, is known for having hundreds of incredibly complicated, overlapping schemes, all running at once. As part of one, he commissioned for a mount of stone (on the 66th Upper Aulgham Front of Avernus) to be converted into a wizard’s college, where dropouts, exiles and other wizardly rejects could come to train as disposable arcanists for the Blood War. 


He did not expect the Warmind Academy to garner prestige. Advances in tactics and war-magic were made there, alike to nothing in remembered history.


Now, across the Planes and Primes, it is known: to win a war, no matter the size, all you need is enough Warminds. 



Class as per your Favourite Wizard Chassis (Here’s Mine


Starting Equipment: Mundane sword, black greatcoat, dark red uniform, hobnail boots, along with two pieces of Warmind Equipment (see list below). 


Perk: You have the to-hit bonus of a fighter. 

Drawback: The lingering stink of Avernian brimstone follows you everywhere - people always know what masters you serve. 


Cantrips:

  • You can assess the number of creatures in a group instantly, up to 5000. 

  • You can instantly polish anything metal or leather to a perfect sheen. 

  • You can draw and sheathe a mundane sword from thin air at any time. You can replace the sword by sheathing a new one, which causes the old one to appear at your feet. 



Spells:

  1. Shield

You conjure hovering shards of metal, gaining [highest] AC for [sum] rounds. This spell can be cast in response to attacks. 


  1. Darts

With a burst of smoke and a flash of red, you fire a hail of whistling flechettes that deal [sum+dice] damage to a given target, and everyone and everything next to it. Creatures that would be hit by the darts may save for half damage. 


  1. Fortify

An object of your choice is banded in smoking metal, giving it [sum] HP that has to be removed before it can be damaged. This also works on creatures made of inorganic materials, like constructs.  


  1. Decoy 

Choose a creature you can see - you produce an illusory copy of them, which is identical in all regards, except it feels like hot iron to the touch. It has 1 HP, and if it is reduced to 0, it explodes, dealing [sum + dice] to everyone within 10ft, save for half.


  1. Skywrite 

You send up a glowing illusion of whatever colour you choose, which paints across the sky directly above your head. The skywrite can be made of up to [highest] words and symbols. 


  1. Sending 

You send a message of [sum] words to someone you are familiar with. The words are spoken into their ear, and they may respond with [dice] words of their own. 


  1. Fly 

For the next [dice] hours, the target can:

  • 1MD. Slowly hover.

  • 2MD. Fly quickly but imprecisely.

  • 3MD. Fly quickly and precisely. 

  • 4MD. Fly quickly, precisely, and ignore any adverse winds. 


  1. Disarm

Up to [sum]HD of creatures you can see have whatever they’re holding wrenched from their hands and flung away from them. Creatures who are aware of you can save to hang onto their equipment.
At 4MD or higher, this instead renders the arms of the creatures numb and immobile.  


  1. Read Terrain

Ask [sum] questions about the surrounding terrain such as “What land is unstable?” and “Where are the chokepoints?”. Receive accurate answers. This reaches a range of [dice] miles. 


  1. Explode Metal

Up to [sum] slots of metal explode with terrible force, dealing [slots + dice] damage to everyone nearby. You can set a delay of up to [highest] minutes on the explosion. Sentient metal objects and creatures get a save against exploding. Technically radioactive. 


  1. Earthworks 

A target area up to [dice]*100ft on a side is reshaped according to your whims. You may dig trenches up to 20' deep, or erect bulwarks up to 20' high. The effect is slow, and creatures in the target area may save to avoid falling or being crushed.


  1. Hellfire Engine 

You call forth, from the foundries and factories of the Hellish war-machine, a deadly machine. The ultimate expression of overwhelming Avernian force, it manifests as, basically, a wheeled fortification, with enough interior space for [sum] passengers, [sum] HP, and [dice] of the following armaments: 

  • Thick Armour - The Engine has [highest] DR.

  • Fire-Sprayer - The Engine can, as an action, spray Hellfire all over something. Hellfire can’t be extinguished except by magic. The Engine has a total of [sum] points-worth of Hellfire stored up. 

  • Whirling Blades - You can force everyone in melee range of the Engine to take [dice]d6 damage from giant blades, save for half.

  • Legs - Your standard wheeled Hellfire Engine fares poorly on uneven ground, but with the addition of gigantic insectoid legs, it can scuttle over any terrain! 

  • Ballistae - The Engine can make [dice] attacks each round, firing ballista bolts with a +[highest] to hit, that deal 2d6 Damage each. The Engine has [sum] pieces of ammunition. 

  • Onboard Crew - [highest] Baatezu, each with [dice]HD, are onboard, ready to assist you in piloting or defending the Engine. They can be commanded to sortie forth from the machine. 

  • Voice Magnifier - You can choose to have your voice projected forth from the Engine at deafening volumes. 

  • Self-Destruct - The Hellfire Engine can be set to explode, with a delay of up to [highest + dice] minutes. It does [sum]d6 damage to itself and everything within 100ft. Creatures caught in the blast can save for half damage. 



Mishaps:

  1. MD only return to your pool on a 1 for 24 hours

  2. Take 1d6 damage as metal spikes pierce your skin. 

  3. Random metallic mutation for [sum] rounds, then make a save. Permanent if you fail.

  4. Spew a giant cloud of choking black smoke, which obscures sight for [sum] rounds.

  5. You weld yourself to whatever surfaces you’re touching at the moment, for [sum] rounds. 

  6. An uncontrolled explosion of metal shards issues from you, dealing [sum] damage to those nearby, save for half. 



Dooms of the Warmind: 

  1. Increased Oversight

An imp is deployed to Keep an Eye on You, and it will rat you out as soon as you do anything that the Nine Hells might dislike. If you do something egregious enough, it will even serve as a portal key for the off-the-books kill-squad coming to do you in.

Note: killing the imp is egregious enough to earn you a kill-squad. 


  1. Disciplinary Hearing 

A portal rips open - you and everyone around you are dragged to the Nine Hells, where you face a stern talking-down-to from an amnizu and a whole jury of barbed devils. If you fail to adequately explain how your recent actions are contributing to victory in the Blood War, they’ll confiscate your entire inventory. 


If your actions are actively contributing to defeat in the Blood War, you’re followed back through the portal by another off-the-books kill-squad. 


  1. Full Tribunal

A Gate opens, and you are pulled through to the Flayed Dolphin Court, on the high burning mesas of Nessus. There, you face a full military trial for egregious misuse of military resources - the defendant’s stand is a burning pit, and the judge, prosecutor and legal counsel are all Pit Fiends, working together behind the scenes.

 
This is not a trial you will return from (at least, this millennium). 



You can avoid your Doom by hiding somewhere portals can’t reach, killing a Demon Lord, achieving High Commission in the armies of the Nine Hells, or by winning the Blood War. 




Warmind Equipment:

  1. Ashcap, a thick leathern hat, with attached goggles, a neck curtain, and gauze mask for the mouth. It keeps burning ash out of your mouth and eyes, and hides your face. A distinctive piece of Warmind attire.

  2. Fireproof Tent, coloured dark red to camouflage against Avernian soil. 

  3. Breastplate, 1 piece of armour. Etched with jagged geometric patterns and designs of screaming humanoids being stabbed into fire pits by baatezu. 

  4. Buff Coat, made from demonhide. 1 piece of armour. Whispers, every so often. 

  5. Dreg Legion Banner. Pattern of your choice. Even the most impressive mortal is still a Dreg Legionary in the eyes of the Nine Hells. Still, among a certain crowd, bearing this 2-slot banner might garner some respect. 

  6. Bag of Caltrops, good for throwing down in a pinch. 

  7. 4d6 Hellmarks, nonagonal rosegold coins marked with nine Asmodean eyes. Worth double value when used as currency in the Nine Hells. 

  8. Halberd, for use when assisting the massed ranks of devils and legionaries. A heavy weapon with reach. Not a sword.  

  9. Splatter Mask, covers the eyes with a metal guard and the lower face with a chainmail curtain. Counts as a piece of armour. It keeps shrapnel out of your eyes and mouth, which is always a win. A distinctive piece of Warmind attire. 

  10. Smoke Bomb, a steel cylinder with a fuse. Can be cut to set the fuse for one to ten rounds - once a lit fuse runs down, a gigantic cloud of thick smoke explodes out, which lingers for an hour, or a minute in high wind. If someone’s holding it when it goes off, they take 1d6 Damage. 

  11. Decoy Shako, towering red hat with a vrockfeather plume. The first crit you suffer while wearing it inexplicably annihilates the shako and leaves you unharmed.

  12. Cacophony Cane, appears to be an ordinary walking stick with a bird-shaped handle. When you turn the handle all the way round and slam the stick onto the ground, it snaps with a noise that’s audible up to a mile away (wear ear-protectors). 

  13. Firelance, a long metal tube on a wooden pole. When filled with fuel and lit, it sprays a 50ft line of fire - anyone in the way must save or be damaged and lit aflame. The closest failure takes 3d6, the rest half of that. 

  14. Infernal Medal of Valour, beaten square of green steel marked with an eye - the ribbon is crimson. Devils will be impressed by it, celestials disgusted, and demons enraged. 

  15. Silcharde, a medium two-barrelled pistol named after the Baatezu that designed it. The barrels are stacked vertically, and it has a unique profile. Has a two-step trigger which allows for the barrels to be fired separately, as two different attacks, or together, as one. 

  16. Black Brandy, the famous devil’s drink of Dis. Chills the body pleasantly when drunk - devils use it like a soft-drink, considering alcohol has no effect on them. 

  17. Worming Bell, runed and made of gold. Rings loudly when Tanar’ri begin corrupting reality nearby - this generally portends the presence of a large number of demons, or a few very powerful ones. 

  18. Green Steel Sword, a medium flamberge. This sickly green steel is famed across the Planes as an icon of Hell. A green steel blade bypasses all resistance to weaponry that a demon or devil might possess, but still counts as a “mundane” steel (such as for your cantrip). 

  19. Codebook, for use in conjunction with the Sending spell. Densely packed codes and signifiers use long words, effectively removing the word-limit for the Sending spell, but only if both ends have a codebook. Can of course also be used in letters or conversation. 

  20. A Curio! 

    1. Bottle of Boilers. A glass bottle of soupy red gas. Boilers is a drug for Fiends, primarily produced in Sigil. It’s a deliriant poison for most mortals, but puts Fiends in a calm and friendly state for 1d6 Hours. It’s novel, for them.  

    2. Maelephant Tusk. A blackened chunk of grey ivory. If burnt, it summons a 6HD Maelephant, which will guard a commanded place or object for 24 hours, then return to the Lower Planes. The Maelephant is rude, crude and stupid, but will never betray the one who burnt the tusk. 

    3. Scumbag. A wriggling black sack full of… something. When burst or opened, everyone within thirty feet must save or vomit - including creatures normally totally incapable of doing so. When inspected, an opened bag is empty. 

    4. Mind Eraser. A tiny vial derived from Styxwater. Normally, Styxwater requires total immersion to erase a personality - but, if this concentration is the only thing a creature consumes for 48 hours, it does the job just fine: destroying their Psyche Slots and reducing them to catatonia.  

    5. Hellfire Bomb. A ticking mass of black wires and spined scales of Green Steel. Can be set with a timer anywhere from a minute to a month. When it goes off, everything nearby takes 3d6 Fire Damage, no save, and is engulfed in Hellfire, which can only be extinguished by magic. 

    6. Tanar’ric Infection. Fills a Psyche Slot instead of a Gear Slot. Functions something like a disease, and something like a Belief. If you act in a manner which the Tanar’ri would approve of (selfish, hungry, vile, cancerous) you gain a Mark as if you had defended or promoted a Belief - but, you must save vs. Mutation, as you begin the gradual and fatal process of having your meat turned into a nascent Tanar’ri. When you’ve accumulated a total of 9 mutations from this feature, you die, and your corpse becomes a Demon with as many Hit Dice as you had in life. 




Bonus: Metallic Mutations

Roll randomly for a body part, and then combine with one of the following elements. 

  1. Leaden Shell 

  2. Golden Sheen

  3. Nails and Spikes

  4. Hanging Chains

  5. Stiff and Rusted

  6. Interlocking Gears

  7. Bismuth Crystals 

  8. Shaped into a Weapon 

  9. Sundered Silver 

  10. Radioactive Shards


4 comments:

  1. You know, I was never a huge fan of the whole Blood War thing. It just sort of failed to catch my attention... until now! This is fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am always here for war wizards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The idea of a war wizard is both interesting and terrifying to me, hah

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