Runic Arrays – Wizard’s Envy

For our runic arrays segment this week we give you a way to make wizards even more overpowered.

This week we show you the Wizard’s Envy incantation.

Notation: Heat Iron at a rate of 64 degrees Celsius per second within an area in the shape of an Inverted Dome 100 times as wide across as the array and 10,000 times as deep as the array’s diameter. Cast from the mouth.

Incantation: Begh Yst Dün Ob Watze Ant Schniv Sepa Cob Dün Ob Hohd Ant Mürgrot Non Küp Ant Omkirdi Non Rônde Ant Grot Ant Mürgrot Tüwe Cob Ent Fin Bek.

Class: Incantation

Description: It is a staple trope (and perhaps even a cliche) in high fantasy stories that wizards are clad in loose cloth robes while the warriors encase themselves in as much steel as they can find. The warriors are the knights in shining armour while the wizards are the mysterious mages. It is a way to easily distinguish two very different types of characters and in games (whether videogames or tabletop) it is also a way to balance the two classes. After all, if a wizard could wear armour, wield a sword and then cast magic as well then what use is there for a warrior?

But you surely must feel for these wizards, watching these mighty warriors with their brightly shining (and often gilded) suits of armour crafted by the finest artisans, bedecked in fancy tabards and robes, their coat of arms proudly worn on their shields while a colourful and symbolic crest sits atop their helms. That is the sort of thing legends and songs are written about. And all the while, all the wizards have is a faded old robe, a tattered pointy hat and a long walking stick.

So why wouldn’t a wizard start to get envious after all the attention these pretty boys in their armour seem to get? Why wouldn’t a wizard start making plans, devious plans, to even out the playing field. After all, if a wizard can’t wear armour, no one should! It’s only fair.

And that’s where this incantation comes into play. Dreamed up by a very bitter and spiteful wizard, the Wizard’s Envy incantation creates an inverted and stretched dome (otherwise known as a rounded cone) that heats up all iron (and thus steel) within it by 64 degrees Celsius a second. The intent here isn’t to melt the iron and steel, since that would require holding this spell on target for more than 23 seconds. Rather it is just to make the cost of wearing armour greater than the reward.

After less than two seconds, the weapons and armour wielded by the warriors caught up in the cone would already be over 100 degrees Celsius and far too hot to touch with bare hands. Less than four seconds into the spell and they would be over 200 degrees Celsius and would start to burn and overheat the warriors no matter what are wearing underneath. The only thing the warriors will be able to do is to throw down their weapons and try and get out of their armour as quickly as possible.

And now the warrior and the wizard are on equal footing, no weapons and no armour. Well, the wizard still has magic, but why fight a fair fight?

Runic Arrays: Static Cloud

For our runic arrays segment this week we give you the way to create your very own legion.

This week we show you the Grand Army array.

Notation: Transmute Humans into Air if Humans are present and apply the effect of Created Lightning to Air.

Class: Offence

Description: A handy array for both taking down a single enemy as well as incapacitating anyone around him.

The true power from this array comes from its smaller, secondary array. Without this, it would simply be an array to transmute humans into air, which while useful, is not any different than transmuting humans into anything else. By putting the secondary array into it, what you are telling the array to do is to apply the effect (not the individual runes) onto all of whatever rune is in the centre of the array. So for this array, the effect would be created lightning, so simply just lightning. The array would apply this to all of the air around it, meaning that all the air around the array would now be filled with electricity trying to find the quickest way down to earth.

But merely electrifying the air around the array isn’t enough for this array. No, that would be too simple. The other trick with this array is to remember that when dealing with runes and the materials they represent, the arrays work in mass and not volume. So if you transmute a person into air, you won’t just have as much air as can fill up the space that person left behind. Instead, you will have as much mass (or weight) of air to deal with stuck in that space the person just vacated. For other things, this wouldn’t be much of an issue, but air isn’t very dense.

1 cubic metre of air weighs only 1.23 kg. So if you transmuted a chap weighing 80kgs into air, you would end up with 61.9 cubic metres worth of air in an area of around 0.8 cubic metres. This just won’t do, and with nothing to stop the air moving it will immediately rush out of that space to find some equilibrium with the atmosphere around it. 61.9 cubic metres is enough to fill up a room and it will be expanding at an alarming rate.

All of this means that everyone around the poor chap who just died will be knocked off their feet by the sudden gale of wind around them and then electrocuted by the electricity flowing through that wind.

So with one array engraved onto a bullet, you can kill one man and keep all his allies convulsing on the floor.

And if you are new to the runes and arrays, here is a playlist we made to explain exactly how they work.

Z-Land Beta 3.1

The new version of the Z-Land beta is now out and on its way to you!

It’s not a major release and deals mostly with typos and grammar fixes, but it is also the start of clarifying the rules and mechanics as we start to get more feedback from the beta testers. This is some of the most important “changes” we have and will be making to the beta as it is about making sure you as GMs and players know exactly what the rules mean and how they are applied to the game. After all, if you don’t know how the rules work, then how can you play the game?

The full list of changes and clarifications we made can be found in the changelog on page 3 of the beta, but to just pick out a few: we’ve clarified exactly how flanking bonuses work in melee combat (each flanker gets all the bonuses from all the other flankers), how the Sigil Threshold can be affected by in-session changes to your Luck Skill (it can’t), and what Skill Level the Skill Specialisations start at (the same Level as their Parent Skill).

The more feedback we get from all you beta testers, the more we will be able to clarify the rules to make it easier for you to play. So keep that feedback coming!

Also, we just ran a major playtest with the game design students at AUT’s School of Art and Design and we got a veritable boatload of feedback to work through, so expect some exciting changes to happen as we unpack all that feedback and critiques.

Runic Arrays: Grand Army

For our runic arrays segment this week we give you the way to create your very own legion.

This week we show you the Grand Army array.

Notation: Create Humans if no Humans are present, Push Humans at the speed of 1 m/s if Humans are present and apply the effect of the Lazarus array to Humans.

Class: Utility

Description: As can plainly be seen in the notation of the array, and in the array itself, the Grand Army array is based on the Lazarus array and uses the Lazarus array as its most critical part.

What this array does, in short, is to create its very own cloning production line. With this array, and as much energy as you can feed it, you can create as many artificial humans as you want. However, as with all arrays, the devil is in the details.

The Lazarus array transmutes (specifically) non-living humans into live humans. The obvious use for this array is to resurrect the dead. We naturally presume the opposite of alive to be dead and think to have a dead human you must first have had a living human. This, however, is not always the case. Any plant and animal (including humans) created by an array comes out dead. Well, technically not dead since for the merest fraction of a second after its creation it is indeed alive, but within the time it takes you to blink the created “thing” will die. This is because the arrays cannot provide that spark of life to a newly created plant or animal. It can, however, create that plant of animal in a perfect condition which is why it will be alive for a heartbeat.

While the runes and arrays cannot provide that spark of life, what they can do, though, is change the state of something: ie transmutation. It is the transmutation of something non-living to something living that allows the Lazarus and thus the Grand Army arrays to work.

Just one thing to note is that while this can be called a cloning machine, it can’t actually create a copy of an existing person. All it does it create a “blank” human over and over again. “Blank” in this case meaning “an androgynous, racially indeterminate, sexually mature corpse of a human” as the description of the Human rune puts it. Also, remember that this is a brand new human and comes with all that entails, so if you want your army you will first have to train it how to speak and walk and use the toilet properly.

But if you have patience, you will get your army.

Runic arrays: Lazarus

For our runic arrays segment this week we give you the ultimate reset button.

This week we show you the Lazarus array.

Notation: Transmute Non-Living Humans into Living Humans and sustain said Humans.

Class: Utility

Description: A very simple array but with the most direst of consequences. This array does exactly what its name implies: it brings humans back from the dead. By transmuting non-living humans into living humans, the only thing you are really changing is the state of life, thereby leaving the person “transmuted” unaffected otherwise. They are still the same person for all intents and purposes, but one thing that does not change is how they died.

Unlike the Dark Folly array, the Lazarus doesn’t turn back time to before the person died, it just changes their state from “dead” to “living”. So if they died through violent means (eg a gunshot to the chest) they will still have that bullet hole in their body and all the damage associated with it. And if left like that, they will promptly die again. That is why the Sustain rune in this array is so important; it sustains the body and keeps it from whatever just killed it killing it again. As long as the array is active and the Sustain rune is working, the person won’t die again. This gives you the time to fix whatever went wrong, however you might go about it.

One thing to note is that because this array only changes a person’s state from “dead” to “living”, if they are too far decomposed, it wouldn’t do any good since no amount of surgery will fix them. In that case, it is better to use something like the Dark Folly array. It will require far more energy, however, and that is why this array will more easily work in a pinch.

And lastly, if you are using the Z-Land rules with the Runed Dead crossover (for which the Life rune was invented), this array won’t help to bring people back from the dead as the undead in the Runed Dead are powered by the arrays. If you try and use this array on a dead person, it will just turn them into a zombie.

Z-Land Beta 3.0

The new version of the Z-Land beta is now out and on its way to you!

There’s a few minor things that have been added and changed in this section (such as adding in sample Infected character skill blocks, adding computing to the character generation’s careers and starting to add in archetype logos) but the main event for version 3.0 is scavenging!

In the post apocalyptic future you will always be either hungry, thirsty or both, so you will always be out looking for more food, water and other supplies. This is where the scavenging mechanic comes in. There are five main consumable resources and their scarcity will be different depending on what sort of environment you are in and what timeframe. What is rare and scarce in one environment might be common and plentiful in another; what you might find everywhere on the day the apocalypse happen might be in very short supply ten years later.

Scavenging is done quite simply: you roll an Investigation Skill Check and your GM puts a positive or negative modifier onto it depending on the scarcity. If you are successful then you find it, but how much do you find? That is where the Luck Skill comes in. If you have indeed found some food or water, you roll a Luck Skill Check to see if you have found enough to last you the next few days or just enough for the next meal.

Also due to popular demand, we have added in how long a turn in combat should last: approximately five seconds.

Have fun with 3.0 and get back to us any feedback you have!