Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Unique Dwarfy Abilities: Songs of Stone

Since the earliest days, dwarves have had a connection to stone and the minerals of the earth. but modern dwarves are no longer able to manipulate the chaotic, magical energies required to cast spells. The most ancient dwarves were able to tame the elements of the earth, becoming full fledged geomancers: beings of immense power. Their closeness to the earth and the chaotic nature nature of sorcery may explan why they turned to stone.

Even though they may not cast sorcerous spells, we must remember that dwarves are innately magical creatures. In the modern era, the dwarves of the Borderlands and the Ancient Deeps are no longer able to master the powers of the earth as geomancers. But their magical connection to the earth and stone remains. The Songs of Stone refers loosely to the ability which all dwarves have to sing to and listen to stone and rock. At lower levels dwarves, when near stone, are able to divine some basic information about their environment; at higher levels, they are able to manipulate and sculpt stone as though it were soft clay. 

When singing to stone, dwarves use their native tongue: an ancient, secret tongue which dwarves are loath to teach others. Generally dwarves are careful when singing to stone, being careful about who they are near when singing to stones, and singing only when around those they trust, or whispering very quietly when they are singing.



The System: 

Songs of Stone involves two components. A dwarf's class determines how well he can manipulate the songs which he knows; its chance of success as represented by a d6 roll increases (see below). When whispering their songs, dwarves roll with disadvantage. When singing to stones in their native area, dwarves roll with advantage. It typically takes one exploration turn for a dwarf to sing. 

Level:      Chance of Success:
   1                     1-2/ 1d6     
   2                     1-2/ 1d6
   3                     1-3/ 1d6
   4                     1-3/ 1d6
   5                     1-4/ 1d6
   6                     1-4/ 1d6
   7                     1-5/ 1d6
   8                     1-5/ 1d6
   9                     1-6/ 1d6

As a dwarf advances it may learn new songs; it may learn a new song rather than a new class skill. Songs must be learned in ascending order from one through six. A character may learn only one Song per level. A character is not required to learn new songs as it advances. Songs of Stone:

1. Know the Stone: Basic geological information and the ability to detect passages, sliding or moving stone, and pits.
2. Paths Under the Earth: Determine depth and direction underground or in the mountains (roll with disadvantage).
3. Hear the Stones: Put ear to the ground or wall to hear movement and voices.
4. Earth Song: Put lips to stone to sing a message which can be passed through stone and earth.
5. Shape Stone: Can use bare hands to sculpt stone or earth (roll with disadvantage).
6. Pass Through Stone: May pass through stone; failure most likely indicates getting stuck in wall.

* As a rule of thumb ranges, distances, speeds, and volumes of stone and earth manipulated through use of Songs of Stone are determined in multiples of ten factored by the singing character's dwarf class level.

Please feel free to import this little hack into your home game. If you are going to further refine this system, please let me know so that I can try out your improvements. 

Next Post: Social Class and a new OSR ruleset.

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